Friday, February 15, 2008

Low Fat Chicken Omelette Salad


What's my craze with low fat recipes these days? First we have some ultra low fat high fibre healthy applesauce oatmeal muffins, and next we are eating salad! Maybe that's why I'm feeling depressed lately. Due to the lack of fats. Fats make you happy? Hmmm..

I know where my "depression" stems from. I get my "depression" from working life. My "depression" is in inverted commas because I'm not actually depressed. I'm just feeling depressed. But I am not depressed. Get it? No? Doesn't matter. There are tons of people from working life who will frustrate the hell out of you, such as
  • Mr Dumb-But-Act-Smart-And-Makes-A-Mess-Out-Of-Everything

  • Mr Stupid-But-Dunno-He-Is-Stupid-And-Makes-A-Mess-Out-Of-Everything

  • Mr Smart-But-Pretends-To-Be-Dumb-And-Makes-A-Mess-Out-Of-Everthing

  • Mr I-Know-It-All-But-All-Talk-And-No-Action

  • Mr Boss-Who-Knows-Nothing-And-Gets-Himself-(Or-Me)-In-Trouble-All-The-Time

  • Miss Drop-Me-An-Email-Cos-I-Need-To-Cover-My-Ass

  • Mr Drop-Me-An-Email-For-Your-Request-And-Copy-My-Boss-So-That-He-Knows-I'm-Working

  • Miss I-Like-Your-Bag-And-I-Buy-An-Imitation-A-Week-Later

  • Madam I-Have-Been-Here-The-Last-20-Years-And-This-Is-How-This-Has-Been-Done-The-Last-20-Years-So-We-Have-To-Do-This-Like-How-We-Have-Been-Doing-It-The-Last-20-Years.

Madam is most likely to be single, by the way. And I noticed I have more "Mr"s in the list. I, on the other hand, am Miss Efficiency (yes!) and Miss Intelligence (definitely!) when it comes to work. So just how much longer do I have to put with with those... those... nevermind.

Disclaimer: Any resemblence of the above characters to anyone you know is purely coincidental. And I must stress again, it's purely coincidental.

Now, what has this got to do with my salad? Nothing. Hmm. It's okay, let's come back to making our salad. You can make this if you've been eating too much lately during Chinese New Year, or have too many egg whites left over from baking pineapple tarts. Or when you're feeling a tad depressed, tomatoes are anti-depressants I think! At least their bright red colour cheers you up!

Low Fat Salad Recipe - serves 2

1 Iceberg Lettuce, peeled and cut into small pieces - keep refrigerated until use

2 Red Tomatoes, sliced - keep refrigerated until use

Raisins, Handful

2 Chicken Breast Fillets

Teriyaki Sauce (or any of your favourite marinades)

4 Egg Whites, lightly salt and pepper

2 Teaspoon Olive Oil

Dressing - combine the following ingredients:

Juice and Zest of 1 Lemon

1 Teaspoon Honey

Method:

Marinate and bake chicken (wrap in foil) in oven at 200 deg Celcius for 20 mins. Slice the chicken when cooked. Keep the marinate juice in the foil.

Heat olive oil in a small pan. Pour 2 egg whites to fill the pan and let it cook over low heat slowly. You should have a round, thin layer of lightly browned fried egg whites. Remove from pan and set aside. Repeat with remaining 2 eggs.

In a salad bowl, fill 2 bowls with cut lettuce. Spread sliced tomatoes on top. Pour in salad dressing and sprinkle raisins. Place one of the fried egg whites on top of the tomatoes, spread some sliced chicken on the egg, and pour the marinate juice from the foil over the chicken. Then, wrap the egg to complete the chicken omelette. Serve.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins

I used the successful oatmeal muffin recipe that I used 2 days back, but replaced half the oil with applesauce instead to make the muffins healthier. Comparing my experience with the two recipes, the recipe using applesauce resulted in the following:
  • Batter was more moist
  • Muffins rose more (likely the applesauce provided extra acid for the baking soda to react)
  • No difference to muffin taste

The reasons for using applesauce lie in its low calorie and fat content. I compared the labels of my bottle of canola oil vs the can of applesauce and realised that applesauce has about 8 times lesser calories than canola oil, and waaaaaaay lesser fats than oil.

