Thursday, 7 March 2013

Best vegan cupcakes ever!

Ok I do not usually cook vegan anything, nor have I eaten anything vegan apart from salad and some traditional Korean dishes. But I have been itching to try out a few recipes , because I was curious and believed that vegan cooking was bland and cardboard tasting.

I decided to use the recipe from here . I saw her on Cupcake wars just last week,( never heard of the programme before and found it on line..rather interesting for sure!) And I have to say that it tasted better than any normal cupcake that I have had the chance to eat here in Korea and bake myself.

Though I tweaked the recipe to use gluten free flour, cocoa and soy milk, as well as tofu, but also I have made a batch for my son using this recipe and they seem to disappear with no complaints! ( Granted he is 3.5 and will scoff anything with icing on it! But sometimes he will ONLY eat the icing, but ate the whole thing so it meets his picky standards!)

 I cooked them at 180 for around 25-30 mins until the cake tester came out clean. I let them cool.
And I used left over frosting I had in the fridge that I had made for a client a couple of days before.
But for those of you who looove frosting with dairy in it then you can't go wrong with Martha Stewart's fluffy vanilla frosting BUT I have found the most amazing vegan frosting that is sinfully sinful here and here

Monday, 4 March 2013

Mapo Tofu - Spicy Pork and Tofu

Well, I have been having a hankering for some proper Chinese food ( not the stuff you can order from the restaurant) has been Mapo tofu (麻婆豆腐)  The real stuff I use to eat in China. You knw the stuff that is so hot that is makes your tongue numb and no amount of Bai jiu can affect you:)

So I have been trawling the internet for a recipe. One similar to the one I learnt from my friends Dad, and the closest one I found was one here 

It tastes so very very similar to the one I have been craving, but since I live in Korea find the exact ingredients..

And it turned out something like this....

The ingredients you will need...

1 block silken tofu (19 oz box)
1/4 lb ground pork ( I used Chicken mince)
3 tablespoons Sichuan spicy bean paste (辣豆瓣酱)
2 tablespoons chilli powder
2 tablespoons cooking oil
3 tablespoons chilli oil
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns (roasted and ground to powder)
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon fermented black beans (rinsed and pounded)
2 stalks of leeks or scallions (chopped into 1 or 2-inch length)
2 gloves garlic (chopped)
1/2 cup water
Salt to taste
* In light of the fact that Sichuan peppercorns and possibly Sichuan spicy bean paste are not readily available in Korea I just added more fermented black beans and the Korean sauce 두반장 - which has beans/chillies and yumminess all mixed into it)
And if you do happen to have Sichuan peppercorns you are a bloody lucky bugger! They are numbingly HOT! So bloody hot that they will make your lips and tongue numb if you use waaaay too much

Cut the tofu into small pieces, drain the water from the tofu and set aside.
Heat up a wok and pour in the cooking oil and chili oil.
Add the chopped garlic, ground pork, spicy bean paste and stir-fry until the pork is half-done.
Then add in chili powder, soy sauce, fermented black beans and stir-fry until aromatic. Add in the tofu and water; stir gently to blend the tofu (don’t break them) well with the sauce.
Lower the heat and simmer for about 3-5 mins or until the sauce thickens. Add in the roasted Sichuan peppercorn powder and chopped scallions.
Gently stir and blend well. Dish out and serve hot.
If you don't want it this spicy ( and this is the proper Sichuan spice level - Which for those of you who are unfamiliar is pretty bloody spicy!) add less Chilli oil and powder.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

February 2012

Bloody hell January went by so fast!
Well as you know my mission in January was to eat no chocolate! ( Sadly for the first week of Jan I was craving it...oopsie preggo hormones ) But I did not touch another piece after that! So clap clap for me.
Acutally I think I have gone off sweet things like chocolate, jelly beans, lollies of most sorts!

