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Festive cooking with Perfect Italiano

Can you believe Christmas is creeping up on us once again?

This festive period is my favorite time of the year, so I’m not complaining. Who could fault delicious feasts, gifts exchanging, and merry-making? Even if you’re not religious (like myself) this season is for all to indulge in a bit of year-end fun! My idea of a Christmas party is cooking up a storm at home.

I’ve been hosting Christmas parties at my place for a couple of years now, and this year will be no exception! I love nothing more than filling up my loved ones’ tummies with lovingly made homecooked food as we gather around the table, clink our glasses together and laugh heartily. I may have to get down and dirty in the kitchen for awhile, but seeing their appreciative smiles makes it all worth it. I’m glad I came across these quick & easy festive menu by Perfect Italiano recently, they prove that cooking doesn’t have to be needlessly tedious or complicated when you have the right recipe and ingredients!

Perfect Italiano Food Fixes in 15 shares a 5 course menu from appetizer to dessert, featuring the right Perfect Italiano cheese to match each dish. It offers you the simple solution of providing new ideas and inspiration – just in time for the festive season! Perfect Italiano is a cooking cheese brand that adds Italian flair to everyday family meals. The secret to good Italian cooking lies in the freshness of the ingredients used. And that exact same philosophy is applied to Perfect Italiano cheeses – only the best ingredients are used – so that you can achieve perfect Italian recipes, anytime and anywhere.


I’ve taken inspiration from two of their festive recipes to recreate these delicious dishes in the comfort of my own home, and I’ve provided my reworked recipes below!

Alfredo Pasta Bake (view the original recipe from Perfect Italiano here)

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 400g fusilli pasta
  • 200g sliced chicken filet / breast
  • 100g broccoli, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 200g sliced mushrooms (your favorite type, I used a mixture of portobello, white & brown button)
  • 200ml cooking cream
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • half a cube of chicken stock
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • lots and lots of Perfect Italiano Perfect Bakes

Directions:

  1. Boil the pasta with a pinch of salt and a drip of olive oil until 95% cooked. Texture should be slightly undercooked or very al dente, because further cooking will be done in the oven later on. Rinse with cold water, toss with a tablespoon of olive oil and set aside.
  2. Stir fry the onions, garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil under onions are tender. Add broccoli, chicken meat and mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes over high heat.
  3. Add the cooking cream and half a cube of chicken stock and cook on low heat until stock has dissolved completely.
  4. Turn off heat, stir in cooked fusilli pasta, do a taste test (add salt/pepper where desired) and spoon into baking dishes. Take note that the cheese will provide saltiness as well.
  5. Top off with a generous amount of Perfect Italiano Perfect Bakes, sprinkle with paprika for good color, then bake at 200 degrees in a preheated oven for 5-8 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.

The end result is a deliciously creamy and cheesy pasta dish that I could eat over and over again! The creaminess is light enough without being too overwhelming so it will appeal to even non-fans of creamy pastas, and I’ve chosen to subtitute peas with broccoli and ham with chicken pieces from the original recipe because I prefer this combination of ingredients better.

I also find that adding the stock cube to the cream gives more depth to the flavor. It’s a fuss-free crowd pleaser with ingredients that most people eat and aren’t too pricey, exactly what I want to realistically achieve when I’m cooking for large groups!

Perfect Italiano Perfect Bakes is my preferred choice of cheese to use when I’m baking a savory dish – just look at the way it melted and that gorgeous color and texture! I can simply pre-cook the pasta, sprinkle the cheese on, wait for my guests’ arrival and in less than 10 minutes they’ll have a mouthwatering cheesy meal straight out of my oven. Total prep & cooking time less than 40 minutes!

 

…And if you thought cheeses could only be used in savory dishes and are therefore one-dimensional, you’re about to be very surprised, like I was when I tried out this innovative Parmesan Apple Crumble!

Parmesan Apple Crumble (view the original recipe from Perfect Italiano here)

Ingredients (serves 8):

(for crumble)

  • 200g softened salted butter
  • 175g white sugar
  • 300g plain or all purpose flour
  • 100g Perfect Italiano Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

(for filling)

  • 500g red apples, skinned and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Place flour, sugar and Perfect Italian Parmesan in a large bowl and mix well.
  2. Add softened butter & vanilla extract then combine everything together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Moving onto the filling, place sliced apples in a bowl and sprinkle on the nutmeg and cinnamon. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Spoon the apple filling evenly onto a baking then, then cover entirely with breadcrumbs topping and sprinkle more Perfect Italiano Parmesan on top.
  5. Bake at 180 degrees for 30 minutes in a preheated oven, or until crumble is golden brown.
  6. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

The end result blew me away!

I could not taste any distinct cheese or Parmesan in my apple crumble, but it had a slight savory touch which I’ve not had in other apple crumbles before. I’ve changed this recipe from the original on their website by reducing the amount of cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar quite a bit to suit my personal taste.

