Category Archives: Food

Mango Cheesecake

Regular readers of my blog should know by now that my family loves cheesecake (link to other cheesecake recipes on my blog), that I like trying new recipes — experimenting and tweaking — and that I am cheap. ALDI brand for me and extra points if the ingredients are on Special.

It’s almost summer here and that means more fruits available at the stores. I saw mangoes at a great price, so I grabbed two. Just two.

It’s also birthday season at the Yewnique Farm and my older daughter saw the mangoes and asked what my plans were for those golden pieces of tropical deliciousness. I told her I wasn’t sure yet. Later, while talking with my younger daughter, I wondered if a Mango Cheesecake might be a good idea for older daughter’s birthday. Younger daughter affirmed, “That’s what she told me she wanted!”

In case anyone is wondering, yes, we do eat fruits as they are. They don’t always get turned into cakes.

So, the hunt was on for a mango cheesecake recipe — or, recipes — and the wherewithal to be creative and make it mine.

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Japanese Strawberry Shortcake

The warmer months are upon us here in Melbourne, and with that, lots and lots of strawberries. My daughter put cream on the shopping list (“I thought of making ice cream.”) so I started having visions of Strawberry Shortcake. Wouldn’t you?

I absolutely love the internet because of the accessibility of information. Recipes galore, just by typing in keywords! And, unlike a conventional cookbook, these recipes have ratings and reviews. It’s great!

After looking at several recipes, I found a couple which looked great and easy to follow. Simplicity of instructions ranks high on my priority list when looking at recipes.

The following recipe is inspired by:

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Pandan Cheesecake with Pandan Kaya Topping

I’ve made cakes with pandan (screwpine leaves) flavour several times now.

I think I have finally found a way of making a Pandan Cheesecake with a topping that the whole family likes!

There are three parts to this cheesecake: the base, the cake, the topping. It is a relatively easy recipe, but it does take time, and there are some ‘exotic’ ingredients which some readers might find challenging to obtain. An Asian grocery store (or well-stocked cosmopolitan supermarket) should have these ingredients. (Then again, I may be spoiled and don’t know how good I have it!)

Base

  • a packet of sweet biscuits (like Marie), crushed to yield 2 cups
  • 2/3 cup of melted butter
  • 1 tsp (or so) of cocoa powder (optional)

Note: Most recipes I’ve looked at call for 1 cup of crushed biscuits and 1/3 cup of melted butter. To me, the base ends up too thin and sometimes rather crumbly and does not hold well. I decided to double the amount here — 2 cups crushed biscuits, 2/3 cup melted butter — and I am extremely satisfied with the result. Your mileage may vary.

Method:

Combine crushed biscuits and melted butter until well combined. Press firmly into base of a 22cm (9-in) spring form pan. Chill until firm.

Filling

  • 2 Tbsp. gelatine, dissolved in 1/3 cup water (sprinkle gelatine over cold water, stir to combine, and then microwave on high for 45 seconds)
  • 2 x 250g packet cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1 x 400ml can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 4-5 drops of pandan paste
  • 4-5 drops of pandan essence

 

Method:

Beat cream cheese with electric mixer until smooth.

Add sweetened condensed milk, coconut milk, pandan paste, and pandan essence and beat again until smooth.

Add gelatine mixture and beat again until smooth.

Pour into crumb base. Return to refrigerator and chill until firm. This will take several hours.

Topping:

I got the recipe for the kaya topping from this blog. That recipe is for a pandan kaya layer cake. I just looked at the kaya part for the topping. I tweaked the pandan juice part and the coconut milk part because I lazy (yes, I meant to write it that way). I used pandan paste and *gasp* canned coconut milk! Hey, it worked, okay?

  • 300 g water
  • 1/2 tsp white agar-agar powder
  • 40 g sugar
  • 25 g unsalted butter
  • 40 ml pandan juice (4-5 drops of pandan paste into 40 ml of water)
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Place all the above into a big enough saucepan and let sit for at least 30 minutes. That’s right. Just let it sit. Don’t stir, don’t beat, don’t heat. Just let it be.

  • 120 g coconut milk
  • 35 g white hun kwee powder

In a big enough bowl, combine the coconut milk and white hun kwee powder until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Hun Kwee Powder

Hun Kwee Powder

Hun Kwee powder, sometimes spelled Hoen Kwe  or Hun Kwe, is mung bean flour (starch). This might be the most challenging to obtain. I had to visit three different Asian grocery stores before I found this. (I have purchased this before, so I knew which particular store had it, but I thought I’d try my luck at a couple of others before making the trip there.)

According to a forum, you can use corn flour/starch in place of hun kwee powder. I have not tried this, so I can’t tell you how successful it will be.

  • 5 drops pandan paste
  • 1 big drop yellow food colour

 

Method:

Place saucepan over low heat and stir agar-agar mixture till agar-agar powder dissolves. (Mixture is now very hot but not boiling.)

Turn off heat. Add coconut milk mixture. Stir thoroughly. Add 5 drops pandan paste and 1 big drop egg yellow food colour. Stir thoroughly.

