Easy Crispy-skinned Oven-Baked Chicken Thighs

If you’re constantly busy with schoolwork but still want a nice hot meal, here’s a quick and easy way to have a satisfying meal without burning down your house! ūüėČ

I was making some pilaf and wanted to incorporate some protein into my dish and I wanted the easy way out so I decided to chuck three chicken thighs into the oven and I was so surprised with the results I HAD to share it.

This recipe is so easy there’s no need for a recipe list. All you need is salt, pepper, olive oil, chicken thighs and an oven!

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven at 220C and prepare your chicken.

2. Season your chicken with some salt and pepper on both sides and drizzle with some olive oil.

3. When your oven has reached the desired temperature, place the chicken inside the oven and WALK AWAY after setting your timer to about 30-35 minutes depending on the size of your chicken.

And voila! You have crispy-skinned chicken in no time.

If you want to add more flavour to your dish, you could add in some rosemary or thyme and some garlic as well.

Also, if you’re really bored, you could whip up some pilaf to go with it using this recipe here.

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Wild rice pilaf served with root vegetables and that oven-baked chicken.

Wild rice pilaf served with root vegetables and that oven-baked chicken.

Gravlax (Cured Salmon)

So my mom and I saw Ina Garten make this on Barefoot Contessa and we really wanted to give it a try.

Since I didn’t make any adaptations to the recipe, it is only fair that I rerouted you guys to the actual recipe, so here’s the link to the recipe we used.

Just follow the recipe exactly and you’ll be on the right track.

I must say that after trying this out for ourselves, we were very very impressed. The salmon was tender, moist and still very juicy. It wasn’t too salty and we just kept going back to the fridge for more. It was definitely more than worth the two-day wait.

Though, if I were you, I would probably make more than just those two measly pieces in the photos. Also, be sure to use sushi grade salmon because your salmon is essentially uncooked.

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Gravlax, before entering the fridge.

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Sliced salmon with Ritz biscuits and cream cheese dip.

To make the cream cheese dip, just combine about 2 tablespoons of cream cheese with dil and salt and pepper.

This dish can serve as a great canapé and conversation starter.

Linguine Carbonara Without Cream

For some reason, every time I come back on holiday, my dad will ask me to make this dish. Probably because he thinks it’s good.

And don’t worry, it’s easy. Sort of. Let’s just say I spent more than an hour trying to cook this the first time I tried it out and it was the first time I cooked an entire meal by mself. Thankfully, it turned out beautiful.

This recipe has been tried and true so I’m pretty sure it’ll work, even if you don’t have much cooking experience.

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The ingredients. Yes, I cheated. I didn’t make my own pasta.

Linguine Carbonara Without Cream Recipe (Serves 4) 
You’ll need:
~400g pasta of your choice, try to avoid using angel hair and definitely avoid shaped pasta or short cut pasta
~1.5 eggs, depending on how saucy you want it to be and how much noodles you’ve used
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated. Add more if you like it more cheesy, but remember, it’s salty. And yes, I was just making do with whatever I had in the fridge – pizza cheese.
2 purple onions, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
4 strips of bacon, 1 cm strips
1 1/2 tbsp parsley, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil

Directions:
1. Place the bacon in a pan over low heat, and cook them until all the fat is released.

2. Bring to boil a pot of water, about half-full, and season it with salt. You can add in olive oil at this stage, but I’ve heard that its not necessary. Once the water is boiling, add in the pasta noodles of your choice. Cook until al dente and strain. Save up about a bowl of the pasta stock for later.¬†Remember: do not run your pasta under cold water.¬†Drizzle some olive oil over the pasta and stir to prevent the noodles from sticking.

3. In a bowl, beat the eggs and half a cup of parmesan cheese until well-combined. Set aside.

4. Remove the cooked bacon from the pan and and some olive oil to the pan and cook the sliced onions on low heat until tender. Add in the chopped garlic about now and continue cooking under low heat until you smell the fragrance of the chopped garlic.

5. Now, add in the pasta noodles and the cooked bacon to the pan with the onions and garlic and combine well.

6. Kill the heat and pour the egg and cheese mixture. Stir to combine.

7. Garnish with the remaining parmesan cheese and some chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe

Last summer, my mom and I decided to bake something just because we were bored, so I started Googling recipes online to see what piqued our interests most. Well, we had like half a pumpkin at home and I stumbled upon this recipe on The Food Network, so we decided to roll with that.

We made a few adaptations to the recipe because we didn’t want to use canned pumpkins. So we roasted our pumpkin in a 180C oven for about an hour. Then, we scraped the pumpkin flesh and blended it until it became a puree. We also added in some water to make it more runny. The full recipe can be found here.

