Friday, December 4, 2009

CEIMB - Confetti Chili

I was very excited to make this as i've never made my own chili before. My mother makes a great one so i've never really had to. I decided to make double the quantity as we always have lot's of family coming over on the weekends.

I normally try and stay away from buying canned goods but my son's kindergarden is trying to raise money for animal shelters by doing a recycling drive, so i gave in and bought all the canned beans and tomatoes i needed.

I did make a couple of changes. I didn't buy enough canned tomatoes so i used cream of tomato soup and cherry tomatoes. I also left out the chili peppers as i wanted my children to be able to eat it too. It all came together very easily but i needed a much longer cooking time to get the consistency i wanted.

Thank you so much to I'll eat you for a great pick. We really loved this chili, so good, especially with a little cheddar cheese on top. Please check out her blog or here for the recipe.

I apologise for no picture, i'm having issues with my camera and as soon as its sorted i'll post one.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Heath Cookies

The recipe for these cookies are courtesy of Elise from Simply Recipes. Its a fantastic site and you can find the recipe for these cookies here.

I used the bag of Heath Toffee chips as I haven't found the bars here yet. These cookies are so good. My mother is one of 14 siblings and every sunday most of my aunts, uncles and cousins come over for a big family catch up. Its great but a little over-whelming for my husband who grew up in a very small family. I served these to my family and they practically inhaled them.

Friday, November 20, 2009

CEIMB - Peach French Toast Bake

Sorry, a little late this week. Thank you Liz for a great pick pick for this weeks CEIMB.

I used raisin bread, left out the lemon juice as i didn't have any lemons left, and added lot's of cinnamon and nutmeg. The smell in our house this morning as it was baking was amazing. There is none left, all gone, delicious!

Please check out Liz's blog, The Not So Skinny Kitchen for the recipe or here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

CEIMB - Carrot, Green Apple & Mint Salad

Ok, so its not the prettiest looking salad.......but it tastes so good!!
I thought there was no way i could get this recipe wrong; the ingredients were simple and the method even more so. Yet i did. I was in such a rush to make this that i didn't pay much attention and instead of grated carrots and apple, it ended up finely chopped. I know in the photos it looks like mush but it was actually really crunchy :)

It tastes great, although i think i was a bit too enthusiastic with the mint. I would happily make this again (in its correct form). Thank you Jessica, from The Singleton in the Kitchen, for a wonderful pick for this weeks CEIMB. Its perfect for the year round summer days we have here. Please check out Jessica's wonderful blog here.

Friday, November 6, 2009

I'm back! - CEIMB Linguine with Shrimp

I can't believe how long it has been since i have written, or even looked at my blog!
We moved from Singapore to Malaysia. After much searching for the right schools for my boys we found a lovely international school for my 4 year old and a great kindergarten for my 2 year old. They are settled and happy, so we are too! My husband was made redundant from his job in Singapore and he finally ended his ten year relationship with his company last week (he worked out of the office here since we moved). He's enjoying some much deserved time off before rejoining the rat race in a couple of months. I think some mini vacations might be in order ;)

I had put my food blog to the back of my mind and when my box with all my beloved cookbooks was mistakenly put in long term storage by the moving company..... i was devastated. You see we're staying with my mother temporarily until we know our next move and majority of our belongings are in storage. I had specifically told the movers that my book box, under no circumstances, was not to go into storage. Sigh. They don't sell those books here in the bookshops and i don't really want to pay a fortune ordering them and having them shipped here to Malaysia. Regretfully TWD is off the cards right now. Luckily for me, CEIMB and Daring Bakers have online recipes so i can continue to participate in these where possible.

I was kicked into getting back into my baking/cooking groove by Sara. When she emailed me saying it was my turn to choose the dish for CEIMB it was great. But am i going to choose the recipe? I didn't have the full choice of the book but i managed to have a good look through the recipes on the food network and chose the Linguine With Shrimp.

I don't know why i didn't have the forethought to read the recipe and ingredients properly before making this. I didn't realise it called for wine (for religious reasons i don't consume alcohol) so i thought i'd just leave it out. I forgot to save some of the pasta cooking water so sautéed the prawns and asparagus in the lemon juice instead. I used wholewheat spaghetti instead of linguine and also added some chilli flakes, i need some spice ;)

I really liked this. It was simple and tasty. I won't say quick as it took me 30 minutes (yes i know i'm hopeless at this) to de-shell the prawns. Please checkout the rest of CEIMB's bloggers posts here and checkout the recipe here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Daring Bakers -Milan Cookies

The July Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

I am super excited about this..... its my first Daring Bakers challenge! I joined the Daring Bakers a few months ago but either forgot or was not able to participate. I managed to squeeze this in before i started to pack up my baking things. I made these last week and brought them with me to a playdate...... huge hit! I did want to make the Mallows too but ran out of time.

