All posts by michtsang

Gluten Free Chocolate Hazelnut Crunch Bar with Cocoa Puffs


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Finally! A gluten free version of my most requested hazelnut chocolate crunch bar for you all!  Be warned: it is as addictive as the normal version and super easy to make. No baking required.

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What makes these chocolate bars so irresistible? Two things: the hazelnut taste and the cocoa pops crunch. I tested many different type of gluten free cocoa pops before I was finally satisfied with the taste and texture. I settled on Hubbards’ Thank Goodness Gluten free cocoa puffs. These stayed completely crunchy!

Regarding the hazelnut-chocolate combination, you can certainly change it to suit your latest cravings. Think peanut butter, salted caramel, macadamia butter, almond cacao and also peppermint to name a few.

You can dress the bars up with whatever you like: a dusting of cocoa powder; hazelnut; hazelnut praline crunch; fresh-dried berries. Or left naked. Your options are endless which makes this an ideal ‘bring-a-dessert’ that *potentially* satisfies everyone.

Makes one square tray, cut bars sized to your liking. I got 39 (3 rows of 13 bars of  about 1.5 cm by 8cm)

For the crunchy Bottom layer:

  • 250g milk chocolate (33% cacao), melted
  • 100g roasted hazelnut paste (Nocciola from Equagold)
  • 125g (about half cup) chocolate-hazelnut spread (instead of the hazelnut paste and chocolate-hazelnut spread, you can use the same amount of Forty Thieves’ Cacao Hazelnut butter instead.)
  • 2 cups Hubbards Thank Goodness gluten free cocoa puffs

For the filling:

  • 300g dark chocolate (70% cacao) broken into small pieces, (I used Solomon’s Gold or Whittakers 72% Ghana will work too)
  • 300ml cream
  • 50g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  1. For the bottom layer, line a narrow rectangular tray (or shallow slice box) with 2 pieces of baking paper, with the paper hanging over the sides of the tray. (This will help you lift the slab off from the tray effortlessly.)
  2. Melt chocolate over a pot of simmering hot water. Once smooth, add the roasted hazelnut paste and chocolate-hazelnut spread; stir until smooth. 
  3. Fold in the cocoa puffs until the chocolate is combined (It should look like a mess!) Scoop the chocolate mixture to the prepared tray. Press the mixture down into a smooth, even layer. Let it chill in the fridge while you make the filling. 
  4. To make the top layer, place the broken chocolate pieces in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream till it is just simmering and pour over the chocolate.
  5. Shake the bowl a little and let this sit for about 2 minutes, this is so that the chocolate melts smoothly, avoiding any lumps in your final product. 
  6. Add the cubed butter and whisk until ganache is smooth. As you whisk, the cream will magically homogenize with the melted chocolate to form a shiny smooth, pourable ganache.
  7. Pour the ganache over the cocoa puffs and smooth with a spatula. Leave in the fridge to set, about 1 hour. 
  8. Decorate with whole hazelnuts, hazelnut praline crunch, freeze dried fruits or anything you wish! Place in the fridge to set it a further 2 hours. Slice into bars before serving. 

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Styled by my little chef.

 

Chinese Roast Pork with crispy crackling


Roast pork. Bao. Crispy crackling
Roast pork. Bao. Crispy crackling
The closest chinese roast meat shop is 30 mins of driving away. To get our roast pork fix, we have to plan ahead and go on weekends. 

There has to be a better way, I thought to myself. So I decided that I will make my own!

Ingredients:

  • 2kg pork belly
  • 3 tablespoon five spice powder
  • 1 tablespoon white pepper
  • 3 tablespoon shaoxhing wine
  • 1 cup salt (coarse or table, i used a mixture)

Method:

  1. Wash and use paper towels to dry the pork belly.
  2. Make some horizontal slits on the skin side of the pork.
  3. Rub the meat side with wine, the five spice and white pepper powder.
  4. Flip meat over and brush skin with some white vinegar.
  5. Leave overnight to dry in fridge. 
  6. Preheat the oven to 350F/180c, arrange a pan on the bottom 1/3 of oven rack and fill with water. Line a roast pan with foil and place the pork belly on a rack that fits this pan.
  7. Layer the top of the pork belly with the salt evenly.
  8. Place the pork belly at the bottom 1/3 of the oven and bake for 1 hour.
  9. Bake until the salt crust forms, the salt should be hardened. Check water in the pan below and add if needed.
  10. Remove the pork belly from the oven, pull off the salt crust and discard.
  11. Raise the heat of oven to 465f/240c, place the pork belly back in and roast for another 30 to 40 minutes.
  12. Remove from oven and let set for 10 minutes. Cut and serve immediately with some chilli sauce and hoisin sauce, or eat as is.

