Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cherry tomato cheese pops!


20 cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
20 baby bocconcini, cut into halves
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
20 basil leaves, cut into halves
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp fresh chives/ spring onions, chopped

1. Marinate the cheese in salt, pepper, olive oil, parsley and chives. Leave overnight.
2. Assemble using toothpicks. cheese, basil, tomato or in any other sequence u prefer.

from Bay Book's 'finger foods best ever small food recipes' book...

i would add some chopped garlic and paprika to the marinade the next time too...overall a very pleasing appetiser...! Pretty and extremely easy to make.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Watercress Season!!

watercress is going for 2 bucks a big bundle at chinatown... i got some just to make a watercress drink but had heaps left so made this...

tagliatelle with watercress pesto

it was very easy and very yummy...great for a quick meal....and even for a dinner party- it is that good!!! I had it again for lunch the next day and remember thinking gleefully: "How glad I am to be able to cook!! heheheheh...!!!"
(sounds very immodest but it's not that....!! i was just relishing every mouthful of the pasta..)

The recipe is from BBCgoodfood.

The next time, i would reserve half the pine nuts for sprinkling on top though and also add salt...i've noticed that all most more recent recipes don't call for salt...but adding salt really brings out the flavour in this dish.

I also had enough to make some soup but didn't take a picture. Really good value for 2 bucks huh??

Saturday, November 8, 2008

cystalized roses

sitting atop the baked strawberry cheesecake, adapted from this recipe.

the roses were made by dipping them into egg white and then castor sugar. It wasn't a very neat job..should have used a paint brush for the egg whites...shame there aren't any more roses in the garden to practise on...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Non-baked Strawberry Cheesecake

yes, more strawberry goodness will come this way soon...

so far...

there's the strawberry liquor, which will be ready in 2 months' (?!) time..

the non-baked strawberry cheesecake- recipe adapted from Berry Simple's favourite dessert..

it was not too bad...really attractive colour...but taste wise it's quite one-dimensional...perhaps it's the shortbread biscuits i used for the crust...perhaps the cheese mixture needed some vanilla extract...Strangely, i was quite happy the first time i ate it though...(and had nearly a quarter of the cake!!!!! :P ) it was only the second day that i fell out of love with it...maybe it's a case of too much too soon..!!

now there's a baked cheesecake chilling in the fridge which i will bring for cell group tomorrow...and a loaf of strawberry cake waiting to be sliced and eaten for afternoon tea together with a friend...and also strawberry sauce, strawberry sorbet and frozen strawberries in the freezer.

I don't think i will be buying strawberries for a long time.

By the way, for those of you in Adelaide, I saw a big box with maybe six 250g punnets at central market for 2 bucks today..they were not in the best condition- but for baking and cooking, they're perfect...!
Three Amigos i think...the stall which sells everything without a sign for 99cents..

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Have you ever tasted a truly ripe tomato??

well...i think i haven't really...til this a friend's house and then 'accidentally' from a bag which i got for a dollar at the central market...these were so succulent and so sweet that i think i might never go back to non-ripened tomatoes...(apparently tomatoes are one of the top natural foods containing copious amounts of MSG...along with parmesan cheese...and bonito stock..and chicken soup....all these yummy goodies have a very intense umami flavour and i speculate, gives the eater a sense of well being..)

so great were my enthusiasm that the next time i went to the market, i got 'naturally ripened' bananas...
and realised ... hey!!! I have tasted them before!!!! What was I thinking??? My grandmother used to have a farm....she grew rambutans, bananas, star fruit, durian, jackfruit, guava, assorted vegetables (can't remember what types now..) chicken and ducks and even a fish pond...(one of my childhood memories involved a competition with my elder sister to clear out the innards of a chicken...!!!!)

How I wish my grandma still have the farm!!!! Then i can go visit and cook using all organic (??) and extremely fresh ingredients!! She hasn't lost her green thumb though...she still has some plants and herbs and they grow incredibly well...and the fruits that my grandma selects from the supermarkets/ markets are always the sweetest...i tell my mom that but she doesn't believe's the farmer's touch...!

