Sunday, November 10, 2013

Mediterranean Chicken

This is an absolutely quick and easy dinner to throw together when you have friends coming over. They would probably think that you had taken half a day to put this together.

Serve it on Sunday as well which means you would have time to put your feet up, have a cup of coffee and enjoy your favourite magazine. Let the oven to all the work!

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Mediterranean Chicken
Serves 6


1 3/4 cups coarsely chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoons drained capers, roughly minced (optional)
1/2 cup kalamata olives (optional)
5 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
12 bone-in chicken thighs (about 3 pounds), skinned
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup of chicken stock 
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, chopped
3 sprigs of fresh thyme (use the leaves only)
Chopped fresh parsley (optional for garnishing)


1) Preheat oven to 180C.

3) Season chicken with black pepper and salt.

4) In a large baking dish, layer with chopped onion, garlic, capers, olives, chopped tomatoes, fresh rosemary and thyme.  Season with black pepper and salt.

5) Place the chicken on top of the vegetables and drizzle with olive oil.  Pour the chicken stock into the baking dish and bake in oven for about 40 - 45 mins.  Cook until chicken is golden brown and the vegetables have soften.

6) Serve chicken with vegetables, garlic toast and garnish with some fresh parsley.

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Monday, October 21, 2013

The Perfect Panna Cotta

Panna cotta (which means cooked cream in Italian) is an Italian dessert made by simmering together cream, milk and sugar, mixing it with gelatin, and letting it cool until set.

Deliciously light and creamy, this dessert is so easy to make and makes a great companion for bright, sharp summer fruit. Or pair it with Christmas spices and a dried fruit compote for a classy winter dessert.

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The Perfect Panna Cotta
Recipe Adapted from David Lebovitz


3 cups thickened cream + 1 cup full cream milk
80g sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, or 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 packets powdered gelatin (about 4 1/2 teaspoons)
6 tablespoons (90ml) cold water


1)   Heat the heavy cream, milk and sugar in a saucepan over a gentle flame. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. (If using a vanilla bean, scrape the seeds from the bean into the cream and add the bean pod. Cover, and let infuse for 30 minutes. Remove the bean then rewarm the mixture before continuing.)

2)  Lightly oil eight custard cups with a neutral-tasting oil.

3)  Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a medium-sized bowl and let stand 5 to 10 minutes.

4)  Pour the very warm Panna Cotta mixture over the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.

5)  Divide the Panna Cotta mixture into the prepared cups, then chill them until firm, which will take at least two hours but I let them stand at least four hours. (Judy told me American refrigerators are colder than European ones. ) If you’re pressed for time, pour the Panna Cotta mixture into wine goblets so you can serve them in the glasses, without unmolding.

6) Run a sharp knife around the edge of each Panna Cotta and unmold each onto a serving plate, and garnish as desired.

7) Top the Panna Cotta with your favourite fruit coulis.

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Claypot Chicken Rice

An absolutely delicious one pot meal which is very popular in Malaysia and Singapore More often than not, the rice is cooked in the claypot first and cooked ingredients like diced chicken and Chinese sausage are added in later.

Traditionally, the cooking is done over a charcoal stove, giving the dish a distinctive flavour. However if you don't have a claypot, no worries, just do the cooking in your rice cooker.

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Claypot Chicken Rice
Recipe Adapted from Kuali
Serves 3 - 4


500g (2 pieces) boneless chicken maryland
300g long grain rice
420ml water

Marinade for the Chicken:

1 tablepoon dark soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 tablespoon ginger juice
1 tablespoon Chinese wine
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon cornflour
1/2 teaspoon salt


1 Chinese sausage (lap cheong), sliced
5 pieces Chinese mushroom, soaked and cut in half
Chopped spring onions and coriander for garnishing


1) Cut chicken into chunks, about 1.5" pieces. Combine the marinade ingredients and allow chicken to marinate in it for 1 hour in the refrigerator.

2) Heat a wok and add 1 tablespoon of oil.  Fry the Chinese sausage until lightly brown.  Remove and set aside.

3) Add the marinated chicken and Chinese sausages into the wok and stir fry for about 2 minutes.  Then add the mushroom and fry for another minute or two.  If the ingredients look a bit dry and a little bit of water (ingredients should have a little bit of sauce).  Add the Chinese sausage and mix.

4) Wash the rice in several changes of water and place into a claypot with 420ml water. Cook, covered, over medium heat, until water is almost absorbed.

5) Add the stir fried chicken over the rice. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of water over the meat/rice.

6) Lower the heat and cook, covered, until rice and chicken are cooked, about 15 to 20 minutes. Flake rice, cover lid and cook for further 5 minutes.

7) Remove from heat and top with spring onions and coriander. Serve immediately with sliced red chillies.

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Crispy Pork Belly Served with Lentils

I have been absolutely slack in updating my blog and have been caught up by so many things lately.  In July I had family members visiting me from Melbourne and Kuala Lumpur.  I didn't do much cooking at all during that time - in fact we mostly ate out. 

