Monday, October 09, 2006

What I'm baking right now:

Spicy Cranberry Muffins

Makes 18

1 packet Craisins (sweetened dried cranberries)
4 cups plain flour
1 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 cup natural, unsweetened yoghurt

Preheat oven to 180ÂșC.
Spray 18 muffin tins with small amount oil, or use muffin patties or non-stick muffin trays.
In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder & spices.
Gently stir in Craisins.
In another bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, oil & yoghurt.
Add to dry ingredients, mixing until just combined (don't over-mix).
Bake for 30-35 min until muffins are risen & golden.
Leave muffins to cool slightly in tin at least 10 min before removing.

And what I made on Sat night, a Chinese feast:

Mandarin Pancakes

These take a lot of work to make, but the result is definitely worth it! These pancakes are served with roast duck, shredded pork or chicken.

Serves 4-5

2 cups plain flour
3/4 cup boiling water
1 tbsp extra boiling water
1 tbsp sesame oil

Measure unsifted flour into bowl.
Bring water to boil & pour at once onto flour, stirring with chopsticks or handle of wooden spoon for a few minutes.
As soon as it is coold enough to handle, knead for 10 min until mixture is soft, smooth dough.
Form into ball, wrap closely in plastic & let it stand for at least 30 minutes.
Roll dough into cylindrical shape & cut into 10 slices of equal width.
Cover with plastic wrap to prevent drying out.
Take one slice at a time & cut into 2 equal pieces.
Form each one into a smooth ball, then roll out on a lightly floured board to circles about 8cm in diameter.
Brush one circle lightly with sesame oil, taking it right to the edges.
Put second circle on top of first one & roll again, both circles together this time, until the pancakes are 15-18cm in diameter. (They must be very thin.)
Cover each pair of pancakes with plastic as they are made.
When all are rolled out, heat heavy frying pan or griddle & cook one pair of pancakes at a time on ungreased surface.
Cook over low heat until pancake develops small bubbles.
Turn frequently so that it cooks on both sides; a few golden spots will appear.
Remove from pan & gently pull 2 circles apart; the sesame oil makes this quite easy.
Pancakes should be soft & pliable, not brittle.
To re-heat (if not serving straight away), arrange pancakes in steamer lined with clean towel, cover & put over simmering water for 1-2 minutes.
To serve, fold each pancake into quarters & serve with roast duck, finely sliced green onions & hoi sin or plum sauce. Yummm!

Shredded Crispy Beef, Szechuan Style

Serves 4

4 cups frying oil (peanut or vegetable)
600g shredded beef, or streak cut into shreds
1/2 cup grated celery
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup green onions, chopped into 2cm pieces
1 tbsp chopped ginger root
1 tbsp chopped garlic
2 tbsp hot bean paste or sauce
1 tsp cooking wine
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil

Heat frying oil in a large wok or deep frypan.
Deep fry steak over high heat for 1 min.
Remove & drain for about 1 min.
Reheat oil & refry steak for about 5 min until very dry.
Add carrot, celery & green onion & stir-fry for 5 seconds.
Remove & drain.
Remove oil, reheat pan, then add ginger, garlic, wine, hot bean paste, vinegar, salt & sugar.
Mix very well, then add steak with vegetables.
Mix well, then add sesame oil.
Put on serving plate & serve with steamed rice.

Fried Mountain Trout with Ginger

Serves 4

4 single serving size trout, about 200g each (I use 2x rainbow trout)
salt & five-spice powder mixed together
4 tbsp cornflour
3 green onions, cut into bite-sized pieces
8 tbsp peanut oil
1 tbsp fine shredded fresh ginger
2 tbsp Chinese red vinegar or wine vinegar
2 tbsp Chinese wine or sherry
4 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

Clean cavity of trout with damp paper towel dipped in salt.
Make shallow diagonal cuts on either side of fish & rub in salt mixture.
Roll fish in cornflour to coat, then dust off excess.
Combine sauce ingredients.
Heat wok, add peanut oil & when very hot, fry ginger & green onions for a few seconds until onions are soft but not brown.
Remove on frying spoon & set aside on plate.
Slip fish into oil & fry until golden brown underneath, then turn them over, lower heat & fry until other side is brown & fish are cooked through.
Remove to serving dish.
Pour off oil, add sauce mixture to wok with ginger & green onion.
Cook for 1 min on high heat or until sauce boils.
Spoon sauce over trout & serve garnished with coriander.

Braised Cauliflower, Chinese Style

Serves 4

half a small cauliflower
125g snow peas or sugar snap peas
2 tbsp peanut oil
1/2 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 tsp grated ginger
1/2 cup hot water or stock
1 tbsp oyster or soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cornflour

Divide cauliflower into small florets.
String peas if necessary.
Heat oil in wok & fry garlic & ginger, stirring, until fragrant.
Add vegetables & stir-fry for 2 min, then pour in water mixed with sauce & add salt.
Cover & cook until barely tender, then thicken sauce with cornflour mixed with little cold water.
Serve with rice.

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