Tag Archives: cheese

Mushroom magic

7 Jul

I learnt my lesson the hard way. About six years ago, I was lunching with  some buds in a deli-styled eatery in KL and I ordered a mushroom burger thinking it would be a vegetarian burger made of mushrooms. The menu didn’t offer a description of the burger so I assumed…

Imagine my embarrassment when the burger arrived: a huge chunk of beef patty with a generous mushroom topping and some white sauce, some variation of mayonnaise I assume. I protested, but to no avail of course. The waiter thought I was being ridiculous: who would order a burger made of mushrooms (he didn’t say it but his expression shouted it!).

I pushed my plate aside, dejected, an sipped on my smoothie. Oh bother, these all-meat eateries.

Mushroom burgers are not something I conjured up, in case you are wondering. Portobello mushroom burgers are quite popular, perhaps not in our cafes. I’ve had them (they serve them at The Daily Grind in Bangsar Village) and I love them. You can’t go wrong with mushrooms, really. Especially not the Portobello, surely a royal mushroom.

At home, I make mushroom burgers/sandwiches all the time. I either incorporate them in vege burger patties or, like the one above, I make sandwiches with a variety of mushroom fillings. The one above is made from sautéed mushrooms in a creamy cheese sauce, served with roasted tomatoes on sprouts. I usually use lettuce or salad but I had some sprouts at home and used them instead.

Cheesy Mushroom chompers

1 cups mushrooms (swiss brown, button white and fresh shiitake), separate the stems from the caps.

1/4 cup cheddar

1/4 cup parmesan (you can add blue cheese too if you feel extravagant)

4 tbsp butter

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

2 sprigs thyme

1 med onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

Chop the mushroom stems; quarter the caps.

Heat 2 tbsp butter and saute the caps with thyme, season with salt and pepper, remove and set aside.

Heat  butter. Add onions and then garlic and saute till soft. Add chopped stems and cook till soft, about 5 mins. Stir in cheese and nuts. Cook for a couple of mins.

Lay sautéed caps on baking sheet and pour half the cheesy sauce over. Bake in 180C oven for about 15 mins. Remove. Pour remaining sauce over.

Assemble the chomper: Layers of sprouts, mustard, cheesy mushrooms and roasted tomato in between sesame burger buns.

Homemade cheese, louise!

6 Jun

My mother used to make butter and ghee and though she never said it, I could tell that it gave her great satisfaction. It wasn’t a matter of economics; rather it was a desire to consumme less preservatives (yes, butter has preservatives which allows us to keep it for a long time, albeit refrigerated). At the time, I admired her for it although I don’t think I fully realised the satisfaction she got from it.

Yesterday, I made my own ricotta cheese and all at once I understood.  For me, it was partly  economics that prompted me to try it (it is much cheaper to make ricotta than buy it). I also was curious. If I could make cheese at home (my next project is mascaporne), I wouldn’t have to pay those exorbitant prices  for imported cheese at supermarkets. Well, at least I’d save a little.

For a RM15 block of store bought ricotta, it cost me just about RM8 to make it at home. I needed two litres of full cream milk, a cup of whipping cream, lemon juice and salt.

Homemade ricotta is probably the simplest cheese to make. Although you can use full cream milk from the carton, you will get better results from  fresh  milk — luckily I managed to catch the man who goes around my neighbourhood (on a motocycle) delivering fresh cows milk. (I had to pre-order two litres the week before).

Apart from the milk, whipping cream, salt and lemon juice, you will need a large bowl and a muslin cloth (or a dishcloth) as well. And a stockpot to boil the milk, of course.

First step: Heat the milk and whipping cream; when it comes to a ROLLING BOIL (not just a simmer) add the lemon or lime juice and resume boiling, stirring now and then. Keep stirring until the milk mixture starts to curdle. Depending on the milk (fresh milk works faster than milk from the carton), this may take between 20 to 30 mins.

When the milk starts to curdle — when you can see clumps amongst the slightly thickened liquid — put off the heat and let the milk stand for about 15 mins.  If the milk isn’t curdling well, add a little more lemon juice.

