The Hubby’s Birthday Adventure P2- Chocolate Souffle

Why did I take so long to prepare hubby’s dinner?  Because I felt really bad for not having enough time to bake him a proper cake. My guilt got better of me and I managed to squeeze in a souffle.

I quartered the recipe. Some mistakes I made including using an oversize ramekin so it didn’t “Spill over” as it should be. I can see it raising but just not enough to bring it over. I think I also left it in the oven a tad too long-it was slightly dry but as we dig in further, it was moist.

Singing Happy birthday to my darling while spooning him souffle was the best I could do for that evening of celebration.

Chocolate though helped smooth everything over doesn’t it? =) 

Check out the recipe here.

The Hubby’s Birthday Adventure P1- Crispy Grilled Salmon on a bed of herb potatoes and prosciutto wrapped asparagus

Cooking for the hubby’s birthday is a challenge-especially when it falls on a weekday. He requested for salmon and I know he wants it crispy skinned. A penchant for bacon, he has always wanted to try prosciutto but cringed at the price.

So arriving home after 07:15pm and started cooking within that 5mins-finishing up by 08:30pm is pretty decent don’t you think? Not only that, we even managed to squeeze in the movie Avatar at 09:15pm! (Imagine 25 mins of scoffing down food that took me 1 hour and 15 mins to prepare!).

All worth it though. It’s not my best but it was  good enough… (see P2 and P3)!

Crispy Grilled Salmon on a bed of herb potatoes and prosciutto wrapped asparagus 

2 portions of salmon

2 potatos chopped
olive oil
 1 knob of butter
herbs lots of mixed herbs

1 bunch of Asparagus
50 grams of prosciutto

Heat pan till hot with olive oil, grill salmon skin side down first till crisp. Lower heat and sear salmon. Once cook, rest aside.

In another pan, melt butter and olive oil together. Saute potatoes with herbs. Sprinkle with salt at the end.

Wash and prepare asparagus but shaving off the wooden tips. Wrap prosciutto around it. Grill it for around 5-10 mins.

Try juggling 3 pans at once and see what turns out! 😛

Japanese Teriyaki Chicken with Ramen

Friday lunch is sushi lunch. Well, Friday is paperwork day for me, so nothing is more comforting than a packet of 8 pieces of salmon and tuna sushi. Call me boring but when you are buried in a pile of paperwork, having something that you know it is healthy, and delicious just ease the pain of writing notes and reports.

While paying for my sushi one Friday, it hit me…. right that corner of that sushi shop is a heated little place when they put out bento boxes. Teriyaki chicken rice, teriyaki chicken with noodles..etc.  That is when I realized that it can’t be that hard to replicate that at home right?

Armed with Teriyaki sauce (The good stuff from Oriental supermarkets from Japan, not the kind titled “Woolworths brand“.  Anyhow, marinating the chicken with the sauce turned out to be a sticky delight. And the noodles? Generous serving of shredded cabbage and carrots stir fry with ramen is simple but delish.

We can’t forget a serving of a fried egg can we? Egg yolk oozing to our noodles-mixing it and then taking a bite means the simple pleasures in life are best enjoyed….at home.

 oh oh and before I forget…

Petrina gave me this awesome Sugar Doll Award in Jan! And it’s already mid way through Feb! Thanks babe! Amazing friendship that was formed from the Malaysia Bridal Forum. Petrina has this amazing collection of shoes that I stood in awe looking at her cabinet when I visited her and her hubby!

10 things about myself:

1)  We have shelves of motivational books and I read every single one of them. Self reflection and growth is vital to moving forward in life and relationships. There is no such thing as “the same” as not doing anything (as in personal development) to me means going backwards not forward in life.

2) I believe in  being strength focused instead of focusing on the weaknesses.

3) But the irony thing is that I can be critical of myself and close ones (esp the hubby).

4)  A weakness for french chocolates… (need I say more?)

5) I love home furnishing. I invest heavily on home and food magazines and like cutting them out to make a file of “my dream home”.

6) Did I mention I like good quality linen? I think I got this from my mum whom I used to consider “boring” as she was excited shopping about sheets! Too late, now I think it is fun!. (I can see mum going “I told u so”)

7)  I am my grandmother’s girl. I adore her and would do anything for her.

