Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Bake a Cake

 Lemon Drizzle Cake

Did you know that last Sunday was World Baking Day?   Had I been home last weekend, I certainly would have baked a cake!  I love this campaign which is all baking someone a cake to show them how much you care.  How sweet is that?  

Delia Smith's Cakes

After traveling across the pond for many years now, I've discovered just how much the British love their yummy cakes.  I now enjoy replicating British scones and cakes at home.  

My favorite British cake book is the revised and updated, Delia Smith's Cakes.  Delia is the UK's best selling cookery author.  She also has a wonderful online cookery school.  I just love watching her videos to learn baking tips and techniques.  And she has the most lovely British accent!  

 Delia's Double Lemon Drizzle Cake

The first cake I've made from Delia's Cakes book is her Double Lemon Drizzle Cake.  The recipe has poppy seeds which I've omitted when I've made it.

According to Delia:
 "This is the definitive Lemon Drizzle cake, and we have used four lemons.  There's almost as much drizzle as cake, so after you bite though the crunchy crust it is very lemony and syrupy inside."

More Cake, Please

Baking someone a cake is a brilliant way to show them how much you care.  If you're looking for a delicious and easy cake to make, I say, "make them a Double Lemon Drizzle Cake!"

If you're an American baker like me, to convert Delia's UK recipe, you'll need:
 a scale to measure ingredients and an 8" round cake tin (pan) which you'll grease and line with parchment paper.  I use a Wilton aluminum 8" x 2" round cake pan.  I bake the cake at 325F in the center of my oven for about 40 minutes or until the cake feels springy.

So, when was the last time you had a piece of homemade cake?   Well, here you go...
here's the link for Delia's recipe:
  Double Lemon Drizzle Cake with Poppy Seeds

(In the photos:  Royal Winton Richmond chintz plate and vintage National Silverplate fork.)

Friday, May 8, 2015

Singapore Noodles

Singapore Noodle Bowl

I made another wonderful stir-fry tonight...Singapore Noodles.  The recipe is from Grace Young's Stir Frying To The Sky's Edge.  This tasty Asian fusion dish consists of thin rice stick noodles, shrimp, Chinese barbecued pork, green bell pepper and scallions.  It's flavored with curry and a broth you blend which tenderizes the ingredients.  And, a little dash of red pepper flakes gives it just enough heat.  

We had never had Singapore Noodles before.  When I saw the recipe in the book, I knew I wanted to make it.  So a few weeks ago, we ordered Singapore Noodles at our local Chinese restaurant so I could get an authentic taste for them.  After making them tonight, I can say, this is another stir-fry dish that tastes even better cooked at home!  

Page 274 

I was running a bit short on time tonight so to makes things faster and simpler, I substituted (fresh) thin chow mein noodles and Chinese barbecue pork from my local Asian market for the dish.

And by the way, despite it's name, theses noodles supposedly have nothing to do with Singapore.  From what I've read, you are more apt to find them on restaurant menu in Hong Kong, England, Australia, Canada and the United States.  I think I will have to do a fact-check on these noodles with my high school friend Matt Chin who lives in Singapore!  

The next time I make this dish, I will definitely use the thin rice stick noodles and Madras curry powder instead of just curry powder.  Grace says in the recipe "For the best flavor be sure to use a high-quality Madras curry powder."  I love that Grace Young and her recipes....
however I don't think my husband will take me out for Chinese food anymore now that I cook it so well at home!  

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Making Fried Rice

 Peppery Vegetarian Rice 
with Asian Shrimp

Dinner is ready, in fact, it's early tonight.  And, no we're not at a fancy Asian bistro.  I just stir-fried this incredible fried rice dish at home...thanks to Grace Young and her fantastic cookbook Stir Frying To The Sky's Edge.   

I recently discovered Grace Young and her cookbooks.  Upon her advice, I went to The Wok Shop and bought my wok.  Then I started stir-frying and joined the group Wok Wednesdays on Facebook.  It's comprised of fellow wokkers and fans of Grace Young's books.

  Every two weeks (on a Wednesday) we are encouraged to cook a designated recipe from Stir Frying To The Sky's Edge and share our experience.  Today is Wok Wednesday and the dish  to prepare is from page 256, Peppery Vegetarian Fried Rice. 

 Mise en place

I made a few minor changes to the recipe with what ingredients I had on hand.  And that's okay.  Grace tells us in her book that "the beauty of this recipe is it's total flexibility."  She also encourages us to get creative and even repurpose leftovers.  According to Grace, day old rice is like a blank canvas.  I approached the recipe with that regard and and served it plated with Asian grilled shrimp.  

Stir-Frying at Home

No more Chinese take-out for us!  Making fried rice at home is far superior to what we get from our local Chinese restaurant.  Tonight's Peppery Vegetarian Rice was packed with so much more fresh flavor, crunch and a little heat!

Stir Frying To The Sky's Edge

I have just started cooking my way through Grace's book Stir Frying To The Sky's Edge and have loved every recipe I have prepared.  

If you want to learn how to cook authentic Chinese food at home...this is the book to get.  If you want to have fun with fellow stir-fry enthusiasts, get the book and join us in Wok Wednesdays on Facebook.

We are asked not to share the recipes from the book but Grace's friend and fellow chef, Sara Moulton has featured this recipe on her show Sara's Weeknight Meals.  Here is the link to Sara's website so you can make it at home and see just how easy and wonderful this recipe is!

Peppery Vegetarian Fried Rice Recipe

And for more information on Wok Wednesdays,
just click here.

(In the photos:  Spode Gothic Castle plate and Chinese pottery mixed patterns from The Wok Shop, San Francisco, CA.)

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Just Add Tea and Cold Water

Cold Brewing

I recently discovered that I really like the simplicity of making cold water brewed iced tea.  It's so easy and the iced tea never taste bitter.  So this week, I picked up several Bodum Biasca ice tea jugs one (with a pink lid) for making floral green teas and one (with a green lid) for green teas.  I really like the sleek and slender Danish designed glass jug that fits nicely in our fridge.

It's so simple to make iced tea with the cold brew method.  And, according to Bodum, this method works well with black, green, white and herbal teas.  I plan on using my Biasca jugs exclusively for green iced teas. 

 Bodum gives easy instructions on their Biasca box on how to cold brew.  Here you go:

1) Add your favorite loose leaf tea
(I used 20 grams of tea for 1 liter of water)

2) Fill with cold spring water

3) Allow to brew for 5-6 hours in the fridge
(or less to your taste preference)

4) Serve and Enjoy!

Today I'm enjoying a pitcher of Fleur De Geisha green tea which was drinkable in, as fast as, 20 minutes.  Tonight I plan on starting a cold brew of my favorite Japanese green sencha to enjoy tomorrow.   And since I'm learning a lot about Chinese teas lately,  I can't wait to explore cold brewing with Chinese green teas.

Sadly I think the the Biasca tea jug may be discontinued now here in America because it is not listed on the Bodum USA site.  So if you stumble upon one while out shopping, you'd better grab it!