appetizer

Shroom Shroom Shroommm..

This is the sound of Hong Kong.  People think fast, act fast, and talk fast.  Hey, we also eat fast.  To compensate this whole frenzied lifestyle, I choose cooking as a balance.  It is very rare that I would blog twice within the same week.  In any case, I should do it more often because practice is the only way to gain mastery.  So I just have to put myself into practice.

Note: Please don't discard the coriander stalks.  Chop them up finely and add them to make mint pesto and dumpling fillings for the two recipes below.  

Here is the list of key items I got for my 2 shroom recipes: 

1 bunch fresh coriander     HKD4

1 bunch fresh mint     HKD6

1 package baby corn     HKD6

2 bags mixed locally grown mushrooms     HKD6 each bag 

Total Spending:  HKD28

Ingredients for my two wonderful meals

First meal - garlicky mushrooms n’ egg & mozzarella crostini served with fresh mint pesto

Mint pesto recipe: 

1 bunch mint leaves

1 garlic clove

1/3 cup pine nuts

1/2 lemon zest & juice

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup finely chopped coriander stalks

Instruction: Put everything into a blender and season.  

Mushrooms and egg with mozzarella cheese crostini 

Servings: 2 persons

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients: 

250g fresh chinese and button mushrooms, chopped

2 eggs, whisked and seasoned

1/4 cup milk 

1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese

1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2-3 sprigs thyme

2 tbsp butter 

1/3 cup white wine

4 toasts with butter

1-2 tbsp pine nuts

2-3 tbsp mint pesto

1-2 tbsp grated parmesan

1/4 fresh lemon juice

extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions: 

1) Preheat a frying pan with olive oil on medium-low heat, cook garlic, thyme and mushrooms for 2-3 minutes.  Add white wine.  

2) After the alcohol evaporates, turn to low heat and add butter to the mushrooms.  Cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Season.  Heat off.  Set aside.  

3) To make the scrambled egg, simply mix eggs and milk.  Season.  Preheat a frying pan with oil, cook the egg on medium low heat.  Add mozzarella cheese.  Use a fork to swirl the egg and cheese mixture to create fluffiness.  

4) Layer the toasts with scrambled egg and mixed mushrooms.  Garnish with grated parmesan and pine nuts.  Serve with a dash of mint pesto and a twist of lemon juice.  

Second Meal - Mushroom Dumplings

These delicious dumplings were made with the freshest ingredients that cost less than HKD30.  

Servings: 2 persons - around 12 pieces

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 8 - 10 minutes

Ingredients: 

 250g fresh chinese and button mushrooms, chopped into smaller bits

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped

1/4 cup chopped spring onion

50-80g baby corn, chopped into small bits

1 package bean curd sheets, chopped into bits

2 tbsp sesame oil

1 egg, whisked

2 tbsp soy sauce

1/4 cup rice wine

1 bunch chopped coriander stalks

12 pre-made dumpling skins

extra-virgin olive oil

 

Instructions: 

1) Preheat a frying pan with oil on medium low heat, cook garlic, spring onion, chopped coriander stalks, mushrooms, baby corn, and fresh ginger for 3-5 minutes.  

2) Add rice wine.  After the alcohol evaporates, add sesame oil, bean curd, soy sauce, and season.  Cook the vegetables for about 3 minutes on low heat.,  Heat off and set aside.  

3) Transfer the filling to a large bowl for wrapping the dumplings.  To make the dumplings, spoon 1 tbsp filling to the center of the dumpling skin, use a knife to dip into the egg mixture and spread evenly around the edge of each dumpling, then start folding the dumpling from one corner to the other.  

4) Once the dumplings are all wrapped, fry the dumplings in a preheated frying pan with oil on medium heat.  Add 1/2 cup of water and lid on to allow the dumplings to be cooked fully.  Let them cook with the lid on for about 5 minutes. 

5) Transfer the dumplings to a plate and garnish with some chopped mint leaves and coriander.  Serve with dumpling sauce and mint pesto.  

mushroom dumplings with mint pesto 

Fragrant Spicy Veggies with Lettuce Wrap

The holidays are coming.  I'm sure many of us have already started our holiday menu planning.  This dish is great as a starter.  It actually came to mind because I got some lettuce that I was desperate to get rid of.  Plus I didn't want to eat a salad that is made with lettuce for the next three days.  And I certainly don't want to put any of my food to waste.  

So I remember this delicious Thai dish that I used to love -- minced spicy pork with lettuce wrap.  I recall all those lettuce greens served on the side.  So this is a veggie version of that.  :) And this dish is another perfect leftovers recipe.  I think most meat eaters would love it too because the taste is just phenomenal plus it looks presentable. ;)  I highly recommend you to try making it.  

Happy Holidays! 

