Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Assorted Coco-nut Truffles | 什錦椰香果仁松露

Somewhere between a crossover of superfood energy balls and decadent chocolate truffles, these super easy "coco-nut truffles" make a great midday pick-me-up with a cup of coffee or - if you are tired of all things pink and heart-shaped this Valentine's Day - a thoughtful treat for your special someone.
Come to think of it, chocolate energy balls for Valentine's Day? Sounds like a match for me. If you know what I mean.
One batch makes roughly ten bite-sized "truffles" - make a full batch of the same flavor and toppings or experiment with an assortment of add-ins and toppings as desired! I believe that the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach. So if you want to impress your loved one, why not give him or her the gift of food?

What you'll need...
1/2 cup mixed nuts (almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, etc.)
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey

Suggested mix-ins:
Chocolate hazelnut spread
Cocoa powder
Espresso powder
Maca powder
Beetroot powder
Acai berry powder

Suggested toppings:
Desiccated coconut
Cocoa powder
Ground hazelnuts
Ground pistachios

1. Using a small blender or spice grinder, ground desiccated coconut into a fine flour. Remove, grind nuts until they resemble coarse meal. Combine ground coconut, nuts, coconut oil, and maple syrup.

2. Separate into batches as necessary and add mix-ins as desired. Roll mixture into bite-sized balls and cool briefly in the refrigerator to harden up slightly. Add toppings and keep in refrigerator.

Note: The finer the nuts are ground, the less crumbly the mixture will become, thus making it more pliable and easier to roll into balls. However, if you like a bit more texture, leave a tiny bit of larger pieces.

超級能量 energy balls 同朱古力松露的 crossover,

椰絲  30 克
果仁  75 克(可選用杏仁、腰果、榛子等)
椰子油  1 湯匙
純楓糖漿  1 湯匙

榛子巧克力醬 / 可可粉 / 咖啡粉 / 馬卡粉 / 紅菜頭粉 / 巴西莓粉

椰絲 / 可可粉 / 榛子碎 / 開心果碎

1. 椰絲和果仁分別用攪拌機磨成粉,再跟椰子油和楓糖漿拌勻。
2. 如欲製作多種口味,將混合物分批,並加入適量自選配料然後揉成小球狀。
3. 把小球放進雪櫃冷卻硬化數分鐘,取出後即可撒上自選外層配料。完成後可儲存雪櫃內,隨時享用!

可是打得太碎,咬落完成品時就可能會犧牲點 texture 喇。

[Follow me on Instagram @alvinckl and @alvin.penthousekitchen and check out my Facebook Fan Page!]

Monday, December 19, 2016

Quick Rustic Stout Beer Bread | 特快歐式黑啤麵包


One of those things I love and miss most about Europe is quality artisan breads - those rustic, crusty, wholesome, hand-crafted breads whose individual imperfections sings perfection.

In Hong Kong, finding an affordable loaf of rustic bread is about as hard as finding an apartment. And, for most people, making their own breads by hand or owning a bread making machine is simply unrealistic. Nonetheless, I'd still rather eat cake than to give in to mass-produced, chemical-ridden, highly processed supermarket breads. So, that pretty much meant crusty artisan breads would always remain a novelty lest I start making them at home.

All of that is about to change with this foolproof recipe. For the longest time, I have been intimidated to bake my own breads so long as kneading and proofing is involved. So when I realized that I can make bread in an hour with just four simple ingredients and nothing more than a bowl, a pan, a spoon and an oven, I was ecstatic. No yeast proofing, no kneading, no getting hands in a gooey, gunky mess, no kidding. Even the most inexperienced baker could do this. Oh, did I mention you get to bake bread with your favorite beverage?

This bread is nicely moist and dense; crusty, craggy and golden on the outside and chewy on the inside - perfect for toast, sandwiches, sopping up chili, and sensational with hearty soups, chowders, moules-frites, and beef stew.

With beer being the key ingredient in this recipe, you've got to start with a great brew. The type of beer you choose will impart distinct characters on your bread. I chose stout for its robust, malty aroma and chocolatey color (and matched that with rich black sugar* to add depth). Or, you can go with a crisp lager for a paler yet complex-tasting bread; or an IPA if you're in for the hops. Experiment with different ingredients to complement your beer - say, using some oat flour and whole oats to match an oatmeal stout, or adding spices to round off a pumpkin-ale-based loaf.

Dunk this bread in Parsnip, Parsley, and Leek Soup and pair up with Cider Braised Pork Shoulder with Apples and Cranberries for the holiday season!

What you'll need...
3 cups self-raising flour
2 tablespoons black sugar*
1 can or bottle (355 ml) stout beer
2 tablespoon butter, melted
Cornmeal, to dust (optional)

*Note: Black sugar is a type of unrefined sugar commonly used in Japan and Taiwan, known for its rich, complex, malty taste and health benefits not found in other more refined sugars. Substitute with dark brown sugar if unavailable.  
(My first video!)


