Thursday, October 25, 2012

Happy Tummy, Happy Baby!

I have created a separate blog to document my journey of baby food cooking. Feel free to check out

20121025 Mini Marble Cupcakes

(SOURCE: BBC Good Food - Chocolate & vanilla cupcakes)

My friend came to visit last week so I wanted to make some mini cupcakes and decorate them nicely. I tried to bake cupcakes several times and am never satisfied with the result. For some reasons, I just couldn't make my cupcakes flat. I made sure all the ingredients were at room temperature, but they always had nice crowns. I know I can simply cut off the top before decorating them. But for these mini cupcakes, taking off the top will simply leave us not much cupcake left. So what the heck, I simply serve them plain without any frosting. They tasted good and went well with our morning coffee, so no complaints from my guest!

100g butter, room temperature
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
100g self raising flour
1 tbsp cocoa powder
few drops of vanilla essence

1. Heat the oven to 180 degree C.
2. In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar together, then beat in the eggs and flour. Divide the mix into two. Add cocoa to one half and the vanilla to the other. Combine the two batter together without mixing too much.
3. Spoon into the mini muffin tins lined with paper cases (should make about 24 mini cupcakes). Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Monday, September 3, 2012

20120903 Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich

My husband finds this sandwich disgusting, but I think this is the ultimate comfort food. Nothing can beat the melted peanut butter and warm banana slices, yummmmmm.

2 slices brown bread
1 banana, sliced
2 tbsp smooth peanut butter

1. Spread 1 tbsp of peanut butter onto one side of each slice of bread. Place banana slices onto the peanut buttered side of one slice and top with the other slice.
2. Place it into the panini maker and grill for 2-4 minutes.

Friday, August 31, 2012

20120831 Egg and Lentil Curry

(SOURCE: Delia Smith's Egg and Lentil Curry with Coconut and Pickled Lime)

This dish is easy to make and you can easily find all the ingredients in your cupboard. As I love my lentils all mushy, I will soak the lentils for about 2-3 hours later before cooking. I served the lentils with some plain basmati rice, but I think it would go much better with some plain naan bread.

2 large hard/soft boiled eggs, halved
75g green lentils, soaked in warm water for an hour and then drained
75g creamed coconut
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 fat garlic cloves, pressed
2.5cm piece root ginger, grated
3 cardamom pods, crushed
1 tsp cumin seeds
1tsp fennel seeds
1tsp coriander seeds
1tsp turmeric powder
1tsp fenugreek powder
dash of chilli powder
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Dissolve the creamed coconut in a jug with 1 pint of boiling water.
2. Toss the whole spices in a frying pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until they start to jump. Tip them into a mortar and crush.
3. Heat the oil in the pan over high heat, and brown the onions until they are dark at the edges. Lower the heat to medium and add chilli, ginger, garlic, turmeric, fenugreek, and the finely crushed roasted spices. Stir everything together.
4. Stir in the drained lentils and add the coconut liquid. Bring to the boil, put the lid on, and lower the heat to simmer for about an hour. Stir occasionally. Season with salt and pepper shortly before removing the pan from heat.
5. Spoon the lentils over some plain rice, and lay the halved eggs on top of the curry.

Friday, August 24, 2012

20120824 Pan-fried Chicken Wings

When my mom was here, she made pan fried chicken wings a couple of times and my hubby was hooked. My mom makes the best pan fried chicken wings - they are crispy on the outside and juicy in the inside. So when I asked her for the secret recipe, she simply said "Patience". Huh? I didn't understand what she meant until now. My first batch of chicken wings was a bit burned as I was tired of flipping the wings and decided to turn the heat up to speed up the process - big mistake! So I threw in an extra dose of patience for my second and third batches, and they were simply brilliant. It is a great way of meditation as you can simply let your mind wander while flipping the chicken wings.

900g chicken wings, drained and wiped dry
1 tbsp dried thyme, bruised
freshly grounded black pepper
olive oil

1. Marinate the chicken wings with thyme and salt and pepper for at least an hour.
2. Heat some olive oil in a non stick pan and fry the chicken wings in batches over medium high heat. Cook the chicken wings for about 15 minutes, and remember to turn them every 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle some salt over the wings halfway through for extra crispness.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

20120822 Chicken Pasta Salad

The Netherlands has a "tropical summer" this year as it has been 30+ degree C for the last couple of weeks. So I am too lazy to cook, and have made this easy pasta salad several times already. It's easy and yummy, so why not?