Pumpkin Cheesecake (serves 10)

Crust:
1 3/4 cups graham cracker/digestive biscuit crumbs
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick melted salted butter

Filling:
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
425g pumpkin puree (we used puree from a real pumpkin but you can swap it out for a can of pumpkin puree)
3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 350F/180C.

2. To make the crust, combine crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter. Press down flat into a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.

3. To make the filling, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add the pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and the spices. Then, add in flour and vanilla. Beat everything together until it is well combined.

4. Pour the mixture into the springform pan with the crust. Spread the batter out evenly and place it in oven for an hour. Remove from the oven and let it sit for 15 minutes.

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Before going into the oven. And no, we didn’t have a springform pan, so we improvised.

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Pumpkin cheesecake out of the oven. And don;t worry, it’ll come back down once it’s set.

5. Next, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours. Finally, remove the plastic wrap and pop the cake out of the springform pan.

N/B. For some reason, our cake took more than 4 hours to set, so to be on the safe side, let your cake set overnight.

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A slice of that pumpkin cheesecake goodness.

Wanton Noodles (Wanton Mee)

So I decided to make wanton noodles after my exams because I was too bored and I wanted to cook.

I’m not 100% sure of the amount used because I kinda eyeballed everything. What I do remember is the ingredients that went into creating this awesome dish. And no, I don’t usually praise my own cooking but the noodles were pretty darn good, even if I do say so myself. And no, it definitely wasn’t because of my homesickness.

Anyway, here’s the recipe I used in making the wanton noodles.

Wanton Noodles Recipe (Serves 5) 

Adapted from Raspberri Cupcakes

Wantons and soup:
250g minced pork
3-5 dried shitake mushrooms
100g shrimp, roughly chopped
3 tbsp chopped spring onion
1 packet wanton skins
Light soy sauce, to taste
White pepper, to taste
Corn flour
Water chestnuts, optional (I’m not too sure about the quantity needed because I couldn’t find them at the grocers)
Chicken stock cubes
1 bunch of mustard greens (choy sum)
Chicken breast, to garnish (optional)

Mixing sauce and noodles (per serve):
1/2-1 tbsp thick soy sauce, depending on how dark you want your noodles to be
1/2-1 tbsp oyster sauce, depending on how salty you want it to be
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
Pepper, to taste
1 packet fresh egg noodles

Instructions:
1. Soak shitake mushrooms in water for about 30 minutes or until soft. Coarsely chop the mushrooms to about the size of the chopped shrimp.

2. To make the filling, combine minced pork, mushrooms, shrimp, and a dash of tapioca flour, depending on how sticky you want it. Then add in soy sauce and pepper to taste and finally, add in about 2 tablespoons of chopped spring onions. I only used the end bits, where they looked fresher. The mixture will end up looking something like this. Also, if you do end up using water chestnuts, this is a good time to add them in.

Image3. Before making your wantons, start steaming your chicken breast so that it is ready to garnish at the end. This step is optional.

4. Prepare a bowl of water to use as a sealant for your wanton pouches. Take your wanton skins and fill them with a spoonful of the filling. Then, dab some water around the borders of the wanton skin and fold them into little pouches or from end to end into little triangles. Be careful not to overfill the pouches, as they might burst when you boil them. They will end up looking something like this. I bought the wrong coloured wanton skins. Get the lighter-coloured ones if you can find them.

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5. Fill a large saucepan until it is about 3/4 of the way up and throw in some chicken stock cubes. 1 cube makes about 190ml worth of chicken stock, so add the cubes in accordingly. Bring the chicken stock to a boil and start cooking your wantons. Just put them into the boiling stock until they begin to float and leave them in the water for about a minute or so and they should be perfectly cooked. Alternatively, cook for four minutes. If you’re not planning on serving them immediately, plunge the wantons into a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking. Overcooking the wantons will result in them splitting open. Set aside and start preparing your noodles.

6. To cook the noodles, loosen them from the packet and put a serving at a time into a saucepan filled with boiling water. Cook for one minute. Immediately plunge the cooked noodles into a basin of cold water or let it go under running water to retain it’s “springy” goodness.

7. To prepare the sauce, mix in the thick soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil and pepper.

8. To serve, place the noodles on top of the mixing sauce. Then, drizzle on some of the chicken stock used for cooking the wantons. Cook the mustard greens until they float in the same chicken stock and place them at the side of the place. Next, place the wantons at the side and garnish the noodles with a few pieces of chicken breast shreds. If you like to add some heat, garnish with pickled jalapen√īs at the side or in a saucer with some soy sauce.

