Thursday, 29 October 2009

ABC Soup ala Lyn




Well, looking at the weather that October brings to London, soup is normally the best remedy to a cold and dreary day.

I was intending to make mushroom soup and realised I had to purchase a ton of other ingredients before I could actually make it, so I decided to dive into my fridge and see what I had in stock. What did I find? A tube of Japanese egg tofu, snow peas, a stalk of lemon grass, red chillies, prawns, brown button mushrooms, an egg and a left over vegetable stock cube. I even found lemon sitting amongst the fruits, so I decided to make something almost similar to tom yam soup without the lime leaves and galangal.



ABC Soup ala Lyn

Voila! The end product was certainly delicious and I did not have to purchase any additional ingredients to make it. What was the recipe again?

1 whole             red onion - chopped roughly
1 packet            prawns - you can marinate them if you want with sesame oil and some fish sauce
1 tube                Japanese Egg Tofu - sliced and cut into cubes
1 stalk               lemon grass - banged, first two leaves removed then sliced finely
2 stalks              red chillies - remove seeds and sliced finely
1                       medium sized egg
1/2 cube            instant vegetable stock
1 packet            now peas - ends removed and diced
5 - 6                  brown button mushrooms - diced
1 whole              lemon - for the juice
1 medium bowl   water

Method:

  1. Add in oil in pot, when hot, add in chopped onions and salt. Saute till onions are fragrant and then add in the lemongrass. Continue stir frying.
  2. When lemongrass and onions turn pale and the smell is whiffing about, add in the chillies and continue frying. Then pour in water and bring to boil. Add in vegetable stock cube whilst waiting for the water to boil.
  3. When broth comes to a boil, add in prawns and wait till it slowly cooks. Soon after add in diced snow peas, mushrooms and let it boil further. Bring it down to simmer for a bit.
  4. Before completely switching off the gas, add in the egg and stir to create the stringy effect within the soup. Finally add in the lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. As an alternative you may decide to use fish sauce to replace the salt.
  5. Dish it out and serve it with a bowl of white flat rice noodles or even white rice.
Whilst this might seem a tad longer than usual in terms of preparation and cooking, the end result does come up with a good tasting hearty soup with lots of bits in it to constantly munch on. Very much like the minestrone soup except I have prawns in it :)

However, this recipe does not mean you need to follow it to the T. You can opt to put in diced carrots, diced potatoes, diced celery and take out the prawns and replace it with meat. It just depends on what you have in your fridge. You can use other kinds of stock to make it so you needn't stick to vegetable stock.

So for hearty soup lovers who like soups with a twist, this may be your option. It is not thick like a creamy soup but extremely healthy if you use actual vegetable / chicken / meat stock to cook it in. I love both versions of the soup and since halloween is coming up, I will be looking into preparing a hearty pumpkin and ginger soup. But till that happens happy experimenting!

Love,
The Innovative Baker!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Fried Rice ala London




Fried Rice is often a misunderstood dish. Why? It's because many seem to think that there is a fixed recipe for it. Contrary to that, I do whatever I please for the ingredients that supposedly make up Fried Rice. The number one key ingredient in fried rice is not freshly cooked rice but in fact a day's old rice. Why? This is because the rice has absorbed all its moisture and therefore becomes more effective when going through the process of frying it up!



Fried Rice ala London

Ingredients from my kitchen:

A cup          day's old rice
Slices           pork - marinated with sesame oil, soy sauce or fish sauce, pepper and cornstarch
                   (you may substitute the meat for chicken, beef, fish, seafood or omit it all together for a
                    vegetarian version)
10 strands    french beans or 2 strands of long beans - diced
1 whole        red pepper - diced
1 whole        apple - diced
5 - 6            fresh button mushrooms
1                 medium sized egg
                   salt and pepper to taste
                   chilli flakes for added spicy taste

Method:

  1. Heat up wok, add in oil and scramble up the egg. Remove the egg and start frying up the meat slices. 
  2. Add in diced french beans. Stir fry till french beans are half cooked and add in the rice. Be sure to run the rice through your fingers to break it up. This also can be done before you commence cooking. 
  3. Tip!!!! The trick to know when the rice is properly fried is when you see them popping up and down like popcorn. Seriously, they would look like jumping jelly beans except they're rice.
  4. Add in the red peppers and button mushrooms and stir till they're cooked through before adding in the scrambled eggs. Add in salt, pepper and chilli flakes to taste. Toss further in wok before finally switching off the heat. This is when you add in the diced apple. Why an apple? The apple adds a tinge of sweetness to the dish replacing raisins. Not all households stock raisins and the apple is a fine alternative to it.
  5. Dish up and serve! Best easten when piping hot.
Notice that there is no use of garlic nor onions. Fried Rice to me tastes weird when you add them. Besides, when you have that many different ingredients in the wok, the garlic nor onion will be missed.

