Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chips Cookies

A whopper of a deep dark chocolate cookie packed with chock full of chocolate chips. There's no reason to resist eating this cookies. Absolutely delicious, and by far the best cookie recipe I've ever used! There's nothing short of SENSATIONAL!!!

Incase you don't know.... Now this, my friends, is what I called chocolate cookies :)


The glass of milk is not just a prop. It is a necessity for this. A bite of chocolate chips cookies and a sip of milk? I'm totally on board. It's just heavenly! These are the chocolatiest cookies I'd ever come across.


I adapted this recipe from Nigella Lawson, but tweaked abit. It makes 12 big cookies or make it 14 if you want your cookies to be slightly smaller. I urge you to make full recipe. Because this is so good, I guarantee you, it won't keep long. But if you are only feeding 2 to 3, you can bake half the dough and freeze the other half. Just form the cookies dough into balls, freeze the cookies balls on a little tray. Once they're hard, just bung them in a freezer bag, seal, and stash it back in the freezer. You could bake them unthawed at a later date.

Using good chocolate is important. The logic is simple. If you use good chocolate, you will get good quality chocolate cookies. This is what I call an investment. And it's worth it. I used Hershey's brand chocolate chips and chocolate powder for this.

Recipe
  • 125g Dark Chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
  • 150g Plain Flour
  • 30g Cocoa Powder (Sieved)
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Bicarbonate Soda
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 125g Soft Unsalted Butter
  • 75g Soft Light Brown Sugar
  • 50g White Fine Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Large Egg (cold from the fridge)
  • 320g Dark Choocolate Chips (semi sweet is preferred)
Method 
  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C, fan ON. 
  2. Melt the 125g dark chocolate in a heatproof dish over a pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool. 
  3. Put the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. 
  4. Cream the butter, fine sugar and brown sugar in another bowl. Add the melted chocolate and mix together. 
  5. Beat in the vanilla extract and cold egg, and then mix in the dry ingredients. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips, mix well. 
  6. Divide the cookies dough into two portion. Wrap them with cling wrap, and shape them. (Refer pics below)
  7. Put the shaped cookies dough into the fridge and refrigerate it for 20 mins.
  8. Cut the dough into equal piece, remove the cling wrap layer and shape the cookie dough. (Refer pics below) Place shaped cookie dough on a lined baking sheet about 6cm apart. Do not flatten them. 
  9. Cook the cookie dough for 18 to 19 minutes, testing with a cake tester to make sure it comes out semi-clean and not wet with cake batter. If you pierce a chocolate chip, try again. 
  10. Leave to cool slightly on the baking sheet for 4 to 5 mins, then, transfer them to a cooling rack to harden as they cool.  
The secret of this recipe is simplicity and good quality ingredients. Do bear in mind.


Step 5 - Mix wet and dry ingredients together, and stir in the chocolate chips. Look at the sinful mess!


Step 6 -  Divide the cookies dough into two portion. Wrap them with cling wrap, and shape them.


Step 8 - Cut the dough into equal piece, remove the cling wrap layer and shape the cookie dough. No mess!


Place shaped cookie dough on a lined baking sheet about 6cm apart. Do not flatten them.


You cannot go wrong with this recipe. They are so easy and absolutely delicious! Max requested me to bake 30 pcs for him to bring to work next time.


Do I have to say more? It look and taste nothing short of perfection. This is definitely a MUST TRY recipe.

Update : Sorry that I forgot to mention, this is a crispy cookies :)

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Annie's Cooking Xperience - Something Exciting is on the way!

Dear fellow readers residing in Singapore, 

Yep! Something exciting is on the way. After procrastinating for so long and I get bugged by fellow readers and friends for so long, I finally convinced myself to host Annie's Cooking Xperience this coming May 2016. 

I always wanted to share. I wants to share with fellow young ladies on how to select the right ingredients, how to fillet a fish, how to chop a chicken just like your mom do, how easy home-cooking it could be. I hope this cooking workshop could encourage more women to start cooking at home and bring good food on the table. Food gathers people, food creates family harmony. 

Meanwhile, I'm fine-tuning some details and drafting recipes. Do stay tuned for more updates! 


Should you have further queries, I'm contactable at Facebook Page #AnnieliciousFood or email : mwmannie@yahoo.com

Monday, April 18, 2016

Red Wine Oxtail Stew / Oxtail Bourguignon (紅酒燴牛尾)

Fresh and meaty oxtail, red wine, rosemary, garlic, onions, tomatoes. By reading the list of ingredients, you know this makes a great french stew.

