Home Cooking

Chocolate pound cake

Who can resist the homemade chocolate pound cake with its finest ingredients? Let’s make chocolate pound cake with this simple yet fall proof recipe!

IMG_8161

Prep Time: 30 min

Bake Time: 60 minutes /50 minutes (325F/170C)

Yield : 1 loaf

Ingredient
190g all-purpose flour, 50g unsweetened cocoa powder, 4g teaspoon baking powder, 4g teaspoon fine salt, 227g unsalted butter, 115g dark brown sugar, 115g granulated sugar 2 large eggs, 2 large egg yolks, 90g plain yogurt or butter milk, 10g brewed espresso, 10g hot water, 6g vanilla extract

Chocolate Glaze: dark chocolate, heavy cream

Method:

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven, making sure there are no racks above it, and heat to 325°F(170C for convection oven). Coat a 9×5-inch metal loaf pan with baking spray, dust with flour, and tap out the excess; set aside.
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt through a strainer onto a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Place the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low to medium speed until it just begins to be fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Beat on medium speed until paler in color, a light caramel brown, and very fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes more.
  5. Beat in the eggs and yolks one at a time, mixing after each addition until fully incorporated.
  6. Add half of the flour mixture and beat at low speed until fully combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl again.
  7. Add the plain yogurt, espresso, and vanilla and beat on low to medium-low speed until fully incorporated.
  8. Add the remaining flour and cocoa mixture and beat on low to medium-low speed until combined.
  9. Transfer the batter into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
  10. Place the pan on its baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 55min to 65min (45-55 min for convection oven)
  11. Place the loaf pan on a wire rack and let cool until the cake is no longer warm to the touch
  12. Make the ganache by mixing heavy cream and dark chocolate in a low-medium heat.IMG_8163

Enjoy this bread with a cup of hot tea or coffee and it will be a true antidote to a hectic day!

Home Cooking

Banana chocolate chip bread

This is our go-to bread at home with its easy recipe and delicious taste. Kids enjoy this bread as their school snack(without walnuts) while I enjoy this as afternoon tea cake with a cup of camomile tea.

img_8108.jpg

Prep Time: 30 min

Bake Time: 1 hour 10 min/1 hour 5 min(325F/170C)

Yield : 1 loaf

Ingredients 

– 2-3 ripe bananas, all purpose flour 260g, butter 120g, sugar 140g, 2 eggs, 120g plain yogurt, walnut 70g, chocolate chip 80g, vanilla extract 6g, baking soda 5g, baking powder 5g, salt 3g

Method

1. In a medium size bowl, mash bananas until creamy and set aside.

2. In a medium size bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

3. In a large bowl,  mix the butter (room temperature) and sugars and make them creamy and beat in the eggs until combined (we used stand mixer).

4. Add vanilla extract to the mashed bananas. Beat until combined and add plain yogurt to the mixture.

5. Mix 3 and 4 to make wet mixture.

6. Then mix wet mixture with dry mixture. Stir gently and just until the flour is mixed incorporated. Do not over stir. And add chocolate chips and walnuts.

7. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake on center rack at 325 F (170C for convection oven) for 1 hour 10 minutes (1 hour 5 min for convection oven). Cooking times may vary. Check on bread at the 60 minute mark (55 min for convection oven). Toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean and bread should be golden on the outside.

8. Let cool for 5 minutes and then remove the bread from the pan and place on a cooling rack to finish cooling.

IMG_8104

IMG_8106

 

 

Home Cooking

Zucchini stir-fry with garlic and olive oil

This is a very easy recipe that is also wallet-friendly, but it works great in just 15 minutes. With its sautéed garlic and shrimp paste aroma perfectly matching the smell of just-cooked rice, this lightly stir-fried zucchini in olive oil is as delicious as it gets. Let’s make this no-frills, everyday Korean side dish, which can pair easily with any kinds of food.

