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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Merry Merry Christmas To All






Christmas is Christmas! It's a time to be jolly and to give. Not to mention with all the eating and eating and eating and laughing and eating and eating...

This year we decided to go with potluck and there was hardly any space left to put all those food on the dining table!

Here are some pictures of our Christmas dinner that says it all..we were all too busy enjoying the food and forgotten to take pictures of the spaghetti that was prepared by my nephew and the salad with sour cream prepared by my s-i-l. Look at the pictures and start drooling!!

Gingerbread Family

Roast Lamb by my youngest sis

Briyani in Pumpkin (by my youngest sis. How creative and it tasted good too!)

A must-have Roast Turkey with Apple Stuffing


Fully Loaded Potato Skin

Fruit Minced Pie (by my eldest sis)


Chocolate fondue

Wendi's Chili (by my 4th sis)

Celebrated my daughter's 6th birthday - Cream Cheese Butter Clown Cake!
(Hm..hmm..made by yours truly)


And here's the Xmas Dinner and presents time!!...tried to install the 'fast-forward' video of our little party but somehow there's an error in uploading..so you only get to see the pictures instead.








Till next year! Merry Christmas to everyone!






Sunday, December 12, 2010

Flavorful India

Kashmiri Lamb Curry.

Are you a fan of Indian Cuisine? I am. My family and I are crazy over curries. The spicier the better but if you prefer a milder curry, then you definitely will like this recipe. This is Kashmir Lamb Curry (but I used mutton). This curry is very light and not spicy at all. You can even slurp the curry like you would soup. Even though it's light but it's very flavorful. Here's the recipe.


750g lamb (or mutton), cut into bite sizes
150ml natural yogurt, lightly whisked
150ml single cream (i used coconut cream)
1 tbsp crushed garlic
2 tsp finely grated fresh root ginger
2 tsp chili powder (you can add more if you want it to be spicier)
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground tumeric

Place the lamb in a large non-metallic bowl, mix together all the above ingredients over the lamb. Mix well, cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 24 hrs.

2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp fennel seeds
2 onions, sliced
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 dried bay leaf
300 ml lamb stock
salt and pepper
chopped fresh coriander, to garnish

Allow the lamb to come to room temperature before cooking. Pre-heat oven to 150C.

Heat the oil in a heavy based casserole dish, then add the fennel seeds and onions. Stir fry for 3-4 mins and then turn the heat on high.

Add the lamb mixture and stir fry for 3-4 mins. Stir in tomatoes, bay leaf and stock, bring to boil and remove from the heat.

Stir well to combine, cover tightly and cook in preheated oven for 2 hours or until lamb is tender, stirring occasionally. Once done, serve immediately with naan, garnished with fresh coriander.



I served this curry with my very own fragrant rice. Yummy!



Friday, November 26, 2010

Awesome Marshmallow Brownies!



I never liked marshmallow. When you eat it as it is, it tasted and felt like sweetened sud! I know it's an odd way of describing it but that's how I felt when I first tasted it! When someone tells me they love marshmallow especially my husband and my children, i would say 'yucks!' and make a face. Even though I don't fancy marshmallow it doesn't mean I should deprive my family of it. I find that I'd prefer marshmallow in a brownie. It added gooey texture to it and at the same time, because of the sugar content, it make the top very crispy.

See how moist it is. The marshmallows will rise to the top of the brownie as it bakes and when it's done and cooled, you will get the crispy top. As you slice the brownie, you will get a 'stringy' effect that sticks to your knife just like when you cut a slice of pizza and the mozarella cheese being pulled away. This is a great recipe which your family will love it.

,
The marshmallow melted at the top and leave a crispy top.


Are you salivating already??

Here's the recipe:

Marshmallow Brownie
150g butter } melted in a heatproof bowl over
125g dark chocolate } a pan of simmering water until just melted.
3 eggs
1 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup plain flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup unsalted peanut (optional)
1 cup mini marshmallow

1. Pre-heat oven to 180C. Line bas of 8inch pan with baking paper, extending over 2 sides.
2. Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla together with a wire whisk until well combined.
3. Sift the flour and cocoa together.
4. Whisk the chocolate mixture into the eggs and stir in flour and cocoa. Do not overbeat.
5. Fold in peanut and marshmallows.
6. Pour into prepared pan and bake till done.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Crispy Biscotti!



My first attempt at baking Biscotti and voila! Crispy and flavorful!
I love Biscotti especially when having a cup of cappuccino. It must not be too sweet although I have tasted some that is very sweet, almost like eating a cookie rather than a biscotti. I'm feeling a bit adventurous today and looked through my cookie recipe book for the recipe. The recipe in my book requires brandy, so I decided to look up for a simpler recipe in the internet. Found one for a Basic Biscotti and had a hand at it today. As you can see, it turned out well and tasted yummy too! My family loves it...here's the recipe..it's very simple to make.


