Food Porn Day: Oreo (Monster) Cupcakes

Oreo cupcakes - don't they look like little monsters?

Oreo cupcakes - don't they look like little monsters?

I wouldn’t normally consider writing about a recipe that didn’t turn out well, but the thing is the idea of these Oreo cupcakes by Beantown Baker (I called them Oreo monster cupcakes ’cause of the way they look) were great. There’s half an Oreo at the bottom – which you split using the twist method, naturally – and more Oreos which are chopped into quarters folded into the batter. More of the biscuits are then crushed finely and sprinkled on top. Also there’s another piece of Oreo without the cream on top as the pièce de résistance. Sounds good, right?

Oreo at the bottom

Oreo at the bottom

Well, Mom found this recipe randomly on Google, and the noob in me didn’t think to read the comments before attempting these. Learn from my mistake; ALWAYS read the comments beforehand! The problem with this recipe lies in the methodology (don’t I sound like a geeky critic?), which really produced some WTH moments. First step involved creaming the butter, which is normal enough, except the next step involved pouring all the milk in and attempting to cream it some more. Naturally, the two would not incorporate and you’re left wondering if it’s right. Then you dunk in the flour mixture, and if yours turns out anything like ours, you’ll wonder if you just made light brown cement, because that’s what it resembled. Sure, we laughed about it, but it really is frustrating, especially since we were making these for my sister’s birthday. At this point, I had pulled more butter out of the fridge and planned to make failproof vanilla cupcakes.

Cupcakes out of the oven

Cupcakes out of the oven

But Mom kept following the steps, continuing to beat the egg whites in and voila, it suddenly looked like cupcake batter again. We were a bit hesitant but we put them in the oven anyway. It didn’t have that slightly golden look that we have come to expect of cupcakes and they needed about 25 minutes in the oven, which I really consider to be far too long for cupcakes. The next day, we frosted them as per the picture. Instead of slightly golden cupcakes, we had an albino-tinged cupcakes, and our cream cheese frosting was slightly yellow, as expected with the combination of butter. It certainly wasn’t what the original looked like. And finally, we decided to try one.

Cream cheese frosting, mmm!

Cream cheese frosting, mmm!

Okay, the cake itself was fairly dense and a little sweet, considering the addition of Oreos. I don’t know about you guys but I think a cupcake should be light. Not to the point of being airy, but these cupcakes tasted a bit fudgey, almost as though we had refrigerated them. But as earlier mentioned, the part where the Oreos come in are really smart, and they look great. I’d advise you guys to use your favourite vanilla or chocolate cupcake recipe and add the Oreos in. Either that, or cream the butter and sugar, then fold in the flour and milk in alternate batches. You can definitely use her recipe for cream cheese frosting. I only used 1 1/2 cups of icing sugar though, and you can reduce them as per your liking. You should make them on the day itself or store in airtight containers as the Oreos will lose their crispness.

Anatomy of an Oreo monster cupcake!

Anatomy of an Oreo monster cupcake!

Have fun making your own version of these Oreo cupcakes!

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Chicken, Bacon & Sundried Tomato ‘Parcels’

Chicken, Bacon & Sundried Tomato 'Parcels'

Chicken, Bacon & Sundried Tomato 'Parcels'

This is a lazy meal.

Okay, if you haven’t closed this window, you may proceed!

Butter makes everything better

Butter makes everything better

Buy four large chicken fillets (breast, thigh or mystery part);
four slices of cheese which will melt beautifully;
four slices of middle bacon;
wooden skewers or satay sticks;
and a small packet/jar of sundried tomatoes.

Time to wrap it up!

Time to wrap it up!

Oh, and butter, if you don’t have any in the fridge.
But you should.
Because butter is… well, butter.

And that’s it.
Everything you need for four awesome chicken parcels.
Make some mash,
steam some greens (technically, corn on a cob is yellow but I always make an exception for corn – however that works),
and that’s dinner.

Bacon - what would we do without it?

