have you ever had this nagging feeling of what to cook whenever a festive season is around the corner? what mood do i want to create? i want it to be different but not too overwhelming for my guests....who am i inviting? what is the occasion? are they adults or children? big eaters or mousy eaters? well there is room for everyone... read on.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all my faithful readers! silent and non-silent. I have officially moved to my new virtual kitchen. Follow me to http://www.audreycooks.com to enjoy more of my heart-warming recipes!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Gingerbread Men and Women

"Christmas isn't Christmas till it happens in your heart, Somewhere deep inside you is where Christmas really starts, So give your heart to Jesus you'll discover when you do,
That it's Christmas, really Christmas for you." I love this Christmas carol, so heart warming and meaningful for me. Christmas is not about Christmas trees, Santa Claus, merry-making, loads of presents etc... but all about Jesus, it is not X'mas but Christmas. Christmas tradition accummulated through the centuries, some are meaningful, some are not, some are plainly money-making schemes. As for me, Christmas is very special not because I have a good reason to cook but I look forward to spend precious holiday time with family and friends, especially those so dear to my heart. One of those traditions I hold so very dear to my heart is time spent making Christmas cookies and gingerbread men. Don't ask me why ... it's just me.

If you have seen my earlier post, I conducted 2 workshops on this Christmas cookie and Gingerbread men. I have the recipe posted below as a Christmas gift to all of you! Try it next year cos the children in my workshop could make them ... I am certain you can too.

You'll be surprise how long you can keep these little tough men. They can be consumed up to 1 month if kept in an airtight container in the fridge. A wonderful treat with piping hot coffee in the morning after a peaceful night rest.

Home-made Gingerbread Men (20 pcs - 12cm cutter) 125 gm unsalted butter (room temperature) 60 gm brown sugar 90 gm mollasses or golden syrup 1 egg 300 gm all-purpose flour 2 Tbsp ground ginger and 1 tsp soda bicarbonate 1. Preheat oven at 180 degree celsius. 2. Beat butter, sugar and syrup till light and creamy. 3. Add egg. 4. Sieve flour into the butter mixture and knead 2 minutes. 5. Take out and shape into a flat dough. 6. Cling wrap the dough and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes. 7. Take out and put dough in between 2 pieces of greaseproof paper and roll into desired thickness. 8. Cut into gingerbread man shape and transfer onto baking sheets. 9. Bake for 8 minutes or until slightly brown. Icing 1 egg white 280 gm icing sugar (sifted) 1. Wash and dry mixing bowl to remove any oil. 2. Beat egg white with a fork until foamy. 3. Add icing sugar in gradually. 4. Beat till icing stand in soft peaks. 5. Divide into bowls. 6. Pipe using disposable paper piping bags.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Christmas Dinner for Six

I usually don't get to do a comfy cosy sit down dinner during festive seasons but this is a very unusual occassion. Someone did not manage to defrost 14 XXL size prawns for the Christmas day BBQ which actually turned out to be a wonderful blessing for tonite's six!
Such large prawns deserve to be eaten at its fullest of flavour which happens to be grilled and seasoned with sprinkles of sea salt. In this case, I just grilled them on my pan-grill which saved a lot of time. If you want them to look stiff and straight, just soak some fine bamboo sticks (or satay sticks) in some water for 1 hour and poke it through the prawn from the rear and out of the head before leaving it to grill. As I said, I wanted a quick, without hassle type of sit-down dinner, so no fancy stuff. Just leave them on the pan-grill for about 2 minutes each side. When almost done, sprinkle sea salt on them and serve on a platter. That's the main dish!

Appetiser was stuffed portobello mushrooms, grilled in the oven for 10 minutes at 170 degree celsius. Easy to make and delicious to gobble.... Just use a small vegetable brush or a new toothbrush to brush away the dirt on the mushrooms. Cut off the stem slightly and place them with the stem facing up (like a shallow bowl). Fill the mushroom with finely diced yellow capsicum, zucchini, tomatoes, bacon or ham and topped with some shreaded cheddar and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with a little sea salt, a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and pop them in the oven and before you know it, it's ready! Note : Do not rinse portobello mushrooms, it will spoil the taste.

Brussel Sprouts seems to be great idea for tonite's meal, maybe the fibre will scrap down all the cholesterol in the prawns. Wishful thinking. Trim off the bottom part of the stem. Blanche the sprouts and leave aside. Heat a pan, drizzle some grapeseed oil and saute some bacon chips or in this case some chicken ham. Put all the sprouts into the pan and saute for a good 2 minutes, season with sea salt and a dash of white wine.

As for the carbo, an interesting nutty flavoured bread and butter pudding seem appropriate. First, slice one and half sticks of french loaf and arrange them slightly slanted on a oven proof dish. Butter in between slices and throw in some hazelnuts and baby almond (raisins optional). In a litre jug, crack 4 farm fresh eggs, a can of evaporated milk and 250ml fresh milk. Stir mixture together and pour onto the bread slices gently, making sure liquid is pour over every slice of bread. Pop it into the oven marked 160 degree celsius for 15 minutes then sprinkle some demerara sugar over the pudding and drizzle 2 scoops of brandy over it. Pop it back into the oven for another 5 minutes. Cover with aluminium foil if your pudding starts to brown too much. Take out from the oven and sprinkle another tablespoon of sugar and 1 more scoop of brandy. Pudding ready to be served. Note : this pudding has a crispy top layer unlike some other soft spongy bread pudding.

As for dessert, the wonderful christmas cupcake was served. Will post later!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

It's Christmas Time!

