Monthly Archives: September 2012

My week, in a nutshell

Week days seem to take their own time to pass. Weekends seem to be over in the blink of an eye. This pretty much sums up how I feel on a weekly basis. :P Having said that, I got a lot done this week. I ticked many of my household chores off the to-do list . Sometimes I have them on my to-do list but I somehow find a way to procrastinate. I suppose they are called chores for a reason i.e. not fun ha!

Strawberries are super affordable at the moment. As a result, I have been hoarding them more than I can consume. I can only blame the bargain hunter in me! :P

I am currently in the phase of snacking. The good thing about snacking on rice crackers is that my beloved doesn’t like them. It’s nice to be teeny tiny selfish sometimes. :P

My new batch of business cards ordered via Etsy have arrived! It’s easier than writing down on a piece of paper whenever I was asked about my blog url. Plus the first batch of my business cards are bigger than the standard business card size i.e. I couldn’t fit them in my card holder or wallet. I’ve finally decided to update the look as well as the size of the cards. Also a super huge thank you to Abby who delivered an excellent customer service…and put up with my many requests to change the fonts and colors…due to my indeciveness. :P

When it comes to making a list, I would normally do it old school – with a pen and paper. I am trying something new here.

In the spirit of cleaning…I have decided to clean my blush brush too. Okay, it is something you are supposed to do at least on weekly basis. I have been rotating on multiple brushes until I finally ran out on clean ones. Let’s just say I’m no role model when it comes to cleaning my makeup brushes. Oops!

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Polenta Porridge with Stewed Strawberry & Tamarillo

When I am not having toasts and eggs for breakfast, my other option is porridge with fruits. I usually go for instant porridge for convenience  purpose but every now and then, I enjoy the repetition of stirring porridge over a stove and witness the transition from grainy oats to smooth and creamy mixture. I know it is a very small and ordinary task, but it is something little like that makes me feel like I had a good morning start. :)

Polenta is not something I would associate with a breakfast meal. However, after taking a leap (in my book) and ordered a polenta poridge from my favourite cafe in Orange in addition to my usual egg and mushroom toasts,  I was impressed.  So impressed that I’ve decided to recreate it at home.

 {Stewed strawberry & tamarillo}

Polenta Porridge with Stewed Strawberry & Tamarillo

(For two people)

What you’ll need:-

  • 1 Tamarillo
  • 250g/8 ounces fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 tbsp cornflour
  • 3 cups low fat milk
  • 1/2 vanilla pod, slit in half (or a tsp of vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 cup polenta – see Note 1
  • 1 + 1/2 tbsps white sugar – or adjust to taste

Note 1: If you use instant polenta, follow the liquid to polenta ratio as specified by the packet instructions and scale up or down accordingly. I used the Macro Natural Polenta from Woolworths.

Stewed strawberry & tamarillo: Slice the tamarillo in half and use a small spoon to remove the flesh from the skin. Dice the flesh into smaller pieces and place in a small pot. Hull and dice strawberries and transfer them into the pot as well. Add cornflour and toss to coat the fruits. Add 2 tbsps of water to the fruit and place over low-medium heat and stew the fruits. Keep stirring the fruits gently to make sure they don’t stick to the pan. Over some time, the juice from the fruits will ooze out and keep cooking until the fruits are soft and mushy. Set aside.

Polenta Porridge: Gently boil 2 cups of milk with 1/2 vanilla pod over low-medium heat. When the milk is almost boiling (you’ll see a light foam forming on the surface), remove the vanilla pod and add polenta. Over very low heat (switch the smallest burner), keep stirring the mixture over low heat. When the mixture is getting too thick, add the remaining milk (1 cup) gradually and sugar. Keep stirring until the mixture no longer feels grainy. You may need to add more milk if it takes a little long for the the mixture to become not grainy and to achieve your desired consistency. Note – I find it helps to add 2 tbsps of milk just before finish cooking so that the porridge doesn’t become a really thick paste when it cools down a little.

To serve: Transfer polenta porridge to bowls and top with the stewed fruits. Serve immediately.

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Pan-Fried Salmon with Tamarillo Salsa

Although tamarillo resembles a tomato especially when you slice it in half, it tastes nothing like a tomato. It is very tart and its scent and texture somewhat reminds me of a cross of a passion and kiwi fruit.

I came across this unusual fruit a lot in supermarkets. If you are on the look out for them, they usually are being situated near the exotic fruits section. Obviously, I hang around the exotic fruit section a lot. I miss seeing rambutans, custard apples, star fruits, mangosteens…basically the fruits I grow up with in Malaysia. Every now and then, I notice some other fruits too. This time I’ve discovered tamarillo.

(Click here if you want to know more about this gorgeous fruit – I find wikipedia can be very scientific with its explanation sometimes ha!)

