Friday, October 31, 2014

THB : Chocolate-Topped Prune Cake

Bake #43 at The Home Bakers (THB), Chocolate-Topped Date Cake is selected by Angela of The Charmed Cupcakes.

As you can read from the title, I have used prunes instead of dates. Firstly I do not have any dates, and secondly I really need to clear the prunes from my pantry! 

I made half a recipe, used a 6" loose-bottomed pan. Mixed the batter by hand since it was a small amount. I have omitted the chocolates in the batter, using only the prunes which I've sliced to pieces, scatter with baking soda in a bowl, and pour in hot boiling water, leaving it to soak until it comes to room temperature, following the method in the recipe for dates. I have reduced the sugar to a quarter amount from the full recipe for half a cake, and it was just nice.  For the topping, I have used only a scattering of chocolate chips, keeping it simple. Originally, the recipe for the topping uses chopped walnuts, chocolate chips, sugar and cocoa powder.

The cake is moist, soft, tender and lovely eaten with a cup of tea.

For the full recipe and instructions, please visit the host of this bake, Angela of The Charmed Cupcakes, where she has made this cake into a bundt cake with delicious oozing chocolate ganache over the top. To view other members' bake, please visit The Home Bakers (THB).

Welcome to The Home Bakers

We are a group of home bakers who are currently baking from "Coffee Cakes" by Lou Seibert Pappas. This is our bake no. 43 and we have 17 recipes more to go.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pumpkin Frittata with Tomato Salsa

This simple frittata is the perfect lunch meal. Recipe uses sweet potato, but I have use pumpkin instead.

A simple tomato salsa is served with the frittata and they are good really together. I have used cherry tomatoes instead of vine-ripened plum tomatoes as stated in the recipe, as I am waiting for my plum tomatoes to ripen on the vines, there are several fruits right now and I can't wait for them to turn all red!

A simple, healthy lunch! Quick and yummy!

Sweet Potato (Pumpkin) Frittata with Tomato Salsa
(adapted from : "Healthy Appetite", Gordon Ramsay)
Serves 2
1 large sweet potato, about 200-250gm  (I use pumpkin)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
sea salt and black pepper
4 large eggs
small handful of chives, finely snipped

Tomato Salsa :
250gm vine-ripened plum tomatoes
2 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced on the diagonal
handful of coriander leaves, chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp sesame oil (I omitted this)
dash of tobasco sauce (I omitted this)
pinch of sugar (optional)

To make the salsa :
Halve or quarter the tomatoes and place in a large bowl. Add all the other ingredients and mix well, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper, and a pinch of sugar if you like. Set aside.

For the frittata :
Heat the grill to its highest setting. Peel the sweet potato and cut into 1-cm cubes. Heat a non-stick omelette or frying pan (suitable for use under the grill) and add the olive oil. When hot, toss in the potato and shallot, and season well with salt and pepper. Cook over a medium heat, turning occasionally, for about 4-5 minutes until the potatoes are just tender and lightly golden at the edges.

Lightly beat the eggs in a bowl, add the chives and pour over the sweet potatoes. Shake the pan gently to distribute the ingredients and cook over a low heat, without stirring, for a few minutes until the eggs are beginning to set at the bottom and around the sides.

Place the pan under the hot grill briefly until the top of the frittata has set. Try not to overcook the eggs or they will turn rubbery. Leave to stand for a minute, then run a heatproof plastic spatula around the sides of the pan and invert the frittata onto a large plate. Spoon the tomato salsa into a neat pile on top and serve immediately.

I'm linking this post to :


Little Thumbs Up (Oct 2014 Event : Pumpkin) organized by Zoe of Bake For Happy Kids and Mui Mui of My Little Favourite D.I.Y. and hosted by Eileen of Eileen's Diary.



Monday, October 27, 2014

Chicken Skewers with Lime, Chilli and Mint

"What Came First - The Chicken or the Egg?", the theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). Interesting, and always has been, Chicken or Eggs? What do you think?  

