Monday, December 26, 2011

Slammin' Cajun Style Blackened Salmon

If you have been to Cajun Country (read New Orleans, Louisiana) in good ol US of A then you must have had the famous Blackened Redfish. It is a must have along with a tray of crayfish and a bowl of seafood gumbo.

Even if you have not been to Cajun Country, Creole food is to be enjoyed by all, so now you can in the comfort of your own abode, no less... It's too easy to prepare, and too good to miss. 

I wasnt sure if I could get redfish here in Oz but I thought a good fresh salmon steak will do just fine. It is our 20th anniversary and I wanted to cook something extra special for dinner and again it this cajun gem delivers every time.

So, enough with my ramblings, and here is the recipe.

  • 4 salmon steaks ( or fillets from a fish with a relativity tough texture, i.e. snapper, etc)            
  • ¾ lb unsalted melted butter   

Seasoning Mix              
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 2-½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • ¾ tsp ground white pepper
  • ¾ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp dried Italian herbs

  • Once you have cleaned your steaks, make sure you dry them completely with a paper towel.
  • Heat a heavy pan/skillet on high heat and we are talking smoking hot. I leave mine on for 5 minutes on high.   
  • Meanwhile, melt butter for 30 seconds in the microwave or in a pan. 
  • Dip the steaks in half the butter ( leaving the other half for serving) and dip into the seasoning, coating the steak well on both sides.
  • Place in the hot skillet and pour 1 tsp melted butter on top of each fillet.
  • Cook, uncovered over the same high heat until the underside looks charred, about 2 minutes (the time will vary according to the fillet’s thickness and the heat of the skillet).
  •  Turn the fish over and again pour 1 tsp butter on top; cook until fish is done, about 2 minutes more.
  •  Pour 1 tbsp of butter on each fillet before serving.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

White Chocolate Crunchies (Rice Krispies)

Sometimes I don't feel like baking but I still crave a sweet treat, so this is the perfect antidote for me. An easy, no fuss, no bake all time favourite, rice krispies square. Works the same way as the famous rice krispies marshmallow squares except this one uses white chocolate to bind the cereal.


450g white chocolate (chopped)
50 g butter
125g puffed rice cereal
125 gram coconut flakes (dessicated coconut)

Line a 23cm (9in) square tin with non stick baking paper.
Place chocolate & butter in a heavy based saucepan over a very low heat, stirring often until melted.
Mix the rice cereal and coconut in a large bowl.
Pour in the melted chocolate and gently mix together. Please use the largest bowl you can find in your kitchen , so you will have room to mix the cereal & chocolate well without spilling them all over your kitchen counter.
Spoon mixture into the tin.
Press lightly with the back of a large spoon and level the top.
Leave to cool then chill for 30minutes. Remove from the tin and peel off the lining paper.
Cut into small squares and keep in an airtight container.
You wont be able to keep them very long though!


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Classic Shepherd's Pie

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 tbs olive oil
1 brown onion, halved, finely chopped
1 cup frozen peas & carrot (thawed)
500g lamb or beef mince
2 tbs plain flour
500ml (2 cups) water
1 dried bay leaf
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs tomato paste
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

4 (about 200g each) desiree potatoes, peeled, chopped
40g butter
125ml (1/2 cup) milk
Melted butter, to brush

As for the pie crust, I use this fail safe recipe from Simply Recipes site, soft crumbly and so easy to make.
click here


Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until soft. Add mince and cook, stirring to break up any lumps, for 5 minutes or until meat is browned.

Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until combined. Add stock, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until sauce thickens. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile: cook potato in a saucepan of salted boiling water for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain well. Return to the pan with the butter. Use a potato masher or fork to mash until smooth. Add milk and use a wooden spoon to stir until combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Roll out the pastry and roll onto a 2L (8-cup) capacity ovenproof baking dish. Cut or trim the dough with a knife or a pair of kitchen scissors.

Spoon meat mixture onto the pastry lined dish. Top with mashed potato and use a fork to spread over lamb mixture. Brush with butter. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until mashed potato is golden brown. Serve immediately.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Keropok Lekor (Malay Fish Sausage)

Besides my own mum, my mother in law is a great cook in her own right. She is currently visiting and as usual I love learning to make traditional dishes from her. One of which is the Malay fish sausage or better known as keropok lekor.

It can be boiled or fried and best eaten with sweet chili sauce. Its made purely of fish and tapioca starch to bind the fish together. Keropok lekor is a favourite afternoon or breakfast snack.

