SPECIAL THAI PINEAPPLE FRIED RICE – IMPROVED VERSION

thai-pineapple-rice-1

Special Thai Pineapple Fried Rice - Improved Version

I posted a recipe entitled Special Thai Pineapple Fried Rice some time ago.This time I’d like to share the Special Thai Fried Rice – Improved version. Why the improved version? That’s because I’ve added a few ingredients and altered the cooking method to produce an even better tasting dish.

This dish was one of my favourites and I dare say, tastes better than the ones served in the restaurants I’ve dined in. If you’re entertaining, a fun way of serving is to load the rice up in half an empty pineapple. Your guests will appreciate the concept and enjoy the dish even more.

So, last night, I tried am improved version of the same dish, this time adding more Thai flavours to it. The result is phenomenal. The kaffir leaves added an extra kick and a delicate Thai flavour.

The additional ingredients are just kaffir lime leaves, 4-5 red chilies and kecup manis or sweet soy sauce.

So if you refer to this post showing the recipe, you need to blend the following instead of chopping and frying them in the wok:

6 cloves garlic

1 cm ginger,chopped

4-5 red chilies

2 tsp dried shrimp

4 kaffir lime leaves

Add a little water and blend to form a paste. 

After frying the sliced onions till transparent, add the above paste and fry for a a good 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients such as red capsicum, green peas and pineapple chunks. Then, add the rice and blend the ingredients and paste together with the rice. Now, add kecup manis or sweet soy to balance the heat from the red chilies. The rest remains the same. 

The flavour of the fried rice will transport you to Thailand. I got complements about this dish and am so pleased with my creation. The rice is moist in texture and the taste is a mixture of sweet, limey and spicy all rolled into one. 

Special Spanish Potato Omelette

Special Spanish Potato Omelette

Special Spanish Potato Omelette

If you have some potatoes in the pantry and are cracking your head about what to do about them aside from preparing the normal mash potatoes or wedges, try using it for your breakfast preparation. Hmm…what can it be, you may ask. Well, the dish I’d like to share is my Special Spanish Potato Omelette. It can be shared with 3 others and be enjoyed on toast. I gave this recipe a special twist and added some red chilies and Spanish onion for extra flavour. To make the omelette tastier, the diced potato should be lightly fried first and the onions caramelised. 

Ingredients

1 Spanish onion, diced

2 large potatoes, diced

2 large cayenne chilies, sliced

3 eggs, whisked

salt

pepper

oil

Special Spanish Potato Omelette

Method

  1.  Cook diced potatoes in the microwave for 7 minutes. Put some water in a bowl and cover it before cooking. (Check if the potatoes are cooked after 5 minutes and then increase cooking time to a few minutes more, depending on how much potatoes are used.)
  2.  Drain excess water from the bowl once the potatoes are cooked and set aside. 
  3.  Meanwhile, heat oil in a cooking pan under medium heat. 
  4. Add the potatoes and lightly fry them till brown. Set aside.
  5. Heat oil in a small pan. Fry onions and caramelised. 
  6. Add chilies and mix well. 
  7. Throw in the fried potatoes. 
  8. Crack eggs in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste and whisk.
  9. Add the whisked eggs to the ingredients in the pan. Swirl the pan to even out the egg. 
  10. Cook one side for two minutes. 
  11. Take a large plate and cover the pan. 
  12. Lift the pan and turn the plate over such that the omelette slides onto the plate. 
  13. Put the pan back over the heat and slide the omelette back onto the pan. 
  14. Cook the other side for another 2 minutes. 
  15. Remove the omelette and enjoy.

The omelette transferring process is tricky. The first time I used a big pan and found it hard to transfer to my big plate as it was a tad smaller than the pan. I used the fool proof method the second time: a small pan and a big plate. This worked out well. A thing to note is excess egg that does not cook off on the surface before transfer. The trick is to slightly tilt the pan to pour the excess egg into a small ramekin. Before you transfer the omelette back into the pan, pour the excess egg onto the pan to cook off. Then slowly slide the omelette over the cooked egg so that they stick together and gradually cook at the same time. The result is amazing and delicious at every bite.  

Special Spanish Potato Omelette

HOW TO MAKE CREAMY, NUTTY PESTO

creamy, nutty pesto

home made pesto

I’ve not craved for pesto in a long time but the sudden urge to make my own pesto was triggered by a humble sandwich I bought on Saturday. Yes! It’s funny how a sandwich can trigger such a yearning that propels me to create my own special creamy, nutty pesto. I wanted to recreate the pesto for the one that drove me to unleash my culinary talent tasted acidic and sweet. 

