Why Floralfoodie?

10 Sep

I don’t think I have actually explained this before but I do wonder if you have wondered why “floralfoodie”? I know if you have seen this blog, you’d understand the “foodie” part – but why the “floral”?

Well, if you follow me on instagram @floralfoodie, you’ll know. I’m sort of obsessed with all things floral and pretty, especially for what I wear! But sometimes it is a little difficult to choose what sort of floral prints I can pull off because you know, sometimes they might not work out and make you look old. But I choose to think that most of the time, they pull together to create a sweet delicate look (:

Anyway, on a somewhat related note, I spent the better half of one of my afternoons during my long weekend working on a presentation that helps you discover your skin tone for a church project. I actually wasn’t expecting much but it turned out to be quite a hit with the boys and girls alike! I realise that it actually is pretty useful and can totally revolutionise your shopping experience – so I decided to share it here too! (:

Click on this link to get it! How to find the perfect colour for you

Okay, I have to clarify that I did not come up with the pictures/colour swatches but I have the links where you can find them in the last slide. Have fun discovering the perfect colour for your skin tone! Let me know if it came in useful for you, how you used it – you can even use the slides but please let me know what and where you are using it for by leaving a comment!

I am a Deep Winter, which is typical for Asians (well, the other half of Asians are probably Deep Autumns anyway). These are the colours that work the best for me!

But do note that the list of colours are not exhaustive and you should go out and experiment with different shades because every one’s skin tone is unique – the slides just show the BEST possible colours for you (:

One last thing (but of course, not the least) I have a blogshop! I started it out together with my good friend Valerie about one and a half years back and we aim to sell unique vintage-inspired pieces at an affordable price. Do check us out at Lavender Lane – we specialise in florals and prints and we believe that they are extremely versatile, if you’d just give it a chance!  ❤ ❤ ❤

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Baked chicken breast with aglio olio

6 Sep

I took two days off this week because it is the September holidays for our schools here so S and I can spend some time together doing things that we rarely have the chance to on weekday afternoons. He still had a bit of work to finish up though so we came back early *grumble grumble* and I decided to utilise the time I had to whip something up in the kitchen for dinner! I guess it was a good thing we left early because I was going on what you might call a shopping spree, oohing and ahhing at everything in H&M. I walked away with a couple of items and am very happy that they cost less than $18 each! 😀

Okay I’m sidetracking.

I remembered I still had some chicken breast in the freezer compartment waiting to be used, and some lemon + thyme so I did a quick search on foodgawker for chicken breast recipes and I found this! I really should get down to taking photographs with the dslr I have but I am just so lazy and my iPhone is usually within reach already anyway 😛 What do you think? Are the instagram photos I have been using good enough?

I was very tempted to just throw in some baked asparagus with cheese but I knew it wouldn’t be enough for S’ hearty appetite, and also the asparagus I had smelled a little funny … so I had to throw it out. The next best thing was pasta so I threw together a simple aglio olio, using noobcook’s trusty recipe here. I didn’t have fresh parsley or chili flakes at hand so I just stuck to lots of garlic and a little butter cube – which was surprisingly tasty enough – though S felt that it needed a little kick (read: chili).

So that meant that I needed a lot of garlic – a total of 13 cloves! And being the noob I am in the kitchen, I took about 15-20 minutes struggling to slice/chop them … I know. I really need more practice!

I realise that meat is actually really easy to cook. All you have to do is make sure you have a good marinate and time! I threw this marinate together and S actually said that it made the chicken really tasty! (:

After marinating, I left it aside for about 25 minutes and started to boil the water to cook the pasta.

I allowed the spaghetti to boil for about 10 minutes before taking it out and throwing it into the beautiful Happycall wok that my friends D&LJ bought for me with garlic, pasta water, and a cube of butter.

S rated this entire dinner at 70% and he finished it all up so quickly; I was only halfway through my (smaller) portion! Now maybe if I had some dried chili flakes …

Serves two
It took me about an hour to prepare everything :/ if you are very comfortable in the kitchen I suppose it will be faster for you for sure!

Equipment you need
Heavy-bottomed saucepan
Wok / Frying pan
Roasting grill tray
Chopping board
Knife

Chicken breast

Ingredients you need
3 garlic cloves, chopped
half a lemon juice
fresh thyme leaves (dried is also fine)
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsps olive oil

Steps
1 Ensure that the chicken breasts are fully thawed and washed.
2 Preheat the oven to 190 degree celsius.
3 Mix the garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice, thyme leaves and other herbs you have that you want to throw in. (I used lemon pepper, garlic herb and italian herb powder as well)
4 Let it sit for about 30 minutes.
5 Lay the chicken on the roasting grill tray and put in the oven to bake for about another 30 minutes.

