Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Honey Butter Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Wilted Baby Spinach | 蜜糖牛油烤蕃薯菠菜苗沙律

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, families across North America are reuniting and busy putting their final touches on the menu for the most significant celebration of the year. Sweet potatoes, yams, and pumpkins take center-stage in family kitchens far and wide alongside the requisite roasted turkey. Everywhere seems to hum with joy and the anticipation that this meaningful holiday brings.

Even though Thanksgiving may not be celebrated in Hong Kong, this could hardly deter me from injecting a dose of fall festivity into my kitchen. With just a handful of ingredients and no more than a few simple steps, the following recipe - adapted from Food Network host Robert Irvine's original - will surely warm up your day and have you scrambling for seconds.

Perfect as a side for a magnificent Thanksgiving spread, and no less stellar as a filling, nutritious meal on its own, this flavorsome roasted sweet potato dish trumps an ordinary mash or green salad. What's more? With so few steps and so little to wash, this dish might just be your answer when you have too much on your plate preparing for the Great Turkey Dinner.

What you'll need...
2 medium to large sweet potatoes, cleaned (peeling optional), cut into 1.5-inch cubes
Drizzle of vegetable oil, to toss and coat
Half a red onion, or 3 shallots, sliced
2 large handfuls of baby spinach
1 tablespoon honey
Small knob of butter* (less than 1 tablespoon)
Handful of pecans

*Note: Using quality butter makes a world of difference since the butter is the ingredient that brings together the entire dish. Or, add some flair with Whipped Maple Cinnamon Butter (recipe), and substitute honey with pure maple syrup

Looking for a simple yet festive side dish for your next Thanksgiving Dinner? Give this warm salad a try!
1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. In a large bowl, toss sweet potatoes in oil to coat. Place on baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes.

2. Remove briefly from oven and toss in the onions and pecans and continue to roast until potatoes are tender, approximately another 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, have the honey, butter, and baby spinach handy.

3. Transfer sweet potatoes to the same large bowl. While piping hot, drizzle honey over the potatoes and add in the butter, mixing well. Gently toss in spinach. The heat from the potatoes will wilt the greens.

4. Serve warm and drown in the heavenly aroma of roasted onions and honeyed, melting butter! Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


蕃薯  2  隻(可去皮、切成約 1.5 寸小塊)
食用油  少量
洋蔥  半個  或  乾蔥頭  3  個(切絲)
菠菜苗  400 克
蜜糖  1  湯匙
牛油  20  克
胡桃  適量

1. 預熱焗爐至 180C。
2. 將蕃薯置於大碗中,加入少量油並略為攪拌,然後放於烤盤上,焗 15 分鐘。
3. 十五分鐘後,拌入洋蔥和胡桃,繼續焗至蕃薯和洋蔥熟透,約 15-20 分鐘。
4. 將焗好的蕃薯和洋蔥取出並置於大碗中。趁熱加入蜜糖和牛油,攪勻,然後再拌入菠菜苗。熱力會把菠菜變得軟身。完成!

Adapted from Robert Irvine's recipe on Food Network
[Follow me on Instagram @alvinckl and @alvin.penthousekitchen and check out my Facebook Fan Page!]

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Gluten-free Chicken Pot Pie with Cornbread Crust | 玉米派皮雞肉派 — 不含麩質

As I write, I have just completed my two intensive weeks working at Sweetpea Cafe, Hong Kong's only entirely gluten free patisserie serving up decadent cakes and healthy brunch classics. How it all happened was almost like a dream. Just a month ago my friend and I wandered the quaint backstreets of Central and walked into Sweetpea for an afternoon of cake, coffee, and conversation. I gawked at the cake display, started conversing with the friendly and bubbly owner Angel, took a bite of the delightfully fluffy Tiramisu cake, and it didn't take much else for me to fall in love with this place.

My eyes rested on the "We Are Hiring" sign. With my annual two-week leave just weeks away, the idea of hitching an interim job here at Sweetpea Cafe sprouted. I stayed up all night. The next thing I know, I texted Angel with my proposal in the morning, and she responded: "I'd say yes in a heartbeat!" BAM, the stars aligned. I dropped my original plans of a (rather expensive) cooking holiday in the rustic countryside of Brittany, France and landed a part time job working in a charming little patisserie in my hometown. Call it a working holiday or apprenticeship, it was a dream come true in every sense for me to work in a cafe, to experience the operations behind the scenes and to open my eyes to the harsh reality of running a business in Hong Kong.

