Happy Chinese New Year!

Recipes:

  • Lemon Chicken Breasts
  • Broccoli and Cashew Crunch
  • Simplest Apple Tart

Today is the eighth day of the Chinese New Year. It has been a whirlwind of a week.

The celebrations started with reunion lunch the previous Sunday at T’s place with his family. Reunion dinner was at my grandma’s place just a 10-minute walk away. We’re lucky that our families have our reunion meals at different times, and that we didn’t have to travel far to get from one reunion meal to the other.

The next two days were filled with visiting relatives, eating lots of CNY goodies, and collecting ang pows!

Then came Wednesday, when the public holidays ended and most of us had to return to school or work. But I got another break on Thursday (since I had no classes), and I hosted a small gathering at my place with university friends.

I made lunch, my friends helped to wash up (such sweethearts), we played Wii and had a ball of a time. Happy Chinese New Year everyone!

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Lemon Chicken Breasts
An Ina Garten recipe

What you need:

  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic (9 cloves)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, skin on (6 to 8 ounces each)
  • 1 lemon

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the garlic, and cook for just 1 minute but don’t allow the garlic to turn brown. Off the heat, add the white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt and pour into a 9 by 12-inch baking dish.

Pat the chicken breasts dry and place them skin side up over the sauce. Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper. Cut the lemon in 8 wedges and tuck it among the pieces of chicken.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts, until the chicken is done and the skin is lightly browned. If the chicken isn’t browned enough, put it under the broiler for 2 minutes. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with the pan juices.

My notes: I made 6 skinless chicken breasts, instead of the 4 skin on called for in the recipe. Skinless was the only option I had in the supermarket that day. I do miss the crispy roasted skin, so use skin on if you can! I didn’t scale the recipe, and I wish I did. Because the lemon garlic sauce was so good, everyone was scraping the pan for the last bit. Recipe’s perfect.

Broccoli and Cashew Crunch
A Sunny Anderson recipe

What you need:

  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup salted cashews, lightly chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound fresh broccoli, florets removed and separated
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a small bowl combine Parmesan cheese, cashews, lemon zest, garlic powder, and pinch of salt, and set aside.

Place the broccoli on a baking sheet. Drizzle with butter and toss. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Roast in the oven until broccoli begins to caramelize, about 20 minutes. Remove, and toss the broccoli with the cashew mixture. Serve warm.

My notes: I followed the recipe exactly, but I think I cut my broccoli into too-small florets. The were more than done by 20 minutes and a little mushy. But my friends happen to love mushy broccoli and these were gone in a flash.

Simplest Apple Tart
Adapted from smittenkitchen.com

What you need:

Dough:

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, just softened, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons chilled water

Filling:

  • 2 pounds apples (Golden Delicious or another tart, firm variety), peeled, cored and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons sugar

Directions:

Mix flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl; add 2 tablespoons of the butter. Blend in a mixer until dough resembles coarse cornmeal. Add remaining butter; mix until biggest pieces look like large peas.

Dribble in water, stir, then dribble in more, until dough just holds together. Toss with hands, letting it fall through fingers, until it’s ropy with some dry patches. If dry patches predominate, add another tablespoon water. Keep tossing until you can roll dough into a ball. Flatten into a 4-inch-thick disk; refrigerate. After at least 30 minutes, remove; let soften so it’s malleable but still cold. Smooth cracks at edges. On a lightly floured surface, roll into a 14-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Dust excess flour from both sides with a dry pastry brush.

Place dough in a lightly greased 9-inch round tart pan, or simply on a parchment-lined baking sheet if you wish to go free-form, or galette-style with it. Heat oven to 400°F. (If you have a pizza stone, place it in the center of the rack.)

Overlap apples on dough in a ring 2 inches from edge if going galette-style, or up to the sides if using the tart pan. Continue inward until you reach the center. Fold any dough hanging over pan back onto itself; crimp edges at 1-inch intervals.

Brush melted butter over apples and onto dough edge. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over dough edge and the other 3 tablespoons over apples.

Bake in center of oven until apples are soft, with browned edges, and crust has caramelized to a dark golden brown (about 45 minutes), making sure to rotate tart every 15 minutes.

Remove tart from oven, and slide off parchment onto cooling rack. Let cool at least 15 minutes.

My notes: In the recipe that Deb posted on her site, the cores and peel were saved to make a glaze. I skipped the glaze, because I made a ridiculously easy butterscotch sauce, also from SmittenKitchen, to drizzle over the lovely, lovely tart. I only sprinkled 3 tablespoons of sugar over the tart (on Deb’s advice). The original recipe called for 5 tablespoons. I don’t own a tart pan, so I went galette-style with the tart. It worked out perfectly fine. I also used Red Delicious apples because that was what I had, and it worked beautifully too. The filling is a little gooey, and it’s so good when served warm.

January 30, 2012 at 7:29 pm Leave a comment

Stuck

I’m stuck. Stuck in a baking and cooking rut. Nothing has been coming out of my kitchen recently. Serious.

Okay, correction. Nothing GOOD has been coming out of my kitchen.

