Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Coconut Jelly




















The weather has been so unbearably hot and humid that we wished we have a pool at home.  Now we have to have the air con on the whole night through or you can bet we cant sleep a wink..  I pray and hope that it will rain tonight.  Electric bill will be extremely be high this month :p and what more with the electric rate increased in January !




















Back to this melts-in-mouth jelly.  It is the most awesome dessert ever especially under such a hot weather. Love it chilled ....it just melts in the mouth :)  The texture of the jelly is not the firm hard type…mine is wobbly nice and melts in the mouth type with the soft succulent coconut meat giving extra oomph to the dessert..one word to describe it... AWESOME !

Make juz enough for a day or two. Can’t keep long becoz it has no preservatives.

Ingredients:

coconut water from 2 young coconuts - scoop out the meat and keep aside
4 to 6 tbsp of sugar syrup with pandan flavor -
depends on your tastebuds
2 tsp of agar agar powder ( if you want it firmer
you can add a bit more of the agar agar powder )

Method:

Mix coconut water , sugar syrup and the agar agar powder together and bring to a boil. Off the fire and sieve it before pouring into 8 ramekins. Add the coconut meat equally into the ramekins. When cooled, put in the fridge for at least 4 hours for it to be fully set . It will be slightly wobbly when you shake it. Serve in the ramekins only when ready to eat. It has to be in the fridge at all times.


Enjoy !


Quote for the day:
It is more blessed to give then to receive.



After A Hard Day At Work

Jackie was telling us the other day when we met up that she intends to add a pool in her at the back of her house.  She is lucky that she has a large ground and has space for a pool.  She and her husband have decided to get Sapphire Plunge Pools people to build for them .  Why Sapphire Plunge Pool? She said it can be make to order , energy efficient and it is made in Australia.  Made tough to last longer and backed by Rock Solid Warranties and are protected their lifecare commitment and their powersmart technology provides the cheapest spas on earth.  Wow, with all these benefits , I think they are wise to use Sapphire Plunge Pools.  So much so about their new place and the renovation works at their new place :)

She gave WB a Motomart Ogio Bike Bag as a gift...lucky WB. It has a deluxe main compartment with 240 cubic inches of expansion volume.  Has integrated hidden rain hood and a universal web mounting system for secure attachment.  Has a top organizer pocket and easy grab reinforced handle.  I bet you WB is so happy with it that he can clutch it to sleep instead of holding me close to him LOL !

After all the chit chatting and dunking in all the food...of course Jackie miss all the local food here, we adjorned to have a drink at the beer house :)  The weather is hot and the beer served as cooling tea for us.  Jackie's other half was telling us about his job.  He had a hard time with the construction over there in NZ.  We thought that he had an easy life :)  He said he recently had to supervise a job involving a big project that uses metal steel fabrication and he has to make sure that the metal steel fabrication has to be from Amediate.co.nz or he will get fired :p  Or the client will reject the materials if it is not from Amediate.  So his job is not easy. Has to follow to the dot what the clients want or his construction firm will not get other projects in the near future.  Wow, an interesting time with had with Jackie and the husband.  Hope they will come back for their holiday next year again but I heard that they will be going to Japan for their next holiday :)  They are indeed blessed !






Sunday, February 23, 2014

Chrysanthemum Herbal Tea Jelly



















It's been a long time since I made this herbal tea jelly and after those roasts and delicious cholesterol loaded food the last few days, it was about time to make some cooling tea.  As the weather is so very hot and humid, this would be ideal for WB and myself .  I simmered some dried yellow chrysanthemum flowers with ginseng roots and turned them into wobbly jellies.  Huh..I love wobbly jellies :) scoop the wobbly refreshing jelly into the mouth and let it slide on the tongue....slowly taking in the refreshing herbal tea fragrance....mmmmmm this is heavenly after almost being roasted in the scorching hot weather !



















