Tuesday 22 January 2013

Homemade Healthy Granola

Homemade Granola V1.0
Homemade Healthy Granola V1.0

I've been making my own granola for a while. It's really super easy and healthy as you know what ingredients you have put into the mix. Way easier than reading and deciphering the ingredients used in boxes or packages.

Served with the usual milk and fresh fruits or what we liked yoghurt and fruits which at times BoiBoi would love this as his dessert with a drizzle of chocolate sauce or maple syrup. For myself, I'll have a handful of these when I crave for a snack. For those who are new here, do check out my homemade yoghurt recipe filled with fail proof tips. Yes, yes I know a bit over the top huh, everything homemade except I don't have a cow to milk from heh! :p

Homemade Granola V1.0 - mixing
Homemade Healthy Granola V1.0 in a mixing bowl

Homemade Granola V1.0 - spread out
Homemade Healthy Granola V1.0 all laid out on baking tray

Anyway the first version of granola where I experimented using raw cane sugar instead in syrup form. The only issue is the sugar did not melt and caramalised. Conclusion is... best to use sugar in syrup form which can be corn syrup, maple syrup or honey. Don't fret over the use of sugar in your granola as the entire recipe only requires 2 Tbsp! Consider very little as oppose to store bought stuff.

Homemade Granola V1.0 - cooling
Homemade Healthy Granola V1.0 cooling down

Homemade Healthy Granola V1.0

250 g rolled oat
50 g sunflower seed
50 g pumpkin seed
20 g flax seed
150 g walnut and almonds, roughly chopped
80 g organic raw cane sugar
30 ml sunflower oil
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
250 g mixture of golden raisins, black raisins and cranberries

Mix all ingredients except the dried fruits in a mixing bowl. Line tray with baking paper and bake in pre-heated oven at 170ºC between 15 - 20 minutes. Turn the mixture every 8 minutes or so or when you see the edges and top portion turned browned. It's done when mixture become golden brown. Remove from oven and cool down. Once cooled, mix in the dried fruits and store in air tight glass jar.

Yield about 700 g of granola. Keep up till 7 days or longer in the fridge.

Version 2.0 is the tweaked version where a syrup is used. The granola mix is just lightly coated with syrup hence it's not exactly sweet. The dried fruits are there to sweeten up anyway. Just feel free to experiment to put in your choice of dried fruits and nuts.

Homemade Granola V2.0 - mix
Homemade Healthy Granola V2.0 all mixed up

Homemade Granola V2.0 - baking
Homemade Healthy Granola V2.0 all laid out for baking

Homemade Healthy Granola V2.0

250 g rolled oat
50 g sunflower seed
20 g flax seed
150 g hazelnuts and almonds, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp golden syrup (can be replaced with maple syrup or honey)
30 ml sunflower oil
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
250 g mixture of golden raisins, black raisins, cranberries, dates (diced), apricot (diced)

Mix all ingredients except the dried fruits in a mixing bowl. Line tray with baking paper and bake in pre-heated oven at 170ºC between 15 - 20 minutes. Turn the mixture every 8 minutes or so or when you see the edges and top portion turned browned. It's done when mixture become golden brown. Remove from oven and cool down. Once cooled, mix in the dried fruits and store in air tight glass jar. 

Yield about 700 g of granola. Keep up till 7 days or longer in the fridge.

Homemade Granola V2.0 - mix in fruits
Homemade Healthy Granola V2.0 with dried fruits mixed in

Homemade Granola V2.0 - with yoghurt
Homemade Healthy Granola V2.0 served with fresh fruits and yoghurt

Monday 14 January 2013

Vegemite CheesyBite Spaghetti

Cheesy Bite Spag 02

Ok I know, this is kinda lame cos there's simply no recipe in this recipe :p

I saw this recipe on Nigella Lawson's but her version used Marmite, the very English version of a savoury yeast extract spread. Since I have a bottle of CheesyBite (a spinoff by Down Under brand Vegemite that contains cream cheese), I decided to use that instead. In Kuala Lumpur, you should be able to find Vegemite and Cheesy Bite at Cold Storage, Village Grocer or Jaya Grocer.