So off I went to my herb garden to gather some basil. Might as well put it to good use or else they will wither. Being adventurous I added some parsley and coriander to give the pesto an added hint of freshness. Cashews and pine nuts also came into play to add depth of flavour. The result is phenomenal! 

freshly gathered herbs

Ingredients

1 bunch of basil

handful of parsley

handful of coriander

1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano

1/4 cup roasted cashews

1/2 cup roasted pine nuts

1/2 juice of lemon

salt

olive oil

basil

Method

  1. Separate the basil leaves from the stalks and wash them.
  2. Do the same for the parsley and coriander.
  3. Roast pine nuts and cashews. Se aside.
  4. Blend basil leaves, parsley and coriander.
  5. Add some olive oil, lemon juice, cashews and pine nuts and blend them thoroughly till they form a creamy paste.
  6.  Add  shredded Parmigiano Reggiano. And continue to blend.
  7. Add salt to taste.
  8. Mix the paste to ensure that the ingredients blend well in between intervals.
  9. Spoon out the paste into a steralised bottle.
  10. Add olive oil on top to add moisture before closing the lid.

 

pesto in a bottle

 

I made the pesto in batches as my Nutribullet blender cup is small. I added half the basil, parsley and coriander, some Parmigiano Reggiano, some cashews and pine nuts and some live oil and blended till a paste is formed. Then, I added the remainder of the basil, along with what was left of the other herbs, Parmigiano Reggiano  nuts and repeated the process. Some olive oil will need to be added to this paste to add moisture. If the paste is too thick, I suggest adding a bit of water to facilitate the blending process. Finally, when the two batches of ingredients have been thoroughly mixed, add salt followed by lemon juice. Blend again till all ingredients form a well-mixed paste. Keep on tasting the paste after adding additional ingredients such as nuts and lemon juice till you’re satisfied with the flavour. Observe the consistency as well to discern whether you need to add extra water or olive oil. A substitute to water is vegetable stock.

There you have it! Your very own creamy, nutty pesto. Pesto is best used in pasta as well as sandwich spread. Add cucumbers, tomatoes, avocados  and rocket leaves to your sandwich and enjoy. Seriously, pesto adds flavour to a plain sandwich. So instead of butter, think of pesto.

So my verdict….a creamy, nutty home-made pesto you wont ever get anywhere on the supermarket shelves. The freshness of the basil, parsley and coriander leaves a refreshing taste on the palate and the nuts provide depth of flavour. The Parmigiano Reggiano adds cheesy sharpness to the pesto while the lemon juice adds some sexy tang to it.

6 GROOVY KITCHEN GADGETS EVERY HOME OWNER DESIRES

Kitchen-gadgets

If you’re proud of your kitchen and spend plenty of time there, chances are you would be on a look out for groovy kitchen gadgets that are practical yet up-to-date. If such gadgets help you prepare your food or beverage in the quickest time possible, they should be in your priority list of gadgets to grab your hands on. These days, new kitchen gadgets are plentiful in the market. They can be tempting to buy, but before you do, think of whether such gadgets will be really useful to you and make sure you’d use them often enough. 

Below are 6 groovy kitchen gadgets every home owner would love to own:

  1.   Electric egg cooker

electric egg cooker

This electric egg cooker will be a much loved appliance especially if you have a big family or regularly have overnight guests. Just place up to 6 eggs in the compartment, choose soft, medium or hard option and voila…you eggs are ready just as you like them. If you prefer poached or omelettes, this gadget is the one to prepare it for you.  This groovy apparatus comes with a measuring cup, shell piercer, poacher tray and omelette bowl. How cool! That helps sort out your eggs for breakfast. Just focus on the toast and coffee. 

2.  Milk Frother  

milk frother

Imagine creating frothy cafe style  cappuccinos, hot chocolates and lattes at home! This milk frother comes in the form of a cordless jug that heats and froths up to 300 ml of milk into a thick, delicious foam so you can treat yourself and your family to delicious frothy coffee or hot chocolate. It’s easy to use and clean, so that means your time can be saved. 

 

3.  Adjustable Pastry Set

pastry set

If you enjoy preparing pastries, this novelty adjustable pastry set is a dream to own. It is not only a rolling pin but also a croissant and pasta cutter. Whats more? The rolling pin rolls pastry to four precise, pre-set thicknesses – 2, 4, 6 and 8 mm. Preparing croissant and pasta will be painless using this set. Take your baking to a whole new level. 

