Boiled Osmanthus With Gingko Nuts, Lotus Seeds & Foo Chuk In Milk


Boiled Osmanthus With Gingko Nuts, Lotus Seeds & Foo Chuk In Milk
1 pkt Fresh Gingko Nuts (100 g @)
1 pk Fresh Lotus Seeds (100 g @)
300 ml  Fresh Milk
1-2 tsps Preserved Osmanthus Paste
2 pcs Fresh Foo Chuk (Fresh Soya Milk Skins)
1-2 tsps Dried Osmanthus Flowers
Some Sugar (to boil Gingko Nuts)
1. In a small pot, put in the Gingko nuts and cover with some water (just enough to cook the nuts) When nuts cooked enough to your liking, add in some sugar to taste. Remove the nuts from the pot and set aside.
2. In a clean pot, pour in the fresh milk. Add in the fresh Lotus Seeds. Let the milk boils and add in the sweetened Gingko Nuts. 
3. Let the milk boils again for 1-2 minutes. Add in the preserved Osmanthus paste. Stir until the paste dissolves. If using the preserved Osmanthus paste, you don’t need to add in any sugar. The paste is sweet enough to sweetened this dessert. 
4. Add in the fresh foo chuk. Reduce the heat and simmered until mixture reduced slightly.
5. When the Lotus Seeds are cooked, add in 1 tsp of Dried Osmanthus. Stir the mixture. 
6. Turn off the heat and let it steep for awhile wild the dried Osmanthus infused with the milk.
7. Serve in individual bowls either hot or cold and sprinkle with some Osmanthus on top.
Reasons why I used 2 types of Osmanthus because the Osmanthus Fragrans in the preserved paste was actually a white variety and larger petals. Due to the preservation state with sugar, the paste looked dull but still with Osmanthus scent. So, for the color contrast to this dessert I also used the orange-flower variety; Osmanthus Fragrans Aurantiacus which can be use as well if you can’t find the preserved Osmanthus paste.
Note: If you feel that the lotus seeds is too bland you may pre-cook it with some sugar earlier. Beware that fresh Lotus Seeds cook faster than dried seeds. If you’re using Dried Lotus Seeds, please pre-soak the seeds with warm water until soften ( I leave it to soak for 24 hours) and then boil it until tender. You can decide later if you want to add sugar for sweetness if using in desserts. If you’re using it for savoury dishes, you don’t need to add anything prior to cooking because the Lotus Seeds will absorb the sauce/gravy after the dish cooked.

If you can’t find fresh foo chuk which is made from soya bean milk skins rolled up in small bundles you can use the dried version which you have to soak until soften and cut to smaller bite sizes pieces before cooking.

Nowadays, you can find ready cleaned & skinned Gingko nuts & Lotus seeds in small packets of 100 g. If you can only find Gingko nuts still in their shells, you have to crack the shells open and check for any spoilt nuts. Pour some hot boiling water over them and let it soak for few minutes or until the brown skins are loose. Drain, rinse under cold water and rub between kitchen towels to remove the skins off.

Variations: You can also add in some Lily Bulb petals, yam, sweet potatoes or chopped Waterchestnuts to have a crunchy dessert. 

Wagashi-Handcrafted Food Art!

Oh my goshhhhhh! Wow! Oh My! That’s all I can say when my Japanese neighbour brought me a box of Wagashi. Look at the pictures below… these are called Namagashi. They are too beautiful to be eaten! What I Love about Wagashi is they are sold according to 4 seasons besides the regulars in their menus. Each season the pastry shops will make wagashi with their own interpretion themes. If you look closely each wagashi has a story to tell… The 1st time I tasted wagashi by chance was at Toraya at 10,rue St Florentin in Paris many years ago. What a coincidence I just bought a new box of Matcha and I’d been waiting for the right time to drink it. Well, this is perfect timing!

A flower????
Did you see the tiny ladybird and dew on top of the leaf??? 😀 This one has a dollop of Anko

A Strawberry???
My favourite is the  sea-blue cube-like wagashi with 3 red color goldfish inside. It also looked like an Ice-cube…
This purplish wagashi is lovely too. This version has a firefly!

Looks like a peach isn’t it?
Enjoy! 😀

Easy Almond Cake

I was reading a fellow foodie – Mag’s Green Almonds and this had my mind rolling (and my stomach too)! I love almonds, hazelnuts, macadamias… occasionally peanuts but most of time I’m nuts about nuts, really! Vite! Vite! Vite! It’s 3 hours before tea time, I had to be quick if not I won’t be on time to enjoy my Jamaica Blue Mountain! I found that I still had 5 packs of ground almonds left from last week’s baking, yeayyyyyy!

Here’s the recipe… It’s easy provided you already have the basic ingredients at hand. I hope you like it as well. It’s nothing fancy, just simple cake… with lots of almonds!

Easy Almond Cake
Makes a 18 cm round cake
125 g Butter
110 g Castor Sugar
2-3 drops Almond Essence (you can add more if you like stronger taste)
3 no Eggs -lightly beaten ( I used Medium Size Eggs @ 60 g each-yes, I weigh them 😛 )
120 g Ground Almonds
80 g Plain Flour-sifted
Some Almond Halves/Whole Almonds for decorations (Optional)
1. Preheat oven to 180 ºC. Brush a deep 18 cm round cake tin (you can use any round tin about that size) with melted butter or oil. Line base with parchment paper (Baking paper).
2. In a mixing bowl; Using  electric beaters, beat butter, sugar and almond essence until light and creamy.
3. Add 1/3 of eggs with 1/3 of ground almonds; repeat with remaining eggs & almonds.
4. Using a spatula, fold in sifted flour;stir until ingredients are combined and mixture is smooth.
5. Spoon mixture into prepared tin; smooth surface and decorate with almonds.
6. Bake for 45 minutes or until skewer comes out clean when inserted into centre of cake. Leave cake in tin for 10 minutes; turn onto a wire rack to cool.
7. To serve: Dust with castor sugar or icing sugar.
This cake can be keep for 3 days in airtight container or 2 months in freezer.