Sunday, May 31, 2009

Lemon Chamomile Tiramisu

We were a little bit stumped with the ingredient for this month's Weekend Wokking. Afraid to lose our "street cred" (haha), we wanted to make something that would be unusual and use the lemon in its various forms.

We had some sweet ideas:
sweet lemon lollipops covered with lemon salt, or lemon zest-scented polvoron topped with lemon curd, or "molten lemon cake".

We had some savory ideas:
lemon chicken, or lemon gnocchi with an avgolemono-type sauce.

In the end, I hope that we came up with something that is a unique [eatingclub] creation!

Lemon Chamomile Tiramisu

A tiramisu should "pick one up", correct? What better way to revive someone than with the refreshing scent and flavor of lemon!

We finally decided on tiramisu as it involved no actual baking, always a bonus. =)

For our lemon chamomile tiramisu, we made candied lemon zest as a garnish, then decided to flavor the mascarpone-whipped cream mixture with lemon zest. In lieu of espresso, we decided to go with chamomile tea, and in lieu of Marsala wine, we went with limoncello.

I must say, I denuded quite the number of lemons for this dessert.

Here goes.

Candied Lemon Zest

I zested several lemons...

...dumped the zest into boiling water for a little while, then drained them.

They went into a simple syrup bath (1:1 sugar and water, heated until the sugar has dissolved) and then drained on a rack. I, of course, saved the simple syrup for later. I let the candied peels dry out a bit.

Lemon-scented Whipped Cream

I simply whipped some heavy cream, added the tiniest amount of sugar, then the zest (grated, this time) from several lemons. I wanted to use mascarpone cheese in this mixture as well, but JS didn't find any at Costco, and the nearest market that had it priced it (the same brand, mind you) at about four times as much.

Chamomile Tea and Limoncello Syrup

We had to make a special trip to buy limoncello! Oh, the things we do for the blog.

I brewed several chamomile tea bags, added limoncello to the mix, then combined this with the lemon-scented simple syrup used for making the candied zest, and a touch of lemon juice.


I did the standard tiramisu assembly procedure, starting with the lemon-scented whipped cream, dipping ladyfingers into the chamomile-limoncello syrup, then layering them on top of the whipped cream.

I repeated the process, learning it's much easier to break the ladyfingers into small pieces to fit into my round serving container, until I reached the top. I finished with a final layer of the whipped cream.

I didn't want to ruin that nice smooth layer of whipped cream I had on top, so I covered my tiramisu with a plate before placing the plastic wrap over it.

Into the refrigerator it went and we had to wait until the next day!

The next day, I decorated the tiramisu with the candied lemon zest. Ta-da!

I must say our lemon-y take on the tiramisu was quite delicious. On the whole, it was not too sweet, it had a rich creaminess to it from the whipped cream, and yet it was light and refreshing at the same time. Lemon and chamomile go really well together. The "boozy" note from the limoncello adds another nice flavour dimension.

This one is a keeper.

eatingclub vancouver Weekend Wokking posts:
Ravioli "Caprese": Tomato, Basil, Bocconcini
Eggplant "Clafouti"
Pumpkin Congee w/ Pumpkin "Beignets" & Sesame-Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Chicken, Broccoli and Cheese w/ Pipián Verde
Adobo Mushroom Tart
Duck and Orange Crêpes with Orange-White Wine Sauce
Almond Eggplant "Bisteeya" (Bastilla)
"Mashed Potato Beef Burger" (Red-skinned Potato Salad in Taiwanese Sacha Cheeseburger)
Korean Soybean Sprouts Pancake (Kongnamul Jeon)
Lemon Chamomile Tiramisu
Cilantro Horchata
Strawberry Cilantro Salsa, on Grilled Flank Steak
Duck Enchiladas with Chipotle Peanut Salsa
Clear Oxtail Soup with Corn, Cabbage and Potatoes
Beijing Pickled Cabbage
Salsa Romesco ("Queen of the Catalan Sauces!")
Aguadito de Pollo (Peruvian Chicken Soup)
Bangus Belly à la Bistek (Milkfish Belly with Onions, Calamansi and Soy Sauce)
White Pork with Garlic Sauce, Two Ways (蒜泥白肉)
Mr. Zheng's Soupy Tomatoes and Eggs with Tofu (蕃茄雞蛋跟豆腐)
Steamed Fish and Tofu with Chinese Black Beans
Spinach and Cheese with Puff Pastry, Three Ways

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Lemon Chamomile Tiramisu
Makes 1 round, approximately 3-inch in height & 9" in diameter

Candied Lemon Zest
3 lemons
water for boiling
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

Zest the lemons into long strips. Bring some water to a boil, then add the lemon zest. Boil for about a minute. Drain and discard the water.

