Friday, August 28, 2009

Easy Carbonara Sauce!

I finally perfected my carbonara sauce! It's a pretty simple recipe. Trust me it's worth it. After being stuck in traffic on the way home after a rain-soaked evening, this is just what I needed.

Serves 2
What you need:
A cook who can multi-task and a husband who can wash up
200gm sliced bacon (streaky or other kind- I can't remember what type I bought), roughly chopped
5 cloves garlic sliced
2 eggs (at room temp)
250ml whipping cream (at room temp)
Parmesan cheese (about 30g finely grated)
Black Pepper + salt for seasoning

Pasta of choice

What to do:
1) Bring a pot of water to boil, add some salt and cook pasta. Then very quickly start next step.

2) Heat just a little bit of olive oil in a non-stick pan and fry garlic and bacon (till dark pink)- for at least 5 mins. Tip: Add the sliced garlic halfway or toward end of frying bacon so it won't turn brown so fast. Remove and allow to drain on paper towel.

3) The pasta should still be cooking at this point. So start with the sauce. In a bowl or something, empty contents of cream, both eggs and cheese. Stir till mixed well. Season with salt and pepper.

4) By now the pasta should be almost done. Check first before turning off heat to ensure it's cooked. Drain pasta. Put pasta back in pot and pour in cream mixture and fried bacon. Using a pair of kitchen tongs, toss over low heat making sure the pasta is coated well with the creamy sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
Tip: Keep tasting it until you think there is enough salt and pepper! Be careful when adding salt - a little goes a long way - as the bacon and cheese already contain salt in them.

Tip: Whilst most people enjoy carbonara sauce with fettucine, we prefer the thinner version, linguine. What's with me and the thinner version of pasta?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Grilled Spicy Chicken Recipe

I can never get enough of grilled or barbequed chicken. There are two things that I can continually stuff my face with - full or not. Chicken wings and pizza slices (Domino's of course). There is just something about them juicy wings. I love this recipe because trust me the wings taste very very good. Very few ingredients, easy to make, can be barbecued or grilled. I have done both. The secret is this: marinade the wings overnight.

8-10 full wings
What you need for the marinade:
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tbsp meat curry powder
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp prepared mustard - safe to leave out if u don't have
2 tbsp honey
Few drops of dark soy sauce for colour
2 tbsp olive oil 

Combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a large bowl. Add the chicken wings and turn to coat evenly. Marinate the wings and refrigerate for 3–4 hours (overnight better).

For bbq: Skewer the chicken wings with a barbecue rod and grill over a barbecue pit. Brush wings with remaining marinade and turn over halfway through grilling. Continue to turn the wings, brushing with a light coat of marinade and olive oil each time until the chicken wings are done.

For grilling: First I pre-heat the oven at 200 deg Celcius (blur case: Pre-heat means for how long ah? Ten min la.). Then I place the wings on a baking tray (line with baking paper so it won't stick to tray), then I brush the wings with some olive oil. Grill them wings for about 10-12 mins per side. I usually take them out after that, turn the pieces and baste with the remainder marinade and oil and grill for another 10-12 mins.

Tip: If the chicken pieces are big I would recommend grilling 15 mins per side.

Then I serve it with a side serving of salad tossed in Italian dressing. Yums people.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sandwich Mondays with Tasty Tuna!

Most Mondays in our household I have dubbed 'Sandwich Mondays'. This is mainly due to the fact that my husband and I turn into eating machines over the weekends. And this is mainly due to the fact that we are either eating out, over at someone's house or feeling plain greedy. It is the weekend after all....

Then comes Monday. Sigh...back to work and routine. So come dinner, I usually opt to prepare something really simple. I mean really simple. Enter Tasty Tuna Sandwiches. Which even my 4 year-old nephew can prepare.

What you need:
1 can of Ayam Brand Tuna Chunks
Black Pepper
Some lettuce
This is all u need....with the tuna of course.
What to do:
I normally buy the tuna soaked in sunflower oil. It just tastes better. Usually I strain the oil away and empty contents into a bowl and then flake the tuna with a fork to make the chunks finer. (Question: What is flake ah? Answer: Just take a fork, imagine the tuna chunk is your boss, and just run the fork into the chunks until they get finer)
I then add about 2 tablespoons of mayo, a pinch of salt and a good dose of black pepper to the mix.

My husband likes it like a sandwich. So I butter both sides and fill with filling and of course the compulsory lettuce.

I prefer it on single slices like these. So I butter the side and fill the top half with tuna and the bottom with the lettuce.
And this is my tasty tuna sandwich.
Simple like I said, even my nephew can make.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Do I look fat?

This post has nothing to do with my weight. But yeah I think I could shed some kilos. But how? Esp when there are tempting treats such as these.

Picture 1: What the hell? Looks like a pool of molten lave. Chill's awesome stuff I swear.

Picture 2: Eh the blue bowl in the back looks like a hard hat from this angle.

Picture 3: Are we done trying to be funny?

Picture 4: The spelling is so wrong it's too funnie.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fried Spinach (Bayam)

I realised quickly after I got married that I could not identify my greens. I had the most embarassing experience of asking a complete stranger next to me at a hypermarket 'Uh...excuse me is this sawi?'

Needless to say she looked at me with this 'I-Feel-Sorry-For-Your-Husband-His Wife-Is-Such-A-Loser' look. Anyhow she shrugged and I left wishing they labelled the damn veggies. Slowly I learnt...sigh...I will never forget that aunty's look....

