mercredi 31 décembre 2014

Happy New Year!

I want to wish you all a happy and healthy New Year! The holiday break has been very nice, but I'm ready to get back to work tomorrow with a brand new video featuring one of my New Year's resolutions. Stay tuned!

dimanche 28 décembre 2014

New Year's Beans and Greens – Like Winning the Lottery, Except You Eat the Ticket!

Eating beans and greens on New Year’s Day is an annual tradition that supposedly brings prosperity and good fortune. Does it work? Who knows, but what do you have to lose? I mean, even if there is nothing to this ancient superstition, at the very least you get to enjoy one of the world’s great comfort foods. 

Here are some ideas that may, or may not, help get you into a higher tax bracket. Just click the recipe name, and you’ll see the original posts with ingredients. Enjoy!

Italian-Style Beans and Greens

So simple, so good, so comforting, and so a lot of other things. Italian soul food at its best.

Utica Greens and Beans

This delicious good luck charm hails from Utica, NY, and in addition to the obvious ingredients, also features pancetta or prosciutto.

Black Eyed Peas with Pork & Greens

They say the coloration on black eyed peas makes them look like coins, which adds to that whole prosperity in the New Year thing. Sure, if you squint, I guess. Very tasty nonetheless.

Brazilian Feijoada

You'll have to serve this with a side of braised greens if you're serious about getting rich in 2015, but either way, this amazing stew is not to be missed.

vendredi 26 décembre 2014

Korea -8 day Seoul & Cheju winter

This is my 8th or 9th trip to Korea, been to 3 seasons Autumn, Winter and Summer , hopefully will get to visit in spring for the cherry blossom season.
Joined Genting Travel for the trip, my 3rd time with them as they have a good network in korea and the food and accommodation are good, most importantly the price is reasonable as compared to some of the travel agent I been with.
If you visiting Busan or jeju it's advisable to join a travel agent or unless self drive and If just to Seoul, can just travel free & easy.
However, I do noticed the restaurants/food which they bring us to are not as good as before. Sometime finding your own food in the street tastes so much better!
Left on the xmas day and welcome the new year @ Korea for 1st time.
Approx 7hrs flights by Korean Air.
Temperature: highest 12/ lowest -10C
-3 layers -Thermal wear/wool sweater/A good feather jacket
- Gloves for hand
- shawl to wrap round your neck
- Wool sock, very important to keep your feet warm
- good pair of shoe-boot(get online for less than $50, wool/fur lining to keep your feet warm 

Domestic Flight To jeju - beautiful skyline took from plane

Seopjikoji is located at the end of the eastern shore of Jeju Island. “Seopji” is the old name for the area, and “Koji” is native Jeju dialect means “small gulf”.

This place is famous filming location for the Korean drama “All In”-LBH!
 The scenery is magnificent, so serene and beautiful rocky nice to stay on top of the hill greeted by the sea every morning! 


Had a hard time climbing these staircase







View From our Hotel




View from room balcony
View From Room Balcony

Getting ready to ski for the 1st time!

Seongsan Ilchulbaong Peak (Sunrise Peak).

Seongsan Ilchulbaong Peak (Sunrise Peak) is a land mass that was created about 100,000 years ago and it was above 182 meters above from the sea in a volcanic eruption.

At Seongsan Ilchulbaong Peak, there is a cliff by the seashore, where is not a single tree, only a large field of grass and on the seashore, there is a rock called “seondol” sticking out.

My 2nd trip here but still didn't climb to the top of the mountain -too many steps and 1/4 way through am running out of breath. Give up!
ANyway, my freidn who climbed up was disappointed that the volcano was covered for repair..


Trick Art Museum. This museum shows the amazing trick art and it look so real when we follow the instruction of each picture inside the museum. You probably got to have some acting skill and imagination to take good ones.

Live Octopus!

Eating the strawberry we pick at the farm, very sweet|!

At one of the fresh seafood market - Tempera !

mercredi 24 décembre 2014

Of Lobster Bisques and Christmas Breaks

Lobster bisque is one of our yearly holiday traditions, and since I’m making a batch today, I thought I’d repost the video in case you want to add another very special course to your Christmas or New Year’s Eve menu. Markets often have specials on lobster this time of year, and if you can find a couple, this is a real crowd pleaser.

