Friday, December 27, 2013

Beef and Spinach Lasagna

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas celebration with family and friends and in a few days it will be the end of 2013. I hope year 2014 will be a better year for us. We won’t be doing much for the New Year as Diana won’t be home. I miss that girl. I wish she live nearer to us :( It will be a low key affair for us except I am looking forward to indulge myself with some Caviar that I ordered online.

I will be flying back to Malaysia in January and looking forward to spend some time with my family and I too hope to meet up with my blogging friends when I am home. Enough of my ranting and let’s get on to this awesome pasta.

I made this with Diana when she was home. I am not a big fan of lasagnas that are loaded with too much meat or cheese so I decided to add some spinach to it. It has a good balance of cheese, meat and veggie in it. I cheated a bit and used a good quality store bought marinara sauce as a base. You can always use homemade one if you have it.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Panettone (Italian Christmas Bread)

This bread is a must in our household during Christmas season. I will usually buy them but I did attempt making them once a few years ago. I followed the recipe from a book but it turns out as hard as a rock and never try baking them again until this year. This time I used the recipe from the internet. I found there are so many of them out there but most of them requires a lot of work and days of proofing. Those who knew me will know I will not attempt recipes like that as I don’t have the patience for it. So I end up using the recipe from Laura in the Kitchen which is a very straight forward method just like making regular bread but it does require longer proofing time than regular bread.

This recipe makes beautiful, soft, supple dough that is much like a brioche. This bread is a true show-stopper. It’s stunning, and the flavor lives up to its looks. The bread is soft and sweet, and just loaded with flavor thanks to the vanilla extract,dried fruits, orange and lemon zest.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Ma’amoul Cookies with Pistachio and Walnut Filling

Is time for Christmas baking again and Sam at Oh Nuts sent me some nuts for my baking this year. They came just in time for me to bake some Ma’amoul cookies for AFF – West Asia Month event. Ma’amoul is small shortbread pastries filled with nuts, dates or dried fruits. They are very popular in the Gulf countries especially on religions festival. The Muslims eat them at night during Ramadan, the Christians eat them during Easter and the Jewish communities eat them on Rosh Hashanah or Hanukkah. They may be in the shape of balls or domed usually decorated by hand or be made in special wooden molds. Since I don’t have any of the molds I just shape them using my tart mold.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Roasted Maple and Bacon Butternut Squash

One of my favorite things for autumn and winter is the abundance of squash in the market. Two of my favorite kinds are the kabocha and butternut. They are naturally sweet, low in calories and full of vitamin A and C. I usually like to roast them up and serve it as side dishes. I prepared this particular side dish to take it to a Thanksgiving get together at a friend house. It was so well received by everyone even by the non squash fan and I thought I should put the recipe here as I will be making it again soon. I simply tossed it with olive oil, salted and pepper and when it is nearly done roasting I add some maple syrup, cinnamon and cayenne pepper to it. It gives this dish a sweet, salty and slightly spicy flavor.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Citrus Chiffon Cake

I will never get tired of baking or eating chiffon cake. There’s something extremely satisfying about baking this cake especially when you watch it rise to a beautiful height. This cake is light, fluffy, moist and with delicate citrus flavor. I will normally eat it plain but you can always frost it with icing.


1 3/4 cups Flour
1/4 tsp of salt
1 tsp baking powder

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Chocolate Chips and Pistachio Granola Bars

Carlos like granola bars. He will always have one or two in his lunch bag so he can munch on it when he gets hungry. Granola bars are not cheap. It cost around $4.00 for a box of 5 or 6. I usually make it myself as it is not that difficult. Most important is basic proportion of chunky (nuts, dried fruits) to sticky (syrup, honey, sugar, peanut butter, butter or oil) and from there you can go to town with it. You can toss in things like oats, cereal, flax seeds, chia seeds etc. I will normally add in whatever I have in the pantry. The vanilla is optional and so is the cinnamon. The possibilities are endless. Since we like an extra crunch granola so I twice bake these bars.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Soft Butter Rolls

Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner. Are you on the lookout for some delicious butter rolls to serve for your dinner or breakfast table? These rolls were my all time favorite to serve. They were soft, sweet and buttery and I bet you can’t stop at just eating one. Let me tell you, I down 3 of them once it was out of the oven. I have to dance extra hard at my zumba that evening because of it. But it was all worth it, I don’t mind doing it all over again. It was that good!!

