Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Minimalist Apple Pie

Why do I call it a minimalist apple pie? Well simply because I used ready made frozen puff pastry instead of making the pie crust myself.

I have a few pieces of frozen puff pastry and apples so I decided to use them up to make an apple pie over the weekend.

This apple cutter is a life saver and whoever invented it is a genius. It makes cutting apples so much easier and faster and hassle free. I got mine at some sundry shop. Daiso might have them too. Go get one and you'll never cut apples the same way again.

Dice the apples and saute in butter. Add sugar and cinnamon powder and stir until apples are soft and tender. Prepare your pie dish or pan. I used a small heart-shaped pan and simply put the puff pastry in it. Make sure you poke holes on the pastry to prevent it from puffing up when baked. Add your caramelized apples.

Cover the pie with another piece of puff pastry. I skewered the top of the pie so that the pie crust will brown nicely and the apple filling can 'breathe'.

 Once the pie is baked to golden brown, take it out of the tin and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Here are 8 ideas for using frozen puff pastry. Give them a try!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Spicy Spaghetti Olio with Cili Padi and Ikan Bilis

I love simple, easy to cook dinners for the obvious reasons. When I cook rice, it usually comes with at least 2 types of dishes; a vegetable dish and a protein dish eg chicken or fish. Sometimes I would fry meehoon (vermicelli rice noodles) but our favourite and must have item in the kitchen has got to be spaghetti and pasta. Any type of pasta will do. Apart from the usual bolognese sauce, another of our favorite is spicy spaghetti olio with cili padi or cili kering and ikan bilis. It is hubby's favourite and he was the one who showed me how to cook it. It is very simple, the ingredients are minimal and very easy to cook.

  • 1 red onion, sliced. I prefer to use a big onion because it is so much easy to peel as compared to shallots. They're tiny and annoying to peel.
  • A few garlic, crushed and chopped.
  • Cili padi, thinly sliced. If you don't have cili padi, you can use cili kering as well. The amount depends on how hot you want your spaghetti to be.
  • A handful of ikan bilis, washed and chopped. You can also leave the ikan bilis whole but I like to chop them up into small pieces so I get a piece in every bite. We have some tulang ikan masin so I just added them a bit to give that extra flavour.
  • Spaghetti, cooked as per instructions.
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
The method is simple. Fry the onion, garlic, ikan bilis and cili padi until fragrant, add salt and pepper and then stir in the cooked spaghetti. Stir thoroughly and you are done. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese before you eat. 
Since this dish is spicy, Babycakes had bolognese pasta. Whenever I cook bolognese sauce, I would cook extra and freeze some for her in small portions. This comes in handy during the nights when she can't eat what we're having. She is also picky in her vegetables so I pureed some mixed vege (boiled, of course) and froze them too. I added the puree into her bolognese sauce and she didn't even know it. WIN!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Nestle Cerelac The Triple Goodness Moment

A while ago I entered a contest on fb. This contest was held by Nestle Cerelac. There are three categories namely Mr and Ms Strong Bone Sweet Smile, The Immunity Supercuties and The Little Adventurers. You have to upload a picture of your kid according to the category and there are certain requirements you have to fulfill. For example, for Mr and Ms Strong Bone Sweet Smile, the picture must be a picture of your little one smiling away or showing that your little one is doing something that requires him/her to use his/her strong bones e.g. lifting blocks or pushing a cart.
For the second category, The Immunity Supercuties, your have to upload a picture of your little one that shows he/she has a strong immunity and must show his/her tummy. I entered the first two categories only because I had forgotten about the third category. 
Yesterday I received an email from Cereal saying that I have won the consolation prize. Alhamdulillah. I won a branded feeding set worth RM250. I wish I had won the grand prize but no prize is too small for me.I will upload the picture of the prize when I receive it, Insyaallah.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

awesome deals are awesome

Recently I bought not one but two deals on Groupon for 3 regular pizzas from Pizza Hut for RM37. I think the deal is so worth it. However, it can only be redeemed on weekdays and you cannot choose the supreme pizzas and you cannot add on to stuffed crust and the like. As much as I love stuffed crust pizza, I had to make do with the offer. So on Monday night hubby went and redeemed the 3 pizzas namely Cheesy Delight, Beef Pepperoni and Spicy Tuna. The pizzas were good and the crusts were soft and fluffy! Such a good deal! I even tapau for lunch the next day.
And today I saw on Groupon this deal for 12 Soy Pancakes at Mr. Bean for RM19. I am so tempted to buy. Has anyone tried the pancakes? Are they good? Good thing is the redemption period is until 22 January 2014 so there's plenty of time.
Also I am tempted to buy this deal on Livingsocial. Who would have thought that Delicious would also promote their restaurant in these kind of websites? But I think the deal is worth it and it would be nice to try out the new Delicious outlet at St Mary Place.
I always buy deals for meals, photobooks and sometimes items but I hardly buy services like spa, hair treatment etc because some people say that they do shoddy jobs because you paid so low. I have however bought a deal to dye my hair at one of the hair salons in Solaris Month Kiara for only RM100. 
Speaking of photobooks, check out Groupon's offer. They're giving a 6" x 6" photobook for free! I am not kidding!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Trying To Be Healthy

