Saturday, March 30, 2013

Prawns with Crushed Mustard Seeds : IHCC

"Alavida Madhur" (Goodbye Madhur), is our theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), and this is the last week that we are cooking from Madhur Jaffrey's recipes. It has been a fantastic and delicious 6 months cooking from The Queen of Spice's wonderful recipes. Indian cuisine has always been my very favourite, and the past six months has really been a delicious cooking adventure, and most of the recipes that I've tried shall make a return in my kitchen. A few favourites have already been repeated in my kitchen a number of times. And I will continue on to cook from the many recipes that I have bookmarked to try!

Starting from April through September, we will be starting with a new chef, Yotam Ottolenghi, an Israel-born, now based in London, and already have a few fantastic cookbooks to his name. He is most famous for his colourful and delicious vegetarian dishes, with a Mediterranean flair. I am pretty excited as I have never cooked any Mediterranean recipes before! If you would like to join us, please drop by IHCC for the full details.

So, for today, this dish Prawns with Crushed Mustard Seeds wraps up the last post of  Cooking with Madhur Jaffrey with my friends at IHCC. This is a delicious dish, cooked in a sauce of crushed mustard seeds. I can see a repetition of this dish in my kitchen in the future.

Suitable for kids and those who do not like spicy dish. The only spicy ingredient is the sprinkling of black pepper powder, which can be easily omitted if serving to kids. Here I have used the minimum amount as my kids are eating this as well, the next time when I cooked this for myself, I'll add red chilli flakes and more  black pepper powder for extra spicy kick. This dish is delicious served with plain white rice.

To wrap up this last post on Cooking with Madhur Jaffrey, I have listed a few favourites of mine.

Prawns with Crushed Mustard Seeds, what can I say, there was no leftovers!

Hare Masale Ka Omlate (Eggs with Fresh Green Herbs) : I really love this omelette dish, great as a main meal for a quick lunch, or to serve as a dish for the dinner table. The vibrant sunny yellow colour definitely makes it very appetizing!

Fried Fish Steaks : A simple mixed of masala spices marinated into the fish steaks. Very tasty and goes great with just any rice pilaf or plain white rice.

Red Pork Curry : This is by far my most favourite! The pork is cooked till very tender with all the flavours and fragrance from the spices.

Stir-Fried Cabbages with Fennel Seeds : Simple and delicious! 

Turmeric Rice : I have cooked this many times! Very good with any types of curries.

Please stop by I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) to view the delicious dish that my friends has made.

Prawns with Crushed Mustard Seeds
(source from : 100 Essential Curries, Madhur Jaffrey)
Serves 3-4
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons tomato puree
4 tablespoons mustard oil, or other vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 thin slices fresh root ginger, peeled
1 hot dried red chilli
450gm (1 lb) headless prawns, peeled, de-vein and washed
1/4 teaspoon salt
large pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice

Step One
Crush the mustard seeds, using a pestle or mortar or spice or coffee grinder.

Step Two 
In a small bowl, mix the crushed mustard seeds, turmeric and  tomato puree, together with 3 tablespoons hot water. Set aside.

Step Three
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the garlic cloves, ginger slices and dried chilli and fry, stirring, for a few seconds until the mixture begins to darken, then add the prawns. Fry, stirring, until the prawns turn opaque. Stir in the mustard seed paste and turn the heat to medium-low. Add the salt, pepper and lemon or lime juice. Fry, stirring, for a further 2 minutes. Transfer to a warm serving dish.


Friday, March 29, 2013

THB : Lavender-Lemon Polenta Cake

It's time for The Home Bakers' bake today, and for our bake no 16, this lovely Lavender-Lemon Polenta Cake was chosen by Angela from The Charmed Cupcakes. Angela is a talented baker and as you can tell by the name of her blog, she loves cupcakes! Drop by The Charmed Cupcakes to view her creative and delicious cupcakes, believe me, you would be swooned!

The original name for this bake is Rosemary-Lemon Polenta Cake, but there's a variation for making this with dried lavender. Since I do not have any rosemary at hand, I used the dried lavender that I bought a  couple of months ago. 

I have replaced the buttermilk with a mixture of homemade yoghurt and milk, which are heated briefly together with the dried lavenders. This mixture is then poured over the cornmeal, and let stand for 1 hour to soften. I've made half a recipe and has reduced the sugar slightly to 1/3 cup, which is just nice. 

