Fortune Cookie Tells All
My fortune cookie says that “Everything is now in place for you to make a major decision with ease.”
Mango Panna Cotta (Mango Pudding)
Oopps, though the photo seems to be slightly saucy, LOL, this pudding is absolutely delicious. Just right to cleanse the palate after some feasting on Chinese or Italian food or even Indian food. It is a grown up jelly pudding. 🙂
- 3 ripe mangoes, peel and remove the seed, be sure to scrape every bit of the sweet fragrant flesh from the seed.
- 2 packets unflavored gelatin sheets
- 160ml milk or coconut milk
- 60ml whole cream
- ½ – 1 cup granulated sugar (according to your taste)
- To soften the gelatin sheets, they must be soaked in water.
- Using a heavy bottomed sauce pan, heat half of the milk or coconut milk, sugar and the soaked gelatin over slow fire.
- Stir continuously to help dissolve the gelatin as well as the sugar into the liquid. When done, remove from heat and set aside.
- Place the mango cubes into a blender and whizz until liquidised.
- Pour the mango smoothie into the the heated milk/coconut milk.
- Mix well until smooth.
- Then stir in the whole cream until completely incorporated.
- For smoother texture use a sieve to pour in this concoction into individual ramekins or jelly molds.
- Set aside to cool down and then transfer them in the fridge to set and chill.
- Serve decorated with sliver of fruits and more liquidised mangoes.
Chow Mein with Seasonal Vegetables
Hot & Sour Soup Recipe
Hot and sour soup is Peter’s favourite. He loves the tanginess and spice in the soup. It is just the right starter for a hearty meal of Chinese cuisine.
- 6 cups chicken stock (or 4 chicken bouillon dissolved in 6 cups of hot water)
- 200g of lean pork belly sliced in thin strips a la julienne (chicken is a good substitute if preferred)
- 1 tbsp finely minced garlic (use a mortar and pestle)
- 1 tbsp red chilli paste
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 3⁄4 tsp ground black pepper
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 5 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
- 1 cup sliced shiitake mushroom
- 1/2 cup button mushroom, sliced
- 150 g bamboo shoots (canned is good)
- 150g sliced water chestnuts
- 200g soft tofu, sliced into 1/4 inch cubes
- 1⁄4 cup white vinegar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
Method of Preparation:
- Bring the chicken stock to a boil and then lower down the heat and leave to simmer.
- Add the soy sauce, pork, and the mushrooms.
- Stir in the chile paste and garlic, simmer for 10 minutes.
- Tip in the ground black pepper, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and tofu.
- Pour in the vinegar and simmer for a least 10 minutes.
- In a bowl mix in the cornflour with 1/2 cup of water.
- Pour the cornflour mix to the soup. Stir it well to incorporate thoroughly.
- Continue to simmer for 5 minutes.
- Gently pour in the beaten eggs to create a cloudy stream over the surface.
- Finally drizzle in the sesame oil.
Enjoy this invigorating soup. Good for one’s tastebuds if one is under the weather. 🙂
Chinese Fried Chicken & Mushroom
2 chicken breast, without skin
200 g cremini or brown mushrooms
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 inch ginger, peeled and sliced finely
3 garlic cloves, chopped finely
salt (to taste)
1/2 tsp Ground white pepper
For the marinade:
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp. Shaoxing wine (rice wine)
1 tsp. cornstarch
Method of Preparation:
Cut chicken breasts into thin slices and place in a large bowl.
In a separate container, mix the marinade ingredients together; mix well then pour over the chicken pieces to marinate.
Clean the brown mushrooms with a damp paper towel, trim the stalks, then cut in halves.
Heat a wok or a large frying pan over high heat.
Add the oil and swirl it carefully around the wok. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry for a couple of minutes until nearly cooked. Set aside.
Using the same wok, add the chicken and stir-fry the slices. Cook until the chicken had whiten.
Add the ginger, garlic and onion and continue to stir until deliciously aromatic.
Stir in the mushrooms and check the seasoning by adding salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with freshly boiled rice or some green salad.
Roast Duck in Pineapple with Thai Chilli Sauce
- 2 boneless duck breasts
- 1 pineapple, or 1 can of pineapple chunks
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced
- 1 hot red pepper (jalapeno, serrano, thai, or cayenne), chopped finely
- 1 large onions, chopped into chunks
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
Method of Preparation
Peel the pineapple and slice off the tough core. Cut in half and chop 1/2 into chunks. And put the other half in a juicer. A can of pineapple chunks is a suitable replacement, do not throw away the juice.
Using a mixing bowl, pour in the pineapple juice and to it, add the soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, jalapeno (or other chilli), and black pepper. Stir well to combine.
