Saturday, 27 February 2010

Sultana and Blueberry Dropped Scones

 

When attempting to make scones, I was looking for a simple recipe that could at least take away the daunting task of making a dough and the long preparation time. I came across this recipe from BBC Good Food's website and ultimately found, when making it, that it resembled pancakes with fruits in it. Hence the word 'dropped'. Not baked but pan fried over the stove, this is an alternative recipe for people who are looking for scones but don't have the time for it. I have changed a little bit of the recipe to suit what was available in my kitchen larder.

Ingredients:
2 medium sized eggs - lightly beaten
125ml milk
75 - 80gms flour (any flour will do) - sieved
1 tsp baking powder
a handful of sultanas / raisins
a handful of blueberries
some butter for the pan

Method:
  1. Whisk the eggs, milk, flour and baking powder into a batter. When raising your spoon, it drops smoothly off the spoon rather than sticky. Should your batter be sticky, add milk into batter to make it more runny but not too the consistency of water. Think double cream consistency... thick yet smooth.
  2. Stir in the fruits (here you can even replace blueberries with chopped strawberries should you have no blueberries in your fridge, or omit altogether if you only have sultanas.
  3. Melt the butter over a flat non-stick pan or a griddle if you have one. Make sure to coat the whole surface to avoid your batter from sticking to the pan. Use a paper towel to evenly spread the butter and to absorb excess oil. Next ladle in spoonfuls of batter on to pan and let it cook on one side till you see bubbles appearing. Use a flat spatula to flip your scones over. Cook for another minute or until you see it turns golden brown. Remove from pan and place on to plate. Continue to make about 5 dropped scones and then serve. 
  4. This recipe can make about 10 pieces of medium sized scones. That would be the size of a grape fruit's diameter. But don't worry if it looks out of shape, that the whole point of home cooking. 
The original recipe called for butter scotch sauce to be served together, but I just go with what is available. So out comes the butter and sugar or honey and voila, you have a dish perfect for breakfast or tea.

If you are not a fan of sultanas, you can actually replace them with chocolate chips. Milk chocolate chips are better as then you can see the colour contrast of it. It only takes 5 minutes to make the batter and another 2 to 3 minutes to fry up your scones. So it is definitely a quick meal for the those on the go.

Being all English but in a different way,
The Innovative Baker



Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Pan Fried Cod Fillet on a Bed of Stir Fried Chinese Spinach


Cooking simple recipes is what this blog is all about. This next recipe is in actual fact very simple. I had leftover cod fillet in my freezer and chinese spinach. This is of course not a typical Asian or Western dish rather a fusion of sorts. Thus giving birth to this dish aptly called Pan Fried Cod Fillet on a Bed of Stir Fried Chinese Spinach.

Ingredients:
1 packet / 250 gms cod fillet
Juice of 1 lime / lemon to rid fish of smell and slime
2 bunches Chinese spinach
1 clove of garlic

Marinade for fish:
a dash of salt
a tsp of freshly ground black pepper
a tsp of chilli flakes
a tsp of dried oregano / mixed herbs
a tbsp of cornflour or enough to coat the fish


Method:
  1. First prepare your fish. Wash the fish fillet under running water. Then place fish on chopping board skin side up. Use the back of your knife to scrape any excess slime on the fish. Next squeeze the juice of 1 lime / lemon on to the fish and leave it for about 5 minutes. You will notice a layer of excess water coming out from the fish. Wash under cold water again to rid of this excess water. The reason for the lime / lemon is also to take away the smell of the fish. Place fish on kitchen towel to absorb any excess water from the fish.
  2. Next, marinade your fish with the salt, black pepper, chilli flakes and dried herbs. After which, on a plate, scatter the cornflour and coat your fish. Shake off excess cornflour from the fish and place over a kitchen towel. The cornflour also acts as an agent to avoid your fish from sticking to the pan.
  3. Heat up a non-stick pan, add some vegetable oil and wait till oil is hot enough. Place fish skin side down so as to make sure the fish doesn't stick to the pan. Fry on medium heat for about 3 minutes before turning over. Continue cooking for 3 minutes.
  4. Whilst fish is cooking, prepare your vegetables. Discard any old / yellow leaves and slice into 5 cm length. Separate the leaves from the stem as leaves cook faster then the stem. Soak in a bowl of water to rid of any dirt and sand from the vegetables. Drain the water. Leave washed vegetables aside.
  5. Heat up another pan with vegetable oil and toss in the chopped garlic, salt and maybe some pepper. Stir fry till garlic is fragrant and toss in the stems first. Stir for about 1 minute before adding in the leaves. Don't forget to check on your fish. Overcooked fish is hard and unedible!
  6. One leaves have wilted, and the vegetables have turned into a deeper shade of green, switch off the gas and spoon onto a plate. Check on your fish. Once fish is cooked, you will see the flesh is white. Press down on the fish with your spatula and you will see it bounce back up. That's when you know it's cooked. Take it off the fire and dish on to the bed of spinach. Serve hot.
  7. You can opt to serve it with rice or plain noodles but I eat it like that. 
Where do you get Chinese Spinach? Most Oriental Supermarkets sell them. Go into the Chinese Vegetables section, it will be catalogued, and when not, ask the sales assistant. They'll be more than willing to help. If you don't fancy Chinese Spinach, you can always substitute it with any vegetables. Normal spinach, mustard leaves, Kai Lan, cabbage leaves or even french beans can be used. Even the fish can be replaced with Haddock, Salmon or even a dover sole. Dorade is also possible. 