Turn on heat to medium-low. Cook and stir agar-agar mixture till thick enough to coat sides of pot thinly. Turn off heat. Stir till residual heat dissipates. (Mixture should now be thick enough to coat sides of pot thickly but thin enough to flow smoothly.)

Pour over cheesecake and chill until firm.

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Without all the la-di-da:

Base

  • a packet of sweet biscuits (like Marie), crushed to yield 2 cups
  • 2/3 cup of melted butter
  • 1 tsp (or so) of cocoa powder (optional)

Filling

  • 2 Tbsp. gelatine, dissolved in 1/3 cup water (sprinkle gelatine over cold water, stir to combine, and then microwave on high for 45 seconds)
  • 2 x 250g packet cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1 x 400ml can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 4-5 drops of pandan paste
  • 4-5 drops of pandan essence

Topping:

Part 1:

  • 300 g water
  • 1/2 tsp white agar-agar powder
  • 40 g sugar
  • 25 g unsalted butter
  • 40 ml pandan juice (4-5 drops of pandan paste into 40 ml of water)
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Part 2:

  • 120 g coconut milk
  • 35 g white hun kwee powder

Part 3:

  • 5 drops pandan paste
  • 1 big drop yellow food colour

Method:

Base

  1. Combine crushed biscuits and melted butter until well combined. Press firmly into base of a 22cm (9-in) spring form pan. Chill until firm.

Filling

  1. Beat cream cheese with electric mixer until smooth.
  2. Add sweetened condensed milk, coconut milk, pandan paste, and pandan essence and beat again until smooth.
  3. Add gelatine mixture and beat again until smooth.
  4. Pour into crumb base. Return to refrigerator and chill until firm. This will take several hours.

Topping

  1. Place Part 1 into a saucepan and leave for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Combine ingredients in Part 2 and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Place saucepan over low heat and stir agar-agar mixture till agar-agar powder dissolves. (Mixture is now very hot but not boiling.)
  4. Turn off heat. Add coconut milk mixture. Stir thoroughly. Add Part 3. Stir thoroughly.
  5. Turn on heat to medium-low. Cook and stir agar-agar mixture till thick enough to coat sides of pot thinly. Turn off heat. Stir till residual heat dissipates. (Mixture should now be thick enough to coat sides of pot thickly but thin enough to flow smoothly.)
  6. Pour over cheesecake and chill until firm.

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Enjoy!

 

 

 

Birthday Time Again

There are six people in our family and three of them have birthdays within 38 days (inclusive) of each other.

Today is our youngest’s birthday, which also happens to be my younger sister’s birthday. My daughter’s due date was October 31 and I fully expected her to be born a few days before that because all her siblings were born before their due dates. October would have been a good month, too, because then we would all each have our own birth month.

Older daughter was due 3rd December but made her appearance, with some urgency, on the 30th of November. Had she been born on her due date, she would have shared a birth month with her father. When younger daughter missed her due date, and continued to ‘bake’ for another six days, I was beginning to wonder if we had somehow miscalculated her Estimated Time of Arrival. Nope, not only did she want to share a birth month with her older sister, she had to share a birthday with my sister.

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15

The younger son turned 15 today. Fifteen!

Yesterday, I wondered what I should make for breakfast for him and was tossing up between French Toast and pancakes. I had also bought some crumpets that were on special from the supermarket.

“Do you prefer French Toast or pancakes?”

“Umm….pancakes…?”

Then I remembered his love for Nasi Lemak.

“Would you like Nasi Lemak for breakfast?” I asked.

“Is that even a question?”

Nasi Lemak

 

Lamb Vindaloo for dinner. Forgot to take a picture! It was very good!

Strawberry Cheesecake for dessert.

Strawberry Cheesecake

 

 

Foodful Friday: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Brownies

I wanted brownies.

I wanted an easy recipe, ie, something that didn’t involve a lot of time and energy. The fewer ingredients, the better. The more just-put-everything-together-and-mix-and-bake the better.

I found the three-ingredient Nutella Brownies recipe that everyone was posting on Facebook.

Problem: I didn’t have Nutella. Don’t judge me.

Good News:did, however, have chocolate hazelnut spread. (Yes, it’s the same thing. Don’t judge me.)

Problem: I didn’t have enough. (I said, Don’t Judge Me!)

Potential Good News: I had Peanut Butter and Cooking Chocolate.

Question: Could I find a recipe for brownies using those ingredients?

Answer: Yes. Yes, I could.

I got the recipe from here. (And it’s in metric!!)

