How to get your teens to cook

I still remember how difficult it was for my mom to get me to cook a decent meal. I never saw the need because she was always around to cook us a feast. I took her for granted.

After many failed attempts, she figured it was better this way. Getting me into the kitchen meant a lot of headache for her. So she tasked me with the cleaning up after cooking. It was a good arrangement. We were both happy.

But she was smart. She let me think I won the battle but in reality it was her winning the war.

She’d get me to wash up alongside her cooking. While cooking, she used to get me to stir or add in the ingredients and watch over the food while she quickly grabbed something important.

My brain was unconsciously absorbing all this details.

Or at other times she’d get me to translate an English chef. Which meant I had to sit and watch the cooking shows.

Once again my brain was unconsciously absorbing all the details.

It took a long while to unlock what had been stored, unconsciously. But when I did manage to, it was as if I had been cooking for years.

I’m still not as good cook as my mom but I’m able to tell when a dish is coming together. I’ve learned a few important tricks in ensuring I’m able to serve a decent meal.

Over time, my cooking skills grew. It was an easy start because unknowingly, I somehow knew what to do when I cooked something. It almost felt familiar.

So now I’m doing the same with my daughters. Just like me, they despise being told what to do. It has to be their idea for anything to succeed.

Today, my twean decided to make mac and cheese. Something she saw on Instagram.

I’m glad she’s beginning to find joy in cooking. For a start, she’s doing so much better than I was at her age.

Whenever my mom wasn’t around, I’d had to depend on Maggi (instant noodles). It wasn’t a bad choice but everyone knows how unhealthy Maggi can be, if eaten regularly.

I’m glad her cooking vocabulary is much larger than mine and has more words than just Maggi.

To showcase her food vocabulary let’s check out today’s recipe. It was a simple feat.

It’s something young kids can whip up in less than half hour. It may not get 5 stars on taste but sure as hell beats eating instant noodles. And the best part, it can be made in one pot. So less cleaning and washing up.

To make this one-pot Mac and cheese;

Ingredients: serves 4

  • 2 tablespoon of butter
  • 3 tablespoon of plain flour
  • 1 cups of milk
  • 1 teaspoon each of Cayenne/paprika powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard paste or turmeric powder
  • 2 cups of water
  • Enough elbow pasta for 4 serving
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh/dried parsley

Method

In a deep pan, heat butter and add in the flour. Cook on low heat for a couple of minutes. Then add half the milk and stir with a whisk to remove lumps. Add the rest of the milk and keep stirring the mixture. (She struggled because the flour tends to clump up together and required some elbow grease and prior cooking skills to turn it lump free).

Add in the powders and mustard, and stir to combine. Add water and throw in the uncooked pasta. Over low heat, gently cook the pasta, continuously stirring, for 8-10 minutes.

Once the pasta is cooked, put in the shredded cheese and parsley. Give it a good stir and serve immediately.

Any leftover should be immediately refrigerated. To heat this up, you’ll need to cook over low heat and add some water or milk to loosen the pasta.

Hope you’ll find this as useful as it has been for me. Seriously, this simple plain dish is so much better, nutrients wise, than instant noodles that comes in a packet.

This dish a definitely a hit among young kids. So let your little ones try this and share with us how did it turn out for you.

Happy cooking with the kids.

For more recipes, check out Anyone Can Cook

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Scones

It’s hard to find good scones. I don’t like them if they’re overly crumbly or too dense.

Scones must be buttery, slightly salty and not too sweet, so they’d taste really good when you pair them with some sweet strawberry jam and cream.

Scones are a combination of biscuits and cake. Crumbly yet soft. Crispy yet moist.

After a couple of failed attempts, I think I have finally found a recipe that churns good scones. This original recipe is from Jamie Oliver

Don’t these look luscious? These were made by my tween. Easy to make and taste good too.

Ingredients

  • 150gm mixed fruits and peel.
  • 500gm self rising flour, sifted
  • 150gm cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 2 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • Some milk (about 1/2cup)
  • Some orange juice (about 1/4 cup)

Method

Soak the fruits in some orange juice (1/2 hour) to hydrate the fruits.

Start by combining all the dry ingredients. Add the butter and gently crumble the butter into flour. Its ok if you find some pieces of butter. DO NOT to overwork the dough.

