Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Rachael's Pimiento Mac 'n' Cheese

When there's three kids in the house, guess what they want for their lunch! Mac 'n' Cheese of course! Two weeks of school holidays has started this week and my niece came over to stay for a couple of days. For their lunch today, I've given them a few choices to choose from. All three of them, my daughter, my son and my niece chose Mac 'n' Cheese. So Mac 'n' Cheese, it is!

This is from Rachael Ray's "Look + Cook". It is full of colourful photos  for every recipe (don't you love this?), and step-by step pictures that really calls out for "Look + Cook"! The meals pictured in this book are so gorgeously delicious! I read a lot of great reviews about this book, and when I saw Brenda from Brenda's Canadian Kitchen cooked up some delicious looking meals from this book, I knew that I really must take a peek into Look+Cook. One look into this book, I knew that it would follow me home! 

This is so yummy, the kids really enjoyed this. The addition of sweet paprika powder is really nice. Though the recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of hot sauce, I used maybe only 1/2 teaspoon as I was afraid that it might be too spicy for the kids. I cannot get any Pimiento, have not seen it before either, so I just substitute with one sweet red bell pepper.  It added a nice touch to this Mac 'n' Cheese.

Between the four of us, we finished everything! There was no leftovers! That good? How can it not be, look at that cheesy gooey cheese! 

This recipe is a keeper, and I know that it will be back in my kitchen again!

Pimiento Mac 'n' Cheese
(adapted from "Look+Cook" by Rachael Ray)
Serves 6
1 pound cavatappi pasta (hollow, fat corkscrew-shaped pasta) or pasta elbows
1 tablespoon EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
3 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Black pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sweet paprika, plus additional for garnish
2 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons hot sauce
3 cups grated sharp yellow cheddar cheese
2 (4-ounce) jars pimiento, drained (I used 1 sweet red bell pepper, chopped)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf or curly parsley

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt the water and cook the pasta to just shy of al dente.
Heat a large pot over medium heat with the EVOO and butter. When the butter melts, add the onions, garlic, and salt and pepper and cook until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook for another minute. Stir in the paprika. Whisk in the milk and hot sauce and bring up to a bubble, then cook to thicken for a minute or two. Turn off the heat and stir in half of the cheese in a figure-eight motion until melted. Add the pimientos. 
Preheat the broiler.
When the pasta is nearly al dente, drain it well and add it to the pot with the cheese sauce. Toss to combine. Then pour the pasta into a baking dish, top with the remaining cheese, and brown it under the broiler, 2 to 3 minutes. Garnish with the chopped parsley and a generous sprinkle of sweet paprika.

(my notes : if you are using sweet red bell pepper, saute them together with the onions and garlic).

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Chocolate, Walnut and Prune Cake

This is the third recipe that I've made from "Cake Keeper Cakes" and is another winner! I've already tried a loaf cake, a round cake and now a bundt cake. They are all good. I'm glad that I've found this book at the local bookstore. I have never heard of Lauren Chattman before this, but I like simple cakes, and all 100 recipes in this book looks simple and good, so I decided to get this book as it was on sale, and keeping my fingers crossed that this will be a good book! Well, so far so good!

My new Wilton bundt pan sure makes baking easier. I'm on a bundt cake craze now!   : )

This cake is tender, soft and moist and if you are like me, and do not like overly sweet cake, I would suggest to follow the measurement of 1 cup of brown sugar, but reduce the white sugar to only 1/3 cup, though the original calls for 1 cup of white sugar.  I only use 1 cup of brown sugar and 1/3 cup of white sugar, and the sweetness is just right, it gets slightly sweeter the next day.

A slice of this cake is really good with a cup of warm spiced tea.

A bite into this cake, and you will taste the sweet tanginess of the prunes combines with the chocolaty nutty cake and the sweet lingering smell of the brandy. It tasted even better the next day, when the sweetness and flavours are more pronounced, especially the brandy, mmm, really good! Make this a day or two ahead, if you are serving it to guests, if it can last that long!

I'm wondering what I'll be baking next from this book, perhaps something from the "Snacking Cakes" chapter.

