Friday, May 30, 2008

Lemon Cream Cheese Pound Cake

That's quite a mouthful isn't it? This is a cross between a butter cake and ... a lemon. It's from Mr. M's French cook book (yes, the one that I 'borrowed'). And I should have guessed, somehow, that it would be a big cake. How big? Well, let's put it this way, after I put the cake in the oven, there was still some leftover batter to make 12 cupcakes. So if you don't have an army to feed, please cut the recipe down according to your belt size.

My kitchen resembled a war zone with lemon cream cheese plastered all over the wall, my shirt, the sink, the floor, the cupboards, the kettle, the cups and much, much more. This is of course is probably due to my lack of skill - or perhaps, lack of equipment. One should not attempt this with a hand held mixer. I wish I had me one of those beautiful Kitchen Aid Artisan stand mixers (vocabulary input thanks to google).

The girls and I are heading out for dinner tonight and leaving the boys at home. I've made this cake and Tim Tam Kahlua ice cream for dessert. Seeing that it's going to be a cold night, we're having hot spicy cocoa with marshmallows. It's pure evil. I know. But an All-Girls'-Nite deserves this. We're worth it. ;P

A girl friend and I had a conversation about weight (as women do) and she said to me, "No one ever gets fat from enjoying food" (She heard that on Oprah). "It's usually a deeper meaning - a more emotional and psychological reason - why people reach out for food especially during in a stressful situation." I, too, read somewhere that, we equate food to love and whenever we feel 'unloved' - whether by parents or partners, we reach out for the next available thing - food. Hence the term "comfort food".

What's your vote on that?

Baked Lemon Cheesecake
450g unsalted butter, softened
3 cups self-raising flour, sifted
2 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp salt
3 cups caster sugar
250g cream cheese, softened
5 eggs, room temperature
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla essence

The Method
1. Preheat oven 160c. Butter tins.
2. Whisk flour, zest and salt together.
3. At medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy for about 5 mins.
4. Add cream cheese. Beat till smooth. Reduce speed to low.
5. Add eggs, one at a time. Incorporate one egg before you beat in another.
6. Beat in flour in 3 batches alternating with lemon juice and vanilla.
7. Pour batter into baking tins
8. Do the smell and skewer test i.e. when the scent of lemons fill the room, it's time to test it with the skewer.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Albert & Alfred

I have a pair of resident pigeons which I've adopted as Albert and Alfred. I don't know which is which and for all I know, they could be Alberta and Alfreda. Every day they'll be sitting by my windows coo-ing. (Cheeky thinks that the tree is sort of like a birds' lavatory. They perch. They poop. They fly.) Lately, we've taken to putting breadcrumbs on the window sill. Okay, okay, I've taken to putting breadcrumbs.... (Mr. G said not to make it a regular thing. He thinks they look overweight as it is). Since pets aren't allowed in the apartment and the birds are in their natural habitat, I don't think I'm breaking any rules here.

Pumpkin Rice

I woke up hungry. Unfortunately for me, my fridge was having a Old Mother Hubbard's day. All I could see was half a butternut pumpkin, half an onion and a couple of garlic cloves. Oh thank you Lord!

Now, if there's one thing you must know about me, I love my pumpkins. Seriously. They're yummy. They're healthy. They're the one of the most blessed vegetables God made in this world that can be transform into about anything you put your mind to. (Need a car? All you need is a pumpkin and call 1800-fairygodmother).

Food Commandment: Thou must not walk away from the stove and chat to your sister about food blogs because you might end up with burnt rice.

Pumpkin Rice (serves 2)
2 1/2 rice cups of brown rice or wild red rice
1 tbsp of olive oil
1/2 a butternut pumpkin, cubed
1/2 a onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp of ginger, slivered
1 tbsp of soy sauce
5 dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked in hot water
fried shallots to garnish

1. Heat olive oil in a pot, when hot, throw in the garlic, onions and ginger.
2. When fragrant, add the butternut pumpkin and leave it for *5 minutes.
3. Add rice and 3 cups of water. Salt and pepper to taste. Leave for 10 minutes.
4. Stir the rice and when most of the moisture is gone, add the soy sauce and mushrooms.
5. Leave for another 15 minutes or when rice is cook.
6. Garnish with shallots and serve hot.

*Note: I believe that's how long I took to do the dirty dishes.

