Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Black Quinoa Salad

'The Gold of the Incas' ~ Quinoa... wonder grains from South America. I will not elaborate further on this wonder grain... just click  here to know more about Quinoa.
These tiny grains contains so many 'properties' that are beneficial to our 'well being'~ it helps eases migraine headaches good for me, cardiovascular and many more.. Click here to find out more on the 'health benefit' of Quinoa.

I wanted to try Quinoa ... but held back as I wasn't sure whether I would like the taste and texture of Quinoa... since it is categorised under 'Health Food' ~ the price was a lot dearer than any grains or legumes. To buy or not to buy? is always the question... nail biting

Finally... my golden opportunity came...
It was nearly lunch time... and the lunch crowd was growing by the minute... no hope of us getting any seats anywhere in the Food Court ... so we decided to grab some lunch at David Jones instead. 
My lucky star must be shining so bright on that day... DJ's Salad Bar had Black Quinoa Salad... I had to have that salad!!! drooling
I was blown away by the taste and the texture, that I had to write down all the ingredients that I could 'see and taste' on my serviette can't always rely on the rusty CPU up in my head anymore, you know. tongue

Its like... South America meet Asia... crunchy nutty bits of Quinoa with a hint of ground cumin and fresh coriander... beautiful ... beautiful... beautiful salad.
And YES I would whip this again ...and again... and again ...
My (improvise) version of  Black Quinoa Salad...

and one more thing worth mentioning ~ the salad tasted even better the next day!!! thumbs up

1 cup black Quinoa
1 tablespoon cumin
1 small red capsicum
1 small yellow capsicum
1 carrot
1 small zuchini
1 handful of almond
1 handful of raisins
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup of chopped coriander
  1. Rinse and wash thoroughly black Quinoa. Add the washed quinoa into a pot filled with water. Boil for 15-20 minutes. Wash under cold water and strain. Put aside
  2. Roast cumin in a frypan (dry roast) until fragrant. Then ground the cumin.
  3. Cut the carrots, zuchini, capsicums into matchstick size.
  4. Roughly chopped almond
  5. Mix everything in a mixing bowl.
  6. Season to taste.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Happy Birthday ~ Our Sweetie Pie...

Chocolate Macarons for her school mates
Today's post will not be about food and recipe (save it for my next post)... it will be about my Sweetie Pie ~ E. 
You guessed it right....  the photo above... absolute giveaway!!!...winking
My Sweetie Pie is another year older ...party

Oh Gosh!!! Time flies... it sure feels like it was just yesterday... for the first time, I craddled her sweet smelling, fragile little body up next to mine... with her teeny-weeny head could just fit the palm of my hand... her foot was just about the width of my two fingers... and the labour pain that still gives me 'The Shivers' down my spine...

Oh... yes... She is a definite bundle of joy, a dynamite... amazing to see her bloom...from her boyish baby look...to dresses that was because of hand-me-down clothes from D... , from crop short hair to tresses...

She is our livewire... a rainbow to our gloomy days,   a breath of fresh air...  grace our everyday life with her sweet, mischievous, caring, loving and forever with a smile on her face...

And here she is... 14 years later 

We Love you
May GOD bless you everyday
Enjoy .... Have a Wonderful Day

Monday, May 23, 2011

Cajun Hasselback Potatoes

Everytime I think of the word~ 'Hasselback'.... and I would go off tangent and think of 'Hasselhoff'... ask me not... why I equate Hasselback and Hasselhoff batting eyelashes.
Hasselback~potato and Hasselhoff ~errr...used to be hunky, muscular chap in Knight Rider (before Baywatch...). Perhaps something to do with the 2 words started with 'Hassel...'.

Hasselback... not as muscular as Hasselhoff, is pretty, evenly sliced potatoes and looks presentable... excellent with Sunday roast. 

A good technique to have an evenly sliced potato without cutting right through...and go angry if you do!!!! is to slice the potato on a wooden spatula. Some would use a skewer inserted across the potato... but I prefer using the spatula instead. Its easy and less messy and still look as 'pretty'...winking

8 Potatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoon cajun spice
  1. Washed and dry the potatoes with kitchen paper. Set aside.
  2. Mix olive oil and cajun spice in a bowl.
  3. Pre heat oven to 220C.
  4. Slice the potatoes as photo above.
  5. Brush with cajun mix.
  6. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the potatoes are golden and crisps.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Autumn Fruits


We spent our last weekend... discovering quaint little town called Dwellingup. It was about 1 1/2 hours drive from our place... approximately 130km.
We wouldn't have made the trip to Dwellingup, if not for D. He was to have his first 'camping expedition' in the Bibbulmun Reserve... preparing him and 60 others for their upcoming 'World Challenge' event to Nepal in November.

