Saturday, April 22, 2017

"Popcorn" chicken


Popcorn chicken

1 Chicken breast - cut into bite size pieces
1 heaped teaspoon wholegrain mustard
1 tablespoon Light soy sauce
Dries italian herbs
White pepper
Breadcrumbs
Parmesan cheese

1. Marinade for 10mins chicken pieces with mustard and light soy sauce.
2. Beat egg and keep in a bowl.
3. Prepare breading by mixing breadcrumbs, herbs, parmesan cheese, pepper in another large dish.
4. Take chicken piece and dunk in egg then coat with breading mix.
5. Place on lightly oiled tray. Bake for 15mins at 250C.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Pork rendang

I've only recently started cooking pork meat at home so its like venturing into unchartered territory with surprises in store. In Malaysia, rendang is traditionally halal, but the thought of combining pork and rendang turned into a eureka moment; a taste-bomb with the pork standing up to the explosion of spice flavours... Now, why didn't I think of this before?


Pork Rendang
Ingredients:

A) for rendang paste (adapted from Chef Wan):
4 large red onions
3 cloves garlic
4 stalks lemongrass
About 1.5cm thick piece of ginger
About 1.5cm thick piece of galangal (lengkuas)
5 red chillies
6 kaffir lime leaves (daun limau purut)
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1 heaped teaspoon cumin powder (jintan putih)
1 heaped teaspoon fennel powder (jintan manis)
50ml water

B) Other ingredients
Pork, cubed
200ml coconut milk
60g roasted grated coconut (kerisik)
4 kalamansi limes (limau kasturi)
 Salt to taste

Method:
1. In a blender, grind all the rendang paste ingredients until smooth.
2. Heat oil in wok, add rendang paste and fry till fragrant and oil seperates. 
3. Add pork meat and coconut milk. Season with salt. Cook for about 20-30 minutes, until the gravy is almost dry. 
4. Lower heat and add in roasted coconut. Stir well and add in juice of kalamansi limes before turning off heat.
5. Serve with white rice.
 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Oven-roasted veggies

So simple, so addictive... my latest food craze especially coming home after work!


Oven roasted veggies



You don't really need a recipe, just chop them up into bite-sized pieces, drizzle olive oil, sprinkle some herbs, salt and pepper, then push into an oven at 180celcius for about 30-40mins. 

Go wild! There's probably tons of flavour combinations that would work. Here's some of my personal faves:
1) Mushrooms with chopped garlic and parsley
2) Butternut squash / pumpkin sprinkled with paprika and cinnamon
3) Broccoli and cauliflower with Italian herbs, roasted till broccoli tops caramelise and become crunchy
4) Red capsicum with Italian herbs


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fruity Moroccan couscous


A potluck go-to, I have been tweaking this recipe over the years and finally settled on one inspired by Chef Michael Smith's which adds subtle hints of spices for a more complex flavour. 

Fruity Moroccan couscous

Ingredients: 
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 cup couscous
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, very finely chopped 

2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
About 1cm-thick piece of ginger, grated
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped

1 red capsicum, chopped 
2 cups orange juice
1 lemon, zest and juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1 handful coriander leaves, chopped (for garnish)



Method:
1. In a large pan, heat olive oil and saute onion, garlic, ginger. Add the spices and saute till onions are translucent and spices fragrant. 
2. Throw in all the other ingredients. Bring to a simmer then lower heat and cover the pan. Cook until couscous absorbs the liquid (about 10-15min). Turn off heat and leave to rest for 5 mins. Use a fork and fluff up the couscous. 
3. Garnish with chopped coriander.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Egg roll-up with spinach & bacon

Diets and me just don't get along. I've lost count how many times (predictably it all starts after New Year's or Birthdays) I've tried to start one, went out and spent loads of $$$ on "healthy" ingredients and then ended up falling off the wagon within a week. After having hormone stuff go bonkers due to weight and much nagging from my doc, I'm trying to go low-carb. Key word - trying (since it's only been day two). But going through recipe books has inspired me back to blogging, so thought I'd share this simple lunch I had today.


