Thursday, April 29, 2010

Chicken Soup

Chicken Soup has to be on the list of all time comfort foods. A hearty slow cooked pot of chicken, tomato, potato, onions and carrots. It might be old fashioned but when it's homecooked it can soothe a cold and makes a meal out of soup.

When I'm tired and needing of nourishment I turn to this soup and make a simple evening of a bowl of chicken soup and toasted bread. Could I ask for anything more?

Chicken Soup

1 chicken leg quarter, skin removed and cut at the joint
3 potatoes, peeled and cut roughly into small bite size pieces
1 carrot, cut roughly
3 tomatoes, cut roughly
1 small onion, cut into thin wedges
2 gloves of garlic, crushed
2 cups of chicken stock
1 cup water
30g butter
1/2 tsp thyme
salt & pepper

1. In a saucepan, melt the butter and brown the chicken. Add in the garlic and onion and cook until soft.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir. Cook for for 5 mins. Pour in the chicken stock and water and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for at least 45 mins - 1 hr. Cook until the chicken is tender and can come off the bone.
3. Remove the chicken pieces and shred with a fork. Discard all the bones. Add the chicken meat back into the saucepan and cook a further 5 mins.
4. Remove the soup from the heat and serve with toast.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fish Croquettes

I was planning to make my mother-in-law's fish cake recipe today but I didn't make it in time to buy the spanish mackerel or what they locally call ikan tenggiri from the fish market.... so saving that recipe for another day now! 

So instead I made this Fish Croquette dish for lunch today. When I was making this I accidently added a little too much mash potato to my fish paste and decided to turn the fish cake into more of a croquette style dish. It was ok in the end because all the kids like eating mashed potatoes anyway and like anything with a crispy skin to it.

Fish Croquettes

400g fish fillet (I used a dory fish fillet)
6 small potatoes, peeled and cooked
1 small onion, chopped finely
1 tbsp spring onion, chopped finely
1 tbsp coriander, chopped finely
1 tbsp carrot, chopped finely
1 egg
salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten, for coating 
3/4 cup flour, for coating 
1 cup breadcrumbs (I use the Japanese style breadcrumbs), for coating

1. Using a cleaver, chop the fish fillet into smaller pieces and continue to chop until it becomes more like a fish paste or alternatively you can use a food processor to make the fish paste. I like to make the fish paste the old fashion way that way I can determine the texture of the paste, usually a mixture of paste and finely chopped fish.
2. In a mixing bowl, add all the ingredients for the fish mixture, Using a fork, mash the potatoes and combine all the ingredients into a rough dough.
3. Use a heaped spoon to measure each croquette and shape it into an oval shape with moistened hands. I find it's easier to handle if your hands are slightly wet. Roll each croquette into some flour and then dip it into the egg and lastly roll it into the breadcrumbs. Shake off the excess breadcrumbs and set aside.
4. Heat the oil in a saucepan for deep frying. Deep fry in batches and carefully turn over on each side until it is golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels. Serve with mayonnaise or sweet chilli sauce.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The 3Cs Biscotti........ Chocolate, Coffee and Coconut

Home with the kids is one of the many things that I enjoy and the time spent with them can also make you crave for something with a bit of caffeine to help you get through the day, top that off with delicious chocolate and a sprinkling of coconut. How do I get that into one bite..... The 3Cs Biscotti........ Chocolate, Coffee and Coconut!

..... I needed this biscotti for my tea break today!!!

(Jacob the food stylist.....)

The 3Cs Biscotti........ Chocolate, Coffee and Coconut

1 3/4 cup of plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tbsp of instant coffee
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
120 g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
125 g butter

1. Roughly chop the dark chocolate and place it in the freezer 30 mins before you add it to the biscotti mixture. I like to put the chocolate in the freezer so that it won't melt and keeps it's shape in the biscotti mixture.
2. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla essence and mix well. Add the plain flour, bicarb, desiccated coconut, salt and coffee until just combined. 3. Preheat the oven to 180C. Using an ungreased baking tray, half the biscotti dough and shape it into 2 loaves with moistened hands. I find it's easier to shape the dough with moistened hands rather than using a spatula.. plus it's faster.... and remember to leave space for the loaves to expand.
4. Bake the loaves for about 30 mins until just golden. Remove from the oven and cool for about 15 mins. Using a serrated knife, cut the loaves into 3/4 inch slices and place it sliced side down back on the baking tray. Bake it for a further 10 mins and remove it from the oven and turn the biscotti to the other side, bake for another 10 mins. Remove and cool down. The biscotti should be golden and will harden when it cools down.