In a small saucepan, make simple syrup by heating sugar and water until the sugar has dissolved completely. Add the drained lemon zest and let sit in the syrup for about 5 minutes or so. Drain the zest and reserve the simple syrup. Let candied zest air-dry on a rack.

Lemon-scented Whipped Cream
3 lemons
3 1/2 cups heavy cream
4 tablespoons sugar

Zest lemons using a micorplane.

Start whipping the heavy cream until soft peaks form, adding the sugar and zest halfway through.

Chamomile Tea & Limoncello Syrup
1 cup boiling water
4 teabags chamomile tea
2 1/2 tablespoons limoncello
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
reserved simple syrup from above

Pour boiling water over teabags and let steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove tea bags. Add limoncello and lemon juice to the tea, and combine everything with the reserved simple syrup from making the candied zest. You may add more limoncello and/or lemon juice according to your taste.

approx. 30 pieces
ladyfinger (Savoiardi) cookies

To assemble the tiramisu, spread bottom of your cake pan or serving container with a little bit of the lemon-scented whipped cream. Dip first side the ladyfinger in the chamomile-limoncello syrup for 1 second, flip and dip the second side for 1 second. Layer the dipped ladyfinger onto the whipped cream.

Repeat this until the first layer has been filled with dipped ladyfinger cookies.

Repeat the process -- whipped cream, then dipped ladyfingers -- until you reach the top of your pan/serving container.

Finish the tiramisu with a final layer of the lemon-scented whipped cream.

Cover tiramisu and place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours to set. To serve, garnish with candied lemon zest and enjoy!

We're submitting this recipe to Weekend Wokking, a world-wide food blogging event created by Wandering Chopsticks celebrating the multiple ways we can cook one ingredient.

The host this month is Wandering Chopsticks herself!

If you would like to participate or to see the secret ingredient, check
who's hosting next month.

Check out
all Weekend Wokking Roundups.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Chocolate Cake in a Cup

I don't even remember how I came upon this recipe. Seeing it, I thought it was a must-try! Since we we don't bake much and hence, wouldn't have any baked goods lying around the house, I thought this might be a quick fix during those "I really want a chocolate brownie/cake" moments.

Flour, sugar and cocoa powder go into a cup. An egg follows, followed by some oil (or butter, I suppose). Vanilla extract, if you roll that way. In the microwave for a couple of minutes and voilà!

Mine was a tad overcooked because I followed the 3-minute cooking time. I will have to microwave it for much less next time. It's not the best, but how can one argue with an instant chocolate craving fix?

Recipe from:

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sicilian Broccoli Sauté

We're trying to build up our repertoire of broccoli dishes since it is one vegetable that seems to be always available. It has become our go-to vegetable when I feel that our family is getting vegetable-deprived. Usually, we stick to the same old stir-fry with garlic.

TS decided to do a quick stir-fry -- oops, I mean, sauté -- of the 3 or so heads of broccoli we have sitting in the fridge, but done Sicilian-style with anchovies, garlic, red pepper flakes, and pine nuts.

It barely needs a recipe, so the one below is simply a guide. Enjoy!

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Sicilian Broccoli Sauté

broccoli, cut into florets
garlic, as much as you can handle
anchovies, as much as you can handle
red pepper flakes, as much as you can handle
handful pine nuts, toasted

Into a cold sauté pan, add olive oil, garlic cloves (simply smashed, or sliced), red pepper flakes, and anchovies. Turn the heat to medium and wait until the garlic starts to sizzle.

Turn the heat to high and add your broccoli florets. Cook until broccoli has softened but still retains a slight "crunch" (you may need to lower the heat if you wish to cook the broccoli for a longer time to a softer texture).

When the broccoli is the desired doneness, add the toasted pine nuts, squeeze the lemon juice over the broccoli, and adjust seasoning.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Shrimp "Croquettes" (Shrimp Balls)

Feeling so uninspired with shrimp one day, I decided to just peel the little critters and try to make some fritters.

Technically, these aren't fritters, because TS tells me that fritters are usually more dough-y and/or battered.

With my brilliant name "critter fritter" now unavailable to me, I suppose I can call them shrimp ovals, because they aren't shaped like balls either.

I think the shape -- if I may so myself -- is kind of nice but unintentional. I used a pair of tongs to grab a bit of the shrimp paste mixture from the bowl and dropped whatever was caught in between into some hot oil.