Hence, if you attempt this recipe, do not be alarmed if your apple filling does not look as brown as mine!

Scoop out a portion and top off with vanilla ice cream for instant satisfaction. Go the extra mile by sprinkling biscuit / cookie crumbs on top and I even added popcorn bits to mine! Sure to win over anyone with a sweet tooth, and it tastes just like Christmas. This is a dessert that is uncommonly found outside, and I’m glad I found this recipe because I never realized how incredibly easy and inexpensive it was for me to replicate this myself at home.

You’ll never look at store bought apple crumble the same way again, because this was moist and full of flavor and not dry like some versions found outside! I think the Perfect Italiano Parmesan added a boost of flavor to the crumble, which is what makes is taste so special.

Looking for more perfectly cheesy recipes to whip up in your kitchen?

Check out Perfect Italiano Food Fixes in 15 where there’s already an achievable 5 course menu waiting for you and your loved ones’ hungry stomachs. On their website are 15 seconds videos showing you how to achieve the same recipe at home – letting you know that cooking doesn’t have to be overly stressful or tiresome – it can be simple and yet still perfect! Tag your own recreations of Perfect Italiano recipes at #perfectitalianosg on social media to share your creations with other home cooks!

xoxo,
Jess

Philips Airfryer review and recipes

I believe anyone who has a moderate interest in cooking should invest in a Philips Airfryer. Just look at that incredible ratatouille dish I made in it! I’ve almost never been more proud of a dish I’ve cooked. Looking at this picture makes me beam with so much pride. Ah, how far I’ve come from not even being able to cook my own instant noodles barely a few years ago.

The Philips Airfryer is one piece of equipment that has completely changed the way I operate in the kitchen. In my opinion, it’s more than worth every single cent it costs because there’s nothing else quite like it in the world. It roasts, grills, fries, bakes, cooks and packs a real punch for its size. It’s ridiculously easy to use, such that even your 10 year old child can learn how to cook their own food under guidance, and the mess created is usually little to none. I’ve been raving about this appliance non-stop to anyone who steps foot in my kitchen and asks “What is this?” . I believe in sharing good things with the world. As an avid cook, I can tell you that the Philips Airfryer is pretty much a necessity if you want to save a helluva lot of time and trouble when preparing your meals.

Here’s why.

✓ Rapid Air Technology for healthier frying
Philips Airfryer’s unique Rapid Air technology enables you to fry, bake, roast and grill, the tastiest snacks and meals with less fat than a conventional fryer, by using little or no oil! Philips Airfryer with Rapid Air technology also creates less smell than conventional fryers, it is easy to clean, safe and economical for your daily use!

✓ Digital screen for easy control of time and temperature
With the digital touch screen you can control the time and temperature of your cooking in an easier and more precise way. Enjoy your favorite food, prepared at the right temperature and time for the best result!

✓ Smart preset button
Save the settings of your favourite dish so that next time, your meal is ready at the touch of a button!

✓ Versatile cooking
Not just great for frying, the innovative Philips Airfryer with Rapid Air technology also lets you grill, bake and even roast your favorite dishes for a one stop solution for all of your meals.

✓ International recipe booklet
This recipe book created by culinary experts gives inspiration for a variety of low-fat fried food that you can cook in the Philips Airfryer.

✓ Increased in power for faster cooking results
To indulge in your healthy dinners in lesser time!

In a nutshell.. Philips Airfryer’s unique design combines fast circulating superheated air, starfish design and optimal heating profile allows you to fry a variety of delicious meals in a fast, easy and healthier way without necessarily adding oil. The removable nonstick coated drawer and the food basket are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. I’ve found that it does exactly what my oven does, but in a much shorter time span and way more effectively. For example, roasting vegetables to a nice crisp would take 35-45 minutes in my oven, but in the Philips Airfryer, it only takes 20 minutes! That’s practically half the time saved. We all know how slow the minutes go by when you’re starving and waiting for your food to be done, so this is a huge deal. I almost never deep fry food in a pan full of oil because I can’t stand the mess and having hot drops of oil splatter on me while cooking. I also do not like having to waste so much oil just to get one crispy dish. I can achieve perfectly crispy food without a single drop of oil used – that, is brilliant innovation right there. Cooking with the Philips Airfryer is a matter of putting your food into the machine, insert your temperature and cooking time, then wait for your food to be done. No fussing about.

I will soon be sharing two absolutely mouthwatering recipes done with the Philips Airfryer that will have you amazed at the things it can do. Although you CAN achieve these recipes with a standard oven (you will need to adjust the cooking duration, however), it’s a lot quicker with the Philips Airfryer.