After they left I had to deal with one of my dogs (Milo) having to go in for heartworm treatment.  Milo was treated for Stage 1 and last week he went in for his double injection, one administered on Monday and the other administered on Tuesday.  I was quite worried especially after reading how the treatment was done and the after-care involved.  He is now confined at home with no exercise or excitement for the next four weeks and so far he is doing very well.

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Crispy Pork Belly Served with Lentils
Recipe Adapted from Delicious Magazine
Serves 4


1 kg boneless pork belly, skin scored (ask your butcher to do this for you)
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp sea salt
1 large onion, cut into wedges
3 celery sticks, cut into chunks
1.5 cups to 2 cups chicken stock


1) Preheat the oven to 180C.

2) Place the pork belly on a board and pat dry with kitchen paper. Rub the fennel seeds and sea salt all over the skin.

3) Place the onion wedges and celery in a roasting tin, put the pork belly on top, skin-side up.  Then slowly pour in the chicken stock, making sure you do not moist the skin.

4) Place in oven and roast for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 mins.

5) Increase the temperature to 210C (fan oven) and roast for a further 20 minutes, until the crackling is crisp.

6) Place on a carving board to rest for 20 minutes before slicing. Serve with seasonal vegetables or lentils.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Macarons in Singapore: Adding an Asian Edge to a French Confection (Guest Post by Mac Woo of Obolo)

Macarons took the world by storm and it wasn't too long before you could find these delightful French macarons in Singapore. These colorful little confectioneries are a treat to both the eyes and the taste-buds and it's no wonder that they have become the favorites of many Singaporeans.
Not everyone has the patience required to consistently turn out perfectly formed well baked macaron. Many have tried, and given up because of the complexity involved. It is probably the biggest reason why people prefer to buy these confections as opposed to making it themselves. It's also a delicate art to adapt a French delicacy to suit Asian taste buds. The French like their macarons as sweet as they can get. Asians on the other hand prefer an experience that caters to all their taste-buds rather than just their sweet tooth.
It's interesting to see how the macaron has developed in Singapore. Local pastry chefs have realized that traditional macarons may be too sweet for the discerning Singaporean palate and have quickly begun to incorporate local flavors into the macaron to make them more palatable. If you would like to try your hand at making these French delicacies, below is a simple recipe you can try at home.

French Macaron
3 whites of medium sized eggs
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 2/3 cups castor or powdered sugar
1 cup almond meal (finely ground almonds)


1)  Line a silicone mat or a baking sheet with butter paper. For those first timers in baking macarons, draw circles of desired width (usually 1 1/2 inches diameter) onto the butter paper to guide you while you are piping the batter).

2) Beat the egg whites in a large bowl with a stand mixer (using a whisk attachment). You can also beat the whites with a hand held beater, but this will require patience as it will take a while. Beat until whites look foamy and form soft peaks. Slowly add in granulated sugar, a tablespoon at a time and continue to beat until the mixture is glossy and fluffy, and holds soft peaks.

3) In another, separate bowl, sift the powdered sugar with the almond meal. With a spatula, begin to fold the almond mixture into the egg white mixture. Do not beat but use about 30 strokes to blend the almond mixture with the egg mixture.

4) Place a plastic bag or a piping bag into a cup. Spoon a small amount of the prepared into this. If using a plastic bag, cut off a small corner. Using this, pipe disks of the batter onto the butter paper you have prepared. The batter should flatten immediately. If it holds a peak, fold the batter gently with a few more strokes and then try again.

5) Continue to pipe the disks onto the butter paper, making sure you leave enough space in between the disks. Let the piped disks stand out of the oven, at room temperature. Once they have formed a skin on top, they will be ready to be baked. It should take about 1 hour to form a hard skin, depending on the climate.

6) Preheat oven to 140 degrees Celsius or 285 degrees Fahrenheit.

7) Now bake disks until set. Make sure they don't brown. It should take around 10 minutes; let the macarons cool completely before assembling.

8) You can use different fillings for the macarons, including jam, ganache, and buttercream.

9) For colored or flavored macarons, use gel food colors or flavors, and incorporate when folding in almond meal. Make sure you don't use too much or it will upset the balance of ingredients and your macarons will not bake well.

With flavors like Elderflower Blossom, Rose and Durian, it's not difficult to imagine the delight each bite brings. The introduction of macarons in Asia has taken the taste to a whole new level and across Singapore and the rest of Asia, pastry chefs are busy experimenting with local flavours to see which will work. This means that new flavors are regularly being added to recipes and menus, much to the surprise and delight of macaron aficionados.

You can choose from Obolo’s wide variety of macaron flavours for your palette-- Obolo macarons fulfills every taste craving imaginable. From their basic Rose, Raspberry, Pistache, Cassis, Ruby, Sakura, and Fraise, to flavours that chocolate lovers will enjoy like the Bittersweet Chocolate, Salted Caramel Chocolate, Hazelnut Chocolate, Milk Choc Macadamia and Earl Grey Milk Chocolate. For their 2012/2013 collection, Obolo offered Singapore's 1st ever alcoholic macarons with 4 different flavours: The Aged Rum Vanille, Mocha Kahlua, Choc Whiskey, and Orange Cognac. Other flavours are Mango Passion and Champagne.

