Saturday, October 30, 2010

Apple Crumble

Apple Crumble... just out of the oven...
My first attempt in baking this version of Apple Crumble was last year... and about the same time too... not happy with end result, I put aside this post in my 'Draft' folder... It took me a year to do my 'Take 2' photoshoot... I know I am  ...S.L.O.W :)

This is one of my many ways to get Mr H Jr to have his fruits.... such a fussy eater when it comes to fruits and vegetables ~ he loves banana, mangoes, kiwi fruits, peaches, grapes and cut up oranges (very fussy....indeed). He does not like apples, pineapples, cherries (more cherries for Miss E and I... Hurrah!!! ) and the list goes on....
But with this 'Apple Crumble' (inspired from Janelle Bloom's cookbook), he would be happy to consume at least 2 halves .... and of course with loads of custards poured on top ...almost flooding... and 'drowning' the apple... I swear I could almost hear the apple cry ~Help! Help!Help!!

Guess who ate this plate of  Apple crumble ??? :)

pssst...dont forget  : $10 menulog voucher for grabs by 31/10/10... see the notice board on the top right hand corner
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 75g of chopped butter (the actual recipe require 125g..)
  • 1/4 coarsely chopped pistachios
  • 1/4 -1/2 cup of brown sugar (the actual recipe requires 1/2 cup of well compacted brown sugar)
  • 6 small granny smith apples
  • vanilla custard or ice-cream to serve
Preheat the oven to 200C.

Mix the plain flour, ground cinnamon and chopped butter... to resemble crumbs... Then add in rolled oats, pistachios and sugar. Mix well using your fingers...

Cut the apples into half and core the apples. Gently placed the crumble mix on top of the apples. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Serve with either vanilla custard or ice-cream.
HoHoHo on Foodista

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cauliflower Soup with Cheese Sticks


Cauliflower is cheaper this season too... the cheapest I came across is 69cents per head at one of the grocers... We normally have our cauliflower ~ steam with or without the oyster sauce to drizzle or bake (with lots of runny cheese :))...

I wanted to try to make soup (I've tried Brocolli Soup)... and found one in  PeriPlus~Soups and Breads recipe book... I used dollops of Philadelphia cooking cream.
The soup is smooth and silky, unlike its Brassica cousin ~ Broccolli! and the WOW factor would be the cheesy sticks... just like marriage made in heaven... Miss E and Mr H loved the soup as both went for second helping :) and Mr H Jr ~ he was struggling to finish his bowl... and was secretly hoping that he could finish the cheesy sticks instead...

Cauliflower Soup:
  • 600g-750g cauliflower- cut into florets
  • 1 liter of vegetable stock or chicken stock (or 1 liter of water plus 1 Chicken cube stock)
  • 1 red onion - diced
  • salt and pepper
  • a dash of ground nutmeg
  • Philladelphia cooking cream (quantity? - depending how creamy one would prefer)
Saute onion in a medium size saucepan until translucent... Add in cauliflower followed by stock. Bring to boil and then lower the fire and simmer for about 10 minutes or until cauliflower is tender. Leave it to cool.
Then use stick blender and puree until smooth. Place the pot on the stove again and heat up (but not to let it boil). Season with salt and pepper. Add a dash of nutmeg and cream. Stir....

Cheese Sticks:
  • 4 sliced of white bread - trim the crust and cut into 4 fingers/slice
  • 2 tablespoon of margarine (or butter)- melted
  • 1 clove of garlic - minced
  • tasty cheese
Pre-heat oven to 180C.
Mix melted margarine and garlic in a bowl. Brush both side of the bread sticks with melted margarine and garlic mixture. Top up with shredded tasty cheese.
Bake for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown.Leave it to cool

Serve Creamy cauliflower soup with cheese sticks... Bon Apetite... :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Strawberry Jam

Strawberries are cheaper this year... A punnet of 250g could fetch about AUD$1.99 in some supermarkets..
I love to do my shopping at the last hour before closing time...  shopping is not a breeze at that hour... there will be 'millions' of shoppers... I know.. :) I exaggerated about 'million' shoppers... but I sure felt like it...with everyone's trolleys in everyone's way... we are suckers for good bargains...

