Monday, February 24, 2014

Palak Paneer Mini Pies Recipe

The last one month has been a fun and totally fun time diving back into my culinary interest. On both cooking and eating side. For my second 5th wedding anniversary, that is the anniversary of my second wedding ceremony (with the same husband) we had our families over and I was so into the mood to cook up several storms.

I had this canned spinach that I wanted to make into a pie, however my pie crust skills leaves a lot to be desired. Since I had some popiah skin in the freezer, I got inspired to make mini pies in the muffin tray instead.

Initially it was meant to be western spinach with ricotta cheese pie. But later I had my mom driving up with a packet of paneer (that is Indian cottage cheese), and so I did not have to go out hunting for ricotta at all. So here is the recipe for you to see, try and savour them!

You Need:

Chopped onion & garlic
1 can spinach
2 tbsp cumin powder
2 tbsp coriander powder
1 cup milk
some salt & pepper for seasoning
some grated cheddar cheese
some olive oil
Baking spray to grease the muffin pan
Popiah skin
1 cup paneer, defrosted


1) Sautee onion and garlic in the olive oil till fragrant. Add the spinach, cumin and coriander powder and let it cook for 5 mins.
2) Add the milk and let it cook for 10 to 15 mins and simmer.
3) Once the mixture has reduced, add the paneer and season with salt and pepper.
4) Turn the fire off and let it cook for 10-20mins.
5) Grease the muffin pan with baking spray.
6) Lay one layer of popiah skin. Spray another layer of baking spray, and lay another layer of popiah skin in a way that the corners are not on top of each other.
7) Put your spinach filling in. Top it up with cheddar cheese. Repeat this for all mini pies.
8) In a preheated oven bake at 150C for 15 to 20 mins till brown and crispy.
9) Let it cool and then you can literally dig in.

We usually store the paneer in the freezer, and defrost it right before cooking. The best way to cook paneer is to shallow fry it and keep it aside while you cook the gravy. Only in the end you can put the paneer in without worrying that it might break up. They don't really need much to be cooked. However in this case I had mashed the paneer, so it was important to put it into the whole dish and let it incorporate.

My sister swears it turned out to be traditional Indian Palak Paneer instead of the western intention. Which anyhow is a good thing considering we were all waiting to have it into our tummies!

And what else is new, or rather green, other than my palak paneer? Well I am developing and exploring into a new interest. That is growing my own vegetable patch. So here is a glimpse of my tiny sprouts coming out of the choy sum seeds.

It is thrilling to see them come up like that with my TLC. Still hope I would manage to eat them once they grow up green and healthy!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

In-house Google

We have a system in the house that everything is well accounted for, as fast as you can Google it. It is very efficient, not just keeps track of the location all the time, but also different separated parts of it. As much as I would like it, no I did not develop an in-house Google for us. Neither do we have a GPS tracking system to track whereabouts of every item. I am THE Google.

Long before I got married I had read in a Marian Keyes book, something in the lines of 'after getting married she became the lady who knew where everything was'. Obviously the requester is the husband, of course. Where is my socks, where is my laptop, where is the cup, where is ABCXYZ, despite all little things remaining at their original places, there is always this question, Where?

Little did I know once having kids, they join the team of 'requesters', and send out a search party every time they lose something. Except for this is a party of one, ME.

The kids have all kinds of toys. Transformers of different sizes and functions. A set of Iron-Men. Ben10 and his gang. Ben10 with an astronaut-like armor and head gear. Some Lego men, with cool helmets. Some robotic toys that fully come apart into skeletons. And many other figurines.

And glory to the inventors, most of these toys can be dismantled, or transformed, or have flexible head/limbs that come off. And thanks to the kids' curious nature, their favourite past time is to dismantle, or take the head/limbs off, put them all over the house and then forget about it.

Then in all randomness they suddenly come up to me and ask, where is my Ben10 head, where is Ironman head, where is ABCXYZ? And sometimes a certain forgotten abandoned figurine like Mr Incredible becomes a total hot cake when all of a sudden they catch a glimpse if it on TV. And they would demand for it immediately.

For the sanity of mankind, and mostly myself, I have archived (stowed away) most of their unused and redundant toys into the store room. Thanks to TV shows, adhoc search requests come up from time to time. The search party does its job.

