Wednesday, 29 March 2006

The Root

Bought tapioca the other day when I went shopping. Been such a long time since I ate tapioca. It is a very versatile ingredient. Many things can be made out of it, sweet or savoury.

I just love kuih bingka ubi. Have tried making the baked version 4 times. All 4 attempts were failures. Being a person who do not give up that easily, I tried steaming it this time. The result, SUCCESS!!!!

Kuih Bingka Ubi (Tapioca Cake)

What do we need:

500g tapioca
1/4 cup thick coconut milk
3 tbsp palm sugar
2 tbsp white sugar
1/2 tsp salt

How do we do it:

Peel and finely grate the tapioca. Squeeze out the water content in the grated tapioca to get rid of the starch. Would make about 2 cups.

Mix the rest of the ingredients into the tapioca. Transfer the mixture into a greased pan. Steam on high for 30 minutes.

Cool completely before cutting into desired shape.

Bingka Ubi makes great breakfast or tea time snack.

Tuesday, 28 March 2006

The Fashion of Fusion

Fusion is a term which implies the combination of several cuisines in one dish. Fusion at its best allows ingredients from all over to be cooked and served together as a one plate dish.

Being born and bred in a multi-racial country, I literally grew up on fusion food. The food of the 3 main races are always mix matched to create a new hybrid dish or to just upgrade a dish to become more interesting and exciting.

My siblings and I do not fancy curries. My ex-office mates back home used to tease me; "Being an Indian, how could you not like curries?". We do not like anything with curry powder. So, my mom had to be very innovative to create simple food that would attract us. She combines non-indian ingredients and cook them up with an indian touch.

For the FMR-Fusion event at Meenakshi's Hooked On Heat, I am cooking up one of my family's favourite fusion fish dish. This kind of simple food goes very well among us. Everyone of us would have a second helping.

Soya Sauced Fish

What do we need:

500g fish steaks
2 carrots
4 leaves of cabbage
1 onion
2 inches ginger
3 cloves garlic
3 dried chillies
1 cup water
3 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp sugar

1 tsp corn starch
1 tbsp water

How do we do it:

Cut the cabbage leaves into 1 inch pieces. Slice the carrots diagonally. Slice the onion into thick rings. Julienne the ginger and garlic.

Add salt and turmeric powder to the fish steaks. Heat oil and fry them. Set aside.

In the same pan, reduce the fish fried oil to just 2 tablespoons. Sautè the ginger, garlic and the dried chilles until aromatic. Add the vegetables. Stir to mix. Pour 1 cup of water and cook covered. When the vegetables are almost cooked, add the sauces and season with salt and sugar. Bare in mind that salt has already been added to the fish before frying it and there is high content of salt in soy sauce. Add the corn starch and water mixture. When the sauce starts to thicken, add the fried fishes. Stir gently but thoroughly to ensure all the fish pieces are coated with the sauce. Remove from heat.

Other than cabbage and carrot, any other hard vegetables could be used. French beans is a favourite.

Soy sauced fish best served with hot piping rice.

Sunday, 26 March 2006

Weekend Baking Session # 5

Here comes weekend again. This time I'm baking a butter cake. Butter cakes are rich cakes and it could be quite sinful with the amount of butter. They are the easiest cake to bake. Hardly fail.

For this week, I have tried to infuse an extra flavour other than the buttery taste of the cake. I chose to use peach. Typically peach has a delicate aroma and acidic tang coupled with sweetness. I am using canned peaches as they are softer. I have lessen the amount of sugar in the recipe as the canned peaches are soaked in sugar syrup.

Peach Butter Cake

What do we need:

1 cup cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
4 pieces canned peach halves

What do we do:

Purée the peach halves to make up to half a cup of peach purée. Chop the rest of the peach halves. Set them aside.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Then, add the peach purée. Fold in the flour gently. Finally, add the chopped peaches and very lightly fold them in.

Pour the mixture into a greased and flour or paper lined loaf pan. Bake at 175° C for 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Remove from oven. Cool completely on a wire rack.

The cake is moist, buttery and peachy.

Friday, 24 March 2006

Red Alert

It's Friday again. Felt great staying at home on a week day, like a housewife. Had to be home as my babysitter wanted a day off. I was excited and cooked twice, lunch and dinner. For lunch, I cooked a very simple one dish meal. As for dinner, I wanted something special and of course easy. Thought of roti but what roti? Checked out my pantry and finally made up my mind.

