Smell My Olive Pits

A blog dedicated to my love affair with all things food

Spicy Green Beans May 4, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — smop @ 9:51 pm

The first time that I remember having really good green beans was at a Malaysian restaurant where they cooked them with sambal and prawns.  That was also when I fell in love with a good plate of green beans.  I’m always sold by green beans with minced pork, green beans with char-siu, green beans with chicken or green beans by itself.  Cooked well, they are beautifully tender, crunchy and with that delicious vegetable sweetness.  For an unassuming slender green thing, it is pretty impressive.  I have tried replicating versions of this dish at home, and have never been able to get it right.  Having bought a bag of green beans on impulsive because it was on special and then, quite coincidentally, coming across this recipe, I decided to try again, and I think I have found the recipe.

green-beans

Spicy Green Beans
(Slightly adapted from Baking Addiction who slightly adapted hers from The Paupered Chef)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli oil (or you could use chilli flakes)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 350 grams green beans, topped and halved lengthwise
  • 2 spring onions, sliced however way you want
  • 2 medium cloves of garlic, minced

Method

Make sure everything is all prepared and ready to go before throwing things in the pan as it’ll only take a few minutes to cook everything.

  1. Combine the soy sauce, white vinegar, sugar and chilli oil or red pepper flakes in a small bowl and mix well
  2. Place a non-stick pan or wok over high heat until it is nearly smoking.
  3. Coat the bottom of the pan with the oil and add the green beans.  Cook until they are tender (about 4 minutes) stirring every 30 seconds or so.  They will get black dots all over them, and look like they’re going to shrivel up and burn but be patient, they will cook and they won’t burn.
  4. Add the spring onions and toss everything around for a minute or two
  5. Add the garlic and cook just until it becomes fragrant (few seconds) .
  6. Add the soy sauce mixture.  Cook for another half minute, tossing and stirring while doing so, turn off the heat, and serve.

Great as a side dish or with some chicken or minced pork added to it.

Versatile much?

I think so.

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Glazed lemon cakes April 21, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — smop @ 10:44 pm

I don’t know what it is about lemons and its use in sweet, and savoury things that makes me love it so much.  Perhaps its the tang that livens up the dish (and myself), or that by having two opposing flavours, makes each one stand out a bit more.  I had a couple of lemons donated to me from a kind person’s tree, and the possibilities of the things I could make were endless:  lemon tart (my favourite dessert of all time), a lemon drizzle cake, lemon muffins, lemon zest cookies … In the end, I settled on a lemon glaze cupcake.

cupcake5

Glazed lemon cakes
(kudos to Martha Stewart)

Ingredients

For the cakes

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk or plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated, plus juice, plus
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs

For the glaze

  • 2 tablespoons more lemon juice for the glaze
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Method

  1. Preheat oven to 175oC.  Butter and flour a muffin tin or line them with cases.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt.  In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, vanilla, and lemon zest and juice of 1 lemon.  Set aside.
  3. With an electric mixer, cream butter and granulated sugar until light.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk mixture.
  4. Divide evenly among muffin cups.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cake comes out clean, 20-25 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes in tin, then cool completely on a rack.
  5. Set rack over wax or parchment paper.  In a small bowl, stir confectioners’ sugar with remaining lemon juice until smooth. Pour over cakes, spreading to edges with a small knife.  Let set 30 minutes.

I made them and took them to a morning tea and they were well received.  These are good.  They’re crumbly and they ooze of lemon deliciousness.

cupcake1

 

Carrot muffins with cream cheese frosting December 10, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — smop @ 10:27 pm

I read a number of food blogs, and when all of them post up a recipe, there is always a story behind the creation – let it be a memory that particular recipe reminds them of, or it’s the first recipe they’ve been successful at, what inspired them to make it that day … etc.  Unfortunately, if I were to do that – it would be very boring indeed.  I bake for a couple of reasons – because I’m bored, stressed, wanting to try out a new recipe, have things to use up in my pantry … and at any one time it would be all of them, or just one of them.

For the carrot muffins I made the other day, I really wanted to test out a much-raved about recipe, and the half jar of applesauce sitting in the fridge needed to be used up before mould started growing.

They turned out amazing!  I got a lot of comments about how delicious they were from unexpected people, and even person telling me that I had gotten into the wrong career.  In case this blog somehow finds its way in the prying eyes of my parents, I assure you (and them) I have no intentions of quitting med as yet – to bake on a commercial scale seems to defeat the purpose of home-based baking.

frosted muffin

Carrot muffins with cream cheese frosting
Makes 18

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup unsweetend applesauce
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups shredded carrots (3-4 medium carrots)
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans, and extra to top

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 175oC (350oF). Grease and flour muffin pan (or you can use a cake tin – just alter the baking times)
  2. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, applesauce, brown and white sugars and vanilla.
  3. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon.
  4. Stir in carrots and pecans.
  5. Pour into muffin tins.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into comes out clean.  Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
*

Cream cheese frosting

  • 115g unsalted butter softened
  • 225g light cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2 cups icing sugar, sifted

Beat butter and cream cheese on low speed for 5-7 minutes or until there are no lumps.  With mixer still running, slowly add sifted icing sugar and beat until mixture is light and creamy.  Pipe or spread onto cooled muffins and top with the extra chopped toasted pecans.

carrots

I made a mess of the bench shredding carrots.  And my hands were beta-carotene stained.

shredded carrots

pecans

Mixture resembling vomitus.

mixture

Make sure tins are sprayed well – otherwise it will be a fight against your tin, the muffins and yourself to get it out.

pans

The cooling phase.  Evidently, one has been eaten already.

fresh1

Frosted.
I had a 20 minute lunch break to make the frosting and frost them.  Limited time, no fancy schmancy piping bag (or even one that I could make from baking paper) often leads to haphazard frosting.

frosted