December 27, 2017

White Chocolate Mascarpone Frosting

buttercream, cake, filling, frosting, icing, mascarpone, recipe, White Chocolate

Happy holidays!  And in the spirit of the holidays I give you...cake frosting!  And you're probably thinking...what the heck?  Well, it goes like this - we made a white chocolate Christmas cake which naturally had to have white chocolate frosting.  And thus we discovered our most favorite cake frosting ever!  

Recently we've been experimenting with all different kinds of frostings/buttercreams for our cakes.  After all a girl cannot ever have too much cake, amiright?!  Some frostings hubby found too sweet.  Others my little girl found not sweet enough.  And yet some others I found too buttery.  

But at long last we hit the jackpot with this White Chocolate Mascarpone Frosting,  an exquisitely light yet creamily chocolaty, slightly tangy and not overly sweet frosting that pipes like a dream, perfect for frosting and decorating cakes and absolutely yummilicious to boot!

December 10, 2017

Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies, ginger, royal icing, pasteurized egg, xmas, christmas cookie, spice, decorated, outlined

We discovered this gingerbread cookie dough when we made our own Gingerbread House. It makes such a wonderful ginger cookie, the flavor is just spicy enough, the cookie comes out firm enough to hold the cookie shapes well through the bake yet is still tender when you bite into it.

So nice it is that we now use the dough to whip up loads of simple gingerbread cookies to have around the house all through the holidays!  Dress the cookies up with a bit of icing and you've got a great little holiday cookie ready in no time at all!

December 5, 2017

Pineapple Buns 菠蘿包

bo lo bao, Pineapple Bun, recipe, hong kong, bake, traditional, no ammonia powder, 菠蘿包, chinese bread, chinese bun, 香港, 傳統, 麵包

This recipe is for our reader Raymond who asked for a recipe for Pineapple Buns with the real traditional crackle cookie tops.

I hope that this recipe is the one he was looking for, anyways this is the one that we know as the traditional Pineapple Bun, or 菠蘿包, a soft fluffy bun underneath and a crunchy crumbly crackled sweet cookie like crust on top, invented in Hong Kong in the sixties and still a standard at all Hong Kong traditional bakeries.

A taste sensation, the cookie crust crumbles delightfully in your mouth when you bite into the soft warm tender bun.  Pineapple Bun, named for the texture of the crackle crust that resembles the real pineapple, is a real special afternoon or breakfast treat and an absolutely unique Hong Kong style bake!

November 18, 2017

Stir Fry Long Beans w/ Olive Vegetable Sauce 橄欖菜炒長豆

chinese, Chiuchow, Long Beans, Olive Vegetable Sauce, recipe, stir fry, traditional, 橄欖菜, 炒, 長豆

The wonderful thing about Chinese food is how diverse and deep the cuisine is.  The more you delve into into it the more there is.  It could be a conversion with a friend, a random article in a food magazine, a new dish discovered at a restaurant, or simply a stroll through your neighborhood Chinese food market or wet market.  

This simple and simply yummilicious  Stir Fry Long Beans with Olive Vegetable Sauce 橄欖菜炒長豆 was a result of discovering a wonderful traditional Chinese sauce made from Chinese olives through one of our readers.  Thanks Jackie!  

November 7, 2017

How to Make Your Own Lard

how to make, homemade, lard, make, pork fat, recipe, 自己, 製作, 豬油,

I know, I know.  Make your own lard?  Well, why not, lard is a super duper tasty fat and making it fresh at home only makes it that much more fabulous.  Lard makes things taste seriously yummilicious!  It's the secret to the sauce!

Making your own lard is not only easy but the lard is super fresh and way tastier than the processed stuff that you find in the grocery store.

Wait a minute, isn't this stuff suppose to be bad for you?  Well, if you follow health news at all you will have seen in the news a lot lately that lard is not bad for you after all...surprise, surprise!   Actually lard was never bad for you, if used in moderation.

What happened is that in the early 20th century a concentrated effort to vilify lard began, mostly in order to help companies sell their new products of margarine and vegetable shortening (transfat!) which as we all now know are very bad for your health.  Check out our post on Choosing Healthy Oils to see more about what we think are 'healthy cooking fats or oils'.

