24 April 2007

Flower Power

Deja vu?

Nope. It's just Sugar High Friday! Though it's neither a Friday nor am I getting high over sugar. Who can resist participating in an event that revolves around flowers? And cooking with flowers at that! As much as I would love to create something specially for this edition of SHF, work commitments and time simply don't allow me to do so. Moreover, I've only discovered about SHF #30 hosted by Monisha at Coconut Chutney only yesterday! Which left me only with a few hours to the end of the day and submission of my entry. So... I present my tartlets with rose-infused cream. Again. ^^

21 April 2007

Stuff Yourself, Or Mushrooms, Silly!

No, it's not a salad. Nor is it a filling for wontons. It's a stuffing for mushrooms! Though technically, it is possible for you to eat it as a salad and wrap it in wonton wrappers.

I LOVE mushrooms! Big or small, brown or white, fresh or dried, in pasta or on steamed fish, as long as it is fungi! Since young, I've been exceptionally in love with mushrooms. So I was very pleasantly surprised to find how huge and cheap button mushrooms were in Australia when I went on my second trip to Perth back in 2005 with my friends.

It wasn't the first time I went overseas without my parents (you know, school-based trips) but it was the first time I wasn't going to stay in a hotel room. That meant preparing for breakfast, lunch and dinner by ourselves. Boy, was I happy about that! You should, obviously, know by now that I love cooking. (Understatement of the year) And it didn't matter that I wasn't going to cook for only myself. My whole group of friends were separated into 3 apartments and I was about the only one who could really cook in mine. So I accepted, very happily, the appointment as a walking menu and prepared the meals for 5 girls, including 1 vegetarian, 1 almost-carnivore, 1 anti-carb dieter (yeah, that's me).

I was lucky. Even though all of us had our own dietary preferences and restrictions, we were at least very compromising and not very picky eaters. So, I spent my time, amidst art courses/programmes and shopping, conjuring up menus and planning lunchboxes.
With the abundance of fresh, beautiful mushrooms, I made my first stuffed mushrooms in that 2-bedroom apartment in Perth for my girls. I was running out of ideas and I had loads of mushrooms and potatoes. I remembered seeing someone make stuffed mushrooms on TV and I took it upon myself to recreate it. After 45mins of boiling and mashing potatoes, marinating mushrooms and baking them stuffed to the brim, I was delighted with my creation.

Their response, only made me happier.

Stuffed Mushrooms

1 punnet fresh Swiss Brown mushrooms

2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
Mixed Italian herbs (oregano, rosemary, basil, etc.)
Olive oil

1 large russet potato
1 red onion
Salt and pepper to taste
Mixed herbs

Olive oil
Grated Parmesan cheese

- Rinse mushrooms quickly under running tap and wipe dry with cloth or kitchen towel. Remove the stems but do not discard.
- Combine ingredients for marinate in a bowl large enough and toss in mushrooms to coat well. Leave to marinate until ready to use, stirring lightly with a spoon occasionally.
- Put potato in a saucepan of water high enough to cover the whole potato and cook till tender, about 15 mins after water starts to boil.
- Preheat oven to 220 deg C.
- When potato is cooked, let cool, peel and mash with a fork.
- Chop mushroom stems and onion finely, add to mashed potato and mix well.
- Season to taste with salt, pepper and herbs.
- Stuff mushrooms with filling to get a rounded top.
- Drizzle remaining marinate onto the stuffed mushrooms and top with a generous sprinkle of grated Parmesan.
- Grease a baking tray with olive oil and bake the mushrooms for 20 - 25 mins until mushrooms are soft and cheese is browned.
- Serve hot!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

19 April 2007

Salad? Again?!

What's this?

14 April 2007

Who Moved My Cheese?

Parmesan Trail

11 April 2007

Orange Overdose

"You're a very hands on person, aren't you?"

Oh most definitely! I like to put my hands to work and make things for myself. Of course it always includes the people around me (because I so like to share ^^).I like the accomplishment of completing something that I start from scratch. From the whole process of seeing something grow to enjoying successful results is just so satisfying. Not forgetting the compliments I will receive! Aha!

Orange and Grapefruit Cheesecake

Are you tired of cheesecake already? Because I don't think my cheesecake stint is going to stop soon. Well, blame it on Peabody! She just had to make cheesecake the theme for the 10th HHDD. And what happens when you have a sudden influx of new, interesting and exotic cheesecake recipes flooding your must-try list? You bake cheesecakes!

I did mention that I was going through an orange craze and this cheesecake was not spared from being drenched (literally) in all that orange. With grapefruit and navel orange zest in the crumb base and cheese filling, the citrus segments as topping and a drizzle of orange caramel sauce, it definitely screamed orange! The cake was looking pretty like a flower topped with oranges and grapefruits, it wasn't as great tasting as I would have liked it to be. I had used the same basic recipe as my other 2 shots at cheesecakes but integrated Helene's method of whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks and folding them into the rest of the batter. It was a little lighter in texture than the previous cheesecakes but not enough. But there's always a next time and the full recipe for a pillow cheesecake! Nevertheless, my teacher, whose birthday the cake was meant for, and everybody else enjoyed it.

