Thursday, 27 March 2014

I Can Do All Things

I think not many Asians like risotto. It is mushy rice or half cooked rice to them especially when they are used to eating Asian style steamed or boiled rice all their life. The taste bud is not used to the flavour and texture of another type of rice, and this takes time  to adjust.

I remember my first taste of risotto at a Holiday Inn hotel in Rome some thirty years ago. I nearly spat the first spoonful out. I thought it was yucky at that time. I couldn't finish my meal. I also had my first best ministrone and seafood spaghetti there. Back then, those were the two Italian food I usually order. I was very young then and was not adventurous with food.

Now, cook me a risotto anytime and I thank you for it. Risotto is cooked creamy, and not mushy from the liquid absorption of the large grain. You cannot make a risotto using long grain rice, for the flavour and texture will be different.
This is a modified Ina Garten's butternut risotto with saffron,  a risotto alla Milanese  style using saffron.
I cooked one serve with grilled prawns.

Butternut Risotto with Grilled Prawns
Ina Garten
serves 4-6


1 butternut squash 250g
2 tbsp olive oil 1/2 tbsp
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade 300ml vegetable stock
6 tablespoon unsalted butter 20gms
2 ounces pancetta, diced 
1/2 cups minced shallots (2 large) 2 small shallots
1 1/2 cups arborio rice (10 ounces) 1/3 cup
1/2 cup dry white wine 50ml
1 teaspoon saffron thread, a pinch
2 tablespoons grated Butternut squash
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, scatter
4 large grey prawns, shelled and deveined


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  • Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds, and cut it into 3/4 inch cubes. You should have about 6 cups. Place the squash on a sheet pan and toss it with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1.2 tsp pepper.(salt and pepper to taste) Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing once, until very tender. Set aside. 
  • Meanwhile heat the chicken stock in a small covered saucepan. Leave it on low heat to simmer.
  • In a heavy bottomed pot or Dutch pan, melt the butter and saute the pancetta and shallots on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until the shallots are translucent but not browned. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 full ladles of stock to the rice plus saffron, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.(salt and pepper to taste) Stir, and simmer until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes. Continue to add the stock, (add in grated squash), 2 ladles at a time (1 ladle), stirring every few minutes. Each time, cook until the mixture seems a little dry, then add more stock. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, about 30 minutes total. Off the heat, add the roasted squash cubes and Parmesan cheese. Mix well and serve.Serve with grilled prawns

Grilled Prawns

Shelled and deveined prawns. Add a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Grilled on hot pan till cooked.

Linking this post to Cook Like A Star "All Stars Anniversary" organised by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours,
Mich from Piece of Cake and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids.
This is also linked to Little thumbs up "Prawns" hosted by Food Playground, organised by Bake for Happy Kids and My little Favourite DIY

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me Phillipians 4:13

Thursday, 13 March 2014

My Grace Is Sufficient For You

 I am very blessed to have generous friends. Recently I received this bruschetta board from one of them. To make good use of my new gift, I made bruschetta. They are adapted from Jamie Oliver's book Jamie Italy.

Bruschettas are very simple and fast to prepare, The key is as always to use great ingredients for great results. You'll be surprised once you put these into your mouth! This is what you need to do for the dressing.

Loosely adapted from Jamie's Italy


2 slices of bread
small grape tomatoes/egg plant
1 garlic clove
5 leaves of fresh basil leaves
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
pinch of salt
pinch of ground pepper


  • Slice tomatoes and eggplant. 
  • Toss eggplant slices with olive oil and grill on grill pan.
  • Mix the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and minced garlic. Toss tomatoes and grilled eggplant in the mix. Tear basil leaves into thin strips, and mix in. Rest for 10 minutes.
  • Cut the baguette into 4 slices and rub in with a clove of garlic. Toast the bread until it turns golden brown. 
  • Place the tomatoes and eggplant on the toasted bread and garnish with some strips of fresh basil.