Tomato Roti

What do we need:

1 1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup bread flour
3 tbsp tomatoe purée
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
1 tbsp oil
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cumin powder
salt to taste
water, as required

How do we do it:

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

Divide the dough into 8 equal sized balls. Cover and let them rest for at least 30 minutes.

Roll out the dough into discs. Place the rolled dough on a medium heated greased griddle. Cook for 2 minutes. Flip it over and cook for another minute.

Tomato Roti with Mushroom Stew

I like the colour of the roti, RED and love the taste.

Wednesday, 22 March 2006

Nibbles For My Toddler # 2

Mahisha turns 18 months today. Which means she is 1 1/2 years old. As usual, I planned to bake something for her. She loves dried fruits. I have done bakings using raisins, sultanas and apricots for her but never prunes. So, this time, I'm going to use prunes as the main ingredient. I make sure that I always use less sugar and healthy ingredients for her.

Prune and Yoghurt Muffins

What do we need:

1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
a pinch of salt

1 cup coarsely chopped pitted prunes
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup plain yoghurt
3 tbsp milk
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

How do we it:

Mix the prunes and yoghurt. Let the prunes soak for 30 minutes. The reason is to soften the prunes and at the same time to extract the taste of the prunes.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.
Prepare muffin tray.

Grease the muffin tray with butter or simply place paper cups into the muffin holes.

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg. Beat again. Pour the vanilla extract. Stir in the prune and yoghurt mixture. Mix thoroughly. Then, add the sifted flour mixture and milk alternately. Gently fold in after each addition, starting and ending with the flour.

Fill muffin holes with two-thirds full. Bake in a preheated oven at 180° C for 20 minutes or until golden in colour.

When baking muffins, always place a bowl of boiling water in the oven. If there are unused holes on the muffin tray, pour boiling water into it. The reason is that the steam from the boiling water creates moist in the oven to prevent warping.

Mahisha loves it. So do we.

Tuesday, 21 March 2006

It's Spring !!!!

I went to Sri Lanka during Spring 2003, to visit my in-laws. Hubby's aunt cooked up lunch for us once at her home. She made this terrific tomatoe salad. Though 3 years have passed, I just can't forget the taste of the salad. Bought some totatoes to try making it.

This tomatoe salad is so simple and easy to make yet delicious. It has only 3 main ingredients. I added very finely sliced curry leaves for the aroma. Also to boost up the taste.

Tomato Salad

What do we need:

2 ripe tomatoes
1 onion
1 green chilli
1 sprig curry leaves
1/4 tsp sugar
salt to taste

How do we do it:

Slice all the ingredients very thinly. Season with salt and sugar.

Serve cold.

Sunday, 19 March 2006

Weekend Baking Session # 4

Chiffon cake is my favourite type of cake. It is light, airy, spongy, soft and flavourful. It has a unique texture. To gain this texture, instead of butter, vegetable oil is used.

Traditionally, chiffon cakes are baked in tube pans but it can always be baked in round cake pans as well. As I do not have a tube pan, I too bake it in a round pan.

The rules when baking chiffon cake are, never grease the pan. Secondly, do not deflate the egg white when mixing, while it acts as an important leavening agent for the cake. Thirdly, after baking, immediately turn the pan up side down. The reason is to prevent the cake from shrinking and loosing it's volume.

For this weekend, I choose to bake Coffee Chiffon Cake for the Weekend Baking Session as it is my favourite chiffon cake flavour. I have baked it many times. Even for our wedding anniversary last year, I baked and frosted a coffee chiffon cake. Hubby dear was very much impressed.

Coffee Chiffon Cake

What do we need:

1 cup cake flour or plain flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup milk
2 tbsp instant coffee powder or granules
1/4 tsp salt

3 egg whites
1/4 cup castor sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

What do we do:

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together.

Dissolve the coffee powder in the milk. Add the rest of ingredients A.

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Add sugar little by little and beat until stiff peaks form.

Fold 1/3 of the beaten egg white into the coffee mixture to lighten it. Then, pour the lightened coffee mixture into the remaining beaten egg white. Fold gently but quickly and thoroughly to combine both mixtures.