But yeah...if u haven't tried a real ripe tomato, u r truly missing out on something amazing!!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Penne with Goat's Cheese and Walnuts

Basically this is a review of a recipe from one of my favourite cook books-Olive magazine's 101 quick fix book...and i've just discovered that all ALL the recipes in the book are on the BBC good food website- it has really dampened my enthusiasm to cook from this book...cos then what shall I blog about??

but so far, all of the dishes i've tried hits the spot..!

and this one is not far off the mark but a word of caution perhaps...the goat's cheese is quite gamey for those who are not used to the Mandarin, you would say 'yang siao wei' (literal translate: goat's coy smell")...and it's quite intense....i was quite horrified actually when i tried a crumb of the cheese just on its own..."oh no!! do i have to endure this for 4 meals?!!"

thankfully the lemon zest and rocket improved things greatly...! I would recommend a generous sprinkle of salt and black pepper too...!

the best thing about this pasta- it is really quick to put together...and oh, I toasted the walnuts as well and they were darker than I'd have liked but they do taste uncannily like deep fried lard. I can really imagine them in a plate of char kuey teow (fried rice noodles)...perhaps they can be a guilt-free indulgence if u really like ur lard...!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Bargain Strawberries?

Rule number 1: It's not really a bargain if you are not going to use it. (Or if you have to spend 2 hours cleaning and processing it.)
Rule number 2: Don't buy more food than you can (comfortably) carry.

For the last week I have been feeling exceptionally virtuous...thinking that it might not be very long till the return to Singapore, I have been eating and cooking only foodstuffs in my freezer, fridge and pantry and resisting the urge to go to the supermarket/market...(it must be a dietitian's favourite passtime..)

Today I finally used all the fresh produce and most of the canned and dried I decided to make a well deserved trip to the central market...keeping in mind that I was just going to need ingredients for 8 meals (cooking twice- each time 4 portions) and then I can shop more after that..

and I almost, almost made it!!!! I had bought all the ingredients I needed (and some) and was about to walk out of the market when I was accosted by one of the stall holders in the middle section where they put up make shift stalls to sell the produce which wouldn't keep till Tuesday...he thrust a huge black cupboard container of strawberries at me...there were eight 500g punnets inside...and said: "Here, you can have the lot for 5 bucks”
Me: "errrr...."
Stallholder throws in another punnet and said: "Special for u!! Still 5 dollars”


How could I resist??

So that's how I ended up lugging 4.5kg of strawberries home...when I got on the bus, the driver was very excited and asked me what I was going to do with all the strawberries and that strawberries were his favourite fruit...I replied: "They were on special....very special..."
When I disembarked, I gave the driver a punnet and he was so shocked that he stayed put at the bus stop for a good minute, causing quite a pile up in the traffic behind..(one of my favorite books when I was a kid was the 'random acts of kindness' series..)

And because of the strawberries...I had to buy more stuff to make things with them...the first thing which came to mind was jam..but I hardly ever eat cheesecake it a chunk of cream cheese (by the way, you can get half a kilo of cream cheese for 4 bucks at central market..much cheaper than in the supermarkets..), biscuits and butter for the base..and cream just in case...

So silly!!! I ended spending more time and money on making something that i don't need and wouldn't really want to eat..but perhaps wouldn't mind making just for the fun of it...

so far i haven't made anything with it....maybe I can make Blue Lotus' strawberry liquor with the chinese rose wine that has been sitting around...and perhaps some chocolate dipped strawberries (Did you know that you can inject liquor into the strawberry after the chocolate's hardened?? This i've got to try!! but first need to find a syringe...) in addition to a strawberry cheesecake and some strawberry sauce...

By the way, have I mentioned that I am not an exceptionally big fan of strawberries in the first place??!!

Self control...that's what I really need..