A slice of cake for Thursday- Apple Crumble Cheesecake


I encountered a few disasters with cheesecakes before. In fact, I’m pretty sure I have mastered all the mistakes that one can make during the process.

1) Cracks on top- checked

2) Cheesecake not fully cooked in the middle- checked

I have more luck making mini ones than one large cake too.

Yup. Not so good at making cheesecakes. =(

Anyhow, I decided to bite the bullet and attempt a large cheesecake again. Apple crumble cheesecake with delicious ingredients like macadamia nuts and apple just seems too enticing.

And look what happened:

It was perfect except that tiny little section that was caught onto the tin just as I was lifting the it out. Oh well, I ate that part away. 😡

Our friends enjoyed it-which mattered more.

I, on the other hand, felt satisfied that I have finally baked a cheesecake the way I envisioned it to be. =)

Apple Crumbled Cheesecake

Base
150 grams plain flour
50 grams castor sugar
100 grams butter
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp lemon rind
25 grams desiccated coconut
2-3 tbsps of iced water ( i think I added around 5 tbsps though)

Crumbled topping
120 grams plain flour,
35 grams castor sugar
80 grams butter
100 grams walnuts (can use pecans)

Filling
a. 3 apples cored, peeled and chopped
50 grams castor sugar
1 tsp lemon rind
2 tbsps of lemon juice
1/8 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp plain flour
2 tbsp raisins
100 grams macademia nuts chopped and toasted

b. 500 grams of cream cheese (I used 80% fat free cream cheese)
80 grams castor sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
30 grams corn flour
250 grams of whipping cream
3 eggs (beaten)

1) Pre heat Oven to 180C. Line 9″ loose base cake tin.

2) Base- Place flour and sugar in mixing bowl. Add butter. Use the rubbing in method till mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add egg yolk, rind n coconut. Add water, a little at a time till mixture binds. Press mixture onto baking tin. Prick holes and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and cool slightly.

3) Place filling A in a sauce plan. Cook till the mixture thickens. Set aside.

4) Reduce oven temperature to 140C.

5) Beat cream cheese till smooth. Add sugar, lemon juice and cornflour. Beat till creamy. Add cream. Add eggs till combined.

4) Topping- place flour and sugar in mixing bowl. Rub in butter till mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add in walnuts and mixed well.

5) Pour half the cheese mixture into base. Spread apple filling and sprinkle macademia nuts over it. Top with remaining cheese mixture.

6) Sprinkle topping over surface of the cheese filling. Bake in water bath for 1 hr. Turn off oven and leave cake in oven for another 1 hr. Remove cake from oven and leave to cool. Refrigerate till set before serving.

Pasta Lamb Bake


Prior to having an oven, I have no idea how precious this little invention can be. From sweets to savories, this piece of kitchen equipment is under appreciated (in my little humble opinion).

During my uni years (7.5 years to be exact), an oven has rescued me from frustration and heart ache. Papers to do? I run to the kitchen for some baking therapy. Papers to mark? Baileys on the rocks please and ingredients for chocolate brownies.

darn. It’s a miracle how I got my work done.

Not forgetting my lazy days. A pipping hot casserole requires little effort but oh so tasty. Oh, and pasta and cheese in an oven dish just can’t go wrong.

This recipe was adapted from Woolworths Good Taste Magazine July 08. It takes some time to make but worth the extra bit of effort. Oh, it is also budget AND freezer friendly. One batch of this yield around 7-8 servings! I love meals like this. It means that I can have a night off the following week!

Pasta Lamb Bake
250 grams of pasta
1 egg

olive oil
1 chopped brown onion
garlic chopped
2-3 tsp of fresh mint and pasley.
1/2 tsp of mixed spice
500 grams of lamb mince
3 to 4 chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1/4 cup of stock
150 grams of spinach leaves
1 cup of chopped button mushrooms

1/3 cup of grated chedder

Cheese Sauce
70grams of butter
2 tbs plain flour
2cups of skim milk
1/2 cup of grated chedder
1/4 cup of shreded parmesan
pepper
2 egg yolks lightly whisked

1) Boil salted water. Cook pasta. Cool and stir in egg. Set aside.

2) Heat oil in pan. Cook onion and garlic till soft. Increase heat to high and add herbs + mixed spice till it become aromatic. Add mince, break any lumps. Cook till it changes colour. Don’t forget your veges! Add tomatoes and paste. Add stock and simmer till sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper.

3) To make the cheese sauce- Melt butter. Stir in flour and cook till mixture bubbles. Remoe from heat. Gradually add milk and whisk it till smooth and combined. Bring it back to boil till sauce thickens and coat the back of a spoon. Remove and add both cheeses. Season. Set aside to cool. Whisk in 2 egg yolks.