Egg roll-up with spinach & bacon (makes 2 servings)

Ingredients: 
2 eggs
A dash of milk
Salt to taste
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups Spinach
5 slices of black pepper loin or lean bacon
Some grated cheddar cheese
A sprinkle of paprika
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed (optional)

Method: 
1. In a frying pan, cook bacon till you see the fat render, then add chopped garlic. Add spinach when garlic is golden.
2. In a bowl, whisk eggs with milk, salt and paprika. Once spinach mixture is cooked, place it to a separate bowl and stir in flaxseed. In the same frying pan (without adding oil, as it should still have the bacon grease), pour in egg mix and move the pan so that you get a "pancake".
3. Add some grated cheese on top of the egg and let it melt, before spooning in spinach-bacon mixture. Fold egg in half. Add a dash of paprika on top.

P/s: I did not add salt to the spinach mixture as usually bacon has its own saltiness. Also no oil apart from the fat from the bacon was used.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Kurma Rice (a.k.a cheater's biryani)

I love a well-prepared biryani but it is time-consuming. While not exactly the same, this "Kurma Rice" is just as fragrantly spiced, addictive (seriously, i have been caught sneaking spoonfuls directly from the fridge... it somehow tastes better as a leftover) and so much quicker/easier to whip up.



Kurma Rice (adapted from Maggi, original recipe here)

Ingredients:
2 cups rice, preferably basmati
2 cups water
3 tablespoons ghee
1 large onion, finely sliced
Some garlic, chopped
1 small knob ginger, sliced
1 packet Maggi kurma powder or about 5 tablespoons kurma powder
200ml milk
1 box raisins
1 cinnamon stick
4 cardamom
1 star anise
5 cloves
2 bay leaves
Salt to taste

Method: 
1. Wash and drain rice. Heat up ghee in a wok and saute spices (cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, cloves, bay leaves) as well as onions, garlic and ginger. 
2. Once fragrant and onions are translucent, add in the rice and mix well.
3. Transfer mix to a rice cooker. Stir in water, kurma powder, milk, salt and leave to cook. 
4. When the rice has cooked, stir in raisins (and nuts if you like) and leave covered for 10 minutes before serving.

 p/s: I prefer a stronger spiced rice, so I added extra spices compared to the original recipe.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Homemade soy milk

One of those lunch time conversations with the colleagues turned into how much sugar was being put into soy milk drinks that you get from the vendors or boxes... So, when I stumbled across the recipe to make it at home (in a new blender's manual of all places), was eager to try it. Have to say, it def was a little time consuming than pouring it from the box, but I guess you could just make a big batch and store them in bottles in the fridge (note: for up to three days).

Homemade Soy Milk
Ingredients:
1/2 cup Dried white soy beans
2 1/2 cups Water + 3 cups water
Organic brown sugar - to taste
Fine sieve or cheese cloth

Method:
1. Soak soy beans in a bowl of water (make sure the beans are covered with water) for at least four hours or better yet, overnight.
2. Pick out any discoloured or not-expanded beans, rinse and drain.
3. In a food processor, put in soy beans and water (roughly the ratio is 1/2 cup beans : 2 1/2 cup water). Puree until smooth and milky.
4. Transfer the mixture to a large pan and add additional 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, constantly stirring and skimming off the foam. Turn heat to low and simmer.
5. After about 15 - 20 mins (you will start getting the "sweet" soy milk smell), take off heat and strain through sieve / cheese cloth.
6. Add sugar to taste.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Duo of fresh deliciousness

I am not a salad-type of person. But recently, I've been reinvigorated to venture afar from my typical go-to butterhead-balsamic/olive oil (and maybe an apple/carrot tossed in) and give other types of salads a go. These two were so addictive that I just had to come back and post them on the blog!


Pickled Cucumber Salad

Ingredients:
1 cucumber - cored
1/4 red chilli - diced finely
2-3 sprigs of mint leaves - chopped
1 clove garlic - crush and chopped finely
1 tsp - Light soy sauce
2 tablespoons - Cider vinegar
1 tablespoons - extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon - Honey (or to taste)

Method:
1. In a small bowl, make dressing with chilli, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, olive oil and honey. Note: you may have to adjust to taste the soy sauce, vinegar, honey. Keep it aside for 5 - 10 minutes to let the flavours combine.
2. Toss the dressing together with the cucumber (cut it anyway you want) and mint leaves. Put in fridge for at least half an hour to allow for the dressing to soak into the cucumber.

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Chickpeas Salad (inspired by Antipodean Cafe's)

Ingredients:
1 can chickpeas
1/2 a red onion - finely diced
1/4 red chilli - finely diced
1 tomato - diced
Mint leaves - chopped (note: the original used coriander leaves, but I'm not a fan of them so subbed it)
Juice from 1/2 or one lime (depends on the size)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste

Method:
1. Toss everything together and serve chilled!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Prawn Sambal - updated version!

