Coffee Walnut Cake

August 18, 2011


When I have my little cafe in future, this will be the “must-have” and signature cake for the cafe. Nothing subtle about the flavour of this cake. It is like a mouthful of expresso and a piece of walnut cake inside you mouth at the same time without the sogginess!  I was a bit concerned after decorated the cake because of amount of butter and sugar used in this cake! 1 1/2 stick of butter and about 500g of sugar!! BUT to my surprise, this is a rather light cake to eat, a bit sweet. The counterbalance of the bitterness of the undiluted coffee liquid, dark chocolate drops and coffee granules seem to even up the sweetness.

The Best cake I have ever made so far!

Ps. Would be great to share this cake with Chris!

PSS: Do click on the pictures to have a detailed look at the texture of the cake decoration..


This is a sugar-fueled dessert for your occasional “sugar fix” moments. This is a no-bake cake, so easy to make you must be careful not to make it too often!

If you have some chocolatey (or fruity) leftover cake laying around, use it for the base of this “cake”. Break up the cake and line the cake within a round mould on a serving plate. Use the spoon, firmly pack the cake to form the base.

For each cake, you will need one ripe banana. Peel and cut the banana into chunks. In a sauce pan, add few tablespoonful of water and sugar, bring to a boil until the sugar is caramelised. Lower the hear, add  the banana chunks and gently coat it with the caramelised  sugar until the outer part of the banana chunks slightly soften.

With the mould still around the cake, arrange the caramelised  banana chunks nicely on top of the cake and spoon a generous amount of the sugar syrup over the banana. Remove the mould and serve warm.

This cake is sweet, but additive!

Coriander Flower

April 26, 2011


The word coriander derives from the Greek word “Koris” meaning stinky bug!
I just read, coriander is from the carrot family!  And I never expected that fact!

I leave the “leftover” pot of the coriander at my kitchen window sill the last few weeks, it started to flower. I thought the small clusters of  white flower are rather beautiful. On one occasion, I accidentally brush my hand at the flowers, and in few second times, I can smell a very strong fragrance on my hand. I was surprised to smell the strong intensity of the fragrance.

Today, I thought maybe it is ok to use the flower to flavour the chicken soup, so I picked just 2 small sprigs of the flower and throw them to the soup. Wow..what the 2 sprigs of flower can do! The kitchen is fill with the fragrance of coriander. The smell still lingers after few hours later!

Don’t waste it next time if you left your home-grown coriander to flower, they are amazingly strong in flavour!

10,000 Visitors!

April 23, 2011


THANK YOU for being the 10,000th visitors for Only Nature: food porn blog. I have no idea who is this person, if I do, I will bake you a cake for celebration! Even though it is relatively a small number of people visited this blog (comparing to million of people wandering in the cyberspace!), but it is the  first milestone marking the significance of the development of this blog.

I am getting clearly for what this blog is about, and I hope to make it not just another food blog, but something meaningful to me and for those who read it.

Thank you again for the supports and kind comments.

Loong



First of all, I must thank Alison White from Total Greek Yoghurt again for the invitation to the Masterclass at L’atelier des Chefs. It was a rather fun experience. Though I felt a little out of place for being the very few male food bloggers attending the event! Having said that, I also felt delighted that I can consider myself as an indie food blogger totally free from any commercial obligations.

The event actually makes me think whether being an architect is the destine of my life! I found so much enjoyment being in the kitchen (as usual!), it reminded me those many hours I spent in the wood workshop when I was studying for my Architecture degree. Even though cooking and working on architectural projects have the similar attitude; going though the process from conceptualising to completing the “project”, nothing beats the quicker “completion date” than making food! For less than an hour, you could have enjoyed the labour of your hard work!

We made 3 savoury dishes (mackerel, pork and  samosa)and 3 desserts (tiramisu, pancake and puffed pastry layers) all using Total Greek Yoghurt. I personally liked the 3 savoury dishes, they are easy to make but full of flavour and  the yoghurt make the dishes tasted a lot more lighter and healthier than it original versions.

But for the desserts, I think the substitution of the cream with yoghurt also took away many of the guilty pleasures of eating dessert! The fat, cream and sweetness!

L’atelier des Chefs is a rather interesting place. It seems like a hybrid of a cookery school, restaurant and shop, you can book to cook your own lunch for £15. IT could be a nice day out with friends, rather than waiting to be served, why not just go to the kitchen to prepare the food yourself!?

ps. I know working with food will definitely be an eventuality, but I still believe that being a qualified Architect is the dream that I have to fulfil!

Note: All photos were taken using Iphone under poor lighting condition. But I think I got the best out of  the tool I have!


This almond “tofu” basically is the same almond bean curd I made a while ago. Follow this basic bean curd recipe but play around with the shape and/or even add fruity ingredients to it to make it a pleasant surprise! This is quite a summery dessert, the cold kiwi soup make an eye-catching presentation for the pale bean curd.

To make the kiwi soup, peel two kiwi fruits, and blend it with one or two tablespoonful of syrup or honey, some carbonated mineral water.

Arrange the bean curd in a serving plate (or bowl) and gently pour the kiwi soup around the bean curd. Decorate it with a thinly slice kiwi fruit. Serve it cold.

TOTAL Split pots!

April 21, 2011


This is not really a product review as such, but more about the reaction/ feeling I have when first tasted these TOTAL Greek yoghurt split pots from FAGE

It tasted honest and real. You can always tell the honesty of the food you put in your mouth in the very first instance. Your taste buds will never lie to you.