This cake has a lovely golden crust and a moist, soft, tender texture. The lovely floral scent of the lavender is really nice. The addition of cornmeal gives a very nice texture to this cake, since it was soaked and softened before baking, you cannot really taste the grainy cornmeal, in fact it balances off very nicely in terms of flavour and texture. Recipe includes a Lavender-Lemon Syrup for drizzling over the cake, but I have omitted that. I think this cake is good on it's own. A slice of this cake is very nice with a cup of warm tea.

Please visit Angela of The Charmed Cupcake for the full recipe, and to view the other members' bake, drop by The Home Bakers.

Welcome to The Home Bakers

We are a group of home bakers who are currently baking from "Coffee Cakes" by Lou Seibert Pappas, until each recipe from this book has been baked. This is our bake no. 16 and we have 44 recipes more to go. If you are interested to be a member and join in our bakes, you may drop me an email at


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Cheddar, Capers and Sun-dried Tomato Scones : Cook Like A Star

It has been quite a while since I last made any scones, and when I saw this recipe at Delia Smith's website, I thought I'll give it a try. Besides, this is where my Homemade Sun-Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil comes in handy, and the amount used is not much, but the scones are so full of flavour from the tomatoes, a little goes a long way!

Lovely golden brown!

The original recipe is actually called Feta, Olive and Sun-Dried Tomato Scones, the ingredients used are, feta cheese, black olive and fresh thymes. I have replaced three three ingredients with what I have, cheddar cheese, capers and dried thymes. And they worked out great. 

I made half a recipe, and only need to use a piece of my homemade sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, with the oil drained off, chopped the tomato to chunky pieces. And I have used about 1 tablespoon of capers, drained. This recipe uses a small amount of the flavoured olive oil taken from the jar of sun-dried tomato. 

There's a small amount of wholewheat flour and some self-raising flour used. After everything has been added in and form into a soft dough, taking care not to over-knead the dough, the dough is rolled out, (I just spread them with my fingers), to about 1" thickness. I have used a 2" round fluted cutter for two pieces and decided to just gather the balance of the dough to made triangle scones instead of having bits and pieces leftover. I got 2 round scones and 5 triangle ones from half a recipe. These scones are rather small. 

Place the scones on a greased or lined baking tray, brush the top with some milk and top with some cheddar cheese. Bake in a preheat oven at 220C for 12-15 minutes at the topmost rack in your oven. I baked mine at 200C for exactly 12 minutes.

Transfer them to a wire rack to cool a little. Eat them while they are still warm, so good!

Nice and golden, with bits of the sun-dried tomatoes, capers and cheese. 

The texture is light, and so tasty! All the flavours from the tomatoes, capers, cheese and the oil blends together perfectly. I had these for my lunch with a cup of warm tea. Yums! 

This post is linked to Cook Like A Star, where this month's featured chef is Delia Smith, an event organised by my baking buddy, Zoe from Bake For Happy Kids together with co-hosts, Baby Sumo from Eat Your Heart Out and Mich from Piece of Cake.


I'm linking this post with Little Thumbs Up, where the ingredient for this month is Tomato, organised by Zoe from Bake For Happy Kids and hosted by my little favourite DIY.

Feta, Olive and Sun-dried Tomato Scones
(source from :
Makes 12
3 oz (75 gm) Feta, cubed small (I use cheddar)
10 black olives, pitted and roughly chopped (I used capers)
2 oz (50 gm) sun-dried tomatoes, drained of oil and chopped, reserve 1 tablespoon oil
6 oz (175 gm) self-raising flour
2 oz (50 gm) whole-wheat flour
1/4 level teaspoon baking powder
1/4 level teaspoon cayenne pepper (I use paprika powder)
1/4 level teaspoon mustard powder
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1-1/2 level teaspoons chopped fresh thyme (I use 1/2 tsp dried thyms for half recipe)
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk

For the topping :
milk for brushing
2 oz (50gm) Feta, crumbled (I use Cheddar)

