Friday 29 March 2013

Greater Love Has No One Than This

Is there a difference between tart and quiche? There seem to be no definite answer to this. Some says tart has no egg mixture, other says the definition is the ratio of ingredients. I haven't got the answer yet, if you know the difference, please share with me,
I made this Smoked Salmon Tart for a light dinner on Good Friday. This is another Delia Smith's easy and reliable recipe  I found the pastry base quite crumbly to roll and couldn't lift it with my rolling pin to transfer itto the tin. I switched to 2 small 10 cm tart tins  Delia says the secret of a great tart or quiche is a perfect pastry base - crisp, light and flaky, without a hint of sogginess - to offset the rich, creamy filling. This tart has it all!

Smoked Salmon Tart
Delia Smith 's Complete Cookery Course


for the filling:
250g smoked salmon trimmings(160g)
2 large eggs, plus 1 extra yolk, beaten
200ml creme fraiche
freshly grated nutmeg(ground nutmeg)
pinch cayenne pepper(mild paprika)
freshly milled black pepper

For the Parmesan pastry::
110g plain flour
pinch of salt
25g lard, at room temp(omitted)
25g butter, at room temp(50g)
25g Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated

24cm Tart Tin


  • To make the pastry, sift the flour with a pinch of salt into a large bowl, holding the sieve up high to give the flour a good airing. Then add the lard and butter (butter only) and using only your fingertips, lightly and gently rub the fat into the flour, again lifting the mixture up high all the time to give it a good airing.

  • When everything is crumbly, add the Parmesan and then sprinkle in some cold water - about 1 tablespoon. Start to mix the pastry with a knife and then finish off with your hands, adding more drops of water till you have a smooth dough that will leave the bowl clean.

  • Then pop it into a polythene bag and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. After that, roll the pastry out into a circle aout 12 inches (30cm) in diameter, then transfer it, rolling it over the pin, to the tin. Press lightly and firmly over the base and sides of the tin, pushing up the sides to come about 1/4 inch above the rim of the tin all round. Now prick the base all over with a fork, then brush with some of the beaten egg for the filling. (two 10 cm tart tins)
  • Place the tin on the pre-heated baking sheet and bake at 190C for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden. 
  • check halfway through the cooking time to make sure the pastry isn't rising up in the centre. If it is, just prick it a couple of times and press it back down with your hands. When the pastry case is cooked, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 180C

  • Now arrange the smoked salmon trimmings over the base of the tart. Then, in a jug, mix the mix with the creme fraiche and season with freshly milled black pepper and a little freshly grated nutmeg(ground nutmeg) but don't put any salt in it as the smoked is already quite salty(a pinch of salt) Now put the tart back on the half-pulled-out oven shelf, then pour in the egg mixture and sprinkle with the cayenne pepper(paprika).

  • Bake it for 30-35 mins until the centre is just set and the surface is puffy and a light golden brown colour, then remove it from the oven and let it settle for about 10 mins before serving. Remove it from tin by placing it in on up upturned jar, which will you to ease the sides away. Using a palette knife or a fish slice, slide it underneath and ease the tart carefully on to a plate or board, ready to serve.

Good Friday Message

 Good Friday message was all about Jesus' compassionate love for all.  Crucified on the cross, Jesus prayed to His Father in Heaven, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do"

Upon  His cross, Jesus was praying for His enemies. The action behind this was continuously, even when he was betrayed, jeered, mocked and nailed.  Man's greatest need is forgiveness and the spiritually blind do not know that they have sinned. Jesus showed concern for these people and asked His Father to forgive them, 'for they know not what they do". 
Only God could love like this. Imagine what would we do in the hour of man's worst treatment of us? Would we pray for their forgiveness or would we curse them and ask God to destroy them?

In doing this, God shows us and teaches us; to never give up, to never abandon hope and to keep praying. Does it seem to you a waste of time to keep praying for something when everything seems hopeless?

