Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Carrot and Herb Biscuits

I got this recipe out of the Pillsbury Ultimate Baking Book. I'm not quite sure if that's the real title of the book... I'm just guessing because I borrowed the book from my library quite a while ago and only decided recently to bake these biscuits :p
If you are a huge fan of cornbread then this recipe is definetly for you. I loved these biscuits, and although they are kinda up there calorie wise their deliciousness really makes up for it. Although a dinner biscuit, these "savoury" buns turn out having a mildly sweet taste... but never-the-less, they complimented my Honey Mustard Chicken dinner to a tea. These biscuits are a bit crumbly, but that just adds to the melt-in-your-mouth feeling of eating fresh and delicious, home baked, southern style biscuits.
Since there are only five people in my family and the recipe yielded 12 biscuits I decided to half the recipe and they still turned out nicely.

Carrot and Herb Dinner Biscuits (serves 12)

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp dried basil leaves
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup margarine or butter
1/3 cup shredded carrotes
1/3 cup milk
1 egg

1. Pre-heat oven to 400ºF. In medium bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, basil, parsley flakes and salt; blend well.

2. Using pastry blender or fork (I enjoy using my fingers), cut in margarine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

3. Stir in carrots. Add milk and egg, stirring just until moistened.

4. to form each biscuit, drop 1/4 cup of dough onto ungreased cookie sheet.

5. Bake at 400ºF for 12-14 minutes or until light golden brown. Serve warm.

Nutrition Per Serving: Calories 210; Protein 3 g; Carbs 21 g; Fat 12 g; Sodium 310mg.

My Second Dinner

For my second family dinner, I decided to make something a tad more complex than the quiche lorraine. Chicken seemed like the perfect choice... and I settled for a delicious recipe for honey mustard chicken that I picked up from the grocery store (Safeway to be exact). Those stores provide some really great recipes for breakfasts, dinners and just about everything in between. This dinner was to be a good old fashioned southern meal... so I chose to glam up the chicken with a side of mixed buttered veggies (Green Giant Brand), home-made potato wedges and some carrot and herb biscuits. Yum, yum!

Honey Mustard Chicken (serves 4)

1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1/3 cup honey
2 tbsps chopped fresh dill (or 1 tablespoon dried dill)
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange peel
1 (2 1/2 lb) chicken, quartered <-- I used 2 lbs of chicken legs

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. combine mustard and honey in a small bowl. Stir in dill and orange peel.

2. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place chicken, skin-side down, on prepared pan. Brush sauce on top of chicken; coat well.
3. Turn chicken over. Gently pull back skin and brush meat with sauce. Gently pull skin back over sauce.

4. Brush skin with remaining sauce. Bake until juices run clear when thickest portion of meat is pierced with a knife, about 30 minutes.

Finishing touches:
1. Garnish with some fresh dill sprigs and lemon wedges.

Variation: For a tangy taste, add 2 tablespoons of orange marmalade to the marinade sauce.

Easy Potato Wedges (serves 4)

1. Cut 4 medium sized Russet potatoes into good sized wedges.

2. combine 2 tbsp melted butter, 1/2 tsp. basil, 1 tsp crushed garlice and 1/2 tsp fresh parsley.

3. Place potatoes on non-stick cookie sheet and brush on butter mixture.

4. Set oven to 375ºF.

5. Sprinkle w/ parmesan cheese and bake for 30 minutes.

6. Flip over, brush and sprinkle other side, bake for another 30 minutes.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Wow is it ever HOT!!!

Man, it's really cooking this summer. I guess global warming and all that stuff is really taking its toll. Yesterday is reached 35ºC... I guess it's kinda sad that I consider 35 degrees to be hot, seeing as how I'm Singaporean and all. I guess I really am a banana :P
But nevertheless, today I decided to act more like my Asian self again and cool down with a nice chendol. It was soo refreshing; but I had to eat it up really fast because the moment I placed the shaved ice in the bowl it began melting :(

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Pork Salad Sandwich?!??!

I found myself hungry at around 9:30 pm today... I know it's not particularly healthy to snack that late at night but meh, I really don't care. My stomach pretty much controls my actions :P

Staring at the leftovers in my fridge I decided to make a Pork Salad Sandwich (the first of its kind, according to google... I mean if you can't find it on google then it probably doesn't exist) out of the leftover bbq pork roast we had for dinner a few nights ago. The recipe is pretty simple... in fact there is no recipe. Basically I just chopped the pork into tiny shreds and added sour cream, mayonnaise, dijon mustard, dill weed, chopped waterchestnuts (for the crunchy texture) and shredded carrots (for colour). Add whatever else you want to make this sandwich more tastey, if that's even possible? Really, this sandwich can be made to suit your taste... so experiment; that's what I did.