Everyone who tried these really liked them, i had none left! The changes i made to the recipe were to use orange extract instead of lemon. I don't have lemon extract and don't want to buy anything right now. Once we move i can start stocking up on ingredients again.

Piping the cookies took a while to master. A little messy but i just about got there in the end :)

Thanks Nicole for a great challenge!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

CEIMB - Aromatic Noodles with Lime Peanut Sauce

I haven't participated in CEIMB in ages. I did actually make the Vegetable Cheese Strata a couple of weeks ago but it was such a disaster i didn't blog about it.

I've been looking forward to making this dish for a while. I made two substitutions, red wine vinegar for the rice vinegar, and baby corn for the snap peas. The sauce was very easy to make and very quick. I was sure the chilli flakes i used weren't going to be spicy enough so i put quite a bit in (yes i do have very spicy noodles now).

Apart from my veggies being a bit to undercooked, i really liked this. The sauce is great, maybe a little less chilli next time though ;)

Great choice Beth! Please check out her blog Supplicious and here for the recipe.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie - Brioche Plum Tart

This will probably be my last TWD for a while. We don't move until the end of the month but I'm starting to panic that time is running out! Thankfully Malaysia is very close to Singapore so our belongings going by sea will reach us two weeks after we leave. When we moved here from England it took almost two months for our shipment to arrive.

Some friends held a barbeque for us on saturday and i thought it was a great excuse to make the plum tart and have it for dessert. I made a batch of the brownies from last weeks challenge too.

The tart came out really well (well better than i expected) although a little darker than i would have liked. I should have covered it with the foil tent much earlier. The brownies went down really well, lot's of people asking for the recipe, and they were finished before the meat was even served! There was one slice of the tart left which i quickly grabbed so i could taste it. Delicious! I'd love to make this again using different fruit.

Halfway through the barbeque the heavens opened and it poured with rain. Everyone was huddled under what little covering we had except for a dear friend Dudley who carried on cooking the meat. What a trooper! Eventhough we were all soaked (especially Dudley), everyone had a great time. Good food, great company and a rainstorm to remember our last barbeque in Singapore :)

This weeks challenge was chosen by Denise from Chez Us. Thanks for the great pick Denise!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie - Katherine Hepburn Brownies

These last few weeks have been a whirlwind and i've barely had time to participate in TWD or CEIMB. I also joined the Daring Kitchen but i've yet to bake or cook along with them yet. We've been traveling back and forth to Kuala Lumpur as we have recently been told that my husbands job has been impacted by the global recession. So we will leave Singapore at the end of this month and move up to KL and stay there for a while until we figure out our next move. I've been spending my time trying to decide what will go into storage and what we bring with us. Anyone that knows me well, knows i am not very quickest of people doing this sort of thing as I tend to mull over everything.

I'm glad i was able to make these. I did have all the ingredients so there was no excuse not to! Very easy to make and very yummy, rich but good. I got 16 squares, ate one and gave the rest away to neighbours.

Thank you for the great pick, Lisa of Surviving Oz.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tuesdays with Dories - Honey Peach Ice Cream and Parisian Apple Tarts

I have never made ice cream before and actually have never thought about making it. When i saw this on the rotation for June i already knew i wasn't going to make it. Far too complicated and would probably turn out bad anyway.
The only thing that changed my mind was reading Marthe's note on the P&Qs. Marthe gave a link that explained how to make ice cream without an ice cream maker. I was inspired!

Fresh peaches were far too expensive, $10 for 3 peaches! Canned peaches would have to do. The only change i made to the recipe was to puree all the peaches. Everything seemed to go well until i put the custard in the freezer. Everytime i took it out to churn, it was still soft and wasn't freezing. Then i realised that i was supposed to keep the custard uncovered during the churning process. Doh! Ok, no big issue and was easily sorted.

I had some friends over for tea and served the the tarts and ice cream. They loved the tarts but the ice cream was so-so. The texture was good but i'm not sold on the flavour. Maybe i'll try pear and honey next time.

Thanks to Tommi of Brown Interior for choosing this.

