Steak dinner with friends

Last night we met up with our other foodie friends who also loves to cook. They recently bought a Kamado BBQ charcoal grill and have been looking for every opportunity to use it. They kindly invited us over for dinner, having bought some prime ribs and T-bone steak from McEwan’s grocery store, along with some bone marrow.

Knowing our friends would be supplying the mains, we stopped by J town in the morning to pick up some groceries that we felt would be great on the grill. It just so happened that we stumbled across an old man selling fresh Japanese vegetables that morning and decided to pick some up for the BBQ.

Myoga (Japanese ginger), Japanese green peppers, Shishito peppers, tomatoes, White Kabocha

Of all the vegetables we bought, we only ended up grilling the Shishito peppers and the tomatoes. If you haven’t had charcoal grilled tomatoes before, you must! It tastes amazing! As for the Shishito peppers (the skinny long ones), did you know approximately 1 in every 10 peppers is spicy? This can be a fun game to play with your friends to see who gets lucky 😉

For dinner, we also made our popular green lettuce salad with roasted tomato vinaigrette. We also added in some fresh pork belly (Bacon), toasted some baguette as crutons, and sliced up some radishes and cucumber for garnish.

Our friends also bought a bunch of bone marrow for approximately $4 each which isn’t bad considering how large they were. We soaked the bone marrow in some salted water first to get rid of all the impurities. After 30 mins or so, we rinsed them and seasoned them with salt and pepper, then topped them with lots of chopped garlic (because we are huge garlic lovers..).  We then proceeded to pop them in the charcoal BBQ until the bone marrow was jiggly to the touch as we know that would make a great spreadable consistency.

I must tell you… that bone marrow was so good! When spread on freshly toasted bread, it was the bomb! I tried not to think about how bad that must be for my arteries… but they always say the better it tastes… the worser it is for your health 🙁 …

The T bone steak and prime ribs were done very well too. We used the reverse sear method and finished it off on the flaming grill.

For dessert, I made my apple cinnamon coffee cake but given they did not have a cake pan, I made them into muffins instead. It still turned out pretty well but I think I could have undercooked them a bit more. It was served with fresh vanilla ice cream and espresso 🙂

Overall it was a great dinner. Great food, great company. There was so much food that we had to pack the leftovers up which was great because that means we can have more of it the next day 🙂

I actually ended up making steak and eggs served with bone marrow and toast this morning for breakfast given today was the last day of the long weekend. If only I could eat like this every day… I guess it’s good that I don’t or else I’d be like 500 lbs @_@

Until next time!

Mixed Berry Pavlova

Continuing with my baking weekend, the other recipe I wanted to try in my cookbook was the Mixed Berry Pavlova recipe. There was a lot of fail on my part that went into making this dish.

First, I thought we had all the ingredients we needed to make this dish so I didn’t invest in buying too many extra ingredients at the grocery store. When we came back, I realized I didn’t have enough eggs to last me the week if I used all the eggs in this recipe. Plus, I only had like 2 tbsp of whipping cream left -_-

Needless to say, I had to halve my recipe to make this work and it worked out because now I don’t have all this extra dessert lying around which allows me to bake other things 😀

The other thing I changed about this recipe is that I took out the liqueur aspect of the mixed berry garnish. Originally, the recipe asked that I toss the mixed berries in some sugar and Grand Marnier. I didn’t have any Grand Marnier so I used Cointreau instead and I thought it tasted ok… but J hated it. It wasn’t THAT bad. I didn’t add the alcohol in the next batch and I have to admit, it did taste much better.  This is a cute and elegant dish and when made in smaller portions, it can look very exquisite.

