Friday, September 28, 2007

Stir-Fried Hokkien Noodles with Seafood

You know...if i don't follow recipes, i'd most probably cook with the same condiments over and over again and produce dishes which taste pretty similar..i m not a fan of 'sourish' flavours, so i tend not to use vinegar very much in my cooking...but the following recipe turned out so well that i m a new fan of malt vinegar!!!

this is one of Kylie Kwong's recipe..even though as Mimi has commented, her recipes seem pretty similar (most feature sze chuan pepper), i am very surprised and suitably impressed by the combination of flavours..!


• 400 g assorted seafood (i used squid rings and devined prawns)
• 1/3 cup vegetable oil
• 1 medium-sized red onion, finely sliced
• 12 ginger slices
• 3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
• 1 × 450 g packet fresh Hokkien noodles
• 2 tablespoons shao hsing wine or dry sherry
• 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon malt vinegar
• 1 teaspoon white sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
• handful of black fungus, sliced
• 1 cup spring onion (scallion) julienne
• 1/2 cup of grated carrot
2 tbls chilli flakes
handful fried shallots
handful coriander


Heat half the oil in a hot wok until surface seems to shimmer slightly. Add seafood and briskly fry until lightly browned. Remove from wok and set aside. (i reserved the oil as my seafood was quite wet...the oil turned a milky it looked like stock to me.. wahahah... :P )

Add remaining oil to hot wok with onion, ginger, garlic and chilli flakes and stir-fry for 1 minute or until onion is lightly browned. Toss in noodles, reserved seafood, wine or sherry, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and sesame oil and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Finally add black fungus and carrots, half the spring onion and stir-fry for a further 30 seconds or until prawns are just cooked through and noodles are hot.

Arrange noodles in bowls, top with remaining spring onions, fried shallots and coriander. Serve immediately.

comments: brought this dish to George's 21st cos he likes seafood....Siewli commented that the noodles were quite spicy and was laughed at by the other girls...I must is really my fault...cos i doubled the recipe and there were so much noodles that i think i must have not stirred through the chilli evenly...and some portions were much more spicer... :P
oh...and try the noodles, if u find that they r not flavourful enough, just add another portion of the seasoning (shao hsing wine, light soy sauce, malt vinegar, white sugar, sesame oil).

Thursday, September 27, 2007

sweet corn and crab meat soup

Simplified from Kylie Kwong's recipe


1 can corn kernels
2 tablespoons oil
½ white onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons ginger,julienned
1 garlic clove,minced
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup shao hsing wine
1¾ L chinese chicken stock** (See recipe below)
1 can crab meat (175g)
1½ teaspoons light soy sauce
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
1 tablespoon finely sliced green shallot
pinch of ground white pepper
cornflour mixture (around 4 tbs corn starch to 8 tbs cold water)

1 Heat oil in a heavy-based pot and sauté onions, ginger, garlic and salt for 5 minutes.
2 Add wine and simmer until it has reduced by half.
3 Stir in corn and stock, bring to the boil.
4. Add corn starch mixture to achieve desired consistency.
5 Stir through crabmeat and soy sauce, then lower heat and slowly pour the beaten eggs into the soup in a thin stream, stirring constantly with a fork.
6 Remove soup from the heat as soon as you see the eggs forming fine ‘ribbons’.
7 Serve the soup in bowls, garnished with shallots and pepper.

serves 8 as a starter

Comments: The picture really doesn't do this soup justice!! With the addition of some tang hoon, bean sprouts and vinegar, you can definitely serve this as a mock shark's fin soup....i used to love sharks' fin soup as a dad would let me order it whenever we went to a Chinese restaurant...i can't say why i liked it so much...i think mainly cos it was one of the most expensive items on the menu! I was spoilt, wasn't i??!!
Nowadays, of course we don't eat shark fins as much cos it's a very cruel n sharks also contain high levels of mercury..
I digress again...the point of comparing it to the shark fin's soup was to highlight the fact that this soup is very 'sweet' in the umami sense..and really pretty simple to make!
Please note that the proportion for the cornstarch mixture is a add more if needed...just make sure that the cornstarch is dissolved in some cold water before adding...the original recipe didn't have you can omit the cornstarch altogether if you prefer a clearer and lighter soup. :)

**Chicken stock:
1 chicken rack, blanched
2 L water
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 tsp white peppercorns
2 bay leaves
2 pieces ginger
Snip off the fatty bits on the bones and blanch in boiling water.
Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover.
Simmer for 2 hours. Skim off scum (the white stuff and bubbles that gathers on the surface) occasionally.

