Saturday, May 26, 2007

Purple Onde Onde

Everyone tends to get highly superficial when it comes to things that go into their mouths. Just like natural selection in the human world, the selection of foods we consume has alot to do with colours.

Come on, there's no need to deny the fact that you like good-looking food. We all do. It helps that the curry chicken is of a fiery orange red hue, and the punnet of strawberries, a deep crimson red. Foods have colours attached to them. You wouldn't expect a chocolate brownie to be green would you? Likewise, I don't think you'd be expecting a green steak when you order a medium rare ribeye.

However, it is fun to expect different colours when you know it's a food that's fun and cool. A food like onde onde.

We all know onde onde and most of us like it because of the oozing molten gula melaka (palm sugar) that squirts out if we bite too hard. Made out of glutinous rice flour, these mini balls usually come in green. But the green is usually not from natural colouring.

Onde onde is something that I love making because you get to see the balls developing from being a mere dough to something soft and sticky and filled with sweet lava. Ever since I came across an onde onde recipe that used sweet potatoes, I got hooked. Adding sweet potatoes to your onde onde dough just gives it a softer bite. The texture is pleasant and not so tough on your jaws - you need not chew as if it was bubble gum.

The previous times that I made these sweet potato onde onde, I used the traditional sweet potato we all know and love - the orange ones.

Orange onde onde seems to be passe because I've discovered how cool it'll be to have purple onde onde. The most amazing thing is that it's au naturel.

If orange sweet potatoes give you orange onde onde then purple sweet potatoes gives you purple sweet potatoes no? hahaha... yes, it's quite obvious.

These sweet potatoes are really purple mind you. Purple on the outside and purple on the inside:

I kid you not! I didn't dye these potatoes. They're just purple by nature.

Purple happens to be my favourite colour and you should have seen the look on my face when I saw how beautiful the shade of purple was...

As purple as can be, and as purple as grapes and my retainer box.

Try as I might, I couldn't shake off that look of awe on my face as I mashed the potatoes before adding them to the glutinous rice flour.

Trust me, there was no drop of artificial colouring. None, zilch, zero! Just 100% purple sweet potato.

After mixing the mashed up purple sweet potatoes with the flour, you'll get a lovely purple dough which you roll into balls, stuff with gula melaka and boil in a pot of boiling water until it floats. Then you take them out and coat them with grated coconut, like so:

You'll have to agree with me on this one, even if you're not a fan of the colour purple - these onde onde are special aren't they? Damn, the colour's so cool! I know I sound like a fascinated school girl but hey, it's not everyday you get to have natural purple coloured onde onde...

Seriously, I'm still amazed at the possibilities that await these coloured foods. I'm contented with my purple onde onde for now. Let's see what else I can play around with... *rubs hands together in anticipation*...

Go here for the onde onde recipe.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Donut Factory

It's not what you think.

No way would I queue 3 hours for a box of donuts from Donut Factory.

Why even blog about it then you ask? Well, though I'm not a fan of their donuts, I quite like the way they decorate it. The donuts look so pretty:

Nah, the donuts aren't bad or anything. The only problem I have with them is simply this: They don't taste like donuts! I guess it's a healthier alternative to those artery clogging treats. If I were to describe these donuts, I'd say they taste more like white fluffy bread slathered with icing and flavours. Having a texture similar to white bread isn't really what a donut is all about is it?

I guess these donuts are a refreshing entrance to the current lagging donut scene. But seriously, I'd prefer Krispy Creme anytime. :)

Oh well, but to each his own yea? Sorry, if you're a fan of their donuts. If it's any consolation, I really do think their donuts are photogenic:

So photogenic that I couldn't stop snapping shots of them from various angles:

If I could pick a favourite, I'd choose the double chocolate one. You see the white coated whole donut with brown squiggles? Yea, that's the one. hehe....

Who in the world queued up for the donuts then?

Trust me, I was equally surprised.

My brother.

He did it for a girl :D

That charmer. But kudos to his patience. At least he was thoughtful enough to get his family a box (after much cajoling on my part ..hahaha)

Final verdict? Pleasant, but not traditional donut fare. Too light and airy for my liking but it's really a less sinful version. But you won't catch me dead in that never-ending queue.


