Sunday, 26 February 2006

Weekend Baking Session # 1

I bake almost every weekend. Commencing this weekend onwards, there will be Weekend Baking Session at Pusiva's Culinary Studio.

Was wondering of what to bake. Then, thought that it has been quite some time that I have not baked a bread. The next question was what bread to bake. Checked out my pantry and found that I have lots of potatoes. For this 1st round of WBS, I have decided to bake Potatoe Rolls.

Potatoe Rolls

What do we need:

2 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup mashed potatoes
1/2 cup warm water
1 egg
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp instant dry yeast
1/2 tsp salt

1 egg yolk
1 tbsp water

How do we do it:

Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup of the warm water.

Combine mashed potatoes, egg, butter, salt, sugar and the yeast mixture. Add flour alternately with the remaining 1/4 cup of warm water. Mix until well combined. Turn the dough onto a floured board and knead. Cover and let it rise for 1 hour in a warm place.

Divide dough into prefered number of equal sized pieces and form them into rolls. Place on a baking sheet and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes or doubled in size. Brush the dough with the egg yolk and water mixture. Bake at 220° C for 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve potatoe rolls warm or cold with butter and/or jam.

Friday, 24 February 2006

The Butter Fruit: Avocado

The other day went to Asian Star, a Sri Lankan grocery shop in the town centre. Wanted to buy avocado to make salad. After picking the best fruit I could find, I headed towards the cash counter. As I was just on my way, found a new kind of fruit. The colour was very much similar to avocado but the skin texture was smoother and the shape was rather rounder compared to normal pear shaped of avocado. Then, picked a good fruit and returned previous avocado back to it´s place. Paid for the fruit and left. At back home, asked hubby what fruit is it. He said that it could be a different species of avocado or maybe a hybrid. When I was quite sure that it is an avocado, I just let it ripe.

Today, found that the fruit has ripened. Wanted to make something different out of it other than the normal salads. Crossed my mind was the Avocado Paratha made by Garam Masala of The Spice Is Right. So, decided to make them as well but with my basic paratha recipe. I made slight modifications on the seasonings to suit my taste.

Avocado Parathas

What do we need:

1 1/2 cups plain four
1/2 cup high protein flour (Bread flour)
1 ripe avocado, mashed
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/2 cumin powder
1 tsp salt
water, accordingly

How do we do it:

Mix all the dry ingredients together. Add the mashed avocado. Knead slowly while adding water little by little, if necessary, until it becomes soft & pliable dough.

Divide the dough into 8 equal sized balls. Roll it out into prefered shape. (round or triangle). Place the rolled dough on a medium heat griddle. Cook for 2 minutes. Flip it over and cook for another minute.

Avocado Parathas with Mung Bean & Carrot Curry and Date & Tomato Chutney

The texture of the dough was very soft and smooth due to the buttery avocado. I love the colour of the dough. Guess what....GREEN. Avocado parathas are best served hot with curries, chutney or sambal (red hot curry).

Thursday, 23 February 2006

From My Rasoi # 3 - Cooking For Love

Meenakshi Agarwal of Hooked On Heat has been organising an event called From My Rasoi. This time the theme is Cooking For Love. For the 1st time I'm participating in an event. This is fun. It is a great theme as love plays a very important role in cooking. One has to love to cook in order to cook well. Cooking done with love and care tastes totally different.

Cooking and baking has been my passion since young. My father liked my cooking. Everytime I bring home the food that I cooked in school, he would eat them very proudly. He would tell my mom, "my daughter cooked this". After his death, I had stopped cooking. I could not cook well as there were nobody to appreciate it.

When I was 14, my Home Science teacher, Mrs Sundralingam, thought us that To Win A Man's Heart Is Thru His Stomach. Since then, her golden words has stuck in my mind, forever. Have been cooking and baking a lot since I got married. I felt that it is my duty to feed my husband. Like my father, my husband appreciated my cooking. He loved my baked goodies. His endless encouragements boosted me up to become a better cook. He bought me a digicam so that I can snap pictures of my cooking for keep sake and to be posted in food forums. Now that I have started blogging, the camera is more useful.