250g cooked pasta
3 hard boiled eggs, cut into small cubes
1 small can of sweet corn, drained
1/3 cup diced pickles
1 cup chicken, cooked and shredded
dried dille
freshly grounded four-season pepper
2-3 tbsp mayonnaise

1. In a large bowl, mix the first five ingredients. Mix in as little/much mayo as you like. Season with dille and pepper. Voila!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

20120808 Meatloaf

I need to get rid of the pack of ground beef in the freezer. What should I make? Meatloaf, of course! I have several sad looking celery sticks sitting in the fridge, so I chopped them up and threw them in too. The first time I made a meatloaf, I followed a recipe I found on the internet and measured everything precisely. But now? I simply throw in whatever feels right. And the meatloaf tasted pretty juicy and yummy. The joy of cooking!

2 small onions, finely chopped
2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
500g ground beef
1 tbsp dried parsley
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/3 cup ketchup (Plus more to smear on top of the loaf)
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 eggs
olive oil
salt and freshly grounded black pepper

1. Heat oven to 175 degree C.
2. Heat some olive oil in a pan and cook the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic for about 5 minutes.
3. In a large bowl, mix the cooked vegetables and the rest of the ingredients together. Put into a loaf pan and cover the loaf with a thick layer of ketchup. Cook in the oven for an hour.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

20120805 Chicken Enchiladas

Enchiladas are easy to make and very yummy, so they are perfect for weekend dinner. I usually made this with chicken and onions only, but as I have a red bell pepper sitting quietly in the fridge, I thought I would add it to the dish too. Who knows, it actually gives the enchiladas more flavor and texture - thumbs up!

2 cups cooked and shredded chicken
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup, freshly chopped coriander leaves
8 soft tortilla wraps
1 cup creme fraiche
1 cup taco sauce
grated cheese
olive oil
salt and freshly grounded black pepper

1. Heat the oven to 175 degree C.
2. In a bowl, mix the creme fraiche and taco sauce together. Spread 1/3 of the cream and taco sauce mixture in a baking dish.
3. Heat some olive oil in a pan and fry the garlic and onion until fragrant. Add the chicken and pepper and cook until pepper turns soft. Lastly add coriander leaves and mix well. Remove pan from heat.
4. Spoon the chicken mixture into a tortilla, top with 1 tbsp of cheese, roll up. Place the enchilada seem side down into the baking dish. Repeat and make 8 enchiladas.
5. Pour the remaining cream and taco sauce over the enchiladas. Cover the dish with foil and cook in the oven for 20 minutes.
6. Generously sprinkle cheese over the enchiladas and cook in the oven (uncovered) for a furtther 10 minutes, or until the cheese turns nice and golden.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

20120804 Parmesan Fish

I love the cheesy, crumbly top that reminds me of McDonald's fish-o-filet - a fancier version of it anyways. But the best thing about this dish is the lemony butter. It just gives the fish a lovely refreshing twist. My husband said (I quote), "It tastes buttery but not too greasy because of the citrusy flavor. I like it!". And my husband usually dislikes seafood, by the way.

4 thick fish filets
3 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
50g freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs
juice and zest of 1 lemon
olive oil
50g butter, cut into small cubes
salt and freshly grated white pepper

1. Grease a baking dish. In a small bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, lemon zest, parmesan cheese, and parsley.
2. Season the fish filets with salt and white pepper. Heat some olive oil in a pan and cook the filets for about 2-3 minutes on each side.
3. Transfer the filets to the baking dish, and cover the filets with the parmesan mixture. Put the butter cubes around the filets and sprinkle lemon juice all over the dish.
4. Cook the filets under a hot grill for 5-10 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

Friday, July 27, 2012

20120727 Olivier Salad

I am not sure if this is the "real" Olivier Salad (if there is one) as I didn't look up any recipes. I had Olivier Salad before, so I just threw in whatever ingredients I could remember. It's not bad for this hot and stuffy Friday! But something seems to be missing. Now thinking about it, I think there may be apples and eggs in the salad too. I can't believe I always put off making this salad because the potatoes always break/mush after cooking - even when I got the waxy ones. So today I steamed the potatoes instead of cooking them in boiling water. And it works! I bet this may be a well known trick that I was not aware of, but am still very proud of myself for figuring this out.

