Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Summer Fruit Cobbler

Summer is almost coming to an end and it was high time to prepare a typical summer dessert before the seasonal fruits become unavailable. You can in fact improvise and use any kind of fruit you have around. This dessert or comfort food is so simple, seasonal and delicious. I made mine with apples, blueberries, peaches and red currents. The merge of 2 sweet fruits with 2 sour ones gave it an amazing flavour and taste.

I totally loved how my apple and peach crumble turned out the other day so I cooked the fruit first in the same manner as the crumble before making the cobbler. You can use fresh or frozen fruits, but when in season, I would rather use all fresh fruit. 

Fruit Preparation :

20gm butter
60gm castor or fine grain sugar
1/3 cup orange juice
1 Stick cinnamon
1 Star Anise
1-2 medium sweet apples cored, peeled and sliced  (I used 2)
3 small or medium ripe peaches, sliced.
1 cup blueberries
1 cup red currents (used as a garnish with vanilla ice cream….but you can add in some to be cooked as well)
***Optional : 1 tsp nutmeg and 1 tsp cinnamon powder - I did add these 2 spices because I love the aroma of the blend of spices with fruit and sugar….amazing flavour!

Method :
Melt butter and add spices. Stir in the sugar until it becomes a light caramel colour.
Deglaze with orange juice. Add the fruits and cook for 5-8 minutes.
Set aside and prepare the cobbler batter.


1/2 cup or 4 oz butter cut into slices
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 - 1 cup granulated sugar (I used only 1/2 cup of fine grain sugar)
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup milk 
Vanilla ice cream and fresh red currents for serving.

1. With rack in the centre of the oven, pre-heat to 375° F. Put the butter into a 10-inch skillet or 3-quart baking dish and put the skillet or dish in the oven to melt the butter while the oven is heating.

2. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl until well combined. Add the milk and stir just until combined. A few small lumps are fine.

When the butter is fully melted, take the skillet out of the oven and pour the batter over the melted butter. Do not mix it together. Scatter the fruit over the batter, keeping most of it in the middle of the dish, rather than the edges. Do not mix it in, either.

Bake until the top is a rich golden-brown, 30 to 45 minutes (mine took 30 minutes).

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and some fresh currents.

Prep time: 15 min | Cook time: 30 min | Total time: 45 minutes

Bon Appetit!

Author : Nur Diyanah Magness /

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Cheese and Rennet

It never really bothered me about animal rennet being in cheese when I was in Malaysia because all the cheeses sold were either halal or had no animal rennet in them. Living in Belgium now is completely different and I have to read labels to make sure that processed, packed or canned foods are animal free. The safest is of course to opt for vegetarian products…that is why I do much of my groceries from the Bio Planet. I LOVE cheese but I go for Rennetless Cheeses OR cheeses that contain emulsifying agents that are specifically vegetarian or microbial in nature. It’s truly a relief to know that there are non-animal sources for rennet that are suitable for consumption by vegetarians and people like myself. :) 

Cheese is a solid food made from the milk of cowsgoatssheep, and other mammals. Cheese is made by curdling milk using a combination of rennet (or rennet substitutes) and acidificationBacteria acidify the milk and play a role in defining the texture and flavour of most cheeses. Some cheeses also feature moulds, either on the outer rind or throughout.

Rennet is an enzyme used to make most cheeses and which is usually derived from the lining of calves stomachs, though rennet from other animals such as pigs or goats can also be used. This is definitely not acceptable or welcomed by many people.

Cheese without Rennet
Some cheese varieties can be made without rennet. These include:
  • Cream cheese
  • Cottage cheese
  • Quark
  • Paneer
  • Farmer's cheese
  • Some types of mozzarella
These cheeses are generally soft and can be packed in liquid. The milk in these cheese types is coagulated using citric or other acids rather than animal byproducts.

