Tuesday 29 April 2014

You Have Searched Me, LORD

This is not paella and it doesn't taste like one too. Chicken Basque is a Mediterranean dish with strong Spanish influence. This recipe is from Delia Smith's Summer Collection, which is also one of her best selling cookbook after Winter Collection. Another famous recipe from the Summer Collection is my favourite appetizer Piedmont Roasted Red Peppers.

Delia's version of this dish was raved about, and drooled over in UK in the early 90s when this book was first published.  This is a fantastic dish, bursting with glorious Mediterranean flavours. Please do not be daunted by the long ingredients list. This dish is an easy one pot meal. It can also be assembled in advance.
Chorizo and smoked paprika are the key ingredients here that give this dish a distinctive flavour.

Chicken Basque
Delia Smith's Summer Collection
serves 4


1.75kg chicken, jointed into 8 pieces. (3 large chicken legs,chopped)
2 large red peppers
1 very large or 2 medium onions (1 large onion)
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
150g chorizo sausage, skinned and cut into 1/2 inch slices (2 big chorizos)
50g sun-dried tomatoes in oil
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 level tablespoon sun-dried tomato paste (plain tomato paste)
1/2 level tsp paprika
brown basmati rice measured to the 225ml level in a glass measuring jug (white basmati)
275ml chicken stock
170ml dry white wine
1/2 large orange, cut into wedges (1 orange)
1 level tsp chopped fresh thyme
50g pitted black olives
salt and freshly milled black pepper


  • Start by seasoning the chicken joints well with salt and pepper. Next, slice the red peppers in half and remove the seeds and pith, then slice each half into six strips. 
  • Likewise, peel the onion and slice into strips of approximately the same size. The dried tomatoes should be drained, wiped dry with kitchen paper and then cut into 1/2 inch pieces.
  • Now heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in the casserole and, when it is fairly hot, add the chicken pieces - two or three at a time - and brown them to a nutty golden colour on both sides. As they brown remove them to a plate lined with kitchen paper, using a draining spoon.
  • Next add a little more oil to the casserole, with the heat slightly higher than medium. As soon as the oil is hot, add the onion and peppers and allow them to brown a little at the edges, moving them around from time to time, for about 5 minutes.
  • After that, add the chorizo, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic and toss these around for a minute or two until the garlic is pale golden and the chorizo has taken on some colour. Next, stir in the rice and, when the grains have a good coating of oil,add the sun-dried tomato paste, paprika and chopped thyme. Pour in the stock and wine, and add some seasoning. As soon as everything has reached simmering point, turn the heat down to a gentle simmer. Add a little more seasoning, then place the chicken gently on top of everything (it's important to keep the rice down in the liquid).

  • Finally, place the wedges of orange in among the chicken and scatter with the olives. 
  • Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook over the gentlest possible heat for about 50 minutes - 1 hour. (40 minutes) or until the rice is cooked but still retains a little bite. Alternatively cook in a pre-heated oven at 180C for 1 hour.


This post is linked to Cook like a Star "All Stars" organized by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids,
Joyce from Kitchen Flavour and Mich from Piece of Cake.

This is also linked to Little Thumbs Up "Orange" hosted by Ann from Anncoo Journal, Zoe from
Bake for Happy Kids, and Doreen from My little favourite DIY.


 God is nowhere      God is no where?     God is Now here!

You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar, You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways, Before a word is on my tongue, you, Lord know it completely, You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me too lofty for me to attain. Psalm 139:1-6

Tuesday 22 April 2014

Our Citizenship Is In Heaven

This has to be the best lunch I ever cook! Steak and Chips. from Nigellisma  TV series 1 episode 1. I have previously cooked an egg dish from the same episode.


Tuscan Fries are chips deep fried with herbs and garlic but the method Nigella uses to deep frying the chips is new to me. The cut potatoes are soaked in room temperature oil and leave to cook till the oil boils. Then herbs and garlic are added into the hot oil.

 You may cringed thinking the potatoes are soaked with oil, but it is not. This method of frying is like the double frying method where you get crisper fries on the outside and melting tender on the inside.


