Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Cherry Puff Pastry Tart

Having experimented making fresh cranberry sauce here, to make cherry sauce should be similar and easy too. Just needed to adjust the sweetness and texture. As I didn't have any whipped cream on hand, it would not be as tasty like Mini Mango Fruit Tarts.  So, I quickly made the cherry sauce and glad that these cherry puff pastry tarts turned out nice for our weekend afternoon snacks.

Cherry Puff Pastry Tart
Ingredients :
200g cherries, washed & pitted
50g granulated sugar (adjust the sweetness to your liking)
Water (100ml to 120ml)
1 piece frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 small egg, lightly beaten (or just use half of it)

To prepare filling, combine the cherries, sugar and about 100ml of water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook for about 10 minutes with stirring occasionally.

Off the flame and allow the mixture to cool.

Preheat oven to 180°C.  Position the rack in the center. Prepare a baking sheet with lightly greased parchment paper.

Sprinkle some plain flour on the work surface. Place the pastry sheet on the work surface.
*Note: I didn't thaw the pastry sheet.  Leave for about 2 minutes after taken out from the freezer, as I find it easier to handle.

Poke some holes at the base using a fork.

Spoon the cherry mixture on top of the puff pastry sheet, leaving one inch border. Roll the borders inward to create a dent.

Lightly brush the border with the beaten egg.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until pastry puffs up and turns golden brown.

Fresh from the oven. Looks yum !
Can't wait to have some ...
Serve it plain or dust with some icing sugar/Snow powder, or top with some ice cream if you like. I'm sure you'll enjoy this easy cherry tart whichever way.

Well, those easy cherry tarts happened to be my last bake as I had to issue a "death certificate" to my "over-worked" oven few weeks ago .... hee... hee... So, I'll be taking a break from baking until I could find the right size for the built-in oven.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Figs, Wolf Berries and Almond Frozen Yogurt Bark

Gosh ! I was sweating even in an air conditioning office.  The current wave of hot weather made me so cranky, headache and with 'blood boiling hot' !
Hee ... hee ... see ! I'm out of my mind ! So I made some "brain freeze" yogurt barks to enjoy in hot scorching weather!

Pretty easy to make as most of the ingredients are easily available in the fridge .... some yogurt, honey and some nuts and berries ... mix till combined, pour onto a lined prepared dish/pan and freeze till hardened.

Recipe source: the kitchn
Below my slightly modified version
Figs, Wolf Berries and Almond  Frozen Yogurt Bark
Ingredients :
Serves 4
250g plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For topping mixture
2 medium size fresh figs, sliced
25g almond lightly toasted, cooled and chopped coarsely into pieces.
2 teaspoons wolf berries

I used a round medium size Pyrex dish and line with aluminum foil leave with enough to grasp. Set aside. You could use small baking sheet or pan. Scatter some wolf berries.

In a small bowl, gently mix the chopped almond, sliced figs and the remaining wolf berries with 1 tablespoon of honey. Set aside.

Combine yogurt, 2 tablespoons of honey and vanilla extract in a medium size bowl and lightly whisk till combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared dish, and use a spatula to spread across evenly about 1/2-inch thick the base of the dish.

Scatter the figs mixture evenly over the yogurt. Lightly press the figs and almonds onto the yogurt.

Do not cover and freeze about 4 hours or overnight until hardened/solid. When completely solid, remove from freezer and lift the aluminum foil out of the dish/pan and set on a hard surface.

Cut into serving pieces and serve immediately, or keep frozen in an resealable plastic bag/container.

Must enjoy almost immediately before melted !

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Honey-Lime Chicken Soba Noodle Salad

I like to use slow cooker to make soups or braise meat as I don't have to watch over the stove fire.  Just dump all the prepared ingredients and add the required amount of water in the slow cooker, set the heat element accordingly and leave it to cook. It really saves my time to attend to other chores.

I reckon that this flavourful tangy sweet braised chicken goes well with a bowl of pipping hot steamed rice too. But I'd like to have a plate of fusion cold Honey-Lime Chicken Soba Noodle Salad first :)

Recipe adapted from Sweet Peas and Saffron

Below my slightly modified in quantity adjusted to our taste.

Slow Cooker Honey-Lime Chicken
Serves 4
2 large skinless chicken breasts (about 380g in total)
85g honey
120 - 150ml water (I prefer to have the water enough to cover the meat)
2 freshly squeezed lime juice
4 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of salt to taste

Wash clean and place chicken breasts in the inner pot of the slow cooker.

Put all the ingredients over the chicken, mixing a few times with a spoon and ensure the meat is thoroughly coated.

Cook on high for about 2 - 3 hours. Flip the chicken half-way through cooking if you wish.