Mixed Berry Pavlova

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 6 small meringues

Mixed Berry Pavlova

Ingredients

  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream (35%)
  • Fresh mint leaves for garnish
  • Confectioner Sugar for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300F.
  2. In a stand mixer using a whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites and pinch of salt until frothy. Slowly add the sugar in a bit at a time until all sugar is incorporated. Whisk until stiff peaks (egg whites should be smooth and glossy)
  3. Add in cornstarch, vinegar, and vanilla extract into the egg white mixture and fold to combine.
  4. Spoon dollops of the meringue onto a Silpat or parchment paper and smooth into a round dish using the back of a spoon. You may press down on the middle of the meringue to make a shallow crater so that it leaves space for the whipping cream and berries later.
  5. Turn down the oven to 250F right before you're about to place the meringues in the oven and make for approximately 50 minutes to an hour. The meringues should remain white - if they're starting to turn a bit golden you've baked them for too long.
  6. While the meringue is baking, toss the berries with 1/8 cup of sugar and allow to sit so that the fruits start oozing in juices.
  7. Also, start whipping the whipping cream in a cold bowl.
  8. When meringue is done, allow to cool. Dollop some freshly whipped cream into the crater you made earlier in the meringue and top with the sugar coated berries. Garnish with some fresh mint leaves and dust on some confectioner sugar. Done!
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2017/07/16/mixed-berry-pavlova/

Cheddar and Chive Scones

I’ve been looking forward to this weekend for quite some time now. It’s the first weekend in a while where I don’t have any family/friend commitments which means I finally have time to bake – Yay!!

Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and friends but sometimes it’s hard to find time to pursue my hobbies (such as baking) while spending time with them because I often have a hard time multitasking and even if I bake for them while they are there, I feel like I am neglecting them or not fully paying attention! I’d much rather bake first, then invite them over for some treats 🙂

Having not baked in a while, I picked up my newest cookbook (Bobbette & Belle) and decided to flip through it for some inspiration as to what to make. One of the recipes that caught my eye was the Cheddar & Chive scones because I’ve been growing my chive plant but haven’t had a chance to use it much. Plus I had leftover cheese from a few weekends ago I needed to use up so it was perfect.

This recipe was super simple and tasted good. If I were to remake this again, I”d definitely try to make it more savoury – perhaps add some more butter and salt? For the first attempt it wasn’t bad.

Continue reading

Strawberry Scones Recipe

Every summer, we have a tradition of going strawberry picking because we love strawberries and the endless possibility of dishes we could make with them. Even if we can’t eat them all, we could always freeze it but they don’t last that long in the freezer anyways. Last year, we made strawberry sorbet which was one of our favourite frozen dessert.

Normally we would go to a local farm to pick our strawberries but this time we went to a different one to give it a try. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize how expensive the “pick your own” experience was at this farm – it was $5 admission per person AND that fee does not get subtracted from the total cost of your strawberries. The strawberries cost almost $5 a pound! At that price, it was difficult for us to justify picking our own strawberries so we decided to just buy trays of strawberries that were pre-picked since they were looking pretty good anyways.

We also bought some Rhubarb to make Strawberry Rhubarb pie. Mind you, I’ve never had Rhubarb before and the only way I know how to eat it is in pie form (which I’ve also never made) so it will be quite the experiment lol.

After dropping close to probably $40 on strawberry and rhubarb, we went home on a mission to make as many strawberry dishes as possible. This will mark the beginning of #StrawberryWeek.

One of the first dishes we made was Strawberry Scones.

I love scones. There’s something about them that makes them such an elegant dish – probably because I see them at fancy places like brunch or high tea. This would taste great with some fresh jam or butter. However, I personally think they taste great as is but it’s personal preference.

Strawberry Scones Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 18 minutes

Total Time: 33 minutes

Yield: 8 Scones

Strawberry Scones Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 
1/3 cup sugar

  • 
1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 
3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold

  • 
3/4 cup fresh strawberries, diced

  • 
1/2 cup sour cream
  • 
1 large egg

  • half & half cream (if the batter is still too dry)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using a pastry cutter (or in a food processor), cut in the cold butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Gently stir in strawberries.

  3. In a small bowl, whisk sour cream and egg until smooth.

  4. Slowly incorporate the sour cream mixture into the flour mixture until all the liquid is incorporated. It should come together into a shaggy looking like dough. If the mixture is still too dry, add in some half & half cream a little bit at a time until there isn't any dry ingredient left.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into a ball and flatten into a circular disc. Then, using a bench scraper, you can cut the scones into triangles (similar to how you divide a pie or pizza).
  6. Place the scones on a silpat or parchment paper and bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Cool and then serve.
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2017/06/25/strawberry-scones/

Cream Puff Recipe

I wasn’t always a fan of cream puffs. However, over the last couple of months, we’ve been frequently some of our favourite local cafe and bakery in our neighborhood and one of the pastries that has always seem to attract my attention were the ones made with a Pâte à Choux base. Whether it be cream puffs or eclairs, these desserts have inspired me to attempt to make them myself so that we can stop spending all our disposable income on these desserts XD

Thanks to my trusty Ladurée cook book that I bought last year, I had a point of reference to make my pastry cream. Being unsatisfied with their Pâte à Choux recipe, I decided to try another which turned out a lot better (the choux just had more flavour overall).