The shrimp ovals were very nice. It is not often that we have fried ovals or balls, so these were most welcome.

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Shrimp "Croquettes" (Shrimp Balls)
Makes 12 two-inch or three-inch "ovals"

2 lbs shrimps, peeled (probably less because had to peel them)
1 tsp cilantro
1/4 cup green onions
1/2 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp mint
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
1 tsp sesame oil
lemon juice, half a lemon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Add all ingredients into a food processor and buzz until it forms a paste. Form shrimp paste into balls, oblongs or discs. Pan-fry, shallow-fry or deep-fry each until done.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Spaghetti with Grapes, Tomatoes and Oyster Mushrooms

We had a whackload of oyster mushrooms sitting in the fridge, for some reason. I needed to use them up. JS had been hankering for pasta, so that's what I made.

I was rummaging around the fridge, trying to think of what to add to my pasta, when I saw these lonely-looking grapes on the counter. "Lonely" because they were the last few grapes left on the bunch. I've always been intrigued by "Véronique" dishes, so, unsure if JS would go for it, I forged ahead and set out to use the grapes in my pasta dish.

I started by sautéing the oyster mushrooms, adding in some garlic, smoked paprika and grainy mustard to the mix.

Meanwhile, I had my spaghetti cooking away. When they were done, I added them to the mushrooms, tossed them around, then added the grapes and tomatoes. A little squeeze of lemon, a little adjustment in seasoning, and that was it.

Pretty easy, eh?

We're submitting this to Presto Pasta Nights (created by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast). This edition is hosted by Sara of I'm a Food Blog. [Presto Pasta Nights info]

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Spaghetti with Grapes, Tomatoes and Oyster Mushrooms
Serves 6

2 lbs spaghetti

2 to 8 cloves garlic
half lemon
16oz oyster mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
t tablespoon grainy mustard
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced

handful grapes, cut in half

In a large pot, bring water to a boil. When boiling, add a generous amount of salt and add your spaghetti. Stir and cook until al dente.

In the meantime, heat some olive oil (or butter) in a sauté pan. When hot, add your oyster mushrooms and garlic. Stir and cook the mushrooms until tender, then add the smoked paprika and mustard.

Drain spaghetti and add to the pan, making sure to toss to combine everything well. Add some pasta water and/or more olive oil if the pasta seems too dry. Add sliced grapes and tomatoes, squeeze your half lemon, and adjust seasoning to taste.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Stir-fried Egg and Tomato

I first learned about this Cantonese home-style dish from my boss at my part-time job during university. Actually, I did not so much "learn" about it, I merely "heard" of it. My boss mentioned that his mother did not cook much at home, except for cooking stir-fried egg and tomato.

I guess I saw no reason to cook this dish at home. The thought simply didn't occur to me. I haven't even actually seen this dish in person before. But, browsing the recent Gourmet edition, I saw a recipe for it. Since we were already breaking out the eggs for Yaya's Golden Egg Torta, I thought, why not?

As promised, this was a very easy dish to do. Of course, this assumes you weren't in the middle of cooking when you realized that you forgot where you placed the camera, resulting in some slightly cooked-more-than-they-should-be eggs. But, let's not get ahead of ourselves.

In a wok, I heated some oil then poured in my beaten eggs. As soon as a film on the bottom forms, one is supposed to pull the eggs out. This is the part where I had to scramble around for the camera, so my eggs had a thick skin on the bottom by the time I took a picture.

So, the eggs go out. In the same wok, I stir-fried some green onions, then the tomatoes, seasoning with salt and a little sugar.

The eggs go back in, the mixture cooks for a little bit, and the dish is done.

Despite my errors -- the "over-cooked" eggs, the perhaps-overcooked tomatoes -- this dish was filling and comforting. Besides, one can't be too much of a perfectionist when making a home-style dish, right? We decided to have egg-on-egg action and had both this and Yaya's torta with rice. Nice.

We made another version of Tomatoes and Eggs:
Mr. Zheng's Soupy Tomatoes and Eggs with Tofu

Some eggy eatingclub dishes
Tarragon-Carrot Deviled Eggs
Golden Egg Torta
Hunanese Stir-fried Eggs with Green Peppers
Tortilla de Patatas (Spanish "Omelette")
Piedmont Marinated Eggs
Asparagus and Crab Egg Crêpes
Stir-fried Egg and Tomato
Oyster Torta
Torta with Pork and Kecap Manis
Curried (Easter) Egg Salad
Taiwanese Stewed Eggs (滷蛋) with Stewed Minced Pork (魯肉 or 肉燥)
Longsilog (Longganisa + Sinangag + Itlog)
Torta (Mexican Sandwich)
Mr. Zheng's Soupy Tomatoes and Eggs with Tofu
Nasi Lemak (Malaysian Coconut Rice Meal with Sambal)
Home-style Chinese Steamed Egg with Pork
Golden Shrimp Torta (Philippine Shrimp Omelette)

Stir-fried Egg and Tomato is part of an Eggy Home-style Meal.

