Category Archives: Muzlimbuzz

Sweet Little Thing

I can’t really say I’ve been an advocate of healthy eating; having stuffed my face with starch, fats and sugar endlessly. Well, healthy eating aside, let’s move on to a delish dessert that you can prepare at home for Iftar…

… Hold it! Stop counting the calories off this sweet little thing, will ya?

The ingredients in the Banana & Granola Parfait needs no introduction about the great things they will do to your body. The best part is, they are common and inexpensive items that most would already have in the fridge or pantry.

A good foundation is to buildings what a good granola mix is to parfaits. I’m guilty of spending an insane amount on organic granola (for days when I feel like eating healthy hehe) off the supermarket shelves, until I stumbled upon a recipe book by the famed Rachel Allen, host of Bake! As I looked through the lengthy list of ingredients, I realise that I’ve been cheating my own moolah for buying something that I could make because all of those were readily available at home.

This simple recipe can be switched around any way you like, following your preference of grains, nuts and dried fruit. I’ll run you through the list for my homemade Granola Mix. It makes a small jar that would last me a whole week and it keeps pretty well.

2 tbsp Cashew nuts

2 tbsp Almonds

2 tbsp Walnuts

1 cup Rolled oats

4 tbsp Honey

2 1/2 tbsp Soft Butter

1 tsp Vanilla Essence

1 tsp Cinnamon powder

1 tsp Salt

2 tbsp Dried Cranberries

2 tbsp Pitted Medjoul Dates

1) Toast the nuts – cashew nuts, almonds and walnuts – in the oven at 150°C for 8 minutes.

Once theyre slightly cooled, you can either cut them into smaller bits or toss them in a Ziploc bag, seal it and crush them with a pestle or a rolling pin.

2) In a cup, mix honey and butter with vanilla, cinnamon and salt. It should be of a viscous consistency and pretty easy to work with.

3) In a baking tray that’s lined with a baking sheet, pour in the rolled oats and nuts mixture and then the butter-honey mixture joins the party!

4) Mix the ingredients well and pop it into the oven at 160°C for 30 minutes. Every 5 minutes, pull out the tray and toss them about. This process is important because the grains and nuts at the rims of your tray will burn fairly quickly. Once that’s done, pour them out on a cooling rack and pepper your granola mix with cranberries and dates.

There you go, your very own granola mix. I toldja it’s simple!

You could have it with breakfast cereal and milk, as an ice cream topping or in your crumble pies and cobblers or you could use it in a Banana & Granola Parfait:

2 tbsp Granola mix

4 tbsp Greek Yoghurt

1 tbsp Strawberry Jam

1/2 Banana

1 tbsp Butterscotch Sauce* (recipe here)

* You can replace this with Honey, Maple Syrup or Golden Syrup

1) In a small cup or a transparent wine glass if you must, start to layer all the ingredients: Yoghurt goes right at the bottom,

followed by jam,

sprinkle the granola mix,

arrange the banana slices and add a good dollop of butterscotch sauce.

2) The parfait is done,

but if you (like me) are a little greedy hehe, repeat the layers till you reach the brim of the glass.

I have been eating parfait everyday for the last 15 days of Iftar, at the start of my meal. And it has been bowel-friendly, no matter what I gorge on right after. Sure, you might be thinking:

“Aiya… Where got time to prepare this every day one?

Very busy you know?”

I’m aware of the vast majority who might not have time on their hands to neatly layer yoghurt, granola and fruits everyday, but it suffices to pack about 2 tbsp of the homemade Granola mix in your handbag, grab a small tub of yoghurt at any convenience store, and have em together.

Now, who said healthy desserts had to taste like hay? Taking a teeny step towards healthy eating this Ramadhan is a great way to start. This recipe’s a definite keeper well after the month ends; granola parfaits make a great lazy weekend afternoon dessert and doubles up on hectic weekdays as a great morning booster!

