Tag Archives: cheese

Strong Bones 1

Everyone knows how important Calcium is for strong bones. A glass of milk or a slice of cheese a day, yada yada. You know the drill. But me being me, and holding true to this:

Kindly note that diets & low-fat whatevers are not in the menu.

do you actually think I’m gonna share about a boring ole glass of plain milk and a plastic-tasting slice of cheddar?

There are 1001 recipes that feature these calcium-laden ingredients, except that they’re presented in a slightly more appetising manner. I’ll be posting a couple in these series: Strong Bones.

Now, for the 1st instalment and going a little easy:

Flourless Cheese Fritters for a start?

1 cup grated Mild Cheddar

1/2 cup Breadcrumbs

1/2 tsp Paprika

1 tsp Dried Chilli Flakes

1/2 tsp White Pepper

1/2 tsp Dried Oregano

1/2 beaten Egg (or less)

Olive oil

The preparation is pretty simple – Combine all the ingredients (cheese, breadcrumbs, paprika, chilli flakes, pepper & oregano) in a bowl. You could vary the herbs according to preference though.

Add just enough egg to glue these together. The mixture should be semi-dry, making it easier to fry.

Yes, you read right. FRY.

Whip out your non-stick weapons now, lovelies cos We be fryin cheeeeeeeeze!

Frying cheddar can be a little tricky, and it takes some care. Drizzle a little olive oil and heat the pan a little before dropping a tablespoon of cheese mixture each. The cheese will melt (ermz duh.), then it’ll turn slightly brown, and then it’ll almost immediately form a crust. Once you reach this stage, then flip it. Flipping it while all that yellow goo is melting spells disaster – speaking from experience of course!

I don’t know if this is of any consolation; but I made mine in one of those tiny frying pans that’s barely the size of an egg, you could easily hunt at Daiso that I’m sure you’d go “Awww so cute!! But who will buy and use that?” Lol, me? They’re certainly neat to have – holds all that misbehavin’ cheese in a perfect round form. Enjoy!

Till, the next instalment of Strong Bones!

P.S.: Fazdli, YES there’s more. Time to throw that healthy diet out the window!

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Filed under Cravings, Recipes, Snacks, Strong Bones, Tips

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

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.

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

Couch Potato

Last Saturday, hopes of what would’ve been a great afternoon at Botanical Gardens with my mister having a great time with the swans, got dashed by the what’s-new weather. Rained like craaaaaazy so we had to activate Plan B: Sit home, enjoy each other’s company and do what we do best –

Eat and Laze around.

We’re really cats in human clothing, hehe!

I’d like to share with you this Baked Potato Pieor so my mister named it – recipe that was adapted from one contributed by a lovely lady friend of mine – Kalsom Arip (I call her Kak Som) to Manja’s June issue. I’ve had the privilege of trying it at her cosy place and I absolutely loved it!

Perfect for rainy afternoons, I say.

Grab the issue for the original recipe (and many other potato recipes) because I tweaked the recipe a little; added a bit of this, did without a bit of that.

What I love about recipes like this one is, you can prepare it ahead of time, leave it in the tray and bake it about an hour before guests arrive. Definitely one to note for the coming festive season or for friends coming over.

For potatoes:

4 Large Potatoes

Salt & Pepper

For filling:

1/2 sliced Yellow Onion (horizontally)

3 tbsp Mozarella Cheese

1 tbsp Butter

1 tsp Olive Oil

1/2 Chopped Yellow Onion

4 sliced Garlic Cloves (horizontally)

1 tsp grated Ginger

6 sliced Chicken Karaage

6 sliced Button Mushrooms

1/2 tsp Dried Oregano

1/2 tsp Black Pepper

For cream mixture:

180ml Cream

4 beaten Eggs

1 tsp Dried Chilli Flakes

2 tbsp Plain Flour

3 tbsp chopped Spring Onions

For topping:

1 cup Mozarella Cheese

1/2 cup toasted Bread Crumbs

Pepper & oregano

Drop your potatoes in a pot of water, sprinkle salt & pepper and bring it to a boil till potatoes are tender. After potatoes are done (check with a knife, it should pierce through easily), slice them lengthwise. At the same time, you might want to fry the chicken karaage to crisp golden brown perfection and slice into bite-sized morsels.

In a sautée pan, heat oil and butter before adding in onions and mushrooms. Once mushrooms are slightly done, throw in the rest of the ingredients – garlic, ginger, chicken, dash of oregano and black pepper. Set the savoury filling aside.

Have all your ingredients for cream mixture in a bowl – cream, eggs, flour, chilli flakes and spring onions – and beat lightly with a fork. Also, mix cheese, bread crumbs with pepper and oregano.

Now, time to layer it!

If you’ve done lasagne before, this should be easy peasy.

Grease a tray of 20 by 20cm with butter and line the sides with a dash of bread crumbs.

Layer it in this order (bottom to top): potatoes, onion, savoury filling, cheese, cream mixture, repeat this order once more but final layer has to be potatoes and cream mixture. Cover the tray with foil and bake in a 180°C oven for 40 minutes.

Open up the foil and take a whiff of all that goodness! 

Like a steam facial, only better.

And sprinkle your cheese topping mixture and pop it back into the oven for another 15 minutes. I thought to myself, boy do these oven makers know just how to tease! Looking at the cheese slowly melt and start to form a perfect golden crust, through the translucent glass panel of the oven door, is just so painful to look at, omg! *clenches chest*

Personally, I love getting a recipe right the first time! Who doesn’t? Erm, this is my first time baking this recipe, you know? God knows how many times i yelled “Yes! Yes! Yes!” in the kitchen, at the oven, at the dining table, after getting that first hot tasty mouthful! Hehe.

You could cover the tray up and present it as a gift to a friend or a new neighbour. Or bring it out to a picnic by the lake with your loved one.

Or! You could have it disappear right at home while watching TV.

Ahhh, comfort food. And of course, coupled with……………

Bring on the calories, baby!

But more than anything, I want to grow old and happy and fat with you! You know who you are. =)

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Filed under Desserts, Lunch, Recipes