Thursday, August 28, 2008

Minced Meat Noodles

Malaysia will be celebrating her 51 years of independence in a few days and this is my entry for Merdeka Open House 2008: Mee & Malaysia virtual event hosted by Babe in the City-KL

In Malaysia and in most of the Asian countries we love our noodles. We can have it for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even supper. I remember years ago after our choir practice at St John Cathedral we love going to this coffee shop near the church for beef balls and minced beef noodles. I think they have one of the best minced beef noodles in Kuala Lumpur. I am trying to re-create something similar but I added some extra twist to the noodles by adding some other toppings to it.

Ingredients :
1/2 pounds of minced meat (beef, chicken or pork)
4 shallots - thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic - chopped
5 dry shitake mushroom - soak in hot water and slice thinly

2 tsp of dark soy sauce
2 tbsp of oyster sauce
2 tbsp of soy sauce
1 tsp of sugar
1 tsp of pepper
1/4 tsp of sesame oil
salt to taste
1/2 cup of water

Garnishes :
Some noodles (blanch in hot water)
2 eggs - make into omelet - slice thinly
1 carrots - julienned and blanch in hot water for a minute
1/2 cucumber - julienned
some iceberg lettuce - julienned
2 spring onions - cut small

1) Heat up some olive oil, add in shallots and garlic. Stir fry until fragrant and lightly brown.
2) Add in minced meat, break up all the lumps and stir fry until the meat changes colour. Add in the mushroom, all the seasonings and water.
3) Continue to stir fry until meat is cook. If the meat is too dry add in a bit more water. The meat need to have some gravy in it. Dish out and set aside.
4) Put some noodles in a bowl, put some meat on top of the noodles and the rest of the garnishes. Serve warm.

Happy Merdeka Day MALAYSIA!! May there be peace, happiness, tolerance, joy and greatness for Malaysia.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

I still have some pineapple left in my freezer from my fruit tart. I need to use up before it turns bad so I decided to make a pineapple upside down cake. The last time I bake this was probably in my high school. That was one of the cake we learned back then. I remember I was so excited about it because it was so beautiful with the round pineapple and cherries on the top. I wonder why I never bake this again after that.

Ingredients for topping :

6 slices of can pineapple (drain)
6 maraschino cherries
4 tbsp of butter
4 tbsp of brown sugar

Ingredients for cake :

3/4 cup of sugar
1 1/2 stick of butter (3/4 cup)
3 eggs
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of salt
1 tsp of vanilla
1/4 cup of pineapple juice (from the can pineapple)

1. Pre-heat to over to 350 degree F. Grease an 8" round cake pan. Prepare the topping by melting the butter in the microwave oven and pour it into the baking pan.
2. Srinkle the brown sugar on top of the butter and then arrange the pineapple slices over the brown sugar. Place the cherry in the center of each pineapple slice. Set aside.
3. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
4. Cream the butter with the sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.
5. Add the flour mixture in three parts alternately with the pineapple juice, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat well after each addition. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
6. Bake cake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edge, and invert the cake onto a plate. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fresh Summer Rolls

The first time I tried Vietnamese food was with Diana. I really like their noodles soup or Pho and their Vietnamese rolls. I like all the fresh herbs they put in it. Making summer roll is fun to do at home. They are full of fresh crispy raw vegetables and herbs and make a great appetizer or light meal. One thing good about this roll is you can put any kind of fresh vegetables you like in it. Here is my version of summer rolls.

Ingredients :

1/2 pound fresh shrimp + salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup of julienne carrots
1/2 cup of julienne jicama
1/2 cup of julienne mango
1/2 cup of fresh cilantro
some fresh mint
a handful of red leaf lettuce
a handful of glass noodles or vermicelli - soak in hot water until soft and drain
rice paper wrappers

Dipping sauce :

4 tbsp of thai cili sauce
2 tbsp of fish sauce
2 tbsp of rice vinegar
1 tbsp of brown sugar
1 clove of garlic - finely chopped

1. Marinate the shrimp with salt and pepper and grill until cooked through.
2. Dip one rice paper wrapper into hot water for 6-7 seconds or until soft and pliable. Shake off excess water and place it on a flat surface. Place three or four shrimp on the rice paper, then top it with some noodles, vegetables and finally the fresh herbs and wrap it up like a burrito or spring roll.
3. Repeat with remaining filling and rice paper wrappers. You can serve these cold with dipping sauce.
4. For the dipping sauce just mix all the ingredients and serve.