Donut Factory
B1-61 Raffles City
252 North Bridge Road
Tel: 6337-6268

Monday, May 21, 2007

Pretty cupcakes all in a tier

Last Friday had me slaving in the kitchen for more than 6 hours. But you know what? It was all worth it - every single second of it. The above photo says it all.

Every cupcake was made with love. All 162 of it. haha yes yes the number sounds odd but heh, it's just the number of cupcakes I could manage.

You know what? I'm really glad it went well - the entire wedding, Dom and Daph's wedding which took place on Saturday (May 19). Both of them are two people from ministry whom I love and cherish and I was really excited when Daph tasked me to this wedding cupcake project. Really wanted to do something special for her wedding and am happy to be able to contribute to her big day. Thank God for that and thank God for both of them. They're truly a match made in heaven. Those of you who know them would definitely know what I mean! Congratulations you two - have a blessed and blissful marriage!

Anyway, the cupcake tier was a simple one and I honestly didn't expect it to turn out so well. Here's how it looks like up close:

They're not meant to be big, just sweet and handy. Daph and I sourced for the decorations and check out the cute sprinkles. Lovely aren't they? Got them from Phoon Huat.

Vanilla cupcakes made with love - it can't get any better than that. I heard from Flo that they were well received. Am just relieved I didn't screw it up. Fr. William Goh came up to me in person to tell me he really liked my cupcakes! :)

I guess nothing much can go wrong if you have the right recipe and helpful hands - yes yes, Dot, I really want to thank you so much for your assistance. This babe helped me carry lots of heavy flour, eggs and sugar and she is a joy to work with. I couldn't have asked for a better assistant! :)

Me and Dot posing with the cupcake tier (which by the way, hasn't been replenished in this photo. haha). Love ya girl!

Oh, and thanks Joel, for making the tier - it looked really good.

Yes, that's Joel in pink, with me and Dot.

Phew, my first wedding cupcake tier and I dare say it was a challenge but a fulfilling one and I'm glad I took it up. Thank God! If you're wondering about the recipe, it's the one used by the famous Magnolia Bakery in the States. Have posted the recipe here as well.

Speaking of which, I have to give it to Daph. I've never met a bride as meticulous as her. She wanted a pink theme and made sure the decor matched the entire feel of the wedding right down to the minute details.

Maybe you'll understand when you see this:

Pink cones! Aren't they beautiful? I think they are uber sweet and irresistible. You can't get the pink paper anywhere mind you. It was designed especially for her wedding. Dot (she's also a talented freelance designer) did it, together with the wedding invitations and wedding mass booklet. Daph wanted the cones to be filled with those sugar coated peanuts:

I happen to think that it's a brilliant idea. It made the wedding really special. I mean, who can say they had a cupcake tier and a pink cone tier on their big day? Hats off to Daph and her keen sense of style. She's one amazing woman! Oh and did I mention, beautiful?

Here's a snapshot of the gorgeous bride with some of us Amplify girls...

Everyone looked so sweet in their elegant dresses, especially Daph!

Here's a toast to Dominic and Daphne, the star couple who never fail to put God in the centre always.


Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Cupcakes
Recipe from More From Magnolia by Allysa Torey

For cupcakes:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 and 1/2 cup self rising flour
1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

For icing:
1 cup unsalted butter, very soft
8 cups powdered sugar, divided
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract

To make cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.

In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full. Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing. At the bakery we ice the cupcakes with either Vanilla Buttercream or Chocolate Buttercream.

To make icing:
Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Low Fat Banana Bread

Comfort foods are meant to comfort; simply because they are hearty and packed with goodness. There are two kinds of 'goodness' though. One's a wholesome heart-healthy goodness and the other - an immediate goodness that only lasts for as long as your tongue touches and your teeth bites into it. You know what I mean, the part where gluttony sets in, when you crave for that taste and couldn't care less about the fat and hmmm transfat? I won't try to blacklist any foods here. Hee..

We all know that the tastiest things are usually not good for us and likewise, healthy stuff taste like grass. But hey, it doesn't always have to be that way. In my opinion, a balance can be obtained and I've come to a conclusion that healthy foods can really taste as good; if not better than normal artery clogging chow.

