Poached Eggs on Halloumi Cheese Salad

There is something about Nigella that just calls out to me. Her way of talking about food, writing about food and just how she enjoys it. I spotted this recipe on her app and was excited about it straight away. We are having warm summer nights and salads just seem to be enough for dinner these days.

Oozing egg yolks on squeaky cheese is such a lovely combination. Why didn’t I think of it before? No dressing needed, just a squeeze of lemon juice.

Poached Eggs on Halloumi Cheese Salad(Serves 3)
4 free range eggs room temperature
250 grams halloumi cheese sliced

4-5 cups of salad greens
1 lebanese cucumber
1 capsicum
cherry tomatoes
mint leaves if you like

squeeze of lemon

Using a cold pan, pan fry halloumi cheese. In a shallow pan, add water and bring it to boil. Add a tablespoon of vinegar swirl it gently. Pop an egg in a bowl first, then gently pour it into the boiling swirling water. I like to spoon some of the egg white to cover the egg yolk.

Mean while, assemble salad, put cheese on top. Pop poached egg on top of salads. Repeat to poached eggs. Squeeze of lemon to finish the dish.

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Mango Chicken and Spiced Pilaf

Mangos are in season again. Alas, I didn’t use fresh mango in this dish. I used mango chutney! I’m on a mission to clear out some of my jars of sauces in the fridge. You see, I get bored with my meals easily, hence I like a lot of variety. Most weeks, we have 1 rice dish, 1 or 2 salads, sometimes wraps, soup noodles, different ways of using vietnamese rice paper or even a pastry dish. The more variety the better!

Which means I can get over zealous, forgetting that I have only used a 1/4 of a particular sauce or chutney in the fridge before getting another one. So for the past week or so, I have been doing a clear out to make sure that I don’t waste any more sauces.

So with a jar of mango chutney at hand, I decided to marinate some chicken breast with it and some curry powder. Simple but effective. Who would have thought, 3 ingredients what it took to make a simple pan fried chicken breast more special? And since I was looking for a shortcut, I sauté some vegetables in my rice cooker, added in rice and water and tadah, a savoury rice dish was cooked.

I made this in 20 minutes which was pretty good I think. Good for our “it has finally hit us summer weather”

Mango Chicken and Spiced Pilaf (serves 4)
2 chicken breast- sliced horizontally to make 4 pieces
1/2 cup of mango chutney
2 tablespoon of curry powder
dash of cumin powder

Spiced Pilaf
2 cups of basmatic rice
1 small onion chopped
2 bay leaves
1 cup of peas
1 large capsicum chopped
1 carrot chopped
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp of turmeric
dash of cumin

Marinate chicken with chutney, cumin and curry powder for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, saute onions, all spices, capsicum, carrot and peas in rice cooker. Then add rice and water. Cook till rice cooker says done!

In between, heat grill pan till hot. Oil pan and pan fried chicken till done. Serve with rice and more veges.

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Spiced Guacamole

There is something about dips that is so drool worthy. Its all about texture isn’t it. A crispy flat bread or cracker, topped with a soft tasty savoury dip makes a world of a difference. I brought this to a gathering and it was a hit. Surprise surprise, all commented that it was the hit of chill and spice that they enjoyed.

One of my all time favourite dip, other than hummus, it would be guacamole. There is just something about avocado that I love I think. I remembered my mother told me that I probably would not like avocado (something that she liked!). The rebellious side of me decided that well, I will try it and prove her wrong. Yes, I was a teenager then.

One thing about avocado is that it is high in fat- even though they are the good fat. It is still reasonable to eat this in moderation of course. I think it is a highly nutritious snack and a little go a long way.

My secret? I added cumin to it. Not so much a secret hey? Hope you like this as much as my friends did.

Spiced Guacamole (serves a party!)
4 avocado mashed
1/4 lemon juice
1/2 small red onion chopped finely
1 tomato chopped finely
2 chili padi
1 tablespoon of cumin
2 tablespoons of light sour cream
salt and pepper

Mashed avocado with some lemon juice. Using a spoon, fold in tomatoes. If you like raw onions, include the finely chopped onions. However, i cooked them a little in a pan to cut out that rawness. Add in chill padi, cumin and seasoning. Taste and adjust. Serve with crackers or vege sticks.

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Spicy Milk Chicken

It felt like Christmas/New Year last week and here we are celebrating CHINESE NEW YEAR!! We are not back with our immediate families this year so it doesn’t feel too festive to us. However, the celebration is in our hearts.

This dish is my little experimentation of using curry leaves and spices. It was inspired by a recipe called “Spicy Buttermilk Chicken” but the recipe itself does not call for buttermilk! I play around with the ingredients and came up with this. It’s a fairly light dish, and I wouldn’t call it a curry per say. However, the curry leaves made it so fragrant.

