Tuesday, 30 April 2013


In Jamie's 30 minutes meal season 1 episode 18, Jamie prepares a Kinda Sausage Cassoulet, a warm broccoli salad and a meringue dessert, all in under 30 minutes.  I am just a home cook, so I am not giving this a challenge and stress over messy kitchen or worse still, maybe a cut finger.

I am going to take my sweet time to cook just the main dish, Kinda Sausage Cassoulet and my own mash.
I am in my kitchen. Nothing is mise en place. My sausages, leeks and herbs are in the fridge. The garlic, onions, olive oil are all within reach. The ciabatta is on the kitchen top. The bottle of passata, my baking tray and mini food processor are hidden in the kitchen cupboards. The music is on, playing my favourite Andrew Lloyd Webber's famous hit 'The Music Of The Night'. I glance at the time, and wonder how long will I take to cook this delicious Kinda Sausage Cassoulet.

Kinda Sausage Cassoulet
Jamie's 30 Minute Meals

4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
1 1/2 red onions (1 big yellow onion)
a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
1/2 small bunch of fresh sage
3 fresh bay leaves(dried)
2 leeks
4000g good  quality chipolata sausages (530g of pork sausage and chicken chipolata)
3-4 thick slices of bread (1 small loaf of ciabatta)
2 cloves of garlic
1 x 680g jar of passata
1 x 390g carton of butter beans (450g)
1 x 390g carton of haricot beans (did not add)


  • Slice 4 rashers of bacon about 1 cm thick and add to a sturdy roasting tray with a few lugs of olive oil. Put over a high heat. 
  • Halve, peel and slice 1 1/2 red onions.
  • Pick the rosemary and most of the sage leaves and sprinkle into the tray with the bay leaves, keeping a few sage sprigs back for later.

  • Trim the leeks and peel back the outer leaves. Cut down the length of the leeks, then wash away any grit and finely slice. Add the leeks and onions to the tray with a few splashes of boiled water, stir, then leave to soften.
  • Lay the sausages in another roasting tray, drizzle and rub a little olive oil over them, then put under the grill to cook for 8 minutes. Stir your vegetables.(grill on stove top)
  • Tear the slices of bread into large chunks and put into a food processor with a pinch of salt and pepper, 1/2 of the reserved sprigs of sage, 2 cloves of garlic and a good drizzle of olive oil. Pulse until you have fairly even, coarse breadcrumbs.(I did this before cooking)

  • Stir the passata and the beans and their juices into the tray of vegetables.
  • Tale the sausages out of the oven.(stove top)
  • Sprinkle half the breadcrumbs from the food processor over the veg and beans.
  • Lay the sausages dark side down and sprinkle over the rest of the breadcrumbs.
  • Pick the rest of the sage leaves, drizzle with olive oil and scatter on top.

  • Put the roasting tray into the oven on the middle shelf for around 4 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are crisp and golden.(200C 12 minutes)

Who Is Like God?
Sunday Sermon

What Our Praise of God Should Be?
Hallelu Yah,  Praise the Lord
Our God is all encompassing. We are to praise Him endlessly everywhere. In Psalm 113, the servants of God exalt Him and praise His name. God's beauty and glory is above all nation. He humbles himself to be like man in the form of Jesus. He cares for us, the poor and needy, He answers our prayers. He is ever present with His people. He even makes the barren women fertile. That's how great a God he is. Blessed be Your name.

Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD, you his servants; praise the name of the LORD. Let the name of the LORD be praised, both now and forevermore. From the rising of the sun to the place it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised. The LORD is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens. Who is like the LORD our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes, with the princes of his people. He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD. Psalm 113

Friday, 26 April 2013

Receiving A Kingdom That Cannot Be Shaken

Fourteen  years ago, when I first watch him on TV, I was attracted to his young boyish look.  Mr James Trevor Oliver aka Jamie Oliver was then a young lad in his 20s. His first TV cooking show, The Naked Chef got me hooked to his 'real food for real occasion' and his 'strip food down to its bare essentials' philosophy and techniques.