I was alone during one weekend, with nobody at home, the kids have gone to their cousins for the weekend, and hubby was out of town. I decided to make this chicken dish, as it is really very simple and quick to prepare. With things to do around the house, "spring cleaning", I was pretty occupied most of the day. So advance preparation with the ingredients! Which really is nothing, what I did for the "advance preparation" was to take out the half piece of chicken breast meat and two slices of frozen bread (for the salad) from my freezer, to thaw, that's all. 

When the chicken breast meat has been thawed, I cut it into chunks and marinated it with the marinating ingredients; zest and juice of limes, dried coarse chilli flakes (recipes uses fresh chilli, deseeded and shredded, but I did not have any fresh chillies), soy sauce, fish sauce, crushed garlic, chopped mint and black pepper. I added some sea salt as I've only used a minimum amount of fish sauce. Keep covered in refrigerator for a few hours. Place five wooden skewers in a plate, and pour some hot water to soak the skewers. Then back to my chores!

Note : Instead of chicken thigh meat as mentioned in the recipe, I have used the meat of half a chicken breast, since that was what I had. 
The original recipe is served with an Oriental Salad. I have however made another salad (Ottolenghi's) to go with the Chicken Skewers.

I left the meat marinated for about four hours. And the wooden skewers, I left them to soak for the same amount of time as the chicken meat. At the end of four hours, (I was pretty hungry by then, as I have skipped my lunch) thread the chicken meat on to the wooden skewers, and got exactly 5 skewers. I used a griddle pan, heat up with some oil, brush some oil over the chicken pieces and cook the chicken on both sides, sprinkle with more chilli flakes (I like them spicy!) until cooked through and have a nice good colour. Very quick, and fast! Takes less than 10 minutes of cooking time!

I had the Chicken Skewers with Seriously Zesty Bread Salad, from my previous post. And they are perfect together. This is one delicious meal! The Chicken Skewers is tender, moist and so tasty. All the flavours; chilli, mint and lime, comes together rather deliciously! And so good eaten with the fresh and zesty bread salad. A total winner! I enjoyed my meal so much that I wish my family was around to have it together. So I made this again two weeks later, made the same bread salad, for a weekend night dinner with my family, with another side dish. It was so good! There was no leftovers!

Chicken Skewers with Lime, Chilli and Mint
(adapted from "A Change of Appetite", Diana Henry, or here)
Serves 6
For the chicken :
12 boned and skinned chicken thighs
1-1/2 tbsp groundnut oil
juice of 1 lime

For the marinade :
grated zest of 4 limes
juice of 6 limes
2 red chillies, deseeded and shredded (I use coarse chilli flakes)
3 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp fish sauce
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp chopped mint
freshly ground black pepper

Soak six long or 12 short wooden skewers in just-boiled water for 30 minutes. Cube the chicken. Make the marinade by mixing together all the ingredients for it. Put in the chicken, turning it over to make sure it is all coated, cover and refrigerate for one to four hours.

Thread the chicken on to the skewers and shake off any excess marinade. Heat the oil in a large frying-pan (big enough for the chicken to lie flat). Alternatively, heat a dry griddle pan and use the oil to paint the chicken. Cook on all sides until the chicken is cooked through, starting on a high heat to get a good colour all over then turning the heat down. The whole process takes about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper and squeeze over some lime juice.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week, "What Came First - The Chicken or the Egg?"

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Bite-Size Bacon and Cheese Scones

These cheesy bacon scones are so addictive! The first sentence from this recipe in the cookbook is, "I dare you to stop eating these!",  and that is a good reason enough to bake this right away! If you love bacon and cheese, then do yourself a favour, and bake this, on one weekend afternoon, when your family is around to enjoy these scones, fresh and warm, delicious, right after baking. Perfect for an afternoon tea-time treat, of course have a pot of warm tea ready!

Firstly, fry the bacon till crisp, chop to small pieces, keep aside while you prepare the dough.
The dough is mixed in the food processor, which takes about only a minute. Dump the dough on a lightly floured work surface, knead in the bacon pieces and bring the dough into a ball. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to 1/2" thick, use a 1-1/2" cookie cutter, cut out as many scones as you can. Gather the scraps, and repeat.

The scones may be left as it is (on the left), or add a pinch of grated cheese over each one before baking (on the right). Of course, I topped all of the scones with grated cheese.

Bake in a preheated oven at 400F (200C), for about 12 minutes until golden. Remove from the pan and let cool slightly on a wire rack before serving.