Honestly, I'm very sceptical about anything labeled low-fat because to me, it just acts as a red alarm, telling me that there's going to be a whole lot of sugar in it, to make up for the 'less fat'? Heh, well it's just what I've noticed.

So, what's a health freak like me to do? Especially since I try to keep a balanced diet? Don't you already know? Make it myself! haha, hmm actually, I think I'm more of a 'moderation' freak than a health freak. I have those days where I just crave for sardine murtabak and ice cream (sometimes in the wee hours of the morning mind you!). Well well... it's all about B-A-L-A-N-C-E so don't fret if you just downed some chicken wings or fried hokkien mee... it's never too late to get more greens and exercise! :)

Okay, speaking of which, here's a great and easy bread you can try baking for starters. Banana bread is one of my choice comfort foods. Nothing beats the sweet banana aftertaste that comes with each bite. There's a wholesome mornin' breakfast feel to it. Tastes great with coffee or tea and ohhh... it's even yummier when toasted. I've tried baking banana bread but none has been as successful as this one - in terms of taste and form.

I was so happy with the outcome that I even brought a slice or two out whenever I met up with friends to let them try. Everyone at home loves it too and the loaf was gone in a matter of days... Check it out:

Love the texture. I didn't add that much sugar as usual and it turned out perfect. I used really really ripe bananas so I guess that helped provide some natural sweetnesss. And I really loved how this loaf rised pretty well:

Absolute gorgeousness!


Low-Fat Banana Bread
Makes about 10-12 slices

80ml (1/3 cup) strong coffee
125g (2/3 cup) soft brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg white
3 tbsps vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla essecnce
3 ripe bananas, mashed (about 300g or 1 and 1/4 cups)
125g (1 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
250g (2 cups) self-raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1. Preheat the oven to 170 degree celcius. Lightly grease a 22cm x 12cm (9 inch x 5 inch) loaf tin and line the base with baking paper. Heat the coffee in a small saucepan over low heat, add the soft brown sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
2. Place the egg, egg white, oil and vanilla essence in a bowl and heat together until just combined. Add the sweetened strong coffee and the mashed banana.
3. Sift the plain and self-raising flours, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda onto th emixture and stir gently to combine - do not overbeat. Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf tin.
4. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: Banana bread is delicious when served toasted.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Apple Crumble

Growing up, I was exposed to an entire bevy of literary reads that ranged from mythical legends to cottage tales and the world of magic & suspense.

Afternoons and nights were spent with my nose buried in pages thick with imaginative stories that never failed to enchant me.

Yes, I was that sort of kid - the bookworm. haha. You could try but you can never pull me away from a book. Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl ranked high on my hot favourites list, and I have them to thank when it comes to finding a reason for my love of the literary word.

Both authors honed my imagination and I can never forget those stories with an English slant. The more I read Blyton's tales, the more I became enamoured by the traditional countryside setting that she most often uses. Think hot piping chimneys, gnomes, elves, lovely grannies and who can forget: pies and crumbles! Yes yes... there's always a hot apple pie cooling by the window sill and sometimes a hungry kid or elf will come stealing the pie.

I probably didn't think much of it then, but looking back, I think this is perhaps one of the many reasons why I've always wanted a quiet peaceful lifestyle like that. A quaint English cottage complete with fireplace and chimney, fine china tea cups with a pretty tea pot to match (not forgetting scones, raspberry conserve and clotted cream), an apple tree, a wooden swing, plus a sparkling pond/lake with elegant swans and a tree house, oh not forgetting a bird house with seeds for the little robins and sparrows and whoever who wants to 'visit' (squirrels included).

SOUNDS very much like a far fetched fantasy but I've got to say; this is really what I have in mind eventually. Oh, forgot to mention a lovely French kitchen! Complete with copper pots, ramekins, cocotte and a KitchenAid. I will have a huge oven and and and a wood fire oven for my thin crusted pizzas. Geez I really am dreaming big. What can I say, I'm an ambitious young lady. I'm thinking of afternoons spent baking, and enjoying my homebaked scones, croissants and apple crumble over English Breakfast Tea or Vanilla Tea for that matter, with my neighbours and friends.

