Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pumpkin Cheesecake

I think Cheesecake is always a love hate thing for me. Love? What's not to love? It's creamy, luscious and such a comfort food on lousy days, or any other day, haha! Hate? It's highly packed with fats and calories! Eating it is just simply diet ruining, haha! So that is why you do not see me baking cheesecake that often. But...this pumpkin flavor cheesecake has been on my mind like...forever! I ever heard a DJ on the radio commenting that the best cheesecake has gotta be pumpkin cheesecake. Really? Gosh? Why in the world have I not baked it yet or even taste it before! But that diet thing came in and I just put it aside. :P Procrastination took over....only after 3 months did I finally baked it! Boy oh boy was I regretful...Pumpkin cheesecake is the BOMB! 
Don't you just love that golden "sun"! I was surprise how creamy and delicious this cheesecake turned out to be! Even if you are not a fan of pumpkin itself, you will fall in love with this, really! Very faint pumpkin taste but you know it is there. One thing to note though is to choose good pumpkins namely from Japan or the least from Australia. I particularly love pumpkins from Japan...their much smoother, creamier and sweeter too! I even eat the skin when it is washed properly and soft enough, haha! :D 

Ingredients for Pumpkin Cheese Cake (makes a 6" by  ~2.5" round)
Cookie Base:
137g Oreo cookies (1 tube pack), finely crushed/blend
40g unsalted butter, melted
  •  Finely blend or crushed the oreo cookies together with the cream into fine crumbs.
  • Add the melted butter in and mix well. 
  • Press the cookie  mixture into a greased 6" (removal base) round cake pan, making sure it is evenly spread out and leveled. 
  • Wrap the whole cake pan with heavy duty aluminum foil for water bath baking later. Chill in fridge till needed.
Cream Cheese filling:
200g pumpkin, peeled, cut into smaller chunks
  • Roast the pumpkin chunks in the oven at 200C for 20minutes or more till it is fork tender. Alternatively, you can steam your pumpkin at medium fire for 15 minutes. Personally I like roasting it because I think it brings out the taste of pumpkin more.
250g cream cheese at room temperature
70g caster sugar
2 large eggs
70g sour cream 
100ml heavy cream
25g cornflour or Hong Kong flour
  • Preheat the oven to 180C and prep a water bath for baking.
  • In a mixer, beat the cream cheese, roasted puréed pumpkin and caster sugar till light and creamy. 
  • Add in the eggs one at a time till everything is nicely incorporated. 
  • Next add in the sour cream and heavy cream to the mixture and mix at low speed till all is well combined and no lumps.
  • Lastly sieve in the flour and mix well till no visible flour.
  • Pour the cream cheese mixture into the prepared cake pan with the chilled cookie base.
  • Using a tooth pick to swirl around the batter making sure there are no trapped air bubbles. 
  • Bake in the preheated oven at 180C for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 155C and continue to bake for another 50 minutes (or till the surface is not wobbly any more) 
  • Remove from oven and let cool completely.
  • Chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or better yet overnight in the fridge. Serve cold and enjoy!
It is so so important that you wrap the base of the cake pan properly with double duty aluminum foil! I cannot stress this enough because once the water from the water bath sips in...the cookie base will become soggy! What a waste! So remember, do not assume..double check and make sure you have wrap it properly. :)
Doesn't that look just awesome! Hahaha! I am so stoke when I slice the first piece out and saw this perfectly baked interior! *happiness* :)
Sorry, can't resist not posting another picture, haha! Hope this picture itself will be able to motivate you more. :) 

Okay folks, gotta run and cut this short...have a great week everyone!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Ayam Percik for MFF featuring Kelantan

Hi hi again, look who's posting another curry recipe, haha! Yeah, ever since I started joining MFF, I have been cooking up delicious dishes that I would probably not even cook off from a cookbook. I really learn a lot in these few months,mainly about the Malay food culture in different states and how yummy they are. Thanks again to the organizers for hosting such a great event for all of us bloggers and readers to learn about the wonderful food in Malaysia!

My post today is Ayam Percik. After seeing Kelly and Peng posting this recipe, I was pretty much sold! My key concern is usually the gathering of the spices or root vegetables that are required in the spice mix. Since this recipe's spice mix was not too complicated, this dish was relatively easy to prepare! The only mistake I made was adding a little too much of the tamarind paste....yikes! So it was kind of on the sourish side, and I had to add a wee bit more sugar to mild it down, haha!
Ehh...why my Ayam Percik colour different from Kelly and Peng's version?! Okay...because I used ground chilli paste instead of the dried chilli! Sorry, laziness got the better of me. :P But i reckon the taste shouldn't differ too much. :P Here is the recipe for my reference and the slight change I made:

4 chicken drumsticks
200ml coconut milk
3 cardamoms
3 cloves
1 stalk lemongrass, bruised
1 tbsp tamarind paste
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch mixed with water

