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Friday, November 30, 2012

Cranberry Almond Oatmeal Cookies

Cookies! Cookies!
Who doesn't like cookies! Most people do.

To me, when it comes to cookies, big giant cookies that you get from Mrs Fields cookie stall comes to mind.  I like them big, chunky, crispy or chewy as long as it's as big as my palm.  With lots of nuts, dried fruits or choc, that's my kind of cookie.  And it has to be 'dropped down' cookies and not the shaped ones.  Having said this, I'm not much of a cookie baker.  Why?  Because I'm quite lazy.  Lazy to wait for it to be baked and let it cool before you can store it.  But when desperate craving comes a calling with the tempting thoughts of some good quality ones, then I've got to bake some don't I! lol

Well, this time, no cravings, none at all!  It's just a special request from my son who has been enjoying his year end school holidays, asked me if I'm free to teach him how to bake cookies.  Since he is interested in baking, I'm not one to turn him down.  Why not?  He's old enough, 14 to be exact, to handle the oven and it's a good time to introduce him to the wonderful world of baking!! Actually this is his second attempt at baking cookies..the first time was choc chip cookies and it was yummy.

This cookie is superb.  It's crispy, buttery but not overwhelming, aromatic and tasty.
You did well, my son!! Perfectly baked..hey, I'm your mom, of course I'll say it's perfect. lol..but seriously, it's perfect! :)

Let's share this wonderful recipe, shall we..

Cranberry Almond Oatmeal Cookies
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda (b.o.s)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 ground cinnamon
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 cups quick cooking rolled oats
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1 cup silvered almonds

Pre-heat oven to 180dC.
1. In a bowl, combine flour, b.o.s., baking powder, salt and cinnamon, set aside.
2. In large bowl, using electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and brown and granulated sugar until blended. Add eggs and almond extract, beating until light and creamy about 3 mins. On low speed, gradually add flour mixture, beating until blended. With wooden spoon, stir in oats, cranberries and almonds.
3. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet, bake for 10 - 14 mins or until golden. Cool on sheet for 2 mins then transfer to a rack and cool completely.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Apple Roast Chicken

My son requested that I roast chicken for dinner tonight since it's Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving?  We don't celebrate Thanksgiving here and I don't even know when is the actual day although I know that it's around this time of the year.  In truth, he wanted roast chicken for dinner and that's all..well, which mother doesn't satisfy a hungry son!  So, ok dear son, it's roast chicken you want, then roast chicken it is! Yay!

In actual fact, my family and I love home roast chicken.  It's so easy to make. Just put in any seasoning or sauces and you have a wonderful meal.  As for me, this is my family's all-time favorite when it's roasting time.  Each time I do this, they will request for this same roast chicken over and over again..I foresee that this will be 'hand-me-down' recipe from me to my kids and their kids too..:)  I don't really have a name for this roast but since I used apples, then I'm gonna name it Apple Roast Chicken.

And I want to share my recipe with you.  Hopefully you'll give this a try and you know what?  I'm gonna make this again for Christmas.  I will have to roast 3 chickens then...haahaha.

1 medium sized chicken, cleaned and remove the head and feet.
salt and pepper
2 green apples with skin, cored and cut into 6 pieces
2 lemons, cut into halves
1 big yellow onion, cut into rings
potatoes, cut into halves or quarters if it's large
garlic, a few whole pips
few sprigs of sweet basil and thyme
handful of dark raisins
rice wine (maybe about 4 - 5 tbsp)
white wine vinegar (2 tbsp)
worchestershire sauce (5 tbsp)
30g butter
olive oil
4 tbsp honey

Rub chicken all over and inside with salt and pepper.  Make slits on the skin at the thighs, wings and breasts and insert the garlic pips together with the basil and thyme.  Cover and refrigerate for a few hours.  Take it out of the fridge an hour before roasting time.

  • Pre-heat oven to 230dC.  Place the apples, raisins, potatoes and onion into a non-stick baking tray.
  • Place the chicken over it and squeeze the lemon in the cavity and all around.
  • Sprinkle bits of butter all over the chicken and give a generous bath of olive oil all over the chicken.
  • Pour some rice wine, white wine vinegar and worchestershire sauce.
  • Bake for an hour and pour in the honey.  Continue baking till chicken is done.
Serve with baguette or any bread.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Braised Pig Trotters in Sweet Sour Sauce

Another Nyonya Cuisine, which I should be using Pig Trotters but as I don't have any in my freezer, I used the ribs and pork belly instead.  Either or, it tasted super duper yummy. The pineapple makes this dish so appetizing.  It's savory, sweet and slightly sour.  Before getting the first taste, it already makes you salivate..slurp!

