Thursday, May 21, 2015

Caramel Cupcakes

When I volunteered to be a scrutineer for the general election last year at the poll station (one of local schools), there was this kind lady with a basket full of goodies giving away cupcakes to volunteers. I had heard she was a very good cook (she's apparently one of the teachers at the school). I had a small caramel cupcake and it was so very yummy. It was an inspiration - but I haven't had a chance to explore recipes until recently.

100 grams butter
100 grams Muscovado sugar
2 eggs
100 grams Self-raising flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pre-heat the oven 180 degrees Celsius. Sift flour and salt and set aside. Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat until combine then add vanilla. Add flour and beat further until smooth. Divide into ten paper cups in muffin tray and bake for about 25 minutes.

1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup icing, sifted

Place butter, salt and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium high heat. Let it bubble briefly then add milk and vanilla. Stir to combine - let it bubble a few minutes further then add icing. Beat with wooden spoon until smooth. Pour on to cool cupcakes - or you can dip cup cakes into the icing. You need to work quickly othewise the icing will set and it will be very difficult to work with.

Note: Wokarella will have a brief Winter break - talk to you again next month.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Cat's Eye View

Oh, no, not that human with his pathetic dog again. I can see them coming my way. I will have to pretend to look out into the water - not that I like water much but I have to ignore him a bit because he always wants to pat me and offers me those horrible dry treats. Doesn't he know I love fresh beef best? Never mind, he's only human.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Asian Rice Soup with Fish (ข้าวต้มปลา)

We are trying to have fish for dinner once or twice a week. Fish seems to be more friendly to our digestive systems as we are getting older. When I have any leftover (fresh) fish, I will freeze it to save for later. This rice soup with fish is one of the dishes that I use such frozen fish because I do not need much - just leave the fish to defrost in the fridge overnight and of course you can also use fresh fish!

For 2 you'll need:
150 grams firm flesh fish, cut into chunks - I use Tarakihi (Jackass Morwong)
2 cloves of garlic, smashed and peeled
1 coriander root with stems and leaves for colour
A bit of coriander leaves to garnish
1 slice of fresh ginger
A little bit of oil for frying
2 Tablespoons light soy sauce
1 1/2 - 2 cups cooked rice
1 1/2 - 2 cups chicken stock
Salt & pepper to taste

Simmer chicken stock in a suacepan and warm up the rice in either microwave or steamer. Finely chop garlic, coriander (root and green bits) and ginger together. Fry the mixture in a little bit of oil in a wok or frying pan until soft and fragrance. Add fish, pepper and soy sauce - fry further until the fish is done - add chicken stock. Let it bubble briefly then remove from heat.

Divide hot rice into two bowl and ladle fish soup over the rice. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot. Add salt or more soy sauce if needed.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Older and Wiser

At the park, Bonnie meets and makes friend with many dogs - mostly off lead. She can easily makes friend with timid dogs, nervous dogs, young and old. The one type she doesn't like and can sense it is the aggressive ones.

The old girl, she's a wire haired Jack Russell that is taken to the park off lead with another young dog, Bilbo. She is much calmer than her younger companion. She gets along well with Bonnie but not keen on running around. When they meet at the park, they sniff and wag like dogs do.

She must be an old soul, this girl. The way she looks at you, the way she wags her tail and walks toward you - it is like she is saying been there and done that.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Pale Ale Braised Chicken

I can feel the cold - I think Winter is coming and Bob says that he couldn't imagine us serving salad to Ned Stark! Well, I couldn't imagine that either as my prefer choice of guest would be Jon Snow rather than his dead father.

For 2 you'll need:

4 Pieces Chicken thighs, boneless, skin less and chopped in chunks
2 Tablespoons Flour for dredging + 1 extra tablespoon for thickening
3-4 medium potatoes, chopped in chunk
1 carrots, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 bottle Pale Ale or Brown Ale (330 Mil approx)
1 Bay Leave
Salt & Pepper to taste
Oil for frying
1 tablespoon Parsley or coriander, chopped to garnish

Mix first portion with salt and pepper in a plastic bag, shake to combine. Add chicken pieces into the bag and shake to coat.

In a cast iron casserole, heat a little bit of oil over medium heat and brown the chicken on all sides and set aside. In the same casserole, add a little bit more oil and fry onion until soft - add potatoes and carrots - fry further until a little bit brown. Return the chicken into the casserole - add Ale and bring to the boil. add bay leave. Place the lid on, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 30 - 45 minutes.

Mix extra flour with a little bit of water - discard the bay leave before bringing the content in the casserole to the boil then add flour mixture. Stir and boil further for a minute or so then reduce the heat to simmer a few more minutes or until the liquid is thickened. Garnish with chopped coriander - serve hot with crusty garlic bread.

Sit down and enjoy your warm dinner with the imaginary Jon Snow!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Kittens Galore

We have been catless for several months now and it's feeling a bit weird. They are parasites all right and I don't know why we fall for them - I was not even a cat person ten years ago. We are not going to have a new kitten right now and we have to make do with the cats in the park, like Stanley and his ilk in term of having a cat hit.
Bob went to our local pet shop the other day and they had these kittens in the window. They are all pedigree ones. I don't know much about cat breeds and am amazed that some of the breeds are soooo expensive. Some of them look like domestic kittens for me but the price tags say otherwise.
I'm not a fan of ginger cats but this one is cute. For me I could not imagine spending thousands of dollars for a kitten. SPCA and rescued cats are the way to go for us - or even free to good home types where the owners have too many domestic kittens. 

I hope this shop get their puppies and kittens from responsible or registered breeders. One thing that puts me off buying puppies or kittens is that they might be from breeders who do not care about the welfare of their pets and breed them to near death. I, for one, don't want to give business with these kind of people, honestly.