A very complex pesto

No this is not a very complicated recipe but the title is as such because I simply cannot think of how I should name it. This is a simple pesto recipe comprising of basil , almonds and tomatoes. To name it almonds , tomatoes and basil pesto would have too lengthy a title. Besides that, I found it difficult to decide which ingredient should be in the spotlight since all three are equally important in creating the texture and flavour of this pesto. The sauce should stay well for about 1- 2 weeks in the fridge in an airtight container. Given that new seasons of my dramas have been released, this recipe is going to be a lifesaver.

Recipe adapted from Ohsheglows

INGREDIENTS

8 large tomatoes ( halved )
1 cup basil leaves ( rinsed & roughly chopped )
1/2 cup raw almonds
4 garlic cloves
Sea salt and black pepper for sprinkling

INSTRUCTIONS

1) Place the halved tomatoes on a baking tray. Sprinkle S&P over the halved tomatoes. Bake it at 220 degrees for 40 minutes.

2) Add the garlic cloves , basil leaves, roasted tomatoes and raw almonds into a blender. Blend till smooth.

I made some extra roasted tomatoes to be added separately when ready to eat.

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Tomato couscous with roasted veggies

Risotto is a dish which requires loads of efforts and the first time I made it , I was almost ready to give up halfway through. My arms were aching from the constant stirring and it seemed like futile efforts since the rice showed little progress. But the product after an hour of stirring and pouring was just so amazing. I was craving for some risotto today but given the tight schedule I had , it was impossible to find time to make it.  I gathered what I had in my kitchen and created my very own version of couscous with a risotto texture and taste. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

INGREDIENTS

1 zucchini ( cubed )
1 eggplant ( cubed )
1/2 red bell pepper ( sliced )
1/2 cup wheat pearl couscous ( washed and rinsed )
1/2 chicken stock
7.5 ounces whole peeled tomatoes ( with sauce to make up around 1/2 cup)
4 cloves garlic ( minced )
2 tbsp EVOO
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried sage
1/4 tsp dried thyme
Black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

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1) Place all the cut vegetables in a large bowl. Add in one tbsp of EVOO ,red wine vinegar and dried spices. Mix till the vegetables are evenly coated.

2) On a lined baking tray, lay the vegetables on the tray. Ensure that each vegetable has sufficient space and there are no overlaps. This helps to ensure that each vegetable will be cooked evenly on all surface. Baked for 15 minutes at 220 degrees.

3) In a heat pot , add in one tbsp on EVOO. Stir in the minced garlic when the oil is heated up. Fry for about 3 minutes before adding in the couscous. Allow to couscous to mix with the garlic and fry for about 3 minutes.

4) Pour in 1/2 tomato sauce and 1/2 chicken stock into the pot. Allow it to simmer.

5) Using a spoon, gently mash the peeled tomatoes and mix it into the pot.

6) Similar as to when cooking risotto, constantly stir the couscous to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. The couscous should be ready in about 20 minutes.

7) Add the roasted vegetables to the couscous and mix well.

Green mango salad

This weekend, I feel like the kid from ‘Home Alone’. Everyone is out and I am left alone in an empty apartment. I thought I would enjoy the peace and quiet yet I just miss all the chaos when the entire family is around. I spent a lot of time cooking and cleaning to get rid of the boredom. And my weekend is gone just like that. Here is to a better week ahead for everyone!

INGREDIENTS

2 green mangoes ( julienned )
2 red chilli padi ( deseeded and sliced )
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
Crushed peanuts

INSTRUCTIONS

1) In a bowl , whisk the fish sauce , brown sugar and rice vinegar

2) Add the sliced chilli padi to the mixture

3) Pour the mixture over the julienned mangoes.

4) Top with the crushed peanuts and its ready to be served

This is a basic recipe so feel free to add in red onions, cherry tomatoes, green papaya or any other ingredients.

Pumpkin crackers

Matt Damon bought a zoo while I bought a pumpkin. Just like him in the movie , I thought “Why not?” . I am the only pumpkin eater in my family and I am not even that much of a pumpkin lover. Darn you Buzzfood, for all that yummy pumpkin recipes! So I baked my sweet pumpkin and dug out a huge bowl of soft pumpkin flesh to be consumed over the week. My brain said, “Challenge accepted “but I knew my belly thought otherwise. On hindsight, I should have gotten the smallest pumpkin. But what’s life without regrets? So here is the first of my pumpkin recipes, I present the pumpkin crackers.

Adapted from recipe by Karma Per Diem

INGREDIENTS

2 cups wheat flour (sieved)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
4 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1/3 cup milk
Some pumpkin / sunflower seeds for pressing onto the crackers before baking

INSTRUCTIONS

1) In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Add in the pumpkin puree and mix till combined.

2) Add in the milk and sunflower oil into the dry mixture. Mix till a soft dough is formed.

3) Divide the dough into three equal portions. Dust the surface of each dough with flour.

4) On a dusted surface, use a pin to gently roll the dough till about 1.5cm thickness. Using a knife , cut the sheet into bite sized pieces.

5) Press in the seeds on the surface of the cut dough or sprinkle it with a mixture a brown sugar cinnamon

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6) Carefully lay each cracker on a lined baking tray and bake it at 170 degrees for 10 minutes.