Chrysanthemum Herbal Tea Jelly

1 pkt of dried yellow chrysanthemum flowers – soaked & washed clean
( from the Chinese medical hall)
a small amount of ginseng roots
½ pkt of cane sugar – add more if you want it sweeter
2500ml of water


1 heaped teaspoon of agar agar powder


Preparation:


1. Boil 2500 ml water in a pot on medium heat, when the water boils, add in the dried chrysanthemum flowers, ginseng roots and cane sugar and boils for another ½ hr .

2. Sieved out the flowers .


3. Dissolve the agar agar powder with 3 tbsp of water and add to the chrysanthemum tea. Boil over low heat until the agar agar powder has totally dissolved.

4. Pour into ramekins and decorate with a piece of chrysanthemum flower each . When it is cool, put into the fridge to set the jellies. It will set in 4 - 5 hours.



NoteIf you prefer the texture to be harder, add a bit more of the agar agar powder.



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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Salmon , Leeks And Mushroom Quiche


I have started baking again...thanks for speedy recovery but I still do have chronic pains at night.  So I do not have much sleep and the best thing to do is baking at night so that we can have breakfast the next morning.  Freshly baked buns and quiches .  On request, I baked this delicious quiche for  my cousin Piggy who say she loves my quiches :)  I have salmon available at all times coz I am fan of salmon.  I threw in fresh mini King Oyster Mushroom and leeks for her quiche.  I love it especially if it has salmon and mushroom in it :)





























Basic pastry dough crust: yield one 9 1/2 inch tart crust

Ingredients:

200 gms all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick (113 gms) unsalted butter - cut into 1/8 inch pieces
3 or 4 tbsps ice water

Preparation:

1. Put flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor.  Add butter and quickly cut it into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal

2. Add ice water and mix briefly, about 30 secs to form a soft dough.  Remove dough, shape into a thick disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.  Bring to cool room temperature before rolling.

3. To roll, lightly flour dough and counter.  Roll out gradually, periodically letting dough rest for a moment before continuing.  This makes rolling easier and will keep dough from shrinking back during baking.

4. Roll dough to a thin round approximately 13 inches in diameter, then trim to make a 12 inch circle ( refrigerate and save trimmings for patching ) Lay dough loosely into a 9 1/2 inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom, letting it relax a bit.  Fold overlap back inside to make a double thickness, then press firmly against the pan sot the finished edge is slightly higher than the pan.  Refrigerate or freeze for an hour before pre-baking.

Fillings:

pan seared salmon - flaked
fresh mushrooms - saute together with garlic, drain off excess water
leeks - blanched
a sprinkle of ground black pepper
and a pinch of salt *optional

3 large eggs
100 ml fresh cream
40 gms cheddar cheese
120 gms grated mozzarella


Mix eggs, fresh cream, and cheese together, add in salmon, leeks and cooked mushrooms into the egg mixture.  Pour the filling mixture into the tart crust and spread out evenly. Baked in the oven for 30-35 minutes at 200 deg C till cooked and evenly browned.  Cool completely before cutting into slices. Serve with salad.


Enjoy !





Cajon To be Added For The Sunday Worship

The church music ministry just had their first 2014 meeting and one of the interesting topic was there was a surplus fund from last year and this year they are going to use the surplus fund to purchase more musical instruments and other music related accessories.  One of the item to purchase early this year would be a digital recorder and some musical percussion item to add to worship minstry. A box shaped hand percussion instrument , Cajon , can be purchased from cajon at guitar center  and I think it would be wise to add more percussion instruments for the Sunday worship session. The youth would love to learn more percussion instruments as this would add another new dimension to the music ministry.  Who knows our church may have our own worship orchestra comprising of the youths :)