Originally posted the prawn sambal blog on 19/5/08, but have since upped the ante on this classic with the addition of fragrant bunga kantan, serai and lime leaves, and figured out chilli amount (thought this is completely subjective to a heat-lover/non-heat lover)...

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This was so good that by the end of the meal, my nose was blocked and tears almost ran down my cheeks... well, that and because I misjudged the amount of chilli (lesson learnt: diff types of chilli - those thin long ones vs the thicker shorter ones have diff heat levels and when the vegetable vendor at the market says its perfect for sambal - be prepared for damn hot ones!)...


Prawn Sambal
Ingredients:
1 bowl Large prawns - I pref to have it shelled but with the tails left on so it doesn't curl too much
3-4 chillies
1 large onion
4-5 cloves of garlic
About an 1/2 inch Ginger - sliced
1/2 torch ginger bud (bunga kantan) - sliced
1 serai stick - sliced
4 lime leaves (daun limau purut) - middle stem removed
1 cup Thick coconut milk
1/2 cup water mixed with Tamarind paste
1/2 lime
A handful of shallots - sliced
Salt to taste

Method:
1. In blender, grind chillies, large onions, garlic, serai, bunga kantan and lime leaves with a little water.
2. Heat a bit of oil in sauce pan. Saute sliced shallots, ginger and cubed tomatoes. Add blended paste and fry till aromatic. Add tamarind water to dilute the paste and cook till the sharp raw chilli smell reduces.
3. Add in prawns. Season with salt. When prawns get half cooked, add coconut milk and allow it to thicken. Remove off heat and squirt lime juice. Give it a good stir and serve.


P/s: The perfect accompaniment for this is cucumber or other "cooling" vege that tempers down the heat. Sambal is also one of the accompaniments of the Malaysian national dish Nasi Lemak (Milk Rice).

Monday, November 7, 2011

Chicken biryani

It started off with one of those craving-driven lightbulb moments... There we were trying to figure out the dinner menu for our family's post-deepavali get-together and I come up with the "brilliant" idea of doing the biryani. And then, I actually did some google research and the daunting feeling of experimenting a new dish for 15 people started getting magnified. It ended up going pretty well once I figured out the basic steps (marinade chicken > soak rice > cook chicken halfway > cook rice & aromatics > combine > garnish) and the end result received some compliments...

I drew elements from several different recipes, but mainly the chicken marinade is from the doyenne of Indian chefs - Madhur Jaffrey (original recipe here - though this is a time-consuming one...).

CHICKEN BIRYANI

Step A) Spiced Chicken marinade
6 chicken legs (cut into half = one drumstick, one thigh)
5 garlic cloves
3 medium onions
1 piece (2-inch) fresh ginger
10 cloves
20 black peppercorns
8 cardamom pods (use the seeds)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/4 cup yogurt

Method: Remove skin from chicken. Prepare the marinade paste by grinding all the other ingredients in a blender till smooth. Combine marinade with chicken, mix well and leave in refridgerator for a minimum of 2 hours (preferably overnight).

Step 2: Soak 2 cups of long-grain basmati rice in water for at least an hour.

Step 3: Cook chicken
Method: In a pot, heat some vegetable oil. Remove chicken pieces from marinade and cook in the pot till all sides are browned. Add in rest of marinade and leave till chicken is 3/4 cooked. Once done, remove chicken pieces in a separate bowl. Continue boiling down the marinade until the paste becomes very thick. Taste the paste, if you feel it needs to be spicier - add 1 teaspoon curry powder.

Step 4: Cook rice
3 medium onions - diced
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole cardamom pods
2 tablespoon ghee

Method: Mix turmeric/saffron with warm milk in a separate glass. In a non-stick pot, melt ghee and saute onions, bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom till fragrant and onions have browned. Drain the soaked rice and add to the pot. Mix the rice well until each grain is coated with ghee. Add in 700ml water, salt to taste, and cook on high heat until it boils.

Step 5: Combine both Chicken & rice
1/2 teaspoon turmeric OR 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
2 tablespoons warm milk

Method: Add two-three tablespoons of thickened marinade and mix rice. Next, bury the chicken pieces in the rice (put a spoonful of the marinade paste on top of chicken before you cover it with the rice). Mix turmeric/saffron with warm milk and pour over the rice, streaking it yellow. Cover pot tightly with aluminum foil and the pot cover. Cook on LOW heat for 15 minutes till rice is cooked.