The good news is that there are several sources of non-animal rennet that can be used in vegetarian cheese, so vegetarians can have their cheese and eat it, too! Animal-based rennet is expensive, so cheese makers have been searching for other forms of rennin for a long time. Fortunately, there are three other ways to obtain the enzyme.
  1. Microbial Rennet is derived from moulds. Soft cheeses can be made using rennet that has been derived from bacteria. The bacteria itself is created and fermented under controlled conditions, to ensure that the mould is "clean" and safe for human consumption.
  2. Genetically Modified or Engineered Rennet is derived from plants that have been injected with cow genes. It is made by combining bacteria or yeast with the calf genes that contain rennin. Once the initial rennet is made, it can be genetically modified and bio-engineered so that no further animal products are needed to continue reproduction. This type of rennet is safe for vegetarians as long as there is no further animal-based rennet used during the cheese making process.
  3. Vegetable Rennet is made from certain vegetables that have coagulation properties as well. Several sources of plant-based rennet are perfectly suitable to make cheese. Some of these plant sources include: 
  • Wild Thisel
  • Fig leaves or bark
  • Safflower
  • Mallow
  • Melon
  • Stinging nettle

Companies are not legally required to disclose the source of the rennet, so unless the product specifically states a non-animal source for rennet, you won’t know and finding certified vegetarian rennet cheese can be tricky. There are a few other options for vegetarians who want to eat cheese without worry:
  1. Any cheese labeled kosher is safe for vegetarians to eat. This is because kosher foods cannot contain any combination of meat products and milk. Check kosher specialty food stores or markets for these cheeses. 
  2. Other alternatives include soy cheese and other non-dairy cheeses that are made from tofu.
  3. There is even a product on the market that mimics parmesan cheese, but it is made from ground walnuts, called Parma Raw Parmesan Cheese Alternative.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Green Dream

This juice is packed with vitamin B3, niacin and folic acid. Makes 200ml. I doubled it.

Basic 200ml recipe : 

250gm apple,

50gm celery

50gm kiwi

1/2 lemon

100gm avocado. 

Method : 

Juice the apple, celery and kiwi. Transfer to blender with avocado and whizz for 20 seconds. Decorate with kiwi slices if desired. 

Slurp away and enjoy! 


Nur Diyanah


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Strawberry Yogurt Cheesecake Dessert

Ingredients for 4 servings:

200 g cream cheese
400 grams of yogurt 
130 g strawberries, some blackberries, 1 kiwi or any fruit. 
1-2 tsp natural Strawberry Flavouring
1-2 tablespoons powdered sugar 
5 g gelatine or agar agar (I had some of my halal gelatine which I brought from Malaysia)
250 g strawberries for decoration 

Preparation : 
  1. Dissolve gelatin in 2 tablespoons cold water. 
  2. Add 1 tsp natural flavouring and heat in a water bath. 
  3. Stir until dissolved. 
  4. In a bowl mix cream cheese and yogurt. 
  5. Add gelatin mixture. 
  6. Wash, clean and chop strawberries. beat them in a blender with 1-2 tsp natural strawberry flavouring. 
  7. Strain the puree through a sieve to remove seeds. Add it to the remaining mixture, stir. 
  8. Sweeten to taste with 1-2 tbsp sugar. 
  9. Divide cream into 4 dessert glasses. 
  10. Chill the cheesecake for at least 3 hours. 
  11. Serve with fresh fruit. (I arranged kiwi slices on the side of glasses before pouring the mixture into the glasses.)

Friday, May 30, 2014

Cream Cheese Pudding

Creamy Vanilla Cream Cheese pudding, dressed with strawberry and fresh mint leaf. This is a cheat dessert. Have it creamy and sinful or have it diet friendly with low fat or fat free cream cheese and milk and instant vanilla pudding. 


๐Ÿฐ 8 oz cream cheese (fat free for the diet conscious)
๐Ÿฐ 2 cups milk of your choice
๐Ÿฐ 1 packet vanilla pudding (either regular or sugar and fat free)


๐Ÿฐ mix together milk and pudding mix as stated on packet with hand mixer.
๐Ÿฐ Add softened room temperature cream cheese and continue to blend well with hand mixer until smooth.
๐Ÿฐ Place in ramekins or individual containers and refrigerate for an hour or till firm. 
๐ŸฐBest Served with fresh strawberries and mint. 

Bon Appetit!

Nur Diyanah Magness

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Crostini with Goat's Cheese, caramelised onions and figs.

Something different I came up with this evening. Crostini with goats cheese, caramelised onions, figs and toasted nuts.

