wordless wednesday: suyeon @ oz kafe

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This entry won’t be completely wordless. After all … this is all about Monday night’s Oz Kafe dinner.

Chef Suyeon Myeong was the brains and talent behind the delicious Korean meal that I ate.

Talk about soul food.

It was the kind of meal that was perfectly suited to the dark and windy outdoors. A comforting mix of well-known standards (I guess well-known if you know Korean food) cooked to absolute perfection.

I will admit … I’m no expert on Korean food; but I do like it. And I didn’t just like this dinner … I loved it.

It was completely satisfying. Beginning with the pork bun (no picture of that … poor lighting resulted in no useable pictures). The actual bun was doughy and dense but packed full of the sweet pork filling … mother of pearl … it was hard to restrain myself from only eating one.

Having resisted a second pork bun, I was ready for the second course … chicken salad.

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This isn’t your mother’s chicken salad chopped and mixed with a ton of mayo.

Oh heck no!

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The chicken was perfectly cooked. And I mean perfectly. It was succulent … and tender … and moist. Placed on top of lightly dressed heirloom carrots and celery. The crunch of the vegetables versus the chicken … pure perfection. I definitely loved this dish.

A Korean meal wouldn’t be complete without bibimbap and kimchee. We got both in the third dish. bibimbap with kimchee stew.

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I gotta say. I absolutely love bibimbap. To me … that is the definition of comfort … rice with sautéed veggies and some chili pepper paste (and normally topped with a fried egg). Heaven. It was served family style … so I really had to restrain myself from eating the entire bowl (I needed to leave some for my dining companion Mr. Foodie Prints to enjoy as well).  I would have happily not shared.  It was soooooooo good.

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Time to try the kimchee stew.  I like kimchee. But I like the white kimchee. I (personally) found the stew really strong. But that was just me. Gabriella (another dinner guest) greedily ate her entire bowl … she was transported back to Korea in a single dish. And Don very happily ate our shared bowl … eating the soft tofu and veggies cooked in veal stock. It was the kind of dish that made me wish I loved kimchee more. But alas … I can’t love everything right?!

Dish number five. The hot & sweet pork.

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Oh. My. Goodness.

A.MAZ.ING.

The pork melted in my mouth. My chopsticks pushed right through the meat … with absolutely no resistance. And the sweet ginger sesame sauce that accompanied it. Sweet heaven.

Delicious.

I licked my bowl.

Seriously. I took my finger and ran it along the base of the bowl and gathered all the juices and then licked them off.

And I’m not ashamed to say it either. It was that good.

No meal is complete without a little dessert … and were we treated to one.

Q.D. Encore.

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Perfection.

Light and tart. A little sweet because of a simple syrup. It hit all the right notes.  And it was beautiful … perfectly plated and dressed.  I LOVED IT. 

It was the perfect complement to the spice of the Korean mains.

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chickpea cookies x two

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I’ve gone and done it again.

Another batch of cookies that don’t involve butter. or sugar (a little honey … but none of that processed stuff). or flour.

No quinoa in these either.

Instead I used chickpeas. And the honest to goodness truth is … once baked … these taste like raw cookie dough!

(But the secret is … you gotta bake them! Raw … they taste like … chickpeas and peanut butter)

I KNOW! Insane eh? Just that description alone should explain why I just had to make these (in case you’ve forgotten … I have a real issue when it comes to raw cookie dough).

This is how I discovered this little gems …

Emily: Wanna girl guide cookie?

Me: No thanks, I’m good.

Emily: Want to try a cookie dough cookie? I made them with chickpeas.

Me: Um… yeah. That sounds super cool.

Emily: These are the cookies I make when I don’t want to dig into a pack of regular cookies … but I want something sweet.

Result … I proceeded to eat 3 or 4 of these little goodies … because … well I find them quite addictive. I also left Emily’s resolved to make these myself … and add my own little *twist* to the recipe.

Done and Done.

Not only did I make the original version which included peanut butter, honey, chickpeas and mini chocolate chips … but I also made some and swapped out the peanut butter for dark chocolate hazelnut spread.

Which one is better?

Oh … they’re both pretty darn delicious. I can’t decide. So rather than pick a favourite … I just make sure that I grab one of each flavour.

I made a half batch of each – since you use an entire large can of chickpeas for this recipe; it was easy to just half the can and make both the peanut butter ones and the dark chocolate hazelnut spread ones.

Just like those quinoa cookies … these ones are just too good to pass up. I totally recommend them … and the best part … all you need are the ingredients and a food processor. And 12 minutes in the oven. Super simple. Super delicious. You should make these … right now.

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peanut butter chickpea chocolate chip cookies / dark chocolate hazelnut spread chickpea chocolate chip cookies

ingredients:

1 1/4 c. canned chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted dry

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 c. + 2 tbsp natural peanut butter or dark chocolate hazelnut spread

1/4 c. honey

1 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

1/2 c. mini chocolate chips

*for the dark chocolate hazelnut spread version … I’d add flaked coconut as well

Heat your oven to 350 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Combine all the ingredients, except the chocolate chips (and if using, flaked coconut) and process until smooth in your food processor.

This shouldn’t take more than a minute. You’ll notice that the cookie dough really comes together – pulling away from the sides of the bowl.

Once smooth, toss in the mini chocolate chips (and flaked coconut) and combine. You can either mix them in using a spoon, or do like me, and use the “pulse” button, and mix in the chocolate chips that way.