Squeeze out the juice from the fruits and throw it into the flour. Slowly add milk to combine the flour. Do not knead the dough. Just press it with both your hands to form into a ball. You’ll find some dry flour, that’s fine. Just leave it. Cover dough with cling wrap and chill for 30 minutes or more. (Mine stayed in the fridge for almost an hour because my kids got sidetracked by some TV series.

Preheat oven to 180’C. Roll out dough into 3cm thickness. Find a round cookie cutter and cut out as many as you can. Arrange these onto a greased baking pan. Brush it with some beaten egg and bake it for 15 minutes or until it doubles in size and turns golden brown. Your house will start smelling like scones. That’s a good cue to remove it from the oven.

Quickly transfer these onto a cake rack and let them cool before putting it in an airtight container.

Best served, slightly toasted and with jam and cream.

For more recipes, check out Anyone Can Cook

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Sausage and spinach pasta

“Fine! Then why don’t you prepare the dinner while I’ll do the laundry?” I gave my first born a choice and was dead sure she wasn’t going to take the offer.

“Ok, just tell me what to do”, her quick response.

“I’m serious. You’re own your own.”

And I was. I really meant it, when I said she’d have to do it on her own.

“Eh…” that’s all she said and rose up to the challenge.

Kids these days! They’re so unpredictable.

So not being able to go back on my words, I gave her a quick run down on what was needed and headed out to line dry my clothes.

She looked like she knew what to do and was doing rather well even whilst slicing and chopping the onions. She had tears rolling down her cheeks but defeat was not a factor today. She just rubbed it off and kept at it.

She knew I was sneakily watching her so she put up a splendid show and just kept at it. Was she trying to evoke my motherly instincts? I can’t say for sure but neither of us were ready to throw in the towel.

After she’d finished prepping, I was already done with my chore. Thinking that she would take this opportunity and hand over the cooking to me, I was pleasantly surprised when she came over to know the next steps.

I was smiling, ear to ear, and joyed she was genuinely interested in preparing dinner.

With very little help from me apart from giving the steps on what to do next and guiding her to gauge when it’s time to put the next ingredients, she managed to make a decent pasta.

It was exciting, watching her commentary on how the ingredients were changing and coming together to look like pasta sauce.

Let’s hope this could get her excited to try out more recipes.

If you’re looking for a simple and easy recipe, why not give this a go with your kids. It takes less than 20 minutes to get this done.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large good quality sausages (try to get the fresh ones from your butcher). Cut it into bite size pieces.
  • A bag of spinach
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 4 medium sized tomatoes, chopped (or a can of tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup water (or more depending how thick you want it to be)
  • 2 tablespoon of tomato puree
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon butter and olive oil.

Spiral pasta would be the best for this dish but we ran out of it and used spaghetti instead. I reckon you can use any pasta just boil it al-dente,

Method

Bring a large pot if water to boil and cook your pasta according to the instructions.

Heat oil and butter in a deep pot, add onions and garlic. Saute it for a couple of minutes. Then throw in the sausages. Cook for a couple of minutes and then add the tomatoes. Let these tomatoes sweat a little (you should add salt now to speed up the process), add water and let it simmer for about 5 minutes.

Then check consistency. Add more water if dry. If too watery, crank up the heat and let it boil without covering it.

Add tomato puree, Italian herbs and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Give it a good stir and taste it. If too sour, add half teaspoon sugar. That should do the trick in cutting out the sourness from tomatoes.

By now your pasta would have cooked. Don’t throw away the water. Instead, fish out the pasta into the pot and throw the spinach into the pasta water. Let it wilt, remove from water, squeeze out as much water as you can and add this to the pasta.

Season with more salt and pepper if necessary. Give it a good stir and serve with shredded parmigiana cheese or parmesan cheese.

For more recipes, check out Anyone Can Cook

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Paneer lasagna, quick and easy

Here’s a little twist for our paneer lovers, use it in your favourite lasagna.

If you have kids, lasagna has to be something that you would have made or bought to satiate your kids love for this cheesy dish. Seriously, who doesn’t love a good slice of cheesy goodness? (except for those suffering from lactose intolerance)

Let’s dive straight into the recipe and ingredients required to make this.

Ingredients

  • 250gm paneer (crumbled)
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 250gm Portobello mushroom, chopped
  • 250gm spinach, blanched and chopped
  • 1/2 cup yogurt (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • Large jar of pasta sauce*
  • 1-2 cups of shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 15-20 lasagna sheets
  • 1 TBS dried oregano/parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

The prepping:

For my quick and easy version, I’ll suggest you use a jar of store bought pasta sauce. However I do have an option for those who just loathe the idea of store bought pasta sauce. There’s a good and reliable recipe which I’ve shared that would be just right to replace the jar of sauce.

