Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Fried Spaghetti

Another dish that I really liked to share is the Fried Spaghetti. This dish uses canned tomatoes because of it's convenience - diced tomatoes which has already been seasoned with basil, garlic & oregano. That's why stocking up on these canned tomatoes and a pack of spaghetti is a must when I do my groceries shopping. You can simply cook this up in a jiff when expecting guests.

1/2 pack of pasta (I use spaghetti) & cook until al dente

A can of diced tomatoes
Chopped onions
Chopped garlic
Ginger (About 1cm chopped)
Cumin (pounded)
Black pepper
1/2 (small) can of tomato puree
Minced beef
Coriander leaves (chopped)
Cooking oil

1) Fry onions, garlic, ginger and cumin until fragrant.

2) Pour in the can of diced tomatoes and tomato puree. Add in the minced beef & leave to cook.

3) Put in the pasta & mix well with the cooked sauce. Season with black pepper (add more if you like spicy) and salt (if required).

4) Mix in the coriander leaves and turn off the fire.

5) Serve with fried chicken wings or nuggets.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Cinnacran Cake / Bars

I was compelled to try this dessert bars when I scanned through the recipe. There's cinnamon and cranberries - the two combination I can't resist, whether they're in breads, cakes or cookies.

With the availability of ingredients in my pantry (thank God for essentials), I whipped this up immediately making different versions of it - mini cupcakes, normal-sized cupcakes and a 7 inch cake.

The original recipe calls for two types of icing, which I thought would be too much. So I spread a layer of cream cheese to complement this spiced cake.

Although they went well with each other, I thought it was still a tad too sweet for my tastebud probably because there were already white chocolates in the cake.

My conclusion - bake this cake as a whole, without any frosting (recipe is perfect for one whole 8x8"). And I'd probably omit the white chocolates too. That's just what I would be doing for this year's Eid.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

My experience with the Jeneket / Jenny Cake

It was a coincidence that when DH bought our favourite banana fritters at the nearby coffee-shop that he chanced upon Jeneket / Jenny Cake, which we haven't had for a long time. The last time I had this tea snack was when a colleague brought it to work to share when I was still working (which was months back).

These Jeneket / Jenny Cake brought back fond memories of my late grandma making them for my aunts & uncles, including me (I was brought up by my grandma). So I got all excited when DH bought two pieces of these, along with our banana fritters, two weeks ago. Then he suggested that I start learning making the Jeneket / Jenny Cake. Dooosh!!

I tried giving excuses that it was more economical to buy rather than making them, and told him that the dough would yield too much for us. Excuses, excuses, excuses... He knew I was bull****ting. So I secretly called my mum up to ask for the recipe to see for myself if this snack was an easy task. I was a bit stunned when mum began to explain about the consistency, the texture, proofing the dough etc.

Okay, maybe I should not have been too adventurous to try. I haven't seen any of my aunts or even my mum, attempting the Jeneket / Jenny Cake. And here I was, an amateur home-baker trying to make something, which my grandma probably took years to do it right.

To be honest, ever since I got the recipe, I'd been scrutinizing it daily. I was apprehensive about a particular ingredient - potas - which I was totally clueless. I initial thought, "what the heck is this?" And this ingredient was the key ingredient to make the snack right. Neither my aunt nor mum knew the translation in English.

Summing up my courage after the Macarons project the other day, I went to the baking store and asked the staff (who were already familiar with this face of mine) what "potas" is. With so much hype about the "potas" between my aunt, my mum & myself over the past few days, I came to realize that "potas" was nothing more than................ Bicarbonate Soda aka Baking Soda. There on the label was written "Potash" (duh!). -__-. To thhink I had the ingredient in my pantry all along. (Double Dooosh!!)

As soon as I came back from the store (no, I did not buy another bottle of baking soda aka potash, as we all know now), I prepared the dough for Jeneket / Jenny Cake. As it needed to proof, I've to start early.

Left it to proof for 4hrs (some recommended overnight proofing) then I tested the dough to fry. It didn't turn out as I expected. I thought I might have put too much flour and too little time to proof. Texture was thick and hard after frying.

I decided to proof the dough again for another 4hrs. This time I used a round cutter to cut the dough and flatten it slightly. Walla! This time it was just right, although I reminded myself to lessen the flour just a teeny-bit next time. (What? Did I say next time?)