Equipment :
You will also need a 2-inch (5cm) cuter and a small baking tray

  1. First sift the flours and baking powder into a large, roomy bowl, tip in any bran left in the sieve, then add the cayenne and mustard powder and, using a knife, work in the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, plus the reserved tablespoon of oil from the sun-dried tomatoes.
  2. When the mixture looks like lumpy breadcrumbs stir in the chopped thyme, cubed Feta, olives and sun-dried tomatoes.
  3. Now in a separate bowl beat the egg with the 2 tablespoons of milk and add half the mixture to the other ingredients. Using your hands, bring the mixture together to form a dough, adding more of the egg and milk as it needs it - what you should end up with is a dough that is soft but not sticky.
  4. Now on a floured board, roll the dough out to a depth of 1 inch (2.5 cm). Then stamp out the scones using a 2 inch (5 cm) cutter, either plain or fluted. Put the cut-out pieces on a baking tray and brush them with the milk.
  5. Finally top each scone with the crumbled Feta, and put the tray on the highest shelf of the oven to bake for 12-15 minutes or until they've turned a golden colour. Then remove them to a wire rack until they are cool enough to eat.

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Homemade Sun-Dried Tomatoes In Olive Oil

Ever thought of making your own homemade sun-dried tomatoes, that is, if you have not made them before. If not, you should really try, especially if you love using those store-bought sun-dried tomatoes soaked in olive oil, sold in jars. It is not difficult to make, just that, you have got to be very patient as it takes anywhere from 6 to 10 hours for the tomatoes to be dried in a low temperature oven. You can dry them under the sun, but I think that it is more hygienic to use the oven, though it is definitely not the traditional way. Drying them under the sun would take about 2 weeks, depending on the weather and how moist the tomatoes are, and the tomatoes need to be covered with cheesecloth to prevent unwanted "visitors" like the flies and birds, and I am not that patient after all!

Buying sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil requires me to make a special trip to certain supermarkets, as not all supermarkets sells them. I would consider this as one of the gourmet ingredient since our Malaysian recipes do not use Sun-dried Tomatoes. This was one of the reason that got me interested to make my own.

The first time I made my own was back in June or July last year, and I did not soak them in oil, but left them dried and I still have a few pieces which is still very good, kept them in an airtight container in the fridge. They make very healthy snack! For longer storage, the dried tomatoes may be frozen and bring them back to room temperature before using.

Here's how I made the Sun-dried Tomatoes In Olive Oil :

  1. Get some ripe and firm tomatoes, if possible try to get the same size so that they take the same amount of time to dry. Wash them clean. Here I have used our locally grown tomatoes, I would try with Roma Tomatoes the next time, as Roma Tomatoes are meaty and has less seeds and not as juicy as other tomatoes, but they are rather costly. But I would really love to try the difference.
  2. Cut the tomatoes in half and use a paper towel to wipe-dry the cut surface. You may remove the seeds if you want to, but I did not bother with that.
  3. Brush the cut surface with olive oil.
  4. Sprinkle the top with some sea salt.

Place the tomatoes on a wire rack over a tray, with the cut side facing up. Do not allow the tomatoes to touch each other, make sure there are space all around each half for the hot air to circulate. Place the tray in an oven with a low temperature of 100F-110F, and leave them for 6-10 hours. It all depends on how dry you want your tomatoes to be. Check them after 6 hours and if they are still plump and moist, dry them a little longer.

My oven Homemade Sun-Dried Tomatoes.

These are actually semi-dry, I dried them for about 8 hours at 100F, there are still some moisture in the tomatoes, which I really want. For drier tomatoes, dry them a couple of hours longer.

Once the tomatoes are cool, you may snack on them, use them for some recipes, or freeze them until needed. For this batch, I have soaked them in olive oil. Place the dried tomatoes in a clean jar, in two or three layers, sprinkle some dried herbs, here I have used dried rosemary, top with more dried tomatoes and sprinkling of more dried herbs. Fresh herbs like basil can be used. If you are using garlic, bear in mind that preserving tomatoes with garlic can lead to bacterial contamination, that was what I've read from some websites. 

Pour olive oil into the jar, until the tomatoes are completely submerged.

Seal the jar, and keep for a few days for the flavours to blend. Advisable to store in the refrigerator if you are not going to use it immediately, the oil will solidify if kept in the refrigerator. Simply bring it to room temperature before using, and the oil will get to normal once again. You many use the tomatoes in pasta, cooking, baking, salads and the oil can be used for drizzling over the pasta, salads and baking. 

