Crunchy Nutty Granola

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You may have noticed that for the last few months I have been super quiet and if you pop on over to my second blog, Being Mrs D  you will see I have been quite busy! We moved to Brisbane, Australia at the end of August and since then everything has been a little bit crazy. I’ll let you in on some of the reasons I haven’t been blogging over the next couple of weeks. One of them reasons being I haven’t had any of my kitchenware as it was in a shipping container for weeks! I knew this was coming as it was the same when we moved from Switzerland to Singapore last year but I forgot how difficult it is! As I am sure you can imagine, the move has kept me very busy so in between trips to Thailand, Brisbane, a visit from the in laws and a trip back home for my very good friends wedding. There hasn’t been much Sipping, Chomping and Chewing that I’ve had time to write about.

 

This simple recipe for Granola came about because I refused to pay the ridiculous prices the supermarkets in Singapore get away with charging for the smallest box. So with a trip to Ikea for some storage jars, I pretty much had everything else I needed to make up a batch. For basic granola, all you need is oats, a sweetener and some kind of oil to bind the whole thing together and after experimenting a little, I found the best mix to be honey and virgin coconut oil. Although the oil has a deliciously coconutty smell, the flavour doesn’t come through once it’s all mixed in so don’t worry if you’re not a fan. The addition of nuts adds some crunch to the texture which wakes up those taste buds first thing in the morning. It’s delicious served with fresh fruit and yogurt!

 

All you’ll need:

2 Cups of Rolled Oats

1 Cup of Mixed Chopped Nuts of your choice – I’ve used peanut and almond this week

1 Cup of Mixed Seeds of your choice – this week I have used just sunflower seeds whilst my pantry is still not quite fully stocked!

1/2 Cup Dried Fruit such as Raisins, Blueberries or Cranberries

A pinch of salt

1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

1/4 Cup of Honey

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

 

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Mix all the dry ingredients except for the dried fruit in a bowl. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, over a low heat, mix the oil, honey and vanilla extract until well combined. Pour the wet mixture over the dry and mix until well coated. Place on a baking tray in your preheated oven and cook for ten minutes, give the mixture a stir so that the paler oats are now on the top and cook for a further ten minutes. Mix again and pop back in the oven. Now keep an eye on it for the last ten minutes as depending on your oven, it may need pulling out sooner than the ten minutes if the sugar gets too hot. Leave to cool, stir through the dried fruit and store in an airtight jar.

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It gets the Pug approval!

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Scrummy Sweetcorn Farfalle

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It has been far too long since my last post but with a wedding to plan and a certain dress to fit into, I’ve been super busy attending 5 classes a week  at Singapore Dance Arts on top of yoga and my daily walks with Bryan, my gorgeous little Pug. That doesn’t mean I haven’t missed Sip Chomp Chew and I’ve been hustling up some new recipes, perfecting some old ones and dreaming of eating them all once I’m the other side of our upcoming nuptials!

A couple of weeks ago we had some friends over for a BBQ, I can never seem to get the amount of food right when cooking for more than just the two of us and we end up with heaps of left overs so I came up with this yummy pasta dish to use up the last of the corn on the cob. I’ve never eaten sweetcorn like this before but I will definitely be doing it again, I found the crunch when eating a chunk of kernels  awfully satisfying.

 

SCC Sweetcorn farfalle 1

The measurements in this recipe are in cups as I keep forgetting to buy new batteries for my kitchen scales but as soon as I do, I’ll add the alternative weights on there for you!

SCC Sweetcorn Farfalle 3

What you’ll need for one serving…

  • 1 Half cob of corn, you can use canned corn but the texture of this is so much nicer, if you use a can you will need half a cup
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh Basil, chopped
  • 1/2 Tsp Lemon zest
  • 1 Tsp Lemon juice
  • 1/2 Tsp Fresh chopped green chilli
  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • A handful of rocket
  • 1/2 clove garilc, crushed
  • 1 cup of Farfalle
  • Fresh grated parmesan to serve

 

Heat the grill or a grill pan and cook the corn until you have gold spots. Leave to the side until cool enough to handle. Get the Farfalle boiling whilst you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Mix together all the other ingredients before taking a sharp knife, slicing off the corn kernels so you have nice big chunks. When the pasta is cooked, add with the corn to the rest of the ingredients, top with parmesan and serve.

SCC Sweetcorn Farfalle 2

I’m not too sure when my next post will be,  with less than a month to the big day I think I have most of the details covered but little things do keep popping up occasionally. Planning a wedding from the other the side of the world has certainly been a challenge at times and I’ve learned not to be so much of a control freak over all the details! We’ve booked some really fantastic suppliers and I can’t wait to see everything coming together on the day!