I would have put a picture of it along with this write up, but you would basically be staring at a picture of what looks like a chicken salad sandwich with McGavin's whole wheat bread... boring I know. But the sandwich was far from boring, the mustard gave it a good zing (next time I think I'll buy some of that Hellmann's Dijonnaise, I've heard it's really tasty... not to mention healthier than regular mayo)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

OMG Durian Ice Cream at My Favourite Supermarket

Some people may think that I am crazy, which is in some ways true, as I adore the stinky fruit. But who cares about the strong smell, it's the taste that really counts... am I right? Anyways, many people know that I also love T&T Supermarket and spend almost every waking hour either their or dreaming of being there; and as I walked down the frozen treat aisle towards some free samples (note how Asian I am) I spotted a new brand of ice cream that they were selling. It didn't seem like anything out of the ordinary, they had ube flavour and mango flavour... but then I spotted it, could it be? Durian flavoured ice cream that I can buy and take home :)

I have tried the durian ice cream at some small vendors in Downtown Vancouver and really came to love it (almost as much as the real fruit itself) but now I could actually buy it, take it home and serve it up whenever I was feeling durian withdrawal! I would have bought it but it was a bit pricey and I had little money to spare... so I sadly walked away *sniff*. Upon arriving back home I hung out with my sisters, playing Soul Calibur 2 etc. Then I heard my parents coming home from work and, as usual, my sisters and I ran to the door to greet them. My mom had come straight home, but my dad had stopped off at T&T on his way back and to my surprise he had bought the durian ice cream that I had been reminiscing about all day. He said that he knew I would enjoy it... aww isn't he sweet?

Of course I didn't scarf down the entire pint of ice cream by myself, my entire family got in on the durian action. Except my youngest sister... who doesn't quite like exotic foods, rather preferring to chow down on her western food.

The ice cream was great, and what I had expected it to be... creamy, rich and it even had chunks of real durian mixed in. Yummy! Maybe I'll try some of the other flavours. My other sister wants to try the ube one, and everyone loves mango... well till then I'm happy sticking with my durian :P

Delicious Lemon Bars

I decided to whip out my 8x8 square baking pan once more and make something that would really make it feel like summer. I opened my fridge to find that my mom had bought about a pound of lemons. What to do? I love bars: nanaimo, peanut butter, chocolate, granola but one of my all-time favourites has got to the classic lemon bar. The lemony-citrusy taste practically screams summer is in town. I had a really simple recipe hanging around my kitchen and remembered how much everyone loved them the last time I baked them. (They're also reasonably healthy, with a few alterations)

Lemon Bars

Ingredients for Crust
1/4 cup margarine or butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar (I use unpacked confectioners)
1 cup flour
A pinch of salt

Method for Crust
1. Preheat oven to 350F

2. In a medium bowl, beat margarine and sugar until creamy. Add flour and salt and stir until well combined and crumbly.

3. Press into the bottom of an 8x8 square pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the edges are pale golden.

Ingredients for Lemon Topping
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
A pinch of salt
1 large egg (I used 1/4 cup egg substitute)
1 large egg white
The grated zest of 1 lemon
The juice of 1 lemon (approximately 3 tbsp.)
Icing sugar for sprinkling

Method (continued...)
4. In a medium bowl, combine sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Add egg, egg white, lemon zest and juice and stir until well blended and smooth. Pour over the base. Return to the oven for 25-30 minutes, until slightly
golden on top and bubbly around the edges.

5. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Sprinkle with icing sugar before cutting into bars.