There are no fixed amount of recipe for this, simply follow the steps above as a guide. Making your own is not cheap either! Olive oil is rather expensive and with the long hours in the oven, your electricity bill will do a somersault! Haha! But nothing beats the satisfaction of homemade goodies! I was all smiles as I look at my  jar of Homemade Sun-Dried Tomatoes In Olive Oil!

Will be sharing some recipes using my Homemade Sun-Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil in my coming posts next month!

These are the really dried ones which I made back in June/July last year. 

I'm linking this post with Little Thumbs Up, where the ingredient for this month is Tomato, organised by Zoe from Bake For Happy Kids and hosted by my little favourite DIY.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Easy Chickpea Curry : IHCC

"One Pot Wonders" is our theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), where we are currently cooking from Madhur Jaffrey's recipes. This will be our second last post for Madhur Jaffrey's theme, next week will be the last one. We will be starting with a new chef Yotam Ottolenghi starting from April. Ever heard of him? He is a chef specializes in Mediterranean cooking. He is most famous for his delicious vegetarian recipes. Interested to join in? Drop by IHCC to get further details.

Easy Chickpea Curry is an easy and quick dish to prepare. I made this as a One Pot Wonder during one of the weekday's lunch. 

A very nice and simple vegetarian chickpea curry.

We had it with some paratha. I have a pack of frozen paratha in my freezer, and since it does not require thawing, I simply pan-fry it when it is time to serve, at the same time, simply reheat the curry gently, just to warm it up. This is a really quick meal to put together. My kids really enjoyed the Easy Chickpea Curry with the paratha.


To view other delicious One Pot Wonder, please stop by I Heart Cooking Clubs.

Easy Chickpea Curry
Serves 4-6
350gm (12 oz) drained-weight tinned chickpeas (from a 540gm can)
2 tomatoes, about 225gm (8oz)
5cm (2in) pieces fresh ginger, peeled
4 garlic cloves, peeled
3-6 fresh hot green chillies
25gm (1oz) fresh coriander leaves
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 medium potatoes, about 255gm (8oz) peeled
140gm (5oz) onion
corn, peanut or olive oil
1 medium stick cinnamon
5 whole cardamom pods
2 bay leaves

Step One
Leave the chickpeas to drain in a colander.

Step Two
Chop the tomatoes, ginger, garlic, chillies and coriander leaves and put in a blender with the ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon salt and 5-6 tablespoons water. Blend until smooth, pushing down with a rubber spatula when necessary.

Step Three
Cut the potatoes into 2cm (3/4 in) dice. Finely chop the onions. Pour 3 tablespoons oil into a wide, medium, lidded pan set over a medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the cinnamon, cardamom and bay leaves. Ten seconds later, add the onions and potatoes. Stir and fry for about 6 minutes or until the onions are lightly browned. Add the paste from the blender. Stir for a minute. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for 6-7 minutes, lifting the lid now and then to stir. Add the chickpeas, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 250ml (8fl oz) water. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cover, and cook gently on a low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Chicken and Tomato Curry (Tamatar Aur Murghi)

I'm sure everyone loves chicken curry, and you might already have your own favourite recipe. A few days ago, I've cooked this Chicken and Tomato Curry, recipe taken from one of the books that I've bought from Big Bad Wolf book sale, The Ultimate Indian Cookbook. I'm trying to cook at least one recipe, from each of the 22 cookbooks that I've bought! Oh yes, after that, start again with one more recipe from each! LOL!

Chicken and Tomato Curry, with potatoes. We love potatoes in curries, everyone in my house would spoon for the potatoes first! 

This recipe uses fresh tomatoes, which are peeled and chopped to pieces. To peel the tomatoes easily, score the top and base with a sharp knife about 1" across, with a mark "X". Place tomatoes in a bowl and pour very hot water(not necessarily boiling) to cover. Leave for about 3-4 minutes and peel off the skin which should come off easily. The tomatoes are then chopped to pieces and these are added in after the sauteing of some spices. They are further mashed using the back of the wooden spoon during cooking. I have used less water than the amount calls for in the recipe, since I'm using a non-stick saucepan, it actually needs less oil and water for most recipes that I've cooked. 
So adjust accordingly. 

A very tasty curry, the sweetness from the ripe tomatoes with a slight soury taste really came through, and I really like the taste of it. However I feel that the curry is a little diluted (see second photo above), even though I have used less amount of water, but yet it needed something else. So I have added 3 heaped tablespoons of curry powder, (I use Baba's brand, meat curry powder), and it tastes so much better after that. You may however chose not to add in the curry powder, it will still very good, but with a much milder taste, maybe start with a cup of water and slowly add on to the consistency you like.

