Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Quick, healthy spaghetti.

Exams. No time to for meals requiring loads of preparation. Yet I refuse to give up my daily dose of fresh veggies. Here’s what I’ve been eating most of the time.

Pasta A
Whole-wheat spaghetti tossed in olive oil, chopped baby plum tomatoes, olives and celery, seasoned with ground black pepper

Pasta B
Whole-wheat spaghetti tossed in olive oil, chopped baby plum tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, celery, and pine nuts, seasoned with ground black pepper.

Ingredients are almost identical, I tend to mix and match depending on what I have handy, sometimes throwing in a handful of cheese, fresh herbs or different vegetables. Preparation is basically the same too; boil your spaghetti, drain. Heat up some olive oil in a pan, add in your ingredients, and heat for about a minute. Throw in your spaghetti, toss everything well and serve. All done in less than 20 minutes.

If you spend time chopping your ingredients more finely as in Pasta B, the flavours from the ingredients will blend together better, resulting in a more complex, tasty dish. I also find that chopping things into tiny little pieces is also a relatively good way to release exam stress, although its slightly more time-consuming.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Fascinating Food: Fat Balls

Not for the dieters out there.
Or for human consumption either. =P
Anyone wants to guess what they're for?

(photo taken by JiaEn)

Saturday, May 26, 2007


It's 9 in the morning and I've already had 5 cups of coffee. Caffeine doesn't seem to be having much of an effect on me. Sigh. I hate morning exam papers.

edit: Forgot to whine about it being a SATURDAY morning paper. Also, the caffeine is finaly kicking in. After the paper is over. I'm feeling extremely hyper now, but I need to catch up on sleep. Rargh.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Baked Sweet-Potato with Tuna

Simple, comfort food. Wash a medium-sized sweet potato, pierce skin a couple of times with a fork. Bake in an 180C oven for about 45-60 minutes. Remove from oven, halve, and top with a small can of tuna-in-mayonnaise.

I read somewhere that sweet potatoes are healthier than regular potatoes though I honestly can't remember why at the moment. Think it's a different type of carbohydrate or something like that. Will get back to it later when I have the time.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Food Travels: Fruit Display

Boo hoo... No time to try out new recipes. =(

barcelona fruits

You can amuse yourselves trying to name the fruits in this photo.
Taken in Barcelona, Spain, June 2006.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Fascinating Food: Sushi USB

People are going think I have sushi on the brain.
But these are absolutely too adorable to resist!

I'm such a sucker for cute, useless things.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Fascinating Food: Chikoo!

I love the way the Malaysian Ciku fruit is spelled here,
makes it sound kind of like baby-talk.
You have been warned earlier that I'm easily amused.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

As Summer Approaches....

My freezer is well-stocked with frozen treats.


....what I'm craving right now is a bowl of icy cendol.

No frills; just shaved ice, green goodness,
gula melaka (palm sugar) and santan (coconut milk).

The "Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul - Ice Kacang" stall.
Somehow eating food by the roadside makes it taste better.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

Wishing lots of love... all the wonderful mums out there.

Vanilla Sugar Cookies

¾ cup caster sugar
¾ cup butter (about 170g), softened
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cream of tartar

1. In a medium mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, mix well.
2. Mix together dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir in butter+egg mixture until ingredients are well blended. Shape dough into a ball with your hands, cover and refrigerate for about 40 minutes, or until dough is workable.
3. Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan forced. Line baking trays with baking sheets.
4. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and roll thinly, about ¼ inch. Cut into desired shapes. Bake around 10 minutes, or until lightly golden.

Happy Mother's Day Mummy!

Food Travels: Grilled Octopus

Grilled Octopus.
Photo taken in Barcelona, Spain, June 2006.
With finals a week away, I'd rather be anywhere but here right now.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Apple Cake

Ah, the recipes you come up with when trying to finish up items that are about to expire in your fridge, in this case, a tub of yoghurt and a few apples that were starting to look wrinkled. This moist apple cake with a crisp, crumbly topping tastes great warm with vanilla ice cream. Also makes a great breakfast cake when made the night before and the flavors have had time to blend. An all day cake! Then again, any time is a good time for cake. =D


Crumb topping:

3 tablespoons oat bran
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small cubes

Apple filling:
1 ½ small green apples, peeled, cored, halved, and sliced thinly
Juice of ½ a lemon
½ teaspoon powdered cinnamon

Cake batter:
1 ½ cups all purpose flour + ½ teaspoon baking soda, sifted
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup caster sugar
110g butter, melted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup plain yoghurt
1 tablespoon lemon zest

1. Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan-forced. Line an 8 inch square cake tin with baking paper.
2. Prepare the crumb topping. Mix together the oat bran, flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Rub in the cubed butter till mixture resembles small breadcrumbs. Set aside.
3. Now prepare the apple filling. Toss the sliced apple in the lemon juice and cinnamon, set aside.
4. Next make the cake batter. Mix together flour, baking soda, caster sugar, and salt in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, mix together butter, eggs, vanilla, yoghurt and lemon zest. Pour wet ingredients into the large bowl in one go. Stir everything together gently by hand, until just combined, don’t worry about lumps.
5. Assemble the cake. Pour half of the cake batter into the prepared cake tin, spread evenly. Lay apple slices evenly over the batter. Drop spoonfuls of the remaining cake batter over the apples, smooth down with a spatula. Sprinkle crumb topping evenly all over the batter.
6. Bake cake for 25-35 minutes, or until middle of cake springs back when touched. Leave to cool in cake tin.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Sushi Wednesdays...