I had been baking a cake for each of my daughter´s monthly birth anniversaries. For her 1st birthday, I baked and frosted a number 1 shaped cake. When she cut it, there were tears in my eyes. I was overjoyed to see her cutting her 1st ever birthday cake baked by her amma. At that very moment, I decided that I am going to bake all my childrens´ birthday cakes as long as I am alive. It won't be just a normal cake. It is a mixture of love, passion and care baked up.

This recipe that I have chosen to cook for love is Date and Tomato Chutney. It has been sitting in my list to do for quite a while. The reason I chose it is that this dish contains many tastes and flavours which is how love is supposed to be; tasty and full of flavours.

Date and Tomato Chutney

What do we need:

1 cup dates, stoned and chopped
1 large tomato, skinned and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped finely
1 inch ginger, chopped finely
1/2 cup tomato puree
1 tsp chilli powder (depends to individual)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
3 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp oil
salt to taste

How do we do it:

Heat oil and add the mustard seeds. When the seeds begin to splutter, add onion and ginger. Sauté just slightly. Do not fry for long.

Add the dates and tomatoes. Add the rest of the ingredients. Stir to mix well. Cook on low heat for about 30 to 40 minutes.

Date and tomato chutney is best eaten with rotis. I ate by spreading it on a slice of toast. I like this chutney very much. Hope that anyone who tries it would like it as well.

Wednesday, 22 February 2006

Non Food Blogging: Maylisha Turns 17

My daughter, Maylisha, is 17 months today. It is unbelievable how time can fly this fast. All I remember was that I was pregnant and then, I gave birth. That is all. All of a sudden, she is now 17 months. Gosh......

Hubby was on leave today. After I was back from work, the 3 of us went to Gasthof Linde in Stettlen, a restaurant in the suburbs of Bern. I ate pan fried chicken breast with mushroom sauce along with mixed vege and pasta. Hubby ate steak with pepper and grapes sauce along with mixed vege and potatoe chips. For Maylisha, just potatoe chips.

Pan fried chicken breast with mushroom sauce along with mixed vege and pasta

Steak with pepper and grapes sauce along with mixed vege and potatoe chips

Maylisha enjoyed herself very much. When we were about to leave, she went around wishing all the other guests at the restaurant and earned herself a bar of chocolate from one of them. Looks like she has got `THE´ skills.

Monday, 20 February 2006

Smooth Smoothie

Bored with the same old eatable breakfasts. For a change whipped up a drinkable one. Bought strawberries the other day. I love the bright colour of strawberries. Very inviting and high in vitamin C.

Strawberry Smoothie

What do we need:

4 strawberries, hulled
1 large banana
1/2 cup plain yoghurt, cold
1/2 cup milk, cold
4 tbsp müesli
1 tbsp brown sugar (optional)

How do we do it:

Throw all the ingredients into a blender. Blend until it becomes smooth and creamy.

Serve immediately.

Tastes great, filling and it is indeed very healthy.

Sunday, 19 February 2006

Fast, Healthy and Delicious

Did not feel like eating anything heavy. So, decided to have just a salad. Looked through my fridge and found celeriac in my crisper. I like the taste of celeriac made into salad. Then, chose an apple for some sourish taste and a carrot for sweetish taste. Also for the colour contrast.

What do we need:

1 apple
1 carrot
1 piece of celeriac (the same of the apple)
1 tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried salad herbs

1 tbsp plain yoghurt
1 tbsp mayonaise
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp apple cider
A dash of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

How do we do it:

Core the apple. Peel the skin of the apple, carrot and celeriac. Wash and grate them.

In a separate bowl, mix all the ingredients for the dressing together.

Pour the dressing onto the grated veges. Sprinkle the salad herbs. Mix everything throughly. Chill in the fridge for about 10 minutes before serving.

This salad is combination of many tastes. Easy and very fast to prepare.

Saturday, 18 February 2006

Twisted Toast

Though I wake up early during weekends, I have always been cooking lunch quite late as I had to spend most of my time with my little daughter. So, breakfast is a must for during weekends. Was exploring my pantry and found a loaf of sandwich bread. When I saw it, the very 1st thing that struck me was TOAST. I love toast. French toast especially.