The other thing I like is the generous use of dried shrimps. Makes a world of a difference I say!

I know this isn’t particularly a festive dish, but I hope it is a good one to try it out with your relatives and friends during this wonderful season.

Happy Chinese New Year!! Gong Xi Fai Cai! May this Dragon year brings lots of prosperity and joy!

Spicy Milk Chicken (Serves 4)
600 grams of chicken thigh pieces chopped
1 tablespoon of margarine
4-5 stalks of curry leaves
handful-maybe around 30 grams of dried shrimps

2 chili padi
1 normal big chill
3-4 shallots
small piece of ginger
1 generous tablespoon of garlic

100 ml of evaporated milk
100 ml of water

Chopped chili padi, shallots, ginger and garlic. Heat 1 tablespoon of margarine and cool chopped ingredients, together with dried shrimps and curry leaves. Then brown chicken in pan. Add in evaporated milk and some water (not all, add gradually in case it became too wet). Season and serve with rice.

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Walnut Red Bean Cookies

I know. Here am I still blogging about what I did for Christmas (and the left overs) and Chinese New Year is just around the corner. Again, this year, we are celebrating it in Perth with Hubby’s extended family members and it is just NOT the same without the festive feel around us.

While many bloggers have already started blogging about their CNY bakes, I have only just began. This recipe comes from Patisie Chong, a well known cook back in Singapore/Malaysia. I love how unique some of her cookies are and this one is no different.

Bite into one, and you will find red bean paste. You can also use lotus paste but I couldn’t find any in our local stores. Probably because it isn’t moon cake festive. However, I think red bean suits CNY more yeah?

Walnut Red Bean Cookies (Makes around 10)
200 grams plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
130 grams margarine
70 grams icing sugar
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk

Decoration
60 grams of walnuts
1 egg yolk whisked

Filling
80 grams of lotus seed paste

Preheat oven to 180C and lined a baking tray.

Knead all ingredients (other than decoration and filling) till it become soft dough.
Measure filling into 8 grams balls. Wrap dough around it. Brush with yolk and decorate with a small piece of walnut. Bake for around 20 minutes.

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!! May the Dragon Year bring you closer to your wishes!! 

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Christmas Cake Chocolate Balls

What do you do with leftover Christmas cake? I blogged about my hazelnut Christmas Cake last week and due to the massive amount of cake I baked, we had a few slices left. Christmas cake keep well and it would last forever in the fridge really. However, I was looking at a recipe for rum balls and thought, hey, I could probably make a version of it using christmas cake rather than cookie crumbs or store-bought chocolate cake!

I did not add rum, but you could if you have some. I used some milk to moisten the mixture instead. Then I rolled in with some chocolate sprinkles. I would have used nuts, but I realised my granulated nuts wasn’t fine enough. However, I am sure you could rolled it in some cocoa powder to make it truffle like or even some coloured sprinkles!

I love to see my friends reactions when they bite into these. They were probably expecting rum balls and on first bite, they realised it was filled with kalua soaked fruit!!! They taste better after resting a day in the fridge.

Christmas Cake Chocolate Balls 
Any quantity of cake you have left
around 2-3 tablespoon of milk or more if mixture appears dry. You can add rum or any liquor
chocolate sprinkles or cocoa powder

Crumble cake. Then moist it with milk. Using clean hands, roll it up into little balls and rolled it on a plate of sprinkles or cocoa powder. Rest in fridge for an hour or two or even overnight before serving.

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Curried Egg Celery Salad

One of the first dish that my mother taught me was egg sandwiches. She taught me how to peel eggs, mashed them and mixed them up with creamy mayo seasoned with salt and pepper.

When I was in university, a uni mate looked at me in amazement when I asked her what was curried egg. You see, she was having some and I asked what it was. I had a taste and was hooked. Who would have thought that mixing some curry powder to a simple egg mayo would change the dish?

I could never find or could anyone tell me where does curried egg come from? Is it an Aussie thing? Nevertheless, it is a good light meal for a quick dinner. I paired it with some crunchy celery for that added texture.

Curried Egg Celery Salad
4 eggs hardboiled
2 tablespoon of low fat mayo
1 tsp of curry powder
salt and pepper
few stalks of celery (from the heart of celery) chopped

Mashed eggs and mix it with mayo, curry powder, seasoning and celery. Serve with some salad leaves, cherry tomatoes and avocado for a light meal or in between fluffy bread. I had some stuffed capsicum with tuna and couscous.

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Indonesian Spicy Roast Chicken

I’m not quite sure why this is Indonesian? Perhaps my indonesian friends could let me know why? But I see this recipe as rather interesting. It really is a curry baked chicken!! I was attracted to it because the paste was made exactly the way when we could make a curry but only we pour the sauce over the chicken and roast it!