2 kg fresh sardines (selayang) or pilchard(tamban)
filleted and cleaned
tapioca flour
salt to taste (1 teaspoon works for me)


Once all fish is filleted and cleaned, weigh or measure with a salad bowl. 2 kg of fillets will normally yield 2 salad bowls, so you will need 1 bowl of tapioca starch. so always remember whatever measurement of the fillet, the flour is always 2:1.

Mix fillet, flour and salt in a bowl. Blend in a food processor until fine. Tip onto a floured surface and roll into sausages.

Prepare boiling water. Once water is boiled, add sausages and once they float up to the surface, you can start fishing them out.

These boiled sausages can be kept frozen until you need to fry of just re-boil them.

Serve hot with sweet chili sauce.

I found a good chili sauce recipe on the net, tweaked it and here it is...

Chili sauce:

1 cup blended chili (cili boh)
1 cup tamarind juice (tamarind flesh soaked in 1 cup water)
1 cup sugar
1 piece palm sugar (gula melaka)
1 cup water
a pinch of salt

Mix the all the above and simmer on medium heat until the liquid turns thick in consistency.
Cool and serve.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Chicken Mandy

1 chicken cut into 4 pieces.
2 teaspoons mandy mix spice. ( you can buy ready made mandy mix spice of mix you own)
1 teaspoon salt.

Homemade mandy mix spice

To make mandy mix spice:
2 tablespoons cardamom pods.
2 tablespoons cloves.
2 teaspoons black pepper.
1 whole nutmeg .
1 tablespoon dred ginger.
4 bay leaves .  
Blend or process spices together until finely crushed


3 cups basmati rice.
1 tablespoon butter.
1 large onion, finely chopped.
1 small tomato, finely chopped and removes all the seed.
4 whole cardamom pods.
6 whole cloves.
6 black peppercorns.
4 1/2 cups water or chicken stock.
1)Rub spice and salt al over the chicken, place it in a pan, cook chicken uncover until tender and brown about 40 minutes.
2)Sauté onion with butter until tender and brown, add whole spices, salt, rice, water, stir, boil then add chopped tomato, simmer cover, cook on a very low heat for 20 minutes.
3)Serve it with green salad or yogurt with cucumber and mint.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sugi Biscuit

We are midway through Ramadhan and naturally we have to start thinking about sweets and biscuits to serve our guests for our Eid celebration. Thanks to Azi Colling who shared with me this oh so simple recipe but so delicious!

Sugi Biscuits/Biskut Arab

1 cup ghee
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
Powdered sugar

Mix the ingredients. Turn into small balls and flatten slightly. Bake for 12 mins in a preheated oven of 180C.

When cool, sprinkle powdered sugar over the biscuits.

How easy is that!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Easy Oven Baked BBQ Beef Ribs

Its the weekend and I really had no idea what to prepare for iftar, so off we went to the butcher to stock up on our supply as we were fresh out of everything, I could see the back wall of my freezer!

The butcher offered me a good deal on the beef ribs and I thought, sure I could make some stew and soup with them. But Amir & Sabrina suggested I make BBQ Ribs as they have been craving it for a while. We normally go to the local restaurant to have these and they cost $15.00 per plate which coincidentally is the cost of the 2 kg ribs we took home.

I trolled the net for the easiest recipe I could find and settled on this one from As usual I didnt have all the ingredients and tweaked it a bit but was pleasantly surprised with the end result....soft succulent, falling off the bone my kids and hubby calls it "best ribs they ever tasted"...oh they can be biased...but trust me, it is a richly flavoured dish, best of all the $15.00 fed all 4 of us and I saved half of it in the fridge for the next round.


4 lbs. short ribs of beef
4 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
4 tbsp. olive oil
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
3 tbsp. honey
3 tbsp. cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. dry mustard or Dijon mustard
1/2 cup Heinz Chili Sauce or any BBQ sauce (I used Masterfoods BBQ sauce)
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Use a cast iron or other heavy wide skillet or pan that is also ovenproof with a lid.Remove any membranes (or silverskin) from short ribs.
Combine flour, salt, and pepper and rub into the ribs.
Brown them in the olive oil in a large skillet, turning as they brown. Add chopped onions, garlic and parsley.
When browned, pour off all but a small portion of the drippings remaining in pan. Add remaining ingredients.
Bring the sauce to a boil, then cover the pan and transfer to a preheated 325°F oven and bake for 90 minutes. Reduce heat to 250°F and bake for another hour or until ribs are fork tender, basting occasionally.
If you have time you can cook these ribs on the grill or in a smoker but I just left mine in the oven so I could work on desserts.

