Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Morning Breakfast

**Merry Christmas Everyone!!**

Let's start the day with this hearty breakfast on this Christmas morning!!
Homemade Soymilk/Tomato Juice
Banana Pancakes with Crispy Bacon & Syrup
Gordon Ramsay's Scrambled Egg
Strawberry & Kiwi

Fluffy and moist banana pancakes top with grilled crispy bacon and sweet maple syrup

Recipe source : Good Food Mag Apr 2013
Banana Pancakes with Crispy Bacon & Syrup
Ingredient (4 servings)
  • 8 rashers streaky bacon
  • 140gm self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 ripe bananas, 1 mashed, 1 thinly sliced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 25gm melted butter
  • 125ml milk
  • Maple syrup

  1. Heat grill to high. Arrange the bacon on a baking tray lined with foil. Cook for 5-7 mins until crisp, then turn off the grill, leave the tray inside to keep warm.
  2. In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and sugar with a pinch of salt. Make a well in the centre and add the mashed bananas, eggs, butter and milk. Whisk to a smooth batter.
  3. Heat a little butter in a frying pan. Ladle in small dollops of the pancake batter, put 2 or 3 slices of banana onto the surface of each pancake and cook for 2 mins over a medium heat. Flip the pancakes over and cook for another 1 min, until puff up and golden.
  4. Serve the pancakes with the crispy bacon and a drizzle of maple syrup.

This is the best scrambled eggs I've ever made! It is real creamy and soft!

Ingredient (4 servings)
  • 6 eggs
  • 25gm butter, cold and cubed
  • 1 tbsp creme fraiche (I replaced with milk)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • chopped chives
  • salt to taste

  1. Break eggs into a pan and add the butter.
  2. Turn on the stove and place the pan over. Using a spatula, stir the egg mixture until it thickens up slightly, remove pan from heat and continue stirring.
  3. Repeat the process (on and off from the stove) 3-4 times until the scrambled egg are creamy and fluffy. Mix in creme fraiche, season with salt and pepper and fold in chopped chives.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Black Pepper Chicken Chop

It's been a while I've enjoyed good western meal at hawker centre/food court! I missed the stall at Fengshan hawker centre which serve quite decent one. Not able to travel down there as when I like (I used to reside nearby before my marriage), one way to curb my cravings is to cook it one at home :D  The result is obsolutely fantastic! Even my kids enjoyed this western meal a lot as I've adjusted the heat of the sauce to suit their palate :D 

Homemade black pepper sauce! yummy!

Recipe source : Famous Cuisine Dec 2012
Black Pepper Sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp crushed black pepper (adjusted to suit the kid's palate)
  • 30gm onion, diced
  • 100gm tomato, skinned and deseeded, finely chopped
  • 1.5 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 200ml water
  • 5 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce

  1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in pan, sauté black pepper over low heat until fragrant. Add the onion and garlic, stir fry until aromatic and onion is softened.
  2. Add in tomatoes and all seasoning, stir well. Add water and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 10mins until the sauce is slightly reduced. Add in a few tbsp of cornstarch water to thicken the sauce. Remove from heat and ready to serve.

 Golden browned chicken chop before drizzle over the black pepper sauce

Black Pepper Chicken Chop
  • 2 boneless chicken chop, with skin on (approx 300gm each)
  • 200gm onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1.5 tbsp fresh ginger juice
  • 1 tbsp chinese wine
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

  1. Rinse chicken chop and pat dry. Season with the marinade for at least 30mins or longer.
  2. Mix the marinated chicken chop with tapioca flour.
  3. Heat some oil in pan to shallow fry the chicken over medium high heat until golden brown on both sides. Dish out and set aside.
  4. In the same pan, add in the sliced onion and fry until soften.
  5. To serve : Spoon and fried onion onto a serving plate, line with chicken chop and ladle some black pepper sauce over. Serve at once.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Maqluba & Iranian Shirazi Salad

Maqluba (meaning upside down in Arabic) is a traditional dish, particularly in Palestine. It is a rice dish which include chicken, cauliflower, eggplant or even potatoes. After cooking the whole dish is then inverted onto a serving plate.