I'm sharing this with,
Sweets For A Saturday hosted by Sweet As Sugar Cookies
Sweet Tooth Friday hosted by Alli n Son
Bake With Bizzy 2 hosted by Bizzy B.Bakes
Potluck Sunday hosted by Mommy's Kitchen

Chocolate, Walnut and Prune Cake
(adapted from "Cake Keeper Cakes" by Lauren Chattman)
Serves  10 to 12
3 eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar (I use 1/3 cup)
1 cup prunes, chopped
1 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/3 cup Armagnac or brandy

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Grease a 12-cup Bundt pan and dust with flour.
  2. Combine the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla in a glass measuring cup and lightly beat. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Combine the butter and sugars in a mixing bowl and cream with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary.
  4. With the mixer on medium-low speed, pour the egg mixture into the bowl in a slow stream, stopping the mixer once or twice to scrape down the sides.
  5. Turn the mixture on low speed and add the flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down the sides of a bowl after each addition. Mix in the prunes, walnuts, and Armagnac until just combined. Do not overmix.
  6. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake the cake until it is firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then invert it onto a wire rack to cool completely. Slice and serve.
  7. Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper or wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Jamie's Spaghetti Bolognese, Thank You, Brenda!

Today's post is specially dedicated to the lovely Brenda of Brenda's Canadian Kitchen. Brenda had a giveaway over at her fabulous blog a few weeks ago and she has chosen three lucky winners. And I am happy beyond words that I'm one of the lucky winners! We got to choose between two books, either Rachael Ray's Look+Cook or Jamie's Food Revolution. Since I already have Look+Cook, I chose Jamie's Food Revolution.

Thank you, Brenda 

Jamie's Food Revolution arrived at my doorstep six days later! Wow, that was super quick! I was so excited and did not expect it to arrive so soon! Thank you, Brenda! I really, really love this book! There are lots of exciting and delicious recipes that are just waiting to be tried out. I was unable to make up my mind over which recipe to try out first, so I asked my son to choose, and he chose Spaghetti Bolognese. He has chosen a winner! This is so good and my kids have requested me to cook this again! 

Look at the delicious sauce. This recipe serves 4-6, and Jamie has suggested that even if you are cooking for two, make a full recipe and freeze the balance. Now that is a good idea. I'm gonna make another batch of this  to freeze for later, it will make a great after school lunch and good for days when I'm lazy to be in the kitchen for hours! 

I'm so grateful to Brenda for this fantastic book. I love Jamie's down to earth and casual style approach into making each recipe seems so easy. Reading this book is just like having Jamie telling you in the friendliest and most casual way of understanding the recipe. I have not tried any of Jamie's recipes except for a roast chicken ages ago, and definitely this won't be the last. He has this "Pass It On Pledge" movement where he encourages you to cook at least one recipe from each chapter and pass it on to at least two other people, and I think that is really nice. 

Every recipe comes with a picture and he has included step-by-step photographs for most recipes. Isn't that great! 


Give this a try, I'm sure that you will love it!

I'm sharing this with
Full Plate Thursday over at Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Recipe Swap Thursday over at Prairie Story
I Heart Cooking Clubs "Mad About Herbs - Jamie Oliver"

Bolognese Sauce
(adapted from "Jamie's Food Revolution" by Jamie Oliver)
Serves 4-6
2 slices of smoked bacon, preferably free-range or organic (I use about 8 medium pieces of streaky bacon)
2 medium onions
2 cloves of garlic
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
olive oil
2 heaped teaspoons dried oregano
1 pound good-quality ground beef, pork, or (even better!) a mixture of the two
2 x 14-ounce cans of diced tomatoes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a small bunch of fresh basil
4 ounces Parmesan cheese
1 pound dried spaghetti or penne

To make your sauce :
Finely slice the bacon. Peel and finely chop the onions, garlic, carrots, and celery - don't worry about technique, just chop away until fine.
Place a large casserole-type pan on a medium to high heat. Add 2 lugs of olive oil, your sliced bacon, and the oregano and cook and stir until the bacon is lightly golden. Add the vegetables to the pan and stir every 30 seconds for around 7 minutes or until softened and lightly colored.
Stir in the ground meat and the canned tomatoes. Fill one of the empty cans with water and add to the pan. Stir in a good pinch of salt and pepper.
Pick the basil leaves and place in the refrigerator for later. Finely chop the basil stalks and stir into the pan.
Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer with the lid slightly askew for 1 hour; stirrring every now and then.
Take the lid off and cook for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep an eye on the sauce as it cooks, and if you think it's starting to dry out, add a splash of water.
Remove the Bolognese sauce from the heat. Finely grate the Parmesan and stir half into the sauce.
Tear and stir in any larger basil leaves, keeping the smaller ones for sprinkling over before serving. Mix up, have a taste, and season with a little more salt and pepper if needed - congratulations! You now have a beautiful Bolognese sauce. At this stage you can allow it to cool, bag it up and freeze it, or eat it straightaway with the pasta below.