So if you're in the mood for fish, this is as simple as it can get. 

Having savoured the flavours of the sea,
The Innovative Baker



Thursday, 18 February 2010

One Sauce for Two Dishes - Thick Eggy Sauce

When visiting a chinese restaurant, there is always one particular dish I tend to look for: Flat rice noodles with seafood served with a thick eggy sauce. In Cantonese we refer to it as Wa Tan Hor, or Kong Fu Chao. But, in certain restaurants, they also serve the same sauce with rice. This take on the dish is normally referred to as Man Fan (braised rice). 
 
(Left to Right: Fried Flat Noodles with Seafood and thick eggy sauce, Rice with seafood and thick eggy sauce)

Ultimately this dish is simple to make. For the sauce you need:

Ingredients:
10 pieces of prawns
4 fishballs  - sliced
2 cloves garlic - diced
A bunch of Mustard leaves (Choy Sum) or Pak Choy - sliced to bite size pieces (measuring probably 5cm)
An egg
1 tbsp cornstach - mixed with 1tbsp water
1/2 a bowl of water
Salt
Pepper

Method:
  1. Prepare seafood ingredients by cleaning out the veins from the prawns and slicing the fishballs. Dice the garlic and wash away excess dirt from the vegetables.
  2. Heat up a wok or a deep non stick pan with some vegetable oil and add in the diced garlic. Stir fry till fragrant before adding in seafood.
  3. Add in your salt and pepper to taste. Then add in the water and let it boil. Reduce the heat when water begins to boil. Let it simmer to allow the seafood to be fully cooked.
  4. Then add in your vegetables and stir it till you see the vegetables turn a deep green. When it becomes a dull green, means your vegetables are overcooked. Alternatively, when you see the leaves wilt, then you know it is halfway through the cooking process.
  5. Next add in the cornstarch mixture and stir. You will notice the soup starts to thicken. When this happens, break an egg into your sauce. Stir so that the egg breaks up. Let it boil for about 20 seconds or until it bubbles and take it off the heat.
  6. Serve it on a bed of fried flat noodles or rice.
To prepare the fried flat noodles, all you need is:

Ingredients:
100 grams dried flat rice noodles
a bowl of boiling water
2 rounds of dark soy sauce

Method:
  1. First, cook the dried noodles by adding in a bowl of boiling water. The noodles will turn white and it soft to the touch. Drain and set aside. 
  2. Next heat up a wok or a flat non-stick pan. No need to add oil in as the noodles will emit some oil when being heated up.
  3. Add in the noodles and dry fry it. Then add in the dark soy sauce by drizzling it all around the noodles.
  4. Continue frying till you see the noodles are completed covered with the soy sauce. Take out and place on a plate.
  5. Cook the eggy sauce, serve it on top of the noodles and serve piping hot!
The rice is an alternative for those who much prefer rice over noodles. Just cook the rice, scoop as much as you want on to your serving plate and scoop the eggy sauce on to it and voila!

If you want it with meat, you can replace the seafood with pork slices. Or if you are like the Chinese Malaysians, we serve the pork together with seafood along with deep fried pork fat. The deep fried pork fat can be used to replace the vegetable oil as this would emit oil for cooking. You can opt to use bacon bits or panchetta as it also provides salt for your sauce. You can also add in fish slices. At best, use fish fillet, as then it quickens the cooking process. You can even add in sliced calamari to add to the variety of the seafood. 

You can also replace the flat noodles with egg noodles. There is no set rule to what noodle you should use. This sauce is capable in adapting to the type of noodle you use. You can even serve it with spaghetti if you run out of Asian noodles.

Fast, easy and not time consuming, this provides you singletons out there another dish to want to cook at home yet have a taste of Asia right by your doorstep. After all, us people in London are deprived of authentic Kong Fu Chao, so why not have it at home? I did.


Bringing a taste of home back into London,
The Innovative Baker

Thursday, 4 February 2010

American Pancakes anyone?


American Pancakes

Whilst Malaysia has plenty to offer in terms of yummy breakfast choices, I do crave for the westernised version of breakfast offerings. My mother taught me how to make these when I was about the age of 12 or 13 I think, right about the time I started baking with a passion. You'd actually find that in this particular recipe however, adapted from its orignal version, has no butter in it. Fluffy, light and definitely fulfilling, you'll find that it is probably one of the easiest ways to make fluffy American pancakes. 

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
Some vegetable oil or butter for frying.

Method:
  1. Sift flour and baking powder before mixing in salt. Beat in eggs and gradually add in the milk. When you see the mixture is thick but not runny, it should be good enough. But I normally like it slightly runny so it's easier to handle.
  2. Heat up the griddle or a flat non-stick frying pan with some vegetable oil. Then spoon in pancake batter. When you see bubbles appearing on the top, flip it over. You would see a nice golden brown colour when you flip the pancake over. 
  3. Stack cooked pancakes on top of each other and serve piping hot!
Normally you have butter and maple syrup with pancakes like these. But I just go with whatever is available in my pantry. This is where the Chinese side of me comes in. I have them with butter and caster sugar. I also, have them with peanut butter or nutella. So if you're looking to have it with jam, marmalade or even making it savoury like curry sauce (which I actually do sometimes), then go ahead. Trust me, it may be a weird combination, but it serves my taste buds.

As it is actually for the single people who have odds and ends in the kitchen, this way you save money without having to run out to buy maple syrup. 

Loving her American Pancakes,
The Innovative Baker



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