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Cooking food Korea recipes

Cookin’ in Korea: Cherry Muffins with Coconut Topping

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‘When your Kindergarten school give you cherries, you should make cherry muffins.’ – said Noone. Ever.

Recently The Canadian One had a parent-teacher’s meeting at his school at which he was given roughly $50 worth of fruit as a gift. Now, to YOU that may seem like a lot of fruit but here in Korea, it means 6 clementines, a small box of cherries, some green grapes and a small bottle of orange juice. Fruit is expensive here. Majorly expensive and whenever free fruit is going, we’re all over it like fruit flies.

Last week, The Canadian One sends me a text which read ‘You should see the fruit I scored‘ and immediately I began to get excited about a) what fruit it could be and b) what I could bake with that fruit.

Apple pie? Blueberry muffins? Oh-So-Simple banana bread?

In the end, I decided to try my hand at cherry muffins and once they were cooked, I promptly ate three of them and lay around feeling ill from the muffin overload. My advice: DO make these muffins. DON’T eat three at one time…no matter how badly you want to. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Cherry Muffins with Coconut Topping

1/2 saltimg_3022

1 tbls baking powder

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar / Splenda

1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Pinch of cinnamon

1 egg, beaten

1 cup milk

1/4 cup melted butter

1 cup chopped cherries

2 tbsl desiccated coconut

1. Pre-heat oven to 375F / 190C.

2. Mix together salt, flour, sugar/Splenda, vanilla essence and cinnamon in a large bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk and melted butter.

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4. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir to combine.

5. Fold in chopped cherries.

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6. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full (if you want, sprinkle with coconut – I did half with coconut and half without) and bake in oven for 25-30 minutes (check after 20 minutes).

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***I became concerned when the muffins remained only slightly browned and mostly white when they came out of the oven. My mother happened to call while I was checking on them. After a minor conversation about how the muffins were white and how milk is white and it all makes sense….I accepted the muffins were safe to eat…and then I promptly waited 20 minutes for them to cool and then ate one…and then another…and then a third.***

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Cookin’ in Korea: The Om Nom Nomelette

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‘People shouldn’t overlook the humble omelette.’ – The Canadian One

Weekends are the only time The Canadian One and I get to have breakfast together and it’s usually of an egg variety. Back when The Canadian One and I lived separately he became the master of scrambled eggs but nowadays, we’ve upped the fanciness of our breakfasts and now enjoy omelettes as part of our morning menu.

Usually The Canadian One will make the lattes while I make the omelettes.

The Om Nom Nomelette

3 eggs

Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 cup grated cheese

1tsp butter

A slash of water

Optional extras:

Pinch of parsley (or another favorite herb), chili, cooked diced ham, shredded cooked chicken, chopped bell pepper, chopped tomatoes, green onions, cooked cubed potatoes

1. Whisk together the eggs, salt, pepper, onion, cheese, water and any optional extras you want to add.

2. Melt the butter in a large pan.

3. Pour the egg mixture into the pan. Lift the edges of the omelette to allow the uncooked egg to flow under the cooked portion.

4. Flip the omelette over to lightly brown the other side. I’m not gonna lie, this bit takes some skill.

5. Fry until golden brown and turn out onto a plate.

6. Serve with buttered toast, a latte and orange juice for the perfect Sunday morning breakfast.

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Cookin’ in Korea: Oh-So-Simple Banana Bread

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So, The Canadian One and I had this conversation recently:

Me: ‘My blog keeps telling me I spell Canadian wrong. I keep leaving out one of the A’s…I mean, seriously, what word has THREE A’s?!!’

Him: (without missing a beat) ‘Banana….Tarantuala…Anaconda….CANADA!’

Dammit!

Moving on.

Now, baking is not really my forte. I don’t really bake. I cook. A lot. But I very rarely bake. I can bake maybe three things quite well, four if you count the Banana and Blueberry Muffins I tried out for the first time on Monday, and one of the best, easiest and fantastically simple things I can bake is: Banana Bread.

This is adapted recipe from, I believe, All Recipes, but I’ll double-check that and get back to you. It’s adapted for The Canadian One’s dietary needs but I’ve included details from the original version here too.

Oh-So-Simple (Low-Carb) Banana Bread

2-3 bananas (I just use two due to bananas containing an average of 24grams of carbs per medium sized (7 inch) banana)

1 1/2 cups of flour

1 egg, beaten

1/3 cup melted butter

1tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup of Splenda granulated (or 1 cup of white sugar)

1. Pre-heat oven to 175C.

2. With a wooden spoon, mix butter and mashed banana.

Banana and melted butter

3. Mix in sugar/Splenda, egg and vanilla. Sprinkle over baking soda and salt. Mix together.

4. Add flour last and mix. Pour into bread pan. (*see note at bottom)

5. Bake in the oven for 1 hour. Cool, slice and serve.

*Now, if you live in Korea and are having a hard time finding a bread pan to fit into your teeny tiny ovens, E-Mart and other large outlets, make these awesome, disposable small baking pans:

For maybe 3,000won, you get 5 pans, they fit perfectly into the mini-ovens and produce awesome banana bread, which is all I’ve made with them but I’m sure they’re equally good at other types of bread too.

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Pork Meatballs / Burgers

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Ground beef can be quite expensive here in Korea so to save money, I started buying ground pork instead. Of course, with a sudden influx of 1kg of ground pork in the apartment, I set out to find a variation of recipes to use it with.

To the Googlemobile!

And so I found this. Well, kinda. This is an adapted version of one of the most fantastic recipes I managed to find. It’s a combination of a few recipes I came across and I would say I make it almost twice a month. I usually make a big batch comprising of burgers for one day and meatballs for the next.