This post is linked to Cook Like A Star 'All Star Anniversary'. This is organised by Mich of Piece of Cake,
Zoe, Bake for Happy Kids and Joyce, Kitchen Flavour.

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

For When I Am Weak, Then I Am Strong

I thought I am going to give Bake Along #58 a miss because I will be away this week but the itch to bake is uncontrollable.  After the baking was done, I felt so good as if  I have scratch an itch. Do you have this crazy baking itch?

I never expect this to be fudgy good.  I have baked many brownies, some with cream cheese but never in this way, the Nigella Lawson's way.  Thin slices of  cream cheese are sandwiched between the brownie layers, making these brownie slices so rich and creamy, and not overly sweet like most brownies. It is good enough to eat on its own, you don't need vanilla ice cream.

I gave all away because the family doesn't like cakes. It is usually three quarter to give away and one quarter to keep. Most of the times, that quarter is left forgotten in the fridge. I had a small slice to taste and now wishing I have not done so. Anyway, I can always bake this again when the itch comes..

Cream Cheese Brownies
Adapted from How to Be A Domestic Goddess
16 pieces
8inch square pan (10 x 5 inch)


125g dark chocolate (cadbury 70% dark cocoa)
125g butter
2 eggs, large
200g caster sugar, 150g
1 tsp vanilla extract
75g plain flour cake flour
pinch salt
200g cream cheese, fridge cold and sliced as thinly as possible, 100g


  • Preheat your oven to 180C.
  • Melt the chocolate and butter together in a medium sized saucepan, over a low heat.
  • Meanwhile, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla together in a bowl.
  • When the chocolate had just melted, remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool for a minute or 2 before beating in the egg mixture.
  • Finally fold in the flour and salt.
  • Pour half the mix into your prepared tin, and top with the cream cheese slices.
  • Pour over the rest of the chocolate mixture, spreading it around a bit to ensure all the cream cheese is covered.
  • Bake for 20-25, (20 min) after which time the top should look a bit paler and dry but there should still be some squidge beneath.
  • Leave to cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into squares.

This post is linked to Bake Along #58 hosted by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours, Lena from
Frozen Wings and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids. This is also linked to 'Cook Like A Star', hosted by Mich of Piece of Cake, Joyce, Kitchen flavours and Zoe, Bake for Happy kids.

That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10

Our faith grows strong during trials. Paul delighted in his trials and persecutions  because his faith is increased in this burden of hardship he suffered for Christ.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Hope In Christ

This is my second time cooking a Moroccan dish. My first Moroccan dish was Moroccan Chicken and I cooked it in a tajine on a stove top. However, this time I am not using a tajine pot to cook but to serve. My tajine pot is quite small and I am cooking this dish for 6. This is Beef Tajine, a recipe from Jamie Oliver.

This dish is very tasty and I like it very much because it is not heavily spiced like most Moroccan dishes. I like the chickpeas,prunes and squash in this dish, making it sweet and savoury. If you do not like prunes and squash, you can always omit them or replace with apricots, and other vegetables like courgettes,turnips or potatoes.

Moroccans like couscous and flatbreads with their mains, and for this beef tajine, I made flatbreads to scoop up the deliciously rich gravy. These flatbreads are also from Jamie;s and they are perfect combination with the beef tajine.

Beef Tajine
Jamie Oliver
serves 4-6


600g quality stewing beef (shin)
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 small bunch of fresh coriander
400g tinned chickpeas, drained
400g chopped tomatoes
800ml organic vegetable stock
1 small squash, approximately 800g, deseeded and cut into 5 cm chunks (butternut)
100g prunes, stoned and roughly torn
2 tablespoons flake almonds, toasted

For the spice rub
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 level tablespoon ras el hanout*
1 level tablespoon ground cumin
1 level tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 level ground ginger
1 level tablespoon sweet paprika