The two weeks had gone by in a blink. My experience reminded me of the television show on one of the travel channels where the host ventures around the world to master a new skill in two days' time. My two weeks were no short of challenges, discoveries, failures, stress, laughter, and sense of achievement. To fully delineate my experience in today's entry would be nearly impossible, so I will leave it at that for now and draw our attention back to the yummy dish of the day... Chicken Pot Pie with Cornbread Crust - and it's gluten free!

Thanks to Sweetpea Cafe and my Toronto-based cousin whom I worship for her talents and stamina in everything she does, I have become increasingly interested in gluten-free cooking and diet. I began digging around in books and online and in groceries in the U.S. and decided to experiment a little. I even bribed my flatmate to haul a ton of assorted flours back from Toronto (where they are readily accessible and affordable) in efforts to create my own blend of gluten free flour.

What we have today is my all-time favorite, Chicken Pot Pie, topped with golden cornbread instead of the traditional shortcut pastry. It's like taking a baby step towards making gluten-free choices. The cornbread adds such a delectable crunch and flavor to the creamy filling that I am not so sure I miss the buttery pastry crust so much anymore! The following recipe is based on my Individual Chicken Pot Pie with Puff Pastry Crust post from 2015 but is modified and improved. As for the crust, it's basically a cornbread baked on top of the filling, so it would work perfectly on its own any other time! This recipes produces a cornbread that has a perfect crumb - neither too dry nor too cakey!

What you'll need...
For the pie filling:
3 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 bay leaf (optional)
1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 - 3 ribs celery, diced
6 cremini mushrooms, stems intact, diced
3 tablespoons gluten-free flour blend (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1/2 cup chicken broth (from cooking the chicken thighs)
1/2 cup warmed milk
Thyme, fresh or dried

For the Cornbread Crust:
1 cup gluten-free cornmeal
1 cup gluten-free flour blend (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preparing the Chicken Pot Pie Filling
1. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add bay leaf (and any unwanted vegetable trimmings) and chicken thighs and cook for 8 minutes. Turn heat off and leave chicken in the pot covered for another 5 minutes. Rinse chicken under the tap and let cool in refrigerator while prepping the other ingredients to allow for easier cubing. Reserve chicken broth.

2. Heat butter in a large cast iron skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté onions, garlic, carrots, celery, and mushrooms until tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Add flour and stir to combine with the vegetables, about 1 minute. Stir in 1/2 cup of broth and bring to a boil. On low heat, stir in warmed milk, cubed chicken, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper and stir until mixture thickens.

Making the Cornbread Crust Topping

Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
Whisk together dry ingredients, add milk, eggs and butter, mixing until just combined. Pour batter over pie filling and bake (line with baking tray to catch drips) for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly golden brown and wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm!

《玉米派皮雞肉派 — 不含麩質》

決意把個人最愛的 Chicken Pot Pie 研製出更健康的無麩質版本,

雞肉派 材料:
去皮去骨雞上髀肉  3 件
月桂葉  1 塊(可免)
牛油  1 湯匙
洋蔥  1 小隻
蒜頭  3 瓣  剁碎
甘筍  2 條  切粒
西芹  2-3 條  切粒
啡蘑菇  6 隻  切粒
不含麩質麵粉  3 湯匙
雞高湯  120 毫升
牛奶  120 毫升 用微波爐叮暖
百里香  適量

1. 滾水加入月桂葉和雞肉,用中火煮 8 分鐘後熄火加蓋焗 5 分鐘。將雞肉取出洗淨並放進雪櫃片刻,以便稍後切粒。雞湯去油備用。
2. 鑄鐵鍋燒熱後加入牛油,炒香洋蔥、蒜頭、甘筍、西芹及蘑菇,約 5 分鐘。
3. 加入麵粉拌勻,約 1 分鍾。
4. 倒入 120 毫升雞高湯,拌勻並用中火煮至沸騰。
5. 將火收細,加入牛奶、雞肉粒和適量百里香及調味,待材料稍微呈糊狀後熄火備用。(假如沒有鑄鐵鍋的話,可將材料倒進適合焗爐的盤子內備用)

不含麩質玉米派皮 材料:
不含麩質玉米粉  150 克
不含麩質麵粉  120 克
砂糖  50 克
發酵粉  1 湯匙
幼鹽  半 茶匙
黃原膠  1/4 茶匙
雞蛋  2 隻
牛奶  240 毫升
牛油  30 克 溶掉

1. 焗爐預熱 180 度。
2. 把幹成分拌勻,拌入牛奶、雞蛋和牛油。
3. 拌勻後倒在鍋中的雞肉材料上,放入焗爐焗 25-30 分鐘,或知呈金黃色以及牙簽能夠乾淨拔出。慢用!