It brings back good memories during my 'student days' on a budget... After an exhausting day running from one lecture room to another... came home ~exhausted and in no mood to cook.. not even to fry an egg!!... :) I'd hopped (I lied...not hop but walk ..:))to the nearest supermarket (that would be Safeway in High Street Kensington~if its still there)... grabbed yoghurt tub for 20p, sandwiches for 60p... and fruits for a song... Came home feeling happy and contented for that day.... 

We fast forward 20 years on... I am still the same... Old Habit die Hard... love bargains... and these strawberries were sold in Coles for 99cents/punnet last week... I bought 8 punnets and 6 goes into making jam....
    Washed and leave it to dry ...

    Simmering strawberries...
    • 1.3 -1.5kg of strawberries -washed
    • 600g-800g of sugar
    • juice of 1 lemon
    Washed and leave the strawberries on kitchen paper to 'dry'...

    Heat up a big pot... I used wok.. big enough to fit in the amount of strawberries ... Add sugar with the juice of 1 lemon.. leave the sugar to dissolve (about half way...otherwise you will ended up with caramelised sugar...).
    Then add strawberries... either cut in quarters or whole strawberries (I prefer whole strawberries in my jam)... Bring to a quick boil and then lower the heat to a simmer... The whole process will take about 30 minutes to 45 minutes... if you wish to have a runny jam then shortened the time... but if you are like me... I love my jam thick... then leave it a little bit longer...

    Note that I have cut the sugar quantity by half... the ratio should be 1:1... 1 kg of strawberries to 1 kg of sugar... 
    A bottle of homemade Jam.... Xmas Gift??

    Thursday, October 21, 2010

    Crispy Skin Salmon with Cha Soba


    I am an impulsive shopper (always happened when I don't have my shopping list with me!!)... if I see things I have not seen or tried before... I'll pick it up... have a quick 'read' and straight goes in my shopping trolley ... then those item/s will 'hibernate' in my larder/ freezer until I found the mood or a good recipe to go with it... like this Cha Soba and a packet of  frozen Edamame...

    This is the first time I see 'Green Tea' Soba sold in our local Asian Grocer... fascinated, I bought 2 packets and that was many moons ago (more than 6 moons ago). Japanese loves their soba cold ...  Soba is bland compared to udon and I, personally prefer udon than soba...

    Bingo!!!... Flipping through Donna Hay Spring issue I finally... found the recipe that goes well with 'cold' soba... ~ Crispy Skin Salmon with chilli salt...  broth and soba are my version ... to make our meal complete   :)

    A bowl of Cha soba and Edamame

    So I get cracking in my kitchen, preparing Cha Soba, Edamame and broth... leave aside... This recipe is so easy...  prepare noodles and edamame hours earlier... only cook the salmon when we are about to sit down for dinner...

    But for photography sake...I had to cook 1 portion of salmon much earlier.... otherwise the light will not be favourable and the hungry kids will grumble as they will not get to eat until mom finish with her 'photo' session..  surprisingly... the skin was still crispy when I had it for dinner hours later... :)

    This recipe will definitely be in my recipe collection folder... and Mr H has requested me to make this dish again when my father-in-law is here next week... 