Today, I am still watching his cooking shows, new and old. I am still hooked on Jamie Oliver, not his look( horrors, he is growing sideways) but his cooking. Thanks to Jamie Oliver, I am more cautious of processed food and learn to prepare food from scratch using the freshest available ingredients.  I  also know many useful kitchen tricks and tips from him too.
Here is a dish by Jamie, from his cookbook Jamie's Dinners. When doing this dish, you will understand Jamie's philosophy of stripping food down to its bare essentials. This dish Crispy Chicken with Basil and Sweet Tomatoes will prove that you didn't need to dress up ingredients or buy a load of fancy gadgets to make something really tasty.

Crispy Chicken with Sweet Tomatoes
Recipe and pictorial instructions here

5-10 minutes to get everything into the baking tray

After 1 1/2 hour in oven

Crispy skin chicken, sweet soft tomatoes. Don't forget to squeeze out the garlic before serving
Tip: To bake to crispy skin, do not have any ingredients on the chicken. Everything has to be below and tucked at sides to fill in any gaps in the tray.

Wholesome family dinner

You can have it with salad, mashed potatoes or rice. For me, I like it with just the gravy,tomatoes and garlic.

Tender meat that just fall away from the bone. Thank you, Jamie.


I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. Psalm 69:30

Everyday reflect and be thankful for all that God has given us. Why should we praise our great God with thanksgiving?  He has given us a kingdom that cannot fade, but kept in heaven for us

Hebrews 12:28-29
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our "God is a consuming fire."

Monday, 22 April 2013

Make A Joyful Noise Unto The Lord

This lousy picture doesn't say much about these tart shells. I admit, it was a badly taken one from my iPhone.  But I am eager to share with you my new favorite tart shell recipe. So crisp and flaky, so easy to make.  Butter,water and sugar is heated in the oven/stovetop and flour is added and then stirred until smooth, that's it!!!  No rolling pin and no baking beans needed.  Perhaps you have already known this recipe, French Pastry Dough from David Lebovitz  He learnt this from a French lady, Paule Caillat of Promenades Gourmandes. Read on and be amazed by this method of making French pastry.

French Pastry Dough
23cm (9 inch) tart tin

90g in salted butter, cut into pieces
1 tbsp of vegetable oil (canola oil)
3 tbsp of water
1 tbsp of sugar
1/8 tsp of salt
150g flour


  • Preheat oven to 210C. In a medium size ovenproof bowl, such as a Pyrex bowl, combine the butter,oil,water,sugar and salt. ( I used a baking tin)
  • Place the bowl in an oven for 15 minutes until the butter is bubbling and starts to brown just around the edges. ( mine didn't turn brown, could be due to higher water content)

  • When done, remove the bowl from oven ( and be careful, since the bowl will be hot and the mixture might sputter a bit), dump the flour and stir it in quickly until it comes together and forms a ball which pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

  • Transfer the dough to a 9 in(23cm) tart mould with a removable bottom spread it in a bit with a spatula.

  • Once the tart is cool enough to handle, pat it into the shell with the heel of your hand, and use your fingers to press it up the sides of the tart mold. Reserve a small piece of dough, about the size of a raspberry, for patching any cracks.
  • Prick the dough all over with the tines of a fork about ten times, then bake the tart shell in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and if there are any sizable cracks, use the bits of reserved dough to fill in and patch them.
  • Let the shell cool before filling.
David Lebovitz says it is best to pinch off a small amount of the reserved dough, roll it gently between your fingers to soften it, then wedge it into the cracks, smoothing it gently with your pinky.

Note: The recipe was made double to fit my 28cm tart tin and two 10 cm tart tins. I did not have any reserved dough. To store tart shells in freezer, wrap them(baked or unbaked) securely in plastic wrap for up to 1 month.

Now, what to fill in this gorgeous tart? This is David Lebovitz all the way, it is his delightful lemon curd! 

Tarte Au Citron
One 9 inch (23cm) tart


125ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
grated zest of one lemon
100g sugar
85g butter, salted or unsalted, cut into bits
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks

Preheat oven to 180C

  • In a medium-sized non-reactive saucepan, heat the lemon juice, zest, sugar and butter. Have a mesh strainer nearby.
  • In a small bowl, beat together the eggs and the yolks

  • When the butter is melted, whisk some of the warm lemon mixture into the eggs, stirring constantly, to warm them. Scrape the warmed eggs back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, to warm them. Scrape the warmed eggs back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and almost begins to bubble around the edges.

