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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Buddy Valastro's Pasta Shrimp Scampi and an Italian Dessert

On Sunday morning, the program 'Kitchen Boss' was on AFC channel.  I've always enjoyed watching Buddy Valastro on Cake Boss but now he has a program on cooking?  Well, he is a great baker and maybe he's a great cook too...anyway, he's Italian isn't he?  So, worth watching.  Not only me but my almost 8 year old was glued to the TV as well.

He was cooking this pasta (Italian recipe, of course) with shrimp sauce and it looks so good.  After that, he also made his family way of doing the garlic bread and for dessert, this great looking tall glass with ice cream mixed with espresso and some whipped cream plus crumbs of cookies/biscuits.  Wow!  He managed to hold the attention of my lil gal and after that, my lil gal turned to me and said 'Mommy..I wanna eat this pasta for dinner'.  Then I go like ' hmmm..ok but let's see if I can remember all the ingredients'.

So, yup, that was our Sunday dinner alright and I decided to also replicate the dessert.  My hubby, son and myself like the pasta but my two girls thought that it's a bit too sour. Maybe I put in too much lemon juice but when I googled for the actual recipe, it uses 3 lemon whereas I used only 2.  Okay, next time I shall reduce the lemon juice to only one half.  By the way, the pasta is called (after I googled for it) Pasta with Shrimp Scampi but unfortunately, I couldn't find the recipe or the name of the dessert.

Pasta with Shrimp Scampi (my version to replicate as close as possible)
Fettucini/Linguine (I mixed fettucini and shell pasta)
Medium size prawns - deshelled and deveined (up to you how much prawns you'd like to use)
Italian cilantro (don't know where to get this, I used chinese cilantro)
bread crumbs (2 tbsp)
1/2 cup of parmesan (I don't have parmesan, I substitute with 2 slices of cheddar)
juice of 2 lemon
salt and black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
olive oil
1/4 cup butter

1. Boil pasta until el dante.
2. Heat olive oil in a pan, add butter and garlic.
3. Add salt and pepper to taste, then put in the prawns.  Fry for a minute.
4. Add bread crumbs and lemon juice.
5. Lastly put in the cilantro, take off the heat and mix it into the cooked pasta. Serve immediately.



And here's the dessert.  Let's call it Buddy's Italian Dessert.

Buddy's Italian Dessert (replicate as close as possible) - makes 4
1 tub Vanilla ice cream
Espresso mix with hot water to make 1/4 cup
4 pieces of choc cookies (I used choc chips cookies since few days ago I taught my son how to bake some)
1 cup whipped cream (fully whipped)
Tall glasses

1. Put in 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream to the bottom of the glass, break half of the cookie and sprinkle the crumbs over it.
2. Pour in some espresso, then top up with a generous dollop of whipped cream (and more ice cream if you like), add the other half of the cookie crumbs and more espresso.  Serve.

Thumbs up for this dessert! Real yummy yummy yummy dessert. Sure is a keeper!




Since Malaysia is a country that has the most public holidays in the world, there's another one coming this Friday..so, people, I'm going off on a short holiday again..yes, again. This time with my the rest of my big family that consists of my 5 other sisters with their own family and my dad.  We will be off to the highlands this time...a cooler climate with beautiful lush green Tea Farm, Strawberry Farm, Vegetable Farm, Butterfly Park and lots more.  One thing for sure, I'm gonna go get lots of strawberries and vegetables..and tea of course...heehhee

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A new kitchen, an award and Pork Ribs Curry

I'm back! And the best part, my kitchen is finally complete..after a relaxing time in Langkawi Island, I was immediately back in action -cleaned up the mess and put everything back in its place.  Finally, it's done and now I'm able to relax again.  Here's a peak of my new kitchen. :)  Check out some photos of Langkawi Island at the end.
A surprise awaits me when I logged-in today..received an award: The Liebster Award from Meriem at  http://skinnysimplerecipes.blogspot.ca.  This is my second time receiving this award and it is an honor.  Please check out Meriem's blog as she has a wonderful, healthy and yet delicious collection of recipes.. a great blog.  Thank you very much for the award, Meriem!  

In receiving the award, I have to follow a simple rule..all I need to do is, to answer the questions posted by Meriem so that you will get to know me a little better and in return, I'll need to nominate 11 bloggers to receive this award.  But I think I'll go with 8 as 8 is a lucky number..haaahhaa  so, here are my answers.