Lowfat Oatmeal Muffin Recipe (makes 12)

  • 1 Cup Quaker Instant Oats
  • 1 Cup Buttermilk (Substitute: 1 Tablespoon White Vinegar + Lowfat milk to make 1 Cup)
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 35ml Canola Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Apple Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Wholemeal Flour
  • 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Essence
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Cup Raisins

Method:

Combine instant oats to warm buttermilk and let it stand for about 20mins. Soak raisins in water. Preheat oven to 400 deg F. Line muffin tins with muffin cups or oil & flour. Add egg white, sugar, oil, applesauce and vanilla essence to oat/buttermilk mixture, stirring until just combined. Sift in flour, baking powder and baking soda. Stir until just combined. Mix in raisins (drained). Divide batter into muffin tins and bake until golden, about 15-20 mins.

See other recipes!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Oatmeal Wholemeal Muffins


I came across a recipe for Oatmeal Muffins in Epicurious which had garnered pretty good reviews. I had to test it!

Like most of the reviewers, I think this is a fantastic recipe. I made some modifications to make the muffins healthier. The muffins were extremely easy to make but they did not rise as much as regular muffins, probably because I used some wholemeal flour. They tasted good - the muffins were very soft and hubby thinks the sweetness is just nice (but I felt it can be sweeter). I'm sure I'll bake this again.

A Very Wholesome Muffin Recipe (makes 12)
1 Cup Quaker Instant Oats
1 Cup Buttermilk (Substitute: 1 Tablespoon White Vinegar + Lowfat milk to make 1 Cup)
2 Egg Whites
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
75ml Canola Oil
1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Wholemeal Flour
1/2 Tsp Vanilla Essence
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Raisins

Method:
Combine instant oats to warm buttermilk and let it stand for about 20mins.
Soak raisins in water.
Preheat oven to 400 deg F. Line muffin tins with muffin cups or oil & flour.
Add egg white, sugar, oil and vanilla essence to oat/buttermilk mixture, stirring until just combined.
Sift in flour, baking powder and baking soda. Stir until just combined.
Mix in raisins (drained).
Divide batter into muffin tins and bake until golden, about 15-20 mins.

Pineapple Tarts


I modified the pastry recipe from my previous pineapple tart baking session as I felt a harder crust was more appropriate for the open-type pineapple tarts. The result was a slightly crunchy crust. Taste-wise, I actually prefer the original melt-in-the-mouth version better.

Pastry Recipe (makes approx 120 tarts)
250g soft butter
450g flour (my note: use 400g-430g in future?)
50g icing sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 Egg

Method:
Sift flour, icing sugar and baking powder together. Rub in butter until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add in egg and vanilla essence and knead mixture into a dough. Roll a portion of the dough on a floured surface until about 0.5cm thick. Cut out with pineapple tart cutter (or cookie cutter). Roll pineapple jam into balls and place on top of each cut-out dough. Place tarts on baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Bake in pre-heated oven at 170 degree celcius until light brown, about 15-20mins.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Who Needs a High End Camera?


I discovered PhotoPlus 6.0 a few days ago.
It's free to download. Free of Charge!

My blog used to feature photos taken straight off my Nokia N73
Just 3.2 Megapixels and a Carl Zeisis lens

A zap here and a zap there with PhotoPlus
And my photos are never the same again.

Now the photos on my blog
Have all (well, almost) been updated.

They're starting to look (as I choose to believe)
Like they're torn off a gourmet magazine!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Cinnamon Raisin Bread with Oats

Okay, this is just bread topped with oats, cinnamon powder and raisins. It's delish nonetheless. And I'm planning to use a new bread recipe the next time. Today, I'm still sticking to this recipe, which I had also used for this, and this. I'd like to think that I'm smart to recycle the recipe, but most people would just think that I'm lazy. Whatever! I'm going wholemeal the next time (though I don't know when, ha!). Stay tuned!