Pour the batter into an ungreased 8" round cake pan. With a flat knife, quickly cut through the batter a few times to get rid of any very large air bubbles. Bake in a preheated oven at 175° C for about 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and immediately invert the cake pan and let it cool.

When the cake is completely cool, run a knife or a thin spatula around the sides of pan to loosen the cake from the pan.

Can be eaten plain or frosted with favourite frosting as per desired.

Friday, 17 March 2006

A Vegetarian Treat

Last week, I did an online chat with my brother. While chatting, asked him what did he eat for lunch. He said that he ate a super delicious vegetable briyani. It seems that there is an Indian restaurant that has opened it's new branch in my hometown and the food are very tasty. I have got to try them on my next visit back home.

Vegetable briyani has stuck in my mind ever since my brother mentioned about it. As its Friday today, the only day in a week that I practise vegetarianism, I thought of cooking the briyani for dinner tonight. Cooked it directly in the rice cooker, for convenient purpose.

Vegetable Biryani

What do we need:

The Vegetables

The Spices

2 cups rice
2 carrots
2 potatoes
10 button mushrooms
3 baby corn
1 small broccoli
1 red capsicum
1 onion
1" ginger
3 cloves garlic
1 green chilli
1 bunch coriander leaves
4 tbsp yoghurt
1/2 cup milk
2 cups water
1 tbsp ghee
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp fennel powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp poppy seed powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 1/2" cinnamon stick
1 bay leave
1 star anise
2 cloves
3 cardamoms
a pinch of saffron
salt to taste

How do we do it:

Wash and soak the rice. Then, drain the water and set aside.

Soak the saffron strands in the milk. Set aside.

Dice the potatoes. Mix with a touch of salt. Heat oil and fry the potatoes until golden brown. Set aside.

Cut the rest of the vegetables in the same size. Marinate them with yoghurt, turmeric powder and a little salt for 10 minutes.

Slice the onion. Half the chilli lengthwise. Grind the ginger and garlic into a paste.

Heat the ghee. Fry cinnamon, star anise, bay leaf, cloves and cardamoms. Add ginger and garlic paste. Then, onion and chilli. Sautè until aromatic. Now in goes the marinated vegetables. Add all the spices. Cook for 5 minutes. Then, put the rice in. Fry for 5 minutes. Pour the milk and water. Sprinkle the chopped coriander leaves. Season with salt. Cook until rice is fluffy and does not stick together.

Vegetable Briyani with Tomato Salad

Serve Vegetable Briyani hot with raita or salad.

Thursday, 16 March 2006

The Food That I´d Die For # 2

Everybody's mother is their best cook. My mom too is a great cook. All my friends fondly remember her for her food. Just imagine how much I would miss it.

As she works the whole day, Amma cooks quick and simple food in the night. Most of her cookings are her own creation. Almost everyday we get to taste a different type of food which will not be available elsewhere. One of the many of her masterpieces is a dish made of curried eggy potatoes and achovies. This is one of the food that I'd die for. Each time she cooks this dish, she would have to cook an extra portion of rice while the normal portion would not be sufficient.

Suddenly, today, I had this fierce feeling that I have to eat it, now!!! Though I have never cooked it before, with the guidance of my memory, I managed to cook it up. Not bad I would say but nothing beats Amma's.

Eggy Potatoes and Anchovies

What do we need:

2 potatoes, diced
2 eggs
3/4 cup dried anchovies
1/2 cup water
1 sprig curry leaves
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tbsp fish curry powder
1 tsp fennel powder
salt to taste

What do we do:

Wash the anchovies and drain the water. Set aside.

Heat oil and sauté the sliced onion, garlic and the curry leaves. Add the washed achovies. Fry until it is aromatic. Now, put in the diced potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are almost cooked. Add the curry powder and fennel powder. Simmer until the liquid becomes nearly dried. Season with salt.

Push the potatoes to the side. In the centre, pour half a tablespoon of oil and break the eggs. Before the eggs start to set, quickly stir the potatoes and the eggs together to ensure all the potatoes and anchovies are covered.

Eggy potatoe and achovies with rice and stir fried red cabbage

Serve the eggy potatoes and anchovies with hot piping rice.

Wednesday, 15 March 2006

PuSiVa'S CuLiNarY StUdiO is 1 Month Old!!