Caramelised Mango Ice Cream With Pistachios






















Being an ice cream fan, I can’t let this go without trying it out. This recipe is perfect if you are adventurous enough to try it out….creamy mango custard and infused with cardamom and rose water. I omitted the rose water coz I couldn’t get it from the store. The sliced caramelized mango and the roasted pistachios gave the ice cream some additional texture which I like.  The result was delicious and the cardamom, an ingredient that could risk overwhelming a delicate dessert such as this, was surprisingly tame and with the fragrant smell of the caramelized ripen mangoes lent a really interesting aroma and aftertaste to the ice cream.  If you like some thing different and exotic , try this out...who knows! You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream ! :)))





I could not resist taking a picture of this, love the bits of 
caramelized mango and the toasted bits of pistachios




Caramelized Mango  Ice Cream With Pistachios

Ingredients:

2.5 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1.25 cups sugar
3 large mangoes – ( puree 2 and 1 for caramelizing later )
Juice of 1 lime
6 egg yolks
4 cardamom pods
4 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp rose water
Pinch of salt
½ cup roasted pistachios 

Method:

Scald the milk in a saucepan in medium heat – do not boil it, add in the cardamom pods and give them a chance to steep and infuse their flavors into the milk. While that is going, beat the egg yolks and sugar until thick and well mixed. Once the milk is done warming up, temper the yolks with one spoonful of hot milk and keep whisking the yolks. 

Transfer the yolk mixture into the hot milk saucepan. Put this back on the heat ( no warmer than medium heat and do not stop stirring. Once the mixture thickens up a little bit and bubbles start to form around the edges, get this off the heat. Set a strainer over the cold whipping cream and pour the hot mixture through the strainer ( to catch any scrambled yolks).  Stir this all together well. Pour the mango puree into the custard batter and stir it together to get a homogenous creamy mixture. 

Fish out the cardamom pods from the strainer and put them into the custard mixture. Seal this ( the cling wrap will do ) and let it sit in the fridge for about 6 hours so all of the flavors can get to know one another well. Take out the cardamom pods. They are good for flavor but not for chewing straight up. Pour the custard mixture into a plastic container and leave in it in the freezer for 3 hours.

Meanwhile prepare the caramelized mango. Peel the remaining mango, pit it and slice clean, long, somewhat thick strips of flesh. Cut these in half so you have good-sized , but still easily bite-sized chunks. In a saucepan, caramelize ¼ cup of sugar on high heat. Once the sugar has melted , carefully place the mango pieces into the caramel ( don’t get burned) and lower the heat to medium. Take this off the heat within five minutes – the idea is to just soften the mango slices up a bit and to infuse a more complex mango flavor on top of the mango flavor that will be so prevalent in the custard.

Blitz the roasted pistachios in a food processor to chop them up a little finer, but not down to powder. Mix the caramelized mango and pistachios together and set this aside in the fridge.
Take out the semi set ice cream from the freezer, churned in the food processor for at least 15 minutes or more. Then add in the caramelized mango/pistachios mixture and churn for another minute or two. Transfer into airtight container and get in the freezer for at least 4 to 5 hours ( ideally more)



Enjoy  !






Car Maintenance

Today, I won't be talking about dessert for just a second.  After the meet up with Jackie which has now migrated to Auckland with her family, I realised how blessed I am :)  We were talking about renting cars in Auckland while holidaying in NZ in the near future, topic about cars and maintenance came into the picture.  Renting a car , we do not have to worry about maintenance, for the car rental will see to it that their cars are in tip top condition. 

Jackie ,being a woman has to see that her car is in tip top condition because her husband is a business contractor and he has to assign Jackie to see to the family car.  She will normally send her car for maintenance once a year at her nearest workshop.  She told us that she make sure her car absorber and tyres are in good condition.  Tyres in Auckland comprises of many brands and she makes sure she purchase the best.  If the short absorber are worn out, not only the tyre's and suspension will wear quicker, you and your car passengers will be at serious risk of injury or even death.  Jackie said that shock absorbers that are worn out reduce the holding on the road and thus will increase running costs and passenger comforts.  The car ride will be bumpy and imagine how discomfort your passengers will get when they travel in your car with a worn absorber . Shock Absorbers are a vital part of your car suspension system and once the car is bumpy , you will know that it needs changing to a new pair.

