Pizzas- Pear and Pinenuts

I blogged about this before. Making pizzas at home and/with guests is easy. Best of all, your guests can be involved in the process of it. In fact, we are going on a road trip on Friday! and this pizza is on our menu for one of the dinners as we travel from Adel to Mel.

Bakers Delight came out with a fairly new range of their pizza bread base a few months ago. For around $4ish, we get 2 pre baked bread base. Just for fun, and because I thought it would be a simple dish for our vegetarian guest to join us in AND also that my meat lover husband get to have his meat base pizza.

I rolled the base as thinly as I can. I like my crust crisp. Good thing is that this base has plenty of dried oregano sprinkled on it plus some cheese. A tasty crust for sure. 

With generous slices of pear, handful after handful of morezella and cheddar cheese.. not forgetting pinenuts, this is a winner combination. One that I would have NEVER thought of before trying it at Little Creatures Brewery.

Pear and Pinenuts Pizza
1 Pizza Base (you can also see how I did mine previously here)
1 pear sliced thinly
around 1 cup of pizza cheeses such as mozzarella and cheddar.
around 1 handful of pinenuts.

Roll pizza base as thin as possible. Sprinkle some cheese on it. Place slices of pear on it, top with cheese and then with pine nuts. Bake for around 15-20 mins in a pre heated 200C oven.

The adventures of the Thosai Part 2

Many readers will recall reading my flipping woes. If that is one kitchen skill that I would like to master better, is FLIPPING!

So nearly 1.5 years later, I plucked up my courage and decided to try flipping thosai again. Our vegetarian guest who is Malaysian will probably appreciate a dish similar to street food in Malaysia I thought.

First take- Batter was too thick!

Second take- Batter was in good consistency but I turned it too soon and it broke.

After 20 tries later…

I have ONE decent looking one

that have a few cracks in it.. but at least it resembles a soft version of thosai (Although I was aiming for a crips one 😦 )

Of course..I served it with vegetable curry!

At least the curry was good! (thanks to A1 curry paste.. ;p)

Zhai Choy (Vegetarian Vegetables)

The name sounds ironic. It is a direct translation from a well love dish that I grew up with. Keeping with my vegetarian theme, I cooked this in celebration of CNY for our guest. Once again, without the actual recipe, I went with the guidelines of what I recall grandma doing in the kitchen when I was growing up. She would made this every year-waking up very early in the morning on the first day of CNY so that our whole extended family can enjoy this for lunch.

Top with her super hot chili-one WILL find it hard to forget the taste of this.

For me-it was a taste of home. 



Zhai Choy (Vegetarian Vegetables) 

1 small bunch of mung bean noodles- soaked and drained
1 small packet of fah cho-soaked 
1 can of button/straw mushrooms
1 small bunch of chinese cabbage-shredded
around 10 shitake mushrooms dehydrated and sliced

Seasoning
2-3 tablespoon of light soy
1 tablespoon of dark soy
1/2 cap full of chinese cooking wine
lots of pepper.
pinch of salt
(traditonally, grandma will also add fermented beancurd but I couldnt find it in time and left it out)

Fry everything together and add seasoning. Dish up and serve hot with rice! =)

Spicy Chickpea Burgers

We are blessed with many wonderful friends who taught us how to appreciate different cuisines. Through friends of friends, we got to know a girl from Queensland who happens to be a vegetarian. She came to visit us in Feb for two weeks-and being hosts, I decided to venture into the slightly unknown territory of vegetarian food.

I have to admit- I was buzzing with excitement as I accepted this challenge of having to satisfy our guest but at the same time to satisfy the meat loving hubby as well.

This was one of my creative ventures. Just something that I read out of several magazines but because I “can’t be bother to look for the exact recipe” I re-created something from scratched. It wasn’t too hard and I get to put my handsome food processor to work.

My own complain is that it is a tad too dry. I would have added perhaps one more egg or even more drops of oil to this mixture. The guest did not complain and every bit of the burger was finished.

And the hubby did not have a word of complain.


Spicy Chickpea Burgers (makes around 8-10 patties)
2 cans of chickpeas (or 1 cup dried and soaked overnight)
2 tsp of chili powder
2 eggs-lighted beaten 
1 tablespoon of cornflour
1-2 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tsp of sesame oil
salt and pepper

Blend everything together. Shape with hands and panfry it both sides for around 3 minutes per side. Serve with toasted seeds bread and side salad!

Baked Nien Gao

So this is an awfully late post- given that CNY was over more than one month ago! To add to the lateness, I spotted this recipe in 2008 by Little Corner. Two years later, I finally digged out the recipe that I printed and saved in my folder. It was one recipe that I kicked myself for not trying earlier- because it is dead easy and certainly a good talking point when we bought it to celebratory gatherings.

One batch certainly yields enough for heaps and heaps of people. I split mine into two serves and brought it to TWO gatherings. Talk about saving time and effort huh? ;p

My mother-in-law asked me over the phone what did I bring to one of our family gatherings (My father in law’s cousins). I proudly said “Nien Gao!” which she replied “now that is an interesting dish to bring!” Phew.. I thought I nearly failed the “daughter in law test” given that we regretfully did not manage to return to Malaysia for our first CNY as a married couple. In fact, I felt like I have failed the “best granddaughter” test too when I had to tell my grandmother the same thing in Singapore. Though they understand, one cannot deny the pain that I felt when I heard the disappointment in our parents and grandmother’s voices.

So hopefully we will be back next year!

ps- recipe from Lin.

Almond Cookies

I can’t can’t can’t get enough of these cookies. They must be one of the easiest but yet so delicious cookies to make. I have previously posted them about it here. Looking back though, I didn’t feel that I have given it enough credit so here am I doing this again!

