A: Valentines Day

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on February 15, 2009 by gluttondressedaslamb

Whether you’re a believer or not; swingingly-single or hopelessly in love, any Hallmark celebration is good enough reason for me to get baking!

v-day-cupcakes-004

A: Cupcake fairy.

Posted in Personal on February 7, 2009 by gluttondressedaslamb

Closely related to the fruit fairy (so close you might think they were one and the same person…), arrived the cupcake fairy at my doorstep earlier today. This high-fat-high-cholesterol cousin of the healthy living gym-nut that graces my fruit box every-so-often brought a divine gift of gorgeous vanilla cupcakes. The kind that make you want to hop on your BMX, climb trees and tumble down grassy hills– you know the kind I’m talking about!!!

If at all possible, this tasted better than it looks!

If at all possible, this tasted better than it looks!

What better way to start one’s weekend?

A: Curry in a hurry.

Posted in Chicken with tags , on February 7, 2009 by gluttondressedaslamb

The house has been a red meat-free zone for a while now. Well not entirely free but we are certainly limiting our consumption of red meat since Man realised that it was affecting his gout in a typical swollen-foot-walk-like-an-old-man kind of way. (Not pretty.)

This combined with the fact that school has officially started  means that food options are once again limited to that of the quick and painless variety, which means quick curries/stews and one-pot wonders.

R and I took a Thai cooking class a couple of years ago, where we discovered that the secret to a good green curry is a good green curry paste, and the secret to a good green curry paste is in actual fact, knowing which brand to buy at your asian grocery store. We asked the class teacher for a recipe for a green curry paste, only to be told that it wasn’t worth it if you didn’t have kaffir limes (not the leaves, but the actual fruit), and to just buy the pre-made stuff! GFM had made his own and brought it to the following class, where he was promptly told by grumpy Thai woman that his was no good and (ironically) too green as he had used the lime leaves, which is apparently a no-no.

Having said that, I have actually managed to find a paste that is super-no preservatives or added artificial anything; hot and fiery and full of flavour. A good pre-made curry paste is worth its weight in gold and I highly recommend doing your research to find one that suits your own tastebuds.

I’m fairly lazy when it comes to mid-week cooking and highly favour the one-pot approach to a balanced meal.

Green curry with chicken and vegetable scraps

Ingredients:

2 chicken thighs (thickly sliced) plus 2 chicken wings

Couple of generous handfuls of mixed vegetables (I had half a zucchini, half a red capsicum, some king oyster mushrooms and 2 potatoes sitting about the place, plus some frozen peas for right at the end).

3 heaped tablespoons of green curry paste

250ml coconut milk

Method:

1. Stirfry curry paste in half the coconut milk until bubbling and fragrant.

green-chicken-curry-0011

2. Add chicken to the green curry mix and stir for 1-2 minutes.

3. Add potatoes (if using), and any other vegetables that might take a little longer to cook.

4. Halfway through cooking, add extra coconut milk and water, if the the mix is looking too dry, as well as remaining vegetables (except for the peas).

5. Add peas at the end, stir through and serve with steamed rice.

green-chicken-curry-002

** Makes enough curry for 2 plus leftovers for 2 lunches. (Basically, this feeds 4)

Tinned bamboos and baby sweetcorn also make great additions, as do eggplant and pumpkin. This dish is a great way to clean out bits and pieces in the vegetable crisper!

R:Code-name cupcake

Posted in baking on February 7, 2009 by gluttondressedaslamb

I recently volunteered to join the morning-tea roster for Dr George O’Neil’s Fresh Start clinic and my turn’s come round to being in sweets.

Having received rather encouraging comments from my birthday cupcake attempts, I decided to bring in cupcakes- and try to get the frosting right this time. The recipe borrowed from A’s Magnolia Bakery cookbook is a brilliant cupcake recipe, it epitomises simple, old fashioned goodness! The house smells so wonderful now, I feel all homely and fuzzy :)

The table’s now set, and i’m all ready to go!

CupcakesClockwise from bottom: Pretty sprinkles, Pastel frosting, Latte (for me!) and 53 vanilla cupcakes

A: Cordial for real!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on January 20, 2009 by gluttondressedaslamb

In the middle of packing for our Christmas break, sorting out last minute end-of-term stuff for work and packing up the house to be painted, I’d nearly completely forgot about the very generous pile of lemons on my dining table just begging to be used!
What does one do with nearly 30 lemons? Do I chuck them all in the fridge and hope they survive the 3 weeks that we ‘re away, or do I make a ridiculous amount of cakes and slices that will only cost more money, time and effort than they are worth? I didn’t want to make anything the required too many extra ingredients and I didn’t really have the time to soak the lemons for preserving. What to do, what to do?
Enter: Belinda Jeffrey to the rescue!
I spotted her recipe for homemade limoncello in a magazine a while back, and the fact that I am the proud owner of 2 2l preserving jars– made it the perfect recipe to write off 24 lemons. The liqueur isn’t ready just yet, but when they are I shall be certain to provide lots of photos and the recipe.
Since the limoncello only called for the lemon peel, I opted to turn the juice from the remaining lemons into good old-fashioned cordial. Most recipes for cordial call for tartaric and citric acid. Seeing how I was pressed for time and couldn’t find either in my supermarket, I decided to take my chances and make one without. The recipe is simply:

lemon-cordial1 part sugar syrup (I make mine strong, from 2 parts sugar and 1 part water over low heat until all the sugar dissolves)
1 part lemon juice (obviously this depends on how sour your lemons are and how sweet you like your cordial)

Voila! Store in bottles/jars and keep in the fridge. We ended up with about 3 litres of cordial, most of which we gave away. It should keep for about 1 month, although in the heat of summer ours was gobbled up in 2 days!

