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Homemade Wholemeal Bread

Do you know the feeling when you enter a house and the first thing that catches your attention is the aroma of freshly baked bread? Or sitting in the living room typing away the next post (just like what I am doing right now) and the only thing that is ‘distracting’ me, in a good way of course is the same scent coming from the bread that is sitting in the bread machine, at this very moment baking it’s way to scrumptious wholesomeness!! The bread machine was kindly given to us by my mother in law and we love it! We’ve made many types of breads and jam too (which I will share the recipe in my next post). Beep! Beep! Well that sounds like the bread machine calling me…

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Yes, this is the item in question. We shall wait “patiently” for the bread to cool down before we can have a slice.

Alison from Alison Amazed asked me if I have a favourite bread machine recipe. Well Alison, so happened that I was planning to bake one anyway. We have tried so many different recipes; through trial and error, tweaking here and there, we came to a conclusion that this is our favourite.

Homemade Wholemeal Bread
(Using Breville Ultimate Baker’s Oven Series 2)
Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

350ml Warm Water
2 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 1/2 cups Bakers Flour
2 cups Wholemeal Plain Flour
3 tablespoon Gluten Flour
2 teaspoon Bread Improver
2 teaspoon Instant Yeast
1 teaspoon Salt
1 tablespoon Sunflower Seeds
1 tablespoon Pumpkin Seeds

Method

1. Add water and oil into the bread pan followed by the salt, flour, bread improver, yeast and salt. Finally, add the sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
2. Return the bread pan to the machine, close the lid and select your preferred setting. (The settings we used with our bread machine is whole wheat, crust control set to dark and loaf control set to 1,250g).
3. Sit back, relax and wait patiently.

The result is…

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Soft, wholesome and need I say more…

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‘Beurre Bosc’ Pear Yoghurt Muffins

On my recent visit to our local Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets, I can’t help but noticed an abundance of good-looking ‘Beurre Bosc’ brown pears. I’ve eaten them before and they are good to snack on. With their soft and buttery texture, they taste so sweet and juicy. It has always been on my mind to try something different with these pears but I never get around to doing it. What a timing…with a tub of yoghurt sitting in my fridge, I thought let’s try baking some Muffins!

I must admit that I cannot remember when was the last time I used yoghurt in baking muffins and as I was searching for some recipes, I came across this recipe on Taste.com.au , I thought, well, with some tweaking I could use this recipe.

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‘Beurre Bosc’ Pear Muffins
(Makes 12)

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup plain natural yoghurt
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2/3 cup grape seed oil
3 ‘Beurre Bosc’ Pears, roughly diced
Cinnamon, to sprinkle on the top of muffins (optional)

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Prepare 12 muffin cups in a 1/3 cup-capacity muffin pan. Sift flour and sugar into a bowl.
2. Combine yoghurt, egg, vanilla essence, oil and chopped pears in a large bowl. Gradually add dry ingredients, stirring until just combined.
3. Spoon mixture into muffin holes (do not fill it up to the top as the muffin will rise) and sprinkle with some cinnamon powder. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
4. Stand muffins in pan for a few minutes and then turn them onto a wire rack to cool completely.
5. Serve them warm or at room temperature.

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I was very pleased as how they turn out. The pears hold its shaped quite well, overall the muffins were soft and fluffy as the clouds!

Have you cooked or baked something using these brown pears? I would love to try out different recipes using pears.

Chicken Cooked in Spicy Tomato Sauce (Ayam Masak Merah)

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I had fond memories growing up in Malaysia and one of them is food. A multi-cultural country, Malaysia has a global reputation offering delectable variety of food with so many different flavours. Whether it is a fancy restaurant or just a hawker stall, every corner of the street you will find someone selling something to eat. Herbs and spices used in its diverse range of dishes not only satisfy ones tummy but also a feast to the eyes and makes every taste bud tingle.

Did I mention how much I love food? Just for the record, I love food…especially spicy food and this is one of my many favourites. In Malaysia, Ayam Masak Merah was once commonly cooked at home, but now it is one of the popular dishes served during festive occasions or kenduri (weddings).