There was the occasional quick pasta, and a few failed attempts at sponge cake. Plus another few more failed attempts at different types of bread.

Work has been busy, and I’ve been busy preparing to start university in a new environment and I don’t like change. >.< School will start next week. I’m feeling apprehensive but I do hope it’s good. Been fiddling with matriculation and exemptions and forms and loans and it’s just been a little too much cause I didn’t set aside extra time for all these.

Anyway, all these will be over soon.

I hope inspiration and my baking touch will be back soon too. I miss being in the kitchen.

August 6, 2009 at 6:41 pm Leave a comment

Tomato and Mushroom Linguine in Cream Sauce

That’s a long title. Hmm, maybe I should just name it Yummy Pasta. But then again, pastas are always yummy to me.

Coming from an Asian family with rice as our staple, I have no idea how I fell in love with pasta (or baking, or any other cuisine for that matter). Must be the work of food bloggers from all over the world.

But never mind about how I fell in love with pasta. I now think about it on a daily basis. Mostly, I think about pasta before bed, so I can make it for lunch when I’m all alone at home in the afternoon the next day. No one will ever know about my crazy obsession with pasta.

This was today’s lunch. It has no meat in it. Um, let’s pretend it’s healthy! :D

Click below for the recipe!

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April 6, 2009 at 4:35 pm 7 comments

Mocha Cake with Coffee Buttercream

I made this, with some help from sis, for Dad’s 45th birthday.

Over 20 years that I’ve been his daughter, I think this is the closest we’ve ever been. I can only remember snippets of the past – riding on his shoulders when I was a toddler, being caned by him for not doing too well in exams in Primary school, me being distant and indifferent during Secondary school years, not talking to him for 2 months during the course of the divorce between him and Mum, the screams, tears and struggling that followed after… And of course many other little details that really made us who we are today.

He’s both my dad and my mum, all rolled into one. I know, I was already 19 when the divorce happened. I subconsciously took on the role as little Mummy to my younger brother and sister when my Mum moved out. It wasn’t difficult, since I had been the bossy older sis all along. But for Dad, he not only had to be a better Dad, he had to play Mum too… More for me than anyone else. I was the most attached to Mum before the whole fiasco… And honestly, I can’t care less now. Dad’s the only one I need.

While divorce breaks some families, it made mine stronger. Thanks Dad, for being all that you are.

Recipe after the jump.

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April 6, 2009 at 2:47 pm 1 comment

More than just Strawberry and Cream Layer Cake

I’ve been waiting tables for three years now at the same restaurant, and in the most recent year, the company has been hiring full timers from the Philippines, China and Myanmar. It’s probably because no one in Singapore wants to work in the restaurant industry full time as servers or kitchen staff, or even as Supervisors or Restaurant Managers. I have to admit, although I’ve been in this for three years, I can’t imagine myself in restaurant operations as a career. The hours are long, and weekends are burnt.

Jenny turns 21 this year – my age. She’s one of our newer full timers from China, and she came over to Singapore alone. She’s bound by contract for three years, and this is only her first year here. It’s also her first birthday away from home, and we – the people at the store – tried to make it something special for her. It’s not easy for her, afterall. Hopefully it will help to take her mind off home for a bit.

We planned a surprise for her at work, involving tea lights, a cake, a bunch of flowers and various gifts from different people. It wasn’t difficult, she is well-liked at the store and people are more than willing to pitch in to help out. (:

Here’s my bit… I made her a strawberries and cream layer cake.

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March 29, 2009 at 5:56 pm 2 comments

Chocolate Crinkles

They looked so pretty, and so I made them. Taste and texture wise, it was rather disappointing though.

The cookies were soft and not too chocolatey. I would have preferred a slightly more chewy or even crispy texture, but these aren’t meant to be crisp.

Perhaps I’ll replace some white sugar with brown, and sub some cocoa powder for the flour the next time. I still think they look fabulous, just not as tasty as I would have liked them.

Recipe right after the jump.

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March 22, 2009 at 6:03 pm 7 comments

Cream Puffs with a message

A colleague of mine from the restaurant ordered these from me to surprise her boyfriend. Yay my first order!

“I <3 U, HAZIQ”

How sweet of her!

She actually saw the ones I made for Ronna’s birthday previously and wanted these to just give her boyfriend a little something.

It was a fun project, and the extras I made were gone within the hour I made them.

I used milk chocolate instead of the usual dark to top the cream puffs cos it was all I had, but sis and bro seemed to think that milk chocolate worked better, so that was a lucky thing. And they were filled with stabilised vanilla whipped cream – a bigger crowd favourite than pastry cream, which some people don’t seem to like as much. Whipped cream also made the cream puffs lighter in taste, so the my colleague and her boyfriend could finish the box on their own.

The heart was outlined in chocolate, then flooded with a royal icing that I coloured red. The red heart was a special request from my colleague. I personally think that royal icing doesn’t match with cream puffs that well, but I was stumped and that was the only idea I could come up with as yet. Perhaps white chocolate with red food colouring instead? But I don’t know if the chocolate will seize up or not. Hmm.

January 24, 2009 at 10:57 am Leave a comment

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