Thursday 29 August 2013

The Plans I Have For You

Nutella Rugelach and Apricot Jam and Pistachios Rugelach

Rugelach are Jewish pastry and they are holiday cookies traditionally baked on Hanukkah, a Jewish holiday. They are made in the form of a crescent by rolling a triangle of dough around a filling. It can be made of sour cream or cream cheese dough, the latter is more probably of American innovation.
 I have seen rugelach sold in bakeries in Europe and the United States but not in Singapore.  Perhaps specialty bake stores may have them, like bagels which are now more commonly found. Now that I have made rugelach, I would love to try shop made ones so I can make a comparison.

Nutella Rugelach

This rugelach recipe which is from Dorie Greenspan website is fabulous and I am so happy to have made them. This recipe yields 32 flaky,crumbly pieces.  Don't you halve the recipe because they're so so good. I had four warm ones with nutella fillings, paired with a cup of Osmanthus Sencha tea by Gryphon.
What I like about this recipe is that the dough can be made in less than a minute in a food processor and you can bake one half of the recipe and keep the other in the fridge for another day. You can also freeze and bake it straight in the oven. I made one half with nutella and the other half with apricot jam, pistachios and raisins. I baked the nutella first and kept the other half in the fridge to bake the next day.

The next day, I baked the jam and nuts fillings. This time I paired with Gryphon Ginger and Mint Tea.
I also warmed up the nutella batch and they tasted just like freshly baked. Both fillings are equally good! They are best eaten warm.


Dorie Greenspan
makes 32 pieces


4 ounces (113g)cold cream cheese, cut into 4 pieces
1 stick (113g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup chopped nut(1/4 cup chopped pistachios, toasted)
1/4 cup plump, moist dried currants (1/4 cup raisins)
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, or 2/3 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips

2/3 cup raspberry jam,apricot jam or marmalade (1/4 cup apricot jam)
2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup nutella

To make the dough

  • Let the cream cheese and butter rest on the counter for 10 minutes - you want them to be slightly softened but still cool.
  • Put the flour and salt in a food processor, scatter over the chunks of cream cheese and butter and pulse the machine 6 to 10 times. Then process, scraping down the sides of the bowl often, just until the dough forms large curds - don't work it so long that it forms a ball on the blade.
  • Turn the dough out, gather it into a ball and divide it in half. Shape each half into a disk, wrap the disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 1 day (wrapped airtight, the dough can be frozen up to 2 months)
To make the filling: Heat the jam in a saucepan over low heat, or do this in a microwave, until it liquefies. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together.
Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats 

To shape the cookies

  • Pull one packet of dough from the refrigerator. If it is too firm to roll easily, either leave it on the counter for about 10 minutes or give it a few bashes with your rolling pin.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into an 11- 12 inch circle. Spoon or brush a thin gloss of jam over the dough, and sprinkle over half of the cinnamon sugar. Scatter over half of the nuts, half of the currants and half of the chopped chocolate. Cover the filling a piece of wax paper and gently press the filling into the dough, then remove the paper and save it for the next batch.(spread nutella)
  • Using a pizza wheel or a shape knife, cut the dough into 16 wedges or triangles.The easiest way to do this is to cut the dough into quarters, then to cut each quarter into 4 triangles. 
  • Starting at the base of each triangle, roll the dough up so that each cookie becomes a little crescent. Arrange the roll-ups on one baking sheet, making sure the points are tucked under the cookies, and refrigerate. 
  • Repeat with the second packet of dough, and refrigerate the cookies for at least 30 minutes before (the cookies can be covered and refrigerated overnight or frozen for up to 2 months; don't defrost before baking, just add a couple of minutes to the baking time.)
Getting ready to bake

  • Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350F (170C)
To Glaze

  • Stir the egg and water together, and brush a bit of this glaze over each rugelach. Sprinkle the cookies with the sugar.

Bake the cookies for 20-25 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until and they puffed and golden. Transfer the cookies to racks to cool to just warm or to room temperature.

Storing: The cookies can be kept covered at room temperature for up to 3 days or wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 2 months. They're are great for sharing! 

This post is linked to Bake Along 'Rugelach' organised by 3 great home bakers. Hop over to Zoe, Joyce and

For I know the plans I have for you,"declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm yu, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Monday 26 August 2013

Go and Make Disciples of All Nations

British classic scotch eggs are picnic food and pub food. Traditionally made with sausage mince, but now they come in different fillings and flavours.  Here, my scotch eggs are starter/main course with cured salmon and fennel and orange salad.
The smoked salmon was cured with star anise, fennel seed, orange zest, sugar and salt. For this recipe, you don't need to cure the salmon overnight,  just leave it in the fridge for 12 hours, rinse the salt away, and the cured salmon is ready to eat.