  • Mix all the spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Put the beef into a large bowl, massage it with the spice rub, then cover with cling film and put into the fridge for a couple of hours - ideally overnight - that way the spices really penetrate and flavour the meat.
  • When you're ready to cook, heat a generous lug of olive oil in a tagine or casserole - type pan and fry the meat over a medium heat for 5 minutes.
  • Add your chopped onion and coriander stalks and fry for another 5 minutes.
  • Tip in the chickpeas and tomatoes, then pour in 400ml of stock and stir. Bring to the boil, then put the lid on the pan or cover with foil and reduce to a simmer for 1 1/2 hours.(2 hours)
  • At this point, add your squash, the prunes and the rest of the stock. Give everything a gently stir, then pop the lid back on the pan and continue cooking for another 1 1/2 hours (1 hour). Keep an eye on it and splash of water if it looks too dry.
  • Once the time is up, take the lid off and check the consistency. If it seems a bit too runny, simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, more with the lid off. The beef should be really tender and flaking apart now, so have a taste and season with a pinch or two of salt.
  • Scatter the coriander leaves over the tagine along with the toasted almonds, then take it straight to the table with a big bowl of lightly seasoned couscous and dive in. (flatbread)
*Ras el hanout (Arabic for "top of the shop") is a blend of the best spices a vendor has in his shop. The mixture varies depending on who is selling it, but can be a combination of anywhere from 10 to 100 spices. It usually includes nutmeg,cinnamon,mace,aniseed,turmeric,cayenne,peppercorns,dried galangal,ginger,cloves,cardamom,chilli,allspice and orris root.

Linking this post to Cook Like A Star "All Stars Anniversary" hosted by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours,
Zoe from Bake For Happy Kids and Mich from Piece Of Cake.

Three times I was beaten with rods once I was pelted with stones, three time I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea. 2 Corinthians 11:25

The apostle Paul had many pains and persecutions, but he also had much joy and hope.  He had hope and confidence in Christ knowing that he is saved and God would bring his redeeming work to completion.

If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. 
1 Corinthians 15:19

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Obedient To The Faith

Some may say Delia Smith's recipes are too dated, but I rather think most of her recipes are classics with a big C for Comfort. This tart is one. It is a perennial favourite of mushroom lovers, and is versatile to eat warm or cold, for breakfast, brunch or as an appetizer. The filling of this tart in her recipe is a mixture of dried porcini and mixed mushrooms but here I used dried poricni and cremini mushrooms.

Dried porcini has a fragrant mushroomy aroma and adds wondrous grace to this tartlet. I like the added parmesan in the tart shell too, and that gives the tart a nice savoury base.

Baked Eggs In Wild Mushroom Tartlets
Delia Smith
makes 6

For the pastry
75g soft butter
175 plain flour, sifted
40g Parmesan, finely grated

For the filling
6 large eggs
25g dried porcini
175g open cap mushrooms
175g chestnut mushrooms
75g butter
2 small red onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic,chopped
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 heaped tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
25g Parmesan, finely grated, for sprinkling over the tarts
sea salt and freshly milled black pepper