400g fresh pineapple, peeled, eye removed and cut into bite sizes (I used 1 small pineapple)
3 tbsp oil
1 1/2kg pig's trotters, cut into 2inch pieces (alternatively, pork ribs and/or a strip of pork belly)
1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
4 tbsp tamarind pulp soaked in 250ml water, stirred and strained
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
2 tsp sugar

Spice Paste:
100g chopped shallots
10 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp ground dried red chillies

Blend spice ingredients together to a paste.

  • Heat oil in large pot, saute the spice paste until fragrant.
  • Add the pork, dark soy sauce, tamarind water (you may add more water if you want to have more gravy and if necessary for a more sourish taste, add more tamarind pulp if you wish), salt and sugar. 
  • Bring to boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is tender.
  • Add the pineapple slices and gently cook until the pineapple is soft and translucent. Remove from heat.
  • Leave to stand for several hours to allow the flavors to infuse into the meat.
  • Re-heat just before serving with steamed rice.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Nigella's Chocolate Banana Muffins

Okay.  If you've been following my posts recently, you'd remember that I mentioned a few of my colleagues bought me Nigella's cookbook 'Kitchen'.  I wanted to make something from this cookbook specially for them in appreciation of giving me this wonderful present.  So, finally decided on making the Chocolate Banana Muffins.  They are gonna love it as it's very soft with pieces of bananas in it.  It's not too sweet and very easy to make.

Makes 12 muffins
3 very ripe bananas
125 ml vegetable oil
2 eggs
100g soft light brown sugar
225g plain flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1tsp b.o.s.

1. Pre-heat oven to 180dC and line the muffin tray with paper cups.
2. Mash the bananas, beat in oil followed by the eggs and sugar.
3. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda. Add this to the banana mixture and beat till combined. Spoon into the prepared paper cups.
4. Bake for 20 min or until done.
Cool on wire rack.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Nyonya Tumeric Fried Chicken Wing

The aroma of the Tumeric Fried Chicken Wings being fried is just mouthwatering.  This is one of the Peranakan recipe for fried chicken. You can basically use any part of the chicken but I prefer the wings as it takes shorter time to cook and crispier to eat.  The aroma is intensified as I wrapped it in tumeric leaves to deep fry the wings.  If you have run out of ideas in what to cook, try this recipe and it's delicious to serve if you are entertaining.  It's easy and fast.

All you need is to marinade the wings for a couple of hours.  Rub the wings with:

Fresh tumeric (about 1 - 2 inches) - pounded (you can use the tumeric powder if you don't have the fresh ones available)
6 - 7 pips garlic - pounded
2 tbsp tapioca flour (this makes the meat soft and crispy on the skin)
1 tsp chili powder (if you want this to be spicier, add more to your taste. you can also use pounded dry chilies)
salt to taste

Heat enough oil to fry the wings in a frying pan, wrap the wings individually in the tumeric leaves and fry till golden and crispy.  If you don't have tumeric leaves, it's fine too as the fresh tumeric gives the chicken all the flavor and aroma that it needs.

Guess what?  These were gone almost immediately at dinner time and I only managed to eat one of those :).
Looks like I have to fry more next time.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Good old Butter Cake!

Crumbly but yet soft, buttery, rustic, never out of favor or flavor, there's nothing better than the elegant classic Butter Cake!  For all those dairy lovers and all-out for a 'sinful' treat, then I'm your gal.  I tend to agree with Nigella who always go for the real treat like the full fat cream, full cream milk, pure butter etc.  I find that if you use the 'make-me-feel-good' skim & healthy product, the end result is not quite like the way it should.    But of course, when you bake with all the full fat sinfully version, you don't have to finish it all by yourself.  Share it and enjoy with others.  Anyway, if you gonna get fat, lets get fat together...hahahhahaha..wicked!

Anyway, after visited Petite Nyonya's blog, I salivated for butter cake.  She has many good recipes in her blog and please do visit her for this wonderfully moist recipe.  I'll not post the recipe here since you can hop into hers to get it.  I'm just gonna post the pictures so that you can see for yourself how soft and buttery this cake is.

