March 27, 2020

Lavender Infused White Chocolate Cake


butter cake, cake, Infused, Lavender, madeira cake, pound cake, recipe, White Chocolate

Dear readers, it sure has been a tough couple of months, hasn't it?  We, like many of you all, have been hunkered down at home, just popping out for groceries and a little walk once in a while.  It's been tough but necessary, and, now that we're getting more used to it, I'm finding that there is a space for a kind of meditation, a quiet place.  

I've been baking a lot, it soothes me. This Lavender Infused White Chocolate Cake is so incredibly tasty as well as being a comforting food for times like these, a tender and rich butter cake infused with the floral fragrance of immunity boosting lavender and the soul pleasing sweet creaminess of white chocolate.

February 28, 2020

Lemon and Job's Tears Herbal Tea 檸檬薏米茶

Lemon and Job's Tears Herbal Tea 檸檬薏米茶

飲, Lemon, Job's Tears, Herbal, Tea, drink, 檸檬, 薏米, 茶, chinese, recipe, health drink
By Published: 2020-02-28
Wow...what can I say?  It’s been a really really rough month and really rough almost year here in Hong Kong, as I’m sure you all either have experienced yourself or have followed through the news.  First the protests and now the virus.  Sigh...it’s been crazy here in HK and now the craziness is spreading out unfortunately.  We were actually overseas on holiday when the recent viral craziness started.  As a result of the virus spreading the airlines started canceling flight after flight therefore resulting in us getting cancelled out of I don’t know how many flights and spending, literally, days on the phone trying to connect with airlines, to get on any gosh darn airplane, before, finally!, we snagged a plane home...only to face an eerie sea of masked Hong Kongers and sad empty supermarket shelves.  Kinda frightening at first but I think it's calmer now, there's a new normal, one might say, and folks are getting back to business of living and loving and, very importantly, the grocery shelves are filling back up as folks stop panic buying.

In this time of health awareness I've decided to do some tea therapy, making herbal health teas for my family to drink every day, strengthening our bodies as well as calming our spirits.  Our first tea is a Lemon and Job's Tears Herbal Tea, a refreshingly floral and tangy drink that works as a diuretic, boosts immunity, flushes out body dampness and helps to prevent common cold.  An overall amazing kind of tea!!

January 27, 2020

Red Fermented Bean Curd Buddha’s Delight Luohan Zhai 南乳炆齋


Buddha’s delight, celebration, chinese, chinese new year, Nam Yue, Nam Yue Luohan Zhai, recipe, red fermented bean curd, vegetarian, 南乳炆齋, 南乳羅漢齋, 南乳齋煲

This vegetarian Red Fermented Bean Curd Buddha’s Delight Luohan Zhai 南乳炆齋 is a classic traditional Chinese New Year’s dish, generally to be served up to your hungry family on the first day of the new year.  We have posted before on the Buddha’s Delight 羅漢齋, another more common version of this dish, also made and served for the first day of the new year.  This particular version is a Cantonese twist starring the delectable fermented red bean curd 南乳, transforming an already tasty vegetable dish into something truly unique and, to me and my family’s taste buds, clearly the taste winner.

January 16, 2020

Fried Dace Fish Ball Patties 香煎鯪魚餅


Fried Dace Fish Ball Patties 香煎鯪魚餅

Fried, Dace, mud carp, Fish Ball, fish paste, fish Patties,  chinese, recipe, 香煎, 鯪魚餅, 鯪魚餅球
By Published: 2020-01-16
These Fried Dace Fish Ball Patties 香煎鯪魚餅  are a delicious seafood treat originally from Shunde 順德 and now a local HK favorite, though usually served up in the form of steamed or deep fried balls.  We love the fragrant golden skin that comes with frying but, since we don't often deep fry at home, we flatten our fish paste balls so that we can just pan fry them instead.  These tasty patties are made with the paste of the dace fish 鯪魚, much loved for its sweet, firm, flavorful meat.  The dace fish is not only used in many delicious dishes like Three Fried Stuffed Treasures 煎釀三寶 and Watercress & Fish Ball Soup 鯪魚球西洋菜湯, but also is the fish used to make the fabulous and famous canned Fried Dace with Salted Black Bean 豆豉鯪魚.