I love to soak my no pre-cook lasagna sheets. This will ensure it doesn’t dry up when baking. So put lasagna sheets in a large bowl and let it soak for 15 minutes in room temperature water.

Start by sauteing onions, garlic and mushrooms. Keep aside to cool. Blanch spinach in boiling water. Squeeze out excess water from spinach and chop it fine.

To crumble the paneer, the easiest option; blitz in food processor, or crumble using hands (you poor souls without food processor, ha!)

The assembling:

  • In a large bowl, mix paneer with sauteed vegetables, spinach and egg. Add yogurt and dried herb to the mix and combine well.
  • Grease a large casserole dish and start by spreading some pasta sauce at the bottom of the dish
  • Layer 5 lasagna sheets on this sauce.
  • Then cover these sheets with vegetables mixture. Be sure to spread it well.
  • Sprinkle some cheese on the vegetables mixture and finish that off by spreading pasta sauce (from jar), making sure all cheese is covered. This is your first layer completed.
  • Repeat this layering form for another couple more times ending with layer of pasta sauce.
  • Finally cover it with a tin foil and bake it in a preheated oven of 175’C for about 40 minutes to an hour.
  • Remove the tin foil for the last 5-10 minutes to achieve a golden melted cheese effect.

The taste test:

My food reviewer ate her piece off the lasagna dish. I’d like to deduce she did so because  it was too good to waste any time transferring it  to a plate and she wouldn’t have to worry sharing it.

For more recipes, check out Anyone Can Cook

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Easy Japanese brown curry

A small gyudon curry house opened up close to my neighbourhood. The food served became the talk of town and every weekend, it would have long queue. This intrigued me. So one fine weekday, I decided to treat my girls to lunch after school.

We picked their popular dish which was chicken curry on Japanese sticky rice and some okras. It was delicious! The chicken was swimming in a mildly sweet thick sauce, which they refer to as curry. My girls loved the curry.

As much as we would love to return for another bowl, it’s simply not worth it because the price you pay for one bowl is two times more than the cost of making it yourself.

So when I saw the ingredients needed for this dish at a Japanese fair, I just had to try it out.
It’s so simple and quick to whip up this brown curry. Less than half hour, my family had a hearty and satisfying meal.

To make this, you’ll need everything you see in the picture below and enough water to submerge all ingredients (about 1 1/2 cups to 2cups). You cannot make it without the curry cubes. There are many variations, pick any, as they all do the job in ensuring a rich and flavourful curry.

Start by roughly chopping up the vegetables. Make it larger than bite size pieces.

Then start with oil in a heavy bottomed deep pan. Heat the oil and add chopped onions. Saute until they’re translucent. Now add in the vegetables and cook for a couple of minutes, slightly browning these vegetables. Add enough water to cover all ingredients in pan, cover and bring it to a boil, over medium heat.

Once vegetables have softened a little, switch off the heat and throw in the curry cubes. Keep stirring until the cubes have completely dissolved and you’re left with a luscious looking brown curry.

Bring back the heat to a low simmer and let the curry simmer for about ten minutes. You will notice the curry will start to thicken.

Serve with freshly cooked short grain Japanese rice, some pickles and steamed okras.

My kids loved it. The next day, they had the leftover with some spaghetti. It didn’t as good as on white rice but it was still good.

Do check out my short video on how to cook this dish on my Instagram and Facebook page.

Update 7/7/17 : I made this once more and tweaked my recipe a little and it turned out better. I added a tablespoon of soya sauce and garam masala (or you can use any curry powder), 1 teaspoon of cumin powder and corriander powder. This gave it a hint of heat which cut through the sweetness of this curry. Kids loved this version better. I also added another potato to it.

For more recipes, check out Anyone Can Cook

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Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake

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Ice-cream Tiramisu cake

I’m a sucker for cookies, cake, coffee and ice cream, and I love when I can combine all these ingredients and turn it into a cold coffee ice cream float. Really yummy but just too much work for something I can finish at one go (gluttony at its best). Who has time to first brew coffee, then allow it to cool before freezing it and then blend the whole concoction up? Being a mom, time is scarce, so this is kept for special occasions.