1 X 400g can mixed peas/carrots/corns
500g potatoes, steamed and finely diced
100g ham, cut into little cubes
12 small pickles, finely diced
1 small onion, finely diced
4 tbsp mayonnaise
3 tbsp full cream
freshly grounded black pepper

1. Throw everything into a big salad bowl and mix well. Season with black pepper, and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

20120721 Stuffed Red Peppers

As there was a buy one get two deal for minced beef at the supermarket, I bought a little too much minced beef. I wanted to make meatloaf but my husband pulled a dirty face at the sound of it. So I just made this simple dish instead.

300g minced beef
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 egg
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 tbsp dried thyme
salt and freshly grounded black pepper
a dash of Leicestershire sauce
2 red bell peppers, halved and seeded

1. Heat the oven to 200 degree C. Grease a casserole dish.
2. In a mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients (except the red pepper of course) together with hands.
3. Fill the peppers with the meat mixture, then lay them into the casserole dish. Cover with foil and cook in the oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and cook for a further 20 minutes.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

20120718 Boursin Pasta

This is a really simple dish that can be ready within 30 minutes - okay, it took me about an hour as I have to entertain a 5-month-old in the meantime. If I would have cooked the broccoli and pasta in advance, the cooking time will be even less (and the oven does most of the work anyways). I thought of making a simple sauce with Boursin cream cheese, creme fraiche, and milk. But I discovered this wonderful Boursin Cuisine Garlic & Herbs at the supermarket - it is perfect and is actually cheaper than making the sauce with the Boursin cream cheese myself! An easy and flavorful dish that I would strongly recommend.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 broccoli, cut into florets, steamed
300g minced beef
300g pasta, cooked and drained
1 Boursin Cuisine Garlic & Herbs
grated cheese
salt and freshly grounded black pepper

1. Heat the oven to 160 degree C.
2. Heat the olive oil in a pan and brown the beef. Add the onion and fry until fragrant. Then add the broccoli and pasta, and season with salt and pepper. Finally add the Boursin Cuisine. Turn the heat down and let it cook for about 5 minutes until heat through.
3. Remove the pan from heat, and transfer the pasta mixture into a casserole dish. Generously sprinkle grated cheese all over the pasta. Leave the casserole in the oven for about 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

20120715 Beef Stew with Carrots and Onions

It has been a long time since I last cooked something new. I used to cook to relax, but haven't been able to do so with a baby to care for. Even though Olivia is not a fussy baby, she needs attention from time to time. I like spending an hour or two preparing food in the kitchen without any thoughts in my mind, so am still learning how to enjoy cooking while there are interruptions here and there. As my husband was home today, I was able to spend an hour in the kitchen to prepare this stew. Okay, it didn't need an hour but I took my time. Oh how much I miss cooking! This stew tasted good. I took a risk and used rosemary and thyme together. The result was good as the stew was so fragrant. And the crunchy fresh French bread certainly went well with the stew. I've got to plan ahead and cook more again from now on.

3 tbsp olive oil
900g stew beef, cut into 5cm cubes
400g carrots, cut into tiny cubes
5 small onions, finely diced
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thime
1 bay leaf
salt and freshly grounded black pepper
1 tbsp tomato puree
400g can of peeled tomatoes
3/4 cups red wine
1 cup beef stock

1. Heat the oven to 150C. Season beef with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a Dutch oven and brown the beef.
2. Add garlic and dried herbs to the beef, and fry until fragrant. Add wine and bring it to the boil. Then add the carrs, onions, tomato puree, and tomatoes. Use a wooden spoon to break the tomatoes, and top off the stew with beef stock.
3. Bring tge stew to tge boil, cover tightly with a lid, andcook in te oven for about 3 hours. Stir the stew halfway through cooking. Serve with boiled potatoes or crunchy french bread.