4) Pre heat oven to 200C. You can choose to mix the mince and pasta mixture togeter but I layered mine. (My version-I placed mince mixture at the bottom of a baking dish and then top it with pasta. Pour the cheese sauce over it and top it with chedder). Bake for 30 minutes till golden.

5) There u go! A budget and freezer friendly meal. Dig in!

Dishing this up at Pasta Presto Nights! This week, Ruth from Once Upon a Feast is hosting.

Thai Red Beef Curry


I find curries fascinating. From the creamy Malaysian style curries to the sweet and thick Japanese curry, each culture seem to have a version of this thick spicy stew. The aroma of the blend of spices will work its way through the air and you can smell it even if you are a few blocks away.

Each week, I look for ideas for a one pot dish. Curry is a definite favorite. The possibilities are endless. Any left over vegetables? Well, it will taste fantastic in a curry.

This is my first attempt in making Thai red curry though. Certainly the lemon grass and ginger flavor came through in this.

While cooking this dish, I added 5 tablespoon full of paste into the work. WOAH. Big mistake. The paste is pungent stuff and the curry ended up too salty! It went alright with rice but Iwill lessen the amount next time.

I bought a tub of thai red curry paste instead of pounding the mix myself. So much easier and convenient. Compared to 8 years ago, the oriental stores in Perth are carrying alot of variety of curry mixes. Since it is difficult to get hold of fresh spices (i.e. fresh curry leaves, lime leaves) tubs of curries are God-send!! Woohoo!

Thai Red Beef Curry (serves 4)
300 grams of lean beef (yikes! cant remember which cut I used)
3 tablespoons of Thai red curry paste.
200 grams of sweet potato diced in cubes
2 peeled and sliced carrots
1 can of 500ML lite coconut cream

Rice to serve

1) Using the back of your chopper or a tenderizer, pound beef. Slice into cubes.

2) Heat curry paste in a pot. Stir gently till paste bubbles a little. Add beef and fry for around 3-4 minutes. Add vegetables and coconut cream. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.

3) Taste. Add water if necessary.

4) Serve with rice.

Ps- I’m searching for more one pot dish ideas. What other types of curries do you enjoy?

Cream of Mushroom Soup


The sniffles can be miserable. And nothing is more comforting than a bowl of soup. You have probably heard about how chicken soup is good for a cold? Well, I found something better-Cream of mushroom soup!

AR always request this when he is ill. Perhaps it is the loads of mushrooms that increases his immunity but he claims that it makes him feel better. For me, I just enjoy the chunkyness of the soup. I have refined this recipe over the years but it remained simple.

Cream of Mushroom soup
500 grams of field mushrooms
1/2 cup to 1 cup of light cream
2-3 tsp of chopped pasley
1-2 tsp of chopped thyme
about 3 cups of vegetable stock
a knob of butter
1 tablespoon of garlic

1) Melt a knob of butter in a saucepan. Saute garlic till slightly brown and add mushrooms. Cook till slightly soft and add herbs.

2) Add stock and simmer. That will take around 10-15 minutes. Lower the heat and add cream. Note-add 1/2 a cup first and taste to see if it is the consistency you desire.

3) Simmer till the soup slightly thickens. Add seasoning.

4) Serve with garlic bread.

The battle of the Double Choc Chip Cookies

I love my cookies. Dark choc cookies dunk in a hot cup of milo is a real treat. A big comfort treat. The story goes that I found two double choc chip cookies recipe in my file and I have forgotten which is the one I like best, so I thought “Why not, just make both and compare!”

Candidate 1


This candidate claims that it is the “Best double choc chip cookie” featured at All recipes website. Interestingly, the recipe is no longer on the website. It has a cakey texture and is a quite dense. The chocolate flavor is intense though. Certainly a contender if you like your chocolate chip cookies a little soft. I did however over baked a batched by 5-10 minutes and they turned out crisp and nice!

I did halve the sugar content though as I think that 2 cups of sugar is wayyy too much!


The best double choc chip cookies by All recipes
225 grams of butter
1/2 cup of sugar (was 1 cup)
1/2 cup of brown sugar (was 1 cup)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups of flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup of cocoa powder
3 cups of dark choc chips

1) Preheat oven to 180C. Line trays with baking paper.

2) Cream butter, sugar and brown sugar. Beat eggs and vanilla in. Sift flour, baking soda, salt and cocao powder. Mix well. Fold in choc chip.

3) Put spoonsfulls on baking tray. Bake for 10 minutes to get a soft texture and 15-20 minutes for crisper texture.

Candidate 2

Double Chocolate Cookies taken from Milk and Cookies. It has the crisp that all cookies should have and tasted great with milk (a real test!). Deep intense chocolate flavor. The cookies spread more than Candidate 1, which probably contributed to the crisp sides and chewy with a bite interior.



