Fluffy Wholewheat Buttermilk Scones

Buttermilk Scones (28 of 103)SCONE-MANIA | Wholewheat heavenly fluffy scones with a hint of orange zest

Whoever said scones couldn’t be fluffy while at the same time deliver on wholesomeness is wrong. In 20 minutes, you could have piping hot scones served with clotted cream and jam – perfect for unexpected guests.

I love scones. Whether they are homemade, from a coffee shop (ok, maybe not the ones from Asia), plain, or with fruits, I simply can’t resist a piping hot scone fresh from the oven served with clotted cream and jam. Serve this with a steaming cup of english breakfast or earl grey tea and there you have me: my way of solo therapy for a Sunday afternoon.Buttermilk Scones (14 of 103)

Don’t be deceived. Scones are not difficult to make. The ‘trick’ though (to keep the scones moist and fluffy) is to halve the flour portion equally between plain flour and wholewheat flour. Also, be careful not to over mix the dough with your hands and the butter and milk must be added whilst cold. Most importantly, when baking scones, make sure you place each one close to each other. This will yield a better ‘uplifting’ (i.e. rising) effect when the scones bake.

Buttermilk Scones (1 of 2)

The beauty of this basic wholewheat recipe is that you are free to add your own variations. I experimented with some orange peel (love the zesty citrusy touch) and sultanas, as well as playing up another variation using some chopped up dried figs from turkey.

Buttermilk Scones (43 of 103)

Fluffy Wholewheat Buttermilk Scones

TOTAL TIME: 20 min | YIELDS: 8 large scones 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1.5 cups self raising flour
  • 1.5 cups self raising wholewheat flour (NB: if you are using plain flour, add baking powder to the mix)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 60g butter
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk (or full-cream milk)
  • Grated zest of half an orange and half a cup of sultanas (optional)Buttermilk Scones (102 of 103)

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 230C or 210C fan. Lightly grease and flour a baking tray. Sift flour and salt into a bowl. Buttermilk Scones (101 of 103)
  2. Chop butter into cubes and rub in the butter with our fingers until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.Buttermilk Scones (100 of 103)
  3. Add nearly all the milk at once and mix in quickly with a knife. Add remaining milk if needed and pull dough together into a rough ball. Add the grated orange zest and sultanas (if using). Turn dough out on to a floured board and knead by turning and pressing with heel of hand 3 or 4 times. Buttermilk Scones (96 of 103)
  4. Pat out to a 2cm thick round and cut into 4cm rounds with a floured cutter. Gather scraps together, knead lightly and cut out.Buttermilk Scones (95 of 103)
  5. Place scones close together on a lightly greased baking tray. Brush tops with a little milk and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until well-risen and golden.Buttermilk Scones (94 of 103)
  6. Voila. Scones should turn out beautifully golden and sumptuous. Note: For soft scones, wrap in a tea towel as soon as they come from oven. For crusty scones, do not wrap, cool slightly on a wire rack. Serve warm with butter or with jam and cream.Buttermilk Scones (86 of 103)

Buttermilk Scones (78 of 103)Buttermilk Scones (2 of 2)

Jerk Chicken Quinoa Citrus Salad

Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (1 of 21)

PROTEIN PACKED SALAD | A hearty and healthy chicken salad with creamy avocado, nutty quinoa, fresh parsley and lots of bright citrus flavours.

Fancy a touch of the Carribean? Well, look no further than Jerk Chicken. First, let’s clarify: “Jerk” doesn’t mean what you think it means. It means Jamaican BBQ. This well rounded flavour of sweet, hot, herbal and spicy chicken can be served with rice, beans or pasta. In this particular instance, I chose quinoa as I fancied a light dinner after the repetitive days of gluttony over the recent Lunar New Year.

I love quinoa not only due to its health benefits, but because it is so versatile and easy to prepare. Did you know that quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat? It is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids. Furthermore, it is chock full of fibre (good for relieving constipation) and is high in iron and magnesium. For more information about the health benefits of quinoa, click here.

The prime burst of flavor in this salad comes from the jerk chicken. Jerk seasoning boasts elements of sweetness, hotness, herbal-ness and spicy-ness – what a terrific combination to titillate your taste buds. Now, many of you may be wondering whether you can make your own jerk seasoning? Short answer, yes. Can I be bothered tonight? No. Problem with Hong Kong is that jerk seasoning is not easy to find. Thanks to my dear friend Noah though, he managed to grab me some on one of his (many) business trips to the British Virgin Islands.

Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (17 of 21)

Jerk Seasoning…not for “jerks”. Jerk seasoning typically comprises of a mixture of onion, vinegar, cayenne pepper, all spice, cinnamon, black pepper and oil.

As for how I chose to cook the chicken, I opted for the sous vide (my latest cooking gadget addiction) which inevitably takes longer (but results in chicken that is more moist and juicy). Feel free to pan-fry your chicken tenderloins/breast instead if you only have 10-15 minutes to spare (after you marinade it).

Now, for a little light dressing, simply whisk together lime juice, orange juice, olive oil, and a dash of honey. This citrus dressing is so refreshing and light that it won’t overpower the intense flavours from the jerk chicken.

Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (3 of 21)

Jerk Chicken Quinoa Citrus Salad

INACTIVE TIME: 1.5 hours | ACTIVE TIME: 4 minutes | SERVES: 1

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 small chicken tenderloin fillets (or 0.5 pound chicken breast fillet if you prefer)
  • 1 tablespoon jerk seasoning
  • 1 bunch of Italian parsley
  • 1 limes
  • 1 orange
  • 1/2 tablespoon of liquid honey
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoaJerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (13 of 21)

METHOD:

  1. Preheat pot of water with the sous vide to the desired temperature. In this case, I set it to 140°F/60°C for cooking the chicken tenderloins. Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (11 of 21)
  2. Marinade chicken tenderloins with the jerk seasoning and place in zip-lock bag. Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (19 of 21)Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (18 of 21)
  3. Once desired temperature is reached, immerse zip lock bag into the pot of water, removing all air via the water immersion method. Leave in the water for 1-1.5 hours.
  4. While chicken is cooking via the sous vide method, prepare the quinoa. Simply place half a cup of uncooked quinoa into a pot set on medium-high and pour in 1 cup of water. Leave to boil, stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes until cooked. Set aside and leave to cool.Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (12 of 21)Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (9 of 21)
  5. Prepare the salad dressing. Juice one lime and half an orange. In a small bowl, combine these juices together and whisk in half a tablespoon of honey. Set aside.Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (8 of 21)Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (7 of 21)
  6. Chop up the coriander and the remaining half of the orange into small chunks. Dice the avocado into small bite sized chunks. Combine everything with the cooled down quinoa, mixing in the salad dressing.
  7. Once chicken is done in the sous vide, remove from the zip lock bag and pat dry. Heat a heavy cast iron skillet or pan on medium-high heat and coat with a light drizzle of oil. Once oil shimmers throw the chicken tenderloins in and pan-fry until golden brown (~2 minutes each side).  Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (6 of 21)
  8. Remove chicken from pan and slice into smaller bite-sized pieces.Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (14 of 21)
  9. Transfer quinoa salad base into a bowl for serving. Top with the freshly cooked chicken slices and serve while warm.Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (4 of 21)

Buffalo Mozzarella with Orange, Coriander Seeds and Lavender Oil

Burrata with Oranges, Coriander Seeds, and Lavender Oil (11 of 25)MOZZARELLA WITH A CITRUS SPARK | In lieu of tomatoes, mozzarella also pairs well with citrus fruits and a hint of lavender oil.

Debuted my new NOPI cookbook by making a quick adaptation of one of the restaurant’s signature dishes: the burrata with blood orange, coriander, and lavender seeds. Burrata with Oranges, Coriander Seeds, and Lavender Oil (2 of 2)According to Yotam Ottolenghi, customers come to NOPI for this dish alone and they sell about 1,000 each month!

However, much to my frustration, I struggled to find good quality burrata today at Citysuper (a high-end supermarket in Hong Kong). Nor was I able to source for blood oranges. Consequently, in lieu of burrata, a good quality buffalo mozzarella had to suffice. And in lieu of blood oranges, a regular orange had to do.

So what exactly is burrata? First, let’s be clear and stress what burrata is not. It is not mozzarella. While made from buffalo milk, burrata is not buffalo mozzarella. You will know the difference between the two when you taste it (warning though – you may not turn back to buffalo mozzarella after tasting the rich inner creaminess of a high quality burrata).

The outer shell is pure mozzarella, moulded like a a pouch, while the softer inside oozes a delicate mixture of mozzarella and cream when the ball is pulled apart.

In greater detail, mozzarella is what’s called a pulled curd or pasta filata cheese, which means that it’s formed from the elastic curd of fresh milk, still warm and straight from the vat. Burrata is made of that same stringy cheese, but is formed not into a solid ball, but into a little hollow pouch, which is then filled with fresh cream and soft stringy bits of curd, the ritagli, or rags, remaining after mozzarella making. It’s all tied off at the top, and then wrapped in the fronds of an Italian plant called asphodel (a relative of the leek).

