Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Homemade Dried Fruits

Homemade dried fruits and peels are easy to make and full of flavour.
They are much healthier as you can control the amount of sugar 
you put into the fruits, or in my case, sugar-free!

I don't buy dried orange peels anymore...

You don't have to bin these less that perfect grapes
- they're easily dried whole
and can be turned into a perfect snack

You can see the size difference between 
store-bought raisins and my oven-dried ones

Fruits like kiwis dry better with their skin removed

To make homemade dried fruits is relatively easy
all you need is an oven, parchment paper or silicone liners 
fruits (of course) and peels
and a whole lot of patience.
 Once you've washed/peeled/slice the fruits
 arrange them in a single layer on a silicone liner
-make sure they do not touch each other.
Place in a 55C (fan) oven.
Once the fruit is thoroughly dried 
(approximately 10 to 15 hours depending on thickness of slices 
and the fruit's water content), 
remove the trays from the oven and leave them to be air-dried and cooled completely 
before storing in an airtight container.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Steamed Bun with Savoury Filling

Steamed Bun with Savoury Filling

For the filling:
500g minced beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
2 large potatoes, diced
a handful coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
ground black pepper

Heat 1 tsp vegetable oil in a frying pan and brown the meat. 
Add the garlic, onion and potatoes and sauté for 1 minute, 
then add the oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar and seasonings. 
Add in 1/2 cup water and simmer until the beef is cooked through and potatoes are soft.
 Transfer to a bowl and let it cool completely.

For the bun:
500g dumpling flour
1 tsp fast-acting yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup warm water

To make the dough by hand, put the dry ingredients in a mound on your work surface. 
Make a hole in the middle, pour in the water and vegetable oil and slowly stir until it comes together.
 Knead on a floured surface for 10 minutes or until the dough is soft.
  Put in an oiled bowl and cover with clean kitchen cloth. 
Keep in a warm place until doubled in size.
Take the dough out, knock it back and knead for 1 minute, then put on a floured surface. 
Roll each into a fat cylinder and cut out into 16 pieces (approx. 55g). 
Press it into a disc in the palm of your hand and add 1 tsp of the filling. 
Bring the sides up and pinch together at the top. 
Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.

Once completed, cover the buns with a clean tea towel and leave to prove for 45 minutes - 1 hour.
Heat a steamer over a medium-high heat. 
Steam the buns for 15-20 minutes until puffed up.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Hello Spring!

It's the Vernal Equinox
my favourite time of the year
from today onward, daylight will gradually becomes longer
and winter is officially banished for the year

The garden is still quite bare
As usual, spring comes a little late to OakenShield
about two weeks late
Anyhow, there's still lots of work to do
and before you know it, I'll be surrounded by colours again

Friday, 17 March 2017

Savoury Potato Pancake

A super-easy savoury brunch idea

All you need to do is grate some potatoes; about 2 potatoes for each person
Squeeze out the moisture from the grated potatoes 
as much as you can using a clean kitchen towel.
Season the potatoes with some salt and pepper
Heat 2 tbsp of vegetable oil in a skillet.
Place a ladle-ful of grated potatoes into the skillet.
Flatten the potatoes into a thin pancake
Fry over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes per side, or until golden brown
Place on paper towel.
Serve hot with fried eggs and/or sausages.


Wednesday, 15 March 2017

OakenShield is Four

I just can't believe it...
It was four years ago to the day that we made the commitment
to buy this bit of land to call our own.

There's been a lot of hard work and a lot of hard graft, 
but not too much planning - I'm a live for the day sort of person.
It's been fun and will continue to be...
No regrets 

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Goan Chicken Curry

A deliciously creamy and nutty dish.
It deserves a try!

Goan Chicken Curry 
recipe adapted from Anjum Anand

1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 large chicken breasts, cubed (approx. 1 kg)
1 large shallot, sliced
250ml coconut milk
2 tsp tamarind paste
1 tsp sugar
50g coconut cream
salt, to taste
For the paste:
 2 tbsp kerisek *
3 fresh red chilies (or you may use 1 tbsp sambal oelek)
1 tsp ginger paste
2 tsp garlic paste
2 tsp ground cumin 
3 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp white poppy seeds

If using fresh chilies, grind them into a fine paste along with poppy seeds.
Mix them with the rest of ingredients with a little water.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan.
Add onion and fry until golden brown.
Add the paste and a little salt and fry until all the excess moisture has dried off 
and the paste has cooked through.

Add the chicken pieces and cook in the paste for 5 minutes.
Then, stir in the coconut milk, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.

Stir in the tamarind paste, sugar and coconut cream.
Adjust the seasoning, if necessary.
Cook for a few minutes, or until the gravy is creamy.

* to make kerisek  
Dry roast freshly grated coconut in a pan over medium heat until golden brown.
Whilst the coconut is still warm, using pestle and mortar or food processor, 
grind it into a fine paste.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Creamy Apple and Chicken Salad

My take on the famous
Waldorf Salad

A simplified version but still big on flavour!

Creamy Apple and Chicken Salad

1 roasted chicken breast, sliced
1 Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced
a bunch of seedless green grapes, halved
walnuts, chopped

For the dressing:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp maple syrup
salt and black pepper (optional)

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the ingredients. 
Adjust seasoning, if necessary.

Stir in the chicken, apple, grapes, raisins and walnuts.