This slow-cooked oxtail meat is so soft and melting, and drenched with rich red wine sauce. This insanely delicious comforting food is absolutely perfect for parties and family gathering!


Be it Red Wine Oxtail Stew or Oxtail Bourguignon, or French oxtail stew, they are technically the same, although some could argue that they are different. Each family has different style of cooking Oxtail Stews. List of ingredients may vary. Some prefers more spices, some prefers basic flavors. French braise them with red wine and mushrooms, and it can be beef or oxtail or veal.


There's no lack of Oxtail Stew recipes online. But mine has shorter list of ingredients tho. So, it's easier to achieve. Everything is available in Cold Storage. But it does not means that this stew is effortless. Mashed potatoes would make the perfect side dish to complement oxtail stew.


Although oxtail is regard as cheap cuts in some country, but in Singapore? No. Not really. Oxtail is expensive in Singapore. In some restaurants in other countries who serves this dish in a peasant way, especially French, and slowly going into haute cuisine. But not yet there, and we're not sure if they will be there or not, unlike Beef Bourguignon.

Ingredients
  • 1.5kg Fresh Oxtail
  • 3 tbsp Plain Flour
  • 4 tbsp Cooking Oil
  • 2 Large Yellow Onions
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Fresh Tomatoes
  • 2 cans Whole Peeled Tomato
  • 2 sprig Rosemary
  • 400ml Red Wine
  • 400ml Beef Stock
  • some Spanish Chorizo chunks, about 7 inches long (Optional)
  • 2 tsp Ground Black Pepper 
  • 2 tsp Salt (or more to taste)
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Ketchup 
  • some coriander leaves as garnishing
Method
  1. Coat oxtails with 3 tbsp of plain flour evenly. In a french pot, heat up 4 tbsp oil, and give oxtail a nice sear until brown on every side. Remove oxtail and set aside. 
  2. Throw in chopped onions, and garlic into the same pot. Saute until onions are soft. Add in fresh tomato wedges and whole peeled tomato can. Fry for another few minutes until tomatoes slightly softened.
  3. Add in browned oxtails, arrange them nicely on the pot, ensuring each piece is at the bottom, while the tomatoes is on top. 
  4. Add in carrots, rosemary, red wine, beef stock, spanish chorizo and ground black pepper. 
  5. Let it simmer on the stove for 30mins, and transfer the pot into a baking tray, and send the pot into pre-heat the oven to 170 Degree Celsius for 1.5 hours. Do check for splatters and spillage. Reduce to 160 Degree Celsius if there's a need. 
  6. Leave oxtail stew aside and let it age for a night. Remember to reheat it before going to sleep. 
  7. On the next day morning, add salt, reheat the stew pot and let it simmer for another 30mins or upto 1 hour. 
  8. Scoop away the top layer of fats. Add in tomato ketchup and give it a stir before taste test. Adjust saltiness accordingly, and the stew is ready to eat.
  9. Optionally, for more presentable looking stews (like mine); Extra effort is needed - Transfer all oxtails, carrot chunks and chorizo chunks from the stew juices. Stew juices will then be strained, and then reduced under flame until stew juice achieved desired thick consistency. Pour thick stew juice over oxtail, and reheat oxtail stew under flame before serving. Don't forget the coriander leaves :)
Here's the complete pictorial guide for your easy reference. I'm sure this series of pictorial guide could complement the method in writing and so as to achieve better understanding. 

Step 1 : Dust oxtail with flour and pan-sear it till brown color. This gives really good flavors to the oxtail stew. 


Step 2 : Be very sure that you do not wash the pot after searing the oxtail. We need those brown patchy mess! Just throw in onions, garlic, tomatoes, and give it a good stir fry.


Before you even start cooking, do select the right flameproof casserole french pot size for your dish. The pot size should be able to fit all oxtails in just nicely with little leeway for other ingredients to fall down to the bottom of the pot except liquids. Like this, you don't have to tie kitchen string around each oxtail piece to hold the meat on the bone which I find it extremely tedious.

Step 3 and 4 : Add in oxtails, ensuring oxtails are at the bottom. And then, add the rest of the ingredients except salt.


