Saturday, February 6, 2016

Gong Xi Fa Cai !!!

I'm wishing all my Chinese friends and those who celebrate Chinese New Year,

Gong Xi Fa Cai

Image result for gong xi fa cai 2016

May The Year of The Monkey brings you good health, prosperity, much joy, love and laughter!

It's a week long holiday for schools in Malaysia. Most of us will be travelling either back to our hometown, visiting families and old friends, or maybe a short vacation. Wherever your destination may be, have a safe journey! See you in a week's time!

Banana Bread

Cookbook Countdown is a monthly cooking/baking event, which I'm co-hosting with Emily's Cooking (Makan2) Foray.  Everyone is welcome to join us. How does it work? To summarize, you may select a cookbook from your own cookbook collection, to cook or bake from each month. That selected book shall be your cookbook of the month. You may cook any recipes and as many recipes as you want from your selected book of the month. This is a fabulous way of using your cookbooks at least once! For more information on how to join Cookbook Countdown, please click here


Cookbook Countdown #2 : Recipe No. 2
from my selected cookbook for this month, Better Homes and Garden : Baking

Recipe No. 2 : Banana Bread

What do you do when you have more than a dozen ripe bananas sitting on your kitchen counter? Make Banana Smoothies, Banana Ice Cream and of course Banana Bread! 

The bananas I used were very sweet, so I have reduced the sugar by half, and the cake is still a little sweet for me. There's some spices used in the bread, but I've only used ground cinnamon. I've omitted the ground nutmeg and could not find my ground ginger spice jar, so I've omitted that too. I've used canola oil and have omitted the walnuts as my daughter is not fond of nuts.

Very easy to make, mix the dry ingredients in one bowl. Mix the wet ingredients in another bowl. Then pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mix to combine, then pour into a 9x5-inch loaf pan and bake as directed. It bakes up a lovely deep brown with some cracks on top, as pictured in the book. I baked the bread in the evening, and left it to cool overnight, as advised in the recipe. And I think banana bread always tastes so much better the next day.

The cake is moist, soft and very nice. Love both the flavour and fragrance from the ripe bananas. I would make this recipe again, though I would further reduce the sugar a little bit more. 

Banana Bread
(adapted from "Better Homes and Gardens Baking")
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I omit this)
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger (I omit this, cannot find my ground ginger spice jar!)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1-1/2 cups mashed bananas (4-5 medium)
1 cup sugar (I use 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup vegetable oil or melted butter (I use canola oil)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (I omit this)

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and line a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan, or two 7-1/2x3-1/2x2-inch pans.
  2. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and ginger. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine eggs, bananas, sugar, and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in walnuts. Spoon batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly.
  4. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes for 9x5x3-inch pan or 40 to 45 minutes for 7-1/2x3-1/2x2-inch pans or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. If necessary to prevent overbrowning, cover loosely with foil for the last 15 minutes of baking.
  5. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on rack. Wrap and store overnight before slicing.
my notes : I use only 1/2 cup sugar and it is already sweet enough! If you prefer much less sweeter, especially if the bananas are very sweet, you can reduce another 2-3 tablespoons from that 1/2 cup. I used 4 bananas. For the spices I use only ground cinnamon and have omitted the walnuts. For the oil, preferably use flavourless cooking oil like canola.

"I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Asian Noodle Bowl

"Oodles of Noodles", the theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). It's noodles week! I've made Ellie's simple Asian Noodle Bowl. There's lots of veggies in the noodles, and that's how I love my noodles, with lots of vegetables. According to Ellie, "You can substitute whatever vegetables you have on hand to create this fabulous chicken, veggie, and noodle dish that is heady with Asian flavour and aroma". 

Recipe calls for either soba noodles or whole-wheat spaghetti, but I have a few packets of the regular spaghetti in my pantry, so I have used that instead. Veggies that I used are broccoli, fresh baby corns, carrots, red chillies and scallions. One thing that I did a little differently are the chicken breasts pieces. I marinated the thinly sliced chicken breast with some (about 2 teaspoons) cornflour and a dash of sesame oil for about 15 minutes before I proceed with the recipe. Chicken breast would usually be a little dry and sometimes gets a little tough when not eaten immediately after cooking. By marinating it with cornflour, the chicken breast pieces would stay moist and tender. The sesame oil (or any other oil) is to prevent the pieces from sticking together when stir-frying. 

I made this for our mid-morning lunch meal, and my son had a bowl of this "oodles of noodles" before he goes off to school, with a happy tummy! Simple, quick, easy, and very tasty. 

Asian Noodle Bowl
(adapted from "So Easy", Ellie Krieger, or here)
Makes 4 servings
8 ounces soba noodles or whole-wheat spaghetti
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 bunch scallions (white and green parts), sliced (1/4 cup reserved for garnish)
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic (my addition)
1 pound skinless boneless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
1 15-ounce can baby corn, drained ( I use fresh baby corn)
1/2 pound broccoli florets (about 3 cups)
1/2 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles or pasta and cook according to the directions on the package.
Heat the canola oil in a wok or very large skillet over medium heat. Add the scallions and ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant but not browned, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the baby corn, broccoli, mushrooms, pepper slices, broth and soy sauce and cook, stirring occasionally, until the  broccoli is bright green and crisp-tender and the peppers are crisp-tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the noodles and sesame oil and toss to combine. Divide among 4 bowls and garnish with the reserved 1/4 cup of scallions.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week
"Oodles of Noodles"


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