September 24, 2016

Animal Cracker Cookies 動物餅乾

Animal Cracker Cookies 動物餅乾

Animal Crackers, animal cookies, recipe, animal cookie cutter,  school lunch, school snack, 動物, 餅乾
By Published: 2016-09-24
It's that time of the year when the kids are back to school...which means it's also time for packed school lunches and snacks!  And I have been that busy in my teensy tiny kitchen making all kinds of things for school lunch.  One of my favorite things to make and pack into lunch packs are these cookies.  There's nothing to delight children more than yummilicious cookies in the shape of cute adorable animals!  

So you are forewarned...it's gonna be cuteness here today!  This is our take of that favorite little cookie, classically known as Animal Crackers (tho' why it's called crackers and not cookies I have no idea), inspired by those classic Barnum's Animal Crackers, the longstanding kiddie favorites that come in a colorfully decorated box.  Do you remember eating these as a kid?  I sure do.

Barnum's Animal Crackers

September 16, 2016

Homemade Chinese Wheat Gluten Mian Jin 自製麵筋

Homemade Chinese Wheat Gluten Mian Jin 自製麵筋

chinese, homemade, how make, meat substitute, Mian Jin, mock meat, recipe, seitan, vegetarian, Wheat Gluten, 自製, 麵筋
By Published: 2016-09-16
I was super duper excited to try my hand at making Chinese Wheat Gluten Mian Jin, or 麵筋, because my dearest Grandma 奶奶 used to make it for us all the time when I was growing up.  Gosh darnit if by the end of the day Grandma didn't have a huge pot full of her homemade wheat gluten, soaked through and through and juicy with fragrantly aromatic soy and spice based sauce with luscious bits of slippery cloud ear, chewy lily bud and fragrant mushroom snuggled in between.  (See Grandma's recipe for Red Braised Wheat Gluten Kao Fu 紅燒烤麩)  And we would eat and eat and eat and there still would be more for the next day and the next.  I would sneak it straight out of the fridge when Grandma wasn't looking, savoring the chilled version just as much as the hot.  (I love eating at the fridge.  Weird but true.)  

I've had it in the back of my mind for a long long time to try making the actual wheat gluten myself just like Grandma did and finally got around to it.   I'm very pleased to report that making your own Homemade Chinese Wheat Gluten Mian Jin or 自製麵筋 is actually much easier than I thought it was going to be, verra verra tasty and you can make all kinds of mouth watering Chinese 'mock' meat vegetarian dishes with it.  Definitely a must have skill in your repertoire if you are wanting to go for Vegetarian Domestic Goddess!

September 13, 2016

Snow Skin Mooncake 冰皮月餅

Snow Skin Mooncake 冰皮月餅

chinese, festival, crystal mooncake, ice skin mooncake, mid autumn festival, recipe, Snow Skin Mooncake, traditional, 冰皮月餅
By Published: 2016-09-13
It's almost that time of the year again, the time of the glorious harvest moon, the Mid Autumn Festival 中秋節, a right jolly time in Hong Kong that all, the children especially, look forward to.  And why not?  A beautiful fuller than full moon hung high in the velvet blackness of the night, a pass to stay up and play as late as one wants, delicately beautiful lighted lanterns and myriad glow sticks in hand, and, best of all, mooncakes 月餅 galore to eat!  We've already made the White Lotus Paste with Double Yolk Mooncake 雙黃白蓮蓉月餅 and the amazing Five Nuts Mooncake 五仁月餅, so this year we thought we would make the Hong Kong creation known as Snow Skin Mooncake 冰皮月餅, also known as Ice Skin Mooncake, a modern twist where the traditional mooncake fillings are wrapped in a delicate, light, mochi-esque skin.