By the way, we’re closing up shop for the Christmas Holiday, and taking a little break until the New Year. Don’t worry, I promise not to rest too much, as I’ll be busy cooking and filming new episodes. I sure hope they match up with your resolutions! Let me guess, you’d like to see something low-carb and high in fiber? It’s like I’m a mind reader.

Thank you for another great year on the blog, and for your continued enthusiastic and inspiring support. We had a lot of laughs, and I avoided any actual work for another year. That’s a pretty sweet deal. Happy Holidays to you and yours, and as always, enjoy!

Click here to see original the Lobster bisque post!

lundi 22 décembre 2014

Edible Holiday Gift Idea: Candied “Buddha’s Hand” Citron

Welcome to our annual homemade edible gift episode, where you finally figure out what to get that “special” (aka super-picky and has everything) foodie on your holiday list. By the way, if you’re a fan of candied citrus, you ‘ll want to make extra, since Buddha’s Hand is a unique and special treat.

To me this crazy looking fruit tastes/smells like a really fragrant Meyer lemon with hints of grapefruit, and if you can find it, I recommend you give it a go. It’s not cheap, but what is? If you can’t find it, don’t despair; this technique works perfectly fine with strips of orange or lemon peel.

Regarding the blanching step I mention in the video; I heard that pre-boiling wasn’t necessary for this fragrant fruit, as it’s not as bitter as other types of citrus, so I tested it both ways, and I’m glad I did.

The batch I boiled in water first had virtually no bitterness left, and still had a fairly strong citrus flavor. The batch that was candied raw definitely had a more fragrant aroma and vibrant taste, but unfortunately there was a distinct bitter aftertaste.

So, I recommend the boiling step, especially if you’re going to be making this primarily as a candy. If you were going to be cooking with it, in things like fruitcakes, then you could probably get away with the bigger flavor, and slight bitter edge.

Either way, I hope you can get your hands on some of these hands, and give this fun, and easy to make holiday confection a try. Enjoy!

Ingredients for about 2 cups of candied citron:
(warning, I didn’t measure very carefully, but that doesn’t matter here. As long as you have enough simple syrup to cook your citrus in, you are fine)
3 cups cubed Buddha’s Hand citron, washed thoroughly, or other citrus peel, sliced into 1/4-inch strips (simmer in plain water for 20-30 minutes before candying step)
2 1/2 cups sugar (plus extra for tossing the candied fruit in)
2 cups water
- cook on medium heat, stirring, until the syrup reaches 230F.

Next Up: Candied Citron

Blue Macaron with Rum Chocolate Ganach

Fascinated with creative macarons made by home baker thus lay my hands to try my art skill, which turns out hilarious. Anyway, it still taste good and my nephews love the adorable sweet treats.
French Macarons:
100 grams ground blanched almonds or almond meal/flour*
180 grams confectioner (powdered or icing) sugar**
100 grams "aged" egg whites, at room temperature***
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (optional)
35 g castor sugar


1. Line baking sheet with parchment paper
2. Sieve ground almonds, confectioners sugar to remove any lumps.
3. Whisk egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until foamy.
    Gradually add the sugar, and continue to beat, on medium-high speed,
    until the meringue just holds stiff peaks
4. Fold in the ground almond mixture over the meringue in 3 addition.

    When folding, cut through the meringue and then fold up and over.
    Once the almond mixture is completely folded (called macaronage) into
    the meringue (the batter will fall back into the bowl in a thick ribbon) .
5. Fill a pastry bag, fitted with about a 1/2 inch (1 cm) plain tip, with about half
    batter. Pipe about 1 1/2 inch (4 cm) rounds onto the parchment paper, using
    the template as a guide. Gently tap the baking sheet on the counter to break
    any air bubbles.
6. Let the Macarons dry for about 30-60 minutes or until the tops of the

    Macarons are no longer tacky when lightly touched.
7. Preheat oven to 160C . Bake the cookies for about 14 - 16 minutes, rotating
    the pans top to bottom, front to back, about halfway through baking. The
    Macarons are done when it can be remove from the parchment paper.
8. Remove from oven and let the Macarons cool completely on the baking sheet
    placed on a wire rack.
9. To assemble the Macarons, take two cookies and sandwich them together

     with chocolate ganache. The cook taste eveb better after a day or two to
    mature in the refrigerator.

10.Bring to room temperature before serving.