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Voila! And there you have it, wanton noodles to remind you of home.

Two-ingredient Pizza

So I stumbled upon this recipe on Buzzfeed.com and I decided to give it a go. It’s super easy and it only takes two ingredients. However, every compromise comes with its fair share of downsides. The pizza crust will definitely not be thin and light like most pizza crusts we have come to know and love. It will end up being a bit chewy but yummy, nonetheless. Because the dough is very heavy, it can easily serve 6-8 people.

Pepperoni Pizza Margherita (serves 6-8)

Crust:

Adapted from kidspot.com.au

1 cup Greek yoghurt or natural yoghurt
1 cup self-raising flour
Dried herbs (eg. oregano, parsley), to taste
Extra flour for dusting the board

Toppings:
1 tube pepperoni, thinly sliced
125g mozarella cheese
2-3 tomatoes
25g basil
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

1. Preheat your oven at 220C.

2. Place greek yoghurt into a bowl and gradually add in self-raising flour while mixing. You don’t need a mixer for this and you can just use your hands. Bring together to form a ball. If the dough is still wet, continue to add flour until it becomes stretchy. Be careful not to add too much flour because it will reduce the elasticity of the dough. I think I added like up to 200g more than the required amount for some reason. Some recipes called for a 2:1 flour to yoghurt ratio while this one calls for a 1:1 ratio. So don’t be afraid to add more flour if you need to.

2. Sprinkle in some dried herbs to taste

3. Knead the dough on a well-floured board for 5-8 minutes. Roll into a pizza shape and add toppings.

4. Bake your pizza for 20-30 minutes or until the crust becomes golden brown and your cheese is melted.

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Tadaa! (:

No bake Nutella Cheesecake with Salted Candied Hazelnuts

After a myriad of failed attempts at making macarons, coughs even after using cake mix, I’ve finally decided to upload a post on my successful attempt in making a no-bake Nutella cheesecake along with the recipe to redeem myself from the shame that is my inability to bake macarons properly, yet.

Anyway, I adapted this recipe from Alvin Quah and combined the best of what both recipes had to offer.

No bake Nutella Cheesecake with Salted Candied Hazelnuts (serves 8)

Crust:
20 chocolate ripple biscuits
1/2 cup hazelnut meal
100g butter, melted
50g

Nutella Cake:
500g Philadelphia cream cheese
200g Nutella
1/2 cup caster sugar

Candied Hazelnuts:
60g hazelnuts
¬Ĺ caster sugar
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp ground sea salt

1. Place the chocolate ripple biscuits in a freezer bag and break them up until they resemble coarse sand.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine the broken up chocolate ripple biscuits, hazelnut meal, melted butter and nutella until the mixture reaches a wet sand consistency.

3. Press the mixture firmly into a 20cm springform pan and refrigerate for a least 30 minutes.

4. To make the cheesecake mixture, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Be careful to get the cream cheese made specifically for baking, otherwise your cheesecake won’t set! You can try but I can’t guarantee that it will stay standing for more than 10 minutes, ie. it’ll melt.

5. Then add in the nutella and sugar. Beat until well combined and spread the mixture onto the crust. Use a spatula to even out the top of the cake. Refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight to set. I used the freezer because my first attempt resulted in a cheesecake that couldn’t set.

6. To make the candied hazelnuts, preheat the oven at 180C and roast the hazelnuts for 7 minutes. Be sure not to leave them in the oven for too long or they’ll burn.

7. Remove from oven and let it cool for 1 minute. Then, wrap them in a tea towel and rub together to remove the skins of the hazelnuts. Discard the skins and set the roasted hazelnuts aside.

8. To make the toffee, mix sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Melt the sugar and continue to cook until it is amber or golden brown. Immediately remove from the heat to prevent it from turning black.

9. Add hazelnuts to the toffee and coat them well. Tip candied hazelnuts on a flat surface on a piece of baking paper. When cool to touch, quickly but gently separate the individual hazelnuts and coat each one with ground sea salt. Alternatively, you can pour the toffee over the hazelnuts to save time. I found it easier to pour the toffee over the hazelnuts.

10. To decorate cheesecake, remove cake from springform pan and carefully place each salted candied hazelnut on the rim of the cake. Decorate to your liking.

11. If you have some remaining toffee left, you can make sprigs of toffee crystals by pouring and spreading the toffee on the baking sheet to garnish on top of the hazelnuts.

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Have fun trying this recipe!