September 5, 2016

Red Braised Wheat Gluten Kao Fu 紅燒烤麩

Red Braised Wheat Gluten Kao Fu 紅燒烤麩

kao fu, Red Braised, soy braised, Wheat Gluten, Kaofu, recipe, shanghai, chinese, vegetarian,  紅燒, 烤麩, 素, 齋, 上海
By Published: 2016-09-05
Chinese cuisine is well known for its vegetarian fare, indeed whole Chinese restaurants can be found devoted to vegetarian foods only!  And if you visit a Chinese monastery you will often find the unexpected delight of enjoying a fine vegetarian meal during your visit.  (Chinese people always take very good care of their tummies, wherever they are.)  Do be forewarned, however, that just because it's vegetarian fare, don't expect the Chinese to give up their daily meat intake!  

Whaaaaaat the hey, you say?! 

What I mean is that Chinese vegetarian dishes are mainly based around 'mock' meats: mock duck, mock chicken, mock pork, you name it, they've got it.  And these fake meats are mostly cleverly made from tofu and wheat gluten.  Determined to make my own vegetarian dish, I first made my homemade wheat gluten kao fu (see our kao fu recipe here) and then cooked up the classic Shanghainese Red Braised Wheat Gluten Kao Fu 紅燒烤麩, a simple yet yummilicious vegetarian dish of soy sauce braised kao fu wheat gluten, mushrooms, bamboo and wood ears.  Tis so satisfying to your tastebuds and filling to your tummy!

August 27, 2016

White Chocolate Lemongrass Cookie 白巧克力香茅餅乾

White Chocolate Lemongrass Cookie 白巧克力香茅餅乾

butter, cookie, lemongrass, recipe, White Chocolate, 白巧克力, 餅乾, 香茅
By Published: 2016-08-27
Recently we've been dipping our toes into the wonderful flavors of Vietnamese cuisine (see our posts on Vietnamese Beef Vermicelli Noodles and Vietnamese Deep Fried Spring Rolls...yum!)  and so quite naturally have been using a lot of lemongrass.  You have seen it before of course, that green yellow stalk that looks for all the world like the dried twig of a tree.  This humble looking woody stick has flavor magic inside it though, giving the cuisines of Vietnam and Thailand some really awesome and unique flavors.  Well we had a wee bit o' lemongrass left over and one day, while poking around an old chocolate cookbook, what did I discover but a recipe that uses lemongrass and white chocolate together in one cookie!  Strange combination but it caught my imagination.  So we tried it.  And what do you know, these White Chocolate Lemongrass Cookies 白巧克力香茅餅乾 were really quite good, the sweet mellow creaminess of white chocolate and aromatic butter complemented by the exotic citrus ginger notes of lemongrass.  A definite must bake for any fan of lemongrass!

August 20, 2016

Vietnamese Deep Fry Spring Rolls Cah Gio 越南炸春捲 粉絲

Vietnamese Deep Fry Spring Rolls Cah Gio 越南炸春捲

Vietnamese, Deep Fry, Spring Rolls,  rice paper, Cah Gio,  recipe, imperial roll, 越南, 炸春捲
By Published: 2016-08-20
I have a weakness for spring rolls. Well, only the fresh ones.  And, really, who wouldn't?  When freshly deep fried spring rolls are crunchy on the outside, hot and tasty on the inside treats are so gosh darn it yummilicious!  Whenever we go to have dim sum I always just have to get a dish or two of the spring rolls.  Since we have started (finally!) to deep fry at home for ourselves (which has turned out to both easier and more fun than we had imagined,) we naturally very quickly thought of making some spring rolls!  These are our homemade spring rolls, the Vietnamese Deep Fry Spring Rolls, also known as Imperial Rolls, Cha Gio, or 越南炸春捲, a very tasty tidbit indeed, juicy meat and veg bits all wrapped in rice paper and deep fried til super crunchy on the outside and flavorsome on the inside.  And it's pretty easy to make these!

