Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sambal Petai Prawns


Petai (Parkia speciosa) or 'stink bean' which belongs to the legume family is harvested from tall rainforest trees that can be found in tropical countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.  The name 'Petai' is Malay and it is relatively common in Malay dishes and also can be eaten raw as in a Malay salad.

So, why the name 'stink bean'?  Well, after you've eaten them, you'll begin to notice some changes, like your urine and faeces which will bear the unmistakable petai smell!

Barring the offensive smell, the petai has a lot of health benefits.  It helps to lower blood sugar in diabetes and reduces cholesterol.  Also helps to lower blood pressure and aids digestion.  On top of that it's also a good source of minerals, high in calcium, phosphorous, potassium and iron.  Also a good source of vitamins C and E.  In short, it is one of the most nutritional local vegetable.









Recipe for Sambal Petai Prawns

Ingredients

  • 400 gm prawns
  • 180 gm petai, shelled, halved.
  • 15 shallots
  • 6 red chillies
  • 6 pips of garlic
  • 1/2 inch belacan (shrimp paste)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 stalks of lemon grass, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp tamarind pulp + 2 Tbsp water, strain
  • Salt and sugar to taste
  • Oil for frying
Method
  1. Clean and devein the prawns, season with some salt and sugar, set aside.
  2. Blend the shallots, red chillies, garlic and the belacan.
  3. In a wok, pan fry the petai for a while till they're puffed up. Dish out and set aside.
  4. Add some oil in the wok, fry the crushed lemon grass till fragrant.  Add in the chilli paste and fry till the oil surfaces.
  5. Toss in the prawns, stir fry, add in the onion slices.  Add in the prefried petai and the tamarind juice. Add salt and sugar to taste.
  6. Dish out and serve with white rice.




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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Candied Walnuts


Walnuts and sugar.  That's about it.  A simple recipe to make candied walnuts and these are quite a treat.  You can toss them into your salad or straight into your mouth.  I'd prefer the latter .... crunch, crunch!  But remember to act fast as once the walnuts are coated with the melted sugar, they tend to cool quickly and will stick together real fast.






Recipe for Candied Walnuts  (adapted from 'here')


    Ingredients

    • 240 gm walnut halves
    • 200 gm granulated sugar
    Method
    1. Heat up the walnut halves in a non-stick pan on medium heat.
    2. Add in the sugar, mix well and stir frequently to prevent the mixture from burning.
    3. Once the sugar starts to melt, keep stirring till the sugar is melted and nuts are coated. Keep stirring and turning so as to fully coat the nuts with the melted sugar.
    4. Immediately transfer the nuts to a sheet of parchment paper and quickly separate the nuts with 2 spatulas, otherwise the nuts will stick together.  (You must move quickly from the time the nuts are coated until they're separated out on the parchment paper).
    5. Keep them in an airtight container or cookie jar.
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Monday, July 21, 2014

Slow Cooker Chicken Stew


This is again another lazy man's dish.  Using the slow cooker can really help when you're busy with other household chores.  Just dump all the ingredients in the pot, give them a good stir, turn on the power and wait patiently.....I did mine at noon and it was smelling good after 4 hours on high heat.  I used some Korean bean paste in this stew and the chicken was so tender, even toothless senior citizens would be able to enjoy it :)


Recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken Stew


    Ingredients

    • 1/2  chicken, about 500 gm, cut into bite size
    • 2 potatoes, cut into chunks
    • 1 carrot, cut into chunks
    • 1 onion, quartered
    • 9 Shitake mushrooms, soaked and stemmed
    • 3 to 4 dried chillies, soaked till soft
    • 5 cloves of garlic
    • 3/4 cup water
    • 2 tsp sesame oil
    • 2 tsp Shaoxing wine
    • Cornflour to thicken the sauce
    Sauce
    • 1 Tbsp Korean soya bean paste
    • 1 Tbsp  Oyster sauce
    • 3/4 Tbsp brown sugar
    • 3/4 Tbsp honey
    • 1/8 cup light soya sauce
    • 1/4 tsp pepper
    Method
    1. Put all ingredients and sauces (except for the sesame oil and Shaoxing wine) into the slow cooker. Give it a good stir.
    2. Turn to high heat and let cook for about 4 hours.
    3. Taste for taste and thicken the sauce with the cornflour mixture.
    4. Stir in the sesame oil and Shaoxing wine before serving.