Nasi Goreng Ikan Bilis (Fried Rice with Anchovies)

What can you do with leftover rice? Make Nasi Goreng/fried rice of course!! And what do I like in my fried rice...... Ikan Bilis!!

Malaysia is know for it's abundant supply of fresh and delicious seafood. It's a country surrounded by fertile seas giving it numerous varieties of fish, crustaceans and shellfish... and that is why anyone who lives here or visits Malaysia instantly becomes a lover of great seafood...

I don't really like the "traditional" fried rice, I like a bit of crunch in mine and the tastest ingredient for that would be Ikan Bilis or otherwise known as dried anchovies. It's a typical accompaniment to some of the best dishes in Malaysia... like nasi lemak and sambal. I buy my ikan bilis from Tawau, which is on the south-east coast of Sabah and the best place for fresh seafood! With Ikan Bilis you can just fried it up crispy and you can pop them into your mouth as a snack or sprinkle them over rice will do.

Nasi Goreng Ikan Bilis (Fried Rice with Anchovies)

2 cups of Ikan bilis
2 cups of cooked rice
4 eggs
3 small bunches of mustard greens, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
5 tbsp of soy garlic sauce
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp sesame seed oil

1. Wash and clean the ikan bilis. Place in on plate and microwave for 1 min. In a wok, heat up the oils and fry the ikan bilis until crispy. Constantly stir the fish so that it won't burn. It should be golden and crispy. Drain the fish and set aside.
2. In a wok, heat some oil and scramble the eggs. Gently separate the scrambled eggs into smaller pieces using the cooking spatula. Add the mustard greens and garlic to the eggs and stir. Careful not too overcook the vegetable it should still be crisp. 
3. Add the cooked rice and stir it in to combine with the eggs and mustard greens. Add the fried ikan bilis and mix in. Pour about 5 tbsp of the soy garlic sauce to taste and serve.

I would normally keep a jar of the seasoned Soy Garlic Sauce in the fridge to  sprinkle over dishes or just to add in when I'm cooking. It's a great dipping sauce as well as a flavourful seasoned soy sauce.

Soy Garlic Sauce

150 ml light soy sauce
50 ml water
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp minced garlic

1. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring it to the boil. Lower the heat and cook until the garlic is soften, about another 3 - 5 mins. Remove from heat and serve.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Steamed Tofu with Seasoned Mince Chicken

All my kids love soft tofu or silken tofu, so soft, smooth and just so easy to eat. Add a generous portion of seasoned mince chicken, spring onion and coriander and then drizzle it in a sesame seed oil. It's just so very simple, delicious, and quick to prepare tofu dish .... oh and did I mention healthy too.... just right for dinner tonight. 

Steamed Tofu with Seasoned Mince Chicken

2 pcs soft tofu
100 g mince chicken
2 tbsp spring onion, chopped
1 tbsp coriander, chopped
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
salt and pepper
1 tsp sesame seed oil
1tbsp oil

1. Using a steaming dish, place the tofu side by side and set aside. In a bowl season the mince chicken with oyster sauce, light soy sauce, sugar, salt and pepper and set aside.
2. Heat some oil in wok and add 1 tbsp spring onion and cook until aromatic. Add the seasoned chicken and cook the chicken until tender. Remove from the wok and spread over the tofu.
3. In a saucepan place a steaming tray and pour enough water for steaming and bring to a boil. Place the steaming dish with the tofu and chicken and steam for about 10mins on high. Remove and set aside. Place the extra coriander and spring onion over the tofu.
4. Heat the oil and sesame seed oil and pour the hot oil over the tofu. Serve while hot.

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Deep Fried Dumplings

There are just so many ways to make dumplings... steam, pan-fried and boiling. The shapes of the dumplings also come in different shapes and sizes... round, crescent-shaped, pleated edges and pinched little pillows. Savoury or sweet .... pork, chicken, prawns, etc just so many ingredients you can add to a dumpling. Even the dumpling wrappers are made differently according to what type of dumpling you make.

