Sunday, 24 March 2013

Attempt #45: Mango cooler

Alrighte! After attempting 3 different kind of beverages, I am getting the knack of it and it is kind of refreshingly fun! J

Here’s another creative way to make mango cooler. Try it!

The result:


Awesome way to use up those overripe mangoes. The lime added a tangy taste to the combination while the mint leaves provided that freshness that lingers in your mouth after the drink.

  • 2 large mangoes, as ripe as possible
  • 150 ml semi-skimmed milk
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 handful ice cubes
  • 1 handful fresh mint leaves, plus extra to serve
  • brown sugar or honey, to taste


Remove the skin and cut the juicy flesh off the mangoes. Place the fruit in a blender or food processor, along with any juice left on the chopping board. Add the milk, lime juice and zest, ice and mint leaves and give it all a good whiz until smooth. Taste, and if you've got a sweet tooth, add a sprinkling of brown sugar or honey and give it another quick whiz. Chill in the fridge before serving, then garnish with a few mint leaves.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Attempt #44: Kiwi fruit, ginger & banana smoothie

I have been pretty busy with my other jobs, chores…you name it and whipping up new menu for the dinner table isn’t in the priority list at the moment. But interestingly, I just felt that I want to at least attempt something simple just to spice the dinner table up. And what can be simpler than attempting new beverages/ drinks recipes by Jamie Oliver!!
So, the next few attempts will be just around drinks! Pretty creative ideas from Jamie that we can use for that dinner parties or even among the family.

Smoothies are usually one of the best ways to consume those unfortunately sourish, riping fruits and in this case, the hairy Kiwi fruit.

The result:

The banana was simply a natural sweetener that balances those sourish Kiwi fruits. I did replaced milk with Soy Milk and it still taste wonderful! Although the consistency came out to be too thick for our liking so we had to add more water or soy milk after the blending.

Jamie's rendition:

  • 3 kiwi fruit
  • 4 tablespoons organic porridge oats
  • 1 banana
  • 8 ice cubes
  • 200 ml organic milk
  • 250 g organic fat-free natural yoghurt
  • ½ cm piece fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 2-3 teaspoons honey, to taste

Top and tail the kiwi fruit and stand them on their ends. Slice the skin off in vertical strips with a sharp knife. Whiz the kiwi fruit with the remaining ingredients, apart from the honey, in a blender for 30 seconds and pour into 4 tall glasses. Sweeten with honey, if you like.

Attempt #43: Quick and Easy Flavoured Water – with Fresh Strawberries

Just water and add that 1-2 more ingredients to make that something ordinary becomes extraordinary.

The result:


The plain jug of water is now looks so much more sophisticated with that tinge of red floating around. Plus the strawberries sweetens the water in a sourish, sweet kind of way that quenches the thirst amazingly well and still provide that nice opening of appetite for dinner.



Ice cubes

1 Handful of Strawberries



Mash up a handful of strawberries or raspberries with a fork then add to the jug and stir through.
Jamie's rendition of the Easy Flavoured Water:

Attempt #42: Quick and Easy Flavoured Water – with Fresh Mint and Lime

I am going through this lazy strike of attempting new recipes for the past couple of days ….or has that been more than a week?? *Gosh*

Well, in my defence, I have been pretty busy with my other jobs, chores…you name it and whipping up new menu for the dinner table isn’t in the priority list at the moment. But interestingly, I just felt that I want to at least attempt something simple just to spice the dinner table up. And what can be simpler than attempting new beverages/ drinks recipes by Jamie Oliver!! J

So, the next few attempts will be just around drinks! Pretty creative ideas from Jamie that we can use for that dinner parties or even among the family.

The result:


Literally, in just a couple of minutes, a plain jug of water was turned into something much more exciting and refreshing! Plus mint leaves is packed with loads of health benefits that helps with digestion, nausea, headache and cough and help opens up congestion of the lungs.




I handful of Mint Leaves

1 Lime or Lemon 

Ice cubes


Scrunch a handful of fresh mint in your hands to get the flavour going then add that to the jug with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. If you're feeling a bit adventurous, add a few slices of cucumber too.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Attempt #41: Prawn & watermelon salad

Ahhh…. Just like eggs + bacon, pancakes + bananas and rum + coke, the combination of prawns + watermelons are also just meant to be. Safe recipe to attempt when having to bring a dish for those potluck dinners! J

The result:

Instead of baby spinach, I used ‘bayam’ (which is a different type of more popular known spinach in Malaysia) and I did blanch the ‘bayam’ first so that it is not so raw.

Jamie’s rendition:

Ingredients (serves 2)
zest and juice of 2 limes
  • 12 raw prawns, from sustainable sources, ask your fishmonger, peeled
  • 100 g unsalted cashews
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 small bunch mint
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach
  • 400 g watermelon, seeds removed, cut into chunks
  • 4 spring onions, finely sliced
  • sesame oil
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


Put the zest and juice of one of the limes in a bowl and toss the prawns in it. Leave to marinate while you prepare the other ingredients.

