Friday, April 26, 2013

Minced Mutton in Mild Sauce

Have you ever experienced a day that you thought you have planned what you wanted to cook for lunch and got all the ingredients ready but changed your mind totally when you saw some other interesting ingredients you have in the fridge or pantry? I had that crazy day yesterday. I planned to cook pasta with fish and chick peas but I was inspired to cook something else when I saw a packet of minced mutton in the freezer. I guess it is that impromptu curiosity, excitement and inspiration to tweak, to experiment and of course to eat and taste that spur me to cook different stuff and continue cooking....

Something spicy would be nice for minced mutton I thought, but on second thought the lunch I was going to prepare was more to fill the hungry stomachs of my kids upon their return home from school. I decided to cook something mild yet flavourful and delicious minced mutton for them.

If you could not accept the strong flavour of the cumin and turmeric, you may reduce the amount and increase the tomato paste. I was taking a chance to cook this and true enough my boy was reluctant to open his mouth to eat it when he first smelled the dish. He said it was curry dish and that it would be spicy. Fortunately, I was able to convince him to try and that the dish wasn't spicy at all. He took the first spoon and he liked it with white rice!!  My daughter and I had it with tomato bread with herbs. My girl is a mild curry lover and she told me this today, "Mum I liked my lunch yesterday"... I was beaming in return.

Minced Mutton in Mild Sauce
250g mutton
1 big onions coarsely chopped
5 cloves of garlic coarsely chopped
4 medium size potatoes, cut into cubes
4 sticks of carrots, cut into small cubes
1 big bowl of peas
1 bay leaf
5 tablespoon of tomato paste
3/4 tsp of turmeric powder
1 tsp of cumin powder
500ml beef stock


1. Heat up a non-stick pan with one tablespoonful of cooking oil in slow fire. Fry onions and garlic until slight soft. Add bay leaf, carrots and potatoes. Continue to stir fry for about a minute.

2. Add in the mutton, tomato paste, turmeric powder and cumin powder. Continue to stir and let it simmer in slow fire for a minute.

3. Transfer it into a pot, add in beef stock. With lid covered, let it simmer in slow fire for about 25 minutes.

4. Add  in peas and continue to let it simmer with lid opened for 5 minutes.

Notes :
1. I was thinking perhaps adding cinnamon stick, cardamon seeds, star of anise, clove, cut tomatoes and garam masala would be a good blend for a more pungent mutton curry flavour.

2. I didn't add salt to this dish in view of the sodium level in the the store-bought beef stock but a little dash of the mineral was able to bring out the taste of the dish.

3. You may add natural yogurt to thicken the sauce. I was thinking whether the same recipe with a tweak towards western flavours would be suitable to use as filling for shepherd's pie?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Strawberries Cream Cheese Butter Cake

I was having a little body ache after a bowling game with my family yesterday. If I could I would really wish to spend some time doing nothing but just relax after our Sunday Mass at the church. However, my mind just could not detach from this gorgeous picture that I saw in a blog on a cream cheese butter cake. I visited Cuisine Paradise frequently to look out for healthy, yummy and inspirational recipes. It is an awesome blog and I could almost feel the writer's energy, passion and sincerity sharing all what she knows and likes about food each time I read her post!

I find that it is exciting to bake unplanned every time. So even though my muscles are a little stiff I went ahead to do a simple baking project with the kids. I enjoyed it so much doing this with my kids though baking with younger kids means you have more clean up to do and it was time consuming as you have to be really patient explaining and giving instructions to them. But those are the points; you want them to learn through fun; it was the best way and environment for them to be exposed about home economics and to learn this important life skill. I have learned to be patient with the kids and to 'tolerate' the mess if I want to engage them with kitchen activities. It defeats the purpose of learning if you did most of the steps for them for fear of mess. It definitely kills their excitement and fun; and worst their self esteem.

This recipe is adopted from Cuisine Paradise. The changes that I made to the recipe are as follows:

a) I used strawberries instead of the blueberries as I found none in my local supermarket.

b) I used two 4" x 9"x 3" baking tin and maintain the baking time.

c) I divided the recipe into two portions for all the ingredients as I wanted the kids to get better hands-on and feel confident that they are in control.

The cake is so easy to make, delicious and gorgeous!!

Notes :

1. The cake is really soft so do take note when removing it from the tin. Revert the cake only when it is completely cool.
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