4.  Spiral Slicer  

spiral slicer

 

Achieve the recommended servings of vegetables per day with this awesome spiral slicer. This cool gadget turns vegetables into spirals and allows you to create delicious healthy vegetable spaghetti your family will love. Works well with fruit like apples and pears too for fruit salad or garnishing. 

 

5. Multi Purpose Kettle Tipper  

kettle tipper

 

If your kettle is too heavy and cumbersome to pour hot water from, use this kettle tipper to make pouring effortless. This apparatus comes with a strong metal frame and a touch fastener to hold the kettle in place and a back stop to prevent spills.

 

6.  Herb Drying Rack  

herb drying rack

If you grow your herbs, you may want to grab hold of this neat herb drying rack. You’ll have herbs to use all year round.  This rack comes in 3 tiers, so you can dry different herbs on each tier. Simply spread your herbs or chilies over the cotton fabric and circulating air will dry them. Forget about messy bowls lying around the kitchen counter. This herb rack will fit in neatly in a corner. The cotton fabric is easy to remove for washing. 

These groovy kitchen gadgets will be every home owner’s dream to have. The are functional, convenient to use and saves time and hassle. Preparing food will be effortless and something to look forward to with these cool apparatus.  

 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission but it is at no extra cost to you. 

WEARABLE AUTUMN STYLES FOR THE WANNA BE FASHIONISTA

autumn

Autumn is here despite the unusual warm weather we are experiencing these few weeks. Mind you!The temperature is sure to drop in the following weeks. It’s not too late to examine your wardrobe so you have wearable autumn styles for shoulder seasons as well as for the winter.  

Knit wear and earthy colours are in. Choose designs that make you look slimmer and chic. Below is a list of autumn styles we’ve compiled to help the wanna be fashionista choose her autumn wear: 

  1. Long cardigan

Long cardigans are in. They not only have a slimming effect but are also stylish. Suitable for wearing over a long top, kaftan or a dress.  Choose light knitted material that doesn’t tend to cover your top or dress. 

maryle grey long line cardigan

Marle grey long line cardigan 

 

2.   Vest

Vests are usually disguised as waterfall cardigans but in actual fact, they are timeless pieces of clothing made for layering and have been given a whole new look. Feminine and chic, fashionable vests are ideal to wear in autumn and winter over short or long tops and dresses. They give clothes texture and some flair. 

fashionable vests

                                                                        Noir drape vest 

 

3.   Jacket

Jackets are timeless classics. Worn at work or on casual outings, they are made for any occasion or season. For autumn  months, spot on a Merino wool jacket for its light weight feature and quality. Don’t put up with the hassle of ironing. Merino wool jackets are indeed long term investment pieces. 

Blanc Relaxed Lapel Jacket

Blanc relaxed lapel jacket

4.  Poncho

A poncho is an over sized jumper that is made of wool, cotton or acrylic knit. Despite its size, it provides texture and contrast to clothes. Choose a size closest to your actual size and take into account the clothes that will be worn underneath when choosing a poncho. The right poncho can look fashionable and alluring. 

pullover poncho

Pullover poncho

Autumn wear can be very versatile as it can be used in winter and reused in spring. Play around with colours – contrast or blending in – and experiment with layering with the help of belts and scarves. Put on your best winter boots and you are ready to rock! The street is your runway, so make your set of clothes a fashion statement that features your own style.     

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission but it is at no extra cost to you. 

LAST MINUTE MOTHER’S DAY GIFT IDEAS

flowers

happy mothers day

 

If you’re still hunting for a Mother’s Day gift and are feeling stressed because it’s just a few days’ away, don’t fret. Why not make mum’s day by presenting her with a lovely bouquet of flowers? Flowers are ideal last minute Mother’s Day gifts. They are also timeless and connote the feeling of love and appreciation. It’s one of the best ways to convey the message ‘I’m thinking of you’.  Flowers are delivered on Mother’s Day itself. So, if you jump online soon and choose a wonderful bouquet of flowers, your Mother’s Day gift will surely arrive on time. Forget the hassle of venturing into a mall and trying to find that perfect gift if you’re just a few days away from that special day.  

Below are some stunning bouquets for Mother’s Day:   

 

Flower 1

‘Love you mum’ M27 bouquet  

 

This charming bouquet consists of  soft pink roses, purple alstroemeria and white daisies. The combination of colours is soothing to the eye and the mixed variety of flowers will surely captivate mum’s heart. 