1. Preheat oven to 180C/375F. Grease a loaf pan or round cake mold and dust the bottom with cornmeal.

2.  In a large bowl, sift flour and sugar together.

3. Add beer, 1 tablespoon of melted butter, and mix lightly, using a wooden spoon, until most of the flour is incorporated and forms a sticky, lumpy mass. Do NOT overmix!

 4. Scrape and pour mixture into greased loaf pan. Brush the top with remaining butter and lightly dust top with flour for a rustic look.

5. Bake for 50 minutes, or until golden and crisp on top. remove from pan and cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before slicing. Best served warm and crusty. Enjoy!


毋需麵包機、毋需發酵或手搓 - 零難度!
材料簡單,口感紮實帶有韌性,有著樸實的外表卻不平凡的內在,伴隨著淡淡的啤酒小麥香氣 - 全都只需要四種材料、一個小時多就搞掂!最適合忙碌人士和臨時請客不已。

自發麵粉  360 克
黑糖  25 克
黑啤酒  355 毫升
牛油  2 湯匙 (約 28 克)溶掉
粗粒玉米粉 (Cornmeal)  少量(可省略)

1. 預熱烤箱至 180C/375F。
2. 烤模先薄薄的塗上油,再在底部撒上少量粗粒玉米粉,有助防黏及增添香脆口感。
3. 麵粉和糖過篩。
4. 加入啤酒和一湯匙牛油,輕輕攪拌均勻。麵團黏黏的及不規則的狀態屬正常、避免過度攪拌。
5. 麵團倒入烤模裏。將剩餘的牛油塗在表面,再用篩薄薄的撒上一層麵粉。
6. 放入預熱好的烤箱, 焗 50 分鐘或至表面金黃香脆。出爐後馬上脫模,晾涼最少 15 分鐘後即成!

1. 除了黑啤之外,更可自由選擇其他種類的手工啤酒,因應不同啤酒的味道和個性隨意作不同的成份配搭, 例如加入麥片、肉桂、香草等調味。不妨實驗一下!
2. 每個焗爐都會有些微分別,所以要熟識自己焗爐的脾性,再作適當的時間溫度調教。
3. 如無黑糖,則可用紅糖 (brown sugar) 代替。
[Follow me on Instagram @alvinckl and @alvin.penthousekitchen and check out my Facebook Fan Page!]

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Traditional Korean Napa Cabbage Kimchi (Bae-Chu Kimchi)

Kimchi - the national dish of Korea and staple side dish on every Korean table - needs no formal introduction. Recognized long for its range of health benefits, this fiery, fermented vegetable side dish is rooted in tradition. Among the hundreds of kimchi varieties in Korea, the Napa cabbage variety, also known as pogi kimchi or tongbaechu kimchi, is the most iconic and common and is generally referred to by the catch-all name, kimchi.

Nowadays, one can easily skip the seemingly labor intensive process of making kimchi and purchase kimchi sold in jars or vacuum packs in supermarkets, but there is something irreplaceable in old-fashioned, authentic homemade kimchi.

Great kimchi starts with good, fresh Napa cabbage!
As with almost anything homemade, you get to tweak and customize.
And it's not just how spicy or mild you want your kimchi to be. Various salted seafood is used in kimchi to add a depth of flavor and to aid in the fermentation process. Whether it is salted shrimp, squid, or dried fish, the complex pungency of seafood is truly irreplaceable in kimchi. But if you are like me who is allergic to crustaceans, omit the shrimps and go with dried pollack and even anchovy paste for the unmistakable essence of the sea.

Eat it straight, as a banchan, or get creative: a batch of kimchi opens up infinite culinary possibilities

Making kimchi is like a mini science project.
Admit it, you were religiously watering and watching your beansprouts grow as an elementary school kid. Making kimchi from scratch is so much more fun than that. You get to get in and dirty, watch it ferment, and reap the benefits of all that effort in as short as a few days as it ripens!

You are participating in an age old tradition. 
Aside from adding a human touch to what you eat, making homemade kimchi allows you to experience hands-on the wisdom, knowledge, and tradition passed down from grandmother to mother, mother to daughter, generation after generation for centuries in Korea. As I made my own kimchi in my kitchen, I could almost hear the stories and laughter shared among women who gather for gimjang, where enormous quantities of kimchi is prepared communally to last through the harsh winter. Try it, you'll know what I mean.

A major bucket list item gets checked off.
Making kimchi, nevertheless, is not a once-in-a-lifetime event. It only gets better with practice!