Chocolate Ganach: 

4 ounces (120 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy whipping cream (35-40% butterfat content)
1/2 tablespoons (6 grams) butter
1/2 tablespoons liqueur/Rum (optional)

Preparation Chocolate Ganache:
1. Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat (or in the
    microwave 1.5min).
2. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for a few minutes.
3. Stir gently until smooth. If desired, add the liqueur(I used 1 tsp rum).

1) Make sure egg white is whisk till stiff peak
2) If adding colouring , use only gel or paste form(not liquid type)
3) Folding in the almond flour and icing sugar to the meringue is the most
    challenging part:
    -Overfold will makes the batter too runny and you can say bye to your batter.
    -Underfold will cause the biscuits to  crack but still edible

    It should be approx. 50 folds and texture form ribbon liquid state when it drip
4) Use parchment paper or siplas, its difficult to remove shell from baking or
    greaseproof paper.
5) Drying of the Shell before baking - make sure the shell is dry!(use finger to
    touch and it wont stick)

6) Oven temperature ranges 145-160C, 12 -14 Mins (if you notice that the
    shell start to brown but shell still not cook, cover it with a aluminium foil and
    continue to bake till it can be removed from paper

dimanche 21 décembre 2014

Christmas Fruit Cake

This is a traditional fruit cake which uses rum to moist the cake and can be made months before and kept for as long as a year.  Every bites is full of fruits and nuts with a bit of rum flavour.  Will make this for CNY!

Recipe adapted from Ann Coo Journal
 250g Butter
125g Sugar
4 Eggs
200g Plain flour (sifted with baking powder)
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Mixed spice
500g Mixed dried fruit (I used 400g mixed with raisins)
100g Pitted prune - cut to small pieces (omit)
8 tbsp Rum (I used 6tbsp)
100g Walnut - chop to small pieces
2 tbsp Rum
2 tbsp Rum compound (optional)
2 tbsp Orange juice
Orange zest from one orange
1 tsp Vanilla extract

  • In a large bowl add mixed dried fruit and pitted prune together with 6 tbsp of rum and mix well, cover with cling wrap until next day.
  • Line a 8" square cake tin with two layers of parchment paper, bottom & sides of cake tin         
  • Beat butter and sugar till light and fluffy, slowly add in rum, rum compound, orange juice, orange zest and vanilla extract, mix well.
  • Add eggs, one at a time and scrape bowl.
  • Add 1/4 portion of flour to the mixed dried fruit. Slowly add 3/4 portion of flour and mixed spice to butter mixture, mix well. Stop machine. Pour in mixed dried fruit and chopped walnut, mix well with a rubber spatula then pour into cake tin. Bang tin on table once to settle the content.
  • Bake at preheated oven at 160C for 1 1/2 hour. **After about 30-40 mins when the cake starts to turn brown, cover cake with foil loosely on top and continue baking.
  • Pour 3-4 tbsp of rum on to Fruit Cake as soon as it comes from the oven.
  • Leave cake to cool, turn out from cake tin and wrap with cling wrap and store in the fridge.
  • Pour 2-3 tbsp of rum on cake every three days until it is ready to serve or giveaway as Christmas gift.

vendredi 19 décembre 2014

Crispy Honey-Glazed Ham – Looks, Tastes, and Sounds Like the Holidays

A great holiday ham glaze needs to have three things; a wonderful flavor, a gorgeous, shiny appearance, and a crispy, crackling crust you can hear across the room. I’m happy to report this easy to make glaze has all those things in abundance.

This honey glaze will work on any size or style of ham, and as long as you keep the mixture quite thick, and caramelize it properly at the end, you will be the proud owner of a magazine cover-quality ham.

As I mention in the video, this was an uncured, fully-cooked, country-style ham, and if you use something similar, I’m recommending you pull it at 130 F. internal temp. Remember, ham is already cooked, so we just want it hot enough to eat. By the way, if you’re using a ham that’s not cooked already, you’re on your own!

The type of ham I used doesn’t contain a lot of added water like most hams in the supermarket, so it’s even more crucial to use a thermometer to achieve the proper temp. The meat has a denser, drier texture, and while the payoff is a superior ham flavor, it can get dry and salty if overcooked.

If you're using a standard ham, you can use the exact same procedure, but maybe go to 140 F., since you have a lot wetter product to work with. I realize many guides say to go to 160-180 F., but I have no idea why.