Just cook spaghetti until al dente, drain (reserve some of the water) and toss in some CheesyBite and a little of the reserved water. Since CheesyBite is not as salty as Vegemite alone, don't be surprised that you might need quite a number of teaspoons. Adjust the saltiness by adding a little by little of the CheesyBite and taste as you go along. Finish off with some grated parmesan. Yummy, Yummy, Yummy, I got love in my tummy!

Cheesy Bite Spag

Erm when it comes to Marmite/Vegemite, it's either you hate it or love it!!! So tell me whether you love or hate it???

Oh and I just realised this is good for a meatless Monday!

Friday 4 January 2013

One-Pot-Rice-Cooker Chicken Rice

Well this fantastic easy peasy one pot wonder is not discovered by me. I've read it on Celine's blog Live Love and Me on the post 4pm Chicken Rice and I had it on my mind like forever but never got round to make it. One day I decided to give it a try and gosh it was really so easy but yet so delicious. I've made this quite a number of times but never got round to take any pictures of them as ermm they're not exactly photogenic.

I've shared this on my Facebook and I'm glad to know that there are some friends have made use of the simple no recipe to make a complete meal of its own. Best of all, their family members liked it as much as we did, just like Celine's. Happy to know that they in return have shared their discovery with their friends. Hmm sounds like Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food project eh?

This one pot wonder chicken rice is made entirely inside a rice cooker. So simple that there's really no recipe to it. All you need to measure is the amount of rice and water needed. The rest, just go with your feel and liking.

To start off, get ready with some chopped ginger and garlic. Clean and prepare chicken legs (I liked mine without skin), chop into half if you like. Rub in some salt and a dash of grounded white pepper. Wash your rice as usual, drain and set aside together with the required amount of water. I've used brown rice here.

Turn on your rice cooker (I guess this should work with conventional or mechanical jar rice cookers) and push the button down to Cook. Let the pot heat up before pouring a little cooking oil inside. Wait for the oil to heat up before putting in the chopped ginger first. Fry till fragrant before adding the garlic. At this point, my rice cooker button popped up to Keep Warm. No matter how I've tried it remained there. Over time I've learnt that it's ok... just let the ginger and garlic in the pot and they'll brown a little.

  Chicken Rice Step-by-Step

Next, pour in the drained rice and stir. Pour in the water and add in some salt to taste. Place the chicken pieces on top. Press the rice cooker button to Cook and wait patiently till it's cook. When the button popped up, please remain to be patient and let it keep warm for another say 15 - 20 minutes to let the chicken and rice to continue cooking. Taddaaaa and your chicken rice is done!

One-Pot-Rice-Cooker Chicken Rice

To serve the chicken rice, I've made some chilli sauce by blending together some red chillis, young ginger, garlic, lime juice and some salt. I've also made an oyster sauce gravy by diluting some oyster sauce with some warm water and a little deep fried garlic oil till combined (consistency depends on your choice which can be thickish or slightly on the runny side).

Instead of just serving cucumber plain as it is, I've came up with the idea of slicing Japanese cucumber rather thinly and toss them up with some soy sauce and a dash of sesame oil. Sprinkle on some roasted sesame seeds. If you wish to have your cucumber crunchy, then have it straight otherwise let the cucumber macerate a little in the soy sauce. Capt'n Hook loved this so much that he said I can feed him just these as his fibre intake!


BoiBoi loved this Chicken Rice too and kept asking me to make this. When I told my mother of this, she said they have eaten a similar version at a wedding banquet at a Chinese restaurant (which I can't recall) as the obligatory carbo dish. However the chicken were hand shredded into pieces and served separately on a dish. The waiter would then mix the chicken pieces into the rice before serving to the guests. Hmm this is my first time hearing of such dish served in a banquet but she told me the rice was so popular even though they were all stuffed from the earlier dishes. And guess what??? She replicated this using the same method as I did, just that she hand torn the chicken pieces after cooking before tossing back into the rice!