Comments: This stock is very clean tasting and can be used for a variety of purposes. If you have extra, just freeze it in ice cube trays. Use in stir frys and any recipe which calls for adds that extra 'oomphf'.You can also use it to cook rice. Add some ginger, garlic and pandan leaves and it'll be very similar to hainan chicken rice. And you can also use the bones for cooking porridge or congee..
And now i must do my 'auntie' spiel...the chicken bones were from Lenard's. They're only 25 cents each!! SO CHEAP!! dinner mates didn't understand my enthusiasm for the chicken bones...i guess I just get excited when i can make something instead of buying this case, making stock from scratch and not having to pay 3 bucks for a small tetra pack...! :P

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

BACK!!! such a food heaven!

we stayed with Qin's friend who's studying there...a fellow Singaporean...and foodie...he knew the best places in the city and every meal was fantastic..(thanks Mimi Hong, u da best!!!!)
In fact...we took more than 500 pictures and more than half were of food!!!!

But i m no Augustus Gloop...and feel really intimidated at the pictures that have to be edited, posted and written I'll just concentrate on Fifteen alright?

YES!!! we managed to get a table!!

For a mere $28.50, you get a two course meal and a glass of wine. There were 6 of us in we ordered 3 appetisers, 6 maincourses and 3 desserts...(they all have pretty long and fancy names but i have forgotten what they are...)

appetiser: Minestrone soup with scallops

mains: rissoto with proscuito

rotolo with riccotta and spinach

The decor of the place was quite classy and i especially like the Aseop handwash and handcream in the toilets...
and how about the food??

The soup was good...very light and fresh....and the chefs were pretty generous with the scallops...the rotolo was extremely flavourful but the rissoto seeemed to be a tad overcooked...

as for dessert...I'd let Qin's face do the talking...

hot chocolate cake with banana in a caramel sauce

on the whole, we had a fabulous experience and would definitely go there again!! Yum yum yum!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Off to Melbourne and hopefully Fifteen!!!

Qin n I r off to Melbourne tomorrow!! So far....highlights of the trip include the Tulip festival and Great Ocean Road...If there are any places that you think that we should see or eat at, please leave a comment!!!

thanks in advance!!!

We are also trying to have lunch at Fifteen...the waiting list is apparently 3 months..what??!! Yes...three months...
but we will still try our luck...hopefully photography is allowed and we can tell you all about it...
and we promise not to stuff ourselves silly with all the good food in Melbourne...hard but we will try..;P
(Adelaide has around 400 restaurants and Melbourne, more than 6000!!!)


Ciao for now!! See u in a weeks' or so!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Kitchen Mishaps!!

i must confess...that ever since this blog was started, i have rarely cooked the same thing i do get a bit nervous when bringing food to parties and social gatherings...cos it's usually a recipe that i've never tried before..
alot of friends and aquaintances have heard about my passion for they tend to assume that whatever i cook will be really good...and i feel the pressure to 'perform' or at least not disappoint...

one of the cakes which didn't really turn out very well at all is this chocolate mint tofu cheesecake...

side view

view from top...

it looked ok but tasted medicore...and in order to 'protect' my so-called reputation, i cut out two very petite heart shapes, hoping that the small portions would prevent too many people from eating wrong was i..the two birthday girls were very generous and shared the cake with at least five other people...and the expressions were on their faces were quite funny to behold... :P

this next one was my first cake 'orphan''s a green tea cake with red bean konnyaku jelly...

Weiqin, my most faithful and trusted taster, agreed that it's quite we decided that yes, we will still take it along with us...but we will disassociate ourselves from it...and just leave it on the table and deny any links..
I made up the recipe as i went along...and it turned out to be a disaster...

Unfortunately, a very loyal reader of this blog saw us trying quietly leaving the cake in the fridge and she was extremely excited about trying it...i kept telling her: "It's not's really not nice..."

And she went: "But i still want to eat it!!!"

me: "Ok.....if no one else eats it, can you please bring it home??" (in my illogical mind, it's alright if someone elses throws food but i cannot bring myself to do it...)