November 30, 2019

Chinese Five Spice Ribs 五香烤排骨


Chinese Five Spice Ribs 五香烤排骨

baked, chinese, dry rub, Five Spice, recipe, Ribs, spare ribs, 五香, 排骨, 烤, pork
By Published: 2019-11-30
It's getting chilly in Hong Kong (finally!) and the cool refreshing winds that were absent all summer (and most of the autumn...sigh) are now come back, nipping at my legs and arms, urging me to dig out those stored away down jackets.  I'm loving it, the coolness, the brilliant blue of the almost winter sky, the feeling of space opening up everywhere.  I love the cooler seasons and all that it brings and especially love the food!  These are the warming foods, the foods that insist on warm huddles about the table, the cold kept out as we devour the foods that warm and sustain us with the extra energy we need.  

One constant at our autumn and winter table is this Chinese Five Spice Ribs 五香烤排骨, ribs marinated with a special dry rub spice mix then slow roasted at low heat until the flavor infused meat tenderly, deliciously falls off the bone and straight into your mouth.  YUMMM!  If you like eating spare ribs, you've gotta try this easy foolproof recipe.  You'll find yourself making ribs at home that are as good as or better than what you've ever had outside!

November 13, 2019

Chinese Spring Onion Pancake 蔥油餅


Chinese Spring Onion Pancake 蔥油餅

Chinese, recipe, Amaranth, Soup, easy,  紅莧菜, 湯
By Published: 2019-11-13
Oooo...yummy...I love, love, love bread and this one just happens to be a childhood favorite!  This utterly scrumptilicious savory flatbread is what my grandma 奶奶 used to make for us as an after school snack if we were good 乖 and didn't bother her too much as she began to prepare dinner.  And how I loved this Chinese Spring Onion Pancake 蔥油餅, crunchy on the outside, chewy layers on the inside, salty bits of fragrantly pungent spring onion flavoring the bread...it was after school heaven! Especially after my usual dismal school lunch of a slice of bologna stuck between two slices of dry bread.  Sigh...no mayo, no butter, no lettuce, no nothing...just a slice of bologna stuck between two slices of dry bread.  My dearest grandma, magnificent Chinese cook that she was, never quite grasped the western concept of 'sandwich'.  

October 15, 2019

Chinese Amaranth Soup 紅莧菜湯


Chinese Amaranth Soup 紅莧菜湯

Chinese, recipe, Amaranth, Soup, easy,  紅莧菜, 湯
By Published: 2019-10-15
Here's a gorgeously healthy Chinese soup that's a cinch to make.   Plus it's PINK!  That's right, it's not an illusion, we're talking today about pink soup!  My little girl was completely delighted with this soup that seemed to jump right out of one of her story books and, to be honest, so was I.  This Chinese Amaranth Soup 紅莧菜湯 is not only a thing of beauty but also super easy to make and super healthy and super yummilicious!

October 4, 2019

Chinese Pickled Peppers 自製泡辣椒


Chinese Pickled Peppers 自製泡椒

chinese, fermented, lacto fermentation, pickled chilies, Pickled Peppers, recipe, 腌制, 辣椒, 泡椒, 自製
By Published: 2019-10-04
Dear readers, do you recall this delightful little tongue twister?

            Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
            But...
            If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
            Where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

I challenge you to try to say this teaser more than one time in a row.  We couldn't get through more than one reading of this tongue curler before we burst out laughing at the garbled nonsense coming out of our mouths!  Like everyone I've known this rhyme forever but only recently did it occur to me to wonder what exactly pickled peppers are.  And why the heck chili peppers needed to be pickled.  I actually didn't think I'd ever had pickled peppers at all, but it turns out I was wrong.  I love the jalapenos used in Mexican food and they are a pickled pepper!  I decided to make a batch of Chinese Pickled Peppers 泡辣椒, also known as 腌制辣椒,  to see what all the fuss was about and discovered, to the delight of my 老公, that pickled peppers are so much MORE!

September 23, 2019

Umeboshi Roe Pasta


Umeboshi Roe Pasta

flying fish roe, japanese, pasta, recipe, Roe, sauce, tobiko, Umeboshi, sour plum, fermented plum
By Published: 2019-09-23
This lovely pasta dish is actually a happy mistake...no, not a mistake, more like a happy meander that occurred when we were trying to recreate another Japanese dish known as mentaiko pasta (which is super nom nom!)  The problem with recreating that particular dish is that we couldn't find the main ingredient for it, Japanese cured cod roe.  So we played around and came up with something just as good (we think!Our Umeboshi Roe Pasta is a simple to make creamy yet light pasta with a delicately tangy sauce dotted with umami bursts of roe that is so delicious and totally addictive.  Umeboshi really rock the flavor!