* Rule of thumb: 250g long-grain rice : 350ml water

Step 6: Garnish
Raisins
Chopped cashew nuts
Fried onions
Coriander (optional)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Deepavali - a time for churning out those cookies!

This blog (and my personal one too) has been dreadfully neglected these last couple of months since I returned home to KL and hit the career ladder once again. The workload and hours at my "new" job are practically triple what I put in with the old one, combined with spending 3 hours of my daily life in a traffic jam made even the idea of even cooking anything more than a slapdash dish exhausting! But I'm back with renewed inspiration (we'll see how long this lasts... lol) after re-reading the first post I ever wrote here while scouring for some old recipes.

Anyways enough of the moaning and groaning - to the main event - new recipes! :) I usually hate doing cookies since I always end up burning them somehow... but having missed Deepavali with the family for the last two years, was eager to do something. And hey hey, they turned out great (good thing I finally learnt that cookies need to be cooled before they harden/crisp up)!

Left: Melting Moments, Right: Sugee Biscuits

Sugee Biscuits
Ingredients:
200g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
200g ghee or butter
150g icing sugar
150g semolina flour
(note: I added about 50g more as my dough was too sticky)
1/2 tsp salt


Method:
1. Preheat over to 180C.
2. Sift plain flour and baking soda.
3. In mixer, cream ghee/butter, icing sugar together. Add in semolina and salt, and fold in sifted ingredients.
4. Divide dough into balls (I used a half teaspoon as a measure), put on tray and flatten slightly.
5. Bake for 12 minutes.

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Melting Moments
Ingredients:
100g salted butter
75g unsalted butter
1/4 cup heaped icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup flour
1/4 cup cornflour
1 teaspoon lemon zest


Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180C.
2. In mixer, cream butters, sugar, vanilla until smooth and light.
3. Stir in sifted flour, cornflour and lemon zest.
4. Fill dough (it has a very soft consistency) into piping bag and pipe rosettes onto baking-paper lined tray or little paper cups. Top with sprinkles.
5. Bake for 9 minutes (small ones) or 12-15 minutes (larger) at 180C.


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The infamous hoax "Famous Amos" Chocolate Chip Cookie

This was from one of those emails revealing that someone was trying to get back at being charged hundreds by FA for asking for the recipe. But, still it is pretty darn yummy!

Ingredients (makes a lot, so half the recipe for 2 trays):
250g butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 cups sifted plain flour
2 1/2 cups oatmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
340g chocolate chips
100g nuts, chopped (optional)


Method:
1. Preheat oven t0 190C. Note: the cookies baked at this temperature will have a chewy centre. If you prefer them crumbly, bake at 195C.
2. Cream butter, sugar, eggs, vanila.
3. Fold in rest of the ingredients.
4. Roll into small balls (I used a teaspoon measure)
5. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes at 190C (chewy soft middle) / 195C (crumbly).

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tweaked Kung Po Chicken

Kung Po Chicken has been a family favourite at chinese restaurants, but decided to "indian-ize" it a little tonight and loved the highly fragrant results!

Tweaked Kung Po Chicken
Ingredients:

Chicken - diced into bite sized pieces
5 Dried Chilli
Curry leaves
1 onion - sliced
Ginger - sliced
3 cloves garlic - quartered
Handful of cashew nuts
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 tablespoon dark soy sauce
Light soy sauce
2 tablespoons corn flour
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
Oil to fry

Method:
1. In a bowl, marinate diced chicken with light soy sauce (depending how much chicken you have) and corn flour
2. Heat oil in a wok and fry the onions, garlic, curry leaves, dried chilli, cinnamon and star anise till golden brown and aromatic. Remove from oil and place in a bowl.
3. Add in chicken mix and fry in the seasoned oil till cooked.
4. Drizzle in dark soy sauce and honey. Return onions mixture to wok. Add cashew nuts. Mix everything well to coat over chicken. Taste and add salt/light soy sauce if necessary.
5. Best served hot.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Italian-style veggie soup

I'm finally winding down in the last few weeks of the last semester my Masters degree. The weather in Sydney this week has been unpredictable - hot sun then suddenly rain cooling down the rest of the day. And the weekend has unfortunately been mostly rainy (spoiled a day out on Manly beach), so as soon as I got home, decided a nice hearty, wholesome piping hot pot of soup was in order. Plus, I can easily picture someone's Nonna out there making this...