 Very nice eaten with plain white rice.

I'm linking this post with Little Thumbs Up, where the ingredient for this month is Tomato, organised by Zoe from Bake For Happy Kids and hosted by my little favourite DIY.

I'm sharing this as well with :

I have listed the changes I've made, in blue.
Chicken and Tomato Curry
(adapted from "The Ultimate Indian Cookbook", Meera Budhwar)
150gm (5oz) butter or ghee (4-5 tablespoons canola oil)
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed (5 garlic cloves, pounded)
15gm (1/2oz) fresh ginger, finely grated (2" piece, pounded)
1 green chilli, chopped
cardamoms seeds from 2 pods, crushed (I use 3 cardamom pods, leave whole)
3 cloves (5 cloves)
1in cinnamon stick (I use 2 sticks)
1 bay leaf
225gm (8oz) tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tbsp ground coriander (I use 1-1/2 tbsp)
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
3 heaped tbsp curry powder (I use Baba's meat curry powder, my addition)
1 chicken, about 1.4kg (3lb) skinned, and jointed
900ml (1-1/2 pt) boiling water (I use about 3 cups hot water, in total)
225gm (8oz) potatoes, peeled and cubed (I use about 5 medium, peeled and quartered)
1/4 tsp ground pepper (I omit this)
1/4 tsp saffron (I omit this)
leaves from 2 sprigs of coriander
  1. Heat the butter or ghee (or cooking oil) in a pan, add the onions, garlic, ginger, green chilli, cardamom seeds (or pods), cloves, cinnamon stick and bay leaf and fry until the onion is golden.
  2. Add the tomatoes and continue to cook, squashing it under the back of a wooden spoon to make a paste.
  3. Add the turmeric, chilli powder, paprika, ground coriander and fennel seeds and fry until the fat runs clear of the spices.
  4. Add the chicken pieces and fry for 5 minutes, then pour on the boiling water, add the potato and cook over a low heat, covered for 1 hour, until the chicken and the potato are done and the sauce has thickened. (Add chicken pieces, salt to taste, curry powder, stir for 5 minutes, pour 1-3/4 cups of hot water, stir, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the potatoes and additional water if appeared dry, about 1/4 cups at a time, keep covered, stir from time to time, until potatoes are tender.)
  5. Sprinkle on the pepper, saffron, salt and coriander leaves.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spiced Apple Turnover : Free and Easy Bake-Along #41

It's back to my turn at selecting a theme for our Bake-Along #41. And I've chosen Turnovers. I love turnovers, sweet or savoury, I like them both. Turnovers are great for breakfast, lunch and lovely for tea-time snack.  I'm sharing today, a lovely Spiced Apple Turnovers, made with flaky shortcrust pastry and filling of spiced apples with rum. Sounds good? It is good!

The original recipe is from Bon Appetit Desserts Cookbook, a giant of a book! I have tried quite a number of recipes from this big and heavy book, and not one that has failed me yet! This recipe uses shortcrust pasty that is buttery, tender and crispy. I have doubled the amount of the pastry, divide them into two equal size, refrigerate them and to simplify the rolling, I have rolled each piece into a 10" square and cut into 4 pieces of 5" squares each instead of rounds. 

Make the shortcrust pastry as per the recipe instructions below. Our weather is extremely hot and humid, temperature for the day was 33C when I made this.  The shortcrust pastry was getting soft real quick. As soon as I've rolled them out and cut to 5" squares after the first refrigeration, it was difficult to fold over as it was getting very soft and fragile. Looks like I need to refrigerate them again. Since I can't remove the pastry to a baking sheet without breaking them, I placed the Pastry Mat with the rolled and cut-out pastry squares over a cookie sheet (see photo 1)  and refrigerate for about 20 minutes for the pastry to firm up. 
It definitely helps. As soon as I've taken the cookie sheet out, I transferred the Pastry Mat over the working surface and quickly began to place the apple filling and fold them over. I've got to work very quickly because they are beginning to soften once again real fast!
Seal the edges, gently press the sides with a fork, make three cuts on the top of pastry and brush with lightly beaten egg all over. 
Here I have added some almond flakes and sprinkle with some granulated sugar.
Bake at 400F for about 25-30 minutes until brown all over.