No it's the second week of Feb and my resolution was to do more exercise ( cough cough)
I have got all my gear at school ready and rearing to go ( however the unexpected cold snap and bloody snow put a wee dampener on my plans.)
Also I have a wee group of friends who are committed to doing the "30 day Shred" or better known as 30 days of pure utter hell ( But I thoroughly enjoyed it in my non pregnant form)
But somehow being almost 4 months pregnant and doing star jumps and crunches is just not doable, so I have been searching for something similar but aimed for us preggo chicks. I have found a few and have yet to download them..sigh.. One thing I really want to do while desk warming is downloading these workouts, but my school computer has a super firewall system built in that I just can not get around..and I am always too busy at home or tired at home to remember to find these workouts! DOH

But from today I am definitely going to do more exercise, I need it, as does my son, and hubby does too! ( Lazy monkey pants the lot of them!)

Ok enough waffle for me....mmmm waffles.... will let you know what I did next week!

BIG OOPS my Jan goal was to exercise more!! Oh f**k.. well I got that mixed up didn't I..well this month it's no Chocolate and lots of exercise. You can tell I did bugger all in January can't you!!!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Day two of operation 12 or bust...

Ok, so I am not going to write every day about how my exercise is going, not going etc as that would be super boring for you to read and me to write, I think it would be akin to something like this:
Day One: Did 20 mins of exercise
Day Two: Fell flat on my arse in the snow, walked back inside, exercise 2 mins, shower 10..

So I guess every week I will write a wee bit every now and then on my update. So far yesterday I did some exercise, it included running to the bathroom several times to puke my guts out ( morning sickness, thank you!) walking back, I think that may have been 5 mins of exercise.
I did go for a wee walk with my son, so possibly another 5 mins but it was too bloody cold.

I am waiting to see if I can eat lunch and then afterwards if it stays down or comes up I will go for a walk anyway, because even though it is a lovely sunny day outside it is minus 17, which thank god it warmer than the minus 24 I woke up to! I am feeling a bit of the ol' cabin fever setting in, cos there are only so many hours of desk warming and power point making you can do in a day before you want to chew your own eyes out.

So lets just say Day two is going to be a semi cold but nice day for a wee bit of exercise and screw the Grade 1 teacher... ( who complains about me getting my fat arse outside to waddle/jiggle)

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Goodbye 2012...Hello 2013

Well 2012 was a blast! It had it's usual ups and it's downs, definitely had some of THOSE moments you never wish to repeat, but oh well what doesn't kill you makes you stronger...right? ( unless it's some kind of weapon, then you are royally screwed!)

 Now I have a small group of lovely, wonderful, sexy and fantastic friends who are scattered through out Korea. ( you know who you are!) And I have had the chance to meet some of them in person, run with some of them, and flop down dead on the ground with them ( 5 km fun run my arse... no fun at all...but I did it!)
One of these lovely ladies proposed that for our New Years revolution we chose 12 things and do them month by month. Now this is a pretty damn good idea! Usually I make my New Years Lie....resolution just before I pass out on the last day of each year, stick to it for about 1 month if I am lucky and then by May, I can't remember what the hell it was I vowed to do.

 So I have made a list of 12 things I NEED to do for this year. And here they are in random order;

 1) No more Chocolate! ( I am allergic to the bloody stuff but will make myself sick just to eat it's creamy, delicious, smooth chocolately goodness.

 2) Exercise Everyday.

 3) No more processed sugar!

 4) Cut down on the carbs! ( There are other sources of energy besides potatoes..and I am only a quater Irish!)

 5) Start healthy eating habits!

 6) More sleep!!!

 7) Teaching my 3 year old son to sleep more!

 8) Also teach said son English, cos honestly he sucks at it. His Korean is fab and pulls words out of his arse that even I don't know!

 9) Stop hating myself. 

10) Meditate at the end of each day and release all the crap and stress I hold on to.

 11) Cut down on computer time!! ( Facebook you evil bitch!)

 12) Save money.