Learning from my massive search efforts, I have made it a habit to pick up every single head, limb or helmet that I see on the floor and keep it in a corner. Sooner or later one boy will come up and 'google' for it, and I would just point towards it. I am Google.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Winning Rocks

Eating is necessity, cooking is an art
So says the souvenir I won from Lifetime Masterchef Challenge. That quote just describes most of us who love cooking. And boy it is so right.

Being gung-ho about entering a contest is one big thing. Winning something out of it, just seals the whole deal. And it feels awesome! As a consolation prize winner, I received below items, all with the Lifetime logo, super duper cool! Of course it would have been doubly awesome if I won the first prize that gives me a chance to actually appear on Lifetime channel, but hey, one step at a time, TV glory can wait.

Although I am not the type to put on apron while I cook, my better half claimed ownership to use it when he cooks. Or rather IF he does cook. Till then I shall store it as a remembrance of my hard work!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Liberation And Prom Dresses

The moment I decided to quit my job, is a moment of confusion for me. Suddenly I was relieved that I did not have to deal with my job together with my household role as a wife and a mother. No more traffic to endure daily. At the same time I felt upset for having to leave something that I enjoyed doing, and the nice people I met while working. 

It was a disappointing moment when I had to make the decision, and I am most thankful to hubby for helping me go through it. Without his assurance, it would have been just impossible. What now, you may ask? Lets see, as I take a break, I try to find what I want to do. Maybe part time, maybe freelance, maybe nothing at all. I always believe that everything happens for a reason. And when one door closes, another door is waiting for us to open and find the surprise!

At the same time I felt liberated that I could go back to doing those extra things I did at home, learning to cook and bake new things. You cannot imagine how much I missed having my time to get my hands dirty, and later seeing the boys (including the old boy) enjoying my sweat and hard work.

Truth is, ever since I took up the job, I did not have any moment for myself. When I started attending office, I started sending Jeev to the kindy with Sanju, hence I never enjoyed any moment of peace at home without the kids. At the same time I had finally got a car of my mine own, yet I did not have the chance to enjoy the time on my own.

Right now I am like having my cake and eating it. And I do eat a lot. It is liberation of the highest order having the kids attending half day kindy without fail, and enjoying it too. I get to run errands, catch up with some online work (like this) or just bum around on my facebook social life. This also means I will get to catch up with more like-minded friends as well! And hey, all those warehouse sales, Big Bad Wolf and such, I am coming!

And you know what else is liberating? Shopping online for gorgeous dresses! Check out JenJenHouse and get evening dresses for this Valentine's day, or just to celebrate your coming wedding anniversary. And since it is the prom season, you could get a gorgeous prom dresses to flaunt it this year! Little black dresses work for every occasion, or top it with a lovely cardigan for the chic look for work.

It is a shame that just when I had gotten into the mood for shopping for work clothes it did not last long. However holiday dresses never miss the season! This particular LBD is absolutely stunnng and would flatter women of any body type.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Changing Hats To Bake Butter Cookies

End of last year walking in and out of the office I always see this mother cat and her little kittens. Most of the time they are cosying up together oblivious to the world around them that is moving so fast. They are either nursing or just sleeping with skin (or rather fur) contact with each other.

This is how a SAHM life is a bliss. No alarm clocks (except the kid's biological wake up shouting alarm). No deadlines. No meetings. No rush. (OK it might a little exaggeration, you do rush like mad when you are a SAHM, rush to get laundry done and folded, rush to cook so can pick the kid from school etc) but hey I am just talking about the greener side). You are free so send the kid to kindy anytime, as long as the school is not closed. But of course if you have an older kid attending preschool, it is a different ball game altogether. My moments were all in the honeymoon period of playschool for fun and socialising. The best and this is not an exaggeration, no traffic to brave, no weird or dangerous drivers to encounter, and no queuing up at toll and petrol stations.

Well of course early days of motherhood was never this dreamy with late sleep-ins. With one toddler, and a love-to-cry newborn, we are mostly greeted with shouts and cries for milk or other discomforts. And since crying is contagious like that, the toddler starts getting disturbed and joins in the (lack of) fun by crying together. 

And time went on, things got better say sometime mid last year and since then we have been having very dreamy and comfy and very the curled-up together kind of sleep till I suddenly get up and realise 'We are late for school!' and start rushing to get the kid ready. Oh yeah, it is all about mad rush.