I've made dumplings before but this time I tried using fresh pre-made wrappers and deep frying the dumplings. A quick snack after school to fill those hungry tummys!

Deep Fried Dumplings

100 g mince chicken (you can also you pork or even a mixture of the two)
1 tsp grated ginger
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tbsp oyster sauce 
1/2 tbsp Shaoxing wine / rice wine
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp coriander, chopped 
1 tbsp spring onions, chopped 
salt and pepper 
1 packet of freshly made round wanton wrappers
oil for deep frying

1. In a bowl, add all the ingredients and combine well. 
2. Open the packet of freshly made wrappers and pour a little water in a small bowl to use to seal the edges. 
3. Using a teaspoon, spoon in a heaped spoonful into the centre of the wrapper and wet the edges of the wrapper and press and seal the edges. Arrange the dumplings on a plate ready for deep frying.
4. Heat the oil for deep frying and fry the dumplings in batches. Fry until it is golden about a minute or less on each side. Drain dumplings on some paper towel and arrange on a plate for serving. Serve with a Soy Garlic Sauce.

Soy Garlic Sauce

150 ml light soy sauce
50 ml water
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp minced garlic

1. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring it to the boil. Lower the heat and cook until the garlic is soften, about another 3 - 5 mins. Remove from heat and serve.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Teochew Style Steamed Fish

I was never really sure how to steam a fish when I started cooking on my own. After watching and helping my mum steam fish I could never remember how long to cook the fish so that it was just right. It is always the timing that determines how the fish is cooked... cooked too long and the flesh becomes rubbery and hard.... cooked too short and the flesh clings onto the bone..... cooked just right and the flesh just simply comes of the bone and melts in your mouth.

.... the secret is wait till the eyes pop out.... yes not a nice sight to see but when the fish is just right the eyes start to pop out and it's just like the fish is saying "I'm ready!"

Well, anyway for tonight's dinner I've made a pretty easy dish with fresh grouper and steamed it Teochew style... all salted mustard greens and a little salt and pepper, oh and throw in some soft tofu and tomato too! 

Teochew Style Steamed Fish

400 g whole fish (I used a grouper but you can use just about any fresh fish)
1 pc of fresh soft tofu, cut into roughly 2cm cubes
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 shitake mushroom (you can use more if you like)
1/3 cup salted mustard greens, soaked and shredded (approx)
1/2 cup water
Black pepper, freshly ground
1 stalk spring onion, chopped finely
1 stalk coriander leaves, roughly chopped into 5 cm lengths
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp sesame seed oil

1. Clean the fish and make a cut from the bottom of the fish up to the mouth so that the fish can stand upright in a steaming dish. 
2. Using a metal steaming dish, arrange the fish so that it will stand upright. Arrange the tofu, tomatoes, salted mustard greens and shitake mushroom around the fish. Sprinkle the salt and pepper around the dish. Pour 1/2 cup of water on over all the ingredients.
3. Prepare a wok for steaming and place a steaming tray in the wok. Add enough water for steaming and bring the water to a boil. Arrange the steaming dish in the wok when the water is boiling. Cover the fish and steam for about 10mins or until the fish eyes start to pop out. This will mean the fish is ready and you don't want to over steam the fish or else the flesh will be rubbery and hard.
4. Remove the fish when cooked and set aside or carefully rearrange on a serving plate. Arrange the coriander over the fish.
5. In a saucepan, heat the vegetable oil and sesame seed oil. Heat until it starts to smoke. Turn off the heat and add the spring onions. Quickly pour over the garnishes and fish and serve while hot.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bangers and Mash

Tonight's dinner was all about warm cosy comfort food... because we were going to have a night in front of the telly. Watching a favourite program and just sitting back and relaxing over some sausages and mashed potatoes.... Bangers and Mash.

Nothing too fancy tonight just some easy food after the middle of week. We are half way through the school week and early mornings and long days are catching up with us. So with a few smoked beef garlic sausages to spare and a couple of spuds and maybe a bit of red wine this is what I came up with. 

