Moroccan Inspired

Not long ago, we went to Marrakech, Subiaco. Fluffy couscous and melt in your mouth meatballs won us over.

The restaurant was quiet during lunch time. The perfect place to celebrate a quiet lunch, reminiscing how we met and how we got together.

That got me thinking of course. How can I re-create a similar dish at home?

Meatballs with cranberries n toasted almonds couscous

Meatballs
500grams of lean beef mince
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 fresh roma tomato
2-3 basil leaves
1 tablespoon of garlic
3-4 fresh button mushrooms
1/4 cup of stock
salt

Spices mix
3-4 teaspoons of cumin
1 teaspoon of chilli powder
salt n pepper
1 teaspoon of cornflour
4 tablespoons of spicy breadcumbs.

1) Marinate mince with spices mix. Roll into bite size balls.
2) Heat pan. Brown meatballs.
3) When meatballs are done, add can and fresh tomatoes. Add stock and simmer for 15 mins.
4) Add garlic (i like to add garlic later as that retains the garlicy taste better).
5) Add Basil leaves (chopped) and salt.
6) Serve with couscous.

Couscous
1cup of couscous
handfull of cranberries
1 cup of hot stock
toasted almonds.
1 tablespoon of olive oil

Pour hot stock over couscous. Cover for 5 minutes. Fluff couscous. Add cranberries and toasted almonds. Sprinkle oil over couscous. Serve with meatballs!

Soup comfort


There is nothing like a nice warm bowl of soup when you are sick. I made this last weekend when I was down with the flu. It was a weird flu virus- one that left me chirpy and alert for a few mins and straight down and depressed the next.

Chicken and sweet corn soup is a classic in many chinese restaurants in Australia. Unfortunately, their take on this classic is a disaapointment.

My love for this soup came when I was barely in high school though. In fact, I learned how to make this soup first before knowing how to bake or cook a proper meal (unless u count instant noodles). A good friend of mum made this for a dinner party and I happened to be invited along. I remembered taking 2nd helpings. Mum recorded the recipe, made it once with me following her around the kitchen and that was it… I was hooked. (btw, it was a rare sight of mum cooking in the kitchen).

I love corn (I can see Ruth grinning here). Ruth- my best friend and I used to walk around Pasar Malam (Night Markets) in Singapore with me munching cup corn/ whole corn and her munching on sourish tidbits.

My best friends tasted this version and liked it as well. They are my best taste critic and never fail to be encouraging in my quest to make the near-perfect chicken and sweet corn soup. My secret? Brandy. (shhhh.. yes, i made this with brandy even though we were 14 yrs old then!)

I served the soup with garlic bread. An old all time favorite of my church mates and I. Eve-who was my surrogate mother in church taught my sisters( i.e. best friends) n I this and we never looked back since!

Chicken and Sweet Corn soup
1 chicken breast (or 200 grams of chicken tenders)
1 can of cream corn
2 cups of Chicken stock
3 cups of corn kennels (or if u are me.. half a packet of frozen corn!)
garlic
egg-lightly beaten

Marinade
1 tablespoon of light soy
season with pepper and dash of salt
1-2 tabplespoons of brandy
1 teaspoon of corn flour
sesame oil

1) Marinade bite size chicken pieces for at least an hr.
2) Heat oil in pot. Lightly fry garlic. Turn up the heat and add chicken. Cook till brown. Lower heat.
3) Add cream corn. Stir. Add stock. Bring it to boil.
4) Add corn kennels.
5) Stir. Simmer for 30 mins.
6) Switch off stove. Add beaten egg.
7) Ladle and serve.

Garlicky Bread

4 slices of multigrain bread.
3-4tablespoon of spread
1-2 generous teaspoon of mince garlic
sprinkle of Italian herbs
1teaspoon of sugar

Mix spread, garlic, herbs and sugar. Spread on bread. Toast for 3-5mins. (PS-i ran out of dried italian herbs so it was just garlic bread!)

Turkish Gozleme

Yummy. One of advantages of staying in Australia is the wide range of different ethic food available in the country. The trend of having a Turkish Gozleme is fairly new but is exploding all over Perth with outlets in Markets, shopping centres and fairs.

My favorite so far (which is a little early to say given that I have only tried 2 different “brands”) is at Station Street Market in Subiaco. The pastry is crispy and the filling… look at it, they are bursting out!