Flower 2

                                                            ‘Simply stunning’ bouquet A41

This lovely bouquet is all about contrast – pale pink roses is mixed with hot pink gerberas and deep purple accents. Comes with a cute box. 

Flower 3

‘Doting mum’ bouquet M20V

Melt mum’s heart with this bouquet of lovely pink roses, spray roses and alstroemeria, accented by fresh greens. It’s imply pretty in pink. Delivered in a simple white pot. 

Starburst Splash

‘Starburst Splash’ bouquet A47

Give a box of joy this Mothers’ Day. This beautiful parcel of joy consists of orange lilies, pink roses, yellow daisies and hot pink gerberas.

Laugh and Laughter

‘Laugh and Laughter’ bouquet B33

Present this contemporary yet classic bouquet to mum. It includes an elegant mix of roses, lilies and alstroemeria. What an interplay of colours! 

Lavender mum

‘Lavender Mum’ bouquet M14V

For the stylish and elegant mum. This enchanting bouquet consists of lush lavenders, frosty whites and silvery greens. It exudes love, class and fashion. This bouquet comes in a modern glass cube.

Show Mum that you care and make her day with a splash of colour and messages of love and appreciation. 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission but it is at no extra cost to you. 

SPECIAL FRIED VEGETARIAN NOODLES

noodles

fried noodles_v2

Fried noodle dishes seem simple to prepare but a good memorable one involves thought and pre-preparation. The secret to preparing a tasty dish is to reuse oil that has been previously used to fry fish. This also works well with the juice of stir fry mushrooms. In this post, I will share with you the secret of preparing special fried vegetarian noodles. 

Ingredients

1 packet Hokkien/egg noodles

leftover oil used to fry fish

1 onion, sliced 

bak choy, chopped

spring onion, chopped

1 egg

baby corn, sliced into halves

puff tofu, cut into halves

juice of half a lemon

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp tomato ketchup

1 tbsp Hoisin sauce

1 tbsp kechup manis

fried shallots for garnishing

Method

  1. Put noodles in a pot and pour boiling water over it. Drain the noodles in a colander after 3 minutes.  Set aside. 
  2. Heat used oil previously fried in fish in a wok. 
  3.  Add onions and cook till transparent. 
  4. Add egg and break it up in the wok in the process of cooking, so it becomes scrambled in texture. 
  5. Add puff tofu, spring onions, bay corn and bak choy.  Mix the ingredients thoroughly. 
  6. Add soy sauce, lemon juice, Hoisin sauce and ketchup manis. Mix well.  
  7. Lastly, add the noodles and mix them thoroughly till all ingredients blend together.
  8. Serve noodles on a plate and garnish with fried shallots.  

The taste is simply delicious and texture of the noodles is moist and silky. You’d surely want to have a second helping. Don’t feel guilty about it. Bon appetite

THAI FISH CAKE WRAP

fish cake wrap

If you’re at wits end about what to prepare for dinner, think wraps. It’s easy, convenient and best of all quick to prepare. Consisting of a handful of ingredients, mostly vegetables, this Thai Fish Wrap is a no brainer to prepare.

fish cake wrap 1_V2

 

Ingredients

1 cucumber, sliced

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 red capsicum, chopped

Thai basil leaves

2 fish cakes, sliced

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp soy sauce

juice of half a lemon

tortilla wraps

Method

Mix cucumber, tomatoes, capsicum and basil leaves in a bowl. Add fish sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce and lemon juice to the vegetables and mix well.

Place the salad on tortilla wraps. Top it up with sliced fish cake. Wrap the tortilla tightly. Enjoy!

 

fish cake wrap 2_V2

Get ready for the refreshing taste of basil and the zesty tang of the salad dressing. The fish cake, of course, gives the palate an enriched meaty flavour. Enjoy!!!

MAD ABOUT HALVA

Halva-with-Pistachio

halva

I’ve fallen in love. Oh….yes! I’m in love with halva. I’ve had my first taste of halva when I was a teen but its intoxicating sweetness brought back my cravings for it last year when I was offered a morsel of it containing chocolate. Then I had this sensuous interplay of the palate again with my beloved halva last Saturday. It seemed we were fated to meet. You guessed it right. I stumbled head over heals with it. This time it was even better. It has a dark chocolate center that oozes out of its creamy tahini body and is peppered with almonds and pecans.