So the happy ending is that lovely creamy lard is not bad for you at all when used in moderation (hey, our ancestors used it for many millennium after all).  And it really is a very, very tasty fat! 

October 21, 2017

Black Halloween Caramel Candy

Black candy, Caramel Candy, chewy caramel, food coloring, halloween candy, homemade, recipe, soft caramel, trick or treat

Boo!!  It's almost time for All Hallow's Eve!  Little ones are astir, planning the delightful and devilish details of their soon to be awe inspiring Halloween outfits.  (While we parents sweat and toil away in the background, attempting against all logic and sanity to produce that very vision twinkling in our youngster's eyes.)  

My little girl at first decided to go trick o' treating as a goth/spirit fox but now changed to that absolutely cool and cute goth Marceline the Vampire Queen, from the wonderfully animated TV show Adventure Time.  

Soooo in the spirit of 'goth' I decided to make black colored caramels to give away as our Halloween candy. Homemade caramels are absolutely fabulously tasty and wonderful, so much better than caramels with tons of preservative.  Add a drop of black food coloring and bango!  A perfectly spooky and slightly creepy and yet terribly yummy candy to please all and any Halloween trick o' treaters!

October 15, 2017

Choosing a Healthy Cooking Oil

Choose, Healthy, cooking, Oil, fat, lard, butter, cold pressed vegetable oils, cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil

Everyone wants to eat healthy, amirite?  We are what we eat and all that jazz.  Except it's not jazz at all but very really truly true.  But sometimes, no, wait, almost all the time, it's really hard to figure out what's going on.  One day you read that this type of food is really good for you.  Then, the next week, you read that that same food is really bad for you.  And...repeat...   What the heck's going on, supposed scientific world?!  

What that means for us of the non scientific world is that it's super hard to know what the heck is really good for you.  

One thing we've thought about quite a bit is the oil or fat that is used to cook our food.  Because if you think about it, some kind of fat or oil is used to cook all of our food.  So oil/fat is the common link across all kinds of diets, food cultures, food practices, etc.  It's in everything.  You can't cook or bake without it.  So we think that it's really really important that the cooking fat or oil that we use is a healthy one.

September 29, 2017

How to Wrap a Mooncake 月餅皮做法

How to Wrap a Mooncake 月餅皮做法
chinese, easy way, how to, how to wrap, mooncake, traditional, baked, 月餅皮做法, 月餅製作, snow skin

Have you ever wondered how to get that homemade mooncake skin as thin and even as possible?  With machines it is very easy, obviously, but when hand pressing mooncakes at home it can be quite tricky.  If you're not careful you'll end up with some sides thick and some sides thin.  Uggh...not a pretty sight.  I know that there is a 'professional' hand method to make wrap mooncakes but my clumsy hands haven't really mastered it yet.  

However, as we really love making homemade, hand pressed mooncakes, we have developed a 'cheat', so to speak, our own unique easy method of wrapping the mooncake, whether for snow skin mooncakes or traditional baked mooncakes, that produces a a thin even skin on all sides of the mooncake.

September 25, 2017

Snow Skin Custard Mooncake 奶皇冰皮月餅

chinese, custard, how to wrap, mooncake, recipe, Snow Skin, ice skin, traditional, 冰皮, 奶皇, 月餅, 月餅製作, 月餅做法, 自製冰皮月餅

This lovely hand pressed cake is a very popular recent incarnation of the traditional Chinese mooncake, the Custard Mooncake 奶皇月餅, which is actually a repurposing of a traditional Cantonese dim sum favorite, the Custard Bun 奶皇包, a sweet bread bun filled with luscious soft and sweet custard filling.  

An enterprising chef at the fabulous Peninsula Hotel decided to tuck the creamy custard filling into a traditional mooncake and created the first of these 30 some years ago and since then they have become more and more popular.  (And expensive!)  

We wanted to make some custard mooncakes for Mid-Autumn Festival 中秋節 but decided to put a twist on it and wrap the creamily delicious custard inside a delicately soft rice flavored mochi like wrapping to make Snow Skin Custard Mooncakes, or 奶皇冰皮月餅.  OMGosh...yummilicious and light as a snowflake!