Italian-style veggie soup (updated)
Ingredients:
A handful of diced chicken breast
1 medium potato - diced
1 zucchini diced
1 red onion diced
3 cloves garlic - smashed
About 5cm of ginger - sliced thickly
1/2 red capsicum - diced
A handful of rice
1/2 can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon condensed chicken stock
2-4 cans water (to begin with, you can keep adding as it cooks to the consistency you want)
1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
2 small bay leaves
Salt & pepper to season

Method:
1. Add a little oil in a pot and saute garlic, ginger and chicken till brown. Add in veggies and cook for a bit, before adding in water, uncooked rice, bay leaves, chicken stock.
2. Once veggies are slightly softened and rice half cooked, add in diced tomatoes and herbs. Taste and season with salt&pepper. Add in more water if necessary.
4. Leave to cook for about 30 minutes until the veggies are all soft.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Spicy Tuna & Onions

Since I started an internship and the other weekdays are filled with classes/ research for assignments, I have been feeling super-lazy to cook anything "proper" after coming home from a long day out. Sometimes its either slopping some spread & ham between a bread of some sort (or the latest "craze" - an english muffin), those one-person caesar/greek salads from Woolies or frying up two sausages or fish chips. But there are days when I feel like something spicy with rice. And this is where I end up... (since defrosting "real" meats takes too darn long)...

Spicy Tuna & Onions
Ingredients:
1 can Tuna Chunks in Olive Oil
1 onion - sliced finely
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder (
chinna chiraham)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Salt to season

Method:
1. Heat some oil in frying pan and fry onions till translucent and soft.
2. Add in chilli, turmeric and cumin powder. Mix well with onions and cook it for a minute or two till aromatic. Lower the heat slightly so it doesn't burn.
3. Add in tuna. Mix well. Break down chunks into smaller pieces. Season
4. Fry it up a bit until you get some crispy bits.
5. Serve with rice.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

5 spice roast potatoes

You can hardly go wrong with roast potatoes, but this version gives it a bit of an Asian flair...

5 spice roast potatoes
Ingredients:
5 Potatoes - cut into large chunks or wedges
4 cloves garlic - smashed
2 tablespoons Five spice powder
Salt to taste
Olive oil spray

Method:

1. In a large bowl, toss potato chunks with five spice powder, smashed garlic and salt till well coated.
2. Prep baking tray with foil and spray on olive oil, preheat oven at 200degrees.
3. Place the whole potato mix on tray. Give a spray of olive oil on top. Cover with foil.
4. Cook for about 15minutes covered, then another 10minutes uncovered to brown and crisp. *Check to see if its done, time may vary depending on how big your chunks/wedges are.

p/s: Five spice powder should be available at any Chinese grocer or Asian supermarket.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Soba with Baked Barramundi & Garlic-flavoured vege


Soba topped with Baked Barramundi & Garlic-flavoured vege

A: Baked Barramundi
Ingredients:
2 medium-sized Barramundi fish fillets
1 red capsicum - cut into pieces
Lemon slices
1 tablespoon mince ginger
1 teaspoon chilli paste
6 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
Olive oil spray


Method:

1. Lightly spray oil onto a piece of aluminum foil. In a bowl, mix the ginger, chili and sauces to form a paste. Place fish on foil and spread some paste on top. Turn over fish and repeat (but keep about a tablespoon of the paste remaining). Give lemon slices a squeeze on top of fish fillets and place the slices on top.
2. Arrange capsicum around the fish. Fold foil into a sealed envelope. Bake in preheated oven at 200celcius for 15minutes.


B: Garlic-flavoured sprouts
Ingredients:
3 cloves garlic - minced
Bean sprouts
1 carrot - shaved into long strips with a peeler
Soy sauce


Method:
1. Heat oil in a skillet. Saute mince garlic till aromatic then throw in sprouts & carrot. Season lightly with some soy sauce and cook till preferred (some like me prefer it crunchy, others may like it a tad softer).

C: Soba
Ingredients:
1 handful organic Soba (Japanese noodles)
1 tablespoon above marinade (optional)


Method:
1. Cook Soba according to instructions on pack. I cooked mine in rapidly boiling water for 4 minutes, drain and throw them into a bowl of cold water (this is important to ensure it stops cooking & you don't get mushy noodles). Drain and place in bowl.
2. Optional: Toss Soba with the soy-ginger-chilli marinade to flavour up the noodles.


