Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mars: Ninjin Shirishirii

I was watching TOKIO's 5LDK talk show when the cast of Majo Saiban were there to promote the drama. Main reason was because Ikuta Toma was there as one of the leads in Majo Saiban. The other lead was Higa Manami - also known from her work in Code Blue with Pi and Aragaki Yui~

One of the segments in 5LDK is they will get their guests to cook for them - something simple and what they would usually cook at home!


Back to the recipe!

'Ninjin' is carrot. And 'shirishirii' is grate in Okinawan Japanese! Thus, the name speaks for itself!

Grated Carrots!

Ingredients (for 2 people):

- 1 tbsp butter
- 3 large carrots
- 2 eggs
- salt and pepper to taste

How to?
1. Coarsely grate the carrots
2. Melt butter in pan (medium heat)
3. Throw carrots in and stir with chopsticks
4. Crack eggs into pan and stir - don't let the mixture clump!
5. Add salt and pepper to taste!

The butter brings out the natural sweetness of the carrots! Serve with whatever you like!

I had it with pan-fried portobello mushrooms, salmon and salad!

It's an awesome rice alternative for those who are trying to cut down on carbs!

Serve to hungry people rushing 3 assignments by next Monday! (T_T)v

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Jade: Bitemygratin

Most people see the weekend as a chance to catch up with friends, do a spot of shopping, have a coffee with the girls...Much as I love doing that, after a week of making mindless small talk to coax out delusions and hallucinations, my inner hermit yearns for a little quiet time..No phones, no Christmas music courtesy of NHS outpatient receptions [which incidentally, isn't exactly the best idea when half the people in the waiting room are depressed because it's Christmas]; Just silence. And the smell of freshly laundered sheets, the cosy familiarity of my own room and who can forget..a home-cooked meal :)

Today's special:
Pan seared cod on a bed of sweet potato and spinach gratin

1 cod fillet
rock salt and freshly cracked black pepper

3 small sweet potatoes, sliced thinly
1 packet baby spinach
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
White wine
Dried thyme

300ml milk
3tbsp flour
50g butter
1tsp mustard
220g red leicester cheese, grated [any cheese will do, I just thought the fluorescent cheese would pair well with the beautifully orange sweet potatoes]
Breadcrumbs [optional; I left them out since I didn't have any..but I think a bit of crunch would've added a whole new dimension to the dish]

1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees C.
2. Heat up some oil or butter and gently sauteed the garlic and onion until soft and transparent
3. Add a generous splosh of white wine and let it reduce
4. Stir in the spinach until just wilted, add the thyme and leave to cool
5. In a separate pot, combine milk, flour and butter, whisking over medium heat
6. Simmer for 2 minutes, add the mustard and 3/4 of the grated cheese and simmer for another minute.
7. Slice the sweet potatoes thinly and arrange half of it in a lightly greased oven-proof dish or roasting tin
8. Layer half the spinach mixture over the sweet potatoes
9. Pour half the cheese sauce over the spinach mix and repeat the layering.
10. When all that is done, sprinkle with the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs if using
11. Bake for about 45 minutes.

* In the meantime, lightly butter a non stick pan, slap on the cod fillet, season with salt and pepper, and let it sear over medium heat

Now scoop up a generous portion of gratin, very very gently place the fish on top, and enjoy while it's still piping hot ~The creamy saltiness of the cheese sauce, delicate sweetness of the cod and sweet potatoes and that hint of acidity from the spinach and wine..I only wish every day were a Saturday..

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Jade: Bitemyseafoodsoup

I've always liked crabsticks. There. I said it. Those garishly red and white logs of surimi masquerading as crab meat. Purists would happily run me over with a car at this point, but crabsticks take me back to my childhood, to days of large reunions and giant vats of hot soup at my grandma's place...And as someone who lives for a good steamboat, a chunky crabstick is the one thing that goes best with any kind of chili sauce..I think it's because they unravel just enough for the gooey spiciness to seep into every little crevice..aahh...So when I went shopping for seafood to make me a hot and spicy bowl of soup, I was rather pleased to see crabsticks featured in the packs of assorted seafood.

