Saturday, June 16, 2012

Full of Fruits Anzac Biscuits

Here's a little twist on an Aussie favourite that I've made for hubby's next climb up Mt Kinabalu, an exhausting 8km and almost half a day hike up the highest peak in Malaysia and  South East Asia. I'm pretty sure he's going to need all the energy he can muster to make it so I've added a few extras to my Anzac biscuit to give him an extra boost full of dried cranberries, apricots and sultanas.

Full of Fruits Anzac Biscuits

1 cup plain flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup desiccated coconut
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup sultanas
1/4 cup apricots, roughly chopped into small pieces
125 g butter
1/4 cup golden syrup
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp water, hot

1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
2. In a large bowl mix together the plain flour, desiccated coconut, rolled oats, cranberries, sultanas, apricots and sugar.
3. Using a small saucepan, melt the butter and golden syrup  stirring over low heat.  In a separate bowl, combine the hot water with the bicarbonate of soda. When the butter has melted remove the saucepan from the heat, immediately add in the bicarb mixture to the butter mixture. It will probably foam a bit when you stir the bicarb mixture in.  
4. Add the all the wet mixture into the dry mixture and combine well. It will be a sticky mixture so use a measuring spoon to spoon out a 1 tbsp ball on to a baking tray. (You can use a greaseproof paper to line the tray but would normally just use the tray ungreased). Arrange the biscuits on the tray giving it room to expand and use your fingers to slightly flatten the biscuit. 
5. Bake the biscuits for about 12 mins or until it is golden. The biscuit will be quite soft and will harden when cooled. I would normally bake it until it is just browned so that it would  be a chewy biscuit.


Here's my original Anzac biscuit recipe  

Mt Kinabalu Photo from The Sabah Society

Friday, April 13, 2012

A Quiche on the go.

My lunch time menu for the kids these days have pushed me to scratch my head and try to come up with something that is super quick and easy to make and in the cooking time of trying to work around a new baby and whatever time that leaves me ... tops 1 hr to prepare and get it on the table for lunch.

I know a quiche is normally made in a round quiche dish but this one of my all time fav baking dishes and I've found it's perfect to fit those square puff pastry sheet without any fuss. So I've made this easy roasted tomato and bacon quiche for lunch and with an added layer of puff pastry its ready to go.

Roasted Tomato, Basil and Bacon Quiche

3 tomatoes, quartered
2 sprigs of fresh basil, roughly chopped
olive oil
salt & pepper
1 onion, sliced 
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 slices of bacon, roughly chopped
5 eggs
1/2 milk
1/2cup grated cheddar cheese
parmesan cheese
1 1/2 sheets of puff pastry

1. Arrange in the baking dish the quartered tomatoes, salt & pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Roast under the grill for about 15mins or until slightly browned.
2. In a fry pan cook the bacon until lightly crispy and set aside keeping the remaining oil to saute the onions and garlic until soft and put this aside. 
3. Lightly grease the rectangular baking dish and cover with puff pastry. Bake this in the oven at 180C until it is lightly golden and remove.
4. Whisk the eggs and milk until combined and add the cheddar, and salt & pepper. Arrange the roasted tomatoes, bacon, chopped basil, onions and garlic over the puff pastry and pour the egg mixture over it. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the top and bake for about 25mins or until the top is golden. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Red Date Tea ... a Chinese Confinement drink to health

I've recently given birth and there are alot of customs and traditions that follow a child's birth and the post natal care for the mother's recovery especially in this part of Asia. It has to do with the food we eat and how a mother is taken care of in this time of convalesence of about 30 days or what is typically known as the confinement period.

The confinement period is a time when new mothers are encouraged to eat more nutritional foods like specially brewed tonics, soups and when certain foods have to be avoided. The whole basis of the careful selection of a confinement diet is so the whole process of recovery from childbirth is quick and done properly so that the body can go back to its natural form all healthy and strong.