Pan-Fried Salmon with Tamarillo Salsa

(For 3-4 people with you choice of sides i.e. salad, sweet corns, steamed vegetables)

For the salsa

(makes about two cups; should be enough for 4 portions of salmon i.e. 600g/21 ounces)

  • 2 Tamarillos (aka tree tomato)
  • Boiling water to blanch the tamarillos
  • 25g/ 0.88 ounces of red onion (about half of a medium sized red onion), finely diced
  • A small handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 1/2 green chilli, finely chopped
  • Maple syrup to taste (about 1 to 2 tsps)
  • Olive oil (about 3 to 4 tbsps)

Pan-fried salmon

  • 4 portions of salmon – about 600g/21 ounces in total
  • salt to taste
  • freshly grind black pepper
  • Olive oil

(1) Gently slice a cross at the end of each tamarillo. Then blanch them in hot boiling water for no more than a minute, or until you can see the criss cross mark has turned into a big slit, whichever come sooner. Drain the hot water and rinse them under cold running water until they are cool enough to handle. Peel and discard the skin. Slice the tamarillos in half, then quarters and even smaller segments and dice into smaller pieces. Transfer them to a bowl. (2) Finely dice onion and chop coriander. Add them into the bowl with the tamarillos. (3) Stir in maple syrup and olive oil. Set aside. (4) Season salmon portions with salt and pepper and coat them lightly with some olive oil. Place them on a hot pan (in batches depending on the size of the pan you are using) and cook them to your likings. (5) To serve, place the pan-fried salmon onto a plate and top with the tamarillo salsa. Serve immediately.

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Sponsored Series 3: Mulberry Polenta Muffins & last chance of giveaway [CLOSED]

What is the best way to compliment your lazy Sunday’s and make them even more perfect? A hot cup of frothed coffee of course! Devondale Barista’s Own is made to deliver a consistent smooth creamy froth to your favourite style of coffee at home.

 

When it comes to finding my cooking/baking inspiration, without a doubt, I will reach for Ms Nigella Lawson. My first cookbook by her is the Nigella Express which I have cumulated many food memories as well as blog posts (case in point here, here and here) over the years. When a cookbook is falling apart, it is a good sign. My Nigella Express is one. I have since bought Nigella Kitchen, considering of getting her How to Be A Domestic Goddess cookbook and anticipating the launch of Nigellissima.  I may not have the face that launched a thousand ships. But worry not! I am more than happy to become a Domestic Gooddess…and bake a thousand muffins if possible ha!

Maybe a thousand is not a realistic figure for muffins. Perhaps a dozen instead? ;)

Mulberry Polenta Muffins

(Adapted from Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins recipe from the Nigella Kitchen)

What’ll need:-

  • 150g/5 ounces all purpose flour
  • 100g/3.5 ounces polenta (original recipe specifies cornmeal which tends to be less coarse than polenta)
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (aka bicarbonate of soda)
  • 150/ 5 ounces caster sugar (fine white sugar)
  • 125ml / 4 fl ounces vegetable oil or other flavourless oil (I used canola oil)
  • 125ml /4 fl ounces buttermilk, or plain runny yogurt – see Note 1
  • 1 egg
  • 175g / 6 ounces mulberry (or 100g blueberries)

A 12-holes muffins tin

Note 1: I used vanilla flavoured Greek style yogurt with 1 tbsp of milk.

(1) Preheat oven to 200 degrees C/ 392 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper – skip this step if you are using Robert Gordon’s Le Petit Gateau cases like moi. In a large bowl, mix the flour, polenta, baking powder, bicard and sugar (basically all the dry ingredients). (2) In a measuring jug or bowl, pour in the oil, yogurt, 1 tbsp milk and whisk or fork in the egg (basically the wet ingredients). (3) Stir in the wet ingredients mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients mixture until just mix. Then fold in 2/3 of the mulberries (or leave about 12 mulberries behind) into the thick batter. (4) Spoon the batter into each muffin case (or the Le PetitGateau cases).  For muffin cases users, fill the case up to 2/3 full. For Le PetitGateau cases users, fill the them up to 1/2 full. – See Note 2. (4) Top the remaining mulberries on top. If the mulberry is too long, break into half.  Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, till a cake tester comes out cleanish (as Ms Lawson stated that it will be stained if it hits a berry). Leave the muffins in the tin on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove the muffins in their cases to the wire rack to cool a little before serving.

Note 2 – please note the batter does rise a fair bit so be conservative when filling the batter into the cases.

Okay guys, this marks the last post of the Lazy Sunday Series in conjunction to my partnership with Devondale Barista’s Own. Here’s your last chance to enter the giveaway for the espresso set of 6 cups and saucers as well as the major giveaway of a PHILIPS Saeco Syntia Class Automatic Espresso Machine retailed at $1,499 (Correction: the end date of the Espresso Machine is 21 Sept 2012 and not 7 Sept as per my previous posts).

Again, what you have to do is to

“Tell me how Baristas Own frothing milk would help get your lazy Sunday off to a perfect start?”

Both giveaways are open to Australian residents only. For Terms and Conditions, please click the link here. To keep it simple, both giveaways will end at 5:00 pm AEDST on 21 September, 2012

The following are my previous sponsored series Devondale Barista’s Own  if you are interested:-

  1. Sponsored Series 2: Factory Espresso, Orange NSW +Giveaways at the end of post!
  2. Sponsored Series 1: Baked Egg in a Portobello Mushroom & Giveaway
  3. Barista Style Coffee at Home {With Devondale Baristas Own Frothing Milk} & Giveaway
Sponsored Series by Nuffnang

 

What is the best way to compliment your lazy Sunday’s and make them even more perfect? A hot cup of frothed coffee of course! Devondale Barista’s Own is made to deliver a consistent smooth creamy froth to your favourite style of coffee at home. Check out some of the fantastic breakfast recipes in the Lazy Sunday Series thanks to Devondale Barista’s Own

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