    • Cha or green tea soba Hakubaku noodle - cooked as per packet instruction
    • 1 packet of frozen edamame - thawed and cooked as per packet instruction

    Chilli Salt
    • 1 tablespoon of seasalt flakes
    • 1 teaspoon of chili flakes

    • 3 cups of water
    • 10g or 1 packet of bonito powder
    • 1/4 cup of light soya sauce
    • 1/4 cup of sushi vinegar

    Crispy skin salmon
    • 4 salmon fillets - skin on
    • vegetable oil

    Mix the chilli salt and put aside

    Bring water to boil and add bonito powder, soy sauce and sushi vinegar. Bring to a second boil and simmer on slow fire for 5 minutes. Put aside

    Using a sharp knife, score the skin of the salmon. Rub with vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt. Heat a non-stick pan over high heat. Cook the salmon -skin side first for 3 minutes, then turn and cook for another 2 minutes or to your liking.

    Divide the Cha Soba noodle between bowls, ladle broth, top up with edamame and salmon. Sprinkle some chilli salt over the salmon and noodles... Serve the crispy skin salmon immediately.

    Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    Spanakopita Spirals

    Mr H Jr is home from his two weeks school trip... 
    He was tired from the long flight... but still chirpy.. (psst.. I think he missed us... eventhough he denied it ;)...)... He brought home a suitcase full dirty laundry... and that kept me busy all weekend ...and I forgot about  my 'Sweet/Savoury Saturday'  post...
    Anyway... I can't complain as he bought his mommy - her favourite chocolate ~ a bar of Cote D'or Praline, another box of chocolate from French chocolatier ... :)  oopsie... there goes my waistline :(
    • 250g Philadelphia Block cream cheese
    • 150g ricotta cheese
    • 1 egg -lightly beaten
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 150g feta cheese- crumbled
    • 250g frozen spinach- thawed, and squeeze out liquid
    • 6 spring onion - finely chopped
    • 1/4 cup parsley- finely chopped
    • 1/4 cup mint - finely chopped
    • 24 sheets filo pastry
    • 1/3 olive oil for brushing
    Pre heat the oven to 180C.
    Beat together Philadelphia block cream cheese, ricotta, egg and nutmeg. Stir through feta, spinach, onions, herbs and add some seasoning.

    Brush a filo pastry with olive oil and top with another. Spoon a portion of Philly mixture along the long side and loosely roll to form a long sausage roll. url into spiral and place on baking tray. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Brush the top with oil.

    Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden. Serve warm.
    This is another recipe from Simply Heaven Book 2 from Philadelphia Cheese..

    Thursday, October 14, 2010

    Beetroot, Apple and Carrot Juice

    I have done baking, roasting and now juicing... the last of my beetroot harvest... :)

    Miss E was not happy as she was rudely awakened by the sound of my juicer reverberating... one early Saturday morning. With her eyes barely open... she walked to the kitchen and found me making beetroot juice... Well what can I say... my juicer maybe as old as her!!! the sound can be deafening especially to the person using that dinosaur... archaic juicer... perhaps Santa is reading this post and could add juicer to your list :) ...
    All was forgotten, when she saw one of her favourite drinks was being prepared ... so she waited patiently at the kitchen counter to have her first serve... :)

    Miss E ... just couldn't wait...

    Just to digress and to share with everyone...  We were honoured to have this lovely couple... they came to have their 'quiet moment' in our front lawn...  under our magical sprinkler...
    I had to sneak out quietly as not to disturb them... how I wish I had a good camera with interchageable lens ...and has many functions plus zoom....  :)
    hello... Santa ..another one to add to your list !!! :)

    • Beetroots
    • carrots
    • granny smiths apple
    Using juicer and extract the juice... the quantity~ depending on one tastebud...
    my ratio of carrot : beetroots : apple would be 1:2:4 ... yield at least 500 ml.

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010

    Roast Beetroot

    We harvested about 20 or more beets ~ big and small... next on the menu ~ Roast Beetroots served with roast chicken... 

    Just to digress... we finally heard from Mr H Jr (who is thousands of miles away from home)...after 10 long days of 'No news means Good news' ... not directly from him .... but thru his entry in his FB!! 
    • beetroots
    • olive oil
    • salt and pepper
    • balsamic vinegar
    • chopped parsley measurements for any of the above ingredients... its up to your preference..

