Sunday, August 23, 2009

Slow-cooked Portuguese Chicken or the weekend passed by too fast!

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder.  I agree.  Provided that the absence is not extended of course.  I very much looked forward to coming back home to the husband after 3 days of Hanoi.  So yay to the husband who surprised me at the airport!

And yay to coming back on the cusp on weekend!

And it has been a great weekend although we didn't do very much really.  Friday night - I spent doing my "homework" for cake decorating class the next day, Saturday morning at class, lunch at Spruce, and then home for a long afternoon nap before we went off for dinner with the Sihoes at Pu Tien, where we stuffed ourselves silly with yummilicious Chinese food in the heart of little India.  We went for a walk at Mustafa Centre after dinner.  I marvelled at how Mr Mustafa built himself an empire.  Gosh - the place is quite huge!  That was our second time there - the first being Xmas eve 2 years back when the husband (then-boyfriend) and I had to scramble to do some last minute shopping.  Those were the days when both of us were still in law firms - busy times those were.  

And then we are at Sunday - I made dinner for both of us.  Slow-cooked portuguese chicken (Women's Weekly).   It smelt really good, and I kinda like how it turned out in the end although note to self - in the future, I will make some salsa-ish sauce to accompany the chicken.

Tis going to be a busy week ahead! I can't wait for the next weekend - my first ever visit into Bintan! 

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Papardelle Bolognese

They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach - that's why I want to learn to make kick-ass bolognese.  The husband is Mr Pasta himself - he said to me once before we were married, that I will need to learn to make good pasta dishes.  It may even have been a condition of our marriage.  But who knows - i generally have the memory of a goldfish, and in the 1 year and 8 months that we have been married, he hasn't bugged me once about making pasta - although I suddenly recall that in our first month of marriage, we had lots and lots of pasta.  All because we had much leftover xmas ham which we needed to eat up and pasta was just so easy.

When it comes to pasta, I really believe that sauces out of jars are good stuff -  you can never go wrong with them.  I swear by them, and generally have at least one bottle sitting around somewhere.  Having said that, I know there are supposed health benefits of eating homemade stuff and frankly nothing really beats the satisfaction of having a made-from-scratch pot of meat sauce simmering away on the counter (when that happened yesterday, I felt almost Italian what with my Mario Batali wooden spoon in hand.)

The great thing about this pasta sauce is that it's not just tomato and meat.  It is full of veggie goodness.  Stuff that the husband would not eat otherwise (like celery).  I think I have found a way to make him eat more vegetables! Just puree and add it into a meaty sauce.

I really wanted this recipe from Women's Weekly to be a kick-ass sauce but I think it still lacks a certain oomph.  I can't tell what yet - so I will keep experimenting with other recipes.  

But meanwhile, until I find that perfect kick-ass sauce, this will be my go-to recipe for days when I want a winner.

(Oh, how I wish the weekend could go on forever)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Brown Butter Cake or Happy National Day

So, was the cake any good? We will never know, seeing how the psychedelic colors are, while pretty, a bit scary and hardly tempting. It has been sitting in the fridge for a few days - and will continue to sit for another few days, untouched - until my part-time helper comes in on Sunday and helps me throw it away.

By the way, can I also say for the record that I am a bit upset that I now have to use American English instead of the Queen's English in my new job, and that a word like color without the U irks me to no end? Not that I use the word color very much in my line of work - there is something else that I have been typing with a U and then deleting for fear that (god forbid) some American will think this Singaporean girl can't spell for nuts, but I can't remember it now, and I just know that I'll spend a good part of what's remained of tonight thinking and thinking about it.

Anyway, last week I turned my kitchen into an icing sugar wonderland. Given the amount of icing sugar flying around and creeping into cracks and crevices around the house, I was surprised that the husband and I haven't yet been carried away by an army of ants. Why sugar wonderland, you ask? Because I, true to the auntieness that I am blossoming into, signed up for a cake decorating class. Yes, you heard me right - a cake decorating class, where we sit around and try to pipe stars and hearts and roses in cartoon colors. Oh, but that's not to say I don't enjoy it - in fact, I relish being giving the opportunity to be forced to do something so homely (they give us homework in these classes). So last week, I found myself having to make not one, not two but three batches of icing. That means 3 bags of icing sugar and 3 cups of shortening. Man, stuff that will make my weighing machine go bonkers. And I swear all you need to do is to look at them and then you can sit back and watch your waistline grow.

But anyway, back to the whole story of how this cake came abt - it was a practice cake. Something that we had to make for class, so that we can pipe rainbows and stars and letters on. I made a brown butter cake - since I wanted something simple, and I've always wondered what brown butter taste like (I still don't know how it tastes like but one thing for sure, I love the smell.) The cake in my book says something like "Shawn 5" but obviously I don't know any 5 year old Shawn so in celebration of the National Day, I made a National Day cake without a national flag on it (but that's easy bananas - a rainbow with 5 different colors is so much harder). :)