  • Pour the lemon curd through a strainer directly into the pre-baked tart shell,scraping with a rubber spatula to press it through.
  • Smooth the top of the tart and pop it in the oven for 5 minutes, just to set the curd.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool before slicing and serving.

David Lebovitz's note: This makes a modest, but very tasty lemony layer. If you want more filling, feel free to double the recipe; any filling that you don't use can be spread on toast, fresh biscuits, or scones.
You could substitute fresh lime juice for the lemon and if you have Meyer lemons, reduce the sugar to 65g. 

Note: This curd was made three times the recipe. 

A Call To Thanksgiving

Psalm 100 is one of my favorite Psalm. God himself is the basis of our thanksgiving.

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Bearing Fruit In Every Good Work

 Salmon is fast and easy to prepare, so is couscous. This dish makes a light and healthy lunch with a Mediterranean touch. It is also a casual elegant lunch dish to make for friends with little effort. Half an hour before you start cooking, marinate the salmon and prepare the couscous ingredients.
It is trendy to cook in front of your friends, 2 or 3 close ones(heard it somewhere). Moreover cooking can make great conversation.  Any friends would love to help with mixing the couscous, while you grill the salmon.

Grilled Black Pepper Salmon with Carrot Couscous Salad
BBC GoodFood 
Serves 2
2 salmon steaks
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp onion powder (omitted)
Juice from 1 lemon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried oregano

For Couscous
1 cup couscous (1/2 cup)
1 cup boiling water (1/2 cup boiling chicken stock)
1 tsp unsalted butter (omitted)
1 medium sized carrots, grated
1 large onion, diced finely (small)
2 cloves garlic minced (1 clove)
1 tsp cumin (1/2 tsp)
2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped finely (1 tbsp)
1 red chilli, sliced finely
1 tbsp freshly grated coconut (1/2 tbsp)
2 tablespoon rasins
1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt


  • Combine all the ingredients for salmon marinade.
  • Marinate the salmon for minimum 30 minutes.
  • Under hot griddle, grill the salmon on both sides until well browned but not charred.
  • 'Prepare the couscous salad. Mix the couscous with hot boiling water, 1/2 tsp salt and butter (boiling chicken stock only)
  • Mix together and leave aside for 15 minutes
  • In a wok, heat the remaining olive oil. Brown the onion, cumin, garlic and chilli. Once the onions are translucent, add in the grated carrots and grated coconut. Cook for a good 5 minutes.
  • Tip in the coriander leaves and raisins cooked couscous. Mix all the ingredients until well combined and season with salt (omitted)
  • Serve the couscous alongside the grilled salmon.

"So that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God".          Colossians 1:10

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Blessed Are The Meek

Do you like Chinese Chicken and Sweet Corn Soup? I do. Some Chinese restaurants serve this with crab meat instead of chicken. You can find chicken and sweetcorn soup on the menu of many Chinese restaurants overseas. Maybe it is the sweet taste of corn that appeals to the westerners or the egg drops in the soup is uniquely Chinese. Whatever it is, the soup is Cantonese and it is delicious and comforting.
I made this soup for two using home made chicken stock. You can of course use ready to use broth. I added my leftover can cream of corn and fresh corns for the soup. I like to add fresh corns for the taste and crunch.  The sliced Chinese mushrooms are for texture and also help to balance the corn sweetness.

Chinese Chicken and Sweet Corn Soup
serve 2
Adapted from mycookinghut
600ml chicken stock
100g chicken breast
2 chinese mushroom, soaked until softened and cut into strips
300g sweet corn kernels
4 tablespoon cream of sweet corn
10g cornflour
1 egg, beaten
1 spring onion, chopped  for garnish
ground white pepper and salt/soy sauce to taste


  • In a saucepan, bring the chicken stock to the boil, add the chicken breast and boil till cooked. Shred chicken breast into thin strips. Skim any scum if any.
  • Add the corn kernels and  chicken strips(reserve some for garnishing) Chinese mushrooms,  and cream corn. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Blend the cornflour with about 2 tablespoon of water, stir into the sauce until the required thickness.
  • Using a fork, stir in circles constantly, pouring in the beaten egg to the soup. Keep stirring until the egg is cooked through and become little strands in the soup. Garnish with chicken strips, and sprinkle sweet corn kernels and chopped spring onions.
Note: Adding the cream of sweet corn gives the soup a creamier and richer corn taste.