Cream Puffs

This dessert is actually not very hard to make though it can be time consuming as you have to dry the Pâte à Choux out in the oven, and then wait for your pastry cream to cool before you can actually use it. But once you have this base recipe down, you can actually adjust the pastry cream flavour to your liking. I went ahead and made a matcha variation of it that turned out quite well!

Matcha cream puff

To view the full recipe, see below.

Continue reading

Apple Roses

This has got to be the easiest dish to make. Every time I see someone make rose anything, I worry that it’ll be super intricate and difficult. If you’ve ever tried to learn how to make rose origami, you’d understand. Luckily, this was really easy – I’m pretty sure a 6 year old can do it.

I saw this recipe on Youtube by Chef John. I love this guy – he’s hilarious and his recipes are usually pretty spot on. The great thing about this is that you can easily WOW people with this because they will probably be thinking “Wow you made that? It looks impressive!” when really you’re thinking to yourself “I made that in 5 minutes”. So if you’re bored of your traditional apple pastries, try this!

Apple Rose

All you need is some puff pastry (I bought mine pre-made) and some red apples (I used Fuji apples). That’s more or less it!

 

Nutella Crepe Cake

It finally feels as though spring has arrived. For the first time in god knows how long, the sun is out! The day is also longer so that means there will be more opportunities for me to take food photos 😀

I’ve always loved nutella but for some reason I never got around to buying it. I took the plunge last week and decided to see how many dishes I can make with it as it feels like the possibilities are endless. To start, I decided to make Nutella Crepe with mixed berries. But I thought why stop there? Why not make a Nutella Crepe Cake! And hence the idea was born.

Nutella Crepe Cake

Guys, this tastes as good as it looks. Imagine layers upon layers of Nutella! This gives you the satisfaction of eating multiple crepes (because we all know you won’t be satisfied with just one) in a few slices.

Layers

Indulge yourself and make this super easy to make crepe cake!

Nutella Crepe Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs (room temperature)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup nutella
  • Fresh raspberries

Instructions

  1. Beat eggs, milk, butter and vanilla extract together. In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients together.
  2. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and combine with a whisk. Do this in several batches to ensure all dry ingredients are evenly incorporated
  3. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and add a ladle full of the crepe batter into the centre and quickly swirl it around the pan to ensure even distribution. Once the sides start curling up and you see some air pockets forming, flip it to the other side to cook for a couple of minutes. Do this for all the crepes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat up the nutella for about 45 seconds or until it has a very smooth consistency. This will help it spread easier.
  5. Once all the crepes are done, start assembling the cake. Take one crepe and spread nutella on top. Then add another crepe on top. Repeat until you're down to your last crepe.
  6. Top with some fresh raspberries and you're done!
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2016/04/16/nutella-crepe-cake/

The best brownie recipe!

Hello everyone!

Hope you all had a great weekend. I spent all of Sunday cooped up in the apartment with not much to do. After doing as much cleaning as I could tolerate, I decided to do some baking. Originally I wanted to create some Domo brownies but those didn’t turn out as well as I planned 🙁

I’ll include a picture of it anyways just for laughs but needless to say, I probably won’t be using buttercream frosting next time to make the mouth

-_-

Domo

I found this brownie recipe online a while back and fell in love with it ever since. Unlike the other brownie recipes I’ve had in the past, this one actually tastes like real chocolate and not like the ones you make out of cocoa powder. It’s also not overly sweet which is good for people who are watching their sugar consumption. Needless to say, I’ve made modifications to this recipe over time 🙂

Brownies

These brownies are cakey, chewy, and fudgey all at the same time! Best of all, they’re not super dense which is the way I like it. I didn’t make a frosting for this as I feel that would be overkill on the sweetness. In my opinion, this is the best brownie recipe I’ve found so far to date.

I brought this into the office the next day and they were a total hit! So if you want to be a hit among your family and friends, you have to try this.

The best brownie recipe!