Goats cheese is not something everyone has a palette for because of it's strong mature flavour. I never used to like it but acquired the taste for it after experimenting with a combination of flavours and tastes that went well together. Caramelised onions have that tangy sweetness to it and figs with honey like sweetness, a perfect contrast with the cheese. 


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil and a little more to drizzle on bread. 
  • 2 small Baguette rolls (2x150gm)
  • 150 gm Goats cheese sliced 
  • 150-200 gm cream cheese mixed with 1 teaspoon of any favourite herbs. I used rosemary, chopped fresh mint and a pinch of freshly ground pepper.
  • 2 Large Onions sliced thinly
  • 1-2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tableapoons Brown sugar
  • Few soft figs sliced (soft center and not too dried)
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Toasted almond flakes and sunflower seeds. 
  • Honey or agave syrup (optional)


  1. Slice onions and fry with olive oil till limp, add balsamic vinegar and cook few minutes then add brown sugar. Cook till no liquid and onions brown and caramelised. Set aside. 
  2. Baguette bread..cut into half and slice horizontally, halving it; place on oven tray.  drizzle or spray little olive oil on each slice and toast in the oven at 200C for 8-10 mins or till slightly brown and crisp. 
  3. While bread in oven, Slice goats cheese and Mix cream cheese with favourite herbs. 
  4. When bread is done, divide the onions equally on each slice. 
  5. Place goats cheese slices on both ends of bread and add a blob of cream cheese mixture in the center of each slice on top of the onions. 
  6. Dress with a mint leaf and toasted almond flakes and sunflower seeds. You can drizzle some honey if desired. 
  7. Serve warm and immediately so the goats cheese slices melt just slightly with the hot toasts, making it a perfect texture. 
  8. Best served with red wine. I personally do not drink alcohol at all, so I take it with NON alcohol red wine....yes it's a perfect match!! 

Nur Diyanah Magness

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Mixed Rice Stuffed Aubergine/Egg Plant

Spicy Rice filled Eggplant/Aubergine with yogurt and salad.

This recipe was fully vegetarian but for my second try I added in some minced/ground beef....both ways tasted so good. 

Stuffed Eggplant/Aubergine ready for the oven


  • Optional : 250 gm ground beef
  • 1 cup basmati rice ( i just cooked extra to have extra fried rice on the side. 
  • 2 large aubergines/eggplants
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large brown onion, halved, finely chopped
  • 1 red capsicum, halved, deseeded, finely chopped (I used one half red and one half yellow)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed (I used 5)
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander (I used 1 tsp coriander seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger (I chopped a thumb size dried ginger)
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh red chilli or 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric, fresh or dry is fine.
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh continental parsley - I used 3 stalks.
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup yoghurt. Greek, plain or fat-reduced...any will do perfectly fine.
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint (I had no mint so I just made a simple raita mix of chopped tomatoes and chives instead…just as good)
  • salt and pepper to taste.
  • pinch of garam masala or chilli powder for the yogurt (only if you like a spicy flavour)

Step 1
Cook the rice in a large saucepan of boiling water for 15 minutes or until tender. Rinse under cold running water. Drain well.

Step 2
Preheat oven to 200°C. 

Step 3
Meanwhile, cut the eggplants in half lengthways. Use a small sharp knife to cut a 1cm border around the edge of each eggplant half. Scoop out the flesh within the border, leaving about 1.5cm of flesh on the base of each eggplant half. Finely chop the flesh.

Step 4
Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. If you are using the ground meat, fry till brown. Add the onion and capsicum and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic, coriander, ginger, chilli and turmeric and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or until aromatic. Add the chopped eggplant and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes or until eggplant is soft. Remove from heat.

Ground beef and capsicum

Step 5
Add the rice, parsley, lemon rind and lemon juice to eggplant mixture, and stir to combine. 

Fried Rice with ground beef

Step 6
Place eggplant shells in a large baking dish. Spoon rice mixture evenly among eggplant shells. Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until eggplant shells are soft and filling is golden.

Stuffed Aubergine/Eggplant

Step 7
Place the yoghurt and mint in a small serving bowl and stir to combine. I had no mint so I just added some chopped tomatoes and chives to the yogurt with a pinch of garam masala for a nice flavour. 
Serve with spicy rice-filled eggplant.

