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. 


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