Baked Sweet Potatoes

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Weekend potato baking – the easy way

Sweet potatoes are an ideal carb alternative, when in the mood for something sweet but a little bit fatty. The great thing about baked potatoes is that it’s purely fuss-free cooking for busy weekends and can also be had on its own. Start by taking four large potatoes and using a fork to cut dot-like shapes into them; also, cut a long line through the middle of each of the potatoes – all this is just to ease the baking process for the sweet potatoes.

Following that, dress a baking pan with aluminium foil and place the sweet potatoes on it. Then, add two tablespoons of butter to each of the potatoes, in the middle, and let it bake. In the midst of baking, take the potatoes out and poke with a fork to find out how much it has baked and also, before placing it back in the oven, split the sweet potatoes open wide (through the cut in the middle) to ensure that the potatoes are thoroughly cooked. Season it with salt and white pepper, and have it for dinner with leftover vegetables.

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Chili Sauce

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How to make chili sauce at home

Chili sauce can turn any basic dish into a spicy and better tasting alternative. Ideally suited as a side dish to snacks, the recipe for chili sauce is pretty easy to follow and cook with. What is required are: tomatoes, cooking oil, onions, red and green chilies and salt.

Firstly, slice up the onions, tomatoes and both the varieties of chillies. Secondly, fry the sliced ingredients (with the salt) in a frying pan, until the mix has begun to lightly colour. Finally, transfer the fried ingredients to a saucepan, add some water, and cook until the chillies have softened and also the mixture has thickened.

If it’s hard to estimate how much water is required for the fried ingredients to do both, then you can always carefully add more water until you can observe that the tomatoes have indeed softened, and the mix has thickened, and then just wait for the mix to finish cooking. Serve the chili sauce with fried chicken or vegetable rolls.

French Fries

french fries

French fries are perfect options as a light snack. But how to cook them? It’s very straightforward: after peeling a specified amount of potatoes, let’s say 6 medium-sized potatoes, the potatoes need to be cut into pieces which are shaped as sticks.

I love my french fries crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

So, the golden rule to follow to have the french fries done up crispy, is to cut the potato pieces as thin as the vegetable would allow it. After that, you place the cut-up-potatoes with a measured amount of cooking oil – I would say, three tablespoons of oil, but not before the oil’s heated up in the cooking pot over a medium heat range.

Following that, you fry the potatoes, turning them a fair few times, until the potatoes are soft enough. Then you leave the potatoes to cool for a couple of minutes, at first. After that, the cooking oil should be reheated at a medium heat once more. Then fry the potatoes in the oil to your liking and when done, serve the french fries sprinkled with a very light amount of salt. I try to avoid having a golden brown shade of french fries, whenever I can because it’s not a very traditional option and at a fry-up, golden brown french fries would perhaps require twice as much oil than regular good old french fries.

Yee Sang Dishes For CNY

Yee sang dishes are very popular with Malaysians. Often, when you meet foreigners, they give you a quizzical look over our obsession with nasi lemak, but overtime you learn to ignore because they haven’t really warmed (or adapted for the length of time they were here) to our culture. It’s just the same in England, Germany and Singapore, people always look at you, like there must be something crazy about loving your country so much, because there is one thing as being patriotic and a whole different thing, as being almost possessive, successful at home and “knowing nothing else but your country”.

Because Malaysia forms a part of Asia, raw fish is loved here just as much in our neighbouring Japan, but over there they call it sushi – they have what seems like a thousand variations of sushi. Yee sang, is also recognized as Prosperity Toss, and has strips of raw fish, shredded veg, numerous spicy sauces, condiments and other ingredients, such as shrimp crackers.

The yee sang dish has fresh raw fish, white radish, carrots, red pepper, turnips, red pickled ginger, sun-dried oranges and key-lime leaves, chili, toasted sesame seeds, shrimp crackers, five spice powder and different kinds of sauces, heralding a total of some 27 ingredients. Call it royal behaviour, if you like, but we must have Yee Sang during the Chinese New Year long weekend:

Yee sang with salad vegs

Salad greens can blend in well with a raw-fish dish,  because of the fragrant parsley, lime ginger, and the sudden tangy taste of pink polemo sacs. There is also plum sauce, which makes the dish very thick and meaty, and there is also organic lettuce, if you feel like the farm addition is absolutely vital.