It has been a month since I started blogging. This morning when I logged on, I was overjoyed to find that the visitors counter has already hit more than 2000. To me it is a great achievement. At this moment, I would like to thank all those out there, throughout the globe, who has visited my blog. I realise that I now have a few regular visitors who come in on daily basis, without fail. I highly appreciate all your comments and encouragements. To celebrate it, I present Carrot Halwa as a visual treat to all of u.

Carrot Halwa

What do we need:

2 cups carrots, grated finely
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp ghee
4 cardamoms, powdered
a pinch of saffron strands
slivered almonds, garnishing

How do we do it:

Heat ghee and fry the grated carrots slightly. Pour milk and sprinkle the saffron strands. Let it boil. Cook the carrot to soft paste stage. Now, add the sugar and continue cooking while stirring. Remove from heat when the halwa looks gooey.

Serve hot or cold garnished with slivered almonds.

Sunday, 12 March 2006

Weekend Baking Session # 3

This week of Weekend Baking Session, I intend to bake tarts. Been a while since I baked them. I love tarts though they are sinfull due to the amount of fat used in the pastry. I prefer baking little tartlets compared to a big ones. I think they look better and neater. I have tried out fruits, egg, coconut, cherry and lemon tarts before. This time I am going to go for orange tarts.

Orange Tartlets

What do we need:

Sweet Short Crust Pastry:

1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup butter, cold
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 an egg
1 tsp lemon juice
cold water, as necessary

Orange Filling:

3/4 cup orange juice
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 1/2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar, or as desired
1/2 tbsp custard powder
1 tbsp orange zest or 1 tsp orange essence

What do we do:

Sift flour and add the sugar. Grate cold butter into the flour mixture and rub lightly with fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add lightly beaten half an egg and lemon juice. Stir in the cold water, if necessary. Knead very lightly to form smooth pastry. Wrap with a cling film and chill the pastry in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Divide the pastry dough into 10 portions. Press each portion evenly into greased tart mould. Trim edges to remove excess pastry. Prick base of each tart with a fork. Cover and chill again for about 15 minutes. Then, blind bake the pasty cases in a preheated oven at 200º C for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and place the tartlets on a wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile, mix all the filling ingredients together and beat until the sugar has dissolved. Sieve the mixture to ensure that it is free of lumps. Pour the filling into each pastry case. Bake in a preheated oven at 180º C for 20 -25 minutes or until filling is set. Transfer the tartlets to wire rack to cool. Then, cover and refigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour.

Serve the orange tartlet with a dollop of whipped cream.

Friday, 10 March 2006

Quick and Easy Dinner

Friday is about to come to an end. How relieved am I...... The past 2 weeks have been too hectic for me. Was terribly busy with my job. The next 2 days, I'll be spending my precious time with my little daughter and my tiny kitchen. As for tonight, initially wanted to make some rotis but then, it´s time consuming. Friday is the day that I'm on minimum energy level. So, I wanted something really quick and easy to do. After wondering a while, got the idea to make some pancakes instead but then, pancakes are too light. To make it a bit heavier, I added shredded potatoes. Also mixed baking powder to give the pancake a fluffy texture.

Potatoe Pancake

What do we need:

1 cup plain flour
1 cup shredded potatoes
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp baking powder
butter or olive oil for the pan
salt to taste

How do we do it:

In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt together. Then, make a hole in the middle. Pour in the milk while stirring vigorously with a whisk until it becomes a smooth batter without lumps.

Peel & grate the potatoes and straight away add them into the mixture.

Heat a non-stick pan and grease it with a little butter or olive oil. Pour a ladleful of the of the batter. Spread it out to a prefered size. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes. Flip it over and continue cooking for another minutes.

Potatoe pancake with beans stew

Serve potatoe pancakes warm with curry and/or chutney.

Thursday, 9 March 2006

From Leftovers To A Breakfast

As I wanted to prepare a breakfast for today, I was looking around my pantry of what I can find. I had some leftover butter braid. Then, found that I had 2 very ripe bananas that would not wait for another day. Also found a bottle of buttermilk in my fridge that was nearing it's expiry date. I thought "Oh God! I can't afford to waste all these things. I'll have to use them up by today". I wondered how to put all the 3 ingredients together. Then, came up with this recipe.

Banana Bread Pudding

What do we need:

4 slices of bread
2 bananas
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp brown sugar
Chocolate chunks, as desired

How do we do it:

Cut the bread slices into 1 inch cubes.