Lazy Hints:
An alternative and unsupervised method is to cook it in the rice cooker. Follow until Method 2. Then put the rice, water and pumpkin into the rice cooker and press 'Cook'. *Bing-Bada-Bing!*

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Teddy's Challenge #2

This week, Teddy says I must make Baked Caramel Custard.

Caramel Custards and I go a long way back. Not like I've made them ever but because I ate them long before I've known how. My first encounter with Caramel Custard was when my sister made it. I must have been 8 or 9. My sister baked a lot then - and even now. I've probably mentioned before that she's the in-house baker. I'm usually the in-house eater and occasional food critic.

Back to Caramel Custards. I loved the eggy smoothness, the smell of caramel lingering in the bowl long after it's down the gastro pipelines. Every time I see Caramel Custard on the menu my heart beats a beat faster, my stomach growls a notch higher and it brings back memories of how sweet the very first contact was... the long furtive glances. The slightly opened mouth. The moist feelings between the lips. And eventually, the satisfactory *sigh*.

Now, making it... hmmm... that'll be an interesting experience.

Monday, May 26, 2008

As Simple As ABC

I love bread. Very much. I was practically living on bread when I was a uni student. (The good old days) hehe. I ate bread everyday until my friends said that my cheeks were as chubby as buns! :P Anyways.. recently, I've been having sandwiches for lunch almost every other day at work. That's because it's simple to prepare! (in other words = I've been lazy). At the moment, I'm not getting bored of it.. yet. ;)
Here are 2 simple ideas for sandwiches:

Ham & Cucumber Sandwich
- Bread
- Ham
- Cucumber
- Margerine
- Mayonaise

A. Spread margerine on bread
B. Add ham and cucumber slices to bread
C. Add mayo!

I was trying to be creative and came up with my own dessert sandwich:
Nutella Banana Sandwich
- Bread
- Banana
- Nutella hazelnut spread

A. Spread nutella on bread
B. Add banana slices to bread

The result:

You should really try the nutella banana sandwich. It's so simple and yet it tastes amazing! You can have it as breakfast, lunch or even dessert! ;)

Oh yeah, if you have any simple ideas for sandwiches, do share! :D

Quote of the day ~ Happiness comes from within ~

Cooking with Monkey

I must be allowed to rave about this blog. When I first saw it I went berzerk! I thought it was absolutely brilliant and original. Monkey writes very well for a primate. It was funny (understandably), witty (why, of course) and intelligent (naturally). Thanks Monkey for letting me blog about you. Friends have always told me that one day, I'd have a monkey army... this could well be the beginning of it.
Visit monkey at Hi Monkey!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Saturday Breakie Beans with Sausages

For the longest time, I remember baked beans as mushy beans soaked in gooey diluted 'tomato sauce' in a can. Dad used to make bake beans with meat patties every night for dinner whenever mom went on teachers' training - which I'm glad didn't happen very often.

I was rummaging my pantry and found some food stuff that looked interestingly unexplored such as polenta and a variety of dried beans. And because now I'm 'all grown up' and not afraid of experimenting with things I previously held my button nose high and away, I decided to make some baked beans with sausages for breakfast.

And you know what?
I've totally fallen in love with the dish. :)

It's an absolute yum, and although Mr. G reckons the beans could have been boiled a tad softer, I like a texture to bite into (*brr* mushy beans). We'll rate this a 4.5 out of 5 (Mr. G says a 4 because he says it's a little too spicy).

Saturday Breakie Beans with Sausages
200g borlotti beans (soaked overnight)
200g kidney beans (soaked overnight)
1 small brown onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
1/2 cumin powder (gives out a smoky flavour)
400g can diced tomatoes
3 teaspoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon tomato sauce
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 tbs HP Sauce

Your favourite sausage from the deli. I used spicy pork sausages, and for Mr. G, a herb beef sausage.


0. Boil the beans in a pot of hot, slightly salted water for 30 minutes (or more if you like your beans to be softer).
1. Pan fry the sausages over medium-high fire. Slit the sausages so that it cooks well-done inside (it's a rude shock to bite into some raw bits). Swab the oil from the sausages with absorbent paper from time to time.
2. Set aside the sausages when it's cooked.
3. Add the onions to the frying pan until onions are translucent.
4. Throw the garlic in.
5. Add paprika and cumin. Stir fry for 2 - 3 minutes.
6. Add the diced tomatoes, sugar, the rest of the sauces and beans. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until heated through. Season with salt and pepper.
7. Return sausages to frying pan. Serve hot with a sprinkle of parsley.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Ugly Black Forest with Chocolate Ganache

My brother, Mr. M, loves black forest cakes. Or so I think anyway. Whenever it was his birthday, my parents would always get him a black forest cake (Hmm... come to think of it, maybe he didn't have a choice).