The first up is a recipe inspired by one of my favorite Pixar films, Ratatouille – an adorable story about a little rat who had big dreams and a serious love for food! Ratatouille is a traditional French Provençal stewed vegetable dish, originating in Nice. Ever since seeing the film 7 years ago, I’ve been deeply intrigued by this dish. I have never seen this being served at any restaurant in Singapore before, only once when I was overseas, so I decided to re-create the dish myself! I’m obsessed with the color palette of this unique dish and I think it would be big hit for any potluck or dinner parties simply because it looks so stunning.

Recipe: Ratatouille

Ingredients: (4 servings)

  • 1 white onion minced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 green zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 japanese eggplant, thinly sliced
  • half yellow capsicum, de-seeded
  • half red capsicum, de-seeded
  • 4 small roma tomatoes
  • 400g diced canned tomatoes
  • olive oil and balsamic vinegar for drizzling
  • mixed herbs (basil, bay leaf, thyme and parsley)

Directions:

  1. Roast capcisums cut side down in Philips Airfryer at 200 degrees for 10 minutes until nicely browned and tender. Let cool in a bowl with cling wrap over it. Once cool to the touch, remove the skin of capcisums, then dice them
  2. Add canned tomatoes, onion, garlic and capsicums to a 7″ round baking dish and roast for 8 minutes at 200 degrees, to reduce liquid content from tomatoes and meld the flavors together
  3. While that’s baking, toss your remaining sliced vegetables in olive oil, mixed herbs, garlic / onion powder (if you have it), salt and pepper to coat evenly, then start arranging zucchinis, tomatoes and eggplant in a circular even fashion around the tray
  4. Bake at 100 degrees for 30 minutes until vegetables are completely tender. If not soft enough, cook for a further 5-10 minutes at the same temperature
  5. Once vegetables are cooked to the desired soft consistency, finish off with 5 minutes at 200 degrees for a nice charring around the edges
  6. Serve warm with a good drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar for extra flavor, add salt and pepper to taste

Voila! You have made ratatouille – just like the movie!!!

Delicate, subtle and earthy – three words I would use to describe this dish. It’s perfect as a side accompaniment to meat main courses or great just on its own if you want something light and healthy for dinner. Since I don’t have many (or any?) vegetarian recipes on my blog, I thought I’d do this one for our herbivore friends. If you’d like to take this dish to the next level, I’d suggest including sliced pieces of salami to give it a nice burst of smokiness & protein! The vegetables are tender and flavorful due to a varied mix. Perhaps it’s just my little obsession… but I find that drizzling truffle oil over any dish is always a good idea. If you don’t have truffle oil on hand, olive oil and some balsamic vinegar will do the trick to lift the flavors as well.

 

…Now I know, not everyone has the patience to thinly slice vegetables then arrange them in a pan and bake them until they’re tender. To most people, vegetables are not the main star on their plate. I get that. Ratatouille is definitely not an everyday recipe, nor will it suit the taste buds of everyone. You can save that for the special occasions. Next up, however, is something I can’t imagine anyone not liking!

Unleash your inner Martha Stewart with these Blueberry Lemon Muffins!

Now this is something I would not mind waking up to in the morning at all. I bought several punnets of blueberries because they were on sale, then realized…. I didn’t know what to do with them. I ate them with my cereal and fruit bowls slowly, but they were getting softer sooner than I was consuming them. So I decided to turn them into delicious breakfast / tea break muffins! I suppose you could use any other berry in replacement of blueberries, and it’s a great way to use up berries in the fridge that can turn overripe and moldy all too quickly.

Recipe: Blueberry Lemon Muffins

Ingredients: 12 muffins

  • 2 and a half cups of self-raising flour
  • half cup white sugar
  • half cup full cream milk
  • quarter cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • one and a half cup blueberries
  • finely grated zest of 2 lemons
  • juice of one lemon
  • half teaspoon vanilla & lemon extract
  • brown sugar for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Measure out flour and white sugar into a bowl. Whisk together.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine milk, oil, lemon juice, eggs, and flavored extracts.
  3. Quickly combine the dry and wet ingredients from the two separate bowls, then gently stir in whole blueberries and lemon zest.
  4. Spoon batter into muffin / cupcake molds, then sprinkle the top generously with brown sugar
  5. Bake at 180 degrees for 12 minutes or until golden brown

Give your boyfriend, girlfriend, mom, dad, best friend, brother, sister, child, husband or wife something like this to wake up to in the morning, and I’m sure they’ll love you even more than they already do. It’s warm… it’s moist… it’s leaking delicious juices and it’s definitely calling your name. This blueberry lemon muffin is indeed a seductress.

The sprinkled brown sugar caramelizes at the top, and the lemon juice & zest lends a fragrant, aromatic kick without being acidic or sour. It’s the taste of the start of a good day.

..Did I also mention your entire house will smell amazing?

