With Winter practically almost at its end, this post of my homecooking adventures is waaay overdue. One of my proudest accomplishments is this glorious pistachio fig tart, adapted from Thanh’s website (I Eat Therefore I Am). The nutty pistachio essence from the ground nuts goes extremely well with the sweet ripe figs and the glorious green is just too beautiful to ignore. Once the weather warms up and figs are back in season, I’ll definitely be making this again.
I have taken inspiration from Leaf (The Indolent Cook) and Ashley (I’m so Hungree) and started my mornings with fruit smoothies. Take a handful of spinach, 1 chopped up banana, 2 tablespoons of Greek yoghurt, a sprinkle of chia seeds and a splash of water or milk. Blitz and suck it up with a straw. Other combinations that I’ve tried are raw beetroot with pear and celery with apples. The former produces a sweet smoothie with a fantastically purple hue. There is a slight grainy texture to it due to the raw produce.
Fakebooo fell ill over the chilly months and I played my loving fake-girlfriend duty of cooking him a healthy simple meal of Fishball Noodles (or Kuay Teow Tng). The soup is made from boiling soy beans with 1 chicken carcass for about 2 hours. The rest is easy: blanch flat rice noodles, beansprouts, fish balls and slices of fish cake in hot water and arrange in a bowl. Pour the hot soup over and slurp with gusto. (Note: I usually do not salt my soups but feel free to season according to taste).
I also partook in the Sweet Swap 2013. In return for delicious honeycomb bikkies, twix tartlets and macadamia brittle cookies, I baked “Sacher-Tortingtons”. They are a combination of the Viennese Sacher Torte and the Australian Lamingon, or simply put, lamingtons with orange marmalade. I had them initially tested on human guinea pigs and they were well-received. You can get the recipe here.
Another baking experiment involves gluten-free brownies. These are adapted from Ashley’s recipe (ok, I ran out of eggs coz I didn’t check). They are delicious, extremely moist, fudgey and have a slight nutty taste to them.
1 x 425g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons olive (or any vegetable) oil
200g dark chocolate
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp instant coffee powder
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
- Pre-heat oven to 160 Degrees Celcius.
- Melt dark chocolate in a glass bowl over simmering hot water. Set aside to cool.
- In a food processor, combine chickpeas, egg whites and egg, oil, vanilla extract and coffee powder. Process until smooth.
- Add in brown sugar, baking powder and salt and pulse for a bit.
- Slowly pour in melted chocolate and mix well.
- Tip the mixture into a greased 9 inch baking tray and bake for 25minutes
- Test with a skewer in the centre. The skewer should come back with slight crumbs. Set aside to cool.
Lastly, Fakeboo, Wince, The Angmoh and I have been getting together for potluck dinners. All of us live alone, and cooking for one can sometimes be a pain. We have had Fakebooo’s scrumptious chilli chicken, Winston’s amazing chicken wings and steamboat hosted by The Angmoh on separate dinners. The Angmoh contributed home-made mapo tofu one particular night.
500g firm tofu, sliced
200g pork mince
2½ tablespoons chilli bean paste (dou ban jiang 豆瓣酱)
3 spring onions
1 tablespoon fermented black beans (dou chi 豆豉)
2 tablespoons dried Facing Heaven chillies, grounded
½ teaspoon Sichuan pepper, grounded
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons peanut oil
- Heat the work. Place oil, chilli bean paste, fermented black beans, ground dried chilli and ground Sichuan pepper and fry until fragrant.
- Add the mince and fry until the meat is crispy.
- Add the tofu and water, followed by the sugar and light soy sauce. Gently move it around the wok, careful not to break the tofu up. Simmer for about 5 minutes on medium heat.
- Thicken the sauce with the corn starch.
- Add spring onions and simmer on low heat for another 2 minutes.
- Serve while hot.