"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. John 15:13

This post is linked to Cook like a Star, a blog hop hosted by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids, Baby Sumo  from Eat Your Heart Out and Mich from Piece of Cake

Thursday 28 March 2013

I Am The Resurrection And The Life

These cupcakes were made for the church Family Night birthday celebration. They disappeared fast, within seconds after the birthday song.
They were designed with Easter theme, and popular Easter designs are usually bunnies, chicks, and nest of eggs. I made 2 of the cupcakes using jelly beans as eggs and candy floss as nest for the two birthday girls. For marshmallow fondant, chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, please refer recipes here and here

                               Happy Easter!

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.  John 11:25-26

Easter is a Christian celebration of the the Risen Christ. Easter food like lamb and hot cross buns have pagan origins, so are colored eggs, bunnies, baby chicks, butterflies and white lilies. While these may have different meanings at other times in history, now they help us to remember our new lives in Christ.

Easter White Lilies - Easter signifies rebirth and a new beginning and these flowers, with their purity and blossoms, symbolize the spirit and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Angel Gabriel is often depicted holding a sprig of lily which stands for purity and truth, came to Mary to announce that she has been picked to be the mother of the holy child.

Easter Bunnies - The German settlers were the first to introduce this to America. They believed a white hare
would leave brightly colored eggs for all good children on Easter morning. Early American children build nests of leaves and sticks in their garden for the Easter Hare to fill with colored eggs. By the 19th century , The Easter Hare had become Easter Bunny, with baskets of eggs, chocolates, jelly beans as gift for children on Easter morning.

Easter Eggs - They were originally colored to represent the sunlight of spring and were used in Easter egg rolling contests or given as gifts. Eggs were forbidden food during lent as well as other traditional fast medieval Europe and can only be consumed on Easter after Lent fasting. Eggs are also viewed as symbols of new life and fertility through the ages.

Easter Chicks - Like Eggs, Easter Chicks symbolize new life or re-birth.

Butterflies - The three stages of butterflies is the perfect symbol  of Easter cycle of life - death - resurrection. Jesus conquered death and is every Christian's hope of their new rebirth.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17

Lamb - Lamb was a traditional sacrifice during bible time. Christ was the sacrificial lamb who took away the sins of the world. He is the ;Lamb of God' born without sin and blameless, but he bore it all and was crucified on the cross . His blood cleanses us from all sin.

Hot Cross Buns - The cross pastry on the buns symbolizes and reminds people of the cross, on which Jesus Christ was crucified. Hot cross buns are eaten on Good Friday.  An edict from Queen Elizabeth 1 forbade people to eat spiced buns everyday but on Good Friday.. The ingredients in the traditional hot cross buns are made for people who are following lent to be able to eat them as they traditionally contain no eggs or other diary products.

Just like Christmas, the true meaning of Easter has been lost and forgotten. It only takes two words to ponder on.  "JESUS' DEATH" and "RESURRECTION" before you plan and start your Easter fiesta.

Tuesday 26 March 2013

We Live By Faith, Not By Sight

Torino, or Turin is the capital of the piedmont region in Northern Italy. It was also my second last stop of Italy tour.  Many visitors to Turin head to the Duomo Di San Giovanni where the holy shroud of Turin was kept. I didn't get to view the shroud as it was no longer on public display. It didn't really matter because as Christians we should be living a life of faith, and not of sight. Turin is also home of Juventus FC and Torino FC and headquarter of Fiat, Lancia and Alfa Romeo cars.

This Piedmont Roasted Peppers was first discovered by an iconic British cookbook writer Elizabeth David.(unknown to me) She wrote this recipe on her cookbook, Italian Food. This recipe was then picked up by a  chef who cooked this at his restaurant. A restaurant owner who ate this, added this dish in his restaurant where Delia Smith had it, and it became Delia's recipe. This recipe had certainly come a long way and I was curious about who Elizabeth David was. It was a startling discovery of this late glamorous British icon. She was the Julia Child of Britain! You can read about her here.

