Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy New Year

I hope all of you have a lovely Christmas. Year 2008 is coming to an end soon. Do you make New Year Resolutions? I usually don’t because I find them so difficult to keep but as we get close to 2009, I’ve been thinking about them as they were related to blogging. Year 2008 has been good to me.

I started blogging a bit over 2 years ago. It is a great way for my family and friends to know what was going on with me here in the US as well as me writing down all the recipes I’ve tried. To my pleasant surprise, it just took off from there with more people visiting my blog, reading my recipes and some people even asking me to try out their products.

I think blogging is such a great way of keeping in touch and through this great medium, I have had the pleasure of getting to know a lot of nice people, some of whom have become good friends. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support and kind comments and hopefully I get a chance to meet up with some of you when I visit Malaysia this coming January.

In the meantime I will continue posting more recipes and pictures in my blogs for year 2009, so feel free to drop by any chance you get. Thanks you once again for all your support and wishing all of you a wonderful and Happy New Year!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Brunch

Just like every year I prepared very simple brunch for Christmas. It is normally some light finger food. This way I don't have to spend too much time slogging in the kitchen doing cooking, baking and then washing up. After lunch we can just sit back and relax next to the fireplace and watching TV or just being together. Here are some of the foods I prepared for the family and share some with our good neighbor Nancy.

Seafood Tarts

Spinach Rolls

Meat Puffs

Light Japanese Fruitcake

Chocolate Cake

Friday, December 26, 2008

Cajun Chicken and Shrimp Pasta

This is another quick and easy pasta dish with wonderful spicy cajun flavor. I used shrimp and chicken for this dish but you can use any kind of protein of your choice. I didn’t add any red or yellow peppers to it as I ran out of it but you can always add it to this pasta dish. As for the half and half you can replace with with heavy cream.

Ingredients :

1/2 box pasta of your choice (I used wholewheat penne)
2 pc of chicken breast
1/2 lb. shrimp, peeled/deveined
1 small onion, diced
2 tomatoes - diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp of flour
1 1/2 cup half and half or heavy cream
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp of pepper flakes
some chopped parsley
2 tsp of cajun seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook the pasta until al-dente and set it aside. Cut chicken into thin strip and season it with the cajun seasoning.
2. Heat a bit of olive oil over medium heat in a pan. Saute the chicken breast until lightly brown. Dish out and set it aside.
2. In the same skillet add a bit of olive oil, add the onions and garlic. Saute until lightly brown. Add the flour and stir it for a minute or two, to cook off rawness of the flour.
3. Add the half and half, cheese and stir until thick. Add the shrimp, chicken and tomatoes into the skillet to cook through.
4. Season to taste with salt and pepper, pepper flakes (and more Cajun seasoning, if desired). Toss in the pasta.
5. Garnish with some chopped parsley.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas

To my family, friends and blog readers,

May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace,
The gladness of Christmas give you hope,
The warmth of Christmas grant you love
Merry Christams and Happy Holidays to All!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fish Fillets in Creamy Sauce

The taste of this dish is very similar to butter prawns except it has more gravy and using no butter. You can also use chicken fillet for this dish and it taste as good. The spiciness and the amount of gravy of this dish are also up to you as you can put as much chili and milk as your like.

Ingredients :

3 pieces of fish fillets (I used talapia)
3 sprig of curry leaves
4 bird eyes chilies or one big red chili - cut small
1 cup of evaporated milk
salt and pepper
1 tsp of sugar

Seasoning for fish

1 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of pepper
1/4 tsp of garlic powder
1/2 tsp of paprika
1 egg white
3 tbsp of cornstarch

1) Cut fish into bite size pieces (about 1") and season it with salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika and egg white and set it aside for 30 minutes.
2) Heat up some oil and lightly coat the fish fillet with cornstarch. Fry the fish until golden brown, dish out, drain the oil and set it aside.
3) Remove oil from the pan and leave about 1 tbsp and stir fry the curry leaves and chili until fragrant. Add in the milk and bring it up to boil. Add in salt, pepper and sugar and reduce the milk to half and sauce thicken.
4) Add in the fish and let it come up to boil again and sauce thicken. Check seasoning. Dish out and serve with warm rice.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Steam Stuffed Cucumbers

Cucumbers are usually eaten raw in salads, pickled or with our Malaysian Nasi Lemak, but we Chinese sometime do cook with it too. My mother used to stir-fry it with some dried shrimps which make it a very light and refreshing dish. Another dish you can do with the cucumber is to stuff it with some fillings and steam it. It’s a very light dish and goes well with rice.


