Pear and Cranberry Loaf- Happy Birthday to Me!

Greetings from Sydney!

Last year this time- we prepared for a wonderful engagement photoshoot. This year, I’m in Sydney celebrating with great friends.

Birthdays are a funny thing. One can probably lament that getting older limits what one can do. I beg to differ. Each year brings us to different opportunities. It all lies in our attitude. The thoughts that we place in our head.

The year of 2009, and the year of being 25 years old has finally ended. This year though, has brought me unbelievable joy. I have graduated (finally!) and got married (with the amazing 3 weddings) and had a wonderful time with my friends in Malaysia. I learned that it is NOT easy to organize home improvement/renovations and is increasingly getting addicted to magazines (Food and Home improvement included).

So here we are, celebrating a new age- it is only fitting to celebrate with a cute little cake isn’t it?

Pear and Cranberry Loaf 

2 pears diced
1 cup of cranberries
125 grams butter
2 eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 cup of self raising flour
1/2 cup of buttermilk (I used normal skim milk)

Preheat Oven at 180C. Line loaf tray with baking paper.

Process butter, eggs and vanilla in food processor for 2-3 minutes. Add sugar, flour and milk, process for 1 min or till combined. Spoon mixture into big bowl and add pear and cranberries. Spoon mixture into prepared tin and bake for around 30-35 mins. Serve. =)

Tangy Prawn Mai Fun

If you asked how many ways are there to prepare fried mai fun, the answer should be endless. Being a Singaporean Chinese, I have not been to birthday parties, or to any celebrations without the infamous fried bee hoon or mai fun (How you say it depends on the dialect. I’m Cantonese so we call it mai fun). How it is being fried though is the fun bit.

My grandmother calls Worcestershire sauce as “the sauce I cook my prawns in”- she, being a pure Cantonese probably would not associate Worcestershire sauce with other dishes as that is her special sauce used only for special occasions. Ah, her chilli stir fried prawns with red onions has such an amazing gravy that I savour even the lettuce that was used to decorate the dish.

What I have done then, is to combine her prawn dish with some carbs, and da dah, a new dish is born! Thank you Popo for another inspirational dish. =)

Tangy Prawn Fried Mai Fun

1/2 packet of bee hoon or mai fun soaked in warm water
600 grams of prawns (I used Australian Green prawns) shelled and de-veined
1 tomato diced
2 red chilli chopped
1 red onions sliced
2 carrots sliced
1 bunch of spring onions sliced
3-4 tablespoons of Worchestershire sauce
1 tsp of soya sauce
1 tsp of sugar
1/4 cup of stock

Heat pan with oil, sizzle onions and chili and cook till soft. Toss in tomatos, carrots and then prawns. Add sauces in with a dash of stock. Simmer. Sprinkle sugar in. Toss mai fun and spring onion through. Serve with some shallots.

I can’t wait to share this dish with my friends from Presto Pasta organized by Ruth. This week it is hosted by Haalo from Cook (Almost) anything once.

Ondeh Ondeh

I love October. The weather is gorgeous (usually!), we know that Christmas (my favourite holiday!) is around he corner, and to top it off, traditionally for us many changes occur.  It signals that I am turning older and we made the commitment to get married in October 2007.

Therefore, I think it makes perfect sense that a blog design change is due in October ;p

Ok, the above doesn’t quite make sense really but I do think a fresh change is needed. Afterall, so much as happened and this blog no longer just “speak:” about food and my uni life! I read through my older posts and had a good chuckle ot myself how this blog started when I was struggling with my honours-with Mr AR still my very innocent housemate.. I read beneath the lines and realized the reading and commenting isn’t as innocent as I once thought it was.  Now, he is my husband and I have moved away from whinging and being more appreciative of life and food of course!

A fresh start- I love it. The layout is the same for the time being but the links have changed-I have updated a few things on the right side of the interface. I”m trying to enlist hubby to make more code changes but that’s because I’m really quite technologically challenged and prefer to use talents around me…. :p So I am hoping for more changes (for the better) in the near future.

In the mean time, I would like to share with you a dessert/tea time snack that I made recently for a pot luck party. Ondeh Ondeh is a traditional kueh for the Malays. I love the texture of this and when you bite into it, a lovely sugar squirt fills your mouth. The sweet syrup is made of gula melaka- a type of brown sugar.

I have taken this recipe from my favourite kueh book of all times by Patrica Lee.

Ondeh Ondeh

300 grams glutinous rice flour
200 grams + sweet potato
2 tbs tapioca flour
pandan leaves (I used essence-around 3-4 drops-but I can it can be increased to even 8 drops)
2-3 drops of green food colouring
pinch salt
100 grams palm sugar grated and mixed with 1 tablespoon white sugar
250 grams grated/dessicated coconut

Skin sweet potato and steam for 15 mins (I chopped them up first). Mash while warm.

