Sunday 30 September 2012

Blessed Children's Day

A Blessed Children's Day!
Today we celebrate Children's Day. Guest Pastor said children are rewards from God for us, they are the future citizens of Heaven. Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6. Earthly parents, we don't just point and teach the child things around us but to 'train' that is to inculcate God's teaching to them. I  must admit I was one of those parents before, sent my kids to a Christian kindergarten and mission school and to Sunday school, and left them with the teachers to do the job.
The girl playing the Chinese flute is in my class., so are the children playing the piano and violin. This is their first public performance and they played really well. The class sang 'Jesus loves me'.
The balloon sculptures are done by another teacher and they are very popular with the younger kids. See the happy faces eating together? Some of them are in my class and they love Sunday school parties. They also get to exchange their tokens for gifts. Each child is given 2 tokens for every attendance.

Gift exchange with tokens
And not forgetting the food. The spread are usually the children's favourites and they are contributed by parents. I made the brownies.
assorted maki,buns,chips and honey star cereal

fishballs, brownies and chicken nuggets

orderly line
The longest queue and everyone's favourite, young and old

ice cream in a cup
Altogether we gave out 120 ice cream coupons.

Now, I want to share this brownie recipe with you. It is so simple and fast to make. Recipe is from Donna Hay and she calls this a standby brownie because in her household, even the cooking chocolate disappears. Hence why these rich brownies are made with cocoa.
Donna Hay's Standby Brownies

150g butter
275g caster sugar
75g cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
75g plain flour


Preheat oven to 160C(325F). Place the butter,sugar and cocoa in a saucepan over low heat and stir until the butter has melted.
Spoon into a bowl and add the vanilla and eggs, whisking well. Sift the flour over the mixture and whisk to combine. Spoon the mixture into a 20cm square cake tin lined with non-stick baking paper.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until centre is just set. Cool in tin and cut into squares to serve. Makes 16.

Note:  I used valhorna cocoa powder and doubled the recipe. Baked in 10" x 10" pan for 40mins. I dusted with snow powder.

Saturday 29 September 2012

Thank You Gifts

Pumpkin Soup
I always love soups, all kinds of soups; cream,consomme and chinese clear soup. If I lunch out alone, I would usually order soup and bread or soup and rice. I have made mushroom soup before, but this is my first homemade pumpkin soup. This recipe comes from a book I received from my church pastor as teachers appreciation gift. He also gave me another book, 66 pocket prayers book.

I hope you will make this today because it is very delicious and healthy, using not cream but soya milk. I used my homemade chicken stock as liquid and adapted the recipe to 1 serve because no one in the family likes pumpkins.

Serves 4
1 medium size pumpkin about 1 kg pumpkin pulp - without skin and seeds. Cut into small pieces of about 60mm by 20mm.
225gm carrots peel and cut into small pieces (optional)
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil(preferably olive oil)
1000ml water( preferably distilled water for detoxification program ) or chicken stock
500ml unsweetened soy milk
Fresh parsley to garnish

1. Into a heated soup pot, add into it the butter/oil and sweat the carrots and pumpkin. When the vegetables are coated with the butter/oil, add water just enough to cover the vegetables.
2. Cover pot and let the vegetables boil for about 15 minutes, until just soft enough to eat. do not overcook.
3. When the vegetables are sufficiently cooled, blend the mixture with a blander.
4. After blending, sieve the mixture and return all the puree into the soup pot.
5. Add soy milk to the consistency desired.
6. Serve soup with parsley
7. Sprinkle some finely grounded black pepper and sea salt to suit taste
8. Add some whipped cream as an option.

Note: I steamed(not boil) the vegetables first and then sweat steamed vegetables in a frying pan. I did not sieve the puree. I used butternut pumpkin.

Benefits of Pumpkin (Urban Pumpkin)
  • laxatives qualities.
  • a good diuretic, which does not irritate the kidneys.
  • good for the heart.
  • removes kidney disorders.
  • gives relief to kidney stones.
  • controls the secretion of bile.
  • preserves and increases virility.
  • a vermifuge remedy for eliminating the intestinal worms.
  • a powerful anti-helminthic remedy for removing parasitic worms from the digestive tract.
  • is vitalizing, and enhances the immunity system.