Recipe:
Prepare your favourite bread dough. You can use this recipe, cos that's what I did.

Just before putting it into the oven, sprinkle some instant oats. Oats are rich in fibre, so you will get healthier bread. If you like, brush on some melted butter before sprinkling on the oats. I skipped this as hubby is watching his cholesterol. That's why I'm adding oats. That's why I'm going wholemeal the next time round.

Throw on the raisins (pre-soak the raisins in advance). Raisin opposers will really hate this for the sheer amount of raisins I'm using. But I love raisins.

Sprinkle cinnamon powder. I should have used more.

Bake in oven at 350 deg F for 20-25mins (adjust according to baking pan/loaf used) until you get a nice brown crust.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Step-by-Step to Making Pineapple Tarts


Chinese New Year is approaching, let's bake some pineapple tarts!

Recipe

Pastry, adapted from here
(makes about 100 tarts)
360g soft butter
580g flour
70g icing sugar
2 Tsp baking powder
1 Tsp vanilla essence
3 Egg Yolks

Pineapple Jam Filling

3 Honey Pineapples (small)
150g Caster Sugar
1 Cinnamon Stick
A few cloves

Egg Wash
1 Egg Yolk
2 drops Yellow Food Colouring
1/2 Tablespoon Water

Method

Grate 3 pineapples and drain pineapple juice (you will have fresh pineapple juice for breakfast tomorrow!).

In a wok, add grated pineapples, cinnamon stick, cloves, 150g sugar and cook over low heat for 1.5-2hrs, stirring now and then to prevent burning.



The ready jam should look like this. It should be sticky and not wet. Leave in fridge to cool, about 2 hours.







In the meantime, let's prepare the pastry dough.

Sift 580g flour, 70g icing sugar and 2 tsp baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and throw them into the mixing bowl.




Rub-in the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resemble breadcrumbs, like this.

Rubbing in means pushing the butter into the dry ingredients using your fingertips.




In a bowl, add 1 tsp vanilla essence to 3 egg yolks.

Pour into the breadcrumbs-looking mixture.






Knead the mixture together by hand until it forms a soft dough.

Transfer about a quarter of the dough into another bowl to use. Keep the remaining in the fridge. Also transfer a portion of the chilled pineapple jam in the fridge into another plate to use.




From the smaller portion of dough, pinch a small ball of dough (about the size of a fishball) and flatten the dough with your palms. Flatten the dough thin, as you don't want to end up with pineapple tarts with thick crust.





Place some jam onto the flattened dough.








Wrap it up. Pinch away any excess dough, especially at the two ends.







Roll it in your hands until it is round and nice.

Place this in a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.






We will now prepare the egg wash.

In a bowl, add 2 drops of yellow food colouring and 1/2 tablespoon of water to the egg yolk. Mix them up.





With a pastry brush, brush a layer of the egg wash over each tart.


Bake 12 mins in a pre-heated oven, 180 degrees Celcius. Bake longer if you prefer the crust to be harder.




Once baked, remove from baking tray and allow the tarts to cool on a cooling rack. The tarts will still be soft when they are hot, but will harden when cooled.

Keep repeating the above steps until all your dough and jam is used up. You should be quite tired by then. Tired but satisfied, as you would have eaten many freshly baked pineapple tarts along the way.

Pack these melt-in-your-mouth pineapple tarts in air-tight bottles with auspicious red covers.

Give some away to relatives, friends and colleagues and wait for them to praise your baking skills.



Have a happy and prosperous Chinese New Year!

See other recipes!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Teriyaki Chicken Chop with Fluffy, Creamy Mashed Potato

Recipe - Teriyaki Chicken Chop
(Serves 2)
Debone 2 big chicken drumsticks, keeping the meat intact. Do not remove chicken skin as it helps to prevent the meat from breaking into pieces. You can always choose not to eat the skin afterwards! The result should look like this:

Go ahead and trim away the visible fats but take care to leave the skin attached to the meat as much as possible. Coat the chicken with plenty of teriyaki sauce and some salt and pepper. Marinade in the fridge for 2 hours.