Just plate your Soba and top it with the stir-fried sprouts/carrots and place a lovely fish fillet & roast capsicum on top!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Stir-fry sweet chilli garlic prawns & snowpeas

Stir-fry sweet chilli garlic prawns & snowpeas
Ingredients:
250g prawns - shelled, de-veined but with the tails left on
Snowpeas or green beans
1 tomato - diced
1 and a half tablespoons of Lee Kum Kee chilli garlic sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon worchestire sauce
1 teaspoon raw sugar

Method:
1. Marinade prawns with soy sauce and worchestire sauce.
2. Heat some oil in frying pan and "fry" the chilli garlic sauce till aromatic.
3. Add in tomatoes then prawns.
4. Stir-fry till prawns are half cooked then add in snowpeas and sugar. Toss well till cooked.
5. Perfect to be served with steamed jasmine rice.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Miso baked fish & grilled asparagus

I usually skip watching The Biggest Loser because it often makes me feel guilty - especially because it usually comes on telly around dinner time, and I'm seated stuffing my face with less-than-ideal-on-the-low-fat-scale food. But the Australian version's Masterclass cooking sessions with chef Janella have provided some pretty delish (guilt-free) recipes including these two which I've somewhat adapted.

Miso baked fish
(adapted from Whole Baby Snapper)
Ingredients:
Fish (I used snapper fillets as I'm not such a fan of whole fish)
1 tablespoon Miso paste
**1 teaspoon Mirin (a sweet Japanese condiment, I left it out)
Half an orange, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon ginger, sliced finely

Method:
1. Place fish on a aluminium foil (big enough to cover the fish)
2. Mix miso paste (and mirin if you're using it) and smear over fish. Note that Miso is salty so you don't need to use any salt.
3. Top with ginger shreds and then orange slices.
4. Fold foil over and secure all the ends so that it is like an envelope.
5. Bake in 200c oven (or on top of hot barbecue) for about 7-10minutes.



Grilled Asparagus
(adapted from Asparagus & Egg salad)
Ingredients:

12 asparagus
1 egg -full boiled, peeled and set aside to cool
Balsamic vinegar
1/4 lemon
Pepper
Olive oil

Method:
1. Lightly spray hot grill (or oven pan) with olive oil. Place asparagus on to cook. Once they're browned, move it to your serving plate.
2. Grate (yes you read right) the hard-boiled egg into pretty shavings over the asparagus. Squirt on some lemon juice, a little drizzle of balsamic and crack some black pepper over it. Serve!


p/s: Check out more of their recipes at http://www.thebiggestloser.com.au/recipes.htm

Friday, December 25, 2009

Xmas lunch

Itching to cook for and host a family gathering, I decided to call everyone over to mom's place for a "western" Xmas lunch. When plans were made, my mind didn't quite pick up that it involved feeding 17 people -- that took some exhausting hours in the kitchen spread over two days (i cut up and assembled everything on the eve to give me enough cooking time since we were working with only one oven)... Anyways, everyone enjoyed (or were being completely nice) the meal, though unfortunately, I was too busy running around to pause and take pics of the individual dishes.

Watermelon-Mint mocktail (makes about 1 large jug)
Ingredients:
1/2 watermelon (pureed)
1 bottle fizzy lemonade
Sprigs of mint
2 cups of ice cubes

Method:
1. Combine watermelon puree and mint in jug and muddle using a large spoon or masher.
2. Add fizzy lemonade and stir it well into the watermelon mixture. Chill in fridge and add ice cubes when ready to serve.


Jamie Oliver's Perfect Roast Chicken (and Rosemary Roast Potatoes)
Ingredients:
1 x 2kg whole dressed chicken
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Mixed five spice (this is my addition)
2 kg potatoes, peeled
1 large lemon
1 whole bulb of garlic, broken in cloves
A handful of fresh thyme
Olive Oil
Fresh rosemary leaves