Friday 28 September 2012

Bean there and Ashamed

This is my version of Pasta Fagioli. After studying some recipes, I decided to create my own version using what I have at home. Honestly, I have not heard of this dish before. After making the calamari al forno fagioli, I have leftover cannelli beans which I did not want to waste.
My version is an adaptation of a few recipes and it turned out so delicious,so homely and hearty. A comfort food that took me less than 30 minutes to cook and I hope it tastes as good and authentic as the Italians cook it. Best served with grated Parmesan and crusty garlic toast.

Serve 1
1 tablespoon extra virgin oil
1/4 onions,finely chopped
1/4 cup celery, cut 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup tomato, seeded and diced.
1 cup tomato sauce
3 cups homemade chicken stock
1 cup pasta
1/4 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp basil
Salt and black pepper to taste


1. Heat the pan on low with olive oil.
2. Fry the chopped onions until it turns soft. Add celery and tomato.
3. Add the tomato sauce,chicken stock,rosemary and basil. Simmer on low fire. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
4. Cook the pasta in a pot of salted boiling water for 8 mins.
5. When pasta is ready, pour into the sauce and mix. Garnish with basil leaves.

Buon Appetito!

Powerlab Camp Update
I have completed my task of calling past campers. There are 9 families to follow up. During my calls to them, I found out one family has financial difficulties.  The mother who is not a local has just given birth and is out of job. She could'nt afford to pay $40 for her two children to spend 3 days in camp. She told me that $40 can buy her a week of groceries. I felt ashamed upon hearing this, because you all know that I go to supermarket almost daily, and each trip I spend about $30, sometimes more. I assured her that we will waive the fee and will visit her to collect the forms.
The next day, we visited her home. She was nursing the baby and did'nt let us in. I can see her home was sparsely furnished with old furniture, we took the forms and left for another house. The second home we visited was like a 'palace' compared to the first. The owner's children had attended our Sunday school and camps before and have stopped for the last two years. The children have too many encrichment classes to go, swimming,music,dramas..that they have no time for Sunday school!  How sad for these poor kids. If we put God first in everything we do, surely He will take care of everything for us.
It is confirmed that the Operation kid to kid will have the camp kids to write messages and insert into the socks. The socks will be displayed during camp finale follows by a skit and slide show to show the campers the recipients of this gift. The message will be God gives us the power to be THANKFUL.
I want to thank God for His faithfulness in leading,we have more than a hundred who have signed up before early bird registration closes on the 8 Oct.

Wednesday 26 September 2012

Read the Instructions!

Japanese Cheese Cake
I got this recipe from just onecookbook, who posted this recently, I did'nt follow the instructions carefully and as a result the cake did'nt rise properly.The first step of the recipe is to leave cheese,butter,egg yolks and cream at room temperature. But I misread and mixed all ingredients together. Though the cake did'nt rise to occasion, the taste was not compromised. It tasted almost like the ones I had in Japan,light and fluffy but taste so rich and melting. There are many Japanese cheesecakes selling at bakeries here that taste more of meringue than cheese. I will certainly bake this cake again and for sure I will read the instructions carefully.

400g cream cheese, at room temperature
60g granulated sugar
60gm unsalted butter, room temperature
6 egg yolks, at room temperature
200ml heavy cream, at room temperature
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp rum
80g all purpose flour
6 egg whites
100g granulated sugar for meringue
3 tbsp apricot jam + 1 tsp water

