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Oct 30, 2014

HAPPY HALLOWEEN !
















The Great Pumpkin is gonna be so sore at me. I seem to have eaten all of my pumpkins and left none to carve and welcome halloween in. 
Shhh…don’t tell him what this is …. it’s a pumpkin in its halloween costume…yeah…that’s it.
They’re getting really good at make-up and their costumes these days, don’t ya think? Great disguise!

Anyway…have a Happy Halloween y’all !!
Enjoy the season with it’s wonderful gorgeous colours which we (in this part of the world) can only visualise unless somebody forgets to water their garden.







Oct 24, 2014

Pan Seared Salmon with Passionfruit & Capers Sauce





Right.
So I’m up to my eyeballs in passionfruit. 
I’m good. Can’t seem to get tired of those fragrant things. Just bored of eating them the same way. Besides turning them into jam (Wanna see? Here.), I’ve made them into drinks, used them in cakes, desserts … notice something? It’s always a sweet. 
Then this afternoon, I was browsing at the grocers wondering what’s for dinner. Friend suggested salmon. And so, “bwwiiing!!”, went the lightbulb that is my noggin’.
Why not a savoury?

It’s always been a lemon and dill sauce for salmon….something contrasty to the rich, oily fish.
Passionfruit? Yessss….
Didn’t want a rich, cloying sauce. Figured I’d go with something lighter … more refreshing …. more, um, lazy. 

So here goes. Tell me if you like it. I did! 

As always, my portions are small. Double up or triplify (new word, my friends call it Pinglish) if you like. Adjust the ingredients to suit your palate.


INGREDIENTS

Salmon fillets
1 tbs butter
1 tbs grape seed oil 
salt
freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 heaped tbs capers, rinsed, drained and coarsely chopped
pulp of one large passionfruit
1 tsp honey (or to taste)


METHOD

Season salmon with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Heat the butter and oil in a pan.
Pan sear the salmon, skin side down. Using a spatula, press lightly on salmon so that it doesn’t curl.
When skin is crisp (about 2-3 mins), flip and sear other side til it’s done to your liking.
Remove from pan and let rest.

Meanwhile, stir together yogurt, chopped capers, passionfruit pulp and honey.
Glop over salmon and enjoy!











Oct 13, 2014

Passionately Yours ... and mine








This is such a lovely and delicious way to eat passionfruit, I just had to share it. It’s so simple, many may have already tried it this way but I’ve only had my eyes and tastebuds tantalised at a Malay-Indonesian restaurant about a year ago. 
Recently, there have been a variety of passionfruit in the grocers and I had to try them all out. And with this really bad flu I’ve caught, it’s also a great excuse to medicate myself with it. Yes, with natural cures. I’m totally sensitive to drugs. 


INGREDIENTS

All varieties of passionfruit
All kinds of honey


METHOD

Cut fruit in half.
Drizzle honey on top.
Scoop and eat.
Cut another fruit into half.
Drizzle honey on top.
Scoop and eat.
Cut another ….. you get the idea.





Oct 9, 2014

Pumpkin Rice







~Pumpkin, Pumpkin,
Round and fat.
Harvest time is coming.
Yum, yum, yum.
That is that!~


I have the sniffles and I think it’s pumpkin fever. Incurable. I die happy.
I found this recipe on a fellow blogger’s site. It caught my eye. And why not? It’s got pumpkin in it.
Hers is a loaded version. You can check it out here.
I just made a simpler one since I’ll be having kung pao chicken on the side. Altho this turned out scrumplicious, basmati rice would be a better choice as it's less fluffy and with a springier bite. 
It’s so appetising! Good even on its own. Thanks Phong Hong!
I’m gonna be making this very often and with different variations.



INGREDIENTS

1 cup jasmine rice, rinsed and drained
1 Chinese sausage, thinly sliced (or substitute with any meat of your choice)
1 cup diced pumpkin
2 tbs dried shrimp, soaked, drained and coarsely chopped
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups chicken / vegetable stock
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbs oil
Chopped scallions


METHOD

Heat oil. Sauté the garlic and the dried shrimp.
When it’s fragrant, toss in chopped onion, pumpkin, sliced Chinese sausage and ground cinnamon. Stir it around until onions are soft.
Turn off the heat and mix in the rice. Coat evenly.
Transfer into a microwave safe bowl and add in the stock.
(Same method as how I cooked rice before. Alternatively, you can also plonk it into a rice cooker if you have one).
Cook uncovered on high for 10 mins.
Sprinkle chopped scallions just before serving.




Oct 1, 2014

Chocolate Chips Pumpkin Cake





It’s pumpkin season again. 
I love pumpkins. I used to go crazy thinking of unconventional things to make, cook, bake with pumpkins. 


Crazy moments: 



There must be over a hundred varieties out there. We get a good variety from the local grocers. And to mess about with, I wouldn’t even bother getting expensive imported ones. Our local variety is good enough …. similar to the winter squash, Linus’ pumpkin patch types, the one Cinderella took to the ball and forgot to come back before her curfew and lost her shoe (definitely pretty ill-fitting shoe, I must say, and probably had one too many margaritas … you really have to read between the lines of those fairy tales to get the gist of the saucy substance of what the author is actually trying to say but could not due to childrens’ story books bylaws or whatnots).