Ingredients (A)

1/2 cup lukewarm water
7 gram dried yeast
1 tsp sugar

Monday, November 11, 2013

Shrimp with Pomelo and Mango Salad

I love Thai food. There is something about their food that is so addictive. I think it is the taste of sweet, sour, spicy and salty of their dishes and not forgetting all the fresh herbs they used in their cooking. One particular dish that I will order is their salad. It can either be green mango, papaya or their pomelo salad. I’ve visited Thailand countless time and there was once I tasted their green mango and pomelo salad at a buffet restaurant and they were so good. Till today I still think of this particular dish and I am recreating it in my kitchen so I can submit it for the AFF event hosted by Lena of Frozen Wings. This salad with the addition of grill shrimps makes a terrific lunch or even as starter to any Thai or Asian-style meal. You'll find it very unique and refreshing, and so will your guests. ENJOY!

Monday, November 04, 2013

Homemade Char Siu (with Pork Belly)/Chinese BBQ Pork


It has been awhile since I last make some Char Siu. I posted a recipe here before and I used pork loin for it. I bought a piece of pork belly a few weeks ago and it was pretty lean (it has more lean meat than fat) so I decided to use it to make char siu. So which char siu we like better? We like the pork belly one as the meat was sinfully juicy and very tender but most of all we like the charring part. Of course there is a bit of fat there but most of it renders out when I cook it in the oven. So from now on I will be using pork belly for char siu. I gave some to my a friend of mine and she just can’t get enough of it and she wanted me to show her how to make it ;).


Monday, October 28, 2013

Agedashi Tofu

Agedashi tofu is a simple Japanese way to serve hot tofu. Soft or firm tofu is cut into cubes, is lightly dusted with potato starch or cornstarch and then deep fried until golden brown. It's then served in a hot tentsuyu broth made of dashi, mirin, and shoyu (Japanese soy sauce), and topped with finely chopped green onions and bonito flakes.


1 block soft tofu
Some potato starch
Some cut green onions
Some bonito flakes

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Chicken and Green Onion Yakitori

Yakitori in Japan can be refer to skewered food in general, traditionally serve at small restaurant or stands that grill them to order over charcoal and to be consumed alongside alcoholic beverages in the evening. These skewers will be grill to perfections and then basting it with homemade yakitori sauce. I made my own basting sauce as I find them tastier than the store bought stuff. You can use this sauce for basting any meat or vegetable.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Kabocha Korokke/Pumpkin Croquette

Korokke (croquette) is a popular snack in Japan. Korokke is usually made with mashed potatoes and ground beef. Korokke comes in different sizes and varieties. I’ve tasted one that is made from pumpkin and with a whole hardboiled egg on the inside. The crispy outer crust, the sweetness of the kabocha with their special spicy mayo sauce is seriously good.
For the AFF - Japan event I am trying to recreates this dish again. I prefer the korokke to be smaller in size so instead of using the usual chicken egg like how the restaurant serves it, I used quail eggs but I did made one using the regular egg.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Fish in Fermented Black Bean Sauce

My mom and grandma hardly cook anything with fermented black beans so I am not familiar with this ingredient at all. We only used bean paste/tau cheong in our cooking. I only start using it after seeing some of my friend here cooking with it. They will use it to cook pork, fish or vegetable. As for me I like to cook fish with it. I just love how the fish soak up all the wonderful flavor of the fermented black beans. I will steam the fish if I can get them real fresh but since this tilapia came frozen I decided to pan fried it first before cooking it in the sauce.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Nasu Dengaku/Grilled Eggplant with Miso Glaze

I will order this particular appetizer whenever they have it in the menu. It is light, silky texture and the savory miso glaze at the top. I just can’t get enough of it. Actually it is not difficult to prepare it at home. You can either grill it or just bake and broil it in the oven like I did. I used the Japanese egg plant from my garden but I’ve tried it with the Italian eggplant and they were just as good but it takes a bit longer time to cook though.


3 medium size eggplants (I used 5 tiny ones)
Some vegetable oil – for brushing
Toasted sesame seeds – for garnish
Some sliced spring onions – for garnish
Some seaweed – for garnish

Friday, October 04, 2013

Assortment of Sushi

Carlos and I am a huge fan of sushi. Well, basically all types of Japanese food. We can eat them every day. Eating Japanese food at the restaurant is pretty costly so I will try to prepare them at home once a while if time permits. One of the things I like to make is sushi. I will make assortment Nigiri sushi, California rolls and maki rolls.

Good sushi starts with perfectly cooked rice. Soft and mushy rice is a big no no. I know some people like brown rice for health reasons but white rice has the requisite stickiness that holds together and they are great to make sushi.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Pear Tarts

One of my neighbors gave us some pear a few weeks ago. Carlos is not a fan of pears and as for me I am just too lazy to chew on apple or pear. In order not to let it go to waste I used it for baking. I used some for making these tarts and some for cakes (will post the recipe up later) I am not a fan of soggy filling so I cooked down the pear first. We just love these tarts especially the flaky pastry and not so sweet pear filling. The tart is delicious with a dollop of whipped cream or you can even serve it warm with some vanilla ice-cream.

