Healthy Chips?

Well, step aside deep-fried potato chips, for there’s a new recipe in town and I think it’s here to stay!

Polenta.  Never used it before.  Don’t say I liked it tonnes but I’m impartial to its taste.  I didn’t even know polenta is another term for yellow corn-meal until the colleague grabbed me a packet of these just because I wanted to whip up some corn muffins and needed some yellow corn-meal as the recipe suggested.

So, like I said, this was a first for me.  Cooking Polenta and experimenting with what I could do with it.  And I would be lying if I didn’t say that it was partly because of this recipe by Lianne over from foodmadewithlove that kinda got me all excited about using polenta!  Chips that were sorta healthy?  Well, I’m definitely willing to try!

IMG_8442

And I did just that!  The Man was going to roast a chicken and I was left in-charge of sides again.  Wasn’t satisfied with just greens and grilled portobello mushrooms, so I suggested Polenta Chips.  I had the Polenta and some of the ingredients needed for the recipe, so I quickly got down to work!  An 1 hour later, these golden brown polenta chips popped out on to the dining table, and I was pleased with the results.

Here’s my version of the Polenta Chips!

Polenta Chips (adapted from this recipe over at foodmadewithlove)
[Serves 4, small portions]

Ingredients:
– 100g of polenta
– 400ml of water- 25g of unsalted butter
– 50g finely grated parmesan (I used mozzarella since that was the only cheese I had at home then)
– 2 tbs chopped flat-leaf parsley
– salt & pepper, to taste and garnish

Method:

1) Line a tray with grease-proof baking paper allowing 2cm to overhang (I didn’t have sufficient baking paper so I made sure that my dish was well-buttered). Boil 400ml of water in a small pot, then reduce the heat to low. Do note that the amount of water is different for different brands of polenta, so please do check how much water is needed for the amount of polenta.

2) Stir in the polenta in a slow, steady stream, then cook and stir continuously for a couple of minutes or until it has thickened.  You’ll know it’s done when you see the mixture bubbling like a volcano.

3) Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, cheese and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and spoon it into the tray and smooth the surface. Press it down and make sure the polenta is really compact. Allow it to chill for at least an hour.

4) Remove polenta from dish and onto a board. Cut it half lengthways, then cut it into 1 1/2 cm thick chips or whatever way you desire.

5) Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. In batches, fry the polenta chips, turning, until golden and crisp.

6) Drain on the paper towel and keep warm in an oven or serve it immediately with a sprinkle of salt.

I served the chips with a Thai Green Chilli dip with Mayo.  We had brought back some awesome and super spicy green chilli from Bangkok.  To dial down the spiciness of the green chilli by a couple of notches, I added some low-fat mayo along with the chilli.  It still tasted superb and went really well with the chips!  🙂

A simple meal

Work is piling up and I feel the weight of the upcoming major projects on my shoulders.  Neck, shoulders and back has been rather achy this week and I long for a deep-tissue massage.

Grateful that the helper is back from her home leave, this means healthier meals that she can specially whip up for me.

Was tired from the long day at work and was craving for a healthier option at dinner tonight.  Had the helper make me quinoa with edamame.  Colleague kept raving about her pasta tossed with olive and anchovy tapenade that I decided to go pick me up some.  Tossed the quinoa with tapenade and some tuna flakes together with edamame and cheery tomatoes.  Gosh, it was really good!

IMG_8387Home-cooked hearty meals definitely FTW! 🙂  And I’m going to experiment more with recipes that involve tapenade in time to come.

Lazy Sunday Breakie Idea

Sundays are meant for sleeping in or to while away the morning.  But more than often, we get woken from our sleep by Sparky who simply can’t wait to start his day with a compulsory morning walk and his tiny bowl of breakie.  Since I didn’t have to go to Church the last Sunday, I decided to whip up a new breakie recipe – Egg in a bread cup!  Turned out to be real simple and yummy too!

And it’s been a while since I last posted any food recipes, so here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make this super simple breakfast meal:

Cook bacon slices till brown or crisp in a frying pan.

Next, lightly butter each muffin cup.

You could use a cup or a cookie cutter to make the circular shape for the bread.

Cut bread into half and cover the muffin cup with bread.  Use remaining bread pieces to cover the gaps.  We realised that we didn’t flattened the bread enough and we probably didn’t use the right type of muffin tray to make this.  ;p  Brush the tops of the bread with butter.

Now, here comes the fun bit – assembling the egg in a bread cup!

Sprinkle some grated cheddar cheese in each cup.

Add bacon.

Now, carefully add an egg into each muffin cup. We obviously used the wrong size for the muffin tray. Also, apparently we were supposed to use a paper towel to clean around each muffin cup for any excess egg white that may have spilled over.  This step is to make sure the egg cups will be easily removed once baked.