Freshly baked and could not wait to eat it! Smells so cheesy nice!

Just like the author says, "I dare you to stop eating these!".  How true! I could not stop at just two or three, same goes with the family! Before we know it, most of the scones are gone! They are so good! Eating them while still warm, minutes after baking is the best! These scones are buttery, tender, tastes just amazing with the bacon and cheese. Do not skip the cheese topping, it really does "take the scones over the top", as in the author's own words. We had these with some warm tea, and it was raining heavily outside while we were enjoying these scones. Such perfect tea-time treat! 

Bite-Size Bacon and Cheese Scones
(adapted from "Willams-Sonoma : Home Baked Comfort", Kim Laidlaw)
makes about 4 dozen mini scones
3 thick slices applewood-smoked bacon (use streaky bacon)
2 cups (10oz/315g) all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup (4oz/125g) grated Asiago or Gruyere cheese (I use Cheddar)
pinch of kosher salt (omit salt, as but butter is salted)
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper (use 1/4 tsp)
1/2 cup (4oz/125g) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks (use salted butter)
1 large egg
3/4 cup (6fl oz/180ml) heavy cream or whole milk (I use slightly less)

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400F (200C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a frying pan, fry the bacon over medium-low heat until lightly crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and finely chop the bacon.
In a food processor, combine the flour, baking powder, cheese, salt, and pepper and pulse briefly to mix. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and cream until blended. Pour the egg mixture into the processor and pulse just until the dough comes together.
Dump the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead in the bogacon and then bring the dough together into a ball. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to 1/2 inch (12mm) thick. Using a 1-1/2-inch (4cm) biscuit cutter, cut out as many scones as you can. Gather the scrape of dough, roll out, and cut out more scones.
Space the scones evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the scones are golden, about 12 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool slightly on a wire rack before serving.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

THB : Blueberry-Streusel Sunday Coffee Cake

Bake #42 at The Home Bakers (THB), Wild Huckleberry-Streusel Sunday Coffee Cake, is selected by Jessie of The Dinner Pages, from the book where we are currently baking from, "Coffee Cakes' by Lou Seibert Pappas.

I have replaced the wild huckleberry with frozen blueberries. Have not seen huckleberry being sold over here before. 

I made half a recipe, and use a 7" round cake pan, baked for 40 minutes in a preheated oven at 350F. Originally, the cake is baked in a 9" pie pan for a full recipe. The recipes uses chopped pecans or walnuts for the streusel, which I have sub with chocolate chips, as someone in my house do not like nuts. I actually took by mistake the coffee choc chips instead of the regular choc chips, and it was really nice. 

The cake is really nice, soft, light and bursting with blueberries. The coffee chocolate chips is really fragrant with the aroma of coffee. Overall, this is one lovely cake.

For the full recipe and instructions, please visit the host of this bake, Jessie of The Dinner PagesTo view other members' bake, please visit The Home Bakers (THB).

Welcome to The Home Bakers

We are a group of home bakers who are currently baking from "Coffee Cakes" by Lou Seibert Pappas. This is our bake no. 42 and we have 18 recipes more to go.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Seriously Zesty Bread Salad

"October Potluck", the theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). For this week, I've made a salad recipe of Yotam Ottolenghi (YO), which I have been wanting to make ever since our time with Ottolenghi more than a year ago!

YO has indicated in the recipe to use either sourdough or ciabatta bread, which is toasted with some olive oil and salt, until crispy and brown. I have however used my leftover homemade bread which I stored in the freezer and really needed to clear.

The veggies ; It was noted in the recipe that this salad is only worth making when tomatoes are in season and full of flavour. I have used cherry tomatoes instead, as cherry tomatoes are sweet and I love them in salads. Other veggies; cucumber and coriander from my garden, red onion, red pepper, crushed garlic. Toss the veggies with red wine vinegar, olive oil, grated zest and juice of half a lemon, with some salt and black pepper to taste. Just before serving, mix in the toasted bread, mix gently with a spoon, though I do not understand why YO advised using your hands for this step! Using a spoon works rather well, and hygienic too! 