I have to say that this did not turn out the way I would like it to. I was complaining to Mr. G so much he said, well, why don't you just call it an ugly black forest cake? And so it should. If I had it any other way, I would go back and improve on the method of the cake. The cake tasted fine but it was rock hard. The ganache did good for the cake. And I would have liked more kirsh in it. It was a time-consuming recipe and I would like it fluffier. It's back to the drawing board with this one.

If you have a black forest cake recipe that is to die for, please, please, let us try it. And if you have any tips on how to cut a cake into perfect halves - do please let me in to the secret. I'm dying to know.

Black Forest with Chocolate Ganache

  • 2 1/4 cups (340g) self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup (100g) brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (30g) cocoa powder
  • 350g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 250g butter, chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) milk
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) thickened cream
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) kirsh
  • 300ml container Pure double thick cream
  • 2 x 425g cans stoneless black cherries, drained
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a 22cm round cake pan with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Combine 2 1/4 cups (340g) self-raising flour, 1/2 cup (100g) brown sugar and 1/4 cup (30g) cocoa powder in a large bowl.
  3. Melt 200g dark chocolate, chopped and 250g butter, chopped in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.
  4. Add to the flour mixture with 3 eggs and 1/2 cup (125ml) milk. Spoon into pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  5. To assemble the cake once it is completely cooled, melt 150g dark chocolate, chopped and 1/3 cup (80ml) thickened cream in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Set aside for 30 minutes to cool slightly and thicken. Alternatively, place the chocolate and cream in a large heatproof microwave bowl. Heat in the microwave on medium/50 per cent power, stirring every minute until melted and smooth.
  6. Cut the cake in half horizontally, brush both cut sides with a 1/3 cup (80ml) kirsh.
  7. Lightly whip 300ml container Pure double thick cream.
  8. Place the bottom piece of the cake on a serving plate.
  9. Spread the cut side with the cream.
  10. Top with 2 x 425g cans stoneless black cherries, drained.Top with the remaining cake.
  11. Spread over the ganache.
Recipe from:

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Spicy Vegetable Soup

A couple of months ago I took up a friend's invitation to go on a 10-day meditation retreat. If you've never been to one, and might be thinking about it, I suggest that you try it. It was the most mentally and physically challenging exercise I've done in a long time and I've discovered that many of us don't like our own company very much. (After ten days, you'll have a whole different perspective about your self - in a really good way).

We were served two meals a day with simple, wholesome dishes. The simplicity of the food brought out the flavours of the ingredients. It tasted alive! It might have been the fresh air or the peace that surrounded us but everything was vibrant and delicious. (My taste buds was at its happiest).

One of the dishes I enjoyed (and thought most about) was the vegetable soup. The original recipe wasn't spicy but I've made it hot and perfect for a cold autumn's night. The can tomatoes adds a sour tang to the soup while the vegetables gives it some natural sweetness. What you'll get is a rustic and hearty hot, sour and sweet soup.

I'm extremely pleased with this recipe and I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did.

Spicy Vegetable Soup (serves 6)
8 cups of water
2 cubes of vegetable stock (10g each)
1 tbsp of sea salt
2 fistful of barlotti beans; 2 fistful of lentils; 2 fistful of black eye beans; 2 fistful of red kidney beans
3 large spuds, cubed
1/4 of butternut pumpkin, cubed
1 leafy vegetable
1 large onion, diced
1 zucchini
1 can (400g) diced tomatoes
1 tsp rosemary; 1 tsp thyme; 1 tsp cumin; *1 tsp hot paprika
1 tbsp of olive oil

1. Heat the oil in a heavy soup pot over medium heat, then add the onion and saute until tender for a couple of minutes.
2. Stir in the tomatoes, lentils, beans and water and continue cooking for a few more minutes, letting the soup come back up to a simmer.
3. When the soup boils, throw in the vegetable stock and sea salt.
4. Stir in pumpkin and spuds. Wait for approx. 15 minutes.
5. Stir in the chopped greens and zucchini. Wait another minute.
6. Throw the spices in. Let the soup simmer for approx. 10 minutes.
7. Ladle into bowls, and serve with crunchy, fried shallots.