1. Before you start preping, remember to keep cream cheese,butter,egg yolks and heavy cream at room temperature.
2. Preheat oven to 160C degree. Start boiling water.
3. In stand mixer, beat cream cheese and 60g sugar until smooth.
4. Add and beat butter.
5. Beat egg yolk first and then add to the mixture. Then add heavy cream and combine all together. Switch to a whisk here.
6. Add lemon juice and rum and mix until the batter is very smooth.
7. Sift flour twice.
8.Add the flour all at once and mix.
9. Take the batter out to a large bowl. Wash the stand mixer's bowl and dry completely.(I used a hand mixer)
10. In stand mixer, whisk egg whites and add 100g sugar in three separate times.
11. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks. If you whisk too much, the surface of cake will crack.
12. Add 1/3 of meringue to the batter and mix well first.
13. Then add the rest of meringue all at once and fold it in (not mix this time).
14. Cut parchment paper for the bottom and around the springform pan. Lightly spray oil on the cake pan and place the parchment paper. Spray oil again on the paper and sprinkle some flour on the bottom. Cover the bottom of the pan and fold the extra foil on the side. The foil is toprevent water from seeping through the gap to the cake.
15. Pour the batter in the springform pan and then drop the cake pan from about 6 inch high to get rid of any air bubble.
16. Place the springfoam pan in the bakig pan and pour 1 inch of hot water in a baking pan. Moisture from the water will prevent cracks on the surface of the cake. Place it in the middle rack of the oven.
17. Bake at 160C for 60 mins or until light golden brown. Then reduce temperature to 150C and bake for 30mins.
18. When the inserted skewer comes out clean, turn off the oven. Let the cake sit in the oven with the door slightly ajar until it has cooled completely.
19. In a small bowl, combine apricot jam and water and microwave for a few seconds. Spread the jam on the cake and refrigerate it for a few hours.
20. When you are ready to serve, remove the cheesecake from the pan.

Monday 24 September 2012

Bread and Butter

Cranberries and Walnut loaf
This is not my first attempt on bread making. This loaf was baked using the water roux method. My kneading and folding lack skill, you can see the fruit and nuts are clustered in the centre and the texture is not as soft or fluffy as others who have baked using this method. This is already a good improvement, I just need more practises

I also baked two cakes,butter and pandan chiffon. I am visiting my sister and bringing the cakes for her. There are many butter cake recipes and I used to bake butter cakes using a recipe from my first cookbook. This cookbook was bought 33 years ago and have moved 6 times with me!

My First Cookbook
This cookbook has many local recipes and traditional and tedious ways of cooking and preparation. The foods featured are also calories laden, The pencil markings on the butter cake recipe are notes for half recipe. Sadly, I have not referred to this book for a long time because I have found better and faster ways of cooking and baking. This butter cake is one of them.
Mrs SK Ng Butter Cake
It is named Mrs SK Ng butter cake because the original recipe belongs to her! I got this recipe fromwendy's blog.


230gm salted butter
200gm eggs
50+150gm sugar
200gm self raising flour,sifted
60ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven at 180C. Prepare a 8 inch square pan. Line the base and grease the sides.
2. Separate the eggs, and place the whites into a medium sized bowl. Beat egg whites until soft peaks, gradually add 50gm sugar and beat until soft. Set aside.
3. Cream butter and 150gm sugar until pale and fluffy. Put in vanilla extract and beat for a while. Put in egg yolks one by one and beat well after each addition.
4. Put in half the flour and mix on low speed until incorporated. Put in milk in 2 additions and mix until well incorporated. Mix in balance of flour.
5. Put half the egg whites and mix on low speed. Pour the balance of egg whites in and Fold.
6. Pour batter into pan and level.
7. Bake for 45 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.

Saturday 22 September 2012

Quick Lunch II

Masterfoods Spices
With these two spices I made a quick lunch for my younger son. He is into body building and takes chicken breast for protein. I cooked buttered rice with cranberries and served rocket leaves with balsamic vinegar as side. The lunch took about 20 minutes ready,less if I have flatten the chicken breast.

200gm chicken breast, boneless
1/2 tablespoon oilive oil
2 teaspoon lemon pepper
2 teaspoon paprika
lemon wedge to serve

1 cup Jasmine rice
1 tablespoon dried cranberries
1 tablespoon salted butter

1. Cook rice together with cranberries. Add butter and stir into rice when rice is done.
2. Season the chicken while rice is cooking.Rub olive oil,lemon pepper and paprika and leave chicken aside for 5mins. Heat the grill pan high and preheat oven to 200C.
3. When grill pan is smoking hot,place chicken on grill. Grill for 5 mins each side,depending on thickness.
Place in the oven to continue cooking till cook.(can omit this if chicken breast is thin).