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 4 oz semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup + 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Whisk flour, salt, and baking powder into a small bowl. Set aside. Meanwhile, spray an 8 inch baking pan with some cooking spray.
  3. Melt chocolate and butter over a double boiler, stirring constantly to prevent the chocolate from burning. Once completely melted, remove from the heat and whisk in the sugar and vanilla. Allow to cool for a few minutes until chocolate is no longer super hot.
  4. Whisk in eggs once at a time, fully incorporating each one before adding the next. Continue to whisk until the mixture is completely smooth and glossy.
  5. Slowly add dry ingredients 1/3 at a time and whisk until it's all incorporated.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick comes out with wet crumbs. If it comes out completely clean, you've overcooked it! This will take approximately 25-30 mins depending on your oven. Always check before your anticipated cooking time to prevent over baking.
  7. Cool brownies over a wire rack for at least 3 hours to allow the brownie to set. Cut into squares when ready to serve.
  8. Be sure to wrap these up in saran wrap or put them in an airtight container or else they will dry up.
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2016/02/09/fudgey-cakey-brownies/

Soy glazed chicken thigh recipe

It’s nearing the end of the week and with a bunch of uncooked chicken thighs from Costco that are about to go bad, we decided to look for a recipe where we can just cook them all at once and leave the leftovers for lunch the following day.

We wanted something that would require as little prep work as possible. This recipe was perfect since the only thing you need to worry about is making the marinade. Just dump all the sauces you need into one bowl and you’re good to go!

Glazed Chicken

When you first make this recipe you’ll notice you’ll have a lot of extra marinade leftover. You can boil this to thicken it up as a sauce to further baste the chicken in later as it cooks, or you can poor it over your rice. Serve this alongside some oven roasted broccoli and rice and you have yourself a nice dinner 🙂

See recipe below.

 

Soy glazed chicken thigh recipe

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons honey
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1 tsp asian chilli oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 6-8 chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green onion (optional)

Instructions

  1. Whisk the rice vinegar, honey, brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, chilli oil and minced garlic in a bowl until smooth.
  2. Marinade the chicken thighs using half the marinade. Keep the other half to make a sauce.
  3. Refrigerate for a minimum 1 hour, turning the chicken once or twice.
  4. When you're ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 425F.
  5. While the oven is preheating, boil the leftover marinade in a saucepan for ~5 mins or until thickened. If it's not thickening the way you like, you can add some cornstarch + water mixture to help it thicken up. This will be your glaze/sauce for the chicken.
  6. Arrange the chicken in a 9 x 13 inch pan and brush each chicken thigh with the glaze/sauce you just made and bake for approximately 20 minutes, basting the chicken with more glaze/sauce 10 minutes in. Cook until the chicken thigh reaches an internal temperature of 135F (You can use an instant read thermometer for this).
  7. Once it reaches an internal temperature of 135F, crank the heat on the oven to broil and broil the chicken for 5 minutes to help crisp up the skin. Depending on how hot your oven is, it may not take 5 mins so keep your eyes on it so you don't get burnt chicken!
  8. Once it's all nice and crispy, you can take it out to cool and garnish with some chopped green onions to garnish.
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2016/02/03/soy-glazed-chicken-thigh-recipe/

Apple Pork Chops with Sage

We recently bought a sage plant and we were looking for every excuse we had to use it. Pork chops went on sale recently and lucky for us, sage goes well with pork!

I consulted my Jamie Oliver cookbook as I recall seeing an apple pork chop recipe and decided to make some minor modifications to it. The result was something delicious 🙂

Apple Pork Chops

This Apple Pork Chop recipe, served along side Oven-Roasted Broccoli, will make a great lunch or dinner. The sweetness from the apples coupled with the savoury broccoli makes this dish a winning combo.

To find out how to make this, see below:

Apple Pork Chops with Sage

Ingredients

  • 1 pork chop
  • half an apple, sliced
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 3 sage leaves
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp brown sugar

Instructions

  1. Pat the pork chop dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. This will help the pork chop sear. Then, season generously with freshly ground salt and pepper
  2. In a cast iron pan over medium high heat, drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil and cook each side of the pork chop until it is fully cooked.
  3. With the excess fat from the pork chop in the pan, add in the butter and brown sugar. Stir everything together to make a caramel sauce and add in the sliced apples and sage leaves until they are evenly coated. Once the apples are softened, remove both from the pan and place it on top of the pork chop along with the residual sauce. Serve immediately.
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2016/01/17/apple-pork-chops/