I am sure you all know what roasted red peppers taste like, smoky sweetness? Yes, and with added anchovies,tomatoes, garlic and olive oil, you'll be wondering how a simple,easy and cheap dish can taste so delish! Get yourself a good crusty bread to mop all the juicy sweetness in it. You can have this as an appetizer or as side to your main course. I baked a loaf of rosemary and cherry tomatoes focaccia just for this.

Piedmont Roasted Peppers
Delia Smith Summer's Collection


4 large red peppers (green are not suitable) (2 medium)
6 medium tomatoes (2 medium)
8 tinned anchovy fillets, drained (4 fillets)
2 cloves garlic
8 dessertspoon extra virgin olive oil( 3 tablespoon)
freshly milled black pepper

To serve
small bunch fresh basil leaves


  • Begin by cutting the peppers in half and removing the seeds but leaving the stalks intact (they're not edible but they do look attractive and they help the pepper halves to keep their shape).
  • Lay the pepper halves in the lightly oiled roasting tray.
  • Now put the tomatoes in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Leave them for 1 minute, then drain them and slip the skins off, using a cloth to protect your hands. Then cut the tomatoes into quarters and place three quarters in each pepper half (I cut and dunked tomatoes into hot water, then remove skin).

  • After that, snip one anchovy fillet per pepper half into rough pieces and add to the tomatoes. Peel the garlic cloves, sliced them thinly and divide the slices equally among the tomatoes and anchovies.(whole garlic, forgot to slice) 
  • Now spoon 1 dessertspoon of olive oil into each pepper, season with freshly milled pepper (but no salt because of the anchovies) and place the tray on a high shelf in the oven 180C for the peppers to roast for 50 minutes to 1 hour. (35 minutes).
  • Then transfer the cooked peppers to a serving dish, with all the precious juices poured over, and garnish with a sprig of basil leaves. These do need good to go with them as the juices are sublime - focaccia would be perfect.

For dinner, I served the peppers as side to Delia's Devilled Chicken Drumsticks.
For the Devilled Chicken recipe, please refer here. 

We live by faith, not by sight - 2 Corinthians 5:7

This post is linked to Cook like a Star, a blog hop event hosted by Zoe from bake for happy kids
Baby Sumo from Eat Your Heart Out and Mich from Piece of Cake

Sunday 24 March 2013

Born of the Spirit

Amalfi Coast is a beautiful coastal town in the region of Campania, Italy. Quite near to Naples, it was once a popular holiday destination for the upper class British and aristocracy. It is also a UNESCO world heritage site.
Two years ago, I was on a two weeks holiday in Italy and traveling mainly in the Tuscany region and up north to Torino, a piedmont region and on to Lugano,the Italian speaking part of Switzerland. The highlights of the holiday are mainly food and historical sites. Every pizzas, pastas, risottos and gelatos always tasted the best, very rustic and comfortable food.  There  are 20 regions, which with its own characteristics. Every regions and every towns and every villages makes the same dish in vastly different ways.

The region of Campania, where the stretch of Amalfi Coast is situated is also known as the most beautiful coast in the world. Campania region which is in the South of Italy is known for its pasta and pizza, and other exuberant cuisines of sun-kissed vegetables, herbs, mozzarella, sardines,anchovies and salty capers.
This Aubergine Amalfitane is one rustic food from this region which is good for appetizer or as a vegetarian main course. Do not leave out the anchovies and capers. These two give this dish a piquant taste and flavor of coastal food.