Aglio olio pasta

Ingredients you need
10 garlic cloves, sliced
150g of spaghetti (or any kind of pasta of your choice)
a cube of butter
1.5 tbsp olive oil
(optional) dried chili flakes + fresh parsley

Steps
1 Cook pasta according to package instructions. The package I used told me to boil it for about 13 minutes but I only did 11 because I was still going to fry it later and I didn’t want the pasta to be overcooked. Additionally, I added about 1.5 tbsps of sea salt to the water as I needed the pasta to be really tasty since I didn’t have chili/parsley at hand. Do not use oil – it will prevent the pasta from absorbing the salt.
2 Drain and set the pasta aside. Reserve a cup of the pasta water.
3 Heat olive oil in the wok/frying pan. Make sure that the oil is hot enough that the garlic slices will sizzle gently in the pan. You can also throw in the chili flakes at this point.
4 Once the garlic slices turn a nice light golden brown, turn the fire down immediately. Let the garlic slices continue to cook in the hot oil until it turns a beautiful golden brown.
5 Add cooked pasta, 2 to 3 tbsps of the reserved pasta water, chopped parsley and butter to the garlic and oil mixture. Stir and ensure all ingredients are evenly mixed.
6 Serve with baked chicken and season with black pepper, to taste. Enjoy! (((:

Roast chicken and vegetables for our housewarming

3 Sep

I spent the last week planning our housewarming – well, basically trying to figure out the menu and whether we should have decorations, or not. C shot the latter idea out of my head; she said people are going to come to our place to see it as it is, instead of wanting to see balloons and ribbons and colourful strings dangling from the ceiling. Shucks.

Anyway, I had a whole chicken waiting to be used in the fridge from The Butcher’s giveaway that I blogged about here so I decided to roast it and serve it for the housewarming tea party, instead of baking something!

It was actually surprisingly easy; and I guess it really helped that The Butcher thoughtfully removed the innards so I didn’t have to! It also definitely helped that there were very many awesome roast chicken recipes out there in the Internet and I found these two (http://www.fromaway.com/cooking/how-to-roast-a-chicken & http://www.kayotic.nl/blog/roasted-chicken-vegetables) that really came in very useful with the step-by-step photographs, for a kitchen-noob like me.

That’s the seasoned bird below, all ready to be popped into the oven!

Roast chicken is never complete without root vegetables so I threw some in as well, to my friends’ delight! They all raved about the potatoes, for some reason.

Equipment you need
Roasting grill tray
Chopping board
Knife
Grater
Kitchen twine/string

Ingredients you need
one whole chicken
bunch of rosemary
4 garlic cloves
1/2 a lemon
2 tbsps olive oil
2 to 3 2cm square thin slab of unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste

3 russet potatoes
3 carrots
2 red onions
thyme sprigs
3 tbsps olive oil

Steps
1 Preheat the oven to 200 degree celsius.
2 Peel and chop the carrots into 1.5 to 2 inch chunks
3 Quarter the onions by first slicing them into halves, then peeling the skin off (you don’t have to do this) and then quartering them.
4 Peel, wash and chop the potatoes into chunks as the carrots. You can also throw in some garlic cloves (4 to 5) if you like.
5 Pour about 3 tbsps of olive oil over the vegetables and season with a pinch of salt, pepper and some thyme springs and leaves. Set aside.
6 Slice garlic cloves and base rosemary to release the oils.
7 Take the chicken and remove the innards if they haven’t already been removed by your grocer/butcher. Rinse the bird in cold water, inside out. Pat dry really really well with paper towels to prevent the chicken from steaming.
8 Sprinkle the cavity with salt and pepper. Stuff it with garlic and rosemary and the half lemon.
9 Tuck pieces of butter under the skin, and rub some all over the chicken’s outside. I used some olive oil here too.
10 Use kitchen twine to tie the legs in a knot so that it cooks evenly and retains its juices.
11 Rain coarse black pepper all over the bird. I actually didn’t use salt here and my butter was unsalted for a healthier choice.
12 Place the chicken on the roasting grill tray on top of the vegetables.
13 Put in oven for 45 minutes.
14 Remove the tray from oven, flip the vegetables over and spoon some of the juices at the bottom over the chicken.
15 Place the roasting tray back in the oven for another 30 to 45 minutes, until the chicken and vegetables are thoroughly cooked!

