Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Lost in the desert

I have been AWOL over the past few months. Moving, travelling, muslim holidays and extremely busy with life, has just seemed to put a lull in my food blogging. Most of my cooking utensils/kitchen appliances/decor is in storage and I just haven't felt in the mood to do much cooking and photography lately.

I managed to recover my photos from the past 12 years, much to my relief and I am planning on doing some posts on food that I have discovered around the world (while my cooking has been put on the back burner!) and I promise I will get back into the kitchen as soon as I can!

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Prawn, Mozzarella and Mint Easy Pizzas

Unfortunately, I have had a mishap with my hard drive and awaiting data recovery on my stockpile of recipes and more importantly my photos. I was heartbroken when I realised that there was a huge chance that I had lost all my photos (not my food photos as such, but the last 12 years of my travel photos. For some reason I only had a partial backup!!) I am hoping that things will be ok.

But on with the cooking.

This weekend I wanted something quick and easy and light. I was inspired by various recipes and decided to make something up and this is what I ended up with. It was tasty enough with a glass of wine and in front of the telly!

Lebanese flat bread
Mozzarella cheese grated
Mozzarella cheese ball or boccincini balls (drained) if you can get buffalo m0zzarella even better!
Raw prawns (as many as you would like)
Handful cherry tomatoes, sliced
Tomato paste
Garlic paste

Preheat oven to about 200 and heat tray up.
Meanwhile, spoon a tablespoon of tomato paste over base of lebanese bread. Spoon on a tablespoon of garlic paste on top. Place a few slices of cherry tomatoes over. Sprinkle a handful of grated mozzarella over the base. Place prawns around the pizza base.
Cook in oven for about 6-8 minutes (or until prawns are just turning pink and base is crispy).
Pull out of oven and place chunks of mozzarella balls around.
Sprinkle with basil and mint leaves

I made two pizzas, one as above and the second one, I left off the grated mozzarella and at the end I scattered sliced herbs on top. Each were tasty. I really liked the mint addition!

Note: If you want the mozzarella to melt a little more, place pizza back in the oven for a couple of minutes before putting the herbs on (they will brown if you put them on, like what happened to mine)

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Cabbage Rolls

These cabbage rolls are a low fat version. I adapted this recipe slightly from Australian Women’s Weekly Low Low Fat.

Note: I used a small bamboo steam and only fit in 2-3 at a time. Please ensure that you make sure the water level in the saucepan or wok below does not boil dry. My first lot of steaming worked out perfectly. However, the second lot I put in were ruined, because I forgot to add more water and I boiled the pan dried AND set fire to my bamboo steamer....Let me tell you,a smouldering/burning bamboo steamer stinks!!!!! Lesson learnt, and one bamboo steamer down....


6-8 large cabbage leaves, trimmed
¼ tsb olive oil
1 large carrot, grated coursely
1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
200g pork mince
1 tbs tomato paste
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground allspice (I didn’t have allspice and used ¼ nutmeg, ¼ cinnamon, ¼ more cumin)
2 cups cooked long grain rice

Tomato sauce

1 ½ cups of passata
½ cup chicken stock
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbs flat leaf parsley, sliced finely


Boil cabbage leaves until pliable, rinse under cold water and drain. Pat dry with paper towel.

Heat oil in frying pan, cook carrot, onion, celery and garlic, stirring until onion softens.

Add mince and paste, cook until mince is brown.

Add spices and cook until fragrant (a couple of minutes).

Add rice and heat through.

Let mixture cool for about 10 minutes.

Divide mixture between cabbage leaves and roll up like an envelope.

Place a single layer in lined bamboo steamer (or any steamer) and steam for about 10 minutes.

To make tomato sauce

Combine all ingredients except parsley, bring to the boil and turn down to simmer for about 10 minutes or until sauce has thickened slightly. Stir in parsley.
Serve cabbage rolls with sauce.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Garlic Prawns

What to do with a massive tub of peeled garlic cloves. But I had a couple of recipes in mind. Garlic prawns was one of them. Buttery, garlic infused succulent prawns, sopped up with bread (the second serve the next day I had it with mashed potato, to soak up the garlic sauce). Hey I was getting sick with a cold and that is what I felt like. It was good and sinful! Also the garlic did nothing for the cold!

Garlic prawns feature on many mediterranean/european/mexican tables, each dish slightly different. I went with the french version.


24 large green prawns
6 garlic cloves, crushed
1-2 small red chillis, finely sliced
250ml olive oil
60g butter
2 tbs of parsley, chopped


Preheat oven to 220°c.

Peel and devien prawns, leaving the tails on.

Sprinkle the garlic and chilli into 4 individual ramekins (or cast iron dishes). Divide the butter and oil into the dishes.

Place dishes on a baking tray and put in oven for about 6 minutes, or until the butter has melted and heated.