Bacon - what would we do without it?

Oh, for the love of laziness!

Chicken, Bacon & Sundried Tomato ‘Parcels’

  • 4 chicken fillets
  • 4 slices of cheese
  • 4 slices of middle bacon
  • 8 pieces of sundried tomatoes
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 4 wooden skewers/satay sticks
  • salt and pepper
  1. Season the chicken fillets with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the butter in a pan and fry the chicken fillets for about 3 minutes per side. Don’t worry if it’s not fully cooked as it will go into the oven. Remove to plate to cool slightly.
  3. Optional: Fry the bacon in a hot pan for about a minute per side and remove.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius and line a baking tray with foil.
  5. On the uneven side of one fillet where it’s been deboned, place 2 pieces of sundried tomato and a slice of cheese (which you can tear to fit).
  6. Roll this up and wrap it with a slice of bacon. Hold this together by piercing it with a wooden skewer.
  7. Repeat with the rest of the chicken fillets.
  8. Roast in the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, turning the tray halfway through roasting time.
  9. Remove from oven and serve immediately.
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Food Porn Day: Pad See Ew for Beginners

Pad See Ew for Beginners

Pad See Ew for Beginners

When I told my family that I’d make pad see ew for dinner, it was really because I had a craving for fried rice noodles. I didn’t want to risk making char kueh teow though (knowing how difficult it is to make!) and end up with a sticky mess. My family doesn’t eat Thai food very often, and I had only eaten pad see ew twice, but I remembered cleaning my plate up in record time. And that is always a good sign.

After scavenging around in the pantry, Mom handed me thin rice noodles.

“No, Mom. I need the thick one.”

“Why?”

“‘Cause it’s not pad thai.”

Rice Noodles

Rice Noodles

After running helter-skelter, I proceeded to fry everything up with Dad’s help and advice, which mostly consisted of specific chopstick manoeuvres (seriously!) and adding more oil. It was almost ready when dad asked where the peanuts were.

“Dad… it’s pad see ew.”

“What?”

Well, it’s a good thing everyone liked it in the end anyway, even if it wasn’t pad thai! Pad see ew is the more savoury cousin of the famous pad thai, and as earlier mentioned, it is made with thick rice noodles. According to the recipe from Chez Pim, the elements that make up the dish (vegetables, meat and noodles) are fried off individually before being combined.

Pad See Ew slowly (but surely!) coming together

Pad See Ew slowly (but surely!) coming together

I used dried noodles, which are first soaked in hot water for about five minutes or so. Also, I actually didn’t have Chinese broccoli or kai lan as they don’t stock these in my local supermarkets, so I used some other green vegetable. Don’t be like me; the dish is way better with the right greens. Finally, I looked high and low and found the missing unopened bottle of kicap manis that had expired several months ago. Missing a crucial ingredient pretty much right before you’re about to turn on the heat? Yup, been there, done that, made a substitute and served dinner.

That’s how I roll. Or not.

Close-up

Close-up

What I did was I mixed together soy sauce, brown sugar and Chinese cooking caramel as my kicap manis substitute. I can’t really say how the dish was affected, besides the obvious darker colour, except that the end result was still delicious. Of course, if you have kicap manis and check that it isn’t past the use-by date, you wouldn’t be in this situation so again, don’t be like me. If you’re using an electric stove (like the lazy me who couldn’t be bothered with the gas one), you will need to turn the heat up pretty high. Have all your ingredients and a good wok ready, and make sure the wok is hot. If you’re frying the noodles and it gets sticky, it probably needs a bit of oil and separate the noodles out with a pair of wooden chopsticks or your spatula. As Pim mentioned, it’s not the healthiest dish in the book. Honestly, when you’re wolfing it down, I doubt you’ll care. Or perhaps it was just my reaction when I finally got to eat fried rice noodles.

Now head over to Chez Pim for her pad see ew recipe!