August 7, 2016

Egg Flower Water Chestnut Dessert Soup 蛋花馬蹄糖水

Egg Flower Water Chestnut Dessert Soup 蛋花馬蹄糖水

Egg Flower,  Water Chestnut, Dessert Soup, chinese, recipe,  sweet, 蛋花, 馬蹄, 糖水, 菱角
By Published: 2016-08-07
I must confess to a weakness for Chinese dessert soups, known generally under the title 糖水, translated literally as "sugar water."  Simple to make yet most remarkable in their classic, enduring combinations of textures and tastes, reminiscent of home and hearth, of grandma's gentle scolding, mama's sweet kisses, warming in winter, cooling in the summer.  As we in Hong Kong are sweltering presently under a more intense than usual summer, (it's sooo hot!) I decided to treat the family to one of my favorite Chinese dessert soup, the simple to make, delicately beautiful, cooling and crunchy Egg Flower Water Chestnut Dessert Soup, or 蛋花馬蹄糖水.

July 20, 2016

Little Girl's Pink Fondant Birthday Cake Part II 粉紅色翻糖蛋糕 II

Little Girl's Pink Fondant Birthday Cake Part II 粉紅色翻糖蛋糕 II

birthday cake, butter cake, buttercream, decorated, double, fanta, Fondant, Little Girl, Pink, recipe, soda pop, tiered, 粉紅色, 翻糖, 蛋糕
By Published: 2016-07-20
You're probably saying, wait a minute, where's the pink?  Well, the pink is on the inside of the cake, where it really counts.  This, dear readers, is the fancy and fabulous pink fondant decorated cake that I made for my little girl's seventh birthday.  Now I would've made the outside pink too but my little girl was clear on that: no 媽媽, the outside of the cake, the fondant, should be white.  So white it is.  Oh yes and my little girl helped tremendously in the decoration of the cake, she's reminding me to be sure to mention that.  We have already posted about making your own Homemade Marshmallow Fondant and baking your own moist and tasty Pinky Pink Soda Pop Cake and now finally we get to the really fun and exciting part, the part about decorating a little girl's cake with your own homemade fondant decorations!

July 17, 2016

Little Girl's Pink Fondant Birthday Cake Part I 粉紅色翻糖蛋糕 I

Little Girl's Pink Fondant Birthday Cake Part I 粉紅色翻糖蛋糕 I

birthday cake, butter cake, buttercream, decorated, double, fanta, Fondant, Little Girl, Pink, recipe, soda pop, tiered, 粉紅色, 翻糖, 蛋糕
By Published: 2016-07-17
 Now as lots of mamas and papas know, a birthday cake for a little girl or boy is not a straightforward thing to go about.  Every since my little girl was two years old I've been making a cake for her birthday, trying different recipes and flavors for the cake and the cake decorations (see here and here and here).  It's a hard thing to please a little one on their special cake for their special day, bless their little hearts but they can be quite critical!  

This year I decided to make a pink cake to please my girl's love of pinkness.  And I also wanted to try out my recent discovery while binge watching The Great British Bake Off (best baking show ever!) that it is actually rather easy to make Homemade Marshmallow Fondant, a play dough like edible cake decorating dough.  So, throwing all these things together, I managed to make a pretty looking Little Girl's Pink Fondant Birthday Cake, a moist tasty pinky pink cake on the inside and fabulously fancy homemade fondant decorations all over the outside.  I think this is the best BD cake I've made yet and most importantly my little girl absolutely loooved it!

