Easter Celebration

I have been invited by Edith of Precious Moments to share at least five recipes for a Virtual Easter Party. Since Easter is already past, I shall not do any invitation. I'll just share my idea of an Easter Party.

Refreshing lemongrass drink



Bacon & Mushroom Quiche




Caramel Salmon




Concorde Chocolate Dessert



Lemon Lust Cake



Have a good Labour Day holiday!

Good Friday Dinner

With no other plans for Good Friday, I decided to invite my family over to my place for a simple dinner. Dining out with a big group might be rather difficult on holidays. They were very supportive. I wasn't prepared to whip up a storm, so I just prepared some simple foods.

On my dining table were:

1. Chicken Rice. This was prepared using the Prima Taste Fragrant Hainanese Chicken Rice Paste. My eldest son being a chicken rice rice freak, this was the best paste I could find on the supermarket shelves that will satisfy him. I also love this paste very much. You just can't go wrong making chicken rice using this paste.
(Source: Prima Taste Website)
2. Roast Chicken with Potatoes. The roast chicken was very flavourful as I marinated them for a couple of hours before baking. Using my Delonghi oven, I usually get a "burnt" chicken out. Nevertheless, the chicken still taste good, and even the breast meat was soft and tender! I marinated them with mushroom sauce, maggi seasoning sauce, light soy sauce, worchester sauce, HP sauce and chopped fresh rosemary. I also learned from Laureen the butterflied method of roasting. :)

3. Green Salads. The usual salad with coral lettuce, olives, red tomatoes on vine, yellow tomatoes, sweet basil leaves, raisins, sliced almonds, olive oil, pepper and salt.

4. Mushroom Salads. I improvised this from Laura Caulder's show. Infused olive oil with fresh rosemary and thyme, then sprinkle them over your mushrooms and grilled them. I added french beans for a taste of different textures. See recipe below.
5. Chocolate Hazelnut Tart. Using the sweet tart base, I mixed ground hazelnut into valrhona chocolate ganache and let it set. The base was very crispy. The chocolate was bitter sweet and soft with a light hint of ground hazelnut. The 9" tart was finished within one evening! First time I didn't have a chance to keep it overnight.
We ended the evening by driving to 717 Trading to have our dose of durians. Unfortunately, Mao Shan Wang wasn't in season now. So we ended up eating only D24. That was enough to satisfy us too!
Recipe for Mushrooms Salad, modified from Laura Caulder's "French Food at Home".

Ingredients:
200g Swiss button mushrooms (1 packet)
200g White button mushrooms (1 packet)
250g Portobello mushrooms (1 packet)

Some french beans, chopped to about 2" long (optional)

A sprig of fresh rosemary
A sprig of fresh thyme
Some olive oil (depending on how much you want to dress your mushrooms)

Method:
  1. Wash and slice the mushrooms.
  2. Lay them on a baking tray.
  3. Warm up olive oil with rosemary and thyme in a pot, then turn off the heat immediately. Do not let it boil.
  4. Sprinkle some olive oil in your mushrooms.
  5. Bake your mushrooms at 180C for about 20mins.
  6. Remove the mushrooms from the baking tray and place them in a salad bowl.
  7. Stir in the remaining olive oil with herbs and mix thoroughly. Add a dash of black pepper and salt to taste.
  8. If using french beans, blanch them in water. Drain well then mix into the mushrooms.
  9. Serve and enjoy the juicy mushrooms!
Have a bunniful weekend!

Fried Rice wrapped in Cheese Omelette

Since I started working part time, it also mean that I have more time to myself. Why so? Because when I'm coaching my son, I will give him time to do his work. Then, I will have some time to do my stuff. So what I usually do during this short period of time, is to look for new recipes for dinner. It means it's either I make the dinner, or give instructions to my helper to prepare dinner. Whatever it is, it'll be something new and fresh for the family.

Last Monday, I tried something new - to wrap fried rice with eggs. I thought it should be an easy feat, however, it turned out otherwise. My first output was simply...ugly. The batter was too thick (I thought I wanted to give my eldest son more eggs since it's his favourite). Then I had to flip it, and the cheese was too cooked. Because of the thickness of the omelette, it was simply too difficult to "wrap" the rice. So instead of giving my picky son a nicely presented cheese omelette rice, his was a bit messy. Fortunately, he didn't complaint. In fact, he still thanked me and said that it was so much better and nicer than Swensen's! Talk about tactfulness!