*Note: If you're not too keen on the heat, reduce the amount of hot paprika to half.

Apricot & Mango Yoghurt Cake

To break the chocolate spell (and a break before attempting the blackforest) I decided to do a fruity. The original recipe called for just apricot but I thought: "Why not be greedy?" The result? Absolutely soft, moist cake with bits of chewy apricots and juicy mango.

As a little girl, I used to sit under one of the seven mango trees in my parents' garden and pluck one drooping ripe mango, peel of the green leathery skin and bite into the sweet orange flesh. The sour yellow semi-ripe mangoes, we'd make a salad or dip in a dark caramelized spicy peanut sauce - giving it a sour, sweet, spicy, nutty flavour. I know it's hard to imagine but it is absolutely delicious.

The yoghurt in the recipe, I believe keeps the cake moist and milky. I really like this recipe and will definitely try it again.

Apricot & Mango Yoghurt Cake
* 425g can mangoes halves, drained
* 125g butter, softened
* 8 dried apricots, chopped finely
* 1/2 cup caster sugar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
* 2 eggs
* 1 1/3 cups self-raising flour
* 250g apricot and mango yogurt
* 1/4 cup shredded coconut

1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
2. Grease base and sides of a 6cm-deep, 20cm (base) springform cake pan.
3. Sprinkle the coconut and arrange mango slices at the bottom of the cake pan.
4. Using an electric mixer, cream butter, caster sugar and vanilla until pale and fluffy.
5. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
6. Stir in flour and yoghurt until well combined.
7. Add the chopped apricots and stir with a spatula until well combined.
8. Spoon the cake mixture into prepared pan. Smooth surface.
9. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Weekly Assignment

Mr. G has left an assignment for Teddy. Teddy is to give me a weekly challenge. This week (after much negotiation), Teddy has informed me that I am to make Black Forest Cake with Chocolate Ganache.

Stay tune for that folks!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Food of Love

Mr. G has been away on work for seven weeks and believe you me, I've been feeling deprived on love and affection. I proposed to Mr. G that we should have a weekend with just the two of us. And I thought, why not have a picnic? Mr. G happily agreed. (Of course this is my blog and when I say Mr. G is happy, Mr. G is happy)

Monday was beautiful. Thursday still fine.

Saturday? Damn rain.

But my mother didn't call me a stubborn cow for no reason. No rain's going to spoil my parade. Nu-uh. I want my picnic and I want it today! So even though it was spitting rain, we got up and armed ourselves with green grocer bags and went off to the fresh market.

I love markets. The sights and sounds are dazzling. The taste... ahh... spectacular. As for the day's menu, I settled for baked curry chicken wings, triple decker avocado chicken sandwiches and banana bread pudding.

So this weekend, it's bonus weekend. More recipes and more pictures! And you don't have to thank me, I had an absolutely astounding time.

Baked Curry Chicken Wings (feeds 2)
500g of chicken wings
2 tbsp of curry powder
1/2 tbsp of cumin
salt and pepper

Let's Cook!
1. Preheat oven to 240c.
2. Marinate chicken with salt and pepper, curry powder and cumin.
3. Rest the wings for 15 mins.
4. Pop it into the oven.
5. Bake for 45 mins. Be sure to check and turn them over after 25 mins or so.

Triple Decker Avocado Chicken Sandwich
500g chicken fillet
salt & pepper
1 avocado, sliced
2 tomatoes, sliced
lettuce, shredded
one small carrot, shredded
6 slices of bread

Let's Cook!
1. Marinate chicken with salt and pepper.
2. Let it snooze for 15 mins.
3. Pan fry chicken fillet on low-heat flame. Turn after 5 minutes.
4. The chicken's cook when clear juice runs as you slay it with a knife through.
5. Dice the bird into cubes. It looks better in squares anyway.
6. Toast the bread, butter one side, pile as much lettuce as you like, add avocado and carrots.
7. Sandwich another slice of buttered toast on, this time pile on tomatoes and diced chicken.
8. Finish it up with one more slice of buttered toast.
9. Cut the crust off and half the sandwich.