There are just a handful of sweet things I crave and most of it, you guessed it, must have some coffee in it.

Tiramisu is one of my favourite cakes. The layers of luscious smooth cream with the aromatic espresso soaked sponge fingers and just the faintest hint of the heat from liquor. I could eat a whole cake, over the course of four days. C’mon, you thought I could eat it at one go? That’s crazy.

For my husband’s birthday, I decided to bake, hmm perhaps the right term should be make since no baking is required, a tiramisu cake. Even though he isn’t fond of Tiramisu, I went ahead with it because it had all the ingredient I loved

The recipe calls for mascarpone cheese which is a rich, velvety smooth cream and quite pricey. This is one recipe in which you cannot substitute the cheese with another (cream cheese or ricotta). Some recipes allows for this substitution but the end result, though it may look like Tiramisu, will not taste like it at all. So if you cannot get your hands on good grade mascarpone cheese, I suggest you drop the idea of making it.

Most recipes call for the same ingredients so you can pretty much pick any recipe from the world wide web because there isn’t much changes you can do to the original recipe. But how you make it, can differ.

Generally there are two ways of making Tiramisu. The simplest way requires no cooking at all. It’s entirely raw but since tiramisu has eggs in it and I wanted to turn it into an ice cream, I decided to go with the next option, where a little cooking is required. Plus, I wasn’t entirely sure how fresh my eggs were. So to be safe, let’s go with option two, with a little cooking involved.

Ingredients

2 teaspoon coffee* dissolved in 1/2 cup hot water, let it cool

6 egg yolk

1 cup sugar*

250gm mascarpone cheese

1 1/2 cup heavy cream ( I used whipping cream)*

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 boxes lady fingers

Some cocoa powder (look for unsweetened)

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Tiramisu cake after sitting for 8 hours in refrigerator.

You start by bringing everything (except for the cream) out of your refrigerator so that it will come to room temperature by the time you are ready to whip up the cheese and putting a large clean stainless steel bowl into the fridge.

Start with the coffee if you are using instant coffee but freshly brewed espresso is always the best and let it cool. *Somehow coffee has a bitter taste but this time you are allowed to substitute coffee for espresso as the difference isn’t noticeable.

Next, prepare a bubble bath for the egg yolks and sugar *(you can use granulated sugar or fine for this recipe because it will dissolve in heat). You have turn these two ingredients into a velvety ribbon like, light yellowish custard. Start with boiling some water in a pot and cover that pot with bowl. Bring down the heat to a simmer and add the egg yolks into this bowl. Whisk it to combine and slowly add in sugar. This is the hardest part, you have to keep whisking it. You cannot leave it alone, not even for a second. This could take anywhere between 5 minutes to 10. Just keep at it and you will end up with a rich beautiful custard. If the mixture thickens too much, once the sugar has dissolved into finer grains, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk ad keep whisking it. You know you are done, once you have reached a smooth, runny texture and put it aside to cool. It is fine if all the sugar has not dissolved because it will as you put it aside while you work on whipping cheese and cream. You may want to transfer this custard into a larger bowl that can hold mascarpone cheese and whipped cream.

Take out the cream and pour it into the cooled bowl. Whip this until you reach stiff peaks. If you don’t own an electrical whip, this can take a while, a long long while. Almost 20 minutes. Look at it as a good arm workout before you indulge and pack back all the calories your burned.

By the time you get to the mascarpone cheese, it would have reached room temperature and ready to be added into the rest of the ingredients. Run a fork into the cheese to make sure there are no large lumps before adding it to the cooled egg yolk and sugar mixture (I’ll refer to this as custard). Mix to combine the cheese and the custard. Once well combined, slowly add the whipped cream. Gently fold in the whipped cream into the custard and cheese mixture. Don’t overmix it as you don’t want to lose all air that you so painfully incorporated into the cream while whipping it. Use the folding technique; check out youtube videos on how to fold whipped cream.

Phew! Finally we reach the last stage. The assembling stage like we do for lasagne.

Start by dipping (really quickly) the sponge fingers into the cooled coffee and arranging it in your tray or glass serving dish. Make sure to neatly and tightly pack these fingers. Once you have fully covered the bottom of you dish with fingers, scoop in the cheese mixture on it. Use half of the content in the bowl. Repeat with the sponge fingers, followed by the remaining cheese mixture. Usually many would dust cocoa powder on the assembled Tiramisu before putting it in the fridge for at least 8 hours but I didn’t.