Quite a varieties of spices are being used in this recipe, but not a very complicated dish to prepare. Just need to get everything organize and is a breeze to get it done relatively fast :D Though a lot of spices are being used, the taste of the rice is not overpowering at all! Even my kids accept the taste without giving me any complaints :D 

One particular challenge of this dish, I must say is transferring the rice onto the serving plate! Arn't it look pretty after flipping out from the pot? ^.^ Not much hiccups during the flipping process, just run around the edge of the rice using a knife after resting for 30mins and flip, and only 1 piece of the chicken was stuck at the bottom hahaha…. Do not attempt to unmould immediately as this may cause the whole thing to collapse as resting allow excess moisture to evaporate and this process will firm up the rice mixture. 

Various spices for the chicken

Various spices for the rice

Layering the spiced chicken, cauliflower followed by the spiced rice, finally filled up with broth and then simmering it till cooked.

Recipe source :
  • 450gm cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 whole chicken leg, cut
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1/4 cup sultanas
  • 1/4 toasted pine nuts
Chicken Spices :
  • 2 green cardamon seeds, crushed
  • 3/4 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1.5 tsp Baharat
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
Rice Spices :
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

  1. Toss cauliflower florets with 2 tbsp olive oil. Heat a pan over medium heat, spread cauliflower in a single layer, cook for 5 mins until slightly golden brown. Turn over and cook for another 5 mins. Turn off heat. Salt lightly.
  2. In a medium cooking pot, heat 2 tbsp oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté for 5 mins until onions are softened.
  3. Add chicken pieces and cook over medium high heat for 5 mins till slightly browned. Stir in spices and fry for another 2 mins. 
  4. Add in 5 cups water and bring to boil. Lowe heat and cover. Simmer for 15 mins.
  5. Meanwhile, rinse the rice thoroughly and soak for 30mins. Drain well and mix in sultanas and spices evenly.
  6. Remove the chicken from the pot. Reserve 4 cups of broth. 
  7. Using the same pot for cooking the chicken, turn on heat, add some oil onto the bottom and sprinkle a thin layer of the rice on the bottom of the pot. 
  8. Place the chicken, skin side down, and then layer with the fried cauliflower. Place the rest of the rice on top flattening it gently and firmly packed.
  9. Gently add the chicken broth. Cover lid and bring to a gentle boil. Lower  heat and cook for 30 mins until all liquid has evaporated and rice are tender.
  10. Remove from heat and rest for about 20mins. Run a knife around the edge of the pot to loosen any bits. Clamp a large serving plate to the pot and gently overturn the pot onto the plate. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and serve with Iranian Shirazi Salad at the sides. (rice stuck at the bottom of the pot can be gently scrape out and serve accordingly)
This is how the rice 'cake' looks like at the side, height is approx. about 3"

serve along with Iranian Shirazi Salad which compliments the rice very well!

Recipe ref : travellingfoodies
Iranian Shirazi Salad
  • 2 medium Japanese cucumbers
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 handful of fresh french flat-leaf parsley and/or mint leaves, chopped coarsely
  • Juice from 2 medium limes
  • 1/2 tbsp fine-grained sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

  1. Rinse cucumber and tomatoes thoroughly. Cut into halves, remove seeds and chunk the cucumber and tomatoes into small morsels.
  2. Peel the papery membrane from onion, dice into small pieces.
  3. In a mixing bowl, add bits of cucumber, tomatoes and onion. Add all the seasoning ingredients and give everything a good toss. Adjust the amount of salt and pepper to personal preference. Cover with cling film and rest the salad in the fridge for 15-20 min.
  4. Add chopped mint or parsley and toss quickly one more time.
  5. Plate the salad and enjoy with other Middle Eastern dishes and rice.

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest: West Asia hosted by Shannon from Just As Delis

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Rice Pilaf with Mushroom & Pinenuts

Pilaf is a rice dish which the rice is simmered in stock till cooked. Spices like cardamon, cinnamon, cloves can be added to flavour the rice. This is the first time I introduced savoury rice pilaf to my kids therefore I've chosen a non spiced pilaf to start with so that my kids will not shun by this rice dish :D They love to munch roasted pine nuts as a snack and mushroom is their favourite food too, so this simple rice pilaf  worked out perfectly for them! ^0^

Soaked Basmati Rice

Recipe source :
Ingredient (3-4 servings)
  • 1 cup Basmati rice
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (I've used cooked chickpeas broth which I've frozen)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 80gm fresh shiitake mushroom, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 tsp salt (adjust the amt if you are using ready stock bouillon)
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