Love,

Cindy x

Fragrant Spicy Veggies with Lettuce Wrap

 

Servings: 2-4 persons

Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients: 

1 eggplant, diced

1 zucchini, diced

1 cup corn

1 capsicum, diced

1 bunch string beans, chopped into small bits

2 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 red chilli, finely chopped

1 bunch spring onion, finely chopped

1 tbsp minced ginger

1 tsp brown sugar

2 tbsp sesame oil

1-2 tbsp fish sauce* (optional) 

1 lime zest & 1/2 lime juice

1 tsp sesame seeds

2 tbsp thai basil pesto

1 bunch fresh lettuce leafs 

extra-virgin olive oil

Dipping Sauce Ingredients: 

1 tbsp brown sugar

2-3 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp fish sauce* (optional) 

2 tbsp sesame oil 

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 fresh lime juice 

1/2 chopped chilli

2 tbsp chopped spring onion or coriander 

Thai Basil Pesto Ingredients: 

1 bunch thai basil

1/2 green chilli and 1/2 red chilli 

1 garlic clove

extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions: 

1) Preheat a frying pan with olive oil on medium heat, cook eggplant for 3-5 minutes first.  Then add the chopped vegetables such as corn, beans, capsicums, and zucchini.  Cook for another 3 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium low.  Add a splash of fish sauce, sesame oil, and brown sugar.  

2) Add the chopped garlic, spring onion, ginger, and chilli.  Cook 3-5 minutes.  Add basil pesto and fresh lime juice and zest.  Season.  Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes more to allow all the flavors to come out.  Heat off.  Set aside. 

3) Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top and garnish with some coriander if you like. I didn't have any so I skipped that. 

4) Serve this fragrant spicy veggies with some fresh lettuce leafs and the sweet and spicy dipping on the side.  Enjoy!

Fragrant Spicy Veggies with Lettuce Wrap

Fragrant Spicy Veggies with Lettuce Wrap

Fragrant Spicy Veggies with Lettuce Wrap

Cheesy Chinese Zucchini & Carrot Patties

I love making patties because that is one of the best ways to clear my leftovers in the fridge.  Once again, this recipe was inspired by Chef Gordon Ramsay.  In his original recipe, he used haloumi cheese.  I didn't have any haloumi at the time but I had some aged cheddar cheese sitting in the fridge so I used that instead.  Instead of using any imported courgettes, I used the local Chinese zucchini.  You can easily find them at most of the supermarkets and wet markets in Hong Kong.  

The wonderful thing about this recipe is that it doesn't hurt the wallet yet the taste remains magnificent and the kids would love it.  These patties are great to impress guests for small gatherings as a starter.  Most importantly, you don't need to go out of your ways to get these simplest ingredients.  

Happy cooking! :) 

Love, 

Cindy x

The taste and texture of these patties are magnificent.  Anyone who doesn't like veggies would somehow end up loving these patties.  

Servings: 5 patties

Preparation Time: 15-20 minutes

Cook Time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients for the patties: 

1 chinese zucchini, grated

1 carrot, grated

2 eggs, whisked

1.5 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 garlic glove, finely chopped

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1/2 cup grated parmesan

1 handful fresh basil leaves * ( I used thai basil because that's what I found in the wet market), chopped

1/2 cup chopped spring onion

extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions: 

1) Sprinkle some salt to the grated veggies and squeeze out any excess moisture.  Transfer the veggies to a large mixing bowl.  

2) Add garlic, cheese, fresh basil, spring onion, egg, and breadcrumbs.  Season.  Mix well.  

3) Form about 3cm thick patties with your hands and refrigerate the patties for about 20 minutes.  

4) Preheat a frying pan with a generous amount of olive oil on medium-low heat, cook each side of the patties for roughly 10-15 minutes until each side turns golden.  Reduce heat if necessary.  

5) Use a kitchen paper towel to soak up any excess oil.  Serve with the sweet and spicy sauce.  Recipe is below.  

In the original recipe, chef Gordon Ramsay used haloumi but I didm;t want to go to an international supermarket to get it so I just used some aged cheddar.  In fact, aged cheddar is a lot of cheaper so it's perfect if you are planning on a budget meal.  

Add garlic, cheese, fresh basil, spring onion, egg, and breadcrumbs.  Season.  Mix well.  

Form about 3cm thick patties with your hands and refrigerate the patties for about 20 minutes.  

Ingredients for the sweet and spicy sauce: 

1 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 pinch salt

1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 red chili, finely chopped

1/2 green chili, finely chopped

1/3 cup rice vinegar

1 drizzle extra-virgin olive oil

1 handful chopped coriander

Instruction: Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.  Serve with the patties.  

cheesy chinese zucchini and carrot patties with sweet and spicy sauce

cheesy chinese zucchini and carrot patties with sweet and spicy sauce - enjoy :)