Once cooked, remove chicken from slow cooker and shred with two forks, set aside.

Reserve the *sauce for making the sesame vinaigrette and tossing in chicken as needed.

Chicken Soba Noodle Salad
2 bunches soba noodles
1 green and 1 red capsicums, cut into thin strips
Some purple cabbage, thinly shredded
Cucumber, shredded

Shredded Honey-Lime Chicken
Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and some finely chopped spring onions.

To make the sesame vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
5 - 6 tablespoons of honey-lime *sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 teaspoons honey
½ teaspoon Dijon wholegrain mustard

Method :
Put all the dressing ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake until well combined. Refrigerate for an hour.

Boil a pot of water to cook the soba noodle per instruction on packaging. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.

Combine the shredded honey-lime chicken, capsicums, cabbage and cucumber in a large bowl. Toss and mix half with the vinaigrette dressing.

Toss the soba noodles with remaining vinaigrette. Not to put to waste of that 3 tablespoons of remaining sauce from the slow cooker, I added in as well.

To serve, place some soba noodles on a plate and topped with the chicken salad.
Garnish with some sesame seeds and spring onions.

Adjust the quantity of greens/cabbage etc. to your preference.

Top with some seaweed strips the next time when I make this soba noodle salad.

I was quite sceptical that my family may not like the taste of sweet tangy chicken salad with cold soba noodle.  Glad that my family kinda liked this fusion dish.

Happy cooking and have a great week ahead!

Linking this post to Little Thumbs Up March 2016 Theme Honey organised by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen from My Little Favourite DIY, and hosted by Joycescapade.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

No Bake Cranberry Chia Energy Bites

No Bake Energy Bites ? ... Well, I've heard of these energy bites but have never really wanted to make some until I was so inspired by these recipes sharing by Angie's Recipes, here & here. So easy and flexible that I could just throw in ingredients I could find in the pantry .... creamy peanut butter, oatmeal, ground flaxseed, chia seeds, honey or agave syrup, dried fruits/berries, unsweetened coconuts flakes or shredded coconut, chocolate chips, any nuts etc etc .   Roll them into balls or flatten the dough in a square tray and cut into bars if you wish.

Recipe sources, references and adapted from :
Angie's Recipes
Life made sweeter

Below my slightly adjusted version.

No Bake Cranberry Chia Energy Bites
Yields 14 balls, 20g each
60g creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
2 tablespoons chia seeds 
100g quick cooking oats
30g dried cranberries
20g chocolate chips
15g pine nuts (lightly toasted and set aside to cool)

In a large bowl, mix peanut butter, honey and vanilla extract with a big spoon until smooth.

Stir in the rest of the ingredients together until thoroughly mixed and well combined.

Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.  Divide the mixture into 20g each portion and roll them into tightly packed balls with your hands.

Store in an airtight container, and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

My big boy commented that these yummy bites tasted like Snickers as he was "popping" one after another.  My big girl likes peanut butter, so obviously thumbs up from her too ^-^!

I'm sure, these packed with wholesome goodness healthy energy bites will become 'a hit' for our morning brekkie, anytime snacks or before and after workouts cos they are just so addictive.

Enjoy! Have a great week ahead!

Linking this post to Little Thumbs Up March 2016 Theme Honey organised by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen from My Little Favourite DIY, and hosted by Joycescapade.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Lemon Yogurt Pancakes

When I saw the fluffy eggless Lemon Yogurt Pancakes with Lemon Drizzle shared by Zoe Bake for Happy Kids, I know I must make some ! Cos my kind of pancakes too :)  With her "hints here & hints there" given, to make these yummy pancakes is pretty easy! Thanks to Zoe for her sharing.
I've forgo making the lemon drizzle since I've some homemade Blackberry Chia Jam in the fridge.

Recipe source : shared by Zoe Bake for Happy Kids adapted from the book Eat the Week by Anna Barnett

Lemon Yogurt Pancakes
(A) Wet ingredients
200g Greek Yogurt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or melted butter)
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 Lemon zest
1 tablespoon Lemon juice

(B) Dry ingredients
75g all Self raising flour, sifted
1/4 teaspoon Baking powder (omitted)
1/4 teaspoon Baking soda
1/2 tablespoon Caster sugar
Pinch of salt

Some vegetable cooking oil for cooking.

Method :
1) Lightly whisk and combine the dry ingredients (B) in a large bowl, and make a well in centre.

2) In another smaller bowl or jug, whisk wet ingredients (A) till combined and pour to (B) and mix until smooth and combined.

3) Heat the non-stick griddle or pan with low flame. Dap a little cooking oil with kitchen towel and lightly grease onto the non-stick griddle or pan.

