Sunday, June 28, 2009

Tuna Pasta in Tomato Sauce

This is a quick meal in my home. When I don’t have fresh ingredients in my fridge or I want something nutritious and tasty on the table fast, this is the meal I cook with things I can find in my pantry.

Ingredients :

1 can tuna - 5 oz, drained
1 small can chopped tomato with juice
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic - chopped
Some chopped basil
1 tomato – cut small for garnish
½ tsp of red pepper flakes
½ pound of your favorite pasta – cooked to al dente ( I like using whole-wheat penne)
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a pan and add the garlic and onion; sauté until translucent about 2-3 minutes, then add in can tomato with juice, season to taste with salt, pepper and red-pepper flakes and boil over medium heat for 10-12 minutes
2. When sauce reduced and thicken, add in tuna. Stir and mix well. Add in chopped basil and cooked paste. Turn off the heat.
3. Mix well, dish out and garnish with some chopped tomato and basil

Note: If you don't want your sauce to be as 'chunky', you can puree the tomatoes before using.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Coconut Macaroons

I was looking for something to make with the leftover condensed milk which I used for my Condensed Milk Pound Cake . I remember making coconut macaroons during my school days and decided to make some again. This macaroon has very few ingredients and you probably have it in your pantry. This recipe make a small batch of macaroons and if you want to make more you might need to double the recipe.


1 large egg whites
Pinch of salt
1/2 can (7 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 bag shredded sweetened coconut (14 oz)

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees F. In a medium bowl, whisk egg whites and salt until frothy, about 2 minutes. Stir in condensed milk and vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, fold in coconut until well combined.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats. Using a teaspoon and your fingers, form macaroons into 1 1/4-inch mounds about 1 inch apart.
3. Bake until macaroons are golden brown, about 20 - 25 minutes. Transfer the macaroons to a cooling rack. Let cool completely.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hoddeok – Stuffed Pancake

Hoddeok (ho-dock/duck) is a common street food found in Korea. It’s basically a pancake stuffed with various fillings, sometimes sweet, sometimes savory. This pancake like snack has a crispy and chewy brown outer crust, tuck in the middle is pleasantly sweet brown sugar, cinnamon and walnuts. Despite the pancake name, this is usually not a breakfast item although it can be enjoyed at any time of the day. I remember eating something very similar to this snack when I was young. There was this kuih seller who will come by our house everyday and I will always buy it from him.


2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
140 ml milk
60 ml warm water
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp of yeast

Filling :

1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 cup crushed walnuts
4 tbsp of dark brown sugar

1. Mix warm water, sugar and yeast together and set it aside for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes the yeast mixture should be foamy.
2. In a mixing bowl, combined flour, salt, milk and the yeast mixture and knead into dough. Knead until the dough is smooth and it should take about 5 minutes. Set it aside for at least 3 hours or until it becomes twice its size.
3. Mix brown sugar, cinnamon powder and walnut together.
4. Divide dough into equal portions (depend on how big you want) flatten it with your hand and put about a tbsp of filling into it. Wrap it up to form into a ball. Set it aside.
5. Warm up a non stick pan in a medium heat, add about 2 tbsp of oil to it. Flatten the dough with your palm and pan fry the hoddeok on both side until golden brown. While frying continue to flatten the dough with a spatula.

Note: Be careful when you eat this. The filling will be very hot and it might burn your mouth when you eat it. You can replace the walnuts with peanuts or sesame seeds.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Condensed Milk Pound Cake

I saw this particular cake making its round among the food bloggers. This cake reminds me of a cake I used to bake many years ago which used condensed milk too. We always have condensed milk in the fridge as my mother used it to make our hot drink like Milo (hot chocolate) and coffee. I stop making it as I don’t buy condensed here as we don’t use it in our hot drink. Here is the recipe I used for many years and it always turn out great. This cake was perfect in every way. The crust was perfectly brown and sweet. The crumb was fine. The cake had a great fragrant of the condensed milk. I added some swirl to this plain cake to make it look a bit more interesting.


2 sticks/1 cup/226 grm of butter
100 gram of sugar
½ cup condensed milk
5 eggs
250 grams flour
1 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt

1. Prepared a baking pan (loaf or an 8” round). Grease well and line it with parchment paper. Pre-heat the oven to 325 degree F.
2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in egg, one at a time until well incorporated.
3. Add in the condensed milk, vanilla and mixed well.
4. Sift flour, salt and baking powder. Slowly add the flour into the batter. Mix well.
5. Pour the batter in to the baking pan, give the baking pan a few knocks on the working counter (take out the air bubbles) and bake for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown.

Note: For the chocolate swirl, take 4 tablespoon of the batter and mix it with 2 tbsp of dark coco powder. Put some white. batter to the baking pan, add in the chocolate batter and top it up with the balance of the white batter. Take a knife and make a few swirls to the batter.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fresh Berries Panna Cotta

This is a great dessert for summer especially when the weather get really warm. Panna Cotta is such an easy dessert to make. Normally Panna Cotta is made with full cream milk and heavy cream but I made it with 1% fat milk and also half and half. I served these Panna Cotta with some freshly blend strawberries and raspberries sauce.

