Thursday 28 November 2013

I will Praise God's name in Song

There is the Cantonese classic salt and pepper squid, and there is also the Mediterranean salt and pepper calamari. Both versions are hugely popular with diners all over the world. This version by Bill Granger from his book BIll's Basics is more to the Mediterranean style in taste and presentation.

I hardly do deep frying, and I loathe a greasy kitchen. I was pleasantly surprised there was no splattering when deep frying the squid.

 The trick to keep the squid tender is to coat in light batter and cook it quickly at a very high temperature. The deep fried cut chilli adds a nice touch and taste to the squid. You can also cooked fish, prawns, mushrooms or vegetables in this method. I used Swiss brown mushrooms together with the squid.

Salt and Pepper Squid
Bill's Basics
serves 4


180g cornflour
170ml soda water
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
light flavoured oil for frying (sunflower)
500g squid, cleaned, cut into 6cm pieces and scored in a crisscross pattern(2 large frozen squid, 450g)
5 swiss brown mushrooms
1 red chilli, finely sliced
Lime wedges to serve (lemon)


  • Mix together 120g of the cornflour and the soda water to make a batter. Season the remaining cornflour with the salt and pepper.
  • Place a wok over medium high heat. Heat 5 cm oil in the wok until very hot.

  • Dust the squid in the seasoned cornflour and then dip in the batter. Fry in small batches until golden and crisp. Add the chilli for the last few seconds.

  • Drain on kitchen paper and serve the squid with lime wedges, fried red chilli and lots more sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve immediately. This was gone fast!  We enjoyed it very much, exactly like those in restaurants everywhere.

Linking this post to Cook Like A Star 'Bill Granger' hosted by Bake for Happy Kids, Piece of Cake and
Eat Your Heart Out.

This will be my last post for November Cook Like A Star 'Bill Granger'. I will be away on holiday starting today, and will be back for a short break before more travels around Christmas and late January.
Compliments of the season to all!


This is thanksgiving season, and God is the reason for our Hearts to be filled with Thankfulness.

I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. Psalm 69:30

Monday 25 November 2013

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Aromatic almond fragrance wafts out from the kitchen and permeates the whole house as these tarts are baking in the oven. A very heavenly smell that makes you want to put the kettle on and make a cup of tea  regardless the time of the day, to enjoy these tarts. It has buttery crust, soft moist filling and nutty taste. Simply irresistible!

I was licking the spatula clean of the almond paste when I made the paste. The almond paste ingredients are processed in the mini food processor and later chilled in the fridge. I got this recipe many years ago and can't quite remember where was it from. I like this recipe because it yields a very soft and pliable paste. Any left over paste can be kept frozen for months.

I would prefer to use raspberry jam for its tart taste but I have only strawberry with me. I always use Dalfour brand of jam for all my bakes. I like that it is not too sweet and runny.

I made a mistake of filling too much, and it didn't look visually appealing as I think it  resembles a short coffee cake rather than a tart. I borrowed Lena's idea to add chopped  pistachio which is very nice, and if I were to make this again, it will be less filling and with extra pistachios.

Italian Almond Tart

1 rolled-out round of tart dough
1 stick (113g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 lb (225g) almond paste, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 cup sugar (1/8 cup)
2 eggs
1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup raspberry,plum or cherry jam ( strawberry jam)
1/3 cup sliced almonds


  • Fold the dough round in half and carefully transfer to a 9 1/2 inch tart pan, preferably with a removable bottom.
  • Unfold and ease the round into the pan, without stretching it, and pat it firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. 
  • Trim off any excess dough by gently running a rolling pin across the top of the pan.
  • Press the dough into the sides to extend it slightly above the rim to offset any shrinkage during baking.
  • Refrigerate or freeze the tart shell until firm, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 375F.
  • Line the pastry shell with aluminum foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or raw short-grain rice. Bake for 20 minutes, then lift an edge of the foil.
  • If the dough looks wet, continue to bake, checking every 5 minutes, until the dough is pale gold, for a total baking time of 25 to 30 minutes. 
  • Transfer to a wire rack.
  • Position a rack in the middle of the oven and reduce the heat to 300F.
  • In a bow, using an electric mixer on medium speed or a whisk, beat the butter until smooth. 
  • Add the almond paste, one piece at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. While continuing to beat, sprinkle in the sugar.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the flour.
  • Spread the jam evenly over the bottom of the partially baked tart shell. spoon in the almond paste mixture and spread evenly over the jam. Sprinkle the surface evenly with the sliced almonds.
  • Bake the tart until the filling is golden and the middle is firm to the touch, 35-45 minutes.
  • Transfer to a wire rack and let the tart cool completely. If using a tart pan with a removable bottom, let the sides fall away, then slide the tart onto a serving plate.
  • Serve at room temperature.
Almond Paste

