Savoury Courgette Tart

I don’t call this recipe a quiche because the method used for the Italian torta salata is slightly different. For these sort of homemade savoury tarts, Italians don’t add eggs to the short crust pastry, unlike the French. Also, a quiche will require the mixture of creme fraiche with the egg inside the filling, while in torta salata we use cheese (usually ricotta or chewy cheese like mozzarella or sweet provola) as the main ingredient that brings the flavours together. Admittedly, I had never made a torta salata before, and I was a bit disappointed with the results of this recipe, inspired by this one on Giallo Zafferano. I felt that the pastry should have been blind baked before adding the ingredients, as the bottom of my tart stayed very white, even if the top crust was well cooked. It was crispy and had a nice texture, but I decided not to use pancetta, so that my vegetarian friends could also eat it. This made the flavours a little bland, because I didn’t think to use a stronger flavoured cheese to make up for it.
Overall, I suggest you blind bake, and if like me you want this recipe to be vegetarian, choose a type of cheese that will bring out the flavours rather than making them shy away.

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Chinese New Year Recipe – Bak Kwa

It’s Chinese New Year , I’m in Singapore and there’s so much information to take in about the uses and traditions of this special day. To avoid any faux pas, I kept it simple and decided to make at home one of the best known delicacies in Singapore and Malaysia. Bak Kwa (Chinese barbecued pork jerky) is often given as a present for CNY, and it is usually bought at one of the various stores that are famous for having a long tradition or an old family recipe for it. But as we all know, the best present to give is time, and I love spending time in cooking or baking something special for friends, so I followed this recipe from The Burning Kitchen and it was absolutely spot on! Continue reading “Chinese New Year Recipe – Bak Kwa”

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Pancake Day Recipe – Doughnuts

Fat Tuesday (also known as Pancake Day), Valentine’s Day and then Chinese New Year: next week looks packed with reasons to celebrate with something very sweet, don’t you think? While living in Singapore means that I can breath and feel the build up to Chinese New Year everywhere, I still have so much to learn on the traditions around this festivity. While I do my homework on that subject, this week I focused on a recipe that brings me right back to my Italian origin. Fat Tuesday in Italy means fried goods, so this year I want to mark the occasion by making bomboloni, also known as krapfen in Austria and as doughnuts all around the globe.

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Homemade Sourdough Bread recipe

If you are already baking your own bread, like our Simple Loaf recipe, you might feel ready or curious to take your baking to the next level. Sourdough, with its peculiar bitter taste and its all-natural, simple process, is the perfect step to that next level. When I decided to begin my sourdough voyage, I made mine from scratch in ten days, using the process suggested by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, and which I will share with you in this recipe. Continue reading “Homemade Sourdough Bread recipe”

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Ken Hom’s Fragrant Prawn Curry Recipe

This week, I had some pre-prepped prawns and mixed seafood left in the fridge, and most of the other ingredients needed in this recipe (such as chopped garlic, chillies, ginger, coriander, madras curry paste, spicy bean paste, soya sauce and Shaoxing rice wine) are all part of my spice cupboard/standard fridge stock, I decided to try this recipe. The recipe is from Ken Hom’s My Kitchen Table: 100 Quick Stir-fry Recipes. You can find the full Fragrant Prawn Curry recipe in Google Books. Continue reading “Ken Hom’s Fragrant Prawn Curry Recipe”

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Smoking Hot Cinnamon Buns

It is definitely about time to get festive, and nothing fills me with more Christmas spirit than some good old baking. This time, rather than taking out the Sardinian recipe book, I turned to the opposite side of Europe and got inspired by the Scandinavian islands. Mouthwatering memories of sinking my teeth on the most amazing cinnamon buns during a trip to Stockholm made me search through the several recipes available on line. I was even tempted to use my sourdough to make them when I saw this recipe by Chef In Disguise. But since these were my very first cinnamon buns, I opted for a simpler and quicker option, found in Nigella’s book How to Be a Domestic Goddess.
This recipe will make 20 buns and takes about 2 hours to make.

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First time making: homemade apple and plum jam with cardamom

Now that my two jars of strawberry jam are nearly empty, it’s time to make a new batch – with apples and plums. I wanted to try something less runny this time, and as it’s the pectin that makes jam set, I decided to try a recipe with plums (a fruit that features on the high pectin list). Then I found this delicious-looking plum and apple jam, as well as this beautiful French apple jam recipe, so decided to combine the two and make an apple and plum jam with cardamom.

For the apple variety, I picked Gala, as it’s generally good for apple sauces: it’s sweet, got a good texture and isn’t too “watery”.

PLEASE NOTE: I thought it’d make 2 x 500ml jars of jam, but it turned out that there was only enough for 1 jar, so in the future, I won’t be scaling down the recipe in this way.

Ingredients
250g flavouring plums (4 plums)
250g Gala apples (2 apples)
1 cardamom pod

300g jam sugar
100g cane sugar

150ml water

You’ll also need: a potato masher and 1 jam jar (500ml).

Apple_Plum_Jam_1 I scaled down the sugar slightly, as the apple and plum varieties already seemed quite sweet to me. By the original recipe, you should use 450g sugar. Also, just because I’m paranoid (and there was still some left over), I’m using a mix of jam sugar, which contains pectin, and normal sugar. In theory, the plum will provide enough natural pectin, so you can use normal white sugar here. Continue reading “First time making: homemade apple and plum jam with cardamom”

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Classic pesto recipe

Let’s admit it, who hasn’t bought pesto in the shops? I did so many times… I understand many people think it is a complicated sauce to make, but actually it is super easy and a lot nicer when made with fresh ingredients. Recently, I had the opportunity to grow my own basil in the garden and therefore I took advantage to finally try to make fresh pesto. The result was so light and tasty I don’t think those pots at the supermarket or at the local deli will ever tempt me again.
When tackling Italian recipes, if I don’t have one stolen from mamma’s notebook, Giallo Zafferano is my absolute bible, they always get the right measurements and they don’t keep extra tips to themselves: so I followed their recipe, but instead of doing the pesto the old fashion way (with pestle and mortar), which would have taken me 20 minutes, I have used a hand blender, spending about ten minutes (if not less) to get my very own pot of pesto!
Ingredients:
50 gr basil leaves (note that to get the real thing as a result, you should try and find basil with longer rather than large leaves, the real Genoese basil)
1 garlic clove (but if you are feeling brave, or your partner is, you can put more)
6 tbsp of Parmigiano Reggiano
2 tbsp of Pecorino cheese
1 pinch of salt
100 ml of extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp of pine nuts

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Strawberry_Jam_1

First time making: homemade strawberry and vanilla jam

As it’s summer, and strawberry season, I thought I’d try out Jamie Oliver’s supposedly super easy way to make homemade strawberry jam. While I love strawberry jam, most store-bought versions taste a tad too sweet/artificial for me. The jam with the lowest sugar-to-jam ratio I’ve found is the Streamline Reduced Sugar Strawberry Jam, which is nice as well, but guess there’s nothing like making your own!

It’s my first time trying out this recipe, so I’ve scaled it down slightly (only very, as the strawberries were on offer). Also, I didn’t find any whole vanilla pods in the shops, so used ground vanilla beans instead.

This filled 2 x 500ml jam jars – not quite as expected from what the original recipe mentioned.

Strawberry_Jam_1I used…

Ingredients
800g strawberries
400g jam sugar
4g ground vanilla beans

You’ll also need: a potato masher and 2 jam jars (500ml).

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