Tagliata is steak cut into thin slices (tagliare simply means to cut),  is cooked first and marinate later. The cooked steak oozes with juices is then left on a marinade of herbs infused oil, slice and serve.

Tuscan Fries
serves 4-6


1 kg waxy potatoes
1.5L corn oil or flavourless vegetable oil
1 head garlic, cloves separated but not peeled
8 sprigs thyme, rosemary or sage, or herbs of your choice (I used rosemary and thyme)
sea salt flakes, to taste


  • Cut the short ends off each potato(but don't peel it) so that it can sit up vertically, and then slice it downwards into generous 1 cm slices. Cut these slices into chips about 1 cm thick, again err on the generous side. Load up a clean tea towel with the chips as you cut them.
  • Put the oil into a wide, heavy based pan (mine is approx 28cm ) and add the freshly cut potatoes. Then put the pan over a high heat and bring to a boil, which should take about 5 mins. Keeps careful watch on the pan at all times.
  • Continue to cook the fries, without stirring them, for another 15 minutes. Once the oil temperature reaches 160C, turn down the heat slightly and keep the fries cooking at between 150-160C. The pan will bubbling vigorously. If the oil gets too hot or bubbles too hard, reduce the heat a little, and always keeps close eye on it.
  • Now you can very carefully give the chips a gentle stir with a pair of tongs held in an oven glove, moving any that might stuck away from the bottom or sides of the pan. Add the unpeeled cloves of garlic to the pan, stir gently again, and cook for another 5-10 minutes (watching the temperature and making sure the garlic doesn't look burnt or the fries too dark), before testing a chip for crispness on the outside and tenderness on the inside. Do not burn your mouth! You might need another five minutes or so beyond this, but stand by your pan, the chips can turn from a cooked gold to a burnt bronze quickly (mine was almost bronze!)
  • At the point when the chips are pale gold, but crisp, toss in the herbs, then after a minute or so scoop everything out- using a couple of perforated scoops for ease, and wearing oven gloves to protect your hands- onto a tray or platter lined with a double thickness of kitchen roll. Once any excess oil has been absorbed, tip the chips off the kitchen paper clatteringly onto the plate and sprinkle with sea salt flakes to taste, serving immediately.

serves 2


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil,plus some for oiling
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano just under a teaspoon
kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon table salt, or to taste
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
12 ounces New York strip steak (sirloin)
8 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
few sprigs fresh oregano, to serve (optional) (thyme)

  • Heat a grill pan or cast-iron or heavy non stick frying pan.
  • In a small dish that can take the steak snugly later, combine the evo, red pepper flakes, dried oregano, salt and red wine vinegar.
  • Oil the steak lightly and put it in the hot pan and cook for 2 minutes on each side, then remove it to the dish of spicy marinade and sit the cooked steak for 2 minutes a side in the dish. Your steak will be rare, but that's the way it's meant to be - although if you want to cook it for longer, I won't stop you.
  • Remove the steeped steak to a board, ready for slicing, and while it sits there, arrange the cherry tomatoes, cut-side down, in the marinade dish. Cut the steak into thin slices on the diagonal and arrange on a serving dish or 2 dinner plates. 
  • Smoosh the tomatoes around in the marinade, hen pour them, and the marinade over the ribbons of meat. Add a few leaves of fresh oregano, if you get them, and serve immediately.

Note: I cook for one with 2 potatoes and  230g of sirloin. This meal is cooked for my son and ends with a strawberry frozen yoghurt pop.

This post is linked to Cook like A Star  "All Stars" organised by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids,
Mich from Piece of Cake and Joyce from kitchen flavours.

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,
Philippians 3:20

Saturday 19 April 2014

Resurrection Day

Lately I have been quite addicted to having bruschetta for lunch. No fancy type of bruschetta, just the humble tomatoes or mushrooms on garlic rubbed toast, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. Nothing could be more simpler, more tastier and healthier than this.

In one episode of Jamie at Home, Jamie and his friend Genonaaro are out foraging for mushrooms. They spotted and picked some types of porcini and make wild mushroom bruschetta out in the forest. Here, in my concrete kitchen, I made these mushroom brushetta with  mixed mushrooms pack bought from the supermarket.

