Foodiva's Kitchen: September 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

5-Star Makeover: Teriyaki Chicken with Dragonfruit Ravioli and Apple-Plum Chutney, and a Charitable Cause

Today marks my first participation in the 5-Star Makeover challenge hosted by Natasha of 5 Star Foodie and Laz of Lazaro Cooks! So honored to be cooking amongst these very creative lot. I've left it till the very last minute because the theme this month stumped me a's 'Cooking with Wine'. 

If you're a regular here, you'll know that I've never featured wine on this blog for the simple reason that we do not drink or cook with it. But hey, rather than back out, I thought this will be a great opportunity to be creative and look for alternatives that could possibly fit the challenge. And in my manic thinking (for that is the state I normally get into during a creative process), this is what I came up with. It's Teriyaki Chicken with Dragonfruit Ravioli and Apple-Plum Chutney, which I can confidently declare is not a dish I grew up eating! These are simply memorable fragments of the food I loved to eat whilst travelling or living abroad. least that's my story (in case mom asks), and I'm sticking to it! :-). 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Savory Tomato and Beetroot Cobbler with Turmeric Curry Leaf Biscuit Topping

Discovery consists of looking at the same thing as everyone else and thinking something different.
~ Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

Our party host Penny of Jeroxie blog had us all 'cobblered' this month and believe me when I say this... it is a rare occasion that I will post something savory up on this blog, least of all a cobbler. When you hear the word 'cobbler', images of the freshest seasonal fruits dotted all over or buried underneath something sweet tend to flash across the mind. Correction, make that my mind.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Muffin Monday - Carrot Spice Muffins

I am so busy doing nothing... that the idea of doing anything - which as you know, always leads to something - cuts into the nothing and then forces me to have to drop everything.
~ Jerry Seinfeld

I've always had a weakness for moist carrot cake, packed to the brim with grated carrots, nuts and dried fruits and topped with the most decadent cream cheese frosting. So you can imagine how much I was looking forward to making this week's Muffin Monday recipe, Carrot Spice Muffins. Our host, Anuradha of Baker Street blog specified that this was to be a healthy muffin, so I reluctantly tossed out the evil frosting idea and ended up with a healthier topping instead.

Friday, September 23, 2011

French Fridays With Dorie - Honey Rose Spiced Madeleines and Giveaway Winner

“Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.”
~ Mark Twain

Did I manage to fool you into thinking that I made madeleines this week for French Fridays? Well, the batter was for madeleine cookies for sure, but I do not own a madeleine baking pan. Although I've had these delicious, made-for-dunking cookies before, I'd never been tempted to make them until this week's recipe came along. As soon as these came out of the oven and were popped into my mouth, however, I wondered why I never tried my hand at making them for they were A+ delicious!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Happy Bread

You have a masterpiece inside you, you know. One unlike any that has ever been created, or ever will be. If you go to your grave without painting your masterpiece, it will not get painted. No one else can paint it. Only you.
~ Gordon MacKenzie
*Update*: I have made a video for this bread here!

First of all, let me clarify that this bread is not a masterpiece that came out of my usual daydreams and doodles. No, I first spotted this on Eva Toneva blog and while she called it 'Holiday Bread', I decided even back then that I would rename it 'Happy Bread' because it made me light up inside just looking at it! My penchant for unusual-looking breads had me bookmarking this recipe immediately.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Muffin Monday - Pineapple Jam-Filled Muffins with Luscious Lemon Glaze

The recipe for Muffin Monday this week couldn't be any easier, it's jam-filled muffins. Anuradha from Baker Street blog provided us with a basic recipe and all we had to do really was 'fill in the blank' where the jam was featured in the ingredient list. I decided to fill mine with the pineapple jam that I had made a week earlier and had used to fill some pineapple tart cookies.

