Thursday, 27 September 2007

WHB #102: What tastes like onion but doesn't make you cry?

For this week's WHB #102, hosted by Ulrike at Küchenlatein, I would like to highlight onion sprouts. Many of you would have seen this before. It's commonly used as a garnish for meals at fancy bistros or in a sandwich. I rediscovered this sprout recently while I was looking for something else at the green grocer.

Onion Sprouts

Let's have a closer look... it reminded me of Medusa's serpent hair...

Trio of Onion Sprouts

Onion sprouts are pale to bright green or sometimes yellowish sprouts with a black seed and a distinct onion aroma.

Taste - Eaten raw, it is somewhat crunchy and has a spicy, slightly acidic taste. The onion flavour is delicate but unmistakable. If you like eating raw onions but don't like having onion breath, then this will be a good substitute :-)

Nutritional Value - Sprouts are freshly germinated edible seeds such as beans, grains and nuts. As a 'living' food, Sprouts continue to grow vitamins after being harvested. Onion sprouts are a good source of vitamin A, B group vitamins, iodine, phosphorous and potassium.

Storage - Sprouts must be kept refrigerated. Correctly stored, sprouts should have a shelf life of 7 to 10 days. If they are rinsed every few days they will stay fresh for a considerable time.

You can read more about onion sprouts here, here and here.

This week, I used onion sprouts as one of the main ingredients in the Onion Sprouts and Avocado Omelette. I've also used it in a supporting role (garnish on my laksa, for another post).

Onion Sprouts and Avocado Omelette

3 eggs (I used 1 egg yolk & 3 egg whites)
a few splashes of milk
bunch of onion sprouts
1/8-1/4 avocado, chopped
salt & pepper

- In a bowl, whisk eggs with milk, salt and pepper.
- Over medium heat, pour the egg mixture into a non-stick pan.
- When the bottom of the omelette is starting to brown but the top is still uncooked, place the onion sprouts and the chopped avocado on one side of the omelette (see photo below).
- Flip the other side of the omelette onto the onion spouts & avocado side. Allow omelette to cook for another minute and serve immediately.

ta-dah! I served the omelette with rocket, carrot and a dollop of sour cream.

Oh, before you go, I wanted to show you my nifty egg separator gadget. It saved me from getting very frustrated many times. I won’t even go into how many tears I’ve shed when I’ve broken a yolk in a bowl of eggs whites when I was preparing to make pavlova/meringues.

On last thing, an interesting tidbit about onions and crying:
I read somewhere that chewing gum while chopping onions will prevent you from crying. If you try that, let me know if it works.

Friday, 21 September 2007

Garlic & Chive Semolina Pancakes

I promised to post the recipe for these pancakes when I wrote about the single clove garlic for WHB #99 (see here for the round-up). Originally, I wanted to replicate a savoury semolina steamed "cake" that I had once at a restaurant but after much googling, I was unable to get my hands on such a recipe. If any of you know where I can find a recipe for that, please let me know. Since I was adamant about using semolina-something with the meal, I decided to improvise and made these semolina pancakes instead.

Garlic & Chive Semolina Pancakes
Adapted from this recipe

Makes 4 pancakes as part of a main or 10-12 blinis

3/4 cup semolina
1/2 cup water
2 eggs
1 clove of regular garlic, crushed
fresh chives, chopped
1/2 tspn baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
butter for cooking

Place water, egg, garlic, chives, salt & pepper in a bowl and mix to combine.

Stir in semolina and baking soda into the wet mixture. Mix well.
Note: The batter should not be made in advance because the semolina would absorb the water and make it very thick and difficult to work with.

Lightly grease a large non-stick frying pan with a small portion of butter and place the desired amount of batter(depending on how big you want the pancakes to be) into the pan. Cook over a low to medium heat until pancakes have golden undersides. Turn pancakes and cook on the other side until golden and cooked through.
Note: Overcooking it will dry out these pancakes.

Pancakes can be eaten warm or cold with your desired accompaniments.