Friday, March 2, 2012

20120302 Pound Cake

I have been craving homemade baked goods for days, but finds it difficult to find the time to bake with a 4-week-old baby demanding food every 2 to 4 hours. As the craving got stronger, I decided to make a simple pound cake today. Olivia woke up hungry shortly after I had put the cake into the oven. Thank goodness my parents are visiting, so they helped to remove the cake from the oven while I was breastfeeding. The cake was a beautiful golden brown and tasted really good.

3 eggs
3 tbsp milk (at room temperature)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
185g butter (at room temperature)

1. Heat the oven to 175 degree C. Grease a loaf pan. Line the loaf pan with baking paper, and then spray some oil over the paper.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract.
3. In a big bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. Add butter and half the egg mixture, and mix with an electric mixer until the dry ingredients are moistened.
4. Add half of the remaining egg mixture and mix until combined. Then add the rest of the egg mixture, and mix until well incorporated. Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 55 minutes.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

20120219 Beef red curry

(SOURCE: Koken & Genieten magazine - Scherpe rundvleescurry)

I was worried that I would not be able to make this beef stew while caring for a three-week-old baby. But it went really well as it took only less than 30 minutes to prepare. So I simply got everything ready immediately after I had put Olivia down for a nap. Then while the stew was bubbling away on the stove, I could continue to play with/feed/change Olivia. I consider this stew a success, though it didn't have much of a red curry taste as I had added too much water. Next time I will add 500ml of water only as the onions tend to produce quite some liquid too.

2 tbsp butter
1kg stewing beef, cut into chunks
6 small onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp red curry paste
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the butter in a Dutch oven and brown the beef over high heat. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Add the onions and garlic, and fry until fragrant. Stir in the tomato puree and curry paste. Add 900ml of water and bring it to the boil. Reduce to low heat and simmer for 3 hours.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

20120218 Tandoori-style chicken with buttered rice

(SOURCE: BBC GoodFood - Brian Turner's Tandoori-style chicken with buttered rice)

It has been a challenge to find the time (and energy) to try out new recipes since Olivia was born. My husband has been helping out loads and cooking simple meals. As we are getting more used to Olivia's needs and are learning to be flexible with our dinner time, I decided to cook something simple today. I prepared the ingredients during one of Olivia's afternoon naps, and then cooked the meal immediately after her feeding at 6pm. It was a miracle that our dinner was not interrupted. And of course, once we finished dinner, Olivia immediately asked for hugs - so our dessert had to wait. I can't wait till Olivia has developed more of a routine so we can better plan our meals around it. People say such a routine will be developed by the time babies are 6 weeks old...just 3 more weeks to go, fingers crossed!

4 rounded tbsp Greek yoghurt
2 tsp tomato puree
3 garlic cloves, crushed
4 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 tsp ground ginger
3 tsp medium curry powder
500g chicken fillets, cut into large cubes
2 tsp sunflower oil
For the buttered rice -
25g butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
250g leftover cooked basmati rice
4 tbsp hot chicken stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the oven to 180 degree C. In a bowl, mix the first 7 ingredients together and stir until the chicken is coated.
2. Heat the oil in a frying pan and quickly saute the chicken for 1 minute to seal. Cook the chicken on the top shelf of the oven for 8 to 10 minutes until tender and lightly charred.
3. Meanwhile, make the buttered rice. Melt half the butter in a pan and saute the onion over a high heat until soft. Add the rice and allow to just warm through, and then sprinkle over the stock. Season.
4. Grease four ramekins with the rest of the butter. Divide the rice between them and arrange on a baking sheet, then cover each one tightly with foil. Place on the second shelf in the oven and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes until all the stock has been absorbed.
5. Serve the buttered rice with the chicken.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

20120126 Scrambled Eggs

I love scrambled eggs but could never get them right. They either are too runny or have a rubbery texture. This morning I gave scrambled eggs another go and was half satisfied with the result. The eggs tasted good, but I think I overcooked them just a little too long - again! Next time I may add a bit more milk, or simply replace milk with cream. Oh well, that's the fun of cooking - try and try again until you get it right!