IMG_6748

Prep Time: 8 min

Cook Time: 7 min

Yield : Makes 3 servings as side dish

Ingredients

–  1 good sized-zucchini, 1/4 onion

– 1t chopped garlic, 2T olive oil, 1t shrimp paste, 1/2T chopped scallion(optional), 1/2T sesame oil, 1/2T sesame seed, a pinch of salt and pepper

Method

1. Thinly slice zucchini into circle shape and cut half to make them half-moon shape.

2. Thinly slice onion and set aside with zucchini.

3. Heat large pan for 30-40 seconds or until hot and add olive oil, followed by sliced zucchini and onion with a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir fry vegetable for 2 minutes and add shrimp paste then keep stirring another 2-3 min.

4. Add garlic and scallion to the mixture and lower heat to medium heat and keep stirring for 1 minute. Add sesame oil and quickly stir the mixture. Turn off the heat and sprinkle sesame seed. Serve immediately.

IMG_6762

Above-pictured zucchini stir-fry, sautéed mushrooms and shrimp with garlic and  white wine were my dinner menu tonight, with a bowl of white rice. I will share the recipe of the other two dish with you in my next post, so stay tuned!

 

About

Intro

Hello, welcome to this blog recording my journey in food.

I love cooking, eating out and also working out (to digest food that I’ve had). In my free time, I like reading Japanese mystery novels, watching Japanese dramas and films.

While I love eating out, I believe the foundation of healthy and yummy life starts from home cooking. Naturally, I enjoy cooking and baking and would like to share my joy of home cooking with you all.

Hope you enjoy reading my blog and I welcome any feedback or suggestions from you.   Thank you.

Homechef_ml

 

Home Cooking

Japchae: Vermicelli with a mix of vegetables and beef

I bet anyone interested in Korean food has heard about this amazing dish “Japchae“, vermicelli with a mix of vegetables and beef. It is not an everyday dish, mostly served at special occasions, like family birthdays or housewarming parties. However, it doesn’t mean that it is hard to make this at home. Rather, with this foolproof recipe, you will find making Japchae as easy (and delicious) as it gets~!

IMG_6459

Prep Time: 30 min

Cook Time: 30 min

Yield : Makes 4 main servings or 8 appetizer servings

Ingredients 

– 250g Korean dried vermicelli noodle, 200g lean beef for stir-fry, 1 medium-sized onions, 2 carrots, 1 bunch of spinach

– Sauce: 4T soy sauce, 2T Korean cooking syrup(물엿 or 올리고당), 1T brown sugar, 2T sesame oil, 1T sesame seed, 1t chopped garlic, a pinch of salt and pepper

– Olive oil for boiling vermicelli and stir frying.

Method

1. Soak dried vermicelli in a big bowl filled with cold water (30 min).

2. Thinly cut onions, carrots. Heat 1T olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion cook, uncovered, stirring often for 3-4 min or until it softens slightly. Repeat the process for carrots.

3. In a large bowl of salted(1T) water, blanch washed spinach for 30-45 seconds. Rinse and drain the spinach with cold water and squeeze any remaining water. Season the spinach with salt, pepper, 1/2t chopped garlic, 1T sesame oil, 1/2T sesame seed.

4. Thinly slice beef and season it with salt, pepper, 1/3T soy sauce, 1T sesame oil. In a medium-high heat, stir fry the beef for 3-4 min or until medium-well done.

5. In a large pot, boil the water(3L) and pour 1/3 cup of soy sauce, 2T brown sugar and 2T olive oil together with vermicelli for 5 min. Stir vermicelli occasionally to prevent sticking.

6. Drain vermicelli then quickly rinse with cold water and put it in a large bowl. Add the sauce to the noodle and toss to combine. Add all the cooked ingredients above and mix well.

7. In a large pan, drizzle 1T olive oil and lightly stir-fry the mixture 6 (better not to pour all the mixture at once, half each time) for 2-3 min. Serve hot (or lukewarm is also fine) and enjoy with your loved ones!

IMG_6463

IMG_5812

*Any questions or comments are welcome!

Busan

Trip to Busan: Serious foodie’s guide

“So your kids must be studying at the school in USA.”

Curious taxi drivers in Busan cut us off in conversation every time when my two kids chatted each other in English. In a country where there’s a national interest(closer to an obsession) with language-learning, their (endless) chitchat was enough to draw taxi drivers’ attention. When explaining that we’re actually living in Hong Kong, a flurry of questions keep continuing. “Isn’t Hong Kong a part of China? Is English the official language of Hong Kong, not Chinese?”