I was curious to see how well the Philips Airfryer could bake as compared to a standard oven – to my surprise, there was no difference in texture at all, and nobody I fed these muffins to even attempted to guess otherwise! Evenly baked, moist and fluffy with a crisp top. Everything a good muffin should be. I’m not just impressed – I’m positively head over heels in complete love with the Philips Airfryer, and I’ve been cooking very regular meals with it at home. You NEED to try it out to experience for yourself this revolution of a product.

I hope you’ve enjoyed looking through the recipes I’ve shared today, for more ideas on how to use the Philips Airfryer in your home, check out my first post with 2 more recipes, or their official website! The direct link to the product page for the Philips Airfryer XL is here. If you’re an Instagram addict like me, there’s also delicious photos and recipes to discover at the #PhilipsAirfryer hashtag.

xoxo,
Jess

Elixir Juice – Delicious Cold Pressed Juices in Singapore!

I love me a big glass of fresh fruit juice in the morning, but these days, it’s not just about your regular blended fruit juice anymore.. it’s no secret that cold pressed juices have been the talk of the town, piquing people’s interest in the suggested health benefits of raw juices with living enzymes that are said to help you thrive, detox and heal!

Elixir Juice, a local homegrown brand sends over some of their best sellers and unique concoctions of cold pressed juices based on my given preferences of tangy and refreshing drinks. Promptly delivered to my doorstep in eco-friendly packaging, I’m extremely pleased to report that they were all rather delicious! Some more so than others, but on the whole, I’ll have to be frank and say that these were a lot tastier and palatable than other local cold pressed juice brands I’ve tried, perhaps due to their wide range of choices available which suited my liking.

Here’s some quick information on what all the cold pressed juice hype is about!

What Is Cold Pressed Juice?

The natural extract from raw fruits and vegetables is referred to as pressed juice. This requires a slow and careful process, using  juice extractors under hygienic conditions in accordance with the highest regulatory standards. Instead of spinning fruits and vegetables madly on a blade to separate flesh and juice via centrifugal force, cold pressed juice extracts the juice hydraulically, by “pressing” instead of cutting. 
 
The result is that the maximum amount of juice is extracted from the fruits and vegetables, but enzymes and nutrients living in the fruits and vegetables remain protected. That means getting maximum benefits from a single cup of cold pressed juice. The end product is a juice with a high nutritional value with no artificial preservatives and sugar added. The benefits we stand to derive from this is enormous as this is a very convenient way of getting all the nutritional requirements of the body, leading to a healthy lifestyle. Cold pressed juices are widely considered to be the most nutritionally complete juice, containing 3 to 5 times more vitamins, minerals, and enzymes than juice extracted via traditional methods. 

With over 32 different blends of cold pressed juices made from a combination of fruits and vegetables, Elixir Juice is your go-to for your daily pick-me-up. Don’t get used to the idea of this large a selection, it’s something you won’t easily find elsewhere.
They’ve got specific categories to cater to individual needs, such as “Weight Shifter” for the ladies, “Iron Man” for males and “Wit Sharpener” for the little ones! Instead of focusing primarily on “juice cleanses”, a diet fad that’s been all the rage recently which allows you only to consume cold pressed juices in replacement of your meals, Elixir Juice strives to introduce cold pressed juices into your everyday lifestyle for long term health benefits.

Let’s face it: the proposal of a several day juice cleanse sounds daunting and IS difficult for the average person. I have personally tried doing a 3-day cold pressed juice cleanse program before (twice actually, from two separate brands) and as much as I’d like to say I succeeded with great results.. let’s just say.. they didn’t end well. I couldn’t bring myself to not eat solid food at all for 3 whole whopping days, especially when I did not find most of the juices to be nice tasting in the slightest. I have no doubt in my mind that they were super healthy and good for my system, but I almost gagged after taking a sip or two, and finishing the entire bottle was out of the question. I guess a few were sort of okay-tasting, but it wasn’t my cup of juice. I failed the juice cleanse program by binge eating and giving it up halfway, which was kinda horrible, especially when the programs aren’t cheap. I’ve been put off juice cleanse programs ever since.

But if we turn the tables around, and you told me I could pick nice tasting juices that were wonderful not just for my well-being but to my taste buds as well, and that I wouldn’t have to force down 6 whole bottles in a day as meal replacements.. well then, Elixir Juice has got a formula that really works for me. They make healthy living and eating that much easier. I like variety, and having a say in when and how I drink it. I hate having to feel like I’m not committed to my health just because I can’t stand pure green juices. And as much as I like a good cup of juice, having to consume 6 whole bottles in less than 24 hours is just…. not my idea of fun. It’s my body and choice after all, shouldn’t the journey to better health be an enjoyable one? It ought to be a guilt-free process!