Personally, I find the pork burgers less heavy in my stomach than I do beef burgers but then again, I dooooo love some good old-fashioned beef cheese burgers every so often.

Pork Meatballs / Burgers

1 egg, beaten – optional, I usually leave it out

1-1 1/2 slices of bread, in breadcrumbs. (I usually blitz it in the blender for a few seconds – can be gluten free)

1 garlic clove, crushed (or finely chopped if you don’t do crushing)

1/2 tsp each of parsley, thyme, salt and ginger

Pinch of ground black pepper

1 small onion, finely chopped

350g ground pork

1. Preheat oven to 190C / 375F (if making meatballs).

2. Mix 1 slice of bread in breadcrumbs, pork, parsley, ginger, thyme, salt, onion and garlic together in a large bowl.

3. Add egg a little at a time until you get a consistency whereby it all binds together nicely and isn’t too wet. If you find you’ve added too much egg, add some of the remaining breadcrumbs.

For Burgers: Make large ball and flatten into a patty. I usually get 2-3 large patties per batch (maybe 5 if I didn’t also make meatballs with the same batch). Heat frying pan over a medium heat with some olive oil. Fry patties for 10-12 minutes, flipping mid-way to make sure both sides of the burger cooks. Be careful not to have the heat too high or else you’ll burn the outside of the burger while the inside remains raw.

To Serve: Construct your burger with toasted sesame seed buns, slices of cheese, ketchup, fried onion, mayo, lettuce, tomato…the possibilities are endless.

For Meatballs: Roll mixture into small balls and arrange on a greased mini muffin tray. Bake for 30 mins. (I’m sure you can also fry them…or put them on a baking tray and into the oven, I’ve just never done that)

To Serve: Once cooked, you can either wait until they cool and pop them in the fridge or pop them straight into your pasta sauce. I usually make them a day in advance, pop them into my pasta sauce and let them reheat in the sauce.

For the sauce: You can use whatever sauce you want to use but I use a four-ingredient tomato pasta sauce I found on smittenkitchen and adapted from Marcella Hazan’s ‘Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking’. I often use this sauce sans meatballs too as it’s so simple and easy and takes really no effort at all but the results, ohhhhh the results are A-MAZ-ING!

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Lucy’s Mum’s Chili Con Carne

 Chili Con Carne - DF/GF/FF: Adjust the spice to your liking, easy weekday meal to have handy to pull out of the freezer and reheat.

The best thing about not living at home is that it forces you to learn how to cook food from home.

When I first moved to England, a month after my 18th birthday, I spent the year living on instant noodles, pasta with jar sauce, microwavable everything, oven pizzas and veggie burgers. I was a vegetarian during my first year prompted by a bout of food poisoning from KFC on day one.

By year two, not only was I a carnivore again, I’d also grown bored of my 10-minute prep meals and longed for something different.

Enter Lucy B.

Lucy and I moved into a houseshare on July 7th 2003 and by August, I wanted her to teach me how to cook. She cooked everything. Fancy lasagna – check. Chili – check. Our Christmas dinner that year – checkity check. She once did a graphic design project on the time it took to prepare a meal versus the time spent actually consuming the meal. The last time I saw her, in July 2009, I happened to be working not far from where she lived in London. She was getting ready to go on one of her first dates with ‘this guy she’d met’, who later became her husband mind you, and yet still, she served me coffee and homemade blueberry muffins.

Now, despite me once twice almost burning the house down and once blowing all the fuses by turning on the sandwich toaster, back in 2003, Lucy agreed to help me learn how to cook. Although, I don’t think we ever told her about the sandwich toaster. She may have been out at the time.

After a few false starts and Lucy arriving home to find me panicking in front of a pan of frying meat, I managed to eventually master my first dish: Lucy’s Mum’s Chili Con Carne.

It quickly became my go-to dish for impressing friends and family and was the first thing I ever cooked for The Canadian One when he travelled to my town to see me in those first few weeks of dating. It’s become a staple dish on our menu as I tend to make a large batch of it and freeze it separately in freezer bags for when it’s The Canadian One’s turn to ‘cook’ dinner…aka make rice and reheat the chili….and he does it ever so well.

It’s become so ubiquitous in our home that when ‘kidney beans’ appears on the shopping list, The Canadian One immediately says, ‘We’re having chili!’

It’s the most requested recipe I have in my repertoire and here it is in all it’s glory:

Lucy’s Mum’s Chili Con Carne

 1-2 onions, chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

Vegetable oil for frying (I use olive oil)

2 level tsp chili powder (or more if you like it hotter)

1 red chilli

1 tsp cumin

500g ground beef

2 tins of chopped tomatoes

1 tin of kidney beans

1 tsp tomato purée

salt and pepper to taste

1. Fry onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes until soft.

2. Add chili powder, red chili, cumin, salt and pepper. Fry for 1 minute.

 3. Add ground beef, frying until browned. At this point, I usually drain the fat off the beef as I find it makes the dish feel less greasy but it’s a personal preference.

4. Add tomatoes, tomato purée and more seasoning. Bring to boil.

5. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. (I sometimes simmer for 90 minutes)

 6. Add kidney beans, cover and simmer for a further 30 minutes.

Serve with fluffy rice. I often serve it with mixed with some small conchiglia pasta. You can top it with red chili flakes (for a hotter taste), grated cheese or sour cream….or all three! Delicious!

You can substitute beef for pork and add a pinch of oregano to the chili with the tomatoes.

Enjoy!

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