Safety on the road is most important . After hearing all this from Jackie , I realised I am indeed very blessed for WB sees to the car maintenance all these while.  I am always being chauffeured around and I need not have to worry about car maintenance at all :)  But Jackie is a very independant woman and she knows everything about her car and in a way she is blessed too.  If I were to drive without any knowledge of the car, I would not even notice if the shock absorbers or the tyres need a change. And how much risks I would be putting my family on the road.  Thank God, WB is there to see to everything for me.  Anyway ,I think it is about time that I learn something about the car and its maintenance LOL!



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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Banana Shrimp Cake - Revisited



















I have a finger food cookbook by Australian Woman’s Weekly on my book shelf and I have been drooling at the food photos for the umpteenth time and yet I have not tried anything from the book :p, drooling at food photos, people called it the food porn nowadays (“,) can be sinful at times for a food lover like me ! Hee hee I am crapping about finger food and the discovery of how banana can be used to make finger food , besides  cakes and muffins and bread in today's post :)




















I thought its kinda messy but no..it is in fact easy after a few tries. The trick is to coat a few pieces at a time then immediately fry it instead of waiting to coat all the pieces then only fry them , to avoid the bread crumb becoming soggy .  Practice makes perfect :)



















Wow…can I resist these golden brown banana shrimp cake that looks like little gold nuggets ? Of course, have to wait for it to cool down before I can get to take my first bite into this little gold nugget :)


This wonderful little piece cut open for your eyes only.... tempting enough to make you want to try it out yourself ? Crunchy on the outside, sweet taste from the banana then comes the savouriness of the shrimp...mmmmmm needless to say a yummilicious finger food. Good for potluck parties and it goes well with any kind of sauce dips. Haha...my first thought..can shrimp and banana go together??? the end result.. YES ,it can in this case :)   Great finger food for kids too .



Banana Shrimp Cake - adapted from Chowtimes.com
  • 2 bananas
  • 150g shrimp meat
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 2 tablespoons egg white
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
Seasonings
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
Method:

Chopped the shrimp meat into a paste. Add in the seasonings and blend well. Set aside and chill in the refrigerator.

Remove the skins from the bananas and cut into slices at an angle.Coat the bananas with lemon juice (to prevent browning) and cornstarch.

Spread a teaspoon or more of the shrimp paste in between two slices of bananas.

Coat the banana sandwich with egg white and then bread crumbs.Deep fry the banana in medium heat until golden brown.


 Enjoy!


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Quiche Lorraine




















I love quiches and I had to pay quite a sum for a slice of it which comes with a few mouth of salad with balsamic sauce.  I still goes to my favorite place to have a slice when I crave for a slice and too lazy to bake one.   This is one quiche that I would want to bake again and again.  Packed with cheese and even the crust is cheesy :)  Watch the calories later and indulge in this delectable cheesy quiche.  I want to bake this again for my Piggies and my Piggy Cuz ...one day soon :)  But meanwhile you can try this yourself if you are a quiche lover...guaranteed that you will want more slices after you finished the first slice :p  Will be posting more on quiches I baked during the CNY :)




















the quiche was evenly browned and
the cheesy aroma was saliva-inducing :p


 
cheesy-li-cious!


Quiche Lorainne

Ingredients:

For the crust
100 gm grated cheddar cheese
120 gms plain flour
120 gms butter ( melted )

For the filling

3 large eggs
80 ml fresh cream
2 red onions – sliced
120 gms thinly sliced bacon
40 gms grated cheedar cheese
120 gms grated mozzarella

Method:

1.Preheat the oven to 200 ̊ C

2.Bake the sliced bacon for 7 minutes in the oven. Take it out and leave to cool.

3.Melt the butter.