Tuesday with Dorie - Parisian Apple Tarts

When i was a poor student in London, some time ago i might add, i never had much in the fridge. One day all i had was some puff pastry, severely bruised apples, sugar, cinnamon and butter. This weeks challenge is almost exactly what i made. It was so delicious i have made it numerous times since, and using other fruits too. So i hope you'll forgive me for making it the way i always do, using raw sugar and including cinnamon. Its just not the same without it.

Great choice Jessica! Please visit her blog My Baking Heart

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tuesdays with Dories - Chipster Topped Brownies

I made these last week and brought them to a friends place as dessert for dinner. I made some in my muffin pan and the rest of the batter went into my square baking pan. The ones in the muffin pan turned out pretty well and were a huge hit. I had to throw away the one in the square pan. The cookie part was done but the brownie part was just brown goo. I did put it back in the oven at a lower temperature but the top got burnt and it didn't taste very good.

I didn't actually taste these, but everyone who ate them said they were really good.

Thanks for the great pick Beth. Please visit her blog Suppilicious for the recipe.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

CEIMB - Thai Style Bocourti with Coconut Curry Broth

My mother is from Malaysia and my father is English. I love curry (and steak and kidney pies) and grew up eating this and other glorious malay food. I only wish i could cook malay food like my mum can. So its no surprise that when i told Mum i'd be cooking a thai fish curry she looked skeptical. You see, as well as being hopeless at cooking malay cuisine, i'm not fond of fish. I love shellfish, but not fish. I'm not allergic, its just that i don't like a strong tasting or smelling fish, and i don't like it cooked soft. It has to be really done before i'll eat it - no sashimi for me!

Its funny how things have different names in different countries. I don't know how many times i have an ingredient list in hand and i'm walking around the supermarket looking for something only to find its called something else. I had no idea what cilantro was and figured it was some sort of vegetable. The supermarket staff didn't know so i had to call my husband and he didn't know, but he did google it for me. Ahh... coriander. I did know it, just by a different name. Here are some others, eggplant - aubergine, capsicum - peppers, scallions - spring onions. THere are more but i can't think of them right now.

Only a couple of changes, i couldn't find light coconut milk so just used normal, and the halibut was a little expensive so i bought bocourti fish instead. Also, i didn't steam the baby spinach, i just added this into the sauce.

Mum did keep a watchful eye over me and was concerned a couple of times. Apparently there are different kinds of curry powder for meat and for fish. Well i didn't know (i bought the meat curry powder), oh well. She also said that tamarind would be a much better sour taste than the lime juice. She was also wondering where the chillies were. A curry with no chilli, she couldn't believe it. I had to add a teaspoon of sugar as the sauce was just too sour.

I really liked this, mum did too but she did say it would be much better with some chilli, i agree :)
The fish was good, firm and boneless (thank goodness). I really enjoyed it.

Big thanks are due to Liz from The Not So Skinny Kitchen for this great choice. Please check out her blog and her recipes, i think i'm going to try and make her cinnamon crumb cake :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tuesdays with Dories - Fresh Mango Bread

This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie pick comes from Kelly from Baking with the Boys.

I was really intrigued by this. The only fruit bread i've ever had is raisin bread so mangoes are definitely different. Luckily mangoes are a local fruit, nowhere near as expensive as imported berries. I got my two cups from one large sweet mango. My inlaws left last wednesday but i was expecting more family on friday. I haven't seen my cousin for 12 years and she is visiting from Perth, Australia with her two kids so a busy weekend ahead. I knew that if i do what i normally do, bake on monday, i'd end up not participating as i'd get too carried away showing my cousin the sights. I thought i'd better get my skates on and get down to baking and CEIMB on the one day i had.

It all went together very easily and didn't take very long at all. I obviously don't pay any attention to what pan or pan size i'm supposed to use. The batter overflowed in the oven, a lot! It didn't make a very pretty loaf but it tasted very good. I tried it once it cooled down and there was a very strong taste of ginger, more like gingerbread. The ginger toned down the next day and you could really taste all the other flavours. It was a big hit, tasty and really moist.

Thanks for a great pick Kelly. Please check out her site here for the recipe.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

CEIMB - Jerk Chicken with Cool Pineapple Salsa

I'm really glad to get back into the swing of things. Lol, after 2 weeks off i have been baking and cooking up a storm :)

When i read the title of this weeks recipe i thought it sounded nice, then i read the ingredients for the salsa. Cucumber and pineapple, together? Hmm. Oh well, give it a try.