This post was written for Muzlimbuzz (Travel&Food):

Ramadan Recipe: Banana & Granola Parfait

Muzlimbuzz is an e-magazine that caters to the modern, active, socially-engaged and spiritual Muslim. We aim to document and articulate the Muslim experience, particularly of those in Singapore and in the region.Apart from News and opinion pieces, we have daily columns that cover a wide array of topics from Health to Marriage, Spirituality to Technology, Travel & Photo Essays. In a nutshell, there’s bound to be something that would interest you here at Muzlimbuzz.

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Filed under Breakfast, Desserts, Favourites, Iftar Recipe, Muzlimbuzz, Recipes, Snacks, Teatime

Parchment-baked Pasta

If there’s any staple food that deserves the title of Most Versatile, it would be pasta. C’mon, pasta types count to the hundreds and pasta dishes in the thousands. In fact, did you know that in the 1800, there are already 260 types of pasta? 211 years later, imagine the pasta population!

Whether it be sautéed, or in a soup, or served with stew, or baked in a tray, or fried in a frittata; one thing remains – it’s an all-time favourite that’s here to stay for another century. I’m an ardent fan of quick-fix pasta recipes, because when I crave for it, I just wanna whip it up in a jiffy to hush the aching crave.

That said, here’s a fuss-free, cook-while-you’re-busy-with-chores recipe that I’d like to share: Parchment-baked Linguine with Prawns.

This one serves 2 (or 1 of me), so do increase the proportions of you’re cooking for more:

Linguine

Salt & Black Pepper

1 tbsp Butter

1/2 diced Yellow Onion

4 crushed Garlic Cloves

10 shelled Prawns

1/4 cup Pasta Water*

1 tbsp dried Italian Herbs

1/2 cup canned Mushroom Soup mix

1 tsp grated Parmesan Cheese

1 tsp dried Oregano leaves

1) Bring a pot of liberally salt-&-peppered water to a boil and cook the linguine to al dente. Drain it and add a dollop of butter and toss it about to coat each strand.

Here are a few simple good-to-know tips about boiling pasta:

Bring the water to a rolling boil before sliding in the linguine. Putting it in while the water is still cold results in al dente cooked pasta on the outer layer, whereas the centre of the pasta is solid white. By the time you wait for the whole string to cook, the outer layer would have already been mush.

For string pastas, hold the bunch in the middle of your pot before letting them all disperse into the water. This ensures that it does not clump. If it does clump, just use a fork and swirl about in the water. Easy peasy!

Salting the water liberally adds taste to the otherwise bland linguine. Also, after draining your al dente pasta, keep aside about a cup or less of the pasta water* to thin your sauce. There’s really no magic in it; it had been claimed to thicken or add flavour to your sauce of choice but plainly put, it’s just handy to have rather than fetching a cup from your kettle.

2) In a cup, mix the italian herbs, mushroom soup mix and parmesan cheese with pasta water. Once it thickens, tumble the prawns, garlic and onion in the concoction. You might want to substitute prawns with calamari rings or cubed chicken, or all of it if you’d like. It’s really a one-size-fits-all type of recipe!

3) Lay a tray with parchment paper (also known as baking sheet). Plonk your pile of linguine and top it off with the marinated prawns and dust some dried oregano over it. Now, wrap the dish in the parchment paper like a tootsie roll. The aim is to ensure that they get maximum coverage, without having the insides unglamorously spilling out in the oven.

4) Bake it in the oven at 220°C for 15-20 minutes. Take extra care while eagerly opening up the sheet and take a whiff of all that goodness! Like a steam facial, only better. What cooking in the oven under wraps actually does is, it creates a sauna-like environment; you could say you have steamed’ your pasta dish, melted the onions and garlic down, whilst having all the wonderful flavours absorbed fully into the linguine. It works the same if you’d like to experiment with marinara sauce and with other pasta types.

5) Give it a little toss, and serve it hot. Quick, easy, and yet oddly satisfying!


This one’s perfect for lazy Sunday afternoons, or you could bookmark it as an iftar menu in the month of Ramadhan. Just pop it in the oven say, about 30 minutes before azan and voila, ready for chow down!