I cling wrapped my Tiramisu and left it in the fridge for 8 hours. Take it out and enjoy a slice or two. I found it a little too sweet for my liking so i decided to turn it into an ice cream by  adding two layers of foil onto the existing cling wrap and transferring this cake to the freezer.

The beauty of this, you can keep for a couple of months and cut out a slice whenever you feel like it. You cannot completely thaw this. It will turn mushy. The best way to enjoy a piece is by taking out of the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes, this will allow the cream to softened a little so it will be easier to cut out a slice. Dust some cocoa powder and enjoy a cold slice of ice cream cream. BY the time you are ready to enjoy this cake, it would have softened but still remain cold and it would not be too sweet. Something about turning it into an ice cream, magically cuts out the sweetness of the cake.

Switch-e-roo;

If you like to play with your food like I, take out a third of the cheese mixture and use it to make Green Tiramisu cake. It’s not like the original coffee Tiramisu but why not?

To make this, you swap the coffee to green tea. Dip the sponge fingers into the cooled green tea, arrange them neatly and pour all the cheese mixture on the sponge fingerts. Refrigerate for 8 hours and enjoy. Cut a slice and dust it with Matcha powder.

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Matcha green tea Tiramisu cake

 

Bon appetit!!

for more recipes head over to:  my recipes page
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Coconut milk chicken

I’m not going to bore you with the benefits of coconut milk over cow’s milk. The reason you are here is because you were planning to use coconut in your cooking. So let me take you straight to a wonderful baked chicken recipe that is a sure win.

Follow this simple recipe and you are going to be serving an extremely decadent and moist chicken.

I know, roasting and baking a whole chicken has the risk of running dry. I’ve been there, many times and it sucks when that happens because there isn’t much you can do to rectify it. Except maybe chop up the whole chicken and use it for sandwiches, for the whole effing week or up to the point your kids start screaming “Mom, STOP!”

Coconut milk baked chicken.

250ml can of coconut milk. I used fresh coconut milk. Yea that’s me rubbing it in your face!

Whole chicken, cleaned and patted dry

2 tablespoon fresh pounded turmeric paste (or a teaspoon of powder turmeric)

4 crushed garlic cloves

2 lemongrass stalks (cut large chunks, whack it and use only the whiter part of the stalk)

2 lemon juice and rind/zest/peel (whichever makes sense to you)

A large piece of cinnamon stick and 2 star anise

salt to season

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Method:

Make sure you had your chicken in room temperature for about 30 minutes. Give it a good massage and rub with salt and turmeric paste. Don’t forget to reach every part of the chicken; the thighs, underneath the wings and even rub some inside the chicken.

Transfer the relaxed chicken into an oven proof deep dish. I used my trustee old cast iron. Mix to combine lemon juice, rind and coconut milk. Pour this over the chicken. Throw in the rest of the ingredients. Bake in a preheated oven, 175’C, for about an hour or 200’C for 40 minutes if you are in a hurry.

Half way through, baste the chicken with the milk and don’t worry if the milk starts to curdle up. Just give it a a stir. If you notice the milk drying up, you will need to top it up with either some chicken stock (the best option) or water. This will ensure you don’t end up with a dried up chicken. To see the progress, check out a video I shared on my Instagram account and Facebook page.

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The last 5 minutes when your chicken is almost done, crank up your oven temperature to 225 (or 250 if you dare. No please. Don’t do that) and set it to grill mode and let it burn the chicken a little. Please only do this if you still have liquid gold (coconut milk & turmeric mixed together) left in your pot.

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Don’t pour away the leftover milk. It makes a good sauce for spaghetti or steamed french beans or any side dish you plan to serve . If it is lumpy, just give it a quick whisk and if it too runny, just let the juice simmer on low heat for a couple of minutes.

Oh! Cleaning up the pot after the chicken is done is a nightmare! But sorry, there is no other way to achieve the barbecued effect other than by letting it burn a little in the pot. It’s worth the pain, just trust me and do it!

p/s: it’s not that hard to clean the pot, just fill it up with tap water and a few drops of dish drop and let the water come to a boil. Grease will slip away after that.

Bon appetit!!

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A lot of meat

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Chicken, is the cheapest (after tofu) source of protein. It’s available throughout the year and you can get it from almost any place. However, if you are skeptical with the quality of meat available, like me, then you will need to work a little harder on it.