Anyway, enjoy this while pumpkin is still in season or just freeze mashed pumpkin and you can have it all year through! 



Oh …. before I go mess about some more ….
For those who do not want to use canned pumpkin puree, you can prepare your own very easily.
Just get rid of the hard skin and seeds. Cut into large chunks and steam them for a few minutes (you can tell when they’re soft. The colour turns a darker orange). 
And, in this recipe, I did not mash the pumpkin too fine (I did call it mash and not puree). It’s good either way. I kinda like the speckled orange look.


(This cake is a combination of recipes. So if anyone feels that this originated from yours, please let me know. I’ll add a link and your cake pic to this). 


INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup mashed pumpkin
1/2 cup (4oz) butter, melted
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


METHOD

Preheat oven to 170ºC.
Generously butter a 9”X5”X3” loaf pan or three 6”X3”X2” mini loaf pans.
Combine flour, salt, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Mix well.
In a separate mixing bowl, beat eggs.
Add pumpkin, melted butter, and milk. Mix well.
Combine wet ingredients with the dry and mix.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Pour batter into prepared loaf pan/pans. 
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Remove cake from pan and cool on a wire rack.









Sep 24, 2014

Nectarine Ginger Cake






Just trying to save some nectarines ....
Have already put a couple out of their misery. This weather just isn't good for fruits like these. 
They were reasonably priced for a change .... I couldn't resist. 
It's a good excuse to bake and to get myself going again. 

It isn't fun having tennis elbow. It isn't fun not getting to play tennis. It isn't fun not being able to even lift a cup .... gah.
(Can I use that as song lyrics?)

I don't have much to say these days. Forgive me. 
I just eat. 
No, I'm way past my depression days .... not worth it. I'm just grumpy. Lacking in exercise, you know, lacking happy chemicals: endorphins (for the inquiring minds ... "endogenous morphine"), oxytocin, serotonin, dopamine and all.

Messing about in the kitchen, retail therapy ...oh yes... a friend advised me to jog. No elbow use (except flapping it around as you jog ...that hurts too, you know), cheaper than retail therapy and I get my happy chemicals. So I figured I'd get a big, quick fix and jog from store to store. Good, eh?

This is good too. It was experimental. Portion is small. I'm gonna double up for the next one. Add more ginger. Flavors are lovely and subtle. You don't have to take my word for it. Make it and find out.

(So much for having not much to say....)

(Recipe adapted from 手のひらサイズのベイクドケーキ)

INGREDIENTS

72g butter, softened
50g castor sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
72g self raising flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
1 tbs yogurt
1 nectarine, pitted and sliced
60g crystalised ginger, chopped or cubed


METHOD

1. Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease a small loaf pan or line with baking paper. (I used a silicon loaf pan. Didn't have to grease nor line)
2. Whip butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. 
3. Stir in yogurt, followed by flour and baking powder. 
4. Transfer batter into loaf pan. Arrange nectarine slices on top and sprinkle chopped crystalised ginger along the sides. 
5. Bake in preheated oven for about 40 mins. 
6. Cool and serve.












Jun 5, 2014

Sprouting Ideas: Chia






You’ve heard of Chia pets. Chia seeds. I wrote a little about it a while ago while experimenting (messing around really) with it in a spiced peach jam.

Full of nutrition, minerals … healthy benefits.
Ground chia seeds are great in bread and cakes. 
Now come the sprouts. Great in salads and sandwiches. Saw this on several sites and I decided to give it a go. I love sprouts … all sorts. They’re expensive to buy. Dunno why … it’s so easy and quick to grow. 

Has anyone tried sprouts on buttered bread? You know those dainty little things called cucumber sandwiches? Replace them cucumbers with sprouts, lashings of butter and lovely soft white bread …. or whatever healthy alternative soft bread you like. I’m going for something that pleases my tummy and fussy tongue buds …nothing healthy here …. oh … fine …. health food … ground chia seeds bread? Close your eyes while you chew on them … minus the crunch, they taste like cucumber…use your imagination.

Anyway …. I had fun growing these cute thingies. 
I’d used the plastic container for coffee machine pods. You can use old egg cartons, unglazed clay tiles, any shallow container. 

On clay surfaces, just sprinkle an even layer of seeds on a soaked tile. Give the seeds a spray of water and continue spraying it daily keeping them moist. They’ll turn into a gelatinous goop but it’s fine. They’ll sprout soon enough. 

Here’s what I did for mine …

STUFF

coffee pods container / egg carton
cotton buds
Chia seeds
water


METHOD

Wet the cotton buds and and fill each hole of the container. 
Sprinkle an even layer (do not over crowd the seeds) on the soaked cotton. 
Leave on a sunny window sill or any sunny area but not in direct sunlight. 
Sprinkle water on the cotton buds daily or whenever it looks/feels dry. 
It’s important to keep it moist.
Wait patiently for those cute thingies to sprout. 
Trim when sprouts are about 2-3 cm tall…about 2 weeks or so.

Throw out cotton and start all over.