We drove along 2 Freeways towards Pinjarra...another small town which is famous for its 'Patisserie'... 

We drove another 24 km towards Dwellingup... passing by undulating terrain as far as our eyes could see... where sheeps, cows and horses soaked in the morning sun while grazing... 

We reached our destination in good time and on time.

Dwellingup is a small town indeed... about 200m long... and that's it. Blink and you'll miss the town...
It is 'the place' for outdoor-sy people... where one could go cycling or trekking part of Bibbulmun track... Bibbulmun Track is approximate 963 kilometers stretching from Albany to Kalamunda in Perth....

Perth Autumn this year is relatively mild comparing to previous years... therefore not a lot of Autumn displays could be seen... but it was a different scenes altogether in Dwellingup... the Autumn colours are amazing... shades of green turning to yellow to brown...

We stopped at one of the orchards on our way home... bought some really... really fresh fruits... a 5kg bag of mixed fruits... apples ~ various types of apples ..gala, granny smith, hi-early, pink lady and pears for AUD10. I clicked away  at the beautiful Autumn colours around the orchard.

I could not resist but to put up this photo of the lone raspberry...
I didn't know that raspberry could be cultivated here... duh!!I don't know
We then drove off ... taking different route ~ South Western Highway... and we ended at another orchard... Persimmon Orchard.

The orchard is located much... much... nearer to Perth. My thanks to my blogger friend, Lemongrass, for the information... we bagged another bargains... a tray of 25 pieces of Persimmons for AUD14...

The fruits are fresh, crisp, juicy and sweet... it will be a waste to either bake or do something else with these gorgeous fruits....I decided to just enjoy my Autumn fruits...diced and served with finely chopped mint...

One word came to mind ~
REFRESHING....big grin

1 pink lady -diced
1 peckham pear - diced
1 persimmons - diced
1 kiwi fruit  - sliced
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
2 mint leaves - chopped finely
  1. Soak the diced apples and pears in a bowl of water with lemon juice added to it for 1minute, to minimise oxidation or 'browning' to the cut up fruits.
  2. Mix all in a bowl with finely chopped mint
  3. Serve

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Radish Cake

This is what happened when 2 cultures meet... we have vast selection of food to cook... thus enjoy.thumbs up
Sometimes we just dont know where to start or which to choose from... as there are so many 'childhood' favourites that we want our kids to appreciate with some glimmer of hope that one day... they will reminisce their younger days through their tastebuds too...

H grew up with Chinese food... while I grew up with Malay and Indian food. Between the 2 of us... we 'practically' have 'Malaysia Gastronomic' in our kitchen... Note : I am dropping the 'Mr and Miss' from now on... to be less formal and less alphabets for me to type...  winking

And Radish Cake~ one of Chinese delicacies... that would have come 'unnoticed' to me... until H came along...
D formerly known as Mr H Jr and E were introduced to Radish Cake on our trip to Kuala Lumpur in January this year... they loved it... especialy D, who adores deep fried food... between them... they almost finished the Radish Cake in record time... Two hungry teens! Looking at D and E ate so heartily... and 2 packets weren't sufficient for both...I made a mental note to get H to cook Radish Cake when we returned home...

Nearly 4 months after our trip... the kids were delighted when we presented them... with Radish Cakes... Believe me ... when I say that these little delights are addictive, and we finished it all, in record time too...blushing

Finally... I am posting this to Muhibbah Malaysian Monday #11 hosted by Sharon of Test with Skewer