Iniatially, I was just preparing the ingredients for a normal french toast. When I touched the bottle of vanilla essence, my eyes went to the bottle next to it. Almond essence. Then, my brain started spinning and came up with a new idea. Why not I make almond toast for a change? Here I go................

Almond Toast

What do we need:

10 slices of bread
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 drop almond essence
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup ground almond (almond meal)

How do we do it:

Mix together the eggs, milk, brown sugar and the essences. Beat lightly until the sugar disssolve.

On a medium heat, lightly butter a frying pan. Dip a slice a bread into the egg mixture until the bread is fully covered with the mixture. Transfer the bread slice onto the pan.

Place a teaspoonful of the almonds onto the bread and spread it to cover one side of the whole slice. Flip it over after a minute or two and remove after a minute.

Almond toast is best served with a drizzle of honey. Almonds could be substituted to hazelnuts. Just omit the almond essence. Serve hazelnut toast with a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

Friday, 17 February 2006

Mushroom Stew

Found very fresh button mushrooms in Aldi and quickly grabbed them. Don't have to think a lot when it comes to buying mushrooms as they are high in vitamin B and potassium. They are also free of cholestrol, fat and sodium.

Was wondering of what to cook. Then, remembered the Ginger Mushrooms by VKN in My Dhaba. After going thru the recipe, I thought I should change it to my taste. Decided to use sambar powder, which is milder compared to normal curry powder. Also wanted to add some green peas as well, for protein supply & colour contrast. Lesson from my mom; food has to be attractive & inviting.

What do we need:

250g fresh button mushrooms, sliced
2 big tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup frozen or canned green peas
1 big onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 inch ginger, chopped finely
3 tsp sambar powder
2 tsp fennel powder
1/4 cup milk
2 tbsp oil
salt & pepper to taste

How do we do it:

On a medium stove, heat oil and sauté onion, garlic and ginger until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and let it cook until almost cooked, about 7 minutes. In goes the tomatoes, sambar and fennel powder. Pour in the milk and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the green peas and season with salt and pepper.

Mushroom stew tastes great with hot pipping rice or rotis. I did not expect it turn out so well. Tasted more like chicken.

Thursday, 16 February 2006

What A Sale!!!!!

Went for grocery shopping after work yesterday evening. Was raining lightly when S & I reached Carrefour. Just as we entered, saw a counter full of books, unarranged. Just glanced thru and found a cookbook and the price was just CHF2.00. I thought, "am I seeing what I'm seeing?" Though I was hungry, at a sudden I became so energetic and started to dig thru the books. Well, all of them were in German but it doesn't matter. I was amazed with all the deliciously looking foodie pictures. After spending 15 minutes, decided to take 6 of them. All written by Anne Wilson.

From left to right, Sweet & Savoury Quiches, Cocktails (for S),
Salads, Juices, Drinks & Cocktails (for S) and Children Party Snacks.

I am so very happy that my cookbook collection has increased. Hoping for more to come, hahahaha.

Wednesday, 15 February 2006

Newbie In the Foodblogosphere

Been wanted to start blogging for some time. Was quite relunctant though. At last, after lurking around foodblogs throughout the world for 9 months, here I am today with my very own foodblog.

Cooking and baking has been my passion since the age of 10. Bought my 1st book on baking at the age of 12. As a kid, used to do cooking presentation as how the cooks do on television, in our kitchen back home in Malaysia. My mother have asked me many times, to whom am I talking to while cooking. I´ll say, "Amma, I´m now on a tv cookery show. Please do not disturb me".

Been cooking and baking a lot since I moved to Switzerland. Now that I´m a full-time working mother of a little girl, I choose recipes that needs less ingredients and time. Only during weekends I could afford to spend more time in my tiny kitchen, the place that I love the most. Being so, it is my humble wish to share my passion; cooking and bakings with everybody out there, known and unknown. Thank you for dropping by at Pusiva´s Culinary Studio.
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