    Saturday, October 9, 2010

    Beetroot Marble Cake

    What would you do when you get a good harvest of beetroots? You baked, roast and juice them... and we all be be smiling and showing our 'Red' tainted teeth   :)

    While harvesting our beetroots ... I was asking Mr H... "Do you think I could make some beetroot cake with these?". He replied mockingly..."hmmm... Are you sure? Heard of Carrot cake but Beetroot Cake??Dont think I would fancy that"

    I was not put off with his answer... instead I was quite adamant to try and bake beetroot cake. I searched and found one. Skimming through the recipe that has a 5 Stars rating... I thought, it would be nice to bake a Beetroot Marble Cake!!! It would be something different...

    Inspired by the recipe here... and with some changes in the ingredients... plus the Butter Cake Mix... I was on the ball so to speak :)

    Outcome: Nobody guessed that it was a 'Beetroot' Cake... didn't have that 'earthy' beets taste. It was a success

    • 175g self raising flour
    • 50g cocoa powder
    • 225g castor sugar
    • 3 eggs at room temperature
    • 225g raw beetroot - peeled, steam and mashed
    • 200 ml corn oil
    • a packet Betty Crocker (or similar) Butter Cake mix. (may require 1/2 mix)- prepare according to the instruction on the packet.

    Preheat the oven to 200°C.
    Line cake tin with greased paper.

    Sift the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and sugar into a bowl. Blend the eggs, beetroot and corn oil in a blender until smooth. Fold the beetroot mixture into the sifted dry ingredients.

    Mix the Butter Cake mixture according to the packet instruction.

    Pour the beetroot mixture into the base of a greased, lined cake tin, then add on the butter cake mix... keep repeating until fill up to half of the cake tin.

    Bake for 40 minutes until risen and set or the skewer comes out clean.

    Thursday, October 7, 2010

    Butter Chicken and Menulog Voucher Giveaway

    This is another Indian dish that we love...  savour it with either Naan, Paratha or rice.
    I used to buy the bottled spice ~ Patak's and the like... but this time I was adamant to make my own :) found this recipe from one of my cookbooks ... I have most of the ingredients... with exception... I add in fresh tomatoes, tomato soup and light evaporated milk... 
    The taste? better than the pre-bottled spice, of course :)

    On another topic....still food related...
    I have 1 voucher giveaway (AUD10 worth) ... thanks to This voucher is redeemable in Australia... Browse this link to find a restaurant near you...  to get your hands on the voucher... just leave a comment on this post by 30th October and I'll pick the winner at random... 

    Australia's largest restaurant guide (20,000+ restaurants). Order home delivery online (1,000+ restaurants). Menulog Restaurant Delivery Guide here
    Note: Available for participating restaurants only (which display the “accepts vouchers”) sign.
    The voucher is valid until Dec. 31, 2011 and could be used on the first order on participating restaurants in the site that has "accepts voucher" sign.
    • 1 kg chicken breast - cut to 2cm strips
    • 200ml Greek Yoghurt
    • 1 tablespoon garam masala
    • 1 cm fresh tumeric or 1 teaspoon tumeric powder
    • 2cm ginger
    • 2 garlic
    • 1/4 cup chopped coriander
    Pound or ground tumeric, garlic and ginger into a fine and smooth paste. Mix in yoghurt and garam masala. Mix well... add in chicken strips and marinate overnight.
    • 1/2 red onion - chopped
    • 1 teaspoon tumeric
    • 4 fresh tomatoes - finely diced
    • 3/4 cup tomato soup
    • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
    • 1 teaspoom garam masala
    • 1/2 cup Hara Masala (1/4 cup chopped coriander + 1/4 cup chopped mint)
    Heat up pan and quickly sear chicken strips both sides (batches by batches) to seal its juices... Transfer to a plate.