Max bought me some real good Spanish Chorizo from Spain sometimes ago. I added Spanish Chorizo into the stew. Why? Because Spanish Chorizo has its distinctive smokiness and deep red color from dried smoked red peppers. It gives really nice flavor to the stew. You may argue that this isn't French stuff. It's optional. You don't have to follow exactly the same. No strict rules here. You also may add some paprika for extra heat if you prefer.


I'm quite regretful for using 22cm french pot for this dish. When I send the pot into the oven, it splatters and spills. So, I transfer to a 24cm french pot after that. So, selecting the right pot size before you cook is really important.

Leaving oxtail stew to age overnight is the key to success. The flavors will infuse all over during aging process. And Le Creuset french pot hold heat amazingly. It still 'cooks' during the cooling down process.

Step 8 : This stew will gives you a thick layer of fats floating on top. Don't get freaked out. Don't remove those fats on the first day. Because fat layer on top prevents air going into the stew, and this also explains the stew keeps well overnight without keeping it in the fridge. Fats will only be removed on the day you consume the stew.


This dish can be done in a rustic way. It can stop at step 8, or boil a little longer if one wish. Or like me, you may proceed to put in extra effort to go to step 9. This also means you have to wash extra pot, sieve, and utensils.

Step 9 : Stew juices needs to be strained, and reduced under flame until desired thickness has reached before pouring over the oxtail stew. You may also do another taste test after the sauce is reduced, just incase you want to do any further adjustment. Tomato ketchup would be a good compliment to the stew juice.


Look at the end result. My oxtail stew will have a nice gloss with the reduced stew juices poured over. And sprinkle chopped coriander leaves over oxtail stew gives another level of attractive look.


Although steamed rice is a good option as a side dish, but I assure you, Oxtail stew is best eaten with mashed potatoes as a side.

My mashed potato recipe is very simple. Some Russet Potatoes, good slab of butter, some fresh milk, and season well with salt and pepper. And oh! don't forget to prepare some salad too!


Cooking method for this dish requires slowly simmering the oxtail in wine, tenderizing the meat that would have been too tough to cook in any other way. Total cooking time of my Red Wine Oxtail Stew is 3 hours, not counting cooling time, and aging time. The meat fall off the bone nicely, but still remain some chew. I'm absolutely satisfied. It's insanely delicious!!!


Thou this dish needs abit of patience to cook, but I assure you that this is worth every effort. Do give this dish a try. I'm sure you will love it.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

What to eat in London

I love London. This beautiful city has lovely people, nice weather, and delicious food. The first trip I went London was with my husband. London city is part of our 25 days honeymoon trip. The 2nd trip, my husband went for business trip, me and my mother tagged along.

There's alot to do in London City. I'm a foodie. I love exploring good food wherever I go. Here's my list of good food I had in London which I recommend you to try. 


BRUNCH
Breakfast is everything. The beginning, the first thing. It is the mouthful that is the commitment to a new day. But this only applies to me during Holidays and Travelling. A good breakfast or brunch is very important to start my new travel day to me, and so, I eat well. There's no lack of good brunch places in London City. But I'd recommend 3 nice Brunch places.

Brunch at Muriel's Kitchen
The dishes Muriel's are inspired by the hearty cooking of mothers and grandmothers and have been developed by their chefs to create British classics with a modern twist, served in a 1950's-Style Kitchen setting. The ingredients they used are all British sourced quality ingredients delivered fresh to their Kitchen and prepared daily.

Muriel's Kitchen has 3 branches :
Soho : 36 - 38 Old Compton Street, London, W1D 4TT - Tel. 0207 434 0111
Richmond : 30 Hill Street, London, TW9 - Tel. 0208 948 7011
South Kensington : 1 -3 Pelham Street, London, SW7 2ND - Tel. 0207 589 3511



Brunch at The Breakfast Club

I've been to The Breakfast Club twice, and I'm still lovin' it. If you're looking for no frills breakfast food for brunch in London, you have to come to this place. The food is quite good, loaded with bacon fats which everyone loves. I personally like the black pudding.

The Breakfast Club is popular in London, and so, be prepared to set out early to arrive and get ready to queue. Despite the rain, cold, and gloom, I joined the small queue to get my seat within 20mins.






Brunch at The Wolseley

The Wolseley is a beautiful cafe-restaurant in the grand European tradition situated in the high class  Piccadilly, London. Given its location, I would agree the pricing on the menu is relevant. This is the restaurant that you may want to consider to go for traditional breakfast, starting at 7am on the dot from Monday to Friday, breakfast is served at The Wolseley from an extensive menu. It can be quite packed during busy times. So, reservations are highly recommended.