    I'm linking this post to the Little Thumbs Up event, theme for July is 'Potato'
    jointly organised by
    Zoe of  Bake for Happy Kids  and  Doreen of  My Little Favourite DIY
    and  hosted by
    Jasline of  Foodie Baker
Continue reading "Slow Cooker Chicken Stew "

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Salmon En Papillote


Salmon En Papillote simply means wrapping a piece of Salmon in parchment paper, folding up the paper like a little parcel and then baked, bag and all.  This one-dish meal is not only easy to preprare, it's nutritious too. The Salmon is moist and tasty with some baked potatoes, just what you need for a complete one-dish meal.  Most important of all ..... less cleaning up :))





Recipe for Salmon En Papillote  (adapted from an ASDA magazine with modifications)


    Ingredients


  • 300 gm Salmon fillet
  • 300 gm potatoes
  • 150 gm French beans
  • Some mixed dried herbs
  • Seasalt, Black pepper, lemon juice and zest
Method
  1. Cut 2 sheets of parchment paper, 12 ft square.
  2. Boil the potatoes util just tender.  Drain. peel off the skin and cut into quarters
  3. Blanch the French beans , drain and set aside.
  4. Divide the potatoes between  the two squares of parchment paper, add in some sprinkling of sea salt.
  5. Put a piece of Salmon on top.  Add some lemon zest, a dash of pepper and some sea salt.
  6. Wrap up the parchment paper leaving room inside for the air to move around.  Fold to seal the edges tightly.
  7. Put the parcels on a baking tray and bake in a preheated oven @ 200 deg.C. for about 18 mins. or until the packet is puffed up and the parchment is a bit brown in colour.
  8. Serve the Salmon in the parcel, toss in some blanched French beans, drizzle on some Olive oil and lemon juice.  Serve immediately.



I'm linking this post to the Little Thumbs Up event and the theme for this month is 'Potatoes'
organised by 
Zoe of  Bake for Happy Kids  and  Doreen of  My little favourite DIY 
and hosted by
Jasline  of  Foodie Baker

and also to 


Cook Your Books # 14 at   Kitchen Flavours
Continue reading "Salmon En Papillote"

Monday, July 14, 2014

Chestnut Chiffon Cake


I made this Chestnut Chiffon Cake after reading the post from Honey Bee Sweets blog but mine is devoid of any 'make up' and is a plain Jane.  Nevertheless, the texture of this chiffon is soft, moist and fluffy and I can indulge more on this cake as it's so light and can hardly fill my tummy even after devouring 3 slices :)








Recipe for Chestnut Chiffon Cake (adapted from 'here')

Ingredients (A)

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 70 ml water
  • 70ml vegetable oil
  • 125 gm chestnut )  Puree
  • 40 ml milk          )
  • 100 gm superfine flour
(B)
  • 4 egg whites
  • 80 gm caster sugar
Method
  1. In a blender puree the chestnuts with the milk, set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, add egg yolks, water, oil and mix well.  Add chestnut puree and mix well.
  3. Sift in the flour, mix till free of lumps.
  4. Beat egg whites, gradually add sugar and beat till soft peaks form but not dry.
  5. Add egg whites into egg yolk mixture in 3 portions.  Mix well till free of lumps.
  6. Pour batter into an ungreased 8 inch chiffon cake pan.  Use a toothpick or chopstick to run over the batter to expel air.
  7. Bake in a preheated oven @ 160 deg.C for 40 to 45 mins.  till a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  8. Invert the pan immediately on a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Run a sharp knife round the pan to unmould the cake.






I'm linking this post to 'Bake Along' and this week's theme is Chiffon Cakes
jointly hosted by
Joyce of  Kitchen Flavours, Zoe of  Bake for Happy Kids and  Lena of  Frozen Wings.



