Monday, June 28, 2010

Herb and Cheese Crackers for the soul

It's a brand new week and I feel rejuvenated after a relaxing weekend. Plus I had my happy doze of chocolate from k-ki sweets. :)))) awesome cakes! With such a busy schedule, I have learnt the art of treasuring every possible meetup. Anyway, it's always a joy to seee everyone again. Argh although it sucks to see how free they are. 

Crispy Crackers

Made this for a picnic at East Coast Park. We had alot of food going on that day that we attracted plenty of unwanted guests. It was hilarious how we were all fanning our ( each others') food while the other prepared the food. I turned my head in embarrassment as I saw not only a couple of people ( but almost everyone) walking past our direction staring in amazement at what we were doing. An unforgettable picnic indeed. 

The cracker is simply plain tortilla wraps ( you can eat them as it is if you want to) oven baked to make them crispy. Toppings are oregano and herbs, some paprika powder and drizzled with a lil olive oil ;)  Half of them with cheese and half without. 

Tried a sweet version too consisting of cinnamon powder, sugar and maple syrup glaze. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ham and Cheese Sandwich

After watching iron chef, top chef masters, cake boss, Hell's kitchen etcc, I'm not only filled with admiration for the chefs in the kitchen but I also sweat for them. It's pretty amazing how much effort is put into preparing what may seem to be such a simple dish. But many a times, we fail to appreciate what is put forth in front of us. 

Anyway, to those that do not already know, I'm currently apprenticing under the awesome Chef Matsu at Matsu, The Gallery Hotel 1 Nanson Road (Formerly known as Shibaken). It's new and it specializes in French and Japanese cuisine. So if you're looking for a peaceful, romantic fine dining meal, don't forget to drop by and VISIT ME. I'll make sure I'll add more stuff to your plate. 

It's been 3 fine days since I started work and everyone there is so nice and welcoming. HAHA as for the food. What can I say. It's simply awesome. I'm stuffed with good food everyday, I feel that I should really consider going back to my cereal and fruit diet one day. Although mornings are tiring. Cause that's when your body clock starts to adjust to work but as the day picks up, my whole body feels energized ( it's the same feeling whenever I go shopping and seee something I like). At the end of the day, you crave for more but realize that it has to end. ( and that's when all the shopaholics go home, rest their tired feet and then the next day, they're up and ready to hit the malls yet again).  

Anyway, moving on and back to the post: 

MELTY HOT AND FLOWY Cheese and all that goodnesss oozing out in just one bite is just what I love to have every breakfast. (Accompanied by a cuppa tea, eggs Florentine or eggs Benedict or any eggs that are poached ) and maybe some dark chocolate to satisfy my sugar craze early in the morning! 

It's never too late to discover this gem that has been hiding in the storage, unused for many months. IT works like magic. You just pile a slice of buttered bread ( and I added abit of herbs for that herbyyyy taste), place your favourite ham and slice of cheese and top with tomatoes and smack them with yet another layer of bread and shut the sandwich maker. Wait a few mins and TADAAAAAA breakfast under 5 mins. The first time I used this, I woke up at 4 plus am to start prepping which was TOTALLY uncalled for cause it was so simple to make. Anyway, 1 hr later I made a special hot breakfast delivery to a special someone ;)) 

on my glamorous Princess Maker. Yes you saw it. It's called PRINCESS! Too bad it isn't red or pink. 

Oh and to all who's graduating this July. The Seat number for convocation is out already.. awesomeeeeneyy. 

Saturday, June 19, 2010


It's taco day!! Taco brings me many months back where I was still on my so awesome exchange. I still can't believe it's over. Anyway, besides burgers and fries which I got so sick off after my first few weeks, I got to indulge in Mexican food.. The difference was I never got bored of it. Tacos, tortillas,chilli, nachos, chipotle, quesadillas, corn, cheese, salsa, beans omg beansssss.. Being such a huge fan of beans (red bean, green bean), I thought I wouldn't be able to survive those 5 months but boy was I wrong. It was a land of beans. Kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans, chill. Don't see much Mexican restaurants here in Singapore which is pretty saddening but anyway going to Holland V Cha Cha Cha for a meal now and then isn't sucha bad idea after all.

Soo on the menu today we have: 

My all time favourite appetizer- deep fried mushrooms

I remember I was doing alot of things at once while frying the mushrooms that I forgot to lower the heat and flip it and honestly, it was a SERIOUS disaster. The first batch of mushrooms turned out like a huge blob of charcoal. Thank goodness for helpers that came to assist at the right time. I tried deep frying portobello and white button mushrooms but as much as I really like the taste of portobello, they just didn't work. The latter was much juicier. Just the way I like. Juicy on the inside and cripsy on the outside.