Recipe (adapted from Agnes Chang)
500-600g of radish- shred finely
2 garlic - chopped
3 tablespoon of dried prawns - soaked and chopped
120g of chicken breast - diced
salt and white pepper for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon of Chinese Five Spice
300g rice flour
75g tapioca flour
4 cups of water (including water from cooking radish)
For garnishing ~ chopped chillies, thinly sliced spring onions, golden fried shallots
Chilli Sauce to serve
  1. Place the shredded radish in a medium size pot with 1 cup of water, boil until the radish is soft and tender. Drain the cooked radish and reserve the water (to be added on to the water above to make 4 cups of water). Leave it to cool.
  2. Mix the 2 flours and the water together. Sieve.
  3. Heat up wok, add oil and stir fry chopped garlic and dried prawns until aromatic.
  4. Add in diced chicken. Cook until the chicken is slightly opaque in colour. 
  5. Add cooked radish, batter and seasonings.
  6. Meanwhile... spray some oil onto the tray and prepare the steamer. Steam the tray for few minutes.
  7. Continue stirring the batter until thickened.
  8. Lower the heat and pour the batter into the heated greased tray and steam for 45 minutes to an hour.
  9. Leave it to cool. Cut into slices.
  10. Heat up the wok with 1/2 cup of cooking oil and fry the radish slices till golden colour on both sides.
  11. Garnish and serve with chilli sauce.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Chocolate Brownies


Hope you had a fabulous Mother's Day celebration... being pampered by loved ones... and wouldn't it be nice if every weekend is Mother's Day?winking

My 'Mother's Day' started quite late-ish... as the person who was planning to make me breakfast in bed ... was still in her 'slumberland'.
I am an early riser...  would usually be awake by 5 am ... and last Sunday, I was staring at the ceiling... blinking away... I even managed to web browse under the duvet... as not to disturb Mr H and to pass the time...  Alas... my eyes were strained to the  max.. squinting away at the teeny-weeny screen ...
I decided to get up and go to the study and switched on my computer, lo and behold, the minute I plonked my bum onto the chair...shame on you she walked in. Obviously "someone" was not happy!!... but not for very long... with a promise that I would not step foot into the kitchen... and would get back into bed... the minute she started with breakfast... she was all smile and chirpy again... 

While Mr H was cooking... his version of 'Pan Mee' for lunch... (next post... maybe... when he has decipher his recipe code for me to read and type!!), Miss E busied herself preparing to bake Chocolate Brownies... for tea-time... with lesser sugar and instead of using white chocolate chips ... she scattered lots of chocolate milk chunks...

Last but not least... I am submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #7 – Chocolate Delight (May 2011)  hosted by DG of Tested and Tasted

Recipe (from the Nestle Baking Cocoa)
150g butter
1 cup baking cocoa
4 eggs - lightly beaten
1 1/2 cup raw sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 bar of cooking milk chocolate - break into chunks
Optional ~ some cooking white chocolate - melted
  1. Pre heat the oven to 160C. Line baking tray 20cm x20cm with greasedproof paper.
  2. Melt butter in microwave for 30 seconds or more. Stir in baking cocoa. Leave it to cool slightly.
  3. Mix in eggs, sugar and vanilla. Add in sifted flour and baking powder into the mixture. Mix well.
  4. Pour half of the mixture onto the prepared tray.
  5. Scatter the chunky milk chocolate.
  6. Pour in the remaining batter.
  7. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.
  8. Leave it the pan for 20 minutes before cutting the brownies into square.
  9. Drizzle the melted white chocolate over.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Marbled Rye Bread

I can't help but to mention again and again... on how good Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice (BBA) book is... and I am sure that I have said this more than once that~ this is the best Bread book I have come across. My kids often ask for his 'pizza dough'... not my lazy way of using Lebanese Bread as pizza base!!! and Miss E has mentioned once or twice that it has been a long time since she tasted homemade baguette using Peter's recipe... soon my dear...  I am planning to make one soon...

This is another marvellous bread recipe from Peter's BBA... Marbled Rye Bread... and my second attempt.
My first Marbled Rye was a disaster... I could not pin point the exact mistakes... but I could think of  a few factor that may contribute to my failure... confused
1st ~ American cup measurement is different from Australian
2nd ~ I didn't knead long enough as I was afraid  that I might overmix the rye... hence did not pass the window pane test.
3rd~ I should have halved the recipe to fit into my standard size sandwich loaf pan...