Seafood soup

1 pack assorted seafood, or if you prefer, get a nice assortment of squid rings, fish, prawns, mussels and clams from your fishmonger

3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, sliced
1 potato, peeled and cubed
1 400g can chopped tomatoes
150 ml white wine [ or stock ]
Dried thyme or oregano
Salt and pepper/paprika to taste

1. Heat up some olive oil and sauteed garlic and onions until the onions turn a nice golden brown
2. Add the herbs and potatoes
3. Add white wine and simmer till slightly reduced
4. Add chopped tomatoes and simmer gently till potatoes are fork tender
5. Chuck in the seafood and bring to boil
6. Season to taste and savour the intense flavours soaked up by the soft, spongy seafood sticks..unless of course you chose not to add which I can only say...sighh

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Jade: Bitemycannoncini

I remember my first cannoncino...warm buttery pastry so feathery, silky cream bursting with the flavour of vanilla...i was could something so seemingly simple taste so good..At that very moment, my mind went into overdrive, thinking up ways to recreate it in my own kitchen.

I took a few shortcuts just because I'm in a lazy mood [ but itching to play with my new cream horn moulds!]...Although I will probably never use ready made puff pastry for this again...not unless it's all butter and comes with some form of celebrity chef endorsement. In retrospect, it is actually blindingly obvious that the quality of the pastry would make or break a dessert that is nothing more than a pastry horn filled with cream......Highsight is always so much clearer..Having said that, on days when the cravings strike and Princi's isn't a 5-minute walk away, my way will do ;)

Cheats' Cannoncini~Little cannons

1 tube ready made puff pastry [ do get a good quality tube...I'll post up the recipe for proper cannoncini pastry once I get the time to measure flour and grate butter]
1 egg lightly beaten
1/4 cup sugar

Crema Pasticcera~gives about 2 cups so feel
free to halve the recipe

1/4 cup sugar
1 1/3 cup single cream
2 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
2 tsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 2oo degrees C.
2. Leave puff pastry for about 20 minutes to come to room temperature.
3. In the meantime, dissolve 2 tbsp sugar in cream over LOW heat, and bring some water to boil in a separate pot, preferably one that's big enough to hold a metal mixing bowl. The idea is to replicate a double boiler..if you have one on hand, lucky you. Once the water boils, lower the heat and let it simmer.
4. Beat eggs, cornstarch, salt and the rest of the sugar in your metal mixing bowl/ top half of your double boiler
5. Place it over the pot of simmering water and vigorously beat in the scalded cream from step 3 until the mixture thickens.
6. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla; let cool and chill.
7. Once the cream is done, grease your baking tray and cream horn moulds.
8. Unroll the pastry sheet and cut into 1'' wide strips
9. Wrap each strip around a cream horn mould, leaving a margin of about 1/4 of an inch with each wrap.
10. When that's done, give the pastry a light egg wash, and roll gently in sugar
11. Pop in the oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes
12. Remove the moulds, let cool and fill with pastry cream.- The trick is to push the nozzle of your piping bag right into the narrow end of the pastry so you dont get any creamless gaps..which frankly is just cruel.

Bon appetit ;)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mars: Lin Chee Kang

The housemates and I went to Lincoln's Inn a couple of days ago to take portrait pictures of us in full costume! (^_^)v But the walk home was terribly cold!

As soon as I stepped in the house, I ran into the kitchen to make some hot Lin Chee Kang. (^^,)v

Lin Chee Kang
- Incredibly easy to make! It's just throwing things into a pot and letting it come to a boil!

I used:
- White fungus
- Dried chestnuts
- Dried longan
- Dried lotus seeds
- Rock Candy

The softer you want the ingredients to be, the longer you leave it to boil on low heat!

Then sit by the window and enjoy your hot bowl of Lin Chee Kang. (^_^)v

Mars: Stuffed Peppers

Deadlines are coming up and this part of the Earth is getting colder by the day~ (=_=)"

I felt like putting in some effort for dinner so I made peppers stuffed with couscous, chicken, tomatoes and onion chutney~

Tho it does sound like a lot of work, it took me about 20 mins from start to finish including cleaning up!

Stuffed Peppers
1. Boil the couscous on the hob for about 4 minutes and stir in a knob of butter and/or salt to give it more flavour. Include any kind of herbs you want - I do suggest coriander leaves. (^_^)v
2. Slice onions and fry it on a low fire until its soft and slightly brown. Add herbs - I used thyme and basil. Add in a splosh of apple cider vinegar. Then add sugar to sweeten it and add salt to taste. Set aside to cool.
3. Slice or cube chicken breast and pan fry them in the same pan as the onions.
4. Mix the couscous, onions, chicken and cherry tomatoes in a bowl and stuff it in a hollowed out red pepper.
5. Either grill or pan fry the pepper until the skin chars.

