Saturday, June 30, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake

After our trip to the strawberry farm, I had made jam, tarts and this strawberry shortcake.  I like the biscuit to be a little softer.  So I've made some changes with the ingredients. 

For me, it is better to make a smaller size biscuit type strawberry shortcake.  I've tried making one with 2 layers of 20cm biscuits but find that it was not so easy to cut it.  Or after cutting, it didn't look so nice anymore.  So if I were to make a 20cm 2 layers strawberry shortcake again, I would choose to make one with a spongecake.

Here are the ingredients for the shortcake:

400g strawberry, cut or sliced
170g all purpose flour
40g sugar
85g butter
1 organic egg
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
300ml whipped cream
1 tbsp icing sugar

1.  Preheat the oven to 180 degree C.  Lay grease paper on a baking tray.

2.  In a mixing bowl, mix the butter and sugar until combine.  Mix in egg, vanilla extract, then baking powder and flour until just combine.

3.  It will form a dough.  Roll the dough into a long round shape.  Devide the dough into 12 equal pieces.

4.  Using the palms, roll each individual dough into a ball. 

5.  Place the 12 balls on the tray with 4cm space apart.  Bake for 15 - 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool biscuits on wire rack.

6.  Whip the whipped cream together with the icing sugar.  To serve, place a biscuit on a serving dish, spread some whipped cream, layer with strawberry, top with another biscuit and finish with more whipped cream and strawberry.  Or you can be creative and serve them your own style and creation.  

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Easy Strawberry and Ricotta Cheese Tart

These strawberry tarts made with puff pastry are quick and easy.  Cream cheese or mascarpone can be used instead of ricotta and they taste just as good! 

This is something for the time when you have friends over and you want something quick to fix but look impressive!

180g organic strawberry, cut
275g ready-made puff pastry, thawed
180g ricotta cheese

6 strawberries
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp strawberry jam

1.  Preheat oven to 200 degree C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
2.  Cut the puff pastry into little squares.  I used a 25 x 42cm ready-made puff pastry and cut into 15 pieces 7.5 x 7.5cm square.  Fold the square pastry to form a triangle.  Using finger, tap a little bit of water at the edges so that they stick together.
3.  With a sharp knife, make a 1cm triangle border making sure not to cut through.

4.  With a fork, prick the centre of the triangle once or twice.  Bake for 10 - 15 minutes or until they are puffed and brown.
5.  Remove pastry from oven, press down the little triangle in the centre and set aside to cool.
6.  Meanwhile, to make the sauce, blend the 6 strawberries until smooth.  Add blended strawberry, sugar and jam in a small pot and cook over medium heat.  Stir and cook for about 3 - 5 minutes or until the sauce thicken.
7.  Once the triangles and the sauce are cooled.  spread 1 1/2 tablespoons of ricotta cheese in the middle of the pastry.  Top with strawberries and sauce.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Fruits, Glorious Fruits - Strawberry!

Strawberry, this bright red beautiful fruit's season is here!  Traditionally June is the absolute strawberry month in Germany and the season will last until September.  It is said that each German eats an average of about 3kg of strawberries during the season.

While the strawberry season is in it's full swing, the asparagus season is coming to an end.  In the months of May and June there are many little stands, or stalls along the road or street selling just one or both of these seasonal harvest.  I normally buy my organic strawberry from Bioland during the weekly market, just to make sure we are not putting the good stuff and the bad stuff(pesticides) in our mouth at the same time...

These delicious red stuffs are very high in vitamin C.  With a serving of 152 grams, strawberries offer 149% of your daily vitamin C!  They are low in cholesterol, sodium and saturated fat.  High in fiber, potassium, folate and magnesium, they are anti-oxidant too!

So we waited no longer and went to the strawberry farm yesterday to have some fun.  
Let's have a look at some photos!


This was the second time we went strawberry picking at Erdbeerparadies Kraehenwinkel.  It was a nice and sunny day!