Heat a wok or frying pan, then add the cashews and heat until lightly toasted.

Add the sesame seeds for 30 seconds until they start to brown and pop, then remove all the nuts from the pan. Crush lightly with the bottom of a saucepan and place in a big mixing bowl.

Add the mint, chopped chilli, baby spinach, watermelon and spring onion to the mixing bowl and toss with the toasted nuts.

Add the prawns to the hot pan with a splash of sesame oil, season with salt and pepper and stir-fry lightly for a few minutes until cooked through.

Toss the cooked prawns with the other ingredients in the mixing bowl and season with lime juice, sesame oil, salt and pepper.

Tip: If you can't find cashews, unsalted peanuts will do instead

Attempt #40: Tagliatelle with asparagus, crispy pancetta & Parmesan

This recipe is certainly quick and easy as Jamie had introduced it in his website. While you can’t go wrong with this recipe as it is really so easy, I find it lacking in sufficient taste. It doesn’t call for garlic or onions and you have to solely rely on the quality of your olive oil, parmesan cheese in (which too much isn't that healthy) and the freshness of your pasta. In this case I can now understand why the recipe calls for FRESH egg tagliatelle pasta. Note the word FRESH. J

NOTE: Tagliatelle pastas are long, flat ribbons that are similar in shape to fettuccine and are typically about 6.5 mm to 10 mm (0.25 to 0.375 inch) wide. Tagliatelle pastas are usually made from egg and can be served with a variety of sauces, though the classic is a meat sauce or Bolognese sauce.

The result of my attempt as below:

Not a recipe that I will try again unless I am ill in bed and need a mild concoction of carbohydrate J

Jamie’s rendition:

Ingredients (Serves 4)
1 bunch asparagus
  • 12 thin slices higher-welfare pancetta, sliced into small strips
  • 500 g fresh egg tagliatelle
  • 40 g Parmesan, grated
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil


Snap the woody bottoms off the asparagus stalks and throw them away.

Cut off the top 4cm of each stalk, put to one side and finely chop the remaining stalks. Heat a wide frying pan and gently fry the chopped asparagus stalks in a little olive oil with the pancetta. When the asparagus softens slightly turn the heat off and mash them roughly with the back of a fork.

Cook the tagliatelle in plenty of boiling salted water, according to pack instructions. Add the asparagus tips for the last 2 minutes of cooking time.

Drain the pasta, reserving a cup of the cooking water, and toss with the mashed asparagus and pancetta.

Stir in most of the Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper. If needed loosen the pasta with a little of the cooking water. Serve with the last of the Parmesan sprinkled on top.

Tip: Cooking your asparagus with the pasta is a clever way to save on time and washing up.

Onions 101

Before I started my serial cooking attempts, I have never truly paid much attention to the different types and the price of onions. Usually, I just get the standard red medium sized onions that can be abundantly found in the local wet markets or most grocers / supermarkets here in KL.

However, with my Jamie O’s attempts and some of his recipes require yellow and white onions, I decided to google the difference between the red, yellow and white ones. And now I know! :)
Here's the low down on the different types of onions:
Yellow Onions
Yellow onions are the most popular cooking onions because they add excellent flavor to most stews, soups, and meat dishes. In fact, typically when a cooked recipe calls for onion, yellow onion is a safe way to go. Yellow onions have a yellow-brown papery skin on the outside and a white flesh.

Yellow onion has higher sulfur content which means it will make your eyes water faster. Because the yellow onion has such high sulfur content, it has a more pungent flavor and smell, which typically makes it too strong to eat raw unless there are other ingredients to counter-balance the flavor. Most people uses yellow onions in stews, soups, sautéed dishes, and shish kabobs as they have excellent flavor when cooked.

White Onions

White onions have an all-white skin and an all-white flesh. They have a slightly milder flavor than the yellow onion and are a great substitute if you’re in need of an onion flavor, but don’t want it to be too powerful. White onions are commonly used in Mexican cuisines.

Red Onions

You’re most likely to see red onions in non-cooked dishes, such as salads and sandwiches. Of the different colored onions, the red onion is the most mild, sweet onion. Red onions have the purplish-red skin which color is layered though it’s white flesh. Some don’t like to cook heated dishes with red onion because it doesn’t produce enough onion flavor to enhance the meal. (Cooking an onion diminishes its flavor, but increases the flavor of the food around it).

How to Pick a Good Onion

In general, when you’re choosing onions in the store, the best ones will be firm, have a crackly outer skin, and have a mild scent. If their scent is overwhelming it’s a good sign the onion is starting to spoil. Avoid onions with dark spots or mold as well unless you are going to use them right away. On another note, onions tend to store better in a slightly cooler, darker area, although the fridge is not recommended. The onion smell has a tendency to spoil the flavor of other foods in the fridge.

And if you need to chop an onion, this style of chopping an onion will help to reduce the ‘crying’ J