    Roast pork. Bao. Crispy crackling
    You should have left overs for lunch. What I really mean is you should make enough so that there are left overs, afterall you are going to have the oven on for an hour, so might as well make use of all that heat! 

    You can use the roasted pork belly in soup noodles, fried rice and stir fry dishes. I had them with some steamed baos for lunch the other day and they were soooo good. 😋

    Roast pork. Bao. Crispy crackling

    Baked Chocolate Mousse


    Cornflake crumble with Kohu Road Ice Cream and baked chocolate mousse #momofuku #goldcutlery

    Having made a delicious salty-sweet combo out of my cornflake crumble and Kohu Road Pure Vanilla ice cream, I needed something to serve it with. Cookie sandwich was an obvious contestant, but I had a particular picture in mind. I wanted something light but not cakey, rich but not heavy. I need, a mousse cake. More so, I need a Darren Purchese cake. I’ve adapted the recipe from Lamingtons and Lemon Tart as follows.

    Ingredients:

    • 100ml thickened cream, whipped
    • 180g 72% dark chocolate
    • 2 whole eggs + 2 yolks
    • 30g caster sugar

    *this proportion when baked in a square tin will produce a beautiful but rather thin (1.5cm) cake slice. If you would prefer a thicker slice, double the amounts and bake for 1 hour 15 mins.

    Instructions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 150C. Line a square baking tin with baking paper with enough overhand to lift the cake once cooked. Spray the paper lightly with rice bran oil.
    2. Melt the chocolate in short bursts in the microwave (2 mins should do it).
    3. Whip cream till thick and fluffy.
    4. Whisk the eggs, yolks and sugar together until thick and pale. Gently fold half of this mixture into the melted chocolate, then fold in the remaining egg mixture.
    5. Fold in the whipped cream.
    6. Pour mixture into the baking tin. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 50 minutes.
    7. Remove from oven and leave cake to cool completely before chilling in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
    8. Lift cake by the baking paper and cut the cake into squares.

    This is best served warm with ice cream or milk. Perfect for Mother’s day afternoon tea or dessert.

    Crunchy cornflake marshmallow chocolate chip cookies


    Momofuku cornflake crumb chocolate chips marshmallow cookie
    We had several reasons for cookies coming up and not wanting to make the same old chocolate chip cookie, I turned to the Momofuku recipe book for ideas. Knowing it would be something different, I tested the ideas with Miss 8 first.

    “How does cornflake marshmallow chocolate chip cookie sound?”

    She was sold at marshmallow.

    We proceeded to make the cornflake crunch first. It was the most delicious element since feuilletine and easily made too! I can also vary the flavours by mixing in cocoa powder or malt powder. This is going to be something we have ready made in the kitchen from now on.

    I have adapted the recipe here so that I don’t end up with half a cup of corn flakes at the bottom of the box, and also adjusted the ratio of ingredients to suit our taste. If you want more toffee-like shards in your cookies, by all means add another 15g of marshmallows in.

    Cornflake Crunch

    • 210g plain cornflakes
    • 55g full fat milk powder
    • 55g caster sugar
    • 6g salt flakes
    • 160g butter, melted

    Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 130C.
    2. Pour the cornflakes in a medium bowl and crush them with your hands till they are about 1/4 of their original size.
    3. Add milk powder, sugar and salt. Toss to mix.
    4. Add butter and toss to coat. The butter will bind the dry ingredients and create clusters.
    5. Spread the clusters on baking paper and bake for 20 mins till they are crunchy and buttery.
    6. Cool completely before using.

    Cornflake crumb

    These could be folded into ice creams, sprinkled on top of milkshakes, as a crunchy layer in my entremets, as decoration on cakes…nomnomnom.