Bangers and Mash

3 large smoked beef garlic sausages
1 medium onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 tsp thyme
1 tbsp tomato puree
30 g butter
salt & pepper to taste
4 large potatoes
30 g butter
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
1 1/2 - 2 cups of milk

1. Wash and scrub the potatoes. Prick the potatoes with a fork, making sure it's thoroughly poked. This will release the steam and won't let the potatoes explode in the microwave!!!
2. Arrange the potatoes in a microwave pie dish, cover with a microwaveable cover with a vent for 12mins on high.
3. Remove from the microwave and use a fork and knife to peel off the skin.
4. Place the potatoes in a large bowl and mash it with a potato masher or fork. Add the butter, cheese and stir. Gradually add the milk and pour as much as you need for the right texture of mash. Add salt and pepper to taste.
(this is the same method that I used for my Meat Pie on a bed of Mash)
5. In a saucepan, heat the butter and add the onions and garlic. Sprinkle in the thyme and add some salt and pepper. Carefully cook the onions and garlic until they are soft. Remove from the saucepan and put aside.
6. Using the same saucepan. Heat up some oil and add the sausages and cook until they are browned. Remove the sausages when they have browned and slice the sausages thickly. Arrange on a bed of mash.
7. Add the cooked onions and garlic to the same saucepan. Turn the up the heat and add the wine, chicken stock and tomato puree to deglaze the pan juices. Stir the onions and garlic, coating them with the sauce. Reduce the heat and simmer the sauce until it thickens. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the sausages and mash and serve.

Braised Wine & Vinegar Pork

There are just so many ways to cook a beautiful piece of lean pork and one of them is braising it in a wine and vinegar sauce. 

The braising of the pork seals in the juices and with the wine and vinegar it brings a sweetness and sourness to this dish, complimenting the natural flavour of the pork. I've used this wine and vinegar mixture on many cuts of pork and it can be best used on spare ribs and the lean pork neck fillet but any lean pork fillet will do..... It's actually a special recipe handed down from my aunt and she taught me how to cook this dish.

My hubby went out yesterday and did a bit of grocery shopping and came back with some lean pork and a bunch of choy sum so I threw this together for today's lunch... I've cut the choy sum in a smaller length than usual so that it soaks up all the yummy wine and vinegar sauce.

Braised Wine & Vinegar Pork

450 g lean pork fillet
1 tbsp Shao xing wine (rice wine)
2 tbsp rice vinegar
3 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp light soy sauce
5 tbsp water
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 bunch of choy sum, cut into 2 cm lengths
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

1. In a wok, pour about 3/4 cup of water. Add the choy sum and garlic. Bring to the boil and quickly cook the vegetable until it is just cooked but still crunchy. Remove from the wok and arrange on a plate.
2. In a saucepan, heat some oil and sear the pork. Remove the pork from the saucepan. Add the wine, vinegar, sugar, light soy sauce, water and garlic to the saucepan. Stir and add in the pork. You might have add extra water to just cover the pork. Bring the sauces to a boil, cover and simmer until the pork is cooked and tender. 
3. Remove the cooked pork and slice thinly. Arrange the pork over the bed of choy sum. 
4. Uncover the saucepan and increase the heat to reduce the sauce. The sauce should be about 1/3 or less of the original amount and should be slightly thicken. Pour the sauce over the sliced pork and serve.

If you want to cook spare ribs just double the sauce ingredients. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Minced Beef Cobbler

Another dish with savoury mince beef.............not quite a pie but with a scone topping it's a Minced Beef Cobbler. I guess you could also call it one-pot wonder considering it could have been any other savoury mince beef with a variety of toppings like mashed potato, a traditional shortcrust meat pie but it's the "cobblers" ... the scone topping that makes the difference.

I was wondering what else to make this evening with the rest of mince beef I had bought so seeing that I had already made a Savoury Mince with Pan-fried Potatoes for lunch. I was inspired to continue on with my tweaked beef mince series..... something along the lines of making a pie but not quite a pie.

I've usually made this cobbler with cubes of beef rather than mince beef and carrots but for this recipe I've used some more of those lovely fresh shitake mushrooms and added a mixture of two cheeses to the scones. 