Mix pandan essence and water to make around 200 ml of pandan juice (around 190 ml of water and then drops of pandan essence). add salt and green coloring

Mix both flours in a bowl. Add in mash potato. Knead the mixture with the pandan juice. Add more of the pandan water if a little dry.

Pinch dough and roll into a small ball. (I floured my hands). Put a little palm sugar into the center and seal well. Put aside.

Bring a big sauce pan of water to boil. Drop ondeh ondeh into boiling water. While it rises to surface, keep it boiling for another 2 mins. Scoop up, drain and coat in grated coconut.

PS- optional to steam coconut with pandan leaves and salt for 10 mins and cool.

Soya Sauce Chicken and Japanese Tofu with Broccolli

I don’t deny that despite my variety of cuisine that I blog, nothing beats 1 meat, 1 vege and rice (bonus with soup!). My Chinese roots dictate that nothing is more comforting that soup, rice and dish cooked in a “Chinese” style.

I have previously blogged about soya sauce chicken but nevertheless love it anyhow! For the vege dish, I pan fried some japanese tofu and fried it with broccoli. Nothing too fancy, but the satisfication level is high. When my teeth sank into the chicken, it was the sense of “ah.. this is what I have been waiting for.”

Soya Sauce Chicken (Serves 4-5)

7-8 Chicken drumsticks trimmed of fat
1 tablespoon of chopped garlic
1 tablespoon of chopped chili
olive oil

1/4 cup of oyster sauce
1 tablespoon of kikoman soya sauce
1 tsp of dark soya sauce
2-3 tablepoons of hua tio jiu
1 tsp sugar

1/201 cup of water

Saute garlic and chili. Brown chicken over moderate heat.

Mix sauces in a jar.

Once the chicken is browned, pour sauce mix over it. Pour around 1/2 cup of water into the wok/pan. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Check every 10 minutes if it requires more water. Turn the chicken so that it is well coated in the mixture.

Japanese Tofu with Broccoli

1 tube of Jap tofu sliced
corn flour
1  brocooli chopped
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
3 tablespoon of oyster sauce
few tsp of water

Coat Jap tofu with corn flour. Pan fried till golden brown. Set aside. Saute garlic and add broccolli, add the water and cook till nearly done. Add soya sauce, pepper and the tofu. Serve hot with chicken.

Corn Chowder with Crispy Corn SalsaTopping


You read about my love for corn so imagine my delight when I stumbled to this recipe from Epicurious.com. This is seriously GOOD stuff.. Like the most amazing corn attack ever.

I followed the recipe-except that I used frozen corn instead of fresh corn and left out the jalapeno. Still, I found the crispy corn guacamole to be soooo good. I could just eat that with crackers I think!

Lemon Slice

Oh who can resist a slice of sweetness?

Especially a tangy one?

Lemon slices are a classic isn’t it? Just that tiny piece of tangy sweetness ends a dinner pretty well don’t you think? These little gems were made for a gathering that we had on a Friday and I was soo pleased to know they were gone quickly.

Although, a few people came to me and said:

“What lovely CHEESECAKE that was!”

DOH!


Lemon Slice (Suppose to be for 24 slices but I slice it smaller and made that to be around 30 slices)
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 1/4 cup plain flour
120 grams butter
1 tablespoon of milk

topping
1 1/3 tablespoons corn flour
1/3 cup of cream (low fat)
6 eggs
1 cup of castor sugar
2 tablespoons of lemon rind
3/4 cup of lemon juice

Preheat oven 170C. Line slice tray with paper.

Process sugar, flour, butter and milk in food processor(YES!) till mixture comes together. Press mixture to tin and bake for 25 minutes.

Topping: Whisk cornflour and 2 tablespoons of cream till smooth. Whisk remaining cream, eggs, sugar and lemon rind and juice. Place liquid in saucepan and cook over low heat for around 6 minutes till it thickens. Pour over base and bake for 5 minutes or till topping just set. Cool in tin and slice!

psss.. recipe taken from my favorite baker- Donna Hay Classics 2

Chorizo Seafood Pilaf

What sunny weather we are having in Perth currently. A top of 37C on Saturday and another sunny day to follow today. If this is Spring October, I shudder to know what the heat is going to be like in Summer!!!!!

October has always hold a very special place in my heart. Somehow, spring does wonders to one’s outlook doesn’t it?

A couple of things are going to change to this blog pretty soon- I hope to bring a prettier blog look and hopefully that will be more easy on the eye. It’s time for a change soon don’t you think? =)

I wrote about my find about chorizo recently-and the added special touch to the sauce base of pasta. What I did further was to simmer the sauce but added rice and stock to make a pilaf. A easy one pot dish (just remember to serve veges on the side) for sure.