For this recipe, I would normally use a whole chicken and cut it into about 8 pieces. But because we were entertaining a couple of guests, I chose chicken thighs instead which I feel makes it easier to eat. I started off by preparing the chicken, pat them dry and season with salt. Then the fun begins where I ground the herbs and spices with my mortal and pestle. The recipe requires dried chillies but by all means, feel free to use normal chilli paste or reduce the amount to your preferred heat level. I would suggest that you get all your ingredients ready before you start cooking so you don’t accidentally burn the spice paste. Here goes…

Chicken Cooked in Spicy Tomato Sauce (Ayam Masak Merah)

Ingredients

1 – 1.5 kg chicken thigh

3 stalks lemongrass, bruised

1 large spanish onions, sliced into rings

1 cm piece fresh ginger, sliced

2 teaspoon tamarind paste

410 gram tomato puree

250 ml water

3 tablespoon oil

2 teaspoon sugar

Some green peas

Salt

To make Spice Paste

About 20 dried chillies, soaked

10 shallots

5 cloves garlic

2 teaspoon fennel

2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

Method

1. Using a food processor or mortar & pestle, ground ingredients to form a paste.

2. Prepare chicken, pat them dry and rub with a little bit of salt. Heat oil and fry the chicken pieces until it is half-cooked. Set aside.

3. In the same pot, sauté the blended paste, lemongrass until fragrant and the oil separates from the paste. Add tomato puree, water, tamarind paste, chicken pieces, sugar and season with salt. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer, cook until the gravy thickens.

4. Just before serving, stir in green peas and onion rings. Serve with steam rice.

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We Love Nuts!

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Almonds, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, pistachios…the list goes on. We all love nuts and we know the nutritions that comes with it. But that is not what this post is all about, lets leave that discussion to the health experts.

I feel nuts should be in everyone’s pantry, except those who are allergic to them of course. Not just using them for when you are baking but it is convenient for when you feel like a quick snack be it at home, at the office or when you’re on the go.

We use to buy nuts from the local supermarket and I find some of them have too much salt or too sweet and there were occasions where I just couldn’t eat them because they have gone stale. Mind you, there are good quality ones out there, but we thought why don’t we just roast them ourselves, it can’t be that hard. Guess what, it is easy and we have been doing that ever since. We would buy a pack of raw mixed nuts from the local grocer and roast it however we like.

List of flavour is endless. They are easily roasted in the oven or even in a pan, with or without oil. For this badge, I chose to make just an easy one and I hope to share different other flavours in future posts. So, let’s go nuts!

Ingredients

500 grams raw mixed nuts
Salt

Method

1. Preheat oven at 180°C.
2. On a baking pan, spread the nuts evenly. Place them in the oven and stir occasionally. Roast for about 5 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Do not leave the nuts in the oven for too long, nuts still continue to cook even after you have remove them from the oven.
3. Sprinkle some salt and let it cool. Store the nuts in an airtight container.

The fragrant of freshly roasted nuts will linger in your kitchen and there is nothing better than a handful of warm roasted nuts.

Enjoy!

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Easy Roast Beef

Sunday roast? Well, I don’t think one have to wait until the weekend. Any day is a good day to have your favourite roast. I have tried different recipes and methods. With mustard, without mustard, served with yorkshire pudding, mashed potatoes and the list goes on. Whatever it is I enjoyed every one of them and this time around, I chose to prepare it this way.

I do realise that I am using vegetable stock instead of beef stock but hey, what can I say I do tend to improvise and may I say it tasted just as good.

Easy Roast Beef

Ingredients

1 kg top rump

2 teaspoon butter

About 5 good size new potatoes, scrubbed.

4 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon cornflour

600 ml vegetable stock (that’s what I had in the fridge)

Salt and Pepper

Steamed Green beans and 4 ears of corns to serve

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 220C. Heat butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a roasting pan and cook the roast until well browned. Remove roasting pan from the heat and season the beef with salt and lots of black pepper. Cover the beef with foil and cook in the oven for 45 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in a pan of boiling water for about 5 minutes, drain.

3. Heat oil in a baking tray on the stove top, add the potatoes turning them in the oil until well coated. Place the pan of potatoes in the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Then uncover the beef and roast with the potatoes for a further 15 minutes.

4. Remove beef and potatoes from the roasting pan. Cover the roast loosely with a foil to let it rest. Meanwhile, place the pan on the stove top, combine the cornflour with a little bit of water to form a paste (this is to avoid lumpy gravy) then stir it into the pan juices, cook for about 1 minute. Then add the stock, scraping the pan making sure you don’t waste the yummy bits. Bring it to the boil, stirring until gravy reduces and thickens slightly.