Sprinkle with some sumac and dig in! Ooh, this is so good! The toasted bread is so crunchy and delicious. I cannot remember the name of the bread that I've made, but it has a light sweetness to it, and extremely delicious when used in this salad! All the veggies and the red onion are wonderfully crisp. This salad is zesty and tangy alright, from the lemon zest and juice, and with the red wine vinegar. And the sumac, I would not skip it! Simply wonderful with the sprinkling of sumac. I can see how this salad is great alongside a piece of slightly charred meat from the barbecue as mentioned by Ottolenghi. I had this with some chicken dish. I will definitely make this salad again.

Seriously Zesty Bread Salad
(adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi)
150gm rustic bread (stale or fresh) - sourdough or ciabatta, for example
salt and pepper
2 small cucumbers (15cm long), cut into 2cm pieces
3 tomatoes, cut into wedges
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, cored and cut into large pieces
1 bunch coriander, roughly chopped
2 tsp sumac (optional)
grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1 garlic clove, crushed
1-1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil

This salad is only worth making when tomatoes are in season and full of flavour. It should be acidic and tangy, and will taste amazing alongside a piece of slightly charred meat from the barbecue. Serves four.

Method :
Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas mark 3. Spread out the bread on a roasting tray, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with some flaky salt. Bake for 20 minutes until crispy and golden, then leave to cool. Mix all the other salad ingredients and adjust the seasoning to taste. Just before serving, mix in the toasted bread, using your hands.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), for this week's theme, "October Potluck".

Pot Luck Badge

and "Souper Sundays" @ Kahakai Kitchen"

Friday, October 17, 2014

Kimchi-guk (Kimchi Soup)

I have made this kimchi soup many times using my homemade kimchi. I love kimchi soup and could finish a whole bowl of this soup, and slurp on every last drop!

Really easy to make, and it is simply delicious!

In a pot, mix 2 cups of chopped kimchi, it's juices and some from the jar, pork pieces, hot pepper paste and sugar, mixing all to combine. Pour in 5 cups of water,  bring to a boil, lower heat and bring soup to a simmer for about 30-40 minutes until pork is tender. Add salt to taste if necessary. Add in tofu pieces, simmer gently for about 10 minutes, add in spring onions which have been cut to 2" sections. Serve hot.  I have added in more hot pepper paste (gochujang), as I like the soup a little more spicy. Use less hot pepper paste for a milder soup, but if you love heat, you would probably add on more, just like I did! 

I found this recipe at this wonderful website, all on Korean food,  There are so many mouth-watering recipes that I would love to try! 

Delicious! With just this one dish, you would eat two bowls of rice!

Kimchi Soup
(source from : Maangchi)
2 cups chopped kimchi, (plus its juices, and a tablespoon or two, from the jar)
1/2 pound pork shoulder (or pork belly), cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tbsp hot pepper paste (gochujang)
1 tsp sugar
5 cups water
2 stalks green onion, chopped
1 pc tofu

  1. Combine the kimchi, hot pepper paste, kimchi juice, pork, and sugar in a heavy bottomed pot.
  2. Add water and bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 30 minutes. (Add salt to taste if necessary).
  3. Add tofu and lower the heat to medium low. Cook for another 10 minutes.
  4. Add green onion and remove from the heat.
  5. Serve hot with rice and a few more side dishes if desired.

I'm linking this post with Souper Sundays @ Kahakai Kitchen

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Maple Pecan Pie : Bake-Along #69

It's time for our Bake-Along #69, Maple Pecan Pie, selected by Zoe to bake together with Lena, myself and anyone who wishes to bake-along with us.

Pure maple syrup is really expensive over here, so I have substituted with Lyle's Golden Syrup Maple Flavour. If you are a maple syrup purist, you would probably be shaking your head, but if I make a full recipe, I would probably need to spend about RM60 just for the maple syrup alone, and that is the price for the cheapest brand.  Pecans are very expensive as well.

To make the crust, I've used the food processor to mix the dough, and use only about 3/4 tbsp of water. The dough is soft and a little sticky, I should have omitted the water! The sticky dough was a little difficult to manage but I managed to line the pie pan with the dough, after lots of patching up! Can you see from the photo above, one part of the crust has dropped off, yes, it was so flaky and tender that I broke a little of the crust after baking.