I would have taken more photographs if the lights in our studio/office were brighter but they refused to allow the photographs taken with my SLR to be slightly brighter than pitch black. The few pathetic photographs were done outside of the studio under natural light after I managed to sneak a slice out with my camera. You don't take the whole cake from the birthday girl out into the sun so that you can take photographs of it and post it onto your blog!

07 April 2007

This is one of the reasons they call me Salady.

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

1 sweet potato
1 tbsp olive oil
1 egg

Juice and zest of 1 lime
1 tbsp plum sauce
1 tsp palm sugar
2 chili padi, chopped
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp sesame seed oil
1 - 2 tbsp coriander, chopped

Salad greens of choice

- Preheat oven to 200 deg C.
- Peel sweet potato and cut into wedges.
- Put sweet potato wedges into a bowl and toss with olive oil. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Spread sweet potatoes in a baking tray and bake for 20 - 30 mins, turning once in between to ensure both sides are nicely golden.
- Put egg in a pot of water and put over medium high heat.
- When the water boils, remove from heat, cover the pot and allow egg to cook further for 15 mins.
- Meanwhile, mix all ingredients for dressing in a bowl and let sit for flavours to develop.
- To serve, arrange roasted sweet potato wedges and hard-boiled egg (peel and quartered) over bed of salad greens and drizzle with 2 - 3 tbsp of dressing.

P.S.: The dressing can be made in advance and refridgerated. Lemons can also be used in place of limes(I use seedless Thai limes) and I've also tried a combination of lime and orange, which worked alright. Chopped pineapples can also be added to this dressing, which I like to use as a dip with gyoza.

P.P.S.: Because I'm inclined to spicy food and the higher the sour-ness, the happier my tastebuds are, the recipe for the dressing might not work for you. So feel free to adjust the quantities to suit your tastes!

06 April 2007

1... 2... 42... 77... 100!

100 posts and a new colour scheme! Just in time for Spring! Even though Spring doesn't pay me visits here in Singapore...

I'm currently undergoing an orange phase right now (as if you can't tell from the sudden outbursts of orange from my new blog colours). Don't you just like how refreshingly warm (does that make sense to you?) this vibrant colour is? This newly acquired craze for orange also had me craving for ingredients that dorn the beautiful colour. It might also be the fact that I've been, at the moment, prohibited from eating too much orangey stuff. It's a long story, but basically, it's due to the fact that I have been overtly indulging in too much pumpkins, papayas, mangoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, tomatoes... which resulted in me having an excess of Vitamin A and a abnormally yellow skin tone. So, I'm undergoing rehabilitation and doing my best to abstain from all things orange. But, an occasional fall from the wagon is still inevitable. Hee...

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Tangy Lime Dressing

01 April 2007

Rejuvenate with Breakfast

Granola and Persimmon with Rock Melon and Banana Yoghurt Blend

I'm officially drained. For the past week I have been dragging myself up from bed and getting ready for work at 5.30am each morning despite having slept only 5 hours (I think you know that I'm a pig by now, and pigs definitely need more than 5 hours of sleep a day!). Getting ready to go out in the morning means a big hearty breakfast for many people. I, on the other hand, have never been a breakfast person. It didn't matter that breakfast was supposed to be the most important meal of the day. I always believed that brunch was a much better deal - I could eat 2 meals at one go, and that saved me time, money and also quite importantly, calories. But ever since I made my own granola, things kinda changed.

Drizzle the Honey

There's something about a simple, one-bowl breakfast that refreshes me and gets me up for a new day. I love yoghurt. It's simple, it's yummy, it's healthy, it's just everything that a breakfast should be. But granola with yoghurt. Now that's more than everything! I like the additional texture that the toasted roll oats and nuts lends to the smooth yoghurt. It isn't something difficult to make, but it serves the purpose of perking me up and get me all set for work. And think of the extra jaw exercise you get to have. You wouldn't want a teacher who yawns all day would you? Even if I'm just a relief teacher.

Homemade Granola

2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup raw almonds, whole
1/2 cup raw walnuts, chopped roughly
1/2 cup of mixed dried fruit, chopped (I used dried mango and baby figs)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp honey, warmed

- Preheat oven to 150 deg C.
- Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Put rolled oats, nuts, dried fruit and spices into a large bowl and stir to mix.
- Pour in brown sugar and honey and stir to coat well.
- Pour mixture onto lined baking tray and toast in oven for about 25 - 30 mins or until golden, stirring occasionally to ensure even roasting and check for doneness.
- Allow to cool before storing in air-tight container.
- To serve, spoon over yoghurt or oatmeal porridge and drizzle with honey or maple syrup.

What I like about making my own granola is I can play with my own proportions and what I want to put in it. Of course it also means I can dump in my leftover grains and nuts and make something nice and healthy out of them! Don't like raisins? Chuck it! No almonds at home? Substitute pecans or cashews or whatever you have. Put heaps of what you like in and throw those that you don't. If you don't see yourself eating too much of this granola but would still like to experiment, simply throw in a handful of everything and mix well. The next time I make this again, I would definitely play with the different nuts and seeds to add to it. The more things I add, the more granola I have!