A: Hop on the dragon wagon!

Posted in Personal with tags on January 17, 2009 by gluttondressedaslamb

christmas-new-year-2008-029

It’s one of those fruits that look almost too pretty to eat. Deep pink on the outside with pretty dragonlike green-tipped scales, suprisingly quirky on the inside, decorated in 60s kitsch polka dots. This has got to be one of my favourite fruits of all time! Although available in Australia, it remains pretty costly and often sits all by its lonesome on greengrocer shelves as passers-by stop for a grope and a sniff before placing it back on its shelf to waste its life away. How sad!
While staying with mum back in Singapore, I went slightly overboard in a dragonfruit frenzy if you will, and had an entire fruit all to myself almost everyday! (It was incredibly cheap and I was incredibly greedy-a perilous combination!) I cannot think of a better way to start the day as I meditate over the bright pink flesh (it comes in 2 varieties, white or pink flesh, both with black seeds dotted throughout), scooping mouthful after mouthful while contemplating my day ahead. christmas-new-year-2008-030

Consider it a privilege if your greengrocer stocks this fruit, and do us all a favour and buy one every-so-often, you won’t regret it! I prefer the pink variety (which leaves a tell-tale pink stain on everything it touches, so beware!), but the white one is just as good- sweet and fairly similar to kiwifruit in terms of texture and taste.

A: Festive season update (Part 2)– Glut fest in Melaka.

Posted in Personal on January 17, 2009 by gluttondressedaslamb

Although the majority of our Christmas break was spent visiting family and friends in Singapore, man and I simply could not pass up an opportunity to attend a family wedding in Melaka (Malaysia) over the New Year period.

En route to Melaka.

En route to Melaka.

Nearly there!

Nearly there!

Hooray!

Hooray!

Instead of amber lights, the red lights count down to the green and vice versa. Demystifies the waiting game at traffic lights for all concerned. Genius.

Instead of amber lights, the red lights count down to the green and vice versa. Demystifies the waiting game at traffic lights for all concerned. Genius.

Trishaw-riders decorate their trishaws with flowers, tinsel and little knick-knacks to make them more attractive to prospective customers.

Trishaw-riders decorate their trishaws with flowers, tinsel and little knick-knacks to make them more attractive to prospective customers.

The city center of Melaka in itself has been a UNESCO world heritage site since mid 2008. Melaka in itself is a fairly interesting place to visit– steeped in history and attractive architecture. I went with my sister the history nut a few years ago and did all the tourist-y things, which meant this time around I was able to focus my energies entirely on gluttonous pursuits. Hooray!

Chicken rice balls- overrated novelty food, if you ask me. Roasted chicked served with rice steamed in chicken stock that's rolled into balls. Bleh.

Chicken rice balls- overrated novelty food, if you ask me. Roasted chicked served with rice steamed in chicken stock that's rolled into balls. Bleh.

The highlight of the trip had to be lunch at Aunt Jessie’s on New Years eve, feasting on prawn and pineapple curry, pork curry, fried chicken, fried tempeh , prawn fritters with sambal diping sauce, stir fried ladies fingers and steamed cockles. *drool*

I must have sat at the dining table for what seemed like hours!!!

I must have sat at the dining table for what seemed like hours!!!

My ultimate favourite food of all time has got to be Pork and Buah Keluah curry. The thing about buah keluah is that no one really seems to know what it is! Some say it’s a seed, some say nut. I have seen it most frequentlly described as a black nut. It’s larger than a walnut, slightly smaller than a golfball. The nuts require some pre-soaking, after which a small hole is knocked into its side to expose the pungent black flesh in all its bittersweet glory. It is this beautiful black gold that both attracts and repels fans and opponent alike. Cooked with pork (which is generally the best way to do so), this makes for a curry like no other!

Buah Keluah Curry with Pork. Mmm...

Buah Keluah Curry with Pork. Mmm...

After lunch we went for a walk around the settlement to visit relatives and attempt to burn some calories in preparation for dinner. Dinner was lovely. We opted to eat at a restaurant in the portuguese settlement square- chilli crab, garlic crab, sambal prawns, steamed fish, fried squid etc. etc. My word, there wasn’t an inch of space left in my stomach for even a grain of rice!

Entrance to the portuguese square.

Entrance to the portuguese square.

The rest of new years eve went fairly quickly, as we walked through the neighbourhood checking out Christmas decorations and soaking up festivities. Children (and the young at heart) were playing with fireworks all evening, which led up to the grand finale at midnight where the entire street took turns lighting up huge strings of firecrackers. What a sight/sound!

It's just not Christmas without a reindeer sighting.

It's just not Christmas without a reindeer sighting.

ho-ho-ho!

ho-ho-ho!

Funky spinny, sparkly, firey thingy.

Funky spinny, sparkly, firey thingy.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Giant firecracker.

Giant firecracker.

New Year's aftermath.

New Year's aftermath.

I ate so much on New Year’s Eve that I literally ate NOTHING the next day. It was incredibly worthwhile, and I made sure I wrote downa s many of Aunty Jessie’s recipes as I could, just so we can have a piece of Melaka here in Perth every so often.

Unfortunately post-its were all I had on me while in Melaka. In my foresight, I also took down Aunt Jessie's phone number, just in case!

Unfortunately post-its were all I had on me while in Melaka. In my foresight, I also took down Aunt Jessie's phone number, just in case!

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