1 large cucumber (2 if it's small)
½ cup of ground meat
½ cup of fresh shrimp – clean and roughly chopped
1 spring onion – cut small
1 tbsp of soy sauce
1 tbsp of cornstarch
Dash of salt and pepper


¾ cup of chicken stock
1 tbsp of oyster sauce
1 tbsp of soy sauce
¼ tsp of sugar
1 tsp of cornstarch
½ tsp of sesame oil

1. Clean cucumber and cut into 1” round. Take a small spoon and scoop out the seeds and set aside.
2. Mix the ground meat, shrimps and the rest of the ingredients together. Mix well.
3. Stuff the cucumber with the meat mixture, then steam over high heat for about 15 minutes.
4. In the mean time put all the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Stir well and bring it up to a boil over medium heat. Check seasoning.
5. When the cucumber is done pour the sauce over it and serve warm.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bailey's Pecan Slice

If you love pecan or pecan pie you would love these slices. Besides the traditional cakes and cookies during the holidays, pecan bars are a wonderful change as it’s also an easy alternative to the traditional Pecan Pie. I added some Bailey’s Irish Cream to it but you can always omit it or replace it with some rum or bourbon.


1 1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter- cubes

Pecan Filling

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), melted
2 tablespoon Bailey’s Irish Creme
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 large egg , lightly beaten
2 cups toasted pecans , chopped coarse, toasted
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Greased and line the 8” x 8” square baking pan with parchment paper with leaving an overhang on both side (for easy removing you slices later.
2. To make the crust place flour, brown sugar, butter, salt, and baking powder in food processor. Process mixture until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Pat mixture evenly into prepared pan and bake until crust is light brown and springs back when touched, about 20 minutes.
3. While crust bakes make the filling. Whisk together brown sugar, melted butter, corn syrup, bailey’s, vanilla, and salt in medium bowl until just combined. Add egg and whisk until incorporated.
4. Pour filling on top of hot crust and sprinkle pecans evenly over top. Bake until top is brown and cracks start to form across surface, 22 to 25 minutes. Cool and cut into slices.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Stir-Fry White Asparagus with Shrimp

I found some fresh plump white asparagus at relatively cheap price the other day and I bought 2 big bunch of it. I find white asparagus has a more delicate and a bit more tender than green ones. I did a quick stir-fry with it to maintain it crunch and delicate flavor. You can always use green asparagus for this dish.

Ingredients :

1 bunch of aspagagus.
10 shrimps - peel and clean
1 red pepper - cut into bite size pieces
1 cloves of garlic - chopped
2 tbsp of chili paste
1 tsp of sugar
Salt to taste

1. With a a sharp vegetable peeler remove the fibrous skin at the bottom of the asparagus spears. Once all the asparagus has been peeled, cut off the bottom end about one inch up to remove the hard end. Then cut into 1" lenght.
2. Heat up a pan with some olive oil. Add in garlic and stir fry until fragrant. Add in the shrimps and stir-fry until it turn pink. Add in the chili paste and continue to stir fry for a minute.
3. Then add in the red pepper and asparagus. Stir briefly, drizzle a bit of water and continue to cook for another minute. Add in sugar and salt to taste. Stir well. Serve warm with rice.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Apple Danish

While groceries shopping sometime ago I found this Pillsbury Flaky Chocolate Twist and I bought two tube of it. I bake one but we don’t really like it as we find the twist rather dry. So I have to think of another way to finish up the other tube. Since Carlos love the apple Danish sold at Wegman, I thought maybe I can create something similar with it. So I came up with this simple Apple Danish which tasted really good. With a few simple ingredients you can have freshly baked Danish for breakfast with your family.


1 8 oz tube of Pillsbury Flaky Chocolate Twist
3 apples – any kind
4 tbsp of brown sugar
1 tbsp of butter
A handful of raisin or dried cranberries
Juice of one lemon
1 egg - beaten


1/2 cup of powder sugar
2 tbsp of lemon juice

(pix 1)

(pix 2)

(pix 3)

(pix 4)
1. Peel, core and slice the apples. In a medium pan, add in butter, apples, brown sugar, lemon juice and cranberries and cook until soft and juice thicken. Set aside to cool.
2. In the meantime open tube of chocolate twist, take out the rolls (pix 2) and make an indentation at middle of the roll (pix 3) and place it on the line baking pan.
3. Fill it up with the cooked apple (pix 4) brush the side of the Danish with some beaten egg and bake in a pre-heated 350 degree F oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Set it aside to cool.
4. Mix the powder sugar and lemon juice until well combined. Drizzle it on top of the Danish.

Monday, December 08, 2008

French Macarons

I have love hate relationship with macarons. I made it a few times and it never turns out right. Some came out flat as pancakes; some cracks on the top and a few times it turn out like cookies. I told myself that I will never bake it again until I take some lesson for it until I saw it at Beachlover blog. She told me she used Tartelette recipe with success.