Basic Biscotti
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup almonds (silvered, sliced or whole) (I used pistachios)
2 larges eggs at room temperature
4 tbsp melted butter
2 tsp extract- orange, almond or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract. (I used half a lemon - juice & rind)


Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180d celsius. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. Place flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nuts in a large bowl and stir to combine.
3. In a small bowl, combine the eggs, butter and vanilla and whisk to fully combine. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture. Use your hands, mix to combine until a round dough forms.
4. Dump the dough onto a work surface and knead a couple of times or until the dough come together, adding extra flour sparingly and only if necessary. Start to form the dough into a big, fat cigar and cut it in half. Form each half into a cigar about 1inch thick, 2inches wide and about 12 inches long. Place them onto the cookie sheet and lightly press with your fingers to slightly flatten the dough.
5. Bake for 25 mins reversing the pan halfway through. The bars (cigars) will be firm to the touch and just slightly brown. Remove from the oven and lower the temperature to 150d celsius. Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for 15 mins.
6. Remove the cigars to a cutting board, using a serrated knife, slice the bars on an angle about 1/2 inch thick to form the biscotti. Lay them back on the cookie sheet with either cut side down and place back in the oven for 15 mins. Turn each cookie to expose the other cut side and place back in the oven for another 15 mins. The cookies will take on the slightest bit of color and feel firm and dry. Let cool on rack, store in an air tight container.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Mad About Muffins!

Mint Chocolate Chip Muffin


I'ts a lazy Saturday afternoon and you've got nothing better to do than to dream about how you'd like to spend your time. The weather is hot with a slight breeze and it's making you sleepy. You are sitting in your shaded japanese garden, the soothing sound of 'waterfall' falling from your little pond...the birds are chirping and you have a hot pot of green tea and freshly baked Mint Chocolate Chip Muffin that you are just waiting to sink your teeth in. Zilch! Then you'll wake up and realise that you've got laundry to do, mop the house, cook dinner etc...it's all just a dream but one thing for sure is real...Mint Chocolate Chip Muffin!

The mint tasted so refreshing but you have to eat it warm. The chocolate chips just melt in your mouth. This recipe is taken from my newly acquired book on 'Mad About Muffins' and this is fantastically moist. I've been eyeing this book for quite awhile but not sure if the recipes are good. Since two of my sisters owned it and they like this book, then it's worth to add to my collection...and my bookcase is running out of space.

Here's the recipe...


Mint Chocolate Chip Muffin (makes 11 muffins)


340g plain all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/8tsp salt
185g castor sugar
2 eggs
6 3/4oz milk
1tsp peppermint essence extract
1tsp green fool coloring
100g unsalted butter
100g plain semi sweet choc chips

For topping: 100g plain semi sweet choc chis

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and flour 11 muffin tin sections or line with paper liners.
2. Sift all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and stir well.
3. Combine the eggs, milk, peppermint essence and green fool coloring in a bowl and beat together with a fork.
4. Melt the butter in a small bowl in the microwave or in a small saucepan.
5. Add all the wet ingredients including the butter to the dry ingredients and stir with a large metal spoon until just combined.
6. Gently fold in the choc chips into the batter.
7. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin tin sections and sprinkle the top with choc chips.
8. Bake for 20-30mins until well risen and golden and the top springs back when lightly pressed. Transfer to wire rack to cool.




See how moist it is??? Want some? Go bake some then...hahahaa

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Chicken & Baby Spinach Curry


Today is one of those lazy Sundays!

The weather is not that sunny and neither is it too cool. It just makes you lazy and keeps you wonder what you should do with the rest of the day. Go to the Mall? Nope. Meet up old friends or visit your siblings? Nope. Do some gardening or spring clean the house? Nope...today is one of those days where decision making is causing such an effort and you just start to laze around the house and trying to complete loads of laundry. Since it's quite breezy today, it would be a perfect day if I have a hammock in my garden. With the perfect book (cookbook la, hehee) and some fruit juice at hand, wow, life couldn't be more blissful! Sigh!

So..then, decided to cook a simple dinner of Chicken & Baby Spinach Curry. This is a thumbs-up recipe from my favorite curry cookbook '200 Curries by Sunil Vijayakumar'. If you follow my previous posts, you may have noticed that I've tried a few recipes from this cookbook. I've tried and tested the Chicken Makhani, Egg & Potato Curry and Lamb Briyani. If you are looking for a good curry book, I highly recommend that you get this one..you'll never regret it. All the recipes that I've tried from this cookbook turned up fabulously delicious! Let me share this particular dish recipe with you...