Perhaps much of the confusion between the two stems from tradition, whereby the cheesemaking process for burrata stemmed from mozzarella – i.e., burrata was made in order to rescue the little scraps of mozzarella di bufala that were leftover in the cheesemaking vat.

Nonetheless, originating from the Puglia region of Italy, Burrata is in its own class entirely – you will know the second you taste it.Burrata with Oranges, Coriander Seeds, and Lavender Oil (18 of 25)Burrata is second to none and worth seeking out but a buffalo milk mozzarella can be used as an alternative.

Buffalo Mozzarella with orange, coriander seeds and lavender oil.

Time: 20 minutes | Serves: 2-3 as a side

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large mozzarella/burrata ball (150g)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon clear runny honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried lavender
  • 1/4 small clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted
  • 1 blood orange or 1 large sized orange
  • 5g basil leaves (shredded or hand torn) or micro-basil leaves
  • Coarse sea salt and extra virgin olive oil to drizzleBurrata with Oranges, Coriander Seeds, and Lavender Oil (1 of 25)

METHOD:

  1. Place oil in a small saucepan with the honey, lavender, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a simmer on medium-low heat and remove at once. Set aside to cool.Burrata with Oranges, Coriander Seeds, and Lavender Oil (2 of 25)
  2. Use a small paring knife to trim the tops and tails off the orange. Cut down the sides of the orange, and follow the natural curve to remove the skin and white pith. Depending on the size of your orange, slice into 6-8 rounds, ~0.8cm each, and remove the pips.Burrata with Oranges, Coriander Seeds, and Lavender Oil (3 of 25)
  3. Divide the orange slices on a clean white plate, slightly overlapping. Place burrata/mozzarella ball alongside. Spoon the coriander seeds and lavender oil over the cheese and orange, top with the shredded basil leaves or the micro-basil left whole. Lightly drizzle with some additional extra high quality extra virgin olive oil and serve. Burrata with Oranges, Coriander Seeds, and Lavender Oil (21 of 25) Burrata with Oranges, Coriander Seeds, and Lavender Oil (17 of 25)

Citrus-baked Mackerel with Couscous

Citrus baked mackerel with couscous (1 of 1)-2

Also known as maccarello in Italian, mackerel is one of the highly recommended oily fish for a healthy diet. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, this fish helps lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Mackerel also contains anti-inflammatory compound which helps lower joint pain and stiffness in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.

Wheat’s more, consuming mackerel on a regular basis is great for those who are prone to depression or suffer from frequent bouts of mood swings. Research has also proven that people consuming high dosages of omega-3 fatty acids are at lower risk of getting affected by depression. Mackerel is loaded with DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) and consuming this fish lowers your chances of suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease.

Rather than just pan-frying mackerel with salt and pepper, it doesn’t take that much more time to add a citrus twang to this popular fish. With the juice and zest of an orange plus some ground coriander, cumin and crushed ginger, you can now be serving mackerel with a new moroccan twist.

INGREDIENTS:

(Serves 2)

For the fish:

  • 2 mackerel fillets
  • Juice of 1/2 orange
  • Zest of 1/2 orange
  • Pinch of freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin

For the couscous:

  • 2/3 cup couscous
  • 1 cup vegetable stock or water
  •  1/3 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Citrus baked mackerel with couscous (6 of 17)

METHOD:

1) Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius and line a roasting tray with parchment paper.

2) For the fish, make a paste by grating the zest of 1/2 orange along with the cumin, coriander, oil, ginger and some salt. Make 3 slashes on the mackerel fillet and rub the paste all over.

Citrus baked mackerel with couscous (1 of 17)

Citrus baked mackerel with couscous (4 of 17) Citrus baked mackerel with couscous (3 of 17)    3) Pour the fresh orange juice over the fish and bake for 12-15 minutes until the fish is cooked.

Citrus baked mackerel with couscous (5 of 17)

4) Meanwhile, cook the couscous. Put the couscous in a bowl and in a separate pot, heat the stock or water until it boils. Pour the hot liquid over the couscous, close the lid and set aside for 6 minutes till all the liquid gets absorbed. Fluff up the grains with a fork and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Feel free to grate some orange zest and throw in some raisins.

Citrus baked mackerel with couscous (10 of 17)

Citrus baked mackerel with couscous (11 of 17)

5) Make a bed of couscous and place a mackerel fillet onto each plate, spooning over the pan juices to serve.

Citrus baked mackerel with couscous (1 of 3)

Citrus baked mackerel with couscous (3 of 3)