The surprising thing was I wasn’t looking for it. I stumbled upon it – at Sonia’s International Foods at Willoughby. I entered the shop and let my eyes feast on all things exotic – nuts, spices, halva and such. It was like being in Alladin’s cave where were goodies stacked on every shelf. I was flipping over boxes of commercially made halvas of all sorts when the fairy god mother, the shop assistant, asked what I was looking for and beckoned me to the counter when I couldn’t decide. There…low and behold was the biggest halva I had ever seen. It was like one enormous cake. The lady cut a small chunk and urged me to try. The result….ohhhhhhhh that melt-in-the-mouth feeling. The sweetness and creaminess of the tahini blended well with that melting dark chocolate. The crunchiness of the nuts added texture and richness to the whole halva eating experience. It felt like being transported to an exotic land, where honey oozed from honey combs and nuts could be picked from the ground.

I’ve got a slice left and hope to savour the halva bit by bit while it lasts. I’ve discovered it is actually quite simple to prepare a halva, a chocolate centered halva with nuts to be precise. It’s main ingredient is hulled tahini or sesame seed paste. The rest is sugar or honey and nuts. I will try my hands at preparing it in April, I hope. So stay tuned. Meanwhile, allow me break my halva slice and bite into a chunk, slowly savouring the sweetness and letting it linger on my tongue. Oh…forget about chocolate or cake for awhile. My deliciously divine halva will satisfy my sweet cravings for now.

 

SPECIAL FRIED SPRING ROLLS

pre fried spring rolls

special fried spring rolls

I’d like to share with you a special type of finger food I prepared last weekend. Mind you, it is filling and has so much zing that it can be eaten for lunch. 

Preparation for this finger food is simple but needs some planning and organisation. So, a trip to the local Asian grocery store is mandatory. I would recommend selecting the medium-sized skin as this is just the right size for the type of filling I’ll share in a while. Also, this recipe calls for Shitake mushrooms. Getting this is a no-brainer as they can be found at the local supermarkets. Why Shitake? I insist on using this variety because of its flavour. It’s tasty and meaty and will definitely give  your spring rolls a lot of zing. Oh, so here it is:

Special Fried Spring Rolls

spring roll ingredients

Ingredients

Spring roll skin

1 packet Shitake mushrooms, sliced

1 onion, sliced

4 red chilli, sliced

1 inch ginger, chopped

200g cooked prawns, sliced

half cup bean sprouts

vermicelli noodles, half a block

4 tbsp. soy sauce

2 tbsp. Kicap manis

2 tbsp. Hoisin sauce

pepper

cooking oil

cornflower and water mixture (to seal the skins)

special fried spring rolls

Method

  1. Slice the onion, Shitake mushrooms and red chillies.
  2. Peel and chop ginger.
  3. Boil water and pour over vermicelli noodles in a pot. Once soften, drain and leave it for a few minutes to dry. Pour soy sauce, kicap manis and hoisin sauce into the bowl of vermicelli and mix well. Leave the mixture till ready to use.
  4. Meanwhile, de-shell the cooked prawns , slice them and set aside.
  5. Heat oil in a pan and once hot, add the onions. Cook till transparent. Then add the mushrooms, chillies and ginger. Mix well and let the juice ooze from the mushrooms. Remove the ingredients and set aside to cool.
  6. Pull out two spring roll skins each and them on a big plate. Lay the cooled vermicelli on one side of the skin and spread it out.
  7. Add the mushroom mixture and then the sliced prawns.
  8. Top it up with the bean sprouts.
  9. Fold in the sides and roll the skin away from you. Ensure that each roll is tight.
  10. Seal the end of the skins with cornflour and water mixture.
  11. Prepare the rolls until all ingredients are used.
  12. Heat oil in a pan and once hot, fry the spring rolls till brown.
  13. Serve the spring rolls hot and enjoy it with sweet chili sauce.

spring roll filling

 

The special fried spring rolls keep longer pre-fried and in the freezer. They come in handy when unexpected guests arrive at your doorstep.  The skins aren’t suitable for baking. If you’re not a fan of fried food, use  short crust pastry instead. As an afterthought, the vermicelli needs something thick to coat it. Hence, I’ve used kicap manis and hoisin sauce as they not only coat the vermicelli well but also gives better flavour. The trick is to leave the soaked vermicelli longer so it soaks up the flavour of the sauces better. These are the best spring rolls ever, not found in restaurants.