No matter what ham you use, you’ll need to give the glaze a final caramelizing before it gets anywhere near kale and tiny apples. They say you can crank the oven up to 500 F., or use the broiler, but nothing does a better job than the old blowtorch. If you don’t have one, they’re only $15 at a hardware store, and are an invaluable tool in the kitchen.

So, if a holiday ham is on your menu, I really hope you toss out that packet of who-knows-what, and give this wonderful, crispy honey ham glaze a try. Enjoy!

Enough glaze for a 7-9 pound ham:
1 packed cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp rice vinegar (or any vinegar), or enough to make a thick paste
pinch of cayenne
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
For the water in the roasting pan:
2 whole star anise, and a bunch of whole cloves

- Bake ham at 325 F., glazing every 20 minutes until the internal temp is 130 F. for country-style hams, and 140 F. for regular hams.

Light & Moist Chocolate sponge cake with Chocolate mousse (Flourless)

This is so far the best log cake recipe I tried.
This chocolate sponge cake is a little different from most as it does not contain flour which makes it very light and moist texture. Its uses chocolate instead of coco powder which makes it very chocolaty rich! It blends wonderfully with the chocolate mousse, Chocolate lover will love it!!!
Definitely a keeper! 


Recipe for sponge cake adapted from Joy of baking
 6 large eggs, separated
4 ounces (120 grams) semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
2 tablespoons (30 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1.   Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
2.   Grease pan  (11cm x 11cm)with butter and line with baking parchment paper.
3.   Separate egg white /yolks(room temperature)
4.   Melt chocolate in microwave (2mins)  Let cool to room temperature.
5.   Whisk egg yolks and (50 grams) of sugar on high speed, until this mixture is thick,
      light and fluffy (about five minutes).
6.   Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the melted chocolate and beat only to combine, set
7.   In a clean mixing bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy and add cream of tartar and
      beat at medium-high
      speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 2 tablespoons (30 grams)
      of sugar until stiff peaks form.
8.   Gently a small amount of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture using a rubber
      spatula or whisk to lighten the batter.
Fold in the remaining whites just until
      incorporated.  (Don't over mix or the batter will deflate.) Spread the batter evenly
      into the prepared pan with the back of a spoon, or an offset spatula.
9.   Bake about 15 - 17 minutes until skewer come out clean in the centre.
10. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool. Cover the cake with a clean,
      slightly damp towel.

A)Dark Chocolate Mousse
80g non-dairy whipping cream
50g dark coverture chocolate

1.Melt the chocolate in microwave (2min) 
2.Whip up the whipping cream till stiff peaks are achieved.
   Add in the chocolate and mix well. 

B) Frosting (Chocolate Ganache)
227g semi sweet or dark chocolate
3/4 cup (180 ml) heavy whipping cream 
2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter
1 tablespoons rum (optional)

1. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized heatproof bowl. Set aside.
2. Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
   (Can also heat the cream and butter in the microwave-2min.) 

3. Bring just to a boil and pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand,
    without stirring, for a  few minutes. Stir gently (as you do not want to incorporate air
    into the ganache) with a spoon or whisk until smooth. If desired, add the liqueur.

Assembling the cake
Once the cake has cooled, spread with the chocolate mousse and gently roll the cake,
peeling off the parchment paper as you roll.  Can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to five days. 


mardi 16 décembre 2014

Truffled Cauliflower Gratin – Now 100% Truffle Oil Free

This cauliflower gratin would typically be “truffled” with truffle oil, but I’ve never been a big fan. Truffle oils are almost always synthetically produced, one-dimensional, and way too overpowering. 

So, in this otherwise humble gratin, we’re going to use another, much more delicious delivery system…truffle pecorino. For less than $10 worth of cheese, I think you can get a much nicer, truer truffle flavor – plus, it’s cheese. By the way, if you know they actually make this cheese with synthetic truffle oil, please keep it to yourself, and don't spoil it for me. 

This stuff is pretty easy to find in fancy grocery stores with decent sized cheese departments, but if you can’t, I’ve seen it online at even better prices.

It’s worth the effort to find, and turns this already great casserole into something truly special, and with side dish season in full swing, I really hope you consider giving this truffled cauliflower gratin a try. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 6-8 Portions
6 tbsp melted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1 tsp salt or to taste
pinch of cayenne
pinch of nutmeg
5 to 6 oz wedge of truffle pecorino, grated
1 large head of cauliflower
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano as needed
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
a few fresh chives to garnish