Spiced Red Wine Poached Pear

there something quite amazing about poached pears. They transform into a soft-yet-firm magical looking fruit that is tainted with the most amazing maroon. Eat it with the most luscious vanilla mascarpone, and VIOLA! You’re in heaven. (:

I’ve never had a poached pear, but I always see cooking shows that make them and tell myself, I need to try that soon. Just like tarts. And that journey has yet to begun. haha We went to the Sunday Market near Melbourne Showground and chanced upon some Bosc pears, and I just couldn’t resist!

with a bottle of cabernet merlot lying around in the cupboard, it was a perfect opportunity to make some poached pears! (:

So here is the recipe that I adapted from taste.com.au

Ingredients :
500ml (2 cups) red wine
70g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
2 whole star anise
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 vanilla bean, split
2 just-ripe bosc pears, peeled
2 cloves
100g mascarpone
2 tbs icing sugar mixture
1 tsp vanilla paste
Steps :
1. Combine the wine, sugar, star anise, cloves, cinnamon powder and vanilla bean in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves.
2. Add the pears and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, turning occasionally, for 1 hour or until pears are tender. Use a slotted spoon to transfer pears to a heatproof bowl. Once it’s cooled, put it in the fridge while preparing the other things. (The original recipe calls for the pears to be refrigerated for 4 hours, but I only let it sit in the fridge for 30mins and it was already yummy! I much prefer the cold outer portion and the inner flesh is warm.)
3. Increase heat to high and bring the syrup to the boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until syrup thickens slightly.
4. Place the mascarpone, icing sugar and vanilla paste in a medium bowl and stir to combine.
5. Transfer the pears to a serving dish and drizzle with syrup. Serve with vanilla mascarpone.

Comfort food.

Winter. Cold winds, rain, super low temperatures. To conquer all these, to me, only means one thing : comfort food.

what’s better ya? the ultimate comfort food for me is mash. The creaminess and butter-i-ness texture of the mash just makes everything seem better. (: So everything with mash, would just be a kind of comfort to me. Last night, I decided to make Shepard’s pie!

Shepard’s pie has always been a family favourite. So of course, I immediately went to source for a recipe so that I could cook it for everyone to enjoy! (: I was pretty worried the first time I made it, and I remember my brother having to always taste my mash to see if it’s buttery enough or salty enough. And my mum would stand next to me to make sure the mince is in small pieces and not in chunks, and if my meat sauce is thick enough.

alright, did I say I miss my family and I’m home-sick? I didn’t? Well, I am. That’s why I needed comfort food, pronto.

So here’s my recipe, hopefully, it will be as comforting to you as it was for me! (:

Ingredients :

600g mince pork (you can always use chicken or beef)

6 cloves garlic, chopped

2 medium size carrots, chopped into small pieces

1 leek, sliced into thin rings

10 button mushrooms, sliced thinly

1 tin of chopped tomatoes (can always substitute with 3 tbs tomato paste)

3 tbs plain flour

2 tbs olive oil

2 tbs Worcester sauce

5 bay leaves

750ml chicken stock

8 potatoes, cut into cubes (for mash)

50g butter

50ml milk (or cream)

1 tsp nutmeg

Parmesan, to sprinkle on the mash before baking it

salt and pepper, to taste

Steps :

1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based pan and add the garlic and leeks and fry till fragrant and the leeks are transparent, make sure they do not brown. Add the carrots and mushrooms and fry till carrots are soft.

2. Add the mince and fry till the meat is cooked and the pieces are small.

3. Add the flour and mix till well combined. Add the stock, the Worcester sauce, chopped tomatoes, bay leaves and mix and allow the mixture to boil before turning the fire down to small. Cook the mixture and allow the liquid to thicken till almost dry. (about 20-25mins)

4. While the meat mixture is reducing, cook the potatoes in a pot of salted water till tender and easier to mash. Drain, and put them back into the pot over very small fire. Add the butter, milk and nutmeg and mash till smooth. Season with salt and allow it to cool for about 5 mins.

5. Place the meat mixture into a baking tray and slowly pipe the mash on top of it. Sprinkle the Parmesan and flash it in the oven grill for 5 mins, till the top is golden brown.

6. Serve and enjoy! (:

A Perfect Combination.