 

 

Soup of the Week: Carrot and Coriander

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This weeks Soup of the Week is a repeat of an earlier post. In fact, the original post is exactly a year old. It’s amazing how much my life has changed in that last year, the first sentence of the original post just proves this. Back then, I was in my kitchen back in Geneva, just about coping with the freezing Swiss winter, completely unaware that I was about to receive a marriage proposal followed by the opportunity to move to yet another foreign land and now, here I am in sunny Singapore where it’s a muggy 29 degrees this evening! Anyway, back to the soup, it’s such a great recipe (in my humble opinion!) I have to share it with you all again. So if you haven’t tried it yourself yet, here’s another chance! As far as frequent cooking goes, this one is high up there. In fact, I’m sipping a mug of it right now whilst I’m typing this!

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I hope you don’t think I’m being lazy! This one has been a busy week for me. Chinese New Year this Friday means a bank holiday weekend here in Singapore and we have taken the opportunity to skip away to Bali for a couple of nights, our Christmas present to each other. With so much to do before we leave for our short flight tomorrow, this is likely to be the only post from me until next week when I’ll be letting you know how it went with my attempt at traditional Pineapple Tarts. From what it sounds like, these are South East Asia’s version of the much loved Mince Pie and a tasty sweet treat for Chinese New Year!

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I almost forgot, here’s the link back to my original post. See you in the (Chinese) New Year everyone!

Soup of the week! Tomato and Lemongrass

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This week’s Soup of The Week is slightly inspired by the local food here in Singapore with a pinch of inspiration from a food memory back when I was in my early teens. My older brother is a fantastic cook, it all started when he worked part time in the kitchens at a beautiful hotel restaurant smack bang in the idyllic Wye Valley at Symonds Yat. I never used to like tomato soup as a youngster but the chef at The Royal Hotel had a recipe for Tomato and Lemongrass Soup that was highly regarded by the rest of my family. My memory is of walking into the kitchen to find my brother and dad using as many containers as they could find to store the soup. The chef had given my brother the restaurant kitchen recipe for the rather than a downsized home cooking version so we ended up with enough soup to serve around 20 covers! Since my love for tomato soup has been born and as I am experimenting with a lot of south east asian ingredients I’ve never used before, I have come up with my own version of this soup. It’s a very light soup that works well served as a starter before a heavy meal, possessing superb flavours with a little kick of chilli cutting through.

For four servings you will need:

  • 25g Butter
  • 1 Onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • 2 Tins Chopped Tomatoes
  • 3 stalks of lemongrass, remove outer skins and stalks before finely slicing
  • 1 litre of hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Melt the butter over a gentle heat and slowly cook the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and chilli cooking for a further 2 minutes. Next, add the tinned tomatoes, lemon grass and stock and simmer for about 15 minutes to allow all the flavours to infuse. Transfer to a blender until smooth and serve. SCC Tomato and Lemongrass Soup

Beetroot Hummus

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I love colourful food, it always stirs an interest and makes it so much more fun to eat. Anything seems more edible when it looks good and who doesn’t love a good dip? Experimenting with hummus is really easy, there are so many different flavours you can add to this much loved dip the options are endless. I had a couple of beetroots knocking about in my veg draw so decided to put them to good use. I couldn’t decide what to do with them at first as the colour they give off can give anything a beety twist, but as I was doing a deli board style dinner on Saturday night I decided to go for a hummus. Since purchasing a real food processor a couple of months ago (I had a small hand held thing before) I’ve been mixing together all different kinds of things, making pesto’s and sauces and soups. I keep it on the work top so it’s ready to have something thrown into it. I’m not sure whether the novelty will wear off soon but it’s been helping me make some lovely meals! Here’s the latest…

You will need:

  • 2 medium sized cooked beetroots – I bought mine raw and steamed them for about 50 minutes until soft, then allowed them to cool, topped and tailed, peeled them carefully so as not to colour myself purple and roughly chopped
  • 400g tin of chick peas (drained, rinsed and skins removed)
  • 1 Clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • juice of 1/2 Lemon
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 100ml olive oil plus a little extra for drizzling

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and whizz until smooth. Transfer to a serving dish and make a swirl in the top before pouring over the extra olive oil. Chill until serving. We enjoyed eating this with the Crispy Crackers I had made a day earlier and it went down a treat!