What's with me waxing lyrical about my cottage-y dreams on this food blog? ha, I don't know, really! I was just reminded of it when I set out to try this simple apple crumble recipe a few days ago. When you're sick, and you're stuck at home, there's nothing much you can do but cook, and bake!

Seriously! I get so bored that I just wake up and open my recipe books, trying to see what I can whip up - that's my major source of motivation to get well soon. And I'm glad to say that this 'therapy' of sorts has worked! hahahaa.... sounds hard to believe but it has. I attribute it to lemon chicken risotto, apple crumble and some other foods (like fish porridge and soup noodles :)

Boy am I back into the whole baking and cooking frenzy. I just made onde onde and banana bread yesterday. My onde onde is purple!!! And I'm soooooo excited about it. Am going to rave about it in my next post. It's all natural, mind you - i used no artificial colouring. Stay tuned to find out what the secret is (actually, it's not that much of a secret if you know your groceries. hahaa). The banana bread turned out fine too! but more about that later.

I'm supposed to be talking about apple crumble now, which I love by the way. Then again, what's new huh? Dessert must be my second name :) Anyway, this apple crumble is dead easy to make. When baked, the natural juices and sugars from the apples secrete and the end product makes for a soft, tender bite. I used green apples so mine was a mixture of sweet and tart. I added extra oats to the crumble mixture because, well, I love oats and I like my crumble crunchy. You don't have to add that much sugar too. Go with what you're comfortable with. Besides, don't forget that the apples have its natural sweetness too.

Bake this for your mum for Mother's Day today if you still haven't got a clue on what to cook/bake for her! :)

Oh, and to all the mothers, and mothers-to-be in the near or distant future, plus my own mum - Happy Mother's Day!


Apple Crumble

700g (1 ½ lb) peeled and chopped cooking apples
2 teaspoons lemon juice
50g (2oz) sugar
50g (2oz) plain flour
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the crumble:
3 tablespoons soft brown sugar
50 g (2oz) rolled oats50g (2 oz) wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
15 g ( ½ oz) margarine

Preheat the oven to gass mark 7/220 degree celcius (425 fahrenheit).
Toss the chopped cooking apples in a bowl with the lemon juice.
In another bowl, combine the sugar, plain flour, lemon zest and spices. Sprinkle the mixture over the apples then put the apples in a 23cm (9 inch) pie dish
To make the crumble mixture, mix together the soft brown sugar and the rolled oats, add the wholemeal flour and cinnamon, then rub in the margarine
Spoon the crumble over the apple mixture and bake in the oven for 40 minutes.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Cedele Depot

Promised to post about Cedele Depot using nothing but words and I shall.

Funny though - everytime I eat there, I fail to take a photo before eating the food. There's only one explanation. Haha, I've eaten there about 4 to 5 times in the past few weeks and it's always dessert; never sandwiches or salads. I've been a bad bad girl - been eating too much junk!

Maybe that's why I'm sick now! Yea, got the flu bug from lil sis. Being sick ain't fun. So here I am, cheering myself up by going into details about the fantabulous cakes & pastries at Cedele. Hey, it's my way of therapy. hahaa...

So... back to the lovely treats at Cedele. My my, I can't stop raving bout their cakes to everyone I meet. Don't believe me, ask my friends :)

Yep, this is me - I am always eager to share good food and I get really excited when I come across something that I know I just have to tell the ahem whole world about. Don't be alarmed by my excitement, it comes from my deep rooted passion and belief that everyone is entitled to good yummy food!

All right, enough digression. Back to the cakes. I'll go through the ones I've tasted one by one!

The cake that literally blew me away was their Chocolate Banana Espresso Cake. I'm one of those people who think that chocolate and banana make a perfect couple. There can be no beautiful and delicious match on earth. Well aside from chocolate and hazelnut (think Nutella) that is. So what's so gorgeous about the cake? There's just a right amount of chocolate and banana. The sweet caramelised bananas are layered in between soft chocolate cake and my oh my, it's topped with some amazing espresso chocolate frosting BUT that's not all. You know what I love about this cake especially? Their crunchy topping - oat and walnut strusel. It just packs a punch, and heightens the whole chocolate banana cake experience. Now now, I could go on and on and on but I think I'd want you to taste it for yourself. Ahhh I'm dreaming about it right now. If only I had a slice in front of me. I'd so gobble it up!

