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Nov 29, 2011

Roasted Spring (Clean) Vegetables

Spring vegetables (not that it's spring here), sprung clean (is there such a term?) from my forever packed fridge. I really gotta love my fridge. It's definitely working overtime and over capacity (is it ever!) and still is working great all these years. Shhh .... Better not say it out too loudly .... nah, not (really) superstitious.
Anyway, I'd found a bag of baby radish (spring/summer radish), baby carrots, baby onions (pickling onions), mini yellow tomatoes (grape tomatoes) and a bunch of other stuff in my chiller compartment. Too lazy (just back from a weekend, mini high school reunion of sorts) and exhausted from lack of sleep, decided to throw everything in the oven and have a simple dinner. No frills.


baby radishes, tops trimmed and halved
baby carrots
mini yellow tomatoes (grape tomatoes), halved
baby onions / shallots, halved
large cloves of garlic (mini doesn't do it here)
sesame seeds, lightly toasted
1-2 tbs soy sauce
grapeseed oil
sesame oil
balsamic vinegar


Preheat oven to ... um ... hot. (Gosh, I can't remember but I think it was around 200˚C).
Place radishes, carrots, onions, tomatoes and garlic into a deep bowl. Drizzle with a little grapeseed oil, toss to coat evenly.
Line baking tray with parchment (less mess) and dump veges in it into a single layer if possible.
Roast for 20 mins. Remove from oven and stir in soy sauce and a drizzle of sesame oil.
Roast for another 15 mins or until veges are slightly browned at the edges. Mash up the garlic cloves ... they're beautifully soft and sweet at this point, and toss it together with the veges.
Drizzle with some balsamic vinegar.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Serve hot with a leafy salad or in my case, I had it with some pasta, bacon bits and roughly chopped Frisée.

Nov 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Here's a huge THANK YOU to:

~ Everyone who have given me so much support, encouragement and love all this time. To have kept me going through my down and frazzled moments.

~ Everything that has happened. It has made me (and us) stronger and better people, to be able to cope with whatever life throws at us.

~ Every single day that I'm alive and have made a dent in this world ... whether it be a large painful dent or a positive one. (none on my car ... just so you know I'm a good driver).

~ All the good food I've had (made me more padded than I used to be ... but not complaining). Yum!

~ All the recipes I've borrowed and tried, even if some of them didn't turn out the way it's supposed to, I've learnt from the mistakes and will keep on learning as I go along to improve.

~ Life.


Nov 22, 2011

Review & Recipe: Raspberry Chutney (in a Trifle)

I've had some pretty good experiences with fancy foods in my lifetime. Visited some olive groves, fruit farms, vege farms, nut farms (heh, just checking if you were paying attention), and vineyards during my travels and tasted their homegrown products. Now that I don't travel as much, I have missed getting some quality, home-pride products that I normally cart home a lot of.
I was very happy to notice at one of our upmarket grocery stores, a counter selling some very interesting oils, vinegars and jarred concoctions. Mr Teoh, Managing Director of Vom Fass Malaysia, must have noticed me salivating over his jars, started offering me teeny (and I really meant teeeeeny) tasting teaspoons of some of his most popular oils and vinegars. We got talking about some of the more unique nut/seed oils and the possible usage of them in foods.

Now, you see where i'm getting at?
Yup, Mr Teoh kindly gave me some of his precious products to use, taste, test and, of course, blog about.

Today, i'm using the Raspberry Chutney in a very simple trifle. I wanted the chutney to stand out and not have too many combinations of flavors to interfere ... just a couple of complementing ones. Besides, there wasn't a lot of it to have a thicker layer. But it turned out just right. The slight tartness of the chutney went great with the sweetness of the whipped cream. The jelly and crushed oreos provided a contrast to the textures.
It was deeelicious!


*I didn't put in any amounts or measurements here. It's up to you how thick and how many layers you would like to make.

Oreos, crushed
Whipping cream, whipped with some sugar
Raspberry flavored jelly, prepared as per package instructions
Raspberry Chutney (Vom Fass, of course)
Fresh raspberries


Layer to your heart's content.
For those who are wondering ... my layers from bottom:

Crushed Oreos
Whipped Cream
Raspberry Chutney
Whipped Cream
Raspberry Jelly
Whipped Cream
Fresh Raspberries

*I'd made 2 more portions with a final layer of crushed oreos just before the fresh berries. That was good too, the added crunch and chocolate.

To purchase the chutney, click here for the Vom Fass Malaysia website to locate their outlets. For those outside of Malaysia, just google Vom Fass and you'll find their various outlets in all parts of the world.

Disclaimer: This product was sent to me at no cost. I am under no contract or obligation to write a review or to make it a positive one if I did. I write my honest opinions and will tell you quickly if a product is not up to my standards. My reviews are my opinion only. I do not make any money on any of the products I review.

Nov 15, 2011

Guest Post: Eat The Roses

That's the name of my guest's blog. Not asking you to eat roses.
But then, why not.

Drumroll ......

My very first guestpost! Presenting ...... Veronika!! (Stop blushing, V)

I've been down in the dumps lately and haven't been posting very much. I've never liked whiney folks so I did not want to post or write while I'm feeling all whiney. It might be catching. Let's be honest, we're not here to hear my whines and woes. So, for all you very patient and faithful friends and bloggers and visitors who have been visiting and getting nothing for awhile (my apologies), this is the opportunity for me to introduce someone who deserves to be more out there. Smart, talented, witty, creative, gorgeous and taken ... sorry, guys.
Without further ado ... Tadaaaaa!!

Tambi, no, tomipam, no, bopi .... darn! I can't pronounce these things. I'll let her do the talking. Shut up, Ping.