Tasting Notes:

These pancakes are quite sturdy, so it won't tear easily. This makes it easy to use as a base for the rest of the meal. It would be a good alternative to the usual blinis. This recipe was a little on the dry side, so it will go well with any toppings that has a lot of moisture. Or maybe I would increase the amount of liquid of the batter for next time. Perhaps, I could have made a sauce to go with it if I were to use it as part of a main meal.

I used the semolina pancakes as a base for this meal:

Speaking of kangaroo, I have a little joke told to me this week by an 8-year-old:

What do you get when you cross a kangaroo with a sheep?
A woolly jumper!!!!

Have a good weekend everyone :-)

Sunday, 9 September 2007

SHF # 35: Fig, Date and Walnut Scrolls

Semi-dried figs

The theme for Sugar High Friday (SHF) #35 is "The Beautiful Fig" and it was chosen by Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice. Figs and I have had a long, sometimes bumpy relationship. An excerpt:

1. Figs & Sand
My first encounter with figs: When I was a young girl, vistors from the middle east brought many gifts; including dates and dried figs. I loved dates immediately. Then I had my first bite of a dried fig and it was awful – I thought, "THERE IS SAND IN MY FIG!" I totally did not expect the grainy texture. But I saw how much my grandmother enjoyed the figs so I pretended that I liked it too. After I learnt that the “sand” was actually the seeds of the figs, I quickly grew to like them and even enjoy the contrast between the moist flesh and grainy seeds.

"Sand" in dried figs

2. Warning: Odour Pollution of Dried Figs

Do not bring dried figs on a camping trip. Especially if you are sharing a two-person tent. Need I say more…?

3. Fresh Figs – a beautiful late discovery
I finally tasted fresh figs as an adult, while travelling overseas (fresh figs are uncommon in Singapore) – now that was love at first bite! I especially love it quartered and roasted, served with a dollop of mascarpone and drizzled with a sticky botrytis Semillon or honey.

4. Figs are sticky
Fresh figs have an affinity for my running shoes. When fig season is here, I know it straight away because after each run through a particular park that has lots of fig tees, I have to painstakingly remove the stickiest squashed figs off my running shoes.

Now on to the recipe... Fresh figs are not currently in season in the southern hemisphere, so I've decided to use semi-dried figs. They are more moist then the typical dried figs. These scrolls were so good that Quikong and I polished off half of it as soon as it was out of the oven. The Cointreau glaze makes it extra special. I also suggest using a glaze scented with rosewater. I think that it goes well with both figs and dates.

Fig, Date and Walnut Scrolls

Makes 10-12 mini scrolls

90ml milk
1 large egg, room temperature
225g / 2 cups unbleached white flour
½ tsp salt
25 g / 2 tbsp caster sugar
25g butter, softened
1 tsp easy-blend (rapid-rise) dried yeast

15g butter, melted
60 g semi-dried figs, stems removed & chopped
40 g dates, chopped
50g walnuts, chopped
40g soft light brown sugar, mixed with
1-2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tbps Cointreau (or orange juice)
3 tbsp icing sugar

(or 2 tsp water
1 tsp rosewater
3 tbsp icing sugar)


Pour the milk into the bread machine pan. Add the egg.

Sprinkle over the flour, ensuring that it completely covers the liquid. Add the salt, sugar and butter in three separate corners of the pan. Make a small indent in the centre of the flour (but not down as far as the liquid) and add the yeast.

Set the bread machine to the basic dough setting. Press start.

Lightly grease a 7-inch square or round cake tin. When the dough cycle has finished and dough has doubled in bulk, remove the dough from the machine and place it on a lightly floured surface.

Knock the dough back (punch it down) gently, then roll it out to form a rectangle (16 x 12 inches)

Brush the dough with the melted butter and sprinkle it with the dried fruits, nuts and brown sugar/spice mix.

Starting from one long edge, roll the dough up, Swiss (jelly) roll fashion. Press the edges together to seal. Cut the roll into 10-12 slices and then place these cut side up in the prepared tin. Do not put them too close together because during the second rising, they will almost double in size.

Cover with an oiled clear film (plastic wrap). Leave to rise in a warm place for 30-45 minutes, or until the dough slices have almost doubled in size. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200° C.

