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.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie - Banana Cream Pie

I have heard so much about Banana Cream Pie (i've never tried it). My husband, who is american, confirms that eating pie is a huge part of american culture. I love apple pie, strawberry pie, most fruit pies actually.

I was a little dubious as i imagined the pie being really gooey and i wasn't sure if i'd like the texture. The more i thought about it, the more it reminded me of Banoffi Pie. I am very familiar with this as we used to live in Brighton, England, which is very near to where it was invented. So banoffi pie is a very popular dessert in the south of England. Anyway, the more i started to reminisce about banoffi pie, the more excited i got about making this pie (i love banoffie pie)

I was glad that i didn't have to run out to the supermarket for anything, for once i had all the ingredients. Making the pie crust was easy. Making the custard, hmmm, i definitely overcooked it. I didn't have time to make it again so it would have to do. The topping was very easy too, i used vanilla bean paste instead of extract. I loved the little black spots in the white cream.

I have some family staying with me and it was great having extra tasters as my husband doesn't actually like eating pies. I couldn't find my fluted pie pan so used my muffin pan and made little tartlets/pie-lets. Eventhough the filling was a little overdone, this was delicious. I'll definitely make this again. My family members loved it too, overcooked custard and all :)
I apologise if it doesn't look like a traditional pie but it was very easy for single servings.

Thank you so much to Amy from Sing for your Supper for the great pick. Please check out her website for the recipe.