Bismillah and enjoy!

Stuffed Mackerel/Jackfish with Chili & Lemongrass

The fish all prepped and ready for baking

This dish brings so much memories of my childhood. I will help my mother clean and gut the fish from the back. This is because we are stuffing the fish from the back, naturally.

We normally used Jackfish or what we normally call "cecaru" in Malay. I believe it is from the same family as the Amber Jack.

I have tried making this with a table sized trevally, amberjack or the mackerel. I believe any firm flesh fish without a lot of small bones or what they commonly refer to the Y bones.

Mum used a a string fashioned from the dried banana leaf stalk (the middle part of the leaf) but you can easily use a kitchen string to tie up the fish.

Although mum deep fries the whole fish in hot oil I felt like a healthier option will be baking the fish. True enough it tastes just as good as I remember it. Alhamdulillah.


I table size mackarel (cleaned & gutted from the back)
Kitchen string

for the stuffing

4 fresh chilis
3 stalks lemon grass (only use the white part)
1 clove garlic
1 onion (large)
2 tsb sugar
1 teaspoon salt


Pre heat oven to 375 F or 190 C.
Process stuffing in a food processor until fine, taste the balance of sugar and salt and tweak if necessary.  Pour into the opening in the fish. Tie the up the fish to secure the stuffing and place on an oiled baking tray.

Bake in the oven for 45 minutes and let rest for 10 minutes before digging in.

Quick & Easy Sponge with Jam

After I swept up the cobwebs, I finally have the time to sit down and share yet another quickie in the kitchen :) It's been a very busy time at work and  I have not been spending much time experimenting in my science lab.

This one is a keeper...and I love how soft the sponge is. Its great for Ramadhan, all you really need is 10 minutes to whip this up and while its baking in the oven, you can work on other dishes.

So please do try this, its too easy not to :)


  • Melted butter for greasing
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • Extra 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • 3 x 60g eggs
  • Finely grated zest of ½ lemon
  • 1 tsp baking powder


  • 4 Tbsp raspberry jam
  • 200ml thickened cream, whipped
  • Icing sugar, for dusting
  • Fresh raspberries, to serve


1 Preheat oven to 190°C. Grease two 20cm round cake tins with melted butter, then line each with baking paper.
2 Sift flours into the large bowl of an electric mixer. Add sugar, milk, extra butter, eggs and zest and whisk on high for 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Fold in baking powder.
3 Pour mixture into prepared tins. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden and cooked when tested with a skewer.
4 Remove cakes from oven and leave in tins for 5 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks. Cool.
5 Spread jam over 1 cake. Spread cream over jam, then top with other cake. Dust with icing sugar, top with raspberries and serve. Or alternative you can use strawberry jam or canned cherries for the topping, be as creative as you can be :)

Better Homes and Gardens Magazine - April 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

Home made Kim Chi - an experiment

One can easily grab a bottle of Kim Chi from the nearby Korean or Asian Grocer but who knows what goes into those bottles and how long it has been fermenting. Although Kim Chi can last up to 3 months as it ages it get more sour, personally I prefer fresh and not too sour Kim Chi.

So I gave myself a new challenge in my test kitchen to prepare a home made Kim Chi. After going through several recipes on the internet, I decided on this particular one as I like the "secret ingredient" used in this version.

A good Kim Chi is packed full of flavour and crunch and is a great side dish or best eaten with rice. Not only that it taste great, apparently it is very good for you. It aids in your digestion and it claims to have tumor fighting properties.

So you will need:

1 whole head of fresh cabbage
3/4 cup sea salt diluted with 
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup of ko choo kah rhoo, also known as fine red chili flakes made into a paste with added water
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger
3-4 stalks spring onions chopped
1 tbsp fish sauce (optional)
1/2 pear 
1/2 onion
1/2 apple
Blend the last 3 items


Separate the leaves and chop them up into bite-size pieces. Add the salt water and leave to soak at room temperature for 4 hours.

The salt will help draw moisture out of the cabbage, and will also act as a natural preservative.

Wash and strain the cabbage two or three times. You want to rinse off the salt water and return the cabbage to a large bowl.

Now add the garlic, ginger and chili paste, fish sauce and chopped spring onion. Add the blended pear/onion/apple as a sweetening agent.This is the secret ingredient I was referring to. Commercial version would probably just add a tablespoon of sugar. Please use a pair of plastic gloves when mixing/tossing this so your hand will not burn.  