Aubergines Amalfitane
Delia Smith Vegetarian


3 medium aubergines (2 small)
3 tablespoons olive oil (2 tbsp)
1 onion, chopped (half)
1 large clove garlic, crushed
2 level tsps fresh chopped basil
6 drained anchovy fillets, chopped(2 pcs) 
175g mozzarella, cut into thin slices(shredded)
3 large tomatoes, sliced (2 small)
1 1/2 tablespoons capers, chopped (1 tablespoon, rinsed, whole)
salt and freshly milled black pepper (no salt)


  • Trim the green stalks from the aubergines and slice them in half lengthways. If you have a grapefruit knife use that, or otherwise use a teaspoon, to get out the pulpy centes of the aubergines, leaving a shell not less than 5 mm thick.(used paring knife and teaspoon) 
  • Sprinkle the shells liberally with salt and leave upside down to drain for 45 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, chop the pulp. Now heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a saucepan(1 tablespoon) and gently fry the onion until softened. Stir in the chopped aubergine pulp, crushed garlic and half the basil. Season with salt and pepper(pepper only) and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes, stirring now and then.
  • After this, stir in the chopped anchovies.
  • Next, preheat the oven to 180C, then wipe the aubergine shells with kitchen paper and arrange them in the roasting tin or baking dish. Spoon the onion/pulp mixture into the shells, then arrange alternate slices of cheese and tomato on top of each aubergine half and sprinkle with the chopped capers.(shredded cheese bottom and top, whole capers)

  • Finally, sprinkle with the remaining basil and dribble a little more olive oil over each .
  • Season and bake (only black pepper), uncovered, in the top of the oven for 40 minutes.(30 mins) 

Sunday School

Lesson was on Spiritual Birth. Bible Story was about Nicodemus, a Pharisee who visited Jesus at night because he did not want people to know he had met with Jesus. Nicodemus wanted to know the kingdom of God. Jesus answered him, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."  John 3:3

To Nicodemus this new birth seems to be very strange, how can a grown up man be born of his mother again?  Jesus answered  that he need to be born of water and of the spirit. 
For in the Old Testament, Ezekiel 36:25-27 "I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws."

Jesus added in John 3:6 "Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit."
Flesh is the human nature, fallen under Adam. God is Spirit. We must become God's children to enter God's Kingdom.

Paper beads
Black is for Sin,  Red is for Blood,  White is for Forgiveness and new Life,  Blue is for heaven and eternal life and  Green is for growing up as Christian.

I am linking this post to Little Thumbs Up hosted by Zoe from Bake for happy kids and Doreen from 
My little favourite DIY. This post is also linked to Cook like a Star, hosted by Zoe from Bake for happykids Baby Sumo from Eat Your Heart Out and Mich from Piece of Cake.


Friday 22 March 2013

God Cannot Be Tempted By Evil

It was reported that in 1990,  Delia Smith announced on her TV Christmas Special that this Truffle Torte was the best chocolate dessert she had ever tasted in years and quite the easiest to make. Within days of her announcement, liquid glucose, a key ingredient was flying off the shelves and truffle torte was the dessert to whip on festive occasions across the United Kingdom.

This truffle torte is indeed very decadent, very easy and quick to whip. To make this the best chocolate dessert ever, you have to get the best quality chocolate (75%cacao) and whipping cream. Do not substitute the amaretti biscuits which is at the base, but when serving, you flip the cake with the biscuit base on top, and serve with additional single pouring cream (optional).

Truffle Torte
Delia Smith's Christmas 
Serve 10 small slices


75g amaretti biscuits, crush finely with a rolling pin
450g dark chocolate (75% cacao)
5 tablespoon liquid glucose 
5 tablespoon rum
570 ml double cream

To serve
single pouring cream
Cocoa powder for dusting 


  • Start by sprinkling the crushed biscuits all over the base of the tin. Next, break the chocolate into sections and put them in a heatproof bowl together with the liquid glucose and the rum. Fit the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, then leave it until the chocolate has melted and become quite smooth.
  • Stir, then take off the heat and leave the mixture to cool for 5 minutes or so until it feels just warm.