Minced Beef Cobbler

300 g minced beef
1 medium onion, chopped roughly
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
6 sundried tomatoes, sliced thinly
8 fresh shitake mushrooms, sliced thinly
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp worcester sauce
3/4 cup tomato puree
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cup plain flour, sifted
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
50 g butter
1/2 cup milk

1. In a saucepan heat oil and saute the onions and garlic. Add the mince beef and stir. Add the light soy sauce, oregano, worcester sauce and pepper and stir until the meat has browned. Add the fresh shitake mushrooms and sundried tomatoes. Add the tomato puree, wine and water and stir until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, covered for about 10-15 mins until the tomatoes has soften and the meat has cooked. Remove from heat and set aside in a casserole dish.
2. In a mixing bowl, add the flour and bicarbonate of soda and butter. Rub in the butter and add the parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Combine and add the milk. Add extra milk or flour until the a soft dough forms.
3. Roll the dough into a ball. Pinch 1 inch roughly shaped balls and place on top of the mince meat. Arrange the dough balls allowing room for it to expand. Bake in a preheated oven for about 15 mins or until the scones are golden. 

Savoury Mince with Pan-fried Potatoes

Mince Beef is one of those easy ingredients that always comes in handy when you're trying to cook for a young family, especially when you have an almost toddler who likes to explore with his food.... to touch, taste and decorate his hair with!

There are just so many ways to cook mince meat, it's just so easy to cook with. It's not an expensive cut and just like my mum would say,"just add something to it to put a little kick to it"  you can always be creative and fresh with ideas. You can cook it with the most simplest of ingredients and make a pasta sauce, or a filling for a meat pie or lasagne or just a simple savoury mince with potatoes. 

Savoury Mince with Pan-fried Potatoes

300 g mince beef
1 medium onion, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
1/3 cup frozen peas
2 small carrots, chopped roughly
6 fresh shitake mushrooms, sliced thinly
1 tsbp light soy sauce
1 tsbp oyster sauce
1 tsbp worcester sauce
freshly ground black pepper
2/3 water plus 1 1/2 tsp cornflour
2 large potatoes, peeled, diced into 2 cm cubes
salt & pepper to taste

1. In a wok heat 2 tbsp of oil and pan fry the potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir until the potatoes are golden brown. Remove and set aside on a serving dish.
2. Heat up oil in a wok and saute the onions and garlic. Add the mince beef and add the light soy sauce, oyster sauce and worcester sauce. Sprinkle with ground  black pepper and cook until browned. Add the carrots and shitake mushrooms and cook until soften. Mix the cornflour water and pour into the mixture and cook until a light sauce forms. Remove from the wok and serve over the pan-fried potatoes

Monday, April 19, 2010

Cinnamon Crinkles

We seem to have run out of our biscuit supplies today so I had a bit of a baking frenzy in the kitchen, creaming butter and sugar, rolling dough and shaping balls of dough and off to bake in a hot oven. I made the regulars of Gingerbread and Anzac biscuits to restock my supply and added another old time favourite, Cinnamon Crinkles to the list of must have biscuits. 

Whenever I make this biscuit it would never last until the next day, it's usually eaten up as a snack while someone is watching the telly accompanied with a glass full of milk. 

Cinnamon Crinkles are a light, crispy biscuit and rolled in cinnamon sugar. It's usually a festive biscuit baked for Christmas but it doesn't have to be a special occasion to have this biscuit. You can actually play around with the recipe by adding coffee or cocoa powder and there's just so many different versions of it around but I find the basic cinnamon and sugar the best.

Cinnamon Crinkles

125 g butter, soften
1 egg
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 1/3 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/3 cup caster sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

1. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugar, vanilla essence and egg. Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda  and gradually mix into the mixture. Combine the mixture until it forms a soft dough. 
2. Using a measuring tsp scoop out roughly rounded 1 tsp and form it into a ball. It doesn't have to be a perfect ball shape but just a roughly shaped ball. Combine the sugar and cinnamon into a small bowl. Roll the ball into the cinnamon sugar to coat it. 
3. Use an ungreased baking tray, arrange the cinnamon coated balls and allow room for the biscuits to expand. Bake the biscuits in a preheated oven at 180C for about 15 mins or until is is just lightly golden brown. Cool the biscuit and remove it from the tray. It should be crisp and light but not hard.

