December 24, 2006

December 19, 2006

I <3 Cookies




Chocolate Cranberry Shortbread

  • 300g plain flour
  • 200g butter (room temperature)
  • 100g sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • pinch of salt
  • flavouring (3-4 tbsp cocoa powder, pinch of grated cinnamon & nutmeg)
  • cranberries for decoration
  1. Preheat your oven to 190 Celcius. Prepare your cookie/baking sheet (line with baking paper).
  2. Cream butter, sugar and salt in a bowl.
  3. Sift flour into a separate bowl with cocoa powder, spices. Remove 1 tbsp flour and put back into box. Replace with 1 tbsp cornstarch.
  4. Gently fold in dry ingredients (from step 3) into the wet ingredients (from step 2) until all the flour etc. is gone and you're left with a brown mixture. You will probably need to use your hands to knead the mixture into a dough.
  5. Roll out on a floured surface and cut out shapes as desired using cookie cutters.
  6. Place on tray. Decorate with cranberries.
  7. Bake in oven for about 10 minutes (be careful because the chocolate colour makes it hard to see if the cookies are burning!!)
N.B. This recipe also works very well in a lemon-ginger varietion. Simply don't use cocoa powder and cinnamon/nutmeg -- substitute a dash of lemon juice and ginger powder. Use candied ginger in place of the cranberries. :) Bon Appétit et Joyeux Noël!

December 3, 2006

Christmas Shortbread Biscuits




Christmas Shortbread Biscuits (Cranberry spiced shortbread) Recipe
(Makes approx. 12 cookies)

140g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
110g (1 stick) unsalted butter
40g (1/4 cup) icing sugar
1 rounded tsp cornstarch
2-3 drops almond essence
2-3 drops vanilla essence
1 pinch each of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt
dried cranberries (decoration)

  1. Preheat oven to 260 Celcius
  2. Cream butter, sugar and salt in one bowl. Add almond and vanilla essence.
  3. In another bowl, sift flour, sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
  4. Fold dry mixture into wet until combined into a dough.
  5. Roll out dough, use cookie cutter to cut out the shape you want. Place on lined baking sheet.
  6. Decorate with cranberry on top.
  7. Bake in oven (260 Celcius) for about 10 minutes or until golden.
  8. Leave to cool. It should harden and become crunchy when cooled. Keeps for a couple of weeks in airtight container.
(American cup measurements are estimates only.)

November 27, 2006

Japan

いただきます! (Itadakimasu!)

A hot food vending machine (Shinjuku, Tokyo)



Japanese biscuits (Asakusa, Tokyo)




Mink whale meat (Tsukiji market, Tokyo)





"Toro" tuna (Tsujiki market, Tokyo)

November 26, 2006

Rice Pudding with Nutmeg, Lychees, Longans, Cinnamon and Graham Crackers






Ingredients:
  • Carnoli or Arborio rice (i.e. the shortgrain kind used for paella/risotto)
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Dried fruit (in this case I used dried Thai lychees and longans but I think figs, dates or apricots would work too)
  • Honey, nutmeg and cinnamon to taste
  • Graham cracker (store-bought)

Recipe:

  1. Melt butter in pan over low heat.
  2. Add rice (no need to wash or pre-soak); stir until coated in butter and semi-translucent (just as if you were making risotto).
  3. Add milk until it covers the rice. Stir until liquid has been absorbed.
  4. Repeat Step 3 until the rice is fluffy and looks like pudding (should take about 15-20 minutes).
  5. If you're using fresh fruit, add it at the end; otherwise, if you're using dried, add it about 1/2-way through the cooking process.
  6. When the rice is done and the dried fruit is plump and cooked, take it off the heat. Spoon into bowls, drizzle honey over it, grate some nutmeg and cinnamon as desired. Serve with graham crackers, ginger nut cookies, almond biscuits, or whatever takes your fancy. Best eaten curled up on a comfy sofa with a good book.