For the cream layer

2 tsp of gelatin powder
2 tablespoons water
1 3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup half and half or cream
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup sugar

For the berries layer

1 cup strawberry
1 cup raspberry
1 tbsp sugar

1. To make the berries layer, puree strawberry, raspberry and sugar in a food processor. Put the puree berries through a strainer to remove all the seeds.
2. Divide the puree berries evenly among the serving glasses. Put the glasses in the freezer for it to set.
3. In a small bowl, mix the water and gelatin. Set it aside to bloom. In a medium saucepan, heat up the milk and sugar in medium heat. Bring it up to a slow boil and remove from heat.
4. Add in the gelatin, stir until the gelatin dissolved into the milk. Add in the half and half or cream and vanilla. Stir well and set it aside to cool.
5. Once the milk mixture is cooled, slowly pour it over the frozen berries and let set in the fridge for at least a few hours or until it's set. Serve cold.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pig In The Blanket – Step by Step

When hot dogs are on sale I will always buy a packet or two and keep it in the freezer. Carlos and Diana are crazy over hot dogs but not me. They can eat this every week and I will normally stay away from it. Besides grilling it I have to find ways to finish it up quickly as I am trying to clear up the freezer. My two sisters will be visiting end of this week so I need space to stock up some seafood. So what I do with it? I made Pig in the blanket. I used the same recipe as the Assortment of Savory Buns . Here are some pictures of the step by step ways of making it. Enjoy!!

After kneading, set it aside to proof.

Proof until double it size.

Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.

Roll the dough into long strip.

Roll the dough around the hotdog.

Another way of doing the bread. Flatten the dough and make 5 cuts on both side.

Bring each cuts into the center of the hotdog.

Set the bread to proof for the second time until double it size. Brush with egg wash and bake in a pre-heated 350 degree F oven until golden brown.


Note : For these bread I used regular flour instead of Whole Wheat.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Chicken Karaage

I always have a fondness for karaage, Japanese take on fried chicken. It’s crisp, juicy and has an Asian flavor to it. This is a very simple and tasty way of fried chicken. And best of all, they are pan-fried which is much more convenient than deep fried. I used breast meat to make Karaage but I think it will taste even better if you use dark thigh meat.


3 pieces chicken breast – cut into 1” cubes
3 tbsp of soy sauce
2 tbsp of sake (optional)
2 cloves of garlic – grated
1 tbsp ginger juice
salt and pepper to taste
A small onion (optional)
5 curry leaves (optional)

For Coating:

3 tbsp sesame seeds
Cornstarch or sweet potato starch

1. First of all, mix all the ingredients to marinate the chicken together for an hour.
2. In a plate mix the sesame seeds and cornstarch. Coat the chicken with the flour mixture.
3. In a frying pan, heat up some oil. Pan fried the chicken in small batches until golden brown on both sides. Drain the oil on paper towels.
4. You can serve the chicken with some sweet chili sauce or some mayonnaise.

Note: I added some red onions and curry leaves half way through the frying as I always like the taste of them in my fried meat.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

French Toast with Maple Syrup and Fresh Fruits

I made French toast for breakfast mainly because I needed to use up my cinnamon bread. I think the trick to making excellent French toast is to use a good hearty bread like whole wheat so it doesn’t get soggy. Serve warm with some maple syrup and fresh fruits.

Ingredients :

6 slices bread (I used whole wheat cinnamon raisin swirl)
¼ cup of milk
1 egg
½ tsp cinnamon

Topping :

Fresh fruits
Maple syrup

1. Mix egg, vanilla and cinnamon together. Stir in milk.
2. Melt a tablespoon of butter in a non stick pan over medium heat. Dip bread in mixture and pan fried it on both side until golden brown.
3. Serve warm with some syrup and fresh fruits

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Spicy Eggplant (Terung Balado)

The first time I tasted sambal Balado was from an Indonesian restaurant called Restaurant Malindo at Sungai Wang Plaza. It was so good especially when they top it on crispy fried fish. Balado is basically an Indonesian sambal paste. I learned making balado many years ago from our family helper. Basic ingredients for balado are shallots, red chilies, tomato, lime juice, sugar and salt. This chili paste is really good and goes well with fried fish or any type of meat dish. For today I used it on roasted eggplants. Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetable. If you love eggplant and like spicy food this is the dish for you.


2 Asian eggplant
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 shallots, finely chopped
2 fresh red tomato - chopped
2 tablespoon chili paste (sambal Oelek)
1 tsp palm sugar or brown sugar (more if you like it sweeter)
1 tsp salt
juice of a lime
1/2 cup water

½ cup fried anchovies - optional

1. Cut the eggplant into 1” length. Put the eggplant into a baking sheet and drizzle some olive oil and salt to it. Bake them in a pre-heated 375 degree F oven for 20-25 minutes, or until they are soft but not mushy.
2. Meanwhile, in a frying pan, heat up about 2 tbsp oil. Stir fry garlic and shallots until fragrant and lightly brown. Add in chili paste and chopped tomatoes. Stir fry for a minute and add in the water. Simmer until the sauce reduces to half.
3. Add in salt and sugar, lime juice and lastly add in the fried anchovies. Stir until well mix. Pour the sauce over the eggplant and serve immediately.