To cook your pasta and serve :
Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil. Add your pasta and stir, following the package cooking times - don't let it cook any longer or it will become too soft - you want it to have a bit of bite. Saving a little of the cooking times, drain the pasta in a colander. Put the drained pasta back into the pan. Add half the Bolognese sauce to the cooked pasta and mix well, adding a little of the reserved cooking water to loosen. Divide between your plates and spoon the remaining sauce over the top. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle over the rest of the Parmesan, and scatter with the small basil leaves - bellissima!

"bellissima", in Italian, means beautiful! (I googled for the meaning  :)  )
Yes, indeed, this is a beautiful sauce!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ikan Goreng Cili Garam (Fried Fish with Chili Paste)

Nyonya Food is often associated with spices and spiciness, a unique combination of Chinese and Malay cuisine and also some influence from Portuguese cuisine. My sisters and myself grew up on these delicious foods, and we all love spicy food, thanks to our beloved late mom, who was a very good cook.

This simple dish of Ikan Goreng Cili Garam (Fried Fish with Chili Paste) is one of the most simplest and tastiest dish in a Nyonya household. There are many versions to it, and this is my mom's version.   She used to cook this each week as we all love this dish! When we were young, chicken and meat are only served mostly during special festival or Chinese New Year, as they are much more expensive to buy. We eat fish very often, really very fresh fish, bought from the fishermen as we live near the sea. I remember the times when we would follow my mom to the shore sometimes when the fisherman are back from the sea. She would then choose the fish and we would play by the beach, life is so much simpler back then!

This simple dish has only two ingredients for the chili paste, onions and fresh red chili. For the fish, my mom would sometimes use stingray, snapper, mackerel and the best is wolf herring. Wolf Herring is extremely tasty but has so many bones that it is a little difficult to eat,  the best cutlery are your fingers! I bought a slice of Wolf Herring and cut it half  right in the middle horizontally to come up with two pieces which I fried till really crispy. The fish need not be fried to crisp, but we loved it that way, hmmm, the smell of fried crispy fish is fantastic!

The onions and red chili are blended and fried in oil till fragrant and poured over the fried fish. We are blessed with a modern gadget which I cannot do without, a blender! I had my fair share of pounding using the mortar and pestle and even our own batu giling (grindstone) when we were young. Imagine what our mothers have gone through without any modern gadget in their kitchen, nowadays we never seem to have enough of gadgets, there's always something new!

This is a really tasty dish that is really good with plain white rice. Each time when I cooked this, I would always think of my mom. And each time when I eat this, I would always marvel at the simplicity and the deliciousness of this dish, and say a silent thank you to my mom. If anyone asked me what my favourite fish dish is, this will be it, definitely at the top of my list.

Even my kids love this dish, though when I'm cooking for them, I would choose a fish with lesser bones. I could just have this one dish to go with rice, for me, I do not need any other dish. And yes, more rice, please!

I'm sharing this with 

Ikan Goreng Cili Garam (Fried Fish with Chili Paste)
1 piece fish
8-10 fresh red chilies, seeded
6-8 shallots,
salt to taste
1/2 cup oil

  1. Fry the fish till cooked and crispy on both sides. Remove to a serving plate. Reserve oil, it is very fragrant from the fried fish.
  2. Blend the red chillies and shallots together to a paste. 
  3. Heat the reserved oil and fry the paste, seasoned with some salt to taste, until fragrant and dry over medium heat, about 12-15 minutes. 
  4. Pour the chili paste over the fried fish. Enjoy!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Chocolate-Caramel-Banana Upside-Down Cake

This is one delicious and tasty cake! If you have some bananas in your house, make this cake! If you do not have any bananas, go out and buy some, and make this cake! Yes, it is that good! 

The yummy caramel made of butter and brown sugar is cooked and poured into the cake pan, top with slices of bananas and then the batter. Place the pan in the oven and then wait!

About five minutes after baking, turn out the cake onto a plate and gosh, all the yummy, gooey, delicious caramel will flow down on the cake. Wait for 20 minutes, then slice and enjoy!

Just this one cake alone is worth getting the book "Cake Keeper Cakes" by Lauren Chattman. This is the second recipe I've tried, the first one being the Nutella Swirl Pound Cake, and without a doubt, this book is getting to be among my favourites.

