Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Banana Cake

Most home bakers would store a list of stuff that they plan to bake, and for me, banana cake has been one of the items that I have been wanting to bake. 

This was an impromptu bake. We had nothing for breakfast the next day and I bought a bunch of really ripe Del Monte bananas and got down to bake the cake after getting home from work.  Finally tried and got it off my "to-bake" list.

Hubby gave me a thumb's up after he tried the cake!  It was really yummy and this recipe by Wen's Delight was really good.  Cake was soft and moist.  All the banana cake lovers should really give this recipe a try.  

Banana Cake
Recipe by Wen's Delight (I made some variations to the original recipe)

2.5-3 Eggs (Room temp - Approx 150g) - I used 3 eggs and it weighed 160g
130g Sugar (Reduced, original-150g) - I used 110g

200g Banana (Ripe & cut into small pcs) - I mashed it with a fork
150g Top Flour (or plain flour/superlite flour/cake flour)
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp Baking soda
100g Corn oil (or any vegetable oil except olive oil, if prefer richer flavour replace with melted butter but it may cover the banana fragrant)
1/8 tsp Banana essense (optional)

Preheat oven to 160 degree C.
Grease & line a 8" round tin with paper.

I mashed the bananas with a fork.

1. Sieve flour, baking powder & soda together. Sieve twice & set aside.
2. Whisk eggs, sugar & banana at max. speed till stiff/ribbon stage. (For Kenwood Chef - approx 10-13mins)

3. Fold in flour & mix well. (Can use spatular or hand to mix)
4. Add in oil & mix well till batter is shiny & flowing.


5. Bake for 40 - 45min.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Popcorn Chicken with Pineapple Cubes & Onions in Tomato-Chilli Sauce

Who would have thought of making a sweet and sour pork-like dish in all under 30 minutes? Mum taught me this - the easy and fast (not forgetting lazy!) way is replacing pork with frozen popcorn chicken.  Airfry them and coat them with the sweet and sour or spicy sauce that you have prepped and heated up and you get the dish served in no time.

Easy. No fuss and yummy.  We have got a can of pineapple and some onions, so I bought a pack of popcorn chicken and churned up this dish.  It went so well with rice.  Kiddos will love this too :)

Popcorn Chicken with Pineapple Cubes & Onions in Tomato-Chilli Sauce
(Serve 2 to 3)

200g popcorn chicken
1 large onion, cubed
3 or 4 slices of canned pineapple, cubed
1.5 tbsp oil

3 tbsp tomato sauce
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce (optional)
1/2 tbsp sugar (do taste test and add more sugar according to taste)
1 tbsp water

1. Preheat airfryer for 8min at 200deg C.
2. Place frozen popcorn chicken into airfryer basket and put to airfry at 200deg C for first 7min then 180deg C for another 5 to 7 min till light golden brown and crispy.

3. In a pan, heat oil and add in onion cubes. Saute onions till fragrant then add in pineapple cubes and stir fry for about 30sec. Add in tomato sauce, sweet chilli sauce, water and sugar and stir to mix well. Let sauce come to a boil. Do taste test. Add more sugar if preferred, more water if a thinner consistency if preferred.
4. Place airfried popcorn chicken into sauce pot and mix well to coat sauce evenly.  Dish out and serve immediately.

Note: You may add cubed capsicums and cucumbers if you prefer more crunch and colour to this dish.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Spicy Prawn Pasta

Another pasta dish and I hope you aren't too sick of seeing this :P

Mum came over my place last week to accompany me while Hubby was out of town and I cooked this simple prawn pasta for Mum. Was not a big feast but I was glad Mum gave me the thumbs' up :)  Definitely enjoyed the 2 days spent with just my Mama alone.  Love cooking for my family and bonding with my family over food. ♡♡♡

Spicy Prawn Pasta
260 to 280g pasta of your choice
8 pcs of big tiger prawns / shrimps
5 garlic, minced
1 medium onion, half of it minced and the other half sliced thinly (you may mince the whole onion if preferred)
2 to 3 red chilli, cut and remove seeds (if you preferred a milder level of spiciness)
1/2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp dried parsely or italian herbs
Black pepper (optional)

1. Add salt into a pot of water and bring to boil. Add spaghetti and cook til al dente, about 8min or plus 2 or 3 more minutes if prefer a less firm texture (or follow the pasta packaging directions)
2. When spaghetti is cooked, retain about half a cup of salt water and drain the rest, then set drained spaghetti aside.
3. Heat 1/2 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan.
4. Add in minced garlic, all onions and chilli padi bits and stir fry till fragrant, onions to be slight translucent. Do not allow garlic to brown.
5. Add in prawns/shrimps and stir fry till prawns is half cooked.
6. Spoon in 5 or 6 tbsp of tomato pasta sauce and stir to mix well with all ingredients. Allow sauce to come to a boil on medium heat.
7. Add in 2 tbsp salted pasta water and mix well, then do a taste test. Add in dried parsley and dash of black pepper. Mix well.
8. Place in drained spaghetti and do a quick stir to coat spaghetti with sauce. Dish out and serve immediately.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Spicy Basil Minced Pork with Fried Egg & Rice

On days when the cooking mood kicks in, my hubby will take over a lunch or dinner slot and cook me a yummy meal. Some weeks back, he cooked me a plate of spicy basil minced pork with fried egg over a plate of hot plain rice. It was fantastically yummy! The minced pork was juicy, tender  (and sooo spicy!) and fragrant! Oh and the egg was fried till just right, the way I like it, not too fry yet crispy on the sides of the whites and yolk still runny when pricked.

