Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Say Cheese!!!!!

I’m sure many of you recognize the lovely green herb above. Yes, it’s oregano, and it’s the main ingredient in my post today for Weekend Herb Blogging, this week hosted by Ulrike from Kuchenlatein.

I first came across this recipe from Marieke’s Maison Dorré Trifles. It has never occurred to me that cheese cookies can be so simple to make, yet so wonderfully light and fragrant. I added chopped oregano to lend some aroma to these cookies, but this recipe should be versatile enough for other additions like poppy seeds, or even paprika!

This is my version of these Cheese Cookies:

50 grams cold butter, cut into cubes
50 grams Parmesan cheese*, grated
60 grams all-purpose flour
Freshly grated black pepper
One to two sprigs oregano, chopped
1 egg yolk

Whole oregano leaves for decoration(optional)
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tsp water - for glazing

1) Whisk together cheese, flour, black pepper and chopped oregano in a bowl
2) Rub butter into flour mixture using your fingertips, two knifes or a pastry blender until mixture resembles small peas.
3) Add in egg yolk to bind the mixture together, and knead gently 3-4 times.
Wrap mixture in cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 mins
4) Lightly flour work surface and rolling pin. Roll out dough to about 0.5 cm and cut into your desired shapes.
5) Place on a lined baking tray. Place one oregano leave on top and egg wash the surface.
6) Bake in a pre-heated 200C for about 15 mins or so, or until light golden brown. Cool and munch away!

*Do use good quality cheese and butter for this recipe. After all, these two are what make up these cookies. I used Parmigiano Reggiano, which imparted a fantastic flavour to the cookies.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Cheery Cherry

It's time for Weekend Herb Blogging again. This is one blog event which I love, as we get to learn about various herbs, fruits, vegetables, spices and even flowers. Of course, this event is founded by our lovely Kalyn, don't forget to check out her kitchen!For this week's WHB, hosted by Ed of Tomato, I chose to use some cute red, oval cherry tomatoes.

I'm one who doesn't really like tomatoes, with the exception of cherry tomatoes. I can't explain why, maybe I'm just weird. Anyway, these little fruits make a healthy snack, just wash and pop them into your mouth. But I prefer them slightly cooked, whereby when you bite into them, the skin just gives way to a mouthful of fresh tomato juice. How can you beat that?
This time I made a foccacia, recipe from my best pal and talented food blogger, Gattina. This is the second time I made her potato foccacia, with even better results this time, possibly due to the use of a different type of potatoes. Where are the tomatoes then? As a topping, I mixed tomatoes with some oregano leaves and olive oil and placed them on top.
With such a soft and moist interior, I couldn't resist cutting a big slice for myself as soon as they were cool enough to handle :p
Hmm.. a side note, anyone of you has problems with the spacing in the posts? As you can see, my spacing between the pictures and the next sentence doesn't appear, even though it looks okay when I'm writing the post.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A Quick One

Work has been picking up speed again, hence you may see me MIA (missing in action) sometimes. But I'll try to update whenever possible.

Here I have an easy recipe for croquette, which is basically a snack made of mashed potatoes, meat or vegetables. Croquettes are usually deep-fried. Here I made a 'healthier' version by baking them instead. It's my own 'simply-put-together' recipe, hence I don't have the exact measurements. I also added curry powder for an extra 'zing'. Please feel free to adjust accordingly to your taste and liking.

Tuna Potato Croquette

2 medium potatoes(I used Yukon Gold)
1 small can tuna in water, drained and flaked
½ yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced finely
1½ tsp curry powder
Salt and freshly grated black pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
1 egg, beaten
Wholemeal breadcrumbs and curry powder for coating

1) Cook potatoes by boiling or microwave until soft, mash well.
2) Heat up olive oil and sauté onions and garlic till fragrant. Add tuna, curry powder, pepper and salt, mix well. Finally add in mashed potatoes and blend well.
3) Let mixture cool slightly and shape into patties. Cover patties and refrigerate for about 30 mins to firm up.
4) Mix breadcrumbs and curry powder well. Dip patties into egg and then in breadcrumb mixture. Shake off excess.
5) Place patties on a lined baking tray and bake in pre-heated 220C oven for 30 mins, or until golden brown.
6) Serve immediately.