Dark chocolate cookies

1 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp coarse salt
200grams of choc chip (seperate them into 2, 100 grams)
110gram of butter
1 cup of sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

1) Preheat oven to 180C. Line baking trays with baking paper.

2) Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking sodar and salt. Set aside.

3) Melt 100 grams of dark choc with butter in a small heat proof bowl set on top of a pan of simmering water. Cool slightly.

4) Gradually fold in flour mixture in 2 batches.

5) Fold in chocolate bits. (I added some crushed walnuts as well)

6) Spoon tsp of cookie dough on to trays abt 2 inches apart. Bake for 15 minutes. Cookies will be slightly soft.

My favourite???

Candidate 2 for sure. The rich intense flavour won me over. By not beating the butter, the cookies turned out crispier. I’m keeping that recipe!!!!

What is your favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe?

Lean Mean Bean Fettucine


Woah! I wonder what was I thinking when I came out with that name for this dish. Certainly, it’s lean but mean.. hmm..well, I dont think beans make us mean, aren’t they suppose to be good for our digestive system?

I have started to experiment with butter beans a little. I love them in soups but thought I could experiment and pop them in a pasta dish. The result was gorgeous, as the texture of the butter beans went well with fettucine, lean bacon and mushrooms.

Lean Mean Bean Fettucine (serves 4)
250 grams of fettucine or half a packet
1 can of butter beans, well drained
150 grams of lean bacon diced
2 cups of chopped buttom mushrooms
1 tablespoon of garlic
1/4 cup of olive oil

1) Cook pasta till al dente.

2) Fry bacon till slightly crisp. Drain on paper towels. Heat olive oil up. Fry garlic till fragrant. Add butter beans and cook till they turn slightly brown. Include in the mushrooms. Cook for around 5 minutes till soft.

3) Add bacon in and toss it well. Taste the mixture. If it appears too dry, add a little more olive oil and season as required. Add pasta and toss well.

4) Serve with some cracked pepper.

I’m serving this up for Pasta Presto Nights. This week’s host is Katie from Thyme For Cooking.


On another note.. look what I recieved from Foodbuzz! (I recieved that over a month ago…)


A summer tote bag with badges on and packet of Moo cards! What a treat. =)

Adventures of the Thosai and Chicken Curry

(the 8th attempt)

flip

and

flip

and

aRghhhh…..

I tested out my flipping skills recently by indulging in the art of thosai making. Rather than grinding the thosai mixture myself, I decided to take a stepwise approach and use a packet of thosai mix.

Flipping thosai is like flipping pancakes right? Easy peasy stuff. but nooo.. flipping thosai isn’t as easy as it seems (for me anyway).

(see the broken pieces)

After the 8th attempt, my thosai finally resembles one. Almost anyway.

Now, I have a greater admiration to thosai makers and their flat, round pans!

(6th attempt, looking slightly decent)

What’s that in the pink bowl? Surely I haven’t gone out of my mind and serve ice-cream with thosai? Rest assured I didn’t. It was easy chicken curry that I have there. Ar and I are blessed with helpful and great parents/grandma and our fridge has like a year supply of curry pastes. This one was made by AR’s mum.

I would have made some dhal but I was craving for some spicy hot stuff hence the chicken curry.


Easy Chicken Curry
(serves 4)
4-6 generous tablespoons of AR’s mum curry paste (obviously it will be your choice of curry paste =) )
1/2 of lite coconut milk
1 cabbage sliced
500 grams of chicken cutlet/breasts diced
1 onion.

1) Saute curry paste till fragrant. Add onions.

2) Cook chicken till through. Add cabbage. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.

3) Add coconut milk. Taste. Season if required.

4) Serve with broken up thosai.

Chicken Cutlet with Egg Sauce


One of my favorite cuisine to eat out is Japanese. Amazingly, besides sushi, miso soup and dishes inspired by miso paste (since I needed to use up the tub of miso paste in the fridge!), I haven’t venture into experimenting Japanese type dishes at home before this one.

So one day, while flipping new recipe books and craving Japanese……

“Dingggg” -light bulb moment occurred.

Oh ok, so I sort of tweaked the recipe a bit.. err.. make that alot since it looked nothing like a Katsu Don but certainly it is a slightly healthier/different/unique/fusion version of it.

Heehee. You get the message that even I was confused to what sort of concoction I made up in the kitchen.

I used the light pan-fried version of the breaded chicken cutlets instead of deep-frying it. It still tasted crispy but without the calories that goes with it. To make this an all-in-one dish, I sauteed some beans with sambal, which made this even less Japanese! LOL

So now you know, recipe books and restaurant dining inspire me. What about you? What inspired your home cooked dishes?