As for the scotch eggs, cook for 5 minutes in boiling water and remove from heat. Then you coat breadcrumb and deep fry them.  You want to have soft runny yolk when cut, so it is important not to over cook your eggs. You can use quail eggs if you like but I must let you know it is not an easy task to peel small and slippery soft quail eggs. Check out my other Scotch Eggs with Thai Red Curry Paste here.
Fennel and orange make great salad combination and is very nice with the orange cured salmon.

Scotch Eggs with Orange Cured Salmon
Adapted from Cuisine Magzine

Cured Salmon
2 star anise
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
200g rock salt
60g sugar
zest of 1 orange
200g piece salmon fillet, trimmed and cleaned


  • Grind the star anise, coriander seeds and fennel seeds in a mortar and pestle. Mix together with the salt and sugar then zest the orange over the salt mix, so that the mix catches all the orange's spray and oils. Mix well to combine.

  • Place some salt mix on a tray then place the salmon top. Cover with the remaining salt mix then wrap tightly in cling film and refrigerate for 12 Hours. Wash the salt mix off well and pat the salmon dry. Slice into strips.

Scotch eggs
8 eggs
250g smoked salmon trimmings
50g smoked salmon (cured salmon)
zest of 1/4 lemon  (1/2 tbsp lemon juice)
5g chopped parsley (dill)
pinch of salt
pinch of sweet smoked paprika
1 cup plain flour
1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs (panko)
vegetable for frying


  • Bring a deep saucepan of water to a rapid boil then add 6 eggs and boil for exactly 5 minutes. 
  • Remove and place into a bowl of iced water to cool. When cooled, carefully peel then reserve until ready to use.

  • Put both the salmon trimmings and paprika smoked salmon (cured salmon and dill)in a food processor and blend with a good pinch of salt until a nice smooth paste forms. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the parsley, salt and paprika. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap on a bench then put the salmon in the middle of it. Cover with another sheet of plastic wrap then gently roll out with a rolling pin until you have a thin sheet of salmon.

  • Remove the top sheet sheet of plastic wrap and cut the salmon into 6 squares. Carefully wrap each egg in a square of salmon, pressing it on so that the eggs are well coated.(rest in the fridge until ready for deep frying)

  • Preheat the oven to 170C and heat a deep fry to 170C. Put the remaining eggs in a bowl and beat lightly. Put the flour on a small plate and the coated eggs in flour then dip in the egg mix and finally coat with breadcrumbs, pressing them on gently.
  • Deep-fry the eggs until golden then drain on kitchen paper.Put in the oven for 5 minutes, just to make sure that the yolks are warmed through. Season and serve.

Linking this post to Little Thumbs Up 'Eggs' hosted by Baby Sumo of Eat Your Heart Out,  organised by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen from My little favourite DIY

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
Matthew 28;19-20

The Bible has commanded us to put our faith in action. For the past two weeks, Sunday school children learned to share the Gospel message, sing the Wordless Book song, do a Wordless book puzzle and knot Wordless strings bracelets.

Wordless Book Song

BLACK My heart was dark with sin Until the Saviour came in (Romans 3:23)
RED        His precious blood, I know Has washed me white as snow(1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
WHITE    And in God's Word I'm told(John 3:16)
YELLOW I'll walk the streets of gold, (John 1:12)
GREEN   To grow in Christ each day ,I read my Bible and pray(Hebrews 13:5)

Friday 23 August 2013

Be Always Full of Grace

Nigella Kitchen Japanese Prawns

Nigella Express Maple Chicken and Ribs

Nigella Express Caramel Croissant Pudding

The family had a Nigella meal for dinner. Although the cook, yours truly did not have to put much sweat and tears in preparing the three courses, the whole meal did'nt go well with the family. At the end of the meal, they said, "We prefer J.O."

Japanese Prawns Adapted Recipe
A simple stir fry prawns with sake and wasabi. I thought it was not too bad for a quick salad meal. Double up the sauce to make enough dressing for salad, rice or noodle. I used 300g of fresh grey prawns.

Mapl;e Chicken and Ribs Recipe
If you are roasting these two, separate into two trays so that the chicken skin will not be burnt too quickly. I have to remove the chicken 20 minutes before the ribs. It is a little on the sweet side, add more soy sauce or rub some salt on the chicken skin. I cooked 6 ribs, 2 chiken legs and 2 chicken thighs.

Caramel Croissant Pudding Recipe
Best eaten warm or with vanilla ice cream. I baked them in 4 ramekins. I used rum and 3 croissants instead of two. Watch the fire, my caramel was a little burnt.

