capsicum

Veggies Frittata with Hash Brown Crust

Have I ever mentioned that most of my favorite cookings came from brunch ideas?  What actually got me hooked on cooking was the first tortilla that Marco made for me on a late Sunday afternoon.  I was impressed by how good of an egg dish could've tasted.  That deliciousness was stuck in my head for days.  And that's when my curiosity kicked off along with my food creation's journey.  

Ever since I've became a vegetarian, eggs became one of my main source of protein.  I've always loved dairy products and hence I don't think I could ever become a vegan.  Excluding meat in my diet is easy but dairy?  Hmmm I highly doubt that.  I apologize to the vegans out there.  My obsession for dairy is more or less the same as for coffee.  My day isn't complete without that cup of caffeine rich ritual.  So yeah, giving up coffee is like ending my life NOW.  So no.  Can't do.    

Today, I've simplified my cooking procedures and shortened the time to make an awesome brunch.  Instead of making a potato side dish, I've put everything into one dish!  I don't know who isn't a fan of hash brown.  Well if you don't like hash brown then I guess this dish is not for you OR maybe this dish could change your misperception about hash brown. ;)  Trust me, this is an awesome and easy brunch to impress whoever you want.  Try it to believe it! :D 

Happy New Year!

Love, 

Cindy xx

Veggies Frittata n' Hash Brown Crust served with fresh lime aioli 

veggies frittata n' hash brown crust served with fresh lime aioli

Servings: 2 persons

Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 - 25 minutes

Ingredients: 

4-5 cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 capsicum, diced

1 handful spinach/baby spinach

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1 large baked potato, shredded

1 tsp grated nutmeg

1/2 cup grated cheddar & parmesan cheese

4 eggs, whisked and seasoned

1 handful fresh parsley, chopped

1 tbsp garlic powder *optional

extra-virgin olive oil

2-3 tbsp butter

fresh lime aioli - recipe is here

Instructions: 

1) Preheat the oven at 200ºC.  

2) Preheat a frying pan with a drizzle of olive oil on medium heat, cook shredded potato for 3-5 minutes, add garlic powder, nutmeg and season.  Place the knobs of butter on the edge of the hash brown in the pan.  Put the pan into the oven while preparing to cook the veggies.  Bake the hash brown for roughly 5 minutes.  

3) Preheat another frying pan with a drizzle of olive oil on medium low heat, cook onion for 3 minutes.  Add capsicum and spinach,   cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Season.  

4) Transfer the cooked veggies to the hash brown pan.  Add the seasoned and whisked egg to the pan.  

5) Add the chopped cherry tomatoes and grated cheese on top.  Place the pan back into the oven and bake for roughly 10-15 minutes.  

6) Remove from the oven.  Garnish with some chopped parsley and extra grated parmesan.  Serve warm with the fresh lime aioli.  Happy Brunch!! 

veggies frittata n' hash brown crust served with fresh lime aioli

veggies frittata n' hash brown crust served with fresh lime aioli

Fragrant Spicy Veggies with Lettuce Wrap

The holidays are coming.  I'm sure many of us have already started our holiday menu planning.  This dish is great as a starter.  It actually came to mind because I got some lettuce that I was desperate to get rid of.  Plus I didn't want to eat a salad that is made with lettuce for the next three days.  And I certainly don't want to put any of my food to waste.  

So I remember this delicious Thai dish that I used to love -- minced spicy pork with lettuce wrap.  I recall all those lettuce greens served on the side.  So this is a veggie version of that.  :) And this dish is another perfect leftovers recipe.  I think most meat eaters would love it too because the taste is just phenomenal plus it looks presentable. ;)  I highly recommend you to try making it.  

Happy Holidays! 

Love,

Cindy x

Fragrant Spicy Veggies with Lettuce Wrap

 

Servings: 2-4 persons

Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients: 

1 eggplant, diced

1 zucchini, diced

1 cup corn

1 capsicum, diced

1 bunch string beans, chopped into small bits

2 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 red chilli, finely chopped

1 bunch spring onion, finely chopped

1 tbsp minced ginger

1 tsp brown sugar

2 tbsp sesame oil

1-2 tbsp fish sauce* (optional) 

1 lime zest & 1/2 lime juice

1 tsp sesame seeds

2 tbsp thai basil pesto

1 bunch fresh lettuce leafs 

extra-virgin olive oil

Dipping Sauce Ingredients: 

1 tbsp brown sugar

2-3 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp fish sauce* (optional) 

2 tbsp sesame oil 

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 fresh lime juice 

1/2 chopped chilli

2 tbsp chopped spring onion or coriander 

Thai Basil Pesto Ingredients: 

1 bunch thai basil

1/2 green chilli and 1/2 red chilli 

1 garlic clove

extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions: 

1) Preheat a frying pan with olive oil on medium heat, cook eggplant for 3-5 minutes first.  Then add the chopped vegetables such as corn, beans, capsicums, and zucchini.  Cook for another 3 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium low.  Add a splash of fish sauce, sesame oil, and brown sugar.  