My daughter asked for a small slice, saying she wasn't hungry. Moments later, she came back into the kitchen with her empty plate and asked for a second piece, "Bigger, please!"

The texture of the cake is brownie-like, soft, really moist with all the caramel flowing and soaking into it, full of chocolate flavour with just the right amount of sweetness (I reduced the sugar slightly), a spoonful of this yummy cake with the caramelized bananas is an absolute divine! Eat it while still warm with all the gooey caramel around it or eat it at room temperature when the caramel has been absorbed into the cake, either way, it tastes just as good!

A slice of this is not enough, maybe perhaps a BIG slice!

Yummy deliciousness!
(adapted from "Cake Keeper Cakes" by Lauren Chattman)
Serves 8
For The Topping :
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar (I use less 2 tbsp)
3 ripe bananas, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices

For The Cake :
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder, sifted
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar (I use 3/4 cup)
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup buttermilk (I substitute with 4-5 tablespoons milk and top up with homemade yoghurt to get 2/3 cup, stir well)

Make the topping :
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch round nonstick pan and dust with flour.
  2. Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over a medium heat until foaming. Whisk in the brown sugar, turn the heat to low, and cook, whisking, for 2 minutes. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Arrange the banana slices in concentric circles on top of the sugar mixture. Set aside.

Make The Cake :
  1. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Combine the butter and granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides after each. Turn the mixer to high speed and beat until the mixture is light and increased in volume, about 2 minutes. Stir in the vanilla.
  4. With the mixer on low, stir in 1/3 of the flour mixture. Stir in 1/2 of the buttermilk. Repeat with the remaining flour and milk, ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat the batter on high speed for 30 seconds.
  5. Pour the batter over the bananas, gently spreading it into an even layer.
  6. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let stand for 5 minutes. Holding the pan and a plate together with oven mitts, immediately invert the hot cake onto the plate. If necessary, replace any fruit stuck to the bottom of the pan. Let the cake cool for 20 minutes and serve warm, or serve at room temperature. Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper, or wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ina's Garden - Linguine with Shrimp Scampi

I was undecided whether should I try out this pasta meal. The first thing is, this is a fairly dry pasta, with no sauce, and my family loves lots of sauce with their pasta. But then, my kids love lemons, and it sounds really nice and refreshing, so I decided to give this a try. I'm glad I did!

Lovely young tender fresh garden chives, from my MIL's back yard.  I use this instead of parsley, as my kids are not particularly fond of parsley, but they love chives.

This is a light and wonderful pasta meal. I love the lemony taste, it is so refreshing and a break away from the regular cream-based and tomato-based sauce. For a slightly spicier kick, I would suggest to add on more of the hot chili flakes. Yummy!

In my house, there are preferences when it comes to pasta. My son loves the tomato-based sauce, my daughter loves the creamy-based sauce, my hubby loves any sauce as long as there are lots and lots of sauce, and myself, I love everything! But then, they would usually eat any sauce that I cooked, without complains, as they love pasta!

There was no leftovers! My son had second helpings, without a doubt, he certainly approves of this new pasta meal! 

This lovely pasta dish is linked to Ina's Garden, where the theme for this week is Pasta with Pizzazz, selected by Chaya of Bizzy B. Bakes. Visit Chaya's blog, to find out what's cooking up next at Ina's Garden.

Linguine with Shrimp Scampi
(Recipe by Ina Garten, source from foodnetwork.com)
Ingredients :
vegetable oil
kosher salt
3/4 pound linguine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2-1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
1-1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
1 pound large shrimp (about 16 shrimp), peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 lemon, zest grated
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/4 lemon, thinly sliced in half-rounds
1/8 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes

Directions :
Drizzle some oil in a large pot of boiling salted water, add 1 tablespoon of salt the linguine, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or according to the directions on the package.

Meanwhile, in another large (12-inch), heavy-bottomed pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic. Saute for 1 minute. Be careful, the garlic burns easily! Add the shrimp, 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt, and the pepper and saute until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat, add the parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon slices, and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine.

