Philly Cheese Steak Jaffle

Who’s a Masterchef fan here? In last week’s Tuesday episode (Season 7, Episode 8), the top three contestants (Reynold, Ashleigh and Jessica) had to make jaffles (which is a fancier word for cheese toasties, in my opinion) to win the immunity pin. Are you wondering what was the winning jaffle like? The jaffle that won all three judges heart was named Jaffa Jaffle by Asheligh. The jaffle was filled with ricotta, dark chocolate, pistachio and cardamom. Find her recipe here.

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So as always, with my brain running 100 miles per hour like the contestants as well, I tweeted this on Twitter.

Surprisingly, Masterchefau’s Twitter responded: “Mmm sounds like a winning filling!”. I was so excited with that comment, I even shared it on my Instagram and Facebook page straight away! HAHA!

But on the serious note, I actually DID make it. For people who never heard of Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich, it is a classic and iconic sandwich that represents Philadelphia town in America.

Toasted Sandwich

So, I started doing research on how to re-create it as authentic as possible. The type of cheese they use in Philadelphia for the cheese steak is either Cheese Wiz or Provolone- which I did not have in hand. However, I still made a cheese sauce using the only cheese I have in the fridge- Perfect Italiano’s 4 Cheese Melt (romano cheese, cheddar cheese, traditional mozzarella cheese and easy melt mozzarella cheese). This cheese sauce is optional, you can add the shredded or pieces of cheese in between the onions, mushrooms and the steak before you put it in the jaffle maker.

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I also froze the piece of steak for 20 minutes so it hardens up a little bit which makes it easier to thinly slice it against the grain (not parallel to the muscle fiber), creating a ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ texture.
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HERE IT GOES!


Philly Cheese Steak Jaffle

Cost: Around $5-7 Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 rib eye steak (freeze 20 minutes before slicing)
1 medium size onion
1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
1 cup of mushroom (optional)
Cheese of your choice
(preferably a mix of cheddar and old english)
4 pieces of bread
Oil
Salt & Pepper
Spreadable butter for the bread

Cheese sauce (optional):
3-4 tablespoons (50g) of melted butter
2 teaspoon of plain flour
1/2 cup of full cream milk
1/2 cup of cheese

Method:

Caramelized Onion:
1. Slice or chop onion (depends how you like the texture)
2. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and fry onions until slightly brown.
3. Add 1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar, stir.
4. Add 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar.
5. Cook until translucent and set aside.

Caramelized Onion

Sautéed Mushroom:
1. 
Add 1 teaspoon of oil. Fry the mushrooms until soft.
2. 
Add salt and pepper. Taste. Set aside.

Sauteed Mushroom

Cheese Sauce (optional):
1. Melt butter in a pan.
2. Add 2 teaspoon of flour (as a thickening agent) and stir until no lumps.
3. Gradually add 1/2 cup of milk while stirring the mixture.
4. Once it begins to thicken up, add 1/2 cup of cheese (or more).
5. Taste. Add salt if needed.
6. Take off the heat once everything is well combined.

Cheese Sauce

Seared steak:
1. Freeze steak for 20-25 minutes.
2. After 20 minutes, slice the steak as thinly as you can.
3. Add salt and heat a pan with 1 tbsp of oil.
4. Lightly sear the steak in a pan.
*DO NOT OVERCOOK*
4. The steak should still be rare because it will continue
to cook in the jaffle maker.

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To assemble:
1. Spread butter on a piece of bread.
2. Place bread with butter side down in the jaffle maker.
3. Pile onion and mushroom on top. Don’t be stingy!
4. Pour cheese sauce on top or place your pieces/shredded cheese on top.
5. Pile steak on top of the cheese.
6. Spread butter on another piece of bread to close the sandwich.
7. Close the jaffle maker and wait patiently for 5 minutes or more.
8. Open and check if the bread is toasted enough.
Serve with a side salad!

Philly Cheese Steak Jaffle
 This was one hell of a good sandwich.

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Homemade Butter!!

Hm…do I need to add more adjectives to the title? Like “homemade smooooth butter” or “homemade creammmmy butter”? Nah, just these two words “homemade butter” already makes me scream YUMMMM! If it doesn’t do that to you…then I think you don’t love butter enough.

Homemade butter

When people heard that I made my own butter, they went…”wow” “really?!”. But even before I started to do research on how to make my own butter, it wasn’t something that I thought I would ever make it myself as well. Because…it’s only like $3 – $5 to buy a whole tub of butter in supermarkets right?

Then the research process started…and then I realised how INCREDIBLY easy it is to make your own butter. They say you need to churn your butter, and even the word churn made me feel like I need some kinda special machine to “CHURN”. Nope, I was wrong. All you really need is a hand-held electric mixer, a shallow mixing bowl, milk/cream and ice water. Some even say that you can shake it in a jar until it seperate (yes, work that muscle). A blender will work perfectly as well.

Making butter from cream

After a messy 10 minutes, for the first time ever, I was holding a big ball of super soft and light-weight butter. Spread it on a piece of toast, and oh-my, it just melts in your mouth straight away! The texture was super soft and creamy. Never have I had so much butter in such a short amount of time.