5. Serve with steamed green beans and corn.

Make a sandwich or two with the left-over meat. Lunch is covered…easy!

Fruit and Nut Loaf

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As beneficial as it is to have carrot sticks for morning tea, if I am given a choice between carrots and raisin toast, I would choose the latter. Don’t get me wrong, I love carrots but I think most people would agree that a slice of warm raisin toast with butter makes a great accompaniment to your favourite cup of tea or coffee.

Just so happen that I didn’t have much planned for the day, what better to way to spend time in the kitchen making bread! We do have a bread machine but at times I enjoy kneading the bread myself. I didn’t have much raisins in the pantry but with other ingredients available I am sure I can make something else. So, Fruit and Nut loaf it is…

Fruit and Nut Loaf
(Adapted from The Australian Women’s Weekly)

Ingredients

2 teaspoon dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoon warm water
160 ml warm milk
1 cup plain flour, sifted
1 egg, beaten lightly
2 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
1 cup plain flour, sifted (extra)
1 cup wholemeal flour (extra)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
100 gram butter,softened
1/4 cup sultanas
1/4 cup dried fruit mix
1/4 cup dried figs, chopped
1/4 cup slivered almonds, roasted

For topping
A bit of milk for brushing
Mix 1 tablespoon sugar with 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method

1. Combine yeast, 2 teaspoon of the sugar and water in a large bowl, whisk until yeast has dissolved. Whisk in milk and the first cup of sifted plain flour. Cover and leave it to stand in a warm place about 30 minutes or until mixture is frothy.
2. Stir in egg and rind, then the extra cup of plain and wholemeal flour, salt, cinnamon and remaining sugar. Stir in butter, fruit and nuts. Knead dough on floured surface until smooth. Place dough into greased bowl; cover and leave it to stand in a warm place until dough has doubled in size.
3. Preheat oven to 220°C/200°C fan-forced oven. Oil 14cm x 21cm loaf pan, line base with baking paper.
4. Turn dough onto floured surface, knead until smooth and place it into the pan. Cover loosely with greased plastic wrap and leave it to stand again in a warm place for about 30 minutes or until the dough has risen slightly. Remove plastic wrap.
5. Brush dough with milk, sprinkle with combined sugar and cinnamon. Bake for 10 minutes and then reduce oven temperature to 180°C/160°C fan-forced; bake further 35 minutes. Turn baked loaf onto a wire rack to cool.

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That’s it. Toast sliced bread under a hot grill and serve it with butter or cream cheese. Also good for afternoon snack!

If you are not rushing to go anywhere, I would suggest you try this recipe. If there is any left, it keeps well in the freezer too. Just slice and wrap them in pairs before freezing.

Good luck!

What is your favourite morning or afternoon snack?

Traditional Scones

Posted on

What better way to kick off the blog with my very first batch of scones. I love scones and I am sure a lot of people can relate to that. I always thought that you ought to have special skills to bake scones but I was told that it is not that hard. Well, if I can make them, surely anyone can.

It was a day out at a friend’s house where we girls get together and stitch! What a great excuse to bring along some fresh, homemade scones. I know there are a number of scones expert out there but this is how I made mine…quick and easy. Literally, in just a few minutes they were out from the oven and seconds later they were in the car with me. The smell of freshly baked scones filled my car, what a pleasant drive. The scones were still nice and warm by the time I arrived. The girls enjoyed them as much as I did…deliciousness!!

Traditional Scones
Makes about 20

I served them with fresh-whipped cream and raspberry jam

Ingredients

4 cups self-raising flour
2 tablespoon sugar
60 gram butter
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup water (approximately)

Method

1. Preheat oven to 220°C/200°C fan-forced oven. Grease tray.
2. Sift flour and sugar into a large bowl; rub in butter with fingertips resembling fine breadcrumbs.
3. Make a well in centre of flour mixture; add milk and most of the water. Use a butter knife to mix through the mixture. Add more water if mixture is not moist enough. Knead dough on floured surface until smooth.
4. Press dough into 2cm thickness. Dip a 5cm round cutter in flour, cut as many rounds as you can from the dough. Place scones on tray, about 1cm apart.
5. Gently knead rest of dough and repeat process. Brush tops with milk, bake for about 15 minutes or until scones are just browned.

So, when was the last time you baked some scones? Appreciate your comments.

Enjoy!

 

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