Dutch Pea Soup

As a child I can remember all the different places we lived and my most memorable was the few years we spent in Holland or the Netherlands. We first place we lived in was called Laren, which is in Northern Holland. It was a cobble stone village surrounding the small lake in the town centre but what I remember the most was the warm hospitality that our Dutch friends showed us and their love of Dutch Pea Soup or Erwtensoep ..... and many other foods like speculaas, pepermoten... spice biscuits made from cinnamon, pepper, cloves and nutmeg  ; oliebolien, appelflappen .... very similar to donuts with currants or apple and sprinkled with icing sugar; stroopwafel ...thin waffles with carmel and of course CHEESE! I could go about my love for Dutch food but I'll leave that for later.

I don't now why I love Erwtensoep or Dutch Pea Soup (sometimes called Snert too!) but I guess it has to do with it being a big source of comfort food especially when my mother makes it. She was taught by one of her good Dutch friends to make this soup and she always makes a big pot of it during the winter. It may seem like a long time to slowly simmer those green split peas over the stove but the finish dish is a wonderfully thick hearty soup. It's more like a meal than a soup, thick like a stew and flavoured with leeks, celery, carrots, pieces of smoked ham and rookworst (a smoked pork sausage).

So tonight's Sunday dinner I'm making Dutch Pea Soup using my mother's recipe but I've made some adaptions because some of the ingredients are hard to find in Malaysia.

.............Smakelijk eten! Eet Smakelijk!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Spicy Spare Ribs with Cheesy Polenta

I went out shopping yesterday hoping to find some nice beef spare ribs to cook for our Saturday dinner and I came across this interesting cut which was thinly sliced instead of the normal rack of spare ribs. It was still a meaty cut so it got me thinking about what and how I could cook this.... a bit chinese style with soy sauce, shaoxing wine (rice wine) and coriander but I also wanted to make it more like a comfort food with lots of gravy and meat so tender you could just tear it apart.

So I combined a bit of both and came up with a tangy, sweet spicy spare ribs in a thick gravy over a bed of cheesy polenta. The slices of spare rib are slow cooked and the mixture of the wine, soy sauce, coriander, cayenne pepper, and tomatoes gives it a full flavour and you can never go wrong with cheesy polenta!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Oats, Coconut and Golden Syrup........Anzac Biscuits

Rolled oats, desiccated coconut, golden syrup, flour, sugar and butter ..... it's the simplicity of the ingredients that make this biscuit such an all time favourite in our family. There isn't much fuss about making this biscuit, no eggs required or milk needed, just mix the ingredients and bake ..... and you can keep them for a long time.

Although Anzac Biscuits are simple in the making they have a long history having been around since World War I and have more significance to Australians as a sort of "national" biscuit. It was a popular biscuit for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs), they were made by the wives and mothers of soldiers sent off to war as a source of food for the troops.

Even though ANZAC Day is coming up on April 25th I occasionally make these biscuits all year round as well as another fav, gingerbread and keep them in the house because they're just a healthier alternative to having quick snacks like chips, or other commercially bought biscuits or cookies. 

Smile for the camera

I was in the middle of taking pictures of my Tuna Casserole and my faithful old camera took it's last breathe...or last shutter. 

I had turned it on the take a photo of the steamy tuna pouring onto the pasta and just as the image showed up on the viewer it suddenly turned itself off and never went back on. I thought ok maybe the battery needs recharging so I took out the batteries and out came a tiny piece of metal... part of the connection point came off right at the very back of the battery case.

.....I just couldn't believe it. In the middle of my little photo shoot and no camera. How was I going to document my Tuna Casserole. 

So seeing that I committed myself to my foodie challenge "Cook/bake something new each day or every other day" I'll have to take the "every other day" and post this recipe later.... but not to worry because I've now got my new camera as of this afternoon so I'll be back tomorrow :)

My new Nikon camera......I actually wanted a pink one but chose the neutral champagne colour instead

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Five Spice Chicken with Curried Pumpkin

I think any dish cooked in Five Spice powder gives it a truly unique Chinese taste all in one. You have a blend of all the elements of Chinese cooking with the five spices; sweet, sour, salty, bitter and pungent. The powder usually consists of a mixture of equal parts of cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed, start anise and Szechwan peppercorns, and sometimes dry orange peel is added. It can be bought ground up and pre-packaged or you can make your own by toasting and grinding all the ingredients. 

My dad use to make his Five Spice Chicken from a special blend of spices brought all the way from China during his many trips overseas and he would use the powder with some salt and marinate a whole chicken, bake it and it was always so tasty. He would use just the right amount of powder for marination because a little goes a long way. Too much and the flavour is just too strong. The powder is suppose to have just the right balance of yin and yang so I guess that you can have too much of a good thing!

