Thursday, June 18, 2015

Leeks and Smoked Bacon Quiche (reblogged from Jan 2013)

This savoury tart called quiche in French is an all-time favourite among the tasters. It is surprisingly easy to make yet flavourful enough to use as a one-course meal (served with a salad).

Tart shell:
200g cold unsalted butter
2 1/2 cup plain flour
3 eggs
1/3 cup cold milk
pinch of salt

In a mixing bowl (I have not many mechanical kitchen aids in my kitchen except for a blender - only hand power!), slowly mix the cold butter with the salt and flour to form a crumbly mixture. Mix in the eggs and a dash of cold milk (adjust accordingly) to form an elastic dough but careful not to overwork it. Chill in the fridge for about 30 mins. Roll out into a thin layer and fold into a tart mould. Pierce holes at the bottom with a fork and blind bake the crust for 18 - 20 mins in an oven.

For the filling:
Few slices of smoked bacon (facultatif)
1 stalk of leeks (large) - sliced finely
4 eggs
1 cup of fresh cream or crème fraîche
salt and pepper to taste.

Dice the bacon and reduce the fat by frying them in a pan. Remove and set aside. Using the oil from the bacon, soften the leeks and set aside. In a bowl, whisk the eggs and the cream. Season to taste. Sprinkle the bacon bits and soften leeks on the bottom of the tart shell. Pour in the cream mixture and sprinkle a good layer of shaved Gruyère or Emmental cheese on the top. Bake for a further 20 mins or until a crust starts to form.

Bon appétit!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Dish from childhood updated (reblogged from 2011)

Now is the season of the sting bean, locally known as petai and this is a special ingredient for many reasons: 
1. it is definitely an acquired taste with its strong pungent flavour;
2. it makes your toilet unusable for the next whole week because the after effects from consumming this bean (it is a diuretic and cleanses the kidneys but resulting in very stinky urine);
3. it is seasonal, mostly collected wild from trees growing in villages' edge or the forest by indigenous people, meaning it is a bio product;
4. it can be consumed both cooked and raw as a salad (which makes it even stinkier)

The good thing is, it does go well with certain ingredients, and the most unassuming ones for most people:
here's a recipe from my childhood days...

 can of sardines, curry powder(or cut chillies), garlic, tomato puree if your using sardines in oil (against sardines in tomato sauce in the original recipe), onions, dried chillis, stems of an edible yam known as 'lambok', the star - sting beans

 The stems of the yam needs to be peeled and thoroughly scrubbed with coarse sea salt to prevent any incident of itchiness due to residual oxalic acid. Then, the spongy cut stems need to be crushed with the hand, thoroughly washed and drained. They can be lightly blanched too...

In a heated frying pan, sear the dried chillis, diced onions and garlic. Add the curry powder, stir and cook until fragrant. Add the blanched yam stems, cover and cook for a few minutes. Add the sardines and tomato puree, season and simmer until the sauce thickens. Add the sting beans, stir and cook for a further 2 minutes. Serve at once with steamed rice.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Our 13th anniversary do...

Last March, we celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary at home with some friends...

The choice of flower was pale lilac orchids sourced from a farm in Rawang over white table linen...

Raw cauliflower and home made aïoli, with a touch of piment d’Espelette. 

Foie gras served with balsamic reduction, apple confit, roquette salade and a slice of ripe kundang to bring it home...

Though Italian, a touch of French was introduced to the carbonara with smoked lardon from the Franche-Comte...

Oven-roasted duck with truffle-scented mash of potatoes and confit of cherry tomatoes, cooking jus...