Yogurt Salad/Raita

I enjoyed making and eating this meal, was superb! If you like eggplant, Do try it will love it! Bon Appetit!

Nur Diyanah Magness

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mothers Day, every day

There is one precious gift that any parent would want and wish for...and rightly so deserve, and that is to be in their kids daily prayers just as they have their kids in theirs. My mum has been there for me from the day I was born, through all my ups and downs even till today, even thousands of miles away... her love, support, care, advice, words and most of all, her prayers are with me. While appreciation for any parent should be every day of the year, most of us still love to extra appreciate mothers on this special day. I had no idea how hard (yet so rewarding and amazing) motherhood was until I got there myself. So my love and respect for my own mum and anyone out there who has ever raised a child grows more and more every day.

Although I really value the thinking behind Mother’s Day—recognition of our mothers and everything that our mothers have done for us - I think that part of being a mom is turning every day into Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day is all about being appreciated for everything they do all of our lives every single day....and as a mother myself, I don’t need anything fancy to show me that.  I just need to look for signs of it in my daily living to turn every day into Mother’s Day. 

Happy Mother's Day to my very own amazing mom..and to all of you mummies and mamas out there!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Herb Potatoes and Eggs - Great anytime, anywhere.

Was totally bored with the usual daily breakfast and oats, So I cooked up something rather different from the norm. -- Herb potatoes and celery with eggs, dressed with a blob of humus, honey mustard and a side of Fresh avocado and tomato.


  • Boiling potatoes, 4 small or 2 medium potatoes, rinsed and scrubbed
  • 2 stalks celery sliced small
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 tabs olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Generous pinch dried herbs or spices, such as oregano, basil, Italian herbs, tarragon, thyme, herbes de Provence, paprika, or ground cumin.(optional).  I added a little mixed masala, rosemary, thyme, basil, dried coriander.
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup grated or crumbled cheese, such as aged or extra-sharp Cheddar, pepper Jack, feta, goat cheese, Gruyere, aged Swiss, provolone, or regular or smoked mozzarella. 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, parsley, cilantro or dill (optional)


  • 1. Dice the potatoes pretty small but not super tiny. (You want them small enough so they more or less fit in a single layer in an 8-inch nonstick skillet and will cook quickly. Aim for about 1/2 inch dice–no larger.) 
  • 2. Combine the potatoes, water, oil, and salt in the skillet over high heat. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly, cover, and set the timer for 5 minutes. Let the potatoes cook, stirring once or twice if you think of it, while you prep the rest of your ingredients. By the end of the 5 minutes, the water should have just evaporated and the potatoes should be barely tender and maybe even have started to brown. 
  • 3. Uncover the potatoes and use a spatula to loosen them from the skillet. Cover again and cook over medium to medium-high heat until lightly browned, stirring occasionally, 2 to 5 minutes longer. If using dried herbs/spices, sprinkle them over the potatoes now. 
  • 4. In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Pour the eggs over the browned potatoes, strew with the scallion, and scramble until the eggs are just set, maybe a minute or so. Sprinkle the eggs with the cheese and fresh herbs, remove the skillet from the heat, and let the whole shebang stand until the residual heat melts the cheese and finishes cooking the eggs. (If you don’t mind losing a little crispness on the potatoes, you can cover the skillet so the cheese melts more quickly and evenly.) Scoop the mess from the skillet, place it onto plates, and pass the forks. 

Adapted from culinary 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Avocado, Banana and Cucumber Salad.

Great for a snack or salad before main course.

Recipe :

2 avocados,
2 bananas, 
1/2 cucumber, 
1 cup croutons , 
1/2 cup raisins, 
yogurt vinaigrette. 

Mix all ingredients together. 

Easy, fast and delicious!

Much Love..
Nur Diyanah  Magess

Friday, April 11, 2014

Light at the end of the tunnel

Life isn't always at it's best because dreams could be crushed and hearts broken with any kind of let down. You may be just about to give up as you cling to shreds of your life, trying to find for something with the hope of getting back up again. Finding the light at the end of the tunnel is possible if you seek it, so hang in there. 