This post was written for Muzlimbuzz (Travel&Food):

Ramadan Recipe: Parchment-baked Linguine 

Muzlimbuzz is an e-magazine that caters to the modern, active, socially-engaged and spiritual Muslim. We aim to document and articulate the Muslim experience, particularly of those in Singapore and in the region.Apart from News and opinion pieces, we have daily columns that cover a wide array of topics from Health to Marriage, Spirituality to Technology, Travel & Photo Essays. In a nutshell, there’s bound to be something that would interest you here at Muzlimbuzz.

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Filed under Dinner, Iftar Recipe, Lunch, Muzlimbuzz, Recipes, Tips

Amirah’s for all Occasions

Middle Eastern cuisine has set a strong foothold here in Singapore. And needless to say, restaurant owners are taking good advantage of this by setting up theirs at locations beyond Arab Street. Albeit, the calmness of Medina-like Arab Street still captures the true essence of dining amidst the aroma of rich spices & puffs of flavoured sheesha.

Amirah’s Grill at Bussorah Street remains a staple go-to for me.

The restaurant interior is heavily-decorated with all things authentically Arab – beautiful embroidered surahs in bright gold on a black velvet canvas, tinted glass lamps, capped swords, camel figurines and intricately woven carpets hung on walls.

Though the restaurant doesn’t exactly boast gold and porcelain sophistication like others do, their top-notch Middle Eastern-Western fusion platters just quite cuts it for me. After all, I am paying for the latter, no?

Food is justly-priced, given the portions are fit for a king. Here’s an example – For $30, you get a delectable meal that is scrumptious all through; from appetizer right up to dessert:

A plate of yummy-to-the-last-swipe hummus with warm pita bread

Chicken or mushroom soup with garlic bread

A main course platter of your choice

Hot/cold drink and Dessert

Enough with the narratives, let’s get on with the feast (for the eyes), shall we?

Hummus with Warm Pita Bread

Remember that hummus I just talked about – it is as good as hummus gets.

Smooth, mild nutty notes, fragrant olive oil and slight tanginess of lemon; warm pita makes the perfect spoon!

Soups (Chicken or Mushroom) with Garlic Bread

The soups are decent-tasting and it definitely whets your appetite for the monstrosity of a plate that comes right after.

After umpteen visits to Amirah’s Grill, these 2 main courses keep appearing in my order list. Mysterious.

1) Turkish Mixed Tenderloin Kebab

Nothing screams Mediterranean more than Kebabs. Quite frankly, this one’s for the fickle-minded who can’t decide the irresistible chicken, lamb and beef selections in the menu. Expect a mixed plate of grilled skewers of boneless chicken, grilled beef tenderloin & pieces of kofta drenched in savoury spiced sauce (read: quadruple YUM); accompanied with choice of Arabic fragrant rice or roasted potatoes.

2) Grilled Lamb Chops

If you’re a die-hard lamb fan, please don’t give this a miss. Please. The fragrant blend of spices that go into this platter does justice to the tender cuts of lamb. The well-marinated fresh lamb is soft and juicy to the bite; is cooked to absolute perfection. Based on experience, I’ve never had the lamb chops reek of any unpleasant mutton odour. Just yummy, juicy, tender chops, dipped in aromatic sauce so good, you’d request for a ladle more!

Drinks & Dessert

When you’re done lapping up your main course, down it with a glass of fresh Alexandria Mango Juice, salty or sweet Labaan, or you may even opt for teapot of hot Morroccan Mint Tea. Refreshing!

And be sure to reserve some space for dessert. You could have a scoop of good ole ice cream or the creme caramel, that is a real treat for a sweet tooth!

All in all, Amirah’s Grill is definitely a great dine-in choice for any occasion – be it bridal showers, boys night out, weekend family lunch or for birthday celebration with your loved ones.