    Using the same pan, add about 2 tablespoon of cooking oil. Saute onion until translucent, add garam masala. Give it a quick stir, then add in diced tomatoes. Leave it to simmer for about 10 minutes ot until the tomato become a bit mushy... pour in soup and juices from the chicken. Leave it to simmmer until slightly thicken. Add evaporated milk and salt to taste... simmer for another 10 minutes... Add chicken ... stir and make sure that the chicken strips are cooked through... turn off the heat and stir in Hara Masala.
    Serve with papadum and Basmati Rice...

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010

    Pasta, Pesto and Haloumi

    The mercury is slowly rising towards a warmer weather... Its time to clean the wardrobe and put away winter clothing... and out 'Summer Wear'! Yay.... but... before I could put on my Summer Clothes... I need to lose few kg... as the result of 'Winter Comford Food'...

    I have been having my brisk walking ... not everyday but at least 3 times a week... and last weekend ~ Mr H and I were so busy in our garden... pruning, weeding, planting (heirloom tomatoes, sweet basil, purple basil, meyer lemon) Hope that counts towards reducing my kgs :)...At the moment, the bathroom scale is not my 'BFF' yet ..

    And this WeightWatcher Salad will help me in achieving my goals...  ;) 
    • 300g pasta shapes
    • 2 tablespoon traditional basil pesto (Leggo)
    • 2 tablespoon lite sour cream
    • 1 small capsicum - sliced thinly
    • 100g snowpeas sprout - cut into 3 parts
    • salt and pepper
    • a packet of Cypress haloumi cheese - thinly sliced 
    Spray oil in a non stick frying pan, pan fry the haloumi cheese until golden both side. Put aside on a plate.
    Cook pasta as per packet instruction. Transfer to a salad bowl, and mix in sour cream and pesto. Salt and pepper to taste. Gently mix in the vegetables. Serve

    Saturday, October 2, 2010

    Oreo Cheesecake

    I lost track of time this week... to say that I was busy... not really,  but my kitchen has stop 'smoking' for a couple of days now... I was in no mood for anything at the moment... my mind has wandered off... thinking of days ahead without Mr H Jr...  We are sending him off to the airport later today for his school trip to Paris and London... for 2 weeks.
    Every parents' nightmare, when their children are away for that long and so far away!!! All sort of things came to mind: will he be alright? does he has enough socks? will he forget to pack his stuff and not leave anything behind and most important thing... does he has enough money??? and passport?... endless worrying... :(

    He'll be in Paris for a week then taking Eurotrain to London for their last leg of their Social Science and Environment Tour...  so ... if you happen to see 3 teachers running around chasing 30 excited teenagers around Paris and London... just say "G'day, mate" and give them a 'Thumbs Up' for their great effort in planning the tour and taking care of our kids ~ thousands of mile away from home  :)

    I am sure he will enjoy the trip and get to savour the beautiful artisan breads and variety of cheeses in Paris, Fish and Chips with mushy peas :) in London...and wonderful desserts.... but  I believe ~ he will be missing my cooking too (so I'd like to think... hahaha)...
    Just like this less fat Oreo Cheesecake... (adapted from the Philadelphia Cream Cheese~ Simply Heaven)

    • 375g light Philadelphia cream cheese
    • 300 g oreo cookies
    • 80g butter - melted
    • 1/2 cup caster sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 cup light cream
    • 3 teaspoon gelatine - dissolved in 1/4 cup boiling water
    • 180g Plaistowe Extra Creamy White Chocolate - melted using double boil method

    Grease a loose base pan.

    Add 250g oreo cookies and butter in a food processor. Process into fine crumbs. Press the mixture onto the greased loose base pan and chill for at least 30 minutes.

    Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth, then beat in the cream. Stir through gelatine and white chocolate..

    Roughly break the remaining oreo (could add more oreo if desired). Pour 1/4 of the mixture onto the pan, spread the oreo and pour the remaining mixture. Refrigerate 3 hours before serving...