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Friday, January 30, 2015

Florentine cookies on flexiliner

Caution! Super addictive florentines!
Flexiliner that is worth the every £ pound
As an engineer, I used to tell my customers to use the right tool for the right job.

While accompanying my girl to London, I zeroed in to Nesbit, a kitchen appliance store in Shaftesbury for a bit of shopping.  I was about to buy the French made Silpat until my eyes caught its slimmer cousin on the lower shelves.

This version is thinner which means it can be customized for pans of different shapes and sizes with a penknife. The French Siplat has a higher temperatutre rating, is much pricier and comes with a nice border, a waste if I should trim it to size.

My 1st project with these flexiliners  was to make these wafer thin Florentine cookies. It has always been a bugbear, having my Florentines stick to the parchment paper. More often than not, I end up with cellulose rich Florentines.

The cookies in the powder uncooked form has some kind of ‘staying’ ability on the flexiliner and do not shift as they make their way to the oven. And yes, as promised, the wafer thin cookies can be lifted off the liner just like that.

This marks the end of paper-enriched Florentines and many crispy ones to come in 2015.

What a great start for the new year!

Makes 2 trays of cookies.

Ingredients :

200g of Florentine powder
20g of sesame seeds, white
10g of sesame seeds, black
100g flaked almonds
100g sunflower seeds


  1. Line the 2 trays with flexiliners, cut to size.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C, with 2 trays , one above the other.
  3. Add the above ingredients in a pot. Mix well.
  4. Divide to 2 portions and transfer each portion to each tray.
  5. Flatten out using a pastry scrapper.
  6. Bake placing one tray above the other at 180C for 7-8 minutes
  7. If baking only a single tray, bake at 180C for 6-7 minutes.
  8. Remove the tray. While the Florentine is still hot and semi-liquid, cut out portions using a pastry scrapper. Do not use a sharp knife!
  9. Cool for 5 minutes.
  10. Lift up each wafer and admire its crispiness.
  11. Store in an airtight container. Chill if the cookies are not consumed immediately.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Almost an English breakfast

power breakfast
From now one, you will see a series of very simple meals as a form of log for my little girl who may soon ‘strike out’ on her own. I hope these recipes will be her go-to and will expand her repertoire of dishes other than microwaved rice.

This dish is something from our London breakfast. More than the good food, it will remain as a memorable trip between my little girl and I.

So here’s to the most important meal of the day and a step nearer to a brilliant and exciting future.

For 3.

Ingredients :

6 sausages
1 pack of snow peas, rid of strings
1 can of baked beans

Method :

Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil.

Cook the sausage for 5 minutes. When pressed with the end of a chopstick and if it does not yield, the sausage is ready.

Bring the water to a boil again.

Remove the sausage and parboil the peas until bright green. Drain.

Return the sausage to the pot, cover and sear on medium high, 5-10 minutes.

Open a can of baked beans, nuke it for 2 minutes.

Make out 3 big portions and serve.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Hopey's sour cherries cupcake

Tart and somewhat sweet to remove the guilt
These are called Hopey’s sour cherries cupcakes, in honor of my girl’s first baking attempt. It may seem weird that the first baking project to prepare for a life overseas  should be something so unessential but then, life is all about choices isn’t it?

Rice and bread may be the most important part of a meal especially when far away from home but there are always the little surprises to jazz up the monotonous grind.  Whether she opts to stay or not, I hope she will remember that the occasional rainbow still shines after gloomy and toilsome days.

Hopefully this recipe will be the springboard for friendship and get-togethers with people she cherishes in a far away land.

Makes 30 small cupcakes.

Ingredients :

150g plain flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
30g almond meal
1/8 tsp salt flakes
125g butter, softened
90g brown sugar
2 eggs
125ml milk
sour cherries for garnish

Method :

Preheat the oven to 170C.
In a bowl, mix flour, powder, meal and salt.
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.
Add eggs, one at a time.
Add flour, alternating with milk and whisk.
Spoon the batter to prepared cupcake liners.
Top each cupcake with 5 cherries.
Bake at 170C for about 27 minutes.
Cool the cakes on a rack.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Italian chicken midwings using sensor cook

Anything goes, Because I am boss.
I cooked this just because. I am the boss of my kitchen and everyone eats what I feel like cooking. It is called dish of the day. My day. Most days should be like this. Free and liberated. 

Ingredients :

1 kg of chicken midwings
1 cup of parmesan
1 cup of garlic poweder
¼ cup of red pepper flakes
1 tsp volcanic rock salt
¼ cup of olive oil
½ cup of balsamic vinegar

Method :

In a big plastic bag, shake all the ingredient except the vinegar.
Bake on sensor cook according to weight.
Just 10 minutes before it is done,  pour the vinegar over the chicken wings.
Bake again until the sensor cook session ends.

Let the wings rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, January 5, 2015

A bit of Iceland on my pasta

For almost a week in December, I stayed in the capital of Iceland in search of the illusive Northern Lights. In between, I had the opportunity to visit the south coastal village, Vik, and saw the huge waves pounding the black volcanic beaches, had mini hail rain on me on and off and leant into 30km/h winds while trying to take a walk. I even got to see the Aurora Borealis with the constellations above my head in the deep night on snowed over lava fields. 

But after the Lights were gone and the wind died down, all I can recall about Iceland is the superb quality of food that is available, from hot dog stands to upmarket restaurants. The Icelanders take their food seriously and even the simplest fish and chips come with matched sauces for different kinds of fish.

I had a superb meal at the famous Grillmarket in downtown Reykjavik and could not forget how well it tasted as it looked. In particular is the volcanic rock salt that they sprinkled freely so that we could literally have a taste of Iceland.

This pasta is simply elevated pasta olio with caviar and garnished with a pinch of the land of Northern Lights. Perhaps the memory of the Borealis lingers on, because each rock salt tasted unique and gave a sense of adventure to the dish.

For 3.

Ingredients :

240g dry pasta
1 cup of bean sprouts
¼ cup of olive oil used for sundried tomatoes
3 bulbs of garlic, thinly sliced
1 bulb red onion, thinly sliced
4 strip of semi sundried tomatoes, chopped coarsely
3 tbsp of caviar
Black volcanic salt (scant amount)
2 handful of dill leaves

Method :

Boil the pasta according to instructions, minus salt.
Just one minute before removing the pasta from the stove, add the sprouts to the pasta.
Drain and reserve.

Meanwhile, sauté the garlic, onions and sundried tomatoes in the oil until the garlic is about to brown.
Turn off heat. Pour the cooked pasta into the pan with garlic.
Toss well with carviar.
Serve on plates.
Garnish with black salt and dill leaves.