Well, how can I explain (or do I need to explain) things like, international schools, our kids’ experience prior to HK, status of Hong Kong as SAR (Special Administrative Region) and somewhat not-so-simple relationship with China during such a short ride? Although inquisitive, Busan’s taxi drivers are super-gentle and extremely soft-speaking, so don’t feel uncomfortable in case you encounter something like this.

It appears that the relaxing atmosphere of this beautiful port city even made taxi drivers mellow-tempered, indeed a rare characteristic found in the big cities. True, during the last 4 weeks of summer in Busan, I’ve never felt freer and more excited, owing to leisurely ambience and mind-blowing food.

If you are a serious foodie or adventurous enough to taste exotic food that you’ve never imagined possible, this post is just right for you. From spicy cockle dish, abalone porridge to live octopus, the list goes on and on. As for the diversity and excitement offered by food in Busan, sky’s the limit!

1. Poong Won Jang (풍원장 꼬막정찬): 1409 U 1-dong, Haeundae-gu

21430427_10214619386507115_1836923222807586710_n

21272462_10214619386627118_2702412037305780653_n

Poong Won Jang is one of my favorite restaurants in Busan, serving cockle set meal only. It matters little whether you are a fan of cockle or not, as made-to-order seafood miso soup and delectable side dishes served along with the main dish are too good to resist, all at the unbelievable price of KRW15,000(HKD100, USD12). Its prime waterfront location adjacent to famous “Movie/cartoon street” makes this place popular destination for locals and travelers alike.

2. Obok Seaweed (오복미역): 28 Gunam-ro, Haeundae-gu

21272405_10214619442388512_1597888169527261110_n

“How lazy does a housewife need to be to order Seaweed soup in a restaurant?” As a no-frills everyday dish (aka birthday soup), seaweed soup has  never seriously  been regarded as a “proper menu” by itself. But Obok Seaweed is an exception and all it serves are seaweed soups, beef/clam/sole fish seaweed soups. Take one spoon of its hours’-long simmered seaweed stock, and its deep flavor and chunky ingredient will make you nod why it makes sense to pay for seaweed soup alone.

3. Mitaki(미타키): 139, Dalmaji-gil, haeundae-gu

21272651_10214619387547141_7708100732561082353_n

21272171_10214619388347161_534564518871880208_n

21272116_10214619388067154_5969513962371537206_n

21314847_10214619387307135_5930722526632873974_n

If I have to choose only one place to eat in Busan, this is it. Eating lunch Kaiseki while overlooking unrestricted “Haeundae beach” view is a sheer luxury. Restaurant is divided into two floors, one specializing in Kaiseki meal, the other for Teppanyaki course, and it is one of the biggest regrets that I didn’t try Teppanyaki here. If you are longing for Japanese style sashimi(숙성회) instead of Korean style fresh fish(활어), look no further than Mitaki and the whole experience will make your Busan stay absolutely memorable.

4. Millennium fresh fish house (밀레니엄 횟집): 5/F, Millennium Plaza, 110-51, Minrak-dong, Suyoung-gu

21314496_10214619492749771_8946503260199124732_n

21371085_10214619493389787_4513928664207089987_n

21371272_10214619494349811_3712007430410394548_n

Welcome to Busan. You’ve just stepped into the heart of the local charm, meaning you ‘ve reached where locals frequent to shop for daily sashimi and fish. 5th floor seafood restaurant offers 7 course dinner feast, including fresh abalone and live octopus smothered with seaweed and sesame oil, all at the price of KRW35,000(HKD240, USD30). Considering how expensive sashimi/sushi dinner costs in HK, this is a steal and quality is also second to none.

5. Bium wine bar (비움와인바): 1459 U-dong,  Haeundae-gu

21317947_10214619388387162_7627554988199299672_n.jpg

21463073_10214670970036671_9202742646720976120_n

21462643_10214670969996670_615056084214656550_n

Bium is probably the most memorable wine bars in Busan, full of characters and taste. Ex-paradise hotel sommelier Mr. Kang surely knows about wine and food. Bium literally means “making empty (to fill up again)” and it is the place to make yourself empty to recharge your batteries whenever you need a rest or companion (whether wine or whisky). “Signature cheese and fruit platter” will be a good match to whatever alcohol you will choose.