Get acquainted with these noodles now

Get acquainted with these noodles now

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Post-Australian Red Cross Big Cake Bake!


Big Cake Bake: Kerbside Lane Markets

Big Cake Bake: Kerbside Lane Markets

Last Sunday, I took part in the Australian Red Cross Big Cake Bake along with several other Brisbane-based food bloggers. It was a really wonderful effort put together by Monkylicious, so bravo to her for her hard work. Altogether, the amount raised was $742.50 and I think I wouldn’t be wrong to say that everyone’s proud of the results. Woohoo!

Bright and sunny Sunday!

Bright and sunny Sunday!

I only baked 4 dozen brown butter cupcakes with cookie dough frosting and filling (you can find the recipe here) but that took me all day on Saturday because I needed to wait for the butter to solidify. After dinner, I went back to frosting the cupcakes. The consistency of the frosting I made didn’t seem right for a ziploc bag and since I still don’t have a proper piping bag, I pretty much slapped on the frosting with a couple of spoons and on went a bit of chocolate chips. I set about packing them into large plastic containers and laughably enough, even my plastic bread bin because I don’t own a cupcake carrier. I wrote an ingredients list and a label for my cupcakes on a piece of cardboard from an old cereal box, and that was that.

The making of brown butter cupcakes with cookie dough frosting and filling

The making of brown butter cupcakes with cookie dough frosting and filling

The next morning, I awoke to Twitter pictures of beautifully frosted cupcakes that would be sold next to mine. To be honest, I was horrified, chiding myself for not putting more effort with presentation, and I wasn’t sure if I still wanted to turn up with mine. I had to tell myself to woman up and I made my way there with my family in tow. At the stall itself, I discovered what everyone else had made. There were delicious looking vegan cupcakes in peach tea and red velvet flavours. Double chocolate cupcakes with handmade red ‘horns’ and the most lovely looking pink rosewater buttercream frosting. Ninjabread (as in gingerbread) men. Delicate white edible butterflies that were also handmade. Citrus cupcakes topped with coconut. Rich, rich brownies. Kaya toast cupcakes (really!). Vietnamese coffee flavoured cupcakes. Talk about cupcake porn!

Say it with me: YUM!

Say it with me: YUM!

Some of the goodies that were on sale

Some of the goodies that were on sale

I’m glad I brought mine though, cause I managed to sell almost all, except one that had its top lopped off (I still don’t know what caused the beheading, haha), and three that were still at the stall when I left. YAY! I received good feedback for my cupcakes and the recipe was published in a cute zine that Monkylicious put together. By the way, most of the photos here in this post were taken by my sister so if you see a shadow at the corner of the photo, yes, that’s her accidentally covering the lens with her finger, haha! Being part of this cake bake really made my weekend, so thank you to the organisers and my friends who turned up and spread the word to their friends. You’re all wonderful cupcake ingesters! ♥

My humble cupcake stand :)

My humble cupcake stand 🙂

Spend my weekend baking and frosting cupcakes for a wonderful cause? I’d do it again in a heartbeat!

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Australian Red Cross Big Cake Bake at the Kerbside Lane Markets

Big Cake Bake

Big Cake Bake

Guess what?!

Nah, no recipes today. Today’s post is about how I’m gonna spend all day baking, filling and frosting cupcakes tomorrow for Sunday’s cake stall to raise funds for the Red Cross. YAY! Extremely worthwhile cause, as I’m sure you will agree. Organised by Monkylicious, I will be baking with several other bloggers and we’ll be selling all these goodies at Kerbside (corner of Ann Street & Constance Street) on October 9th (yes, this Sunday!) from 1 pm to 6 pm. This event will cater to everyone, including vegans, so you have no excuse not to turn up! I tried to be discreet about what type of cupcakes I was making, but failed and now it’s all over twitterverse and Facebook. Major woops! I only hope I don’t end up disappointing everyone, haha!