[Follow me on Instagram @alvinckl and @alvin.penthousekitchen and check out my Facebook Fan Page!]

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Lemongrass and Turmeric Fish en Papillote | 香茅黃薑紙包魚

One of those nights when you just want to throw a few things together and make a simple, light but well balanced dinner and catch up on Netflix... fish en papillote is the way to go. As flashy as the name sounds, cooking en papillote - or cooking in a packet - is a classic French technique that is fancy enough for a restaurant yet works wonders at home. All you need is parchment paper or foil to create an enclosed pouch that cooks the food in its own juices inside an oven. With little effort, you can have a meal ready in under twenty minutes. What's more, serve the packet straight from the oven and you've got one less plate to wash!

This fish recipe brings in vibrant flavors of Vietnam. Cooking the fish in a pouch ensures moisture while infusing the flavors of lemongrass, ginger, garlic, and turmeric. Any white fish such as halibut, cod, or flounder will work beautifully. For an easy, well balanced meal-in-one, layer some vegetables such as sliced mushrooms, zucchini, carrots, kale, broccoli, onions, or asparagus underneath the protein. Best served with a side of brown rice or quinoa!

For quick step-by-step instructions in Cantonese for making this dish, check out this video! I recently had the opportunity to work with Bosch at their flagship showroom in Central, Hong Kong - making it my second time to ever speak in front of a camera! A great big thank you to Bosch for this precious opportunity.
What you'll need...
140g Hoki fillet (or any other white fish)
2-3 stalks lemongrass
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 inch ginger, minced
1 bird's eye chilli, deseeded and minced
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 small lime, cut into wedges for juice and garnish

Prepare the spice mixture: Trim the green ends and the base of the lemongrass stalks and peel away the tough outer layers. Using a pestle or the blunt side of a knife, bruise the stalks to release the flavor then slice into thin rings. In a small bowl, mix together the lemongrass, garlic, ginger, chili, and turmeric. Add a squeeze of lime then, using a pestle, pound the mixture until fragrant and combined.

1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
Take a sheet of parchment paper roughly 15 inches in length, scatter vegetables (if using) across its width, season with salt and pepper. Lay the fish fillet on top, leaving enough paper overlapping to seal in the fish.

2. Top the fish with the spice mixture and lightly season with salt and pepper. Fold the parchment paper over and roll the edges in tightly into an air-tight parcel. Bake for 13-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.

3. Unwrap the parcel and garnish fish with some coriander, mint, and a lime wedge. Enjoy!


只需 15 分鐘烹調時間、健康有營、低鹽無油,

新西蘭鱈魚柳  140 克
香茅  2-3 枝
蒜頭  2 瓣
 半 寸
指天椒  1 隻
黃薑粉  1/8 茶匙
青檸  1 隻(切角)

1. 首先將香茅青色部分及根部約 1 公分切除,脫除乾硬的外葉。在針板上用研磨棒捶打香茅數下至軟身,然後把香茅剁碎。
2. 蒜瓣和薑剁碎、指天椒去籽剁碎。放到碗中跟香茅拌勻。
3. 加入黃薑粉和少量青檬汁,然後用研磨棒舂至完全混合。
4. 預熱焗爐至 180C。魚柳洗淨,用吸水紙印乾。
5. 準備一張約 15 寸長的牛油紙,對摺後攤開。
6. 把魚柳放在摺痕其中一旁,鋪上香料後撒上少量鹽和胡椒。
7. 把牛油紙對摺,將邊緣捲好,成為一個密封的包裹。
7. 將包裹放入焗爐焗 13-15 分鐘。取出後打開,隨意拌上青檸角、芫茜、薄荷葉等即成!


[Follow me on Instagram @alvinckl and @alvin.penthousekitchen and check out my Facebook Fan Page!]

Friday, June 23, 2017

Alvin's Penthouse Kitchen out on the paper! | 23-6-2017《經濟日報》C3

【Alvin's Penthouse Kitchen 空少私房菜】上左報紙呀!
Alvin's Penthouse Kitchen 空少私房菜 】is on the paper! On June 23, 2017, the Hong Kong Economic Times published an article on the Health and Lifestyle column featuring a foolproof, nutritious recipe from Alvin's Penthouse Kitchen that would suit a growing appetite amongst the public for fuss-free healthful eating.

See the video here: https://www.facebook.com/topick.hket/videos/10154672380591188/

This project was a joint collaboration between Bosch and Hong Kong Economic Times, and it was an absolute privilege to have been given this precious opportunity and to be featured side by side with fellow colleague and home cook May Chu!