Baking this cake wasn't in the plan and since it's at the spur of the moment, I do not have the orange juice in my fridge.  I do, however, have 2 lemons and milk.  So I substituted the 100ml orange juice and the orange rind for 50ml lemon juice and the rind. Mix the lemon juice with 50ml full cream milk to make up for 100ml.  When you combine lemon juice (which is acidic) with milk, it becomes buttermilk and I love buttermilk in any bakes.  This works fine as the end result is cottony soft and smooth texture.  It almost tasted like as though it has cream cheese in the cake!  Wow, this is my new fav recipe.  Thanks Petite Nyonya for sharing this gem of a recipe.

It's Diwali today.  Festival of Lights celebrated by all Hindus in the world.  It's a declared Public Holiday here.  I'd like to take this opportunity to wish all my Hindu friends and bloggers A Very Happy & Blessed Diwali!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Nigella's Coconut and Cherry Banana Bread

I'm not too keen on recipes using desiccated coconut as I'm not a fan of desiccated coconut.  But as usual, I don't mind trying out the recipe.  Who knows maybe it tastes wonderful.

What really prompted me to try this recipe was that I received this sentimental cookbook entitled 'Kitchen' by Nigella Lawson as it's a gift from a few of my friends from work.  The gift resulted from my milestone achievement in reaching quite a long service with the Company (err..I'm not gonna reveal how many years I've been with the Company cos then you'll guess how old I am! lol).

This cake is full of texture.  I'm not joking.  It's really full of texture.  And I'm surprised with so much texture, it's not dry at all.  It's very soft and moist.  In one word, GOOD!  But having said this, I'm still not a fan of desiccated coconut in any bakes!

I was experimenting this recipe as I wanted to bake something for my friends who gave me this book.  Probably I'll try the Red Velvet soon and decide between these two.  Or maybe I should try the Devil's Food Cake too..or the Cheesecake..hmmm..oh well, we'll see.

Here's the recipe who those who love texture in their cakes.

125g soft unsalted butter
4 small-medium bananas (approx 500g with skin on)
150g caster sugar (I reduced to 120g)
2 eggs
175g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bos
100g dried cherries
100g desiccated coconut

1. Pre-heat oven to 170dC. Put a loaf liner into your tin or line the bottom with baking parchment and grease the sides.
2. Melt butter in saucepan, take it off heat.  Peel and mash bananas in another bowl.
3. Beat sugar into the cooled butter, then beat in mashed bananas and the eggs. Fold in the flour, baking powder and bicarb. Finally, add the dried cherries and coconut.
4. Fold well so that everything is incorporated, then pour and scrape into the lined loaf tin and smooth the top.
5. Bake for 50 mins or till done.  Leave in tin for 10mins then carefully slip the cake out of tin on wire rack to cool.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Homemade Burgers and Yogurt Mint Fish Kebabs

Nothing beats home-made burgers and kebabs.  My girl will turn 11 mid of coming week and since we are working parents, we celebrated a few days early.  Good thing that I have these new kitchen gadgets, the griller and meat mincer recently and have been wanting to make own burgers.  So this is a good excuse to use them..heehhheeehe..well, my family is happy with this idea anyway.

Made lamb, pork and chicken burgers and fish kebabs.  It's simple to make as it all depends on your taste buds and really what ever that you want to put in it.  I don't have the exact measurement of the ingredients.  More like a gut feel on how it's gonna taste ie..saltiness, sourness, creaminess etc.  I'm going to share with you on the marinade ingredients but it's really up to you on how much you want to use each ingredients.  No matter what you put in it, it's going to taste great.  Can never go wrong with this.
Lamb : mince lamb, salt, pepper, minced garlic & onion, yogurt, chopped mint leaves, a few tablespoon of mint jelly, a little cornflour. Mix all together and make into patties.

Pork: mince pork, salt, pepper, minced garlic & onion, a few tablespoon of chinese rice wine, oyster sauce, a little cornflour. Mix together and make into patties.

Chicken: mince chicken, salt, pepper, minced garlic & onion, Hickory BBQ Black Pepper Sauce, a little cornflour. Mix together and make into patties.

Yogurt Mint Fish Kebabs:
Alaskan Frozen Pollack Fish Fillets cut into bite sizes, marinade overnight or for a few hours.
Marinade: Yogurt, salt, pepper, mint sauce, minced garlic & onion.  Add lemon juice just before grilling.
Skewer the fish with slices of big yellow onion, capsicum and pineapple (all cut into cubes).  Grill on griller and baste with a little oil and also with the marinade sauce.

Give this a try when you next entertain friends and family for a gathering.  I love this griller! :)