Grease a baking dish or a casserole with a little butter. Arrange the bread cubes in it. Set aside.

Put the bananas, buttermilk, eggs, melted butter, and sugar into a blender and blend them until it becomes a smooth mixture.

Pour the mixture onto the bread cubes. Sprinkle some chocolate chunks on top.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180° C for about 20-30 minutes.

I love anything with bananas. While baking, the beautiful aroma of the bananas was lingering throughout my apartment. I decided to add the chocolate chunks as chocolates and bananas are marriage made in heaven. Did not want to use chocolate chips as they are too small and tend to melt faster. So, I just chopped a bar of chocolate, of course Swiss Chocolate, into big chunks and sprinkled them on top.

Banana bread pudding is best served warm or cold with chocolate sauce, if desired.

Tuesday, 7 March 2006

Nibbles For My Toddler # 1

My daughter, Mahisha, loves biscuits as her snack. I do not prefer buying commercially baked biscuits for her. So, I always bake my own little biscuits for her. I feel satisfied when I see her enjoy biting them. The last batch of biscuits has finished and she wanted more. I make sure I do not repeat the same kind of biscuits. Was wondering of what other variety to bake. Checked out my pantry and found that I have 2 packets of apricots. This time, I wanted to bake something quite similar to rock buns but a softer version. After spinning my brain for a while, came up with a new recipe. The simplest possible as I did had much time to sit on it for a few hours.

Apricot Cookies

What do we need:

1 cup plain flour
1 cup chopped apricots
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup ground almond
3 tbsp apricot preserve
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla essence/flavouring
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

How do we do it:

First of all, soak the apricot in warm water for a while to soften it. U can also use those soft type of apricots as well. Pat dry them with kitchen towel and chop them finely.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Make a hole in the middle, add the rest of the ingredients except for the chopped apricots. With a mixer, beat for 1 minute. If u do not have a mixer, use a hand whisk and beat for 5 minutes. Now, fold in the chopped apricots.

Drop the dough by teaspoonful on a baking sheet. I did it with just half a teaspoon to make little ones. Bake in a preheated oven at 180° C for 10 - 12 minutes. This recipe yields 85 tiny little pieces.

I prefer using brown sugar to normal white sugar as the former is less sweet than the latter. I have also minimised the sugar usage as the apricot preserve and the apricots are sweet enough. Added the apricot preserve for extra apricot taste. The purpose of using the almond meal is to give the buns a fuller shape.

Mahisha likes the cookies. Well, not just her, hubby and I too love them. Looks like I will have to bake more of them again.

Monday, 6 March 2006

The Food That I'd Die For # 1

We don't tend to appreciate our home when we are at home. Same goes to food from home. I realised this when I was pregnant. I was craving for only home food. Had to go thru all the hassles of searching for the recipe, looking around for the ingredients and cooking it up. Finally, I wanted to taste only a spoonfull of it. The rest, who else than my hubby who eats them up.

Now, for that past month, I have been wanting to eat prawn sambal. Normally, prawn sambal is cooked with unpeeled prawns. I do not prefer that as it is very troublesome to eat like that though cooking so retains the juices of the prawns. I like it peeled and deveined. Easier to eat. My mom adds fried potatoes to prawn sambal. I love the irresistible taste of the potatoes mixed with the juices of the prawns. In a word, the potatoes taste like prawn.

I am adapting my mom's method of adding the potatoes and I have included some kaffir lime leaves for the citrusy aroma. Also subtituted tamarind juice with lime juice for the extra tanginess. The rest are the normal vital sambal ingredients.

Prawn Sambal

What do we need:

500g prawns
2 potatoes
1/4 cup coconut milk (I used fresh milk)
2 kaffir lime leaves, sliced finely
1 tbsp lime juice

Sambal Paste:
4 dried chillies (depends to individual)
5 shallots or 1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 inch fresh turmeric (I substituted with 1 tsp of turmeric powder)
1 inch galangal or blue ginger
1 lemon grass
1/2 tsp belacan granules (shrimp paste)

How do we do it:

Sambal Paste:

Heat a little oil and fry the dried chillies until aromatic. Set aside.

Chop coarsely the onion, garlic, galangal and lemon grass. Pop them into a food processor together with the fried dried chillies, turmeric powder and the belacan granules. Grind until smooth.