Realize that whatever you may be going through can be overcome eventually...cultivate patience. Life is like the sea, it can be calm and it can be fiercely rough, has it's ups and downs and nothing is permanent. It will get better at some point. Being patient helps you to ponder on things calmly.  This state of mind is temporary and happiness is a choice. So if you refuse to believe you are suffering, you really cannot suffer. 

Be positive, and this is not denial of the situation, it is about balancing your loss for what you still have and getting out of the rut gradually. It is about looking for the good behind the bad and being grateful for what you still have in your life like health, family, friends, a helping hand and most of all, life itself, to be able to wake up to another new day. You can inspire another person by pulling through than giving in to despair. Whatever it is that makes you unhappy, remove it from your life and take control of whatever you can control. Plan to move towards that light at the end of the tunnel by getting beyond whatever it is that is pulling you back. Find for HEALTHY escapes to maintain a sane and peaceful it spiritual or activities to engage in. Be strong to to say NO to temptation to engage in unhealthy and wrong escapes which will only pull you down deeper or into a new darkness. 

Much love...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Love isn't always Magic

As I walked the streets of Canterbury last weekend, I observed two youngsters writing in chalk on the walkway little bits of poetry, haiku, quotes and phrases all along the street. I really appreciate such creativity...a really unique way of expression. Very few people stopped to read these bits of words shared, and most just ignored it and walked on. It is really a pity that many these days forget to appreciate and enjoy the simple things or 'stop to smell the roses' in life. I read everything that was in my path and even snapped a few with my iPhone. "Love isn't always magic"....I guess this is true in reality ...but I am too much of a romantic at heart to want to believe it and this can be really tragic at times. 

Much love,
Nur Diyanah Magness

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

No Goodbyes...Just Cherished Memories

Few months ago my mum's second sister passed away from cancer and I was blessed to see her during her last days. Yesterday, 23rd Sunday 2014 at 10.10 pm Malaysian time, Cancer took mum's youngest sister away from us too. I was in Holland when I received the news. Words are inadequate to express how one feels at times like these but I was relieved that she was finally at peace and no more in pain.

Though she never showed it but she was suffering in silence. She always put a strong front and helped others with council and in any way she could. She led a full life of helping others and right to the end she was still counceling and giving. Aunty Betty was a dedicated nurse and councillor...she touched many lives and was an inspiration to many.

Aunty Betty with one of her grandkids

Those we love remain with us for love itself lives on, and cherished memories never fade because a loved one’s gone. Those we love can never be more that a thought apart. For as long there is a memory, they’ll live on in our hearts. They walk beside us every day, unseen, unheard but always near...still loved...still missed and very dear. Wherever they are....They will always be in our hearts. With sincere heartfelt sympathy...I wish my cousins and our family members the peace to bring them comfort, the courage to face the days ahead and loving memories to forever hold in their hearts. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Expat in Belgium

It's been few months now in Belgium and I have connected with other Malaysian families only once through a pastry class organised by the Malaysian Embassy. The was fun and more of a gathering connecting with other Malaysians and of course had a good spread of Malaysian favourites. The most important thing is that this one crucial meet made me feel not so alien anymore. I am adapting well and surprisingly, I love the cool weather....I can do anything at all without kicking up a sweat and it somehow gives my skin a healthy glow. ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜˜

The Malaysians I met that one time all live a distance away, far from train stations and they are busy with their own lives busy with family and kids. Most of them are posted to Belgium on a 2 year contract by the Embassy. What I would love to have now are friends living close by to where I live...ones who I can connect with in real time at ANY companions for shopping, exploring common interests...those who are familiar with the train routes to help me familiarise with it so that I will be a little more secure taking it on my own without getting lost......companions that I can meet up with for coffee occasionally.

I have no complaints of boredom or being alone time is well filled up with lots of stuff in house now too and I do meet up with the BTB group once or twice a week during their rehearsals and gigs and sometimes for pizza and chat. The beauty of this group is that it consists of a Mauritius, two Belgians and a Dutch...and with myself thrown in....that makes a mini cosmopolitan 'muhibbah' group!

On the note of's really amazing that the Turk pizza and snack shops can be found in almost every area. I have to say that the pizza I had last week was way better and tastier than Pizza Hut or Dominoes pizza back home in Malaysia. They had many varieties ...100% Halal...with or without meat and many of which are suitable for vegetarians as well.

