Thursday, 30 June 2011

Baked Portobello with Minced Meat

I love stuffed portobello and they're amazingly versatile.
Depending on what you load them up with you can make them vegetarian or with meat.

Baked Portobello with Minced Meat

6 large portobello mushroom caps, stems removed
500g lean minced beef
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup tomato ketchup
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp chopped basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 160C (fan).

Clean the mushrooms with a damp cloth and remove the stems.
Chop the stems and set aside.
Arrange them in a greased baking dish and drizzle some olive oil on the mushrooms.

Mix the rest of the other ingredients including the chopped mushroom stems into the minced beef. Season well.

Load the mixture onto the portobello caps and put them in the oven to bake for 30 - 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let them cool as long as you can stand it before you devour them.

Banana Pecan and Toffee Cake

My take on re-inventing and deconstructing Banoffee Pie.... mainly because I have a bunch of overripe bananas to get rid off before they go bad.

Banana Pecan and Toffee Cake
200g butter
200g dark brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 ripe bananas
75g pecans, chopped
200g flour
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease an 8in cake tin and line with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
Gradually beat in the eggs on at a time and whisk in the bananas.
Fold in the chopped pecans and flour.
Spoon the mixture into the tin and bake for about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, you can make the toffee for the topping by melting butter, brown sugar and double cream. Simmer the mixture over low heat until thickened.

Arrange slice bananas neatly over cooled cake and spread warm toffee thinly over the bananas and the cake.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

My Garden in Bloom

The sun bestow upon us with her presence....
and I've got to make the most out of it.

Good weather is never taken for granted in this part of the world.
While it's summer in most part of northern hemisphere, it's not quite summer just yet in my garden.
Slowly but surely the summer flowers are starting to show their colours.

Pink Peonies emerging from sprays of Alchemilla.

Deliciously scented lavender, jasmine and honeysuckle.

rock garden

Our garden gamekeeper..... Lolita Tortilla the Naughty Tortie.
She has single handedly managed to keep the rabbit community at bay.

By the way, we have had to send Valentina, the black and white cat back to the animal shelter as she was an extremely nervous cat thus making it very difficult for her to adapt to any new environment. We do hope Valentina will eventually be adopted to a good family.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Nasi Goreng

It often amuses me whenever people associate Malaysia with Nasi Goreng.
When they spoke of the fine food they came across in Malaysia, Nasi Goreng always came out tops. Go figure.

Monday, 27 June 2011


It was reported that we will be experiencing a heat wave... and that we will be having a light shower in the morning and dry weather for the rest of the day...

What a load of hogwash!!

There was no heatwave to speak of and the whole day was wet and miserable. But we managed to grab half an hour of rain-less window for a spot of gentle croqueting in the garden...

Sunday, 26 June 2011


Haddock after being gutted, headed, cleaned and salted; ready to be smoked.

After the cleaning process, the fishes are dry salted in tubs for a given period.
This helps to draw excess moisture from the fish and toughens the skin in preparation for the smoking process. The length of salting time depends on the size of the fish and how fresh they are.
After salting, they are thoroughly washed, then tied by the tail in "pairs" and hung on sticks.

The smokie pit is then prepared.
A hole is dug in the ground, and a half whisky barrel is set into it. The base of the barrel is lined with slates to protect it, and a hardwood fire of beech and oak is lit inside. The sticks of fish are then placed over the pit and covered with hessian.
The cooking time is usually a minimum of 30 - 40 minutes.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Girls Day Out

Elsa and I went on a shopping trip.

We started at the UnionSquare mall and walked all the way to the Bon Accord Centre and back. Well, that's my workout for the week!

We didn't want to buy anything... really... but the sales offers were too good to pass, so I ended up with a couple or more dresses from my favourite Italian label and found some nice outfits for Elsa...although she wouldn't admit that I have good taste.

Oh, by the way, Elsa had her ears pierced... hopefully, it will be the only piercing she will ever do. I had mine done when I was 15, too. Perhaps it will become a tradition....

Friday, 24 June 2011

Butter Cookies

This week is the start of the summer holidays for Elsa but the weather has been, quite frankly, just awful these past few days.
There's not much to do except moping around the house....

Butter Cookies

5 ounces confectioners' sugar
9 ounces salted butter, room temperature
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
11 1/2 ounces flour

Combine the sugar, butter, egg yolk, salt, and flavor, beating till smooth.
Add the flour, mixing till smooth. The mixture will seem dry at first, but will suddenly become cohesive. If it doesn't, dribble in a tablespoon of water.
Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a flattened disk, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 2 hours, or overnight.

My collection of cookie cutters and pancake molds