Wedges of Comte cheese and salad

Tiramisu, a crowd favourite (Italian)

Monday, April 20, 2015

A Hearty Meal on a Cold Rainy Day (reblogged from June 2013)

I haven't been eating too well due to adjustments and the fact that the university residence is far from town and there isn't much that one can do when the kitchen's not equiped with utensils. Well, I decided to go for a good meal in town and I remembered having dined in a little restaurant in a hidden corner: Le Café Café. Strange name, even by French standard. The food can be described as simple and hearty with a touch of regional flavour but the setting is as French bistro as it can get...lunch starts at 12 sharp (I was early) and the service was friendly and quite efficient. One thing is that French restaurants always have very tight spots that do not allow much moving spaces and people really have to eat quite close to each other...

 Entrance to the restaurant is really hidden from general view in the street...

 Chose a small and comfy corner...

 Simple but nice decor...

 The tiny bar counter...

 Serving table where bread and desserts of the day are being kept...

 The waiter will explain the menu to you in details before you choose...

 Ordered the Filet Mignon de Veau with wild mushrooms and risotto.

Cup of tea to finish...

Monday, February 23, 2015

Nyonya Glutinous Rice cake AKA Pulut Tekan

Ingredients (makes a medium-sized cake for 6-8 persons)
1 kilo glutinous rice, soaked in two different parts overnight
A handful of dried Bunga Telang or Blue Pea flower (Clitorea ternatea)
Salt to season
1/3 cup of vanilla sugar (optional)
1 cup coconut milk

In a cup, pour some hot water over the dried Bunga Telang and let it infuse for 15 minutes. Squeeze and drain the dark indigo coloured liquid. Set aside.

Wash the glutinous rice and drain. Soak 3/4 of the portion separately in a large bowl with clean water overnight, changing the water at least once. The remaining 1/4 should be soaked in the blue liquid overnight.

Drain the rice, season with salt, sugar. Mix the two portions of rice together with the coconut milk, careful not to overmix them. Traditionnaly, they are steamed over a basket lined with banana leaf but if that proves challenging, it can be steamed over a metal plate in a steamer. The time needed would vary according to the thickness of the rice container and the steamer used. The rice should be cooked to the core but still retain its firmness without being "al dente".

Oil a square tin cake mould. Pour in the cooked glutinous rice into the mould and press down the rice to form a firm layer. The cake can be cut according to preference once it cools down. Serve with Seri Kaya (Coconut custard cream).

Friday, January 2, 2015

Dinner to end the year 2014...

As the year 2014 closes, we celebrated with a dinner with friends at is also occasion to "clear out" my clogged fridge.

 Sitting elbow to elbow for 8 persons...

 Raw cauliflower is good with a simple aioli...

Tomatoes 2 ways: in concentrated purée and as raw (kumato). Served with a balsamic reduction, olive oil, sprinkle of fleur de sel and a Parmiggiano regiano chip...

 Lamb shoulder braised slowly in white wine and garlic, served with potato purée and the cooking jus.

 A simple salade with a cut of cheese... Comte

Suddenly feeled inspired to create, but a bit messy with the construction because of laziness: chocolate mousse à l'absinthe on almond crumble, lemon jelly, crème anglaise, caramel aux fleurs de sel and a pear chip.

Asam Heh updated (reblogged from June 2012)

Asam Heh in the Nyonya language (mixture of Malay and Hokkien) means prawns cooked with tamarind. The original recipe that my MIL gave was simple - clean prawns and marinade with tamarind paste (sole seasoning). Deep fry in medium heat oil until crispy and serve. Well, I decided to update her recipe with my own take and I quite like the result...

Ingredients (serves 4):

20 medium-sized prawns
2" Tamarind paste
salt to taste
pinch of sugar
2 limes
1 red onion, finely sliced
1/3 cup of oil for frying

Clean the prawns but keep the shells.

Mash the paste with 1 tbsp of water and juice of the 2 limes. Season with salt, sugar and a dash of soya sauce. Marinade the prawns with this paste.

Preheat the oil in a frying pan under medium heat. Fry the prawns until slightly caramelised. Half-way through the frying process, add the onion slices. When ready, transfer to a serving plate.

Garnish with sliced onion, grated lime skin and slices of lime.