Home Kitchen Recipe | Borscht Soup with Beetroot

This time is my second attempt to cook Borscht Soup using beetroot. Curiosity led me to try with beetroot instead of staying with the simple recipe of Borscht Soup which I shared in my earlier installment.

It has never came across my mind that beet root soup is so tasty and sweet until I cooked this dish. Plenty of options to cook beet root but guess making it into soup is one of the best way to extract all the nutrients.
Home cooked Borscht Soup
Features and Functions
These deep crimson bulbs are indeed rich in betaine, a nutrient that is important for cardiovascular health. In additional studies, betaine also demonstrates protection against liver disease particularly the build up of fatty deposits in the liver caused by alcohol abuse, protein deficiency, or diabetes.
Fresh bulbs of beetroot
Beetroot juice is found to lower blood pressure. The high nitrate content in its juice works to induce vasodilation which subsequently increase blood flow.
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Home Kitchen Recipe | Shrimp Tom Yum (Tomyam Goong) Soup

Tom Yum or Tomyam is a popular soup originates from Thailand and Laos. Even though Laos tom yum does not make a presence outside its own country, Thai tom yum on the opposite seems to be one of the most famous Thai cuisine worldwide. In fact, tom yum is widely served in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.  
Home cooked Tomyam Goong (Shrimp Tomyam)
Characterized by distinct hot and sour flavors in the soup, tom yum is prepared using plenty of fragrant herbs and spices. A good tom yum lies in the taste of its broth. Generally, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, shallots, lime juice, fish sauce, tamarind, ginger and chili peppers are the so-called must ingredients to cook a basic broth. A lot of hard work is also required including pounding the herbs and stir-frying them in oil.
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White Christmas In The Winter Wonderland

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather”  ~ John Ruskin

The famous line of ‘I am dreaming of a white Christmas‘ chorus placed us in the thought to celebrate a white Christmas in New York City (NYC) this year (2009). After putting some deep thoughts on the plan, we decided to call it off as weather would be too cold for us to enjoy ourselves in the Big Apple. Furthermore, Christmas-New Year is a holiday season with huge crowds and potential flight delays. Shops and places of attraction would be closed as well. In the end, we made up our mind to stay in Texas for Christmas but not in Austin.
White flakes welcomed us on IH-35E
Since both of us had never been to Dallas, we took this chance to see Dallas on a road trip. Departed from Austin on Christmas Eve mid morning, we expected a light shower in the morning and a sunny afternoon when we reached Cedar Hill State Park, near Grand Prairie, Texas.
The snowing sight at New York Ave (Arlington) not NYC
People say  ‘Snowflakes are kisses from heaven‘. I caught the first sight of tiny flakes after our bio break somewhere near Italy, a town on IH-35E to Dallas. I told my Significant Other what I saw as soon as he got into the car but he said they were just tiny shower drops and not snowflakes. “But the wind chill temperature is possibly below 0 degree Celsius”, he added while rubbing his hands to generate some heat.
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Home Kitchen Recipe | Puff Pastry Chicken Pie – Chicken Cornish

When I googled, I found that Cornish Chicken is in fact a is a breed of chicken originating in the county of Cornwall in England. However, the Chicken Cornish that I am familiar with is referring to Secret Recipe’s Chicken Cornish. Now I am a bit suspicious why it is called Chicken Cornish – are the chicken meat in the pastry are made from Cornish. Interesting finding indeed and I am going to verify that when I am back to Malaysia.
Home made chicken puff
Having said that, I think it makes more sense to name this pastry – Baked Chicken Puff. Sounds decent and more precisely decribed what it is compares to ‘Chicken Cornish’.  

The following recipe is going to describe my second attempt to bake a puff pastry. My first trial was prepared with fish in similar nature but trust me, chicken does taste much better. Perhaps this the reason why Secret Recipe is selling ‘Chicken Cornish’ instead of ‘Fish Cornish’! – smile
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Home Kitchen Recipe | Handmade Pizza with Baked Salmon and Avocado

The ‘Pizza with Baked Salmon and Avocado‘ recipe was inspired by a cooking show on TV which I watched during my gym session a few months ago. However, the chef in the cooking show used a ready-made pizza crust to prepare more or less the similar pizza. I somehow choose to be different by preparing my own pastry sheet at home. In this way, I would learn from scratch on how pizza is made. Yes, it is time saving to just buy but again, the culinary arts is about experimenting almost everything by oneself which I would call that ‘satisfaction’!

The pastry recipe is pretty simple and adopted from my Chicken Puff or Chicken Cornish recipe. Corn flour is added to add crispness for this thin crust pizza.
Home cooked salmon and avacodo pizza
The whole process is not complicated. It takes less than 30 min to prepare and another 20 minutes to bake. It is even better if you have some left-over meat/beef/chicken stew. Just exchange that with salmon in the following recipe.