See the one on the top left? It has an odd shape because the pastry was getting very soft and I have difficulty in transferring the soft pastry to the baking tray. Two are without any nuts or sugar, for my daughter, as she does not really like nuts.

Overall review : The shortcrust pastry is very tender, buttery and crispy. The filling is delicious, the apples mixed with the lovely spices, orange zest, lemon zest and rum is so good. Original recipe uses brandy, but I have used rum as I love apples with rum. I am very glad that I have added the flaked almonds with the sprinkling of granulated sugar over the top, really yummy. Since the filling is not too sweet, it balances off very nicely indeed.

Delicious when eaten warm. There were two leftovers and the next morning, I simply wrap them up in an aluminium foil, and reheat them for 10 minutes.

Please visit my baking buddies, Lena from Frozen Wings and Zoe from Bake For Happy Kids, and all our friends who has baked along with us in the linky below :

Our next bake is Deep Chocolate Pound Cake, from Bon Appetiti Desserts Cookbook, page 44 or here.   The linky will start on 4th April right up to 13th April. Do join us, everyone's welcome.


A friendly reminder when linking to our blog hop :
1. Please mention Bake-Along event in your own post linking direct to any of the hosts' post (JoyceLena or Zoe)
2. Please link only new and current post, related to the current bake or theme provided by us. Unrelated post will be deleted.
3. Feel free to display our Bake-Along badge in your post.

Spiced Apple Turnovers
(source from : "Bon Appetit Desserts Cookbook", Barbara Fairchild)
Pastry (I doubled the amount, and got 8 turnovers)
1-1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 tablespoons (or more) ice water

1-1/2 pounds Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons (packed) dried currants
1 teaspoon brandy (I used 1 tablespoon rum)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon finely grated orange peel
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
6 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
additional sugar
flaked almonds (my addition)

For the Pastry :
Whisk flour, sugar, and salt in large bowl. Add butter and rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 4 tablespoons ice water; using fork, stir until small moist clumps form, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Transfer dough to floured surface, divide into 6 equal pieces. Form each piece into ball; flatten each into disk. Wrap separately in plastic and chill 1 hour.
(I doubled the recipe for the pastry, do the mixing in the food processor, separate into two equal portions, wrap each separately with plastic wrap, and chill)

Do Ahead : Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes to soften slightly before rolling out.

Line 2 heavy large baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out each dough disk on floured work surface to 8-inch round. Transfer rounds to prepared baking sheets. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
(I rolled each piece of dough into 10" square and cut each rolled dough into 4 pieces of 5" squares).

Filling :
Mix apples, sugar, currant, brandy, cinnamon, vanilla, lemon peel, orange peel, nutmeg and cloves in a large bowl. Cover and let stand 30 minutes to blend flavours.
(I used rum instead of brandy)

Preheat oven to 400F. Spoon 1/2 cup apple mixture onto bottom half of 1 pastry round, leaving 3/4-inch plain border around edges. Dot filling with 1 teaspoon butter. Lightly brush edges with water. Fold top half of dough over filling to enclose completely. Gently press edges together to seal. Lightly brush edge with more water and fold edge inward. Using fork, gently press edge to seal. Repeat with remaining pastry rounds, filling, and butter.
(Mine was rectangle as the I've used the cut-sized pastry of 5" square).

Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in small saucepan. Using small sharp knife, cut 3 slits in top of each turnover to allow steam to escape. Brush butter over turnovers and sprinkle with additional sugar.
(Instead of using the butter, I simply brush the top of turnover with beaten egg yolk, and scattered some flaked almonds over the top with the sugar).

Bake turnovers until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Cool slightly. Transfer to plates and serve warm.

To join our blog hop, click on the link below :
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Monday, March 18, 2013

Home-made Lemonade : Cook Like A Star

Home-made Lemonade anyone? A glass of refreshing, thirst quenching, delightful, icy-cool lemony-fragrant glass of Home-made Lemonade! Usually when I made lemonade, I would just simply squeeze out the juice from a couple of lemons, add honey, and top with lots of ice. But for this recipe, you've got to prepare it a day earlier. The lemons are zested and juiced. Next mix in some sugar and hot boiling water. Keep covered overnight in a cool place. The next day, strain, chilled and enjoy with lots of ice.