SCC Beetroot Dip with Sea Salt Crackers

SCC Beetroot Hummus Blurred Wine

Parmesan and Belper Knolle Crisps

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Another cheesy recipe, I just can’t get enough! A regular Saturday night for us this time of year in Geneva would be to get some cheeses from the markets and a couple of bottles of wine, sitting in front of the X Factor whilst munching our way through our goodies. There are such a wide variety of cheeses available in Geneva we were always trying new ones. It was there that I found one of my favorite cheeses. Tête de Moine is a tasty swiss cheese that has an A.O.C. so you know you are eating the real deal. If you speak french you may know that Tête de Moine means Monks head. It was originally made by monks, just our side of the rosti border . I was surprised to find that you can buy Tête in a number of places here in Singapore. I was also surprised to try a new cheese in Singapore, not just a new cheese but a new swiss cheese we had never heard of. I did a bit of research and found that Belper Knolle is made near Bern, the other side of the rosti border and Switzerland’s capital city. I found that belper should be used as a topping on pastas and risottos rather than as a table cheese. To get the flavors out, it is best thinly sliced or grated and allowed to air for a couple of minutes before crumbling over your dish. I made a pea and mint pesto the other week and it was delicious stirred through some spaghetti along with the pesto. We only used a tiny amount and the flavors really came through. I was thinking of a new way to use it rather than just sprinkled over some pasta and I decided I would make some Parmesan crisps with a little Belper Knolle. They turned out great and really tasty! Parmesan crisps can be used to top salads, soups, risottos or even eaten with dips. Here’s how I did it.

What you need to make 5 crisps…

50g Fresh grated parmesan – this won’t work with the pre-grated stuff you get in the dry goods section of the supermarket

1 Thin slice of belper knolle

SCC Parmesan and Belper Knolle SCC Uncooked Cheese Crisp

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees and prepare a baking sheet by covering with grease proof paper (I used a silicone mat) and cover with parmesan shapes. Don’t stack the parmesan too thickly, it’s nice to get that webbed effect on the crisps.

SCC Close up Parmesan Crisp

Leave an inch between each shape and gently slide your tray into the oven so as to not shake the cheese and make your shapes wonky! Cook for about 5 minutes, until golden and crisp. Allow to cool and place in an airtight container with a peice of grease proof paper between each layer. You can leave out the Belper if you can’t get your hands on it or add your own herbs and spices to the parmesan before cooking. I’ve added cooked bacon lardons before and they were yummy! Another way to serve them is to mould them around the bottom of a small container or glass whilst they are still warm and serve dips in them – well that’ll save the washing up later!

SCC Uncooked Heart Crisp

SCC Bacon Heart Cooked CrispsSCC Parmesan Crisp with Soup

Cheese and Onion Dip

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It’s been a busy week in the kitchen for me, I haven’t been able to stop! It has also been a busy week in the kitchen for Bryan, as long as I am handling food, all he can see is an opportunity to eat anything I drop. To be fair I am pretty clumsy so he has a good chance of getting some tasty human food!

Bryan trying to look all innocent whilst at the same time standing as close to my feet as possible to catch anything I drop!

Bryan trying to look all innocent whilst at the same time standing as close to my feet as possible to catch anything I drop!

After not baking much since we arrived in Singapore I feel like I’ve started to make up for it the last few days. Earlier this week I made some chocolate cupcakes, they were so soft and moist I decided to make some salt caramel sauce to squeeze into the middle of them. Unfortunately the cupcakes didn’t last long enough for me to get to that stage so I am going to have to make another batch. I will definitely be posting the recipe for those! I’m not a huge chocolate fan and even I found them irresistible. I also made a couple of soups, parmesan and belper knolle crisps, some tomato pesto using the semi dried tomatoes I had left over from a couple of weeks ago and this dip. This is such an easy dip to make when entertaining and can easily be thrown together last minute with three simple ingredients. Cheddar, onion and salad cream. Simply grate the cheese, finely chop the onion and squeeze in enough salad cream to make it a ‘dip’ consistency. Then all you need to do is scoop it up with some crudités or smother on some cheese biscuits. I have a friend who has an intolerance to onion and still finds this dip irresistible!

50g Cheddar cheese

50g Onion (approx half a medium onion)

75g Salad Cream

Just grate the cheese, blitz the onion in a food processor and mix together with the salad cream.

SCC Onion Dip With Onion

A Pug can dream!

A Pug can dream!

Madeleines

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I love french supermarkets, in fact I love any new, foreign supermarket. Snooping around all the local produce and all the new brands, seeing what is to offer. When we lived in Geneva, we used to occasionally pop over the boarder into France to do our food shop. We didn’t do this too often as my fiancé hates food shopping (and the Swiss wouldn’t let me drive so he had to come), but if we wanted to buy more than a couple of boxes of beers then it would be worth the trip (for him!). Whenever we would pop into Carrefour, he would always pick up a bag of madeleines, the kind where you have a huge pack of about 50, each individually wrapped. They have a sell by date of about 6 months and one would expect them to last at least half that time . Well they never saw the end of a week in our home!