Based on my assumptions ~ above... I halved the recipe, set my digital scale to 'ounce or oz' too lazy to convert to metric, and knead the dough until both passed the windowpane test..
And voila... marvellous loaf of bread...big grin

Oh... one more thing before we proceed to the recipe...
Noticed the watermark on the photos? My million... trillion and gazillion thanks to my lovely daughter, Miss E... for the brilliant artwork and being ... so... patient with my 'forever change of mind'... love you, babe..kiss

Happy Mothers' Day to everyone...
Light Rye
3 oz white rye flour
6.8 oz unbleached bread flour
0.19 oz salt
0.1 oz instant yeast
0.1 oz caraway seeds
0.38 oz molasses
0.5 oz shortening
5.5 oz + 2 tablespoon of water at room temperature
Dark Rye
3 oz white rye flour
6.8 oz unbleached bread flour
0.19 oz salt
0.1 oz instant yeast
0.1 oz caraway seeds
0.38 oz molasses
0.5 oz shortening
5.5 oz + 2 tablespoon of water at room temperature
0.5 oz cocoa powder
Eggwash ~1 egg plus 1 teaspoon of water, whisked until frothy

Step 1~ Light Rye
  1. Stir well flours, salt,yeast,caraway seeds and molasses in a bowl of an electric mixer.
  2. Add shortening and 5.5 oz of water.
  3. Attached dough hook and turn the dial to medium.
  4. Knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is soft, supple and pliable.
  5. Lightly oil the dough and transfer to another bowl.
  6. Cover with cling film and set aside.
Step 2~ Dark Rye
  1. Similar to the above... but remember to add on the cocoa powder.
Step 3~ Next stage
  1. Ferment both doughs (separately) at room temperature until both doubled in size.
  2. Turn each dough on lightly floured surface and flatten into a rectangular shape.
  3. Lay both dough on top of each other and roll. 
  4. Place the dough in an oiled sandwich loaf pan.
  5. Set aside to proof again for another 90 minutes  or until doubled in size.
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  7. Brush the top gently with egg wash.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes.
  9. Remember to rotate the pan half way through baking for even baking.
  10. Remove from pan immediately and leave it to cool on the cooling rack for at least 1 hour before serving.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Salmon Croquette with Wasabi Mayo

First and foremost... I would like to apologise to all... I made a blunder by accidently clicking the "Publish Post" button  for the non-existence post 'Sweet as Sugar'.... I was trying to create a link with another blogger friend... My sincere apologies for my technology handicap..sad

There aren't many shops near my suburb selling reasonably priced fresh seafood... where you could still see the glassy eyes, the gills are still bloody red and the runny egg-white like goooeey stuff. The nearest would be Progressive IGA but it is not as fresh as our favourite ~ Kailis Brothers Seafood shop in Leederville...
We could spend few good hours ... walking to and fro ... looking around ...  ended up buying whole salmon ... anyway its cheaper to buy the whole fish and get them to cut into whatever cut ... I would have one side filleted with skin on, the other side.. filleted and skin-off. 
Half of skinned off will usually ended up as our lunch ~ sashimi. 

On numerous occasion... we were good and managed to finish every single slices of sashimi on the plate.... but this was one time that we could not ... instead of keeping the remainder in the freezer... not wanting to waste a good piece of fresh salmon,  I made some Croquettes for their lunch-box ... served with Wasabi Mayo (and tomato sauce for Miss E).

This is my first ~ salmon croquettes... it was a combination of  internet search for recipe and make do with whatever I have in my pantry. I love the crunch of polenta on the outside and the soft salmon mix on the inside... and the wasabi mayo gave an extra kick to these golden delicious croquette...yum... definitely will be making these again... thumbs up

300g fresh salmon
2 potatoes
1/4 cup flour
1 egg
1 brown onion - finely chopped
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
some oil
1 teaspoon wasabi
1/4 cup of mayonaise
  1. Mix wasabi and mayonaise until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Peel and boil potatoes until tender and soft. Roughly mashed it with fork. Set aside.
  3. Thinly sliced salmon. Look out for bones and pull it away.
  4. Add mash potatoes, salmon, breadcrumbs, chopped onion and egg in a mixing bowl. Mix well.
  5. Add in plain flour, salt and pepper. Mix in well and able to make little patties.
  6. Roll the patties in polenta.
  7. Heat up frying pan and pour in cooking oil (about half the height of the patties).
  8. On medium heat, fry the salmon croquette until golden.
  9. Serve with wasabi mayo and slice of lemon.