Thursday, 20 January 2011


I actually had another cooking mission to do, which I deliberately put on hold. Firstly because I need to look for a key ingredient, which would require me to move about a bit; secondly I need a second (or maybe third) opinion on the recipe. Anyways, I shall get to that when I'd done & completed the 'mission'.

So I needed to get 'rid' of my egg whites. Since there was no response on the Cornflakes Snow order, I was bothered by the possibility of the egg whites turning bad soon. Hubby suggested Lemon Meringue Pie, but the mood was just not there for me to make anything citrus right now ; ).

Moving on to another 'technique-al' recipe, I took another chance to try my hands on Macarons. This time I reminded myself to use more drops of colours so they will stand out after baking. The last time I did these, I was so afraid to use a little more pink & the Macarons turned out nude colour thereafter. So no mercy on the colours this time.

Blue for boys.... Pink for girls....

I made blueberry blue & strawberry pink. There was another colour / flavour that I made but somehow some of them cracked; coffee cream. Wonder what went wrong, but my guess was the oven temperature. Still, I managed to save some...

And this little guy never stopped munching on these sweet treats...

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Chocolate Marshmallow Dessert

When Zu first posted a picture of the Chocolate Marshmallow Dessert in FB, which she made for her mother-in-law's birthday, I went "ooooooh la la!". What's more she mentioned that it was a no-bake dessert. So this must be one of Zu's "quick & easy treats". I waited for the recipe.

Just yesterday as I was browsing through my blogroll, I noticed that Zu had updated her blog with the recipe for this chocolate decadence. As I have all the ingredients, I thought I'd try to make this dessert today, specially for the kids as I was sure they would love it.

I kept this as a surprise while I was making the preparations although each one of them asked what I was up to when they saw the marshmallows (hee!)

So after two hours of working mysteriously in the kitchen, it was time for their treat.

For recipe, please click on this link.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Fried Spring Roll

I was given the opportunity to try these tasty spring rolls by a very generous friend, Kyn and I am so thankful! Not that it's hard to find spring rolls here in this sunny island; it's hard to find very tasty spring rolls as a package - filling & sauce together. So I appreciate that I was being introduced to these frozen homemade spring rolls.

The popiah skin (usually store-bought) is generously stuffed & rolled with well-seasoned, pre-cooked filling - shreds of turnip, carrot, egg & crabmeat. Then there's the delicious pre-cooked sauce - sweet and spicy with a tinge of shrimp paste, which came in the pack too.

I couldn't wait to fry the spring rolls and the cooling weather just perfected the idea for me to snack. As the filling was well-seasoned, it tasted just as good eaten on its own. So when dipped in the sweet spicy sauce, it just tasted even better.


Friday, 14 January 2011

Peanut Butter Brownie

I felt like having a brownie & thought of macadamia. But since I've tried putting in macadamia nuts into my brownie, I thought why not make full use of this free time to try something I'd not done before. I have, after all, a jar of creamy peanut butter in my fridge (I discovered that the kids preferred crunchy to creamy : P)

Using my basic brownie recipe, I sloshed quite a 'few' spoonfuls of peanut butter all over the brownie mixture. Little did I realize that I'd actually used up the half-full jar; everything went into the brownie mixture. Oh well... I'd really hoped the taste combination would complement one another other - sweet, chocolatey, salty, nutty, creamy. I had never tried sweet & salty brownie before so I was a little sceptical about this experiment.

I couldn't resist the temptation to see what it's like inside that after 15 minutes of cooling, I cut it up. Well, what could I say? I love it! What a way to enjoy these warm bites on a cooling day with a cup of hot coffee.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Chinese New Year Cookies Platter

Our Chinese New Year Cookies Platter is not your typical traditional cookies set. Well, except for our Pineapple Tarts. It would be an injustice not to include at least one traditional cookie.

So we've come up with five other 'today' cookies in this platter - Cornflakes Crunchies, Green Tea Pistachios, Apricot Orange, our signature Chocolate Cranberry and our bestseller Cornflakes Snow.

Our cookies

Well even if you're not celebrating Chinese New Year, you could definitely present this to your friends or get this set as cookies sampler!

