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Feb 22, 2011


(Thank you everyone for helping get this to FoodBuzz Top 9)

Meet "Spike", my portable pie.

Portable pies, hand held pies, small little pies that fit into the palm of your hand, are so convenient, cute, lunchbox and portion-friendly .... freezer-friendly too! So convenient to just pop one or two into the oven or microwave for that spur of the moment pangs of hunger .... I seem to be getting a lot of that these days. I've almost totally scrapped the word "diet" from my vocabulary. Can someone remind me again what that blinking word means?

I'd made these for the Culinary Smackdown Battle @ Pretend Chef in the Hand Held Meat Pies Category. The gears in my head have been grinding for the last 2 weeks and finally settled on this, combining the Onion Jam recipe that I'd posted earlier with some very basic breakfast ingredients and packed them all into a mini breakfast pie! Breakfast on the go!


Shortcrust pastry (for recipe, click here)

Onion jam (for recipe, click here)

Smoked bacon rashers

Small Eggs / Quails' eggs


Preheat oven to 180˚C.

Roll out pastry and cut out to fit base of pie cases. Prick bottom of cases with a fork several times.

Fill with a layer of onion jam.

Fold a bacon rasher into half, lengthwise, and coil it around the inside of pie case, leaving a hole in the center for the egg.

Crack in 1 egg.

Brush sides of pastry with egg white and cover with pastry. Press the edges to seal. Brush top with beaten egg. Make a small hole/slash in the top to prevent cracking.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 - 25 mins or until golden.

Best eaten warm.

Feb 16, 2011

Mandarin Orange Marmalade

Every Chinese New Year, I'm up to my eyeballs in mandarin oranges. And I'm not talking number of fruits but number of boxes and crates of mandarin oranges given as gifts and from exchanging gifts. It's another one of the essential "must-haves" for Chinese New Year. And I have more than my tummy or fridge can contain. Can't leave them out too long ..... the weather here is perfect for if you wanna have a science experiment on fruit fungus.

So, before we overdose ourselves with mandarin oranges, I decided to make marmalade out of them. And you know what? I actually prefer them to the regular orange marmalade! There is a different kind of citrus taste that isn't as sharp and tangy, and the color .....oh my! ... Sunshine in a bottle!

This isn't as gel-like as store-bought jam as I did not use any additional pectin and just relied on the natural fruit carbohydrates in the lemon and oranges.


7 - 8 mandarin oranges (medium sized)

juice of 1 large lemon

3 cups coarse granulated sugar (Ratio of 1:1, pureed pulp to sugar)

2 cups water


Peel oranges. Cut peel into fine or coarse julienned strips ... your preference. The amount of peel also depends on whether you'd like more or less of it. I used about 2 cups of cut peel.

Place cut peel into a large pot and add the 2 cups of water. (If you're using more peel, add enough water to cover the contents of the pot)

Boil peel until soft, about 5 - 10 minutes. Measure out the liquid that's left (I had about 1 cup) and replace with the same amount of fresh water. (I do this to lessen the bitterness, You can always omit this step if you like your marmalade more bitter).

While the peel is boiling, pick out as much of the white pith and the stringy stuff ... ok, ok, proper word .... the membranes. And also remove the seeds.

Place fruit and lemon juice in a food processor and puree til an almost smooth consistency. Add this mixture together with peel and water into a large stainless steel pot and bring to a boil.

Add sugar. Stir often until consistency thickens (15 - 20 mins, or longer, depending on how juicy the fruits are) or until a candy thermometer reaches 220˚F (104˚C), that's the gelling stage.

Fill into sterilized jars and seal with their lids and allow the jars to sit in a hot water bath for 10 mins. Remove and let cool at room temperature until you hear the "pop" of the button on the lid or when you notice the button has gone down. That means it's sealed properly and those jars will keep on the shelves unrefrigerated for months. Those that don't seal properly can be kept in the fridge.