This time the award’s rules are a bit different; If you receive the award, you have to post eleven facts about yourself, and then answer the eleven questions the tagger has given you, and then make up eleven more questions, and tag eleven more bloggers, who will have to answer the questions YOU wrote and pass it on and so on.
And here are Meriem’s questions and my answers:


  1. What is your favorite ingredient to cook with? 
Chillies as I love spicy food

  1. What is one food item that you won’t try?
Anything that's bizzare ie animal inards, reptiles, etc.

  1. What is your favorite type of cuisine?
My fav will be any cuisine that is spicy especially northern indian. 

  1. What do you like best about blogging?
I get to know connect with people all over the world and learn about their food and taste.

  1. Link us to your all-time FAVORITE post/recipe you’ve written.
I especially love this dish.  This is Fish Sambal and an authentic Peranakan Nyonya cuisine.  Absolutely yummy http://www.straitsbakes.blogspot.com/2010/04/fish-sambal-in-white-rice-vinegar.html

  1. Do you have a bad cooking experience? What were you trying to make and what went wrong?
Oh yes..when I was about 16 years old, I tried to make our local donut which is made of sweet potato and flour, then deep fry and coated with sugar syrup. It supposed to be soft with tinge of sweetness - a great afternoon tea.  But, hold and be-hold, I don't know what went wrong, until today I'm still trying to figure it out, it turned out to be as hard as a rock. I'm not joking. It was. I had a dog back then. Even he took a sniff at it and walked away. 

  1. Who is your favorite Food Network TV Star?
It has to be Jamie Oliver...simply wonderful Jamie!

  1. Do you have any tips on how you budget your time better so you can blog?
I will usually blog after dinner where the rest of the family enjoy their fav tv show, and since I don't watch much of it, I'll serve the net or blog.

  1. What do you normally eat as a snack, when you aren’t cooking up delicious new recipes?
I don't usually snack but occasionally, I'll go for curry puffs or fried banana.

  1. Do you have a personal trick or tip you’d like to share?
When my sweet basil produce lots of leaves and since I don't use them in everyday cooking, I'll make them into pesto and freeze it in ice trays.  Once it's frozen, I'll take it out and store it in zip locks in the freezer by per serve, and just take one out whenever I need to use it.

  1. What is one item or dish you’d like to try to make that you haven’t yet?
Oh, definitely the Tiramisu!


Next is my list of nominees for this award...Congratulations!! (Nominees: your questions are same as above :) )


And here's my recipe which I wanna share with you, Pork Ribs Curry.


1 kilo pork ribs coated with curry powder
Garlic and ginger - pound together
Curry leaves
Tamarind juice
Tomatoes quartered
Potatoes quartered
1/2 cup plain yogurt

Heat a work, add oil, fry the garlic and ginger till fragrant and golden.  Add in pork ribs, curry leaves and fry for another min or two.  Add tamarind juice and potatoes and tomatoes.  Add salt to taste, simmer until pork is tender.  Lastly, add in yogurt.  Serve with plain rice or bread.

As promised, here are some photos of Langkawi Island.
 Pantai Chenang (Chenang Beach)

 Pulau Dayang Bunting (Pregnant Maiden Island)

 Pantai Pasir Basah (Wet Sandy Beach)

 Gunung Raya (Mount Raya)



The view from the Peak of Gunung Raya

Friday, August 17, 2012

Vacation Time! Langkawi Island bilss...



After the hassle of reno, now it's time to take a break! I'm leaving my house in a state of mini-hurricane to have a few days of total relaxing bliss in one of our many beautiful islands in Malaysia - Pulau Langkawi!  I'll get back to the mess when I return but for now, it's time to relax.

My kitchen cabinet is finally fixed, just on time before we hit the island.  You can travel to Pulau Langkawi which is situated north side of Malaysia, by road or by air.  Rather than travel 5-6 hours by road and then have to take the boat to the island, we decided to take the 40 mins flight.  Since it's a public holiday on Monday and Tuesday in observation of Hari Raya Festivities for the Muslims all around the world, people have started travelling back to their hometown as early as Thursday night if not earlier to make it on time for family gathering in this auspicious celebration.

Just so you know where exactly is Pulau Langkawi ('Pulau' means Island), click this link http://www.langkawi-info.com/attractions/islands.htm  to find out about our lovely island.  Every place has its history and Langkawi Island or Pulau Langkawi as locally called, is not spared either...here's the story..http://motherearthtravel.com/malaysia/langkawi/history.htm
So, if you wanna take a break and cannot decide where to go, maybe you should come to Pulau Langkawi...wink wink!

