Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Apple Almond Cake

This turned out yummy. It turned out more like a shortbread - a bit dryer and denser than a typical cake. It uses basic ingredients, plus ricotta.
  • 1 3/4 c flour
  • 3/4 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 c butter, softened
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1 t almond extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c ricotta
  • 2 apples
  • cinnamon
  1. Combine first 4 dry ingredients in bowl.
  2. Mash butter into smooth paste. Add sugar and mix well. Add extract and one egg at a time.
  3. Add ricotta and mix thoroughly.
  4. Add dry ingredients and mix.
  5. Layer half in greased 8" round pan. Top with apple slices. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  6. Spread remaining batter on top.
  7. Bake at 180C/350F for 60 minutes or until done.
  • use vanilla extract instead of almond
  • sprinkle slivered or chopped almonds on top

Monday, December 29, 2008

Tofu Stir Fry with Black Bean Sauce

  • oil, for frying
  • 2-6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 med onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped/sliced
  • 1 head broccoli, broken into small pieces
  • mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 squares baked tofu (doufu gan), cubed
  • spicy black bean sauce
  • soy sauce
  • optional: sesame seeds
  1. Fry the garlic and onions until tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add vegetables and cook until tender. Add water if too dry.
  3. Stir black bean sauce with tofu. Add to pan and heat through. Sprinkle with soy sauce.
  4. Serve over rice. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  • add your favorite vegetables (red pepper, bamboo shoots, lotus root, etc)
  • add more water and thickener to make a sauce
  • add more spices: black pepper, ginger

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Pasta with Pumpkin, Spinach and Pine Nuts

I got this ages ago from the Message Cookbook but never had a chance to make it until now. It was submitted by Libby Renton. "The pumpkin should remain in cubes, but if the variety you have is soft, it may end up in a mush."
  • 1 small pumpkin (about 700 g), diced into 1.5 cm cubes
  • 2 large handfuls baby spinach
  • 50 g pine nuts, toasted
  • cream (optional) - just a gloop
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • 200 g pasta eg. farfalle, penne, spirals
  • freshly grated Parmesan
  1. Place the pumpkin on a flat baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and roast in the oven for about 20 min, or until cooked and starting to turn brown at the edges.
  2. When pumpkin is cooked, wilt the spinach in a pan, and add the pumpkin and the oily juices.
  3. Add the cream if using.
  4. Carefully stir through cooked pasta.
  5. Add some pepper, nutmeg and Parmesan, and serve.


Add sliced onion, sliced mushrooms, and/or chopped pancetta at the start.


I used 3 glops of ricotta instead of cream, and sprinkled emmentel instead of Parmesan.

Cut up the pumpkin and roasted with the skin on. Peeled off the skin after. Used Chinese long-shu-cai, parmesan and left out the pine nuts and cream. Delicious! Next time more nutmeg.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Pork Noodle Soup

Nothing beats one pot cooking. I got the Chinese greens from the garden and used the free stock and noodles from P. Delicious!
  • 2-3 servings of wide noodles (or your favorite kind)
  • water
  • bouillon cube (or stock)
  • 1 t soy sauce
  • 1 T oyster sauce
  • fresh Chinese greens
  • 3 large mushrooms, sliced
  • slices of pork (cha sao, smoked ham, peppered ham)
  1. Cook noodles until almost done. Remove to bowls.
  2. Add water to pan. Add bouillon cube and stir to dissolve. Add soy sauce (more or less to taste) and oyster sauce.
  3. Add noodles, mushrooms and stems of leafy greens. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes.
  4. Add leafy part of greens. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add pork.
  6. Distribute into eating bowls.
  • Use dried Chinese mushrooms for more flavor.
  • Add other vegetables: carrots, bok choy, etc
  • Use another type of protein: beef, fish balls, tofu
  • Pour in soup to taste.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cream Cheese Filled Carrot Muffins

I used to have a great recipe for carrot cake - low in sugar, low in fat (1/4 c oil), great in taste. I remember it had maple syrup, pineapple, raisins, carrots and applesauce. But I haven't been able to find it again. So today I made a batch of carrot muffins using a similar recipe. It was a disaster. This is the first time I've ever put fresh baked muffins straight into the garbage bin.

So onto the second recipe...which came out decent. Though I think it still needs some improving.

  • 2 c flour
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 3/4 t baking soda
  • 1.5 t baking powder
  • 1.5 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 c shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 c oil
  • 1.5 t vanilla extract
  • 2 c grated carrot
  • 1 grated apple
  • optional: 1/2 c nuts, 1/2 c raisins
  • 4 oz cream cheese (half package of Philadelphia), softened
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  1. In a large bowl, mix the first 6 dry ingredients thoroughly. Stir in the coconut.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, oil, and vanilla together.
  3. Gently stir the wet ingredients (including apple and carrots) and optional ingredients into the flour mixture. Do not overmix!
  4. In a separate bowl, mix filling ingredients.
  5. Preheat oven to 200C. Line muffin tin with paper liners.
  6. Fill cups 1/3 full of batter. Add dollop of filling. Cover with batter.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes or until done.
  8. Makes 18 muffins.
  • The filling is a variation, which can easily be left out to make regular muffins.
  • Add other spices like nutmeg, ginger, cloves, etc.
  • Add jam with or to the filling.
  • Most muffin recipes call for 180C/350F, but I find that my mini oven is a little weak and things do better at a higher temperature and higher rack. If you have a traditional oven, try 180C and adjust from there.
I'd like to see the oil content further reduced...perhaps by adding applesauce or more grated apple. I like a chunky muffin, so maybe next time cubing the apple instead of grating. Also less sugar, perhaps replaced with honey/maple syrup or the natural sugars in a pineapple addition. Next time I'd like to add raisins and nuts. Ran out so couldn't this time.

Morning Glory Muffins
This is basically the Carrot Muffin recipe all over again but with some slight changes.

Instead of 3/4 c oil, I used 1/2 cup of melted butter and 1/4 c apple-pearsauce.
I chopped 1/2 the apple, and grated the rest.
I added 1/2 c raisins.
I used 1 c of sugar.
I added nutmeg and ginger.
Baked at 190C for 30 minutes.

This was a big improvement. Next time? Perhaps more apple chunks, less sugar, and add walnuts or maybe pine nuts or almonds. Throw a banana in there, too?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Swirl Breads

No pesto in the house, so I used the Pesto Bread dough recipe, split in two and filled each with something different.

Sweet Bread
1 chopped apple
brown sugar
butter (optional)

Savory Bread
chutney powder
black pepper

  1. Follow the directions to make Pesto Bread dough. Split into 2 pieces.
  2. Roll the dough thin, into a rectangle. Spread the filling on. Roll the dough. Place in greased pan and let rise for 40 minutes.
  3. Slit the top and drizzle oil on. Sprinkle with salt (savory).
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 200C.