Place on a plate and slice in half~ Serve with pickled jalapenos for an extra kick. (^_^)v

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Jade: Bitemyudon

I have an aunt who balks at the mere thought of eating noodles. Once, as I was happily slurping up twirls of thick, dark hokkien mee, she gave me a look of utter distaste and said: "How can you not feel like you're eating worms"; I never said she was tactful... And in any case, it did nothing to diminish my love for a nice big bowl of slurpy noodles.

Noodle preference of the week: fat chewy strands of Udon. I couldn't decide between black pepper udon and my take on Wagamama's Amai udon, so I did what any carb lover would do. I had both ;)

Black pepper udon
~ a hot and fiery antidote to the disgusting weather we've been having

1 packet udon [Mine came tightly packed in a little plastic bag, so I ran it under a hot tap to loosen it up]
3 cloved garlic, minced
Baby anchovies
Fishballs, sliced
Wood ear fungus, soaked and julienned
Dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked and sliced
Napa cabbage, julienned [ and any other veg or meat you have on hand's a great way to
use up leftovers on a weekend]

1 1/2 tbsp black pepper sauce, I think mine's lee kum kee
1 tbsp oyster sauce
stock/ water

1. Heat up some oil and fry garlic and baby anchovies till golden brown, taking care not to burn
the garlic
2. Add the fishballs, mushrooms and vegetables. High heat always helps with flavour when it comes to stir fries.
3. Add the sauces and some water to get a thick gravy
4. Throw in the noodles and toss to coat
5. Dish up, garnish with some picked chili and slurp it all up as loud as you possibly can :)

Wagamamawannabe Amai udon

1 packet udon
3 cloves garlic, minced
half an onion, sliced
fishballs, sliced [ do use chicken or prawns..I just couldn't be bothered to make a trip to the shops]
whatever vegetables you have on hand

1 tsp tamarind pulp, soaked in a little bit of water and mashed into a paste
sugar and fish sauce to taste
splash of rice wine vinegar
chili flakes

crushed peanuts
spring onions, chopped

1. Fry garlic and onions in hot oil until golden brown
2. Add meat and veg and toss in noodles
3. Add sauce ingredients, tasting as you go along. What you want is a really nice balance of sweet, sour and savoury with a spicy kick at the end...akin to what you would expect from a really good plate of Pad-thai.
4. Toss everything together, plate, and top with crushed peanuts and some lovely green spring onions. Who says you have to go out for good food ;)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Jade: Bitemymooli

I found out about a month ago that daikon/ white carrot as I used to call it, is also known as mooli. I was in ASDA when I saw it, and I bought it just because~ it was a daikon in ASDA! Took it to the till, and the cashier went: "So what are you going to do with the mooli?" Me: "How dare you! Mind out of the gutter please" what I really did was burst into fits of giggles..I know..not my finest moment..but she said retrospect it's not even that funny..bah..

Anyhoo, 5 days worth of lectures reminding us that getting hit on the job is always a possibility, one oversexed 89-year old and one alcoholic later, all I want to do is kick off my *flats, curl up in my chair...and maybe take dainty sips from a bowl of steaming hot soup.
*Yes, I said flats. Heels are the usual preference. But in the interest of practicality: patient who starts an enthusiastic chase with the sole purpose of humping someone's leg vs me tottering around in 3'' heels = very bad joke, flats it is.

Slow-boiled daikon soup

1 daikon, peeled and cut into really shouldn't matter what the chunks look like..but I suspect I have a slight obsession with sameness because I found myself trying to make my carrot chunks look like my mum's. And the way she did it was almost like paring a pencil, so you end up with nice fat wedges...I dunno...they seem to taste better that me anyway

500g pork ribs, beef ribs or chicken on the bone

Small handful goji berries [optional]

1. As with all the other soups, simmer the ribs with the goji berries and enough water to come up to the level of the handles.
2. Skim off the scum once the soup comes to a gentle boil, so around half an hour. Mars thinks this step doesn't make a difference, but I'm a firm believer in clear skim!
3. Add the daikon chunks and let it simmer gently for about 2 hours.
4. Add a bit of salt to taste and enjoy the toasty comfort that is clear, sweet broth :)