My bottles of Elixir Juices as seen:

Defensive Potion-  Defensive portion is a smooth blend of Pineapple, Mango, Orange, Lime and strawberries. It is rich in Vitamins A, C, E and K, combining the benefits of lime which is known to combat aging and astragalin, fisetin, gallic acid and methylgallat which are anti-oxidants that fight against colon and breast cancer. By far my favorite juice from the lot, and something delicious enough for me to want to order in a restaurant as a smoothie. I love it!!! It’s very tangy, and the main flavors I picked up from this was mango, orange and lime. I could have a whole bottle of this every day!

Power Glow – A blend of Apple, Raw Beetroot, carrot and Celery, rich in Vitamin A and lots of antioxidants that are sure to protect your skin from harsh ultra violet rays that damages the skin. It also prevents dryness, acne and uneven tone of the skin. I can’t stand celery, so this wouldn’t be my top pick… having said that, I’d still take this over a fully green juice any day, though.

Breakfast Fruit Buffet – Packed with the rich benefits of Blueberries, Oranges, Lime and Banana. Blueberries are known to contain more antioxidants than any other fresh fruits. This neutralizes free radicals which are introduced into the body through exposure to smoke, toxins and pesticides, thereby boosting the immune system. With a strong banana taste, I can tell why they call this the breakfast buffet! Pleasant and easy to drink, no problem.

100% Pure Pomegranate Juice - Many studies show that the pomegranate is one of the most powerful, nutrient dense foods for overall good health. It aids in: slowing aging, immune system supporting, the flow of blood circulation, bone health, protecting and your skin and cells regeneration. Can you believe I’ve never tried pomegranate juice prior to this bottle? It’s sweet and has a slight berry-like flavor, which will appeal to most people.

Since you can keep these cold pressed juices in the fridge for up to 72 hours, you can enjoy sharing the goodness with your family or have two juices a day to yourself to maximize the effects!

Sometimes I use a nice cold juice to supplement meals when I’m in a rush, feeling bloated, not that hungry or whenever I need a pick-me-up to give me a boost of energy. Pop it into my bag before I leave the house, and drink on the go! It’s also a great snack to replace the sweet cravings I have for cakes, biscuits and other artificially sugared food items.

I’m not the most adventurous person when it comes to trying new vegetables or fruits, I stick to my favorites – strawberries, mangoes, oranges, coconuts, grapes and apples. Anything else beyond that list is considered mildly foreign to me, and my usual intake definitely doesn’t meet the recommended nutritional requirements. Elixir Juice can fix that problem with a bottle or two a day, and introduce various kinds of fruits and veggies I wouldn’t normally eat, resulting in a much more balanced diet.

Just for my readers, you can start on your cold pressed journey with the code “healthyliving” - with every pack of 6 juices ordered, you get 1 juice for free! I promise that you will never look at the artificial bottled or canned stuff the same way ever again, because cold pressed juices honestly look, taste and feel so much better.

Elixir Juice SG
Website: elixirjuicesg.com
Facebook: facebook.com/elixirjuicesg
Contact: 9106 2682
E-mail: gabrielhui@elixirjuicesg.com

xoxo,
Jess

Mainland Egmont Cheese

Cheese is a staple in my fridge at all times of the year.

I always have to keep a healthy supply of it – ready to use whenever I have a craving or recipe that calls for it. It’s that practical long-lasting, easy-to-use ingredient that brings life to boring everyday ingredients, and quite often the center piece of many indulgent recipes!

With so many dairy & cheese brands in the market, which one do you automatically gravitate towards when shopping in a supermarket? Perhaps it’s their minimalist yet eye-catching colorful packaging, or just the fact that they’ve got a wide range of different and delicious cheeses available.. Mainland has been the brand that I’ve been purchasing and using for my home cooking since first discovering it a few years ago.



“Established in the pure and natural goodness of New Zealand, Mainland has been crafting premium specialty cheeses for over half a century. The cheese making tradition is retained and the process is never rushed. The slow natural aging of the finest cheeses give Mainland its unique rich and authentic tastes. Mainland cheese symbolizes craftsmanship, superior quality and authenticity.”

Of course you know where this post is going already.

I’m going to share with you two recipes you can re-create at home with Mainland Egmont! It has a semi-hard cheddar-like texture, with a slightly sweet and nutty flavor that is mild enough to suit most Asian palettes. An excellent choice for cooking and baking, Mainland Egmont melts smoothly, making it versatile for use in various recipes such as pastas, omelettes, savoury tarts, quiches, baked rice, and any cheesy recipe you can think of!

The first recipe I’m about to share is one I know a lot of you are going to love for its flamboyance and decadence. It’s also been highly requested in the past, and here you have it now!

