Friday, June 30, 2017

Putien (莆田) Iced Bitter Gourd Slices Dipped In Honey

When I posted up on facebook on my homegrown bitter gourd, I asked my friends for new ideas on how to cook the bitter gourd other then braising with pork ribs , add them to omelette, cook them in soup and cold salad .  A dear friend Lynnette came to the rescue and suggested that I try this Putien Iced Bittergourd Slices dipped in honey.  I have never tried making it , but it sounds easy. Thus when I harvested my round and fat lil' bittergourd, I  tried my hands at making it with her descriptions of the dish.  I googled for Putien Iced Bitter Gourd and I got the whole picture on how to prepare this refreshing starter. The bitterness from the bitter gourd is balanced perfectly with the sweet fragrant honey that my son and daughter Elaine bought back from New Zealand for us.  This honey is really delicious, has a new fragrant and it perfect for this refreshing starter.  Thank you Lyn for introducing me to this healthy and delicious starter platter.

* Putien brand name has its roots traced back to Putian , a beautiful coastal town located in the Fujian province of China. Surrounded by spectacular ocean views.

my round and fat homegrown bitter gourd

slice the bitter gourd into thin translucent slices and soak them
in iced water for 3 mins 
you put shaved ice on the bitter gourd slices  when serving
I soaked the slices in cold water for 3 mins then drained off the water

I used this honey from NZ ..very fragrant,
a perfect dip for the iced bittergourd slices

the toasted black sesame seeds gives character to the honey dip

the slices are crunchy and so refreshing
nothing beats homegrown edibles

Putien (莆田) Iced Bitter Gourd Slices Dipped In Honey

1 bitter gourd
Honey Dip

2 or 3 tbsp of Hortika Honey Dew or any honey of your choice
1 tsp toasted black sesame seeds - * optional

Slice bittergourd as translucently thin as possible.  Soak in ice water for 3 mins or you can just add shaved ice on the slices when serving.  

To prepare the honey dip
You can use any honey of your choice. I used Hortika Honey Dew which is light and fragrant . Adding of toasted black sesame seeds gives the dip character.  It is optional.

Enjoy !

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Smoked Black Pepper Chicken

Love this simple to prepare smoked chicken.  I would first steamed the chicken for 15 minutes , rub salt and black pepper and dried mixed herbs on the chicken and let it rest for 2 to 3 hours so that the chicken is well seasoned before smoking it. Hubby loves this preparation as it gives the chicken meat a woody flavor.  I used boh tea leaves and sugar to smoke the chicken.  I will place the tea leaves and sugar on the aluminium sheet so as not to spoil the wok.  Sometimes I do smoke the chicken in the oven but smoking them in a wok is much easier and cost effective :)  I used two chicken breast with wings still attached , one for hubby and the other one for me :)  I love the easy cleaning up too...Just throw away the aluminium foil and  making washing the wok  much easier.

 rub salt, black pepper and dried mixed herbs onto
the chicken and let it rest for 2-3 hours before

lay a sheet of aluminium foil on the wok, throw in some dried tea leaves and sugar
place a rack over the aluminium foil and let the seasoned chicken parts sit
on the rack. Cover wok with a lid and heat up wok under medium heatand smoked till chicken is golden brown and cooked through...about 20 minutes

Smoked Chicken 

1 whole chicken - cut into 4 parts with skin on

2 tsp of ground black pepper
1 tsp of dried mixed herbs
3 tsp of sea salt
1 piece of aluminium foil big enough to cover base of wok

4 tbsp of tea leaves - any choice will do

1 tbsp of brown sugar

Marinated chicken parts with black pepper., mixed herbs and sea salt and leave to rest for at least two hours. ( I would prefer if marinate overnight in the fridge ) Steamed them in a boiling steamer until the chicken parts are half cooked.
Prepare the wok for smoking process.  Place a piece of aluminium foil at the base of wok.  Throw in the tea leaves and brown sugar and mix evenly.  Place a rack  over the tea leaves mixture.  Place the steamed chicken parts on a bbq aluminium netting tray and place the tray on the rack . ( If chicken parts are big enough to sit on the rack, then you can omit the netting tray.  Cover  wok with lid and set the stove fire on high.  Smoked the chicken parts for 20 mins until the chicken turned golden brown and has the distinctive smoky flavor.
 * I like the chicken skin to be crispy and to allow the fat to melt away , thus the chicken skin looks darken but rest assured it has the crisps.

Looking For A Mackie Professional Compact Mixer ?

I know I have been talking about musical related stuff besides sharing of my kitchen tested recipes :) The reason being hubby and I are  hanging out with some musically talented friends most of the time and they are nuts about  musical stuff  . I guess soon I will be like one of them :p Anyway, I am beginning to love these musical talented people in my life. Since retirement, hubby and I are able to enjoy our hobbies, me and my photography and hubby , he and his music.  Before retirement, we are each busy with our jobs and we didn't have time to enjoy our hobbies. Now , we are having more time hanging out with our friends of 34 years friendship and having time for our hobbies is the best thing that could happen in our lives at this point :)

Okay , back to my own personal review on something I just learned from our meet up recently. The topic of discussion was on this Mackie profx12 which one of them is thinking of getting for his mid size performance venue.  As you know , our group of friends are band people and doing performances for wedding dinner functions and festive events.  Their lastest  review on Mackie Pro FX12 is interesting. This Mackie ProFX12 has a 12- channel mixing console with integrated effects , a complete and simple solution for small to mid-size performance venues. This compact mixer has 6 Mackie low-noise, high-headroom mic preamps to ensure a pristine signal while LED metering and 60mm faders on each channel to keep levels in check. Comes with a Tracktion 3 Music Production Software. Want to know more about this Mackie profix12, just log in to Guitar Center, mackie profx12  to get a full review on it.

After reading through the write out on it, I am sure this compact mixer is the ideal one for our friend to have for his band performances as this compact mixer will be the solution for his mid-sized venue.

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