2 cups almond meal
1/2 cup castor sugar
2 egg whites
56g unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons almond extract, optional (did not use)


  • Add all ingredients in the food processor and processor until the mixture forms a soft ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Basic Tart Dough

1 egg yolk
2 tbs. very cold water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes.


  • To make the dough by hand, in a large bowl, stir together the flour,sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter or 2 knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the egg mixture and mix with a fork just until the dough pulls together.
  • To make the dough in a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, stir together the flour,sugar and salt in the mixer bowl.. Add the butter and beat on medium-low speed until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the egg mixture and beat just until the dough pulls together.
  • Transfer the dough to a wok surface, pat into a ball and flatten into a disk. Use the dough immediately, or wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about 30 minutes.
Makes enough dough for one 9 1/2 inch tart, six 4 inch tartlets, twelve 2 inch miniature tartlets or one 133/4 by 4 1/4 inch rectangular tart. I made  three 5 inch tarts and two 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 rectangular tarts)

Linking this post to Bake- Along #55 hosted by Lena of Frozen Wings, Joyce of Kitchen Flavours, and Zoe of
Baking for Happy Kids.

Totally Transformed! Sunday School Children's Camp Day 3
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14)

The Lord Jesus does not like it when people are proud of their achievements and status. He does not like it when people are self-righteous and look down on others. He tells that everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
Jesus was directing the parable at people who were self-righteous and looked down on  everybody else. They thought of themselves as better than others. In the parable, the Pharisee thanked God he was not like the robbers, evildoers and adulterers.. and even the tax collector who was also praying in the temple at the same time. In his prayer, the Pharisee bragged about he fasted twice a week and gave a tenth of all he has. While the tax collector recognised and acknowledged his sin and he humbly asked God for mercy.
Let's humble ourselves and be TOTALLY TRANSFORMED1

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted Luke 18:14

Saturday 23 November 2013

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

Coq au vin is a classic French dish. It is chicken cooked in wine. The chicken is typically braised in red wine, lardon, mushrooms and shallots. It is a slow cooking rustic dish, and I had this once in a cafe in France. Although this dish is typically cooked in red wine, many regions of France have variants of coq au vin cooked in local wine.

Australian chef Bill Granger has cleverly adapted and twisted this classic to his style of cooking, simple and straightforward.  I highly recommend this dish to you if you like tray bakes like me. This cheat version has all the flavour of a classic coq au vin though the taste is different. This is a dish you want to cook for a fuss free entertaining at home.

You eat this with baguette to sop up the juices and it is good with potato mash. The Creme Fraiche Mash, also by Bill Granger is another mash recipe you might want to try. If you never whip your mashed potatoes, you ought to try whipping it with hot melted butter and milk.  The mash is so much lighter, smoother and creamier.

Coq Au Vin
Saturday Kitchen Best Bites
serves 4


For the Coq Au Vin

1.5 kg chicken, jointed  (2 thighs and 7 drumsticks)
150g diced bacon or lardons (100g bacon)
10 french shallots, peeled (local shallots)
A few thyme sprigs ( 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
1 rosemary sprig
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
3 tbsp olive oil
250ml white wine
small knob of butter
350g mixed mushrooms (300g oyster,shitake and swiss brown)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
small handful chopped fresh flatleaf parsley

For the Creme Fraiche Mash

800g potatoes, peeled and chopped
150ml milk
25g butter
110g creme fraiche or 110ml single cream
sea salt to taste


  • Preheat oven to 220C. Arrange the chicken pieces in a large roasting tin and scatter with the bacon,shallots,thyme,rosemary and chilli flakes. 
  • Season to taste, with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Drizzle the contents of the roasting tray with two tabelspoon of the olive oil and roast in the oven for 20 minutes.