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup water
1 egg 
whatever spices you like [ I put oregano, some garlic and herb salt, pepper, cayenne pepper ] 

Mix the top four ingredients together. Dip mushrooms in it to coat and roll them in a generous amount of breadcrumbs and deep fry to see magic.  

Filling for Tacos:

Anything yummy goes with tacos. Can be beef, chicken, fish.. It's really up to your own discretion :).

About 350g lean mince beef
1 can black beans, drained
1 large red onion chopped finely
about 1 cup water
taco seasoning

The taco shells were store bought. I used the Old El Paso brand. Works out to be particularly crispy when baked in the oven. Nice! Plus it comes with taco seasoning and salsa sauce.

Tacos with lettuce, tomatoes and salsa sauce ;)) and ooh we made this tangy grapefruit and lychee ice blended drink to go with it but didn't manage to get a shot of it.

Tacos are not at all filling so we had 2 rounds of pasta to go alongside the tacos. Made a creamy based pasta as well as a pesto based one. Here are 2 ingredients I look for whenever I order pasta at a restaurant: Zucchini and eggplant! HAHAA. told you I was simple ;) 
This pesto based linguine is rather simple to do. Infact, pasta is the easiest to whip up when in a hurry. 

Linguine ( or you can use other kinds of pasta as well) 
parmesan cheese
sundried tomatoes ( totally love them as well) 
olive oil
salt and pepper ( to taste) 

I know you must be wondering what happened to the pine nuts?? I didn't add them in as I had none on hand but they sure go well with pesto based pasta. Arhh at least that's why I eat them for. 

Many of them preferred this creamy based one. I'm not a sucker for creamy pasta but I must say this is pretty darn good.. considering the massive amount of cheese I added to it out of experiment. hahaa

This serves 6-8 people:

Linguine ( or other)
18 raw prawns, deshelled and de-veined
2 tbsp butter
olive oil
Portobello/whitebutton mushrooms ( as much as you wish)
Bacon (Fried and cut into small pieces)
Oregano flakes
1 cup cream ( I only had 150ml on hand so I substituted the rest for milk) 
Peppery Jack Cheese ( Well, I added a handful.) 

and there you have it. Homemade Mexican food and pasta ;)) Stay tune for more random cooking and baking. I have alot ( and I mean a whole lot) of backlog. 

Friday, June 11, 2010

Pizza Revelation

Say goodbye to instant noodles and junk food and waste that calorie on better food. Here comes the Good'Ol pasta and pizza revelation. I always feel that having those 2 in one seating is always a pleasure. I admit I wasn't really a big fan of pizza after those years when I started to lose all my baby fats haha.. Maybe psychological thinking played a part. It could be the case. But fact is, those thick crusted pizzas did not blow me away. Less is more and up till today, I still love those skinny pizzas. I'm in lurvee with them. 

Cooking for the family is always a joy. Though yes, getting hard fried on messing up the kitchen is another story. Here comes the birth of vodka and mushroom penne. Sorry I cheated. The Vodka sauce was imported from the states and surprisingly it managed to withstand the long hauled journey from west to east. It came out in one fine piece.. 

Vodka Penne with mushrooms


- One bottle of Vodka pasta sauce
- Some white button mushrooms and portobello ( Um yums!. It makes sense now that I talked about mushrooms in my previous post) 
- Onions
-chilli padi ( optional)

1)  Cook Penne in a pot of boiling water till al dente. Drain and set aside. Best to wash with cold water to stop the cooking process
2) Prepare the awesome sauce- First fry onions in some olive oil till soft. Toss in the mushrooms. Add the sauce
3) Scoop desired amount of sauce onto penne and sprinkle with your fav herb and black pepper.. Oh yes I forgot.. I added in some chilli padi to the sauce for extra OoHmmpp and to rise up the heat level. 

Forgive the ugly presentation and photos. We were ALL tooo hungry. 

Now comes the fun part. Decorating your own pizza! Decorating pizzas are a form of art. It's a time to get creative and creating that pizza you have been dreaming forever. Home made pizzas are great cuz you get to add in the desired ingredients in any amount that pleases you... It sure is satisfying.. TRUST ME! Ok I cheated again. The crust was pre bought from FHA. We had a ton of crust left from that exhibition and something needed to be done to it. 

First up: We had The classic hawaiian pizza- with a ton of ham and pineapples. 