Note: I test chicken by inserting a toothpick,

Grilled chicken with lemon pepper and paprika
Son's verdict: Chicken breast is so moist and tasty.
Thank you Lord for your grace and mercy. Thank you for your blessings bestowed upon us. May You dwell in our lives forever, keeping us safe and close to you. In Jesus' name, Amen

Friday 21 September 2012

An Italian Affair

Squids and Canned Cannellini
 I am trying to create one of my favourite antipasti at Mozza Pizzeria, Calamari al forno fagioli.
Al forno means oven baked and fagioli is beans. After cleaning the squids,I added extra virgin oil,oregano,cannellini plus can liquid and salt to taste. I baked the dish at 200C covered for 35 minutes.
When the dish was done, it looked very different from the restaurant version. Though the squid is tender, the look wasn't appealing. The skin has came off and disintegrated with the liquid,making  the dish pinkish colour. I plated the dish and discard most of the liquid. Next time, I will grill the squid first and cook the beans separately.
My version of Calamari al forno fagioli
This is my skinless calamari al forno fagioli. I will definitely improve on this again. Next dish is not Italian cooking, but a famous dish by Julie Goodwin, the winner of Australian Masterchef Season 1.
Scallops and Cauliflower Puree
The scallops are Canadian frozen ones and this is the first time I cook scallops. I was happy that it turned out nice,not rubbery at all. The topping is chopped bacon and breadcrumbs. I have not tried cauliflower puree before, so I am not sure if it is of the right texture.I garnished with assorted herbs like dill,Italian parsley and oregano.(Those are what I have). Overall, the dish makes a good appetizer if you have guests.

Serves 4 as a starter

Cauliflower puree
1/2 head cauliflower,cut into florets
1 cup milk
125g unsalted butter, cut into 2cm cubes

Bacon crumble
1 cup finely diced bacon
1/2 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs

12 scallops in the half shell,roe removed
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
40g unsalted butter
Micro herbs, to garnish
Lemon wedges, to serve

1. For the cauliflower puree, place a cauliflower in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Place the cauliflower and milk a a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for about 8 mins until cauliflower is very soft. Remove from the heat, then add 1 teaspoon salt and the butter and stir until well combined. Blend in a small blender until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve set over a bowl, pressing down on the solids with a plastic pastry scraper.

2. For the bacon crumble, heat a frying pan over medium-high, add bacon and fry for a few minutes, stirring regularly, until crisp and golden brown. Add breadcrumbs, stir to coat, then cook for 5 minutes until golden.

3. For the scallops, remove the scallops from the shells (you can wash and reserve the shells to serve). Pat the scallops dry. Heat a frying pan over medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and half and butter. When the butter is foaming, add 6 scallops and cook for about 10-20 seconds each side until golden, then season with sea salt. Remove scallops and set aside. Wipe the pan clean with paper towel, then repeat with remaining olive oil,butter and scallops.

4. To serve, place a dollop of cauliflower puree in the centre of each scallop shell. Place a scallop in the centre of the puree, then sprinkle generously with the bacon crumble. Place scallops on a large serving platter, garnish with micro herbs and serve with lemon wedges.

My main course is beef tenderloin, 2 thin slices about 180gm. I seasoned beef with salt and ground pepper. Grilled on a hot grill pan until medium rare and added a small splash of balsamic vinegar.

Beef tenderloin with rocket leaves
My younger son had all these dishes for dinner. He liked the scallops but not the cauliflower puree. He doesn't like many vegetables. He finished the calamari and claimed it totally different from restaurant version.
He loves tenderloins but disliked balsamic on his beef. What a fussy eater!

The Dinner

I will be using the leftover beans to make Pasta Fagioli.

Thursday 20 September 2012

Peach and Learn

Peach Tart
I usually make fruit flan or tarts in 23cm removable base tart tin. This tart tin is 16cm and has no removable base. After blind baking the pastry, it got stuck onto the tin. I did'nt remove the baked pastry because I didn't want to risk breaking the fragile pastry case. This is also the first tart recipe I have and have been using it many times. I like the custard filling, and you have to cook it slowly over small fire to get smooth custard.  If the fire is too big, the custard thickens very quickly and becomes grainy. I made this with canned peaches only because my daughter likes them. I didn't glaze the peaches. This tart looks very presentable if you top it with strawberries,sliced kiwis,peaches and grapes or lychees.

We have so far received 56 Powerlab camp forms from our own Sunday school children and outsiders. The early bird registration ends on 8 October and we are expecting more forms coming in before early bird closes. Today, I visited my church friend's new house with two others to discuss camp meals. We had a lovely time there and had a yummy beef stew for lunch. The camp meals will be morning tea break,lunch and afternoon tea. As there are 2 hours gap between morning tea and lunch, the ladies have decided to give biscuits for morning tea. The lunch will be bento box,char siu rice and spaghetti for the three days. Afternoon tea will be buns,cakes and pau. To cut wastage, kindergarten kids will have smaller portion. My camp role is shepherd to the children and not kitchen duties.