The filling is made by cooking the maple syrup (Lyle's golden syrup) until it is reduced to 1-1/2 cups, and let cool to room temperature before proceeding. It is then stirred together with eggs, brown sugar, salt, melted butter and vanilla until evenly mixed. The pecans are added in, stir well to combine and this filling is poured onto the partially baked pie crust, making sure the pecan is evenly distributed. The pie is baked for about 30-35 minutes. (I baked mine for about 38 minutes).

Lyle's Golden Syrup - Maple Flavour, the closest that I can sub for pure maple syrup.

A slice of "Maple" Pecan Pie. I really love the buttery flaky crust. It was so flaky and buttery. The filling is a little sweet. I should have omitted the brown sugar which I wanted to omit in the beginning, but decided to follow the recipe instead. The pecans are so yummy, baked to a crispy crunch and delicious with the sticky syrup, which is a little soft and gooey.

The recipe recommends to serve this pie with whipped cream, but I think ice cream is the best!

Maple Pecan Pie
(adapted from "The Williams-Sonoma Baking Book")
makes one 9-inch (23cm) pie, or 8 servings
Flaky Pastry Dough (refer below*)
For the filling :
2 cups (22oz/690g) maple syrup
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup (2oz/60gm) firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp pure vanilla butter
1-1/2 cups (6oz/185gm) pecans, coarsely chopped

Roll out the dough disk into a 12-inch (30-cm) round. Transfer the dough round to a 9-inch (23-cm) pie pan or dish. Trim the edge of the dough round, leaving 3/4 inch (2cm) of overhang. Fold the overhang under itself and pinch it together to create a high edge on the pan's rim. Flute the edge decoratively. Refrigerate or freeze the pie shell until firm, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, place an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 375F (190C). Partially bake the pie shell ; Remove the pastry shell from the refrigerator or freezer. Line with a sheet of aluminium foil or parchment (baking) paper large enough to overhang the sides, patting the foil into the bottom and up over the sides. Cover the bottom of the shell with a generous layer of pie weights or raw short-grain rice on top of the foil. The weights help prevent the pastry from shrinking during baking. Bake for 20 minutes, then lift an edge of the foil to check the dough. If it looks wet, continue to bake, checking it every 5 minutes, until it is pale gold. The total baking time will be 25-30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. Reduce the oven temperature to 350F (180C).

In a saucepan, over medium-high heat, bring the maple syrup to a boil and boil for 8-10 minutes to reduce by about one-fourth. Remove from the heat and pour into a heatproof measuring pitcher. The syrup should be reduced to 1-1/2 cups (12 oz/375gm). If necessary, return the syrup to the saucepan and continue to boil until sufficiently reduced. Let cool to room temperature before proceeding.

In a bowl, stir together the eggs, brown sugar, reduced maple syrup, salt, melted butter, and vanilla until well mixed. Add the pecans and stir well. Pour into partially baked pie shell, making sure the pecans are evenly distributed.

Bake the pie until the center is slightly puffed and firm to the touch, 30-35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool until just slightly warm, about 45 minutes. Slice into wedges and serve with the whipped cream.

* Flaky Pastry Dough
Makes dough for one 9-inch (23-cm) single crust pie or one 10-inch (25-cm galette
1-1/4 cup (200gm) all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (125gm) cold unsalted butter
3 tbsp ice water, plus more if needed

In a bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and salt and pulse to blend. Add the butter and pulse 5 or 6 times, until the mixture is the texture of coarse meal with butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the 3 tbsp water through the feed tube, pulsing once after each addition and adding just enough to make a crumbly dough; it will not hold together on its own but will when gathered into a ball with your hands. If the dough is dry, mix in more water 1 tbsp at a time.


Do stop by Lena of Frozen Wings and Zoe of Bake For Happy Kids, and all our friends who has baked along with us in the linky below :

For our next Bake-Along, we will be baking based on a theme which is "Theme : French Macaron". Please do join us by baking any of your favourite French Macaron, and link your post to our linky which will start on 6th till 15th November. Everyone is welcome to join us! Only current post please.


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, PLEASE FOLLOW THE BAKE OR THEME provided by us. Unrelated post will be deleted.
3. Feel free to display our Bake-Along badge in your post.