Transfer seasoned cabbage leaves into a large glass bottle. Be sure to use firm pressure with your hands to push down on cabbage leaves as they stack up inside the bottle.
Transfer any liquid that accumulated during the mixing process into the bottle as well - this liquid will become kim chi brine. Some liquid will also come out of the cabbage leaves as you press down on them as they are stacked in the bottle.
Your kim chi is now ready to eat. Refrigerate and take out portions as needed. The refrigerated kim chi will continue to ferment slowly in the refrigerator over time. You may add sesame oil onto the kimchi before serving.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sensational Seafood Tom Yum

The cold weather has got me thinking of soups all the time, I have had the minestrone, the gumbo, or the clam chowder. My palette was longing for something Asian, so I thought of the smashing Thai Tom Yum Soup.

My version of this simple yet delish soup.

If you can can get your hands on a good tom yum paste, it will make things easy for you, but assuming that you dont, fear not as it will still be an easy task to produce this tasty soup.


300 g seafood marinara mix
4 cups water
2 garlic cloves minced
5 kaffir lime leaves
3 thin slices fresh or dried galangal
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 stalks lemon grass cut into 1-in (2.5-cm) lengths
2 shallots, sliced
1/2 cup sliced bak choy or mushrooms
5 green Thai chili peppers (optional)
1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) lime juice
1 teaspoon black chili paste (if not available u can finely blend 5 fresh chilies and fry in oil until it splits and caramelized)
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro/coriander leaves 


1. Heat water to the  boil.
2. Add the chili paste, garlic, lime leaves, galangal, fish sauce, lemon grass and shallots to the water & chili peppers, if using. Cook gently for 5 minutes.
3. Add bak choy or mushrooms to the soup, leave to simmer for another 3 minutes When the seafood pieces are cooked add lime juice. Pour the soup into the bowl, stir, garnish with the cilantro leaves, and serve.
Enjoy with a bowl of rice!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Lamb Shoulder with Mint Sauce

Winter is here and the cold makes me long for comfort food such as this lovely slow roasted Lamb Shoulder by Jamie Oliver. I have made this twice and both times its a big hit with the family.


For the lamb:

  • 1 (2.2-pound) shoulder of lamb
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunch fresh rosemary
  • 1 bulb garlic, unpeeled, broken into cloves

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups good-quality hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 heaped tablespoons capers, soaked, drained and chopped
  • 1 large bunch fresh mint, leaves picked
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

For the lamb:


Preheat your oven to 450 to 500 degrees F.
Slash the fat side of the lamb all over with a sharp knife. Lay half the sprigs of rosemary and half the garlic cloves on the bottom of a high-sided roasting pan, rub the lamb all over with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place it in the pan on top of the rosemary and garlic, and put the rest of the rosemary and garlic on top of the lamb. Tightly cover the tray with aluminum foil and place in the oven. Turn the oven down immediately to 325 degrees F and cook for 4 hours - it's done if you can pull the meat apart easily with 2 forks.

To make the sauce

Remove the lamb from the oven and place it on a chopping board. Cover it with foil, then a kitchen towel, and leave it to rest. Pour away most of the fat from the roasting pan, discarding any bits of rosemary. Put the pan on the stovetop over medium heat and mix in the flour. Add stock, stirring and scraping all the sticky goodness off the bottom of the pan. Add the capers, turn the heat down and simmer for a few minutes.
Finely chop the mint and add it to the sauce with the vinegar at the last minute then pour into a pitcher. Place everything in the middle of the table, and slice the lamb in front of your guests. Absolutely delish!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Easy Chicken Pie & Lemon Yogurt Cake

I am guilty of neglecting this blog for months now, since our trip back to the homeland and been back here for more than a month. 

I have been procrastinating for the last 2 months until today when I found a message in my inbox from a dear friend who wanted a link to my food blog. She was presented with a brand spanking new oven for Mother's Day and wanted some quick easy recipes.

So thanks dear Muni for coaxing me out of my couch potato existence and get cooking and writing again.

I wanted to write about my gastronomic journey in Malaysia but I cant seem to locate all the food photos I took :(  but I havent given up yet. God willing I shall find them!!.