8)  Grapes and mangoes are my favorite summer fruits!

9) One of my dream is to be able to look after my family full time while experimenting in the home kitchen.

10) I like variety in food. I can have rice one day, cafe food the other and vegetarian next. 

Japanese Teriyaki Chicken with Ramen (serves 4)

250 grams ramen noodles (cooked in boiling water)
half cabbage shredded
2 carrots peeled and shredded
1 red onion sliced
garlic
 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
2-3 tablespoons of teriyaki sauce
2-3 tablespoons of soya 
2-3 tsp of white pepper.
sesame oil 

2 chicken breasts sliced horizontally.
marinate in garlic and teriyaki sauce and mirin for around 20 mins.

4 eggs.

Heat fry pan up. Saute garlic and onion till soft. Add in cabbage and carrots and fry till nearly cooked. Toss in noodles and all sauces. Cook till done. Taste test. Adjust accordingly.

Meanwhile, heat grill pan up to very hot. Grill chicken breast both side around 3 minutes till done. Set aside to cook slightly and sliced.

Fry egg on another pan. Serve warm. 

Sharing this with friends at Presto Pasta founded by Ruth Daniels. This week, it is hosted by Italian Mama Chef! (What a cool name!)

Swiss Adventure- Rosti and Halomi at home

During our trip to Switzerland (Interlaken), we hurried to try the local cusine. Cheese Fondue with white wine-checked. Rosti- Checked. While I wasn’t ready to try out the strong cheese fondue at home (just didn’t sit too well in my tummy), I love love love the rosti.

Re-creating dishes that we try and love overseas back at our humble kitchen is one of my passions. While our little rosti cakes did not look anything like what we had in Switzerland, it brought us back memories. The human brain is so amazing, recording our memories not just by sight, but by all senses. Having this, just brought us back a little more of what we have experienced. I can’t help but drool with the sight of the runny egg on a bed of potato!

At home, I grated the potato, added some melted spread, season and proceeded to shape them in little cakes. It worked really well and turned crispy despite not having much oil added to the pan. I suppose it would have to be the butter on the potato cakes.

The shredded delights hit a big spot in us. We paired it with a light salad with grilled halomi cheese.  While I tried this cheese briefly in cafes, I have not thought of using it in salads before. Grilling it made it slightly crispy and I was greeted with the crispy outer and creamy cheesey insides. Superb!

 
Rosti with Halomi Salad (Serves 3-4) 
50 grams of Halomi cheese sliced to 2 pieces
Rosti 
2 potato grated
2 tablespoon of spread melted 
lots of freshly cracked pepper
1 tsp of chilli flakes 
1 tsp of minced garlic 
1 tsp of mixed herbs 
sea salt  
Mixed all ingredients together. Shape into patties. Preheat pan with a little oil. Fry rosti up.
ps- I like my potato with a little bite so I didn’t pre boil it.  
Grilled Halomi– Preheat another pan with oil. Grill it till it turns crispy on the outside. Serve on bed of salad. 

Chicken Burger with Tomato Kasandi Sauce

It is amazing how a simple jar of sauce can change the taste and appearance of a humble chicken burger. I discovered the wonders if chutney or relishes just 3 years ago- which even the hubby raised his eyebrows when he realized that his girlfriend had NO knowledge of an important condiment of the Indian cuisine. I was just disappointed by the time lost of not discovering the sweet/savory goodness soon enough.

My understanding of the Tomato Kasandi is that it is a type of relish cooked slowly with love in a bed of spices. I tasted generous amounts of mustard seeds and of course plenty of the tomato flavour. My favourite is still the Goan cuisine-you might recall my excessive use of that Spicy Mango Chutney sauce in everything such as this and this. This is like another obsession- the Tomato Kasandi Obsession. And trust me, it is a good one. 

I paired it as a ganish to the burger and boy did it take it to a different level. No more paying $20 for a chicken burger I say! Just give me some chicken mince and a $6.99 jar of tomato Kasandi and we can have it at home too!