September 18, 2017

Osmanthus Flower Jelly 桂花糕

Osmanthus, Flower, dessert, chinese, recipe, wolfberry, goji, Jelly, 桂花糕, mid autumn festival, cake, traditional, 桂花, 瓊脂, 杞子

Chinese Mid Autumn Festival 中秋節 is coming around the corner!  It's the time of the full harvest moon, glowing lanterns held aloft by small hands, long nights of gazing longingly at Chang-O 嫦娥, lovely ethereal goddess of the moon, and stuffing of bellies to bursting point with delectable mooncakes, perfectly round to symbolize reunion.  

September 4, 2017

Chinese Preserved Plum Caramel Lollipops 話梅棒棒糖

candy, caramel, chinese, dried plum, dried sour plum, lollipop, preserved plum, recipe, Sugar, traditional, 棒棒糖, 糖, 話梅, 酸梅, 黑糖

Oooh! I'm quite pleased with these lollipops, they'll do...  What a fun and easy thing to make at home and pass out to all the crazy lollipop lovers in your path!  But wait, first I have to warn the uninitiated, the secret of these lollipops is that they have a heart of Chinese preserved dried plums which are cheek puckeringly sour and yet sweet at the same time.  

Each of these fun and lovely to look at traditional Chinese Preserved Plum Caramel Lollipops, or 話梅棒棒糖, have a licorice flavored dried plum encased lovingly in hardened caramel, sooo good to lick and suck slowly, sweet and sour coming together in your mouth to satisfy and sooth your candy soul to yummilicious perfection.

August 25, 2017

Turkish Delight Sorbet

candy, ice, lokum, recipe, rose flavor, Sorbet, turkish, Turkish Delight, 冰糕, 土耳其軟糖, 玫瑰味, ice cream

It's been hot, hot, hot this summer in Hong Kong and an oncoming typhoon has made the weather even more toasty roasty than before.  "I'm melting...melting..."  as the Wicked Witch of Oz did screech.  

So it seemed the thing to do to make this chillingly appropriate Turkish Delight Sorbet, a delightful, elegant and cooling bit of rose flavored sweet ice just balanced with a touch of tart lime.  Super easy to make, wonderful to look at and just the thing for the hottest days of the year!

August 11, 2017

Homemade Strawberry Mango Jam

Strawberry, Mango, Jam, homemade, recipe, fruit, no pectin, 草莓, 芒果,  果醬, 食譜, 水果

La, de, da... this is a super fun kind of summer jam!  Strawberries and mangos are in abundant supply.  What better idea than to mix 'em up into a fabulously yummilicious mix it up jam!  I wasn't so sure that the flavors would "jam" so to speak, but wowzer, it did "jam" in the most interestingly tasty way.  Try it out yourself with our luscious double flavor packed Strawberry Mango Jam!  

Do note this is a quick recipe for making one lovely jar of jam only for consumption within a couple of weeks and not a recipe for batch making of jam!

August 3, 2017

Strawberries with Mint White Chocolate Cream

whipped cream, dessert, Mint, recipe, Strawberries, summer, White Chocolate's summer and time for strawberries!  There's sun in the sky and summer strawberries on the store shelves!  I usually make strawberries and freshly whipped chantilly cream (just whipped up cream with a touch of sugar and vanilla) as a special treat for my little girl but then I happened on a little twist to this dessert that makes it so much more sophisticated and yummilicious but still quite simple to make!  

It's Strawberries with Mint White Chocolate Cream!  That is, to break it apart, fragant strawberries, fresh mint, smooth white chocolate, and whipped cream!  Goshdangit...all my favorite summer tastes in one simple elegant and ohsotasty dessert!

July 25, 2017

Braised Yellow Croaker Fish and Pickled Vegetable Soup 雪菜大湯黃魚

Braised, Yellow Croaker Fish, fish, Pickled Vegetable, snow vegetable, pickled mustard, stew, Soup, 雪菜, 大湯, 竹筍, 黃魚, shanghai, traditional, recipe, authentic

This classic authentic Shanghai dish is simple to make but simply fabulous to eat.  We recently made it for the first time and then had to make it again and again and again.  It is so yummilicious!  