Chicken Cutlet with Egg Sauce
(serves 4)
5 medium size chicken cutlets skinless
2-3 cups of packaged bread crumbs (I used hot and spicy)
1 lightly beaten egg
1.5 cups of plain flour
olive oil

Egg sauce
3 eggs
2 tsp fish sauce
1tsp sugar
cracked pepper
1 shallot chopped finely
olive oil

Rice
saute vegetables

1) Use the back of your chopper/knif to tenderize the chicken cutlets. Lightly season with a little salt.

2) Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan. Dip chicken cutlets in flour, egg then breadcrumbs. When the pan becomes hot, place cutlets in pan. Cook for 5-8 minutes on each side till it becomes golden brown. Place the cutlets on a oven proof dish. I used the oven warmer to keep the cutlets warm as I fry up the remaining chicken. Slice chicken when done.

3) Dish rice up. Place some saute vegetables on it followed by sliced chicken cutlets.

3) Egg sauce- lightly beat eggs with fish sauce, sugar and cracked pepper. Heat oil and sauteed shallots till it turns soft. Add egg mixture in. Using a wooden spoon, keep stirring the egg inwards in circular motion, just like making scramble eggs. Switch off the heat when the egg looks slightly done and continue stirring. Spoon egg sauce onto the chicken cutlets.

Tom Yam Seafood Noodle Soup


The passage to working life. The joys of attending a job interview. Yup, got through that this morning.

This wasn’t my first job interview per say, but it is one that utilizes my previous skills and experiences + degree. How different it feels. A little bit of anxiety, a little bit of excitement.

Their questions answered, my questions asked. The wait begins. =)

Ok, so the above has no connection at all to the food post.

I have always wondered why Singaporeans/Malaysians love soupy noodles. The prawn noodles soup, Ban Mien, Wantan noodles soup, Dumpling noodles soup, beef brisket noodes…etc The list goes on. I have always thought that the hot weather will deter anyone from drinking a bowl of hot soup. Having said, I adore the soup broths. The tasty, wonderfully brewed soup (often filled with msg but that’s another story).

Although I have grown to enjoy the dishes in Singapore/Malaysia, I like my soups better in the cold. Soup warms the soul up I believe. Especially a bowl of spicy soup.

Tom Yam Seafood Noodle Soup
3 tablespoons of Tom Yum soup paste
500ml of stock
1 stalk of lemongrass (using only the inner part and sliced)
200 grams of seafood (fish slices, prawns and baby squid)
1 bowl of bean sprouts
chopped chili
Rice vermicelli blanched

1) Heat a tsp of oil. Saute lemongrass. Add stock. When it boils, add tomyum paste.

2) Cook seafood in broth. Add beansprouts. Cook for 2-3 minutes.

3) Seperate noodles in bowls. Ladle soup and serve with freshly chopped chili.

Thanks to Ruth from Once Upon a feast for hosting Pasta Presto Nights this week.

Mocha Self-Saucing Pudding


There is a dish for every season.

Summer means salads

Autumn means stews and pies

Spring means roast spring lamb and risottos

Winter…

calls for warm curries, casseroles and WARM CHOCOLATE PUDDING!

I wasn’t a fan of warm desserts till recently. I’m the ice-kachang, ice-cream, cold fruits kinda of girl. But then I discovered the beauty of chocolaty delights. Saucy chocolaty delights.

Think cold winter nights, nice comfy sofa, episodes of Gray’s Anatomy or Private Practice (one after another of course), warm blanket and a sweet bowl of warm chocolate pudding. ahhh..bliss.


Mocha Self-Saucing Pudding (Serves 2)
1/2 cup of flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup of castor sugar
1 tbsp of dark cocoa powder
1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
23 grams of melted butter
1 tbsp instant espresso
1 egg
extra cocoa powder for dusting

Topping
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 tbsp dark cocoa powder
120ml of boiling water
2 tbsp of instant espresso coffee powder

1) Preheat oven to 180C. Sieve flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cocoa and cinnamon in a bowl. Add sugar and mix well.

2) Place butter, egg and coffee powder in a jug and whisk to combine. Slowly combine wet and dry mixture together. Spoon mixture into 2 ramakins.

3) Combine brown sugar and cocoa in a small bowl. Sprinkle the top of the pudding with the mixture. Then mix the coffee powder and boilng water till coffee dissolves. Carefully pour the coffee mixture around the edges of the pudding.

4) Bake pudding for 20 minutes till firm. Dust the top of the pudding with cocoa and serve hot with ice-cream or cream.

PS-I dont think there are any real rules about seasons and food and I confess to eating salads in winter and curries in summer… however, seasonal produce and the cold weather does make a girl crave for different sorts of food.

pps. This was taken from an old issue of Better Homes and Gardens. Their recipes rock!