Wednesday

Tomatoes, mozzarella and toast!


I've been seeing a lot of pictures of tomatoes on burrata on Instagram and Pinterest lately, and I'm not sure if it's just having a revival at the moment or the interwebz is reading me again. But after days and days of seeing variations of these flavours every time I check my social media, I had to have it.

Only problem is, I couldn't find burrata anywhere! Dagnabbit! This wasn't going to deter me, though, so mozzarella it is!

Here's a recipe I love to make for my husband and I when we can't decide what to have for dinner, or for a weekend lunch.

Braised tomatoes on mozzarella with toast 
(serves 2)
  • A healthy glug of olive oil
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • A fistful of roughly chopped basil
  • 4-5 smashed cloves of garlic
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 2 balls of mozzarella
  • Crusty toast 
  1. Heat the olive oil in a braiser or pan, doesn't have to be fancy, add the tomatoes, basil, garlic and sea salt, cover and simmer on low-medium heat for 20 minutes. 
  2. Uncover, pop in the oven under the broiler on medium heat for about 5 minutes
  3. Remove from the oven, and pour over the mozzarella (or even better if you have burrata!) in a bowl and serve warm with toast 

Easy peasy, and super satisfying!

Saturday

Jeera Rice (Cumin Rice)


I come from a multiethnic family - with a strong influence by my Indian paternal grandmother, as she is the matriarch of our large and boisterous family. This influence shows itself a LOT through our food preferences - dad to this day can't go 3 days without having dhal (the special dhal recipe Nini passed down to all of us, not just any old random dhal you can get at a Mamak store in Malaysia), and my absolute favourite food in the whole wide world is tandoori chicken. With all the trimmings.

So when it comes to cooking, as much as I love cooking western food, the most common type of Asian food I would cook is Indian food - not only is it familiar and therefore easy, it's also damned delicious! I'm about to share a series of different Indian food recipes (as Nini makes them) in the next few posts, but I'll start with the easiest and most basic of all - rice. There are many types of rice that you can cook, but this is my favourite as it also uses the best spice in the world - Cumin.

Jeera Rice
Serves... 2 if you're hungry, 4 if you're on diet

  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick 
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • Pinch of salt 
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 cups water, room temp


  1. Heat a tbsp of coconut oil (or vegetable oil, doesn't have to be fancy) in a saucepan and add all the spices once hot. Toast the spices for about 3 - 4 minutes. 
  2. Add the rice and stir to mix with all the spices, and continue to toast for about 2 - 3 minutes - I don't know why, it may have something to do with how the flavours mix together. Add the water and pinch of salt, cover and keep on a low heat for 15 minutes. 
  3. At the 15 minute mark, remove the lid, turn off the heat and fluff up the rice with a fork. You can keep the lid on to retain heat or serve immediately with a garnish of chopped cilantro and your favourite curries. 

Easy no? I also do this with quinoa when I'm feeling extra guilty. The trick to using quinoa is to ensure you wash it thoroughly before cooking and also to toast it (step 2) for slightly longer (4 - 5 mins) until you hear a soft popping sound and a nutty smell arises. Then add the water and cook for 15 minutes too.

Thursday

Asian Chicken Noodle Soup


I had a craving for hot soup today, and since my husband would never accept the idea of just soup as dinner I decided to add noodles to them too. Unfortunately I think... well, I definitely put in too much! So noted for next time, will use less and maybe I'll use vermicelli so they don't expand and absorb too much of the soup.

Also, I finally ordered some home photography lighting kits and they arrived in the post yesterday! Still fiddling with my camera and trying to learn how to take better pictures, but this means I can take better pics at night - the time I do most of my cooking these days.



Here's the recipe for Asian Chicken Noodle Soup as my mum makes it:
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 inch ginger, sliced thinly
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, er... smashed at the end to better allow for flavour extraction
  • 1 carrot, cut into cubes
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped rather haphazardly
  • 4 cups water
  • Spice bag: 2 star anise, 3 cardamom pods, 2 cloves, 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 2 or 3 chicken breasts, cut into 2cm cubes and lightly seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 cup choy sum 
  • 2 eggs
  • Noodles of choice 

Instructions:

  1. Heat about a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large pot and add the ginger, garlic and lemongrass and cook until the aroma begins to fill the air
  2. Add the carrot and celery and cook until the celery softens before adding the water and the spice bag. Bring to a boil then add the chicken, and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes
  3. Add the noodles at this point (optional), the choy sum and slowly lower the 2 eggs into the soup with a bowl so they don't break
  4. Serve in bowls (preferably larger than the ones we have), top with fried onions and chopped spring onions
Hmm... note to self: go buy large bowls! 

Cranberry and Almond Granola


I've been on this 1500 calorie a day thing for a few weeks now, and plan on keeping it up for a long time so I've been trying to find ways to manage my snacking - which really is the biggest problem area for me! Some of the stuff I've done is swapped out all milk chocolate for dark chocolate only (lucky I already love dark choc!), cutting out cakes and cookies that I don't know for a fact are totally worth the calories (you know what I mean? Only the great stuff!), and no sweet, flavoured or sugary drinks. 

Last night I decided to make some granola for my night time TV snacking (in our house it's Netflix and Snack) and I have to say I'm really pleased with this specific mix and baking times. The last time I made my own granola it was a bit too crunchy and I think I burnt some of the components. 

Without further ado, here's the recipe for my Cranberry and Almond Granola:

Yield: 3 cups granola

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp melted coconut oil 
  • 2 tbsp honey 
  • 1 + 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract 
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt 
  • 1 + 1/2 cup sliced almonds 
  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup dried cranberries*
Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C/fan and line a baking tray with parchment paper
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the maple syrup, coconut oil, honey, vanilla and salt until thoroughly mixed 
  3. Add the rolled oats and sliced almonds and stir to coat everything in the maple mixture
  4. Spread the mix out on the prepared baking tray (I just used a standard cookie sheet) and pop in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven at the 20 minute mark and toss the granola with a forked spatula to "turn" them in a way, and then put it back in the oven for 5 - 10 minutes*
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before adding the cranberries, use a fork or spatula to stir so that it mixes well. Then store in an airtight jar or container and it should keep for 2 weeks max 
*Notes:
  • You can use other dried berries of your own preference, I've also done this with chocolate chips and coconut flakes!
  • For step 4, if you feel after 20 minutes that it has toasted to your preferred crispiness, then stop there.