2 large eggs
2 tbsp milk
dash of dill
freshly grounded 4-season pepper
25g butter
2 buttered toasts

1. Whisk the first 5 ingredients in a bowl until all they are well combined.
2. Heat the butter in a non-sticking pan over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, pour in the egg mixture and let it sit. When the eggs begin to solidify, use a wooden spoon to scrap the eggs from the sides of the pan and fold them over into the middle. Repeat this until eggs are slightly runny and softly set. Remove from the heat and leave it for a bit to continue cooking.
3. Once the runny bits have disappeared, transfer the eggs onto two sliced of buttered toasts.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

20120125 Butter Chicken, v3

(SOURCE: TastyKitchen - Butter Chicken)

I craved something rich and flavorful, so decided to make butter chicken again. As my last attempt to modify the butter chicken recipe was a success, I decided to tweak the recipe a little more again to give the chicken more flavor and a little bit of a kick. Oh the butter chicken had such an intense flavor and it was just so good!

500g boneless chicken, cubed
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp tandoori masala spices
1 tsp salt
a dash of chilli powder
2 small onions, diced
30g butter
300g passata
300g chopped tomatoes (canned)
2 tsp dried coriander leaves
250ml cream, at room temperature

1. Combine the first 5 ingredients and marinate for at least 2 hours.
2. Heat the butter in a pan and saute the onions until soft. Add the marinated chicken and cook for 10 minutes. Add the passata, chopped tomatoes, and dried coriander. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes with the lid on. Lastly, add the cream just before serving.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

20120124 Sesame Oil Chicken

(SOURCE: - Seasame Oil Chicken)

I loved how the entire kitchen was filled with the aroma of sesame oil when I heated the oil in the wok, so I expected a very intense and flavorful dish. But unfortunately, I didn't smell or taste any sesame oil in the chicken - how disappointing! I wonder if it was because the sesame oil I used was not good enough, as the original recipe recommended a "toasted/dark sesame oil" which has a more intense flavor. Next time I will look for the toasted sesame oil at the Chinese supermarket and give this dish another go.

500g little chicken drumsticks
2-inch piece of root ginger, cut into thin strips
1.5 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp dry sherry
2 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 cup water
3 dashes white pepper

1. Heat the sesame oil in a wok over high heat. Add the ginger and stir fry until fragrant. Add the chicken and fry a little before adding the soy sauce, oyster sauce, sherry, and white pepper. Continue to stir-fry until the chicken is about 70% cooked.
2. Add water and do a few quick stirs. Cover the wok with a lid and turn the heat to medium to low heat, and let the chicken cook until the sauce thickens and the meat becomes tender. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes. Add more water if the sauce dries up. .

Sunday, January 22, 2012

20120122 Chinese-style braised beef, v2

(SOURCE: BBC GoodFood - Chinese-style braised beef one-pot)

I made this dish a couple of months ago and loved its vibrant flavors. This time I moderated the amount of ingredients a little in a hope to make the dish a little less sweet. The key is the dark soy sauce! I got the dark soy sauce from a Chinese supermarket this time - it tastes more intense and less sweet than the soy sauce I got from the local supermarket. The meat was so tender and rich in flavor - thumbs up!

3 tbsp olive oil
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1.5-inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and shredded
1 bunch spring onions, sliced
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
1kg braising beef, cut into large chunks
1 tbsp plain flour
2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
3 tbsp dry sherry
3 tbsp dark soy sauce (from a Chinese supermarket)
500ml beef stock

1. Heat the oven to 150 degree C. Toss the beef in the flour. Heat the oil in a dutch oven and brown the beef in batches. Remove beef from pan and set aside.
2. Add the garlic, ginger, onions and chilli to the pan, and fry until fragrant. Then add the five-spice and fry for another minute. Then add the beef and stir until combined. Splash in the sherry, scraping up any meaty bits.
3. Pour in the soy sauce and stock, bring to a simmer, then tightly cover, transfer to the oven and cook for 3 hours. Stir the meat halfway through.

Friday, January 20, 2012

20120120 Chocolate Chip Cookies

(SOURCE: A friend)

I am feeling a bit restless today and have trouble sitting still. So I looked into my cupboard to see if I can whip something yummy up. I see I still have a bag of chocolate chips and cranberries from Christmas, so why not bake some chocolate chip cookies? My friend gave me this recipe several years ago, and it is perfect because I have all the ingredients listed! And the cookies are nice and chewy - perfect for a mellow Friday evening.