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7) It should stay well in an airtight container for a week or more. Should it turn soft, just pop it back into the oven for a couple of minutes.

Whole wheat pancakes

A perfect start to the weekend is with a wholesome homemade breakfast. A bad week at work or a terrible hangover from the partying on Friday night disappears with a great breakfast. My first attempt at making pancakes from scratch was with him and today it was different to be doing it alone. Cooking is not just something we do for survival . It is a bonding activity, the act of caring and it always tastes better when a little of your soul is in it. Loving what you are doing always makes it a lot better.

This is a basic recipe so feel free to add in some of your favourite fruits. Add some oatmeal and banana into your batter for some extra punch!

INGREDIENTS

1 cup low fat milk
1 tbsp vinegar
1 cup whole wheat flour ( sieved )
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
Pinch of salt
Some low fat butter to grease the pan

INSTRUCTIONS

1) Mix the milk and the vinegar. Allow the mixture to sit for around 5 minutes .

2) In a big bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon powder.

3) Add the milk and egg into the dry mixture. Whisk the mixture till it forms a smooth batter.

4) In a heated pan, add in the butter. Twirl the butter around the base of the pan to ensure that it is evenly coated.

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5) Adjust the fire to medium low heat and add a large scoop of batter to the pan. Cook till it turns brown one side before flipping it over to cook the other side.

6) Serve with a side of sliced bananas and blueberries! Skanu!

Simple tomato pasta

So we were at the supermarket and my sister told me she was craving for tomato-based pasta. Naturally I volunteered myself for the job which she readily accepted. So while I was being indecisive about what to include in the pasta, she asked me which pasta sauce to get. I was in shock and horror of her audacity to insult me and ask me that. Then again, maybe not everyone is as obsessed about doing every little thing themselves as I am. So this is dedicated to her. To my dear sister who almost got yelled at a supermarket. I apologise for the drama but SERIOUSLY?! This is a really simple and basic sauce to guide those who are new to sauce making. Feel free to improvise and make it your own secret recipe. 

 

INGREDIENTS

6 tomatoes
4 cloves garlic
1 carrot ( peeled and cubed )
1 zucchini ( peeled and cubed )
1 cup sliced white mushrooms
Handful whole wheat pasta ( cooked )
Dried basil
Dried thyme
Dried sage
Dried oregano
One tablespoon greek yogurt
One tablespoon brown sugar
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

 

INSTRUCTIONS

1) Halve the tomatoes and place them on a baking tray. Sprinkle the the tomatoes with sea salt, pepper and olive oil. Crush the garlic and add it to to the baking tray. Bake the tomatoes at 170 degrees for 40 minutes.

2) Allow the tomatoes to cool a little. Transfer the tomatoes and garlic into a food processor and blend it into a thick sauce.

3) Transfer the sauce into a pot. Add the herbs into the sauce and allow it to simmer to 20 minutes. Add the herbs in whichever quantity you fancy, I highly recommend experimenting with the proportions to create your own special sauce.

3) In a heated pan, add some olive oil, carrot and zucchini. Fry it for about a minute before adding in the mushrooms. Stir fry at medium low heat till the mushroom starts to sweat. Turn up the fire and cook till the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated.

4) Pour the cooked sauce into the pan and allow it to simmer for five minutes. Stir in the greek yogurt upon completion.

SIngapore chicken quinoa

During my six months as an exchange student in Europe, I pride myself for being the only person in town who knew how to cook Hainanese chicken rice. Though it definitely helped that I was the only Singaporean in town. The general impression with this dish is that is too oily and unhealthy. In fact, I loved chicken rice a lot as a kid and that resulted in me being a really fat kid. So as I grew older and become more health conscious , I avoided eating chicken rice and it wasn’t till I went for exchange that I re-encountered wonderful dish. With a few tweaks, I managed to create a whole new healthy version of one of our symbolic dishes. The same taste with half the guilt !

 

Do note that you will need to boil the chicken a day in advance in order to allow the oil to coagulate for removal. 

INGREDIENTS

1 chicken thigh
2 cloves garlic ( minced )
1/2 cup quinoa ( rinsed )
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt

 

INSTRUCTIONS

1) Salt the chicken thigh generously and allow it to marinate for around 20 minutes. 

2) Place the chicken thigh in a pot and add enough water to cover it. Cover the pot and bring the water to boil. Allow it to simmer at medium low heat for 20 minutes.

3) Remove the chicken thigh and allow both the soup and chicken to cool before placing it in the fridge. I usually do this the night before to allow the oil in the soup to coagulate. 

4) Remove the pieces of oil which have coagulated on the surface of the soup. 

5) In a heated pan, add the olive oil, garlic and quinoa. After two minutes, add in the soy sauce and sesame oil. Ensure that the quinoa is evenly coated with soy sauce and sesame oil.

6) Add in one cup of chicken soup into the quinoa. Allow it to cook for around twenty minutes.

7) Debone the chicken thigh and slice the meat. Ensure that the slices are not too thin.

8) Place the cooked quinoa in a serving plate with the cold chicken.

9) Say welcome to Singapore to your tastebuds!