The Beatitudes

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5

Meek is defined as gentleness here. It is one of the Fruit of The Spirit. Those who submit to God belong to His kingdom.

This post is linked to little thumbs up 'Corn' hosted by Esther of  Copycake kitchen, organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Mui Mui of My little favorite DIY

Monday, 15 April 2013

Jars of Clay

Crumbs all over. This is what you get when you have made a good shortbread. Four simple basic ingredients which you can easily find in your pantry can turn this into a beautiful buttery melting tea time treats.
But beware, this rose beauty is very light and fragile, be gentle and handle with care!

Rose Shortbread
Adapted from BBC GoodFood

250-g butter, softened
100g caster sugar
1 tablespoon rose water
250g plain flour
100g corn flour
1 heaped tablespoon dried rose petals, washed and dried
1/2 tsp salt
icing sugar, for dusting


  • Put the butter, sugar and rose water in a food processor and whizz until pale and creamy. Add the flour, cornflour, rose petals and salt, and pulse until the mixture clumps together into small pieces. Tip onto a lightly floured work surface and bring the dough together as a ball, but don't overwork it. Roll the dough to a 25 cm circle, about 1 cm thick. Trim around a large plate to give a really neat edge. ?Transfer to a large baking sheet. Use 2 fingers to crimp all the way around the edge of the dough then, using a fork, mark dotted lines to portion the shortbread into 8 wedges. Put the tray in the fridge and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  • Heat oven to 180C. Bake the shortbread for 25 mins until golden and cooked through Leave to cool completely on the tray. To decorate, place a stencil or doily over the shortbread and dust with a generous layer of icing sugar. 

Note: Omit the rose water if prefer original flavor.  If using essence, add 1/2 teaspoon. I rolled the dough a little thicker than 1 cm thick. For denser and firmer shortbread, make into smaller cookies.

Jars of Clay
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all - surpassing power is from God and not from us.  2 Corinthians 4:7

What is this treasure in jars of clay? What is this jars of clay?  This treasure is non other than the Gospel; the rich and invaluable truths to preach to others. We are the jars of clay. A fragile earthen ware which is with chips and cracks. 
This treasure in us has shown its value in sustaining us through many trials and errors. A power which is from God and not from us.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Blessed Are Those Who Mourn

This chowder was inspired by Nigella Express Sweetcorn Chowder with Toasted Tortillas. In the TV episode, the frozen sweetcorn was blended together with the spring onions, garlic and semolina. Then it was cooked on the stove top  with vegetable stock, and served with cheese coated tortilla chips.
My version has no semolina and spring onions, but chopped white onions. I did not blend until smooth because I like some corn texture in my soup. I used flour tortilla toasted with shredded cheddar, a healthier option than the store bought tortilla chips. This naturally thickened creamy soup is very hearty and healthy, with no added salt. I had this soup with Corn, Zucchini and Roasted Tomato Frittata.  Yeah, Thumbs up from me!

Sweetcorn Chowder with Toasted Tortillas
1 big serve

200g frozen corns
200ml vegetable stock, low sodium
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
Ground pepper

Tortilla Chips
I piece tortilla wrap, cut into 8 triangles
Shredded cheddar


  • In a small pot, fry onions and garlic with olive oil for a minute. 
  • Add corns and vegetable stock. Blend the mixture.
  • Bring the blended soup to boil, and let it simmer for a few minutes. Pepper to taste.
  • Bake tortilla in 200C oven for a few minutes until brown and crisp, turn chips over and top with cheese. 
  • When cheese is melting, remove from oven.
  • Ladle soup into serving bowl and put a tortilla chip in the middle, and extra chips at the side for dipping.