There are a few variations to this lovely drink. Some soda water may be added if you want to, but my kids prefer to add on some honey, as these are really tangy!

Lemons, such a wonderful citrus! Lovely scent of lemony citrus lingers in the kitchen, a natural air-freshener!

Soooo refreshingly good! Go and make some today!

This post is linked to Cook Like A Star, where this month's featured chef is Delia Smith, an event organised by my baking buddy, Zoe from Bake For Happy Kids together with co-hosts, Baby Sumo from Eat Your Heart Out and Mich from Piece of Cake.

I'm sharing this too with :
See Ya In The Gumbo hosted by Ms. enPlace
Recipe Box hosted by Bizzy Bakes

Home-made Lemonade
(source from :
6 large lemons
about 150gm granulated sugar
some honey to taste (my addition)

First scrub the lemons in warm water, then thinly pare the coloured outer zest from 3 of them using a potato peeler or zester. After that any white pith will need to be pared from the strips of zest with a sharp knife - this is important to prevent the lemonade tasting bitter. Now put the zest in a large bowl and add the squeezed juice of all the lemons (don't bother to strain the juice at this stage) and the sugar.

Next pour in 2-1/2 pints (1.4 litres) of boiling water, then stir well, cover and leave overnight in a cool place. Next day stir again and taste to check the sweetness, adding a little more sugar if it needs it. Now strain through a fairly coarse sieve, as it's nice of some of the lemon remains. Pour it into bottles, using sterilized corks, then chill thoroughly.

Serve the lemonade either straight or diluted with soda water, with lots of ice.

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Easy Chicken Kebabs : IHCC

"Kebab Krazy", our theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), where we are cooking from Madhur Jaffrey's recipes. So for this week, I've chosen an easy and quick kebab recipe, taken from the small and mini but "powerful" book, 100 Essential Curries. This book may be small in size but it is packed with delicious recipes for curries, some of which I have tried and really love! I've bought this book at  a bargain from the Big Bad Wolf book sale back in December. Grabbed this book immediately, when I saw the name "Madhur Jaffrey"!! 

I do not have an open grill nor any metal skewer. What I have is my oven, with a grill function and a pack of wooden "satay" sticks! I soaked the wooden sticks for a couple of hours, and they still got burnt even though they are under the grill for less than 10 minutes! These chicken kebabs are quick and easy to make. The chicken meat are marinated with all the lovely spices, yoghurt and lemon juice, and I've kept them covered in the refrigerator for about 4 hours. Take them out about 30 minutes before you start the grill.

Pierce some pieces of the meat through the skewer. Place the skewered meat on a rack over a roasting tray. Baste some vegetable oil over meat and grill at 200F for 5 minutes, basting once more in between. Turn skewers over and baste with more oil. Grill for 3-4 minutes until meat has cooked through and has brown burnt marks.

Serve with chopped fresh coriander leaves. You may serve with a squeeze of lemon, but these kebabs have the right balance of tanginess from the yoghurt and lemon juice in the marinade. Marinating the chicken meat pieces with yoghurt and the rest of the spices for several hours results in a very tender and tasty kebabs. I served this kebab as part of our dinner meal, with fragrant curry leaves basmati rice, potato curry and an Indian vegetable stir-fry. 


To view other delicious kebabs the lovely ladies at IHCC made, hop on over to IHCC.

Easy Chicken Kebabs
(adapted from "100 Essential Curries", Madhur Jaffrey)
Serves 4
4 boned, skinned chicken breast halves (about 550gm)
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice (I use only 1 tbsp)
3 tablespoons natural yoghurt
1 tablespoon chickpea flour (also called gram flour or besan) (I use all-purpose flour)
1 teaspoon peeled, very finely grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed to a pulp
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
4 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil for basting

Step One
Cut each breast half into halves, lengthways, and cut crossways into 2.5cm (1in) pieces. Put in a bowl. Rub with a teaspoon of the salt and the lemon juice.

Step Two
Put the natural yoghurt into a separate small bowl. Add the chickpea flour and mix well. Now add the remaining salt, the ginger, garlic, chilli powder, turmeric, cumin and garam masala. Mix well and pour over the chicken pieces. Mix well again and set aside for 15 minutes or longer (you could even leave it overnight).