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Monday, October 13, 2014

Apple and Blueberry Jellies

"Icy Cold", the theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), our second week of cooking with Diana Henry recipes. This week is all about "frozen treats, cold beverages and other icy cold treats". Icy treats are always welcome anytime in my house, as the weather is always hot over here!  I've selected a cold jelly dessert, perfect to serve the family as an after dinner treat, cooling and refreshing.

This recipe, from her cookbook, "Plenty", was originally called "Blood Orange and Cardamom Jellies", and Apple and Blackberry Jellies is another variation which she has provided in the book. I do not have any blackberries, but I do have frozen blueberries in my freezer, so I've used that instead. And I've used unsweetened Apple Juice which is heated over medium-low heat, with a cinnamon stick and some sugar, stir until the sugar is dissolved. The cinnamon stick is then discarded and the pre-soaked softened gelatine* (which I've soaked with half cup of the apple juice for about 10-15 minutes) is added. Stir until the gelatin has completely dissolved. Pour into glasses, the ones I've used has a capacity of 6oz (about 180ml), drop in some of the frozen blueberries, keep aside to cool and refrigerate for 24 hours until the jellies has set. The jelly would be wobbly when the glass is lightly shaken.

* Note : The recipe uses gelatin sheet, but I've used gelatin granules. Thanks to David Lebovitz, after conversion, I've used about 3-1/2 teaspoon of gelatin granules to set 1 litre of apple juice (or any liquid) for a soft set, which is meant to be eaten using a spoon, not suitable to unmould.

At first I thought that the frozen blueberries would bleed when dropped into the hot liquid, and I tried with one glass first, waited for a few minutes and surprisingly the hot liquid are not tinge with blue from the berries! So, I dropped the rest of the blueberries into the remaining 5 glasses. Allow the jellies to cool, then refrigerate.

Best refrigerate the jellies for 24 hours. They will still be wobbly when the glass is lightly shaken. The texture is soft and mushy, just perfect for a soft set. We had this cooling yummy dessert after our dinner meal and it was good! The next time, I will make this again, using other flavour variations mentioned in the book.  

Apple and Blueberry Jellies
(adapted from : "Plenty", Diana Henry or here)
1 litre apple juice, unsweetened
juice of half a lemon
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 cup sugar (or to taste)
3-1/2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
1 cup blueberries

Pour  half cup of apple juice into a medium bowl. Sprinkle powdered gelatin over and set aside for 10-15 minutes. 
Meanwhile place the balance apple juice in a medium pot over a medium heat, add the cinnamon stick and sugar to taste, stirring until the sugar has completely disssolved.
Discard the cinnamon stick, remove from heat, add the gelatin mixture, stir until the gelatin has completely dissolved. 
Pour into glasses, drop in some blueberries into the apple juice, keep aside to cool, then refrigerate overnight until jelly has set. This is a soft-set jelly, meant to be eaten with a spoon (not suitable to unmould).

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week, "Icy Cold".

grab button for I Heart Cooking Clubs

Monday, October 6, 2014

Chicken Baked with Red Onions, Potatoes and Rosemary And Spring Couscous to Welcome Diana Henry

I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) is welcoming Diana Henry as our new featured chef for the next six months with the theme for this week "Welcome Diana Henry!". I am not familiar with Diana Henry and have never tried any of her recipes before. Did a search on the internet, and really like her recipes, especially her chicken recipes! In fact, I have already tried three of her chicken recipes, and like them all. Her new cookbook on chicken "A Bird In The Hand" will out in March 2015, definitely on my list!

To welcome Diana Henry into my kitchen for the next six months, I've made her simple and delicious Chicken Baked With Red Onions, Potatoes and Rosemary. That's not all, I've also made her Spring Couscous which is fresh and lovely.

Chicken thighs are rubbed with sea salt to crisp the skin (brilliant!). Onions, potatoes and garlic are placed in a single layer in a large roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper, pour over the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, leaving some sprigs whole and strip off leaves of the rest. Toss everything to combine, and tuck in the chicken thigh pieces. I sprinkled some black pepper over the chicken pieces. Bake at 200C for 45 minutes until the veggies are cooked and the chicken thighs are brown and crispy. Wonderful aroma in the kitchen while this is baking!