The assignment? Share your story and lifestyle and come up with a recipe that would make use of either the Bosch built-in oven or the steam oven. Being a full-time flight attendant who regularly clocks up up to a hundred active flying hours a month, I, like many of my comrades across the industry, suffer from a rather messed up body clock and diet. When off work, it is important to nurture the body which is consistently strained to its limits. So, at home, I find solace and comfort in cooking simple and healthful recipes (sometimes with prized ingredients acquired from overseas). Whether you fly, get tied to a desk all day, or party all night,  I hope that you will join me in for some simple, tasty home cooking!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing | 自家製凱撒沙律醬 (No Mayonnaise!)

Can Caesar dressing be made from scratch? The answer is yes absolutely, and you'll never go back to store bought ones ever.

My earliest memory of Caesar salad was from lunches at the country club where my family used to go. A mix of crisp romaine leaves, bacon, and crunchy croutons tossed in the tangy, creamy dressing would be served in deep wooden bowls, finished with a  generous sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese. I always asked for more. Then there was the Caesar salad from bistros like Simply Life Cafe, where slivers of romaine hearts were served whole, stacked elegantly, and accompanied by anchovy fillets and runny soft-boiled eggs.

No matter the presentation and variation, the single most important element that makes a Caesar salad what it is is the dressing. When eating out, I cannot help but always contemplate whether the Caesar dressing in question was made in-house or came in huge commercial tubs, laden with all kinds of unwanted stuff. You would know what I mean when you pick up a bottle and read the label at your neighborhood supermarket.

Create a classic Caesar Salad with crisp Romaine hearts, pancetta, croutons and shaved Parmesan!
So, to take the guesswork out I began making and tweaking my own homemade Caesar dressing a couple of years ago. Using Greek yogurt, the dressing is naturally tangy, thick and creamy, so you can confidently ditch the guilt in mayonnaise. With minced garlic, anchovy, real Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, this homemade dressing is the real deal and will rock your classic Caesar salad, Caesar chicken wraps, or as a dip for Buffalo wings and celery sticks with a fraction of the calories.

Greek yogurt is a healthier alternative to raw eggs and mayo, giving the creaminess and tang!
What you'll need...
1/3 cup Greek yogurt (low fat or nonfat as desired)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 large garlic clove, finely minced
2 anchovy fillets, mashed, or 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Freshly ground black pepper

In a mixing bowl, whisk all ingredients together. Toss salad with dressing and keep any remainder refrigerated for up to one week. 

Suggested salad ingredients:
Romaine lettuce or baby kale
Bacon, pancetta, or proscuitto
Croutons or roasted chickpeas
Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

《自家製凱撒沙律醬 》
Upgrade your classic Caesar with baby Kale, Prosciutto and garlic bread croutons!
到底可唔可以自己整呢?答案係 - 絕對可以!

希臘乳酪  100 克(脫脂或低脂)初搾特級純橄欖油  1 湯匙
新鮮檸檬汁  1/2  湯匙
喼汁  1/2 茶匙
法式芥末醬  1 茶匙
蒜末  1 茶匙
鯷魚  2 條(或鯷魚醬 1/2 茶匙)
新鮮磨碎的帕馬臣芝士  25 克
黑胡椒  適量



[Follow me on Instagram @alvinckl and @alvin.penthousekitchen and check out my Facebook Fan Page!]

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Kimchi Fried Rice | 韓式泡菜炒飯 | Kimchi Bokkeumbap

When you haven't got a lot of time on hand - which is most of the time - and all you have in your fridge is leftover rice and kimchi, Kimchi Bokkeumbap is your answer. A Korean household favorite, kimchi fried rice not only makes great use of leftovers but also provides a quick and super satisfying meal. As in most cases when cooking with kimchi, it is preferable to use well-fermented kimchi for the robust and rich flavor it develops. For extra flavor, add your choice of meat, such as beef, pork, bacon, or even spam - all of which are popular add-ins among Koreans.

So dig out the ripe kimchi that has been forgotten in the back of your cooler and some day-old rice, stir-fry together with some vegetables and optional meat and top with a fried egg for a lusciously tasty and inexpensive quick-fix (also perfect for the lunch box)!

To learn how to make your very own kimchi, click here for my step by step instructions!
Traditional Korean Napa Cabbage Kimchi (Bae-chu Kimchi)
What you'll need...
2 1/2 cups cooked rice, preferably day-old
3/4 cup kimchi, chopped
200g minced pork or beef
1/2 small onion, diced
1 small carrot, diced (optional)
3 tablespoons juice from kimchi
2 tablespoons Korean chili pepper paste (gochujang), to taste
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
Cooking oil for stir-frying
Salt and pepper

Suggested garnish:
Sesame seeds
Korean style seaweed (gim)
Scallion, chopped
Fried egg

1. Season meat with salt and pepper and set aside while prepping other ingredients.

2. Heat a lightly oiled large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add the minced meat, breaking into smaller clumps while stirring frequently until just browned but not fully cooked. Remove and set aside.