  1. Rinse rice grain till water runs clear. Soak rice in fresh water for 30mins. Drain away water.
  2. Heat olive oil in HCP (Happy Call Pan). Saute onion over medium heat till soft and fragrant, but not browned. Add in mushroom and fry till flavorful.
  3. Add in rice and stirring evenly to mix for about 2 mins. Add in pine nuts, salt & pepper.
  4. Add in stock and bring to a boil.
  5. Cover pan and adjust flame to low. Cook for 15-20 mins. Do not stir open the lid nor stir the mixture.
  6. Remove the pan from heat and let sit covered for another 10mins.
  7. Stir in butter and chopped parsley and fluff up with spatula. Serve.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Fried Cauliflower with Tahini / Pomegranate Glazed Chicken

Unlike the past few Middle Eastern dishes I've prepared, this is the far most well accepted by my the other half, no more 'complains' from him hehehe…..Even my boy whom seldom like cauliflower even had quite a mouthful of this dish! Instead of using the oven for baking the chicken, I prepared these both dishes with the Happy Call Pan! Pretty amazing that the pan able to create charred and smoky dishes like an oven ^0^ 

Fried Cauliflower with Tahini
Recipe source :
Ingredient (2 servings)
  • 450gm cauliflower florets
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic, finely chopped
  • 15gm chopped parsley
  • 15gm chopped mint
  • 1/2 cup tahini paste
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 3-5 tbsp lemon juice + zest of a lemon
  • 1 tsp pomegranate molasses, plus more to finish
  • salt & black pepper to taste

  1. Heat up happy call pan. Toss cauliflower florets evenly with 2 tbsp olive oil and place them onto the pan in a single layer, it will just fits in nicely. Cook over medium low heat for 5 mins until the base is slightly charred.
  2. Gently overturn the florets, cover lid and cook for another 3-5 mins until the other side is charred. Do not overcook if not it will lose its crunch. Transfer to a plate and lightly sprinkle with a little salt.
  3. To make the sauce : Combine tahini paste, yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses and seasoning evenly. Add in a few tbsp of water one at a time to reach a smooth pourable consistency. Adjust taste to your desired, you may want to add more lemon juice or salt. Stir in chopped herbs and mix evenly.
  4. Toss in cooked cauliflower in the sauce. Garnish with some pomegranate seeds and mint, drizzle with tsp of pomegranate molasses and serve.

Pomegranate Glazed Chicken
Recipe source :
Ingredient (2 servings)
  • 2 whole chicken leg (approx 250gm each)
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
For glaze : combine 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses and 1 tbsp honey

  1. Combine chopped garlic, paprika, rosemary, orange juice, pomegranate molasses, olive oil and salt in a ziplog bag. Add in whole chicken leg. Seal the bag tightly. Toss the bag gently to allow the chicken leg to coat evenly with the marinade. Chill over night.
  2. Heat up happy call pan and lightly greased some olive oil.
  3. Drain away marinade, place in chicken leg with skin side down. Lower heat and cover pan. Cook for 15 mins. Shake the pan occasionally to prevent the base from scorching.
  4. Open lid and turn the chicken over, glaze the chicken generously (need not use up all) cook for another 10 mins with lid lightly close (do not lock).
  5. Turn off heat and cool down slightly. Top with more glaze and serve with pilaf rice or salad.

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest: West Asia hosted by Shannon from Just As Delis

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Baked Butternut Squash, Chickpeas & Green Chilli

Finally finished up the last batch of cooked chickpeas I've cooked from scratch :D Usually I used canned one which is fast and easy. But cooking the dried beans is not that difficult at all, just simply  requires more time. This is a lovely baked squash dish that laced with some pomegranate molasses. Baked sweet butternut squash with flavorful tomato sauce which makes this a wonderful vegetarian dish. 

Recipe source : Good Food Mag June 2011
  • 450gm butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • thumb-size ginger, grated
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 400gm canned chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 250gm cooked chickpeas (or canned chickpeas)

  1. Heat oven to 180 deg cel. Toss butternut squash with olive oil. Bake for 25 mins or until tender.
  2. Divide baked squash into 2 portions. 
  3. Heat 1tbsp olive oil in a pan. Saute onion, garlic, ginger and paprika over medium low heat until onion is soft. 
  4. Stir in molasses, chickpeas and tomatoes and mix well. Simmer for 1 min then turn off heat.
  5. Spread 1 portion of the squash over a oven proof casserole. Pour half the tomato sauce over the squash evenly. Arrange the remaining baked squash over and top with remaining tomatoes sauce. 
  6. Cover with a lid, bake in oven @ 180 deg cel for 25 mins until heated through.
  7. Remove from oven, scattered with chopped parsley and pomegranate seeds before serving.

