Wishing everyone a Happy Winter Solstice..
Something healthy on your Christmas table this year ?
With a roasted bird and all the yummy trimmings, maybe this would fit into the ‘healthier’ section but also packed with protein and nutrients.
I was just looking for some quinoa recipes and found them quite easily fitting in alot of recipes, salad being the easiest one. I also saw a granola recipe that uses quinoa, I’m going to make that next!
So if you’re looking at the word quinoa and wondering, wtf is that… It is the mother of all grains. Pronounced as KEEN-wah, most think that quinoa is a grain, it’s actually a seed and is the same family as beets and spinach! Listed as a superfood along the likes of broccoli, blueberries and almond, quinoa is gluten free, high in protein and fiber and other nutrients. You can check out Queen of Quinoa if you would like to know more about this amazing ingredient and see what else you can do with it. It’s very versatile!
Brussels Sprouts are quite in season now, usually during Thanksgiving & Christmas, you’ll see them in the market. Brussels sprouts are especially high in vitamin K, which promotes healthy bones, prevents calcification of the body’s tissues, serves as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, and is essential for proper brain and nerve function.
And suddenly I feel so healthy with this dish wtf
Easy to put up, vibrant with colours, and healthy too! Since quinoa is very versatile, you can play around with the other ingredients, like using roast pumpkin with some sage, or sweet potato and maybe some corn ? or feta cheese and baby spinach. Get creative
This dish was originally made with using pomegranate instead of dried cranberries. But since I’m not a big fan of the poms, I used dried cranberries and lightly roasted some cherry tomatoes to add on more colour, and something with liquid. Walnuts add a texture to it. Oh so colourful.
Quinoa Salad with Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- ½ cup quinoa
- 250g brussels sprouts
- handful of roasted walnuts
- handful of dried cranberries
- handful of cherry tomato
- grapeseed oil or olive oil
- Pour quinoa and 1 cup water into a pot, bring to a boil and let it simmer for 8-10 minutes.
- Remove from heat, cover with a lid for 5 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork, then transfer to a bowl and let it ‘dry’ for further 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 190 C. Line a tray. Wash brussels sprouts. Cut the stems off and cut in half. Toss in with oil, salt and pepper. Transfer the brussels sprouts to the tray and roast for 10-15 minutes, turning them in between.
- minutes before its done, half the cherry tomato and put on the same tray and roast with the brussels sprouts.
- When done, transfer everything into a mixing / salad bowl. Add roasted walnuts and dried cranberries, toss.
- Season with salt & pepper.
I have finally conquered the Chinese books! See, the only time I actually studied chinese was when I was in primary school. It wasn’t a chinese school where every subject is in Chinese and it’s a do or die situation. I was bumming around in a private primary school that taught the Chinese language as a subject; POL. So comparatively, my level of writing and reading Chinese language is probably only up to Standard 2 of those from the chinese schools. Yeap, you can say it’s not much actually.
I speak Chinese tho, so conversing is not much of a problem; but it is when I try to read them. During the old times, I would only learn Chinese if I want to go to karaoke; thats just cause Chinese songs are nicer So I had no choice but to pick up some and recognise some words. Then when internet and technology has come into the picture, learning Chinese (or any other language I would say) is now much easy and more convenient. I am using the iPad now to handwrite the chinese word onto it and translate it via google translator or another translator app. (that also mean that I can take on Japanese books now!! YAY!)
And well you know, I don’t really use the Malaysian published bilingual baking / cooking books because it’s just not what I’m looking for anyway. So first one up is by 孟老師 ‘s 中式麵食 book. I had wanted to know how to make 小籠包 (Chinese steamed pork dumplings) for the longest time ever but just no English book would illustrate that well enough. Hence I gotta go get a trusted Chinese recipe book and for all you know, 孟老師 is pretty popular in the blogosphere. I then saw her book and browsed through the recipes of buns, mantou, steamed dumplings, bao and lots more. It looked good so I decided to get it since I’ve already bought a few Chinese cookbooks before this and translating is not a prob. If all else fail, I will ask my mum cause, of course, she is Chinese literate. heh. Why did I go through so much trouble when I have a live translator at home right ? I guess then I will never learn any of the Chinese words if I had asked my mum to translate them for me. You could also ask me why I need to go through all the trouble when there are tons of recipes on the internet, well, I’m a cookbook junkie, and they are much more of a collectibles for me. People collect toys and coins, I collect cookbook! Easy as that.
Flipping through the pages, I was eager to make something already because I’ve not made mantous or bao (buns) before, ever! I had wanted to make the Dai Bao (Big Bun) with minced pork and boiled egg inside, but nope, something quicker, something of which I would have those ingredients at home already. Then I saw the black sesame mantou, bingo!! That’s it, I’m making you After some translation of the recipes, I immediately went back home after work to make it. Lol, I am usually NOT THAT EFFICIENT. really.
And, no I still don’t like sweet buns or Asian style breads. I would prefer bao, dumpling and mantou.
So here it is, translated for all you bananas.