6. Makes 12-16 bars (depending on how you cut it)

At 12 bars and not using my alterations the nutritional information is as follow:

Per bar: 165 calories, 4.3 g fat (.7 g saturated, 2.7 g monounsaturated, .5 g polyunsaturated), 30.3 g carbohydrates, 18 mg cholesterol, 91.2 mg sodium, 0.4 g fiber, 23% calories from fat.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Low Fat Fudgy Banana Brownies

Today I made brownies and decided to add in a few mushed up bananas because they were going brown and no one wanted to eat them... how sad :(
But when I put them in the brownies no one seemed to mind that they were old bananas as the brownies where practically inhaled, they were eaten up so quickly. I got the recipe from my Becel Heart Healthy cookbook. I love my new cookbook, I got it on sale at Cole's Bookstore (during their sidewalk sale) for only $2.99 WOW what an amazing deal I couldn't pass it up. I also bought a cookbook omnibus from the Vancouver Sun Newspaper at Ming Wo, it also has some cool (yet old) recipes... for canning, making jam, doing pot roasts and such. I'm so asian :P I love buying things on sale. I mean why would you pay full price when you can just wait for a good deal to come along.

Anyways, back to the brownies... I know the picture I took of them makes them look like banana bread squares or blondies with speckles of chocolate in them but that's only because I ran out of cocoa powder :( ... but have no fear they turned out fine.

Fudgy Banana Brownies

2 tbsp Becel margarine (or any margarine)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp each: baking soda, salt
1 1/2 large bananas, mashed

1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Spray an 8 inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Dust with cocoa, shaking out excess.

2. In a small saucepan, melt margarine on low heat. Remove from heat and stir in cocoa, sugar, egg applesauce and vanilla. beating until smooth. Gently stir in flour, baking soda and salt until well combined.

3. Pour into prepared pan and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until set (toothpick place in center should come out clean). Cool completely and cut into 16 squares with hot, wet knife. Store in the refrigerator.

Note: Allowing the brownies to completely cool and cutting with
the hot, wet knife ensures that your squares turn out beautifully without any surface cave-ins.

Variation: I decided to use egg beaters instead of the egg to remove the cholesterol from the recipe and also substituted the granulated sugar for the same amount of unpacked confectioner's sugar (it tastes just as sweet but results in fewer calories!). The addition of banana was my own small variation and you should add the mashed up fruit to the wet batter NOT THE DRY!


I really had a craving for bagels today, but when I went to the store they weren't on sale :( --you can see my true asian-ness, everything I buy must be on sale or really cheap hehehehe... Anyways, the price did not crush my craving for the sweet baked good so I went home determined to bake some real homemade bagels. I pulled out this recipe from "The Creative Cook" which seemed easy enough to make and used ingredients that I had just hanging around the house.

Makes 16
Preparation: 30 minutes
Rising: 1 1/4 hrs
Cooking: about 55 minutes

1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons dried yeast
8 fl oz (200ml) hand hot water
1 lb (450 g) strong white flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 oz (25 g) margarine/butter
1 egg yolk
beaten egg for glazing

To finish: poppy seeds, sesame seeds, chopped onion

1. Dissolve sugar water and yeast in bowl and let stand for 10 minutes, or until a decent head of foam is produced.

2. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Rub in the margarine. Add the egg yolk. Stir to mix and add in the yeast mixture; kneading to make a smooth dough.

3. Place in an oiled polythene bag and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour.

4. Knock back and knead the dough. Divide into 16 pieaces. Roll into 5 in (13 cm) lengths. Shape into rings and place on floured trays.

5. Place trays in greased polythene bag and leave again for 10 minutes.

6. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop two or three bagels in at a time. Cook for 5 minutes.

7. Remove bagels with a draining spoon and blot dry with paper toweling. Place on grased baking tray. Brush with beaten egg and top with seeds or chopped onion.

8. Bake for 20 minutes until brown.

Note: I used half white and half whole-wheat flour, and it turned out well. Yet my younger sister did not really enjoy the extra wheatiness of the bagel but... meh.

Variation: I divided my recipe into thirds and experimented with different variations of this recipe. For cinnamon raisin bagels I decreased the amount of salt to 1/2 teaspoon, increased sugar to 2 1/2 tablespoons, added 1 teaspoon cinnamon to the dry mixture and 1/4 cup raisins to the dough (remember this is for a third of the recipe!). For cheese bagles I left the ingredients the same, but added 1/3 cup grated cheddar cheese to the dry ingredients; and then sprinkled some on the top before placing them in the oven. And for a crunchier bottom to the bagels I decided to sprinkle on some cornmeal.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Adventures of the Durian

A long awaited photo spectacular...

Here is our durian. Isn't he cute? I decided it would be a boy... not sure why; just because. Anyways, the picture in the "Durian" blog is also of our durian. But I think this picture captures his more glamorous side.

Here is a picture of my dad using a crowbar and a hammer to open the sucker. I told you it takes a lot of effort to open these puppies.

