Monthly Archives: February 2015

Herby Chickpea balls with tomato passata and spaghetti

Yup I’m back! Back from my smashing Aussie holiday. You know me right….I love photography.. … and I love taking pictures of food. and in Australia I had a smashing time cooking up a storm with their local produce! yup..I actually cooked while on holiday. 😉 the taste is absolutely different. most of their fresh produce is locally grown, not imported from China and the dishes I cooked actually tasted better according to the hubby! 😉

Anyway this recipe came up while rummaging for something to cook for a midweek dinner. Lovely. Try it and tell me how it goes.

Recipe ( adapted from Good food magazine)

  • 2 slices white bread, torn into pieces
  • 75g coarsely grated parmesan ( I always buy a block cos it’s cheaper and lasts longer)
  • 400g canned chickpeas ( drained)
  • 3-4 garlic cloves , roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • small handful of basil
  • 1 beated egg
  • 400ml / 1 canned diced tomatoes
  • 200g spaghetti
  • 1 can of anchovies ( secret ingredient! ) but optional
  • 1/2 a large white onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 220deg C.

If you have a food processor, get it out and attach the sharp blade. Throw in the bread pieces and parmesan , whizz till you get a breadcrumb consistency. Then add the garlic, drained chickpeas, half the oregano and a few basil leaves. Season well with salt and pepper at this point. Now whiz it up till it just comes together..not mushy. Add the beaten egg with the motor running just enough to bring the whole mixture together. Shape into 18 small balls and place on an oiled baking tray. Cook in the oven for about 15-20minutes, turning halfway. I actually drizzled a little oil onto the chickpeas balls when turning so that it’s a little more well cooked.

While that’s in the oven, get your pot boiling with salted water for the pasta. When the water is boiling, throw in the spaghetti and cook till al dente.

Get a big frying pan on moderate heat, add the chopped white onions and 2-3 cloves of minced garlic. Fry till lightly golden, then add anchovies ,stir for about 2-3 minutes then add the diced tomatoes. Keep cooking on moderate heat for about 15 minutes, add a tsp of balsamic vinegar and the other half of the oregano. Taste now. Season with pepper . Add a handful of chopped basil leaves. Continue cooking on low heat for another 5 minutes, loosening the sauce with the pasta water if needed . ( I used a cup of the pasta water)

Take the chickpea balls out of the oven and let cool.

Take the cooked spaghetti and add to the tomato sauce. Toss and coat the spaghetti well and then serve on individual plates with a few chickpea balls, grated parmesan, some chopped basil leaves and a drizzle of good quality olive oil. Enjoy!

 

Kung Fu Char ( Wantan noodles with egg gravy)

Do you eat out much? I used to…well I try to cook as much as I can. Last week, it was a long day and kids were hungry and I just couldn’t cook. So we went to a nearby restaurant and ordered this same dish. OMG it tasted so horrible and one plate had about 5 tsbp of noodles on it for RM 6! I was aghast!

Anyway I’m sure we can make this at home right? 😉 So another round of flipping through my Good Food magazine and I actually found the recipe! So here goes.. all in all it must have taken me about 30 minutes.

Recipe ( adapted from Good Food magazine)

  • 2 bundles of fresh wantan noodles ( or you could use dried egg noodles/kuay teow(flat noodles) )
  • 2 inches of ginger, sliced thin
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine ( you know I just grate!)
  • 300g of mixed seafood and chicken ( squids cut into rounds, prawns-shelled and deveined but leave tail intact ,chicken breast cut into cubes)
  • 1 small bunch of bok choy/ choy sam
  • 500ml of chicken/vegetable/fish stock
  • 3 egg whites,beaten
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 chinese cooking wine
  • 3 tbsp cornflour

Start with heating  2 inches of oil in a wok and deep fry the noodles. Make sure you loosen the bundle of noodles and the oil is hot enough, cos if the oil isn’t hot, the noodles will absorb too much oil. Drain the noodles once golden brown on some kitchen paper and set aside.

Get started on the gravy. Pour out the oil from frying the noodles, and leave 4 tbsp. behind. Once oil is hot, add the garlic and ginger and fry till you get an aromatic, then add in the seafood and chicken. Keep stirring it till it’s cooked then add the bok choy. Cook till the vegetables are cooked. Keep aside.

Clean the wok and add the stock, sugar, pepper, oyster sauce, cooking wine and fish sauce and bring it to a boil for 2-3 minutes. Now add the corn flour diluted in 3 tbsp. of water and let it boil for another 1-2 minutes then add the beaten egg whites and stir it in with a chopstick for a minute. Add the fried seafood and veg, mix well and pour onto the fried noodles. Serve immediately.

Enjoy a delish homemade Kung Fu Char without the ‘recycled oil’ ,  good quality veg , seafood and no Ajinomoto! 🙂

Oats..oats..oats..