A little stand to get/buy a basket for 50 cents each and later after picking the strawberries to weight them and pay.  It cost 3 Euro per kg.


Some were there to 'pick and eat'......  :-)

                                                           So let's get started!

They are hiding under the leave.  Beautiful bright red yummy juicy strawberries!  Too bad all the strawberry fields open for visitors are not organic though...

Angelica took her sweet time searching for strawberries that are not too big nor too small, must be bright red and with perfect strawberry shape.  She even checked the bottom to make sure the whole strawberry is red.

And finally, our harvest!  We couldn't pick more as they can't be kept long.  That was almost 4 kg.  With that I'm gonna make a strawberry shortcake!  Hmmm, yumm!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Stir Fry Asparagus and Shrimp with Thai Red Curry Paste

It's very handy to have Thai curry paste, Indonesian sambal or Chinese garlic chili paste kept at home.  I have all these kept in my fridge(more varieties actually).  Just use a teaspoon or a tablespoon of them for cooking stir fries, fried rice, or a quick curry dish.  They can be added for marinates too!

For this recipe, the asparagus is stir fried with just a little salt and pepper.  The shrimps are marinated with Thai red curry paste, Thai sweet chili sauce and some chopped garlic.

250g shrimps, shelled, de-veined
200g green asparagus
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

2 tsp Thai red curry paste from jar
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp olive oil
Serves 2

1.  Wash and trim the asparagus, cut into 2 inches pieces.  Set aside.
2.  Marinate the shrimps with all the ingredients and set aside.
3.  In a wok or pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.  Add in garlic and stir fry for 1 minute.  Add in asparagus and continue stirring for 2 - 3 minute depending on the thickness of the asparagus.  When the asparagus are cooked yet still crunchy, dish out and place on a serving dish.
4.  Using the same wok or pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over high heat.  Add in garlic, and gradually add in the shrimps.  Stirring for 1 - 2 minutes until the shrimps turn white and cooked through.  Dish out the shrimps and place on top of the asparagus.  Serve hot with plain hot rice.

Feel Good Fish Cakes Appetizer

Whenever I hear 'fish cakes' it reminds me of the Asian style fish cakes that my mom used to make.  She would make it into a flat round shape, pan fried it.  Sliced them thinly and added them in choy sum stir fry.  Or cut them into very fine cube and mix them in the fried rice.  They were just delicious.

However, this is a completely different Western style fish cake.  Canned tuna fish chunks mix with mashed potatoes, deep fry or shallow fry.

Here are the ingredients:
300g potatoes, sliced
1 can (140g) tuna in water, drained, squeezed excess water away
2 tsp chopped flat parsley (optional)
1 tsp garlic powder
Zest of a lemon
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/8 cup bread crumbs
salt and pepper
Sweet chili sauce
Lemon wedges
oil for frying
Serves 2 - 3

1.  Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until soft, about 15 - 20 minutes.  Drain and then mash.  Slightly mash the tuna chunks.
2.  In a large bowl, add in mashed potatoes, tuna, garlic powder, zest and juice of lemon, parsley, season with salt and pepper.  Mix them gently.
3.  Shape the mixture into 8 - 10 fish cakes.  Dust lightly with some bread crumbs.
4.  Heat enough oil in the pan for shallow frying.  Fry the fish cakes for 2 - 3 minutes each side or until golden brown.
5.  Serve with green salad, lemon wedges and sweet chili sauce. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Kuih Lapis (Coconut Layers Cake) with Sweet Potatoes

This is a variation from the tradition Malaysian Kuih Lapis with sweet potatoes added.  The natural orange colour from the orange sweet potatoes looks so pretty.  I made this in just four layers.  Though in the future I will make it only three layers with all the sweet potatoes' part on the top.   For the recipe of traditional kuih lapis, please click here.