4.Mix the grated cheese with the flour , add the melted butter and knead it into a ball

5.Grease the 9” tart pan with a detachable bottom .

6.Put the dough in and press till the whole tart pan is lined with the dough.

7.Beat the eggs together with the fresh cream , add in the mozzarella cheese, grated cheddar cheese and onions to the egg mixture and mix together till well combined.

8.Crumble the bacon slices into the egg mixture and stir till well mixed.

9.Pour the filling mixture on the crust and spread out evenly.

10.Bake the quiche for 30 minutes or till evenly browned. Leave to cool for a few minutes, then serve with salad of your choice.


Happy Baking !


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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Good 2014 For Jackie

As you know I had a meet up with my ex-classmates just a few days before CNY. And everyone had a great start in before the new Chinese calendar.  We gathered to welcome the Horse year and hopefully it will brings Joy, Peace , Health and not to forget to mention WEALTH too :)

Jackie is the luckiest of the whole lot of us.  She has finally settled in Auckland and has even bought landed property over there.  The whole conversations was on her and how she managed to get a great deal for the house.  It really makes us envious.  She has added a new office for her hubby next to her guest room. She ordered the Office Desks during the sale period and got it cheap too.  Let me show you her new office :)

Lucky witch ! She told us that she even pampered herself and bought a warm bean bag chair for watching TV and don't you think we are more envious of her LOL!  and her bean bag chair is blue...hahaha her favorite color as usual !


And with the thousand of dollars saved in mortgage, she added a garden shed to her vast garden from Garden Sheds so that she can continue her gardening hobby and now she told us she is so happy that she can keep all her pots and gardening tools in her new garden shed.  Lots of space to add more gardening tools and her garden looks neat and beautiful...gosh , her story about her house had made us all envious of her and I told WB, lets move to NZ ! WB asked me to dream on...sure I will.  Dreams make us live on with a purpose !  A great start for Jackie :)



Saturday, February 1, 2014

Cran Apple Crisps - Dorie Greenspan


















This is another apple crisps... healthy dessert ! Cran Apple Crisps from Dorie Greesnspan " Baking : From My Home To Yours " but I tweaked it by adding rolled oats and sunflower seeds and reduced the sugar . Crispy topping with moist cinnamon flavored apples and cranberries.  I used dried cranberries instead of fresh ones.  Added a walnut each as topping  :p

A yummy dessert for WB  and myself :)) I love all the ingredients used for this Cran Apple Crisps ....cranberry , walnut, sunflower seeds and rolled oats...best eaten with vanilla ice cream.... yumm yumm... 





it was even more mouth-watering after it was baked,
crispy and crunchy topping!


Cran-Apple Crisps (adapted from Dorie Greenspan)

For the Topping:

¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup (packed) light brown sugar
½ cup old-fashioned oats
½ cup shredded sweetned coconut * I omitted this but add in rolled oats instead
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground ginger
1 stick (8 tbsp) cold unsalted butter cut into 4 pieces

*I added sunflower seeds and walnuts for deco

For the filling:

4 medium apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼ inch chunks
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries ( if frozen, don’t thaw)
½ cup moist, plump dried cranberries or raisins
2/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp all-purpose flour

Getting ready:

Center a rack in the oven and prehat the oven to 375º F. Lightly butter eight ovenproof cups or bowls, each with a capacity of about one cup. Put the cups on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicon mat.

To make the topping:

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse just until the mixture forms big curds, about 1 minute ( You can make the topping up to 3 days ahead and refrigerate it in an airtight bag)

To make the filling:

Toss all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Divide the fruit evenly among the cups then spoon an equal amount of topping over each portion of fruit. Bake the crisps for 40-45 minutes or until the topping is golden and the fruit juices are bubbling up around it. Transfer the cups to a rack and let them rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.