When the pasta is done, drain the cooked linguine and then put back in the pot. Immediately add the shrimp and sauce, toss well, and serve.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


The Hosts : 

  1. 19/05/2011 Streusel Pizza
  2. 06/06/2011 Gateau Breton
  3. 21/06/2011 Butterscotch and Hazelnut Pudding
  4. 07/07/2011 Chocolate Almond Torte
  5. 18/07/2011 Super-Delicious Wholewheat Carrot Cake
  6. 28/07/2011 Catalan Salt Pinch Cake
  7. 15/08/2011 Coca-Cola Chocolate Cake
  8. 29/08/2011 Nectarine Cake with Cinnamon-Nut Topping
  9. 10/09/2011 Sweet Potato Rolls
  10. 22/09/2011 Theme : Go Bananas 
  11. 06/10/2011 Theme : Pizza Nite-In 
  12. 20/10/2011 Theme : Chocolate and Cherries 
  13. 23/11/2011 Key Lime Cupcake
  14. 08/12/2011 Theme : Pancakes and Crepes
  15. 22/12/2011 Apricot and Walnut Bars
  16. 09/01/2012 Theme : Brownies
  17. 30/01/2012 Cherry-Vanilla Tea Cake with Vanilla Sugar
  18. 13/02/2012 Theme : Red Velvet Cupcakes for Valentine
  19. 28/02/2012 Lemon Poppy Seed-Sour Cream Cake
  20. 12/03/2012 Theme : Ciabatta and Ciabatta No. 2
  21. 27/03/2012 Fresh Strawberry Cake with White Chocolate Chips
  22. 10/04/2012 Theme : Creme Brulee
  23. 04/05/2012 Honey and Walnut Cake
  24. 14/05/0012 Theme : Bake With Four Ingredients
  25. 29/05/2012 Bake-Along 1st Anniversary - Layer Cake
  26. 12/06/2012 Pear and Maple Crumble
  27. 26/06/2012 Theme : Scones
  28. 11/07/2012 Coconut Checkerboard Brownies
  29. 26/07/2012 Theme : Chicken Pie
  30. 07/08/2012 Apple-Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake
  31. 23/08/2012 Theme : Whoopie Pies
  32. 12/09/2012 Everyday Yoghurt Cake
  33. 27/09/2012 Theme : Cream Puffs
  34. 08/10/2012 World's Quickest Yeasted Coffee Cake
  35. 12/11/2012 Theme : Linzer Tart/Torte
  36. 27/11/2012 Designer Choc Baby Grands
  37. 11/12/2012 Theme : Chocolate Eclairs
  38. 14/01/2013 Cold Oven Cream Cheese Pound Cake
  39. 30/01/2013 Theme : Souffles
  40. 04/03/2013 Banana Nut Bread
  41. 20/03/2013 Theme : Turnovers
  42. 04/04/2013 Deep Chocolate Pound Cake
  43. 22/04/2013 Theme : Tres Leches Cake
  44. 02/05/2013 Bake-Along 2nd Anniversary - Celebration Cupcake
  45. 29/05/2013 Seeded Crackers
  46. 24/06/2013 Theme : Cotton Soft Cheesecake
  47. 08/07/2013 Cinnamon-Sugar-Doughnut Muffins
  48. 24/07/2013 Theme : Fruit Buckle
  49. 07/08/2013 Classic Cinnamon Rolls
  50. 29/08/2013 Theme : Rugelach
  51. 12/09/2013 Chocolate Cream Pound Cake
  52. 25/09/2013 Theme : Hokkaido Milk Bread
  53. 08/10/2013 Brown Sugar-Raisin Bread
  54. 28/10/2013 Theme : Tuiles
  55. 25/11/2013 Italian Almond Tart
  56. 23/12/2013 Theme : Christmas Log
  57. 06/01/2014 Theme : Chinese New Year Cookies
  58. 06/03/2014 Cream Cheese Brownies
  59. 20/03/2014 Theme: Marble Butter Cake
  60. 05/05/2014 Bake-Along 3rd Anniversary - Chocolate Cake
  61. 19/05/2014 Lemon-Scented Pull-Apart Coffee Cake
  62. 05/06/2014 Theme : Savoury Pies/Tarts
  63. 26/06/2014 Crisp Chocolate Bites
  64. 10/07/2014 Theme : Chiffon Cake
  65. 24/07/2014 Chocolate Zucchini Bundt Cake
  66. 07/08/2014 Theme : Baked Pasta
  67. 21/08/2014 Plum Tartlets
  68. 15/09/2014 Theme : Popovers
  69. 14/10/2014 Maple Nut Pie
  70. 06/11/2014 Theme : French Macaron
  71. 20/11/2014 Jam-Doughnut Muffins
  72. 11/12/2014 Theme : Biscotti
  73. 08/01/2015 Theme : Mielle Feuilles
  74. 22/01/2015 Hot-Milk Cakes with Strawberries and Cream
  75. 05/02/2015 Theme : Grissini
  76. 05/03/2015 Salted Caramel Apple Pie
  77. 23/04/2015 Theme : Viennese Shortbread
  78. 07/05/2015 Bake-Along 4th Anniversary - Cheesecake
  79. 21/05/2015 My Mother-In-Law's Madeira Cake
  80. 04/06/2015 Theme : Croissant
  81. 18/06/2015 Bacon Cheddar Scones
  82. 09/07/2015 Theme : Lemon Bars
  83. 23/07/2015 Devil's Food Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting
  84. 06/08/2015 Theme : Hokkaido Chiffon Cupcakes
  85. 20/08/2015 Chocolate Raspberry Pound Cake
  86. 03/09/2015 Theme : Pretzels (Yeasted)
  87. 17/09/2015 Chocolate Pots de Creme
  88. 17/11/2015 Theme : Galette
  89. 03/12/2015 Theme : Christmas Yeasted Breads
  90. 07/01/2016 Ruby Jewel Cookies
  91. 21/01/2016 Theme : Strawberry Shortcake
  92. 25/02/2016 Chocolate Chip Cookies
  93. 22/03/2016 Theme : Baked/Roast Chicken
  94. 21/04/2016 Dark Cherry-Chocolate Muffins
  95. 05/05/2016 Bake-Along Farewell Bake - Bundt Cake