We stopped consuming chicken when some videos went viral showing how inhumanely poulterers reared chicken and about antibiotic being injected into them. We did not become vegetarian, we just decided to get our protein source from fish.

Then the fish industry was under fire because of lead pollution in rivers, contaminating every living thing in it. More bad news, even the vegetables were not spared; strong pesticides and a lot of GMO products.

I wish I could survive without food but we know that isn’t possible, well not for me at least. Though I have seen a couple who have not eaten proper meal for over a year and are still surviving. I love food too much to give it up. I am never, ever, giving up on eating.

After finding a good source of chicken meat, I have slowly introduced chicken into my meals I started off with soups and broths. Then slowly we moved on to consuming a whole chicken, every part of, almost every part.

Today’s recipe was inspired by the man who made me fall in love with cooking, my Naked Chef. No, he didn’t cook naked, though I don’t think I would have minded it. It was his food, everything was fresh, simple and easy to get. He’s quite famous you know. You should know him. C’mon! I know you know him

But I was out of ingredients (I’ve been to busy with my girls football that I could not find time to go grocery shopping). Searched my fridge and googled for a recipe that called for the ingredients I had at hand and the result was, way better than expected.

Simplicity. I always do well when I keep it simple.

So let me introduce you to my cast members aka the ingredients;

Free-range chicken, 3 BIG tablespoon butter & lemon

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To make this; start off by cleaning and patting dry your chicken. Make sure to let it sit in room temperature for 30 minutes before you start slathering it with the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 200’C.

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Don’t skimp on the butter. This is one dish where the more butter the better result. Just DO IT!

Break up the butter, zest the lemon rind into the butter, season it with salt and pepper. Mix everything up

 

Give the chicken a good massage. Let it chillax and don’t forget to tickle under its wings  and thighs. You want butter at every nook and crane. Even the inside of the chicken.

Squeeze the juice of two lemons, yes seriously, and stuff the the lemon into the chicken cavity. Push it deep inside. Prick holes on the third lemon and stuff that whole lemon in too. If you have some fresh herbs, which I did not, stuff some fresh rosemary in it as well.

Reduce the heat to 175’C and let it bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. Bake breast side up and half way through, baste the chicken with the juice and turn the chicken. This extra step is not necessary but I like my roast to be golden with crisp skin all over.

Once done, foil the chicken and let it cool before you attempt carving it. I’m not particularly good at it but I am rather satisfied with my result. Start by removing the thighs legs, you can easily break loose once the chicken is cooked well. Then break free the wings. Now you may start by slicing the breasts and work you way until you reach the middle. Nothing beats using your hands removing the meat from the bones. Don’t throw the bones away because they make a good broth.

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Not to bad, right?

A lot of butter it never wrong. Use the remainder (if any) for roasting vegetables. I have a big oven so I like to bake as many things as I possible can each time I crank up my oven.

 

The butter is also good for seafood. Remember, lemon on my salmon?

Chop up some portobello mushrooms and season it with salt & pepper and some dried herbs. Rub the butter on some prawns and throw them on top of the mushrooms. Throw in a couple of garlic cloves too. Bake this at 175’C for 20-25 minutes or until the prawns are pink.

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The roasted bones make for a good broth. For lunch, next day, I made some simple broth using the carcass, potatoes, wolf berries and mushrooms. You can any vegetables you like or don’t use any, would be fine too. Here I am using rice noodles, season with a little light soya sauce, salt and pepper. Topped it up with Shitake mushroom and shredded chicken from my roast.

 

Bon appetit!!

for more recipes head over to:  my recipes page
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Breakfast for champions

My kids are back, in one piece, still coherent and as annoying as they were when the left for a five days advance football training camp with FCBEscola’s Barca coaches.

I was prepared and had cleared my hard drive to download the massive information overload I was about to get on their time away but to my surprise, all they wanted was sleep. They hit the snooze button the moment they got into the car. Supposed they deserved it. Regardless of the result, these two are already champions in my eyes.

I’m awed by their resilience. They attended each training session despite being sick. My husband had the same bug and he wasn’t doing too well fighting it. All he wanted was to lay in bed, under a blanket the whole day. So I was worried sick how my girls were taking care of themselves. My only assurance was them checking their own temperature and calling in to report. They had to medicate themselves and stay hydrated to keep it under control because they were determined not to let being sick come in their way.