Spice paste : Blend till paste form
3 cloves garlic
1 thumb sized ginger
3 shallots
1.5 tbsp of chili paste (I used Singlong brand)1/4 cup water
1 stalk lemongrass

  • Marinate chicken drumsticks with spice paste for at least 1/2 hours.
  • Transfer everything into a pot or pan and pour half the coconut milk over it. Add in cardamon, cloves and lemongrass and cook over medium heat until chicken is partly cooked, for about 15mins. Season with tamarind paste, salt & sugar halfway through.
  • Take the chicken out from the pot, reserving the coconut milk mixture. Place the chicken on a baking tray and grill for 10mins.
  • Meanwhile, discard the cardamom and cloves from the gravy. Add the remaining coconut milk and the starch water and simmer until thick. Adjust taste if necessary.
  • Coat the chicken with some of the coconut sauce and continue to grill for another 5 mins.
  • Once done, drizzle some reserved gravy over the chicken and serve with steam rice while it is still warm.
I think this is quite a delicious curry! It is amazing how the change and twist of some ingredients can result in all these different curry flavors. I truly regret not doubling this recipe!

I am very happy to submit this post to Malaysian Food Fest Kelantan Month hosted by Gertrude of My Kitchen Snippets.  

Have a great weekend all!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Ham and Stewed pulled-beef Quesadillas

 I made quesadillas! I can't remember the last time I made these...but I used to whip up quesadillas so often for a quick lunch when I was in CA. Perhaps it's because I can't find flour tortillas until lately it starts "popping out" in the neighborhood grocers. It's getting more popular in Singapore, where people starts to use it for  And it didn't register in my mind until lately that I decided to make my all time favorite easy quesadillas!

I actually made two different fillings, one with Ham, the other with stewed pulled-beef. Since my hubs is on a non-beef diet, I only made one set for myself, haha!

Ingredients (serves 4)
Scrambled Eggs
4 large eggs
4 tbsp of milk
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp butter
  • Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and add in the milk, salt and pepper. Whisk it well till you see small bubbles on the side.
  • On the non stick pan at low fire and add 1 tbsp of butter. Once the butter melt, add in the egg  mixture and once you see the sides starts to solidify, use spatula and gently push in towards the center. Continue to do this until the mixture is not runny but still glossy.
  • Immediately remove from the fire and set aside. It will continue to cook even after you plate it, so do not over cook it and will be rubbery and not fluffy.

6 flour tortillas
4 eggs
6 -8 slices of ham, torn into bite size
2-3 oz of stewed pulled-beef
Sauteed portabella mushrooms (Sliced and cooked for 5 minutes with just salt and pepper)
250g shredded quesadilla cheese (Mixture of cheddar and monterey jack)
Some julienned green onion
  • In a non stick pan, place one of the flour tortilla on it at medium low fire. 
  • Quickly sprinkle some cheese on half of the circle and follow by all the desired toppings, namely some egg, ham/pulled-beef, mushrooms, green onion and lastly more cheese.
  • Flip the other empty side on over to cover the filling to make it into a semi circle. Then flip the whole quesadillas to let it cook and melt the cheese.
  • Remove from pan when both sides of the semi circle has crisp up. Then cut the semi circle into half. 
  • Serve while still warm.
At first I was a little worries my little ones were not acceptable on this new cuisine, but surprisingly they loved it! Crisped up tortilla, savory meats, soft fluffy eggs, juicy mushrooms and gooey cheese, what's not to love? I actually preferred the pulled-beef version, so much heartier...definitely a very satisfying meal indeed! You can always substitute the ham or beef to roast chicken meat, it should be equally yummy!
I actually reduced the stewed beef sauce to make it thick as a dipping sauce for the beef quesadillas. It's actually not a bad idea! Lol! 

Anyway, hope this recipe is easy and fun enough for you to explore and try out. Have a great weekend everyone! Cheers!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Kuzi Ayam (Kelantan Style Chicken Curry)

Yay! I am so glad I got to make a dish for MFF event earlier this time! Hate it when I had to do the mad rush all the time. Ehh...not that I am particularly free now but it was all due to Phong Hong's fabulous recipe and urged me to cook it proto, haha! After the Kay Hong dish (which I cook so often now), I knew I can trust her dishes. :) I had to hand it to her that she shares one the yummiest curries. Thanks Phong Hong! :D So this time in support of MFF event featuring Kelantan, I've made Kuzi Ayam (Kelantan Style Chicken Curry), yummy!
I actually had a hard time trying to take nicer pictures out of this curry dish, lol! I bet all bloggers have this annoying problem when it comes to brown colored food...so hard to capture a good one *sigh*. :P But I tell you the taste is so yummy...even though it is the first not spicy curry I made. I was thrilled to make it because my little ones can enjoy it together with me, haha! Plus the ingredients were not hard to gather at all. :) Here is the recipe as adapted from Phong Hong:

