Do you notice that when Chinese New Year is approaching, flowers are being sold everywhere in Chinatown? I have no idea how does this tradition came about, but I do always see my mom decorating the whole house with big pretty flowers in giant flower pots. My younger self love to make fishes and cranes from red ang pows and hang them on those flowers as well as some potted plants we had in the garden.

I would love to do that with my kids, but too bad... our house is small and without a garden, we hardly has any plant with us. 

So, the best idea that I can come out with, is to decorate these stuffed mushroom with pretty flower blossom that immediately bring out the Chinese New Year mood. Well they do look pretty cute, don't you think so?

If you are still thinking of what to cook for your reunion dinner, I hope you will give this a try!


Blooming Flower Stuffed Mushroom

Ingredients
A
  • 1 egg tofu, mashed
  • 150g fish paste
  • 1 tbsp CP Clear Chicken Broth Concentrate
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
B
  • 10 shiitake mushroom, fresh or dried (pre-soaked the mushroom if using dried mushroom)
  • 1 stalk coriander leaves
  • a handful of wolfberries, soaked
C
  • 3 oz chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp Shao Hsing wine
  • 1/2 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp corn starch
Cooking Directions
  1. Mix together ingredients A
  2. Cut away the stem of the mushrooms.
  3. Spoon the fish paste mixture onto the mushroom and decorate with coriander leaves and wolfberries to form a flower shapes
  4. Steam the mushrooms for 15 minutes.
  5. Combine ingredients C in a pot, heat up and let it simmer until the sauce thicken.
  6. Pour the sauce over the dish.


It has been quite a while since I last blogged! 

Taking care of an infant again isn't an easy task, the night feeding (waking up almost every 2 hours), frequent change of diapers, constant attention seeking... well the list goes on. But, all that will pass one day, so I treasure every moment I have with her!

And now, finally, all the 3 kids are well asleep, and I am back to my computer again! 

Long story short, as Chinese New Year is approaching, we bid good bye to the year of monkey and welcome year of rooster. Here is a dish that you can prepare for your reunion dinner to surprise your family member. Simple, healthy and definitely child approved!


Steamed Rooster Shaped Prawn Ball with Egg Tofu

Ingredients
A
  • 250g prawn deshelled and devein, keep the tail part and set aside
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tbsp corn oil
  • 1/4 salt
  • a dash of pepper
B
  • 2 egg tofu
  • corn kernel
  • black sesame seeds
C
  • 1 head brocolli
  • 1/2 cup mixed frozen vegetable
D
  • 3/4 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp corn starch
Cooking Directions
  1. Mince the prawn, set aside the tail part.
  2. Mix together ingredients A and stir until the mixture get sticky.
  3. Cut the egg tofu into 10 1-inch-thick slices.
  4. Dig out a small portion in the middle of the egg tofu.
  5. Divide the prawn mixture into 10 portions, roll each portion round and place it on top of the egg tofu.
  6. Decorate the prawn ball with prawn tail as the comb of the rooster, black sesame seeds as eyes, and corn kernel as mouth.
  7. Steam the egg tofu with prawn ball on high for 15 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, blanch ingredients C.
  9. To make the gravy, combine ingredients D and bring it to boil, let it simmer until thick.
  10. Alternate the brocolli and egg tofu on a plate, and fill the middle of the plate with mixed vegetables.
  11. Drizzle the gravy over the dish and serve hot

Seafood tofu has always been one of my favorite order at tze char place. Crunchy thin layer of skin encasing silky smooth tofu mix with fish paste, added with the fragrant from coriander leaves and some other chopped vegetable, making this dish irresistibly good! Just dip them in mayonnaise, chilli sauce or ketchup to suit your taste.

Not quite sure which type of tofu to use, so I went through many recipes and found that some using egg tofu while others tau kwa. We were curious so we tried both! Personally, I prefer the one using egg tofu as it is more flavourful, but it is harder to handle as it is quite soft. The one made with tau kwa has a firmer texture, hence it is able to maintain the shape pretty well. Perhaps next time I should try using silken tofu too!


Seafood Tofu

Ingredients
A
  • 300g (around 2 pieces) egg tofu / small size tau kwa, mashed
  • 100g fish paste
  • 1 small bunch coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp spring onion (around 1/2 stalk), chopped
  • 1/4 carrot, chopped
  • 1 tbsp tapioca starch
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • few dashes pepper
For coating before frying
  • some corn starch
Cooking Directions
  1. Mix ingredients A together and mix until well combined.
  2. Oil a 5 inch square mold, put in the mixture.
  3. Steam for 15 minutes, or bake at 180C for 30 minutes 
  4. Let cool in the fridge for 1 hour.
  5. Cut the tofu into square / rectangular shape, coat each of them with corn flour.
  6. Pan fry or deep fry the tofu cubes.