I thought this gotta be put down in my blog to share with all, and so here it is.  I am gonna request for Hubby to cook me this again!  He's gonna feel real flattered :P

Recipe by Eating Thai Food 
(Slight changes were made to suit our preference)

For the egg
  • 1 egg (we used 2 eggs)
  • 2 tablespoons of oil for frying
Basil chicken
  • 1 chicken breast (or any other cut of boneless chicken, about 200 grams) - we used minced pork instead
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 4 Thai chilies (we used chilli padi)
  • 1 tablespoon oil for frying
  • 1 teaspoon of oyster sauce
  • ½ teaspoon light soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 splash of dark soy sauce
  • 1 handful of Thai holy basil leaves
(Hubby marinated the minced pork a night before with half tsp sesame, light sauce sauce 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce, a dash of pepper and threw in some basil leaves) - marinating the meat made it tastier but of course you may skip this marinate step if preferred but and just stir fry your meat with the above condiments.)

First, fry the egg
  1. Heat about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a wok or frying pan on high-medium heat.
  2. When the oil is hot and sizzling, drop in the egg. Let it sizzle and bubble up, and at the same time, splash some of the hot oil onto the top of the egg (don't flip the egg, unless you really want to).
  3. After the egg looks about right to your cooked likeness (I like mine runny), take it out, drain the excess oil, and put it on a plate for later.
Basil chicken
  1. Cut the chicken into small bite sized pieces.
  2. Rinse and peel the garlic and chilies, and pound them in a mortar and pestle (alternatively you can just mince them with a knife). They don't need to be super fine, you just want to bring out the oils and flavors from the garlic and chilies.
  3. Pluck a good sized handful of holy basil leaves off the stems.
  4. Now it's time to start cooking. Heat your wok on high heat, and add about 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan.
  5. When the oil is hot, add the chilies and garlic. Stir fry them for about 20 seconds or so until they get really fragrant, but don't let them burn or get too dry.
  6. Toss in your chicken. Keep stir frying continuously. At this stage you want to continue to stir and cook your chicken until it's just about fully cooked all the way through (depending on the size pieces of chicken and how hot your fire is, it should take about 2 - 3 minutes). If it starts to get dry, add just a tiny splash of water.
  7. Add 1 teaspoon of oyster sauce, ½ teaspoon light soy sauce, ½ teaspoon sugar, and finally a splash of dark soy sauce. Keep stir frying for about another 30 seconds.
  8. Grab a handful of holy basil, toss it into the pan, fold it into the chicken, and then immediately turn off the heat (if you're using an electric stove, you'll want to remove the pan from the burner). The holy basil really only needs to cook for about 5 seconds, and it will continue to wilt and cook from the existing heat of the chicken. This step is important because if you cook the basil for too long, it loses some of its glorious flavor and gets slightly chewy.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Mushroom Spaghetti

Not sure what's wrong with me, I did not use to like eating spaghetti but of late, I have been looking forward to cooking and eating spaghetti. Was surfing the net for some yummy spaghetti recipes and I found a yummy recipe by Noob Cook. Cooked it and love it.

If you love spaghetti, and you love mushrooms, you will love this mushroom spaghetti.

Mushroom Spaghetti

Recipe by Noob Cook

  • 2 servings of spaghetti or your favourite pasta about 140-160grams
  • 200 grams fresh button or favourite mushrooms stalks discarded and caps sliced thinly
  • 10 cloves garlic peeled and sliced thinly
  • 4 tbsp olive oil divided
  • 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes (or substitute with finely chopped chilli padi)
  • 20 grams butter cubed
  • 20 grams Italian flat-leaf parsley finely chopped
  • sea salt to taste
  • freshly cracked black pepper to taste

  1. Bring a pot of water with 1 tbsp sea salt to a boil. Cook spaghetti until al dente (usually 2-3 minutes minus the recommended time). Drain and set aside the pasta, reserving a small cup of the pasta water.
  2. Heat saucepan with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add mushrooms, a pinch of salt and black pepper. Stir fry or saute until cooked, about 3 minutes. Set aside cooked mushrooms on a plate.
  3. Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in the same pan, add garlic and chilli padi/chilli flakes (if using). Saute the garlic until it starts to turn light golden brown.
  4. Turn off the stove. The garlic will continue cooking in the hot oil on its own for a few more seconds in the hot oil, until they turn a lovely golden brown. Melt cubed butter in the garlic & oil mixture.
  5. Add cooked pasta, chopped parsley, cooked mushrooms, sea salt and black pepper (to taste). Toss to coat all the ingredients evenly, adding some reserved pasta water to help the ingredients bind together.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Ground Beef Pizza with Capsicum & Cherry Tomatoes

Pizzas for dinner again after awhile.  I had my sis and BIL over for a casual dinner and treated them to some homemade pizzas.