The Beatitudes

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4

Those who regret or express grief and sorrow of their sins and who seek Christ in repentance.  It is through their mourning, they are awakened to God.who can comfort and transform them.

This post is linked to Little Thumbs Up 'Corn' hosted by Esther of Copycake kitchen, a blog hop event organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy kids and Mui Mui of My little favorite DIY

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

We are God's Workmanship

 When I was young, my mother would ask me to buy fresh grated coconut from a Malay kampong house.  I always either got confused or forgotten if she wanted skin on or without. It does make a difference to the type of food you are preparing. Generally, if your're making curries, you use grated unskinned coconut for milk, for dessert topping, use skinned grated coconut.
Back in the old days, when my mum made nonya snacks or dishes that need some pandan leaves, banana leaves,blue pea flowers, limes or chillis, she didn't usually buy them, she simply picked them. They were grown wildly everywhere, and so were fruit trees like coconuts, papayas, rambutans, jackfruits and mangoes. There were no ownership. Everybody just picked what they needed. Those were the carefree days when you cook something, you give a bowl each to your neighbors. Nobody locked their gates. Sadly, all these are almost gone in our urbanized concrete city.

As I was passing by some unoccupied old houses under remodeling, I spotted a small blue pea vine with some flowers. Without hesitation, I quickly picked them. There were only seven flowers, but enough for some Pulot Inti, my favorite childhood snack.  I wondered if the new owners will keep the vine.  Most likely not, the wired fence will give way to a high brick wall. Blue Pea flowers bloom within a short time, I am thinking of picking the flowers again to make another kueh. Nurseries do sell blue pea flowers but I enjoy picking them.

Pulot Inti
make 18 small parcels


7 blue pea flowers, washed, soaked in 1/3 cup hot water for 15 minutes.
150g glutinous rice, washed and soaked in blue pea water overnight
2 pandan leaves, knotted
50ml coconut milk
125ml water
1/4 tsp salt
160g palm sugar, roughly chopped
200g grated coconut
Banana leaves, cut into 9cm by 16cm. Steamed for 5 mins.


  • Place the glutinous rice and pandan leaves on a banana leaf and steam for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, rake the rice with a fork and mix in the coconut milk, 50ml water and salt. Set aside for 10 minutes, then steam it for 20 minutes until the rice is soft.
  • Place a mound of rice on the matte side of the banana leaf, top with 1 tablespoon coconut topping, lightly pressing it down with a spoon.
  • Fold in the sides of the banana leaf to enclose the glutinous rice and coconut topping. Tuck in the ends of the banana leaf to a triangular mound.

  • To make the coconut topping, mix 75 ml water, a pandan leaf and palm sugar in a pot. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add the grated coconut and stir fry for 15 minutes over medium heat, until the mixture turns glossy. 

There were some excess coconut topping,  I made another childhood favorite snack, Kueh Dadar.

Kueh Dadar

120g flour
1 egg
300ml coconut milk
1/4 tsp salt
3 tablespoon pandan juice
1 tablespoon corn oil

  • Sieve flour into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and crack in the egg. Slowly stir in the salted coconut milk and 3 tablespoons pandan juice. Set Aside.
  • Heat up a shallow frying pan over a low flame. Pour a small ladle full of the batter in the center and swirl the pan to coat it form a thin crepe of about 13 cm in diameter.
  • When the crepe is cooked, transfer it onto a plate. Place 2 heaped teaspoons of filling and roll it up like a spring roll. 

Homemade kuehs are still the best. They might not be perfect in shapes and sizes, but they are freshly hand made.  There are no preservatives. You can control the sugar level and the flavor just smell so good, so natural, unlike commercial ones. These Pulot Inti are really good. The rice is so soft and fragrant and the sweetness from the coconut is just right and moist too.  Kueh Dadar is quite expensive to buy from a popular nonya shop here. You can easily make them at a fraction of the cost.

God's Workmanship

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance  for us to do".     Ephesians 2:10

The Apostle Paul speaks about spiritual creation in us and we are God's masterpiece. God creates us in Christ and we are not saved by good works but by grace through faith alone. We are saved to perform good works, to the glory of God and benefit of man.

"Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand".                               Isaiah 64:8
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