The Braised Yellow Croaker Fish and Pickled Vegetable Soup 雪菜大湯黃魚 is a meltingly tender and tasty braised fish bathed in a beautiful white fish soup with preserved vegetable, bamboo and jin hwa ham until all flavors are melded together.  Not only do you have delicious braised fish to eat,  you also get a truly delectable soup to sip on, a time saving two in one dish!

July 13, 2017

Luscious Lychee Ice Cream

冰淇淋, 荔枝, 雪糕, Lychee, fruit, Ice Cream,  荔枝雪糕, recipe, summer fruit, no ice cream machine

I remind all our dear readers that this is the time of year for the Queen of Summer Fruits, the lovely Lychee!  We've been gorging ourselves on luscious, juicy lychees, desperate to gobble down as many as we can before they disappear until next year.  We got inspired by the abundance of lychee and the hot sweltering temperatures of the summer to make our favorite homemade summer treat, ICE CREAM!  

You've got to check out our Lychee Ice Cream, 荔枝雪糕, a soft luscious velvety ice cream packed through and through with delectable real lychee flavor and aroma.  We think it's the best ice cream we've ever made...voted our new family favorite ice cream flavor!

July 4, 2017

Sichuan Spicy Fish Stew 水煮魚

chinese, mala sauce, recipe, Sichuan, Spicy Fish Stew, Water Boiled fish, 水煮魚, 麻辣

This gloriously easy and distinctive Sichuan 四川 dish has swept the world and leapt to fame in the past decade or so.  You cannot go anywhere in the world these days where Chinese food is served and not find some version of this addictive dish which features the 'mala' 麻辣 kind of spicy with fish or beef.  

'Mala' spiciness is a very unique flavor, featuring the heat of chilies married with the mouth numbing tingle of sichuan peppercorns.  Once you've tried 'mala' it's hard to forget, it's so unique.

My 老公 loves, loves, loves 'mala' spicy dishes but we seldom get to eat it as my little girl has still not gotten the hang of spicy food yet.  It's hilarious really, he gets the saddest look of longing on his face when he mentions this dish every once in a while.  

So to stop that sad face, I suggested that we make it at home as one dish of our three dish plus rice family style Chinese dinner.  Yay, finally, he can have his beloved Sichuan Spicy Fish Stew 水煮魚, a tender fish and veggies stew finished with a fiery and tongue numbing aromatic 'mala' spiced oil.  Oh. Wow. What a spectacular dish this is!!

June 24, 2017

Chinese Steamed Spareribs with Black Bean 蒜蓉豆豉蒸排骨

Black Bean, cantonese, chinese, dim sum, recipe, steamed ribs, Steamed Spareribs, pork ribs, 豉汁排骨, 蒜蓉豆豉蒸排骨

This Cantonese dish of Steamed Spareribs with Black Bean 蒜蓉豆豉蒸排骨 is pretty darn good.  A taste of home, a real classic.  It's a staple of the Chinese dim sum lunch and tea time, usually served in dainty bamboo steamers in small but utterly yummilicious portions of tender pork and delicious fat, all marinated through and through with the umami that is properly prepared fermented black bean sauce.  

When we have it for dinner at home we like to make it in a much larger portion, being the carnivores that we are, and we finish it all in one a whoosh or two.  It's hard to think of a dish that is easier to prepare and more rewarding in terms of effort vs results!

June 7, 2017

Moroccan Mint Tea

chinese tea, homemade, how make, mint tea, Moroccan Mint Tea, recipe, 摩洛哥, 薄荷茶

This is my latest obsession!  We always have a pot of tea (usually pu-erh tea 普洱茶) in the morning to wake up and get us going.  But recently, having some extra mint leaves after making the fabulously yummy Vietnamese Beef Vermicelli Noodle Salad,  I thought of making a pot of mint tea with it.  

Well, one thing led to another and I ended up making Moroccan Mint Tea, which turned out to be the most amazing pot of tea: golden, sweet, the subtle flavors of Chinese tea transformed by the uplifting aromatics of mint!  This is so good even a lazy girl like me will spend a bit of effort of effort to brew it up.  This fragrant tea truly makes my day!