Mushroom Bruschetta
Jamie At Home


300g mixed mushrooms (white button, swiss brown and portobello)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
6 sprigs of fresh parsley, chopped
20g butter
1 tsp chilli flakes
juice of 1 medium lemon
salt, pepper
olive oil
4 slices of sour dough bread + 1 clove garlic


  • In a large pan heat 2-3 tablespoons olive oil.
  • Add mushrooms to the pan, give it a shake.
  • Add the chopped garlic,thyme and parsley.
  • Season with salt, pepper,chilli and leave to fry for 5-6 minutes.
  • Once the mushrooms have got some colour going on, add butter and lemon juice. Toss again and add 2-3 tablespoons of water into the pan to make a creamy sauce. Simmer for 1-2 minutes more until you have a simple sauce.
  • Toast the bread slices, rub them with garlic. Pile the mushrooms with the sauce on top of the bread.
  • Serve immediately.

This post is linked to Cook like a Star 'All Stars' hosted by Zoe from Bake for Happy  Kids, Mich from
Piece of Cake and Joyce from Kitchen Flavours

Resurrection Day(He Lives!)

He Lives to forgive us, to sustain us, to encourage us, to strengthen us, to correct us. We thank you for his living life that guides us all the way through life to the end, and then does not leave us desolate, but takes us on through to that life beyond.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1 Peter 1:3

Monday 14 April 2014

How Deep The Father's Love

I love purple sweet potato chiffon for its colour. When I first baked this chiffon years ago, I couldn't get the purplish pink. The batter turned greyish when I added the sweet potato purée into the beaten egg white. I tried another similar recipe that also has a picture of a beautiful purple chiffon. I carefully followed the recipe to the letter but again the cake turned out greyish.

I googled for the reasons and got the answer from Kirbie and Maameemoomoo.  I didn't know there was a secret ingredient not mentioned in the recipes that I have tried. It is lemon. The secret is to add in lemon juice! Now, why would anyone wants to share recipes and not reveal all.  Like Sherie, I am appalled by this act of selfishness.

Thanks to Kirbie and Sherie for sharing.


Purple Sweet Potato Chiffon


200g purple sweet potato (steam and mashed) (set aside about 2 tbsps small bits)
6 tbsp milk
6 egg yolks
40g brown sugar
pinch of salt
100ml/82 corn oil
5-6 tbsp water
170g cake flour
(C)8 egg whites
100g sugar


  • Steam sweet potato,add milk to it and mashed till fine or blend it in a blender.
  • Mix all ingredients in (A) till well blended. Add in the mashed sweet potato and mix well. Sieve in (B) and mixed till smooth and lump-free. If batter is on the dry side, add a tablespoonful of water, spoon by spoon - some purple sweet potato can be quite dry.
  • Beat egg whites in (C)till stiff.
  • Add half portion of egg white mixture into egg yolk mixture and mix well with a spatula.
  • Pour egg yolk mixture into the remaining white and mix till well-combined.
  • Pour batter into chiffon pan. Bang the cake pan a couple of times to release air bubbles in the batter.
  • Bake at 180C for 30 minutes or till cooked.
  • Invert the cake and cool it completely in the tin.
To make the batter pinkish

1 lemon

  • Mix 1/2 lemon the lemon juice in step 1 and another half in step 5.

This chiffon tastes better with frosting. I frosted with white chocolate ganache and it was simply delish.

White Chocolate Frosting

220g white chocolate
80ml cream
small pinch of salt
1/4 tsp vanilla essence

Heat up cream until it just starts to boil and then pour the hot cream over white chooclate. Let it sit for 30 seconds and then stir. If there are still lumps of white chocolate you can microwave it for 10 secs and stir it again until smooth. Leave it to cool in the fridge. When ready to use, beat with electric beater for 2 minutes.

Good Friday In My Heart

GOOD FRIDAY in my heart! Fear and afffright!
My thoughts are the disciples when they fled,
My words the words that priest and soldier said,
My deed the spear to desecrate the dead.
And day, Thy death therein, is changed to night.