This soup is brilliant in its simplicity. There is no need for any fancy dates, or herbs... all that does is distract you from the natural sweetness of the daikon. What you want is to fully appreciate the depth of flavour that comes from hours of gentle stewing....pure, unadulterated daikon-y joy.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Jade: Bitemypeanutbutter

I went through a phase after the whole Parent Trap thing where I ate oreos with peanut butter...I secretly hated it..but I was 12..and if it was good enough for Lohan, it was good enough for me. Then I went to boarding school and befriended a rather subnormal being who ate her morning cereal with peanut butter...I didn't like it...but I thought it was a cool quirk..god knows what I was I ate it anyway. And then I dated someone who ate peanut butter out of the jar...see above. Took me 23 painful years and too many wasted calories to realize I'm not actually a great fan of peanut butter....what can I say..I'm a slow learner. So slow in fact...that I came across a recipe recently, starring peanut butter....and I really admire the blog it came from...and if she really really likes it..Ah such is the power of blind faith;)

Chocolate peanut butter surprises..well it's not really a surprise now that I've told you..but whatever..adapted from The journal of a girl who loves to cook

125g plain flour
62.5g cocoa
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
60g butter
40g castor sugar
40g brown sugar
60g smooth peanut butter
1 large egg
1/2 tbsp milk
1/2tbsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup icing sugar
pinch of salt
120g peanut butter

1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees
2. Mix ingredients for peanut butter filling until it almost resembles a dough. Pop into the freezer. You don't have to...but it will make wrapping easier
3. Cream butter, both sugars and peanut butter until fluffy
4. Add egg, milk and vanilla, mix until well combined
5. Sift in dry ingredients and mix
6. It's a fairly soft dough, so pop it in the fridge while you do the washing up.
7. And now the fun part: Scoop some peanut butter mix, roll into a small ball, flatten some cookie dough and wrap the peanut butter in it. Make sure you get a tight seal all over, I just roll the whole thing into a smooth ball once it's wrapped...don't want any peanut butter leaking all over the place..although if it does...melted peanut butter isn't exactly a tragedy:P, place it on a greased baking tray and flatten gently. Repeat as many times as you wish...depending on how large you want your cookies to be...should you want one giant cookie, I don't judge.
8. Bake for 10-15 minutes, 10 if you like a dense brownie-esque texture, 15 if like me, you think cookies should be delicately crunchy.
9. Let cool...break a cookie in half, dunk it in ice cold milk. It's like a reese's peanut butter cup! only so much better;)

Jade: Bitemysausage..hehehe

We would all like to think we lead fairly healthy lifestyles..we buy low fat yoghurt, attempt to go to the gym at least once a year...and really, strawberry jam should count towards our 5 a day. Perhaps I should speak for myself, but after all that effort to be healthy, sometimes all I want, no, crave is something so sinful and so artery clogging it would make Elvis' toes curl. Alas...I'm a vain I settle..for something marginally healthier than a heart attack waiting to happen...and equally yummy ;)

Sausage Pasta Bake

6 sausages, sliced into chunks [use meatballs or even diced eggplant and courgettes]
1 onion, sliced thinly
3 fat cloves garlic, chopped
1 small can chopped tomatoes
Dried thyme
Red wine
2 tbsp onion jam
150g penne
As much cheese as you want..wahaha ~I used an assortment of cheddar, gloucestershire and brie..random bits I had leftover
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees
2. Fry sausages till golden brown and slightly crisp. You don't really need oil..the sausages are pretty fatty as is.
3. Add the onions and garlic to the sausages and stir over low-medium heat until onions are soft and slightly caramelized
4. Add mushrooms, thyme and chopped tomatoes, simmer on medium heat
5. Add red wine, a few generous splashes should do, and the onion jam and leave to simmer till thick
6. In the meantime, cook the pasta and reserve some of the liquid, just in case you want to thin the sauce a little
7. Add the drained pasta to the sauce, toss well, pour into an oven safe dish and smother with cheese
8. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is deliciously bubbly and gooey......pick up a fork and dig worth the 2 extra hours on the treadmill ;)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Jade: Bitemyeggs

You know that feeling when you wake up exhausted despite a nice weekend open your fridge only to find random bits and bobs..half a pack of french beans...slice and half of bacon...a few eggs that have probably been there since your last bake 2 weeks ago; You're tempted to bin them and then you realize it's raining..and you really don't feel like lugging a bunch of groceries home...But you are positively starving...what do you do?