2) Add the chopped garlic, spring onion, ginger, and chilli.  Cook 3-5 minutes.  Add basil pesto and fresh lime juice and zest.  Season.  Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes more to allow all the flavors to come out.  Heat off.  Set aside. 

3) Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top and garnish with some coriander if you like. I didn't have any so I skipped that. 

4) Serve this fragrant spicy veggies with some fresh lettuce leafs and the sweet and spicy dipping on the side.  Enjoy!

Fragrant Spicy Veggies with Lettuce Wrap

Fragrant Spicy Veggies with Lettuce Wrap

Fragrant Spicy Veggies with Lettuce Wrap

3 cheese & veggies pizza with pesto

Last night, I re-watched one of my most favorite animated films, Ratatouille.  I honestly lost count of how many times I've watched it.  To me, this was no ordinary cartoon.  This movie inspired me profoundly and my most unforgettable moment lay in Anton Ego's last critic.  Those words were so beautifully said yet so powerful and always touched my heart.  

"In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the *new*. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends. Last night, I experienced something new: an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto, "Anyone can cook." But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist; but a great artist *can* come from *anywhere*. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau's, who is, in this critic's opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau's soon, hungry for more."

This pizza recipe was definitely inspired by this cute movie.  We all know that pizza was once commonly known as peasant food in Italy.  Till this day, there is still a huge debate on the origin of pizza.  Besides Naples of Italy, I've heard of India, Turkey, Israel, Spain and the list just goes on.  Well, I'm not here to argue where pizza was originated.  I just want to share with you how such ingenious and delicious creation can be made with so few ingredients yet its yumminess still remains.  For my pizza here, I used mostly locally sourced leftovers in my fridge.  I know some people may frown upon eating leftovers but today's world is changing and so is our eating habits.  Utilizing our food resources, minimizing carbon footprint and food wastage is not anything new or due to any demeaning reasons.  This movement has been around for awhile and there are heaps of people practicing such lifestyle.  

The thin crust here was made out of wholemeal flour.  This is definitely a "slightly" healthier choice of crowd pleasers. Don't mind the cheese though.   ;) 

I added some fresh basil leaves and pesto on top to bring out more flavors.  

Servings: 3 thin crusted pizzas (1 pizza for each person)

Preparation Time: 2 - 2.5 hours 

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients for the pizza dough: 

3 cups wholemeal flour

4 tsp active dry yeast

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp sugar

1/4 cup olive oil

1.25 cup warm water

Ingredients for toppings: 

1/2 green and 1/2 red capsicums, small diced

1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced

1 bowl cooked mushrooms* (button, oyster, and shiitake)

2 cup grated fontina, mozzarella, and asiago cheese

1 bunch fresh basil leaves (to be added after the pizza is removed from the oven)

2-3 tbsp fresh pesto (to be added after the pizza is removed from the oven)

Ingredients for tomato sauce: 

1/2 small onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove

1/2 chili, finely chopped

1 bay leaf

1 can tomato sauce

extra-virgin olive

Instructions for the tomato sauce: 

1) Preheat a saucepan with oil on medium low heat, cook onion for 3 minutes, add garlic and chili, cook 1-2 minutes.  

2) Add chopped tomato and bay leaf.  Cook 1-2 minutes then reduce heat to simmer 8-10 minutes with a lid on.  

3) Use a potato masher to mash the sauce.  

Instructions for the pizza: 

1) In a small bowl, mix warm water, yeast, and sugar.  Let it sit for 10 minutes until foam is formed.  

2) In a large mixing bowl, add flour, baking powder, and salt.  Form a well in the flour, combine the foamed mixture and knead the dough for 10 minutes.  (sprinkle a little flour if the dough is too wet as you knead by hands)

3) Rub a little oil inside the bowl, cover the bowl with a wet towel and let the dough rise for 1 hour.  It should doubled its size.  

4) On a well floured surface, divide the dough to 3 equal portions.  Flatten each dough to a thin crust with a rolling pin.

5) Preheat the oven at 200ºC.  Place each crust on a baking tray with a drizzle of olive oil on the baking sheet.  

6) Spread the tomato sauce and add pizza toppings evenly to each pizza crust.  

7) Bake for 20 minutes.  Garnish with fresh basil leaves and fresh pesto before serving.