The camp coordinator has given me a pre camp task, that is Operation Kid to Kid . We are getting the camp kids to bring new socks and write messages and insert into the socks. I  will write more about this project when everything is done

The Sunday school is also preparing a children's day party and 2 girls in my class will be reciting the 10 commandments. Another 2 will perform a piano and violin recital 'Jesus loves me'. They have been practicing hard  for the last 2 Sundays. I will be in charge of food, and will be getting parents to sponsor them. One parent is paying for 120 ice cream and I have arranged for an ice cream van to come, we will give coupons to the kids to exchange for ice cream . Another parent is bringing chips and honey star cereal. The honey star cereal is for the nursery kids as one parent has suggested to us. I am getting another parent to bring fish balls and mini sausages. The children love the fish balls and mini sausages. There will be chicken nuggets too and mini assorted buns. I will be baking,most probably brownies or cookies.
This year, we also have balloon sculpturing. We also have a gift exchange corner. The Sunday school children are given 2 tokens for every attendance and they can exchange for gifts every end of school term.

I have served the Sunday school for the past 7 years and teaching to me is also learning and discovering  God'sWord  together with the children. 'Train up a child in the way he should go,even when he is old,he will not depart from it.' Proverbs 22:9

 Classic fruit flan

1 cup plain flour,sifted
1 tbsp icing sugar,sifted
90 g butter,cut into pieces
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp lemon juice

11/4 cups milk
1 egg
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp corn flour
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. To prepare pastry: place flour in a large bowl. Stir in icing sugar, add butter. Rub in,using fingertips, until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
2. Mix in egg yolk and lemon juice. Press together to form a soft dough. Cover with plastic wrap. Rest in the refrigerator for 30mins.
3. Roll out between 2 plastic wrap until 3mm thick. Line a 23cm flan dish with pastry. Trim edges. Refrigerate for 10 mins. Prick base with a fork. Bake in a hot oven.(200C) for 10-15 mins or until golden. Cool.
4. To prepare filling: whisk 1/4 cup milk,whole egg,yolks,flour,cornflour,and sugar together in a small bowl. In a saucepan, heat remaining milk until warm.
5. Whisk a little warm milk into the egg mixture. Pour the egg mixture into the remaining warm milk.
6. Return the milk mixture to heat. Heat, stirring constantly,until mixture boils and thickens. Simmer for 3 mins. Blend in vanilla. Cool.
7. Spread custard over base of pastry case. Arrange fruit decoratively on top. Brush apricot glaze over fruit. Refrigerate until required.

Wednesday 19 September 2012

No weekly marketing

I don't do weekly marketing, I go to the supermarket almost every day, and is not a chore but very therapeutic for me. Shopping for groceries in Singapore is so convenient, there are supermarkets in almost every corner of Singapore. That's one reason why I don't plan my weekly marketing, another reason is I do not like to freeze fresh produce like fish and meat. My refrigerator is not big. It is only 1.6l but there's sufficient space for a family of 5. In the freezer, there are ready to roll pastry sheet,homemade chicken stock,frozen pizzas,frozen peas and bacon and  occasionally chicken nuggets and ice cream. In the chiller,there's always blocks of butter, eggs, cheese and milk, chocolates and fruits. All my bottled spices are also kept inside, together with baking stuff like nuts and dried fruits,valhorna chocolates and whipping cream. With this note, I want to thank God for supplying all our daily needs, spiritual and physical.  'My grace is made sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness'. 2 Corinthians 12:9

When I saw this recipe at Peng's kitchen, I thought it was an interesting one for I have never done a roast chicken with local flavour. Like her, I also cook nasi lemak rice to go with it.

Pandan Roast Chicken

The chicken is so tender with a hint of spice ness and it goes well with nasi lemak. This recipe is definitely a keeper.  

Please refer to peng's kitchen

Saturday 15 September 2012

Quick Supper

Zucchini Mushroom and Ham tart
I always keep a packet of Pampas Puff Pastry in the freezer. This is really handy when my boys are hungry in the night, I just have to take a sheet out,spread some tomato paste,sprinkle some herbs,top up ingredients and add shredded mozarella and be done in 20 minutes.