While I really like the vegetarian, out of the 4 choices, I really enjoyed the mash potato version (above)! U have to try it, there are hints of spiciness in the midst of baby spinach leaves. AU$7.00

The most popular order is the vegetarian. No doubt the abundance of spinach leaves and feta cheese appeals to most people. AU$7.50

oh! and u can add in mushrooms for an additional cost. Other fillings are chicken and spicy mince (lamb).

The down side is that there aren’t any proper tables. If you want to sit where the other stalls are located, than you are obliged to buy something from them. That doesn’t stop us from having a quick lunch while shopping for our vegetables and fruits! =) It’s a worthwhile treat…and one that leaves me hanging for more!

Red Wine Beef Pie

This is a shameful attempt in relieving my brain of some work. What else could I do but blog about food? =) I’m cranky, sleepy and achy. Honestly, flu is horrible!


A couple of weeks ago, I made a beef in red wine pie for dinner. Pure comfort food for a cold winter night. Again, I obtained my inspiration from Donna Hay Classics 1 but did not follow her recipe at all. *shrugs* It’s weird I know but I find it hard to follow recipes every step of the way without any alternations. For now, cooking is where my mind takes it to be…


Red Wine Beef Pie

300grams cubes of lean beef
1 cup of red wine
1/2 cup of stock
1 chopped red onion
1 tablespoon of garlic
handful of fresh button mushrooms
cracked pepper
1 bacon (preferably.. but the subconscious health freak in me obmitted it despite buying the bacon already!)
1 ready-made puff pastry- defrosted

1) Saute bacon with onion and garlic. Stir fry beef cubes quickly till brown. Add mushrooms. Add wine and stock. Simmer for 1 hr. Season with pepper and salt.
2) Preheat oven 200 degrees C.
3) Pour mixture to oven proof bowl. Top it with puff pastry. Score it with a knife.
4) Bake for 20 minutes till top is golden brown.
5) Serve with salad.

Cooling Pear Salad
2 cups of baby mesclun leaves
A pear-slice thinly
crumbed chedder cheese (vintage)
Dukkah

Dressing
1 tablespoon of plum sauce
2 tablespoons of mirin
1 tablespoon of sesame seed.

1) Assmble salad.
2) Combine dressing in a jug
3) Pour dressing over just before serving. Sprinkle Dukkah on top.

I do not know why I came up with the idea for this dressing but surprisingly, the combi worked out very well! I love salads. The crunch of fresh salad leaves is lovely.

Photoshoot

I recently won a contest at Image Style Studio. Have to say that this changed my opinion about posing- they can be quite challenging! Anyway, here are a sample of some of the photos. I have to say they show different sides of me that I don’t even know exists. Given that I know what I can bring to the table, I’m quite impressed with what the photographer- Kelvin Chong came up with.





Pistachio Biscotti

Another recipe from Donna Hay Classics 2. I have always adore pistachio and finally mustered enough encourage (and money) to bake these lovely biscotti. I’m sooo addicted to them. I kept telling myself that they were made without any butter so it is HEALTHY! 😛

Using the same recipe base, I also made a cranberry and walnut version. I still prefer the pistachios one though… yes… i’m nuts about nuts.

They are great with a cup of Earl Grey tea or coffee.

Uni is doing ok for me at the moment. Research is like taking a ride on the emotional roller-coaster. Excited when some ‘significant’ results come true. Sad when you realized the amount of work that still needs to be done. It’s all temporary. It will end. *chanting relentlessly to self*

Sometimes, I do not know how did I manage to reach this point in time. I recalled being in first year and wondering if I will ever…ever..reach the end. Now that I have 6+ more months to go, I’m exhausted and wonder if that end will ever come! I know it will, emotionally, it just doesn’t feel that way. How am I going to get all the writing done? I have no idea. I just have to keep on writing till it is done. How am I going to find the 15 ppl between the age range of 40s-60s? I don’t know but I’m sure God will provide. It’s like the biscotti, the biscuit becomes soft when it hits the hot tea… but when you taste it, it’s bursting with flavors. So I get teary when something bad happens but I know that when I emerge from the heat, things will go ok. OR AT least I will make it go ok. It’s about picking myself up and keep going right?

Espresso Cupcakes


I love coffee! The aroma of freshly brewed coffee and a small cake/biscotti is such a treat to me. This recipe comes from Donna Hay Classics 2 with some alterations (As usual).

