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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's the'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)

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'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? 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'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...

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