6. Cheonji Halmaejip (천지 할매집): 119-3 Yeonhwa-ri, Gijang-eup, Gijang

21433061_10214625051248730_661024206476241630_n

21317462_10214625050568713_2578928452689136429_n

Driving about 30 min from central Busan, you will find another local beauty “Gijang” district where tourists are hardly seen. Best quality Uni in Busan can be found here in “Gijang market“, a local chef’s most beloved place. “Abalone porridge pot” is the food for your soul and its vivid dark green color and chunky abalone slices show what “Abalone porridge” is supposed to look(taste) like.

7. Italy Pocha(이태리 포차): 247 Gobun-ro, Yeonsan-9dong, Yeonje-gu

21314767_10214625077369383_9166808139763715264_n

21317442_10214625049128677_6324240092586682251_n

21369077_10214625049768693_7622602470089282301_n

Italy pocha is an exquisite combination of “Italian restaurant” and “Korean style casual pub” and chances are its nondescript exterior will easily fool you. But don’t underestimate this owner/chef trained at some of Korea’s top Italian restaurants, who creates awesome family-style dishes for taste bud and visual pleasure. Honestly, everything I tried was excellent, with mushroom & shrimp salad/spicy tomato seafood pasta/Tiramisu being another good combination of the meal.

Now, get the hang of the food in Busan? Next, let’s go back to Hong Kong and indulge in more gastronomical pleasure in the world’s fastest-paced city!

 

Busan

Trip to Busan: Food lover’s guide

Beach, relaxing atmosphere, leisurely people and amazing food…What else can I ask for more in Busan?

Yes, I am very excited to have my first long summer in Busan since my childhood and happy to share my findings in Busan with you. Some of the restaurants in this post are hardly known to tourists (Thanks to a large number of relatives living in Busan, I came to find many great places which no tourist guide books have any reference). You will be surprised to find how good, authentic and cheap they are!

1. On the plate (1F, Paradise Hotel, 1408-5, Jung-dong, Haeundae)20258508_10214168747601424_1413348881426761092_n

20140172_10214168775202114_8090557920753405211_n

20046681_10214168775882131_3887729626023513098_n

20258019_10214168776482146_6279102098503869129_n

20108366_10214168774602099_4452068070497866763_nReputation of Paradise hotel in Busan is simply legendary and ex-Paradise chefs, sommeliers are found in some of the best establishment in Busan, proudly holding their badge as “Ex-Paradise (wo)men”. Top quality facilities, restaurants and service all adequately describe Paradise Hotel, and the real star is its beachfront location, commanding the best sea view in Busan.

With the slogan of “7-Star dining experience”, On The Plate is an ideal place to enjoy seafood-focused international buffet in the newly renovated venue. After your lunch, plunge into this beautiful Haeudae, Busan’s top beach where the number of daily visitors easily reaches 1 million in peak season.

2. Aomori (3F, Centum Hotel, 1505, U-dong, Haeundae)20156023_10214198683869812_8197313086834994207_n.jpg

20108418_10214168887444920_1491436960871189620_n

20108395_10214168887684926_1495341590452137741_n

20108239_10214168887644925_2863363106412153213_n5 min-walk from the World’s largest department store “Centum Shinsegae” sits this cozy Japanese place, quite famous among visitors from other parts of the country. While I greatly enjoyed Omakase lunch comprising 5-6 menus at a fraction of the price that I would pay for in Hong Kong, it didn’t take long to realize that there are numerous other alternatives in this port city where seafood places are as common as wonton noodle shops in Hong Kong.