I'll tell you what I did. Scrambled eggs on toast for a nice Saturday brunch, and for dinner, as any chinese person worth his salt will tell you: Fry rice la!

Tomyum Fried Rice
* I was actually craving Kimchi fried rice...but I
opened my brand new jar of kimchi only to find it'd gone bad!! Granted I've had it since 3rd year...but isn't the whole point of preserving vegetables to avoid situations like these?? wth man...In any case, I improvised.

Half a cup of cooked rice, preferably left overnight. [If you don't have any old rice, no worries, just reduce the water slightly when you're cooking your rice, and once it's cooked, stir it to break up any clumps and pop in the fridge for a while. ]
Anything you have in your fridge~ In my case, it was french beans, bacon, baby anchovies and mushrooms, all remnants of the week's suppers
Lots of minced garlic or spring onions if that's what you have. That's the best thing about fried
rice..there are no rules!

1 tbsp chili sauce
1 tbsp tomyum paste. From a jar. You're welcome to pound herbs and spices but frankly, life is too short.
Fish sauce

1. Fry in a really really hot pan/wok.
2. Tip into a nice big bowl............and everyone knows fried rice is not complete without an egg, sunny side up;)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Jade: Bitemypotatoes

Dinner is usually a hurried affair for me..a quick stir-fry, soupy noodles that take 5 minutes to throw together...and it's sad really because the fact that I hardly ever have time to eat breakfast
or lunch means dinner is the only meal I look forward to at the end of each day. So the rare times I get the luxury of lazing around on a weekday night, I milk it for all its worth.

Supper for 2 days in a row now has been marinated lamb, pan fried to perfection~ buttery soft and juicy with just a blush of pink in the middle. But what I really want to talk about is the lovely creamy gravy and luscious sides; Both embarrassingly simple to make, yet so so yummy. Honestly, I would've been perfectly happy to eat them on their own with maybe some blanched baby french beans. Come to think of it, maybe I'll do that tonight ;)

Pan fried lamb with mushroom sauce

150g lamb shoulder fillet
Few sploshes of worchestershire sauce
pinch of dried thyme
drizzle of olive oil
salt and cracked black pepper

Chestnut mushrooms, thinly sliced
Single cream
1 tbsp good quality mustard
salt and pepper to taste

1. Rub the herbs and seasoning all over the lamb, and leave to marinate overnight or longer if you're patient.
2. Drizzle some olive oil into a pan and cook the lamb
for about 10 minutes of each side on medium heat until it's deliciously crusty. I know 20 minutes
sounds like an awfully long time, but my cut of lamb was really adjust it accordingly.
3. Remove the lamb from the pan and let it sit.
4. Throw the mushrooms into the same pan to soak up all
the gorgeous juices from the lamb, and let them brown
5. Pour in about 75ml of cream, depending how much gravy
you're after, taking it off the heat while stirring so it doesn't curdle
6. Quickly stir in the mustard and season to taste.
7. Dip a finger in the pan....Can you taste the nuttiness of the mushrooms..the richness of the cream, and the faint heat from the mustard? Beautiful isn't it.. :)

Ruby's Mashed potatoes
1 medium-large potato
salted butter
salt and pepper to taste

1. Peel potatoes and cut into large chunks
2. Boil for about 20 minutes or until fork tender
3. Mash it up with a fork, fluffing as you go along
4. Add some cream and a generous slab of butter, and season to taste. Please please dont over mix it. You'll just end up with a gloopy mess.
5. Pour the mushroom sauce over it and tuck in. I wouldn't even bother with a bowl.

Sweet potato wedges
* If you don't cook another meal for the rest of the week, at least promise me you'll make these wedges. Minimal effort for a LOT of pleasure;)

1 medium-large sweet potato
Olive oil
paprika/ cracked black pepper
Coarse salt/ rock salt [ You could use table salt, I just find there is so much more character to rock salt, not to mention the extra crunch you get with it]
Dried thyme or rosemary
Fresh parsley, chopped to garnish

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees
2. Boil sweet potatoes whole, skin on for 10-15 minutes
3. When they're cool enough to handle, cut into chunky wedges
4. Toss in the oil and herb mix until every surface of the wedges is well coated
5. Arrange them on a foil-lined cookie don't need the foil..I just don't like washing up.
6. Bake for about 20 minutes, turn them over and bake for another 10 minutes.
7. You know when they're done when your kitchen smells like christmas, and your wedges are crisp and golden brown....salty, crunchy, so good....