For dinner tonight I've made a simple version of Five Spice Chicken and accompanied the dish with one of my fav side dish of Curried Pumpkin. You have a spicy chicken topped off with some sweet hot pumpkin...delish and of course another of veg the kids like.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Buttery Butter Chicken

This has to be the final coriander infused recipe for the month....using up my last few stalks of my coriander. I've tried my hand for tonight's Indian inspired dinner a Buttery Butter Chicken and I'm went all out with the spices, even bringing out the mortal and pestle to grind them!!

The first time I had Butter Chicken was actually at a friend's Indian restaurant and it made a lasting impression...creamy rich tomato, spicy and oh so buttery. I just had to try and make this myself...

Spicy Chicken Wings

The most kid friendly dish in our house has to be anything that has "chicken wings". It's versatile, quick to cook and fits into any all little hands. I like to change my cooking style whenever I cook chicken wings; deep fry, stir fry, grill, bake and yum yum BBQ. 

A little marination to boost the flavours and cook away. Key ingredients....garlic, crushed and minced. How can you go wrong with chicken wings?? Lunch kids!!!!!

Spicy Chicken Wings

1 kg chicken wings, cut at the joint with the tip intact
3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1 small onion, cut into thin wedges
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup worcester sauce
1/2 tsp black pepper corns
1/2 tsp coriander seeds, freshly ground 
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp sea salt

1. Using a mortal and pestle, grind the black pepper corns, coriander seeds, rosemary and sea salt. The sea salt will make it easier to combine the ingredients but don't grind it too, leave it textured.
2. In a large bowl, add the cut up chicken wings and pour the tomato sauce, garlic and worcester sauce over it. Sprinkle the coriander mixture and the sweet paprika, use a metal spoon to combine the marination. Leave for 30 mins
3. Heat some oil in a wok and add the marinated chicken. Stir fry the wings until browned. Only add the onions last and cook until the sauce has reduced. Serve hot.


"Cook/bake something new each day or every other day"

...33 post so far, I'm enjoying this....

I actually started my food challenge in February 2010 

"Cook/bake something new each day or every other day".

it just started out with a few photos that I took to put on my Facebook and to send back home. Just snaps of all the food that I was cooking for the family never thinking about blogging at the time until I read an article somewhere about people showing the world what they eat by taking pictures of every they eat. 

It's kind of like whipping out the camera just before you eat, capturing the moment in time....a food diary of some sort. I thought that was a little obsessive huh....umm hold on let me take a shot first before u bite into that!!!

But it got me thinking so I did a bit of research and checked out a few blogs and thought ... yeah I could do this. Just keep taking the pictures and write a bit about the food and the recipe.

Well, to let you know all the food is basically something that I've cooked for the day, either lunch, dinner or a snack of some sort. My "Studio" is my tiny kitchen counter, my daughter's desk near the window, the coffee table near the front balcony or lately the dining table (a glass table but too much reflection with the camera). And I'll usually prep my   photo shot on a presentable dish/corning ware, etc and take a snap with the camera. My lighting prop is a desk light and my grip is either one of the kids holding the light!!

I guess the best thing about this blog and challenge so far is that everyday I'm always thinking of what to cook, even though most of these dishes I've cooked many times before. Sometimes I'll write them out in my recipe book or I'll be typing away scrambling my head recounting all the cooking steps and all the ingredients I used. 

I'll usually post a blog after all the kids are asleep and that is probably close to midnight but it's nice and quiet and I can "think" without any interruptions. Besides this Foodie blog, I'm also blogging about other things that pop into my head, day to day stuff, something that has inspired me or just something interesting and that's on my This side of the island blog... Have a read and leave a comment if you like.

Anyway, it's been fun to read the comments from this blog and see all my visitors from all over the place. It's also been nice to see a couple comments from FoodbuzzFoodista and Petitchef and invitations to join their sites. Not bad but now I get to post some of my blog posts on their site too... bit more work but I get to meet more people.

So I hoping to see my Foodie Challenge through to the end of the year...or more. Have a read, try it out and how about joining the challenge too and ....
"Cook/bake something new each day or every other day".
My kids love it and hubby always comes home to say "What are we eating today??"


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