Quote for the day

" My tongue is smiling. "

~ Abigail Trillin ~


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Apple Crisps


Luckily I still have 2 apples left in the fridge , coz I needed to try out this apple crisps which I have dying to try out since I read it from the net some time back…haha I won’t rest well if I don’t know how the taste is like because I can only imagine it ;p .




 
It took me just ½ hour to get it into the oven…fast worker I should say and it turned out exactly how I imagined it to be :p…. Sweet ,crunchy and crispy toppings and  then comes the juicy sourish taste of the green apples…I used granny smith so it was a bit sourish but it complements well with the sweet toppings. I like prefer it sourish sweet. A very healthy dessert for all. I love the whole combinations. I will reduce the sugar when I next bake this. . Served this with homemade ice cream ..mmm it is heavenly. Good idea to serve this as dessert when entertaining guests.





Apple Crisps

Ingredients:

2 granny smith apples – peeled, cored and sliced
3 tbsp of butter
4 tbsp of  brown sugar
1/2  cup flour
1/2 cup oatmeals (instant)
1/2 cup almond nuts ( or other nuts if you prefer) – chopped
1tbsp of golden syrup - for dribble on top
2 tbsp  chocolate chips

Method:

Prepare heat the oven to 180ºC .
Arrange apple slices on bottom of baking pan – I used foil cups
Place butter and sugar in a bowl and cream it till fluffy.
Add the flour till well combined with the butter and sugar.
Add in the oats and leave some for tops.
Add in the chocolate chips and chopped almonds.
Pressed the crumbly dough on the apple slices.
Sprinkle the remaining oats on top.
Dribble the golden syrup on top .
Bake for 40 minutes . If it gets too burn , cover the top with aluminum foil.
And you get your delicious apple crisp with tender-soft baked apples with crunchy, crumbly top.
You can served it with ice cream.


Enjoy!!


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Classmates Meet Up For Chinese New Year

I had a meet up with a few classmates who are back in Ipoh for the Chinese New Year . We met for tea on the 1st day of CNY.  Two of them were back from New Zealand to visit their parents. It was great meeting up with them for we have not seen each other for about four years. We were like back to school days again. We talked of everything under the sun . Jackie, who resides in NZ since leaving school , recently bought a new house in NZ , relate how she managed to save ten thousands by applying to Viventium Home Loans . VHL has a highly professional and motivated team and lateral thinkers.  They think out of the box and they able to find solutions to the most complex solutions. Jackie recommended VHL to Mandy who is also from NZ and she is also looking for a new house in their hometown in Auckland.  I sometime wish I am staying in New Zealand  . Jackie invited me to visit her if I have plan to travel when I retires.  I will be retiring soon and it would be nice to add NZ to my list of countries to visit. 

So much information from Jackie. She said I could rent a car from Snap Car Rentals. It seems  Snap Car Rentals offers the best and cheapest holiday on a reasonable budget. WB and I can travel around Auckland in comfort. Having a fleet of different types of vehicles to choose from , we will have an exceptionally great experience travelling through Auckland.  She said while on vacation , we need to be on our own so that we can enjoy our holiday to the maximum extent possible. Snap Car Rentals package includes free airport transfers, third party insurance, 24 hour roadside assistance and unlimited kilometres. I told Jackie I will surely make NZ my first to visit country when I retires in 2015 :)

Sight seeing will first on our travel itinerary , for NZ has many scenic and beautiful places . WB and myself are now brushing up our photography skills.  WB has recently taken to a liking to film camera again. He took his Nikon FM 10 to the camera shop for servicing and to his delight his film camera is still in good condition. When Jackie heard of his film camera , she became excited and told me that WB should bring his film camera along with him to NZ so that he could capture the most beautiful places in NZ.  And have the scenery pictures turned into canvas.  It seems in NZ  Photo 4 Canvas is famous for wall print services.  Wow, this meet up with Jackie and Mandy has really open up my eyes and widen my horizon as to what NZ has to offer :)    We had a wonderful meet up and I look forward to visiting Jackie and Mandy in NZ !