We wanted something different. Not the ordinary or typical American Big Breakfast with scrambled eggs and sausages. So, we've picked these 3 dishes on the menu.
  • Haggis with Fried Duck Eggs ........... £11.50
  • Wolseley Fishcake with Poached Egg .......... £9.50 (Small)
  • Grilled Kipper with Mustard Butter ...............£11.25

LUNCH
Because Brunch is too full, and lunch can wait. So, lunch is always late during travelling days.

Lunch at DINNER by Heston Blumenthal

One very memorable lunch we had during our first trip to London is the slo-mo lunch at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, located in Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London. Walked into the restaurant interior has been conceived as a subtle, elegant portrait, contemporary and innovative, yet mindful of tradition. What attract me the most is the chefs working process in the see-through kitchen. Each chefs take care of individual station. Standing there watching the whole kitchen's operation process is quite enjoyable.



Dining in Heston Blumenthal's restaurant, everything is about precision.



Lunch at Flat Iron Steak

I love this place. New craft butchery. Remarkable concise steak menu in an industrial-chic restaurant decorated with meat cleavers and aprons. Hip and trendy no-reservations in the middle of Soho.

There's only one dish on the menu - the flat iron steak. This restaurant focus on doing one item well. I love such dining concept very much, but this is rather not popular in Singapore. Now, talk about the steak. The steak is absolutely fantastic and very tasty. At  £10 for a steak, this is extremely value for money and make me wanna visit this place again.

Flat Iron Steak 
17 Beak Street, London WC2H 8LS, UK
Operating Hours : (Mon - Sat) 12pm - 12am and (Sun) 12pm - 11.30pm
Nearest Station : Oxford Circus / Piccadilly Circus


Lunch at Ropewalk
40 Maltby Street, London SE1 3PA, United Kingdom

Lunching not necessarily in a restaurant. I love markets, street food, local stuffs, and seasonal stuffs. We didn't have luck on Borough Market during our 2nd trip. So, we proceed to Ropewalk, the lively street market running between Maltby Street and Millstream Road. There's combination of stalls, under-arch shops, pop-up bars and eateries.


Ropewalk focused on artisanal foodstuffs, baked goods, fresh meats and vegetables. Food offerings at Ropewalk include seafood, grilled meat, sandwiches, pastries, scotch eggs, BBQ goodness and alot more!

We had some really nice steak burgers, and german wurst buns. I'm still salivating while I'm writing this.

Ropewalk closes on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Do check out the operating hours before heading over to avoid disappointment.

PICNIC

People always neglected the beauty of spending time picnic in London. I don't know why. London is really not just sight seeing and shopping. Picnic in London is a must. Cooling nice weather, beautiful park, lovely squirrels. Who doesn't love? We slow down our foot path, bought some fruits and snacks and go for nice picnic. Picnic is about eating also, but in a more relaxed way.

Kensington Gardens
We went to Kensington Gardens after our Fish and Chips lunch at The Fish House at Nottinghill. It's just 10mins walk away, and we will be able to reach Kensington Gardens entrance.


We love this park. Simple, clean, and friendly squirrels. We spent great time here.


Do you know why this squirrel is so friendly with us? We fed em' peanuts taken from our SQ flight.


There's a big round pond in the middle of Kensington Garden. We feed the birds.


And duckies.... with Hup Seng Crackers! Hahahaha!!! They love it!


Hyde Park

Hyde Park is huge. If you wanted to go there for Picnic, be sure that you plan properly which part of Hyde Park you wanna go. Before we go Hyde Park, we went Supermarket to get some fruits, salad, croissant, drinks and jellies. We love it this way.


Harrods marketplace is a very nice place to source for Picnic food. Go straight for their Duck Eggs Scotch Eggs. It's nice. And not to forget that wide selections of bakes and makes.


DINNER

Dinner at Burger and Lobster 

It seems like Burger and Lobster is really popular and people are raving about it. I don't know why. This restaurant is worth a visit when you are in London. One of the most memorable meals that I had during my London trip was Burger and Lobster. Table is always full, and if you refused to wait for your meal, do go there super early.

The concept of Burger and Lobster is is simple and yet brilliant. There's no menu in the house. Because they only offer three items - Burger, Lobster, and Lobster Roll - and at £20 each.

