It’s December already! freaks me out how fast 2013 has been. Been actively cooking lots of brunch at home and I’ve gone past that Eggs Ben stage, I think brunch can be more than poached eggs and hollandaise sauce.
I’ve been eyeing on Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem cookbook (christmas present for me ??). What I like about it is it has some interesting middle eastern dishes that uses lots of vegetables. Vegetables are good but we often don’t eat enough or do not have many ideas on how to cook it differently, other than throwing them into a salad or stir-frying them. So, here is a dish to fill up your vegetable quota and a healthy brunch alternative (or even dinner)
Shakshuka; is a staple of Egyptian, Tunisian, Libyan, Algerian, and Moroccan cuisines traditionally served up in a cast iron pan with bread to mop up the sauce. It is also popular in Israel, where it was introduced by Tunisian Jews. It is a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, onions, often spiced with cumin.
So yesterday I had a friend over for brunch. She’s been pestering me to cook brunch and open up for other people to come, pay me for brunch. I decided to cook the shakshuka in my cast iron Le Creuset pan, some garlic mushroom, feta and arugula salad and some toasted charcoal bread. Well, I had some of the charcoal bread at home, so why not use it. Adds some colour to it too!
Even if you don’t have a cast iron pan, it’s alright. Just get a flat ovenproof dish (like ramekins) and you can cook them individually too.
- ¼ tsp cumin seeds
- 80ml light olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 large onions, peeled and sliced
- 1 red capsicum, diced
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- 1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped
- 3 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
- ¼ tsp saffron strands
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Salt and pepper
- Up to 100ml water
- 4 free-range eggs
- In a large saucepan, dry-roast the cumin on high heat for two minutes. Add the oil and sauté the onions for two minutes.
- Add the peppers, sugar, bayleaves, thyme, and two tablespoons of coriander, and cook on high heat to get a nice colour.
- Add the tomatoes, saffron, cayenne, salt and pepper.
- Cook on low heat for 15 minutes, adding enough water to keep it the consistency of a pasta sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning. It should be potent and flavoursome. You can prepare this mix in advance.
- Make 4 cavities in the tomato mixture. Break 1 egg into each cavity, pouring into gaps in the mixture. Sprinkle with salt, cover and cook very gently for 10-12 minutes, until the egg just sets. Sprinkle with coriander and serve with chunky white bread.
In a large saucepan, dry-roast the cumin on high heat for two minutes.
Add the oil and sauté the onions for two minutes.
Add the red capsicum, sugar, bay leaves, thyme, and two tablespoons of coriander, and cook on high heat to get a nice colour.
Add the tomatoes, saffron, cayenne, salt and pepper.
Cook on low heat for 15 minutes, adding enough water to keep it the consistency of a pasta sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning. It should be potent and flavoursome. You can prepare this mix in advance.
Make 4 cavities on the pan, spreading the tomato aside. Break eggs into each cavity. Sprinkle with salt. If using stove top, cover the pan and cook on a low heat for about 10 minutes or until the eggs just set. If using an oven, preheat oven to 190 C and let it grill for around 10 minutes too or until eggs are whitish but still wobbly when pan is jiggled. Lastly, sprinkle with roughly chopped coriander.
Don’t forget the bread to mop up all the yummilicious sauce.
I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest: West Asia , hosted by Shannon from Just As Delish
(Hello all in Hawaiian expression )
How does a hawaiian themed party right in KL sound like ? Yup, that was what the Kinohimitsu Luau Party was like. It was raining quite hard that afternoon but that didn’t stop all the girls from The Butterfly Project from attending this party.
The Kinohimitsu Luau Party was held at Vila Manja. (https://www.facebook.com/VilaManja)
Vila Manja is an oasis in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Inspired by the “MANJA” rituals and traditions of Eastern cultures, Vila Manja offers guests a truly Asian inspired Spa experience. From the moment you step through the doors, the outside world simply melts away. With the warm ambiance that embraces you as you escape the hustle and bustle of the city, you ‘d discover an urban sanctuary that elevates pampering to the next level. Definitely a place to relax and renew, all within a Villa atmosphere.
To fit into the theme, I decided to use the flower band again (reused from another party haha) and had a very floral shirt! What’s missing ? Margarita maybe
There’s a new product launched by Kinohimitsu as well; Kinohimitsu J’pan Bio-Booster. It is the first and only symbiotic-organic blend that enhances our body to absorb nutrients by more than 2 times. It is power-packed with an exclusive blend of high-performance pro-biotics, pre-biotics and vitamins that empowers us to obtain the nutrients and benefits from the food and supplement for better and faster results.
So what does the Bio-Booster do?