Chicken Burger with Tomato Kansandi Sauce
(serves 4)
300 grams of chicken mince
1 grated carrot
1 tsp of garlic
1-2 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
lots of freshly grinded pepper
dried chili flakes
2 tsp of mixed herbs
1/4 cup of breadcrumbs
Squeeze of lemon juice 
1 egg
2-3 tablespoons of corn flour

Marinate chicken mince with everything. Shape into burger. Heat grill to very hot. Grill burger on each side till done. Serve with multigrain bread roll, salad leaves and generous tablespoon of sauce of your liking

Happy Tiger Year!

Gong Xi Fai Cai!

Happy Chinese New Year everyone! What a lovely year it was and now we have approached the Tiger year.

I kept this recipe for more than 2 years now. Finally this year, a chance to try it out! Golden Pineapple Tarts.

Sure enough, it lives up to its name of being hard work. Yet every second was worth it. The night before, I cooked the pineapple filling. Soon after, the kitchen was filled with lovely scents of cinnamon and star anise.

On Friday, I quickly tapped away on my computer, completing all my paperwork before 2.30pm! SCORE! Time go home and make the dough.

Truth be told, the dough wasn’t difficult to make. It was, however, encasing the pineapple filling into the dough that was tricky. Mine started out huge, then it became slightly more manageable.

Finally, an unglam picture of the hubby. It was the moment of truth when he bite into it.

He was kind and finished every bite of it. I found the dough/short bread to be too thick and wish I could have practice more to put more filling in it. Having said that, we both agreed that the filling was lovely and wasn’t as sweet as commercially bought ones.
Thanks to the inspirations of Rasa Malaysia and Fresh from the Oven. It is the generosity of such great food bloggers who shared their secrets and kitchen knowledge that allow a novice like me to learn so much.

Here is wishing everyone a Prosperous New Year filled with happiness and joy. Not forgetting the most important one GOOD HEALTH!

HUAT AH!

Salmon Tandoori Stir Fry

I used to think that Tandoori paste is used for marinating chicken in. Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food  changed my thinking forever. It has so many quick and do-able recipes that even the hubby could use (hint!). I was also happy to know that one of my favourite brand of curry paste- Pataks is also recommended as a short cut (And apparently it was not an advert for them, Jamie did try it and thought it was as good as it can get for a store bought jar version).

So happily I used the jar-I welcome short cuts in the kitchen. This made an awesome quick stir fry dish with both fish and vegetables- how healthy can it get right? (oh no wait… sorry, tandoori paste has oil…). Still, it was a good change from my normal stir fry dishes.

 Salmon Tandoori Stir Fry 

1 piece of salmon diced
1 tsp of chopped garlic
1 fresh chili chopped
1 knob of ginger mince 
1-2 tablespoon of Pataks Tandoori curry paste
1/2 can of coconut milk (obmited)
handful of bean sprouts
big handful of snow peas
 peanuts to serve

lemon or lime wedges 

Cook garlic, chili and ginger and curry paste. Add salmon and toss it through. Add some water if too dry (or coconut milk). add the veges.

Dish it out on hot rice. Serve with lemon or lime wedges. 

The German Version of Sukiyaki

My version of Sukiyaki is meat cooked on the table in a simple clear broth. Traveling to Germany recently to see our lovely friends, our host welcomed us with his specialty- his version of sukiyaki. Haz’s father-in law is an awesome cook-and I was staring at the precise way of him cutting up the veges, clearing the kitchen and then cooking this dish up. As it was below 0degrees, you can imagine how warm this dish feels to our tummies. Seriously yummy. 
As he cooked, he told us how he traveled to Japan in his younger days to be with his then girl friend. Alas, the relationship did not work out but he came back to Germany with this dish that he cooks for his family. 
We ate from the pan at his home-made dinning table. No kidding, they sand and build their dinning table from scratched. It was such a heart warming experience-we ate with gusto and laughter. 
Coming back to Australia, I made this dish with the memory of us eating at his table with love. 
The German Version of Sukiyaki   
1 leek sliced and washed
red onion sliced 
2 carrots sliced 
2 cups of chopped mushrooms 
4-5 shitake mushrooms re-hydrated and sliced
2-3 cups of bean sprouts washed
2 portions of noodles 
slice beef thinly 
around 3-4 tablespoon of soya
2-3 tablespoon of white pepper (oh yeah!) 
2-3 tsp of sugar 
2-3 tablespoon of mirin. 
2-3 cups of water/stock
fresh eggs 
Cook leeks and onions till soft. Add mushrooms and cook till soft. Add all seasoning and water. Simmer and boil.Break noodles and cook till it becomes soft. Add beef (by this time, the water should be boiling so it will only takes 2 mins for the beef to cook). Put in bean sprouts and toss gently through. 
Break a fresh egg into each bowl. Scramble it slightly. 
Dig into the pan with your chopsticks and dish noodles on your bowl.  Eat it steaming hot!
Sending this with my love to Presto Pasta created by Ruth Daniels! This is a special week for Presto Pasta- 150 posts! WOOHOO! Hosted by Susan from The Well-Season Cook