Free and Easy Bake-Along #1: Streusel Pizza

I'm baking along with Lena of Frozen Wings, as a fun, free and easy bake-along. We have several books in common, and I thought that it would be a great idea to bake from these books together. For this first bake-along, Lena has suggested several recipes and I have chosen this sweet pizza from her list. I have always wanted to bake a sweet pizza but never did! There's always dozens of other recipes to chose from, and always "maybe next time"? Whatever the reason, this bake-along has already prompted me to bake something that has  been 'on-the-list' and now it's on the table! 

This Streusel Pizza recipe is taken from the book "500 Pizzas & Flatbreads" by Rebecca Baugniet.  The base is a thin pizza base. The streusel complements well with the strawberries and the cream cheese topping, overall the sweetness is just right.  This is good with a cup of tea. My kids really enjoyed this sweet pizza. 

The recipe of the dough stated that the amount of dough can be made into 3 pieces of 12-inch round pizza. I made it into 2 pieces instead, as I find that it is difficult to roll to a very thin layer of 2mm, as there are holes when I try to roll it thinner! I really need to practice more on this step, and I mean lots of practice!

After baking, let pizza rest for about 10 minutes to enjoy the crispiness of the dough. Don't forget that cup of hot plain tea. 

Wanna have a bite? ...mmmm

Please do visit Lena of Frozen Wings and see her delicious sweet pizza. We will be baking "Gateau Breton" from "Heavenly Cakes" By Rose Levy Beranbaum for next month's Free and Easy Bake-Along, together with Zoe of Bake For Happy Kids.

I'm linking this with Full Plate Thursday over at Miz Helen's Country Cottage

Basic Thin Pizza Base
(adapted from "500 Pizzas & Flatbreads" by Rebecca Baugniet)
This base rises only once and bakes in minutes, making it the quickiest base to make. It can be made into three 30-cm (12-in) pizzas, as desribed below, or divided into six individual 15-cm (6-in) pizzas. Baking time remains consistent.

175gm (6oz) plain flour
200gm (7 oz) strong white bread flour
5ml (1 tsp) sugar
5ml (1 tsp) easy-blend dried yeast
5ml (1 tsp) salt
22ml (1-1/2 tbsp) extra-virgin olive oil
225ml (8fl oz) very warm water

To prepare the pizza dough, combine flours. Mix 225gm (8oz) flour with the sugar, yeast, and salt in bowl of standing mixer. Set aside. Combine olive oil and warm water. With paddle attachment, slowly stir in the water and oil into the flour mixture until well combined. Mix in the remaining flour.
Change to dough hook attachment and knead on low for 4 to 5 minutes, until dough comes together as a ball and is smooth and elastic. If not using a standing mixer, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for about 10 minutes.
Place dough in lightly oiled bowl and cover with clean paper towel. Set aside in a warm spot for 1-1/2 to 3 hours, until dough has almost doubled in volume.
Once dough has risen, use a sharp knife to divide the ball into 3 equal pieces. Shape each into a ball, and flatten to form a disc. Using fingers or rolling pin, stretch out each dist co 30-cm (12-in) rounds, which is very thin - about 2mm (1/12 in).