 Now as I sit here glued to the computer screen scoffing a chocolate biscuit I think I will start with the Exercise everyday!

 As some of you know, I am big, like size of a house big, and the fact that I piled on 20 kg with my first born and am now knocked up a second time I am NOT going to gain 20 more fecking kg to add to that and become the size of a small beached whale!

 With the help of my lovely friends, I started training to run the 5k fun run ( granted I have not ran since I was about 20 (so a good 12 years or so!) During this I lost 12 kg..woooooo was so proud, then the weather changed and I got lazy, too cold to run, too cold for a walk, all sorts of excuses I could think of!
I was about to start seriously training for the 10k fun run, when I found out I was pregnant...sigh..well there goes my plans to run!
HOWEVER the 10k can be a fun run or a fun walk, right?! So I am going to start getting out even if it's for 10-20 minutes everyday and walk, be it by myself, or with my son, or hubby.

 I have to do this. I don't want to fail again, I lost so much weight before with Weight watchers and eating correctly and then just to let it all go!
 It's surprising easy to gain weight but a serious bitch to lose it. I want to be healthy for my children, I want to be able to run after them, chase them down and tickle them till the pee, not wheeze after them and give up. I want to be able to fit down a Korean slide with my son and peanut( sex unknown)
I want to run and jump and play and swim with them. I want to do what my mum did when she lost weight, she is like me, well was like me, always teased for being bigger than the others ( not fat, I mean I was built like a bloody rugby player muscles and all) had the same problems as me, thighs rubbing during summer, having a waist 2 sizes smaller than your bum and thighs. But be damned if she sat around and did nothing. After she had my brother she got her arse into gear and made the changes she needed, which was great, and she still is making changes. So my role model I guess is her, my mum. She doesn't know this yet so maybe I will tell her soon or tell her when I am comfortable about me being me, and the shape I maybe well into this year around October ^^ After peanut pops out and I lose some weight :)
Ok enough rambling, let the month of daily exercise BEGIN!!!!

Monday, 28 November 2011

My friends Kim and Jang

I know I am abit late putting this up and I apologize from the bottom of my..well bottom :)
But I must tell you all about my friends Mr Kim and Mrs Jang! No they are not married to each other but they were very naughty 2 weeks back and got caught by me in the Kitchen with the mixing spoon.

In Korea anywhere from the 1st week of November to the last week is a time called 김장 ( Kimjang) Were anyone who is remotely a Korean woman gets in their cars drives 5 mins to the supermarket, and buy enough cabbage to feed a small African nation, a good 4 kg of garlic ( to keep their hubbies unwanted hands off them) fermented little shrimp ( because they can) super expensive Asian pears ( honestly sugar is just as good!) fermented anchovy juice/soy sauce ( smells vile) and weird arsed leafy greens which I have no idea what they are called in English... where the prices for radish and cabbage is dirt cheap but the price of dried chilli flakes shoots through the roof. Honestly it's ridonkulus the price of 1 kg of chilli flakes! I almost shat my daks when I saw the price at Emart! $20!( and that was the generic brand.. the others where from $25 - $52!!!) I was bloody glad I didn't have more than 5 cabbages at home otherwise I would have totally screwed my budget up!

That plus buying 새우젖 (funky fermented tiny shrimp thingees) and 잡쌀 (glutinous rice) was no meager feat either. Where is usually they are piss cheap and it's the fecking veggies that are bloody expensive!

And thus this is how Mr Kim and Mrs Jang got caught making out in my kitchen.. in a huge bowl .. need I say more.

Now I have never in my life EVER ( I need to stress this) attempted to make this much Kimchi without a) my MIL or b) any Korean woman. My hubby was as much use as tits on a bull but at least he helped me towards the end.