Classic Bacon, Egg and Tomato (BET) Toasted Sandwich

The Aussies love their BLT-Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato. Simple and classic. What I prefer though, is to fry up some lean bacon, a runny fried egg together with tomatoes on fresh turkish bread. Simple yet classic- I call it the BET (Bacon, Egg and Tomato!) toastie. :p

Love our Sunday lunches!

Bacon Egg Tomato (BET) Toasted Sandwich
Eggs
Lean bacon (I used weight watchers)
2-3 roma tomato sliced
Turkish bread.

Fry up some bacon and keep warm. Mean time, fry eggs till cooked but egg has not set.
Toast bread. 

Arrange bread with tomato, bacon and egg. Squeeze some bbq sauce over it. Dig in!

Our No Kitchen Dinner

Late last year and early this year, AR and I embarked on a project. No no, I don’t mean babies. I mean our kitchen renovations.

Here are some of our before photos:

Love the avocado green?

We didn’t like it one bit either.

Notice I didn’t have a pantry? Dried food was stored in a basket and exposed to the big bad world.

 So what happened when we have NO kitchen to cook from?

Ah.. we used our handy bbq set!

 We also renovated our patio area a few months back and bought a bbq set to celebrate the event. Alas though, what we have is a 3 burner, hence slightly smaller than this one. Still, it has a wok burner which means I can actually do some stir frys. Grandma will be happy too-since she likes her gas cooking, while we still have no gas (only electric), this one will let her fry up all the sambal that she wants!

You are probably asking what is so hard about cooking a bbq dinner right? Well, AR threw me a challenge and said he wants a proper chinese meal. The 1 meat, veg and soup deal! HeLLO! I have no STOVE to boil soup in for hours to come.

So when in need, pull out your magic gun thermal pot.

Mum bought this for me when she realized in horror that I was losing my Cantonese roots- not boiling nutritious clean soup regularly enough. Since then, I have used this to cook curries, stews, soups, boiling it in the morning and then putting it in the magic thermal pot for a good hearty dinner at night. The best bit is it that it uses no electricity as the pot retains heat from when it is boiled.

So anyhow, using the bbq wok stove burner, I boiled chicken thighs (fat trimmed, boned in), carrots, corn, celery and tomato with some gozi berries. 4-5 hours later, AR has what he asked for. SOUP. I was proud to say, the soup was a winner. Sweet and hearty. Score 1.

The meat dish? That really got me. I guess I could do similar soya sauce chicken or perhaps some stir fry chicken with cashew nuts. But I had a sudden craving for steam dishes. In fact, I was thinking of making a similar dish like the one Singairishgirl made. One problem? How do I steam the meat? No way that was going to happen.. so I thought I will make a pork mince omelette instead.

BUT the amount of eggs was NOT proportional to the amount of meat I have. In fact, I had more pork mince than eggs. By that time, the pork was nearly fried up…So i dished it on to a metal plate, break a few eggs into it and pop it into the bbq to use it as an instant oven. To make it look slightly better, I err…sprinkled some pine nuts over it.

It was a tad dry but edible.  I have NO idea what I did to be honest.. it was just crazy messy cooking. Score 0.5

The veges were easy. Stir fry chinese veges with chili, garlic and oyster sauce. You can’t go wrong right? Wrong! It was over cooked. Score 0!

Oh well, he asked and I delivered. Still, it was a semi decent dinner, as we sat outside our patio area, enjoying the breeze and a home bbq Chinese style dinner.