Thursday, August 14, 2008

Good Fortune Soup

Good Fortune Soup
Recipe by Amy Beh


1 kampung chicken, about 1.5kg, chopped into sizeable pieces

1.5 litres water

2 red dates

1 tsp kei chi

2 dried figs

1 dried mushroom, soaked to soften

1 dried scallop

4 pieces dried longan flesh

5 pieces canned abalone


Dash of salt, sugar and pepper

1 tsp Shao Hsing Hua Tiau wine (optional)


Combine all ingredients (A) in a double boiler and double-boil for 2 hours.

Add the abalone and seasoning at the last 10 minutes (add Shao Hsing Hua wine just before serving when the soup is still very hot.)

Transfer all ingredients and soup into individual soup tureens and serve immediately.

Good Fortune Soup
Easy Cooking Recipe

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Best Cookies: Oatmeal Crispies

Best Cookies: Oatmeal Crispies
by: Donna Monday

These crisp, light, crunchy cookies are perfect with a cup of coffee or tea.

Oatmeal Crispies

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup shortening
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups uncooked quick-cooking oats
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt


Combine brown sugar, butter and shortening in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; continue beating until well mixed. Reduced speed to low; add oats, flour, baking soda and salt. Beat, scraping bowl often, until well mixed.

Divide dough in half. Shape each half into 6-inch log. Wrap each in plastic food wrap. Refrigerate until firm (2 to 3 hours).

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut logs into ¼ -inch slices with sharp knife. Place slices 1-inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand 1 to 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets.

About the author:
© Donna Monday
Love Cookies? All your favorites here

Friday, March 14, 2008

Garam Masala - The Spices of India

Garam Masala - The Spices of India
by: Alden Smith

India is known for its excellent cuisine, it's unique regions of cooking, and a pleasant dining experience. India is distinguished in the world's cuisine for it vegetarian dishes. One thing all of the regional cuisines of India have in common is it's use of spices.

Garam masala is an essential ingredient in the cooking of the Punjab region of northern India. Loosely defined, "masala" is any blend of spices, and "garam" means hot.

Generally, garam masala is added to the dish very shortly before serving to enhance flavor. Garam Masala is also an excellent rub for chicken and beef.

Garam masala is available prepared in ethnic groceries, and specialty stores such as World Market. The disadvantage of this is that one doesn't know how old the spices are, or what changes in temperatures and packaging it has been subjected to. One takes a chance on the potency and fragrance of this blend if it is bought already prepared. It is a simple process to make garam masala, and ingredients, with the exception of cardamom pods, are readily available. cardamom pods are available in Indian and natural food stores. Buy the green pods versus the white pods, which are bleached. Cardamom is an expensive spice, second only in price to saffron. It is expensive because it has to be hand picked. This spice is best used by toasting the seed removed from the pod, and then ground in a spice mill, along with the other ingredients of garam masala. Cardamom loses its essential oils and flavors quickly after being cracked and ground, and so buying the pods and toasting and grinding is the best method of use for this great spice.

To make Garam Masala, use the following ingredients:

2 cardamom pods, seeded
1 teaspoon whole cloves
30 whole peppercorns
2 teaspoons whole cumin seed
1 2-inch piece cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

The best method for making garam masala is to toast and then grind the ingredients. This is accomplished by placing the seed ingredients one at a time in a pan over medium high heat, and shaking them until they just begin to smoke and release their distinctive aromas. It will take approximately 1-3 minutes. Be sure not to burn the seeds!

Place the toasted ingredients in a spice mill, and grind to a fairly fine mixture. The garam masala can then be stored in a tightly sealed glass jar for up to 6 months. Any time after that, and the spices will begin to lose flavor and aroma.

I use garam masala for a rub for roasted or grilled chicken and beef. The aroma and flavor are outstanding, and chicken baked or grilled will retain the excellent flavor of the garam masala.

Try garam masala today. Cooking with the spices of northern India is an experience that every adventurous chef should try!

About the author:
Alden Smith is an award winning and published author who has been marketing on the internet for over 7 years. Visit his website for great articles, recipes, and cooking tips.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Rum Raisin Cheesecake

Best Recipes: Rum Raisin Cheesecake
by: Donna Monday

If you like rum raisin ice cream, you’ll enjoy the flavor of rum raisin in this unique cheesecake.


1 cup old fashioned or quick cooking oats, uncooked
¼ cup chopped nuts
3 tablespoons margarine, melted
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar


2 8-oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup flour
2 eggs
½ cup sour cream
3 tablespoons rum
2 tablespoons margarine
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup raisins
¼ cup chopped nuts
2 tablespoons old fashioned or quick cooking oats, uncooked


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine oats, nuts, margarine and brown sugar; press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Combine cream cheese, granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons flour, mixing at medium speed on electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Blend in sour cream and rum; mix well. Pour over crust.

Cut margarine into combined remaining flour and brown sugar until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in raisins, nuts and oats. Sprinkle over cream cheese mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

Loosen cake from rim of pan; cool before removing rim of pan.

About the author:
© Donna Monday
Brownies, Cheesecake, Fudge and more . . .

Friday, January 18, 2008

Barbeque Basics

Barbeque Basics
by: Valerie Giles

There’s nothing more enjoyable than having friends and family
gathered around amidst the wonderful smells of charcoal-grilled
prawns, vegetables and selected favorites. Barbecuing is one of
those time- honored rituals that go hand in hand with summertime.
Whether you’re in your backyard or at you’re favorite camping
site, barbecuing is a pleasure to be enjoyed by the whole family.