In a frying pan, heat 2tbsp of olive oil until hot. Sizzle each side of the meat on the pan till golden brown. Dish out on a serving plate, sprinkle some chopped parsley and serve with poached carrots and mashed potatoes. I like my mashed potatoes fluffy and creamy, and this is how you make them:


Recipe - Japanese Mashed Potatoes
(Serves 2)
2 Potatoes, boiled and skined.
Japanese Mayonaise (as much as you like)
Mash both ingredients together.

Japanese mayo is the secret to making the mashed potatoes fluffy and creamy. This is an ultra easy and yummy recipe. This is one of my favourite mashed potatoes and I have made the party version before and kids especially love it! My other favourite is mashed potatoes from Hog's Breath Cafe, but that's a different style. Both are just simply yummilicious!

Have fun cooking!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Durians - Love It or Hate It

And I LOVE it! Not only love, but adore, lust and hanker after it. For it is so delicious, yummy, scrumptous, and mouth-watering. No amount of adjectives is ever enough to describe the out-of-the-world experience from taking a bite of this!

Cinnamon Raisin Buns


One Recipe, Endless Possibilities
I used the Dinner Roll Recipe (yes again!). To the dough, mix in cinnamon powder and raisins. Roughly shape into 2 big buns, or many small buns. Let them rise and rise and rise. Bake till golden brown. Yums!

Old Cucumber Chicken Soup


Before

After

Recipe - serves 2
1 small Old Cucumber, sliced
1 small Half Chicken or 2 Drumsticks or other preferred chicken parts
A pinch of salt

Method
Clean the chicken and scald in boiling water. This is to remove oil and impurities. Pour away the water.
Add sliced old cucumber to chicken in pot.
Cover with water and boil over medium heat, gradually reducing to small heat and boil for 1.5 hours to 2 hours until the old cucumber "disintegrates" when stirred. Add a pinch of salt and serve.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Steamed Japanese Rice

See how this bowl of Japanese rice transforms.

Half-filled in a medium size bowl...

Flattened...



Topped with Green Vegs...


Followed by Red Tomatoes...



And Fragrant Fried Onions...



And raw Marinated (with Teriyaki sauce) Chicken Chunks...




Then drenched with a beatened egg (seasoned with salt, pepper, sugar, dark soya sauce). This is going to ooze and trickle all over and into the rice... (slurp)


And put to steam...(covered of course). 15 minutes later,

A HOT (ouch!) nutritious and yummilicious bowl of rice filled with colourful red tomatoes, green vegs, brown onions, yellow eggs, and white chicken is ready for dinner!

See other recipes!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Mini Raisin Cinnamon Rolls

I had frozen some of the dough I used to make dinner rolls as there was no way my hubby and I would be able to finish soooooooo many dinner rolls by ourselves at one go. Hubby suggested that I make cinnamon rolls this time round (He actually missed the cinnamon rolls I made? Wow!). And so that's what I did with the dough. But I made mini versions:

I had every intention to include raisins into the filling. Melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon powder AND raisins. But I realised I totally forgot about the raisins AFTER I completed the rolls.

So I poked 3 raisins into each of the rolls. It's never too late!


I put the tray of rolls aside while I started a game of mahjong with friends who had come over to my place. 1 game and 3 hours later, my rolls have become fat, puffy cuties all squashed together!


And these are fresh out of the oven...Yum!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Angel Hair Aglio Olio


Chinese-styled Aglio Olio - this is my take of the simple yet satisfying Aglio Olio pasta, with minced Chicken and vegs added (I need to use these up!).

Recipe (serves 2)
Angel Hair pasta, 2 portions
Minced Chicken, salted and peppered
Green Vegetables, cut into small pieces
Minced Garlic, about 3 Tablespoons
Olive Oil, about 3-4 Tablespoons
Crushed Red Pepper, 2 Teaspoons (I found 2 packets left over from Pizza Hut Delivery which I might as well clear)
Chicken Stock, mix 1 teaspoon of chicken stock powder with some water

Cook angel hair pasta al dente. Drain and coat with some olive oil.
Heat olive oil in frying wok and fry garlic till fragrant. Add minced chicken, vegetables and crushed red pepper and cook until chicken is just cooked. Add pasta and chicken stock (adjust to taste) and stir fry till all ingredients are well-mixed.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

My Lil' Buns


These are the buns I'm talking about! What are you thinking of?