Truffled Mushroom Risotto

Ingredients: (serves 3-4)

  • 100g grated Mainland Egmont cheese
  • 300g mixed mushrooms, sliced (I used portobello, white and brown button)
  • 1 cup / 200g uncooked, unrinsed risotto rice (short and fat grained)
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium white onion, sliced
  • 60 grams unsalted butter
  • 60ml white wine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt, black pepper, truffle oil / mousse to taste
  • optional: bacon or other meats of your choice for a protein punch

Directions:

  1. Sautee onion, garlic, sliced mushrooms together in a large pan until mushrooms release juices. Drain the mushroom liquid into a bowl, and set aside both solid and liquid contents separately.
  2. If you have a meat choice, cook it in the same pan, then set aside for later use.
  3. Using medium heat and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, toast the rice grains evenly for 2 minutes while stirring vigorously to make sure it does not stick to the pan or brown too much.
  4. De-glaze the pan with white wine. Once the wine has been mostly absorbed by the rice, add in chicken stock 50ml at a time, stirring constantly.
  5. Keep adding chicken stock to the pan a little bit at a time, always making sure to scrape through the bottom of the pan and to use medium heat. The stock will slowly but surely be absorbed by the rice. This should take around 500ml of chicken stock and approximately 20 minutes for the rice to cook thoroughly.
  6. Once your risotto rice is cooked to the right onsistency, stir in Mainland Egmont cheese, butter and cooked contents (mushrooms, onion, garlic and choice of protein).
  7. Serve immediately and garnish with more Mainland Egmont, herbs and truffle oil / mousse!

If your heat is too high, you run the risk of running out of stock before your rice is adequately cooked. If you run out of stock, you may use the mushroom liquid or some milk to substitute. The texture of good risotto should be thick, sticky and chewy. A firm bite, with no uncooked bits or overly mushy texture. If you have any soupy or burnt bits, you did something wrong.

If you like it simple, you could eat it like this on its own. It’s honestly more than good enough to. But what’s now good… could be turned great with just a few extra ingredients. And I like to go all the way. We’ve already got Mainland Egmont mixed into this deliciously creamy risotto, but because I’m a cheese addict, there’s no such thing as too much! ;)

The full package – with more Mainland Egmont, parsley, truffle oil / porcini mousse, spring onions for garnishing, bacon pieces and cracked black pepper. Magnifique!

Why pay what’s usually more than $25 per small serving in high end restaurants, when you can do it yourself at home with a little tender loving care over your pan for 30 minutes? I believe this is a dish that even amateur home cooks can attempt, as long as you don’t let the rice burn or overcook, it’s a simple process that simply takes up a bit of your time. There’s no particular science or skill involved.

The amazing thing about risotto is that despite how creamy it is, I didn’t have to add a thickening agent or cream to the rice. It’s the natural starches breaking down that gives it that signature sticky chewy bite. This is the sort of magical meal you’d cook for your boyfriend to convince him to marry you. One bite is all it takes! ;) As a person who cooks, let me tell you that the way to ANYONE’S heart is through their stomach!

A risotto ain’t nothing without good cheese. While some like to use parmesan for their risottos, I find parmesan a little strong for everyday dishes and in contrast, appreciated the subtle sweet flavor Mainlang Egmont offered. It was easy to grate because it’s semi-hard, yet at the same time, the cheese melded into the rice mixture effortlessly within seconds. Baking this cheese would be a dream!

Very soon, this theory will be tested and proven.

On days you don’t feel like you’re up to making risotto, you can also use Mainland Egmont in a 5 minute recipe. The kind of recipe you go to for the quickest lunch in the world, or when you need a fantastic side dish to accompany your mains! I’d also do this for an afternoon snack any day of the week. This time, I’ve grated Mainland Egmont into a finer and more delicate size because it will be sprinkled over a small surface area, this way, it will stick to the surface better!


Cheesy Cajun Corn On The Cob

Ingredients:

  • Mainland Egmont
  • Corn on the cob, de-husked
  • Melted butter
  • Cajun spice seasoning
  • Choice of herb – I recommend fresh dill, parsley or spring onions
  • Cracked black pepper

Directions:

  1. Prepare a baking dish, pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Soak corn in cold water for 10 minutes prior to baking. Dry thoroughly, then lay on the baking dish.
  3. Brush melted butter all over corn, turning to cover the different sides.
  4. Pop into the oven to bake at 180 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until you’re happy with how it looks. Some like it a little more charred, and others a juicier yellow piece of corn.. I like mine still juicy with nicely browned bits here and there.
  5. Remove from oven, immediately generously top the baked corn with Mainland Egmont, cajun seasoning and the rest of your garnishings, then eat while it’s still hot!

My idea of good corn. Melted butter, salt, and corn – yeahhhh.

My idea of EPIC corn.    …..YEAHHHHHHH!!!!

Look at that Mainland Egmont shamelessly lying seductively atop that juicy golden corn. They weren’t kidding when they said its usage is awesome for both cooking and baking purposes!

