February 2010 | Christine's Recipes: Easy Chinese Recipes | Delicious Recipes

Gnocchi in Creamy Mushroom Sauce (Gnocchi Party)

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Twitter is a place where I can find and chat with like-minded people, as well as get myself motivated in both cooking and blogging. Over the twitter chats with @jeroxie and @DivinaPe, an idea of throwing a gnocchi party online was evolved. Thanks for Penny for organizing the gnocchi party, and welcome other foodies to join in (see the link list below). I’m pretty sure that we can share and learn with each other by participating this gnocchi party.

At first, I was a bit hesitated to cook gnocchi, not only because have I ever cooked gnocchi before, although I really enjoy it at some restaurants, but also have I heard that gnocchi recipes aren't for the faint of heart. After a few exchanges with Penny and Divina, I was really glad to take up the challenge and join this gnocchi party with excitement.

After making up my mind to join, suddenly I recalled a cookbook written by Jamie Oliver, entitled “Cook with Jamie”, that was one of my Mother’s Day presents from my kids. With a surprise, there is a section about cooking gnocchi which I haven’t touched at all. How wonderful I felt when I found Jamie’s gnocchi recipe. That looks very delicious and easy to make. 

But still, I was a bit worried how to go about making some nice and beautiful gnocchi because I don’t have a ricer or any proper equipments to help make potato dough. Many thanks to Divina for telling me that a strainer would work for mashing potatoes. For traditional gnocchi, it’s got some nice and nifty patterns on it. How could I make perfect potato dough and patterns with my bare hands? Then I found Heidi Swanson explained every detail on “How to Make Gnocchi like an Italian Grandmother Recipe” with gorgeous pictures on her blog, 101 Cookbooks. Heidi’s post helped me out from anxiety and cleared all my uncertainties. Then off I went to make my first gnocchi with a fork.

Combining with bits and pieces of information at my fingertips, I started to cook my first gnocchi ever. It turned out wonderful. The gnocchi was deliciously light, not too dry nor too soggy, absorbed all the tasty flavours of the creamy mushroom sauce. It’s a big hit in my family.
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Steamed Tofu with Pork Mince

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Steamed Tofu with Pork01

My mother used to cook the traditional Chinese dish, Steamed Pork with Tianjin Preserved Vegetable (冬菜蒸肉餅) for us. I like it, going with a big bow of rice. Well, sometimes I like to turn a traditional dish into a new and unique one. What about turning the steamed pork dish into this new variation by adding silken tofu? The tofu becomes more attractive and delicious with a hot touch, going really fantastic with the juicy pork mince. The dish is finished up with a dash of hot oil, drizzled with a bit of light soy sauce.
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Zucchini & Sweet Potato Frittata

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Zucchini & Sweet Potato Frittata01

Sometimes after having several heavy meals like those feasts during Chinese New Year, I’d personally love to have something light and different. This traditional Italian dish, frittata is one of my favourites. But for my daughter, she is a meat lover, and doesn’t like eating vegetables very much. I found this frittata is a great dish to hide lots of vegetables in the cheesy and yummy baked eggs. Amazingly, it works every time for me, enticing my daughter to eat vegetables without any complaints.

This recipe was adapted from Coles Monthly magazine, summer edition. When I saw it, just loved it at the first sight. It turned out really wonderful. Here's the video for step-by-step instructions.
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Steamed Chicken Rice (冬菇蒸雞飯)

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Steamed Chicken & Shiitake Mushroom Rice01

This steamed chicken rice is traditionally cooked in a claypot. As you might know, it’s a challenge to cook rice in a claypot, not as easy as in a rice cooker that we are familiar with. Needless to say, the rice at the bottom of a claypot would be burned. Many people, including my father, love the burned rice very much because of its crunchy texture. Unfortunately, none of us in my family likes to eat the burned rice, so it’d be a waste for us in certain sense.