  • When the chicken has been roasted, add the wine to the tin and cook for another 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven.
  • Heat the butter and remaining tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. When the butter is foaming, add the mushrooms and garlic and fry for 33-5 minutes. 
  • Tip the mushrooms and garlic into the tin and scatter with the parsley.

  • Meanwhile, for the creme fraiche mash, boil the potatoes in a pan of salted water until tender.
  • Remove from the heat, drain well and return to the hot pan.
  • Mash the potatoes until smooth.
  • Heat the milk and butter in a smal pan over a medium heat, until the butter has melted (do not allow the mixture to boil). Beat the hot butter and milk into the potatoes, then fold in the creme fraiche or cream.
  • Season to taste, with sea salt.

Linking this post to Cook Like A Star 'Bill Granger' organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids,

Totally Transformed! Camp Day 2
The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant (Matthew 18:21-35)

Peter had asked the Lord Jesus how many times he should forgive someone who has sinned against him. To answer his question, the Lord Jesus told the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant.
"I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times." Matthew 18:22

The king showed mercy to his servant who owed him a huge debt, but the servant was unforgiving of his fellow servant who owed him a small debt. God commands us to forgive our brothers seventy times seven (countless). We must forgive others as God has forgiven us. We must forgive them again and again, just as God always forgives us when we confess our sins to Him.
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13

As Christians or followers and disciples of Jesus Christ, we are a forgiven people;we have experienced God's forgiveness for all our sins ;we must therefore be forgiving to others. If we have experienced God's mercy and grace; we should then experience a transformed heart that is full of mercy and grace to others. That is why we must be forgiving towards those who have done us wrong and hurt us; that is why we must keep on forgiving them. That is what it means to be transformed by God. So let's forgive others and be TOTALLY TRANSFORMED!

Wednesday 20 November 2013

The Parable of the Lost Son

 Ricotta Hotcakes with Honeycomb Butter is one of the best seller at Bill's cafe in Sydney. Many raved about this must have brekkie and have even replicated it at home with great success.

These hotcakes are so light and fluffy and they are not made with your usual pancake mix. There are ricotta in the mixture which makes the pancakes taste creamy and light. Ricotta is an Italian whey cheese and are often used for desserts and also for savory dishes like calzone, pizza and lasagne. Its texture is similar to cottage cheese, though lighter. The eggs are separated and beaten egg whites are added last into the mixture to create light and airy hotcakes.

The Honeycomb Butter is so delicious with the hotcakes and you don't need maple syrup.. I kept the leftover in the freezer and it should be great on French Toast or just plain toast. You can use fresh honeycomb, or simply add Nestle Crunchie bar and honey with the butter in the food processor.

Ricotta Hotcakes
Bill's Sydney Food


225g ricotta
170ml milk
4 eggs, separated
140g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
50g butter

To serve banana or strawberries
icing sugar for dusting

Honeycomb Butter
250g unsalted butter, softened
2 crunchie bar
2 tbsp honey


  • Make the honeycomb butter first. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Shape into a log on clingfilm,roll,seal and chill in a refrigerator for two hours.

  • Place ricotta,milk and egg yolks in a mixing bowl and mix to combine. 
  • Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.

  • Add to the ricotta mixture and mix until just combined.

  • Place egg whites in a clean dry bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. 

  • Fold egg whites through batter in two batches, with a large spoon(whisk)

  • Lightly grease a large non-stick frying pan with a small portion of the butter and drop two tablespoons of batter(a ladle) per hotcake into the pan (don' cook more than three per batch).

  • Cook over low to medium heat for two minutes, or until hotcakes have golden undersides. Turn hotcakes and cook on the other side until golden and cooked through.
  • Transfer to a plate and quickly assemble other ingredients.
  • To serve, stack 3 hotcakes on a plate and top with strawberries and a slice of honeycomb butter. Dust with icing sugar.

Linking this post to Cook Like A Star 'Bill Granger' organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids,
Yen of Eat Your Heart Out and Mich of Piece of Cake.