Black Sesame Mantou 黑芝麻饅頭
(makes 8 )
Adapted from 中式麵食 by 孟老師
260ml tepid water / lukewarm water
5g instant yeast
500g medium-protein flour (I used a 50/50 of high & low protein cause thats all I have)
60g caster sugar
5g vegetable oil
25g toasted black sesame seeds
pinch of salt
25g toasted black sesame seeds
15g caster sugar
1. Dissolve yeast in tepid water in a bowl (you can use the mixing bowl if you’re using a mixer, like me) and let it sit for 5 minutes. Into the same bowl, pour in flour, caster sugar, vegetable oil, toasted black sesame seeds and salt. Using a dough hook, mix the dough for about 10 minutes. It should be like a smooth surfaced dough. Remove the dough, lightly knead it and shape into a log. Cover with a cloth and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. (Pic 1)
2. In the meantime, make the filling, lightly blend toasted black sesame seeds and caster sugar in a food processor. Keep aside. Then roll the dough out to 45 cm x 20cm. (Pic 2)
4. Visually divide your dough into 3 parts. Fold the left flap in, then the right. (Pic 3 and 4)
5. Roll the dough out again into approximate 60cm x 20cm. Brush some water on the top surface, then sprinkle the black sesame filling on the surface. (Pic 1&2)
6. Then roll in like a swiss roll or into a log. At the end, the log should measure 60cm in length and probably have 3-4 circular swirls in it. (Pic 3-5)
7. Cut the dough into 8 portions, place them on a greaseproof paper. (Pic 6 and 7) Put them into a steamer and let it sit in there for 20 minutes until it has proofed.(Pic 8)
8. Turn on the steamer for about 15-20 minutes. It should be slightly bigger as well after steaming.
9. Eat with condensed milk!! So yum.
I wished I had known Chinese earlier. But it is never too late. 中式麵食 by 孟老師 comes with a cd or two with the book, so if all else fail, you would at least know the method of rolling mantou or pleating the dumplings. Just last weekend, I went to BookFest Malaysia 2011 in Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. There were so much book, some are from publishers from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. I’ve had my good time browsing through some books. Managed to score some books from the place.
CIA Professional Chef book was only RM69.90, slashed from the original price of abt RM 250.++. Jamie’s Italy was at a 25% off, My life in France by Julia Child was only RM16.90 and the 3 other chinese books were on average about RM24/book. Lots more book to buy there, but I had ordered a book from Kinokuniya KLCC, It should be here soon…So enough of buying this month.. Wheeeee Wanna guess what book is that ? It’s from Japan.
A few months ago, I had an order of 6 carrot cakes. So I bought a whole pack (2kg of cream cheese) because it’s just cheaper to buy in bulk, right? Though I don’t actually need to use so much cream cheese. But anyway, extra means I get to bake cheesecakes! Initially I wanted to bake a dense cheesecake but I wasn’t sure what was I thinking that day, I baked a Japanese Cotton cheesecake instead. So since I’ve done the original one, a matcha one (Oh, I haven’t posted it up eh?) I thought I’d continue and do another Japanese flavour inspired one. Black sesame it is then. But instead of having a whole Black piece of cake, I marbled it. It looks pretty, like yin and yang.
I really like the smokey, nutty and sweet flavour of black sesame. I mean, you can see from this, this and this.. Lol, overused ingredient Haha..
Japanese Cotton Cheesecake
(makes 8? round cake)
140g fine granulated sugar
6 egg whites
6 egg yolks
1/4 tsp cream of tartar or lemon juice
250g cream cheese
100ml fresh milk
80g black sesame paste
2 tbsp of toasted black sesame seeds
60g cake flour (can also use plain flour)
20g corn flour
1/4 tsp salt
1. Melt cream cheese, butter, half of the milk, vanilla seeds and pod, over a double boiler. In another bowl, mix the remaining milk and black sesame paste. Whisk it well so it becomes a smooth paste. (May need to heat over double boiler to soften it) Strain the mixture through a sieve just to make sure there are no lumps of cream cheese. Cool the mixture. Fold the first cream cheese mixture in the flour, the cornflour, salt, egg yolks, lemon zest and mix well. Divide the mixture to 2 bowls, add the black sesame paste on another. So now you have 2 bowls, 1 plain and 1 with black sesame.
2. Whisk egg whites with cream of tartar or lemon juice until foamy. Add in the sugar and whisk until soft peaks form. To prevent large holes, do not whisk egg whites at the fastest speed. Use a moderate speed to achieve soft peaks (and tiny bubbles).Divide the meringue into half as well (Just eyeball it)
3. Add the cheese mixture and toasted black sesame seeds to the egg white mixture and fold well for both. Lightly grease and line the bottom and sides of the pan; make sure the paper is 1.5 inch higher than the pan as the cake will rise pretty high if u’ve done it right, with greaseproof baking paper or parchment paper). Wrap the base of your cake tin with aluminium foil if you are using a springform tin, to prevent seepage. Pour half of plain cream cheese mixture into a 8-inch round cake pan, dollop half of the black sesame cream cheese mixture sparingly. Then add in the remaining of both. Use a skewer to draw figures of 8 around, in the cake pan .Cover the top of the cake loosely with an aluminium sheet.
4. Bake cheesecake in a water bath for 1 hour 10 mins or until set and golden brown at 160°C. Remove the aluminium sheet after 50 minutes of baking.
5. Leave to cool in oven with door ajar, about 30mins to 1 hour. Sudden changes in temperature may cause the cake to cool too quickly and collapse.