First of all, I'd like to say that I am very flattered to be writing a guest post for Ping. I'd encountered her blog just a couple of months ago, and immediately ended up reading the whole thing, from the beginning, like a maniac with the thought - I can see why it's popular, she's great at this! So I commented here and there, and one thing led to another – this post, eventually. So before further ado, I'd like to thank Ping for the opportunity.

Since I was also given a fairly generously free hand with this guest posting business, today's post is about not one, but five of my favorite things, and would (totally accidentally for my normally carnivorous self!) be holier-than-thou vegan if it weren't for the last of those: topinambours (aka Jerusalem artichokes – Helianus tuberosus), mushrooms, quinoa, garlic and bacon fat. But I do allow that that last one can be substituted for if you are vegetarian- or vegan-inclined.

And since I had all of those delicious, earthy-flavored things on hand, and was going to devise a recipe for Ping's blog, I thought - why not put them together into a hearty lunch salad? No reason at all! And so, the topinambour, mushroom and quinoa salad came into being. And let me tell you, it really, really works, and was above and beyond worth the minimal bother it took to make it – the boyfriend, who usually has impeccable manners, ended up stuffing his face and mumbling to me around a large mouthful: "You have to make this again!"

No way I can (nor want to!) deny that plea. This warm salad is healthy, filling, and incredibly comforting the way salads usually don't manage to be. Quinoa has a very good balance of essential amino acids, mushrooms contribute B-complex vitamins, and topinambours are rich in dietary fibre, and low in carbohydrates – so the entire concoction is also LCHF-friendly for those of us who are sensitive to sugar. And if that weren't enough, all of this really packs a flavor punch, too! And if you want to serve it as a festive starter, just use the given quantities and use them to serve four instead of hungry two – and have your favorite white wine or bubbly with it!

But, wait, what? Bacon fat? Didn't I say this salad was healthy? Isnt't that the scary, frightening saturated fat we've all been told would kill us? Sensationalism and paid media aside, no, bacon fat isn't about to viciously clog your arteries. I won't go into great detail here, but essentially, saturated fat is not unhealthy unless you eat it entirely too much, and with refined carbohydrates (white bread and sugars of various descriptions), due to the fact that insulin spike in your bloodstream is needed to create those arterial plaques. Although you don't have to take my word for it, and can substitute olive oil for it instead. I promise not to be offended!

So yes, bacon fat is in the recipe because it tastes, frankly, of bacon and that goes oh-so-fantastically well with quinoa and the sunflower flavor of topinambours, and is also a wonderful high-smoke-point sauteeing oil for vegetables, but by all means, a little bit of refined canola or other vegetable oil of your choice is just fine.

What you need (feeds 2 very hungry people):

~ 200g topinambours (washed, scrubbed and trimmed)
~ 1.5 – 2dl dry quinoa (I used mostly white with a sprinkling of red in it for visual appeal)
~ 5-6 large Champignons (white or chestnut mushrooms), sliced
~ 3-5 garlic cloves (this really depends on how much you love garlic, so adjust accordingly!), peeled and sliced crosswise
~ 1 large pinch of red chili flakes
~ 1 large handful of arugula (Eruca sativa) leaves, or any other baby bitter greens you have on hand
~ Extra-virgin olive oil to taste, for drizzling
~ 2 tablespoons bacon fat for frying topinambours (or use 4 instead of 2 tablespoons of frying oil)
~ 2 tablespoons refined vegetable oil for frying mushrooms
~ Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

What you do:

~ Rinse quinoa, and place in a pot with boiling salted water and a drop of olive oil to cook. Cook according to your package instructions. Quinoa is ready when tender to the bite but not mushy so try not to overcook (been there, done that...).
~ Once quinoa is done, strain it and hand the strainer over the pot you'd used to cook it, covering with the lid to keep it warm but not soggy.
~ Preheat a non-stick frying pan with the bacon fat in it, and while that is heating, slice your topinambours. You do not want to do this in advance because they tend to oxidize quickly when cut – and for purposes of sauteeing, soaking them in acidified water is not a good idea.
~ Toss the topinambours into the pan, and saute on medium-high heat until the edges turn golden-brown.
~ Put quinoa into a bowl, add the topinambours and the chili flakes, and toss to combine. Cover and set aside.
~ Add the vegetable oil to the pan, and saute mushrooms on same medium-high heat until they, too, begin to color on edges.
~ Push the mushrooms to one side, add a small splash of oil to the empty side, and add the garlic. Fry the garlic only until it turns bright white and aromatic – a few seconds to a minute. Take pan off the heat the moment garlic starts to color.
~ Assemble the salad – plate the quinoa and topinambour mix, top it with the mushrooms and scatter greens around and over. Carefully spoon half the garlic onto the top of each plate, and then pour the hot garlic-infused oil over the plates.
~ Drizzle with some extra-virgin olive oil if desired, season with sea salt (a good flaked salt really shines here!) and freshly-ground black pepper to taste, and serve immediately.

I do hope you enjoy this. I know I did!


(Pop on over to Eat The Roses for more. Tell Veronika, Ping says hi as well.)

Eat The Roses Button

Nov 9, 2011

A Blogger's Low

I must apologize to my friends, followers and folks who drop by regularly (oh what the heck ... even the irregular ones) for a visit to this blog. I have been on not only a blogger's low (kinda like a writers' block ... bloggers' block?) lately, but also due to many goings on in my suddenly not so boring life. Please bear with my silence and hopefully this will one day decide to end with a frenzy of cooking and baking. I can't promise it'll be soon and maybe somewhere in between, I might be able to slot in a couple of posts … I still gotta eat and eating out or doing takeaways too often just won't do.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Love you all.