Simplicity at its best! The chicken thigh is so delicious, tender and moist with really crispy skin. The potatoes and onions are soft and tender, and the garlic are creamy and delicious. To serve with this delicious chicken, I've made Spring Couscous. When the chicken is almost done, I start on preparing the Couscous.

This Spring Couscous is definitely spring! It is fresh and lovely. Recipe uses pistachio nuts, which I have omitted cos someone in the house do not like nuts. Using herbs from my garden pot, fresh mint, coriander leaves and scallion, season with salt and lemon juice, I served the couscous on "lettuce cups". An easy, simple and delicious meal that does not take up much time at all. 

I am waiting (rather impatiently!) for my books to arrive, meanwhile, both these recipes can be found at the links provided in the recipes.

Chicken Baked with Red Onion, Potatoes and Rosemary
(adapted from "Pure Simple Cooking", Diana Henry or here)
2 red onions, each cut into 10 wedges
2 bulbs garlic, unpeeled and separated into cloves
500gm waxy baby potatoes, leave the skin on
salt and pepper
8 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
5 sprigs rosemary
8 chicken thighs, rubbed with sea salt to crisp the skin
  1. Spread the vegetables and garlic in a single layer over the base of a huge roasting tin so that they will crisp and brown beautifully. Season, pour over the oil and balsamic vinegar and add the rosemary, leaving some sprigs whole and strip off the leaves of the rest.
  2. Toss the vegetables with your hands and tuck the chicken pieces in among them. Bake for 45 minutes at 200C/400F/GM6 until cooked through.
  3. Transfer everything to a big platter or take to the table in the roasting tin. Serve a green salad on the side.

Spring Couscous
(adapted from "Food From Plenty", Diana Henry, or here)
1 cup couscous
3/4 cup boiling water or chicken stock
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (I use 3 tbsps)
salt and pepper
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
2 scallions, finely chopped
2 tbsp each fresh parsley, mint and cilantro
3 tbsp shelled, unsalted pistachio, chopped

Sprinkle the couscous into a bowl and add the stock or water, seasoning and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap. Let the couscous plump up for about 15 minutes, then fork it through to separate the grains and aerate it. It will still be hot.
Stir in the rest of the ingredients and taste for seasoning.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC),  for this week's theme, "Welcome Diana Henry!"
grab button for I Heart Cooking Clubs



I will be taking a short blogging break. Cook-Your-Books will be on as usual, please do keep your posts coming.  I will try to visit your blogs if I can. Until then, have a delicious week, everyone!

Cook-Your-Books #17

Cook-Your-Books is all about cooking or baking from your many cookbooks or magazines that you have collected over the years. If you love collecting cookbooks, read them like novels and love trying out new recipes, then this is the perfect place to share. It's time to get those books (or magazines) out of the shelves, and start using them. Bake or cook anything from any of your books or magazines, and link your posts to Cook-Your-Books here at Kitchen Flavours. The linky will start on the 7th of every month right up to the end of the month. The three most viewed submissions will be featured at the next Cook-Your-Books.

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Featured posts for this month
The three most viewed posts from Cook-Your-Books #16

Lemon Cheesecake with Lemon Curd
by Phong Hong Bakes

Baked Ji Dan Gao

by thealovetea

Thank you everyone for sharing all the delicious dishes and bakes from your cookbooks!

It's now time to link-up!

A little note when submitting your post to Cook-Your-Books
  1. Linky for submissions will start on the 7th of every month right up to the end of the month. The submission with the most views will be featured at the next Cook-Your-Books.
  2. All submissions must be new and current posts, within the current month. Old posts will be deleted. Please link directly to your post, not your homepage.
  3. Please mention from which book or magazine you are cooking or baking from, as this is a cooking/baking event using recipes from cookbooks and magazines.
  4. Please mention Cook-Your-Books in your post and link it back to Kitchen FlavoursYou may display Cook-Your-Books badge anywhere in your post.
  5. Please leave a comment after you have linked.
  6. It would be great if you could visit at least one link, everyone loves visitors.

I am on a short blogging break right now. Please do keep your posts coming! Will visit all the links as soon as I can! Thank you!