Totally Transformed! 20 November - 22 November 2013
Day One
The Parable of the Lost Son (Luke 15:11-31)

The parable of the Lost Son is also commonly known as the Parable of the Prodigal Son, this is in fact the parable of the prodigal father...extravagant in his love towards both his sons. It is beautiful illustration of the extravagant love God has for us.
The children learnt of the son's selfishness/sinfulness by asking for his inheritance. They learnt of his waywardness after he got his inheritance and later his awakening when he spent all his money and has to tend pigs in a farm. He is full of repentance. He realized how hurt his father was and how much his father loved him. It was only then that transformation took place. He embraced his father's love and his relationship with his father was restored. Like the son, we are severed in our relationship with God because of our sin and like the son with his father, we all need to be restored in our relationship with God and embrace His love.

We have a Father in heaven who is like the father in this parable: Compassionate, loving, forgiving and merciful. 

For this son of mine was dead is alive again, he was lost and is found. So they began to celebrate. Luke 15:24

Sunday 17 November 2013

Give Thanks To The Lord

This pot of Padang-Style Beef Rendang which I cooked recently is now one of my favourite home cooked food. The recipe is from Chef Wan, a famous TV chef in Malaysia. This is also the first time I am cooking Chef Wan's recipe. There is another recipe, Portuguese Baked Fish which I have also bookmarked.
I have cooked this dish twice because it is not that difficult to cook and is good. How good is this dish? Well, It is so good that I feel so proud and happy I can cook such delicious food!
Without further ado, let me share the recipe here.

Padang-Style Beef Rendang
Rendang Daging Padang
The Best Of Chef Wan


125ml vegetable oil
2 thsp coriander powder
2 tbsp Fennel powder
2 tbsp cumin powder
2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
2 stalks lemongrass, bruised
2 kaffir lime leaves
1 kg beef, cut into thick slices(shin)
1 litre coconut milk extracted from 1 1/2 grated coconuts
1 litre water

Mixed spices (cardamon,cloves, cinnamon,star anise)
125ml Tamarind juice from 2 tbsp tamarind pulp mixed with 125 ml water and strained

6 tbsp sugar
salt to taste
8 tbsp pounded roasted grated coconut (kerisik)
1 finely sliced tumeric leaf (kaffir leaf)

Spice Paste
15 shallots, peeled
6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 cm ginger, peeled
3 cm tumeric, peeled
1 tbsp dried prawn paste (belachan)
30 dried chillies, soaked,seeded and drained


  • Combine ingredients for spice paste in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Heat oil in a wok and saute the spice paste together with coriander, fennel, cumin and ground black pepper. (Add in the mixed spices).

  • Put in the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves and cook over low heat until fragrant.

  • Add the beef and coconut milk, water and cook for 30 minutes?(2 hours) until beef is tender.

  • When the gravy thickens, add tamarind juice,sugar and salt to taste and grated coconut(kerisik).
  • Garnish with finely sliced tumeric leaves(kaffir leaf). Serve hot with rice.

Note:  There were no instructions for the mixed spices, and there is also no way one can cook tender beef in 30 minutes

This fragrant beef rendang tastes even better the next day.

Linking this post to Cook-Your-Books organised by Joyce of Kitchen flavours.

Totally Transformed!

We are all prepared and ready for camp this Wednesday 20th November!
Give Thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Psalm 136:1

Tuesday 12 November 2013

The Earth is the LORD'S

Here is another hearty and healthy breakfast for you. This is for those who must have carbohydrates to start their day. These Oat Crusted Potato Cakes are made of mashed potatoes mixed with rolled oat and flour. The potato cakes are lightly salted and dusted with oat before pan frying in light olive oil.

Oat Crusted Potato Cakes
makes 6 potato cakes
500g potatoes
40g rolled oats
40g wholemeal flour(plain flour)
salt and pepper to taste
Light olive oil for shallow frying


  • Cook the potatoes in boiling water until tender. Drain, return to the pan and mash, allow to cool slightly.

  • Stir in 30g oats and flour and season well.
  • Press into 6 round potato cakes and coat in the remaining oats.

  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the potato cakes, about 2 minutes each side.
  • Serve topped with grilled bacon and eggs.

Note: The oats add creaminess to the mash, making the potato cakes soft and creamy. This is best served hot from the pan. You can also turn these potato cakes into salmon cakes. Just add in a can of pink salmon flakes, chopped onions and snipped dills.

Linking this post to Little Thumbs Up 'Oats' hosted by Vivian of Vivian Pang Kitchen, hosted by
Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of My little favourite DIY.

The earth is the LORD'S, and all its fullness. Psalm 24:1
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