So they deserved the snooze and slept through the drive home. Got up for a quick lunch and continued sleeping soundly until late evening. Even my heroic Bahadur (pet dog) joined them for a snooze.

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To celebrate their willpower and determination, we went out to a nice cozy restaurant for dinner. Some life came back and they were eager to share with us all the drills and exciting things that happened at the Astro Kem Bola.

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Showing me how she fell when a ball went straight to her stomach at the camp.

They even managed to go to bed, easily, after dinner. Which is a big deal because usually if they take a nap during the day, they would beg to stay up late and watch comedies on tele with us.

It’s 10am, the next day and they’re still asleep! But looking so peaceful and comfortable in their beds. It is hard to wake someone like that. I had to come up with plan B, an intervention was needed.

In the past, they would rush down for their favourite American breakfast and  that was exactly what I did. I knew the smell of freshly baked pancakes and the aroma of fried greasy bacon would slowly but surely wake them.

Their favourite breakfast; fluffy American style pancakes, bacon and premium German pepper sausages.

To make these pancakes you’ll need; (allrecipes.com)

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • cooking oil/spray

Start off by mixing vinegar with mix, give it a good stir and let it sit for 5 minutes or until the milk starts to curdle. Meanwhile, mix the flour, sugar baking powder & soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add egg and melted butter into the milk and give it a good stir. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and still gently with a fork, don’t overbeat it as that may cause you to loose all the bubbles from the mixture.

Heat a non stick pan, grease it and pour one ladle of pancake batter (we like thin pancakes but for thicker pancakes, use either a small pan or a bigger ladle). Wait for tiny holes to appear the pancake before flipping it over (this usually takes just a couple of minutes). Keep the pancake light golden and serve it with loads of maple syrup, topped with fresh cream and fruits.

We were so hungry and completely forgot to snap some pictures of the pancake stack. This was the last remaining piece, I know the picture doesn’t do any justice to it but trust me, this is a killer recipe. One you must try. Your kids will love you for it.

You could also double up the recipe and keep any leftover pancakes as school snack. Cling wrap them and just pop it into the microwave for a 10-20 seconds and they would taste as good as freshly baked. You can keep them in the refrigerator for 3 days.

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Tiny bubbles all over the pancakes

 

Bon appetit!!

for more recipes head over to:  my recipes page
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Mini mushroom pizza

Mini mushroom pizza
Mini mushroom pizza

Just the mere mention of pizza in my house, lights up the kids mood. It’s not the crust they love or the vegetables that go on the pizza dough but it is the dang cheese. They are so in love with cheese. Give them any kind of hard cheese (except for brie or the smelly blue cheese) and they will love you for it.

When at a supermarket, most meltdown with kids usually happens at the candy aisle but my struggle is at the cheese section. Especially with the little one who has a mild lactose intolerance. Over at this side of the world, these speciality cheese comes with a hefty price, almost RM35-RM40 for a 200gm block of matured and flavoured cheese, and one block is never enough.

So with my shopping cart filled with blocks of different types of cheese, pizza was definitely on the menu.

Since we had been extremely busy with their football tournaments over the last couple of weeks and had been eating out, I had to make sure they get their dosage of fruits and vegetables. So, I decided to omit the pizza dough from tonight’s dinner menu.

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To make these mini pizza;

5 large sized portobello mushrooms, stems removed

1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

10 halved cherry tomatoes

1 large onion, chopped fine

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/3 cup of oilve oil

1 teaspoon Italian herbs, lemon & pepper

salt to taste

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To make these;

Preheat the oven 200’C. In a bowl mix the herbs, salt and pepper with oil. Using a spoon remove the stem (and gill to get a deeper space for your toppings but I didn’t bother with it) Brush oil on the mushroom’s cap and back. Sprinkle some onions and garlic on the mushroom and as many pieces of tomatoes you like. Make sure the tomatoes are well spread out. Then sprinkle some cheese. OK,  A  L O T of cheese, be very generous with it. You want your pizza to be oozing with the gooey mozzarella cheese, every bite. Kids simply love playing whose bite gets the longer string.

Carefully transfer these on a rack and make sure you have a tray underneath it to capture all the juice from the mushrooms while baking. You may bake these mushrooms in a plate but it will have a soggy bottom, like shown in the picture below. It doesn’t affect the taste but you won’t get a crusty, pizza dough like effect.

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Bon appetit!!

for more recipes head over to:  my recipes page
Thank you for stopping by at BeeRaise & let’s stay connected for more:
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