Banana Bread Pudding
6 slices of raisin loaf
3 eggs
1 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of milk
1 1/2 tbsp vanilla essence
4 large ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided in half
1/2 teaspoon fresh, finely grated ginger root
2 tablespoons Kahlua or rum

The Joy!
1. Cube the bread, put it in a bowl with the Kahlua and milk and allow to stand for 30 minutes.
2. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, ginger and spices.
3. Mash the bananas and combine all ingredients together.
4. Stir into a lightly greased baking dish and bake at 325 degrees.
5. It's good to go when the edges are golden and skewer comes out nearly clean (same test as for cakes).
6. Cool and serve with whipped cream.

Before I baked, I was more of a... cook. I made breakfasts, lunches and dinners but never, ever, did I bake (unless it came in a box and all you had to do was cheat). As fate would have had it, the main reason why I've shifted into baking mode is because pictures turn out decent in day light. I can't for the life of me, make dinner pictures look good in incandescent light (OK, whatever those orangy mangly lightings are). So, my question to anyone is, how do I take night foodography without big flashy photographer lighting?

(Note: Mr. G and I drove to the beach and sat in the car, looking out into the ocean, munching our sandwiches, sipping on white wine and listening to tracks on his ipod. We sat in each others' company, chatting, enjoying the view and loving each other with chicken juices running down our chin. Ah, what a perfect way to spend a rainy Saturday).

Friday, May 16, 2008

One Pot Rice

Have I ever mentioned that I'm lazy? No? If you haven't noticed, I've only been cooking really simple dishes. It doesn't take more than 30-45mins time for me to prepare and cook a meal. ;)

There are also days when I'm really really lazy, where I don't do any cooking at all. However, it doesn't mean that I'll eat out. I just need to prepare some easy ingredients and simply throw everything into a rice cooker and let it cook for me! *lol*

So, on one of those days, a recipe like this comes in handy:

One Pot - Chicken Rice
Ingredients (for 2 persons)
- 1 cup of Rice
- 1 Chicken breast fillet
- 8 dried chinese Mushrooms
- 1 stalk of Spring onion
- 1 small piece of Ginger
- Garlic
- Soy sauce or salt
- Oyster sauce
- Sesame oil
- Dark soy sauce

1. Wash and add 1 cup of rice into a rice cooker
2. Cut chicken fillet into bite size pieces
3. Marinate chicken pieces with soy sauce or salt
4. Chop garlic finely
5. Cut ginger into thin slices
6. Cut mushrooms into slices (make sure you soak the dried mushrooms much earlier)
7. Add chicken, garlic, ginger and mushrooms into rice cooker
8. Add water - the usual amount for 1 cup of rice + extra (adjust accordingly to the additional ingredients)
9. Add salt or soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil + dark soy sauce and mix everything thoroughly. (I added according to my own estimation - no fixed measurements here)
10. Turn on the rice cooker and let it do its work while you enjoy your favourite tv programme, book or food blogs!
11. When it's cooked (you can smell it!), add finely chopped spring onions and serve!

*Note: It might take a little longer than usual to cook because of the extra stuff you've added to the rice. By the way, you can also stir fry the chicken and mushrooms with garlic, ginger and the sauces before you add them to the rice cooker, that is if you're not lazy and want the chicken to have more flavour. You can even add some veges to it if you want a more balanced meal (I take the spring onions as my vege! *chuckles*). Feel free to improvise on it. There are no fixed rules for cooking! ;)

The result:

I call this the one pot rice. :D It's simple yet tasty and filling. Although I might get lazy sometimes, I still managed to add another post to this blog! *grin* Looks like I'm not that lazy after all! or maybe I've started improving! ;)

Quote of the day ~ You will see it when you believe it~

Monday, May 12, 2008

Autumn Brilliance

Last weekend, Cheeky and I were at the Botanic Gardens. We were taking portrait shots of A&A for their coming wedding. It's not something we do often... in fact, it was our first. Cheeky helped with the reflective boards and while she wasn't, she took some amazing shots of autumn around us.

My favourite seasons has to be autumn and spring. Colours burst at natures' seams. I believe they are Mother Nature's best works. We wanted to share these with you so you can enjoy her latest work. It's nothing short of breathless.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Flourless Orange Chocolate Cake

Happy Mothers' Day to all the mom's out there. Special note to my sisters: Michelle, Bee, and, especially of course, my mom, for being such incredibly awesome women! You've done a wonderful job bringing great kids up into the world (which means also, me).

This cake was pretty easy, however, no flour means a longer baking time. Mr. G and family had some for tea and Mr. G couldn't resist having seconds even when his mom was saving it for dessert later tonight.