Seasaltwithfood also made Fried Eggs with Tomatoes.

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Stir-fried Egg and Tomato
recipe by Genevieve Ko, Gourmet May 2009
Serves 4 (Main Course)

Recipe also available here:

6 large eggs
2 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided
2 scallions, finely chopped (reserve some chopped greens for garnish)
4 medium tomatoes (about 1 lb), each cut into 6 wedges
1 tespoon sugar

Beat eggs with 1/2 tsp salt until smooth but not frothy.

Heat 1 Tbsp vegetable oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until hot, Add eggs and cook, undisturbed, just until a thim film of cooked eggs form on bottom of skillet but most of the eggs are still runny, 5 to 10 seconds. Immediately scrape eggs into a bowl. Wipe out skillet.

Heat remaining 1 Tbsp oil in skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add scallions and stir-fry until just softened, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring and turning occasionally, until juices are released and tomatoed are slightly wilted but still intact, 4 to 6 minutes. Sprinkle sugar and 1/4 tespoon salt over tomatoes and stir to combine.

Return eggs to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until eggs are just cooked through. Serve sprinkled with reserved scallion greens.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dan Shui 淡水, Taiwan (including food)

little piggies in Dan Shui

Danshui peanutty snack

It's only been 2 months, but we're finally getting to post about our trip to Taipei. ;)

After a couple of sunny days wandering the department-store-filled streets of Taipei, we decided to venture northwestward to the little town of Danshui (淡水). It was quite easy to get to, as it was one of the stops on the Taipei metro system. We were promised some seaside-y, waterfront-y goodness and so off we went in the morning.

Of course, life such as it is, we were met with rain.

Not quite the waterfront outing we were expecting.

Normally, coming from Vancouver, a little rain never bothers us, but the rain seem to be falling in big droplets. We had to get an "emergency" raincoat made out of yellow plastic. It was a big yellow poncho!

Nevertheless, we still found some residents fishing near the water.

I tried to use my mind to will that pole away from the fishermen and out of the frame, but for some reason that didn't work.

With this turn in the weather, we decided against walking all the way to Fisherman's Wharf. After an interesting visit to Hongmao Castle (Fort San Domingo), it was straight to Old Street (淡水老街) and food!

Like how that truck managed to squeeze into the scooter parking spot?

Grumpy Lady's "Fried Wonton Roll"

Our first DanShui snack. I don't know what this food item is called, so I'm christening it "Fried Wonton Roll." It appears that the stall-owner has a bit of fame, as, according to her press clippings, she had been visited by a Taiwanese TV show. Anyway, there was a line-up when we arrived.

As you can see, these rolls were being filled, rolled and fried while we wait. Because of the set-up -- the money and change laid out on the counter (see photo above), we thought that customers paid and made change themselves.

So, JS proceeded to do just that and was admonished accordingly. She clicked her tongue and made a shooing sound, never looking up from filling her wonton rolls. Teehee. Hence, we re-christen this "Grumpy Lady's Fried Wonton Roll."

And just in case you think us mean, I would like to mention that all elderly women in Taiwan seemed very grumpy and aggressive. They were the hawkers in most storefronts and they didn't think anything of reprimanding you for passing by and not buying anything! In fact, JS and I were quite scared of them during our stay!

Here's how it works: she gives you a stick (wooden skewer), you use the stick to get 3 rolls, then you have your choice of which sauce(s) to brush onto your prize.

Fried dough with meat filling: how bad could it be?

After this first taste, we were ready for more.

Fried Quail Eggs

I was very intrigued upon discovering fried quail eggs! However, these were just so-so. I didn't care too much for the sauce -- I didn't realize the eggs would be smothered with it. Also, the eggs seemed to have been sitting there for a while.

Lobster with Big Eyes

These were just shellfish crackers or some such thing, but I especially liked the drawing of the lobster and the name: Lobster with Big Eyes! I giggle everytime I read it. Lobster with Big Eyes! Teehee.

that's me in my yellow plastic poncho, taking the picture


I don't exactly know what this item is. I'm assuming it's some sort of sweet pastry with red bean filling... I don't know what the stretchy white part is; perhaps some sort of glutinous rice product? In any case, this was a plastic rendition of this snack. We never did see this around while we were at Danshui.