A wholesome meatless meal! Serving the baked squash with Rice Pilaf with Mushroom & Pine Nuts

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Fatteh (Pita with Chickpeas & Yoghurt)

With some leftover wholemeal pitas and plenty of cooked chickpeas on hand, I went ahead to try out this unfamiliar Middle Eastern dish. It is a quick and easy recipe if you have everything on hand, which can be served as a light brunch. But alas dear hubby completely shunned this dish hahaha….he find it hard to stomach it down though he liked the pitas a lot! After testing out a few Middle Eastern dishes, final conclusion he simply do not like the flavour of cumin...though I've actually reduced the amount used. In the end am the one whom polished up this Fatteh…^0^

Ingredient (2 servings)

  1. Reheat pita over a dry heated pan, until both sides are lightly browned and crispy.
  2. Put the chickpeas in a small pot of water added with a pinch of salt and simmer for 10 mins till heated through. Drain away water.
  3. Combine yogurt, garlic, cumin, lemon juice, tahini paste and pinch of salt in a mixing bowl and whisk till thoroughly combined. Whisk in a little water at a time if the mixture is too thick, until a desired consistency is reached.
  4. Arrange the toasted pita wedges onto a serving plate. Top with warm chickpeas, then the yogurt sauce. Sprinkle some pine nuts and cilantro and serve immediately.

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest: West Asia hosted by Shannon from Just As Delish 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Falafel (Fried Chickpeas Patties) with Tahini Sauce

Falafel is a deep-fried patty made from chickpeas and broad beans. A common street food which can be found in the Middle East which are usually served in a pita as a sandwich topped with greens and tahini sauce. It can also be eaten alone as a snack along with some hummus or tahini sauce. Usually uncooked chickpeas are used in making this falafel to prevent them from falling apart during the frying process. Not a fast and easy recipe (including making the tahini paste from scratch) to start with as I've to soak the dried chickpeas for over 2 days thereafter cooking the beans for about 1 hour before they are ready to be used :D

You must be wondering how is the taste like?? The uncooked chickpeas are blended with loads of fresh herbs like parsley and coriander along with ground cumin, coriander powder and all-spice. Quite an exotic dish which may not be well acceptable by everyone :D For me it taste fine and I like the tahini sauce more than the falafel itself hehehe ^0^ 

Soaked (uncooked) chickpeas and fresh herbs

Blended chickpeas before and after adding herbs & spices

Shaped into compact rounds after adding in baking powder and baking soda

Ingredient (approx 25 small patties)
  • 600gm soaked uncooked chickpeas *
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed parsley leaves without stems
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed cilantro leaves without stems
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp all spice
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
* I've soaked a pack of 500gm chickpeas for 2 nights, changing the soaking water in between. After soaking, I've got an approx. 850gm soaked uncooked chickpeas. After using 600gm for this falafel recipe, with the remaining 350gm I've boiled it and freezed for subsequent usage. (click here on how to soak, cook & freeze dried chickpeas)

  1. Place the soaked chickpeas, garlic, onions, parsley, cilantro, salt, pepper & spices in the food processor and blend until they turn into a smooth paste. Stop in between to scrape down the sides . Add 1-2 tbsp water if the mixture to too dry. Taste the falafel mix by adding more salt if necessary.
  2. 10 mins before frying, combine baking powder and baking soda into the falafel mix, mix evenly.
  3. Scoop a few tbsp of the paste and with slightly damp hands, shape it into a compact round shape.
  4. Meanwhile heat some oil in a pan. Add 4-5 pieces at a time and fry for a few minutes until the falafel turn brownish on both sides.
  5. Remove falafel from pan and place it on a paper towel to drain off excess oil. Serve along with sliced tomato, cucumber and tahini sauce.

The tahini sauce is a must, if not the falafel will taste too dry if eating it alone

Crispy crust and soft centre, best eaten when is still warmed!


Making of Tahini Sauce…..homemade sesame paste, lemon juice & garlic

Recipe source :
Tahini Sauce
  • 1 cup tahini sesame seed paste
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt, or more to taste
  • fresh parsley for garnishing

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend till sauce is creamy and ivory-coloured.
  2. If mixture it too thick, slowly add a few tbsp water, once at a time until it reaches the preferred consistency. Add more lemon juice or salt, if desired.
  3. Serve the sauce with falafel.

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest: West Asia hosted by Shannon from Just As Delish 
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