Linking this post to Cook Like A Star 'Nigella Lawson' organised by Anuja, Zoe and Joyce

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:6

Monday 19 August 2013

The Fire Is Not Quenched

Eggs In Purgatory is a hangover dish by Nigella in her cookbook, Nigellisma. According to Miss Lawson, this dish cooked in a fiery tomato sauce feels like heaven after a night of carousing. She first made this when she was a teenage student living in Florence. This Italian version Uova Al Purgatorio cost very little and is quick and simple to make, but look so delizioso. You can cook for one, or for a group in a large communal pan for a quick meal of breakfast or supper.

Please note that there are few versions of Eggs in Purgatory, originally called Shashuka or Harrisa Egg. The spices used in the original version reflected its roots in North Africa. It is a staple poached eggs dish in Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Libya. It is also popularly eaten in Israel. The name Eggs in Purgatory, is probably the Italian/Spanish version where there are mostly Roman Catholics. The eggs simmering in a fiery bubbly tomato sauce look like they are in purgatory.  Purgatory is the place where those who die in a state of grace but are not ready for ascension into heaven, must wait in a long suffering limbo.

Eggs In Purgatory
Adapted from Nigellisma
Serve 1


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small clove garlic (peeled)
1/4 teaspoon dried chilli flakes(1 tsp)
1x 400grams can chopped tomatoes(250g)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes(normal sea salt)
1 or 2 large eggs(1 egg)
2 teaspoon grated parmesan or more as needed
1 splash of chilli oil (optional to serve)
2 slices white bread or your choice


  • Pour the olive oil into a frying pan, then grate in or mince and add the garlic, scatter in the chilli flakes and put the pan over a medium heat, stirring for 1 minute.

  • Tip in the tomatoes, stir in the salt,and let it come to a bubble. It's got to be hot enough to poach an egg in.

  • Crack in the egg, sprinkle the Parmesan over it, leaving some of the yellow yolk still exposed, and partially cover with a lid.

  • Let it bubble for 5 minutes, by which time the white should be set and the yolk still runny, but keep an eye on it.

  • Remove from the heat and serve - if so wished - sprinkled with a little more Parmesan and some chilli oil, and some bread to dunk in.

This post is linked to Little Thumbs Up "Egg' hosted by Baby Sumo, organised by Zoe and Doreen.
This is also linked to Cook Like A Star "Nigella Lawson' hosted by Anuja,  and organised by Zoe and Joyce.

Where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.  Matthew 9:48

Friday 16 August 2013

God Is A Sun and Shield

I have been wanting to make Chicken in Tarragon ever since I saw Nigella Kitchen on TV.  Tarragon is one of the four main fine herbes in French cooking and is also the main flavoring component for making Bernaise sauce. For culinary cooking, French tarragon is used, but often sparingly used because of its intense flavour.

Nigella has cleverly shortened the cooking process of this elegant French dish and for this recipe, I would suggest you double the sauce because it is very good and goes so well with boiled potatoes or rice. Here I am using chicken breast which I don't normally cook, but like what Nigella said the chicken breast cooks so tenderly and with this smooth rich cream, is perfect for this dish.

Chicken Tarragon
Adapted from Nigella Kitchen
serves 2


2 tsp garlic oil(olive oil infused with two garlic cloves)
1/2 tsp sea salt flakes
2 fat spring onions
60ml double cream
1/2 tsp freeze-dried tarragon
1/2 tsp fresh white pepper
2 chicken breast fillets, skinless and boneless
2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon, plus a pinch for sprinkling
80ml vermouth or white wine(white wine)


  • Heat the garlic oil in a frying pan or casserole that has a lid and in which the chicken breasts will fit pretty snuggly.
  • Add the spring onions, stir, then sprinkle in the freeze-dried tarragon, stir again and cook them in the garlic oil for a minute, stirring some more as they cook.
  • Put the chicken fillets into the pan, curved side down, and cook for 5 minutes. If the spring onions start to burn, scrape them from the pan and let them sit on the chicken pieces.
  • Turn over the breasts, and add the vermouth or white wine. Let the vermouth bubble up, then add the salt. Put the lid on, turn the heat down low and leave it to simmer gently for 10 minutes.
  • Check the chicken is cooked through by making a small cut into the thickest part and ensuring the juices run clear - if not, simmer for a few minutes longer and check again.
  • Remove the chicken breasts to warmed plates. Bring the remaining liquid to a boil, add the cream and stir well, then sprinkle in the fresh tarragon, stir again and give a good grind of white pepper.
  • Pour the sauce over the chicken breasts, and give a final scattering of tarragon to serve.