Ingredients for Kuzi Ayam (Serves 4-5ppl)
Dry spice powder mixture:
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground fennel
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp freshly grated/pounded peeled ginger
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

800g chicken thigh and drum
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped finely
1 tsp salt

1/3 cup vegetable oil (I completely omitted ghee)
250g thinly sliced onions
30g slivered almonds
80g California raisins
150ml tomato puree
50ml ketchup
200ml coconut milk
300-350ml water

1 tbsp sugar (optional: to counter off the tangy taste from the tomato)
  • In a mixing bowl, marinate the chicken pieces with the chopped garlic and salt and let sit for 10-15 minutes.
  • In a frying pot, add the vegetable oil and heat up at medium fire. Fry the onions till golden brown, dish up and drain on paper towels.
  • Fry the slivered almonds for just a minute to get it slight golden brown. Don't over do it, or it'll char and taste bitter...not good eats. :P (I did not fry the raisins because it plums up after boiling in the curry sauce)
  • Remove most of the oil leaving only 1 tsp amount. Add in the marinated chicken pieces and cook till lightly brown .
  • Add in coconut milk, water, tomato puree, ketchup and stir a while. Then add in all the ground spices and again stir to mix well.
  • Add in the fried onions (which I didn't ground also), silvered almonds and raisins. Bring mixture to a boil and add in sugar and salt to taste. Reduce fire to low and simmer mixture for about 15-20 minutes till tender.
My kids really like this curry! And I was really glad the spices didn't give off a strong spice taste...really creamy with a slight tangy taste. I actually added a potato and some hard boiled eggs, haha...Sedap!
Unfortunately I didn't try to make nasi tomato as what Phong Hong as suggested...but it was still very good! :P And I am very sure I will be cooking this again ...and again! :)

I am very happy to submit this post to Malaysian Food Fest Kelantan Month hosted by Gertrude of My Kitchen Snippets.  

Have a great day all!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Strawberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

Ever wonder if you can have gourmet breakfast, served right at the comfort of your own cosy home? Plus it is much more economic and you can eat at your own comfort, i.e. in your bed, in front of the TV, haha! Well, I love to serve up a nice breakfast every weekend. It's a time where there's no rushing involve, my family and I can have the delicious meal together. We enjoy some quality family bonding as well. So no boring slice bread with same old spreads please Mommy! I seriously don't mind waking up a wee bit earlier too...because it's all worth it when you see their happy faces when they eat the awesome breakfast, hah!
Who doesn't love french toast? It's one of those comfort food that makes you all warm inside! And I decided to make it even more awesome by stuffing them with delicious Strawberry cream cheese, yum! No worries if you don't have brioche (rich egg bread), just get any loaf from the bakery but unsliced. You will need to slice the loaf to the thickness you want in order to make the stuffed french toast. Yes, white loaf or wheat loaf is absolutely fine. :) Without further ado, here is the recipe:

Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling (This can be made the day before)
1 tbsp strawberry compote / jam
120g cream cheese, room temperature
1 tsp powdered sugar
  • In a small mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients together until everything is well combined. 
Ingredients for Stuffed French Toast: (Serves 4) 
1 loaf of bread, will have left over (mine was pumpkin oat loaf)
200ml fresh whole milk
2 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon powder 
  • In a large bowl or wide plate, add milk, eggs and mix well with a whisk. Add in cinnamon powder and whisk well again.
  • Slice the loaf so that each slice is about 2 slices in thickness.
  • Then use a small knife to cut a cavity in each slice but not all the way through.
  • At this point, stuff about 1/4 of the cream cheese stuffing into the bread cavity. Making sure not to push too hard to break the bread. Repeat for the remaining slices.
  • Get ready a non stick pan (I used my happycall) and heat at medium low fire. Take a stuffed bread and dipped one side facing down into the egg milk mixture. Bare in mind not to push the whole bread in. Gently turn lift up and turn over the other side and dip again.
  • Now carefully place the dipped bread on to the pan. Repeat with the other stuffed bread.
  • I fried each side about 8 minutes, or when it has become golden brown and crisp up. Flip and cook for another 8 minutes.
  • Repeat with the rest of the stuffed bread until all is cooked.
  • You can either serve as is or slice diagonally like what I did and show off that stuffed cream cheese. Dust some powdered sugar over the surface and with some fresh strawberries or fruits. Bon Appetit!
My family loved this very much! I was very thrilled that it turned out well on my first attempt. :) When biting into the crunch bread and creamy sweet cream cheese, it was heavenly! Love it!
Looks good eh? Lol! You can even make it even more yummy by drizzling hot chocolate sauce over it! Hope my post is enough to motivate you to make this delicious breakfast for your love ones. :) 

Have a good week everyone! Cheers! ;)