A-Ge (阿給)

A-Ge is a Danshui specialty so we had to get one.

As we could only see the exterior -- a bean curd purse with some sort of fish paste on top, we didn't know what to expect.

Turns out, it was a bean curd purse stuffed with mung bean noodles, topped with fish paste, and served in broth. Our a-ge was served all cut up (for easy consumption).

Not bad.
Later on, we saw this sign that very nicely illustrated the a-ge's structure.

Iron Eggs (鐵蛋)

We kept passing by these huge booths selling these strange black spheres the size of large marbles. This was one of the less "fancy" booths; others had people with headsets and microphones! All of them seemed to be employing very hard-sell tactics. And, as I'm very scared of hawking, we didn't want to get too close to the booths. We could only guess what they were.

It was later on that my friend AL explained to us that these were eggs. Yes, eggs! These are stewed eggs that have been dried. An egg becoming that small! Intriguing. I don't know what they would taste like.

Fish Crisps (魚酥)

If we're not mistaken, I think this is the company/family that's recognized to make the best fish crisps in Danshui.

This is their storefront. The store beside them was a similar store, but this was where the people were lining up. That pile of fish sticks near the person in yellow are what the crisps look like before being dried.

We bought a small bag of the fish crisps and they were indeed very good!

Clay Animals

Chinese zodiac animals

What's with those piggies at the top of the page, and all these other animals, you ask? Well, as you can see, they're very cute.

Here's the story. For some reason -- perhaps that we had been walking all day for the past 2 days; just a thought -- I was extremely tired the day we went to Danshui. I mean, I can normally plod on as if nothing's the matter when tired, but I was just so exhausted. So, in the mid- to late afternoon, a little bit after buying some fish crisps, JS and I decided to actually stop walking for a while. Did I say that I was so very, very tired?

While we were sitting down and eating said fish crisps, we decided that we should go back and get more to bring home to Vancouver.

So, we get up and start walking towards the fish crisp place. I tell you, it felt like our little rest did not help me one bit. On the way, I saw this display of cute little clay animals. They were too cute! I lingered a bit and, quick as a cat, the sales person pounced on me and started enumerating the virtues of her wares.

Usually, I have pretty strong willpower against buying such "souvenirs", but maybe my defenses were not where they usually were, with the exhaustion and all. So, "OK," we decide, we'll get one of these. It was a matter of deciding what to buy.

The beauty was, besides those piggies and monkeys and such, they had clay Chinese zodiac animals. You choose which animals you want, she glues them onto a stone from the Danshui area (so she claims), and off you go!

I think I may have actually spent quite a while in that shop. In the end, I chose nine zodiac animals to represent our household: 2 big ones for our parents, 4 medium ones for us siblings and sibling-in-law, and 3 small ones for the children. The zodiac animals were stuck onto the stone, packed really well in a box, and went into my hands.

OMG, they were so cute!

I credit these cute little clay animals for bringing the spring back into my step. I felt much revived after my little cute-clay-animal interlude.

Peanutty Snacks

I don't know how to describe these snack items. I guess they are similar to granola bars? But, different.

I've included the packaging for those of you who read Chinese.

That above seems to have peanuts (of course), pumpkin seeds (I think), pistachios, and sesame seeds, among other things.

These light-colored ones had peanuts and pistachios, enrobed in some sort of sesame "brittle" (like those sesame snaps).

These ones seem to be similar to the light-colored ones, but they're enrobed in a darker colored "brittle", then covered with coconut flakes.

These "enrobed" ones were chewier while the first one was crisp. The light-colored ones are my favorite.

If anybody can help us with the descriptions for these, that would be greatly appreciated.

Please scroll down to the 4th comment on this post for a translation provided by ~an*. Thanks, ~an*!!!

And there you have it! Dan Shui in one post.


Taiwan trip 2009
Taiwanese Bakery Goods (including ChiaTe Bakery)
Dan Shui 淡水, Taiwan (including food)
Taipei Quick Eats: Mos Burger, Hong Ya Breakfast, Ay Chung Flour-Rice Noodle
Taipei Convenience Store Foods
Shilin Night Market 士林夜市 (Taipei, Taiwan)
Breakfast Buffet at the Shangri-La (Taipei, Taiwan)
Taiwan Beef Noodle Soup, 4 versions (Taipei, Taiwan)
Yehliu 野柳 Geopark; Dried Seafood (Taiwan)

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