Then Easter in my heart sends up the sun.
My thoughts are Mary, when she turned to see.
My words are Peter, answering, "lov"st thou Me?"
My deeds are all Thine own drawn close to Thee,
And night and day, since Thou dost rise, are one.

Mary Elizabeth Coleridge (1861-1907)

Sunday 13 April 2014

In The Beginning

I have baked many kinds of bread. But this is one bread that I always do when comes to walnut and raisins. It uses the tangzhong method which was once very popular with many home bakers. I am still baking it this way because my husband likes it and sometimes I bake for him to bring for his long overseas trip to the Middle East.

Christine Recipes has many kinds of breads using the tangzhong method. This method of bread making produces soft texture bread without any added chemicals. It also stays soft and fresh for a few days.

Who,besides myself is still using the tangzhong method?

This recipe yields two loaves.

Braided Raisin Walnut Bread
Christine recipes
2 loaves


25gm bread flour, sifted
125ml water

350gm bread flour
55g sugar
5gm salt
56gm whisked egg
7gm milk powder,optional
125ml milk
120gm tangzhong
5 to 6 gm instant dried yeast
30g butter, room temperature
90gm dried raisins,
2 to 3 tbsp rum, optional
90gm walnuts


  • Mix raisins with rum well. Cover and place at room temperature overnight.(skipped this step).
  • Place walnuts in a pre-heated oven at 180C. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until hot enough but not brown. Remove from oven. Roughly chop into pieces or leave it if you want more chunky texture.
  • Add all ingredients (except butter) into a bread maker, first the wet ingredients (milk, egg, tangzhong ), then followed by the dry ingredients (salt,sugar,milk powder,bread flour,yeast).(Note: I used to make a small well in the bread flour,then add the yeast into it).
  • Select the "dough" mode (refer to the manual of your bread maker to select the kneading dough programme). When all ingredients come together, add in the butter. (If your bread maker doesn't have any alert function to remind you to add in fruits and nuts, just put in the raisins and nuts when the butter has been absorbed well.) Knead until the dough becomes elastic. Then let the dough complete the 1st round of proofing, about 40 mins,best tpe earlier for prodding is 28C,humidity 75%, until double in size.
  • Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface. Deflate and divide into 6 equal portions. Knead into ball shapes. Cover with cling wrap, let rest for 15 mins at room temp.
  • Roll out each portion of the dough by hand, one by one, into a long tube shape, about 24cm long.
  • Use 3 portions to braid as follows: take the left dough to cross over the middle piece. Cover the right piece over to the middle. Repeat these steps until you reach the end. Pinch ends and tuck both ends underneath. Repeat the same process clingwrap and let proof for about 45 mins,until double in size.
  • Brush whisked egg on top. Bake in a pre heated oven at 180C for about 30 to 35 minutes, until the loads are golden brown. Let the breads cool on a wire rack completely.

  • Mix flour in water well without any lumps. Cook over medium low heat, stirring consistently with a wooden spoon, whisk or spatula to prevent burning and sticking while you cook along the way.
  • The mixture becomes thicker and thicker. Once you notice some 'lines' appear in the mixture for every stir you make with the spoon. It's done. You get the tangzhong. Remove from heat.
Transfer into a clean bowl. Cover with a cling wrap sticking onto the surface of tangzhong to prevent from drying up. Let cool. The tangzhong can be used straight away once it cools down to room temperature. Just measure out the amount you need. The leftover tangzhong can be stored in the fridge up to. Few days as long as it doesn't turn grey. If so, you need to discard and cook some more. (The chilled tangzhong should return to room temp before adding into other ingredients.)

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1

Thursday 3 April 2014

One God

These wings which I am cooking for the first time is a Vietnamese influenced recipe by Gordon Ramsay. When cooked, the wings are sticky sweet and tangy on the skins which are delicious. It is nice to eat it together with the caramelised ginger too..
The wings are not seasoned before cooking, and I find it lacks some flavour on the inside. So, if you're planning to makes this, you may want to increase the sauce and save some as dipping sauce.