So, my bags are packed and will be flying off in 4 hours time..See you in a couple of days!  To my Muslim bloggers and friends, 'Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri' and to non-Muslims, a happy and safe holiday.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Apple Pie

Thirsty? Have a flavored water..infused with lemon and strawberries with some ice cubes.  A great thirst quencher on a hot day..and a great drink to wash down a great tasting apple pie! Yumm yumm!




You know, I have many recipe books with all types of pies and tarts.  Be it savory or sweet on puff pastry, sweet pastry, raised pie pastry, short crust etc..I have them all.  I took out my recipe book, virtually picturing the flow of the process in making a pie, then I put it back and there goes..end up not doing any due to laziness.  But yet, want to bake something, then took out the recipe book again and select the most easiest of pies to make..yup, you guessed it..none other than the classic can-never-go-wrong Apple Pie!  So now, I can proudly say that 'I've baked a pie!'.  

I know that for many of you, baking a pie is nothing but for me, it's a BIG thing! To be frank, I'm not so in-to with dough although I love eating bread, tarts, pies etc.  The thought of working the dough that puts me off most times.  So, finally work up on the laziness, rolled up the sleeves, I'm ready to roll.  And I'm glad I did.

However, you will see that my pie is kinda shallow.  It's not that I'm stingy with the filling, it's just that it's not planned in advance. I used up whatever apples left in my fridge.  But the recipe which I'm sharing with you should give you a decent size filling.

Here's how:

Pastry Dough for 2-crust pie: (preparation: 15 mins plus chilling)
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold butter cut into pieces
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
4-6 tbsp ice water

1. In large bowl, combine flour and salt. With pastry blender or 2 knives, using scissor-fashion, cut in butter and shortening until mixture resembles course crumbs.
2. Sprinkle in ice water, 1 tbsp at a time, mixing lightly with fork after each addition until dough is just moist enough to hold together.
3. Shape dough into 2 disks, one slightly larger than the other, wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 mins or up to overnight. (If chilled overnight, let stand 30 mins at room temperature before rolling).




Pie Filling:
Pastry dough for 2-crust pie
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
3 pounds cooing apples (9 medium), peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp butter cut into pieces

1. Pre-heat oven to 200dC, in large bowl, combine sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Add apples and lemon juice; gently toss to combine.
2. On lightly floured surface, with floured rolling pin, roll larger disk of dough onto 9-inch pie plate. Spoon filling into crust; dot with butter.  Roll out remaining disk of dough; cut center circle and 1 inch slits to allow steam to escape during baking. Place over filling and make decorative edge.
3. Place pie on foil-lined cookie sheet to catch any overflow during baking. Bake 20 mins. Turn oven control to 160dC; bake until filling bubbles in center, about 1 hour longer. If necessary, cover pie loosely with foil during last 20 mins of baking to prevent over browning. Cool on wire rack. Can serve warm or completely cooled.

Makes 10 servings.



Friday, August 3, 2012

Crispy Fried Chicken

Hi my dear friends..I'm back! Well, almost back. Thank you for your good wishes.  My house reno is almost complete except for the kitchen cabinets which will be ready in a couple of weeks time.  Have been busy with all the dusting, wiping, cleaning, mopping and washing almost everyday.  However, with my recent discomfort on my lower back, I left all the cleaning and what not to my hubby...

I still can't cook and bake at the moment but not for long, I tell ya.  Once my kitchen is operational again, I shall be concocting new recipes and if it's good, I shall share it with you!

Ok..anyway, here's a recipe that I want to share with all.  A very easy and my very own batter for a crispy and tasty fried chicken.  I did this before the reno started and since now I've some time to spare, I thought I share this with you especially for my Muslim friends who may be looking for a good fried chicken recipe, please try this.

All you need is...

Chicken pieces (cut into big chunks - I quartered the chicken)
Marinade the chicken with some salt.

Batter: 
Self raising flour (i love to use this flour as it gives certain crispiness to any fried food) seasoned with white pepper, salt, 5-spice powder (lots of it).

1 egg - lightly beaten

Method:
1. Dip the chicken in egg wash, coat it with the seasoned flour.
2. Deep fry the chicken on slow to medium fire until it's cooked and golden in the outside.
3. Take it out and strain the oil and let cool.  Once cooled, chop it into bite sizes and serve.

and the result is...finger lickin good!  As easy as 1, 2, 3...:D


For variations, if you'd like this a little spicy, replace the 5 spice powder with some chili powder or curry powder.  You can even throw in the curry leaves for added oomph!