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mars: Tea @ Yauatcha

Sush has awesomely posted a little something about this fusion dim sum place - which is really good. I'm not a fan of fusion, but Yauatcha does good stuff!

Jade and I recently went there again for tea - because I was really craving the Kumquat Jasmine tea. I freaked out when I didn't see it on the menu! Tip of the day: Always worth it to ask the waitress about whatever you're used to having at a restaurant. They lady said that they can make it for me! (^o^)v

Passion fruit & lime tea
Papaya smoothie
Kumquat Jasmine tea

We also had this lemon & cola tart - which was kinda nice.
I'm not as good as the other 2 describing the taste but I'll try. When you first bite into this thing, you're immediately hit with a strong tart lemony taste, but as you get used to it, the creamy-ness of the center of the tart come out and you'll fine yourself wanting more! The cola marshmallows at the top was cute. Not a fan of marshmallows, so I left most of it to Jade. She thot they were cute - and that's why she liked them.

The macaroons were (I think and expect) not as great as the ones Sush had in Paris. But these ones had unusual flavours to them. The green was pandan, the pink in the back was hibuscus, the blue was most probably blueberry, the brown was coffee, the yellowish one was apricot and ginger and the purple was some other kind of flower.

Worth a shot if you're up for it! But Yauatcha... still go for the dim sum! Really! (^_^)v

Mars: Rossopomodoro

The 3 of us wanted something fast and close by to go eat, and since we were all extremely lazy to cook that night, being it our first night back from Iceland, we opted for Rossopomodoro on Monmouth Street.

We pass it everyday to and from College and I wonder why we've never thought of going in.

It's your standard Italian place to go to I suppose. Nice atmosphere, people bustling here and there and laughter from every table - which is exactly what I expect from an awesome Italian restaurant. Both my housemates were vegetarian that day, so I was happily picking (stealing) from their plates.

We had the spaghetti with cherry tomatoes and basil - a classic and something one can never go wrong with. And a different sort of pasta that looks like thick but very short linguinis.

The dolces were nice. At least I knew mine was. Had the Nero Magna - which is prolly exactly like Nigella's Chocolate Molten Babycakes. This was awesome - warm and soft on the outside, gooey and oh-so-chocolately on the inside. The ice cream was a bit too sweet tho, but I was happy enjoying the chocolate bliss on my own~

The housemates' verdict on the tiramisu was - nice but a little bit too much coffee. Coffee is good tho. The housemates normally enquire whether there is alcohol in the stuff that they eat so that in the case that there is they can stop me from picking off their desserts.

My housemates rwk. (^_^)v

50 - 52 Monmouth Street, WC2H9EP
Tel. 0207 240 9095,
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 12.00-24.00

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Jade: Bitemycraisins

I remember reading about berries in my Enid Blyton book collection~strawberries and cream..blueberry pies..blackberry picking..In my 6-year old head, berries were akin to magic fruits. They sounded so mouthwateringly juicy and sweet...I imagined them to be like the best grape soda, the best strawberry jelly and the sweetest candy all rolled into one giant flavour explosion. And then I had my first real was sour, mushy and not very juicy...I nearly cried. I've never liked berries since....and every time I come across an Enid Blyton story detailing how much of a treat berries are, I give the offensive passage the evil eye.

So when I came across a pack of craisins/ dried cranberries today, it took me a good 10 minutes to decide whether or not to reopen old wounds and give berries a second chance. My love of festivities won....they just looked so red and shiny and christmasy! And as much as it pains me to say this, they are actually quite good~soft and moist...sweet with a slightly tart ending...and a lovely change from the usual raisins. Just the dried ones steps...

White chocolate and craisin cookies~ so Christmasy!

227g butter
3/4 cup sugar [ I still found mine too sweet...but that's just me. I drink my coffee without sugar]
230g cream cheese
250g flour
1 cup white chocolate chips/chunks
1 cup craisins, roughly chopped
Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees.
2. Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy
3. Add softened cream cheese and mix. The thing about cream cheese is it becomes really runny if you overbeat it. So do what I do, beat it with your mixer for about 5 seconds and then use a spatula to mix it properly, smooshing it into your butter and sugar mixture.
4. Add flour and fold.
5. Fold in chocolate and craisins.
6. Form balls..depending how large you want your cookies to be, flatten them and place on a cookie sheet.
7. Bake for about 15-20 minutes.
8. These cookies smell amazing...but be patient..let them cool completely. And try not to finish them in one go ;)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sush: Brunch in Londontown

I'd like to share my favourite haunts for brunch when I'm in Londontown. I do adore having 'brunch' really, even saying it puts a silly grin on my face! I guess cuz it makes me feel like I'm one of the girls in SATC, or living a more dreamy, easy going life. Definitely a lifestyle I've picked up ever since being in the UK.