July 9, 2016

Homemade Marshmallow Fondant 自製棉花糖翻糖

Homemade Marshmallow Fondant 自製棉花糖翻糖

Homemade,  Marshmallow, Fondant, recipe, 自製, 棉花糖, 翻糖, 手工, cake, cupcake, decoration
By Published: 2016-07-09
You would never think, looking at it, that this cake decoration is actually pretty easy to make.  It looks so fancy, amiright?  That smooth perfect cake covering.  Fun crazy shapes of whatever you desire.  The imagination of a rainbow of colors.  Well I never thought about making any kind of cake decoration even remotely fancy like this until I found out one day (while binge watching my most favoritest baking show, The Great British Bake Off) that you can make this amazing rollable and shapable and edible cake decoration/topping quite easily from marshmallow!  That's right, marshmallow.  Who would have guessed?  From the humble marshmallow comes forth this Homemade Marshmallow Fondant, easy to make, easy to roll, easy to shape, gorgeous to look at, an edible cake and cupcake decoration that you can use to make almost anything you can dream up to dress up that fancy cake or cupcakes you're making for a special occasion!

July 3, 2016

Three Fried Stuffed Treasures 煎釀三寶

Three Fried Stuffed Treasures 煎釀三寶

Three Fried Stuffed Treasures, three treasures, street snack, Hong Kong, recipe, eggplant, bitter melon, long chili,guangdong, macau, shunde, fish paste, dace,   煎釀三寶, 苦瓜, 尖椒, 茄子
By Published: 2016-07-03
If you've ever been in Hong Kong or Macau or Guangdong, you've probably run into these little snacks.  These fish paste stuffed vegetable treats have evolved over the years to become a popular and long standing street side snack, usually skewered to allow you to eat the snack right there in the street.  I really love these snacks and rather mourn the fact that, nowadays, they are rather hard to find done in the old-fashioned tasty way, meaning pan fried rather than deep fried.  Most street vendors have them precooked and waiting around all day and then just stick it in the hot oil to heat it up after you order.  Um...not too fresh, nor tasty as a matter of fact.  So we decided to make our own the traditional way, stuffed and pan fried Three Stuffed Treasures 煎釀三寶, a delectable treat that celebrates the original sweet tastiness of the fresh vegetables while a stuffing of fragrant tangerine peel infused fish paste provides just the right contrast of texture and taste.

June 26, 2016

Chili Leaves Stir Fry with Garlic 蒜蓉炒辣椒葉

Chili Leaves Stir Fry with Garlic 蒜蓉炒辣椒葉

Chili Leaves, chili, leaf, chilies, Stir Fry, Garlic, 蒜蓉, 炒, 辣椒葉, recipe, bird eye chili
By Published: 2016-06-26
One recent day while strolling through our local wet market we spotted a box of fresh tender looking green vegetables spotted throughout with the most beautiful tiny white flowers.  What the heck were these?  Never seen anything like these before.  We found out that these lovely tender greens were the leaves of chili pepper plant.  What, we exclaimed, you can eat chili pepper leaves?!  The grumpy old vegetable vendor declared with a harumph and a sideways look that it was so.  Well, what to do but to buy a big old bunch of the fresh tender greens and take it home to do a simple and classic Chinese stir fry with garlic.  Well it turns out that not only can you eat these tender leaves but Chili Leaves Stir Fry with Garlic 蒜蓉炒辣椒葉 is a simply yummilicious vegetable dish!

June 18, 2016

Candied Lemon Peel 糖漬檸檬皮

Candied Lemon Peel 糖漬檸檬皮

Candied, candy, fruit, homemade, Lemon, lemon peel, recipe, 檸檬, 檸檬皮, 水果, 皮, 糖果, 糖漬, 自製
By Published: 2016-06-18
This simple little homemade fruit candy is lemon nirvana.  There's simply no other way to describe it!  The smell of the candy, the taste of it...oh...my...lemony goodness!  Just so fresh, sweet, lemony and full of sunshine.  Soft lemony tenderness encased in a thin satisfying crunch of crisped sugar, an 'oh so heavenly!' aroma and taste of fresh lemon, a soft gleaming yellow that is just so comforting to the soul.  This Candied Lemon Peel  糖漬檸檬皮 is just about divine in our experience, not just the best candy that we have made at home but one of the top of all the candies we have ever had.  Plus it's made from just lemon and sugar!  How cool is that?!

