When you stumble upon a recipe that promises to fill your house with the warm scent of strawberries and cake, and berry-stained fingers afterward, you can’t say no, or pretend to be uninterested and click on to the next page. I definitely couldn’t. These strawberry scones lingered in my memory for two whole days and by saturday evening, I had a block of butter and a punnet of strawberries in the fridge waiting to be elevated into something even more glorious.
This isn’t the first time I’ve shared a recipe that a recipe that marries berries and pastry, but what can I say? Some things don’t change, especially when they are very, very good.
Continue reading “strawberry & cream biscuits”
…keep calm and have a sandwich. The start of school, episodes of ineffective communication, drilling and paint fumes from the neighbours’ renovation made me very grumpy, but I took a chill pill, made a mug of coffee, and had this alfafa, olive and feta cheese sandwich for lunch/tea. I crumbled a bit of bleu cheese on top too, since it felt like my day needed a good ass-kicking. There are no simpler kitchen joys than these mini French loaves that go for 35 cents apiece from an old-fashioned bakery near my place, and my mother’s set of square tupperware plates in all sorts of retro colours. Kitchen zen.
ps. the key to kicking these rustic veg & cheese sandwiches up a notch? drizzling a bit of olive oil into the loaf and again later when the filling is assembled, and a gentle sprinkling of salt as a final step.
Heading to a potluck dinner later armed with this salad — a medley of roast portobello mushrooms, pasta spirals, rocket, cherry tomatoes, olives and crumbled feta. I pretty much follow a standard green + red + black + white/yellow colour formula when it comes to salads, and top everything off with olive oil, basil and lemon juice.
Feta fort, pre-crumble stage.
I wanted to keep it healthy and opted not to use butter on the mushrooms, so I compensated for the flavour by roasting the mushrooms with slices of lemon peel. The oils in the lemon peel lent a subtle, zesty kick which tasted very nice and clean.
Had a bowl of the goods for lunch for a taste-test, and I liked it! I’m not very good at scaling up ingredients though, so I’m worried that the large bowl I’ve packed will be too dry. Packed some extra lemon wedges and feta crumbles to go, just in case!
We made chicken pot pies for dinner today and I love how they turned out! These are essentially a ridiculously easy version of savoury pies, with the warm filling spooned into a ramekin or bowl before puff pastry is draped over the top and tucked into the rims. For the filling, my mum made a great stew with chicken, diced potatoes, carrots, celery, onion and peas, with knobs of butter and condensed mushroom soup to thicken the gravy. For an extra touch of decadence, every filled ramekin got a halved hard-boiled egg on top before being covered with pastry.
If you’re not fussy about using store-bought puff pastry, this makes great, light comfort food for students on a tight time schedule and budget. The filling can also be anything you like, from ground beef to a hearty bowl of chowder! Extra dough is also always super fun to play with — Alexandra topped one with an extra round of dough, making it a pie-disguised-as-giant-cupcake, and I made a ‘T’ on another for a family initial! Thank goodness we made extra, because I think we’re all about to go for seconds!
Chinese American food, pfft. When my family and I arrived in Davis for the first time, we found ourselves in a little chinese restaurant and had crab rangoons – fried crab meat and cream cheese dumplings – for appetizers. The idea of crab and cheese in Chinese food was pretty weird to me, and didn’t feel right on our tongues. Last sunday though, my housemate Anna changed my mind! She is a genius, and whipped up a batch to serve at the hotpot lunch party on sunday. So good! The crab helps bring down the richness of the cream cheese, and biting into these hot little pockets of smooth filling is immensely satisfying. Homemade is really always better. We had some leftovers so we had a scaled-down hotpot dinner of our own and all stood around the stove feeling very happy. Anna’s crab rangoons were the star of the night! My tummy and I are both very happy that this girl is living in the room across the hall.
Continue reading “Appetizer: Crab Rangoons”
It’s been one of those weeks. Being on exchange doesn’t save me from midterm blowout, and after a week of struggling with assignments and writing in stifling academic journal science-speak, I was ready for two things: a luxurious long nap, and a treat for my taste buds.
The thing is though, by the time you’re done worrying about work, no one really has the energy or time to be stirring caramel custards for thirty minutes straight, or washing up buttered pots, pans and baking trays. This recipe is best for those moments. A warm, rustic dessert that is comforting, easy, and so nourishing for the soul. It only took me ten minutes (prep time included, not that there is very much prep to begin with!) to make a large batch of the crumble topping. Now there is a handy box of it sitting in my freezer, so I can have a pick-me-up whenever some healing is required. You can even bake single portions of this in a toaster oven, which is what I do when I’m at home in Singapore. Humble ingredients, pre-made components, fast, delicious, and no guilt involved — my idea of a perfect dessert!
Continue reading “Comfort Food: Warm Berry Crumble”