Brown butter cupcakes filled with cookie dough and topped with cookie dough frosting

Brown butter cupcakes filled with cookie dough and topped with cookie dough frosting

For all those in Brisbane who would has nothing on their agenda for Sunday, please come along to Kerbside Lane Markets in Fortitude Valley for a brilliant time with cupcakes! Naturally, cupcakes make everything brilliant. True story. Even if you do have something on the agenda, you should still come along and bring your family, friends and frenemies. Nothing better than getting frosting all over your noses to make those age-old rivalries melt away. I think.

You can find the Facebook event page here or donate here if you can’t make it to the event. Hope to see you there snogging and snorting down cupcakes (and I mean that in a good way, really)!

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The Basic Boneless Roast Lamb with Garlic & Rosemary

The Basic Boneless Roast Lamb with Garlic & Rosemary

The Basic Boneless Roast Lamb with Garlic & Rosemary

Roast lamb has always been one of my favourite dishes ever since I was a child. It used to be synonymous with really large parties held by family friends who would rent large canopies, large round tables and plastic chairs to accommodate their guests. Of course, these parties would also mean copious amounts of food of all kinds, and occasionally, to my delight, the wonderful roast lamb, which is carved right when you order. BRILLIANT.

Lamb all dressed up for the party! Sorry, does that make me sound like a sadist?

Lamb all dressed up for the party! Sorry, does that make me sound like a sadist?

Lamb tends to be really flavourful, juicy and tender, and even though a bit goes a long way, I can never stop myself from having just a little bit more. What can I say? It always feels like a party where there’s roast lamb. Classical conditioning, I reckon! Of course, a roast meal here always needs the usual accompaniments in the form of potatoes and carrots. Since I admit so easily to being a lazy cook, yes, all I did was shove the spuds in the oven along with the lamb. No boiling or even nuking beforehand. What can I say? Oh right, absolutely nothing, because spuds always manage to taste great. Of course, my brother decided that a little bit of aioli could no harm too. Wonderful things, potatoes! And brothers!

The usual suspects for a roast!

The usual suspects for a roast!

The butcher at my local supermarket was very kind. He offered to help me debone the lamb shoulder and wrap it up in kitchen twine, which was absolutely perfect. You can definitely choose a bone-in piece, but this was what I wanted to work with (yup, that laziness is rearing its ugly head again). I threw everything on a tray and into the oven and then worked on the roasted apple and fennel salad. Then I spent too much time on the phone and lost track of the initial high-temperature period, causing my darling roast to develop a deceivingly brown exterior but an undercooked interior. My bad. Don’t be like me. Don’t talk to friends who let you rant on about the virtues of good Italian hot chocolate. It’s bad for the lamb!

Hunger = blurry photos. True story.

Hunger = blurry photos. True story.

Anyway, all that drama aside, I think it was a fairly good roast. Apologies for the horrible photos; we were starving by then. This lamb was about medium-well, but you can leave it in the oven longer if you get queasy at anything less than well-done. No shame; you and my mother could form a team! I didn’t make a gravy but you can certainly look at the original recipe for that. If you’re up for something that you could probably make in your sleep – provided you adhere to the cooking times and tuck away your cellphone – then this recipe is it. Have fun!

The Basic Boneless Roast Lamb with Garlic & Rosemary
Adapted from Taste.com.au

serves four

  • 800 g boneless lamb shoulder, rolled & tied up
  • 6 potatoes, washed and halved
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 3 carrots, chopped into large chunks
  • 2 brown onions, peeled and halved
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and quartered
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt & pepper
  • to serve: aioli or sour cream
  1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius.
  2. Layer the potatoes, carrots and onions onto a baking tray lined with foil (makes it easier to clean!). Pour in 1 1/2 tbsp of olive oil and add in 1 sprig of rosemary, salt and pepper to taste and toss to combine.
  3. Make twelve 1-cm deep slits on the lamb. Coat the lamb in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and sea salt and pepper. Insert cloves of garlic and rosemary into the slits.
  4. Put the lamb on the tray with the vegetables and roast for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 180 degrees Celsius. Leave it to roast for another hour, turning the vegetables occasionally and basting the lamb.
  5. Remove the lamb from the oven into a carving plate and cover it with foil to rest. Return the vegetables to the oven at 200 degrees for the another 10 minutes.
  6. Carve the lamb and serve with the roasted vegetables. Include a serving of aioli or sour cream for the potatoes.
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Simple Japanese Chicken Curry Udon