Link-up with Cook-Your-Books #16 from 
7th - 31st October 2014

Friday, October 3, 2014

Ayam Tempra (A Nyonya Dish)

Ayam Tempra is a Nyonya Dish, Ayam is the Malay word for chicken, and Tempra is the way of cooking a braised dish using onions, white pepper powder, sugar, black soy sauce, light soy sauce and a squeeze of lime or calamansi juice. Besides Ayam Tempra, there are Ikan Tempra (fish) and Terung Tempra (brinjal). Will share them in my blog posts one of these days.

This is a really easy dish to cook and very delicious. Popular among children and adults, it is a very tasty dish that is really good eaten with plain white hot fluffy rice.

Every Nyonya household has their own family recipe for this, but basically, the main ingredients that make this dish are;  lots of onions which gives a delicious oniony-sweet flavour, black soy sauce for colour and sauce texture, light soy sauce for the saltiness, some sugar for sweetness, a pinch of white pepper powder for that little peppery taste, and another must-have ingredient, the juice from calamansi or lime. It is the calamansi/lime juice, which makes this dish a little different from other braised dishes. 

I have always used calamansi lime, if it is not available, limes (key limes)  may be used instead. 

A family favourite. Give this a try. 

Ayam Tempra
(by kitchen flavours)
2 whole chicken legs or 1/2 chicken, skinned and cut to pieces
2 large onions (peeled, halved and thinly sliced)
2 garlic cloves (crushed lightly with the side of the knife)
3-4 slices ginger
1 fresh red chilli (sliced at a diagonal)
1-2 tablespoons black soy sauce
2-3 tablespoons light soy sauce, to taste
1 tsp sugar, to taste
1/2 cup water
1/8 tsp of white pepper powder
1 large calamansi limes, squeezed for juice

Heat about 2 tbsps oil in a wok or saucepan. Saute garlic cloves, ginger and sliced onions over medium-high heat for about 3-4 minutes until onions are softened. Add chicken pieces and stir-fry for about 5 minutes until chicken are no longer pink. Add black soy sauce, light soy sauce, sugar, white pepper powder and stir until chicken is well coated with the sauce. Add water, stir to combine, bring to a boil, turn down heat to low. Cover wok and simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring from time to time, until chicken is cooked through. Add some hot water if it appears dry. Stir in sliced fresh red chillies, and lime juice. Stir to combine, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Dish should be a little salty, a little sweet with a light taste of the lime juice. Dish out to a serving plate. Serve hot with rice.


I would like to share something on the gardening front. Some of you would probably know of my love for gardening. With limited gardening grounds, my plants and some veggies that I grow are all in pots and containers. Recently, I was approached by Lynseed Organics to try some of their seeds. Lynseed Organics is based in Singapore, and they offer one of the largest organic seeds collections in Asia with deliveries to Singapore, Malaysia and other parts of the world. They carry a variety of specially selected seeds that thrive in our warm tropical climate. Their seeds are 100% GMO-Free, 100% Non-Hybrid, Open Pollinated, Quality Seeds, Heirloom Vegetable Seeds, so you can be assured of good quality reliable seeds.

They have a wide range of seeds for herbs and vegetables that are suitable for growing in containers and pots, especially great for home gardeners like myself with limited ground gardening space. I have done a series of gardening posts in my garden blog, My Little Potted Garden, using the organic seeds from Lynseed Organics. You may check out my blog posts at the following links :

Ever thought of growing your own veggies? Even if you do not have the gardening grounds (lucky you, if you do!), you could still have your veggie and herb garden in pots and containers, no matter how small your space is. Some of my seeds have to wait for their turn, due to lack of space, but that's OK. As long as some veggies is growing at the moment, that makes me happy. But that do not stop me from wishing for more space.....  !!

Lynseed Organics has kindly offered a 10% off the purchases for My Little Potted Garden readers. To get the coupon code, click on any of the links above which will direct you to my blog posts. I would love for you to stop by! 

Thank you, and I hope that you will enjoy reading about my gardening experience using seeds from Lynseed Organics.

Grow your own veggies and herbs! Go Green! From garden pot to kitchen pot, only the best for your family!  :)