Baking attempt fail

24 Aug

I know you generally expect recipe blogs to post only successful recipes because really, who would want to read about botched attempts and failures?

However this blog is meant to be a journey of my baking and cooking adventures in the kitchen and that would naturally include making mistakes and learning from them 😛

I was trying to recreate this recipe http://busy-mommy.com/2012/03/nutella-and-streusel-swirled-banana-bread.html on Monday but maybe I didn’t take the time to read it properly in advance or I didn’t have the correct baking tray dimensions, and it went bad. It didn’t look anything like it should in the photos provided and the bread consistency was way too floury. I think the main problem arose because I halved the ingredients and maybe somewhere in there, my measurements went awry, causing this to be a botched attempt at a nutella and streusel banana swirl bread.

The making of the streusel – it didn’t turn all crumbly like the recipe said it should.

The banana bread mixture; with way too much nutella it seems.

The banana bread mixture with the streusel mixed in before going into the oven

The final product

It actually does look pretty much like a brownie! Haha, oh well, I guess I learn never to fiddle with recipes and to always ensure I have the correct baking tray (this tray was too wide, causing my bread to be very low and flat) .

S was really sweet though; he still bravely ate a few slices and said that it didn’t matter if it wasn’t a success, it only mattered that I baked it, for him (:

French toast with caramel banana topping

21 Aug

I have a soft spot for french toast. I especially love it when it is served piping hot, with maple syrup, for breakfast. I have always known that it is easy to make but I never really tried it myself, until Monday morning. It is a public holiday (Selamat Hari Raya to all our Muslim readers!) so we decided to stay in (which means sleeping late the night before to watch a DVD and sleeping in the next morning). We chose to rewatch Serenity by Joss Whedon – it’s one of my all-time favourite shows and I still am sad that they never continued the Firefly series; I can only wonder just who Shepherd Book actually is!

Anyway, I chanced upon this recipe from http://tidymom.net/2012/caramel-banana-french-toast/ and it looked so delightfully delicious that I was practically drooling all over my computer! I knew there and then that I had to try it out!

This was also the perfect recipe for my Happycall pan – I didn’t have to painstakingly flip the bread one by one, but I could just close the pan and flip the entire thing 😀

The best part is that this recipe is really easy to make and it took me about 25 to 30 minutes to whip this up, and I was taking my time, I tell you! S loved it so much he asked for more and rated 80% for the french toast and 85% for the caramel banana topping. That man is hard to please! But I am glad because he finished it all!

Serves two

Equipment you need
Happycall / Heavy-bottomed frying pan
Mixing bowl
Chopping board
Knife

French toast

Ingredients you need
4 slices of bread (the thicker the better)
4 eggs
4 tbsp milk (i used leftover dairy whipping cream)
2 tbsp orange juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp sugar
pinch of sea salt
2 tsp unsalted butter

Steps
1 In a large, shallow mixing bowl, mix the eggs, milk/cream, sugar, salt, orange juice and vanilla.
2 Add bread to the egg mixture and flip gently to coat evenly. Let it soak in the egg mixture for about one minute.
3 Heat up the frying pan / Happycall over medium-high heat. Add the butter to melt.
4 Remove the bread from the egg mixture and let it drip over the egg mixture before transferring it to the hot pan.
5 Cook until the bottom is golden brown then flip it over to cook the other side.

Caramel banana topping

Ingredients you need
2 ripe but firm bananas, sliced thickly
2 tbsp unsalted butter
4 tbsp brown sugar, packed
sprinkle of cinnamon

Steps
1 Peel and slice the bananas thickly
2 Add butter and brown sugar to frying pan / Happycall on medium-high heat.
3 Use a wooden spoon to combine the butter and sugar together, then add the sliced bananas.
4 Allow the bananas to bubble a bit, then flip them over one at a time. I did not flip my Happycall pan over this time. Cook until bananas are light brown.
5 Serve piping hot with the french toast!

