Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Macaroni Cheese

A super short post today, because I haven't made much this last week. I have always known Macaroni Cheese as an American pasta food which come in packets in the supermarket. I have never thought of making it before something snapped and I suddenly had a huge craving for it. I have never tasted Macaroni Cheese before, so I didn't know where to start. I decided on this recipe, which was very simple.

The dish was very salty, maybe because I used tasty cheese instead of cheddar. Apparently, they're the same thing, though I suspect cheddar has a better and less salty flavour. The crumb topping was way too thick. If I will be making this again, I will either halve or get rid of the topping altogether.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake

It's been ages since my last post, because I have been busy working on school stuff (mainly SRP). People have been telling me to import my blog into Tumblr, but I'm too busy right now. Maybe in the school holidays. After inspecting my tags, it seems I make a lot of cheesecake. It's weird because I'm not that much of a cheesecake fanatic. Nevertheless, I have come with another cheesecake recipe - a triple chocolate one, no less.

I find it weird how some think chocolate and cheesecake don't go together. It's not rocket science: chocolate - yum; cheesecake - yum; hence chocolate cheesecake - double yum. Well, triple yum if it's triple chocolate cheesecake (quadruple yum?). One downfall is the number of bowls you have to use - I had to use 6.

The texture is moussey light, and tastes deliciously chocolatey. Even non-chocolaholics will enjoy this cheesecake, because it's not deeply rich. I will be back soon with a savoury recipe. Cheesey, no doubt.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Quiche Lorraine

I've made Quiche before, with vegetables, but never Quiche Lorraine. Quiche Lorraine doesn't have any vegetables except for onions, but some recipes don't have that either. It's just bacon, cream, cheese and eggs. Not at all nutritional, but oh so delicious.

I wanted to make this last week, but I don't know what I did wrong with the shortcrust pastry. I believe the fact that it shrunk whilst blind baking an unbelievable amount was due to me not resting it after lining the tin. They say you should always leave the pastry in the fridge for at least half and hour before, and after, lining the tart tin. The first time, I baked it straight after lining. This time the pastry still shrunk, but not as much. The filling leaked through the sides, which were cracked, but did not affect the taste or look of the Quiche too much.

I also planned on making an acidic salad, with orange segments and almonds, but I didn't have any lettuce left. The Quiche was tasty, but too greasy for my taste. All the bacon, cream and cheese put me off. If I had the salad to go with it, it would have been more enjoyable.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Apple Cannoli

A few days ago, I bought filo/fillo/phyllo pastry, because it was on sale. I've always seen recipes which use filo pastry, but I thought it was an America-only product. Not so, apparently. Filo pastry is basically very thin layers of pastry, layered together with oil in between, and then baked, to produce a crunchy and flaky result. The first thing I made was Apple Cannoli, which is delicious apple filling wrapped in filo pastry. I did not make the vanilla dipping sauce, because I was lazy. It probably would have tasted great, though.

The recipe uses 3 types of apples - 2 Golden Delicious, 1 Granny Smith and 1 Fuji. I just used 4 Granny Smith apples. I also used oil spray instead of brushing the filo with melted butter, all in the name of laziness.

The filling had a slight tartness, and was very delicious (you'd expect anything with this much butter to taste great). The pastry was crunchy and flaky and yum. I can't wait to experiment more with filo pastry.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Creamy Chilli Prawns

My friends have been telling me that I say too much in my posts and nobody really reads them. I guess I am just so into food that I get carried away. So from now on, I will write minimally and let the food speak for itself.

I made another recipe from Simply Heaven, this time a recipe called 'Garlic and Chilli Prawns', using the new Cream for Cooking. It was very simple to make, only a few ingredients but, me being clumsy under pressure, forgot a key ingredient - garlic. I mean, it was there in the name! So because I left out the garlic, and because the dish was so deliciously creamy, I'm calling it 'Creamy Chilli Prawns'.

It was delicious nonetheless, but next time, when Cream for Cooking  is on sale, I shall try this recipe again with garlic. It feels really weird to say so little, but hopefully I'll get used to it.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Pumpkin Soup

Just a pre-message: I know (nearly) everyone who reads this blog, and most are from my school, but I still appreciate comments. I mean, here I am rambling on about some crap I made a few days ago and it feels like nobody's listening. If you read this blog please comment once in a while, even just to say hello, because it gets lonely here, and comments cheer me up. So if you read, please comment (and subscribe!).

I was excited about making something from Simply Heaven again, and this time it turned out far better than last time. The pumpkin soup had very clear flavours and it was very healthy. The only 'fat' in the soup was Philadelphia Spreadable Light Cream Cheese, which added richness and creaminess to the soup. Other recipes I found online used regular cream, which contains more fat than Philly, so the choice is obvious. I actually found the soup just a tiny bit too rich, and after eating (drinking?) a bowl of it, my throat got a bit itchy. My whole family loved though, which was surprising.