How do you like your eggs done? Sunny side up? Poached? Baked? Scrambled? I personally LOVE poached eggs. Everyone who knows me well, knows how much I love my eggs benedict! Poached eggs on english muffins topped with a big dollop of Hollandaise sauce. Just typing the description out is making me crave for some now at 5pm in the evening.

My next favourite is baked eggs. And that’s exactly what I made for baby today for breakie.

As our oven was due for cleaning, I just cooked this over the stove which was great! (: I found the recipe while reading OK! magazine, and it was a small little booklet which consists of a few recipes from different chefs! This particular recipe is from Pete Evans! I saw it, and I knew my baby would love it.

Pete Evans made his on the barbecue, but cause we didnt have one and the oven was down, I did mine all on the stove! I didn’t need to put much seasoning cause the chorizo used in this recipe did all the seasoning for me!

So here’s the recipe adapted from Pete Evans’ My Grill.

Ingredients :

4 tomatoes, halved

1 chorizo, cut into slices

1 small tablespoon of chopped chives

5 eggs

pinch of hot paprka

1 cup of cheddar cheese

Steps :

1. Cook the tomatoes on a non-stick pan till they are tender and cut into chunky pieces.

2. Place the chorizo into a cast-iron pan and fry it till it’s golden on each side. Place the tomatoes in with the chorizo, with the chives and just a little salt and pepper.

3. Make some holes in the mix to crack the eggs into. Sprinkle the paprika and cheddar cheese. Cover the pan with aluminium foil and cook it on low for 10-15 mins until the whites are cooked and the yolks are still runny. Serve with toast!

a close up! (:

The egg whites were cooked but the yolks were still runny which combined with the tomatoes made a really good dip for toast!

and you know what’s better? Having this with a nice cup of hot chocolate, and watching Karate Kid.


So what is your perfect combination with eggs? Share! I would love to hear it!

A Sugee Cake Just To Say Thank You.

I recently stopped work and really wanted to thank my boss and I knew from the very start sugee cake was her facourite cake of all time. So I couldn’t not bake it for her. I never really baked it before, and was a little nervous to be giving her my very first attempt to be honest. But as I was leaving for Melbourne very soon, I didn’t have much time to bake another. So a successful first attempt was what I was praying for!

Thankfully, I read Ju’s post on The Little Teochew (yes the same awesome person who baked and shared her Japanese Cheesecake recipe, thank you!) a couple of months ago, and bookmarked the recipe of the sugee cake she baked (adapted from Cherry on a Cake) and hers looks amazing! So I took a deep breath and plucked up my courage and gave this a try.

Ju did use almond silvers but I didn’t have that, and used pumpkin seeds instead. However, they didn’t stay on top and sank all the way to the bottom instead! hehe I must say it didn’t look very pretty, but it did taste pretty good! and goes well with a hot cup of coffee or tea. Thankfully, my boss enjoyed it very much! (: So thank you Zurin, for sharing the recipe, and thank you Ju for giving the tips!

so here’s the recipe from The Little Teochew, as adapted from Cheery on a Cake (: Enjoy!

Ingredients :

250g butter, softened
250g caster sugar (can reduce it to 220g)
125g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
125g semolina flour
50g cashews, ground (I used grounded almonds instead)
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp buttercream essence (I left this out)
5 eggs plus 1 yolk, the whole eggs separated

Steps :

1. Preheat oven to 150 C.

2. Stir semolina flour, Self Raising flour, baking powder and nuts together in a bowl and leave aside.

3. Seperate all the eggs. Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time. Add cold milk, vanilla extract and buttercream essence and mix well.

4. In another bowl beat egg whites till stiff. Fold in flour mixture into creamed mixture. Then fold in beaten egg whites gently until well mixed. Gently sprinkle almond silvers or any nuts (as mentioned above, I used pumpkin seeds and it sank, so just stick to the almond silvers) on top before putting it in the oven.

5. Bake 150 C for 50-60 mins until skewer comes out clean. (Tent the cake batter with foil because the high sugar content makes the cake brown easily)

I used a bread loaf pan and it came out pretty nice and close to the texture of Ju’s sugee cake, crumbly and nutty! (:

Thanks again to the both of you so generously sharing your recipe and tips!