Espresso Cupcakes (10 tiny cakes)
100grams margarine/low fat butter*
1/2 cup of caster sugar*
3 eggs
1 1/3 cups of plan flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/3 cup of almond meal*
2 tablespoons of instant coffee dissolved in 1 tablespoon boiling water*

Chocolate Ganache
50grams butter
1/2 of dark belgium chocolate

1) Preheat oven 160 degrees C.
2) Cream butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, almond meal and coffee mixture in a bowl.
3) Mix till smooth.
4) Grease 10 1/2 cup muffin tins. Spoon mixture and bake for 25 mins. Cool in tins for 10 mins.
5) Prepare Chocolate Ganache- melt butter with chocolate. COOL.
6) Spread chocolate ganache when cupcakes are completely cooled.

*I used low fat margarine and it still came up smooth. The original recipe calls for 1 cup sugar-i reduced that since I’m will be icing the cakes with choc ganache. The original recipe also used hazelnut meal and I was lazy to grind some… and of course, I increased the coffee amount for a stronger taste! =)

Fried Kuey Tiao

Made this for dinner on one of those weeknights. Chan Brothers-an oriental grocery store was selling fresh kuey tiao so decided to get it. Naive as I am, I failed to realized that the kuey tiao was so compact that half a packet was enough to last us for at least 2 meals for the both of us!

I didn’t buy any chinese sausages… used chicken for this dish with plenty of sambal chilli of course!

Fried Kuey Tiao (at least 4 servings!)
200grams of horfun noodles scalded with hotwater.
1 piece chicken breast, sliced and marinated with salt and pepper
100grams of bean sprouts
3 tablespoons of sweet soya sauce
3-4tablespoons of dark soya sauce
1 table spoon of oystersauce
Sambal- your liking.
stock or water
egg

1) Heat wok. Add one tablespoon of oil.
2) Fry chicken under high heat.
3) Add noodles
4)KEEP STIRring- this exercises your biceps.
5) Add all the sauces + sambal
6) Add bean sprouts
7) add stock or water if it looks dry.
8) Add an egg in the middle. Wait for few mins for it to set. Break it up.
9) Serve HOT.

Ice Cream Cookie!

Now, most of you know I do have an obsessive sort of personality. So obsessive that I have been baking choc chip cookies for the past 3 weeks. Mr Ar is tasked with the biggest job of having to differentiate which cookie tastes best. Anyway, one day, I realized that I have 3 filled cookie jars of choc chip cookies and we couldn’t finish them quick enough-despite giving away some!

OH! Exciting cheap news: Last week, Target FINALLY placed Donna Hay cookbooks on sale! I know! Classics 1 & 2 for $20! I mean that is such a bargain!!!! Brownie points for the boyfriend, he walked all the way from his workplace to the nearest Target to buy them on the same day that they were on sale.

OK. Sorry, I digress.

What I wanted to say was, I was happily browsing through those cookbooks when I noticed ice-cream cookies! Since we have Raspberry icecream in the freezer (perfect for the cold winter night!), it was an easy decision to make:

Verdict? I love it… This cookie does not tastes cake-like and is crumbly! yum. Eating this ice-cream cookie brought me back primary/secondary-sch memories. Lining up in the carpark outside school, in front of the ice-cream uncle who rode his bike with the tiny ice-cream freezer. My favorite orders? Twenty cents durian and chocolate icecream in a small cone or fifty cents raspberry swirl in between 2 wafer biscuits. Ultimate yum!

Tom Yum Mai Fun

I have a jar of Tom Yum paste lying in my fridge. I’m a big fan of sourish spicy food… so I made this:

I sprinkled some heibe on top for good measure. :p

Tom Yum Mai Fun– serves 4

2 sticks of maifun-scalded with hot water
1 tablespoon of garlic
1 chilli
300 grams chicken mince marinated with soya sauce, pepper and sesame oil
bean sprouts
3-4 table spoons of tom yum paste

Method
Heat oil in wok. Add garlic mince and chilli. Stir fry chicken mince.
Add Tom Yum Paste
Add in mai fun
Mix in bean sprouts
Serve
Sprinkle heibe and EAT!

I didn’t add in any salt since the tom yum is salty enough. Definitely a quick and cheap meal!