I live in a condo in Singapore so there isn't the same level of privacy you get in a house, and after 2 years here i'm still getting used to it. Anyways, i was dicing the cucumber and pineapple, my kitchen window was open and the little girl a floor below was singing at the tops of her lungs Kelly Clarkson's Miss Independent. It kept me so entertained that i just kept on chopping and ended up with double the quantity i needed for the salsa.

I really liked this, i wasn't expecting to but it was really good. I had the chicken and salsa with couscous and raisins and it was great. My kids wouldn't try it but my husband, picky eater that he his, finished his plate.

Thank you Jen from Notes From the Table for this weeks pick. Please visit her site for the recipe.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie - Tartiest Lemon Tart

I'm back!! My inlaws are heading back to Chicago tonight so i thought i could quickly do this tart before they leave. I've been looking forward to making this recipe, chosen by Babette Feasts . I used shop bought shortcrust pastry (bid mistake). I really wish i had taken the time to make my own pastry. The filling was great, a bit bitter but i still enjoyed it. I'll definitely make this again, with the proper crust.

Apologies for the short post but we're packing and trying to get some last minute shopping done :)

Thursday, April 30, 2009


Sorry but i won't be participating in TWD or CEIMB this week and maybe next week too. My in-laws are here visiting from Chicago so we'll be showing them the sights of Singapore and Malaysia. If i am able to fit in TWD and CEIMB, i'll definitely join.

Happy baking and cooking :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

CEIMB - Balsamic Chicken with Baby Spinach and Couscous

I've been looking forward to this recipe, it promises a good meal that is quick to prepare and cook. This weeks CEIMB was chosen by Marthe of Culinary Delights, please check out her blog for the recipe and all the other yummy food she makes :)

I only had two variations for this recipe, i used chicken drumsticks instead of breast (my husband couldn't remember which part i needed, i guess i should be grateful he didn't come back with fish or some other kind of meat) and i added raisins to the couscous.

I really, really liked this dish. Great mid week meal and i love the sweetness of the raisins in the couscous with the slight tangy balsamic sauce. Great choice Marthe!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cloverleaf Rolls

I really want to be a good breadmaker. There is nothing nicer than freshly baked homemade bread. The smell is intoxicating.
One of the things i really miss from England and Europe is the bread. There are a few places in Singapore that sells good bread but its good, not great. I really miss the granary bread from England, bird seed bread my husband calls it. He dislikes grainy bread as he says he's likely to crack a tooth. I love the texture.

I've only ever baked a couple of loaves and its always been the standard white, i'm not confidant enough to try wholemeal or grain bread. I will get there, i just need to practice more.

Anyway, i was on epicurious and saw these rolls and they look so adorable i couldn't resist.

I didn't have any poppy or sesame seeds so i topped mine with some fluer de sel. I made some in normal muffin pans and also made some mini ones from my mini muffin pan. Everything tastes better as a mini ;)

Cloverleaf Rolls
3 tablespoons warm water (105–115°F)
1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk
2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 to 2 cups all-purpose flour
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 2 teaspoons water
About 1 tablespoon poppy seeds and/or toasted sesame seeds for sprinkling

Special equipment: 2 muffin pans with a total of at least 18 (1/2-cup) muffin cups

Make dough:
Stir together warm water, yeast, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a small bowl until yeast is dissolved, then let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn't foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)

Melt 3/4 stick butter in a small saucepan, then add milk and heat to lukewarm. Stir together yeast mixture, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, butter mixture, bread flour, and salt in a bowl with a wooden spoon until combined well, then stir in 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, or enough to make a slightly sticky dough.

Butter a large bowl. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface, kneading in more all-purpose flour as needed to keep dough from sticking, until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes (dough will still be slightly sticky). Form dough into a ball and put in buttered bowl, turning to coat. Let dough rise, bowl covered tightly with plastic wrap, in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Make rolls:
Butter 18 muffin cups with remaining 2 tablespoons butter.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into thirds. Working with 1 piece at a time (keep remaining portions covered with plastic wrap), cut off tablespoon pieces of dough and form pieces into balls. Put 3 balls into each buttered muffin cup. Let rolls rise, loosely covered with a kitchen towel (not terry cloth), in draft-free place at warm room temperature until almost doubled in bulk, 30 to 40 minutes.

While rolls rise, put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F.

Brush rolls lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with seeds. Bake until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm.

These were good albeit a little plain. Next time i might add some honey or more butter. My oldest son ate almost all of them!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie - Four Star Chocolate Bread Pudding

I really didn't know if i was going to make this weeks challenge. I didn't get much sleep last night and am very tired (eyelids starting to droop as i write). Then i thought of every one else making the effort and felt i should too.

