Thursday, 14 February 2008
Cooked by Ihsan at 9:16 am
Maybe this is why I should study instead of taking a "5 minute break" to mess around with my template. I had a test blog for that, but accidentally changed the template of THIS blog instead. And no, I didn't save it, because I wasn't expecting to change it yet!
Yes, that was stupid.
Anyway, I have exams in one and a half weeks, so I don't have time to correct this until its over. Until then, please enjoy this lovely theme, and rest assured, Food for Thought will be back with a better layout soon. Yes, all the links will be restored, and all my lovely lists and quotes. *cries*
This is also a good time to tell you not to expect anything for the next two and a half weeks, as I don't think I will have time to make anything fancy. Ayam goreng saja, haha.
Sigh. So the moral of the story is ... Don't be Stupid. Do your work.
This is ihsan babble
Monday, 11 February 2008
Cooked by Ihsan at 1:48 pm
Now this is a dish that you definitely won't be able to make (at least, not easily) in Brunei, because you don't get too much fresh pasta there. Fresh noodles, yes, but not pasta, and particularly not tortellini, which are a type of stuffed pasta, which apparently (interestingly enough) was based on the shape of a woman's navel.... Tortelloni are the same, but slightly bigger in size. You can, of course, make your own, but that kind of defeats the simplicity of this dish.
But anyway, even if tortellini is available here in the UK, I still have to pick a vegetarian one, which limits it somewhat. Unfortunately, they mostly use non-vegetarian Italian hard cheeses like percorino romano, parmesan, etc... All I could find was spinach and ricotta filling. Now, I am neither a fan of spinach nor ricotta, but I thought I'd be able to handle it. So here we go!
What you need:
(Recipe is scaled for 2 people - half the amount if you want enough for one person, as I did)
300g pack tortelloni
150g fresh Italian ball mozarella, torn into chunks
Half a 400g jar of pasta sauce
What you do:
- Splash a little cold water into a baking dish, then lay the tortelloni in the dish in a single layer.
- Scatter half the mozzarella over the pasta, spoon the sauce over, then top with the rest of the cheese. (I also added one tomato, sliced)
- Bake in a preheated 180 C oven for about 20 min, or until cheese is melted and bubbling. Serve immediately.
So anyway.... how was it? To tell you the truth... I don't like it much. Mainly because of the filling - not so much on the spinach, since you can't really taste it, but the ricotta. I can't stand it, meh. However, I apparently have the palate of a 5 year old, so I am sure many others would like this dish better. Hadi and Justin for one, though they would probably shudder at the cost. They were always proud on how cheap their dinners cost to make, and how expensive mine always were. Meh...
Another problem I had was the pasta. I suppose the water at the bottom of the pan was supposed to cook it. I don't know if I put too much water or not, but by the end of the cooking time, the pasta was swimming in the water. Which made it a little, hmmmm... watery, shall we say. But also, the parts of the pasta that wasn't swimming wasn't cooked. It was actually crunchy, from the baking. So that's no good either. I would suggest that you cover the dish, at least for the first 15 minutes, maybe give the pasta a chance to steam a little. I also found that the pasta didn't meld so well with the pasta sauce, but that might have been because of the excess water.
The mozzarella though, was just amazing. All stringy and melty... a bit too mild for me, but oh well, good once in awhile. Be warned though, each ball is 150g, which is a total of 420 calories! Definitely not a single serve. I used slightly under half, but that still made over half the calories of this meal from the cheese. Which is never good, so I wouldn't make this too often, haha. :P
But it is an easy enough dish, for those days when you just can't be bothered to cook. Pasta and cheese freeze well (though I don't think that fresh mozzarella is) and pasta sauce lasts practically forever, if unopened. So keep a stock handy, and you'll have always have a handy standby. :)
Quote of the day: Cigarette sales would drop to zero overnight if the warning said CIGARETTES CONTAIN FAT.
Friday, 8 February 2008
Cooked by Ihsan at 9:23 am
So I saw this dish here and I was really really tempted. It has cheese, bread, and looks absolutely amazing. Being in UK, I can't exactly stroll over to the restaurant and taste it, so I thought I'd try to make it at home, though of course, that is never as good as the one you get in shops. :(
But its basically French toast with cheese in between, so how hard can it be right? But of course, Ihsan is *never* satisfied with her French toast, so she decided to get a new recipe for one. I've always liked the puffy looking ones, so when I came across this, I thought it was absolutely perfect. So here we go!
What you need:
4 slices white bread, crusts removed
2 slices mature cheddar cheese, or your favourite cheese
French toast batter:
1/2 cup flour
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, beaten lightly
(Or you can just be lazy and use just egg to coat the bread)
What you do:
- Place the cheese slices between two pieces of bread, then cut the sandwich in half diagonally.
- Make the French toast batter by adding the dry ingredients into a medium-sized bowl. Mix well, then add in the milk and egg.
- Beat until smooth and lump free.
- Dip the cheese sandwiches into the batter. Turn to coat both sides evenly.