Now, let’s just hope it’s not going to get warmer than what we already have during the weekend or else it’s going to be more salads and salads soon! LOL


Chorizo Seafood Pilaf
1 can of garlic and oregano diced tomato
1/2 chorizo
1 chilli chopped
1 tomato chopped
1 tsp of chopped garlic
2 cups of rice
300 grams of seafood marinara
1 tsp of mixed herbs
1 cup of stock/water. (U can also use 1/2 cup of red wine + stock for a stronger flavour)

Fry chorizo and garlic . Add all tomatoes and chilli. Simmer for around 2-3 minutes adding a dash of vege stock or water along the way.

Add rice and stir well. Add stock and simmer for around 15 minutes till the rice is nearly cooked. Place marinara on top of rice, sprinkle mixed herbs and simmer for another 5-10 minutes.

Serve with grilled veges.

Pork and Feta Burgers


There has been an increase of burger joints around lately. The difference is that they are real burgers rather than the processed stuff. Pretty expensive too I have to say- AU$25+ for a burger and some chips.

I shaped some pork mince and crumbled feta cheese into some cute little patties and served them for Sunday lunch. The great thing is that I used the left over patties in some pasta as well, hence that kills 2 meals quickly. LOL Very chic especially when served with some wedges and salad.


Bringing the cafe feel into the home kitchen without the extra cost! =)

Pork and Feta Burgers
300 grams pork mince
50 grams crumbed low fat feta
2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
1 egg
1 tablespoon of corn flour
1/2 cup of bread crumbs
lots of pepper
2-3 tsp of mixed herbs (dried)
1 tsp of garlic powder

Mix everything up. Marinate for around 20 minutes. Shaped into patties and fry them up. Serve with toasted bread buns, melted cheese and good old salad n chips!

Dark Chocolate and Almond Torte

When it comes to making cakes, I have to say that it is only recently that I got more into it. Somehow, many of my cakes come out looking more warped with cracked tops… oh, and I am not very patient in decorating cakes either!

A series of birthdays allowed me to get back into the kitchen and start the practice. A flourless cake with simple vienna almonds as decorations seem to be the way to start!The result was a rich and dense cake. That certainly hit the chocolate lover in me.

Dark Chocolate and Almond Torte (from Womens’ Weekly)
160 grams of dark choc bits
160grams butter
5 eggs seperated
3/4 cup of caster sugar
1 cup of almond meal
2/3 cup of tasted flaked almonds
1/3 cup of dark chocolate bits (extra)
1 cup of vienna almonds (or more!)

Dark Chocolate Ganache
125 grams dark eating chocolate chopped coaresly
1/3 cup of thickened cream.

Preheat Oven to 180C. Grease 9inch cake pan. Line it.
Melt chocolate and butter till it become smooth. Cool
Beat egg yolks and sugar till it becomes thick and creamy (electric mixer). Fold in chocolate mixture, almond meal, flaked almonds and rest of the chocolate bits.
In another clean dry bow, whisk egg white till soft peaks form. Fold into chocolate mixture in two batches. Pour mixture in pan and bake for around 45 minutes. Cool in pan. Turn cake, top side up onto wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile melt chocolate and cream. Cool. Spread ganache onto cool cake. Decorate cake with vienna almonds.
ps-vienna almonds are caramal coated almonds.

Rogan Josh Chicken and Potato Pies- Honey and Soy Salad Dressing


What I love about pies is how can you convert leftovers into something that looks and tastes like it takes hours to do. I had a jar of Rogan Josh sauce in the fridge with the intention of finishing it up before it goes bad. Given that I still have a few pieces of puff pastry in the freezer, some potato and chicken, it didn’t take me long to figure out a pie will do the trick!

I probably overdid the potato though..and that would have tasted better with a stronger sauce. Nevertheless, it was one easy meal that was freezer friendly. Perfect for the hubby to take to work for a snack or light lunch.

I have also recently discovered how easy it is to make honey and soy salad dressing! DOH! Although I would have never put those two together, I was quite curious to why the Aussies love having that on their salads. So I decided to experiment and the result was actually quite good… surprisingly! A tsp of sesame oil and sesame seeds add that crunch and texture.

Rogan Josh Chicken and Potato Pies- Honey and Soy Salad Dressing (around 12-13 pies)
4 puff pastry defrosted
300 grams of chicken breast thinly sliced diced
1/2 jar of sauce
2 potatoes diced finely -cook briefly in boiling water till just done.
1 onion chopped finely

Cook onion till nearly done and add chicken. Add sauce. Taste. Add potato and simmer for around 15 minutes. Add some pepper if needed. Cool.

Cut pastry to shape. Spoon filling into pastry as per pie maker instructions. Cook till the machine says it is done! =) Or just wrap the filling into the pastry and bake in 180C for around 25 mins in the oven.


Honey Soy Sesame Dressing
4 tablespoon of soya
1 tsp of honey
1 tsp of sesame seeds(I ran out when making it for this salad!)
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1tsp of sesame oil

Whisk all together. Serve with your favorite salad.