The tough part about making your own pizza is the crust. Which is a major challenge to some cuz you don't want it too tough, too thick etccc but I skipped this whole step here. But next time, it'd better be the real deal. [ After those pre made crusts are finished ]. 

1) Sprinkle some olive oil onto the crust.
2) Sprinkle some mozzarella cheese 
3) Top with ham and pineapples
4) Finish with more cheese ( I basically covered the whole pizza with cheese). The cheesier the better don't cha agree. We mixed the cheese with cheddar cheese and peppery jack cheese ( for that tinge of kick to it)
5) Bake 15 min ( or until crust turns brown n cheese is melted) 260C.  

Second Pizzza of the day: BBQ Chicken and mushrooms ( I can never leave the mushrooms alone) 

-1 skinless chicken breast about 160g
-1/2 cup bbq sauce ( or more if you wish) 
-some red onion, sliced thinly
- olive oil
- mozzarella cheese

1) Season chicken with salt and coat chicken with  3 tbsps of bbq sauce and marinade 30 min. 
2) Heat oil in pan and cook until meat is tender 
3) cut chicken into small cubes and coat with extra 2 tbsp of bbq sauce. Set aside
4) Drizzle dough with olive oil. Spoon some bbq sauce over the dough and spread evenly. 
5) Add some cheese. Add diced chicken, onions, mushrooms. 
6) Sprinkle more cheese
7) Bake 15min at 260C. 

Third pizza: The one and only famous Salami Pizza. 

Steps are the same as the hawaiian pizza.Just that use salami instead of ham and ignore the pineapples and again a generous doze of cheese. For certain dishes like pizzas, you don't stinge on cheese. Ok from the picture, the salami is rather obscure, you know the reason... Ooopss maybe too much cheese? . Nah 

Last but not least.. Shrimp and red pepper pesto courtesy of Nick from Macheesmo  

Shrimp and Red Pepper Pesto Pizza
This is for one 12-15 inch pizza
- 1/2 pound large (16-20 count) shrimp, peeled, deveined, and halfed
- 1 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- Juice from 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 Teaspoon red pepper flake
- 1/4 medium onion, cut into thin strips
- 1/4 red pepper, seeded and cut into strips
- 2 Cups low-moisture mozzarella cheese
- Fresh basil (I left this off because I didn’t have any. It was fine.)
- 2/3 Cup red pepper pesto
Roasted Red Pepper Pesto (Makes about 2 cups)– Clove garlic
- 1 jar (16 ounces) roasted red peppers [ I searched the entire country for roasted red peppers but I couldn't find this damn thing anywhere. Makes me so sad so I just bought my own red peppers and roasted them in the oven. I made sauce outta 2 whole peppers and Gosh it was way too much... One would have been just nice]  
- 3 Tablespoons grated Parmesan
- 1 Tablespoon fresh basil
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 Teaspoon red pepper flakes

More detailed steps can be found from his site.

Overall verdict. Salami> Pesto with prawns> hawaiian > bbq chic. I really loved the red pepper prawn one cuz at least it tasted different from the usual. However nothing beats salami. Seriously nothing. It was a fun and memorable experience playing with food. YES I said it.. Playing with food... What my frens know me best for. My itchy hands. Middle of the pizza was a little soggy. Guess I was overly adventurous with the sauce. However the sides of the crust were perfect and crispy to the T.  Now, at least I'm more motivated to make my own pizza crust.Right now I'm craving for pepperoni's triple cheese pizza. THe last time we went there. Holy Molly, we ordered the XXXL and it was enough to fill a cow's stomach. 

Anyway,  tune in for more cheezy business! xoxo

Monday, June 7, 2010


One of my favourite all time ingredient is mushrooms. Although it often plays along side its fellow fleshy friends-  chicken, beef, pork, fish etc, I gotta say it's companion role is what makes the overall dish so successful. Believe it or not. It's one of the major ingredients used in various cuisines of the world. Cream of mushroom soup, Grilled portobello mushroom & cheese burger, chicken with mushroom gravy, steak with pepper mushroom gravy, deep fried mushroom, grilled mushroom n zucchini, carborana with mushrooms, pizza with mushrooms and a never ending list.. 

I remember reading somewhere that washing mushrooms is a no no since it will cause the mushrooms to become mushy and apparently suffer a lost of flavour. Hmm, I agree somewhat because when I do wash them, the mushrooms turn out rather sticky to the touch. I usually rinse them quickly under the tap and dry them off immediately ( Just a habit I guess). Latest updates at Serious eats provides us with a useful guide on how to clean and trim mushrooms. 

It's a win win situation for all. Just don't forget to include mushrooms in your next dish ;))