The usual suspect, our favourite hawaiian pizza was surely one of the 2 pizzas served, and the 2nd being a ground beef pizza which I have always wanted to try and make :)

I topped it with some capsicums and cherry tomatoes that I have and made a colourful looking (IMO :P) ground beef pizza with capsicum and cherry tomatoes.  It was not too bad for a first try. Will add in some cut red chillies into the ground beef during the quick stir fry the next time and that should bring up the yummy level.

Ground Beef Pizza with Capsicum & Cherry Tomatoes

200g ground beef
1 tbsp olive oil
A dash of salt
A dash of pepper
1 quarter yellow capsicum (sliced thinly)
4 cherry tomatoes (sliced thinly)
Half brown / yellow onion (sliced thinly)

1. Season ground beef with some black pepper and salt.
2. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan and do a quick stir fry of the beef to let it be half cooked, adding in more salt and black pepper if desired. Loosen up the beef pieces with your spatula. Set aside.

Crispy Thin Crust Pizza dough

(Makes 2 12-inch pizza dough)

1 pkg (.25 oz) Active Dry Yeast (7g)
¼ tsp Sugar
¾ Cup Warm Water (170g)
1 ¾ Cups All Purpose Flour (224g)
½ tsp Salt
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

*tomato pasta sauce or tomato puree

***Shredded Mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, Cheddar cheese (and Gouda cheese if preferred)

1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 8 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, combine all purpose flour, salt, olive oil.
3. Add the yeast mixture.
4. Add well.
5. Turn dough onto a floured surface. Knead for 2 minutes. (If doing this base ahead of your party, cover dough in bowl with cling wrap and set it in the fridge till about 30min before you are ready to add toppings, let dough return to room temperature and punch out excess air and proceed with step 7)
6. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
7. Using a rolling pin, roll dough into a 12” circle.

8. Place one rolled dough on pizza pan, spread a thin layer of pasta sauce over one pizza base and put to bake for 10min at 230deg.
9. Spread a thicker layer of pasta sauce over half baked bread dough, leaving about 1.5cm of sides plain, add half cooked ground beef followed by a thick layer of cheese all over, and finally lay aliced cherry tomatoes and capsicums on cheese.

10. Bake at 500 Degree F (I baked at 230deg C for 25min) for 10 - 15 minutes or till done.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Orange Chiffon Cake

A light and citrusy cake after all the heavy and sinful meals of these 2 weeks of festive holiday celebrations. Here we are, ushered into the brand new 2016.  2015 wasn't too bad for me, and I hope this new year will be a better one for me, of cuz for my hubby, my family and everyone! 

No. Don't be mistaken. I aren't on a chiffon craze. It just so happened that I have some oranges on hands and I wanted to bake something simple for breakfast, hence this chiffon cake came along.

Using the zests of oranges and freshly squeezed orange juice, you can expect a zesty orange chiffon cake.  I haved baked this several times and orange chiffon cakes never disappoints!

I always enjoy peeping into my oven and see how my chiffon cake "grows" and fluff up into a pillowy soft whole chiffon cake!

Finally some wait and my orange chiffon cake is finally cooled, unmoulded and ready to be tasted!!!

An effortless deco using my home grown mint leaves to spruce up the otherwise plain chiffon photo.

I love how the kitchen is filled with the orangey aroma halfway through the baking.  That almost always get me excited and can never wait to cool it down, unmould and slice a piece of that zesty chiffon to taste.  It really makes a yummy tea time treat.

Orange Chiffon Cake
Bakes in a 21cm chiffon tube pan

Egg Yolk mixture
5 egg yolks
75ml olive oil 
30 g castor sugar
115g plain flour
95ml fresh orange juice 
Zest from 2 oranges

Egg white mixture

5 egg whites
70g castor sugar

  1. Preheat your oven to 160deg C.
  2. Sift plain flour and set aside. 
  3. Combine egg yolks, olive oil, fresh orange juice and sugar and mix well.
  4. Add in sifted plain flour into the mixture and mix well till no lumps. Mix in orange zest. Set aside.
  5. Beat egg whites till frothy and add in castor sugar in 3 additions, beat well in between each addition. At the last portion of sugar addition, beat egg whites till stiff peaks.
  6. Spoon 1/3 of egg whites into the egg yolk mixture and fold in gently till no whiteixture is visible, taking care not to deflate the mixture.
  7. Add in remaining half of white mixture and continue to fold in, repeat with last portion of egg white mixture.
  8. Pour mixture into chiffon pan. Drop pan twice on tabletop to get air bubbles dissipate from mixture. 
  9. Put to bake at 160deg C for 1 hour or till done. To check done-ness, insert toothpick into cake centre, cake is done when toothpick comes out clean with no sticky batter.
  10. Remove and invert chiffon pan to allow cake to cool before removing to slice.