1 cup plus 2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
110g butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mix of chocolate chips and dried cranberries

1. Heat the oven to 175 degree C. Grease a baking sheet.
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until the mixture if smooth and creamy. Gradually add the flour, baking soda, and salt into the bowl and beat until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and cranberries.
3. Drop the dough by very rounded tablespoonfuls onto the greased baking sheet, spacing the mounds about 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes, or until nicely browned.
4. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let it cool for about 3 minutes. Then transfer the cookies to a rack and let them cool completely. Makes about 18 cookies.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

20120117 Sookhe Masale ka Murg (Dry Masala Chicken)

(SOURCE: Indian Cookbook by Pushpesh Pant - Sookhe Masale ka Murg)

I chose this recipe as it requires only a handful of ingredients, and it has an interesting way to cook the chicken - you have to parboil the chicken before frying. This article explained that parboiling chicken before frying will help to reduce the amount of oil used for frying and to cook the chicken faster. The original recipe still used 1 cup of ghee to fry the chicken, so I am not sure the author chose to parboil the chicken to use less oil for frying...But anyways, I have modified the recipe quite a bit by reducing the amount of chilli powder and oil used. The little drumsticks were finger-licking and super garlicky! I think they will be great for barbecue too. So next time I will just parboil the chicken and then pop them onto the barbecue for about 5 to 10 minutes.

1/4 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric powder
6 garlic cloves, crushed
6 black peppercorns, crushed
600g little chicken drumsticks
1 tbsp olive oil

1. Marinate the chicken with the first 5 ingredients, then set aside in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
2. Pour 1 cup of water into a large heavy-based pan and add 1 tsp of salt. Add the marinated chicken and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the water has evaporated and the chicken is cooked through. Remove the drumsticks from the water and place them on a kitchen tissue to dry a bit.
3. Heat the oil in another pan over low heat, add the chicken and fry for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Monday, January 16, 2012

20120116 Madeira Cake

(SOURCE: Nigella Lawson - My Mother-in-law's Madeira Cake)

I woke up this morning feeling not so great because of awfully swollen fingers and feet (I know I should be grateful already as my face/hands/feet have only started swelling since last week when I hit 38-week pregnancy). The frosty and sunny morning lifted my mood a little, but I needed another dose of mood booster to kick start this week. I thought a warm slice of pound cake would do the job and was keeping my fingers crossed that I had all the ingredients I need in the cupboard. I found this Madeira cake recipe online and it looks like a pound cake, so it would do! I love it when the house is filled with the smell of baked goods. This is my first Madeira cake - it tastes just like a simple pound cake but with a twist of lemon flavor. And this cake, especially its crispy topping, really made my day!

240g softened unsalted butter
200g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 large eggs
210g self-raising flour
90g plain flour

1. Heat the oven to 170 degree C, and grease a loaf tin.
2. Cream the butter and sugar, and add the lemon zest.
3. Add the eggs one at a time with a tablespoon of flour for each.
4. Gently mix in the rest of the flour and, finally, the lemon juice.
5. Sprinkle with caster sugar (about 2 tablespoons) as it goes into the oven, and bake for 1 hour or until a cake-tester comes out clean.
6. Remove to a wire rack, and let cool in the tin before turning out.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

20120115 Thyme Chicken Legs

I wanted to make roasted chicken but was not really up for the carving bit, so I got some chicken legs instead. I was debating at the supermarket whether to make roasted chicken legs with rosemary or thyme. Then the problem solved itself as there was no fresh rosemary, so thyme it is! From experience, I know that thyme and lemon are always great with chicken. To give the chicken a little kick, I added some crushed garlic and cayenne pepper too as an experiment - who knows, it was really good! The chicken legs were so flavorful and juicy, so I simply served them with some steamed carrots and cauliflowers - I tossed the steamed vegetables in the meat juice, and then sprinkle them with some freshly grounded four seasons pepper.