This post was written for Muzlimbuzz (Travel&Food):

Amirah’s for all Occasions 

Muzlimbuzz is an e-magazine that caters to the modern, active, socially-engaged and spiritual Muslim. We aim to document and articulate the Muslim experience, particularly of those in Singapore and in the region. Apart from News and opinion pieces, we have daily columns that cover a wide array of topics from Health to Marriage, Spirituality to Technology, Travel & Photo Essays. In a nutshell, there’s bound to be something that would interest you here at Muzlimbuzz.

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Filed under Desserts, Dinner, Favourites, Lunch, Muzlimbuzz

Inexpensive Indulgence

Let me begin with a simple teatime treat that I religiously prepare every month – for the simple reason that there’s always bread leftover that’s near expiry and there aren’t that many stray birds to feed em to. The traditional Bread & Butter Pudding is an inexpensive excuse of creating an indulgent treat in less time than it takes to get dressed to head to the nearby cafe.

The recipe dates back to the Elizabethan era and was, in its previous life, called the Devonshire White Pot. It’s quite interesting to note that back then, recipes were written in paragraphs, with the ingredients and method included in the text – as shown in Hannah Woolley’s (1622 – 1675) book:

“Take two quarts of new Milk, a peny white Loaf sliced very thin, then make the Milk scalding hot, then put to it the Bread, and break it, and strain it through a Cullender, then put in four Eggs, a little Spice, Sugar, Raisins, and Currants, and a little Salt, and so bake it, but not too much, for then it will whey.”

I could never imagine how tough it would be, to decipher recipes if we had carried on in the same stanza-writing method. We’d probably be eating out more often, that’s for sure.

According to John Nott’s recipe in 1723, on the other hand, White Pot also called for bone-marrow in place of butter, or even to complement the butter in the recipe. Either way, there’s something so comforting yet divine about Bread & Butter Puddings.

Well no, I will be using neither butter nor bone marrow for this recipe. Instead, I’m opting for a crowd-pleaser:

Can never go wrong with Nutella – spread it on bread slices or on plain crackers or even in cup/cakes or even on its own (mm guilty pleasures!). Seriously, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love Nutella. Mother of all bread spreads, this cocoa & hazelnut spread is definitely a winner for everyone in my family. Explains why it needs replenishing so often!

Here’s a little (unrelated) baking tip: to make good chocolate chip cookies, do include ground or chopped hazelnuts, because it gives a heavenly Nutella aftertaste. Try it!

5 slices Leftover White bread

5 generous tbsp Nutella spread

250ml Fresh milk

50ml Evaporated milk

1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence

2 tsp Hot Chocolate powder

2 tbsp Brown Sugar*

2 beaten Fresh Eggs

Butter for greasing

* you may substitute Brown Sugar with 1 1/2 tbsp White Sugar

Cut the crusts off of the white bread and spread 1 tbsp of Nutella on each slice. See what I mean by generous. Cut the bread into quarters. In a bowl, whisk milk, vanilla, hot chocolate powder and sugar. Add in the beaten eggs.

Grease a 7-inch round pyrex bowl or ramekin with butter. Line the bowl with bread, strain and pour in the whisked mixture. Place the bowl in a slightly bigger tray and fill the tray with water. For baking noobs, this method is called double-boiling; great for custards and puddings.

Bake at 180°C for 25 mins and another 15 mins at 150°C (this time, partially cover the bowl).

Now wait (im)patiently in front of the oven.

Touch the top of the pudding; crust should be crisp and when you press it down, it should be springy. Springy means it’s custard-like on the inside (read: perfecto). Scoop a portion onto a plate, or shamelessly indulge out of the bowl.

You might wanna add a good heaping of vanilla or chocolate ice-cream, and drizzle more Nutella over it.

Mmmm, somethin’ about indulging warm-served dessert with ice cream that make your toes curl!

This post was written for Muzlimbuzz (Travel&Food):

Recipe: Bread & Nutella Pudding

Muzlimbuzz is an e-magazine that caters to the modern, active, socially-engaged and spiritual Muslim. We aim to document and articulate the Muslim experience, particularly of those in Singapore and in the region. Apart from News and opinion pieces, we have daily columns that cover a wide array of topics from Health to Marriage, Spirituality to Technology, Travel & Photo Essays. In a nutshell, there’s bound to be something that would interest you here at Muzlimbuzz.

