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Khanom Chan

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Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cans coconut milk (800mL)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 2 cups tapioca starch
  • 1/2 tsp jasmine extract
  • 1/2 tsp pandan extract

Method:

  1. Place sugar, coconut milk and water into a saucepan. Stir on medium heat until the sugar completely dissolves. Set aside to cool.
  2. Prepare your steamer. Place an oiled tray into your steamer so that the tray heats up.
  3. Combine rice flour and tapioca starch in a bowl.
  4. Gradually add in the cooled coconut milk mixture (approximately half a cup at a time) and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or by hand (I prefer using my hand as I am able to feel for lumps a lot better).
  5. Once the mixture is smooth, pour the mixture through a strainer.
  6. Stir the mixture and divide into two portions. Place jasmine extract into one portion and pandan extract into the other portion. Mix each portion well.
  7. Place a layer of jasmine mixture onto the tray in the steamer (The amount you place onto the tray will depend on your tray size, but you are aiming for a thickness of 2-3mm). Steam for 5 minutes.
  8. Place a layer of pandan mixture onto tray. Steam for 5 minutes. Repeat this process using alternating mixtures until there is no mixture left. (Remember to give each mixture a good stir before pouring it onto the tray). Steam the final top layer for 8 minutes.
  9. Allow the contents of the tray to cool.
  10. Remove from tray and cut into small portions.

Overall:

This sweet, sticky, chewy dessert is one of my all time favourites and I am thrilled to have a perfect recipe for it.

Pea and Spinach Risotto

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Recipe adapted from The Healthy Chef

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1L stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 500g green peas (frozen or fresh)
  • 4 large handfuls baby spinach leaves
  • Parmesan
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Lemon juice

Method:

  1. Heat olive oil in a pan and saute onion and garlic until softened.
  2. Add the rice and stir through for about a minute.
  3. Add 2 cups of stock and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until absorbed. Continue adding stock and then water, 1 cup at a time, waiting for the liquid to be absorbed before adding more.
  4. Blanch the peas for 1 minute in boiling water and then drain.
  5. Add half the peas into a high performance blender or food processor and puree with half the spinach until smooth. Combine the pea and spinach puree along with the whole peas and spinach into the risotto and stir through.
  6. Add parmesan, salt, pepper and a good squeeze of lemon juice to taste.

Overall:

I don’t think I’ve ever made a risotto this green before! This risotto was creamy and light, and tasted almost too good to be healthy.

Ricotta Hotcakes with Banana and Honey

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Original recipe from Taste.com.au, however I tweaked it slightly.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarb of soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 130g fresh ricotta
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 25g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 a lemon rind, grated
  • Olive oil
  • Sliced bananas and honey, to serve

Method:

1. Sift the flour, bicarb and salt into a bowl and stir in sugar. In a separate bowl, combine the ricotta, milk, egg, melted butter, and lemon rind, beating well until smooth. Gradually whisk this into the dry ingredients to form a smooth batter.

2. Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan and pour in batter to form hotcakes. Cook over medium heat until bubbles appear over the surface and then flip over and cook until both sides are golden brown.

3. Serve hot with banana slices and a drizzle of honey.

 

Overall:

These hotcakes were so good that the banana and honey were not really needed. Each hotcake was soft and fluffy with slightly crispy edges. The fresh ricotta gave some subtle creaminess and the lemon rind added some zesty freshness. Another quick and easy recipe.

 

Chicken Cacciatore with Double Corn Polenta

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Ingredients:

Chicken

  • 4 chicken breast fillets, cut into thirds
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • olive oil
  • 1 large red capsicum, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
  • fresh basil leaves

Polenta

  • cups milk
  • 1 cup water
  • cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1 cup quick-cooking polenta
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Method:

1. Sprinkle chicken pieces with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Mix thoroughly.

2. Lightly coat the chicken with plain flour.

3. In a large pan heat the oil, add the chicken and cook until golden brown. Set aside the chicken.

4. Heat more oil in the pan and add the capsicum, onion and garlic. Saute over medium heat until the onion is soft.

5. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock and oregano and bring to a boil.

6. Return the chicken to the pan and turn them to coat in the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring the sauce to a simmer.

7. Meanwhile, prepare the polenta. In a medium saucepan, bring milk, water, and fresh or frozen corn kernels to a boil.

8. Gradually add polenta, stirring constantly until incorporated. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened. If polenta is too thick, add more water.

9. Remove from heat and stir in parmesan cheese.

10. Serve polenta on plates with the chicken and sauce. Sprinkle with basil and serve.

 

Overall:

Simple to make and super delicious!

The Best Vanilla Slice

It all started with the fact that I had never been to “that place in Sorrento” that makes the famous Sorrento vanilla slice. After a quick Google search I discovered that the place was called Just Fine Food. So one sunny afternoon I took a little road trip down to Sorrento to see what all the fuss was about.

 

Just Fine Food

23 Ocean Rd, Sorrento 5984 4666

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There was an ample amount of creamy yet lumpy vanilla custard that was mildly sweet. Although I found the pastry to be quite thin and ordinary, I did like the layer of jam that came at the bottom of the slice.

Just Fine Food on Urbanspoon

I finished off this vanilla slice thinking to myself that like the name of the place, it was just fine. It got me thinking that there had to be places that were closer to home that made fantastic vanilla slice. So I decided to go to Aviv Cakes and Bagels, as a friend of mine had once told me that the vanilla slice there was simply amazing.

 

Aviv Cakes and Bagels

412 Glenhuntly Road, Elsternwick 9528 6627

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The vanilla custard was smooth and moderately sweet, while the pastry was delicious: thick, crispy and almost biscuit-like. As a whole, I really enjoyed the sweet to creamy ratio of this particular vanilla slice.
Aviv Cakes & Bagels on Urbanspoon

 

I also had to make a stop at The French Lettuce as they have this sign in front of the place:

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The French Lettuce Patisserie and Bakery 

237 Nicholson St, Carlton 9347 7311

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The mildly sweet custard filling was light and extremely creamy, while the pastry was thick, flaky and buttery. The vanilla slice here also came with a side of strawberry jam which was perfect for breaking up the creaminess and for providing some contrasting flavour.
The French Lettuce Patisserie & Bakery on Urbanspoon
 

I also attempted to make my very own vanilla slice. I found this recipe from Best Recipes except instead of making up the icing, I dusted my vanilla slice with icing sugar.

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Notice how yellow my custard filling turned out? That’s because I added less cream than what the recipe required (not intentionally, but because I was out of cream and couldn’t be bothered going out to buy more). Also, notice all the little lumps in the filling? Turns out that you should probably sift the custard powder before you mix it with everything otherwise you will end up with lumps that are impossible to get rid of!

 

 

Overall:

This was a fun little quest and in the end the best vanilla slice for me personally was from Aviv Cakes and Bagels. The pastry was fantastic and the filling was very scrumptious as it had the perfect balance between creamy and sweet.