Aomori is worthwhile to try if you are in “Centum city” and want to get your Sushi/Sashimi fix in a refined setting. I am more excited to post real authentic Sashimi places filled with Busan characteristics, something similar to “Tsukiji market” in Tokyo in my next post “Trip to Busan: Serious foodie’s guide”

3. Ops Bakery (1429-6 Jwa-dong, Haeundae, multi-locations)20155970_10214169024968358_5123162627281126722_n

20108688_10214169024368343_2890544047808983302_n

20258001_10214169024608349_1131190233990753520_nOps Bakery is somewhat equivalent to Seoul’s “Kim Youngmo Bakery“, offering highest quality pastries/breads/cakes at a price. It has around 8 shops in major locations throughout the city and chances are you will encounter at least one of its venues somewhere in your itinerary. Despite its aggressive pricing policy, Ops Bakery is always filled with people due mainly to its comprehensive menu that satisfies general palate.

4. Newbell Bread (1F, Zenith Square, 33 Marine City 3-ro, Haeundae-gu)20258241_10214226336121101_287567151941450037_n

20264878_10214226336241104_6647523329315156157_n

20374640_10214233503340277_8475568586111656963_n

20294289_10214233496300101_8927218452800689085_n

20292697_10214233496260100_6669250647814935703_n20258299_10214233497540132_8054190739315217757_nLocated at one of Busan’s wealthiest districts “Marine City” which boasts the splendid skyline, Newbell Bread really stands out from the crowd and provides the neighborhood with unique, quality bread. Signature menu is “roasted chestnut bread” where you can find generous amount of whole roasted chestnut and “Angel baguette” whose soft, chewy texture pairs perfectly with its homemade milk jam. Strongly recommend this place to anyone visiting Busan if you care for good loaf of bread with decent coffee in a super-posh neighborhood.

5.18 Wandang House (31, BIFF Gwangjang-ro, Nampo-dong, Jung-gu)20155744_10214168934846105_5324313366699725970_n

20229202_10214168934966108_2793669501412127306_n

20258406_10214168935006109_5899306906031121067_n.jpg

20156064_10214168935086111_8161034914892492678_nDon’t let the humble decors fool you as this serves one of the tastiest dumpling places in the city. Menu at 18 Wandang House is simple and straightforward, it’s all about wandang (similar to wontons in Hong Kong) soup made with long-simmered anchovy seaweed stock and handmade wandang that is irresistibly good. If your hunger is not satisfied with a bowl of wandang soup(HKD 50, USD 6), pair it with “Soba with mixed vegetables in a spicy sauce(HKD 60, USD 8)” and these are truly comfort food for the soul. After your meal, a walk through Nampo-dong will unfold many interesting places, including “Kukje Market” which is featured in the famous Korean movie.

6. 냉수탕가든: Naengsu Tang(107, Gaya gongwon-ro, Busan jingu)20228718_10214186500965247_1243337773339766286_n

20139987_10214186501445259_8620916455870231215_n

20155637_10214186501565262_1267486380668822706_n

20228912_10214186501605263_2127164889235577807_n

20245975_10214186501045249_8208064088585047274_nOK, Naengsu-tang is not the one you will encounter in your typical itinerary. I had the most interesting meal here in my first week in Busan for both types of food and dining ambience. You’ll have the luxury of experiencing traditional Korean dining back in the old days(Korean-style Al-fresco dining surrounded by lush green). Naengsu-tang specializes in “roasted duck(duck bulgogi)” and “herbal simmered clear duck soup(Duck baeksook)” and they taste amazingly good.

You will be surprised to find that it only cost KRW 150,000 (HKD1,000, USD 130) to feed 8 hungry adults and 2 primary school kids. So next time you visit Busan (preferably with a group of 4 or more), simply grab a cab and go to this place. It will truly be an experience that you won’t forget.

7.  JM Coffee (B1, Sinsegae Centum, 1495 U-dong, Haeundae-gu, multi-locations)20265118_10214226179037174_8598135160598272946_n

20374646_10214226178477160_7101154816051991478_n

20292981_10214226217638139_7908004811804561679_nIf you are wondering where you will get your caffeine fix in the world’s largest department store “Shinsegae Centum”,  JM Coffee is the right place to satisfy your coffee craving. As a coffee aficionado, I could immediately sense that this place treats coffee seriously. Try its popular Long black or Cafe latte in its cool ambience exuding hipster-vibe in each and every corner and it is the place that makes Busan’s cafe scene so unique and vibrant.

Next, Trip to Busan: Serious foodie’s guide will follow to introduce you more exciting places in Busan so please stay tuned.