Monday, March 7, 2011

DIY frozen food.

I thought that I was already doing a great job by ensuring that my kids take packed food from home to school daily. Their normal packed food would be tuna sandwiches, the 60 cents buns, cheese sandwiches, chocolate spread sandwiches and their all time favourite next to the tuna sandwiches... nuggets!!! If I learned only one thing from the recent Bento workshop last month, it would be that nuggets and other processed meats are such a NO! NO! This is because it contains Nitrate that is essential to preserve meat products, which can cause CANCER!!! Errrkkkk!!! I'm not feeding my kids that!!!

Therefore, hubby and I have agreed that we should spend a little more time at least once a month to prepare our very own home made chicken nuggets for the kids to take to school. No more store bought nuggets.

So we bought the organic chicken from the wet market last Saturday, de-boned it and set out the items required to prepare home made chicken nuggets. Googled the recipe online, so here it is...

Main ingredient:

Chicken pieces cut into bite-sizes. Those smaller bits that has no shape whatsover becomes "popcorn chicken".

So prepare bowls like shown in picture above in the following order:

Flour - Egg - Breadcrumbs (these are homemade too! Just pan fry or oven bake your wholemeal toasts, cut into cubes and blitz to oblivion).

** Do add the flour with your favourite chicken spice (I used, what I already had in the kitchen which is Meat Curry Spices), and somes salt and pepper to season. Keep the salt moderate though eh.

Step by step method with pictures:

Pick the chicken pieces one at a time, roll in in the flour.

Do a quick egg wash.

And roll it in the breadcrumbs. After this point it gets messy and your fingers will resemble a nugget too!

I tried working with chopsticks, yeah okay not too bad but eventually I went back to using my fingers.

Wallaa, your chicken nuggets ready to be packed and freezed.

Since we have started the production line, we also prepared some beef patties for our weekday dinner.

What's in the beef pattie?

Minced beef, onions, spring onions, loads of black pepper, salt, egg (not too much), breadcrumbs and some parsley.

Hubby left the nuggets "line" and jumped into the beef pattie "line" cause he wants to be in control of the size of the beef pattie that he'd be consuming in the coming week. Fine with me. :-) So he rolled it like the above picture.

Then it is patted to be flattened.

To fit nicely into a container for freezing.

Since this is a belated entry, I managed to take some pictures of the beef patties being cooked and served.

Hot on the grille.

Can you find the hidden Mickey?

Served with salads, boiled broccoli and mashed potatoes (homemade of course).

Friday, March 4, 2011

Adios to my little cube.

I have been spending at least 8hrs daily on work weeks here at my little cozy alcove for almost 5 years already. That's almost half the time I've been in this company. Surrounded by my constant "organized clutter".

Surrounded by my lovely colleagues, Fid (that's her head, she's camera shy), Zila (posing like craaazeee), Zack (peek-a-booing), Leen (in front of me) and Mr. Z - the thorn amongst the roses. Yes, I'm at the end there waving frantically as if this was a candid shot!

Bye you guys! Gonna miss you all (as if I'm leaving the company!)  I'm not even changing dept. Just relocating to a different floor, boo-hoo!!! Gonna miss our usual banter and our loud, loud, moments, so how am I gonna throw insults to Mr. Z now??? Oh, yes there's the email and FB eh? Please, please, please, don't forget me, 2 floors down during lunches, "last night's leftover" breakfast and Fida's to die for Nasi Lemak. Yes, I still take orders for chips and such from the Saturday market, but it's at a fee now! Hi!hi!

This is how it looked like at 5 p.m today!

All packed and ready to go...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes

My 1st attempt was a cake, please click for recipe.

This time cupcakes!

I thing I nailed it this time.

Thanks to Nigella's wonderful recipe in this Simply Divine book.
If you have been thinking about getting this book, go and get it NOW! 
I have tried 3 recipes so far: Apple and Cinnamon Muffins, Chocolate Banana Muffins
and this Red Velvet Cupcakes. 
Simple yet Divine, darling.

for the cupcakes:

250g plain flour (I used superfine)
2 x 15ml tablespoon cocoa powder, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
100g soft unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
1 x heaped 15ml tablespoon red paste food colouring
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
175 buttermilk (see how to make buttermilk here)
1 teaspoon cider vinegar or other vinegar

2 x 12-bun muffin tins

  • Preheat the oven to 170C/gas mark 3 and line the muffin tins with paper cases.
  • Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and bicarb in a bowl.
  • In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar, beating well, and when you have a soft, pale mixture beat in the food colouring - all of it - and the vanilla.
  • Into this vividly coloured mixture, still beating, add 1 spoonful of dried ingredients, then 1 egg, followed by some more dried ingredients, then the other egg, followed by the rest of the dried ingredients.
  • Finally, beat in the buttermilk and vinegar and divide this extraordinary batter between the 24 cases (I got more, because I used smaller cups). Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes by which time the redcurrent-sorbet-coloured batter will have morphed into a more sombre, but still juicily tinted sponged - more maroon acryclic than red velvet to be honest. (Nigella's words exactly, I like the way she writes, you can almost here her saying it, just like on TV).
  • Leave them to cook on a wire rack and do not ice with the frosting till absolutely cold.

Just look at the intense colour!

The red colour is just so amazing.

Someone sure was attracted to it!

Topped it with Buttery cream-cheese frosting and some sprinkles on top.

for the icing:
500g icing sugar (no need to sift if using a processor)
{I used only 400g because that was all I had, I might even reduce another 50g, 
because it's a tad sweet. It really depends on how you like your sugar.}
125g cream cheese
{I used the whole block of Cream Cheese, only because I thought the recipe said 250g and also I sub-consciously wanted to finish the whole block as I wasn't sure I would use the leftovers soon. But it turned out okay though, nice and creamy.}
125g soft unsalted butter
1 teaspoon cider vinegar or lemon juice
chocolate sprinkles and red sugar for decoration(optional)

  • Put the icing sugar into a processor and whizz to remove lumps.
  • Add the cream cheese and butter and process to mix. Pour in the cider vinegar (or lemon juice) and process again to make a smooth icing.
  • Ice each cupcake, using a teaspoon or small spatula.
  • Decorate with chocolate sprinkles and red sugar, or as desired. 

Have a try.

Someone's happy.

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