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Home Kitchen Recipe | Sesame Oil Ginger Chicken

Sesame Oil Ginger Chicken. Oh..we love this dish. Both my Significant Other and I always talk about this dish every time we smell the aroma of sesame oil cooking from our neighbor.  
A simple mouth watering dish
In fact sesame oil ginger chicken is sort of a popular dish prepared during confinement. Ginger is well-known for its characteristic to expel wind and therefore, post-natal mothers would consume a lot of ginger based dishes to get rid of wind in their guts. Research shares ginger does provide some medicinal properties including decreasing pain from arthritis, treating nausea and lowering cholesterol owing its blood thinning properties. A word of caution, ginger is contraindicated in people suffering from gallstones as it promotes the production of bile. We somehow love it because it is cooked with the aromatic sesame oil!
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Christmas Greetings from Austin

This year, our Christmas is going to be rather different.
The first card from Down Under...Thanks Auntie C
First, we are going to celebrate a winter Christmas in North Hemisphere that the temperature may fluctuate between 30 to 50 degree Fahrenheit (2 to 10 degree Celsius). So, does that sounds cool, cold or chill to you? The temperature after all are just numbers which may not be a good gauge and perhaps I have to factor in the wind as well. I guess ‘Sheldon Cooper’ from ‘The Big Bang Theory’ would argue that the words of cool, cold or chill are merely adjectives that describe a subjective state. In other words, each temperature may reflect differently on different individuals based on their personal tolerance. Some where which is cool to me may be cold to you, right? Guess too much of ‘Cooper’ syndrome!
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Home Kitchen Recipe | Vietnamese Noodle Soup – Pho with Pork Balls and Spare Ribs

Last month while we were doing our grocery shopping, my Significant Other pointed to me a packet of Vietnamese noodle spices or fondly known as ‘Pho’ (pronouces as ‘fur’ though) on the shelf. Being here in Austin, we have the luxurious of just walk into any Vietnamese restaurants for a bowl of hot pho.
Magical Pho Spices (1.5 oz/43 g)
Despite of the convenience we could have, we decided to try with a packet of pho spices. I was curious whether this one packet was all about it for pho. Unfortunately, we do not read Vietnamese so all the instructions behind the packet is neither helpful nor leading us to any clue.
Interesting spices to prepare Pho's broth
A few days later, I decided to begin my experiment. Interestingly, I found it came with a tiny mesh bag. I poured them out so that I could scrutinize each type of them. Aha! Guess I only know ‘star anise’. Perhaps I have to take up a herb and spice class to name all of them. Anyway, there is another shortcut. I googled and found out from SteamyKitchen that this wonderful packet consists of star anise (which I got it right in first place!), cinnamon sticks, cloves, coriander, fennel and cardamom. I am really grateful for the recipe and direction shared (by SteamyKitchen) otherwise I would not have a guide to proceed making a fabulous pho at home.
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Home Kitchen Recipe | Banana Blueberry Muffins

Out of all the baking experiments, I would rank baking muffin as my number one favorite. That also means 2 lbs of flour at home can hardly last for 2 months! The joy of baking muffin is overwhelming. And now is the best season to bake muffin, in a way preparing in advance for festivities!
Banana blueberry muffins for Christmas!
I guess I fall in love with muffins due to obvious reasons. First, (as I mentioned before) muffin is a healthy breakfast
meal and secondly, I could prepare plenty of them on the day before so that I do not need to rush in the morning to
serve breakfast. Just a warm chocolate drink or coffee, it is almost perfect to accompany my lovely home-made muffins. Isn’t this great when we could reward ourselves and at the same time, enjoy a longer sleeping hours in the morning!
Treat Yourself
Having said that, I always love varieties. I do not get excited to bake the same type of muffins every week. Instead, I prefer to experiment with new ingredients and this article will share my first attempt with blueberries.

Features and functions
Native mainly in North America, the wild blueberries especially is found to contain anthocyanins, antioxidant pigments
and potential medicinal properties such as anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer.
 Fresh blueberries..
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Austin North – Center Ridge Drive | Masala Wok – Indian Cuisine

Back in my home country Malaysia, ‘Nasi Kandar’ is one of my Significant Other’s favorite hang out place. Either breakfast or dinner, I think we frequented these restaurants at least once a month. ‘Nasi Kandar’ is a two-word in Malay that is called upon a popular cuisine in Northern Malaysia. ‘Nasi’ means ‘rice’ whilst ‘Kandar’ is a verb which literally translated as ‘balancing on shoulder’.
MasalaWok - The facade at Center Ridge Drive
In the old days, this dish was sold by street vendors. Their operation was run by balancing a pole on shoulder with two huge rice meals containers. This is version which I heard from my parents since I have never seen that with my own eyes. I guess this dish gains popularity as time passed and as early as 1990s, ‘Nasi Kandar’ chain restaurants was mushrooming in Malaysia. Typically, ‘Nasi Kandar’ refers to a platter of plain/spiced rice with cooked dishes like curry chicken, fish, squibs, shrimps. Everything are placed on a plate and typically is poured with mixture of curry sauces or gravy which gives the platter an irresistible aroma. And of course, they are delicious!

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