Take tray out of oven and divide prawns into the dishes. Place back in the oven for about 7 minutes or until prawns are pink and tender.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve with crusty bread.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Hainese Chicken

I have eaten Hainese chicken many times. I have found in Australia this is usually on a menu as Chicken Rice. A dish that is originally from Hainan Island comprising of chicken, rice and soup with green onion or chilli sauce the dish was taken to Singapore by Hainese immigrants and has become a Singapore classic. It is a meal in itself. There are a few variations found in Thailand and in Malaysia where it is typically served with rice balls. However, I tried to stick to the classic recipe.

I found the chicken succulent and the spring onion and ginger sauce was awesome. Salty, gingery and I could eat with by the spoonful!


1.2kg chicken
2 spring onions cut into 5 cm lengths
5 coriander sprigs
¾ tsp salt
4 slices of ginger, smashed
¼ tsp black peppercorns
Spring onions , finely sliced
Dipping Sauces
2 spring onions, sliced
1 tbs finely grated ginger
1 tsp salt
3 tbs oil
3 tbs light soy sauce
1-2 red chillies sliced


Remove the fat from the cavity and around the neck of the chicken. Remove the parson’s nose (the bum). Rinse the chicken.

Place the chicken in a large saucepan with spring onion lengths, coriander, salt, ginger, peppercorns and enough water to cover the chicken.

Bring to the boil and then reduce to a very low simmer for about 30 minutes. Turn off and leave the chicken for a further 10 minutes.

Carefully remove the chicken.

Skim off the scum from the liquid and strain the liquid (this makes the soup).

To make the dipping sauces

For the first sauce, combine the spring onion, ginger and salt in a heat proof bowl. Heat oil in wok and heat until smoking. Allow to cool slightly and then poor over the mix (be careful as it may splatter).

For the second sauce combine light soy sauce and chilli.

To serve, cut chicken through the bones (Chinese style) and arrange on plate. Put stock into serving bowls scattered with spring onions. Serve with steamed rice and dipping sauces.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Tomato Salsa

There is nothing as refreshing as freshly made salsa to accompany a meal. Salsa reminds of BBQ's, Mexico and Summer! It's getting so very hot in the desert and this just seemed to be the right thing to make.


3 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped finely
1 small avocado, chipped finely
1 medium red onion diced finely
2 small red Thai chillies, chopping finely (or to taste)
2 tbs coarsely chopped fresh coriander
130g canned corn kernels, drained
1 tbs lemon juice

Combine all ingredients and serve immediately.

I served mine with a handful of freshly cooked peeled prawns for lunch. Unfortunately my prawns were a little overcooked but that is for another time and place to talk about! You can serve with tortilla chips for nibbles or as a great accompaniment with grilled meat or fish.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Salt and Pepper Squid

One of my favourite dishes is salt and pepper squid, when it done light and the batter is crispy! I usually order this when I order chinese food, but not many restaurants do it well and it certainly dosen’t travel well if you have ordered takeout/delivery!

I had a taste for it today, but wanted to try something quick and easy and fuss free (and I couldn’t find a recipe to follow for the “right”salt and pepper squid). So I made it up to see how it would go.

I sliced up half of a red chilli and some shallots (green onion). 3 small squid tubes split down the middle and then I scored the inside of the squid tube to make a criss cross pattern before cutting it into squares that were about 2cm2. In a bowl I placed all purpose flour, salt, ground white pepper and a good pinch of paprika, mixed it all up and placed the squid in the flour to coat.

Deepfried in vegetable oil for a few minutes and just before taking the squid out I threw in the sliced chilli and shallots until softened and starting to crisp.

Using a slotted spoon or a wire scoop, scoop out the squid, chilli and shallots and drain the squid on paper towel. I then sprinkled with sea salt and served with a wedge of lemon.

It was tasty, the squid was just cooked and still creamy, but not enough chilli and it wasn’t as crispy as I would have liked, perhaps I should have left it a minute longer. I also need to find a good batter to coat it to make it crispy. It wasn’t the local chinese restaurant version but it definitely hit the spot.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Prawn, Pesto and Cream Cheese Springrolls

I made pesto last week, which has been sitting in my fridge not being used. I am not really a pesto person but wanted to learn to make it. So I decided to throw it in some creamcheese and defrosted some prawns, chopped them up and mixed it all together. I put 2 tbs of the mixture into each large spring roll wrapper and fryed them off for lunch today. They were quite tasty but this is something I might experiment more with, with different flavours and herbs. Ideas could be endless!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Welcome to my food blog!

Welcome to my new blog. Where my adventures in food, cooking and everything related can be put down in writing! I have decided to start this blog in my endeavour to feed my passion, learn more about cooking, different cooking techniques, my obsession with cookbooks and basically indulging my passion in the culinary world. My passion has gotten stronger as the years have gone by, travelling and living around the world has added to that passion.

I have a habit of taking photos of food that I cook and taste when dining out. It drives some of my friends nuts, but that is one of the reasons they love me so much.

This blog will be a work in progress and hopefully can set it up the way I want it to.

I hope you can learn along with me, enjoy the recipes that I cook, my photos and all my insights and discovering from my travels around the world.

There is lots to learn and lots to discover. The world is big and I am still searching!