Ingredients:

  • 225g crunchy peanut butter
  • 200g bar dark chocolate, broken into pieces (I used dark cooking chocolate)
  • 280g soft light brown sugar
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 100g self-raising flour

Method:

  1. Set aside 50g each of the peanut butter and chocolate. This will be for the topping.
  2. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line a 20cm square baking tin with baking paper.
  3. Gently melt remaining chocolate in a pan. When chocolate is melted, remove from heat, stir in peanut butter.
  4. When peanut butter is well combined, add in the sugar and stir until the sugar is just about melted.
  5. Use a wooden spoon to beat in the eggs one by one. Stir in the flour and scrape into the tin.
  6. Melt reserved peanut butter in the microwave on High for 45 secs, or in a pan, until runny, then drizzle over the brownie. Bake for 30-35 mins until it has a crust, but the middle still seems slightly uncooked.
  7. Melt reserved chocolate, drizzle over the brownie, then cool in the tin before cutting into squares.

Okay, so it wasn’t exactly just-put-everything-together-and-mix-and-bake, but it was SO good!

I used crunchy peanut butter for the batter, and smooth peanut butter for the topping.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Brownies

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Brownies

Foodful Friday: Lemon Cheesecake with Fruit-and-Jelly Topping

Note: When I say jelly, I am NOT referring to fruit preserve. I am referring to a gelatin dessert-type of food. US Americans refer to such foods by the brand name, Jell-O.

Now that I’ve got that cleared up….

I made this for my younger son’s birthday recently. He said he wanted a cheesecake and so I tried.

Ingredients:
Base:
1 1/4 cups sweet biscuit crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted

Filling:
2 x 250g cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 x 400g can sweetened condensed milk

Topping:
1 x 400g can mixed berries
1 x 85g packet jelly crystals (I used Port Wine flavour, but I reckon any berry flavour would work just as well.)

Method:

  1. Combine biscuit crumbs and butter, press onto the base of a 24cm spring form pan. Chill.
  2. Beat cream cheese until smooth, add lemon juice, sweetened condensed milk and beat well.
  3. Pour into prepared crumb crust. Chill until firm.
  4. Top chilled cheesecake with canned mixed berries.
  5. Prepare the jelly using 3/4 the amount of water the packet directions call for. I do this so the jelly will be firmer and not so wobbly. Pour jelly mixture carefully over the cheesecake.
  6. Return to refrigerator and chill until firm.
Lemon Cheesecake with Fruit-and-Jelly Topping

Lemon Cheesecake with Fruit-and-Jelly Topping

Candles are optional. 😉

Foodful Friday: Hong Shao Rou (Red Cooked Pork)

Hong Shao Rou (红烧 肉) is a Chinese dish that doesn’t really appear on many Chinese restaurant menus. I guess it’s because it’s comfort food —  one doesn’t go out for hong shao rou; one eats it at home, ladling copious amounts into one’s bowl of hot steamed rice. Heaven.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg pork belly meat cut into two inch cubes
  • 2 carrots cubed
  • 2 potatoes cubed
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • thumb-size knob of ginger, shredded
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 6 cloves of garlic peeled
  • 6 whole star anise
  • 4 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Shaoxing wine (you can use any white wine, or sherry, or rice wine as substitute)
  • 1 1/2 cups clear stock (or water)

Hong Shao Rou ingredients

Method

Heat up vegetable oil and the sugar in a pot over medium heat. Stir until sugar is melted and starting to caramelise.

I used brown sugar. Plain old white sugar is probably better, to get the caramelising happening.

I used brown sugar. Plain old white sugar is probably better, to get the caramelising happening.

Put the cubed pork in the pot and brown it with the caramelized sugar. Stir until meat is nicely browned.

Hong shao rou

Put the ginger, garlic, carrots, potatoes, cinnamon, star anise, dark soy sauce, rice wine and clear stock into the pot. Cover the pot and simmer over low heat and cook for about 90 minutes. Stir every once in a while to prevent sticking and burning.

Cooking and Food 004
After about 90 minutes, raise the heat to medium high and stir until the sauce reduces and becomes thick.

Hong Shao Rou 3

Serve hot with white rice.

This dish keeps well and tastes better with age.

Foodful Friday: Baked Moroccan Chicken

I have been looking for ways to cook chicken drumsticks. Lest you think I have only been cooking chicken drumsticks lately, let me assure you that is not the case! I’m merely posting new-to-me recipes.

I got the idea for this Moroccan recipe from this blog. I doubled the amounts —  but totally forgot to put the coconut! — and reduced the amount of chicken stock.

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Foodful Friday: Spicy Tomatoes Chicken Drumsticks and Potatoes

Chicken drumsticks are pretty cheap and economical from ALDI. A 2kg package costs AUD$5.99, meaning that it costs less than AUD$3 a kg. However, thinking up new and interesting ways to cook drumsticks can be a challenge. After a while, even Hainanese Chicken Rice gets a bit boring. (Just a teeny tiny bit, mind, because we still do love it so much and it is easy to prepare.)

So, in an age where thousands of recipes are at one’s fingertips — with comments and reviews and suggestions — I hit upon a recipe for baked chicken drumsticks with potatoes with Indian flavours. We do so love Indian spices here at the Yewnique homestead.

I got the following recipe from this website.

As with any recipe I come across, I sometimes tweak it because I don’t have the exact ingredients or I am trying to cut corners or whatever.

So without further ado, here is my attempt.

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