What do you do when you are craving for chiffon cake but have no chiffon mold? Aha! Make them into cupcake size (or just buy them, of course)!

Since I still have some strawberries that I ordered from Lazyfruits, I decided to purée them and add them into the cake. Thank goodness that they all turned up well, as I have no recipe to follow and just added them based on my agak-agak method!

Those strawberries were really good, plump and fresh. You may click here to read my experience engaging Lazyfruits service. In short, Lazyfruits is an online fruit shopping and delivery, which make buying fruits a much simpler chores. Aside from saving time and strength, the convenience that it brings - next day delivery, option for cash-on-delivery as well as credit card payment, able to order the fruits anytime/anywhere, replacing of damaged fruits at no cost etc., are the aspects that appeal to me most. In fact, all my fruits including fragile fruits arrived in a condition exceeding my expectation!

Now back to those little gems. I was really delighted to see them coming out of the oven with nice dome - no crack, no shrinkage! To prevent shrinkage, I actually tried a method which I learnt online - drop them carefully (try not to topple them over) from around 5-10cm height against the table for a couple of times. In order to make comparison, I dropped some while leaving others alone. Turned out, those that being dropped does seem to maintain the shape better, although the effect was not too obvious. Another trick that I learnt is to fill up the muffin cup until almost 90% full, in that way the cake seems less likely to shrink too. 


Strawberry Chiffon Cupcake

Ingredients
A
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 14g caster sugar
B
  • 25g corn oil
  • 30g strawberry, pureed
C
  • 42g cake flour
  • pinch of salt
D
  • 2 egg white
  • 30g caster sugar
Topping
  • 30g cream cheese
  • 30g butter
  • 24g icing sugar
Cooking Directions
  1. Beat A until bubbly.
  2. Add in B.
  3. Sift in C. Mix until just combined
  4. Beat egg whites while adding sugar in 3 stages. Beat until stiff.
  5. Take 1/3 of the meringue and mix with egg yolks mixture. Then fold in all the meringue until just combined.
  6. Pour batter into 6 muffin cup.
  7. Bake at 130C for 20 minutes, thereafter 150C for another 20 minutes.
  8. For the topping, mix all ingredients together and pipe on top of the cake.
  9. Decorate with more strawberries.

I saw some beautiful puff pastry fruit tarts at Four Leaves bakery few weeks ago and have been tempted to make it since. However, I don't usually buy much variety of fruits at a time so my fruit tarts usually ended up with single type of fruit. Needless to say, they looked rather boring and plain.

This time round, I ordered 2 boxes of fruits in variety from Lazyfruits, now I can finally start making my 'art piece'! You may click here to read my experience engaging their service. In short, Lazyfruits is an online fruit shopping and delivery, which make buying fruits a much simpler chores. Aside from saving time and strength, the convenience that it brings - next day delivery, option for cash-on-delivery as well as credit card payment, able to order the fruits anytime/anywhere, replacing of damaged fruits at no cost etc., are the aspects that appeal to me most. In fact, all my fruits including fragile fruits arrived in a condition exceeding my expectation. 

Now let's move on to the fruit tarts! I used frozen puff pastry with butter as the tart shell, top it with silky smooth homemade custard and then arrange the fruits on top. Crunchiness from the pastry, smoothness from the custard paired with those refreshing fruits... these fruit tarts are simply awesome, can't wait to make them again!


Puff Pastry Fruit Tart

Ingredients
Custard (prepare the night before)
A
  • 200g milk
B
  • egg yolks
  • 32g sugar
  • 32g butter
  • 13g corn starch
  • 13g plain flour
Puff Pastry Skin
  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • egg for egg wash
  • cut fruits of your choice
Cooking Directions
Custard
  1. Heat up milk until bubbly.
  2. In a separate bowl mix B together.
  3. Add B into milk and cook over medium heat, keep stirring and cook until thicken.
  4. Keep in the fridge overnight.
Puff pastry skin
  1. Cut the puff pastry sheet into 4 square pieces that fit nicely into your muffin tin. Trim off the side if necessary (I trimmed off around 2 cm from 2 sides of the pastry).
  2. Lay puff pastry on the muffin tin as shown in picture below.
  3. Egg wash the side of the puff pastry.
  4. Poke holes on puff pastry at the bottom with fork to prevent it from puffing up.
  5. Bake at 200C for 15 minutes.
  6. Put a spoonful of custard into the puff pastry and arrange cut fruits on top.

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