The kebabs, burgers and grilled meat plates are also simply delicious..and of course halal...and it's even double or triple the serving size than what we get back home.

The weekends are never boring...there is always something to do or somewhere to visit. I realise though that it is VERY necessary to learn either Dutch or if both, to be able to move around with ease on my own and be independent. Not everyone here is able to speak English and sometimes I have to rely on sign language in I am living in a Flemish area, so learning Dutch will be first on the list. I am also in the midst of paperwork with the commune for preparations to live in Belgium...yes I have finally decided to live in this Country that I once complained so much about being boring and slow paced. I guess my priorities or rather, my needs, and perspective of life has changed to a certain degree. It's really all in the mind and I am very grateful to my family and friends for giving me the support to make solid changes in my life. When the mind is closed...everything seems impossible and scary.....but when you keep an open mind, you will be able to see so many possibilities and positives. 

For a start, I have been exploring the different food stores that sell specific ingredients and  food items be able to bake my speciality cakes and cook typical Malaysian dishes whenever I crave for such :)

Chocolate Cheese Brownie Bars

I am now an expert though at the art of improvising ingredients to get almost the exact taste of certain Malaysian dishes. Typical home made 'sambals' and special 'rempah' and curry mixes are not a problem either as I have discovered an Asian supermarket in Brussels which has a wide variety of spices and speciality ingredients from various countries. 

Photos of my various travels, adventures and foods are shared on Instagram @sweetsharings and these include snaps from previous visits to the beautiful medieval towns in Belgium, France, Germany and Holland. I should start a private online photo blog as there are thousands more which are not on IG either....all for future throwback posts. 

My focus now is to get started on my Language classes. Feeling quite eager and enthusiastic about it. There is not much else to tell just yet as I am still with baby steps exploring all possibilities of having a quality and fulfilling life...apart from the Spiritual aspect that is. I have to admit there are many moments when I miss home very much...especially my girls and family...but belief and trust in God keeps me strong. Keeping myself busy creating in the kitchen is an escape that also helps a great deal with coping and adapting. 

Nur Diyanah Magness

Saturday, February 15, 2014

How to Make Spinach Cream Sauce

Traditional Method

  • 1/2 stick of butter (aprox 115 g) 
  • 4 tablespoons (45 g) flour
  • 1/2 whole medium onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 cup (250 ml) milk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg (optional) 
  • 2 tablespoons (45 g) butter
  • 350 g baby spinach
    • Prepare  your ingredients.
      Cut the onion in half. Make vertical slices very close together. Then, rotate it and cut it the other way to dice it.
    • Mince your garlic finely. Once you think it's small enough, do it a teeny bit more.
    • Grab a pot for your cream sauce. Put in 1 stick of butter over medium-low heat. If your stove runs a bit colder, put it on medium.
    • Once the butter is melted, add in 8 tablespoons (90 g) of flour.
    • Immediately start whisking and cook for five minutes. It should turn golden brown.
    • Add garlic and onions to your roux. Stir together to combine and cook for another minute.
    • Slowly add in the milk. Whisk constantly. Cook it for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. It should start to thicken.
    • Sautรฉ the spinach. If you have another pair of hands at your disposal, make him or her whisk the cream sauce while you do the spinach.
      • Put 3 tablespoons of butter into a pot and let it melt.
      • Throw in as much of the spinach as you can. As it heats, it will shrivel and shrink and you'll be able to add more. This may take a few additions. Stir it well, flipping it to cook it evenly.
      • You want to stop cooking the spinach when it’s completely wilted but not mushy and overcooked.
    • Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg to your cream sauce. By now it should be thick like gravy.
      • Spoon the spinach into the cream. Stir it gently to entirely incorporate the greens into the creaminess. Try it before you deem it too creamy or to vegetable-y. Also, if you want to spice it up, add some cayenne or chopped green chillies after adding the garlic. 
    • Serve as is or puree in food processor if you require a finer or pureed consistency. 
  • Quick & Easy Method
    • 1 (10 oz) bags of chopped spinach
    • 1 (8 oz) boxes of cream cheese. Note: (1/3) less fat cream cheese is recommended
    • 2 tbsps (45 g) of butter (optional)

    • In a medium size sauce pan or pot, prepare the spinach according to directions on the bag or box, or just wash and drain fresh spinach. 
       Place 3 tablespoons (45 g) of butter in with your spinach over medium heat
      Add in the cream cheese. Stir well till cream cheese has mostly melted. Switch to low heat and allow the cream cheese to blend in well with the spinach, while stirring continuously.
      Remove from the heat, stir, and serve or leave to cool a little before placing in food processor to puree to the consistency you desire. 
      I had it pureed ...serve over the Salmon. 