Cold Storage, our new local supermarket, do stock both Carrefour and Casino produce for the french expats and francophiles of Singapore. But until they start stocking his favourite little cakes it looks like I’m going to be pulling out my madeleine tray and switching on the oven. For my recipe I turn to Michel Roux Jr. He has a great madeleine recipe that is easy to follow in 3 simple steps. And his wine pairing suggestion? Prosecco. Do you need further tempting to give this one a try and pop open a bottle of fizz? Unfortunately it was 11am when I made these and I was home alone so some suspicions would have been raised should I have opted for the bubbles rather than a mug of coffee to go with my share.

The first batch I made looked a tad on the golden side and a little crisper than desired. I decided to turn down my oven a tad, it is the first time I have baked cakes since we moved here so I am still getting used to where the hot spots are and what temperature works best. It also doesn’t help that the temperature dial shows 160 degrees at 5 o’clock and 180 degrees at 7 o’clock, I don’t trust that anything in between these two is very accurate as the spacing is too big compared to the others. Anyway, back to madeleines. The second batch turned out much better. I had enough mixture to pour a little more into each cup leaving just a couple of millimeters space at the top.

I whisked the eggs and sugar together with my electric whisk to make them nice and frothy quickly

I then used my hand whisk to combine all the other ingredients

I then used my hand whisk to combine all the other ingredients so as not to over beat them, it looks a bit like frothy custard at this stage

Both batches cooling. Which one do you think looks best?

Both batches cooling. Which one do you think looks best?

Close up, although my camera decide to focus on the drooling pug - bless

Close up, although my camera decide to focus on the drooling pug – bless!

You can see here how light batch 2 look in the middle

You can see here how soft and light batch 2 look in the middle

Michel says they should be eaten within an hour of removing from the oven – well if he insists, it would be rude not too. Lets just not tell my fiancé I made madeleines today….

Egg White Omelette with Feta Cheese

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It’s been a busy couple of weeks in our household with my in laws to be visiting from England. It’s been nice to actually spend some time making memories with them rather than just the quick catch ups when you just spend a couple of days together every few months. We’ve had a lovely time showing them the sights of Singapore and eating out in some yummy restaurants, what a treat!  Although it hasn’t given me much time in the kitchen lately.  With them now safely home and the other half back in the office, it’s time for me to get the apartment back in order and get into the kitchen. Here’s what I had for lunch today…

Yet another healthy post from me but lets just make one thing clear – we aren’t sacrificing on taste here. I’m the kind of person who’d rather spend an extra 20 minutes in the gym than eat some low fat, low cal cardboard.  I have always associated egg white omelette with healthy tasteless rubbish but the low fat feta in this one teamed with the olives and mushrooms makes it very tasty indeed. Even the other half likes it! Next you’ll just need to figure out what to use those left over egg yolks for! This recipe makes an omelette to serve one.

What you’ll need:

3 Egg whites, Seasoned with salt and pepper

25g Red onion, finely sliced

1 Black olives, sliced

2 Mushrooms, sliced

50g low fat feta cheese

SCC Egg White Omellette Ingredients

Coat a small frying pan with a little cooking spray or just enough olive oil to cover the pan in a thin layer. Cook the mushrooms and onions on a medium to low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Now add the feta and olives, followed by the egg whites. Swirl them around until they coat the bottom of the pan and cook until the eggs are no longer translucent. Turn over halfway if you need to. Serve with your favorite side salad.

SCC Egg White Feta Omelette

Fresh and Fast Feta Salad

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September? Where did you come from?! Summer is coming to an end and I think most of us like to try and drag it out for as long as possible. When we moved to Singapore 3 months ago, one of the things we knew we would miss are the seasons. They are so prominent in both the UK where we are from and Switzerland where we lived prior to here. Around about now we would be making the most of the last few days of Summer with those dark evenings slowly creeping in. This year I find myself longing to stand in the countryside under a light shower of rain with a cool breeze in my face.

In a way, having the constant heat has been a blessing for me. With arms and legs regularly on show, it’s a big kick up the backside to get me in the gym and eating healthy salads. Here is a yummy side salad, nothing needs cooking just chop everything up and throw it together. Great served with Steak, Chicken or with a jacket spud as I did for lunch today! Normally when I serve a salad, the other half smothers it in salad cream, this is one of the few salads he will eat without any dressing at all. It is so simple yet so tasty, and low on those calories too!

This recipe serves one so you can easily multiply.

You’ll be needing…

15g red onion, diced

35g low fat feta, you can use full fat if you are feeling naughty!

8 cherry tomatoes, quartered

8 medium sized fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

SCC Feta Salad Ingredients

Just throw it all together, et voila!

SCC Feta Salad

My lunch today was really tasty! Just what I wanted after my morning Zumba class.

SCC Feta Salad with Jacket