Monday, August 29, 2011

Tom Yam Seafood Fried Rice

I have to say that I am not a big fan of fried rice.  (How do I justify my stand?  It's just not a dish that I would usually order when I'm dining out.) 

However, I get a kick out of this fried rice recipe.  Why?  For the simple reason that I am a big chilli addict.  I happened to come across a fried tomyam noodles recipe when i was surfing through some local food blogs, and decided to adapt the recipe for fried rice.   As I love my food spicy, i usually throw in my favourite ingredient - the chilli padi.  Sometimes I forget that I have such a high threshold for spice, that my hubby gets the brunt of it when he eats my food.  

But no worries, for this recipe, the little killer chilli padis have been left out.  I love the flavour of this fried rice, especially with the fragrance of the lemongrass.  Seriously, what can go wrong with tom yam and seafood?

Tom Yam Seafood Rice
(serves 2)
- 2 servings of rice that have been refrigerated overnight
- 2 tbsp tom yam paste (optional : add in a tsp of brown sugar if you like to have a little balance of sweetness)
- 3 lemongrass stalks, cut to pieces, make slits on the stalks to release the aroma
- 1 tbsp chopped garlic
- 1 tbsp chopped onion
- vegetable or olive oil
- 8 large prawns, veins removed
- 1 squid, sliced

- In a wok, heat some oil and stir fry the garlic, onion & lemon grass stalks till fragrant.  Add prawns and squid, stir fry till everything is cooked. Set aside on a plate. (Note: Add the squid after the prawns. Squid cooks faster and turns rubbery when overcooked.)
- Return the lemongrass stalks to the wok. Add the rice followed by the tom yam paste. The rice should be fully coated in the tom yam paste. (You may add in more tom yam paste if desired)
- Return the previously cooked seafood that you set aside and mix in thoroughly with the rice.
- Serve rice in a bowl or on a plate

* If you are a big chilli padi fan as I am, slice 2 chilli padis and fry them together with garlic, onions and lemongrass at the start.  Be warned that it can get real hot!  

Friday, August 26, 2011

Vanilla Cupcakes with Royal Icing

I recently met up with a group of friends to celebrate one of their birthdays.  It was a belated birthday celebration, and we had dinner in a simple zi char restaurant which served a great fish steamboat.

As I'm not too confident with my baking skills yet (yes, for a newbie, I have had a string of baking disasters), instead of making a whole cakes, I was really keen to try out Nigella's Vanilla Cupcakes with Royal Icing.  It was suprisingly easy to make, and the cupcakes turned out rather well!  A big relief for me given that I baked them on the day itself.

The whole joy of making cupcakes lie in the decorating!  And how easy it is to decorate them using bright cheery M&Ms!  I would really love to make these again to brighten someone's day up.


Vanilla Cupcake with Royal Icing Recipe (adapted from Nigella)
makes 9-12 cupcakes depending on size of paper cases

125g of butter (softened)
1/2 cup & 1 tablespoon of caster sugar
3/4 cup of flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
2 tablespoons of milk

350g of sifted icing sugar
2 egg whites
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
A tube of mini M&Ms

Cupcakes :
- Preheat oven to 200*C. Line 12-hole muffin pan with paper cases.
- Place the butter, sugar, flour, eggs, baking soda, bicarbonate of soda into a food processor and mix till well combined, smooth and paler in colour.
- Add vanilla essence and milk with the processor on till well blended.
- Drop rounded tablespoons of mixture into each paper cake; bake about 15 minutes
- Place cakes on wire racks to cool

Frosting :
- Beat icing sugar and egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed till thick and creamy.  This may take 5-10 minutes.
- Add the lemon juice while the mixer is still on.
- Beat the mixture till firm peaks are formed.
- Spread the frosting on the cooled cupcakes and decorate with mini M&Ms.  Allow icing to set before serving.