What you need:
One bunch of bayam - rinsed, washed and drained
Dried chillies (soaked in warm water for a few mins and cut in half)
Chopped garlic - 3 cloves
Pinch of salt

What to do:
Heat little bit of oil in the wok until hot.
Toss in the garlic and dried chillies and fry
Toss in the bayam and stir fry quickly - there will be a sizzling noise at this point as the veggies clash with the hot work - don't panic
Add some salt
Quickly stir again. Take off heat.
Tip: Give your arms a good workout by stir-frying fast. You don't want over-fried greens.
Goes well with some rice, some curry and freshly fried tenggiri.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Fried Tenggiri Fish Slices

The best part about a banana-leaf meal to me is the freshly fried tenggiri (spanish mackerel) fish. I mean that with white rice soaked in some curry and some vege to go with is really just heavenly.

I find marinating and frying tenggiri fish at home really quite simple. I actually got this recipe from the Periplus Mini Cook Books series entitled Homestyle Indian Cooking. However I found it too elaborate. I mean I looked at the recipe and was like 'Seriously! You mean all those years ago, my mum did all this before frying the fish!'.
Anyways I found that with selected ingredients from the recipe the fish is great as it is.

So here goes:
4 tenggiri fish slices
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon tumeric powder
1 1/2 tablespoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon fennel powder
Juice of one lime or if not, 2 tablespoon of tamarind water
1 sprig curry leaves finely chopped

Marinate for 30 mins before frying.

Heat enough oil to cover base of pan. Transfer fish slices to pan and cook over medium flame on both sides till fish is cooked and crisp on the outside.Use kitchen paper to blot off excess oil. Serve HOT.

~ There are simpler versions of this including just marinating it with salt and tumeric powder but I find the chilli powder and curry leaves really give it a kick~
Very the yum la...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Lamb Keema Curry

This is a mild dry curry which goes GREAT as a sandwich filling or as an accompaniment to chapatti. I got this recipe from the Flavours of Malaysia recipe book mentioned here. Over time I have improvised this recipe to suit our taste buds. But you can of course stick to the original recipe.

Serves 2 (Original Recipe)
What you need:
2 Tbsp ghee, butter or oil
2 medium-sized onions, quatered and thinly sliced
20g ginger, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 green chilli, finely chopped
1 piece cinnamon stick
3 cardamons
300g lamb, minced or cubed
2 Tbsp ground coriander
2 Tbsp chilli powder
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1/2 cup coriander leaves and stalks, roughly chopped
1/2 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped

What to do:
1) In a pan, heat the ghee, butter or oil and fry the onions till they brown.

2) Add ginger, garlic, green chilli, cinnamon stick and cardamoms. Cook 2-3 mins.
3) Add the lamb, stirring until meat browns.
4) Add ground coriander and chilli powder and cook for 2 mins. Add tomatoes.

5) Cook on medium heat till the tomatoes break down and add a cup of water (from my experience add less than a cup maybe half).

6) Lower heat, stir in salt and simmer, partially covered for 20 mins till lamb is tender.
7) Add peas and cook for few mins and stir in coriander and mint leaves.
8) Serve hot with chapattis. Yum!

My version:
First off I use minced beef instead of lamb and it taste great
I use butter instead of ghee or oil.
I omit the green chilli.
I omit the peas plus the coriander and mint leaves.
This is what works for me and my husband. We love it. Cooking is bout improvising. Give it a go.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Banana Bread!

First off let me just say I am so new to baking it's not even funny. I first failed then successfully baked a batch of brownies last week. Enough motivation for me to keep baking so I moved on to something just as safe like banana bread.

Again it was a failed then successful attempt. I switched recipes because my sis advised me that it could have been the recipe. So am gonna share the successful recipe which I got from a very very very good recipe book called Flavours of Malaysia. From what I've heard, the book is no longer in publication:( But I managed to give some away mostly to my cousins and they have all said that the recipes in there are da bomb!

Back to the Banana Bread! (makes 1 large loaf)

What you need:

330g plain flour
10g baking powder
330g ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
330g castor sugar
1 lemon grated for zest
1 tsp vanilla essence
170g butter, softened
4 eggs

What to do:

1) Sieve the flour together with the baking powder.

2) Mash the bananas roughly with a fork
~best to buy ripe ripe / overripe ones - where the skin is black~

3) Place the mashed bananas in a mixing bowl together with sugar and lemon zest. Mix on speed 1 with the flat beater for a few seconds before adding the vanilla and butter. Mix on speed 2 for 1 minute.
~I used my new hand electric mixer which I redeemed from Bonuslink but who cares~

4) Add the eggs on by one, mixing well after each addition. Add the flour in 2 batches, mixing well after each addition.

5) Pour into paper-lined and greased loaf pan
~line with baking paper found in section of supermarket where they sell aluminium foil etc.~

6) Bake in preheated oven at 180 degree Celcius for 45 -60 minutes or until skewer inserted into centre comes out clean.
~I baked mine for 60 minutes. Must check before taking out of oven otherwise u will learn the hard way that your cake is undercooked!~

Remove from oven, allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before allowing it to cool completely.
~Don't get too excited and attempt to slice it now. LET IT COOL!!!!Like I left mine out and went for dinner and came back and it was nice and cool and it sliced very well~

What I've learned:
~I would have liked it a bit more moist so next time will shorten baking time by couple of mins
~Banana bread gives out a wonderful aroma when baking
~Setting the right temperature for your kind of oven is something that takes practice

Oh! And my husband and I have officially had enough banana bread for the year!

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