After much strenuous work, we (when I say we I mean dad) finally opened one of the compartments of the durian to reveal the first grouping of the golden fruit. You heard me, there's more than one division that must take place to reveal the remaining durian fruit. So on went the arduous struggle to reach the golden fruit within.

The durian still had ice crystals on it, from being frozen... and being a hot summers day no one in the family complained. Eating the cold and creamy durian was like eating durian ice cream. Delicious!

And here are the golden treasures, recovered from within their spikey fortress, being eaten by their excavators. Yum! ... okay the pic is just of me (apparently, no one else wanted to have their picture taken with the fruit :( I hope he doesn't take it personally.)


Dad surprised us today by bringing home a gorgeous durian. Albeit it was frozen, but it was still beautiful to me. People either detest it or adore it. I love durian... while many may find it's pungent smell sickening, I take in every whiff of the fruit with anxious delight. Supposedly the durian was on sale at T&T (the best supermarket in the world... as stated previously in my other blogs) so my dad grabbed the nicest one he could find, to surprise the family. Isn't he sweet :)
Of course, after buying the durian and lugging it home the real task is opening the spikey casing to reveal the deliciously creamy fruit. This took quite a lot of work (as it always does) but the end reward was worth the toil and sweat. If you have yet to try this exotic fruit do not delay. It may take some getting use to; but once you taste it your world will forever be changed... jkjk well it's partly true. But what are you really expecting? After all it is only a fruit hehehe :P

Watch for... The Adventures of The Durian

Bak Tong Go

Felt like being more asian today... so I decided to make some of that much-loved sweet white rice cake or "Bak Tong Go". I got the recipe off of (which also has some really great recipes). My rice cake didn't puff up as much, but it tasted great. Perhaps next time I make this recipe I should be more patient and wait the required 6 hours for proofing... hehehe, that's right I was too anxious to follow the recipe and I guess I sorta paid for it. But oh well I still ate it all; again with the help of my family... boy do we love to eat.


I must be going pancake crazy. First the cherry pancakes, now this! And what is "this" you may be asking yourself... well they are nothing but the best pancakes ever created. All you need to know is that they're delicious. Okay, okay... I decided to use up the leftover pandan essence from my banana roll recipe and add it to my buttermilk pancake mix. The result, light and fluffy silver dollar pandan pancakes. They were almost to cute to eat. But I guess I was really hungry, so I just gobbled them down. Not by myself though, I had help from my sisters.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Quiche Lorraine- My Very First Dinner

Decided to make dinner today, it had to be something easy and yet delicious. Seeing as how this would be the first dinner for the family that I would be preparing all by my lonesome I decided on quiche, I love the cheesey-eggy goodness and everyone can have a say on what goes into it. Quiche is so versatile and you can use a bunch of great fillings: onions, mushrooms, spinach, bacon, sausage, broccoli, carrots, potatoes etc.

I made the crust, which was basically a variation of this recipe from I found that substituting whole wheat flour worked really well, and the cheesy crust added even more flavour to the delicious quiche.

The end result:
As you can see, the quiche turned out nicely. I decided on a filling of broccoli, mushrooms, onions and bacon (just to make everyone in the family happy). It was simple to make and everyone enjoyed it, gobbling up every little piece (even the crust). A fresh garden salad and scalloped potatoes make great accompaniments to this cheesy creation.

Banana Rolls

Being that it's summer and I find myself doing practically nothing all day, but lazing about the house and playing with my dog I decided to do some baking. I've lately been feeling like such a banana, having made so many english dishes and never attempting any of the culturally different malay or singaporean dishes that I grew up with as a child... so I decided to make banana rolls.

I stumbled upon Jo's Deli webpage her site has some really easy-to-follow recipes for many oriental dishes, and there I found a recipe for my rolls.

Sadly they didn't turn out as pretty as Jo's but that's okay, they still tasted delicous. The red bean filling was easy enough to make as well. I got that recipe from, which also has some great recipe finds.
After making the banana rolls, which took quite a bit of time, I sat down with my sisters for a hot cup of tea and the rest of my family gobbled up the yummy rolls.