September 6, 2019

Black Sesame Walnut Mooncakes 黑芝麻核桃月餅


Black Sesame Walnut Mooncakes 黑芝麻核桃月餅

black sesame, cake, chinese, mid-autumn festival, dessert, mooncake, recipe, traditional, Walnut, 黑芝麻, 核桃, 月餅, 中秋節, 黑芝麻核桃餡
By Published: 2019-09-06
Yay, it's almost time for Mid Autumn Festival 中秋節...my favorite Chinese festival!  I love the fact that it's a night festival (I'm an owl for sure) and the extravagance of Chinese lanterns floating like glowing gems thru the velvet night, illuminating the happy faces of children up well past their bedtime.  And...glory!...the sight of the Moon Goddess Chang'e 嫦娥 floating high in the sky in all her silvery glory is not to be missed.  

And besides all that I love making and baking and eating mooncakes, those wonderful moon shaped cakes stuffed with all manner of decadently delicious fillings.  (See the list of our other yummilicious mooncake recipes at the end of this post!)  And out of all those decadent mooncakes I think these particular mooncakes might be my favs.  Maybe cuz I dig the fragrant nuttiness of roasted black sesame.  Maybe cuz I lust after walnuts. I don't know...maybe I'm just nutty.  I just know that I love eating these deliciously satisfying Black Sesame Walnut Mooncakes 黑芝麻核桃月餅, with it's tender golden crust wrapped around an oh so fragrant sesame filling dotted through with delicious bitter sweet bits of walnut.  I can eat a whole plate of these in one go!  That's right...the whole plate means all five of the mooncakes on the plate you're looking at...gulp, gulp...gone already!  Hee hee...

August 28, 2019

Salt Baked Fish Head 鹽焗魚頭


Salt Baked Fish Head 鹽焗魚頭

amber skipjack, baked, chinese, fish head, recipe, salt, yellowtail, 五條鰤, 鹽烤魚頭, 鹽焗魚頭
By Published: 2019-08-28
Nowadays you can get sashimi and sushi just about everywhere as folk all over have fallen in love with the deliciousness of the fresh raw fish that Japanese cuisine has introduced to the world.  Twenty years ago I'll bet most of these people could never have imagined themselves eating and loving raw fish!

One of the unexpected benefits for seafood lovers such as ourselves is the fact that supermarkets that produce sashimi and sushi for sale are left with very very fresh fish heads.  And they put these out for sale at very reasonable prices!  Whoppee yeah!  Well as least for fish head lovers.  For those of us in the know, fish head is deliriously delicious, amirite?  Fat and fatty meat and cheek meat (yum!) and soft cartilage, crispy skin...  Oh yeah...seriously yummy.  The only thing I draw the line at is the eyes (which some folk adore.)  No fish eyes for me, well, at least no more fish eyes, not after my 媽媽 tricked a dumb 7 year old me into eating fish eyes cuz "it would make me smarter."  Or was it "make my eyes prettier"?  Ummm...note to 媽媽...didn't work on both counts...

But I digress.  Back to super fresh off the hook fish heads.  Available at my nearby supermarket!  What to do with such a treat?  Fish head's usually done up in a curry, like in Singapore and Malaysia.  Or perhaps in a braise.  However, being lazy fish lover types, here my 老公's Salt Baked Fish Head 鹽焗魚頭, the sublimely perfect, wonderously yummilicious and truly the easiest way to cook a fish head!  

August 21, 2019

Quick Salt Pickled Cucumbers


Quick Salt Pickled Cucumbers

japanese, Pickled, Cucumbers, quick pickles, recipe, salt, vegetables, shiozuke
By Published: 2019-08-21
Here's a quickie...a lovely little thing to have as bit of a side dish on your dinner or lunch table.  A small dish of something piquant and refreshing to contrast against the main dishes in your meal.  I discovered this japanese shiozuke style of Quick Salted Pickled Cucumber that is, to my delight, super duper easy and so quick to make that you can just toss it together as you're beginning to cook and have it ready by the time you're putting the meal on the table!