Ingredients for Filling:

3 pound of pears (I used Asian pears but you can use any type)
1/2 cup brown sugar (more if you like it sweeter)
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp butter

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Spicy Honey Glazed Baked Chicken Wings

I think I’ve mentioned before in my previous posting that I love chicken wings. You can stew it, fried it, grill it or baked it, I love them all. One of my favorite ways of preparing it is just marinate it and stick it into the oven. I don’t really have a favorite marinate recipe, I just put a bit of this a bit of that or whatever I can find in my pantry that day. It always turns out tender and tasty. This time I brush it with honey to make it sweet and savory at the same time. Do try this out; it is much healthier and best of all no greasy frying mess to clean up.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Snow Skin Mooncake with Mung Bean Filling

Mid autumn celebration is just around the corner and I’ve seen so many bloggers posting mooncakes. I too get excited and eager to try my hand in making Snow skin mooncake or also known as crystal mooncake. Since I still have a packet of cooked glutinous rice flour in my pantry I decided to make some last week. I just love the moulds that Ann helps me to purchase from Singapore. Don’t you think they are very pretty?

This is my first time making it so it didn’t turn out too well. The texture of the skin is not as smooth as I wanted it to be. I blame it on the glutinous rice flour that I purchase here as I find the texture a bit too coarse. Nevertheless, it tasted ok. Since I am not a fan of snow skin mooncake, I tried a piece and took the rest to my workplace. Everyone seems to like it a lot.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Rustic Whole Wheat No Knead Bread

There is nothing more irresistible than freshly baked crusty bread. It is wonderfully crisp and chewy on the outside while tender and slightly moist on the inside. I like to use them for sandwiches or just spread them with butter for my morning breakfast. Making this bread is easy as it requires very minimal work. I used the same recipe as my Rustic Bread but this time I added some whole wheat flour to it.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Thai Red Curry with Prawns and Green Eggplant

When I have time prepare spices for curry I normally do it in big batches so I can portion them out and freeze it up so each time I want to cook it is ready but nowadays we can get readymade paste from the Asian market without any problem. It does make cooking so much easier and I do keep a jar of it in case of emergency or I ran out of homemade paste. I have the recipe here if anyone of you wanted to make it from scratch. You can use it to cook chicken, duck, beef, pork or any type of seafood and even noodles with it. For today I used the paste to cook this prawn dish.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Loquat Butter Cake

I heard of loquat fruit but never seen or eaten one until I live in California. I’ve seen some of this fruit trees around our neighborhood here and I was so tempted to knock at their doors to ask if I can buy some from them. But I was too shy to do that ha ha… Lucky for me my work colleague gave me some from her backyard tree.

They were small and cute, tangy and slightly sweet at the same time. Unlike other fruits, they are quite small and finicky to peel or pit. It took me a while to cut and pitted them. I used half of it to make jam and the other half to make cake. I tried to Google for some recipes but can’t find much out there so I just make butter cake out of it.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Wuxi Chicken Wings/Ginger Wine Soy Sauce Chicken Wings

It has been awhile since I cook with chicken wings. I bookmarked this recipe from Sonia’s right after she posted it at her blog. I just love how her dish/wings look, dark and glistening with soy sauce glaze. This is such a nice simple dish and goes really well with rice.

Source: Nasi Lemak Lover

18 pcs Chicken Wings (mid section)
1 tbsp light soy sauce
½ tbsp Shao Hsing cooking wine
1 spring onion - cut into 1"
5 slices ginger
1/3 cup water

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Curry Flavor Fried Oyster Mushroom Fritters

I bought some fresh oyster mushroom from the Asian store recently not knowing what to do with it. I remember seeing a few recipes of fried mushroom at Elin’s blog and decided to check them out. I settle for this batter recipe as it looks really crispy. I double up the recipe and added some curry powder to the batter to give it an extra kick. Like Elin said, the mushroom was crispy and crunchy on the outside and chewy and moist on the inside. Do give it a try, it is really good.


Thursday, August 01, 2013

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Pomegranate Glaze


Pork tenderloin is one of my favorite cuts of meat. I love how tender the meat is and I can marinate and glaze it with anything and it will cook in no time. I will usually throw it onto the grill and let it grill on all sides. As for the marinate it can be anything seasonings of your choice and for the glaze I used pomegranate juice with a few other ingredients. It turns out really good and flavorful. It is super easy to prepare and quick cooking…I mean grilling! And the best part…no pots and pans to wash!