Sunday, 23 March 2008

Gluten Free Chocolate (eggs) Cookies

I have previously made several different gluten free cookies for my husband, who's a coeliac. He enjoyed all of them but he thinks the ones from this recipe are the best.
This time I substituted chocolate eggs instead of chocolate bars, to use up all my stock. They are much harder than chocolate bars, so I had to smash them with a meat mallet. The chocolate eggs didn't melt during the baking, and gave crunchier texture to the cookies.

For this month MASTER BAKER CHALLENGE we have to use chocolate eggs or other Easter candies, therefore I created this one delicious crunchy cookies.

Chocolate chunks cookies

170g unsalted butter -- softened
227g brown sugar
55g granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
250g all purpose flour (I used ready mix gluten free flour)
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
285g bittersweet chocolate -- cut into chunks (I used smashed chocolate eggs)

1.Preheat oven to 180C
2.Cream together butter and sugars until smooth. Add egg and vanilla and blend in.
3.Stir in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt.
Stir in chocolate chunks.
4.Drop by tablespoons onto a greased baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown around the edges.
5.Let cool slightly and enjoy.

The result is a nice firm, crunchy biscuit, more like the European style than softer American style of cookies

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Chicken Satay

This is a popular dish in Indonesia. Very simple and easy to make. Perfect for summer BBQ.

2 chicken breast
3 cloves of garlic, mashed
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
white pepper
knob of butter, melted

Cut the chicken breast into bite size and put them in a bowl.
Add the garlic, sugar, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Put the chicken pieces on skewers (if you use bamboo skewers, please don't forget to soak them in the water first to avoid burning).
Before you grill them in the oven grill or BBQ, brush them with the melted butter all over.
When they are half cooked, brush them with the soy sauce and then continue to grill them until they cooked and brown all over.
Serve them with spicy peanut sauce or sweet soy sauce or just as it is.
(Serves 2 -3)

Friday, 14 March 2008

Royal Foodie Joust

This is my entry for this month's Royal Foodie Joust and the ingredients are Seafood, Lime/Lemon and Coconut Milk.
When I saw the ingredients I was supposed to use I was very excited, because this is the first time I'm joining in and the ingredients are ones I use very often.
On this occasion I would like to share my Indonesian background with you all through this dish.


400g Sea bass (or you can use sea bream, or trout)
2 onions
2 cloves of garlic
2 fresh (big) red chillies - de seed one of them
1/2 tsp ground coriander
oil for deep frying
3 tbsp peanut oil
400ml coconut milk
juice of 1 lime
2 tsp grated palm sugar
5 lime leaves, shredded
Coriander leaves for garnish

With a sharp knife, make small incisions about 1cm apart on both sides of the fish. Season the fish with salt inside and out.

Finely chop the onions and the garlic. Cut the deseeded chillies into thin strips.

Deep fry the fish in hot oil until brown all over. Drain it thoroughly on kitchen paper.

Heat the peanut oil in a large wok. Fry the onions, garlic, chillies and ground coriander, stirring frequently until the onions are lightly browned. Pour in the coconut milk and lime juice. Add the palm sugar and stir until all dissolve and then put in the lime leaves. Bring to boil.

Lay the fish in the sauce and simmer over a low heat for about 10 minutes.

Transfer the fish and sauce to a warm dish, sprinkle with coriander leaves and serve immediately with boiled rice.

We had a friend come for dinner last night and she doesn't eat meat, so I made this dish and she loved it.
The lime juice and lime leaves really give the sauce a fresh taste.

Friday, 7 March 2008

The Foodie Blogroll

I started this food blog to share my experiences of being a food-loving Indonesian living in Ireland, to document some of my favourite recipes, and to give . Another reason was to get inspiration and ideas from other blogs, and to get to know other people who share my passion for food.
A little while ago, I found The Foodie Blogroll sign on a site I was visiting, and instantly I knew that it was something I should get involved with. Because my blog was a little new, I had to wait a while before being elligible, but finally a few days ago I applied and very quickly got approved.
I'm looking forward to getting more involved in the food online community, and looking forward to seeing more bloggers join in.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Indonesian Curry

For so many years I have been trying to cook the perfect Indonesian curry for my own palate and so many times I've failed. I know the basic ingredients but I just couldn't make it as good as the way my parents' cook made back in Indonesia. Because of that, I usually just used Indonesian curry sauce from Singapore.

I could buy the sauce from our local Asian shop before, but then the shop stopped importing it. I was desperate so I bought a batch directly from Singapore by post one time and asked my mother in law to bring them back when she went to Singapore one other time, but eventually I used them all up.