Note : You can put in any kind of cooked meat or vegetables you fancy in these summer rolls.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Spinach Pie

This is what I will make for dinner on my lazy days. Just mix and put everything on a pie shell and bake. Traditional spinach pie is bake with phyllo dough but since I don't have it I just used the store bought short crust pastry.

Ingredients for the filling :

1 packet (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach (thaw and squeezed dry)
1 cup of cooked chicken - roughly chopped
3 slices of ham - cut small (Optional)
1/2 cup of chopped green onions
3 eggs
1/2 cup of half and half
1/2 cup of low fat ricotta cheese
1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
3 tomatoes - sliced

2 pieces of short crust pastry
1 egg - beaten

1) Pre-heat the oven to 350 degree F. In a large bowl combined the filling ingredients except the tomatoes and mix well. Set aside.
2) Line the bottom of a baking dish with 1 piece of the pastry. Pour in the filling and arrange the tomato slices on top of the filling.
3) Cover the top of the pie with another piece of pastry. Press the edges together and trim it. Cut several slits on top of the pastry and brush with beaten egg.
4) Bake for 50 minutes to an hour or until the pastry is golden brown .

Monday, August 18, 2008

Zucchini Pancakes

Zue gave me a few zucchini and yellow squash a couple of weeks ago I will normally stir fry it with beef or chicken but I am getting a bit bore eating it that way. I like the idea of grilling it but I don’t want to crank up the grill just because of it so I decided to make some pancakes . I threw in some scallions since I found them at the bottom of the vegetable drawer rotting away.

Ingredients :
1 pound of zucchini or yellow squash (about 2 medium size)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1 red chili - finely chopped
1/4 cup scallions - finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Grate zucchini on the large holes of a box grater. Squeeze out the juice of the grated zucchini.
2. In a mixing bowl add grated zucchini, flour, egg, scallions, chili and salt and pepper to taste. Mix really well.
3. Set a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add enough oil to pan fried the pancakes. When oil is hot add a spoonful of batter to the oil. You will be able to fry at least 4 pancakes in the pan.
4. Cook until golden brown and flip over the pancakes and cook the other side until golden brown. Remove to a plate lined with paper towel and repeat with the rest of the batter adding more oil as necessary. Serve immediately with sour cream, yogurt, chili sauce or plain.

Note : I didn't add enough salt to the batter so I sprinkle some salt on the pancakes right after frying them.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Cheesecake Brownies

This is a recipe from Land O Lakes and I jazz it up a bit by adding a cheesecake topping to it. These brownies are dense with great chocolate flavor just the way we likes it.

Ingredients :

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 oz of unsweetened baking chocolate (I used 4 oz)
1 1/4 cup of sugar (I used only 1 cup)
2 eggs
1 cup of flour
1 tsp of vanilla
1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp of salt

For the topping :
1 (8 oz) low fat cream cheese
1 egg
1/3 cup of sugar

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom only of 8 x 8 inch square baking pan. Set aside.
2. Melt butter and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth (4 to 7 minutes). Remove from heat.
3. Stir in sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add flour, baking powder and salt; mix just until all ingredients are moistened and brownie mixture is smooth.
4. Spread brownie mixture into prepared baking pan.
5. For the topping beat the cheese, egg and sugar until smooth. Dollop the cream cheese mixture on top of the brownie batter. Swirl together using a knife or skewer.
6. Bake for 25 to 33 minutes or until brownies just begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely and then cut into bars and serve.

I am taking these brownies to Dhanggitkitchen Perfect Party Dish Event for her little girl 1st birthday party.

Brilliant Weblog Award

I am really honored to be receiving this Brilliante Weblog award from Myhouseholdcapers, Beachlover and Precious Moment . Its makes me really happy because I make a lot of friends through this blog and am glad that you guys think my blog is worthy to received this award. I remember there is another blogger who awarded me with this but I forgot who she was. So whoever you are please let me know so that I can thank you for it.

Brilliant Weblog is a prize given to sites and blogs that are smart and brilliant both in their content and their design. The purpose of the prize is to promote as many blogs as possible in the blogsphere.

Here are the rules to follow: When you receive the prize you must write a post showing it, together with the name of who has given it to you, and link them back. Choose a minimum of 7 blogs (or even more) that you find brilliant in their content or design. Show their names and links and leave them a comment informing they were prized with ‘Brilliant Weblog’. Show a picture of those who awarded you and those you give the prize (optional).