June 11, 2016

Sea Snails Simmered in Sake Soy Sauce 清酒鼓油煮花螺

Sea Snails Simmered in Sake Soy Sauce 清酒鼓油煮花螺

shellfish, Sea Snail, whelk, conch, Simmer, Sake, Soy Sauce,  清酒, 鼓油, 煮, 花螺, recipe, chilled, seafood, chinese
By Published: 2016-06-11
Here's an super easy to make, cool and refreshing sea fresh dish for shellfish lovers to dream about for the hot months ahead!  We first had these lovelies in a neighborhood restaurant and were so enchanted by these tasty savory sweet tidbits that we decided to try to make it ourselves.  Lucky for us that we live in the harbor city of Hong Kong where the fabulous local wet markets supply the intrepid shopper with endless varieties of super fresh seafoods.  And thus we were able to source out these shelled treats and make our version of Sea Snails Simmered in Sake and Soy Sauce 清酒鼓油煮花螺, the perfect summer seafood treat to prepare for a dinner or, even better, to have with as a snack with a chilled glass of wine.  Ah...those lazy summer days!

June 1, 2016

How to Wrap Mini Zong Zi Rice Dumping 迷你粽子包法

how to wrap, mini, recipe, Rice Dumping, Wrap, zong zi, zongzi, 迷你, 包法, 微型, 粽子, fold, chinese
By Published: 2016-06-01
The Dragon Boats are preparing to slide speedily and fiercely through the calm summer waters and that means it's time for the yearly wrapping of the yummilicious zong zi!  In our last post we made Mini Crystal Red Bean Zong Zi 水晶紅豆粽子, a tapioca twist on the traditional zong zi, and here today we share our step by step guide of How to Wrap Mini Zong Zi Rice Dumplings  迷你粽子包法, half sized zong zis (around 3" long) that are perfect serving size for a tea time treat or a child sized eat.  If you want to know more about the history of Duanwu Dragon Boat Festival 端午節 and how to wrap regular sized dumplings (including video), check out our posts on Savoury Pork Zong Zi 肉粽子 and Red Bean Paste Zong Zi 紅豆沙粽子.

May 28, 2016

Mini Crystal Red Bean Zong Zi 水晶紅豆粽子

Mini Crystal Red Bean Zong Zi 水晶紅豆粽子

Crystal, Sago, tapioca, boba, Red Bean, Zong Zi, zongzi, 水晶, 紅豆, 粽子, rice dumpling, recipe, mini, how to wrap
By Published: 2016-05-28
It's almost that time of the year for the beating drums of the Dragon Boat races and the deliciously tantalizing aroma of zong zi 粽子 floating in the air: it's time for Duanwu Dragon Boat Festival 端午節!  For me, this time of the year is always filled with thoughts of my dearest Grandma 奶奶, busy and bossy in her kitchen, making all kinds of special traditional treats for us that no one else bothered to learn how to make.  Except me, I guess, I finally did some learning myself on these things and always have her in my mind and heart as I bustle away in my own little kitchen.  So every Dragon Boat Festival I always try to find the time to make two kinds of zong zi just as Grandma made, one kind the savory pork and salted duck egg zong zi 肉粽子  and the other kind the sweet red bean zong zi 紅豆沙粽子.  This year I thought I would try adding a twist to this traditional combo and thus made these Mini Crystal Red Bean Zong Zi, or 水晶紅豆粽子, a light and delightfully chewy, beautifully translucent version of the traditional zong zi.

May 24, 2016

How to Temper Chocolate 巧克力的回火

How to Temper Chocolate 巧克力的回火

How to, Temper, tempering, Chocolate,  巧克力, 回火, recipe, at home, 朱古力
By Published: 2016-05-24
At the beginning, all I knew was that I loved chocolate.  Loved, loved, loved chocolate.  And when I got more interested in baking and all that jazz I naturally started wanting to do some chocolate stuff.  First I decided to make some molded chocolates with my little girl.  Should be easy, right?  We melted some dark chocolate, poured it into molds and put it in the fridge to set.  The next day we popped them out, looking pretty and...they melted immediately to the touch.  Ugh...what were we doing wrong?