1 sheet of puff pastry
1.2 beaten egg
2 tsp of tomato paste
1 tsp of oregano,or any mixed herbs you have
1/4 cup ready chopped white button mushrooms
1/4 cAup zucchini ,sliced
1/4  cup ready cut ham
Salt and black pepper
1/2 cup shredded mozarella


1. Score the edge of puff pastry,brush the edges with beaten egg.
2. Spread tomato paste,sprinkle herbs
3. Arrange sliced zucchini  in rows, top with mushrooms and hams
4  Add more mixed herbs, if you like. Salt and pepper to taste.
5. Add shredded mozarella and into hot oven 200C for 20 minutes or golden brown.

Friday 14 September 2012

What's The Theme?

Flower Crabs

I was at the wet market early after my morning jog, and saw some of the seafood stalls selling these flower crabs. They are huge and fresh. I bought two and asked the fishmonger for the best way to cook these crabs. Normally,many people would cook it with ginger,garlic,chilli and taucheo. My children do not like fermented beans, so I steamed it with sliced ginger. It took only 15 minutes to cook,the meat is firm and sweet, and very fresh. Once out ot steamer, I was eager to serve and forgot about the camera.

I also made a pot of nonya curry and shared the dish with my filipino friend. We had gone out to distribute the Powerlab camp forms to schools. My friend has 4 school going boys and she has just settled here a year ago. This friend of mine is also a housewife and she is very talented in sewing and craftworks. She prepares the craftwork for nursery children in our Sunday School. I am glad my friend and her sons enjoyed the curry.
Nonya Chicken

My daughter asked me what's the theme of my dinner? I was taken aback. No, this is not seafood or Nonya theme, maybe it should be Freshness theme, because both dishes are prepared from fresh produce bought from the wet market, and not supermarket which I usually go.

Just received an email updating the progress of our flyers distribution. We have received calls from parents who are interested in sending their children to Sunday school and Powerlab camp in November. Thank you lord for opening the hearts of these parents and I pray many more will come forward to hear Your Word. I know we have to trust and have faith in you to help us and guide us do your work. Amen.                            

Thursday 13 September 2012

A Whole New Flavour!

Strawberry Balsamic Pizza with Chicken,Onions and Applewood Bacon

When I first saw this at lena's blog, I was attracted by the colour and the unusual combinations. Indeed this is very delicious, make a wonderful Christmas food.

Besides pizzas and pastas which the Italians are known for, they are the ones who also invented these.

 I came across this leaflet in a cutlery pack at one of my favorite pizzeria, Pizzeria and Osteria Mozza by Mario Batali. I have dined at his restaurant many times, but have not posted any reviews. This is because my teenage children find it very uncool to take food pictures in restaurants,so does my husband. These are our usual orders:
Antipasti - Chicken wings alla Diavolo
                  Calamari al forno with fagioli and oregano
                  Prosciutto di parma&bufala mozzarella
                  Chopped salad

Bruschetta - chicken livers,capers,parsley&pancetta

Pizza - fungi misti,fontina and thyme
            Egg,bacon,Yukon gold potato & bcippolini, onions and prosciutto

Dolci - Caramel copetta with marshmallow sauce & salted Spanish peanuts
            Mixed berry copetta
            Mixed favours gelatos

These look like a lot of food for 5, but is not, the antipasti and bruschetta portions are small, and the pizzas are thin, there are never leftovers. The food is that good. Next visit, I shall take pictures regardless of their protests.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Twice Baked

Almond Pistachio and Cranberry Biscotti 
No, this biscotti recipe is not found in this issue of Donna Hay. I visit the library once a week, and each time I would borrow food magazines like The Australian Good Food,Donna Hay, Delicious,Martha Stewart Living,etc. You be surprised the library do have the latest issues in stock.
This is the first time I baked biscotti and these are not difficult at all. This recipe by Donna Hay has pistachios and cranberries only, but I added extra almonds.