Yee sang with cherry sauce

The dark cherry sauce is added to the usual plum sauce, and complimented by cinnamons and star anise, to a dish consisting of Australian abalone yee sang, salmon yee sang and sea bird’s nest yee sang.

Yee sang with chicken strips and enoki mushrooms

Chicken strips, one can never have enough of them, but when opting to go healthy, fish should always have a good priority in your diet, as cooked chicken, because we all need our daily intake of omega-3 fat and proteins. This dish is wrapped up in enoki mushrooms, so expect a crispy edition of the Prosperity Toss.

Yee Sang with tropical fruits/lamb

For a fruity mix, look towards this one in particular, that has dragon fruit, lime, papaya pickles, strawberry slices, spicy plum sauce and mango. If you are from the Gulf or the Mediterranean, and you must absolutely have lamb, because the meat is carefully roasted, under medium heat, so the sweet/sticky appeal of the dish is there to enjoy with all of the crunchy vegs.

Yee sang with New Zealand swordfish

Crushed peanuts, Chinese parsley, pickled ginger and New Zealand swordfish, are a good combo because the dish becomes sweet, for the fish, and the veg is certainly colourful enough to tempt you into, striking up a healthy kick this New Year.

The Most Delicious Xmas Recipes

Vegetables are good for winter meals. They fill you up, keep you warm, and makes for a varied tasty addition to your dinner table, in terms of texture, and the nature of preparation. Serve them fresh with one of these different kinds of toasted breads:…..(don’t they look colourful, all the options?)

Roasted and Charred Broccoli with Peanuts: Peanuts are thrown into a dish of roasted, fried broccoli, but include the stems.

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Beets with Goat Cheese, Nigella Seeds, and Pistachios: Steamed beets, with a good helping of goat cheese, a smattering of vinegar, spice, and numerous condiments for a sophisticated winter vegetable mix.

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Crunchy Turnip, Apple, and Brussels Sprout Slaw: An innovative spin on the American coleslaw, which spins in brussel sprouts, mini salad greens, and a sweet and crunchy winter vegetable of kohlrabi, rutabaga, golden beets and turnips.

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Red Rice Salad with Pecans, Fennel, and Herbs: Wholesome grains, the red rice thrown in the salad add texture, flavour, and a heartiness to the meal.

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Tandoori Carrots with Vadouvan Spice and Yogurt: Orange carrots, immersed in a French-Indian spice blend of onions, shallots, and garlic in a curry-mix.

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For the toasties, there needs to be a good number of toppings – throw in as much as you can muster, like a huge portion of a herby bean salad. Add nutty goodness to the bread loaves, a good pick of yoghurt, honey, table salt, olive oil thrown in, on bread slabs of sourdough, grainy loaves that are mighty healthy, with some radish silvers, trout roe and radish chunks.

Pickled Pepper and Boquerónes Toast: Throw in chopped fresh parsley, finely chopped garlic, lemon zest, olive oil, roasted piquillo peppers, red wine vinegar, table salt and pepper. Drizzle in a toasted country bread with olive oil, top it up with peppers, boquerónes and olive oil-drenched parsley.

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Trout Roe and Turnip Toast: Toasted dark rye bread, lined up with cream cheese, layers of trout roe, turnips, radishes, and chopped chives.

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Bresaola and Cheddar Toast: Toasted pumpernickel bread, lined with grain mustard, shredded bresaola, sliced white cheddar, and sliced cornichons.

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Cucumber and Avocado Toast: Thinly slice up cucumbers, sprinkle on fresh lemon juice, crushed red pepper flakes, salt, pepper on toasted sourdough bread, smattered with tahini. Top it off with cucumber and drizzles of olive oil.

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Bresaola and Cheddar Toast: Wild mushrooms are cooked, garlic is sliced in olive oil, and the mix is stirred in right until it has become toasted, brown and crisp. Shredded kale leaves, Fresno chile is seeded for some less heat on the toast, and the bread and the mix on the top, is cooked, over a toss, right up until the kale is wilted. Season the bread with ricotta, salt, pepper and spread it onto a toasted country bread, and throw in a mushroom and kale mix on top of the toastie!

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