Here it goes.


Homemade Butter

Cooking Time: 20 minutes Cost: AUS $4
Ingredients:

600ml pure cream (or more)
ice water (to wash the butter)

Tools:

Electric Mixer/ Blender/ Stand mixer
Mixing bowl
Sieve/Cheesecloth

Method:

1. Pour cream into mixing bowl and beat it for around 10 minutes.
Thickened cream
2. You will realise the cream starts to thicken and eventually split into buttermilk and butter.
3. Once it splits, scrape the side of the bowl and beat for a few more minutes.
Buttermilk and butter
4. Pour the mixture into a sieve and press it down to get all the buttermilk out.
(Alternatively, you can use a cheesecloth instead)
Squeeze out buttermilk
5.
Rinse the butter in ice water (to prevent it from melting) until the water turns clear.
(It took me around 7 washes.)
6. Add salt in and give it a good mix. Don’t add salt if you want unsalted butter.
7. Put in a sealed container, you can either freeze it if you made a big batch,
or just leave it on the counter so it is ready to use at all times!
Spread butter

ENJOY!!


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Easy Homemade Chicken Stock!

The seasons are changing in Australia! Night times are approaching earlier and my winter pajamas are ready to snuggle with me. However, the body have to re-adapt to the change of weather, which makes our immune system more vulnerable. Chicken soup has a long history that we always hear from our friends and families as a home remedy to cure a cold. Whether it can truly help with our block nose and sore throats…I think just the taste and smell of this soup can work its wonders on us. What’s better than a bowl of home comfort food and watch movies on a weekend night?

Home Comfort Chicken Soup
Everyone has their own spin with their chicken soup. I only used a few common and cheap ingredients that you can easily get your hands on at supermarkets. Now I don’t ever want to buy chicken stock again! I didn’t want to chop my vegetables too small because they would all melt into the soup.


Homemade Chicken Stock

Preparation Time: 20 mins Cooking Time: 1 hour Estimated cost: AUS $13
 

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken
4 medium size carrots
4 celery
2 whole corn kernels
2 small size onions
5 garlic cloves
salt
Ingredients for chicken soup

Method:

1. Cut chicken into quarters and wash it under tap water.
2. Put chicken into a pot and add water in to cover all chicken pieces.

Blanch chicken
3. Once the water starts boiling, turn off heat and drain the water out.
This method is called Blanching which helps to remove impurities in the chicken.
4. Chop vegetables into chunks.

Vegetables for chicken soup

5. Optional: sauté vegetables in a little olive oil to preserve the colour and develop more flavours.
6.
Pour in the vegetables with the chicken and add water in to cover.
Boil chicken soup
7. When it starts to boil, turn the heat down to a soft simmer.

8. Now the waiting game begins…

1 hour later…

9. Taste the soup and add 1 tablespoon of salt.
10. Use a pair of tongs and carefully take the chicken and vegetables out.
11. You can choose to eat the chicken in whole or use a fork to scrape the meat off.
It should fall out of the bone without you trying!

Shredded Chicken
12. Enjoy the soup by itself or serve with some macaroni!

Chicken Soup

Have fun cooking.

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“I should have read the recipe before I start!”- 3 Dips Buffalo Wings

This is one of the most frequent used sentences I found myself saying when I first started cooking. In the middle of it all, I would realise that I need to pre-cook/ marinate/ purchase some specific tools for a particular dish. Then I will find myself standing in the kitchen in despair, saying “Ah man…I should have read the recipe first! :(“. Yes, with a sad face feeling like I’ve just failed life. So disappointed. However, it is perfectly fine if you’re currently at this spot, or you’ve already been there, done that.

Buffalo Wings

I am here, to challenge you, to read the full recipe including the direction/method before you plan your grocery shopping list. I know, it’s hard if you’re not the type of person that needs to know every single detail before you start a project. However, especially in baking, many recipes require you to leave the dough for a few hours in the fridge or overnight. Not knowing that I need to make an ingredient in advanced is a real bummer for some people (like me) who can not wait to devour that high sugar and high fat content into my belly. Some bloggers (including myself) sometimes have extra “Notes” in the steps which you may need to buy the ingredient/tool if you choose to follow it.


Baked Buffalo Wings with
Homemade Mayo, Aioli
& Creamy Blue Cheese Sauce

Serves: 2
Cost: AUS $ 8 - 10 

For this recipe, you need to marinate the chicken wings in advance.
I marinated mine for around 4 hours but you can leave it in the refrigerator overnight.
I also made the 3 dips (homemade mayonnaise, aioli and creamy blue cheese sauce) beforehand as well.
Make a larger batch of mayo and divide into 3 portions as the base of each sauce.

Ingredients (Buffalo Wings)

6 three-jointed chicken wings
1/4 cup (50g) of unsalted butter
1/2 cup of Frank’s hot sauce
1 teaspoon of salt
Cayenne pepper for extra spicy

For crispier version, coat with:
1/2 cup of plain flour
1 teaspoon of garlic power
1/2 salt & pepper
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

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Ingredients (Mayonnaise)

Tool: Electric mixer

6 egg yolks
1 teaspoon of mustard
2 teaspoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of olive oil

Note: I find it better to use small quantity of flavorings at the start
so I can add more in the end product if needed.