The subsequent ones turned out to be better in terms of presentation and taste. I was pleased with the outcome. Even so, I believe I still need a lot of practice!
Recipe for Fried Rice wrapped in Cheese Omelette
(Makes for 5 persons)

To prepare first:
1) Fried Rice - any fried rice to your liking. My fried rice include minced pork, button mushrooms and french beans.

2) Basil Tomatoes - Marinate cherry tomatoes with sweet basil leaves and olive oil.

Ingredients for Cheese Omelette:
(A)
8 Large eggs
50g Whole milk
70g Whipping Cream
Dash of Black pepper
Dash of Salt
(B)
250g Cheddar cheese block, shredded
(C)
Pizza toppers
(D)
Cooking oil

Method:
  1. Mix (A) thoroughly.
  2. In a saucepan, heat up the cooking oil. Add the egg mixture onto the pan. Do not scoop too much as you won't be turning it over. Leave it thinly and let it cook.
  3. When you noticed that the egg is about to cook, sprinkle shredded cheese generously on the omelette.
  4. When the egg is cooked, ie. no more liquid and wobbly, scoop the fried rice sparingly in the centre of the omelette.
  5. Sprinkle pizza toppers onto the fried rice.
  6. Then using your spatula, flip one side of the egg over to cover the centre, which is where the fried rice is.
  7. Then repeat #6 for the other side.
  8. If your omelette is thin, it should not break when you fold over. It should also stay and stick to the rice in the centre as the cheese melts.
  9. Then slowly push it onto your plate. Try not to scoop it up to prevent the eggs from falling apart. This needs some practice.
  10. Then topped the centre with basil tomatoes and enjoy. It's really heavenly!
Note:
When you add whipping cream, spots of browns appearred very fast. This does not equate to charred. You may omit milk or whipping cream if you prefer just eggs. I realised that the whipping cream sort of "thicken" the omelette and does not break when I tried to fold it over. So I'll still stick to adding whipping cream in my omelettes.
The basil tomatoes goes well with the egg and the fried rice. The different taste and texture makes the combination really interesting. I would definitely make this again!

Mocha Brownie Cuppies

I have been very slack in updating my blog nowadays. It doesn't mean that I haven't been baking though. It's just that I have been really busy, both at work and home. I know there some of the blogger friends who will dropped by my blog and leave comments. For that effort, I thank you. Even though, I have been visiting blogs regularly, I haven't been able to leave comments every time. My sincere apologies.

I have started working part time since beginning of April. I wanted to spend more time revising with my eldest son, in preparation for his PSLE. I believe that with both our combined efforts, he should do well (as in my expectation) in his PSLE. Anyway, I have already set a target for him, we shall work towards that target together. :)

Working part time means, when I'm at work, I have to stay focus as the time is short. When I'm at home, I can feel the pressure to fully utilise my time, otherwise, I'll be better off back in the office, earning more money! Having said that, money is still secondary to the time spend with my children. In fact, I'm beginning to enjoy my day off. I'm very fortunate that during my off days, my boss and colleagues don't disturb me. Thankfully! And today happens to be my day off! (",)

Back to my baking, this was what I baked last Saturday - Mocha Brownie Cuppies, modified from Rose's Heavenly Cakes. They were moist, rich and soft. My eldest son liked it warm with a squeeze of Hershey's Chocolate Syrup! Just curious, how do you eat your brownies?
Recipe for Mocha Brownie Cuppies (Barcelona Brownies), modified from "Rose's Heavenly Cakes"
(Makes 16 regular cupcakes)

Ingredients:
75g Walnuts, toasted & chopped coarsely
130g Unsalted butter
56g Dark Chocolate (I used dark couverture chocolates)
33g Cocoa powder
100g Fine sugar
100g Eggs
1 1/2tsp Vanilla extract
1 1/2tsp Instant Coffee granules
56g Cream cheese, cut
50g Plain flour
a Pinch of salt

Method:
  1. Melt the butter and chocolate in a microwave at intervals of 10secs. Stir to ensure that they are melted thoroughly.
  2. Whisk in the cocoa and sugar until incorporated.
  3. Whisk in the vanilla and coffee granules, then all in the eggs and whisk till thick and glossy.
  4. With a blending fork or wooden spoon, stir in the cream cheese until only small bits remain.
  5. Stir in the flour and salt only until all the flour is moistened.
  6. Scoop the batter into the cupcake papers.
  7. Topped up with walnuts, about 3-4 pcs per cupcakes.
  8. Bake in a 160C oven for 13-15mins, or until the batter has set. Do not overbake as it will become dry.
  9. The batter will puff and rise a little above, but sinks slightly on cooling.
  10. For sinful indulgence, served warm with vanilla ice-cream. For less sinful treat, generously squeeze Hershey's chocolate syrup on it. Otherwise, combined both and hit the gym thereafter!