  • Begin by placing the porcini in a bowl. Pour 200ml boiling water over them and leave to soak for 30 minutes.
  • Now make the pastry. this can easily be done in a processor or by rubbing the butter into the flour and stirring in the grated Parmesan and sufficient cold water (about 3 tablespoons) to mix to a soft but firm dough. Place the dough in a plastic bag and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest. this pastry will need a little more water than usual as the cheese absorbs some of it.
  • For the filling, heat 50g of the butter in a heavy=based frying pan, add the onions and garlic and fry until they are soft and almost transparent (about 15 minutes). While that's happening, finely chop the chestnut and open-cap mushrooms. When the porcini have had their 30 minutes'soaking, place a sieve over a bowl and strain them into it, pressing to release the moisture. You can reserve the soaking liquid and freeze it for stocks or sauces if you don't want to throw it out. Then chop the porcini finely and transfer them with the other mushrooms to the pan containing the onions. Add the remaining 25g of butter, season and cook till the juices of the mushrooms run, then add the lemon juice and parsley.
  • Raise the heat slightly and cook the mushrooms without a lid, stirring from time to time to prevent them sticking, until all the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is of a spreadable consistency. This will take about 25 minutes. While the mushrooms are cooking, pre-heat the oven to 200C.
  • Now roll out the pastry to a thickness of 1/8 inch and cut out 6 rounds, re-rolling the pastry if necessary. Grease the tins with a little melted butter and line each tin with the pastry, pushing it down from the top the pastry will not shrink while cooking. Trim any surplus pastry from around the top and prick the bask with a fork. Now leave this in the fridge for a few minutes until the oven is up to temperature.
  • Now, place the tins on a solid baking sheet and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is golden and crisp. Remove them from the oven and reduce the temperature to 180C.
  • Divide the filling between the tarts, making a well in the centre with the back of a spoon. Then break an egg into a saucer or a small ramekin, slip it into the tart and scatter a little Parmesan over the top.'
  • Repeat the process with the other five tarts and return them to the oven for 12-15 minutes until they are just set and the yolks are still soft and creamy.
Serve straight away, because if they wait around the eggs will go on cooking.

Note: I made 2 tarts, froze one shell and made 1 portion of the filling..

Linking this post to Cook Like A Star, "All Stars Anniversary" hosted by Joyce, Kitchen flavours,
Zoe, Bake for Happy Kids and Mich, Piece of Cake.

........obedient to the faith. 

Monday, 3 March 2014

To Live Is Christ

I love everything about Jamie Oliver. I love his food, I love his books, I love his shows and I love his mission. Food Revolution is Jamie Oliver's mission of changing the way we eat. He wants more people to eat less processed food, and to get back to the kitchen to cook fresh food for ourselves and family. This, I am sure you'll agree with me is also the mission and love of all food bloggers here to cook and enjoy healthy,fresh good food with their loved ones at home.

To teach people to save and cook healthily, Jamie Oliver also set up a home cooking skill course for people who want to learn to cook great food. I have found an amazing recipe there and have shared this with so many of my friends. All of them love it too and have also shared with their friends.

This is another recipe from the website which I think everyone should try. Easy Flatbread is so fast and easy to do. There is hardly any kneading, and absolutely no proofing at all! Best of all, you can make and freeze them ready to eat anytime. I made this to go with hummus dip and beef tajine.

Easy Flatbreads
Jamie's home cooking skills
Makes 12

500g self-raising flour, plus a little extra for dusting
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
500g natural yoghurt


  • Put dough in a food processor but you could do it by hand.
  • Out all of the flatbread ingredients into your food processor and pulse until you have a dough.
  • If the dough's a little wet still, you may need to add another sprinkling of flour.
  • Tip the dough out onto your work surface and dust with a little flour
  • Knead the dough for a minute or so to bring it together.
  • Divide the dough into about 12 equal-sized pieces.

  • Dust a rolling pin with flour then roll the pieces of dough out into side.plate -sized rounds.
  • Stack them between small sheets of greaseproof paper next to the hob ready to cook.
  • Put a griddle pan on a high heat to get nice and hot.

  • Once it's really hot, cook each flatbread for a couple of minutes per side, until slightly puffy and lightly charred - you'll need to do this in batches.
Serve as they are as a side or with something lovely for dunking like home-made pesto or guacamole. You can freeze any leftover flatbreads, simply defrost thoroughly and warm through in the oven wrapped in foil or lightly re-toast them in a pan before tucking in.
These flatbreads are so good that I made them twice. The first time with Hummus Dip and the second time with beef tajine.

Flatbread with Hummus Dip

Flatbread with Beef Tajine

This post is linked to Cook Like A Star, All Star Anniversary. Hosted by Joyce, Kitchen Flavour,
Mich, Piece of Cake and Zoe, Bake For Happy Kids

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21

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