Method:
1. Rub chicken generously inside and outside with salt, pepper and mixed spice. Leave to marinade a couple of hours or overnight.
2. Preheat oven 190C.
3. Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Cut potatoes to golf-ball size pieces, put into water with whole lemon. Cook 12min. Drain and allow potatoes to steam dry (for crispier potatoes). Remove lemon and garlic.
4. While lemon is still hot, carefully stab it about 10 times all around. Take chicken out of fridge, pat with kitchen paper, rub olive oil all over.
5. Push garlic, lemon, thyme into chicken's cavity. Roast in oven around 45mins.
6. Lift chicken off the tray and toss the potatoes in leftover dripping and rosemary leaves. Shake tray around and place chicken back in with potatoes. Cook further 45mins. You can tell the chicken is cooked when thigh meat pulls away easily from bone and juice runs clear.
7. Remove garlic, squeeze flesh out of skin, mush it up and smear over chicken. Discard lemon, thyme and rosemary. Carve and serve!


No-brainer Buttered Vegetables
Ingredients:
Broccoli
Carrot
Cauliflower

Snowpeas
Garlic herb butter (store-bought)
Water
Salt

Method:
1. Cut vege (exc snow peas) ept into large bite size pieces. In a pot, bring salted water to a boil. In a seperate large bowl, fill it up with water and ice cubes. Drop vege in to blanch for a couple of minutes till tender. Quickly dish out with slotted spoon and move it into icy cold water.
2. In a microwaveable bowl, melt enough garlic butter to coat vege (should take about 30 seconds - 1 minute in the microwave). Toss vege in the melted butter and just before serving, return to microwave to heat for a minute or so.


Cranberry-Apricot Brown Rice
Refer here for recipe. Just swap the cous-cous for brown rice. I cooked the brown rice in a rice cooker with half the usual water measurement, then added in a cup of mango juice once the water had absorbed (halfway through the cooking process).

Greek Lamb Moussaka (serves 4-5)
Ingredients:
A) The base
3 large aubergines, sliced (generously salt the slices, leave for 5 mins and then squeeze excess water & pat dry)

B) The Lamb Layer
5 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 small can tomato puree
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional, I use it to add a bit of edge to the sauce in lieu of red wine)
550g mince lamb
1 tsp dried mixed herbs (if u have fresh ones, use rosemary & bay leaves)
Salt & Black Pepper

C) The Bechamel Sauce
75g butter
75g plain flour
600ml milk
80g parmesan, grated
1 egg yolk
Pinch of nutmeg or mixed spice powder

Method:
1. Prepare lamb sauce by saute-ing onion and garlic. Add mince and fry. Add tomato puree, balsamic and herbs. Simmer uncovered for half an hour or till thick.
2. Preheat oven to 190C.
3. Spray some oil on frying pan and brown the aubergines on both sides.
4. Make Bechamel by melting butter in sauce pan and slowly adding flour, stirring until it forms a smooth paste. Stir in milk and bring to boil. Simmer for 10mins. Take off heat and add egg yolk, cheese and spice. Whisk till smooth and thick.
5. In a casserole dish, layer aubergine slices > mince > aubergine > mince > bechamel.
6. Bake uncovered for 25-30min.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Arroz con Leche (Rice with Milk)

I was introduced to this heartwarming traditional rice pudding by my Mexican friend Nantli and decided to give it a try to share at a dinner party with my cousins (shout out to the fab Ami, Shankini, Sumi).

It bears similarities to the Indian dish Kheer/Ponggal Rice though somehow I much prefer this version cos it smells lovely too!
Arroz Con Leche (Rice with Milk)
Ingredients:

1 cup rice (preferably short grain)
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cinnamon stick
Peel from 1/2 orange (you can sub it with 1/2 lemon or 1 lime)
1 1/2 cup full cream milk
1/2 can evaporated milk
1/2 can condensed milk
2 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup raisins
Ground cinnamon (to dust on top when serving)

Method:

1. Wash the rice well. In a non-stick pot, throw in rice, water, salt, cinnamon stick, orange peel and bring to a boil while occasionally stirring. Once boiled, cover and leave to simmer on low heat till rice absorbs the water.
2. In a seperate bowl, whisk together full cream milk, evaporated milk and condensed milk.
3. After the rice has absorbed the water, slowly pour in milk mixture and stir. Bring heat back up to high and stir about every few minutes till milk boils. Add in raisins. Lower heat and stir occassionally till mixture thickens into a porridge-y consistency. Check if rice grains have softened.
4. Turn off the heat and stir in butter. Serve warm in bowls or a fancier version would be spooning the mixture into little plastic lined cup moulds, and plating it. Dust cinnamon over pudding before serving.