Season with salt and pepper before popping these into a pre-heated oven at 180degrees Celsius to bake them for about 20 minutes (or until the egg whites are set).  We realised that we should have omitted adding the salt as the bacon and cheddar provided sufficient salt into this dish.

Once done, remove egg cups from muffin tray and serve them hot.

Enjoy these breakfast delights for we sure did!

Well, if you are ever strapped for breakfast ideas, I do hope you give this recipe a try!  You won’t regret it!  And if you are planning your next Sunday Brunch party, this recipe might just come in handy along with pancakes/waffles/french toast and Mimosas plus Bellinis.  😉

[Credit: Original recipe here]

Simple tofu dish

Tofu – miss it loads!  Why?  Because it’s not readily available here.  You could only get it at the Asian/ Japanese supermarket and Manor.  Cost?  A lot more than what we’re used to paying back at home but arh well, shelf life of these packed tofu is also longer, so guess no complaints there.

We brought back some century eggs from Singapore.  Yeah, told you we brought back loads of stuff on our last trip home.  So to accompany our simple home-cooked fare, I whipped up this simple Tofu with Century Egg side dish.  Turns out we didn’t have black vinegar here so instead of running out to get a bottle, I substituted the recipe with Balsamic Vinegar instead.  Yes, you read right… Balsamic Vinegar!  Taste-wise, I could get away with this.  Hehe..

Tofu with Century Egg (recipe adapted from Taste Hongkong)

Ingredients:

  • 1 silken tofu (100-200g, vacuum pack preferred )
  • 1 century egg
  • Seasonings: 1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar, 1 tsp light soya sauce, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp sesame oil

Method:

  1. Drain off all water from the pack, if any, and mash up tofu. Arrange on a plate for serving.
  2. Shell, rinse, pat-dry and mash century egg. Mix it well with seasonings in a separate bowl .
  3. Cover prepared tofu and century egg mixture separately and chill them in fridge for 3 to 4 hours or until cold.
  4. To serve, place a layer of century egg mixture over the tofu.
  5. Note:  You could serve this dish with a handful of green onions and/or with Japanese bonito flakes.

This was really yummy so I would think you would enjoy this dish too! 🙂

Well done!

I apologise for the influx of cooking blog-posts that I have been putting up of late.  You see, I’m just a little fixated on getting this food styling-cum-photography thingy right.  So, I’ve been literally cooking up a storm in our kitchen plus massively googling online for recipes and researching many sites for ideas on food styling.

I guess it’s in my nature. When I become hooked on a hobby, it can sometimes turn quite into an obsession – usually with me wanting to just learn everything or to better myself.  I have a couple of other posts to blog about but once I get over this little food-photo-craze, I promise I will return to normalcy (ie: posts on travels/fashions/daily rantings will follow).

Actually, I do have some “Wardrobe Raids” posts to share but I’m kinda camera shy for now as I am battling adult acne.. Yes!  You read right!  Adult acne!  😦  I thought the air here in Geneva is supposed to be all fresh and I will have excellent skin but no… this didn’t happen to me!  So, I have to wait for the acne to clear up before standing in front of my wardrobe to take peek-tures of the stuff I wear.

End of the week and while we are used to heading out for a nice dinner.  I thought I will whip the Man up a hearty Roast Beef complete with sides and some lovely Swiss cheese to finish the meal with.  All he needed to do was to open the bottle of Red vino while I cooked the entire meal.

After our visit to London where our friends cooked us some really good Roast Beef (recipe courtesy of Gordon Ramsay) I thought I could replicate this.  It seemed pretty simple while L described the steps to me.  So I googled and researched the simplest way to get a Roast Beef out of the oven.  Eventually, I settled on Jamie Oliver’s Perfect Roast Beef recipe and simplified it further.

I followed the instructions to the tee… popped the roast beef into the oven for about 50 minutes at 200 degrees.  The Man loves his roast beef medium rare, so I was hoping that it would turn out fine (fingers crossed). But as he stuck his knife into the roast beef and I anxiously peeked over his shoulder to check out the colour of the meat.  Arh well!  Well-done!

Well, not all was lost for the Oven Roasted Beef with Rosemary, Thyme and Garlic for we did enjoy the beef and thankfully, the wine made it all better.  😉  I’ll definitely give this recipe another go and hopefully will have better luck the next time round.  If that happens, I will share the recipe.

And since we are in Switzerland, we decided to start trying the different dairy products that the country has to offer.  Tonight’s cheese selection was this Black Truffle cheese and Wild fruits & nuts cheese.  The later was such a delight to eat for every bite was infused with the flavorful fruits and nuts.

Here’s to a great start to the weekend!  We’re expecting sunshine this weekend so we maybe doing a day trip!  😉

[Ooh and update:  This post is featured on Photograzing. 😉 ]