Good with loads of butter on bread/toast or as a marinade for a roast chicken. Wish I had some more of those English Muffins.

PS: A small reminder of the Virtual Potluck Party. All are invited!

Feb 12, 2011

Brussels Sprouts with Salted Eggs

Whoo ... what a week it's been! Chinese new year has always been busy, busy, busy ... we celebrate it in a very small way compared to a lot of the Chinese folks out there. Things are slowly getting back to normal, people are trickling back from their hometowns after a week long break. Schools are back in session and I'm hoping I can get back to more regular blogging now. Right, let's get started.

Brussels sprouts ..... one of my favorite veges. They contain good amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid and dietary fiber.

I used to hate them as a kid. I'd rather have my tooth pulled than eat brussels sprouts. But as I grew older wiser, I developed a liking to the slight bitterness of that cute round, cabbage-family, vitamin loaded vegetable. I'd like to think my tastes have matured and become more sophisticated in my wiser years .... double *ahem*.

All this time, I've had them cooked in a white sauce or butter sauce, usually as an accompaniment to roast poultry or some kinda meat. I really needed to have a different way to cook this, first, for variety's sake and second, so that my husband will eat them without grimacing.

I'd thought of frying them up like the fried spiced pumpkin dish. Then another thought hit me as I was contemplating this.... another vegetable with a similar bitterness ... the bitter melon / bitter gourd. This, stir fried with salted egg yolks is one of our very favorite dishes. Why not marry this two ideas together? Hmmm .... (Don't ask me why he'll eat bitter gourd and not brussels sprouts .... men are from mars, remember?)

It turned out better than I expected, altho not as creamy as when it's cooked without the whites of the salted eggs ... I thought it's such a waste to chuck the whites. But the flavors went really well together and to give a little ooomph, i added some chilly flakes.


brussels sprouts, quartered ( I had about 1 full cup after quartering them, you can just halve them if they're small)

2 salted eggs, hard boiled and shelled

1 tbs butter

1 tbs grapeseed oil (this is just to prevent the butter from browning too quickly)

1 tbs chopped garlic

pinch of sugar

pinch chilly flakes

a little water / milk


Mash 2 salted egg yolks + one egg white together. (Using all 2 egg whites would make it too salty)

Heat butter and grapeseed oil in a pan and stir in chopped garlic. Give it a quick stir without over-browning.

Add mashed salted eggs. Stir fry for a little bit then add in brussels sprouts.

Stir to combine. If it looks a little dry, add in some water or milk and cook until sprouts turn a slight translucent color.... or if you like them crunchy, cook a shorter time.

Add a little sugar to taste and stir in chilly flakes.

Serve hot with fluffy white rice.

PS Just a small reminder about the Potluck Party. All are invited!

Feb 8, 2011

A Virtual Potluck Party Invitation & An Award

I shall do things differently this time. But first, I would like to thank Elisabeth for yet another award. You spoil me, Elisabeth :D ..... not complaining, just tickled pink!

And being my non-conformist self, I won't be listing out who I'm passing this on to but rather, I'd like to invite all the ladies out there to my Virtual Potluck Party at the end of this month, the 28th February (btw, this is also the last day for submission of your recipes. And yes, you can bring more than one dish!) Sorry guys, this IS a Sisterhood award after all. If this party works out great, there may be more on the way!

All you have to do is to email me (email address on my profile page) a photo (jpeg, please) of your dish or preferably, use the Linky below, and it will appear on my Virtual Potluck Party post sometime in early March and linked back to you. And all those who have submitted, please grab the award and paste it on your blog. Welcome to the sisterhood! And as Elisabeth has informed me, you don't have to go through any embarrassing rituals to belong.

This will be the first time I'm doing something like this, so please bear with me if you find any glitches and do let me know about it.

Oh, and those who are already in the hood, you're also invited to the partay! The more the merrier!

Oh, and a teeny mention and link on your post would be much appreciated :D