Creamy mayonnaise

Ingredients (Aioli)

1/2 cup of the above mayo
1/2 teaspoon of garlic paste
1 teaspoon of mixed herbs

Ingredients (Creamy Blue Cheese Sauce)

Special Tool: Sieve

1/2 cup of the above mayo
1/4 sour cream
1/4 blue cheese (crumbed)

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Directions (Buffalo Wings)

1. Prepare the 3 jointed chicken wings by cutting in between the soft bones of each tip, wingette and drumette
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2. Melt butter in a saucepan, pour red sauce in and stir until combined.
3. Add salt and cayenne pepper for additional spicy
(Frank’s hot sauce is not spicy in my opinion) and leave sauce aside to cool.
4. Wash your hairy chicken and pat dry.
4. Pour half of the sauce over chicken and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (longer if desire)
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5. Preheat oven on 200 °c
6. Put your chicken on a broiler pan or on a rack with tray underneath to catch the oil/sauce
7. For half of my chicken, I used flour, s&p, garlic powder and cayenne pepper to coat for more crispiness!
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8. Pour more hot sauce on top and bake for 45 mins or until gold and crispy!
Baked buffalo wings


Direction (Mayonnaise)

1. Separate egg yolks and egg whites into two bowls
egg yolk for mayonnaise
2. Add mustard, salt and lemon juice
3. Beat the mixture until combined
4. Keep on beating at the same time slowly pour olive oil in until mixture turns thick and smooth
Homemade mayonnaise
5. Taste. Add more salt/lemon juice/mustard if desired.


Direction (Garlic Aioli)

1. Add 1/2 teaspoon of garlic paste into 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
2. Add 1 teaspoon of dried mixed herbs or any herbs for your liking.
3. Taste, add another 1/2 teaspoon of garlic for a stronger taste.


Direction (Blue Cheese Sauce)

1. Add 1/4 cup of sour cream into 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
2. Add 1/4 cup (or less) of blue cheese (crumbed with your fingers) into mixture
3.  Use electric blender until combined.
4. For a smooth dip, use a sieve and push it through with a spoon.
Creamy blue cheese sauce


TO SERVE:

1. Add more of that buttery hot sauce on the wings!
Hot sauce on buffalo wings
GET FINGER LICKING GOOD.

Buffalo Wings with 3 sauces

Did your guests say I want more?

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You should have these in your pantry!

It is always a good idea to expand your pantry, especially with dry herbs and spices that can make cooking a lot easier. The reason is that when you find a recipe online and scan through the required ingredients, you can most likely tick off half of the list instead of “AHHHH, I have to buy too much (skip)”. Most of the basic pantry items are not expensive, such as dry herbs, seasonings and spices usually cost around AUS $1 – 3 at Woolworths or Coles. Non-perishable canned foods such as canned tuna and beans are a must in my cupboard!

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The most common seasonings and spices I come across in most recipes are:

  • Cumin
  • Nutmeg
  • Garam Masala
  • Tumeric
  • Cinnamon
  • Ground Cloves, and
  • Paprika

For herbs, if you don’t want to purchase fresh herbs every time (even though it is recommended to use fresh products), dry herbs are also a great way for substitution:

  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary, and
  • Thyme are the most basic ones that you will see in recipes around.

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Here is a very useful list for you: “Quick Guide to Every Herb and Spice in the cupboard” from a popular food blog The Kitchn!

Other goods that are sitting in my pantry just ready whenever I am are:

  • White flour
  • Sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Yeast, and
  • Breadcrumbs

In my opinion, if you have these stocked up in your pantry, then you can whip up a dish anytime just at your fingertip! OR at least you don’t have to spend a large sum of money at supermarkets just for one/two dishes in one go!

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This recipe is a very quick, easy and healthy one perfect for lunch. If you have the below seasonings, spices and beans in your pantry already; all you need to get is just a few fresh ingredients such as kale, cherry tomatoes and any protein you choose to have!


Chorizo, Chickpea and Kale stir fry

Serve: 1

Ingredients:
4 – 5 stalks of Kale (roughly chopped)
5 – 6 Cherry tomatoes (cut in halves)
1/2 cup of Chickpeas
1/2 of a Chorizo (cut into slices)
1 teaspoon of Garam Masala
1/2 teaspoon of Turmeric
1 teaspoon of garlic
1/4 cup of water
S&P
Olive Oil

Direction:

1. Add oil and fry the chorizo until slightly browned.
2. Add garlic, chickpeas, garam masala, turmeric and water until all chickpeas are coated with spices.
3. Add kale and cherry tomatoes until kale are wilted.

Note: You can also switch it up by adding 1-2 teaspoon of Greek yoghurt in the end,
or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Cream can also be an option to replace water for a smoother taste.

And there you have your bowl of goodyness.
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That wasn’t so hard, was it?

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