These wings can be served as snack or as a dish with rice.

Orange and Ginger Caramelized Chicken Wings
Gordon's Great Escape Southeast Asia

Serves 4

vegetable oil, for cooking
6-8 shallots, peeled and sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
2 lemongrass stalks, trimmed and basehd
5cm knob of fresh ginger, peeled and julienned
zest and juice of 2 oranges
150g granulated sugar
160ml water
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 kg chicken wings
sea salt and crushed black pepper
Fried spring onions to garnish


  • Preheat the oven to 180C. Heat the oil in a pan and add the shallots,garlic,lemongrass,ginger and orange zest and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the ingredients have softened.
  • Add the sugar,water,orange juice and allow to dissolve. Cook until the mixture has reduced and thickened. This should take 3-4 minutes and the sauce should start turning syrupy. Remove from the heat and set aside.

  • To prepare the chicken place a large frying pan over a high heat and add 3-4 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Season the chicken, then, in batches, sear the pieces for 3 minutes, until browned.

  • Add the chicken wings to an ovenproof dish and pour over the caramel sauce, mixing well to coat. 
  • Cook in the oven for 40-50 minutes until golden brown and sticky. Halfway through cooking, baste the chicken wings. Remove the chicken wings from the oven, season with sea salt and crushed black pepper and serve with the sauce spoon over.

This post is linked to Little Thumbs Up hosted by Anncoo. Organised by Bake for Happy Kids and

Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.
1 Corinthians 8:6

Tuesday 1 April 2014

Every Good Tree Bears Good Fruit


Sicilian Orange Cake needs no introduction. It is The perfect orange cake and was a blogsphere phenomenon in 2009. *Ellie of Almost Bourdain was the first to introduce this cake, a famous cake from the once popular *Cafe Agostini owned by Margie Agostini in Sydney. Rick Stein wrote the recipe in his book Mediterranean Escape Cookbook and credited this richest, moistest,butteriest and yet lightest cake to Marjie Agostini.

I have baked this cake countless times and this is the first time I am adding dried cranberries to this amazing cake. Cranberry and Orange are perfect match and though this combination tastes a little sweeter than usual, it is heavenly delicious. The recipe uses 250g of caster sugar and I always reduce it to 220g and unglazed.. This is also the first time I bake this cake in 2 small loaves and 6 small muffin cups, and glazed.

This is the best orange cake ever!

Sicilian Orange Cake with Cranberries
Adapted from Almost Bourdain
Makes 1 x 22 cm cake


250g lightly salted butter, at room temperature plus extra for greasing
250g caster sugar (220g)
4 medium eggs
1 1/2 tsp finely gragted orange zest (1 tablespoon)
250g self raising flour
85 ml freshly squeezed orange juice
150g dried cranberries

For the icing
125g icing sugar
5 tsp freshly squeezed orange juice


  • Preheat the oven to 170C . Grease and line a 22 cm clip-sided round cake with non-stick baking paper.(2 disaposable loaf pans, 6 muffin cups)
  • Using an electric whisk, cream the butter and sugar together for 4-5 minutes until very pale. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating very well between each one. If necessary adding a spoonful of flour with the last egg to prevent the mixture from curdling. Beat in the orange zest. Add the flour( and cranberries) all at once and mix in well, then slowly mix in the orange juice.
  • Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer, inserted into the centre of the cake, comes out clean. If it it starts to brown too qickly cover loosely with a sheet of lightly buttered foil.(muffin cups 20 minutes, loaf 30 minutes)
  • Leave the cake, in its tin, to cool on a wire rack, then carefully remove the sides and base of the tin and peel off the paper. Put it onto a serving plate.
For the icing, sift the  icing sugar into a bowl and stir in the orange juice until you have a spreadable consistency,. Spread it over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides, leave to set. Serve cut into slices, and store any leftovers in an airtight container. ( smear in the centre and scatter cranberries)

*Cafe Agostini was closed in 2005.
*left Almost Bourdain

Linking this post to Little Thumbs Up "Orange" hosted by Ann, anncoo journal. Organised by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen from My little favourite DIY

Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. Matthew 7:17
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