(my notes : I use the breadmaker to mix the dough)

Streusel Pizza
(this recipe is for enough for one pizza only)
1/3 recipe basic thin pizza base

115gm (4oz) cream cheese, softened
1 large egg yolk
1.25ml (1/4 tsp) vanilla essence
7.5ml (1-1/2 tsp) sugar
75gm (3oz) fresh strawberries, hulled (I use about 200gm, 75gm is simply not enough!)

60gm (2-1/2oz) light brown sugar
25gm (3oz) unsalted butter, melted
15ml (1 tbsp) plain flour

Preheat oven to 200C (400F/Gas Mark 6).
Line a 30-cm (12-in) pizza pan with baking paper. Roll pizza dough out to a 30-cm (12-in) round and place in pan. In medium bowl, combine cream cheese, egg yolk, vanilla and sugar. Stir until smooth.
In small bowl, combine all the streusel ingredients until you have a crumbly mixture. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the pizza base, top with strawberries and sprinkle with streusel.
Place on middle rack of preheated oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the base is baked and the streusel topping is crunchy. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fried Chicken Drummettes with Mayonnaise Chives Dip And Awards

A wonderful finger snack, enjoy!

Fried Chicken Drummettes with Mayonnaise Chives Dip
For The Chicken :
10 chicken drummettes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs
oil for frying

For the Dip :
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp chives, chopped
salt and black pepper to taste

  1. To prepare mayonnaise dip : Combine all ingredients for the dip and keep covered in refrigerator until needed.
  2. For the chicken, combine flour, 1/4 tsp paprika, salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in large resealable food storage bag. Beat eggs in large shallow bowl. Combine bread crumbs and remaining  1/4 teaspoon paprika on large plate.
  3. Add chicken to flour mixture, shake well to coat. Dip chicken in eggs, then roll in bread crumbs.
  4. Heat oil in large pan over medium-high heat.  Add chicken and fry about 3-4 minutes each side or until browned. Turn over again and continue to fry over medium-low heat for a futher 4-5 minutes, turning occasionally until chicken is cooked.
  5. Dish out and place on kitchen paper towel to absorb excess oil. 
  6. Serve with mayonnaise dip.


Awards !

 I would like to thank the following foodie pals for these lovely  awards which they have forwarded to me.

Marguerite of Cajun Delights, the name of her blog says it all, look no further for delicious, and I mean, really totally delicious Cajun food, step right into her site and see her mouthwatering yummies, and you would definitely not want to miss on the boogieing and dancing the Cajun way! They have so much fun and you might find yourself dancing along! Thank you, Marguerite!

Food Glorious Food of My Personal Food Journal, she may be very new at blogging, but she already has a collection of delicious homecooked yummies. You would not believe that her lovely blog is barely two months old! She's already a pro at blogging! Thank you, Food Glorious Food!

Parsley Sage of The Deep Dish, is another lovely foodie pal. She has amazing recipes and delightful posts that are always a pleasure to read, with a touch of humour! Drop by and say hello, and you will soon stop by  again!
Thank you, Parsley Sage!

Thank you, everyone!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Nutella Swirl Pound Cake

This cake is really moist, soft and really good, but I find it a little bit oily. Other than this, it is a really good cake. When the cake was done and I turned it out to a wire rack to cool, there's an oily layer on the parchment paper. What I did was, as soon as the cake is cool, I cut off the bottom layer, (about 3/4cm) where I find it to be really oily. The cake is really good, actually, with a cup of black coffee. After all, it has Nutella in it!

This recipe is from one of my latest addition of baking books. It was on sale and was selling really cheap, could not help buying it. Besides, I love simple cakes like this, and this book is all about simple cakes. "Cake Keeper Cakes" by Lauren Chattman has received some good reviews over at Amazon. There are lots of wonderful cakes and are divided into a few chapters, like Snacking Cakes, Round Cakes, Loaf Cakes, Bundt Cakes, Crumb Cakes '&' Other Cakes Baked in a Springform Pan and Angel Food '&' Chiffon Cakes. 

There are a few reviews over at Amazon, that love this cake, while there are others that complained the Nutella sank to the bottom. From the picture in the book, the first layer of Nutella is really at the bottom of the cake, with the second layer is the swirl  in the middle. The only complain from me is it is a little too oily. Other that this, it tastes really good.  