The wholemeal breadcrumbs provided a nutty and crispy contrast to the soft and fluffy interior.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Tart Passion

Browsing down the aisles of a supermarket is one of my favourite ‘past-time’, because many a times I would come across something new. This time it’s something ‘exotic’ - passion fruits.

Okay, I know these fruits are probable pretty common elsewhere, but this is the first time I’ve seen them on sale. When I saw them, my first thought was “Buy first, decide what do with them later” :p
Did you know that the passion fruit plant can be used as medicines? The leaves and flowers are used in many countries for their medicinal properties. In addition, passion fruit juice are a great source of Vitamin C , Vitamin A and potassium. Don't waste the seeds too. They are a simple way to increase your fibre intake.

The ones I bought doesn’t look like the usual purple or yellow fruits, more like a ‘multi-coloured’ skin. Probably I should have left them to ripen more, because I found them to be a bit too tart. But nonetheless, I used the juice to make this chiffon cake.

Since I didn’t buy sufficient fruits, I mixed the passion fruit juice with some fresh orange juice. Bad move! The orange aroma overpowered that of the passion fruit. But thankfully the cake came out nice and fluffy :)

This is my contribution for Weekend Herb Blogging this week, hosted by Coffeepot of Coffee and Cornbread. Do also check out Kalyn’s Kitchen if you’re also interested in joining us.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Finally, I Made It

Other than crusty rustic loaves, there is one kind of bread which fascinates me a lot. Since I started making bread, I have always been checking out the recipe, but have never attempted it, that is, until now.

Looking at the picture above, doesn't it look like a cinnamon swirl bun? Take a closer look below:

Okay, let me continue my story of this bread. This is a japanese styled bread, which is the one I've been 'oogling at' for years. In fact, many of the breads there are really picture-perfect. But translating the recipes is a challenge since the online translated versions doesn't make sense most of the time. I've always thought that they use a special kind of chocolate sheet for these which are not easily available for domestic baking. But all thanks to Ida who kindly translated the recipe, I managed to make my own chocolate sheet.

Using my own recipe for sweet buns, coupled with the shaping instructions in e-pan, this is my final product for Chocolate Swirl Bread.

Okay, I know this is a far cry from the picture in e-pan (honestly, I'm amazed at the number of swirls there, which made me dizzy *LOL*). But for a second attempt (yes, I made two loaves in two consecutive weeks), I'm quite satisfied with it. I hope to improve on the number of swirls in my next try, which is a test of my patience I must say, because I spent one hour solely on the shaping due to the resting periods in between. But it's pretty worth it :)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

My Kitchen

My kitchen is where my ‘experiments’ take place. Are you thinking of coloured solutions, funnels and the Bunsen burner, distant memories of your chemistry classes? Nah, my kitchen is the jewel of my little home.

Here in Singapore, unless you have quite a bit of money in your piggy bank, majority of the population stay in housing estates. These estates consists of tall blocks of flats, commonly about 20 to 40 storeys high(and the newest trend is 50 storeys, imagine if the life breaks down!).

I live in one such flat, and am glad my unit has a slightly larger kitchen. But still, the whole kitchen area is easily visible from the living room.

Below are my 'partners in crime': 1-my oven, 2-microwave, 3-small toaster oven, 4-Kitchenaid mixer

The kitchen also consists of a 'dry' area behind the sink - for laundry. You can see my dryer which is mounted on the wall. Peeking from the bottom right of the pic below is my movable trolley-cum-work surface. That's where I shape my breads, roll out pastries, do all the cutting and chopping etc.

On the right side of the kitchen is the fridge and a small dining table. We chose to place our table in the kitchen, so we have a larger area in the living room.

That's a quick journey through my kitchen. Would you like to show us yours too? Lovely Ilva would be doing a round-up of all the kitchens soon, do check it out here.

Monday, January 01, 2007

A Toast

to the New Year!

It's almost the end of the 1st day of the new year over in Singapore, but for some of you overseas, the day is just starting. Hope it's a beautiful start to a brand new 2007 :)

Are you enjoying this glass of toast from me? It's actually tiramisù assembled in a tall wine glass. This is a simplified version made by combining mascarpone, Baileys-expresso soaked 'Lady Fingers', cocoa and more Baileys. I omitted the eggs since I prefer not to have raw eggs in my tiramisù.

A sweet ending to New Year's Day...oops...not really, there's still a freshly baked biscotti left. :p