Saturday, December 30, 2006

Healthy Fries



Simple and easy, almost everyone loves french fries. Fries are usually a famous side dish in fast food restaurants complementing burgers, soft drinks, meat dishes and such. Despite its popularity, fries are commonly deep-fried and high in sodium content. They can be served with various condiments, such as tomato/chilli sauce, mustard, mayonnaise, tartar sauce, barbecue sauce, lemon and pickles.

I love fries. Sadly, it is laden with calories and articles about over consumptions of deep fried foods may cause cancer. However, kudos to Jamie Oliver for his brilliant idea of creating a healthier version of fries that is NOT fried. Weee... I can enjoy fries even more! This recipe was inspired by one of his many tv food series. I can't recall which was it though. The potatoes are parboiled and baked. This method made me curious and skeptical that the potatoes might not be crisp. I had to try it.

I wedged the potatoes instead of frenching it. Mum wanted some sweet potatoes as well. Suprisingly, both the results were as crispy as deep-fried frenched potatoes! Mine was accompanied with home made burgers for dinner. Easy and healthier, I hardly buy french fries from fast food outlets anymore.

Baked Herbal? Fries

Russet potatoes
Mixed herbs
Salt
Extra virgin olive oil

Clean, peel and wedge the potatoes. Parboil the potatoes. It is done when a fork slides in with just a little give.
Preheat oven to 200°C. Drain and toss potatoes with mixed herbs and salt to taste. Drizzle olive oil over the potatoes. Spread onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 30 minutes or until potatoes are brown and crisp.




Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Orange Muffins

Waking up to a bunch of freshly baked muffins and a cup of coffee... Heavenly. Orange muffins has the savory like taste of muffins; yet it has a tinge of the fruity citrus flavour. This orange muffins recipe were adapted and slightly modified from Nigella Bites.
I added raisins in the batter as I liked my muffins to have that sudden burst of sweetness... and more zest for more bite and flavour. The muffins were not sweet and the raisins gave it a zing here and there. The low sweetness level may be due to the usage of freshly squeezed orange juice.




Orange Muffins

75g unsalted butter - melted
250g self raising flour
25g almond meal
1/2 tsp soda bicarbonate
1 tsp baking powder
75g castor sugar
zest of 1-1/2 oranges
100ml orange juice
100ml milk
1 egg
handful of raisins


Preheat oven to 200°C. Combine flour, almond meal, soda bicarbonate, baking powder, sugar, raisins and orange zest into a bowl. Leave aside. In another bowl, mix orange juice and milk together. Then whisk in the egg and cooled melted butter. Slowly pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients while barely mixing it with a fork. The batter will be lumpy. Leave it as it is. Lumpy batter makes light textured muffins. Spoon the batter into a muffin tray lined with paper cases. Bake it for 20 mins or until skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack. Best when served warm.

You can eat it plain or spread with butter/ marmalade/ cream/ or anything you like... As for me, I had it with butter and also tried with some of my leftover whipping cream before devouring it. Both tasted yummy! =P



The photo I took with my low pixel camera phone looks kinda blueish. Who cares? It tasted yummy anyway. *grin*
**For original taste, omit the raisins and reduce the zest to 1 orange for less tangy flavour and bite.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!!

Ho! Ho! Ho! It's the season to be jolly! My most favourite festival of all. Twinkling Christmas trees, presents, christmas carols, roast turkey, candy canes, friends and family.... you name it! It's such a colourful and cheerful moment of the year.

This year Mid Valley's theme is so sweet! Candy Land! Hahaha... The details were fantastic! The colourful stage, gigantic gingerbread houses and breadmen, little candy canes and gumdrops hanging on the trees... This place is any child's dream. The gumdrops look and texture were almost too good to be true. This mall is so cheery and bright with hundreds of trees of various sizes and decorations accompanied by christmas songs. Nice~ I could just be at this mall for hours enjoying the christmas atmosphere!

We had a Christmas Eve party at my cousin's place. All the chefs in our family whipped up their best creations for this day. The smell upon entering their apartment was heavenly! Mmm... Roast turkey, ham, roast pork, sangria... Yummy!




Jessica's gorgeous christmas cake and pastries were stunning masterpieces! Would love to learn from you soon. Hehe...





Saturday, December 23, 2006

Winter Solstice


"The Winter Solstice Celebration or Midwinter Festival is an event of the winter solstice, and has the shortest day of the year. The winter solstice was immensely important because communities were not assured to live through the winter, and had to be prepared during the previous nine months. Starvation was common in winter.

Traditionally, theWinter Solstice Festival is also a time for the family to get together; making and eating of 'Tang Yuan' (balls of glutinuous rice) which symbolizes reunion. Every one in the family receives at least one large 'Tang Yuan' and several small ones. The flour balls may be plain or stuffed. They are cooked in a sweet soup or savoury broth with both the ball and the soup/broth served in one bowl."
---Adapted from Wikipedia---

Pic1_1 I made some early this morning, mixing glutinous rice flour with water to form a dough. Next, I coloured a quater of the mixture red. No fillings though... my family and I like it plain :) I guess I'm so used to making these plain red-white tiny tang yuans with grandma every year till it's become a family favourite. The marbling effect looks kinda off... a consequence of lesser kneading of the dough. >_<

Christmas mood kicked in mid-way through moulding, rolling, and shapping of the balls. =P

Sweet gooey dessert... served with ginger and aromatic pandan syrup. Didn't have the heart to cook Mr. Snowman. =P


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Newbie

I finally took up the habit of blogging. I've been a silent reader of many food or non food blogs in the past, reading and admiring how others are able to express themselves with food, words and pictures. I could no longer resist the temptation to start one of my own... well, since I do love food; be it cooking them up or just plain gobbling them down. =)