If you have been reading my blog, you would know by now that I have sweet tooth. I just love anything and everything sweet and my favorite course of a meal is definitely dessert. When I go to buffets, I would check out the dessert table first and I would save space in my tummy for desserts.
I also love baking sweet treats than savoury treats. All those sugar intake is not good, I know. And it doesn't help that I don't exercise at all! *GASP* Except from walking in court, walking around the shops near my office during lunch, climbing up the stairs to my office on 1st floor (except when I have heavy files or my huge briefcase with me), doing house works etc.  I am also parking my car very much further from my office now. I used to park in the parking lot right smack in front of my office but getting out in the evening also raises my blood pressure because pub-goers would double park in front of my car and I would have to honk for several minutes before they come out to move their car. It is annoying! I know at the rate I am eating, I should do more intense workout. -_- Anyway, I do try to eat healthily whenever possible.

For a start, I have started taking organic raw cane sugar. I am a member of Cosway and there is one outlet near my office so it is very convenient. The price is much higher than normal sugar but at least it is slightly healthier. This pack of 900g is RM6.80. At least at home I take this sugar because when I eat outside, they use normal sugar.
I love to order green tea every time I eat at a Japanese restaurant but I never got into the habit of drinking it on a regular basis until recently. We all know that green tea has tons of benefits so it should become a daily drink. This is also from Cosway and it is also organic. This box contains 20 sachets and it is only RM6.90. 

Drinking tons of water is vital for your health. Everyday at the office I would drink a minimum 2 bottles of plain water. That doesn't include the drink I took at lunch (if I am eating outside), coffee in the morning, coffee in the evening and the drink at dinnertime, drink before bedtime etc. This water bottle is 1.2litres so I would finish one bottle before 1pm and then refill and finish it by 6pm. I drink so much water that I run to the toilet every 30minutes or so. This is  why I hate/can't wear a corset or a girdle because taking them off is such a hassle! Whenever we have lemons at home, I would put a few slices in my bottle and guzzle away. I bought this water bottle at Daiso and bought one for hubby and I made him drink a bottle too but of course he misplaced the bottle. He also lost my other water bottle. Sheesh. How can you lose or misplace such a huge water bottle?? Grrrrr.
Anyway, I just hope he drinks enough water. I mean, I can't monitor him but I would put a glass of plain water on the table together with his coffee in the morning. I can do whatever I can but it is up to him, really.
Sayang, I know you are reading this. I love you!

Friday, November 08, 2013

Improve and Learn

My passion for baking has increased tremendously lately. However I haven't reached the level of accepting orders yet because I haven't reached that confidence just yet. When people order from you, they have a certain expectation from you and I am scared that I am not able to meet their expectation. It is different when you bake simply and give people to eat because people didn't expect anything. When people pay you to do something, they expect it to be good. I am still learning so when my sister asked if I wanted to join a baking class which her friend conducts, I said, why not? How can you say no to gaining knowledge, right? And what better way to improve yourself if not through learning from an expert? 
So on Maal Hijrah, we went to my sis's friend's house to learn baking congo bars, brownies and victoria sponge.

 This brownies recipe is amazing, very rich, moist, chewy, decadent and chocolatey!

Congo bars is a rich fudgey cake with rich chocolate and so sinful especially when eaten warm when the chocolates are melted.
Victoria sponge is a 3 layer vanilla sponge cake (of course you can make it 2 layers if you like) with cream and strawberry jam filling. This cake is so spongy, moist and the combination of strawberry jam and cream makes it fresh and uplifting and not too rich. This type of cake is perfect for tea. However make sure the cream and strawberry jam are not too sweet.

We attended the class together with three other ladies, all baking enthusiasts. This is a pic of us with the stuffs that we learned that day.
Now, who wants to order from me? hehehe.

Monday, November 04, 2013

weekend project part 34

This is my second attempt at making cinnamon rolls. The first time I tried, the yeast didn't work so my dough didn't rise as it should. When I baked, the end product was a rock hard bread which ended up in the dustbin. But that did not deter me from making it again. This time I used a different recipe. Some people find working with yeast intimidating but as long as you follow the recipe religiously, Insyaallah it will turn out great. Recipe is from Sallys Baking Addiction.

Making cinnamon rolls is actually quite easy. The only thing is, you have to rest the dough for it to rise and double in size. See the before and after picture above. After an hour, the dough fluffed up and rise and filled the gaps. I should have not put all dough in one tin because I am sure they would fluff up more given the room. My rolls ended up squished against each other lol. You know your rolls will turn out fine when you see that it has doubled in size.

After baking for about 25 minutes, this is how they look like. I put a light glaze on them because I don't want them to be too sweet.

You can see how fluffy the rolls are. My family loved it! This recipe is definitely a keeper. Next time I will try put some nuts, raising and chocolate chips.