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.

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.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Regular Home-cooked Chinese Meal (con't)

Sometimes, blogspot gives me strange problems. I posted my earlier draft post and went for a break and found out that it refuse to let me continue downloading photos for this 3rd dish. Besides that, my numbering goes wild. I wander if you guys out there come across the same problem? Ah! just bear with it a little while longer, Audrey.

Stir-fry Scallops with Baby Kai Lan

1 packet of fresh scallops (600 gms, rinsed and pat dry), 1 bunch of baby kai lan (rinsed and leaves plucked), 3 Tbsp oyster sauce, 2 cloves garlic (chopped), olive oil, black pepper.

  1. Pre-blanche baby kai lan and arrange on the serving plate.
  2. Heat wok and drizzle with olive oil.
  3. In goes chopped garlic, oyster sauce and scallops. Fry till scallops turns a little burnt at the sides would be good.
  4. Add a little hot water and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour onto the bed of kai lan.
  5. A little black pepper over it and serve.

A Regular Home-cooked Chinese Meal

Occassionally, I get this strange nagging feeling that I should be using chopsticks and rice bowls for a nice warm comfortable sit down meal instead of the regular one pot, one plate or even the economy rice-styled kind of 'everything on a plate thingy'. Life can be so hectic at times until there is no time to savour the lovely dishes cooked.
Today is not that type of day, I simply won't allow it! A little chinese setting dinner seems so invitingly heart warming with a pot of hot chinese oolong tea warming up the dining table corner. Just 3 simple dishes cooked with love and placed attractively on the table, surrounded by a few well decorated bowls of steaming white fluffy basmathi rice and dark elegant chopsticks purchased directly from Shanghai, China.
Five-Spice Pork Strip 600 gm pork shoulder (usually sold cut in a 4' round slab) 3 cloves garlic (smashed) 5 slices of ginger 2 star anise 1 cinnamon stick 2 Tbsp chinese five spice powder Dark soya sauce Light soya sauce white pepper and sea salt to taste
  1. Marinate the pork shoulder slabs with chinese five spice powder overnite in the refrigerator.
  2. Drizzle a heated non-stick pan with some grapeseed oil and throw in the garlic, ginger, cinnamon stick and star anise.
  3. Fry till fragrant.
  4. Put in all the marinated pork shoulder and sear the slabs till lightly browned.
  5. Drizzle in some dark and light soya sauce.
  6. Add a little hot water and allow it to simmer on low fire for 40 minutes or until pork slabs are tender and can easily be pierce through with a paring knife.
  7. Add white pepper and salt to taste.
  8. Cut pork shoulders into bite-size strips and garnish with some coriander leaves.
Baby Bok Choy with Garlic Oil 500 gm of baby bok choy (rinse well and drained - peeled off some leaves and leave the heart intact) Olive oil 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
  1. Blanche baby bok choy in hot boiling water for 20 seconds and rinse under cold running water.
  2. Drain and set aside in the serving plate.
  3. Heat olive oil in a small saucepan and put in chopped garlic. Stir until they turn slighly light brown, cut off fire and remove from hob.
  4. Pour over baby bok choy and drizzle a little light soya sauce over it and serve.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Pineapple Prawn Curry

Who could have imagined that a sharp-flavoured fruit can go hand in hand with prawns in a curry? The ever faithful fruit "The Pineapple" so thorny and yet deliciously inviting! If eaten on its own, the Sarawak Pineapple is just right cos its so sweet and flavourful.
I have dedicated this food blog of mine to my nephew "Nathaniel" whose birthday happens to fall on 1st November 2006. This little boy eats almost anything and he definitely loves food. Who knows ... when I grow old, maybe he will be the one cooking for me. Hint! hint! and guess what ... my god-daughter got a baby brother on this same auspicious day 1st November 2006! Great news!
We celebrated Nathaniel's one year old birthday gathering with family and everyone brought a dish. We had roast duck, char chap chye, birthday noodles and I made pineapple prawn curry as my part and parcel of the potbless.

Ingredients A

1 kg medium size prawns (only tail intact) - seasoned with salt, pepper and sugar. Keep wrapped, refrigerated in cling until ready for use.

Pineapple (skin discarded and the eyes cut out, then quartered lengthwise and slice into small triangular chunks)

2 Tbsp coriander seeds (ketumbar) - pounded in a mortar with a little water so that it's easier to pound into a paste. Set aside.

3 lemon grass root, sliced finely and the stem, cut an inch long.

Milk of 1 coconut (santan) with a little water added before milking.

Ingredient B

7 dried chili (pre-soaked in water), 5 fresh red chili (discard seeds), 5 bird-eye chili (discard seeds), 1 inch fresh tumeric, 3 clove garlic, 6 shallots, 1 Tbsp prawn paste (toasted). Blend all together in a blender, if no time constrain, pound them using a mortar and pestle. It gives a nicer texture.

Note : In order to pound ingredients or spices effectively in a mortar, try pounding one ingredient finely before adding the next one.

  1. Heat oil in a curry pot, add blended or pounded ingredients (including coriander paste) and lemon grass in and stir-fry till fragrant.
  2. Add half of the coconut milk and throw in the prawns, stir for 2 minutes add the remaining coconut milk and then pineapple chunks.
  3. Simmer for about 10 minutes and add sea salt to taste.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Curried Pork 'Thai Style'

It's great to be back and happily clicking on my keyboard again. Gosh! do I miss that sound! Since curry is my favourite dish, it shall be my first post to usher in my new layout design. I have always loved Thai food, maybe it's the sourness, sweetness and spicyness all together that makes Thai dishes so appetising! As for this dish, it can be curried chicken or even curried beef, just substitute the meat and retain the rest of the ingredients. Ingredient A 400 gm pork fillet (freeze it for 30 minutes to make it hard enough to slice easier) 2 Tbsp tumeric powder 1 Tbsp chopped ginger 2 Tbsp Thai red curry paste 1 tsp brown sugar Ingredient B 3 Tbsp grapeseed oil 3 cloves garlic (chopped) 1 Tbsp Thai red curry paste 5 slices old ginger 5 coriander roots (wash roots thoroughly to rid unwanted earth) 3 generous dashes of fish sauce 100 ml filtered water 1 Tbsp julienne of ginger 1 Tbsp julienne of carrot Juice of 2 lime

  1. Marinate sliced pork fillet with all of ingredient A and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Drizzle grapeseed oil in a heated curry pot.
  3. In goes the chopped garlic, Thai red curry paste, old ginger, coriander roots.
  4. Stir a while before putting in the sliced pork fillet. Stir until pork is almost completely seared then add fish sauce and pour in filtered water and simmer for 8 - 10 minutes.
  5. Lastly, mix in the julienne ginger, carrot and lime juice.
  6. Sea salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Garnish with coriander leaves (if desired)
  8. This recipe serves 3 persons.
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I'm Audrey from Somewhere in my kitchen, Malaysia.

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