It's that time of the year again! a time of joy, a time of sharing, a time for christmas baking. This year, I have a rather different approach, instead of the usual non-stop baking of christmas fruit cakes, I decided to share my Christmas baking joy in a couple of Christmas Cookie making workshops in my neighbourhood ingredient bakeshop. The joy of being able to share is so much greater than the joy of just making them yourself. I conducted a "Parent - Child " and "Children Bakeshop", where I taught them kitchen discipline, the making of cookie doughs, baking them and frosting. They loved it and most importantly I loved it. I would not have traded it for anything in the world, to see the joy on their little faces and the truimphant outcome when the cookies were iced and frosted to little kids perfection, not to mention, the adults did me just as proud!

Here's a "Parent and Child" busy with the creative side of baking!

An adult participant cookie decoration.

Christmas cookies and Gingerbread men all rolled and cut-out by my wonderful participants!

A 14 year old girl did this and pretty isn't it!

This is the work of an 8 year old.

Creativity oozing out from a 9 year old with her 5 year old sister.

Another batch of cookies baked to perfection waiting to cool for icing. Had to say even the boys, all six of them did their parents proud! Would love to have more posts coming but my notebook is still being fixed in the hospital so I am using someone else terminal. For those of you who left messages and comments, I will get to them in due time. My sincere apologies! When the goin gets tough, the tough gets goin!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Vanilla Rosettes Cupcakes

I made this sometime ago using a very basic buttercake recipe. I forgot exactly how many cupcakes this recipe yields, maybe 40 regular ones. Ingredients 250 gm unsalted butter 150 gm castor sugar 2 tsp vanilla essence 6 eggs (room temperature) 200 ml fresh milk 450 gm all purpose flour 2 tsp baking powder
  1. Heat oven at 180 degree celcius.
  2. Sieve flour, baking powder together in a bowl.
  3. Cream butter until light and add sugar, beat till it turns a shade lighter and sugar combined.
  4. Add vanilla and an egg at a 30 seconds interval, alternate with 2 scoops of flour mixture.
  5. Pour in milk, alternating with the rest of the flour mixture.
  6. Pour batter into cupcake liners or cups. Fill only half full.
  7. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, till cake skewer comes out clean.
  8. Cool completely before icing with vanilla buttercream frosting.
Recipe for frosting 125 gm butter (room temperature) 500 gm icing sugar a little milk 2 tsp vanilla essence
  1. Beat all the ingredients together taking great care not to add too much milk.
  2. Consistency must be soft and creamy but does not drop off from the spoon.
  3. Pipe using a medium size star nozzle.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Yes, I Am Still Here (Sigh!)

I guess you are probably wondering why I am still here since I predicted I'll be moving to my new domain this week. Wonder no more ... I am still here in blogspot ... this time I predict I'll be here for a while cos my darling laptop has to be admitted to computer hospital. My poor darling is very ill! or maybe it needs to get acquainted with my new virtual kitchen. The list goes on ... On a chirpier note, I managed to cook a little, nothing too elaborate since my house is still in the mist of very dusty renovation. Aglio Olio pasta was high on my list. Aglio Olio simply means garlic, oil and chili. Sounds easy? Recipe serves 3. 300 gm wholemeal spaghetti
Boil some water and put in the spaghetti, add 1/2 tsp salt and cook pasta to your desired choice. Strain and run under cool water for an 'al dente' texture.
120 ml olive oil
5 cloves garlic (chopped finely)
2 fresh red chilis (chopped finely) or can be substituted with chili flakes
4 Tbsp chopped parsley (sprinkle a little water while chopping, keeps the chopped parsley together)
some julienne carrots (optional) - blanche in boiling water
  1. Heat oil in a saucepan, add garlic and chili.
  2. Garlic should only be slighly brown, take off from heat.
  3. Toss in cooked pasta and parsley.
  4. Season with sea salt and crushed black pepper.
  5. Garnish with julienne of carrots and parmesan, if desired. (Parmesan is a no, no for me)
  6. Because this pasta is so simple, the use of good quality ingredients is highly encouraged.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Clear Fish Noodle Soup

Past 2 weeks have been a little unmanageable, too many things happening at the same time. Next week, I will be moving to audreycooks.com and hopefully all of you will follow me there for more recipes from "somewhere in my kitchen". I have really miss posting regularly and I hope to make up for it soon.
Lately, it has been raining 'cats and dogs' in the afternoons and I though this is suppose to be dry season. Obviously I made the wrong choice to renovate my home during this time. Anyway, what's done cannot be undone, just have to wait it out!
Whenever it rains, I crave for soupy stuffs, wonder you guys feel the same? Today, 'clear fish noodle soup' seems to ignite a growl in my tummy.

Fish Stock 2 thumb size old ginger (washed and smashed) 500 gm fish bones 2 litres filtered water

  1. Heat a saucepan and add some olive oil.
  2. Fry ginger and fish bones until fragrant.
  3. Add water and bring to boil for 15 minutes. Simmer for 30 minutes and leave to cool.
  4. Drain stock.
Ingredients Fish slices (freeze the fish for 30 minutes before slicing - easier) Julienne of ginger Tofu garlic oil tong hoe or coriander leaves spring onions (chopped) Rice noodles (blanche in boiling water for 5 minutes, drain)
  1. Put blanche rice noodles (bee hoon) in a serving bowl.
  2. Scoop some fish stock into a small saucepan, bring to boil.
  3. Put in the ginger, tofu, fish slices and vegetable of your choice.
  4. Let it boil for 2 - 3 minutes, season with a little sea salt.
  5. Pour over rice noodles in the serving bowl.
  6. Garnish with lots of garlic oil, white pepper and spring onions.
  7. Serve with a small sauce plate of chopped chilies with soya sauce.
About Me  
I'm Audrey from Somewhere in my kitchen, Malaysia.

My profile

Bake Stuff
Breakfast Choice
Mealtime Recipes
Celebration Food
Herbal Remedies
Confinement Recipe Journal