Anyway, here a few of the places which I return to frequently when it calls for the said meal. :) Some discovered by myself with friends, and others introduced by my good friend Vin who has been in London for the last 10 years.

1. Le Providores :
This place has very imaginative breakfast and lunch style dishes. Not cheap, but definitely well worth a visit if you're looking to treat yourself.
Favourite dishes
include the smoked salmon with eggs benedict and hollandaise sauce, french toast (pecans & caramelised bananas) with crispy bacon, turkish eggs, chorizo with eggs benedict. Their coffee here is also exceptionally smooth and rich. The place also does lighter style breakfasts such as muffins, toast, and croissants. Note though, that queues on the weekends can be quite long so try to go early! I've waited in line for 30-40 mins before.

Chorizo with eggs benedict and rocket

Turkish eggs

French toast with pecans and bananas with crispy bacon

109 Marylebone High Street, London, England W1U 4RX tel (+44) 020 7935 6175

2. Joe Allen

A basement restaurant/bistro/bar, this is located at the edge of Covent Garden. Its quite hidden, so you just have to look out for the green sign.
I've been to this place a couple of times and they do an amazing Sunday brunch. :) Always having the option to either have your food with champagne or without, the food here doesn't disappoint either. Menu choices are the typical British bistro food and they're famous for their Sunday lunch actually. Here's a quick glance at their breakfast menu. Pricier than most brunch places, the Sunday lunch menu will set you back at least £20 I've only visited this place when I was feeling a tad richer, or showing people around. Service and food are lovely though. I've never had better sausages and mash, ever. I kid you not. ;)

The interior decor of the restaurant has an American vibe, seeing as it has branches in the US as well.

13 Exeter Street London WC2E 7DT Tel:020 7836 0651

3. Raoul's

Recently discovered, this will be my alternative to Le Providores. Its slightly cheaper, and I have nothing bad to say at all about their eggs benedict with smoked salmon and toasted bagel muffins. :) The coffee brewed here is enough to make me smile too.
I have only tried their one dish, and my companion that morning had their full English breakfast. Didn't really look anything out of the ordinary, but he swears that it was yummy.
I will definitely venture back here and give their other dishes a try.
The restaurant has two branches; Nottinghill and Maida Vale. Again, as all good food eats go, there was a queue to get a table. The plus side to this place, its definitely more spacious than Le Providores and its brighter as well. The walls are brightly coloured, giving you that cheery feel on a weekend morning.

Raoul's Cafe & Bar Notting Hill 105 - 107 Talbot Road Between Westbourne Grove & Ledbury Road London W11 2AT United Kingdom Phone +44 (0) 207 229 2400 Opening hours: Monday - Sunday 8.30am - 11:00pm

4. Tom's Kitchen

Only been to this famous eatery once and tried their French toast. Tom's Kitchen do theirs differently from others that I've tried. The bread is almost like Hainanese bread that you get with your butter and kaya (if you know what I'm talking about). Its very light and fluffy, but thats deceiving as the dish gets a tad bit sweet after a while. Served with cream and caramelized apples, its delicious for the first few bites, but I found it overwhelming to finish. I've been told, however, that their blueberry pancakes are really lovely. :)
Most of the patrons that morning were only eating toast with the spreads, muffins, and simpler dishes.
You definitely have to call and get a table booked if you're eating on a weekend. The place is very popular and gets packed early. Located in South Kensington, its very popular with the local crowd and residents around the area. And call not just a day in advance, but as early as possible...

French Toast with cinnamon cream and caramelized apples

27 Cale Street, Chelsea, London, SW3 3QP
Tel #: 0207 349 0202

Breakfast: Mon - Fri 7am -10am
Lunch: Mon - Fri, 12pm - 3pm
Dinner: Mon - Sun 6pm - 11pm
Brunch Sat and Sun 10am - 3pm

Ok, hope these are worth a visit again once you have chosen to give them a try. :) There are so many places in London, definitely will be adding more to my brunch list.