Since baking these cookies, friends and family members have been requesting for the recipe. They are so powerful that a friend of mine who has never done any baking in her life decided to give it a go. (She said she felt embarrassed about asking me to bake for her every week). I can see why though, these have a melt in your mouth texture and the crunch of almonds is irresistible.

I have tried using canola oil as I couldn’t locate corn oil… and others have attempted it using olive oil. One observation I have is that the texture depends alot on the humidity of your kitchen and country. In summer, I have to add a little milk or oil as it tends to be drier. Play it by ear is the best way I think!

This is from my favourite nonya cook book of all times by Patrica Lee. 

Almond Cookies 

250grams of silvered almonds
450 grams of plain flour
225 grams of icing sugar
260 grams of peanut oil
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Egg wash- 1 egg yolk.

Preheat oven to 150C. Toast almonds. Reserve 50grams for garnishing.

In a mixing bowl, mix plain flour, icing sugar, baking powder, soda and salt together. Add in corn oil and almonds. Knead to make dough.

Shape dough and brush with egg wash. Press some reserved almonds on it. Bake for 20-25 minutes till brown.

Bento Lunch- Smoked Salmon Salad

I am blessed with lovely friends- fate has it that Singairishgirl and I hit it off straight away with our common interest in FOOD of course.

Drooling at the trend in bento boxes in the blogging world, Singairishgirl sensed my despair as I couldnt locate any that I like in Perth. I am sure we can get it from ebay if we want it badly enough but I can’t seem to find one that I fancy.

I was so excited about it that I promptly brought it to work the next day. Girls in the office were full of “wooo..ahhh..and how cute!” comments. With pride, I attacked my food and somehow it tastes a tad better in that pretty pink box.

Packaging works! 

Sweet Singarishgirl even included in some cute picks and a fork! No more office cutlery for me! (Also handy as I spend a big part of my day travelling in a car, so this means I can have a salad in my make shift car office anytime I like).

Thank you D! Your generosity and thoughtfulness is really really appreciated!

Baked Beans with Chicken Meat Balls

The humble baked beans has come along way since being on our breakfast table. This is one of my favourite dishes as a kid. My grandmother used to make it with mince pork though, but it is just as tasty.

My twist in this is to use chicken minced- making them into little meat balls first. First of all, chicken mince is leaner than pork mince and…also just because Woolworths had NO pork mince left when I did groceries that day. Why meat balls? For presentation and texture sake I suppose. There is more of a bite while eating meat balls then just saute minced meat.

We had it with rice but I pushed my rice aside and just savored the baked beans with chicken meat balls. No need for carbs with the baked beans I say! 

Baked Beans with Chicken Meat Balls (serves 4-5)

1 red onion chopped finely
1 tsp of garlic minced 
2 red chilsl chopped 
2 cans of baked beans reduced salt
1/4-1/2 cup of chicken stock 

300 grams of chicken mince
1 tsp of sesame oil
1 tablespoon of corn flour
1 egg
3-4 tablespoon of chinese wine
2 tablespoon of soya sauce

Marinate chicken mince for around 20 minutes. Shaped into meat balls.

Saute onion, garlic and chili. Add baked beans and simmer. Add chicken stock if the mixture gets too thick. When it starts to boil, put meat balls in. Cover and cook for around 10 minutes. Check and flip meat balls over if needed. Cook for another 5 minutes or so, adding stock if required. Serve HOT with some veges and plain rice. Or if you are like me, eat it as it is!

Salmon Carrot Potato Cakes

Having one left over salmon fillet the other night, I decided to mixed it up and make some potato cakes for dinner the next night. For some reason, small sized food is really appealing to me these days. Maybe it means less guilt while I take an extra bite of the mini sized food?

This time round, I mashed potato using chicken stock instead of milk or spread. While it wasn’t as creamy, it certainly has the flavour to go with it. Just a twist of a traditional easy to make dish I suppose!

Salmon Carrot Potato Cakes 

2 potatoes chopped, boiled and mashed with chicken stock.
1 salmon fillet grilled and flaked. Can also use canned salmon.
1 grated carrot 
1 tablespoon of corn flour
Seasoning- I used a mixed of pepper, salt and chili flakes! 

Mashed everything up, shape into patties and then pan fry it. Serve with salad.

Chicken Tika Masala

You read about my rave on Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food cook book here. It sounds weird, taking curry advice from a Brit-but seems that it is what one orders when one is in Britain (is it true?).

Armed with the recipe from Jamie Oliver, I made Chicken Tika and it was delicious! Never thought it can be that easy to make Indian curries at home. No more expensive and oily take aways!

I adapted his recipe by adding more veges and reduced the amount of chicken to make it a one pot dish. Add some microwave papadums and the crunch factor is the bonus.

Chicken Tika Masala (serves 4) 

2 chicken breasts  diced
1 onion sliced
1 red chili diced
some minced ginger
1 pataks tika masala sauce
1 tin of chopped tomatoes

Added:
1 carrot diced
2 cups of beans sliced
2 fresh tomato diced
2 cups of mushrooms sliced. 

omitted- tin of coconut milk and natural yogurt

Cumin spiced papadums microwaved for 20 seconds.

Heat a deep pan with oil. Sizzle garlic, chili and ginger and onion. Add curry paste and cook till it smells oh so good! Brown chicken in the same pan. Add all veges and tin of tomato. Add a little water if needed (as i didnt use coconut milk). Bring it to boil. Simmer for around 15-20 mins. Do a taste test and adjust accordingly. I do not usually add salt as the paste contains some.

If you have some sliced almonds, toast and serve curry with almonds and yogurt and papadums.