Bake the scrolls for 15-20 minutes, or till they have risen well and are evenly golden all over. Be careful not to over bake because you want it still very luscious and slightly moist. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

While the scrolls are still warm, prepare the glaze. Mix the icing sugar with the Cointreau. Brush the mixture on the scrolls or drizzle it over the scrolls. Serve slightly warm.

Dough recipe adapted from The Complete Book of Bread and Bread machines by C. Ingram & J. Shapter.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Garlic ‘Roo on Semolina Pancake

Grilled Garlic Kangaroo served with Wilted Spinach, Semolina Pancake and Green Chilli Jam

The Kangaroo is an Aussie symbol. We also eat kangaroo meat which is 98% fat-free, high in protein, zinc and iron. Have a look at how kangaroo compares to other types of meats here. The Australian kangaroo industry estimates that it exports kangaroo meat to more than 55 countries. The European Union and Russia are the most significant markets with the USA and Asia becoming increasingly important.

The only draw back (for some) is that kangaroo meat has a slight gamey flavour. Quikong won’t touch it because it tastes too ‘roo (i.e. gamey) for him. I’m basically on my own when it comes to having some kangaroo meat.

Cooking kangaroo meat:
Due the stronger flavour, I always marinade kangaroo fillets before coking it. For this meal, I marinated it in crushed garlic, dried coriander, chilli powder and sesame oil. Kangaroo fillet is best eaten quite rare. Since it is so low in fat, over-cooking it makes it tough. In a hot pan or bbq, cook kangaroo fillet for 2 minutes on each side. Then lower the heat and cook for a further 1-2 minutes for rare and 3-4 for medium rare. Let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing. For more tips on cooking different cuts of kangaroo meats, have a look here.

Since it was raining intermittently all day yesterday, I was stuck at home and had to time to get all “fancy” with my lunch. I served the kangaroo fillet with wilted spinach (steam in the microwave, then stir through a little butter or EV olive oil and sea salt) and garlic & chive semolina pancake. I topped it off with green chilli jam. The recipe for the semolina pancakes can be found here.

Since this is my entry for this week's Weekend Herb Blogging (WHB)#99 which is hosted by the lovely Katie, I have chosen to highlight one of the ingredients that I used for this post. It is something interesting that I discovered while perusing the green grocer.

What looks like an onion but tastes like garlic?

Let me introduce you to the single clove garlic / single bulb garlic. Some sources on the internet likened it to elephant garlic, which actually belong to the same species as the leek. This is when it gets confusing because other sources reported that the single bulb garlic is the result of planting immature garlic clove and is also called garlic onion. Can someone clarify this for me?


Tasting Note:
Although its flavour is mellow compared to regular garlic, it seems more creamy, moist, plump and easier to use. No wonder it has been referred to as the “non-garlic lover’s garlic”.

Use and storage:
To peel, trim the top and base and slip off the papery skin. Slice, chop, mince or crush the garlic and use as desired. This garlic is best stored in a paper bag in the refrigerator and used within two weeks of purchasing.


Using a single clove garlic makes my job so much easier because we use a lot of garlic in our cooking. Not need to waste time peeling garlic when I need garlic in large quantities such as when I am roasting/caramelising garlic, making pesto, garlic bread, etc. I am pro-garlic. It makes most savoury dishes taste better.

Do drop by Katie’s Blog, Thyme for Cooking, at the end of the week for WHB#99 round up.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Melt-in-your-mouth Strawberry Tart

It was Fathers' Day in Australia last Sunday. We had beautiful weather that day so Quikong decided that we should go kayaking before going over to his parents' place. I had to arrange the strawberries in a hurry, then had to carry this tart to the kayak rental place and luckily they had a fridge that I could store it in. To keep the story short, the strawberry tart survived the journey and made it to the Father's Day lunch in one piece.