Ok I think my version is really told in a rather long grandma story but do head on to Celine's post for the shorter version :D

Try it this weekend!

Wednesday 2 January 2013

Harry Potter's Apple Pie

Apple Pie from Harry Potter 02

With a brand new year, I would love to share this Apple Pie recipe in The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz for a sweet start. Yup... you heard it, there's actually a recipe book on the food mentioned in Harry Potter series but it's unofficial though. It falls under Chapter 8 Desserts and Snacks at School. Did you drool when you read thru the books over what Mrs Weasley cooks for the kids and the daily feast the elves served at Hogwarts??

My ex-colleague, Bobby, who is a movie buff... loves to order movies and memorabilia via the net and I was surprised that he actually went all the way to get this recipe book even though he don't cook! He was kind enough to lend me the book (which reminds me that I need to return to him hehe!!!). The book does not have any photos and it was printed to make it look old school. I loved the "hand torn" feel of the long edge bind of the book!

apples for cooking

The author is an American hence the measurements are not in metric which is quite a pain as I need to calculate and convert them before using. Anyway, I've only tried one recipe from this book hence I'm not sure if all the recipes work. Another disappointment is there is no recipe for Butter Beer which is something I'm always curious how it would taste like. However there are numerous recipes on the net though just that I haven't given them a go.

apple pie ready for oven

The other thing is some of the recipes are pretty lame... like fried eggs and bacon... hmmm perhaps this is targeted at the younger audience?

For this pie, I've tweaked the recipe. Did not have shortening so I've just used butter. Surprisingly the pie is pretty good. The crust is buttery (heh maybe because I've used everything butter) and loved the cinnamon apple fillings. To make it more decadent, I've served it ala mode - with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! For the full recipe, check here.

Apple Pie from Harry Potter 03

Apple Pie
The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz

Pie Crust:
560 g flour
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
280 g butter, cut into chunks (it called for shortening as well but I just use butter for the whole lot)
1/2 cup ice water

8 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1 egg, lightly beaten, for brushing over the crust
Sugar, for sprinkling over the crust

1. Place the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.

2. Scatter the chunks of butter over the flour and pulse about 20 times, until the mix resembles coarse crumbs. Since I do not have a food processor, I just use my finger tips and rub in the butter.

3. Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle on the 1/2 cup water, and mix with a spatula or your hands until the dough sticks together. If it's too dry, you can add more water 1 Tbsp at a time (better too wet than too dry).

4. Divide the dough in half and shape into round discs, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.

5. Preheat the oven to 180C. Remove one of the discs and roll it out on a floured surface into a 11" circle so that it can fit inside a 9" pie dish.

6. Fold the circle in quarters to lift it, then unfold it inside your pie plate. Trim the overhang to about 1", and place the plate in the fridge while you make the filling.

7. Combine the filling ingredients and mix well. The book asked to place the fillings directly on the pie bottom but I cooked it a little just to soften some of the apple pieces and thicken up the liquid. Cool the apples down before piling on the bottom crust.

8. Remove the second discs from fridge and roll out into 10" circle and place on top of the apples. Trim off the excess from the edge and crimp with fork or fingers. There should be excess dough, just make some leaves or flowers with it to decorate the pie.

9. Beat the egg and brush over the crust with a pastry brush. Cut slits in the top to form air vents. Sprinkle the extra sugar generously over the top.

10. Place the pie on a baking sheet to catch any drips and bake the pie on the bottom rack for 1.5 - 2 hours or until the crust is golden.

So which would be my next recipe to try out???

Blog Revamping

Hello... I'm in the midst of revamping my blog to make my life a little easier. So do not be alarmed as work is still under construction.

16 Oct 2012