Jamie's Easy Chicken Pie

INGREDIENTS: (serves 4)

4 x 180g boneless chicken breasts
Knob of butter
Bunch of spring onions
150g button mushrooms
1 heaped tspn plain flour
2 tspns English mustard
1-heaped tbspn crème freche
300ml chicken stock
Fresh thyme
½ nutmeg
Store bought puff pastry (in the frozen section of your grocer)
1 egg

Put the chicken breasts on a plastic board and slice into 1cm strips. Put a lug of olive oil and a knob of butter into the hot, large, wide pan. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes or so. Meanwhile, quickly trim the spring onions and wash the mushrooms, then slice together in the food processor. Add to the pan with 1 heaped tablespoon of flour and stir. Add 2 teaspoons of mustard, 1 heaped tablespoon of crème fraîche and 300ml of chicken stock and stir well. Pick the thyme leaves and stir into the pan with a few fine gratings of nutmeg and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Leave to simmer.
Lightly dust a clean surface with flour and unroll the sheet of puff pastry. Use a small knife to lightly crisscross and score it. Take the pan of chicken off the heat. Tip the filling into an ovenproof baking dish slightly smaller than the sheet of pastry (approx. 30 x 25cm). Cover the filling with the pastry sheet, tucking it in at the edges (like in the picture). Quickly beat the egg, then brush it over the top of the pie. Put into the oven and cook on the top shelf for around 15 minutes, or until golden and gorgeous. 
I watched Jamie cook this in his 30 minute meal show and didnt do the carrot mash or the french style peas but I made the super easy Lemon yogurt cake for desert :) The recipe is taken from Donna Hay's fast easy recipes. 

Not only that it tastes good and very lemony, it does not take much effort to prepare and the outcome does not disappoint. You will love the moist and fluffy texture.
Lemon Yogurt Cake

  • ¾ cup (180ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup (280g) thick natural yoghurt
  • 1¾ cups (385g) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2 cups (300g) self-raising (self-rising) flour
  • lemon frosting
  • ¾ cup (120g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (60ml) lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Place the oil, eggs, rind, lemon juice, yoghurt and sugar in a bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. Sift over the flour and stir until smooth.
  4. Pour the mixture into a greased 24cm fluted ring tin and bake for 35 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
  5. While the cake is still hot remove from the tin and place on a plate.
  6. To make the lemon frosting, gently stir together the sugar and lemon juice.
  7. Spoon over the cake and allow to set. Serve warm.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Carrot cake with cream cheese icing

What does one do when one discovers a whole bag of carrots in the frigde? If you are like me who hates to see food goes to waste, there are 2 options available. You could either cook the beautiful afghan rice or try a new recipe. 
So I chanced upon a recipe posted by Melissa Wikepa Al-Khudaisi (thanks sis!) and thought its a simple enough process and I 'd give it a go. So why not try it yourself and dont let that bag of carrots rot in the crisper, turn it into something beautiful!


* 1 cup vegetable oil (I use corn oil)
* 1 ¼ cups brown sugar
* 3 eggs
* 3 medium carrots, grated ( if your carrots are small, you can use 5)
* ½ cup sultanas or raisins
* 2 ½ cups self-raising flour
* ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon ginger

Lemony cream cheese icing

* 175g cream cheese
* 100g (2/3 cup icing sugar)
* Grated rind and juice of one lemon

*1/4 cup desiccated coconut (optional)


Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line the base of a 22cm round cake tin or a square one will do just fine.

Place oil, sugar and eggs in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until combined.

Sift in flour, bicarb and spices and beat well to combine. Stir in carrots, pecans and sultanas.

Pour into cake pan and bake for 45-50 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Cool for 10 minutes in pan, then turn onto a rack.

To make icing, beat ingredients, spread over cold cake.


* This makes a lovely moist, dense cake and will feed a small army!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Double Coconut Cupcakes

If you are a coconut lover like me, then this is the cake for you. The cake uses desiccated coconut in its mix and topping. This recipe does not even require an electric mixer just some good old elbow grease will do.

You will need:

1 cup self raising flour (sifted)
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla essence
125g unsalted butter (melted)

Coconut icing (frosting)

2 cups icing sugar
1 cup desiccated coconut
75 unsalted butter (softened)
2 tbsp hot water 
desiccated coconut toasted lightly

Preheat oven to 180 C. Line muffin holes with paper cases.
Combine flour, sugar and coconut and make a well in the centre.
Mix butter, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla essence and and pour into the well and fold until combined.

Transfer into the paper cases and bake for 15 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean when inserted in the centre. Place 1 tbsp of coconut the last 5 minutes into a lined tray for the topping.

Transfer to wire rack to cool.

To make frosting:
Mix butter, coconut and sugar together and slowly add hot water until thick enough to form a spreadable paste. Sprinkle the toasted coconut to finish decorating.