I found this recipe from Martha Steward's magazine called Everyday Food (May 2006) and can also be found here. It consists of a very tender, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread crust, light cream cheese filling and luscious juicy strawberries. Not convinced yet? It's also so easy to prepare. I also highly recommend this tart to those who do not feel comfortable or confident with shortcrust pastry because this shortbread pastry is really easy to make and does not require the use of a rolling pin. It can be made ahead of time - I prepared the crust the day before, stored it in the fridge and baked it next morning. After it cooled, I assembled the tart at 9am and when we ate it at 3pm, the crust was still crispy. Despite the tender crust, the tart was easily lifted out of the removable-base tart pan.

My adjustments to the recipe:
I increased the salt for the crust to 1/2 tspn, added 1 tspn of vanilla sugar to the crust and also to the filling. I glazed the strawberries with 1-2 tbsp of strawberry jam that I warmed slightly in the microwave. Next time, I think that I might try adding some sour cream and increase the sugar accordingly for a more "fluffy" filling. I'd love to make another tart with blueberries or rasberries.

The Verdict:
Everyone at the lunch, from Quikong's little niece to his grandmother (who normally does not eat dessert) loved it. There were no leftovers. What are you waiting for???

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Bottling up Passion(fruit) and Passing on the Awards

Passionfruit Curd on Scones

Before I talk about passionfruit, I would like to pass on a few awards. When I started this blog, it was my way of sharing recipes and stories related to food with my family and friends (most of them do not live in Sydney). I never imagined that I would get to know so many lovely, thoughtful and helpful people through the food blogging community. I really appreciate all the comments that's been left on my blog, which is only a few months old. It's wonderful to able to share this passion for food with like-minded people from all over the globe. There are so many of you that I would like to express my gratitude to, so this would be great opportunity to do so:

(drum roll.....)

Valli from More than Burnt Toast handed the Droolworthy Blogger award to me recently. I was really pleasantly surprised and very thrilled. I use a very basic Lumix (Panasonic) digital camera and I don't know much about food photography. But I do know food :-) I would like to pass this award on to:

Eva of Sweet Sins
Kirsten of Kirsten's Home Cooking
Janet of
Janet is Hungry
Anh of
Food Lover's Journey
Amanda of
Little Foodies

"The Power of Schmooze Award is for bloggers who effortlessly weave their way in and out of the blogosphere, leaving friendly trails and smiles, happily making new friends along the way. They don’t limit their visits to only the rich and successful, but spend some time to say hello to new blogs as well. They are the ones who engage others in meaningful conversations, refusing to let it end at a mere hello - all the while fostering a sense of closeness and friendship.”

I was so touched when Amanda of Little Foodies handed this award to me. I do enjoy the "conversations" that we have and although we haven't met, I feel as though I am getting to know her more and more. I would like to pass this award on to:

Truffle of What's on my Plate
Cynthia of Tastes like Home
Susan of
The Well-Seasoned Cook
Katie of
Thyme For Cooking
Patricia of
Technicolor Kitchen

"The Thoughtful Blogger Award is for those who answer blog comments, emails, and make their visitors feel at home on their blogs. For the people who take others’ feelings into consideration before speaking out and who are kind and courteous. Also for those bloggers who spend so much of their time helping other bloggers design, improve, and fix their sites. This award is for those generous bloggers who think of others.”

This award came also came from Amanda. A few weeks later Cynthia of Tastes like Home also handed this to me. I should be the one to thank them for always responding thoughfully to my comments. Cynthia is also always willing to go that extra mile by e-mailing her recipes. I would like to pass on this award to:

Carol of Oh for the love of food!
Valli of More than Burnt Toast

Rose of 64 ft Kitchen

Aimee of Under the High Chair

Wendy of A Wee Bit of Cooking

Now on to the food....

Passion fruit Curd / Passionfruit Butter

Last week, I had a request from Quikong's sister for Passionfruit Butter. I am always happy to fulfil such requests. I've never made this before, so I did a bit of research and not surprisingly, I decided to use Bill Granger's recipe. He's never let me down ;-) You can find Bill's Passionfruit Curd recipe here. The only adjustment I made was that I used salted butter. Additionally, all the ingredients I used (except for the passionfruit) was organic. I also made Bill's scones from that same recipe.

"Bottling up" some Passion (fruit) ;-)

Have a great weekend everyone!