Back to reality, life as a full time working mother (FTWM) is shifting away from those habits. Whether we like or not, we gotta wake up and get ready for work. Prepare the simplest ever breakfast and stuff yourself before getting the kids packed and ready for school, whether they like it or not. At times they will be whining about going to school, all the way to school, till they reach the school gate and realise the friends are all there, and suddenly both will jump out of the car with no difficulties.

As this post was in the draft, I changed my hat back to SAHM as things did not work out with my project timings. And boy am I relieved at slowing down back to the role as a mother. Only now I realise how much I had my life on fast forward daily. Rushing to do everything to meet the timeline of everything.

Well of course life as  SAHM is not a walk in the park either, but at least now I can properly concentrate on the kids and the home without the stress and missing important moments. I take this as a short break till I decide what I want to do next. I will definitely be back!

In the time being, I am back to doing what I enjoy the most, cooking and baking, yippieee... and kids are also in for a great treat with fun activities that we have planned (or rather unplanned) for us!

Among the first treat for the kids is baking butter cookies, a recent craze among my like-minded facebook group, and although my piping was an epic fail, I managed to give it a nice twist, and Sanju loved it!

And if you want to have these melt-in-your-mouth little fragrant little pills right in your home, here is the recipe!

Salted butter 200g (room temperature) use good grade butter like golden churn or scs or lurpark.

50g icing sugar
150g flour
Corn flour 50g

1) Beat butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy.
2) Sift flour and corn flour and mix into the dough.
3) Put the dough into the piping bags, using flower nozzle pattern on a baking sheet.
4) Heat the oven to 160 degrees and bake for about 15 minutes. (Put the middle, turn on the oven fan)
5) After done, let the cookies cool before storing.
* Temperature and time required to make adjustments based on personal oven while.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Jumping The Bandwagon

These MyKuali Penang White Curry Noodles have been a recent craze all over the Facebook, and like anything viral, it stays on the feeds never going away, or rather keep popping up again and again. It's either someone asking how/where to buy it, or raving about how good it was, or just commenting 'how overrated'. Regardless of the comments, the curiousity got the best of me.

I usually do not jump into any kind of bandwagons, unless I personally feel inclined for the positive benefits for mankind, or just pleasure to the tastebuds. Especially when it comes to soupy instant noodles with curry gravy. The plain noodles that call out to be glorified in a way no instant noodles have ever been. Yeah baby, yeah!

So I managed to get hold of these noodles, which are totally overpriced by now, but what the heck, I needed my fix!

There is something about glorifying instant noodles that runs in the family, you can ask my dad for the amount of ginger, garlic and bean sprouts that he puts into his. And when everything else fails, hubby and I eat instant noodles with good amount of kimchi, totally rocks!

Pardon the bleak photo, my first attempt at glorifying the Penang white curry noodles turned out this way, with tofu, cherry tomatoes, bakchoy and the usual onion garlic ginger. The picture does not do justice to tell the story of the tastebuds dancing away with the rhythm of the delicacy. We all loved it!

And then it was hubby being left behind in the bandwagon, and thankfully I had saved a packet for him on a rainy day. Come rainy day, I added some extra TLC for his version. The soup is of chicken stock, with dumplings, bean sprout and lettuce. Not forgetting onion. And to thicken the soup I used the age-old trick from hubby's grandma. Once the soup is boiling, break the egg in, turn off the heat and cover. Give a few minutes and open the lid and give it a stir to break the egg yolk, and voila you have a thick egg-y gravy!

As we slurped and ate the noodles, I kept commenting on how overpriced those are. If the makers of these noodles are listening, please do something about the availability and the price of the noodles to ensure every human to practice their right to have freedom over purchasing and eating them, instead of going after bandwagons that cost so much!

I was earlier told that the egg into the gravy does not help the taste, but I would like to politely begging beg to differ. The egg works just so wonderful that you don't know what hit you. Oh wait, I know, Penang white curry noodles! Its such a mouthful to say, and EAT! Maybe I should just become an instant noodle specialist or something.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

And He Turns Four!

Move over Aamir Khan, you have competition.

Sanju has just created great Dhoom turning four. Dhoom-4.

I still remember this fella when he greeted the world with his curious look.

And the recent angry young man look, complete with tool sets.

After this look was released, they decided to release Sholay in 3D, how cool is that? Angry young man, I say again.

He enjoys his robotic movies immensely. In his jammies for convenience.

While the festive season is still on, here's wishing Gong Xi Fatt Chai to all, Huat AHHHH!!


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