Here I used steaming method to cook this traditional Chinese dish. All the goodies and flavours are well absorbed into the soft rice, similar to be cooked in a claypot. The chicken is just cooked with the right doneness, tender and juicy.
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Stir-fried Chicken with Mango and Roasted Almonds

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Chinese New Year has started last weekend. I bet you ate a lot if you managed to celebrate CNY with your family as we did. We really need a light meal to get certain balance. So I cooked this Chicken with Mango and Roasted Almonds, that used fresh mango, adding a kick of roasted almond flavour.

This dish was actually recommended by my friend SK. I owed her so much, gave me lots of Taiwanese basils she's grown, and this time passed me a large mango. No, it’s a very large, extra large mango from another friend who grows a big mango tree in her backyard. Once I went home, I weighted the mango. The net weight of it was 450 grams, only for the mango flesh. It’s very huge indeed. It’s a kind of Australian mango, named R2E2, very sweet and juicy. The texture of the pulp is perfect for stir-frying.
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Braised Vegetables with Red Fermented Beancurd (南乳炆齋)

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This is a must-eat dish during Chinese New Year. Needless to say, I grew up with this Braised Vegetables with Red Fermented Beancurd dish. The red fermented beancurd is the soul ingredient to make all vegetables sing.

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During Chinese New Year, we’d have plenty of delicious snacks, desserts and great meals, including lots of meat, like chicken, pork, duck and fish - you name it, you have it.

On the first day of Chinese New Year, my mother used to follow the Chinese tradition and prepare a vegetarian dish. It’s cooked in a large amount and kept in a large pot. Whenever a lunch or dinner is set on our table during Chinese New Year, this vegetarian dish would be served as a side dish as well.
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Butter Cookies for Chinese New Year

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牛油曲奇餅 Butter Cookies01

Chinese New Year is coming in a week! Most Chinese families will cook up a storm for this great season. Chinese people also have a tradition of visiting their relatives and friends during Chinese New Year. It’s called 拜年 (bai nian), literally means visitations in new year. My parents liked to bring some butter cookies when doing visitations. In Hong Kong, butter cookies are one of the popular snacks in this festive time.

These cookies are very crispy and buttery with beautiful patterns. When it comes to baking butter cookies, we might experience that it’s not easy to keep the good-looking pattern of cookies because the batter would flatten wide after heating up in oven. Well, there’s a secret behind, I share later on, for baking cookies with your preferred brilliant patterns.
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Glutinous Rice Balls with Peanuts & Sesame Seeds

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This Glutinous Rice Balls dessert (糖不甩,sounds as “Tong But Luck” in Cantonese) is a common snack in Hong Kong and many Chinese people like to cook it for Chinese New Year. Tong But Luck literally means undetachable sugar. I don’t know how and where this name came from. These cute little balls are symbolic of completion, happiness and fulfillment and that’s why it is also served in many festive seasons or celebrations.

You might think that it’s like “tang yuan” (湯圓). Yes, they are very similar as both of them use the same ingredients, with a slightly difference in cooking and serving way. The glutinous balls are soft and chewy in texture, infused with a subtly combined flavours of ginger and cane sugar. The texture of this dish is sophisticated, chewy little balls topped with crunchy crushed peanuts and aromatic sesame seeds. The golden, sparkling colour of these cute balls is very enticing as well.
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Baked Spicy Quail with Salad

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Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year) is coming around the corner that falls on 14 Feb this year. Yes, it’s also Valentine Day. Coincidently, two great festivals come together this year. For Chinese New Year, Chinese people will celebrate from Chinese New Year's Eve that is known as 除夕(chú xī), literally means "Year-pass Eve" up to 15th. It’s a good time of family gathering, chatting and eating a lot, of course.

As for these great seasons coming around, I’ll be sharing more Chinese recipes on this blog. Here comes the first one, Baked Spicy Quail. Many Asian people like to have quails in a festive feast due to its scarcity and delicious taste. The baked quail is full of flavours, tender and succulent.
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