Its not only the diet that has to be taken care of but I've also heard of alot of traditions and customs that must be followed as well... like not washing your hair for 30 day (something I just couldn't do!), keeping the coldness/wind away from your body (like no aircon in the hot humid heat!), wrapping and binding your body to keep your body in shape (keeps the tummy in!), basically nothing too strenuous for the already exhausted body after giving birth.... lots of rest and more rest topped with a wholesome diet. 

I'm going to share you a few of the dishes that I have typically eaten during my confinement period. These dishes and recipes have been prepared for me by my mother-in-law, my aunt and even my husband (my red tea brewer!!). They are just a few dishes that I have had and I know that there are many more but these are the ones I have enjoyed the most and they have helped me get through my time of confinement making me feel refreshed and giving me back the strength and health that I had before birth. 

So usually for the first week I would typically start off with what is called Red Date Tea, which is kind of like a blackcurrant tasting drink brewed to revitalise  your body and health. You would normally drink this straight away with your first meal and its drunk all thoughout your whole confinement period or anytime at all when you need a little pick up. In the weeks before I gave birth I had to prepackage all my herbs in little bags so I could just open them and pop them into the pot to boil and just add the water and fresh ginger, kind of like an instant tea I guess!!

Red Date Tea

10 -15 red dates, stoned (I like it sweeter so I added a few more, you can also add a mixture of black and blue dates too)
50g black beans, pan fried without any oil
20g tong sum (codonopsis pilosula)
10g dried longan flesh
4 slices of ginger, crushed
1500ml water

1. Add the water and all the other ingredients to bring to a boil and boil for another 12-15mins. Simmer for about 1hr or until it has reduced to about 4 cups.

2. Strain the tea and keep it in a flask so that you can drink it anytime of the day.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Honey Jumbles and a bundle of joy!

Happy Easter!!

I've always loved Arnott's Honey Jumbles so I made a few to celebrate this Easter instead of the traditional boiled egg and chocolate easter egg. It was my first time making these biscuits and looks just as good as a colour egg and just as yummy. 

The honey jumbles always remind me of my childhood and they bring back so many memories of being carefree and just being a kid. I guess that is what chocolate easter eggs represent for many kids these days but for me just give me a honey jumble anytime :) all covered in pink and white icing and a special hundreds and thousands sprinkle for Easter!!! .... Happy Easter!

 And just another something to add to the joy of Easter is my little bundle of joy, my new daughter Sophie and just 6 weeks old.

Honey Jumbles

Makes 40
60g butter
2/3 cups golden syrup
1 3/4cups plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1 1/2tsp ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
2 tbsp milk
extra flour

1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat and add the golden syrup and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and cool for about 10mins.
2. Add the sifted flour and other dry ingredients with the milk and stir until it is well mixed and smooth. Leave the dough in the saucepan and cover for about 2 hours and this will allow the dough to thicken.
3. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead lightly until the dough is soft and not sticky.
4. Divide the dough into 4 parts and roll each part into 1cm thick rolls and divide it into 10 parts and round the ends into small sausage shapes.
5. Dust the baking sheet with flour and bake in a preheated oven 180C for about 10mins until a pale golden. Completely cool before icing.

1 egg white
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 tsp plain flour
2 tsp of lemon or lime juice
pink food colouring

1. Sift the icing sugar and combine with the egg white until smooth. Add the flour and juice until the combined. Half the icing and add a few drops of the pink colouring to one half. 
2. When the honey jumbles have cooled down cover the tops with the white and pink icing. For this Easter occasion I've added a special sprinkle of hundreds and thousands. 

Monday, February 28, 2011

Homemade Matcha "Green Tea" Ice Cream

It's been a hot summer day over here and I've been making tons of homemade ice cream since I got my ice cream maker. The store bought kind just doesn't taste the same anymore and the different flavours that you can come up with is endless. 

Today's flavour is Green Tea. A long time ago when green tea ice cream was all the rage, we went out to buy some and it came in this transparent container looking very yummy with it's swirls of green tea. One spoonful later and a very sour face it had to be the most awful tasting ice cream I had ever tried. So I thought perhaps it's gone off or something but  it was and from that moment I have never bought any. I still ate it at the Japanese restaurants but the store bought kind just wasn't the same. I still loved the ice cream but I had to make my own someday.