I was sad, I always think that this sauce tastes quite original and I love it. Unfortunately it was too spicy for my husband, who doesn't like spicy food despite having me as his wife and his cook for about 6 years.
That made me think, maybe the reason I've never been able to cook the right taste curry was because I tried to make it less spicy for my husband. So a few days ago I was in this mood that I had to make it right this time. I had a chow chow or chayote squash in the fridge and some tofu (I use aubergine/egg plant sometimes for this kind of curry) and I modified the basic ingredients I know.

Chow-chow (Chayote Squash) Indonesian curry
(Sayur Lodeh Labu Siam)

serves 2-3

1 chow chow, cut into strips
2 squares of firm tofu
½ cup shrimps
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped finely
3 (fat) red chillies, deseeded and sliced (I deseeded only two of them)
6 curry leaves
½ tsp galangal powder (1 inch fresh, smashed)

½ tsp shrimp paste
1 tbsp grated palm sugar
2 cups coconut milk

Heat some oil in a hot pan, fry the onion until soft then add the garlic, chillies, galangal, curry leaves and shrimp paste, fry until fragrant. Add the shrimps and chow chow.

Pour the coconut milk into the pan and keep stirring until it simmers, then add the palm sugar, keep stirring until all the sugar has dissolved. Add the tofu.
Add some water if necessary.

Keep boiling slowly until the vegetables are soft. Season with salt.

Serve it with boiled rice.

You can add or reduce some of the ingredients until you find the right amount for you own taste. Be careful using galangal powder, if you put too much of it, it can make the dish taste bitter.

I was so pleased with myself. Finally I can make Indonesian vegetable curry that is right for my taste, because this is my comfort food when I miss my parents home cooking and I want to share this with the other participants in Monthly Mingle.

Unfortunately my husband couldn't stand the chillies, but that's okay, more for me then :-D.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Diabetic blueberry cupcakes

When I was pregnant with my first daughter, on the week 17th I got really sick and turned out I got Diabetes Mellitus type 1. Of course after that I have to watch what I eat. It's a hereditary disease. I knew I would get it because my father and all his siblings have them and we are not a kind of family who will watch what we eat. We love good food and we eat a lot.

Lots of people I know have this perception that Diabetes is caused by eating too much sugar or sweet things, especially in Indonesia. Doctors in Indonesia (mostly) don't feel they have to give the right information about diabetes, so lots of diabetic patients don't have the right diet or taking their medications properly.
Diabetes medication is really expensive in Indonesia, so if the doctor don't tell the patients the right thing, some of them think it's okay to stop the medication or keep eating fatty food as long as they avoid sugar. Many of them get complications and need even more expensive medications and even surgery, but still they don't understand or got enough information about the disease at all.

I'm lucky (in a bad situation ha ha ha) that I got my diabetes in Ireland. The doctors never hide any information and easy to get informations too. For long time illnesses like diabetes, all the medications are free.

Okay, I'm burbling enough about my illness. What I'm really want to talk about is this cupcake.
I found this recipe from Crazy Cupcakes.

Blueberry (sugar free) Cupcake

175 gm--1 1/2 cups--6 oz plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
75 gm--3 oz--1/2 cup butter or margarine
14 tablespoons of Splenda low calorie sweetener
100 ml--5 fl ozs milk
2 tablespoons of honey
1 egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
110 gm--4 ozs--1 cup either blueberries, washed and chopped fine.

Pre-heat the oven to 210C--gas 6
Put paper cases into baking tray. This makes 9 cupcakes in muffin size paper cup cases. I do not over fill but prefer smaller cupcakes so I have room for a topping.
Sieve the flour and baking powder together and put into a separate bowl.
In another bowl beat the margarine or butter with the Splenda and honey until light and fluffy.
Add the vanilla essence and the egg and beat well.
Add half the flour mixture to the other mixture and all the milk. Stir well. Add the rest of the flour mixture.
Add the fruit of your choice and fold in gently.
Spoon the batter -mixture into the cup cases.
Put into the oven in the top half of the oven.
Cook for 15 minutes. Do not open the oven until this time or the cupcakes will collapse.
Check to see if they are done.
Stick a wood cocktail stick in if it comes out clean they are done . If you touch the surface of a cupcake and it is springy to the touch it is done. If not leave longer in the oven. Depending on the size they can take 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove. Cool on a wire tray.