Sambal Paste

Prawn Sambal:

Peel and dice the potatoes. Heat oil and fry them until golden brown. Set aside.

Meanwhile, peel and de-vein the prawns. Set aside.

Heat oil and fry the sambal paste until aromatic and the oil separates. Add prawns and lime juice. Stir in the milk and bring to a boil. Cover and cook until prawns turn red. Add the fried potatoes and kaffir lime leaves. Then, season and stir well.

Prawn Sambal with Plain Rice ad Stir Fried Broccoli and Carrot

Serve prawn sambal with hot piping rice.

Sunday, 5 March 2006

Weekend Baking Session # 2

Some 3 months ago there was this craze called The CCC Craze around the food forums in SE Asia. I did not wanted to join it though as it is my nature that I always do something that others are not or no more doing it. Well, since the CCC craze has now subsided, it's time that I bake it.

This recipe was posted by Kirsten in Jo's Deli & Bakery Message Board. For the 2nd week of WBS, Chocolate Cheese Layered Cake is the chosen one.

Chocolate Cheese Layered Cake

What do we need:

250g cream cheese
60g castor sugar
1 egg

180g butter
150g sugar
3 eggs
3 tbsp cocoa
120g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder

How do we do it:

Beat cream cheese with sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg until well incorporated. Set mixture aside.

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, one at a time until well incorporated into mixture. Sieve all the dried ingredients together. Fold into egg mixture.

To assemble, pour half of mixture ‘B’, then all of mixture ‘A’, then remaining mixture ‘B’. Bake in a preheated oven at 180° C for 45-50 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.

Once cool, chill in refrigerator.

Well, I did not expect it to look like this. Shapewise, I guess, I did not really do good job. It is not supposed to be wavy. There should be three parallel equal sized layers. I will have to bake this cake again and do it correctly the next time.

Tastewise, I think I have done it right as I like it very much.

Friday, 3 March 2006

A Bowl of Goodness

Soups could be one of the quickest and easiest food. I do have them quite often. Each time I try cooking a different kind of soup. This time planned to try potatoe and leek soup, since I have all the ingredients ready with me.

Potatoe and Leek Soup

What do we need:

4 potatoes, diced
3 leeks, sliced (white part only)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp butter
4 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cream
1 tbsp chives, chopped

What do we do:

Melt the butter in a pot on medium heat. Sauté the onion and the leeks for 10 minutes until they are soft. Then, add the potatoes and pour in the vegetable broth.

Season with salt and pepper. When it starts to boil, lower the heat and let it simmer until the potatoes are cooked.

Remove from heat. Blend the soup until it is smooth without any lumps. Pour the cream into the blended mixture and transfer it to the stove again. Stir continuosly. Remove from heat when the soup just starts to boil. Sprinkle the chopped chives onto the soup.

Serve potatoe and leek soup hot with plain or toasted bread

Thursday, 2 March 2006

A Complete Meal

When I´m too tired, the only food that I could think of cooking would be fried rice. It is very fast and easy to prepare yet a completely balanced meal with carbohydrate, protein, vitamins and minerals.

I had some frozen mixed seafood in the fridge. So, made up my mind to cook fried rice using it. When cooking fried rice, never use freshly cooked hot pipping rice. This is because it will turn soggy afer being cooked again as fried rice. Always use leftover rice or cook the rice few hours ahead and let it cool completely.

Seafood Fried Rice

What do we need:

2 cups cooked rice
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup frozen green peas
1 cup canned corn kernels
1-2 cups mixed seafood
1 tbsp, finely chopped ginger
1 tbsp, finely chopped garlic
1 tbsp chili paste or 1 tsp chili powder
2 eggs
onion crisps, garnishing

2 tbsp tomatoe ketchup
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
a splash of sesame oil
salt to taste

How do we do it:

Heat oil and fry ginger, garlic and chili paste until aromatic. Add the seafood and let it cook for about 5 minutes. Now, in goes the vegetables and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the rice gradually while stirring. Season and stir.

Make a hole in the middle. Pour a little oil & break the the eggs. Season it with a pinch of salt. When the eggs start to set, quickly stir the rice together with the egg thoroughly to ensure the eggs cover all the rice.

Serve seafood fried rice immediately with a sprinkle of onion crisps and few slices of cucumber.
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