Note: Besides baking the eggplant you can always fried the eggplant in hot oil for a few minutes .

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Castella or Kasutera (Japanese Sponge Cake)

Kasutera is a sponge cake made of sugar, flour, eggs, and honey. It is a specialty of Nagasaki Japan, but the cake is originally from Spain. The name is believed to derive from a region called Castilla. During the 16th century, a Portuguese ship came into Nagasaki, which used to be the port of Japanese commerce.

Kasutera is made of natural ingredients, so its simple taste is a favorite of many Japanese people. There are now many kinds of kasutera, made with various ingredients. For example, there are kasuteras made with powdered green tea, cocoa, citrus and also brown sugar. I got the recipe from A Note From My Food Diary and I made a few minor changes to it.

Ingredients :

5 large eggs
180 grams granulated sugar
200 grams flour
1 tbsp of orange zest
50 ml whole milk
50 ml orange juice
4 tablespoons honey
6 tablespoons oil (I used vegetable oil)

1. Prepared a square 8 x 8” square baking pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and grease it well. Preheat oven to 350 degree F and place a rack in the middle of the oven.
2. In a mixer whip eggs and sugar on high speed for 5 minutes or until batter forms a ribbon when the wire whip is lifted, the color should be light yellow.
3. Turn down the mixer to medium speed; slowly pour the flour mixture into the batter. Next add the milk and then orange juice. Mix it well. Then add the orang zest, honey and mix it again well. Last, add the oil and make sure it is incorporated into the batter thoroughly.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Place it in the oven and bake for 10 minutes in 350 degree F. After that, lower the temperature to 325 degree F and bake for 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
5. Remove from the pan as soon as it is done. Place it on the cooling rack and let it cool completely. Wrap with plastic wrap overnight before cutting.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Kung Pao Shrimp with Cashew Nuts

Kung Pao Shrimp is a Szechuan based dish, made by stir-fry shrimp with a spicy sauce. Peanuts or cashews and chili peppers are frequently added to this dish. You can add as little or as many dried chili peppers to this dish. It all depends on the level of spiciness you like. The spiciness of the dish compliments well to the sweetness of the sauce


1/2 pound Shrimps, shelled and deveined
1 Egg White
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Cornstarch
1 small carrot
1 small onion
10 sugar snap peas
Half red pepper
Half yellow pepper
6 to 8 dried chili - cut into half
1 tsp of chopped ginger
3 cloves garlic - chopped
2 spring onions – cut into 1”

Sauce :

1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar (or Chinese black vinegar)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tsp Sugar
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp cornstarch
salt and pepper to taste

Garnish :

1/4 cup roasted cashews

1. In a large bowl, lightly beat the egg white. Stir in salt and cornstarch. Add shrimp, marinate 15 minutes. Cut carrots, onions, red and yellow peppers and sugar snap peas into ½” cubes.
2. In a small bowl, combine the chicken broth, vinegar, soy sauce, corn starch and sugar. Set aside.
3. Heat about 2 tbsp of oil in a wok or frying pan. Add shrimp, cook briefly. Remove from wok when the shrimp turns pink.
4. In the same wok, add another 2 tbsp of oil. Add in chili, onion, garlic and ginger. Stir-fry until fragrant and lightly brown.
5. Add in carrot, peppers and snow peas. Give a few quick stir-fry, add in the sauce. Bring it up to a boil and then add in the shrimps. Stir-fry for another 30 seconds or until the sauce reduce and thicken. Check seasoning and lastly add in the spring onions.
6. Dish out and sprinkle the top with some cashew nuts. Serve with some rice.

Note : You can always replace the shrimp with chicken and also other vegetables for this dish.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Bread Making Lesson

I went for my usual monthly baking class last Sunday. The lesson for the month was Bread. We learned to make Croissants, French Baguettes, Crown twist, Sandwich Rolls and 7 Grain bread. I just love this class as we learned all the right technique of making a good loaf of bread and the croissant is just to die for. There is something satisfying about bread baking. Kneading, proofing and shaping each loaf. By the way, we get to take home everything we baked that day and now my kitchen is full of bread.

Here are some of the pictures I took during the class. What do you think we should have for dinner? Garlic bread, maybe?

Croissant resting before going into the oven

Crown twist ready to be bake.

7 grain bread

Egg wash the Croissant.

Beautiful crown twist.

French Baguettes

7 Grain bread.

7 Grain bread in different shapes.

Assortment of breads

French Baguettes with sesame topping.

Sandwich Rolls.

Assortment of Croissants (almond and chocolate fillings)

Croissants with Almond Filling.

Bread, anyone?