All I could think of was, slow cooked chicken in rich coconut curry sauce. That is bound to be a winner! And indeed it is. I know it is summer now but eating chicken this way with some rice or simple salad is such a comfort.

Indonesian Spicy Roast Chicken (Serves 4)
8 chicken drumsticks with skin and fat trimmed

125 ml coconut cream
3 pieces of kaffir lime leaves
1 tablespoon of oil
salt

Spices (blended)
3 chili padis
2 dried chili soaked in warm water
1 whole knob of garlic
5 shallots
1/2 cm size piece of turmeric or I used 2 tablespoon of turmeric powder
a 3 cm piece of galangal
3 candle nuts
2 tablespoon of curry powder

Preheat Oven to 200 C>

Place blended ingredients in a pot. Cook till fragrant. Add in coconut milk and some salt. Taste and season accordingly. Cook all ingredients till thick. Then pour it on to chicken. Bake for around 30-40 minutes.

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Hazelnut Cranberry Christmas Fruit Cake

Oops! I am a few weeks late with posting this cake. Nevertheless, it is never too early to prepare for 2012’s christmas right? Well, I sure wish I will be more organised this year.

Truth be told, I have not made a Christmas Fruit cake in years. The last time I made it, I had the patience to soak the fruits in DOM or brandy if you have any in October. Then, I baked the cake in November and stored it in the fridge, patiently brushing the cake with liquor every week to ensure that it is a booze filled cake by the time it was Christmas time.

I did not know how I found such patience!

As this year, we get to celebrate Christmas in Perth, I thought I should make something. Getting into the baking mode, I found a hazelnut Christmas cake recipe from Taste.com. I adapted a few things, including adding in cranberries and using Kalua instead of Frangelico (I simply did not have it in my kitchen).

The result was a rich, fruit filled cake. Even though the recipe called for a 9 inch cake tin (Or around 22 cm), I found that there was enough batter to make 10 more mini cakes! It was certainly a very generous recipe. I am sure you could even use your muffin tin if you do not have one of those mini loaf tin like mine.

Bite into a rich, juicy fruit cake with the crunch of hazelnuts..yum. I want Christmas again!



Hazelnut Cranberry Christmas Fruit Cake
500 grams of mixed fruit
100 grams of glade cherries
400 grams of cranberries
1 cup of Kalua or Frangelico

250 grams butter
1 cup of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of mango marmalade or lime if you have any
6 eggs lightly whisked
150 grams of crushed hazelnuts, toasted
2 cups of plain flour
1 cup of self raising
1/4 cup of cocoa powder
2 tablespoon of kalua, extra

Soak fruits in 1 cup of kalua overnight.

Preheat oven to 150C. Line a 9 inch cake tin and oiled a muffin tray or mini loaf tray.

Beat butter and sugar together. Add eggs, and marmalade. Add in all the fruits. Fold in both flours and cocoa powder. Finally fold in hazelnuts.

Spoon in cake tins. Bake for around 1 hr for the mini loaf/muffin, and 1.5 to 2 hours for the cake. Test with a skewer (that if it comes out clean). Remove from oven and cool slightly before brushing it ith extra kalua or frangelico. COver with foil and set in pan to cool completely.

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Gogo’s Lamb Curry

Indian food is very pricey in Perth. There are of course, some hits and misses as well. On the occasion that we do have Indian food, we aim to go to the reputable ones such as Gogo’s, Two Fat Indians and would you believe.. the tiny indian place just a 10 minutes walk from where we are!

Earlier in the year, I spotted a recipe that Chef GoGo has generously shared with readers of the Sunday Times (News). I kept that paper and said I would attempt it. It looked relatively simple, and the usual doubts crossed my mind… like why would a chef want to share his recipe with others?

However, hubby and I agreed that it is better than the Lamb Curry 2 that I made early last year. It is a keeper of a recipe. I love how simple the blends of spices are as well. The only thing was that I could not justify having 100 ml of oil so I reduced that to 1 tablespoon. Also, I added some cauliflower for a one pot dish. Will be making this again!

GoGo’s Lamb Curry (serves 4-6)
700 grams of lamb pieces (I used a small shoulder)
2 onions chopped
4 chopped roma tomatoes
50 grams chopped garlic
50 grams chopped ginger
1 tablespoon of oil
2 tablespoon of chill powder
2 tablespoon of coriander powder
2 tablespoon of cumin
1 tablespoon of turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
120 ml of coconut milk

Optional- half a head of cauliflower

Heat oil and sauté onions. Add meat with ginger, garlic and salt. Sweat till juices come out. Add spices and lower heat. Simmer for at least 45 minutes (I cooked mine for 1 hr+ and the meat was tender as!).

Add finely chopped tomatoes and cook for last 15 minutes. Add coconut milk at the last minute. Serve with hot rice.

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