Love it or hate it? I LOVE IT! Believe me, oats doesn’t have to be pudgy, soggy porridge! There are many ingenious ways to dress it up so much so it tickles your taste buds! 😉

I think the first time I had something other than plain boring oats was during my honeymoon in Bali and the hotel served us cold oats which was part of the breakfast buffet. Wow..I came home and started trying out the same recipe and tweaking it here and there to create different results. Now you can enjoy soggy/pudgy oats tweaked to become a YUMMYLICIOUS breakfast delicacy!

By the way..I totally detest Quaker Oats! I think it has a bitter aftertaste that lingers for way too long on your tongue! Try buying Rolled oats or Steelcut oats ( too expensive!). I just use the Organic Rolled Oats from the Antzen brand, or the Australian rolled oats. Both taste good. I usually cook the rolled oats in some water then add some milk but this recipe required yoghurt! Yoghurt in oats?! I was hesitant but yeah..even healthier right ..so I went for it. YUMMY!!

Enjoy!

Recipe: ( adapted from Good Food magazine) serves 1

  • 200ml water
  • 3 tbsp rolled oats
  • 1 small chopped banana
  • 150g greek yoghurt
  • generous handful of blueberries/ frozen raspberries
  • small handful of toasted flaked almonds

Tip 200ml of water into a small non stick pan and stir in the oats. Cook over low heat till bubbling and thickened. Swirl in the yoghurt , then chopped banana. Top it with the blueberries and flaked almonds!

Trust me you’ll like it.. and the oats lovers will LOVE IT! 🙂

Bagels anyone?

I’ve never eaten bagels and I haven’t seen it in any cafĂ© out here. Nor have I bothered looking up the recipe. All I know , it’s an  American favourite. So when I came across this ‘Fool proof bagel Recipe’ on Good Food Magazine ( u know I have tons of them…..just eyeing the beautiful recipes…but not trying them out!)  🙂

The recipe seemed pretty easy..so here goes. Everything went well but when the beautifully risen dough wasn’t coming off the baking paper , my heart sank! I scraped it off the paper as carefully as I could without punching out the air as much as possible….and yet my heart was sinking… they looked so beautiful just a minute earlier… 😩

Anyway brave heartedly I decided to continue with the recipe, and WOW! Now I know why the Americans love their bagels! Serve it with coffee and find a topping that you love. I made different toppings with whatever I had but my favourite was the chia seed and almond flakes. Enjoy!

 

Recipe:

  • 500g strong unbleached white flour (bread flour)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp. natural molasses
  • 300ml lukewarm water ( 40 deg C )
  • 7g dried yeast
  • 1 tsp sodium bicarbonate
  • 1 egg white ( for glaze)
  • toppings of your choice ( chia seeds/almond flakes/ diced almonds/chocolate buttons/sunflower seeds/ sesame seeds )

First get a bowl , pour in 300ml warm water and the 7g of yeast. leave it aside to bubble ( if it doesn’t u know ur yeast is expired)

In another large bowl, put your flour, sugar and salt in. Then add the yeast mixture to it and mix it with a wooden spoon till it’s not wet. Now use your hands and knead it for about 10 minutes till it’s smooth and elastic. Leave it in a lightly oiled bowl ,covered with a lightly oiled cling film. leave it to rise for about 1 hour in a warm place or till doubled in size.

After the first rise, take it out of the bowl, and divide into equal sized portions and roll them into smooth balls with your palms. I actually ( I never do this !) weighed each into 80g so that they’ll all be the same size. Line them up on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and cover lightly with cling film. Leave for around 30minutes or until risen and puffy, then remove cling film.

Heat oven to 180 deg C /160 deg C fan/ gas 4. Use a floured finger to make a hole in the centre of each bagel , swirling it around to stretch the dough but be careful not to knock out too much air.

Fill a large pot with water and bring to boil. Now add the sodium bicarbonate ( be careful it will boil over) to alkalise the water ( this contributes to the shine and chew of the bagel) . Place 1 bagel at a time and boil for 1-2 minutes, turning over halfway through. Using a slotted spoon, lift out the bagels and place them back on the baking tray. Brush the bagels with the egg white and sprinkle with the topping of your choice. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to wire rack to cool before eating.

Enjoy! 🙂

 

Guilt free chocolate cupcakes

Have you watched the beautiful cupcakes on DC Cupcakes? or have you walked into a cafĂ© and longingly looked at those beautiful cupcakes…with twirly icing and sprinkles… hah………………….have one..and then come home and feel guilty about. I don’t …I mean I do but most times I don’t! 😉

Well I was going through one of the Good Food magazine ( I have tons of them, but haven’t gotten  around to trying most recipes !) and then I came across this recipe which cuts the FAT by half at least. Interesting eh. So I had to try it.  The texture doesn’t come out exactly like a cupcake but I like it knowing it’s healthier. 🙂

Recipe: ( adapted from the Good Food magazine)

For the cakes:

  • 175g self raising flour
  • 2 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 140g golden castor sugar ( I mixed half castor sugar and half natural molasses)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 175g natural yoghurt ( I used Greek yoghurt)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 25g melted butter
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil/ rapeseed oil

For the icing:

  • 25g dark chocolate, 70 % cocoa
  • extra chocolate grating for decoration
  • 25g softened butter
  • 1 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 100g reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1 tsp semi skimmed milk
  • 50 g icing sugar

Heat oven to 180 deg C/gas 4. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper muffin cases.

Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl, remove 2 tbsp of it and replace with the cocoa. Stir in the baking powder, sugar and ground almonds. Then make a well in the centre. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and mix with the yoghurt and vanilla. Add this to the flour. Add the melted butter and oil. STIR BRIEFLY WITH A LARGE METAL SPOON. I think this is where it goes wrong most of the time. We over mix it and get rock hard cupcakes.

Divide the mixture evenly between the paper casings. Bake for 15-20 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Remove and cool on wire rack.

To make the icing, mix together the softened butter, icing sugar, cocoa and milk in a bowl. In another heat proof bowl, set over another bowl of simmering water melt the 25g of chocolate and leave it to cool. Beat the cream cheese into the butter mixture and then stir in the cooled chocolate.

Spoon icing over cupcakes and decorate with chocolate shavings.

Enjoy! 🙂 Continue reading

Seri Muka

A beautiful nyonya delicacy but I think most of us wouldn’t bother trying to make it cos it appears to be too much trouble. BUT No it’s not rocket science to make Seri Muka though you do need some patience and say a few prayers so that your pulut ( glutinous rice ) is the right consistency and then you are good to go! I’ve been looking at this recipe for awhile , not because I’m dying to eat it…but simply cos I think we are being short changed and ripped off at the local ‘kueh’ stalls. No way should this delicacy should cost RM 1 and taste like muck!

So off I went and bought a bag of glutinous rice and pandan leaves (screwpine leaves). The rest you should have in your pantry. End result was a yummylicious Seri Muka, gooey and sweet!  🙂

Recipe ( adapted from Rasa Malaysia)

Bottom Layer

  • 300 ml glutinous rice ( soaked for 30 minutes)
  • 200 ml thin coconut milk ( I mixed 100 ml thick coconut milk with 100 ml water)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 screw pine leaves ( tied into a knot )

Upper Layer

  • 200 ml thick coconut milk
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 150g fine sugar
  • 100 ml pandan ( screwpine ) juice from 10-12 pandan/screwpine leaves ( chop leaves roughly and blend with 70 ml water)
  • 5 tbsp. all purpose flour mixed with 2 tbsp. cornstarch/corn flour

Get your steamer out, fill it with hot water and get it boiling on high heat. Now take a container to steam the glutionous rice and mix all the ingredients for the bottom layer in that container. I used a 12 inch springform cake tin . Check for salt and now steam on high heat for 20 minutes.

While the rice is steaming, get started on the upper layer. Mix the coconut milk, eggs. sugar in a heat proof bowl till sugar has dissolved. Take the pandan juice and stir the flour into it till smooth, then add to eggy mixture. Stir to make sure no lumps.

Cook over a bain-marie over medium low heat until it thickens but still runny enough to pour. Get glutinous rice out of steamer after 20 minutes, stir it, taste for salt again and using the same container flatten it into the container with a spoon or using your hands till it’s compacted. Now pour the eggy mixture onto it through a sieve.

Steam over medium heat for 30 minutes. Cool well before cutting it into diamond shapes. Use a knife heated by dipping in hot water, then wiped dry. This will ensure it cuts beautifully.

Wallah a home-made Malaysian delicacy. Enjoy! 🙂

 

Rajma masala

I used to detest Kidney beans with all my heart ♄ and soul when I was studying in college. It made me cry from hunger for I just found it unpalatable! BUT I recently came across a recipe for rajma masala…and I don’t know what came over me I actually decided to forego all bad blood between rajma and me..end result was a delicious rajma masala served with chapattis!

Recipe:

  • 1 can of kidney beans ( or if you prefer fresh ones take 1 cup of kidney beans, soak in water overnight. Then pessure cook for 4 whistles.
  • 3 tbsp of chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp chilly powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 green chilly
  • 2 medium sized onions, chopped finely
  • 3 medium sized tomatoes ,chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp kasoori methi
  • 2-3 tbsp cream/evaporated milk

To temper :

  • 1 cinnamon stick ( about  2inches long)
  • 3 cardamoms
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf

If using dry beans, pressure cook after soaking overnight for about 4 whistles , set aside .

Get your wok and temper with ingredients mentioned above on medium heat, then add chopped onions. When onions slightly browned ,add ginger garlic paste . You’ll know it’s cooked when the aroma hits you, then add chopped tomatoes and green chilly.

Now add salt, red chilly, coriander and garam masala powder. Cook for about 4-5minutes, constantly stirring. Add kasoori methi, crushed between your hands.

Add the rajma now and cook on medium flame for about 4 minutes. Add about 1.5 cups of water ( since I used canned beans, but if you are using dry beans, use the pressure cooked water now ) and cook on medium flame for a further for another 5 -10 minutes.

Finally add 2-3 tbsp. cream or evaporated milk and mix well. Wallah!

Enjoy with some chappatis. 🙂