Cut slits into the duck skin, but not deep enough to separate into pieces. Put the duck into the mixing bowl and cover with the marinade. Leave to marinate for at least 10-15 minutes to soak in the juicy sweetness of pineapple.
Preheat the oven to gas mark 425F or 220C.
Heat the oil in a wok over medium-high heat.
Take the duck breasts out of the marinade, shake off excess juices from the meat before dropping into the oil. Ensure to save as much of the liquid as possible as it would be needed.
Sear both sides of the duck.
Transfer the duck into an oven pan. (leave the wok with the oil as it will be needed in a later procedure)
Then pour the marinade over the meat and cook for 10 minutes in the oven.
When done, remove the meat and set aside.
Heat the wok again, add the pineapple chunks and onion, sprinkle with a little sugar, and cook for 5 minutes.
Pour in the marinade into the skillet, reduce until syrupy, about 4-5 minutes. Pour the syrup and pineapple over the meat, and serve up.
Beef & Broccoli In Oyster Sauce
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 200g quality beef steak for stir frying (cut into thin strips)
- 200g broccoli, separated into florets
- 1 onion, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced finely
- 2-3 tbsp oyster sauce
- 125ml water
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Method of Preparation
- This recipe is best prepared using a wok. Heat a wok until smoking hot.
- Pour in half of the oil then add beef. Stir-fry for 2 mins, then tip onto a plate and set aside.
- Heat the rest of the oil into the wok and then add the onion and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant and the onion is translucent.
- Add the broccoli florets with a splash (1 tbsp) of water then cook until broccoli is bright green.
- Pour in the oyster sauce and the rest of the water. Bring to the boil and cook until reduced to a sticky sauce.
- Stir in the beef and cook for a minute.
- Check the seasoning; add ground black pepper and salt, if required.
- Serve immediately with freshly boiled rice.
Snuff Bottle – Qing Dynasty
The above object caught my attention immediately, not only because it was exquisitely beautiful but I remember I have a similar one at home, which Peter got me as a gift a couple of years ago.
I thought it was a perfume bottle. It was only during a visit to the Victoria & Albert Museum two days ago that I learnt it was a snuff bottle, which was used during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912).
Smoking a tobacco was prohibited during the Qing Dynasty, therefore nicotine loving Chinese and Mongolian people had resorted to sniffing powdered tobacco contained in snuff bottles. Inhaling finely ground tobacco was allowed as consumption was deemed medicinal at that time.
The snuff bottles were constructed as tactile as possible as they are carried by hand replacing the snuff boxes favoured by Europeans. There were really beautiful, work of art, snuff bottles as they were a symbol of your position, how high up you were in society. Sharing a snuff during the 16th century China was a form of greetings.
Wonderful to learn new things. I now know that my ‘perfume bottle’ is actually a snuff bottle. Where is the tobacco?!!! 🙂
Salt & Pepper Squid Recipe
The texture of cooked squid can sometimes be rubbery but when it is battered and deep-fried they are crunchy and delicious.
- 350g squid
- 1/2 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- vegetable oil for deep frying
- 1 cup potato flour
- 1 heaped teaspoon rock salt
- 1 egg, beaten
- ½ teaspoon white pepper, powdered
- 1 long hot green peppers (chilli),cut diagonally
- 1 long hot red chilli cut diagonally
- 5 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
- 2 teaspoons ginger, minced
- 1 stalk spring onion, chopped
- Prepare your squid by rinsing them thoroughly in cold water.
- Separate the bodies from the tentacles and cut into bite size pieces. Score the bodies with a sharp knife but don’t go all the way through that you cut them separately. Scoring can make them fry crisply. Leave them in a colander or over kitchen towels to drain off.
- In a frying pan, toss in the black and Sichuan peppercorns and dry-fry until just heated. Tip them in a mortar and pestle with the rock salt and pound until they are coarsely powdered.
- Mix the powdered salty peppercorn with the potato flour. Incorporate them thoroughly.
- In a large deep pot or a deep-fat fryer, add enough oil so that the level of oil reaches 4 inches up the side of the pot. Heat the oil until the temperature reaches 180ºC.
- Dip the squid into the beaten egg and then cover them with the seasoned flour.
- Drop the squid carefully into the hot oil and cook until golden and crispy. You have to cook them in batches for safety reasons and to achieve that amazing crunch 🙂
- When every piece of the squid had been fried, set them aside.
- Meanwhile, heat up a wok over medium heat. Add the sesame oil. To it, fry the ginger, garlic and chilli.
- Add the squid to the wok and stir fry quickly in the aromatic mixture for about a minute or so.
- Finally transfer into a serving dish and garnish with the chopped spring onions and sprinkle with the white peppercorn.
Serve immediately with your favourite sauces and dips.