Simple Japanese Curry Udon

Simple Japanese Curry Udon

I honestly believe that I can eat Japanese food everyday. There’s a wide selection of food that is prepared in all kinds of ways so it’s hard to get bored of it; and correct me if I’m wrong, but Japanese food tends to be both delicious and healthy (forget the French; ask the Japanese how they maintain their figure!). A winning combination indeed!

Ingredients for a simple, yet satisfying curry udon

Ingredients for a simple, yet satisfying curry udon

It might be the Malaysian in me, but I just can’t pass up on Japanese curry. I used to frequent an amazing hole-in-the-wall eatery in the city run solely by young Japanese people who are very friendly and obliging (for my fellow Brisbanites, it’s Kadoya in Elizabeth Arcade). At $8 for an insanely huge serve of curry with chicken or pork katsu or chicken karaage, a mountain of rice and the teensiest bit of salad, it was such good value! I used to clean my plate out and then feel as though I needed a forklift to remove me from one of their stools. Of course, the prices have gone up since then, and so have their popularity. And I’ve learnt to make it at home.

Curry beginning to bubble away

Curry beginning to bubble away

Now, admittedly I don’t make curry like they do, so this isn’t the recipe that recreates your favourite chicken katsu curry at the shops. I avoid deep-frying at almost all costs, which of course results in a different dish, but one that I still enjoy immensely, especially on cold winter nights when all you want to do is have a satisfyingly good bowl of curry noodles. Instead, I use chicken fillets which are stir-fried beforehand along with onions, potatoes and carrots. The curry cubes meet the pot, followed by some water, and this is combined with boiled udon, then finally finished off with steamed green beans. So if this sounds like the type of hearty meal that you’d love to have, then by all means, please try this at home.

Japanese Curry Sauce Mix

Japanese Curry Sauce Mix

If you’ve never bought these curry cubes before, just head into your nearest Asian grocery store or well-stocked supermarket with a dedicated Asian food aisle and you should be able to find them. You can also select the level of spiciness that you like, ranging from mild to hot. Of course, for the thrill-seekers, you can always finish this off with plenty of chilli flakes or powder. It always amuses me what men will do when faced with the challenge of ‘how spicy can you go?’ I’m happy to sit on the sidelines and watch them sweat it out, and possibly cry. Whilst slurping down my noodles, of course.

Dig right in!

Dig right in!

Simple Japanese Chicken Curry Udon

serves four

  • 3 chicken breast fillets, sliced
  • 2 potatoes, chopped into large cubes
  • 1 sweet potato, chopped into large cubes
  • 2 carrots, chopped into large cubes
  • 1 onion, thickly sliced
  • 150 g Japanese curry sauce mix
  • 4 1/2 cups of water
  • 400 g dried udon
  • 300 g green beans,
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • to serve: dried chilli flakes or powder
  1. Heat the olive oil in a pot. Add the chicken slices and onion into the pot and fry for three minutes.
  2. Add in the potato, sweet potato and carrot cubes into the pot with the chicken and fry for another four minutes or so (until the chicken looks more or less cooked).
  3. Add in the curry sauce mix and pour in the water. Bring the contents of the pot to the boil and then let it simmer for another 5 minutes.
  4. In a separate pot, boil the udon for about 10 minutes or until it is ready. Drain. Steam the green beans for about 5 minutes. Portion the noodles and beans into 4 bowls.
  5. Ladle the curry into the bowls, along with the chicken pieces and potato and carrot cubes.
  6. Serve immediately.
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