Ingredients:
1 tbsp sunflower oil
4 chicken breast, halved lengthways (i used whole chicken, cut into bite sizes)
1 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 green chili, chopped
4 cardamon pods, lightly crushed
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp dried chili flakes
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground tumeric
250 g baby leaf spinach
300g tomatoes, chopped
150g natural yogurt
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

1. Heat oil in large nonstick saucepan or frying pan. Add the chicken, onion, garlic and chili and fry for 4-5 mins until the chicken begins to brown and the onion to soften.
2. Add the cardamon pods, cumin seeds, chili flakes, ginger and tumeric and continue to fry for 1 min.
3. Add the spinach to the pan, cook and cover until the spinach wilts, then stir in the tomatoes and simmer for 15 mins, removing the lid for the last 5 mins.
4. Stir in the yogurt and chopped coriander and serve with basmati rice.f (you can also serve wit any white rice).

Fabulous recipe! Do try this as it's so simple to cook. Bon Appetite!!

The next recipe I would love to try from this cookbook will be the Goan Pork Vindaloo...mmm..or maybe I should substitute with lamb? or chicken?...hmmm

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Having a "Ball" of a time!

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

Sesame Ball with Red Bean Paste

Do you like sesame? I love sesame. Especially the sesame ball that you normally get in a dim sum restaurant. The filling can be, peanut or lotus paste or red bean paste.

I've been wanting to try this recipe (like many, many, many other recipes as well) and finally got to do some for my niece's birthday yesterday. I would love lotus paste better but since I can't get any, I've to settle with Red Bean Paste which is equally fanstastic!. No, I didn't make the paste myself. It takes too much work and time..so, I bought the paste from the cake ingredient shop. It's nice and not too sweet either.

Take a look at how fantastic it turned out to be not to mention just how delicious it tasted too!



Now, here's the recipe, taken from 'Dim Sum Made Easy' cookbook:

Ingredients:
300g glutinous rice
40g wheat starch
250g red bean paste
200g white sesame seeds

Seasoning:
1tbsp lard (I use vegetable oil)
1 1/2 tbsp castor sugar
3 tbsp sweet potato paste
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda

Method:
1. Combine glutinous rice flour & wheat start and sift into a mixing bowl.
2. Add seasoning and 1/2 cup hot water. Knead well to form a dough. (Add more hot water a little at a time if needed).
3. Divide dough into 15 portions. Roll each portion into a ball. Slightly depress center, fill with 2tsp red bean paste and bring edges of dough together to seal.
4. Put dough balls in bowl and spray sparingly with cold water. Set aside.
5. Roll dough balls into sesame seed to coat and fry till brown. Remove and drain.



Have a try! You will not regret doing this! I will definitely be making this again...



Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Yummy Tummy!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

'Wai Sek'! 'Gluttony'! 'Tham Chiak'! 'Gelojoh'! Whatever you call it, it means eat and eat and eat and eat! Food and food and food and more food! Well, that's what we, the seven of us (1 Thorn & 6 Roses), did in the office today.

Today has been a 'long waited' day for the seven of us. Actually we only kind of waited for about 2 weeks but for food lovers like us, two weeks is long enough. We've been planning for a potluck and each dish/dessert has to be home-cooked/baked. No such thing as buying from the shop. Every dish has to be done from scratch. That was our agreement when we decided to do the potluck. It did posed quite a challenge for a few of us who are not so 'cooking-know-how' but it was fun and everyone was sporting to take up the challenge. At least, everyone enjoyed every mouthful of the 'buffet' spread. Every dish/desert was received with awe and appreciation knowing that we went to so much planning and time spent in preparing each single item. All of us are not master chef or anything close to that (well, at least I'm not!) but we are proud with our 'masterpiece' and well, it did keep our tummy satisfied! So, when the food is there staring at you, what do you do?? Dig in la! Mo-Tak-Teng!

However, I must say this. Food alone cannot satisfy ones appetite. It has to be hand-in-hand with the company as well. If you have good company like I did today with all my 'food-loving' buddies and who are not shy about it, what more could I ask for?? So, friends are the secret ingredient to a good food.

To proof it, here are some photos showing how we've enjoyed our little gathering. You might wonder where is this little gathering? Well, it's none other than at our modern office pantry!! Equipped with coffee maker, a microwave and a refrigerator.





The buffet spread : Tomyam Spaghetti
Tau Kok Fan (I was told the direct translation is
'One Pot Long Bean Rice' - hope I got this right!)
Mashed Potatoes
Fruit Salad
Apple Crumble
Red Bean Jelly
Fresh Mango Ice Cream

Are you salivating already?? Well, you should coz the food was yummy for the tummy. With all the eating, you can imagine the amount of washing too! Fret not, cos amongst us, we have a dedicated 'washer' as well. None other than our dear dear Miss Washer...here she is..

Thanks, Miss Washer and thanks to your sis too for helping out in preparing the 'Tau Kok Fan'. It was tasty and delicious! Our compliments to you!

Just to let you know how wonderfully delicious the food was, I ate so much that my shirt seam burst. And it teared at the most embarrassing spot..no not the waist or the sides, it's just, just at ... well, it got torn. Thank God I have a jacket to hide the tear from curious eyes! hmmm...I will make sure that I wear something big and loose at the next makan-makan! See how yummy the food is...