I don't mind having every slice of their cake in front of me right now actually. That'll be the ultimate heaven! Give me a slice of Chocolate Pistachio Cake and Chocolate Truffle Cake too - it's pure bliss. Both cakes are truffle types. Okay the thing about truffle cakes is that they're really rich and dense. Why? Because they're made with cream and hardly any flour (maybe only a tablespoon). Yep, it's pure, unadulterated chocolate with some simple ingredients and it really kicks ass. So the Chocolate Pistachio Cake uses almond pistachio sponge made out of egg white and the chocolate truffle layer alternates. So it's sponge, then chocolate truffle, sponge then chocolate truffle - I'm sure you get the gist. Yum yum, I love the pistachio topping as well. I think the sponge goes very well with the truffle part. And then there's the pure Chocolate Truffle Cake. Now this one is meant for serious chocoholics. Please don't ever try it if you don't really like chocolate or just don't fancy feeling like you've eaten 3 bars of chocolate. It's highly rich but heh highly satisfying. Each forkful feels like a step toward heaven - my chocolate heaven, the place I hope to end up in when I die. hahaha.. yea RIGHT. Maybe I will be able to swim in a chocolate pond not unlike that in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory! hahahaa..... But I want it to be made out of Valrhona chocolate please? Pretty pretty please!

Wake up Cheryl! Fancy you dreaming of chocolate when you're sick. Man, you gotta get your head fixed. Hey... I can't help it - it ain't my fault that I love chocolate this much ya know.

Okay, one more rave about another chocolate based dessert - the Chocolate Hazelnut Blueberry Roll. This was like a swiss roll with blueberry cream made using real blueberries. There were bits of hazelnuts in the cream too. The sponge was chocolate and I must say, this entire combination is really refreshing and delicious. It's like a light fluffy walk through a blueberry plantation (if that's what its called! pardon my ignorance!). Love this.

Lemon Meringue Pie was pretty good except that I didn't really like the meringue because it was too sweet. But then again, meringue has to be sweet and it's sweet because it's meant to complement the tartness of the lemond curd filling. Ooooo I adore the lemon filling - told ya I love sour tangy foods! I think they have a Banana Meringue Pie as well - but I've yet to try it.

Oh oh, if you're looking for something not chocolate and something not so heavy to enjoy with your coffee or tea, you've got to try their Raspberry Almond Scone and Apple Berry Crumble Pie. The scone was a complete dream. Dusted with toasted sliced almonds and confectioner's sugar, complete with a hint of raspberry jam, this huge scone makes for a very satisfying tea time treat. I love the texture. This is how scones should be like - not too dry and not too wet either. It goes very well with a hot drink (I had mine with coffee). The Apple Berry Crumble Pie is another wonder. The pie was sweet yet tart and the colour was oh so pretty. A dark rose maroon - you know what they say, pretty foods don't always taste so good? I guess they were wrong this time. Anyway I love crumbles and I love pies so I think this was a really great combination. Ahhh I love this pie so much! I think it'll taste great with Vanilla Tea. Mmmmm....

Wow, I've raved quite a bit about Cedele Depot. I know, it sounds as if I'm writing an advertorial! But seriously, I am a great fan of their food (desserts especially...ahaha) and I'm just so drawn to their healthy food philosophy. They are trans-fat free by the way. Their cakes are made using unsalted butter or cold pressed extra virgin olive oil and organic unrefined sugar. They also bake their cakes using fresh farm eggs. They make their cakes fresh daily.

BUT the one thing I love about their cakes is that they're completely unpretentious. Go walk pass one of their outlets and I'm sure you'll get what I mean. Their cakes speak for themselves. They don't decorate it much because they don't need to. Substance is there, it's the 'rawness' of their desserts that I can't get enough of. What you see is what you get - good quality cakes with great taste. The cakes are big and solid as well! Man oh man, if I'm too lazy to bake my own cake during my birthday, I'll definitely get one of theirs.

Cedele Depot - keep up the excellent work! By the way, they've been around for 10 years now. Amazing huh? I'm not surprised! After all, they've got the goods.