Step Three
Preheat the grill. Thread the chicken pieces on to 4 skewers and balance the skewers on the raised edges of a grill rack. You could, as an alternative, spread the chicken pieces out on the grilling tray. Baste with the melted butter or oil. Grill the chicken pieces about 10cm (4in) from the source of heat for 5 minutes, basting once during this time. Turn the chicken pieces over, baste again and grill for 2-3 minutes or until just cooked through. Serve immediately.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Tomato Tart with Basil and Ricotta

From the recent Big Bad Wolf's booksale, I've bought this amazing book "Williams-Sonoma : Breakfast Comforts" and there are already dozens of recipes that I would really love to try. Almost all of the recipes are really great for brunch, and this is one of them. I've used some of my Homemade Ricotta Cheese, (refer to my previous post), to make Tomato Tart with Basil and Ricotta, recipe taken from this lovely book.

Juicy sweet, Cherry Tomatoes

The recipe has given the option of making your own puff pastry or using store-bought. I have taken the easy way, by using the store-bought puff pastry. Please refer to the rolling and cut-out size in the recipe below when using homemade puff pastry. Since the one I bought are only 4" square in size, I have made mini tarts for individual serving, so I have skipped the part on rolling and cutting, and go straight to the ricotta filling.  

The filling is first made by mixing the Ricotta cheese, grated Parmesan cheese (I used Cheddar), egg, minced basil leaves, salt, pepper and grated nutmeg.
Prepare the puff pastry : Score a 1/2-inch border along the four sides of the pastry, taking care not to cut through the pastry. Score the border with diagonal marks about 1/2-inch apart. Pierce the pastry inside the border with a fork.
Spread the ricotta filling evenly inside the border, then top with the sliced tomatoes. Here I have used cherry tomatoes and arranged them in a fun pattern of flowers.
Drizzle some olive oil over the tomatoes and filling. Brush the border with some egg wash.

Bake until pastry is golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.  

Serve warm with some sprinkling of chopped fresh basil. I served this delicious tart with some fresh greens and more cherry tomatoes. The ricotta filling with bits of fresh basil and seasoned with salt, pepper and nutmeg is so yummy. A bite of the creamy filling with the cherry tomatoes, and the crispy light pastry is so good!

This definitely gets the Thumbs Up from the kids!

I'm linking this post with Little Thumbs Up, where the ingredient for this month is Tomato, organised by Zoe from Bake For Happy Kids and hosted by my little favourite DIY.

Tomato Tart with Basil and Ricotta
(adapted from "Williams-Sonoma : Breakfast Comforts", Rick Rodgers)
625gm puff pastry or purchased puff pastry
1-1/4 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I used Cheddar)
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons minced fresh basil, plus chopped basil for garnish
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 large tomatoes, preferably heirloom
1 tablespoon olive oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F (190C). Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit a 16-by-11-inch  rimmed baking sheet. Turn the baking sheet over, and place the parchment on the underside. Roll out the puff pastry on a floured work surface into a 16-by-11-inch rectangle about 1/8 inch (3mm) thick. Transfer the dough to the parchment paper. Refrigerate the dough on the baking sheet for 15 minutes. (I skipped this step as I've used store-bought puff pastry, size 4" square)
  2. In a bowl, mix the ricotta, Parmesan, 1 of the eggs, the 3 tablespoons minced basil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and the nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. Using a serrated knife, slice the tomatoes into rounds about 1/2-inch thick. Shake out the majority of the seeds (don't worry if a few seeds remain). Place on paper towels to drain briefly. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper.
  4. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator. Using a pizza wheel, trim the rough edges from the pastry. Using the tip of a small sharp knife, score a 1-inch (2.5cm) border inside the edges of the pastry, taking care not to cut through the pastry. Score the border with diagonal marks about 1 inch apart. Pierce the pastry inside the border with a fork. Spread the ricotta mixture evenly inside the border, then top with the tomato slices. Drizzle the olive oil over the tomatoes and filling. In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg. Lightly brush the pastry border with some of the egg.
  5. Bake until the pastry border has risen and is golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Let cool for 3-5 minutes. Cut the pastry into 8 equal pieces. Transfer to a serving platter, sprinkle with chopped basil, and serve warm.
Variation : You can use just about any seasonal tomatoes, such as plum or cherry, adjusting the amount as needed to cover the ricotta filling.