That’s it.

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Time to scoop them out. I used my small ice cream scoop and scooped out the cookie dough, forming small balls. This batter is pretty sticky … so you might need to wet your hands a little. Place the formed cookie dough on your prepared cookie sheet … slightly apart.

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*if making the dark chocolate hazelnut spread version … my cookie dough was really quite wet … so I did add some natural peanut butter to thicken it up a bit. I gotta say … the result was still a “looser” cookie dough (which spread slightly in baking), but totally ridiculously delicious.

When you remove the cookies from the oven, cool on the cookie sheet (not on a wire rack). They need the extra heat (especially the dark chocolate hazelnut ones) to keep baking a little.

Eat warm. These cookies deserve to be eaten fresh out of the oven … or after being heated up slightly. But be careful … because like me … I bet you can’t eat just one!

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lemon meringue cake

Mother of all things lemon and meringue.

I heart this cake!

That’s right.  I decided that although I love lemon meringue pie … sometimes one must celebrate an occasion with cake. 

Saturday night was one of those occasions.  A 40th birthday bash which required cake.  But not just any cake would do … oh no! 

It had to be tart. And fresh. With a (good) splash of lemoncello. And topped with a soft meringue. 

It could only be one thing. 

A lemon meringue cake.

I had previously spotted a similar cake on donna hay’s website.  She had created a chocolate cake bottomed cake … which I will admit – looks stellar in the pictures: the bright white meringue atop brilliant yellow curd and the dark chocolate shell … very pretty … just not what I wanted … flavour-wise.  I needed to punch up the lemon factor for this birthday gal.

I’m thrilled with how it all turned out.

And it really couldn’t have been any easier.  All you need is one layer of cake, some lemon curd, and meringue.  Easy?  Heck ya!

For this recipe … I ended up using my grandmother’s lemon curd recipe.  Recently I’ve been using little red kitsch’n lemon curd recipe – but I wanted to go back to my old school recipe … my grandmother’s lemon curd … with a generous splash of lemoncello.  Plus … I needed egg whites for the meringue … and this curd recipe only uses egg yolks.

 lemon meringue cake

ingredients:

lemon cake:

280 g sugar
80 g butter, room temperature
240 g flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 lemons, juice and zest
240 mL buttermilk
 
Heat your oven to 350 F.  Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick spray and set aside.

In the bowl of your stand-mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and lemon zest together.  This will not result in a über creamy mixture.  There isn’t enough butter to sugar ratio … but it will form a pea-like mixture.  That’s good.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt together.

Add the dry ingredients to your butter / sugar batter and mix on low-speed.

In a measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, vanilla, lemon juice and eggs together. 

Slowly pour the wet ingredients into your mixing bowl (again, leaving the mixer at low-speed).  Once the eggs have been incorporated into the batter, increase the speed to medium and beat for a further 30 seconds.

Using a spatula, scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl – ensuring that all the dry ingredients have been incorporated. 

Pour the batter into your prepared cake pan.  Don’t worry if you have a little left over batter – they make excellent mini cupcakes.  Bake for approximately 25 minutes – this obviously depends on how thick a cake you are baking.  I always like to check my cakes at the 20 minute mark … you’ll know it’s ready when the sides start to pull away from the cake pan.

Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.  It’s time to make your lemon curd.

Isabel’s lemon curd:

1 c. sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 1/2 c. water
1/2 c. lemon juice
1 tbsp (I used more) lemoncello
Zest of an entire lemon
1 tbsp butter
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten (save the whites for your meringue)

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, flour, water, lemon juice, lemoncello, and lemon zest. Put the pot over medium heat and cook, stirring until it is about to come to a boil and slightly thickens.

Remove it from heat and stir in the butter. Take about 1/2 c. of the mixture and add it to the egg yolks – it’ll temper the yolks and keep them from curdling. Whisk the egg yolks well – once they’re smooth, pour them into the saucepan. Return the pan to the heat and cook it, whisking constantly – bubbles will form in the mixture. At this point – remove your lemon curd from heat, and strain it through a sieve into a clean bowl.  Cover it with plastic wrap and allow to cool in the fridge while you prepare your lemon cake for filling.

When your cake has cooled completely, turn it out of the pan onto a plate.  I decided to make a template of a smaller (6-inch round) cake pan – placing it in the middle of the cake and using a sharp knife to outline the circle.  This created my guideline for spooning out the middle of the cake.

Once my template was marked, I grabbed a small spoon and gently spooned out the majority of the centre of the cake.  You don’t want to remove all of it though!  You need this to be a shell for the lemon curd (since it is replacing the pie crust), and you don’t want a weakened cake base.

Spoon the lemon curd into the “empty” centre of the cake and smooth it over with a knife or spatula. 

You’re almost there …

Meringue:

4 egg whites
1/4 c sugar
pinch of cream of tartar
 
In the bowl of your stand mixer (with the whisk attachment), beat the egg whites on medium-high until foamy. Incorporate the sugar a spoonful at a time, add the pinch of cream of tartar and then increase the speed of the mixer to its highest setting.  You want the egg whites to form glossy peaks … not too stiff … but enough that they hold their shape.

Top the entire cake with the meringue.  Make it pretty!  Use a spoon to create a neat swirly effect.  And then … I blow torched it.  I somehow didn’t remember to take a picture of the finished product before I rushed off to the party … but you can imagine … a beautiful golden meringue. 

Absolute perfection.  And it tasted bloody delicious as well.