Were one of my weekly highlights this year.
Great company, great food, great gossip.
It's amazing how friendships can grow through sushi-rolling.
Love you girls. ;)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Vegetable Soup

I love my vegetables. To me, a steaming hot bowl of vegetable soup is a great pick-me-up. Excellent for detoxing too especially after a drunken *coughs* late night out. I’d be sipping soup the whole day to rehydrate. The knowledge that you’re consuming something so healthy just makes you feel good.

This soup is also something I turn to whenever I feel that all the cakes and cookies are getting to my waistline. I never stay away from them very long though. =P

1 onion
1 trimmed leek
4 tomatoes
2 carrots
4 sticks celery

Slice onion, celery, and leek thinly, cut carrots into small cubes, peel and mush up the tomatoes with your hands. Toss everything into a pot and fill with just enough water to cover the vegetables. Cover and simmer at a low heat for a few hours. Season with salt and pepper to your liking. The taste of nothing but vegetables is not for everyone, but I adore it. If healthy was a taste, this would be it!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Chocolate-lace Crisps

These sweet, chocolate-infused sugar cookies look elegant and are really easy to make. Recipe from the Australian Women’s Weekly Cakes Biscuits & Slices book.

100g dark chocolate, chopped
80g butter, cubed
1 cup caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup plain flour+2 tablespoons cocoa powder+1/4 teaspoon baking soda, sifted
¼ cup icing sugar

1. Mix sifted flour, cocoa, baking soda, and caster sugar in a medium sized mixing bowl.
2. Melt butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally.
3. Pour melted chocolate into the mixing bowl with the flour, cocoa etc. Add in beaten egg and stir everything together. Cover the mixture, and refrigerate until its firm enough for you to handle with your hands, about 20 minutes.
4. Line baking trays with baking paper. Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan-forced.
5. Roll teaspoonfuls of mixture into balls, roll each ball well in icing sugar and place well spaced apart on baking trays. Bake for about 15 minutes, leave cookies to cool on trays.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Fascinating Food: Ugli Fruit

Starting a new food category where I put up pictures of food or food related items that amuse me. I must warn you though, I am very very easily amused. =P

Moving on... Here's the first Fascinating Food post. The Ugli fruit which I spotted while grocery shopping in Tesco. Find out more about the Ugli fruit here.

"The skin of the ugli fruit is characteristically scarred, pot marked and puffy. A cross between a mandarin and a pomelo, the flesh is sweet and juicy. Eat like an orange or use to create refreshing sorbets and ice creams"

I was toying with the idea of trying one, but I'm not really a big fan of pomelo so that kind of put me off it. Bad food blogger, I should be more adventurous. Maybe if I spot some again on my next shopping trip. Hee.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

I miss...

The Lorong Selamat Penang Laksa in Penang (duh!).
Day-dreaming about food back home while trying to study for finals
is NOT fun.
I wanna go homeeeee!!!!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

My First Loaf of Bread

I baked bread for the first time ever today! *Beams proud mamma smile =D =D =D* Yes, I’m calling my first loaf my baby. A Focaccia bread with sun-dried tomatoes, olives and rosemary. It tasted fabulous fresh out of the oven, warm and dipped in olive oil. Freshest bread I’ve ever had. And knowing I made it myself makes it even more satisfying.

500g strong wholemeal bread flour
1 packet (7g) fast-action yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped finely
2 tablespoons olive oil
320 ml warm water (warm not hot)
50g chopped sun-dried tomatoes, drained (remember to rehydrate them if you’re not using the ones soaked in oil)
50g chopped olives

1. Mix together flour, salt, rosemary, and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add in water and olive oil, mixing well with a large spoon till everything’s combined to form a dough.
2. Tip dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead well for about 10 minutes. Shape dough into a ball, place in a large oiled bowl and cover dough loosely with an oiled plastic wrap sheet. Leave to prove in a warm place for 1 ½ hours, or until dough has doubled in size (Proving is just a fancy way of saying leave the yeast to react with the dough and rise). Be patient! Find ways to distract yourself while waiting. (Though I couldn’t help popping into the kitchen every 10 minutes or so to peek =P)
3. Punch the air out of the risen dough with your fist. Knead in the chopped sun-dried tomatoes and olives. Shape the dough into a firm, flattish round (about 2 inches thick) and leave it to rise/prove for another 45 minutes on an oiled baking tray.
4. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan forced. Press holes all over the surface of the dough with your fingertips (but don’t poke all the way through). “Plant” sprigs of rosemary strategically in a few holes, sprinkle loaf with sea salt and drizzle with some olive oil. Bake about 25 minutes.

*Waits patiently for loaf to rise* (one of my many peeks into the kitchen, this was about after 45 minutes into the first proving)

Fresh out of the oven

My dinner, fresh focaccia bread with uhm, canned minestrone soup. As much as I'd love to I don't have the time to make everything!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Chiffon Cheesecake

Light, fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth cheesecake. It's like eating a cheese cloud. =D

100g cream cheese
30g butter
3 eggs, separated
50 ml milk
1 tablespoon all purpose flour+1 tablespoon corn flour, sifted
50g caster sugar

1. Preheat oven to 170C/150C fan forced. Grease and base line an 8 inch round cake tin.
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
3. Add milk, mix well. Fold in flour+corn flour.
4. In a seperate bowl, whisk egg whites until it turns into froth. Add sugar, keep whisking until stiff peaks form.
5. Add egg white mixture into the first mixture in two parts. Fold well after each addition. Pour mixture into prepared cake tin.
6. Fill a baking tray or that’s big enough to fit the cake tin in with hot water. Put filled cake tin into the tray of water, and pop the whole lot in the oven to bake until cake is springy to touch, about 40 to 45 minutes.