Check out their outlets at

Friday, May 04, 2007

Lemon Chicken Risotto

You've got to hand it to the Italians. They know how to live life to the full, tiramisu, risotto, espresso and all.

There are times where I wish I could teleport myself to the streets of Italy, even if it was to be for an hour or a minute (to get that whiff of aromatic caffeine laden scent that lingers around the streetside cafes).

Thank God for the Italians. There's nothing more enticing than the thought of having a full fledged Italian meal. Bring on the panna cotta and aglio olio I say.

Sometimes, or most of the time, when it's quite impossible to transport yourself to said country (especially when you're a poor student!), you just got to make do.

I think I'm getting very good at the 'making do' aspect. After all, you know you're there when you go into a supermarket and start picking things out you wish you could actually have there and then. You also know that it's probably much cheaper cooking it yourself. So there are plenty of reasons why you should just take that packet/box and put it into your basket.

That's what I did months ago when I was at Jason's Marketplace browsing, yes browsing (but well, you sure won't be surprised that most of the time, my supermarket browsing ends up into actual buys).

And so, I was just checking out the aisles, not looking for anything in particular when I came across that big blue box with a cute Big and bold brand that I quite like the sound of- Scotti. haha, yes I'm weird, I like cool names! Anyway, I saw it was arborio rice and I thought to myself, man, I could so do with a nice portion of risotto right now. I love risotto by the way :)

I mean, I knew that I just had to get that big box (which contained 1 kg of rice) and think about how to get it cooked later on.

Fast forward to May 2007, and I found my lovely box of erm, uncooked risotto (duh!) in my stash of cooking supplies and I was like 'damn, I gotta cook that before it fades into oblivion!'.

So I decided to make some risotto. Well I was gonna go to a friend's place anyway so I pitched my risotto idea and of course, I described it reeeeally well I think. You should hear me rattle on whenever I talk about food - believe me, you'll want me to shut up.

The cool thing about this box of Scotti, is that it's vacuum packed. Hurray! hahaaaaa... so it didn't matter that I bought this months ago:

It is still fresh! Well it's not expired yet anyway. I don't think rice has that short an expiry date.

So so so...... back to my risotto, and my virgin attempt at cooking it.

I used to think it might be a bit complicated but hey, I was wrong. It's actually super easy! Perhaps I chose a simple recipe but whatever it is, it tasted great. My mum and sis can vouch for it (yea brought some home for them to try), and so can my friend.

This risotto recipe is a definite keeper. Lemon Chicken Risotto, come on, tell me that even the name sounds cool. :p Sounds citrus-y doesn't it? Yea, there's alot of lemon zest and lemon juice in it and it kind of compliments the cheese I think. My mum actually thought it was porridge when I gave her some. All I told her was 'Mum, just think of it as Italian porridge'.

But one thing that really amazed me was how absorbent arborio rice is. It just kept taking in the stock - all 750 ml of it! Anyway, whatever it is, I know I'm going to cook this again soon. I topped it off with oregano leaves before serving - it tastes better that way :)

Oh, one more thing, it takes only 25 minutes to prep and another 25 minutes to cook, so if you're strapped for time and don't know what to cook and you happen ahem to have arborio rice at home like me, cook this. You won't regret, I promise you.


Lemon Chicken Risotto

Serves 4

1 chicken stock cube dissolved in 750ml (1 ¼ pints) boiling water
250g (9oz) risotto rice
Low-fat cooking spray
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cubed
2 tablespoons grated zest and juice of one lemon
50g (2oz) Parmesan, freshly grated

1. Place one-third of the chicken stock in a saucepan with the risotto rice and bring to the boil. Simmer until virtually all of the stock has been absorbed, then add half of the remaining stock, stirring occasionally.
2. Meanwhile, spray a non-stick frying pan with the cooking spray and fry the chicken for 4-5 minutes until browned. Set aside.
3. When the stock has been absorbed by the rice, add the lemon zest and the juice. Add the remaining stock and the cooked chicken.
4. Continue cooking until almost all the stock has gone and the rice is cooked. Stir in the grated Parmesan, season with ground black pepper and serve.

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