It turns out that to do most of the cool things one can do with chocolate, one must temper the chocolate.  Tempering melted chocolate allows one to coat with chocolate or mold chocolate that will end up to be shiny, smooth, break with a snap and able to stay at room temperature and be touched without melting right away.  I was determined to learn how to temper chocolate and here I share what I learned, how I screwed up, and the tips that really helped me.

May 17, 2016

Hong Kong Style Mango Pudding 香港芒果布甸

Hong Kong Style Mango Pudding 香港芒果布甸

chinese, classic, dim sum, hong kong, Mango Pudding  recipe, Style, traditional, 芒果布甸, 香港, dessert, fruit, mango
By Published: 2016-05-17
One of the delights of the Hong Kong dim sum feast is the mango pudding.  Not just any old mango pudding, mind you, but the classic one developed by the ingenious chefs of dim sum who have been trained in the tradition of creating small, beautiful, delightful tasty treats that can be eaten as part of the buffet of tidbits that is the dim sum lunch.   So while mango pudding has existed in many other permutations, this particular Hong Kong Style Mango Pudding, or 香港芒果布甸, is light as a feather, melting in the mouth, packed to the brim with the freshest mango taste and texture and creamy with an aromatic hint of dairy.  Now you don't need to come to Hong Kong for this dim sum treat, you can make it quite easily at home!

May 7, 2016

Vietnamese Beef Vermicelli Noodles Bun Bo Xao

Vietnamese Beef Vermicelli Noodles Bun Bo Xao

beef, Bun Bo Xao, lemongrass, recipe, Rice Noodles, salad, Vermicelli Noodles, Vietnamese, chilled, cold, noodles
By Published: 2016-05-07
When it gets hot and muggy (yup, that's right, it feels like summer already here in Hong Kong), there's nothing like a chilled bowl of noodles, amiright? But at the same time why not go for a refreshing green salad? Heck, why not have both at the same time?! One of the best kinda noodles /salads for when you want to cool down and you're in the mood for lots and lots of fabulous flavor is a chilled bowl of Vietnamese Beef Vermicelli Noodles or Bun Bo Xao : tender, chewy noodles cradled in a bed of baby greens, dressed in a tangy sweet spicy sauce and topped with more luscious greens (including mint and basil!), strips of oh so flavorful grilled lemongrass marinated beef and, to top it all off, sprinkled generously with crushed peanuts and crispy fried shallots.

April 29, 2016

Chocolate Dipped Biscotti 巧克力意大利脆餅

Chocolate Dipped Biscotti 巧克力意大利脆餅

Chocolate, Dipped, Biscotti , 巧克力, 意大利, 脆餅, recipe, italian, cookie, double baked
By Published: 2016-04-29
My very first biscotti was eaten a long, long time ago in a little Italian style cafe near my university campus.  The counter had a beautiful and enormous glass jar packed with these funnily shaped biscuits.   Newly from suburbia I naturally had no idea what they were but I could see that many others in the cafe had indulged.  So I took the plunge and ordered one with my usual cuppa.  As I picked up this thing called biscotti I thought to myself, you have got to be kidding, this thing is hard as heck!  I gnawed furtively at one hard end.  Humm...not going to happen.  I looked about and spied out others taking their hard as heck biscottis for dips into their coffee.  I followed suit and wow, wow...deep biscotti love!

Ever since then I have always, always wanted to make biscotti.  So I'm super excited to share this amazing biscotti recipe, it's so easy to make and OMG so yummilicious!  And comes out hard but not too hard!  You can eat it without dipping.  And of course, because I'm a chocolate freak, I had to up the ante and make it Chocolate Dipped Biscotti!
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