Lamb chop dinner

20 Aug

To be honest, I’m not a big fan of lamb. My mum absolutely cannot take the smell so I grew up without eating lamb much. However, I have to admit that if done well, it can be very delicious. It helps that S loves lamb and mutton so that encourages me to introduce it to my palette. It still isn’t a meat I will have often though; I very much prefer beef (:

The last post I talked about how I marinated the lamb on Thursday in preparation for Friday’s dinner. When I reached home after work on Friday, I took the lamb out of the fridge and started to bustle about in the kitchen while S sat down in anticipation of his lamb meal, haha!

For a more balanced diet, I whipped up a dish of asparagus with bacon, cheese and lots of black pepper. It was a satisfying crunchy complementary side dish to the juicy meat. I overcooked the lamb a little because it looked red still on the outside and S is a little paranoid about eating raw meat but don’t worry, I will take that in account in the recipe and give you a shorter time so your lamb won’t be overcooked! (: I personally prefer my meat a little rare too!

S was so happy as he tucked in and I was pleased when he gave me 80% for the entire dinner! (: it is, after all, my first attempt at lamb!

Serves two

Equipment you need
Heavy-bottomed frying pan / Happycall
Medium and large baking trays
Baking sheet

Lamb

Steps
1 Preheat the oven to 160 degree Celsius. Prepare the large baking tray and line it with a baking sheet.
2 In a heavy-bottomed frying pan (I used my Happycall which was a gift from my MIL), heat up two tbsps of olive oil over medium to high heat.
3 Once the oil starts to bubble, add the lamb chop pieces and brown it – frying it for about 3 minutes on each side. It was here when I really appreciate the Happycall pan because all I had to do was to close the lid, flip it on the other side and let it fry too instead of flipping piece by piece.
4 Transfer the lamb to the large baking tray and let it cook for 20 minutes. I did so for about 25 minutes, which is good for people like S who prefer their meat well done.
5 When it is done, take the meat from the oven and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
6 Serve with a sauce of your choice!

Roasted Asparagus

Ingredients you need
12 to 15 pieces of asparagus
2 tbsps olive oil
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 slices of bacon, cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Steps
1 Set oven to 190 degree Celsius.
2 Cut off the ends of the bottom of the asparagus and discard.
3 Arrange the asparagus on a baking sheet.
4 Drizzle olive oil all over the asparagus.
5 Generously sprinkle sea salt, black pepper and the parmesan cheese over the asparagus as well.
6 Roast in oven for about 6 – 8 minutes, until the asparagus just beings to soften and the cheese has melted and started to turn golden brown.
7 Serve hot with lamb!

Lamb recipe adapted from http://www.jocooks.com/main-courses/rosemary-lamb-chops-with-garlic-mint-sauce/
Roasted asparagus recipe adapted from http://www.sprinkledwithflour.com/2012/03/roasted-parmesan-asparagus.html

Lamb chop marinate

17 Aug

I know I said that I will upload the recipe after trying the food to see if it was good and worth sharing but I guess I couldn’t wait! Also, I sort of have short-term memory so if I don’t write it out, I will forget what I threw into the marinate!

S and I went grocery shopping last night and we combed two supermarkets high and low but we couldn’t find any fresh rosemary – which would go so well with lamb. I found a substitute however: fresh thyme, and modified my recipe a little to accommodate the change.

We raced home to dump everything in the fridge and quickly left for a meeting in church so I could only work on the marinate after we returned from the meeting. S was dead tired by then but he accompanied me in the kitchen when I was doing this and even helped with thawing the lamb chops out a bit (:

It’s actually really very easy to put the things together – all you need is thyme, olive oil, garlic, lemon, black coarse pepper and salt! Then you mix it together and liberally apply it all over the lamb, and put it back in the refrigerator for well, some people say an hour will do. Others say 6 hours is ideal, and others say overnight. I chose the option that was most practical (overnight) because I’m working all day today and won’t have time tonight to leave the meat to absorb the marinate before cooking. S will probably be a red-eyed hungry monster if I did that, haha.

Equipment you need
A big bowl
Spoons
Sharp knife
Chopping board

Ingredients you need
3 tbsps olive oil
Juice from half a lemon
5 sprigs of thyme finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
Black pepper and salt (to taste)

Steps
1 Remove thyme leaves from the stalk and chop the leaves. Put into bowl.
2 Chop the garlic and slice a lemon and squeeze the juice out. Put into bowl too.
3 Throw in the rest of the ingredients into the bowl and mix.
4 Liberally apply marinate all over the lamb chops and refrigerate for a minimum of one hour.

Jessica Sinclair

My Journey To A Better Back

Thegohs Parenting Journey

... every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights (James 1:17)

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