Saturday, March 29, 2008


I never thought I would be writing about Pozole when in China, even less making it, but here we are. Pozole is Mexican soup made of special corn called hominy and it is my favourite Mexican dish.

Main ingredients are, hominy, dried chillies and some kind of meat (pork, chicken or seafood). And when is done you garnish it with fresh avocados, lime, cilantro, radish, salad. There are many many variations of pozole, but my favorite is red pozole with chicken.

So can you imagine my happiness when I saw hominy in a supermarket (western food supermarket). I made it the very same day, but will not post a recipe this time, just wanted to let you know about pozole. And if you ever have a chance to taste it, do that, is more than delicious!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Chinese steamed bread

First time I saw Chinese steamed bread I thought it was half-done, that you need to finish baking it in the oven. That's how much I knew about Chinese cooking. What can I say, I was a stir-fry and chow-mein person.

From a friend I found out that the bread was not at all half-done, but all done and ready to eat. The reason it was so pale was because it has been steamed and not oven baked. I could not believe it, no crust at all?! So of course I had to try it...and all I can say is that I am hooked on steaming. Not only bread (western type of bread included) but anything else that fits in my bamboo-steamer (post about it coming soon).

The steamed bread itself tastes good, despite no crust. It is more chewy, I guess because of steam. But it molds faster than oven-baked bread, again because of moisture. However, what I have been thinking about was bagels. Have to test steaming them instead of boiling in water and then oven-baking. Could be something.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easter chocolate eggs

I wasn't looking for a chocolate egg mold, but when I saw it at the store where I bought the moon cake molds I couldn't resist.

I have never made chocolate eggs before, I always thought it looked a bit complicated, but for some reason I thought it was time to do try it out. It was not easy, I guess is one of these things where "practice makes perfect" gives you encouragement. But it was so much worth it, egg mold is here to stay.

The mold is made of hard plastic and gives 9 whole eggs. Each egg half holds 2 tsp of water, so they are just perfect size, not too small not too big. What I did was, I melted chocolate, filled each half with a bit less then 1 tsp and I spread it around by moving the mold. Then I put it in the fridge until chocolate was hard and repeated the coating 3 times more, but with a brush, thought it was easier.

The tricky part was to make nice, flat, thick edges as they are important when you are putting two egg halves together. And to keep egg shells nice and shiny, next time I will wear plastic gloves.

As much as I was excited about the chocolate shells that much I was excited about the filling inside the eggs. After some creative thinking the result was eggs filled with ingredients from 3 different continents and 3 different countries.

Jasmine tea and dark chocolate ganache - tea was discovered in China and is very important in Chinese culture. There are close to 1000 different types of tea but in this chocolate egg I chose jasmine. Jasmine and dark chocolate go so well together. I infused tea with hot cream, strained it and mixed with chocolate to make ganache, wonderful!

Daim bar and milk chocolate ganache - Daim is so Swedish, so Swedish you can find it at IKEA. It is made of crunchy almond bar and covered with milk chocolate. I crushed some of it and mixed with a milk chocolate ganache, love it love it love it...


Amaranth and cajeta - cajeta is Mexican syrup that is made of caramelized goats milk...yes goats milk! I am lucky enough to have supply of cajeta and amaranth all year round from Mexico.

Green tea and amaranth - this one is a hit! I made white chocolate ganache, added some green tea powder (Chinese, not Japanese matcha) and mixed with some amaranth.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Moon cake molds

I found them, the moon cake molds! Not traditional ones made of wood (second picture), but for now these plastic ones will do just fine. I call them Shanghainese-style moon cake molds, they represent something traditional but with a modern touch, just as Shanghai does.

These wonderful square and round molds come with 8 different prints each. I still do not know what all of them mean but I am working on it. There were two different sizes, big and small, but I chose to buy the small ones. I like the idea of cookie-size moon cakes. And can you imagine green-tea cookies with one of those wonderful characters?

I already have zillion ideas for the filling (yes one of them is Nutella!) and now the only thing I need is a good recipe for a moon cake dough. Mid-Autumn festival 2008 here we come!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Kumquat and apple charlotte

Kumquats and apples go really well together. In this charlotte I was tempted to use only kumquats but thought the flavor could be too strong (can have too much of kumquats after all).
I also like to use brioche instead of bread loaf when making charlotte because I think it gives a perfect crispy/buttery/juicy combination. This recipe serves 4 individual charlottes.

Kumquat and apple charlotte
4 apples
15 kumquats
juice of one orange
1/2 dl sugar

150 gr butter
14 slices brioche (size of a bread loaf), a bit dried out
4 individual pudding molds

Peel and core the apples and cut into small pieces. Slice and seed kumquats. Melt a spoon of butter in a pan, add the fruits, orange juice and sugar and cook on a low heat for about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool a bit.

In the meantime cut the edges of the brioche and cut 4 circles that will cover the bottom of the pudding mold.Cut the rest of the brioche in 3 cm wide rectangles. Melt the rest of the butter and brush each piece of the brioche on both sides.

Put the circles on the bottom of the pudding mold and line around with the brioche rectangles. rectangles should be a bit bigger then the mold as you will seal the pudding with them. Fill the mold with the fruits and seal it.

Preheat the oven 200 C and put the molds in. To keep everything in place while baking and to get a nice shape place a heavy heatproof plate or similar on the top of the molds. Bake for about 20 minutes, take of the heavy plate and bake until the top is golden. Charlotte is best eaten while warm.