Our conversation went like this:

Hubby: Um .. what are you doing?
Me: I am going to make Kimchi.
Hubby: *Doubtful look on his face* "Are you sure you can?"
Me: Sure! I watched the cleaning lady make it at school on Thursday.
Hubby: Ah ha.. right I will go look up a recipe.
Me: I don't need a fecking recipe. I watched her, she told me what to stick in it.
Hubby: Right I know a good website.
Me: Oh piss off.

This was the Saturday morning. I went and got my beautiful leafy babies out and laid them on the ground

Now what you have to do its attack these little beauts with a huge knife, and cut them into halves, then halves again. So essentially quarters.

Now these little cabbages are dirty little minxes and needed a bath. So I gave them a good scrubbing and then rinsed them ( get as much excess water out of them as possible and then bang a WHOLE lot of rock salt over then and let them soak over night)

Then I went to sleep^^
The next morning they turned into well this

Now you have to rinse these again to get rid of all the salt and then squeeze the shit out of them. Because NO one likes runny kimchi! :) Well actually if you don't squeeze the excess water your kimchi is going to be swimming instead of "floating"^^

For the next stage you must make a '풀' kind of glue with the Glutinous rice as it binds all the chilli flakes and everything into a delish goo. It doesn't matter if the rice hasn't all dissolved into nothing-ness as long as the grains mush up when you rub them between your fingers.

Then you get some radish and grate it finely. I used 2 1/2 big ones because I have 5 huge arse cabbages.
To that I added a big bunch of 깢 ( weird arsed purple leafy goodness) and mixed it about.

I then blitzed up 1 kg of garlic and one Asian pear
( ok this is the second lot of garlic as I honestly didn't do enough the first time >.<) To the radish, leafy greens, garlic and pear I added about 3/4 kg bag of chilli flakes, 1/2 jar of 새우젖 without all the extra juice, a 1/4 - just under 1/2 c of anchovy fishy juice, hubby added a handful of salt ( eeek) about 3 tbsp of sugar and mixed it all around then added the rice paste

I was having so much fun that my son decided to join me...
( See Mum, I can even use my feet!)

Now there are no photos of me rubbing the paste all over, in and around the cabbage as my chief photographer ( hubby) was made to help^^ And my son constantly opened his mouth like a little chickadee and consumed a lot of freshly made kimchi. He was very happy.

Then you bundle it up and bang it in Kimchi proof plastic containers.

Now after slaving all day doing that I was informed that when one makes said kimchi one must also make 보쌈..
boiling of the pork
Searing of the pork

Our feast!!!!

Needless to say I drank soju and slept like a log!

Friday, 4 November 2011

은행 and 어묵 what could be better

Ok so I finally found a recipe that I could actually understand and had the ingredients for ( I added broccoli cos I just love the stuff, reminds me of baby trees)

Anyways what I found was called 어묵과 은햏볶음 pretty easy really.
This is what it turned out like:

If your like me nothing beats "fish cakes" on a cold winter's day while your freezing your tit's off outside waiting for a taxi at 3 am in the morning. ( oh those were the days)
So here is the recipe:

1 packet of 어묵 (fish paste cake/fish cake? I never really know what
to call it)
1/2 tablespoon of sugar
1 BIG arse handful of Ginko nuts
1/2 onion - roughly sliced
4-5 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tsp of crushed garlic
1 tsp of sesame oil
1/4 c water
1/2 tsp cooking wine ( I used soju*^^*)
1/2 tsp chilli paste
1/2 tsp honey
pinch of salt
roasted sesame seeds
1/2 carrot - julliened

Right first stick the soy sauce, honey, sugar, garlic, cooking wine and chilli paste in a pan with the water. Stir thoroughly on low heat.
Add the chopped up Fish cake and add the Ginko nuts, stir to coat and cook gently until the ginko nuts are soft.
Add the carrot and onion and cook for a further 5 mins. Make sure it doesn't burn!!
Add the sesame oil and sesame seeds at the end and mix well.
Serve as a side dish or as a main.. keeps well for about 2 or 3 days afterwards^^ ( Great with Rice!!!!!^^)