- Fry in a lightly oiled frying pan until golden brown on both sides. Serve immediately.
So let's see... what went wrong here, because the basic recipe sounds really good to me... The first was that modified French toast recipe. I might just stick to normal egg next time. I mean, it was nice, sort of like a cross between pancakes and French toast, but I dunno... I could barely taste any egg, which is why I *like* French toast. So yes. That would teach me to be so not lazy and actually make a batter for French toast.
The next thing is... the cheese!! I could barely taste it. And that's definitely the cheese's fault, coz I used mild Cheddar slices. I wanted mature ones, but the Sainsbury's near here didn't have them, so... mild ones it was. That is why I specified mature cheese in the recipe above. That is an absolute must, and was partly why I didn't think my breakfast today was so hot. I could barely taste it.
And, last of all, is the way of cooking it. This would be really really really good if you deep fried, or at least shallow fried, it. But... you don't deepfry pancakes do you? So I had to pan fry this one. It does look nice and golden, but something is lacking - my guess is that slighly oily, juicy texture. ;) Of course, this way is healthier, but you miss something from doing it.
So that's the breakdown of what went wrong here. Don't get me wrong, I think the basic premise of it is still good, which is why I put this up. I wouldn't give you recipes for bad food, hehe. But it needs a little adjustment, for which I've written down some suggestions, so if you do try this out, I bet it would be much much better. Plus, it was really easy to make and took no time at all, so that's an added advantage.
Go with the normal egg coating, I say. :$
Quote of the day: She was so wild that when she made French toast she got her tongue caught in the toaster.
Monday, 4 February 2008
Cooked by Ihsan at 12:30 pm
So my study leave started today. I've had a rather busy and tiring weekend, which is why there have been no posts this weekend, but I really really needed to start studying, so I thought I'd get an early start my treating myself to a really nice breakfast. :D At first, I thought to just make plain pancakes, but then I saw a recipe for savoury pancake stacks that had cheese in them! Well, cheese is always good, no? The recipe used bacon in it, so feel free to use it if you want to, but I substituted with salami. So here we go!
What you need:
75g plain flour
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs
A little oil (I used butter) for frying
2 inches of salami, sliced and diced into small pieces
100g Cheddar cheese, plus a handful of mozzarella
1 tomato, cut in half and sliced
4 prepared pancakes
What you do:
- Preheat the oven to 200 C.
- Place the flour, salt and eggs into a large bowl with half the milk.
- Whisk (with an electric mixer, balloon whisk or a wooden spoon) until lump free. (or place all ingredients into a food processor and blend)
- Add the remaining milk and whisk until smooth. Pour batter into a jug - or you can save up on washing and do it all in one of those cheap plastic jugs you can get for 50p :) )
- Heat an 8-inch non-stick frying pan and melt some butter, using a piece of kitchen paper towel to spread it all around.
- Pour a little batter into the pan and immediately tilt to spread it around evenly. Cook for 2 minutes, or until the top is set and the base is golden. Turn the pancake over with a spatula - or toss it! ;)
- Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the base is golden. Transfer to a plate and keep warm, while you cook the rest of the batter. (Recipe is supposed to make 8-10, I got only 5. Probably made them too thick)
- To assemble the stack, place a pancake onto a lightly oiled baking tray and scatter over one third of the cheese, tomatoes and salami.
- Repeat and make two more layers, ending with the 4th pancake.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until the pancakes are crisp and the cheese melted. Serve immediately.
Anyhow, I had really high expectations for this dish, but was quite disappointed, in the end. It wasn't quite what I expected really. I don't like fresh tomatoes all that much, so the tomatoes in the filling was kind of a put-off. And of course, there's the whole not enough cheese bit. And to be honest, I really like plain food, and would have much preferred plain pancakes, hehe.
This dish does have potential though, I think. I just need to tweak it a bit. Maybe make it into some kind of a layered pizza thing, with tomato/pasta sauce instead of fresh tomatoes. That sounds a whole lot nicer, hehe. And maybe use fried chicken, instead of salami. Oooh, or make it into a savoury rolled pancake, with loads and loads of cheese, of course. ;)
The only thing that's a bother is making the pancakes. They're easy enough to make, but the fact that there are two stages in the cooking is also slightly troublesome. You *could* make the pancakes in advance, then freeze them, or just buy ready-made pancakes if you can find them. You could also use your own favorite ingredients in this, I think. This is one of those recipes that are quite open to modification.
So yeah... kind of a disappointment, but hey, it served its purpose. I did wake up relatively early. :D
Quote of the day: A waffle is like a pancake with a syrup trap.
Oh yes, the poll just finished today, with a grand total of 37 voters. Thanks for voting, hehe. Winner is Indian food, with Chinese and Japanese food trailing just a little bit behind. Malay cuisine didn't do too bad, but my personal vote for fast food (haha!) was unfortunately not joined by anyone else. Oh well. Look out for the next poll, coming soon! (and no, I am not a huge fan of Indian food, so I will probably not cook it all that often. :( I shall try something soon though!)