I didn't have plain chocolate so i used milk chocolate and cut back a little on the sugar. I used raisins and scattered a bit of white chocolate on the top.

Thank you to Lauren of Upper East Side Chronicle for this pick, it was an unexpected hit (for me).

I wasn't expecting to like this, but it was delicious! I couldn't wait and burnt my tongue, haha, serves me right. I could only have one small portion before my chocolate headache set in, it was worth it though. My kitchen smelt delicious too!

Check back on thursday for this weeks Craving Ellie in my Belly.

homemade semolina pasta with sun-dried tomato cream sauce

I have made my own pasta before but using plain flour. It was good but i thought it was time to make it more authentic using semolina flour.

Recipe is courtesy of Bob's Red mill -

3 cups semolina flour
1 tsp salt, optional
4 eggs
4 tbsp water
4 tbsp olive oil

Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the eggs, water and oil. Using the dough hook, mix to a stiff dough. Keep going until the dough starts to look elastic. Wrap dough in a plastic bag and leave to rest for 20 minutes.

On a floured surface roll the dough out to desired thickness and cut into desired shapes. Add to boiling hot water, drain then serve with sauce below:

Sauce recipe courtesy of allrecipes:

1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon pine nuts

Heat the cream and butter in a saucepan over medium heat until almost boiling, but do not boil. Add mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, and stir until melted. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and serve over pasta with a sprinkling of pine nuts.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

CEIMB - Lamb Stew with Orange

I am so excited! This weeks choice for Craving Ellie in my Belly was my choice, yay! Gosh it was a tough choice. I kept flicking through the book and kept going back and forth between quite a few recipes, but i always came back to this one. You see i love lamb, and seeing as its spring in England (i do miss living there) i thought it would be really appropriate to have spring lamb.

I added few extra ingredients to the already long list. I added lamb shank as well as the lamb cubes, some cinnamon and some allspice. I also increased the quantities so some other ingredients. Additionally, instead of chicken stock i used mushroom stock and a beef bouillon cube. I love this kind of cooking, all in one pot :)

I actually made this the same day i made my chocolate amaretti torte for TWD. When my friend Sandy stopped by to pick up her cake i let her try some of the stew and she really liked it.

I had the stew with brown rice and i absolutely loved it! The lamb was so tender and all the different flavours coming through..... delicious! I am definitely going to make this again.

I really hope all the other CEIMB participants enjoyed this and looking forward to next weeks Balsamic Chicken with Baby Spinach and Couscous chosen by Marthe from Culinary Delights.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie - Chocolate Amaretti Torte

After checking out two nearby supermarkets for the required Amaretti cookies with no luck i decided to make my own. I had no idea they were so easy to make. An added bonus was having had the good sense to freeze some egg whites, so i didn't even have to crack any eggs :)

The cookies were lovely, all gone now of course. Half used for the torte, a few for me and a small tupperware for my baking buddy Sandy. Recipe below:

Makes 36
1 3/4 cups almonds
1 cup icing sugar
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp almond extract
icing sugar to dust

Pulse the almonds with half of the sugar in the food processor. Using a mixer or whisk, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks.

Add the remaining sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the almond extract and almond sugar mixture. Using a pastry bag (or if you're like me, a ziploc bag with the end cut off) pipe the mixture out in rounds the size of walnuts. Sprinkle with the icing sugar and leave cookies to air for 2 hours.

Pre heat oven to 350F and bake for 15 minutes or until pale and gold.

Super easy and great with coffee, ice cream, and this weeks TWD - Chocolate Amaretti Torte!

I was making the cake and it was as easy as Dorie promised. My food processor stopped working midway, luckily at the point where the chocolate and crushed cookies need to be mixed into the batter. No big drama. I forgot to buy more dark chocolate so ended up using a mixture of dark and milk.

I made two 4 inch cakes and they looked and smelt great. I only had milk chocolate to make the glaze and made it with one spoon of sugar instead of two. This was insanely good. It never set and was very runny but very good with ice cream ;)

I gave one cake to my friend Sandy. She served it to her family for dessert and they enjoyed the cake and glaze with ice cream and strawberries, yum!

I tried a small slice and its very rich and moist. I did like it but not as much as i liked the glaze/ chocolate sauce :)

This weeks pic is by Holly of Phe/MOM/enon, thanks Holly! Please check out her website for the recipe.

Check back on thursday to see my pick (YAY!) for this weeks CEIMB.