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Macaron flavours from front to back: Rose, Mango Passion, Pistachio, Cassis, Ruby & Bittersweet Chocolate

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Macaron flavours from top left: Mocha Kahlua, Aged Rum Vanille, Chocolate Whisky, and Champagne

Many wrote macarons off as a fad but they seem to be growing and thriving. The Singaporeans love for beauty and taste have made these little confections indispensable at high - end parties , birthdays and even weddings. The fact that pastry chefs are making an effort to blend local flavours into this French delight is a clear indication that the macaron is here to stay.


Author’s Bio:
Mac Woo is the chef-owner of Obolo Bakeshop: one of Singapore’s leading patisseries cafe, handcrafting its award-winning cheesecakes and macarons in Singapore..  Along with June Lee; these two aspiring architects turned self-taught pastry chefs, started this 100% home-grown brand in 2004; infusing their design training into creating exciting and innovative flavors.



Sunday, June 16, 2013

Homemade Thin Crust Pizza

This is another great pizza recipe to put together especially if you are planning a pizza party.  It's quick and easy and any left over dough can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.  Just imagine a pizza party where your guest can put together their own designer pizza ...

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Homemade Thin Crust Pizza
Makes Two 10" Pizzas

For the dough:

3/4 cups lukewarm water
1 teaspoon active-dry or instant yeast
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt


1)  Preheat the oven to 450°F or as hot as it will go and let it heat for about 20 mins before making the pizza. If you have a pizza stone, put it in the lower-middle part of the oven now.  If you don't use use a baking sheet pan, turned upside down and place into the oven.

2)  Combine the water and yeast in a mixing bowl, and stir to dissolve the yeast. The mixture should look like thin miso soup. Add the flour and salt to the bowl and mix until you've formed a sticky.

3) Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface along with any loose flour still in the bowl.  until all the flour is incorporated, and the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. The dough should still feel moist and slightly tacky. If it's sticking to your hands and counter-top like bubble gum, work in more flour one tablespoon at a time until it is smooth.

4)  Leave the dough to rise until doubled in bulk (about an hour or so). After rising, you can use the dough or refrigerate it for up to three days.

5) Cover the dough with the upside-down mixing bowl or a clean kitchen towel while you prepare the pizza toppings.

6) When ready to make the pizza, tear off two pieces of parchment paper roughly 12-inches wide. Divide the dough in two with a bench scraper. Working with one piece of the dough at a time, form it into a large disk with your hands and lay it on the parchment paper.

7) Work from the middle of the dough outwards, using the heel of your hand to gently press and stretch the dough until it's about 1/4 of an inch thick or less. For an extra-thin crust, roll it with a rolling pin. If the dough starts to shrink back, let it rest for five minutes and then continue rolling.

8) The dough will stick to the parchment paper, making it easier for you to roll out, and the pizza is baked while still on the parchment. As it cooks, the dough will release from the parchment, and you can slide the paper out midway through cooking.

9)  Spoon a few tablespoons of sauce into the center of the pizza and use the back of a spoon to spread it out to the edges. Pile on all of your toppings.

10) Using a bread peel or the bottom of a large removable cake tin, slide your pizza (still on the parchment) onto the baking stone in the oven or onto the pre-heated baking sheet pan.

11) Bake for about 5 minutes and then rotate the pizza, removing the parchment from under the pizza as you do so. Bake for another 3 to 5 minutes until the crust is golden-brown and the cheese looks toasty.

12) Remove the pizza from oven and let it cool on a wire rack. Repeat with shaping, topping, and baking second pizza.

13) Let both pizzas cool for about five minutes before slicing and serving.

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

I came across this recipe and have to share it around! They do say that good things must be shared around ... right?

These biscuits are absolutely, absolutely delicious especially if you have some spare cheddar cheese lying around in your refrigerator.  I would not say that the texture is that of a biscuit ... more like a muffin scone.  They whip up in no time at all so you can even make these on a lazy Sunday morning and have it with your breakfast.

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Recipe Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Makes about 10 - 12 biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
1 tsp grated fresh garlic (can be omitted or replaced with 1/2 tsp garlic powder (or 1/2 tsp onion powder)
 ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup shredded mix cheddar cheese
3 Tablespoon grated parmesan
1 cup buttermilk, cold
½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled for 5 minutes

For the Topping:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1)  Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat and set aside.

2)  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, grated garlic and cayenne. Stir in the cheese and set aside.

3)  In a medium bowl, stir together the buttermilk and melted butter until the butter forms small clumps.

4)   Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and mix gently with a rubber spatula just until a dough forms and no dry ingredients remain. Use a greased ¼-cup measuring cup to scoop out portions of dough. Place on the prepared baking sheet, leaving a little more than an inch between biscuits.

5) Bake until the biscuits are golden brown, about 12 minutes. While the biscuits are in the oven, stir together the 2 tablespoons melted butter and thyme.

6) Remove the biscuits from the oven and immediately brush with the topping mixture. Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.

7) Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container or zip-top back at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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