Friday, September 16, 2011

French Fridays with Dorie - Cinnamon Crunch Chicken

I'll get straight to the point - I liked this recipe. It had only 3 ingredients (three!) - chicken, crème fraiche and spéculoos.  Specu....what

Okay, I'll spare you the misery and tell you that these are spicy shortcrust cookies traditionally baked around Christmastime in the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany. Spices used in spéculoos are, in different variations, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardamom and white pepper. I know this because I used to eat tons of them when I lived in Europe. Safe to say, my tastebuds have very fond memories of that time. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

We Should Cocoa - Marie Chocolate Fudge Cake with Purple Sweet Potato and Nutella Onde-Onde

Won't you come into the garden? I would like my roses to see you.
~Richard Brinsley Sheridan

As I was coming to the end of my morning jog recently, I came across two butterflies 'dancing' around each other in mid-air. They were black butterflies, with beautiful purple spots on their wings, and the unusual sight of their interaction literally stopped me in my tracks. I observed them for 15 minutes, keeping still as they flew around me whilst also flying in circles around each other. I took it to be some sort of courtship or mating ritual, definitely on a more complex plane than The Bachelor or Bachelorette. It was quite fascinating, I had never seen anything like it, especially up so close except on National Geographic Channel. I had no clue why those butterflies were flying around me as if they had given me their explicit approval to become a voyeur to their activity.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Muffin Monday - Lavender Granola Muffins with Apricots, Cranberries and Chocolate

After a whole week of decadent feasting, baking these granola muffins made me feel immensely better about my eating binges of late. Admittedly, I did try to work off the calories by running and hiking up hills under the blazing heat over the past several days, but all that simply made me tired and not really that much happier. It'd been a while since my muffin pan had seen the inside of my oven walls anyway, so I decided it was time to put it to good use again.

Friday, September 9, 2011

French Fridays with Dorie - Creamy, Cheesy, Garlicky Rice with Spinach, Mushrooms and Beetroot

The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.
~ Maya Angelou

Just a few weeks back, my father met this man. He is 111 years old... I'm not kidding you, there's proof he is "of that certain age". They both attended a group that read scriptures together (a kind of spiritual support group with a therapist called God). These gatherings took place in the evenings and by the time they finished, it was usually close to 11pm. This guy, who's still too young to make it into the Guinness World Records apparently, was always sent to and picked up from the site by his son. But on the few occasions when his son was going to be late, my father offered to send the man home. Listen, if you're 111 years old, you don't want to be hanging around outside on your own near midnight - anywhere. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

#BakeTogether - Spiced Up and Stormy #Irene Double Chocolate Nutella Mousse Cookies

Stop with the labels, we are not jam jars.
~ Caroline Casey

For those who were affected by Hurricane Irene a mere fortnight or so ago, it will be a while before they shall be able to forget the image below and the limitless power of Mother Nature. Despite humankind's incredible intelligence and technological prowess, something like this reminds us all of how helpless we are when pitted against such powerful forces of nature.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Red Velvet Ice Cream

The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.  
~ Kahlil Gibran

My sister loves red velvet cupcakes, and every time there has been a children's birthday party at any of our homes, these distinctive, red-colored treats invariably make their way onto the party menu and into the kiddies' bloodstream. Me, I'm not a big fan of red velvet anything. The combination of strong artificial coloring, buttermilk, vinegar and cocoa somehow manages to put me off. Moreover, the amount of red food coloring often used in these recipes (sometimes up to 3 tablespoons) scares the hell out of me.

Undeniably, there are many red velvet (RV) treat lovers out there, and I've seen anything from RV cakes, RV cookies, RV cream pies, to RV macarons and even scones! And then there's RV ice cream, the most famous of which is Momofuku Milk Bar's Red Velvet Soft Serve Ice Cream. The last straw was when I spotted this frozen beauty on Pinterest. That drooly snapshot made me decide almost instantaneously to overcome my disdain at the vast array of RV goodies out there and make something red velvety-ish in my kitchen.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The 'F's of Eid

I know, I know...Eid does not start with F. But it is a festivity, a big celebration at the end of our month-long fast over Ramadan. It's a time for get-togethers among family, friends, foe...okay, maybe not foe. But it's definitely time for fun and feasts everywhere. In Brunei, everyone's invited to join in the celebrations because we have this concept of 'Open Houses' where we throw our doors open and anyone (and I mean, anyone) can literally just walk in and sit on your chairs and eat your food on the same table as you. Now, while this might not work in bigger cities or countries, here, it's tradition to encourage such forms of harmless freeloading in our homes, if only for a few days during Eid.

My camera was put into good use, snapping away at the happenings around me. So allow me to share with you some of my Fs of Eid. All family-friendly stuff, of course.

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