After making this kuih lapis, I was wondering if the result is the same if I bake it instead of steaming it?  I will try one with cake base at the bottom and sweet potatoes on the top bake in the oven.  Hopefully it turn out good!  :-)

1 can coconut cream, 400ml
140g Orange colour sweet potato, peeled and sliced
100ml water
80g rice flour
80g tapioca flour
130g sugar, more if you want it sweeter
1/2 tsp salt
Few drops pandan (screwpine) extract
Green food colouring
Square cake tin 19 x 19cm (I used a round one)

1.  Steam the sweet potato until tender for about 3 - 5 minutes.  Leave it to cool and then blend it until smooth.
2.  In a pot, mix together coconut cream, water, sugar and salt, in low heat just to dissolve the sugar.  Leave it to cool.
3.  Mix the coconut mixture with both flours and whisk gently until it's free of lump.  Divide the batter into three portions.
4.  Colour one portion green and add the pandan extract as well and mix well.    Add blended sweet potato to the 2nd portion and mix well.  The 3rd portion remain white.  The part with sweet potato will turn out softer and sweeter when it's done.
5.  Pour all the green colour portion in the cake tin and steam in a preheated steamer.  Steam for about 2 - 3 minutes.
6.  Later layer it with half of the orange portion and steam for another 2 minutes or so.
7.  Repeat the same step with the remaining white portion and the other half of orange portion until all are used up.
8.  Leave it to cool completely before cutting into shapes. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Pan Fried Salmon with Dill Sauce, Mushroom, French Bean and Pasta

Salmon, it is delicious whether pan fried, baked, deep fried or as Sashimi.  This popular oily fish is high in protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin D.

The dill sauce in this recipe is a variation from basic Bechamel white sauce.  Bechamel  sauce is one of the five 'Mother' sauces in Western cooking.

2 pieces salmon steaks (150g each)
200g French beans, blanched
100g brown mushrooms, thinly sliced, (sauteed with 1 tbsp butter, salt and pepper)
2 cakes of tagliatelle, cooked
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp cooking oil 

1 1/2 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup warm milk
1 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp fresh dill, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Serves 2

1.  Over medium heat, add in 1 tablespoon cooking oil.  Season the salmon steaks with some salt and pepper just before putting in the pan.  Cook 1 to 2 minutes on each side of the salmon depending on the thickness.

2.  For the sauce : melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat until boiling.  Stir in flour, garlic powder and cook until mixture is smooth and bubbly, stirring  constantly.  Cook for about 1 minute or so.

3.  Stir in milk.  Bring it to boil and stir constantly for about 1 minute.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Lastly add in dill and the sauce is ready.

4.  To serve, place a layer of mushrooms as the base on the serving dish.  Top with pasta and then the fish.  Pour sauce over the fish and serve with the blanched French beans.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lamb's Lettuce, Bacon, Egg Salad with Lemon and Honey Dressing

Lamb's lettuce, which is also called corn salad (Feldsalat in German) has lots of nutrients.  It has three times as much vitamin C as lettuce, beta-carotene, B6, B9, vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids.

I'd never seen this lettuce when I was in Malaysia.  I learned about it a couple of years ago, and since then like it very much.  We can get organic lamb's lettuce here in Germany at a reasonable price.  So most of the ingredients used in this recipe are organic, except the turkey bacon. 

80g Bio lamb's lettuce
2 Bio eggs, poached or cooked sunny side-up
6 slices lean turkey bacon
some Bio sunflower seeds

Juice squeezed from 1 large Bio lemon
1 1/2 tbsp Bio honey
1 garlic, finely grated
1 1/2 tbsp good extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Serves 2

1.  Wash, drain and dry the lamb's lettuce.  Pan fry the bacon until crispy and set aside to cool.

2.  For the dressing, mix lemon juice and honey together and stir well.  Add in finely grated garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil and stir until combine.

3.  On two serving plates, place the lamb's lettuce as base.  Top with the bacon and eggs.  Drizzle the dressing on the salad and sprinkle the sunflower seeds.