As usual, I'd improvised. The original recipe was without orange (or cream and Cointreau) so you can omit the orange juice and zest and replace it with two (2) tablespoons of vanilla extract instead. You can also add some nuts like macadamia or walnut. They would go well. I would say be bold and go wild with this cake. There's plenty of ways to make it your signature cake.

Flour-less Orange Chocolate Cake
280g of dark cooking chocolate, chopped
250g unsalted butter
5 eggs
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
juice of an orange
zest of an orange
300ml double cream
3 tsp Cointreau or orange liqueur (optional)

The Fun
1. Preheat the oven to 180c
2. Lightly butter the baking tin and sprinkle one tablespoon of sugar around the tin and shake off excess.
3. Melt the butter and chocolate in a double pan until smooth. Stir frequently.
4. Beat the eggs (one by one) in with the sugar until fluffy.
5. Add cocoa, half the juice and 3/4 the zest (keep the rest to decorate).
6. Slowly add in the chocolate mix.
7. Pour into baking tin. Tap gently to release air bubbles.
8. Place cake tin in a roasting pan covered 3/4 inch up with boiling water.
9. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour.

The Cream Top
1. Beat cream till thick and ... you know... whippy.
2. Spread on cake.
3. Add zest, orange juice and liqueur.

Have small dosages of the cake first because it's truly rich. So rich that you'll be blessed with an extra inch to your tummy, hips, hair, arms (put wherever applicable). But hey, if you think it's bad... that's why it's awesomely good.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Something About Nothing

Ever since I was a little girl, I've dreamnt of watching fluffy ballerinas in their pointy pink shoes flying on stage, jumping like African antelopes into the arms of some equally agile creature with buns-of-steel (Note that the buns-of-steel idea came after puberty). I dreamnt of living in a foreign land and seeing foreign things that would set sparks in my head. New smells. New sights. New experiences. New wonders. I wondered what it would be like to be sitting under a tree that had shades of red, ocra, magenta, burnt orange and bright yellow. I imagined days sitting in front of a fire on a cold winter night.

... And two blokes in front of me talking about football.

Well, not really the latter. Just happens that my flatmate's walked in with his mate talking in ... a very foreign way. Strange to my ears obviously. Normal to this country.

I'm happy. Very happy. There's much to be thankful for. Good family. Good partner. Good friends. Good wine. Good food. Oy, there's lots to be thankful for.

Sure, things don't always work my way but you know it usually works alright in the end. I don't know how. I don't know when (and trust me, sometimes I wish I do know when). But life works in an amazingly interesting way. This blog did. Well, me baking. Pfft. That's really weird. But I'm happy. Take good care people. I hope you're happy too.

Monkee Girl

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Miso Fried Rice

I like Japanese stuff. Japanese language, music, anime, drama, pretty boys, sakura, cute toys (domo-kun rocks!), colourful vending machines.. everything! Oh, especially Japanese food! All the yummy snacks, instant noodles, ramune, sushi, sashimi, takoyaki, okonomiyaki, unagi-don, katsu curry, bento, etc. Yums! The list goes on and on. ;)

I was out having dinner with my friends at a Japanese restaurant the other day. Instead of having the usual unagi-don, I've decided to order the unagi fried rice (I like unagi!) because I wanted to try something different. That was my first time eating unagi fried rice and boy, it was delicious! Then, it got me thinking.. it's cool that they have unagi fried rice, why not have miso fried rice too?

Say, has anyone ever tried miso fried rice before? Yes? No? So far, I've not seen it in any Japanese restaurants that I've been (not that I eat out often :P) I wonder how it would taste like? Since miso soup tastes nice, I think it should taste good too! Anyway, with that thought in mind, I've conducted another experiment in my kitchen. *grin* And this is the recipe that I've created:

Miso Fried Rice
Ingredients (for 2 persons)
- 1 cup of Rice
- 200g Minced Pork
- 2 small packets of instant Miso soup paste
- 2 Eggs
- 1 stalk of Spring onion
- 1 small piece of Ginger
- Garlic
- Soy sauce or salt

1. Cook 1 cup of rice in a rice cooker (you can also use left over rice)
2. Marinate minced pork with soy sauce or salt
3. Finely chop garlic, ginger and spring onion
4. Fry garlic and ginger in a pan till fragrant
5. Add marinated minced pork and stir through together
6. Dilute miso paste with a little bit of water in a bowl
7. Add miso mix into pan and stir through together
8. Beat eggs in a bowl and add to pan
9. Add rice and stir everything together (make sure you stir everything thoroughly and consistently so that the rice won't stick to the pan)
10. Add salt or soy sauce to taste
11. When it's done, serve in a bowl and sprinkle with some finely chopped spring onions

You can also choose to add any vege of your choice (e.g. lettuce - finely chopped) to the ingredients.