The cheese gives the corn a whole new dimension of flavor, amplified by the cajun seasoning which is a little spicy.. you have yourself a perfect combination that will have your taste buds positively break dancing in glee. I didn’t need to add any salt to this recipe because the cheese and cajun seasoning already contains enough. But of course, feel free to amend this any way you like to your own preferences. This will be a definite hit at dinner or potluck parties, when you need something easy to prepare that’s easy on the wallet, and everyone will be dying to know the recipe because you took an extremely ordinary ingredient and turned it into something pretty extraordinary! In that event, please direct them to this blog.. thank you. :P

Small in buck and effort, but huge on taste.

If corn is “just corn” to you, then you obviously ain’t never had something like this! Corn, will never be just corn again. You’re welcome.

Before I go, I want you guys to know that every single recipe I put up on here, I genuinely want you all to try because I think you’ll LOVE it, not because it is a promoted product. Like I said earlier, I’ve been using Mainland cheeses for years now – their full range includes Vintage, Tasty, Epicure, Gouda, Edam, Swiss and Gruyere cheese. Tasty is another one of my favorites!

I’d love to see you attempt these recipes. Remember to hashtag #mainlandcheese on social media if you do so I check out your yummy posts!

xoxo,
Jess

Air is the new oil with the Philips Airfryer

Cooking, is without a doubt, one of my favorite past-times!

Not only is it a hobby or interest of mine, but an actual way I sustain life. I know not many people in Singapore around my age group cook a lot, but I’ve been actively cooking since I was 19 because I believe in the importance of home cooked food. Ever heard of the saying.. A family that eats together, stays together? That’s proven to be true for me! Cooking at home is just so much better than dining out sometimes, in terms of both quality and pricing! It may not necessarily compare to the best restaurants in the world, but what could be more heartwarming than coming home to a lovingly home cooked meal at the end of the day? Only when I started to take a real interest in cooking did I actually start appreciating food properly! So much planning & consideration goes into a good meal. From the prep work, to the actual cooking process, and then finally presentation. 
Having said that, while I enjoy whipping up home cooked meals, there’s nothing I love more than a fuss-free dish. Time is precious, time is money, something you can never get back no matter what you do. So when there’s a smarter, easier and heathier option to cook food with the Philips Airfryer, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be taking full advantage of it!!!
I was first introduced to the Philips Airfryer at Cookyn Inc, where we had a cooking challenge going on that day, and that was to use the Airfryer to whip up intermediate food dishes for judging within a certain time limit!

While listening to the nice people at Cookyn Inc talk about the product, we were fed appetizing quiches made with the Airfryer!

Both MissTamChiak and I were competing against each other to guide our respective teams towards victory. Maureen and I have known each other personally prior to this event, having gone overseas together once before, so thankfully it was a very friendly competition! 

My team hard at work to create recipes they’ve never even seen before that will hopefully impress the judges! Thank you to my very game friends, Xavier, Peggy, Byrne and Sam for joining me in this activity. I know I have your support in everything I do!!! Nawww.

While anxious to win, we did not let that get in our way of having fun the whole time.

Look at what my pal Byrne carved out with a little knife to earn some brownie points in the presentation department!

Turns out the Airfryer is amazingly convenient and easy to use, my friends who don’t even cook ended up churning out dishes so tasty, I would’ve sworn they were restaurant quality had I not seen them prepare it from scratch before my very eyes!! I am SO proud of them, and the rest of my team! They showcased good teamwork and impressive learning skills, resulting in these beautiful dishes:

The Airfryer was used for every thing you see above: grilled eggplant, roasted chicken, baked gratin and even dessert – cherry pie!!!

I was honestly blown away.

Although we did not win the 1st Prize despite our best efforts, we did receive nice consolation prizes from Philips, and I speak for everyone when I say we had a jolly good time regardless of the outcome! I also got to bag home the Airfryer at the end of the day, much to my delight.

I started imaging and thinking up all the different types of food I’d make with this genius machine as soon as I got home.

Meaningful Innovation with Air
The Airfryer emits hot air from the top which is circulated rapidly and evenly within the device to cook the food. At a temperature of up to 200C, the air moves quickly and forcefully within the device, adding a perfect crisp to the exterior of foods being cooked.
With the unique star-shaped design of the base, the heat is propelled, guaranteeing a fast and even cooking session to deliver deliciously fried food that has reduced fat and oil content. Powered at 2,100W, the Philips Avance XL Airfryer HD9240 is now 30 percent faster.

Some of the notable highlights the Philip Airfryer boasts include:

Rapid Air technology
Airfryer’s unique Rapid Air technology enables you to fry, bake, roast, and grill the tastiest snacks and meals with up to 80% less fat than a conventional fryer! Its unique combination of fast & precise circulating superheated air, starfish design, and optimal heating profile allows you to fry a variety of delicious fried foods in a fast and easy way with no oil**. With Rapid Air technology you also get less odors than traditional frying, making it is easy to clean, safe and economical for daily use!

Digital touch screen
With the digital touch screen you can control the time and temperature of your cooking in an easier and more precise way. Enjoy your favorite food, prepared at the right temperature and time for the best result!