4) Spoon 2 tablespoonful of batter onto the heated pan. Flip gently with a spatula, cook about 2 minutes or till golden brown on both sides.

I can't wait to enjoy these immediately .... spread with homemade chia jam and some blueberries I could find in the fridge.
Yummy ! These pancakes tasted awesome .... slightly crispy on their edges and moist and soft inside :) Enjoy !

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Figs with Yoghurt and Honey

I love fresh figs, but they are seasonal and hard to come by.  Shared previous Fig Salad with Walnuts and Mint.  So I'll surely pick up a pack whenever I could spot them in the supermarket ... even if it's pretty costly. I prefer to enjoy fresh figs in the freshest way like making salads or desserts instead of cooking the figs. 

Bought these healthy snacks ... Goji berry nuts mix but my big kids don't fancy them. My big boy even critically commented that "Mum, these weird looking nuts look like hamster food to me ..." 
So, obviously mum needs to find ways to include these snacks with something else ...

Large fresh figs, Goji berry
nut mix, yoghurt & honey
Figs with Yoghurt and Honey
Serves 2
Ingredients :
4 fresh figs
Yoghurt 140g (add more if you like)
1 tablespoon honey
1 packet Goji berry nuts mix

Method ... just few simple steps:
Wash the figs clean , remove the stems and cut into quarters or slices if you like.

Arrange them on a serving plate. Dollop spoonfuls of yoghurt and drizzle a tablespoon of honey.

Lastly, sprinkle the Goji berry nuts mix (or any dried nuts & dried berries of your preference).

Serve immediately.

Love the natural sweetness of fresh figs. With the addition of crunchy nuts, yoghurt and honey, tasted so delicious and satisfying, especially served as dessert after meal.  Love it more that this involves very little time and only just a few steps of preparation.

My big boy liked it so much that he has forgotten about the "hamster food" ... hee... hee!

Well, here's some of my previous cooking/baking recipes that used honey as one of the ingredients.  Give it a try if you like :
Honey Cranberry & Yoghurt 
Honey Roll
Pandan Chicken
Pumpkin and Baby Spring mix salad

Enjoy! Have a wonderful weekend!
Submitting this post to Little Thumbs Up March 2016 Theme Honey which is organised by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen from My Little Favourite DIY, and hosted by Joycescapade.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Dried Haw Slices with Apple Honey Tea

Heard of Chinese Hawthorne? Er ... What's that? Do you like to eat Haw Flakes ? ... Er ... what's Haw Flakes ? ... Do you like "Zhan Zha", 山楂饼 ? {In Mandarin, the Chinese Hawthorne is pronounced as "Zhan Zha"(mountain berry)} Yes ! Well, my big kids know only 山楂饼, as they like to munch this sour sweet reddish thinly sliced titbits in cylindrical wrapped paper.

But I'm not going to make 山楂饼 for them. Instead,  make this sour sweet drink or dessert soup cos it is not uncommon to them that I've made quite often when they were young.  Once I asked the owner of the traditional herb shop what drinks I could make to whet the young kids' appetites?  I was given this very easy recipe : Water + dried haw slices + some apples + some honey or rock sugar and boil about 25 minutes.  Because of the sour sweet taste (I think), it helped to whet their appetites ... hee.. hee.. Occasionally, I made this as tea or dessert, served hot or chilled to enjoy be it on cold or humid weather.

Dried Haw Slice with Apple Honey Tea
Serves 4 pax
Water about 2 litres
Dried Haw Slices 50g
Red Cooking Apples 4 (peeled, cored and cut into big chunks)
Honey 2 - 3 tablespoons to taste

1) Wash the dried haw slices a few times. Ensure that any small seeds are removed. Drain and discard the water.

2) Put all the ingredients (except honey) in a cooking pot with about 2 litres of water and boil over medium flame. Once boiled, lower the flame to low-medium and continue to boil for about 20 minutes or till you could smell the fruity fragrance infused into the tea.

3) Stir in the honey when the soup is warm.  Serve as drinks or as dessert. Warm or chilled to your preference.

Do adjust the sweetness to your preference.

Here's how we enjoy this dried haw infused & apple honey fragrance drinks :
Enjoy a cup of dessert drink with some soft apples
Serving a  bowl of sour sweet dessert
After meal, have a cup of warm sour sweet fruity honey tea ease indigestion.
Relaxing and enjoying a cup of Dried Haw Slices with
Apple Honey Tea in my cosy corner
Hope you enjoy this sour sweet fruity fragrance honey tea in any ways, much like we do :)
Have a great weekend ahead ! 
Submitting this post to Little Thumbs Up March 2016 Theme Honey which is organised by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen from My Little Favourite DIY, and hosted by Joycescapade.