We all know the taste of the authentic Greek yoghurt. So I am not going to say more about it, but what I think is the most impressive thing about these split pots is the accompanied compotes!
I personally think the Greek yoghurt will only work well with natural flavours. All these compotes tasted so much like home-made or collected from its natural source. The thick honey has no artificial aftertaste, the strawberry compote reminded me the jam I made last summer with whole strawberries in it. All the pieces of fruit in the compote adds another dimension to the soft and creamy yoghurt.

I do have one complaint about these TOTAL Greek yoghurt split pots though…THAT the amount of the various compotes is too little…!! Can we do something about it..:)

Finally, I have to thank Alison White from FAGE UK Limited for sending these samples for me to taste…


This is not really a cupcake, I really don’t remember the proper name for these tiny cake. But it was baked in cupcake tin, so let’s just call it cupcakes! I saw Jamie Oliver made these on his 30 mins meal TV programme the other day. I remembered he said 100g for all dry ingredients plus one egg, but one egg is not each to combine the dry ingredients together, so I added an extra egg.  IT IS dead simple to make and delicious with a cup of tea!

Ingredients: (make around 10)

  1. 100g Self-raising flour (sifted)
  2. 100g Almond powder (sifted)
  3. 100g Caster sugar
  4. 100g Butter (at room temperature)
  5. 2 Eggs
  6. Few drops of almond extract (optional)
  7. Any Jam (In this recipe, I use the blackberry jam I made during the summer)

Pre-heat the oven to 180’C.

Combine all ingredients (other than the jam) in a big bowl until a smooth paste. Line the cupcake tin with cupcake paper. Spoon about a tablespoonful of the cake mixture to the tin, and then a teaspoonful of jam, and finally top the jam with another tablespoonful of the cake mixture.

Bake in the oven for approximately 20 mintues or until cooked and golden colour.

Nice with a cup of hot tea or cool ice cream!

 

Roast Pork Makeover!

January 6, 2011


 

 

I always try my best to make a lavish banquet for Christmas whether celebrating it with friends or just for my own. But sadly (not exactly! I did enjoy myself preparing and feasting the meal) I have been celebrating it alone (actually with my dog) the last couple of years!

I spent the whole day before Christmas making a decorative harvest bread, few jars of cranberry jam, a dozen of Irish-cream-chocolate-cranberry biscotti. The main dish for Christmas was a rack of roast pork marinated with spices and roast root/ vegetable. Delicious the tender juicy pork! (Though it looked burnt in the photos!)

With all the food just for myself (and the dog), I only managed to have a big slice of the roast pork.

 

Having said so much about the Christmas banquet, the main focus for this posting should be about how to make use of the leftover roast pork! This makeover stir-fried roast pork (with a Chinese twist) is even tastier than its “previous life“!

Ingredients:

  1. Roast pork (skinned and cut into chunks)
  2. 4 leeks (sliced)
  3. Few cloves of garlic (minced)
  4. 2 tbsp Light soy sauce (to taste)
  5. A touch of dark soy sauce (optional) (to give a slight caramelised look/taste to the dish)
  6. 1-2 tbsp oil
  7. Few tbsp of water (depending on how much sauce you want to have for the dish)

Simply fry the leeks and garlic in the oil until soften and slightly discoloured. Add the light soy sauce, and fry for 1 minutes, stir in the pork and and dark soy sauce, cook for few minutes to heat throughly and caramelise the pork pieces. Sprinkle the water over the pork, and cook to reduce the water slightly. Done!

Serves hot with steamed rice…mmmmm…..

 

 

 

 



This is the first posting for the 2011, but using all the leftover ingredients from 2010! Not your regular kind of butternut squash soup! The idea of the soup is to mix all these Christmasy/ Winter  ingredients to make a fulfilling and hearty soup for the cold winter days!

The soup is spicy, with a hint of freshness from the apple and squash. The mini cocktail sausages add saltiness to the soup, maybe a bit unconventional, but they work well together!

Ingredients: Group A

  1. 2 stalk of Leeks (cut to chunks)
  2. Few clove of garlic
  3. 2 small onions (roughly sliced)

Ingredients: Group B

  1. Approximate 3cm fresh ginger
  2. 1/2 fresh chilli
  3. Few cardamon seeds
  4. Few stalks of fresh thyme
  5. 1 star anise
  6. pinch of clover

Ingredients: Group C

  1. One whole butternut squash (sliced in chunks)
  2. One Granny Smith apple (cut into quarter)
  3. 250ml water (or stock)
  1. soy sauce (to taste)
  2. salt and pepper to taste
  3. 2 tbsp olive oil
  1. 500ml fresh milk
  2. mini cocktail sausages

Heat the oil in a deep pot, add in the ingredients in Group A and cook until soften and discoloured. Stir in the ingredients in Group B, and fry until fragrant.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add in the butternut squash chucks and apple, mix well and cover the pot with a lid and cook until the squash pieces are nicely caramelised (stir occasionally). Add the water, and cook until the squash is soften. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

While the squash is still hot, blend the cooked squash in 2 patches in a blender. Add 250ml milk for each patch. Blend the mixture very well and sift the liquid into another pot.

Reheat if necessary (add a touch of light soy sauce to give the soup a bit dimension!) and serves the smooth creamy soup with hot mini cocktail sausages to make it a really fulfilling winter warmer!