A whole fresh lobster grilled to perfection, a generous bowl of lemon butter dip, and served with a side salad and a bucket of fries..... all for only £20. We ordered 2 sets of Lobster, and 1 set of Burger. Conclusion? Forget about the burger. Just go for the lobster.


A whole fresh lobster grilled to perfection, a generous bowl of lemon butter dip, and served with a side salad and a bucket of fries..... all for only £20. We ordered 2 sets of Lobster, and 1 set of Burger. Conclusion? Forget about the burger. Just go for the lobster. 


Burger and Lobster has 4 outlets. Do check out their website for more details. The one I visited is near to Bond Street Station

Burger and Lobster
26 Binney St, Mayfair London W1K 4BN, UK
Tel : +44 20 7495 8514
Nearest Station : Bond Street Station

Dinner at Maze Grill

We visited Maze Grill during our first trip to London. I insisted that I wanted a nice steak and I wanted to visit Gordon Ramsay's restaurant. So, we picked Maze Grill at Mayfair, situated in the heart of the city. As the original Maze Grill, the Mayfair restaurant takes inspiration from the iconic Manhattan grill rooms to deliver rare breed steaks, fish and poultry. A nice modern grill fare with Asian influences.


Maze Grill developed a reputation for its legendary sushi and sashimi too. But we forget about sushi and sashimi, we go straight to the steak. Our objective is steak. If you are a steak lover, like me, you will fall in love with this place. You have to trust me.


We chosen rare breed selection Dry Aged 28 Days Sirloin £30, and also Rib Eye £34, cooked over charcoal in Jasper Grill.


Maze Grill Mayfair 
10 - 13 Grosvenor Square, London, W1K 6JP
Tel : 020 7495 2211
Email : mazegrill@gordonramsay.com
Operating Hours : (Mon - Sun) 6.45am - 10.30am for Breakfast, and 12pm - 11pm for Dinner.

Reservations highly recommended.

FISH AND CHIPS

Never leave London without eating Fish and Chips. Crispy and comforting plate of traditional fish and chips is simply irresistible. Haddock and cod is popular here for good reason. Flaky and tender flesh beneath a perfect honey-colored batter. The fried chips too, chunky and yet crisp. Oh Yumm!!! Here, I'm recommending you 3 fish and chips options in London that I went before. Fish and chips can be eaten either lunch or dinner or anytime during the mid-days.

The Fish House of Nottinghill

The Fish House is a place that brings treasures from the salty seas to the hustle and bustle of the big city. London is known for its love of fish and chips, and there is no better place to enjoy this simple delicacy than right here in London. The Fish House of Nottinghill is one of the Top 10 Fish and Chips in London.

They serve really really good fish and chips and we simply cant's top eating it and we were mumbling "OMG! We can't get such good fish and chips quality in Singapore!" and we continue to stuff ourselves. Yeah. That's how good it is. Do take note that take away is cheaper than dining in.

The Fish House of Nottinghill
29, Pembridge Rd, London W11 3HG, UK
Tel : +44 20 7229 2626
Operating Hours : (Mon - Sat) 11.30am - 10.30pm and (Sun) 11.30am - 10pm


Poppies Fish and Chips at Camden
30 Hawley Cres, London NW1 8NP, UK

Never miss Poppies Fish and Chips if you were to visit Camden town. Very nice traditional fish and chips somewhere you might not expect to find it. The fish was excellent quality and the chips were very tasty. The service wasn't amazing during busy times, especially popular with tourists it seemed.


We ordered a take-out, sitting right outside Poppies to enjoy our fish and chips. Poppies offers beyond staples of cod and haddock. The menu encompasses mackerel, seafood platters and jellied eels. But we still stick to our favorite cod.


Master Super Fish 
191 Waterloo Road, London SE1 8UX, UK

This is the first fish and chips we went in London and we absolutely love it. Step through from the small take away section into a simole dining room, fellow diners sit at functional tables that lend a canteen feel to the place.


Food is of a high quality with no doubt. A wide range of fish cones either battered or grilled (generally pricier). Classic cod was generously sized and delivered quick-sharp from the fryer. We love the pickles. Really. This is absolutely an enjoyable meals with some old-school feel. We will be back for more if there's opportunity.


EAT FRUITS
On a side note, when you are in UK, eat fruits. Loads of fruits! They are cheap, attractive varieties, and the pricing is absolutely affordable. I believe all of you would agree with me that eating berries in Singapore isn't cheap tho.




Stay tuned for more updates!