All the bloggers have wonderful work and content in their blog and all deserve to get this. As per the rules I would like to pass this award to my fellow bloggers mentioned below:

Cat of CatCat
Zue of Wet Behind My Ears
Farina of Salt & Tumeric
Kevin of Closet Cooking
Rita of Mochachocolatarita
Retno of Kedai Hamburg
Rita of I'm Making Notes

I wanted to give out this award to more bloggers by I think most of you already received this.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Seafood In Creamy Tomato Sauce

Sometime I have problem thinking of what to cook for lunch or dinner. I am one person who doesn't like to eat the same kind of food everyday. I will usually look at the freezer and also my vegetables compartment and cracking up my brain to think of something new to cook from what I have in there. I had little leftovers of fish fillets, squid and shrimps in my freezer and I used the tomatoes from my garden and I came up with this quick and simple dish. You can cook this dish in less than 20 minutes.

Ingredients :

2 small pieces of fish fillets
a handful of shrimps - peel and deveined
a handful of squid - clean and cut to bite size pieces
5 medium size tomatoes - cut in chunks
1/2 cup of coconut milk
1 lemon grass - smash it
Salt and pepper

For Paste

4 fresh red chillies
2 shallots
2 cloves of garlic
3 candlenuts (buah keras) or 5 cashew nuts
1" of ginger

1) Put all the paste ingredients in a blender and blend until fine and set aside.
2) Heat up a pan and put in about 2 tbsp of oil. Stir fry the blended paste until fragrant. Add in lemon grass, cut tomatoes and coconut milk. Bring it up to boil and and in all the seafood.
3) Cook for 5 mintues or until the seafood is done and the gravy thicken. If the dish is a bit too dry or you want more gravy add in extra coconut milk or water. Check seasoning.
4) Dish out and serve with warm rice.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Almond Cookies with Dulce De Leche Filling

The Beijing Olympic starts today and Carlos and I will be gluing ourselves to the TV. What a better way to spend the evening in front of the TV on our brand new sofa with these delectable little cookies with a cup of tea or milk. Since Carlos love Dulce De Leche I am sure he is going to enjoy this.

Ingredients :

2 cups flour + 1/2 tsp of salt - sifted
3/4 cup toasted and ground
1 stick or 1/2 cup - at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
Some Dulce De Leche or any kind of jam.

1. Mix the flour and ground almonds.
2. Cream the butter with the sugar. Add the egg and mix until incorporated. Mix in the flour and almond mixture.
3. Chill for about 30 minutes or until firm enough to roll out.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degree F and grease 2 baking sheets or line with parchement paper.
5. Roll out the dough to about 1/8" thickness and cut out design with cookie cutter. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the edges started to get brown.
6. Allow to cool on the baking sheets for 2 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely before sandwiching it with dulce de leche or jam.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Chicken and Seafood Paella

Marrying someone out of your own race means you have to learn to cook some of his food. Two of the dish I learned to cook for Carlos is Paella and Empanadas. For me both dishes are very similar to our Clay pot rice and our Curry puffs.

Paella is usually cooked in a Paella pan which is large, shallow, flat pan. An important part of the flavor comes from saffron and sofrito (combination of tomatoes, peppers, onions and garlic) as for meat you can use chicken, rabbit or seafood like fish, clams, shrimps and crabs.

There are so many paella recipes out there and every cook will have their own version of it. Paella is very flexible so if you don’t have the exact ingredients or if you find some of them hard to get hold of, substitute them for something similar.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Blueberry Banana Muffins

I usually make muffins when I have leftover over-ripe bananas and berries in the fridge. It’s the easiest to make and you can whip it up in 10 minutes and in no time you will have some wonderful warm muffins for breakfast. I am not sure why this punnet of blueberries produces such a deep blue color and it looks almost black after I baked it and not the usual deep purple color. Are there a few types of blueberries out there?

Ingredients :
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 large ripe bananas
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (if using frozen blueberries, do not thaw)
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line the muffins tray with paper cups.
2. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl make a well in the center.
3. In another bowl, mash bananas; add sugar, egg and melted butter; mix well. Pour mixture into well. Mix batter until just moistened; do not over mix.
4. Toss blueberries with 1 tablespoon flour and gently fold into batter.
5. Fill prepared muffin cups about 3/4 full bake in the oven for 30 min or until its golden brown. Remove and cool on wire rack.