Chinese New Year Cookies Platter

Email me sistabrownie@gmail.com for details.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Pineapple Tarts

The two people, who had always pushed me into trying making my own Pineapple Tarts, are my mum and my husband. After much hesitation and deliberation, I finally gave in. I wasn't sure what came over me but despite being very tired yesterday, I proceeded with my plan.

The reasons for me not to give it a go much earlier when I started sistabrownie was that, I didn't know and want to make my own pineapple jam. It's just so troublesome & time-consuming! But of course you'd get more satisfaction making your own. No matter how I hated it, I still wanted to try making the tart dough with that 'melt-in-your-mouth' effect. So I bought the pineapple jam (hee!)

Following the family (well not actually family, rather my mum's) recipe intently, the dough was a success. Now, the dough was so delicate I was stressed about rolling & cutting it. But I gotta do what I gotta do, get it over and done with. It took about 3-4 times of rolling before I got the hang of it.

I switched between two mould cutters because the first one didn't make deep patten impression, plus the centre was not deep enough for me to fill the pineapple jam.

The second one had deep centre, which was perfect for me to put 'reasonable amount' of filling. The only downside was that there's no patter whatsoever. So the hardworking-but-tired me decided to crimp the sides, which took me a loonngg time to finish.

But I guessed the effort paid off. Although I took from lunchtime right up to dinnertime to complete my bakes, DH was very impressed with the taste.

Mission accomplished!

Monday, 3 January 2011

Almond Scones

I was so keen on trying another scone recipe from the "Scones" book. This time I tried the Almond Scone, which was great eaten warm & fresh from the oven, with strawberry jam for afternoon tea.

Almond Scones (adapted from "Scones" by Genevieve Knights)

200g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
50g soft brown sugar
70g ground almonds
70g sliced almonds
200ml double cream

Preheat oven to 220C. Sift together into a medium-sized mixing bowl the flour, baking powder, salt & sugar. Add the ground and sliced almonds. With a fork, minimally work in the cream. Add a little water, just enough to bring the mix together into a dough. Knead 2 or 3 times then place dough on a lightly floured surface.

Roll out to a rectangle 30cm x 15cm. Slice off any uneven edges then slice into 4cm squares. Place on a lightly floured baking tray then bake 4-6 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through.

Makes 25.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Twenty Ten in retrospect

Twenty Ten - good year or not-so-good year? It's a fine line actually. It wasn't good but not so bad either. 

Good because I celebrated my 10th wedding anniversary; it wasn't so good because a similar incident happened to me around the same time it happened in 2009.

Well taking things into lighter random notes, these were some of my thoughts I'd like to share:

I value family time; I miss my mum's cooking and being & talking to my two brothers. Although I'd always been sceptical about friends' sincerity, I learn to let go slowly & cautiously. I discover friendship once again. There were those whom I thought were friends all this while but turned out they were just acquaintances. I reconciled with old friends, recalled good memories with close ones & gained new ones as well...
I continuously attempted some new things but decided to give some of them a miss, either because it was just not worth it or taking too much of my precious time...

I love baby girls. I miss cuddling a baby girl in my arms. Although the timing hadn't been right, at least I still have my cute niece to adore...

A bold decision after 11 years (like finally!)... Didn't realize what I'd been missing. This decision had, subconsciously, made me wiser & a happier person. No regrets...

Enjoying family breakfast on weekends. I began doing things at a slower pace, something I hadn't been accustomed to do for a long time. My previous job was the culprit...

Life's a test... Though it's hard to accept certain challenges, I was constantly learning to appreciate what I had, have & been given... As quoted by Oprah Winfrey: "If you look at what you have in life, you'll always have more. If you look at what you don't have in your life, you'll never have enough."

Facing more & new challenges ahead, I should overcome some of my fears & jitters. I wasn't sure what was holding me back. Whatever it was, I prayed for strength to face it. For what I'd missed, I could never take it back. I was going to use whatever time, strength and patience I have to go through life's challenges and make things right. My kids needed my attention and sometimes I tend to overlook that. I'd also overlooked that my kids were different. People always say, "all kids are different". How different? Saying it & to have actually witness & going through it, were two different things altogether.

Some people were blessed with all the good things that life has to offer (good for them). Others went through s**t to learn what life has to offer. For what life has in store for each of us, accept it.

May the new year be a better one for all of us. May we all be bless with good health.

Happy New Year everyone!