Pane Al Cioccolato

Last Saturday, I had to fulfill an order for my colleague. Therefore, I thought I might not have time to bake too many stuff for my family. So I decided to just bake breads for my family. Flipping through my bread recipes, I chose Pane Al Cioccolato, which is simply just Chocolate Chips Loaf.
Recipe for Pane Al Cioccolato, extracted from "The World of Bread" by Alex Goh.
(Makes 2 loafs)

Ingredients:
(A)
450g Bread flour
150g Wholemeal flour
1 tsp Salt
50g Fine sugar

(B)
380g Cold water

(C)
40g Butter

(D)
130g Chocolate Chips

Method:
  1. Mix (A) till well blended. Add (B) and knead to form a dough.
  2. Add (C) and continue to knead to form a smooth and elastic dough.
  3. Add (D), mix till well combined.
  4. Mould dough into a ball. Cover with clear film and leave it to ferment in warm place for 50-60mins.
  5. Mould dough into a ball again and let it rest for 10mins.
  6. Knead dough one last time, shape it back into a ball, then put it into a loaf pan, greased and lined with baking paper.
  7. Let it prove for 60mins then bake it at 190C for 30mins. Bake on low shelf, using both top and bottom heat.
  8. The bread will rise quite high, so to prevent the top from burning, cover it with foil after it's been in the oven for 20mins.
I baked these to fulfill the orders for my colleague's son's birthday. Glad that they liked them!
Chocolate Chips Cookies, wrapped as goodie bags.
Mini Mushroom Frittata with Dill.
I also made one of my favourite marble cakes as a birthday present for a nice colleague friend.

Marinated Olives

I bought a packet of 1kg Turkish black olives from a store in Great World City some weeks back. I had been searching around for recipes to enhance the olives. Finally, I found a simple recipe to use it.
Recipe for Marinated Olives, adapted from "How to Cook Everything" by Mark Bittman

Ingredients:
500g Black olives
2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil, or to taste
4 cloves Garlic, crushed
1 sprig of Fresh Rosemary
1 tsp Chilli flakes
Method:
  1. Mix all the ingredients and transfer to a jar or serving bowl.
  2. It's better to cover and refrigerate for a day or two.
  3. They will keep, improving in flavour, for several weeks. However, bring them to room temperature before serving.
I'll add them to salads, or even eat them with my meals in future. If it's really good, I'll go back and get more olives!

One Lovely Blog Award

Thanks to Jean and Doris for passing this award to me! I'm truly honoured to receive this award, from two different bloggers.
Here are rules to abide for accepting this award :
1. Post linking back to the person that gave you the award.
2. Share 7 random things about yourself.
3. Award 15 recently discovered blogs.
4. Drop them a note and tell them about it.

Seven random things about myself.

1) I obtained my driving licence only some few years ago. It is a class 3A licence. I'm still phobical about driving.
2) I love accessories (costume jewellery). I match my earrings according to the clothes I wear.
3) I've started working part time from this month onwards, so that I can spend more time to coach my son for his PSLE.
4) I can't wait for October to come. That's when PSLE will be over, and I'll be free again!
5) Since my sister shared with me about cancer cells, I've been more careful about the foods that I eat. I've reduced taking meat tremendously.
6) I'm hooked to my iPod's Bakery Story, Restaurant Story, Nightclub Story and Wedding Dash. I can't go by a day without playing one of these!
7) I've not attended baking workshops for a long time now. I'm itching to go to one...

I will like to forward this award to the following lovely blogs.

1) Josephine from Sugar & Everything Nice
2) Wai Fong from Fong's Kitchen Journal
3) Gertrude from My Kitchen Snippets
4) Kristy of My Little Space
5) Nancy of Bake for a Queen
6) Cheah of No-Frills Recipes
7) Missy of Sweet Crumbs
8) Zoe of Bake for Happy kids
9) Li Ying of Happy Flour
10) Wiffy of Noob Cook
11) Sotong of Cooking it my way
12) Spear of My Baking Milestone
13) Ming Fung of Cherry Potato
14) kk of My Food Affair
15) Reese of ReeseKitchen
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