July 21, 2011

Minty Lemon-Lime Basil Sorbet

Ever since we bought an ice-cream maker, we've been making our own ice-cream and trying out new recipes. Whenever I passed by the ice-cream freezer in the grocery stores, John probably heard the same phrase, "Why don't they make ice-cream with less sugar". So, last week, he made a bitter sweet chocolate with just the right amount of sweetness and it was great!
The other day, a friend brought over a grocery bag of freshly picked lemons and some Key limes. Key lime is a smaller fruit and has a higher acidity. It has a distinctive aroma and flavor compared to other limes. The name comes from its association with the Florida Keys, where it is best known as a flavoring ingredient in Key lime pie. Today, being my day off work, I've decided to combine these two citrus fruits with basil and mint from the garden. I love the cool and refreshing taste of these two herbs! How wonderful to have the simple things in life!
2 cups sugar
2½ cup water
2 Tbsp. lemon zest
1½-2 cups packed fresh basil
1 bunch of fresh mint, rinsed
2½ cups lemon juice (3 cups if not using Key limes)
½ cup Key lime juice
a pinch of salt
1. Add water, sugar and half of the lemon zest to a saucepan and heat over medium fire until sugar has fully dissolved. Remove from heat.
2. Add in the herbs and salt. Cover and let mixture steep for half an hour. Add in the lemon juices, cover and refrigerated for at least 3 hours or overnight (the mixture has to be well-chilled)
3.Strain chilled mixture through a strainer. Turn on the ice-cream maker (per instructions), pour the mixture into the freezer bowl and let it mix until thickened, about 15-25 minutes. When the sorbet is almost done, add the leftover lemon zest and let it churn to combine. Transfer the sorbet into airtight container and freeze until firm, about 2 hours. Remove from freezer for about 15 minutes before serving.
Cook's Tip: Save the lemons halves and freezed them to make pretty containers for the sorbet.
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July 10, 2011

Mango Sorbet

Yesterday we have been driving to several stores looking for a decent ice-cream maker. We finally found one and it is an automatic frozen yogurt-ice cream & sorbet maker.  I remembered making ice cream the old-fashioned way with the bucket-style ice cream maker, where you had to keep adding ice cubes and rock salt to keep it well chilled. Adding salt to the water causes the temperature to drop and slows the melting process and therefore, increases the freezing rate. With this new gadget, I am inspired to make our own ice-cream! For starters, I’ll try this recipe using ripe Philippines. I prefer these mangoes over the ones imported from Mexican as they have a sweeter and smooth texture. I hope you enjoy this yummy treat.

3-4 firm and ripe mangos
½ cup sugar (use ¾ if you like it sweeter)
½ cup water
2 Tbsp. lemon zest
1. In a small saucepan add lemon zest, sugar, and water and heat over medium to melt the sugar. Remove and set aside to cool.
2. Peel, remove seeds and cut mangoes into cubes. Puree the mangoes in a food processor, slowly adding the syrup water and puree until smooth. Pour mixture into a container and chill in the refrigerator.
3. Pour the ingredients into the pre-freeze ice-cream container (per instructions on the booklet). When ready, pour sorbet into an airtight container and freeze.
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July 2, 2011

Steamed Egg with Fish Paste

Beside rice, egg is another practical ingredient in most Chinese household. Whenever we have an extra guest for dinner, we'd fried some eggs to add to the meal. This is another of my favorite dish that my mother used to make for us. She would prepare this quite often for us whenever a particular fish (ikan kurau) is in season to make fish paste. She would filet the fish and then minced the flesh on a wooden chopping board until the paste is smooth and bouncy to touch. This dish is easy enough to make nowadays, as fish paste is readily available in Asian supermarkets.
2 eggs, beaten
½ lb fish paste
1 stalk spring onions, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
oil for frying
1. Season eggs with salt and pepper. Heat a shallow pan with some oil, and make 2 thin omelettes and cooked on both sides. Remove and set aside to cool.
2. In a bowl, mix fish paste with spring onions, and season with salt and pepper. Spread paste evenly on cooked omelettes and roll up to form a log.
3. Bring a steamer with water to a boil and steam and cook fish rolls for about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool before slicing. Serve with rice and chilli sauce.
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