After 15 mins or so, you will see the curdled milk seperate from the liquid, or  whey.  Place a muslin clothe or dishcloth over a large, deep bowl and pour the curdled mixture into the cloth to physically separate the curd from the whey.

Let the muslin seive do it’s work — leave it for about 30 minutes or until almost all the liquid has dripped  into the  bowl.

Tie the edges of the muslin together to form a ball with the curd and hang it on your tap or somewhere so the remaining liquid drips out.

Once you;re satisfied that there is close to or completely no whey left, put the balled ricotta in the fridge for about 2 hours or so to set.

Click here for more resources for homemade ricotta.

Ssss-Creaming good, I tell ya.

18 Nov

Cream puff with herbed cream cheese.

I love cheese. Who doesn’t love cheese? Creamy white, sunny yellow, smelly and blue … love them all.

While leafing through an old recipe book I swiped from my aunty (she got it as a gift from some students way back in 1968) and my eyes rested on a  recipe for cream puffs a.k.a profiteroles that seemed too straightforward to be true.

Bored and feeling a tad fearless (could it be the wee shot of single malt I had a while before?), I decided to try it. After all, I  had all the ingredients — all 5 of them (water, butter, eggs, salt and baking powder).

Instead of a custard or cream filling (as recommended by the recipe) ,  I decided to go with cream cheese.  Oh Yumm.  I whisked the cheese after adding  some herbs — dill and parsley — a sprinkling of paprika and a coupla drobs of lemon juice.

♣ Simply delicious cream cheese puffs (makes 10)

1 cup boiling water

2 oz butter

1 cup all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

herbs

Whisk flour and salt. Boil water and butter until well mix and then add in the salt and flour. Stir till  the mixture comes off the sides of the pan. Remove from heat, let cool for 5 mins or so.

Add the eggs, one at a time and then the baking powder and herbs and stir well until you begin to see air bubbles form in the pastry.

Using an icing bag, squirt out small blobs of the mix (about 50 sen coin) on a lined baking tin. The pastry will puff out so don’t squirt them too close to one another.

Bake at 180 C to 200 C for about 40 mins. After 20 mins, take em out and poke a small hole through so the insides cook quickly as well.

Filling

A cup of cream chesse, softened

tsp each of dill and parsley

Mix and fill!

Stuff yourself silly and watch some telly.

New day, new diet. Why do i do it?

18 Oct

I have been on a diet since I was 16 — I am now … 37. Yup. Don’t roll your eyes because I know I need help.

The latest diet I am trying is pretty controversial. It’s not really a diet, more a way of eating “healthier” — therein lies the controversy. Ever heard of Dr Peter D’Adamo? Sometime in the late 1990s, he write a book titled Eat Right 4 Your Blood Type where he recommends food to suit your blood type. His theory (based on studies he and his father before him had done) is that not all blood types react with food the same way. If you eat food that is not quite suitable or agreeable with your blood type, you suffer the consequences. Not serious consequences, exactly … but you don’t feel the best you could and your metabolic rate could be slow because of it.

Yumm. This could work

Ok. I ain’t gonna make this post a summary of his study — check him out on the web if you want.

I am a type-B (blood that is) and although most people with this  blood type have hardy and flecible digestive systems and can therefore enjoy a wider variety of food, it’s not a very friendly blood type for vegetarians as many vegetarian staples like soy and lentils are not type B friendly.

What? Just my luck cos  I am a vegetarian!

Should I stick to it?

I decide to give it a try .. for a month. And am going to chart my meals for this month with food thats beneficial for type Bs.

My first meal is a Broccoli and Mushroom soup with cheese (cos dairy is good for me, thank god)

Broccoli and Mushroom Soup ♣

2 cups broccoli, cut small

1 cup white button mushrooms, cut small

leek, 3 inch, sliced

3 – 4 cups vegetable stock

butter

1 cup milk

parmesan cheese

salt and pepper

ground oregano

Melt butter in saucepan. Add leek and saute till soft. Add mushrooms and broccoli and cook for about 5 -7 mins. Add stock and cook till it simmers. Add milk and keep on stove till it simmers. Remove from heat. Blend. Return to heat, add cheese, salt, pepper and a dash of ground oregano.

chewy and creamy too