Taa daa! The result of my experiment:

I had a very satisfied guinea pig! ;) Enough said. Try it yourself today.

Quote of the day ~ The more you 'pass on' to others, the more you keep for yourself ~

Green Tea Cupcake

Hello, I'm writing this post at Mr. T's place because my laptop is in the workshop as we speak. A couple of weeks ago, it lost its voice. I thought the 'sore throat' would go away but Mr. G eventually work out it might be a hardware problem. So it's at the doctors having it's tonsils removed. Apparently, it's all ready to come home so I'm relieved. How lonely my days have been...

Anyhoo... it hasn't stopped me from baking.

Got tired of the usual chocolate and cheese so I thought I made something 'different'. The result? Milky yummy cancer-fighting cupcakes! Dessert that's good for you! Whee! We need more of those in the world.

Now, for the recipe.

Green Tea Cupcake (Makes 12)
175g butter, softened
3 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 3/4 cups self-raising flour, sifted
85g instant green tea powder
3 tbsp milk

The Method
1. Preheat the oven to 160c.
2. Cream sugar and butter together with an electric mixer until fluffy.
3. Add flour and eggs. Beat till smooth.
4. Add green tea powder and milk.
5. Line a cupcake tray and fill the cup 3/4 full.
6. You know it's ready when you can smell cupcakes in the air. Seriously. But for an idiot-proof method, skewer it and if it comes out clean then it's done.
7. And if you think those holes are unsightly, then frost it with basic icing.

Twentysomething Notes:

Creaming the sugar and butter together gives cakes and cupcakes a lighter, fluffier texture. Its like biting into a cloud thereafter. I also used an instant green tea drink mix that had non-dairy creamer and sugar. If you're using green tea powder without sugar, then add an additional 1/2 cup sugar to the recipe.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Curry Makes My Day

Being a Malaysian, one cannot live without curry! Or maybe it's just me. ;) I've been having a meal of pipping hot curry every other week, be it curry chicken, curry laksa, katsu curry or anything curry. It always feel good to have a warm plate/bowl of curry meal, especially on a cold weather day here in Melbourne.

I still remember the first time I attempted to cook curry chicken. It was a disaster. First of all, I bought the wrong curry powder. I didn't know there's so many different types of them! Next, I used a little too much of it. *blush* No prize for guessing what happened to the dish. *bluekz* Amazingly, it was still edible in the end! hahaha. But my tummy didn't feel like having curry for the next few weeks. Lesson learned.

Recently, I went shopping at the local asian grocery and came across a packet of ready made chicken curry paste. The brand was Tean's Gourmet and it was made in Malaysia. ;) So it has to be good! Craving for curry, I had decided to buy it and test power in my kitchen. Again, I didn't have a recipe for the dish, but this is what I did:

Curry Chicken
Ingredients (for 2 persons)
- 1 Chicken breast fillet (cut into bite size pieces)
- 4 medium sized Potatoes - medium size (cut into cubes)
- 10 Tofu puffs (cut into halves)
- 1 packet of Tean's Gourmet Chicken Curry paste (bought from the asian grocery)
- 1 can of Ayam brand Coconut milk
- Garlic
- Soy sauce or salt

1. Marinate chicken pieces with soy sauce or salt
2. Finely chop garlic
3. Fry garlic till fragrant
4. Add chicken and stir through together
5. Add curry paste and let it simmer for awhile
6. Add potatoes and tofu puffs
7. Add a little bit of water and let it simmer till the potatoes are soft and chicken pieces are well cooked
8. Finally, add coconut milk and stir through gently
9. Turn off heat and let sit for a few minutes
10. When it's done, serve with rice or bread!

Anyway, this was the result of my experiment:

What do you think? ;) Thank goodness for the invention of ready made curry paste! Now I can enjoy curry whenever I feel like it! I highly recommend Tean's Gourmet Chicken Curry paste. It's yummy! Try it yourself today! :)

Quote of the day ~ Worry is a waste of imagination ~