See, a good digestion and absorption is essential and critical to help us stay young and healthy. Food need to be properly broken down, so that the body can absorb and utilize the nutrients effectively. Semi-digested and undigested food can product toxins that cause auto-intoxication; which will impact the quality of our health, vitality and beauty.
So the Kinohimitsu J’pan Beauty Bio-Booseter helps to replenish good bacteria, improve digestion and nutrient absorption, improve immune system and clear off harmful bacteria and toxins.
BBC lifestyle and HyppTV brought down Eric Lanlard, a master baker who has made a name for himself with his extraordinary cakes for A-listers such as Madonna, Claudia Schiffer and even the Queen Mother herself! He was in Kuala Lumpur to promote his show on BBC Lifestyle “Baking Mad with Eric Lanlard“.
Eric Lanlard, Master Patissier and twice winner of the prestigious Continental Patissier of the Year at the British Baking Awards, has changed the face of British Patisserie.
Eric has 4 TV series’ to his name, with the most recent being Baking Mad with Eric Lanlard. Each programme sees Eric sharing his tips and skills – teaching bakers how to produce mouth-watering cakes and desserts with ease and speed. Before Baking Mad with Eric Lanlard were 2 series of Glamour Puds.
Eric also appears regularly on other television shows, with recent appearances including The Great British Bake Off and Junior Bake Off as well as MasterChef – The Professionals and Mary Queen of Shops.
Eric’s first book, Glamour Cakes was published in 2008 and was renamed Master Cakes in 2010, the same year, he had his second book, Home Baked published. This was closely followed by Cox Cookies and Cake in July 2011 and his most recent book – Tart it Up!
When not baking, Eric’s passions include art, travelling, cars, his home and wine. In 2014, Eric will become the first chef to travel to space with Virgin Galactic (how awesome!)
Eric Lanlard with the HyppTV tea, BBC lifestyle team and the founder of Starhill Culinary Studio (far right)
While Eric was in town, I managed to attend the media event (yay!) During the event, we got to make a dark chocolate cake, which Eric calls it Dark Chocolate Moelleux’ – a dark chocolate sponge cake filled with a rich chocolate buttercream and decorated with chocolate ganache.
Everyone loves chocolate and while the holiday season is just around the corner, why not try to make this cake at home ?
It can be made even without a mixer. A big mixing bowl, spatula, whisk and a sift are some of the utensils needed. Baking is not rocket science, follow the recipe and just take your time
To make the cake even tastier, layer it with a chocolate buttercream for an extra edge. Spreading ganache over the top makes it more droolalicious. You know, the ‘dripping’ factor makes it so much more tempting.
Winter berries and fruits brings the Christmas-y ambiance. In fact it looks a little like a wreath. So says who a chocolate cake is boring!
Dark Chocolate Moelleux
Author: Eric Lanlard
- 350g butter, softened
- 50g dark chocolate
- 350g golden caster sugar
- 50g black treacle
- 8 eggs, lightly beaten
- 300g self-raising flour
- 50g cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 50g ground almonds
- 200ml whipping cream
- 200g dark chocolate, chopped
- 25g dark chocolate, chopped
- 200g icing sugar, sifted
- 100g unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp double cream
- Berries or dried fruits and nuts to decorate
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees. Then grease two 22cm diameter shallow cake tins and line them with baking paper.
- Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.
- In a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the black treacle and eggs gradually, then add the melted chocolate.
- Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder, and fold them into the mixture with the ground almonds till you get a smooth, glossy consistency.
- Divide the mixture between the two cake tins and level the tops. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Leave to cool.
- To make the ganache, heat the whipping cream in a saucepan and heat till warm. Remove from heat and add the chocolate, beating until melted and move. Leave to cool.
- To make the buttercream, melt the chocolate as above and leave to cool. Cream the icing sugar and butter in a bowl until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the vanilla, cooled chocolate and double cream to form a stiff spreading consistency.
- To assemble the cake, level to top of the sponge cakes using a sharp knife. Spread the buttercream over the top of one sponge cake and place the other sponge cake on top of the cake with buttercream.
- Pour the ganache over the cake and smooth with a flat knife and leave to set. Decorate the top with berries.
This recipe above is originally by Eric Lanlard
Or, make them into tiny cakes and serve them individually!
Oh oh! and I also was one of the 3 lucky winners to win one of his cookbook; Tart it Up! Lots of interesting recipes inside. I shall make some sometime soon.
Now you can catch Baking Mad with Eric Lanlard (series 1) every Monday, from 16th December 2013, 8.00 pm on BBC Lifestyle (HyppTV Channel 620)
For more information on Eric Lanlard, visit his website a thttp://www.cake-boy.com/. You can also follow him on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eric-Lanlard/254743271226573, or Twitter @eric_lanlard.
For more information on the show, check out the programme’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BakingMadwithEricLanlard.