Monthly Archives: March 2013

Recipe Rewind: 4 Ways with Macaroni

macaroni - 4 ways

Macaroni is my favourite choice of short pasta as it takes no time to become al dente and as strange as it sounds, I like the fact that I can eat macaroni with a spoon. ;)

I have shared a couple of macaroni recipes over the years. Whilst Mac and Cheese immediately sprung to mind, I actually preferred it as a stir fry dish.  I used to love the Mac and Cheese from Kenny Rogers (in Malaysia) when I was a kid.

Remember Kenny Rogers Roasters?

The super delicious roast chickens?

The Mac and cheese with a generous coat of melted orange processed cheese?

Oh yeah, it was good times!

When I’m home, I love chow mac, in replacement of fried rice. I like to switch up my source of carb from time to time because I love variety.

How about you? How do you like your macaroni?

(clockwise from first left: stove top macaroni & cheese with kale; macaroni & “nachos” bake; kale & tofu chow mac; mac ‘n’ cheese pancakes)

   

Open-Face Cheese Melt with Smoked Chicken, Kale & Adobo Sauce Mayonnaise

a2 Open-Face Cheese Melt with Smoked Chicken, Kale & Chipotle Mayonnaise

It’s all started from I’ve found leftover kale being pushed at the back of the fridge. Small fridge problem, I’d say. My old fridge has been with me through thick and thin. As evident by the dent and scratches on the fridge door, it has taken a beating from us moving around from place to place. My poor Whirpool fridge!

I have a dream fridge in the form of a bright and happy coloured Smeg. My beloved preferred a classic double French door with an ice dispenser. I wonder who will win in that battle eh? ;) Until then, I think I can still squeeze a couple more years from my existing fridge until my next upgrade, hopefully.

A small fridge has its perks too. It may not be an obvious one but it encourages me to be creative with what I can cook with limited ingredients. I can imagine myself getting carried away with grocery shopping should I have a bigger fridge. That’d be my #bigfridgeproblem later on ha!

Open faced cheese melts are my bread version of fried rice. With grated cheese and bread as the basic ingredients, there are many combinations you can have for the toppings. Think tomato, cured meat, roast meat, canned pineapples, olives, leftover herbs, salad leaves, dinner rolls, yoghurt as drizzle sauce etc.

Here’s a combination which really made my last Sunday brunch.

a10 Open-Face Cheese Melt with Smoked Chicken, Kale & Chipotle Mayonnaise

Open-Face Cheese Melt with Smoked Chicken, Kale & Adobo Sauce Mayonnaise

What you’ll need to make 6 open-faced cheese melts:-

  • 3 large dinner rolls, halved
  • Olive oil
  • 6 leaves of cavolo nero, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 smoked chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • A handful of grated cheese
  • 1 tbsp low-fat mayonnaise
  • ½ tsp adobo sauce
  • Water

a9a Open-Face Cheese Melt with Smoked Chicken, Kale & Chipotle Mayonnaise

Method:-

Preheat oven to 200C/ 392F. Add olive oil in a medium pan and sauté kale with a little water until tender. Season with salt and black pepper and set aside.  Arrange dinner rolls on a parchment paper lined baking tray. Drizzle some olive oil over them and bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes until they are slightly toasted (the edge of the rolls appears to be slightly brown). Then remove the dinner rolls from the oven, distribute the kale equally on them.  The layer with some grated cheese, smoked chicken and more cheese on top of the smoked chicken slices. Return the dinner rolls back into the oven and melt the cheese using the “grill function”. In the meantime, mix mayonnaise and adobo sauce with generous amount of freshly ground pepper in a small bowl. Add some water to the mayo mixture to achieve a consistency which you can drizzle over the cheese melt.  Drizzle the mayo over the cheese melt and serve immediately.

a4 Open-Face Cheese Melt with Smoked Chicken, Kale & Chipotle Mayonnaise

 

 

   

Fuss Free Butter Chicken

a12 Fuss Free Butter Chicken

Uhmmm… butter and chicken…

They are my most used ingredients in my cooking.

When they are paired together, magic happens. Think butter basted roast chicken or butter chicken – a popular Indian restaurant dish in Australia.  I’ve resisted the temptation of making butter chicken at home (for my beloved and I would go through it like no tomorrow) and I was under the impression that butter chicken is not an easy dish to make at home. Furthermore, when it comes to making Indian dishes at home, I wanted to mimic the real home cooked Indian dishes.

Finally, I made an exception when I found a Butter Chicken recipe at the back of Sun Rice Basmati packet.  I love going through recipes on  the food packaging. Do you do the same too?

a14 Fuss Free Butter Chicken

What I love about this recipe is there is a mixture of yoghurt and cream.  I reckon you can even tweak the ratio between yoghurt and cream to suit your fancy, but I just go with 1 to 1 this time. Another thing is you can get away with a limited variety of spices required in the recipe. This is a major plus if you don’t stock up a million different spices in the kitchen!

Fuss Free Butter Chicken

(As per recipe at the back of Sun Rice Basmati packet, but I tweaked the method)

What you’ll need for 4 servings (with rice):-

  • 2 tbsps canola oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 kg chicken thigh fillets, cut into 3 cm pieces
  • 1/2 cup Greek style yoghurt
  • 1 cup tomato passata
  • 1/2 cup thickened cream (or normal pure cream will work just fine)
  • 3 tsps cornflour
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • A small handful of toasted almond flakes as garnish. You can also garnish with chopped coriander if you have some on hand.

a15 Fuss Free Butter Chicken

Method:-

Heat 2 tbsps of oil in a large pan (or saucepan) and saute the onion until slightly brown over medium flame. Reduce heat to low, add garlic, ground cumin and chilli and saute until aromatic (add a little water if the mixture is a little dry). Add chicken and toss to mix with the pan mixture. Pan fry the chicken until 70% cooked. Stir in yoghurt and passata and mix to combine. Simmer with a lid on, over low heat until the chicken is cooked through. In the meantime, mix cream and cornflour in a bowl and try to dissolve the lumps as you stir. Pour the cream mixture into the pan and allow to mixture to bubble for an additional 10 minutes until it thickens. Lastly stir in the butter until it fully melted in the curry. Just before serving, scatter some roasted almond flakes and chopped fresh coriander. Enjoy!

For 4 servings, cook 2 cups of basmati rice according to the packet instructions.

a13 Fuss Free Butter Chicken

   

Recipe Rewind: 4 Ways to Bake with Apples

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While in the back of my mind still wishes that summer should last a little longer, you know, the ample daylight, the warmth, the breezy attire, stone fruits and all other happy things in summer,  I begin to embrace the beautiful autumn that Orange has to offer.

With the slight chilly breeze as well as trees  begin to fade from lush green into yellow hue, it hard not to realise that autumn has crept up on us, gradually.

A little random or not, I started to think of apples and all the delicious and comforting apple recipes.

Who is looking forward to picking apples in a farm? I know I am! I can hardly wait to go pick my own apples in Nashdale and sink my teeth in a freshly picked Golden Delicious. Having said that, I equally enjoy adding apples in my baked goods. The tartness of apples seems to perk up the buttery crust and cake mixture which I whipped up.

(clockwise from top: fast food apple piestrawberry, apple & rhubard galette; apple & blueberry wholemeal muffins; upside-down apple pancake)