Nespresso with Biscotti

Donna Hay's Pistachios and Cranberry Biscotti


2 cups plain flour,sifted
1 1/2 tsp baking poweder sifted
3/4 cup caster sugar
3 eggs,lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp finely grated orange rind
1 cup sweetened,dried cranberries
1 cup shelled unsalted pistachios


1. Preheat oven to 160C place flour,baking powder and sugar into a bowl and mix to combine.
2. Add eggs,vanilla,orange rind,cranberries and pistachios and mix until you form a dough
3. Turn the dough out onto a table and with some flour,knead until smooth.
4. Form into two logs an flatten slightly. Bake in oven on two lined baking trays for 30-35 mins or until firm cool completely.
5. When cooled use a serrated knife to cut thin slices and place them back on baking trays. Bake for a
    further 8-10 mind until crisp, cool on trays.

Sunday 9 September 2012

Green,Soft and Fragrant

Pandan Chiffon

Pandan Chiffon is still a very popular and everybody's favourite cake. It is light in texture and if made with natural pandan juice, is very fragrant. There are many recipes and this is the recipe which never fails me. I got this recipe from a newspaper cutting.

5 pandan leaves, finely chopped
3 tbsp water
48g egg yolk, about 3 eggs
70g sugar
1/8 tsp salt
20ml corn oil
36ml thick coconut milk
1/4 tsp pandan paste
54g cake flour
120g egg white, about 3 eggs
1/8 tsp cream of tartar

1. Preheat the oven to 190C
2. Blend the pandan leaves with water to a fine pulp. Wrap the pulp in muslin cloth and squeeze to extract the juice. Discard the pulp and set aside the juice.
3. Whisk together the egg yolk,30g sugar, salt, corn oil, coconut milk, pandan paste and pandan juice until well incorporated.
4. Sieve the cake flour into the pandan mixture and continue to whisk until smooth. Set aside.
5. Whisk the egg white, remaining sugar and cream of tartar until stiff, such that a firm peak forms when the whisk is pulled from the mixture.
6. Gently fold the egg white mixture into the cake batter until well incorporated.
7. Pour the batter into a 20cm tube pan and bake for 40 mins until the surface is brown. 
8. Remove the cake from the oven and invert it on a cooling rack. Allow the cake to cool before removing it from the mould by running a palette knife along the circumference of the cake to loosen the sides.

Note: I find the oven temp too high, and the pan used is too big. I do not use cream of tartar and I double the ingredients. My oven is at 160C,55mins, tube pan 23cm. The chiffon always turn out perfectly,no cracks.

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Chocolate Eclairs With Mocha Creme


Chocolate Eclairs With Mocha Creme
Australian Good Food Magazine

Makes 18
100g unsalted butter,chopped
1 cup or150g plain flour,sifted
4 eggs, at room temperature 

 Mocha creme
1 cup or 250ml milk
50ml espresso or strong coffee
1 egg yolk
110g caster sugar
2 tbsp plain flour, sifted
70g milk chocolate,finely chopped
1/2 cup or 165ml thickened cream,whipped

Chocolate glaze
1/2 cup or 110g caster sugar
110g dark chocolate

1. To make mocha creme,bring milk and coffee to heat. Add in sugar and chopped chocolate. When mixture is slightly cooled, whisk yolk and flour. Whisk mixture until thick and transter to a bowl,plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold. Fold through whipped cream and transfer to a piping bag without a nozzle. Refrigerate until needed.
2. Preheat oven to 220C. Grease and line two baking trays with baking paper.
3. Combine butter and 1 cup water in a pan on high heat. Bring to simmer and cook for 1-2 mins, until butter is melted. Add flour, beating vigorously with a wooden spoon until mixture pulls away from sides of pan. Remove from heat, cool for 5mins, then add eggs one at a time, beating  well to combine after each addition.
Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm plain nozzle, or a resealable plastic bag with one corner snipped off. Pipe 8cm lengths onto prepared trays. Bake for 10 mins, then reduce oven to 180C and bake for another 5-10 mins, until dry and light golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Using a serrated knife, split in half horizontally.
4. T make chocolate glaze, heat sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan on medium-high, stirring, until sugar dissolves. cook, without stirring, for 8-10 mins, until light caramel in colour. Remove from heat, add chocolate and 50ml water. Return to heat and stir until smooth. Add another 50m; water,stir to combine, then strain through a fine metal sieve into a heatproof bowl. Dip top halves of eclairs into chocolate and set aside until set.
5. Pipe mocha creme onto bottom half of eclairs, replace tops and serve.

