Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Pear Upside-Down Cake

Adapted from Vogue Entertaining + Travel, by Joan Campbell

125g butter
1.5 cups brown sugar
4 pears, peeled, cored and cut into quarters

125g butter, softened
1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1.5 cups self-raising flour, sifted
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/3 cup milk

Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celcius. Grease a 24-26 cm non-stick cake tin.
To make the base, warm butter and sugar in a saucepan over a low heat, stirring till the butter has melted and sugar dissolved.
Increase the heat, add pears and cook, turning occassionally for 3 to 4 minutes or until tender.
Pour the syrup into the cake tin and arrange the pears in them.
To make the cake mixture, place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix with electric beaters till well-combined.
Spoon mixture over the pears and bake on the centre shelf of an oven for about an hour, until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Invert onto a plate and serve warm.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Carmen's Carrot Cake

2.5 cups all purpose flour
2 tsps baking soda
2 tsps ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
4 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 ccup packed light brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2cup milk
1 tbsp vanilla
3 cups loosely packed shredded carrots
1 cup walnuts, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350deg F. Grease 13” x 9” baking pan. Line bottom with waxed paper; grease paper. Dust pan with flour. Or grease & flour 10” bundt pan.
2. In med bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, nutmeg.
3. In large bowl, with mixer at med-high speed, beat egg and both sugars until blended, about 2 mins, frequently scraping bowl with spatula. Beat in oil, milk & vanilla. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture & beat until smooth, about 1 min, scraping bowl. Fold in carrots, walnuts.
4. Spoon batter into prepared pan, spread evenly. Bake until toothpick inserted into centre comes almost clean, 55-60 mins for 13” x 9” cake, or about 1 hr for bundt cake. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 mins. Run thin knife around cake to loosen from sides of pan. Or, if using bundt pan, run tip of knife around edge of cake to loosen. Invert onto rack. Remove waxed paper; cool completely.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Curry Chicken

1 chicken, cut
1-2 tomatoes
3 potatoes, quartered
Coconut milk/plain yoghurt
4 cloves garlic
thumb-sized piece of ginger
1 medium onion
1 cardamom
1 cinnamon stick
5 star anise
curry leaves
3 tbsp chicken curry powder
2-3 green chillies

Blend garlic, ginger and onion into a paste. Fry it with the cardamom, star anise, cinnamon stick and curry leaves until it releases its aromas. Mix the curry powder into a paste with some water and mix it in. Cook this for a bit and the remove it from the wok. Add 4 tbsp of oil and fry the chicken and potatoes until it is semi-cooked. Put the curry mixture back in and stir to mix evenly. Add either the coconut milk or yoghurt (or both — about 1 cup altogether) and add a cup of water. Cover and cook till the chicken and potatoes are done. Cut the tomatoes into quarters and add it into the curry. Season to taste and break a couple of green chillies into it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Pepper Crab

3 to 4 mud crabs
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 tbsp white peppercorns
1 heaped tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp butter
light soya sauce
dark soya sauce
1 tsp sugar

Clean the crabs and then boil them for about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, grind black and white peppercorns in a food processor. When the crabs are cooked, remove them from the water and set aside to cool. When they are cool enough to handle, break the crabs apart and crack the shells with a pestle so it's easy for you to take them apart when you eat them.

Heat a wok and then add butter and some cooking oil (to stabilise the butter). Still, you have to be really quick as butter burns easily. Throw it the garlic and ground pepper and toss for a few seconds to release the aromas. Throw in the crabs and toss them in the wok so that they are evenly coated with the garlic and ground pepper. Add a few splashes of light soya sauce (to taste) and about 2 tsp of dark soya sauce. Then add the sugar. Fry for a further 30 - 40 seconds. Remove from the pan and serve.

Note: You have to be really brisk with the entire frying process because the butter and pepper tend to burn pretty quickly.

Crab & Saffron Tart

(Adapted from Nigella Lawson's How To Eat)

For the pastry
11/4 cups all-purpose flour
6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small dice
1 egg yolk
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon juice

Measure flour into a bowl, add the butter and place in the freezer for 10 minutes. Beat the egg yolk with the salt and lemon juice and put it in the fridge. Keep a few tablespoons of ice water in a measuring cup or bowl in the fridge in case you need them too.

Put the flour and butter in a food processor with the metal blade fitted or in a mixer with the flat paddle on slow and turn on. After less than a minute, the mixture will begin to resemble oatmeal. This is when you add the egg yolk mixture. Add, and process or mix. If you need more liquid, add a little ice water, but go slowly and carefully; you need to stop just as the dough looks like it's about to clump, not once it has. When it looks right, take it out and form into a fat disc into a freezer bag or cover with clingfilm and put in the fridge to rest for 20 minutes.

Roll out and bake blind at 400 degrees F (about 12 - 15 mins depending on your oven).

For the filling
1 can (4.5 ounces) plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 fat garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
1/4 tsp salt, plus more
freshly milled black pepper
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 tsp saffron threads
4 egg yolks
1/2 pound lump crab meat

Put tomatoes, garlic, herbs and salt and a few grindings of pepper in a saucepan and reduce to a thickish sauce. Cool, remove the herbs and spread the sauce in the bottom of the pastry shell. Warm 3 tbsp of the cream with the saffron and allow to steep for a few minutes. Beat egg yolks and the rest of the cream and then add the saffron cream to this. Correct the seasoning. Loosely fold in the crab meat and carefully pour into the tart shell. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until set and golden brown on top, but with a hint of a runny wobble within.