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Filed under Desserts, Facts, Muzlimbuzz, Recipes, Teatime, Tips

Sides at Swensen’s

I particularly recall fond childhood memories at the former Swensen’s branch at Changi Airport Terminal 2. Yes, the one with the indoor playground at their doorstep. Parents seated at dinner tables, with their heads outstretched occasionally to look out for their kids monkeying around at the play area. Swensen’s was the chosen venue for when parents get a fatter paycheck or strictly for birthdays only because it had Fish & Chips and Banana Split – which were the luxuries then.

Swensen’s today is a far cry from being a mere Fish & Chips and Banana Split restaurant. Being a synonymous household name means they’re constantly expanding their already wide array of Western, Asian and Dessert selections to suit our expanding appetite. You get seriously spoilt for choice when you’re seated holding up the 14-odd paged menu; focusing mainly on the Main Course and Sundaes & Sweet Treats pages. Probably needs about an hour to browse from cover to cover.

You’d think to yourself – hmm now, that Breaded Chicken Meuniere is definitely a must-have and mmmm, wash it down with a generous serving of Frosted Chocolate Malt.

And as you flip the menu to look at other food selections, Mr Waiter comes by with a warm smile and utters an amicable ”Hi Sir, may I take your order now?” Your order gets noted, it gets transmitted to the kitchen and… that’s when you start flipping to look at the sides.

And by then, you’ll think you’d be too full to add on the side orders. Swensen’s sides are severely under-rated, honest! Here are the 4 M’s in that page of 12 sides that never fail to make it into my order list:

Meatballs in Black Pepper Sauce

The dish is pretty self explanatory – succulent chicken with beef meatballs basking in richly seasoned black pepper sauce with a good dollop of kid-friendly mash.

Dare you say no to meatballs?

Deep-fried Mushrooms

I had tried incessantly to recreate this delish pop-it-in-your-mouths, but they’ll never turn out just like Swensen’s. Hot and tender shiitake mushroom in a light crisp coating of batter, dipped in trusty ole tartar sauce. The initial audible crunch of batter, a whiff of earthy mushroom aroma; and as you sink your teeth in further, feel the velvety texture of the shiitake, rolling around your mouth with tangy hints of sour tartar.


Mmm! Definitely a winner, this one!

Mozarella Cheese Sticks

There is nothing more sinfully gratifying than stringing warm mozarella cheese.
And when you break into these fried crisp mozarella cheese sticks, you get just that – warm ooze of pale yellow goodness!

*Gasps* Bet your jaw just dropped and your salivary glands just went on overdrive, right there.

Baked Mussels

Still on the topic of cheese, though this time baked – are piping hot green mussels under a veneer of cheese and cream and all things magical. The shield of cheese steams mussel on the inside so you get to savour the enticing mix of salty cheese and sweetness from the tender mussel. Use a fork to nudge the base of the shell to loosen the cheesy crusts and slowly slide the whole mollusc into your mouth.

Your tastebuds would flip in excitement, I promise!

4 M’s – Meatballs, Mushroom, Mozarella and Mussels that are definite Must-haves in your next Swensen’s order! Be sure to make some space in your tummy for it!

This post was written for Muzlimbuzz (Travel&Food):

Sides at Swensen’s 

Muzlimbuzz is an e-magazine that caters to the modern, active, socially-engaged and spiritual Muslim. We aim to document and articulate the Muslim experience, particularly of those in Singapore and in the region. Apart from News and opinion pieces, we have daily columns that cover a wide array of topics from Health to Marriage, Spirituality to Technology, Travel & Photo Essays. In a nutshell, there’s bound to be something that would interest you here at Muzlimbuzz.

Leave a comment

Filed under Dinner, Favourites, Lunch, Muzlimbuzz, Snacks, Teatime