Chocolate Eclairs With Mocha Creme

My children love these eclairs and have asked me to make again. See the plate in the picture? Bought it 25 years ago in Debenham,London. It is a dinner/tea set for 6 and over the years, used and broke some plates and cups. There are 2 cups left:(

Tuesday 4 September 2012


This paella recipe was obtained from a Spanish restaurant chef. I have attended a one day Spanish food introduction course organised by the local community centre. The chef demonstrated 3 dishes.
The first dish he cooked was this paella,second dish was Gambas al Ajilo(Garlic Prawn) and last dish Calamares a la Pancha(freshly Grilled Squid with Olive Oil).
I have cooked this paella many times, sometimes with bomba rice, other times with sushi or calrose rice.
I bought bomba rice from Mâché restaurant.

Paella Valencia(36cm pan)
Bomba rice 320g
extra virgin oil 40ml
red capsicum 50ml
tomato dice 40g
ground almond 10g
dried parsley 5g
chicken leg boneless(cut into cubes) 150g
Spanish Chorizo Sausages 35g sliced
prawns 8pcs
squid ring 80g
half shell mussels 8pcs
chicken stock 1L
sweet paprika powder 3g
saffron 0.5g
green peas 90g
salt and pepper to taste

1 heat up the paella pan with olive oil
2 sauteed the onions,tomato,red and green capsicum and ground almond for few minutes.
3 add in squid,chicken,prawn,mussels and sauteed it until half cook
4 remove and set aside prawns and mussels.
5 add in rice into the pan and sauteed for 3minute
6 add in the stock and let it boil,medium heat
7 add in paprika,salt,saffron,dried parsley and pepper
8 uncovered until the rice is almost dry
9 put the prawn,mussels,chorizo and green pea with foil and low heat. Let sit 5-10mins,until rice is cooked.

Note: picture shows paella cooked in sushi rice, I omitted mussels and chorizo. only yellow capsicum. Green
peas served as side.I usually prepare food from whatever ingredients I have in the fridge and larder. I don't go out to buy ingredients just for the dish.

Yesterday, I was at a shopping mall library distributing this flyer. My church has been organising this children outreach camp for the past 6 years and we always receive good response from the neighbourhood. One of the reasons could be the low fee of $15 inclusive of 3 lunches, teas and a T-shirt. Another reason could be because these children are from dual income family, the parents are busy working and what better place to send their kids during school holiday than to a church. Whatever reasons they may be, I'm glad they have spent a meaningful holdiay knowing Jesus. Most of them are unchurched.
My role is a shepherd to them. There will be 12 children under me and I lead them to various activities like songs and praises,crafts,games and speech and drama. I will also have an assistant shepherd to help me.
This year we have increased the fee to $20 and there's buses to bring the kids to camp.The Lord has kept me to serve every year and it has been a fun and rewarding experience for me. It warms my heart to know of children who are in church for the first time, singing praises to God. Most importantly, they get to learn God's Word and know Jesus.
This year, the camp is on the 21st Novemeber to 23rd. We are expecting 200+ children. Urgent prayers are needed for more volunteers to come forward and good response from the flyers distribution.

Saturday 1 September 2012

Help yourself dinner

Roast Chicken
Thursday is the day where my part time cleaner comes to clean my place. She is really good and  I trust her enough to leave the whole house to her while I'm out. I usually return after she leaves, forI do not like to interfere with her cleaning or get into her way.
There will be no heavy cooking in my kitchen on this day, so as to keep and enjoy the cleaned kitchen. This roast chicken will be ideal to prepare for it takes 10 minutes to prepare and 35 minutes cooked. There are no specific ingredients, I just made do with what I have in my fridge. Salad is store bought and I added dry cranberries and toasted walnut with balsamic vinegar dressing

1 Chicken,butterflied
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp Thymes
1 tsp Rosemary
1 lemon,quartered
1 onion,quartered
1 clove of garlic
sea salt and black pepper

Place lemon,onion and garlic on a foil lined baking tray.Rub olive oil on chicken. Add salt and pepper,sprinkle thymes and rosemary. Roast in an oven 250C for 35 minutes.

Mash Potatoes
5 russet potatoes,peeled and quartered
1/2 cup milk
30g butter
salt to taste

Boil potatoes till cooked, mash and add butter. Add milk and salt.

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