Continue reading "Chestnut Chiffon Cake"

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Cheap Formal Dresses

I was enjoying our ladies meet-up for tea a week ago and when ladies got together topics for discussion will naturally be about our children, their careers and their love lives.  From the exchange of updates I know that there'll be some wedding invitations in the pipeline.

One of my friends lamented that she's got invited to two weddings in a 5 star hotel in Kuala Lumpur, one is for a lunch reception while the other is for dinner.  No dress code was stated on the invitation card for the lunch, so I suppose she can wear something not so formal.  The dress code for the wedding dinner was stated as formal - long gown.  She was having a headache and couldn't make up her mind as to what to wear to both functions and even though she may have quite a few formal dresses and gowns but then she couldn't be wearing the same dresses to those dinner receptions often.  It's alright to wear those dresses twice or thrice provided that the functions are different and with different groups of friends.





The question of what to wear to certain functions or events can be quite mind boggling.  Casual wear is different as we can always mix and match our attire but this is not so with formal wear.  Also formal wear can be quite expensive and as I've said before we cannot 'recycle' them too often.

But nowadays with the advent of the internet and shopping online, there are many websites that offer
cheap formal dresses  online which are  greatly affordable.  You will be spoilt for choice with what to wear to attend a wedding reception, anniversary dinner, formal with classic designs and not so formal as well. There are also special dresses to wear to a prom, cocktail, a night out, short mini ones, ankle length gowns and full length ball gowns.  Fret not if you’re on the plump side as some websites also cater for plus size formal dresses. For summer, there’s a wide range of floral dresses with light, pastel prints with straight or asymmetrical hemlines.  One can also carry a lightweight wrap to cover their shoulders due to variable weather like from the gardens to an air conditioned venue.






Free shipping and free returns are available for orders above a certain price while some websites offer attractive discounts to first time customers. In short, you can find all sorts of cheap formal dresses for all occasions and events with accompanying accessories, presale and discount to suit your budget.  


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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Black Sesame Chiffon Cake


I've been wanting to bake a black sesame chiffon cake and when I chanced upon the recipe posted by
Christine of  Christine's Recipes and her lovely pictures, I wasted no time in trying it out.  True to her description, this chiffon cake is soft, moist and full of sesame aroma.   Just can't resist the temptation of a second or more helpings!










Recipe for Black Sesame Chiffon Cake  (adapted from 'here' with slight modification)

Ingredients (A)

  • 6 egg whites
  • 60 gm caster sugar
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
(B)
  • 80 gm superfine flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 25 gm black sesame powder
(C)
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 30 gm caster sugar
  • 50 gm canola oil/corn oil
  • 80 ml milk
Method

  1. Sift flour with the baking powder, salt and mix well.  Stir in the black sesame powder.  Mix thoroughly.
  2. Using ball whisk, whisk the egg yolks with 30 gm sugar till sugar has dissolved.  Stir in the oil little by little till mixture is completely combined.  Add in milk and stir well to mix.
  3. In a clean bowl, beat egg whites till bubbles form, add in cream of tartar.  After mixing well, add in the 60 gm of sugar in three batches and beat till soft peaks form but not dry.
  4. Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture with the ball whisk till well combined.
  5. Fold in 1/3 egg whites with a spatula.  Mix well, then pour the batter into the remaining egg whites, mix till egg whites are fully incorporated.
  6. Pour batter into an ungreased  23 cm chiffon cake pan and bake in a preheated oven @ 170 deg.C for 35 to 40 mins.  After 15 mins and if the surface gets brown, reduce heat to  160 deg.C.  Test with a skewer till it comes out clean.
  7. Remove cake from the oven and invert immediately onto a wire rack till completely cooled.  Use a serrated knife to go round the pan and loosen the cake.