I learnt adding apples to my fried rice from my mom who is a fan of mixing up ingredients in the kitchen. You can also substitute the vegetables for other kinds like diced asparagus or even snow peas. Just make sure to cook them through.

Again...all the ingredients are what is available in the kitchen and there is no need to specifically run to the store to get them. Who knows? You might decide to add pears to replace the apples. Even pomegranates are an alternative to it adding a zing to the dish!

For chilli lovers, I use chiu chow chilli oil as a substitute to the cooking oil because it comes with a chilli paste at the same time. You can of course use sambal belacan as your cooking base. The recipe for sambal belacan will come in later posts. It is extremely simple. You can also find it on http://rasamalaysia.com

So you singletons out there who just don't know what to do with your day old rice can have a great fried rice at the end of the day.

Love,
The innovative Baker

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Sandwiches for the simple mind




Yes, I currently live in the world of sandwiches. All the different variations you get in the shops almost makes you think that the UK in general do not know what else to eat but sandwiches. Truth be told, however boring it may be, it does fulfill your food groups - carbo, protein, fiber and the list goes on.

In light of the fact that living on budget does require some extremely innovative thinking in making food taste good and still abides by your pocket, it is using whatever you have in your fridge and larder to make a simple sandwich that still satisfies your cravings for one.








So what were the ingredients in making this mouth watering sandwich? EASY!

1              Croissant
2              Roman Lettuce leaves
                Butter - for spreading
A dollop   whole grain mustard
2 slices     edam cheese - mild
4 slices     ham - here I used chicken slices

The trick to actually making a sandwich taste great is not merely the ingredients itself but the sauce that you add. From ketchup to mayonnaise to chilli sauce for the ones who like it spicy, each sauce you add makes your sandwich taste different. You need not run out to the stores to get one either. Use what is in your fridge. I used Marks & Spensers Wholegrain Mustard simply because it was in the fridge and I love mustard.




However not everyone is a mustard fan, so just go easy on it.

So dig in people to what I would call a totally budget sandwich that satisfies your tummy and that you need not spend a whole lot to make.

Love,
The Innovative Baker

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Chocolate Fudge Cake in various variations...




The Innovative Baker is on a roll!!!!

Anyway, this recipe is actually not complicated but takes a long time to produce. But thought I'll share the different variations in which this recipe has taken its course.








There you have it! Being creative I suppose helps in innovating a singular cake recipe into different ways. Oh and cake decorating is a new thing for me. And I found it extremely fun!

Love,
The Innovative Baker

It's official!!!!





Hello hello fellow readers!

This is the official first blog post of donnowhattocook live from London!

As always it is never an easy slope and having taken painstaking steps in deciding the name - that ironically sprang from me saying, aiyoh...i donno what to cook today - has led to me starting this blog.

This blog is intended to assist (hopefully (: ) all those who feel they aren't up to spending that much time in the kitchen but still love to produce simple dishes that taste delightful to the taste buds and filling the tummy as well.

So to start off the blog, I've chosen a very simple cake recipe that even the novice bakers will have a great cake at the end of the day.

I found this recipe when browsing online and came across it on http://aww.ninemsn.com.au that hosts a great number of other recipes from starters all the way to deserts. From the time I found it which was a good 1 year ago, I have baked this recipe a 'million' times and it has always turned out perfect!


Buttery Orange Cake

Serving Size: Serves 10 or more
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: More than 1 hour

Ingredients:

250g unsalted butter, softened and chopped
1 1/4 cups (275 g) caster sugar
4 eggs
1 2/3 cups (250 g) self-raising flour - sifted
3/4 cup (180 ml) orange juice - preferably freshly pressed orange juice
2 tbsp boiling water

Method:
  1. Preheat oven to moderate heat (180 Deg Celcius / 160 Deg Celcius fan-forced - this means the icon that has a fan on it on your oven dial). Grease a deep 28cm round cake pan (or alternatively use a long loaf pan like I did). You may also replace grease with baking paper to make it easier to clean after baking.
  2. Beat butter and sugar in a mixing bowl either with a hand mixer or and electric mixer until light and creamy. The colour is more like a faint beige, that is when you know it has combined together. Add in eggs one by one beating in between to allow eggs to slowly combine with butter and sugar mixture. Fold in the sifted flour, then add in the orange juice and boiling water.
  3. Pour mixture into pan and bake for about 45 minutes. The initial recipe called for 35 minutes but depending on your oven, you would need to check whether the cake is baked by pricking a toothpick into the centre of the cake to check whether it comes out clean.
  4. Stand the cake for about 2 minutes on a cooling rack before removing from the cake tin.
  5. Dust with sifted sugar.
Voila! And there you have it!

More recipes will come your way to suit the palette of those who only likes 1 dish recipes.

Enjoy,
donnowhattocook

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