August 10, 2019

Red Bean Curd Nam Yue Chicken Wings 南乳雞翅


Red Bean Curd Nam Yue Chicken Wings 南乳雞翅

Red Bean Curd, Nam Yue, Chicken Wings, chinese, recipe,  南乳, 雞翅, 紅腐乳
By Published: 2019-08-10
One can never have enough chicken wing recipes, amirite?  This all around favorite finger food for both big and little kiddos comes in all kinds of flavors such as the classic soy sauce chicken wings and our current favorite salted sake chicken wings...so easy and so yummy!  The wings we're making today are uniquely Chinese with the addition of fermented bean curd to create the finger lickingly yummilicious Red Bean Curd Nam Yue Chicken Wings 南乳雞翅, where crispy skinned chicken gets coated with a clingy luscious red bean curd sauce that packs an umami flavor punch that gets downright addictive!

July 24, 2019

The Yummiliciousness of the Mud Crab 清蒸奄仔蟹


The Yummiliciousness of the Mud Crab 清蒸奄仔蟹

chinese, immature female, Mud Crab, recipe, steamed, virgin, yim chai, 奄仔蟹, 清蒸, 青蟹
By Published: 2019-07-24
While doing research for our Soy Sauce Marinated Crab 醬油醃蟹 post I got pleasantly sidetracked on to the very interesting subject of the mud crab 青蟹 (which is the type of crab we decided to use for our soy sauce marinated crab.)  The more I looked into the information on the mud crab the more various names for the crab kept popping up.  Lots and lots of names...it was crazy.  What was going on?  How many names could one crab possibly have?  

Well, it turns out that this humble looking green shelled mud crab 青蟹 has specific Chinese names for many stages of its life, each stage offering a different yet equally yummilicious taste and textural experience.  It's so amazing the different offerings this little crab has to offer to the seafood lover!

July 12, 2019

Chinese Preserved Radish Omelette 菜脯煎蛋


Chinese Preserved Radish Omelette 菜脯煎蛋

Chinese, recipe, Preserved Radish, egg, Omelette, comfort food, 菜脯煎蛋
By Published: 2019-07-12
This humble Chinese comfort egg dish (EGG PIE!) is a cheat.  Actually all Chinese egg dishes are cheats: simple ingredients that are usually on hand anyways, easy peasy and fast to make and most importantly super duper yummy to eat!  For a Chinese style dinner where there are always at least 3 dishes served, an egg dish is a most excellent and efficient choice to include on the menu.

And thus, ta-da!  Our latest easy egg dish the Chinese Preserved Radish Omelette 菜脯煎蛋 is a traditional home cooking favorite, so good and so easy to make this egg pie!

June 7, 2019

Mung Bean Paste 綠豆沙餡


Green Mung Bean Paste 綠豆沙餡

Green Bean Paste, mung bean paste, chinese, cake, pastry, filling, recipe, traditional,  綠豆沙餡
By Published: 2019-06-07
This is one of the classic Chinese pastry cake fillings, the Green Mung Bean Paste 綠豆沙餡, a light, creamy, beany and nutty sweet golden filling that is one of my favorite fillings.  We used this paste to make our yummilicious Green Mung Bean Cakes 綠豆糕 for Duanwu Dragon Boat Festival  端午節 this year but actually it is more often used in as a tender filling for various Chinese cakes, pastries, cookies and even mooncakes.

June 5, 2019

Mung Bean Cakes 綠豆糕


Green Mung Bean Cakes 綠豆糕

cake, chinese, cookie, duanwu dragon boat festival, Green Bean Cakes, mung bean cake, pastry, recipe, red bean filling, 端午節, 綠豆糕
By Published: 2019-06-05
It's almost time for Duanwu Dragon Boat Festival 端午節 when the mighty dragon boats are once again afloat on the harbors to race each other to the booming beat of drums!  Did you know besides the making and eating of yummilicious zong zi to celebrate this festival (usually either the savory meat filled zong zi 肉粽子 or the sweet red bean paste zong zi 紅豆沙粽子the origins of the Duanwu Festival also has to do with a traditional time of ritual protection against pestilence and poisonous animals brought on by the heat of the summer season?  One of the things done in order to protect against summer sickness was to consume 'cooling' foods to help the body dispel heat and eliminate toxins.  Happily one of the traditional 'cooling' foods made for this purpose is the delighfully light and sweet Green Mung Bean Cake 綠豆糕, an elegant mold shaped sweet pastry of fragrant mung bean paste stuffed with sweet red bean paste.  So beautiful to look at and tasty to boot...you won't believe how fast these little cakes disappear!
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