Beef Kueh Pie Tee
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium size yellow onion, chopped
1 small green capsicum, remove seeds and diced
1 small red capsicum, remove seeds and diced
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
300 grams beef brisket, cut into small cubes
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
15 Kueh Pie Tee cups (ready to use; available at the supermarket)
Chinese parsley for garnish
In a heated pan, add the olive oil and stir fry the onions, red and green capsicums for 5 minutes on high heat.
Next, add in the oyster sauce and dark soy sauce followed by the beef brisket. Continue to stir fry for another 8 minutes then add in the salt, pepper, brown sugar and Chinese rice wine.
To serve, spoon the beef stir-fry into the Kueh Pie Tee cups and garnish with a sprig of Chinese parsley on top. Serve immediately.
Apple Cake with Lemon Brandy Butter Sauce
125 grams unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup castor sugar
3 small eggs (room temperature)
1 cup self raising flour
1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
4 green apples, pared, halved and sliced thinly
Lemon Brandy Butter Sauce:
30 grams unsalted butter
3 tablespoons lemon curd (available at the supermarket)
3/4 cup thickened cream
2 teaspoons brandy
To make the Apple Cake:
Combine the butter and sugar in a bowl. Mix well with a wooden spoon or in a cake mixer.
Add in the eggs and mix until a pale yellow color mixture forms. Next, sieve the flour and cinnamon powder in and mix. Lastly, place in the apple slices and continue mixing until the batter becomes a sticky cake mixture.
Place the batter into a square tin (about 16cm x 16cm in dimension) and spread evenly. Bake in the oven at 175?C for 25 minutes until the top of the cake turns golden brown.
Remove from the oven and cut into 4cm square pieces.
Tip: You can also check if the cake is cooked through by poking the edge with a toothpick. It should come out dry when removed.
To make the Lemon Brandy Butter Sauce:
Melt the butter in a heated pot. Add in the lemon curd and thickened cream and stir until the sauce forms a smooth consistency. Remove the sauce from the heat, add in the brandy and give it a good stir.
To serve, add 3 tablespoons of sauce in a dessert plate and place the baked apple cake on top of the sauce. Garnish with a strawberry slice and you may also dust over some snow powder.
Creative Cooking for the Holiday Season
Cooking and entertaining need not be too difficult this Christmas season if you plan ahead of time, and prepare simple dishes that are fuss free and yet scrumptious for your loved ones. A little thought put into the planning process goes a long way in making your party fun and exciting. Here are some useful tips in planning that memorable party your guests will be sure to enjoy.
- Decide on a theme
Plan a theme for the party which includes colour scheme for the decorations that also matches the table settings. It could be anything from Zen to Retro to Country. You may also decide on a dress code in line with the theme so that your guests all arrive in style! Set the right mood by playing some of your favourite Christmas tracks in the background, or choose songs according to the theme and compile them for the party.
- Plan the menu
Give some thought to the menu and plan in advance. It should consist of a balanced meal made up of a salad, an appetizer such as a soup or “finger food” (try out the Beef Kueh Pie Tee if you are planning an Asian themed meal), a main roast like a chicken or turkey with a complimentary carbohydrate such as a pasta dish or flavoured rice. For a healthier option, replace fried finger foods with raw celery and carrot sticks with a low fat dip and use skimmed milk or soy milk instead of full cream or coconut milk when cooking. What is a party without delicious dessert and free flow of bubbly? Try my Apple Cake with Lemon Brandy Butter Sauce to end the party on a sweet note and pop into your nearby wine store and pick up the ideal selection to pair with your party dishes.
- Have a gift exchange
To ensure everyone doesn’t leave empty handed, why not include a gift exchange? You can notify your guests while sending them invitations. Let them know how much they should spend on their gift so that everyone at your party receives a package with a similar value. It will be a good way to spark off interactions amongst your guests.
If you do not want to spend too much time cooped up in the kitchen, prepare dishes that your guests can serve themselves like fondue or cheese platters or dishes that you can make a day in advance. If you’d like to keep things a little more intimate, entertain with a small group of friends so that everyone can sit at the table, dine together and have a great time catching up. I hope these tips will inspire you to plan the perfect party this festive season.