4 chicken legs
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, plus several sprigs of thyme
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly grounded black pepper
some cayenne pepper

1. In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, thyme leaves, lemon juice, olive oil, and some salt and pepper. Set aside.
2. Pat dry the chicken legs and slit them. Rub the thyme mixture into the chicken - be sure to rub some herbs into the slits. Let them marinate for at least an hour.
3. Heat the oven to 200 degree C.
4. Throw the sprigs of thyme into the casserole dish, and then lay the chicken legs on them. Sprinkle the chicken legs with some cayenne pepper. Bake in the oven for about 50 to 60 minutes, or until golden brown.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

20120112 Sweetcorn Chowder with Toasted Tortilla Chips

(SOURCE: Nigella Lawson - Sweetcorn Chowder with Toasted Tortillas)

Today is Heather's 32nd birthday, and she is coming over for chats and lunch. As she has been craving Mexican food lately, we decided to make this Mexican-inspired soup for lunch today. It is very simple to make, so I was able to chat with Heather while preparing and cooking the soup. The soup tasted pretty strong, so it was really nice to dip the toasted tortilla chips in. But next time I may use less garlic and only the green parts of the spring onions.

500g canned sweetcorn, drained
1.5 spring onions, debearded and cut into small chunks (some cut into rings for garnishing)
1 small garlic clove, peeled
15g flour
750ml hot vegetable stock
200g lightly salted tortilla chips
100g grated cheese

1. Heat the oven to 200 degree C.
2. In a food processor, blitz the sweetcorn, spring onions, garlic, and flour into a mush. Tip the mixture into a saucepan, add the stock and bring to the boil. Then turn down the heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
3. In the meantime, spread the tortilla chips out on a baking sheet and sprinkle the cheese over. Warm in the oven until the cheese melts over the chips.
4. Ladle the soup into bowls. Scatter over the soup some chips and spring onion rings.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

20120111 Sliced Bananas with Chocolate Sprinkles

I wanted something sweet after my toasts this morning, so I made myself a simple treat - sliced bananas with chocolate sprinkles! This is one of the most common snacks for kids, but my Dutch husband finds it an odd snack. Cultural difference?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

20120110 Fish Curry

I went to the supermarket with a list of ingredients required to make stuffed bell peppers. But as I saw some really nice white fish filets that were on sale, I decided to make a fish curry instead. As I was too lazy to look up fish curry recipes on my mobile, I simply made up the recipe myself and grabbed what I thought I would need from the supermarket. The result was good but I have to admit that it would have been better if I had added about 1/4 cup of creme fraiche to soften the curry flavor and make the sauce more creamy. Oh well, another time!

700g white fish, cut into large chunks
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tomato, skinned and chopped
3 tbsp curry paste
1 cup vegetable stock
2 tbsp sunflower oil
salt and pepper

1. Heat 1 tbsp of sunflower oil in a large non-sticking pan, and brown the fish in batches - about 1 to 2 minutes each side. Set aside.
2. Heat the remaining oil in the pan over medium heat, and brown the garlic and onions for about 5 minutes. Add the curry paste and cook until fragrant. Then add the tomato and stock, and simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes.
3. Add the fish at last and heat through. Season with sugar and salt and pepper, and serve with naan bread.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

20120103 Meatloaf

I have been craving meatloaf this week, but could not find the onion soup packet at the nearby supermarket and could not be bothered to drive to another supermarket for it. So I just used what I could find in the kitchen for this meatloaf dish. My husband is usually not a meatloaf fan, but he said this meatloaf tasted pretty good - so I consider this a success! Oh and I made some onion gravy to pour over the boiled potatoes and vegetables. The perfect dish to beat the rainy and super windy weather.

For the meatloaf -
250g ground beef
250g ground pork
1 small onion, finely diced
1 large egg
1/4 cup ketchup, plus more for topping
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
handful of roughly chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
salt and fresh ground black pepper
For the onion gravy -
1 tbsp sunflower oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp flour
400ml beef stock
salt and fresh ground black pepper

1. Heat the oven to 175 degree C.
2. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Transfer the mixture into a small loaf tin, then cover the top with a thick layer of ketchup.
3. Cook in the oven for about 1 hour. Drain off the fat before serving.
4. To make the onion gravy, heat the oil in a small pan and fry the onions for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Add the brown sugar and cook for 5 minutes - keep stirring. Then add the flour and coat the onions evenly. Finally add the stock and let it bubble for about 5 minutes, until the gravy is nice and thick. Season well with salt and pepper.