3. Add the onions, carrots, kimchi, juice from kimchi, and gochujang. Stir-fry until the kimchi softens and deepens in color and allow the rich flavors to develop, 5 - 6 minutes.

 4. Return the meat to the wok. Add the rice along with a tablespoon of cooking oil, stirring constantly to break apart any clumped up rice and scraping up the brown bits from the pan until everything is well incorporated, about 5 minutes. Stir in the sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Garnish with sesame seeds, scallions, seaweed, and top with a sunny-side-up. Serve and enjoy!

Tips: Day-old rice is best for making fried rice. If the rice is hard from being in the fridge, warm it up slightly in the microwave. If you need to make fresh rice, be sure to keep it slightly underdone.


放工放學拖著疲累的身軀回到家裏, 雪櫃又只得隔夜飯和泡菜、點算?


冷飯  兩碗半
泡菜  130  克(切條狀)
免治豬肉或牛肉  200 克
洋蔥  半個(切粒)
甘筍  1  小條(切粒)
泡菜汁  3  湯匙
韓式辣醬  2  湯匙 
麻油  1/2  湯匙

芝麻 / 韓式紫菜 / 蔥花 / 煎蛋

1. 豬肉先用適量鹽和胡椒醃製。
2. 加熱煎鍋,加入油及豬肉,炒至半熟。備用。
3. 加入洋蔥、甘筍粒、泡菜、泡菜水和韓式辣醬炒勻,5 - 6 分鐘。
4. 豬肉回鍋。加入飯及約 1 湯匙油炒勻。
5. 加入麻油略炒後再作適當調味。
6. 上碟,撒上芝麻、紫菜及蔥花,配上太陽蛋即成!


[Follow me on Instagram @alvinckl and @alvin.penthousekitchen and check out my Facebook Fan Page!]

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Assorted Coco-nut Truffles | 什錦椰香果仁松露

Somewhere between a crossover of superfood energy balls and decadent chocolate truffles, these super easy "coco-nut truffles" make a great midday pick-me-up with a cup of coffee or - if you are tired of all things pink and heart-shaped this Valentine's Day - a thoughtful treat for your special someone.
Come to think of it, chocolate energy balls for Valentine's Day? Sounds like a match for me. If you know what I mean.
One batch makes roughly ten bite-sized "truffles" - make a full batch of the same flavor and toppings or experiment with an assortment of add-ins and toppings as desired! I believe that the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach. So if you want to impress your loved one, why not give him or her the gift of food?

What you'll need...
1/2 cup mixed nuts (almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, etc.)
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey

Suggested mix-ins:
Chocolate hazelnut spread
Cocoa powder
Espresso powder
Maca powder
Beetroot powder
Acai berry powder

Suggested toppings:
Desiccated coconut
Cocoa powder
Ground hazelnuts
Ground pistachios

1. Using a small blender or spice grinder, ground desiccated coconut into a fine flour. Remove, grind nuts until they resemble coarse meal. Combine ground coconut, nuts, coconut oil, and maple syrup.

2. Separate into batches as necessary and add mix-ins as desired. Roll mixture into bite-sized balls and cool briefly in the refrigerator to harden up slightly. Add toppings and keep in refrigerator.

Note: The finer the nuts are ground, the less crumbly the mixture will become, thus making it more pliable and easier to roll into balls. However, if you like a bit more texture, leave a tiny bit of larger pieces.

超級能量 energy balls 同朱古力松露的 crossover,

椰絲  30 克
果仁  75 克(可選用杏仁、腰果、榛子等)
椰子油  1 湯匙
純楓糖漿  1 湯匙

榛子巧克力醬 / 可可粉 / 咖啡粉 / 馬卡粉 / 紅菜頭粉 / 巴西莓粉

椰絲 / 可可粉 / 榛子碎 / 開心果碎

1. 椰絲和果仁分別用攪拌機磨成粉,再跟椰子油和楓糖漿拌勻。
2. 如欲製作多種口味,將混合物分批,並加入適量自選配料然後揉成小球狀。
3. 把小球放進雪櫃冷卻硬化數分鐘,取出後即可撒上自選外層配料。完成後可儲存雪櫃內,隨時享用!

可是打得太碎,咬落完成品時就可能會犧牲點 texture 喇。

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