It has a soft texture and goes well with a cup of hot black coffee.

Will I be making this again, probably, with a little less butter! But I'm really looking forward to try other cakes from this book.

Nutella Swirl Pound Cake
(adapted from "Cake Keeper Cakes" by Lauren Chattman)
4 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1-1/4 cups sugar (I use only 170gm)
1 jar (13 ounces, about 1 cup) Nutella

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Grease a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan and dust with flour.
  2. Combine the eggs and vanilla in a glass measuring cup and lightly beat. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Combine the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary.
  4. With the mixer on medium-low speed, pour the egg mixture into the bowl in a slow stream, stopping the mixer once or twice to scrape down the sides.
  5. Turn the mixer to low speed and add the flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. After the last addition, mix for 30 seconds on medium speed.
  6. Scrape 1/3 of the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Spread 1/2 of the Nutella over the batter and smooth with a cleaned spatula. Scrape another 1/3 of the batter over the Nutella and smooth. Scrape the remaining Nutella over the batter and smooth. Spread the remaining batter over the Nutella and smooth. Run a butter knife blade through the batter to create marbling. Do not overmix.
  7. Bake the cake until it is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes, invert it onto a wire rack, and then turn it right side up on a rack to cool completely. Slice and serve. (Watch out for the baking time, mine was done at  1 hour and 5 minutes)
  8. Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper or wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Recipe rewind because some things are too good to miss

"Recipe rewind because some things are too good to miss", 
Recipe rewind, because in the beginning there is a blogger who has no readers. She still posts great food in hopes that the readers will come ....

How true that is! That was written by the lovely Melynda of Mom's Sunday Cafe. I was reading about her Recipe Rewind posts and found how true that was for me too! I remembered when I first started my blog, the only readers and commenters are my sisters. Over the months that followed, the numbers of readers and commenters increased very, very slowly. But I still post recipes, in the hope that the readers will come.....! Sounds familiar?  :)

So I'm joining Melynda at Mom's Sunday Cafe for her Recipe Rewind this week by sharing one of my family's favourite again, as what Melynda says "some things are too good to miss". I have posted this previously here, on 29th April 2010, to be exact!

Hop over to Mom's Sunday Cafe and see Melynda's Recipe Rewind for this week, she has a lovely Prune Cookies which I have bookmarked to make!

My Recipe Rewind : Steamed Chicken with Gravy
A simple and easy dish to prepare for dinner. It's delicious, very tasty and it doesn't take much time to prepare. I like to steam the chicken till well done where you won't find any traces of slightly red or pinkish meat meaning that the meat is slightly undercooked. And if you are serving it to children, then it is advisable to cook it till well done. After steaming, there would be some steaming liquid in the steaming tray, this is the liquid collected from the chicken during steaming and very tasty. It is then used to cook the gravy and pour over the chicken. Delicious! Try out this simple, easy and tasty Chinese dish. Enjoy!

This photo was  from my previous post.

I love this dish as the natural sweetness and tastiness of the chicken all comes together without any addition of bottled sauces. My son would really look forward to his meal when he knows I'm cooking this for dinner. I've added more spring onions (about 1 cup chopped spring onions), harvested from my garden, as everyone in my house loves spring onions, and it really goes well with this chicken dish. You may use fresh coriander leaves instead. 

Make sure the chicken is really fresh and you will be rewarded with a tasty dish!
Steamed Chicken with Gravy
Ingredients for steaming
one half of a large chicken
1 tbsp ginger juice
some salt, about 2 tsp, or to taste

Ingredients for the gravy
2 tbsp chopped ginger
2 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp chopped red chilli
2 tbsp chopped spring onion, or more
some cornstarch solution (2 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 tbsp water)

Method :
To steam chicken :

Clean chicken and put on steaming tray. Rub ginger juice and salt all over chicken half. Steam on high heat about 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked. Remove chicken and keep aside to cool. Retain liquid from steaming tray. Keep aside. When chicken is cool, cut to bite sized pieces and arrange on a plate.

To prepare the gravy :

Heat about 1 tbsp oil. Saute chopped ginger and garlic till fragrant and slightly brown. Add in chopped red chilli and stir for a minute. Pour in the steaming liquid retained from above and let it simmer for about 1-2 minutes. Test for saltiness, add salt if necessary. Add in chopped spring onion and some cornstarch solution. Stir and pour gravy over chopped chicken. Serve hot.