Archive for the ‘Snacks’ Category

Sesame Bok Choi

November 12, 2008

You would have seen from yesterday’s post that my bok choi plants were starting to get rather large. Well I thought I better pick some & eat it today, because it grows back pretty fast.

bok-choi-leaves

I decided to fry it rather then steaming it this time, just for something different. I looked in the cupboard & spotted my sesame oil & raw sesame seeds, and a lightbulb went off in my head. Ah hah! What a perfect flavour combination.

You will need:

A bunch of bok choi

Few tablespoons of sesame oil

Raw sesame seeds

Method:

Use a wok, or a large frying pan (I couldn’t be bothered getting my wok out today). Gas is ideal, as you need the wok really hot.

Wash your bok choi thoroughly, as sand in your dish really don’t go down well (talking from past experience!). Roughly chop the stem from the leaf, and chop the stems into halves or thirds to make them easier to handle. You can chop the leaves into ribbons if you like but I left mine as is.

Over high heat, heat up the dry wok or pan. Pour in about a tablespoon of the raw sesame seeds, and toss until they toast to a nice golden colour. Add the oil & let that heat up. Add the bok choi stems only, and toss to cover in oil. Fry rapidly until the stems are tender & the outsides brown very slightly. Add the leaves, and toss until they wilt. Bok choi has a very high water content & this may make the oil spit so be careful.

bok-choi-sesame

That’s it! Scoop out into a bowl & enjoy. I couldn’t find my chop sticks, but I do have some somwhere.

This could be used as a base for a stirfry or noodle dish. Add some soy sauce & flat rice noodles, thinly sliced beef or tofu and you’ll have a really substantial meal.

Heaven in a Bowl

October 20, 2008

Sometimes the simplest things are the best… This definitely includes my lunch today! A piping hot mound of tubular spaghetti, piled high with grated Gouda cheese. I enjoyed this simple culinary delight out on my deck this afternoon in the sunshine (with my cats next to me ready to pounce on any leftover cheese…) and, excluding the dread of my 4 exams coming up, life couldn’t be better.

Cookies & Spring

July 27, 2008

Signs that Spring isn’t too far away!! Some Daffodils are flowering on my deck, but the ones in the garden haven’t started yet. I also have some Snowdrops in pots which are such a pretty sight in the morning. Another discovery I made while out in the garden today was my Delphiniums sprouting already, so I quickly put some snail bait on them before they got chewed up.

I decided this weekend I would make some cookies! I used this recipe (from one my favourite bloggers, Lex Culinaria!), except I pretty much tripled the amount of Lavender & lemon in them.

I used my mortar & pestle to grind up the Lavender a little before putting them in the mixture. The fragrance that this produced was phenomenal, I couldn’t stop smelling it! The lemon rind too is gorgeously fragrant.

I won’t repost the whole recipe over here, but I did make a few changes…I rolled out the dough a little thicker then the original says, and when doing complex shapes like the snowflake (like I have in the past) it’s a little hard to “transfer cookies to cookie sheet using a spatula”, I found doing this made the cookie go all out of shape. So I rolled out the dough directly onto my baking paper, cut out all the shapes, and then removed the excess dough from between the shapes, and then put the whole sheet on a baking tray.

This time I just made round ones because I wanted to experiment with different decorating techniques.

After they cooled I made a batch of royal icing using 4 egg whites and about 700 grams of sifted icing sugar. To make royal icing, start by beating the egg whites, and gradually add the icing sugar. Keep adding icing sugar until your icing is quite thick (my hand beater starts to sound a bit stressed at this point). When it’s ready, you’ll need a bunch of little bowls and some baggies. Decide on how many colours of icing you want, and put a couple of tablespoons of icing into each bowl. Wilton colour paste is fantastic for stuff like this, and I am trying out a new colour today, Red Red. I read warnings that this colouring could make the icing bitter, but I decided to try it anyway & there was only a hint of bitterness when tasted by itself, but on the cookie with the rest of the icing it was fine. Here are all my little baggies I used today:

The baggies are to make little piping bags for drawing on your cookies. You’ll need one filled with plain white icing too. Make sure to keep some white icing separate for coating the cookies. To do this, cut a tiny bit of a corner off your baggie and pipe an outline in white (or any colour, really) leave it to dry for 15 minutes or so & fill it in with the plain icing (you may need to add a little water to make it easier). Then, before it dries completely, you can make pretty pictures like this:

And this:

Or even this:

All these designs were created by piping parallel lines into the wet white icing and dragging a skewer across it. You can do them in alternating directions or, like the pink & blue one in the second photo, all in the same direction to make them look like French awnings 🙂

You can make lots of different designs by using this technique, let your imagination run wild:

Let the cookies dry completely before packaging them up for your friends 🙂