These rustic-looking buns are my success story of a Dinner Roll recipe from (again) The Pioneer Woman Cooks!. This woman is incredible with her fail-proof recipes. The bread is very light, soft and fluffy.

Recipe - (No Knead) Dinner Rolls
makes about 40 rolls
unused portions of dough can be frozen for future use.

Put the following into a pot and heat till just before the mixture boils. Cool to lukwarm (45mins)
480ml (2 Cups) Milk
100g (1/2 Cup) Sugar
115ml (1/2 Cup) Vegetable Oil (I used Olive Oil)
Stir in
280g (2 Cups) Plain Flour
1 Packet Dry Yeast

Stir in another
280g (2 Cups) Plain Flour

Cover the mixture and allow to sit for 1 hour.

Add into mixture and stir till combined the following:
70g (1/2 Cup) Plain Flour
1 level teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 tablespoon Salt

Form small balls of dough (wrap in fillings if desired) and place them in muffin tin. Let the dough rise in muffin tin till puffed-up (1-2 hours). Bake at 350degF for 10-15mins till golden brown, keeping a close watch to prevent burning.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Oven Thermometer


This is my acclaimed oven thermometer. Yes, its sitting on my mahjong table (but that's another topic altogether). Look, it has both the Celcius and Fahrenheit scale, there's no need for conversion anymore!

French Breakfast Puffs


Another receipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks! Is it her receipes or my new oven thermometer that's making my bakes so delightful? I had flat muffins when I previously tried another receipe and had the wrong baking temperature (silly oven!), but these rose and erupted beautifully.

These are not completely covered with cinnamon sugar because I ran out of melted butter, which gives me the perfect excuse to cut down on the sugar and calories. Sigh, who am I kidding?!

Recipe (makes 12 regular sized muffins)
(A) Stir together:
210g plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder

In a mixer, combine:
75g butter (my note: try 100g next time?)
100g sugar

Then mix in
1 Egg

Then mix in
Mixture (A)

Then mix in
120ml milk

Bake in 350degF for about 20-25mins till golden in greased&floured muffin cups. Coat each muffin with melted butter and cinnamon sugar (mix caster sugar with a teaspoon of cinnamon powder).

Cinnamon Rolls

The is the first receipe that I attempted since I bought my oven thermometer. I knew there was something wrong with my oven when my cakes and muffin attempts were not turning out right. Since it can't be my fault, so it's got to the the oven's fault rite? And am I glad that I got the diagnosis right and my bakes are turning out wonderful ever since I became the proud owner of an oven thermometer.

This cinnamon roll recipe is adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks!, my current favourite blog.

Recipe

Dough
475g milk
115ml vegetable oil
100g sugar
Heat the mixture till just before boiling point and leave to cool for 45mins-1hr.

1 package dry yeast - add to the above mixture when the mixture is lukewarm and let it sit for a minute.

560g plain flour - stir into the mixture and cover and let it sit for an hour to rise.

Then, stir in the following:
70g flour (my note: adjusted to 100g)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Filling
100g melted butter
100g brown sugar
Cinnamon powder

Divide dough into 4 portions. Roll each portion into a rectangle about 1cm thick. Drizzle melted butter over the dough. Sprinkle brown sugar over the butter. Sprinkle cinnamon powder generously over the brown sugar. Roll the dough towards you. Cut the roll about 3/4 inch thick and lay on buttered baking trays. Let the rolls sit for about 30mins to rise. Bake at 400deg F until light golden brown, about 15-18 mins. Drizzle frosting and serve.

Frosting
50g powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
15ml milk
2 tablespoon expresso coffee
1 1/2 teaspoon melted butter
1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
Stir all ingredients together
(Yup, I can't decide if I want vanilla, coffee or cocoa flavoured frosting, so I put everything in!)