Barbecuing has never been more exciting; with the endless designs
of barbecues available and the myriad of barbecue cookbooks and
cooking shows it really does take barbecuing into a whole new
realm. With recipes for everything from grilled bananas to
peaches and dry rubs for ribs, barbecues aren’t just for cooking
steaks and burgers anymore. With all the available barbecuing
options it helps to know a few of the barbecuing terms and
barbecuing utensils that are used.

Firstly, barbecues come in a wide variety of options; there are
propane, natural gas and the standard barbecues for use with
charcoal. Barbecues can come with range style one, two and four
burner options along with rotisseries. There are even barbecues
that have coolers built right into the bottom! Barbecuing has
never been quite so convenient.

When you’re using your barbecue it really helps to have the right
utensils and barbeque accessories, this will make your barbecuing
experience easier and more enjoyable. Long handled tongs, basting
brushes and spatulas are quite helpful. Heavy -duty oven mitts
can also be useful. Of course you don’t want to forget the proper
wire brushes and scrubbers (crumpled foil even works well) to
remove build-up, keeping your grill racks clean.

Foods that are tender such as fish, vegetables and some burgers
can benefit from cooking in a special grill basket (this way you
aren’t loosing any of your meal into the barbecue). There are
also special racks available to be used with corn, potatoes,
ribs and meat.

An excellent barbecue accessory is the grill wok, with this you
can make you’re favorite stir fries and vegetable dishes; the wok
has small holes throughout that allow heat and smoke to penetrate
the food. Another great grill accessory is the grill pizza tray
used mostly for grilled pizza. Other grill accessories include;
( )
the grill topper used for fish and vegetables providing an even
cooking surface, which prevents foods from falling through the
grill rack; you can never have too many skewers in assorted
lengths which can be used with a skewer rack for grilling your
favorite marinated vegetables and meats; smoker boxes for gas
grills filled with soaked wood chips add a wonderful smoked
flavor to foods. Lastly foil packets are available or simple tin
foil to wrap foods, just remember that you may be sacrificing
the grill and smoke flavors when foods are wrapped tightly.

After you have the utensils and proper grilling accessories
needed for you’re barbeque experience you’ll want to familiarize
yourself on the different types of grilling processes and terms
to find the ones that work best for you and to know exactly what
has to be done. To start, basting is probably the most familiar
of barbecuing terms, a simple brushing with a seasoned liquid
adding both flavor and moisture to your food. A brochette is
just French for a kabob, or simply food cooked on a skewer. A
glaze is a glossy, flavorful coating on food as it cooks as a
result of regular basting.

Three very popular methods of barbecuing are the direct grilling,
dry smoking and indirect grilling methods. Direct grilling is
probably the most popular grilling used, it is when food is
placed directly over the flame. It is a fast method because of
the intense heat and allows for browning on the outside of foods.
This process works best for food requiring short cooking times
such as burgers and steaks, you must remember to turn food over
to allow cooking on both sides. The dry smoking method is
achieved by placing a grill rack indirectly over the heat source
with the barbecue lid down, this allows the flame to burn thus
creating smoke which covers the food, giving you a smoky flavor.
Lastly the indirect grilling is a slow process of cooking because
of less heat, it is done by surrounding a drip pan with the coals
and putting the food over the pan, so the hot air circulates
around the food (similar to a convection oven). It is wise to
check with your barbecue owner manual for indirect grilling
specific to your barbecue, roasts work well with this method.

After you’ve acquired the barbecue and all the necessary cooking
utensils and accessories you’re ready for the best part of
barbecuing and that is the cooking of the food. Sauces, marinades
and rubs are popular cooking ideas when barbecuing. The sauce
can be said to define a great barbecue. Whether you use a little
or a lot is a matter of preference. A sauce often includes sugar,
honey or preserves, which can cause the sauce to burn when
cooking; a suggestion is to brush your sauce on in the last five
to ten minutes of cooking. There are a wide variety of sauces
and glazes to be made ranging from apple butter barbecue sauce
to raspberry piquant sauce.

Marinades are used for soaking your choice of meat, tofu or
vegetables. ( )
The marinating both tenderizes and permeates the food with
flavor, adding flavor and promoting crisp brown exteriors,
changing an otherwise average dinner into a great one. Marinades
are virtually fool proof and can be made in advance refrigerated
in an airtight container for up to a week. The three basic
ingredients in a marinade are; flavorings such as herbs, spices,
sweeteners; oils which keep the food pliable and give a crispy
crust; acids such as citrus juices, wines, vinegars and yogurts
used to balance the sweetness. It is suggested to use the acids
sparingly on fish and poultry, as they will soften the flesh
when used.

A virtually fat free and easy way to add flavor to food is by
using a variety of bold seasonings in a rub. The food is rubbed
with spices prior to grilling, the rub transforms into a crunchy
brown crust that seals in the juices and enhances the flavors of
the food. The spices should be generously applied coating the
entire surface of the food; the food should then be covered and
put in the fridge for 15 minutes to 2 hours. Simplicity is the
key for making rubs, salt and sugar are two of the main
ingredients and the rest are up to you.

Whatever your barbecuing specialty might be barbecues can be
both a fun and convenient way to make dinner. Summertime needn’t
be the only time of year that you’re barbecuing, if weather
allows you can barbecue all year round. The options have never
been more exciting, and the variety of foods and recipes never
more abundant.

About the author:
Valerie Giles owns and operates Best BBQ Online , a resource web
site featuring bbq grills, bbq smokers, weber gas grills, grill
accessories and rotisseries, bbq recipes and marinades and patio
heaters. Everything you need for the barbequing season.