And I have! My very own green tea ice cream. 
Just added a few teaspoons of Japanese green tea to some creme anglaise and ta da...... ice cream!

Well I couldn't have done it without my fav Christmas pressie that I got last Christmas. I've been experimenting since that time and I'll post some soon. I was tempted to make some avocado ice cream but I ate it before it made it to the machine!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Challenge #1: Ready, Set, Blog Post

Foodbuzz is all about foodies and it's a food lover's community which has launched a food blogging contest called Project Food Blog and they're looking for the next Food Blog Star and I have decided to give it a go and enter it.
What is Project Food Blog? This contest will consist of a series of 10 weekly challenges with contestants being systematically eliminated after each round. The challenges are set out to encourage us to go further and beyond in our foodie adventures and the winner will receive a $10,000 grand prize. So far there have been over 1800 entries and this very first challenge only 400 will move onto the next challenge. So here's Challenge#1....
Challenge #1: Ready, Set, Blog! What defines you as a food blogger and why you think you have what it takes to be the next food blog star?

Where has the time gone? I've been blogging since... oh I have to check this again, um since... March 2010 says my profile. I started out blogging for fun and to try to get back into writing or at least some form note taking to account for the things that I've been up to up until now with being a stay-at-home mum and looking after my three kids and trying to deal with different tastes and varying appetites during all hours of the day.

My biggest foodie critics.

I having an active almost 2 year old who eats just about everything all except peas, which he would pick up from his plate and flick over all areas of the house. I don't think he registers them as food and will hide them all over the house if he could. He seems to take alot of joy out of aiming them at our dear old cat, Sakura but lucky without any fatal shots. I have another son who eats anything with cheese, ham and his favourite .... chicken wings at all times of the day and almost nothing else. A very fussy eater but I'm hoping that will change someday so I try very hard to offer him different foods to tempt his taste buds. And lastly I have a daughter who grew out of her almost all meat diet to being an adventurous eater daring to try out new dishes and now loves her vegies. When she was younger and before she started school she was a very good eater with all her food and wasn't fussy at all... that was until she started school and that all changed when they were given cooked meals at lunch. She was a smart little cookie when delegating who would get her vegies and everything else she didn't like. I guess eating vegetables wasn't the "in" thing at kindergarten but I'm glad it's all changed. So with these three people at home I have the task of trying to get them to eat a balanced meal and I try my best to serve up my style of homecooking. It's a mix of what the kids like to eat and what the adults like to eat, sometimes I  have to compromise with a smuggled vegetable and spices here and there but it all seems to work. 

The food.

My blog is about the food we love to eat, some favourites and some new creations I've stumbled upon that just work well but all of them are foodie adventures that I want to share with anyone who loves food and family. My food is about trying to make a meal that's simple, good and quick to make. They are easy to follow not too complicated, some that have been handed to me from my grandmother... a treasured secret to share and some that have been family staples that have gotten us through the week. I'm always looking out for something to try out or something that evokes a foodie moment from when I first realised my love for good food. I guess you could say food in our family is always about comfort and that's the best kind of food. A meal that is shared and one that gives you that warm "comfy" feeling all homecooking from a mum's kitchen. As a mum the best compliments are the smiles from the people you love and hearty request for "Mum, can you make this again. I can eat this all the time." or the best compliment so far is from the almost 2 year old... "More?" 

The best compliment...
just a little bit "more" and a quick snooze!

I'm not a trained chef or cook but it's been more of an "on the job" sort of training with a lot of trials and errors.... split gravy, burnt casseroles, smoking volcano cakes and many more misadventures which have lead me down this path. What has kept me going is my passion for food and passing it on to my kids with the hope that they will learn about good food, the love of creating meal and the known pleasure that a shared meal amongst family and friends are one of the simplest and most rewarding feeling a foodie adventurer can have.

Friday, September 17, 2010

one month.....

It's been a while but I'm back... had a bit of a blogging dry spell. I've been cooking and taking photos but putting all down to draft. There's lots to catch up with over the next few days so I hope that these photos will do for now.


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