Note: I cooked for 1 serving with steamed french beans and boiled baby potatoes.

This post is linked to Cook like A Star 'Nigella Lawson' and is hosted by Anuja from Simple baking, 
organised by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids.

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Psalm 84:11

Wednesday 7 August 2013

The Barren Fig Tree

I like Nigella's fluid and accessible writing style. I love the way she coined her words and some of the names of her dishes really cracked me up.Take this Arabian inspired desserts, Figs For A Thousand and One Nights.
A very simple dessert which can be done in 5 minutes which she says is scarcely a recipe really, but so good.
I have just bought some Israeli Figs from the supermarket. It was only recently the supermarkets here started selling fresh figs from Israel and Turkey. These were bought at a sales price of S$2.70 for 4. I have already bookmarked a recipe from Donna Hay's Fast Fresh Simple to to make a fig and gorgonzala tart,but changed my mind after I saw a bottle of rosewater and orange-flower water in the cupboard.

I was then baking Nigella's Kitchen Everyday Brownies for my sister. I have not opened the orange-flower water since I bought it from the Middle East two years ago. I remembered this recipe from Nigella's Forever Summer which uses both essence in this dessert.
While the brownies was baking in the oven, I quickly washed and quartered the figs and prepared the butter sauce. It was a very fast 1-2 minutes preparation.. As soon as the brownies was done, I increased the oven temperature to about 250C and grilled the figs for 5 minutes.

Figs For A Thousand and one Nights
Adapted from Forever Summer


12 black figs(4 green brownish figs)
50grams unsalted butter(12gms)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon(pinch)
1 tablespoon sugar(1 tsp)
1 1/2 tsps rosewater(1/2 tsp)
11/2 tsps orange-flower water(1/2 tsp)
500ml mascarpone cheese(vanilla ice cream)
100grams pistachios (silvered)(20 gms, chopped)


  • Preheat a grill or oven to the fiercest it will go.(oven, 250C)
  • Quarter the figs, taking care not to cut all the way through the bottom, and place in a heat proof dish into which they fit snugly.
  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then add the cinnamon, sugar and flower waters. Stir to combine and pour into the figs.
  • Blister under the hot grill or bake in the oven for a few minutes and then serve; it's that quick. Just give each person a couple of figs on a side plate. Splodge alongside some mascarpone over which you drizzle some of the conker-dark syrup, then sprinkle over some of those green,green shards of pistachio. (vanilla ice cream).

It is very good with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. One scoop is not enough to Feed for A Thousand and One Nights.

Note:One Thousand and One Nights is known in English as Arabian Nights. It is a compilation of folk tales from the West and South Asian in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age. Please note that "Ali Baba and Forty Thieves", "Sinbad", "Aladdin" are Middle Eastern folk tales, but were not part of Arabian Nights in Arabic versions.

These are the sliced Everyday Brownies I made today. I have baked them before and mudt have forgotten how good they were until I saw Zoe baked them with her son. I just love the gooey goop of chocolates. I used Valrhona cocoa powder and Cadbury dark chocolate bar 70%.

EveryDay Brownies
Adapted from Nigella's Kitchen


150g unsalted butter
300g light brown muscovado sugar
75g cocoa powder, sifted
150g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g dark chocolate, chopped into small chunks
icing sugar to dust


  • Preheat the oven to 190C.
  • Melt the butter over a gentle heat in a medium sized saucepan.(12in x 8in)
  • When it's melted, add the sugar, stirring with a wooden spoon (still over a low heat) to help it blend with the melted butter.
  • Sift together the cocoa powder, flour, bicarb,salt and then stir into the pan; when mixed (this will be a very dry mixture, and not wholly blended at this stage), remove from the heat.
  • In a bowl or jug, whisk the eggs with the vanilla extract and then mix into the brownie mixture in the pan.
  • Stir in the chopped chocolate and quickly pour and scrape into a baking tin and bake for approximately 20 minutes.
  • It will look set, dark and dry on top, but when you feel the surface, you will sense it is still wobbly underneath and a cake tester will come gooey. This is desirable.

This post is linked to Cook Like A Star 'Nigella Lawson' organised by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids,
Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and Anuja from Simple Baking

Then he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, 'for three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?'
"'Sir,' the man replied, 'leave it alone for one more year, and i'll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! if not, then cut it down.'"  Luke 13:6-9

The barren fig tree represents people, and being "barren" represents sin. The parable tells us that the barren tree is given more time so it can produce fruit. If it continues being barren(sinful), eventually it will be cut down. We are just like the fig trees, unless we repent (become fruitful), we will surely perish.
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