I'm linking this post to  Bake Along and this week's theme is Chiffon Cakes
jointly hosted by
Joyce of  Kitchen Flavours, Zoe of  Bake for Happy Kids and Lena of Frozen Wings
Continue reading "Black Sesame Chiffon Cake"

Monday, July 7, 2014

Chicken Stew with hot and spicy Korean sauce




This stew is packed with tender chunks of chicken, potatoes, carrot and onions.  I added 2 teaspoons of chilli flakes to the hot and spicy Korean sauce to give it the extra 'kick'.  This stew did go down well with hot white rice but I preferred to have it with bread instead.





Recipe for Chicken Stew with hot and spicy Korean sauce

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 chicken, cut into bite size
    • 2 potatoes, cut into chunks
    • 1 carrot
    • 2 onions
    • 5 garlic cloves
    • Spring onions cut into 2 inch lengths
    • 2 tsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted
    • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
    • 1 Tbsp Shaoxing wine
    Sauce
    • 2.1/2 Tbsp hot and spicy Korean sauce
    • 1 Tbsp sugar
    • 3 Tbsp light soya sauce
    • 1 Tbsp honey
    • 2 tsp chilli flakes
    • dash of pepper

    Method

    1. Marinate the chicken with the ingredients for the sauce for a few hours.
    2. Place marinated chicken in a wok.  Add in 1 to 1.1/2 cups of water.
    3. Bring it to the boil, reduce heat, cover, cook for 15 mins. stirring occasionally.
    4. Add in the carrot, potatoes and garlic cloves.  Cook till chicken is tender and cooked through and the sauce is slightly thickened.
    5. Fine tune to taste, toss in the spring onions, drizzle on some sesame oil and Shaoxing wine.  Sprinkle on some sesame seeds.
    6. Dish out and serve.




    I'm linking this post to the Little Thumbs Up event, theme for July is  'Potatoes' organised by 
    Zoe of  Bake for Happy Kids, Doreen of  My Little Favourite DIY and hosted by
    Jasline of  Foodie Baker
Continue reading "Chicken Stew with hot and spicy Korean sauce"

Friday, July 4, 2014

Smoked Chicken



I was so happy when I saw Elin of  Elinluv's Tidbits Corner posted the recipe for Smoked Chicken.  I quickly bookmarked it as  sometimes I'm at a loss at what to prepare for dinner and this recipe comes in handy as it's simple to prepare.  This is a tasty  dish and it's finger licking good, trust me!








Recipe for Smoked Chicken  (adapted from 'here')

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 free range chicken, with skin
    • 1/2 Tbsp five spice powder
    • 1/2 tsp  freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 tsp seasalt
    • some tea leaves (I used Chinese tea leaves)
    • sugar
    Method
    1. Marinate the chicken with the five spice powder, black pepper and seasalt for a few hours.  (I did it overnight and kept in the fridge).
    2. Pan sear and cook the chicken in a non-stick pan till it's 3/4 cooked.
    3. Line a wok with a piece of foil.
    4. Sprinkle some tea leaves and sugar over the foil.
    5. Place a steamer rack over the foil.
    6. On medium heat, heat up the wok till smoke emits.
    7. Place chicken on the rack, cover and smoke for 20 mins.
    8. Turn off heat, cool chicken, cut it up and serve.


Continue reading "Smoked Chicken"

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Non-dairy Banana Ice Cream


This is a non-dairy ice cream which is absolutely easy to make with only three ingredients.  I like it that it's light and fat free, except for a bit of oil from the peanut butter and it's refreshing, just right for dessert after a hearty meal.







Recipe for Non-dairy Banana Ice Cream

    Ingredients

    • 420 gm/4 frozen ripe bananas (nett weight)
    • 2 Tbsp peanut butter
    • 3 Tbsp water to facilitate blending
    • a pinch of salt (optional)
    Method
    1. Cut the  bananas into 1/2 inch slices.  Place on a plate lined with a plastic sheet, uncovered, in the freezer, for 2 to 3 hours till hard.
    2. Blend or process in a food processor together with the peanut butter.  Add water to facilitate blending if necessary.
    3. Serve immediately or store in the freezer in a container for a firmer and scoopable ice cream.


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