  • Now, in a separate bowl, beat the cream until only very slightly thickened. Fold half into the chocolate mixture and then fold that mixture into the rest of the cream.
  • When it is smoothly blended, spoon it into the prepared tin. Tap the tin gently to even the mixture out, cover with clingfilm and chill overnight.
  • Just before serving, run a palette knife round the edge to loosen the torte, then give it a good shake and turn the whole thing out on to a serving plate (don't be nervous about this - it's very well behaved).
  • To serve, dust the surface with sifted cocoa powder and, if you like, mark the top into serving sections. Have some chilled pouring cream to go with it; if you have any, a couple of tablespoons of amaretto liqueur makes a wonderful addition to the cream.

Note: I used Valrhona Guanaja 70% and Valrhona cocoa powder. This chocolate torte is very rich.  To cut the chocolaty richness, I would suggest to increase the amaretti biscuits to 100g or more and serve with a dollop of cream and fruits like strawberries, raspberries or pomegranates.


When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desires, he is dragged away and enticed.     James 1:13-14



This post is linked to Cook like a Star, a blog hop event hosted by Zoe from Bake for happy kids, 
Baby Sumo from Eat Your Heart Out and Mich from A piece of Cake

Tuesday 19 March 2013

The House of Righteous Stands Firm

I love carrot cakes, especially  a healthy low fat one. When I saw Zoe of bake for happy kids' pretty looking Low Fat Moist Carrot Cake by Delia Smith, I baked not only one but two, one for an aunt and  one for my church Family Night.  I made the first cake in a 8' x 8' square and the other in a  12' x 7'' sheet pan.  Everyone loved the light moist cake. I used light cream cheese, but added 20g unsalted butter and 20g icing sugar.
I made carrot fondant for decoration, and in addition to the carrot cake, also baked 12 cupcakes and decorated them with Easter theme(coming post).  Both cupcakes and carrot cakes were for Family Night birthday celebration.

Low Fat Moist Carrot Cake
How to Cook Book One - Deli Smith

175g dark brown soft sugar, soften (light muscovado)
2 large eggs at room temperature
120 ml sunflower oil (corn oil)
200g wholemeal self raising flour (self raising flour)
1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 rounded tsp mixed spice ( 1 tsp cinnamon powder)
grated zest 1 orange 200g carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
175g sultanas (cranberries)

250g Quark (skimmed milk soft cheese) ( light cream cheese)
20g unsalted butter
20g caster sugar (20g icing sugar)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 rounded teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus a little extra for dusting (omitted)

Syrup Glaze
Juice 1/2 small orange
1 dessertspoon lemon juice
40g dark brown soft sugar (light muscovado sugar)

Tray size
20cm by 26cm, 4cm deep
8" x  8"
12" x  7"


  • Begin by whisking the 175g sugar, eggs and oil together in a bowl using an electric hand whisk for 2-3 minutes
  • Then sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and the mixed spice into the bowl, tipping in all the bits of bran that are left in the sieve.

  • Now stir all this together, then fold in the orange zest, carrots and sultanas.
  • After that pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake on the centre shelf of the oven , 170C for 35-40 minutes,(18mins) until it is well risen and feels firm and springy to the touch when lightly pressed in the centre.

  • While the cake is cooking, make the topping by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl until light and fluffy,then cover with clingfilm and chill for 1-2 hours or until needed. Now you need to make the syrup glaze, and to do this whisk together the fruit juices and sugar in a bowl.

  • Then, when the cake comes out of the oven, stab it all over with a skewer and quickly spoon the syrup over as evenly as possible. Now leave the cake on one side to cool in the tin, during which time the syrup will be absorbed.
  • Then, when the cake is completely cold, remove it from the tin, spread the topping over, cut it into 12 squares and dust with a little more cinnamon.(omitted)

Family Night

An Elder from the Chinese congregation gave us a talk about the biblical meaning of various Chinese characters and the strokes it represent. The families were also divided into groups to play puzzle games based on Chinese characters in the bible.

The wicked are overthrown and are no more, but the house of the righteous stands firm.
Proverbs 12:7

This post is linked to the blog hop event, Cook like a Star, hosted by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids,
Baby Sumo from Eat your heart out and Mich from Piece of Cake. For more of Delia's delicious and easy cooking, please visit the links below.

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