The absolute hardest part of making this soup is cutting the pumpkin. Definitely. It's not difficult, as such, but the amount of pumpkin you have to cut into wedges and scoop seeds out of is very large. A kilo is needed, which is about a whole pumpkin. I literally spent an hour preparing the pumpkin and cutting it into a rough dice. The pumpkin is then tossed in some olive oil, along with an onion and a head of garlic. It's then baked until tender, then boiled with 6 cups of stock. I shamefully admit that I use stock cubes, but they are just so cheap!

Next comes another tedious part - the processing. Normally, if you don't mind a chunky soup, you can skip processing and eat it as is. This doesn't apply to pumpkin soup because the pumpkin is so stringy that the texture is wrong, and looks unappetising. I don't have a food processor or a blender, so I have to use a 'Magic Bullet Blender' which only blends a bit at a time. All in all, I think I made about 10 trips to the 'blender' and back. The hard work pays off though, as the result is smooth and creamy, and delicious. The croutons are just slices of bread that I baked, cubed and baked again in the oven until crisp. It's very nice with the soup.

This was definitely a success, and I hope to make more of it in the future.


Obtained from Simply Heaven, by Philadelphia

Serves 6.

1kg pumpkin, peeled and chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 head garlic, broken into cloves and peeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 cups chicken stock
250g Philadelphia Spreadable Light Cream Cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parsley and croutons, for garnish

1. Toss the pumpkin, onion, and garlic in oil. Place on a lined oven tray and bake in a hot oven 200°C for 20-25 minutes or until tender.

2. Place roasted vegetables in a large saucepan with stock and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Blend or process the soup until smooth then return to the saucepan.

3. Whisk the Philly into the soup until smooth, simmer for a further 5 minutes until well heated. Season to taste then ladle into serving bowls and garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Apple and Oat Streusel Muffins

 Ack... my internet died yesterday so I couldn't post, but now it's all better.

After making chocolate chip muffins, my craving for muffins didn't ease. I craved (fantasized?) about apple muffins and remembered eating a delicious apple muffin somewhere which I cannot remember. I also imagined it topped with oats or a crunchy streusel. I couldn't find a recipe that was suitable, so I made do with an apple recipe topped with an oat streusel recipe. Let's see how that turned out...

The apple muffins are from Taste, and they received rave reviews. I didn't have Granny Smiths, so I used Red Delicious instead. People who are familiar with baking with apples know that Red Delicious is an eating apple, and should not be used in baking. Well I planned on reducing the sugar and liquid from the mix to make-up for it, only I forgot and the result was too sweet. I omitted the raisins as well, because I don't think my family likes raisins. The oat streusel is from a book called The Baker's Manual, but it seemed to have too much butter. I wanted whole oats to add interest to the top of the muffins, but I didn't have that either, nor brown sugar, so I had to make-do with crushed oats and white sugar.

I can say that these were nice, and they were, but so many things went wrong that I really don't see it as a success anymore. They tasted fine to me, but others said they were too sweet. The muffins were also too soft, due to the excess moisture in the apples. I can't believe I used up all the cinnamon powder in these, now I have to buy some more.

I trust that the original recipe for the apple muffins taste great, with the Granny Smith apples, but my ones didn't turn out so great. I am currently looking forward to making other recipes from Simply Heaven, such as pumpkin soup, so stay tuned. I'll give the original recipes for each, because I think my 'adapted' version is just too pitiful.


Obtained from Taste and The Baker's Manual

Makes 12


Melted butter or margarine (optional), for greasing
300g (2 cups) plain flour
1 tbs baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
150g (3/4 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
2 medium (about 375g) Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled, chopped
125g (3/4 cup) seedless raisins
125g butter or margarine, melted, cooled
2 eggs, lightly whisked
185mls (3/4 cup) milk

Oat Streusel (I halved this and still got some extra)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ⁄2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 ⁄2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 ⁄8 teaspoon salt
1 ⁄2 teaspoon
1 ⁄2 cup unsalted butter, melted

Make Oat Streusel

1. In a medium bowl whisk the flour, oats, brown sugar, and salt together until well combined. Stir in the melted butter and mix well with your hands. The streusel mix should be crumbly but form clumps when squeezed.

Make Muffins

2. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease or line muffin trays.

3. Sift the plain flour, baking powder and cinnamon together into a large bowl. Stir in the brown sugar, apples and raisins until well combined.

4. Whisk together the butter or margarine, eggs and milk until well combined.

5. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a large metal spoon until just combined. It is important that the ingredients are only just combined.

6. Spoon the mixture evenly into the muffin pans.

7. Bake the muffins in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

8. When cooked, remove from oven and stand for 2-3 minutes before turning onto a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.