Delicious Cherry Pancakes

As I continued to ponder about what I should do with my gigantic batch of cherries... I was still idea-less. So I slept on it. Upon waking up at 8 o'clock in the morning I had a craving for pancakes. And that's when it struck me... I would make my family buttermilk, cherry pancakes. I did and they were scrumptious, especially with that cherry syrup that we had made the day before... mmmmm devine :)

The recipe was simple... as I am a very lazy person it delighted me to find a bucket (notice how many bucket's we have at home... I am amazed) of buttermilk pancake mix. I added 1 cup of the mix to 2/3 cup cold water and then added 1/2 cup of pitted cherries (with their juices). They taste way better than plain old buttermilk pancakes and definetly better than the store bought frozen kind blegh :P

Monday, July 10, 2006

Cherries!! Part 2

The pie idea was great, but it only used up 3/4 of a bucket of cherries :( With the leftover cherries, we decided to make jam. That was a great idea as well; we used up the remaining 1/4 bucket plus another whole bucket while producing 4 jars of homemade cherry jam. I had some for breakfast today and it was devine. We also ended up with a butt-load of cherry juice, which we drank and also thickened into syrup for our pancakes and waffles.... aiyah, I know there's noway someone can eat too much fruit (except for that individual who died, due to excesive durian consumption)but today I think my family came pretty close. With 2 buckets left, 3 leftover slices of pie, 3 extra jars of jam and a bottle of cherry syrup... it seems that these cherries were better off left on the tree.

Cherries!! Part 1

My family and I were just talking to the neighbours when someone noticed and stated, "You have a nice cherry tree." while pointing to our hideously overgrown tree next to the driveway. That may not seem to be a very profound statement, yet I was thoroughly surprised. My family had never picked cherries off this tree, and it had been in our possession for around 10 years. That's 10 whole summers that we've missed out on eating cherries... well we weren't going to stand for this, so we got picking. And the result... 4 buckets of beautifully ripe cherries. What were we to do? I couldn't imagine eating them all; even divided among the 5 of us we would have gotten sick of cherries really quickly. What to do???? Mom decided that she wanted to bake a cherry pie and add a deliciously simple crumble topping to it. Great idea... the pie turned out beautifully and it was really simple to make.

Cherry Pie

Recipe yeilding one pie crust

4 cups pitted cherries
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
Cook filling ingredients in a large pot over medium heat until thick. Remove from heat; add 1 package of gelatine, stir quickly.

3/4 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar (lightly packed)
Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Slowly add 1/3 cup melted butter and mix until crumbly yet clumpy.

Pour filling into pie shell and cover with crumble topping. Place pie in oven set at 350F (gas) for 45-50 minutes.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Father's Day

Father's Day: I've always been a Daddy's girl, and I love my old man to bits. This Father's day I decided to make him a super soufflé omelette (filled with onions, peppers, mushrooms and cheddar cheese); carrot muffins; country-fried potato hashbrown (recipe from ); breakfast sausages; toast and strong coffee (just the way my pops likes it).

After all the hard work that parents go through for the family, it's nice to show them that they are appreciated. It doesn't have to be food... it could be just a simple smile or better yet a great big hug. Just let them know that you care :)

Mother's Day

Mother's Day: holds a special place in my heart, as I'm sure it does my mother. I was born on this day way back in 1988. And my birthday only falls on Mother's day every 15 years. I love my mom and this year I made her a great breakfast... with the help of my two adorable sisters. Breakfast consisted of: vanilla custard (atop a layer of crushed coconut cookies, topped with blueberries, orange zest and a chocolate wafer cookie); banana stuffed french toast cut into the shape of 2 "m"s and 1 "o" (recipe from and of coarse delicious chai tea.

Mums and Dads

I love my mom and dad, and I think that they're all getting a bad rep. I'm not talking about my parents in particular, but all moms and dads. They are always being portrayed in movies and on television as being uncool, stubborn and senile in their old age. This is simply untrue. And even if it were true... so what.

They are allowed to be uncool if they choose to be; but really what defines a cool parent? Someone who lets you get a tattoo? smoke? drink? If that defines cool, I really could care less about having cool parents. I believe that a cool parent is someone who takes care of you, cares for you and has your best interests at heart. I guess that I'm starting to sound like a parent, but is it really that awful? I think that our moms and dads treat us the way they do because of the experience with life that they have, and the knowledge about life that we severely lack.

Okay some parents may be a little over protective, having curfews that are much too early and not letting you hang out with individuals of the opposite sex. Now that is messed up. But in general parents aren't that restricting and they really want us kids to have as much freedom as is possible, I mean... I don't think that their intention is to have us live at home for the rest of our lives.