Thanks to Tartelette and her perfect recipe that I finally able to make a near perfect macarons. Making macarons need time and patience. There is no short cuts and its so rewarding when the perfect skirting (refer as feet) appears while baking. I was jumping with joy that I finally got it right!! It’s not the best looking ones but it was pretty good to me. I am not sure why some of them cracked and some of them were perfect. I need improved on my piping and get the size more evenly. I promised Carlos that I will bake more for him to take to the office. So I will be baking it again this week.

Here is Tartelette Macarons recipe :

3 egg whites (about 90 grm)
40 grm granulated sugar
200 grm powdered sugar
110 grm almond meal

1. For the whites: the day before (24hrs), separate your eggs and store the whites at room temperature in a covered container. If you want to use 48hrs (or more) egg whites, you can store them in the fridge.
2. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue. Do not over beat your meringue or it will be too dry.
3. Combine the almonds, powdered sugar in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Pass through a sieve. Add them to the meringue, give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold carefully until you obtain a batter that flows like magma or a thick ribbon.
4. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns.
5. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (I used Wilton tip 12) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper lined baking sheets.
6. Preheat the oven to 300F. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit and bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool.

Note from Tartelette :If you have trouble removing the shells, pour a couple of drops of water under the parchment paper while the sheet is still a bit warm and the macarons will lift up more easily do to the moisture.
Don't let them sit there in it too long or they will become soggy. Once baked and if you are not using them right away, store them in an airtight container out of the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer.

Note : I didn't make any filling for these macarons and I just used some Dulce De Leche which I find it was way too sweet.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Fried Macaroni

I have some left over whole wheat macaroni in the pantry from I don’t know when. I suspect it might be over 1 year old but it’s still good. I am not a Mac and cheese person so I just fry it similar to fried rice style. With some leftover turkey from Thanksgiving and few other ingredients lunch is taken care of in no time.

Ingredients :

1 1/2 cup of macaroni - boil till al-dente
1 piece of chicken breast – cut small (I used leftover turkey)
10 shrimp – peel and clean
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 carrot - julienned
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp of chili paste – I used sirachi chili sauce
2 tbsp of sauce
1 tsp of dark soy sauce
1/2 tsp of sugar
salt to taste
2 spring onions – cut 1” length

1. Heat oil in wok. Add onion slices and garlic and stir-fry till fragrant and lightly brown.
2. Add meat, shrimp and carrot and stir-fry until meat is cooked.
3. Add a bit of water (about half a cup) and put in the pasta. Stir-fry for a few second and add in all the rest of the seasoning. Stir until everything is well combined.
4. Lastly add in the spring onions. Give it a quick stir and dish out. Serve warm.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Cinnamon Rolls

I baked these cinnamon rolls on Thanksgiving morning. I mix the dough the night before and bake it in the morning. What can be better when your family wakes up in the morning to the freshly smell of bake cinnamon rolls. I prefer the homemade kind than the one we get from the deli’s as I found it’s loaded with sugar and frosting. Baking this myself I get control the amount of sugar and butter that goes in it.

Ingredients for dough:
1 cup of warm milk (slightly warm to the touch)
1 packet of dry yeast (7 grm)
2 large eggs
4 1/2 cups unbleached flour ( I used 4 cups first and then gradually add half more cup to the dough)
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp of butter – cut to small pieces
1 teaspoon salt

3 tbsp of melted butter
½ cup of dark brown sugar (more if you want it sweeter)
1 cup of raisin
1 cup of chopped pecans
2 tbsp of cinnamon powder

1. Fit the mixer with the dough hook attachment and put all the dough ingredients except the butter into the mixer bowl and work it on medium speed until it comes together and forms a nice ball of dough. Continue to mix for 10 minutes on medium speed.
2. Slowly add in the cut butter and continue to mix until dough comes together again.
3. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and place it in buttered bowl and cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest and raise at room temperature until double it size.
4. Roll it out to about 1/3” thickness, brush with softened butter and sprinkle it with cinnamon, brown sugar, raisins and pecans.
5. With your palm lightly press the filling ingredients into dough and then roll them up. Secure the roll by pinching both ends of the roll. Cut the rolls into 1” pieces and line them with paper cups and place it on a baking sheet.
6. Place them in a warm spot and let them rise for an hour or until they are doubled in size. Bake them at 350°F for about 15 – 20 minutes or until they are golden
7. Remove them from the oven and let them cool for as long as you can resist them before digging into it.

Note : I used 4 cups of flour first and then gradually add in more until the dough comes together. This is a pretty sticky dough so you might need a bit more of 4 ½ cups of flour or less.