Versatile cooking
Not just great for frying, the innovative Philips Airfryer with Rapid Air technology also lets you grill, bake and even roast your favorite dishes all in one

1.2kg cooking capacity
1.2kg Capacity to feed up to 5 people. Now even larger families can enjoy the Airfryer experience with an additional 50% extra capacity

International recipe booklet
This recipe book created by culinary experts gives inspiration for a variety of low-fat fried food that you can cook in the Airfryer. It also introduces you to recipes that showcase the versatility of the appliance so that you can grill, bake and even roast food healthier, quicker and more conveniently.

Let’s see how it fares in my own kitchen, shall we?



Recipe: Baked Portobello Mushroom Bites

Ingredients: (2 servings)

  • 4 large portobello mushrooms de-stemmed
  • A bunch of spinach leaves
  • A handful of diced onions & garlic
  • Sundried tomatoes / minced bacon or sausage bits (optional)
  • 80g mozzarella or tasty cheese

Directions:

  1. Stir fry the diced onions, garlic, spinach leaves and your optional meat (bacon / sausage bits) together over medium heat in a pan until the spinach no longer oozes water and meat is cooked
  2. Lay out the mushrooms on the airfryer grill, salt & pepper the mushrooms then top with ingredients previously cooked in pan
  3. Finish off with a generous sprinkle of your favorite cheese
  4. Bake in Philips Airfryer for 8 minutes at 180 degrees or until mushroom is cooked (timing depends on size of your mushrooms)

And there you have a simple homecooked meal whipped up in only 15 minutes, including prep time!!

Leave out the meat bits for a vegetarian version. I would advise to go easy on the salt because the cheese and sundried tomatoes already provide some sodium content.

The portobello shrooms are still juicy and tender. The cheese is all melted with some crisp edges. The spinach and other ingredients remain soft and at the perfect consistency. Perfect. How easy was that?

To get that beautiful color on your baked cheese, just add a dash of paprika powder to achieve the same effect! I guess I could make this with a traditional oven, but then I’d have to wait for my oven to pre-heat, prepare an extra baking pan lined with baking paper.. and probably bake it for 15 minutes instead of 8 minutes in the Airfryer. All those extra minutes I save will add up to be a significant amount of time over days of cooking! Although some people recommend that you preheat the Airfryer, I have not found it to be an important step. It heats up very evenly and ridiculously quickly, that it makes no big difference whether you preheat it or not.

Inspired by the chicken dish we made at the Cookyn Inc event, I wanted to grill some at home too!

The outcome was absolutely stunning.

Even though the chicken steak was pre-marinated, I added NO oil, but the airfryer worked its magic so all of this glistening glorious madness is natural fat aka chicken jus from the meat itself! Look at the beautifully charred bits on the side!!! 12 minutes at 180 degrees. Just pop the chicken in, then take the chicken out. I can honestly say that to achieve this with a conventional grill or an oven would not be an easy task at all. But the Airfryer did it so effortlessly. I. am. sold. (and smitten.)

So we know the Airfryer is good at baking, roasting, grilling etc. But just how good is the Airfryer at, well…. frying? Would my fries still be sinfully crispy and addictive?

To complement my chicken, I decided to test how well the Airfryer would cook my waffle fries. Which are, by the way, the king of fries to me. I never say no to them.

And I definitely did NOT say no to this.

Crispy? Yes. Delicious? You betcha. Did I have to get splattered by a pan full of hot oil to enjoy this texture of fries? NO!

I would be lying if I said it tasted exactly the same as a deep fried version. That would be factually incorrect, anyway. It’s much crispier, and without the greasy taste. It works well for most fried items. If you want the taste of oil so bad, nothing’s stopping you from pouring some truffle oil into a bowl and then shaking your fries around to thinly coat them. No more patting fried food in kitchen towels before serving to drain unhealthy excess oil because it’s just guilt-free pleasure from now on.

Mmmm mm. Look at my tantalizing meal prepared entirely with the Airfryer, waiting to be devoured! All in all, it took me less than 30 minutes for this plate of yummyness.

I can see why the Philips Airfryer is so highly raved about! It has proven itself to be convenient, quick, easy to use and most importantly to me, improve the quality of my food and life by making it easier. I am most impressed by its versatility because it does what my grill, frying pan and oven can do, but better and quicker. There’s endless food possibilities to be explored, and hassle is kept to a minimum for your maximum enjoyment.

To learn more about the awesome Airfryer or other Philips gadgets, why not check out their range of appliances and products here? If you’re not entirely convinced yet, perhaps these reviews by other users will seal the deal. For a more visual understanding of what the Philips Airfryer can do, watch some intriguing demonstration videos of the product live in action via this link.

Thanks Philips for revolutionizing the way I cook at home! Goodbye grease, and hello to tasty, healthier air fried dishes at home!

xoxo,
Jess
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