Don't attempt to leave the gloves out!
After much research and trial, my recipe is based loosely on Korean American Chef Esther Choi's recipe which has been passed down from her grandmother. I have modified certain steps in preparation to make it simpler for home cooks. Apple or pear puree is added for a nice tinge of sweetness, whereas Korean dried pollack adds immense depth of flavor to the kimchi.
It's fall... kimchi making season! So get them gloves on and let's make some!
What you'll need...
1 head of Korean Napa cabbage, cut lengthwise, quartered
5 tablespoons rock salt
70g of Korean dried pollack (bugeochae), shredded
1 medium daikon radish (1lb), cut into 2-inch matchsticks
1 small carrot, cut into 2-inch matchsticks (optional)
1 bunch of scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces

1 small apple or nashi pear, peeled and cored
2 inches fresh ginger
1 head of garlic
1 small onion
1/4 cup mirin
1/4 cup anchovy sauce (I used the filipino Bagoong Balayan)
1/4 cup lance fish sauce, or Thai fish sauce
3 tablespoons salted shrimp (saeujeot)*, chopped
2 tablespoons glutinous rice flour
1 cup Korean red chili pepper flakes (gochugaru), or more to taste
*Note: for a crustacean-free version, substitute salted shrimp with anchovy fillets or paste.

Prepping and salting the Napa Cabbage
To split a Napa cabbage in half, cut a slit in the base of the cabbage up to a third of the total length of the cabbage, gently pull the two halves apart. Repeat for each half to quarter the cabbage.

Add 1 1/2 cup of water inside a basin, dissolve 2 tablespoons of rock salt, wet the quartered Napa cabbage inside the basin and sprinkle salt between each layer of leaf. Let rest for at least two hours, turning them over every 30 minutes.

Rinse each quarter well under running water to remove the salt. Squeeze out excess water and let drain in a colander.

Making the rice gruel
In a small saucepan, add the rice flour and 2 cups of water over medium heat. Whisk constantly. Cook for 10 minutes or until the mixture thickens. Set aside to cool.

Making the seasoning paste
1. In a blender, blend together the apple, onion, garlic, and ginger with the mirin.
2. Soften the dried pollack with some lukewarm water. Drain.
3. In a big bowl, combine the rice gruel, apple mixture, daikon radish, carrot, scallion, dried fish, and the rest of the seasoning ingredients and massage everything well to become a paste.

Bringing everything together
Bring the drained cabbage quarters into the mixture and spread the paste onto every single leaf. Tightly pack the kimchi into jars or containers with fitted lids or cover tightly with plastic. 

Allow the kimchi to sit in room temperature for at least two days, or longer for a stronger flavor. The warmer and more humid the environment is, the faster the kimchi will ferment. Store in refrigerator once the kimchi begins to ferment and use as needed. Refrigerating slows down the fermentation process, which makes the kimchi more and more sour as time goes on.


韓國旺菜  1 棵
粗鹽  5 湯匙
韓國鱈魚乾  70 克
韓國大根蘿蔔  1 磅
甘筍  1  枝
大蔥  數棵

蘋果或梨  1 個
  2 吋
蒜瓣  6 個
洋蔥  1 小個
60 毫
鯷魚露  60 毫升
魚露  60 毫升
韓國蝦醬  3 湯匙*
粘米粉  2 湯匙
韓國辣椒粉  100 - 120 克

1. 於旺菜底部切一刀,用手把旺菜輕輕撕開兩半,再分為共四份。
2. 於大盤裏加入一碗半清水及 2 湯匙粗鹽,沾濕旺菜,再於每片葉之間灑上剩下的粗鹽,硬的部份多灑一點。
3. 完成後待其軟化出水,每半小時翻轉一次,共約 2 小時。
4. 徹底洗去鹽份,輕輕擠去多餘水份,晾乾備用。


1. 大根、甘筍切絲,大蔥切段。
2. 韓國鱈魚乾搣成絲,加入少量清水待其軟化。
3. 蘋果/梨去皮去芯切粒,加入薑、蒜、洋蔥和味打成蓉。
4. 於大盤子裏加入大根、甘筍、大蔥、蘋果/梨蒜蓉、鱈魚乾絲、蝦醬/鯷魚、鯷魚露、魚露、米漿和韓國辣椒粉,用手拌勻所有醃料再作調味(謹記帶手套啊!)
5. 加入旺菜,並於每片葉之間塗滿醃料至完全覆蓋。
6. 完成後把泡菜放在玻璃盒或陶瓷煲內,加蓋封好。
7. 放在室溫發酵 2 天後放入雪櫃,泡菜會繼續慢慢發酵。隨時享用!

- 泡的時間越長味道越酸,泡菜汁中培養出來的各種益生菌也更多。
- 較成熟的泡菜最適合煮食泡製出其他菜式。
- 調味很隨意,亦視乎材料原來的質素及味道。調味可加亦可減。

[Follow me on Instagram @alvinckl and check out my Facebook Fan Page!]
Chef Esther Choi: http://www.foodparadisetv.com/food/vlogs-clips/the-best-korean-kimchi-recipe/