    Cookie

    • 225g butter, room temperature
    • 250g caster sugar
    • 150g brown sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tsp vanilla paste
    • 240g flour
    • 2g baking powder
    • 1.5g baking soda
    • 5g salt flakes
    • 270g of Cornflake Crunch mix
    • 125g mini chocolate chips
    • 50g mini marshmallows

    Instructions

    1. Cream butter and sugars for 3 minutes.
    2. Scrape down sides of bowl, add egg and vanilla paste, and beat for 7 minutes.
    3. Add in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt slowly as the mixer is on low speed. Mix for no longer than 1 minute.
    4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in cornflake crumb and chocolate chips and mix for 30 seconds. On low speed add in marshmallows. (It would seem like there is a lot of marshmallows – I have reduced the amount here to keep the toffee taste.)
    5. Scoop with a small teaspoon to form small balls. These cookies spread like no other so keep them small.
    6. Place on trays and freeze them for 1 hour at least. Do not bake without freezing first or they will spread too thinly. These can be frozen for 1 month.
    7. Preheat the oven at 175C.
    8. Place on baking paper-lined cookie sheets, well-spaced. Bake at 175C fan-forced for 16 minutes as they puff up, crackle and spread. Marshmallows should have melted. (Watch as they burn easily.)
    9. Let cool completely on cookie sheet before transfering.
    10. Cookies will be fresh for 5 days and keep for a month in the freezer.

    Momofuku cornflake crumb chocolate chips marshmallow cookie

    Vietnamese Beef Pho (broth recipe)


    Vietnamese beef pho rice noodle broth #chilli #lime #mint #vietnamese

    We are a pho-loving family. I don’t think there is ever a time we would reject one – hottest day of the year maybe, but it rarely gets extreme here in Auckland.

    Pho is the best antidote to the coldness of a crisp Autumn night. Squeeze of lime, tears of vietnamese mint, rings of picked onions, fresh beef and slices of firey hot chillis. Pour in a good broth and devour. Yum yum 😋🍲🐂 Good for the body and soul!

    Ingredients:

    Broth

    • 2 onions, halved
    • 6cm piece of ginger, halved lengthwise
    • 1kg beef shin meat with bones
    • 4 litres of water
    • 1 spices package in mesh stock bag (2 cinnamon stick, 2 tbsp coriander seeds, 1 tbsp fennel seeds, 5 whole star anise, 6 whole cloves)
    • 60ml light soy sauce
    • 60ml fish sauce
    • 1 small chunk of yellow rock sugar

    To serve

    • 3 servings of rice noodles (dried or fresh)
    • Cooked beef from the broth (shredded or thinly sliced)
    • 500g skirt or topside beef, shaved thinly
    • big handful of each: mint, coriander, thai basil
    • 2 limes, cut into wedges
    • 2-3 red chilli, sliced
    • 2 big handfuls of fresh bean sprouts
    • Hoisin sauce
    • Sriracha hot sauce

    Vietnamese beef pho rice noodle broth #chilli #lime #mint #vietnamese

    Directions:

    Charing: You can do this step either on the gas stove top or in the oven.

    Place cut slices of ginger and onion halves on a wire rack and place on the stove or in the oven. Grill on high until ginger and onions begin to char. Turn over and continue until they sre nicely browned.

    Parboil the bones: Bring a large stock pot of water to a boil. Add beef shin and boil for 10 minutes. Drain, wash the blood and muck off the bones and rinse out the pot. Refill pot with 4 litres of hot water and beef shin. Bring back to a boil then lower to a simmer. Using a fine mesh strainer, remove any scum that rises to the top.

    Perfecting the broth: Add ginger, onion, spice packet, beef, sugar, fish sauce, salt and simmer uncovered for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the beef and set aside (you can eat the meat later too.) Strain and return broth to the pot – now is the time for tasting and seasoning. If the broth’s flavor isn’t quite there yet, add 1 tablespoon more of fish sauce, large pinch of salt and a small piece of rock sugar (or 1 teaspoon of regular sugar). Keep doing this until the broth tastes just right.

    Prepare noodles & meat: Slice your beef as thin as possible – try freezing for 15 minutes prior to slicing. Shred the cooked shin meat and set aside. Arrange all other ingredients on a platter for the table. Cook the noodles as per packet instructions. If they are fresh rice noodles, just blanch it for 1 minute.

    Serving: You are ready to serve when your meat and noodles are in bowls and all other ingredients plated. Bring the broth back to a boil. Once boiling, pour hot broth into each bowl, cooking the raw beef slices in the process. Serve straight away. Everyone can style their bowls as they like.

    Vietnamese beef pho rice noodle broth #chilli #lime #mint #vietnamese