I topped the cupcakes with natural yoghurt and fresh blueberry.
I love the way the yoghurt complement the cupcakes, it gives a tangy freshness. The cupcake itself is light and fluffy. The only think I will change about the recipe is the amount of Splenda.

The cupcake is a bit too sweet for my liking. After being a diabetic for about 4 years, my sweet buds are very sensitive, I can taste sweetness on everything very strongly.

Even though Splenda is sugar (with much less calorie), it still give the after taste like other sweeteners. In a small amount it won't be too noticeable but in a big amount, it will.
The honey gives enough sweetness already. So next time I will just reduce the Splenda by half and get the sweetness from the honey and the fruits.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Mother's day cupcakes

This was our dessert for Mother’s day dinner. Baileys cupcakes with mocha frosting and drizzled with mint chocolate.
My mother in law and my husband are coeliac, therefore I made this with trytamil flour (gluten free).
This recipe is from Crazy About Cupcakes by Krystina Castella and the frosting I modified from a recipe I have.

Baileys cupcake

75g unsalted butter
225g granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c baileys
1/3 c milk
220g all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Pre heat the oven to 160 degrees C, prepare a 12 cupcake pan.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.
Combine milk and baileys in a cup, set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 3-5 minutes.
Add the egg and vanilla extract, beat well.
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with milk mixture.
Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
Fill each cup ¾ full and bake for about 20 minutes.

I frosted the cupcake with

Mocha buttercream

150g butter, softened
250g icing sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp espresso coffee powder
1 tbsp very hot milk

Mix the hot milk with cocoa and espresso powder, leave it to cool.
Cream the butter and sugar. Once well combined, add the cocoa-espresso mixture. Beat until smooth and creamy.

I topped everything with melted mint chocolate.

The cake was very sweet even though I reduced the sugar to 200g only. My husband said it was moist and dense but a bit richer than some of the other gluten free cupcakes I made for him, probably because of the baileys.

The chocolate and coffee on the frosting just complimented each other and went very well with the cupcake.

The trytamil flour gives a slight different result than wheat flour. It’s lighter but gets dry pretty quickly. It's easily burnt and tends to overflow, so I used muffin cups that are a little bit bigger than standard cupcake cups. I usually bake gluten free cake as near as possible to the time I’m going to serve them. You only can keep them for 2 days max before they go very dry and crumbly and taste awful.

Mother's day dinner

Yesterday, 2nd March, was Mother's day in Ireland and we invited Andrew's mother and his sister for dinner.
I chose dishes from Bill Granger's recipe book because they looked simple and don't need long preparation. We started with

Ricotta fritters with citrus sauce


250g fresh ricotta
2 eggs, separated
65g plain flour (I used gluten free flour)
zest of 1 lemon
pinch of salt
40g raisins
light flavoured oil

Stir together the ricotta, egg yolks, flour, lemon zest, salt and raisins. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold through the ricotta mixture.

Heat the oil over medium heat. Drop tablespoons of the mixture into the oil and cook a few at a time until golden brown.
Drain on paper towels while you cook the rest.
Serve with citrus sauce.

Citrus sauce

225g caster sugar
125 ml lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp lemon zest
(so all about 3 lemons)
125ml water

Put the sugar and water in a small deep (light colour) saucepan over high heat and boil without stirring. Brush the side of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent the sugar crystallizing. Once the caramel turns a rich golden colour, remove from the heat and add the lemon juice and zest. The caramel will splatter, so stand back. Stir gently until the sauce is smooth.

Serves 4

And the main course was

Lamb with romesco sauce
serves 6

Roast lamb
1.8 kg/4lb butterflied lamb leg, cut into two pieces
3 tbsp olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees C. Heat an oven proof frying pan over high heat. Rub the lamb with the oil and season well. Put the lamb skin side down in the pan and sear for 5 minutes, then turn over and cook for 2 minutes. Put the pan in the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Cover loosely with foil and rest for 10 minutes. Slice thickly and serve with romesco sauce, lemon wedges and parsley.

Romesco Sauce
4 red peppers/capsicums, roasted, peeled and seeded.
4 tbsp blanched almonds, toasted
1 tbsp red wince vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
black pepper

Put all the ingredients in a blender and pulse until the sauce is combined but still has some texture.

and I served the lamb with Paella.

The starter was a hit. The fritter was fluffy and the sauce was really lemon-y and gave that fresh taste.
Unfortunately the lamb was still a bit too rare for Andrew's family (who prefer medium to well done meat) even though I gave extra roasting time.
I love the sauce, but I think if it was a bit warm would be much nicer, so next time I will heat it up a little bit before serving.