Recipe adapted from WikiHow

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pumpkin Cheese Dip

There is really  no hard and fast rule with dips. A Dip is basically a thick sauce in which pieces of food are dunked in before eating. It's a condiment for many types of foods and adds flavour to crackers, chips, bread, vegetables etc.  It's a perfect starter, an in between meal or TV snack, great for gatherings and parties....and can even be made into a light meal on it's own when meat and other wholesome ingredients are added to it.  You can't go wrong...just add ingredients to suit your tastebuds. In place of pumpkin, you can add avocado or similar which of course turns out to be a guacamole dip used for nachos. I posted a recipe for this in one if my earlier posts here. Cream Cheese was used as the main base for this pumpkin dip. My first try and I made it to suit the mood of my tastebuds :-) ......turned out quite 'finger lickin good' especially when having it with the chilli flavoured tortilla chips. 

Pumpkin Cheese Dip


400 gm cream cheese (2 sticks or 2x200gm packs)

1/2 - 1 cup purรฉed or mashed pumpkin (I used 1 cup mashed pumpkin. If you are using purรฉed or canned pumpkin, use less else your dip becomes too watery in texture)

1 chopped onion (optional) - I did not use onion in this dip though because I added a cup of cooked minced meat from my leftover spicy bolognaise sauce made the day before for dinner with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.

My Special ingredient : minced beef prepared earlier or minced meat from  leftover spaghetti bolognaise sauce. You can just cook some minced meat with onions prior to making the dip. Make sure it is cold otherwise it would melt the dip and spoil the thick texture. I included the sauce recipe below in case you want to try a spaghetti sauce with a curry flavour to it. 

1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/2-1 tsp Mixed spices or cayenne pepper. Even curry powder or cumin powder works. 
Fresh Chives and/or coriander leaves (known as daun sup in malay) or some green herbs ...even chopped mint leaves works. 
I used dried terragon and parsley ....both from herb bottle packings. 


Mix the cheese and pumpkin flesh with a fork or wooden spoon till mixed well. 
Add in all other ingredients and mix well some herb and spice to garnish. 
If you are adding in the minced meat, be sure to only add the meat and not any excess gravy/ the texture of the dip is kept nice and thick.  The texture improved after refrigerating for at least an hour before serving. 

Serve with Tortilla Chips or any other Gourmet chips.


sweet sharings from the kitchen of Nur Diyanah

Spicy Bolognaise Sauce

I use this particular recipe when I have that desire for a touch of curry or spice with my mashed potatoes. I made this as a topping for my mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion chopped
3 cloves garlic - I used 1 tablespoon garlic powder since I ran out of the fresh one. 
1 small pkt curry powder (25gm)  mixed to a paste in a little water. Add more if you like it really hot and spicy. I used only 25gm just for a tinge of curry flavour.
400 gm minced beef
1 bottle ready traditional bolognaise sauce or make it fresh with tomatoes and herbs using any basic recipe. 
1/2 cup milk ...I used low fat.
Salt to taste

Fry the onions in olive oil and add the curry powder paste and cook till it changes to a darker color and the oil rises (this means that the spices are cooked nicely and the full aroma comes out...also means no upset tummies for those who cannot take much spice :D ) 
Add in the minced meat and cook till tender, adding a little water in between if it dries up before time. I get my minced meat really fresh and lean from the Moroccan butcher here and it only takes a few minutes of cooking. It would take much longer if you are using prepacked frozen meat as it tends to not be 100% lean unless stated so on the packaging. 
Add the spaghetti sauce and cook for 10 -15 minutes. Add in milk and stir well.
Salt to taste. 

Nur Diyanah

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