Friday, September 13, 2013

Grilled Mushrooms with Cheese

 Simple grilled mushrooms for dinner! All you need is...

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10-15 minutes

Ingredients I have used -
  • 2 Huge flat mushrooms
  • Minced meat (I used sausage instead as I'm too lazy to mince the meat from scratch) *optional, you can go ahead without meat
  • Plum tomatoes (any other tomatoes are fine too) *optional
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Pepper (It depends on your likings)
  • Salt - a pinch
  • Sugar - half teaspoon
  • Olive oil - two tablespoons
  • Balsamic vinegar - about 1-1/2 teaspoons

Other optional ingredients (Actually you can play around with the ingredients, don't really have to follow exactly)

  • Parmesan cheese
  • Bacon - It's always nice to have crispy bacon strips
  • Herbs - Depends on what you like?

What to do next?

Preheat oven for 5 minutes (200C).

Bowl 1
Pour two tablespoons of olive oil and a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar.
Coat the mushroom evenly with the mixture.
Leave it aside for about 10 minutes.

Bowl 2 
Fry the minced meat with olive oil, pepper, salt and sugar till it is cooked.
Place it in a bowl and pour half teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
Dice the tomatoes and mix with the meat.

Prepare foil, place both mushrooms in for about 10 minutes.The mushrooms should be cooked by then. If it is not, let it continue till it is cooked.

When it's done, place the minced meat with tomatoes and top it with cheese. Put it back into the oven till the cheese melts.

 Here it is! All done. So simply right? It's like throwing everything into the oven and you're done. It's really simple and quick for lazy busy people. :)

That is it! The soup in the bowl is carrot and coriander soup..  It looks too green for a carrot soup, because I like coriander so I added way more than I should have. Anwyay, I'll post them up soon. Till then.. It's dinner time!!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Opera Tavern

So happy I finally made the effort to get my own domain.. After so long!! That's how lazy I am. OH well, in conjunction to my excitement I shall write bout my favourite "ham place" in London!

 This... is my favourite ham place!! Of course it isn't as great as the one I had in Italy... Since this is a Spanish thing, it makes me feel even more excited for my upcoming Spain trip! ^_^
Anyway, discovered this place by accident and loving it already. They menu is pretty focused on Spanish food.. It is located right opposite the theatre for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in Covent Garden.

 Apparently their pig ears in a bowl is a famous thing, which I didn't really enjoy. It's way too hard I felt I was biting on a bone or something. It tasted pretty much like ikan bilis / fried anchovy. Not really my kind of thing to be honest, I'd rather go for fried anchovy.

 Then they have little tapas but not many choices to pick from. I wouldn't go there for their tapas though.

Their burgers are really TO DIE FOR. It looks huge but actually it's half of the normal burgers that you get from Burger King. The patty is soooooo juicy it drips whenever I take a bite out of it. The patty is made out of Jamón Ibérico pork and foie gras. I know I'm very evil for eating foie gras but I believe the patty is made from majority pork meat. 

As for the ham, it's handcut Jamón Ibérico ham, aged 5 years. I love their chilli salamis too. Their meat goes really well with the wine. Felt like I needed more but NO! Only one plate to share if I ever go otherwise I'll have to eat grass by the end of the month. :P

I don't really want to share all the pictures, just go for it, don't bother researching anymore. Oh yes, I won't go for their desserts if I were you. Nothing to shout about except for overly sweet desserts. Make your reservation beforehand as that place can be extremely busy during peak time. Remember to try their ham and burger!! 

Opera Tavern
23 Catherine Street,
WC2B 5JS London
United Kingdom

Opera Tavern Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Japanese Cheesecake

So I have decided to bake again after so long. I've been wanting to eat really soft cotton cheesecakes but there isn't any nearby where I live - probably they do have it in central London. Sometimes, baking at home is better than buying... The huge success that results in satisfaction can never be bought from any shops. Agree? It all began when a friend, Lynette, sent me the link on how to bake Japanese cotton cheesecakes. I do not have cake tin at home - I prefer cakes in the size of cupcakes or smaller (it's prettier!!). It's also easier to distribute when it's done. After trying out various recipes I've gotten online, I've decided to use this recipe. 

Initial Recipe (taken from The Little Teochew)
140g fine granulated sugar
6 egg whites
6 egg yolks
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
50g butter
250g cream cheese
100ml fresh milk
60g cake flour (can also use plain flour)
20g corn flour
1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat the oven at 160°C. Melt cream cheese, butter and milk over a double boiler. Cool the mixture. Fold in the flour, the cornflour, salt, egg yolks and mix well.

2. Whisk egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Add in the sugar and whisk until soft peaks form.

3. Add the egg whites to the cheese mixture to and fold well. Pour into a 8-inch round springform cake pan or removable-bottom cake pan (lightly grease and line the bottom and sides of the pan with greaseproof baking paper or parchment paper). Wrap the base of your cake tin with aluminium foil, to prevent seepage ... although I never do, and it has never seeped! ;)

4. Bake cheesecake in a water bath for 1 hour 10 mins or until set and golden brown at 160°C.

5. Leave to cool in oven with door ajar, about 30mins to 1 hour. Sudden changes in temperature may cause the cake to cool too quickly and collapse.

===============  VON'S VERSION  ===============

I've tried a couple of times with different combinations and have finally settled with -
*You may want to click on the link by The Little Teochew for extensive explanations on certain terms.

Von's version
40g fine brown sugar
2 egg whites
2 egg yolks
15g butter (FULL FAT)
100g cream cheese (FULL FAT)
40ml fresh milk (FULL FAT)
20g extra fine sponge flour
10g corn flour

Adjustments for step 2, 3, 4

Step 2 - Basically the same step, without cream of tartar.

Step 3 - The same step, but I used cupcake silicone moulds. I did not use aluminium foil.

Step 4 - I baked the cheesecake in a water bath for 35-40 minutes.

The reason why I've reduced so much of everything is because I enjoy cakes but I can't finish everything all by myself. Instead of putting them to waste, it's better to bake it with lesser ingredients. As for why I did not include cream of tartar, it's because I do not have it at home.

Result from Von's version (after multiple times trying!) *picture taken using iPhone, no filter / edit.

Lesson Learnt

The OKs

  • It is OK to use a silicone mould. Mine turned out to be just as soft as expected.
  • It is OK to substitute sugar, as long as it is soft and fine.

The NOs

  • Do not substitute flour if you're not a regular baker - This is because you do not know how to tweak the flour to the exact flour that you need. Unless you're a regular baker and you know how flour works, do not substitute.
  • Do not reduce too much sugar - I personally never like cakes that are overly sweet so I tried reducing it to 25g sugar and the cake turned out to be horrendously tasteless!
  • Do not use low fat milk or cheese - It will make your cake tasteless. You MUST use full fat of both.
  • Do not use cheap butter or cheap cheese - It will definitely not contribute much taste to the cake. You can always use brands that you prefer, as for me I've used the Anchor original butter and Philadelphia original cheese.
  • Do not stop until your egg whites are foamy, otherwise the cake will be rock hard!


  • It didn't look that pretty from the picture :(
  • The cake is not very sweet, just nice for people who loves eating cakes but do not enjoy sweet products.
  • The cake is very light, fluffy and soft.

Enjoy your cake with a cup of coffee! ^_^