And guess what? Everyone loved it and kept complimenting it...(??!!!) I think it's the layer of cream that saved the day...Thanks to Emi who brought along some extra cream for her chiffon cake...and kindly agreed to give me the lot! (I hate to whip cream..for some unknown reason..)

And no, there weren't any leftovers for Pat to take home and she was really crestfallen..! Poor girl... hee..'s how the cake was made...more or less... :)

1 Woolies vanilla cake mix
2 tsp green tea powder
1 cup sweetened red bean paste (boil 1/2 cup dried red beans with water til soft, drain excess water, add sugar to desired sweetness...and mash)
1 sachet konnyaku powder

make cake according to instructions on sachet. Add 2 tsp green tea powder.
Pour into a lined cake pan. (Don't make the mistake that i did..greasing and flouring produces a very crusty cake...and i had to cut the edges right off)

Bake and cool completely. (At least an hour)

Slice cake into half with dental floss or a bread knife (I used the latter). Slather on some red bean paste in the middle and on the top. Assemble cake again and slather more green bean paste on the sides, covering the cake completely with red bean paste.

Make up konnyaku jelly with red bean paste and around 450ml water. Taste and add more sugar if necessary. (This was also a on-the-spot innovation..)

Put cake into a spring form pan.

Pour konnyaku mixture onto cake. (At this stage, i was ready to give up...I had no idea whether it was possible to pour konnyaku onto a cake...and was wondering...would the cake become pudding??!!)
Leave aside to set. (There were quite a few big bubbles and I pierced them with a metal skewer...the konnyaku took less than an hour to firm up, i think.)

Chill in fridge.

Invert cake carefully and serve with chantilly cream.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Salmon muffins

1 x 185 can salmon, drained and mashed (liquid reserved)
1 egg
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
1 cup mild cheese

make liquid from salmon up to 3/4 cup with water and mix into remaining ingredients until just combined.

Three quarters fill well greased muffin pans and baked at 200 C for 12-15 mins

hint: Make a small diagonal split in the top of each muffin before serving, spread with cream cheese and tuck in a small piece of smoked salmon

from the Muffin Bible

Muffins?? Salmon?? Yeah!!! These are great as appetisers! I used a mini muffin pan...and they turned out very well...just the right size to pop into your mouth! Served them with sweet thai chilli sauce. Though i might try them with the cream cheese and smoked salmon idea the next time....sounds good, doesn't it??
OH!! And one thing that i've learnt only very recently is that greasing and flouring cake/ muffin pans give your baked products a crusty this case, it is perfectly fine and highly desirable...but with cakes, please do remember to line the pans with baking paper. :)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Long live the microwave!!

Remember my euphoria over the microwave muah chee??'s Kaya!!! Traditionally, kaya is very time and labour intensive, needing at least a couple of hours of continuous stirring to achieve the right consistency...but with Lily's method, all you need is a microwave!!


I was so excited with the kaya that i had to call and tell friends about it...people who've tried it have given it good reviews but perhaps would have rated it more highly if i had not raved so much before they tasted it! haaa...

Click here for the recipe! Lily, you're the best!

Traditionally, kaya is eaten as a spread on toasted Hainanese bread with a thick slab of butter, a cup of coffee and a couple of soft-boiled eggs..but as Culinary Princess recently mentioned, you can also have it with waffles..and on puff pastry...come to think of it...Kaya's actually very much like custard...just with the substitution of coconut cream for milk and the addition of the pandan I guess you can pretty much use it in place of custard...
One of my Australian friends paired it with cheese (?!) and it was surprisingly tasty as well.....Have fun experiementing! :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Lavender Blossom muffins!!!!

recipe slightly modified from here

1 cup sugar (I used slightly less than a cup)
110 g butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 cup flour
6 lavender stalks + 1 more for decorating

1/2 cup icing sugar with 2 tbs lemon juice, whisked till smooth and creamy.
(I think i used more than a cup of icing sugar with 1/3 cup lemon juice..but try the above first n make more if needed..)

Soak and wash lavender blossoms.
Preheat oven to 175 degrees. Grease muffin pan or use cupcake papers.
Cream butter with sugar til pale and creamy. Add eggs, lavender and milk. Beat well.
Combine salt, baking powder and flour and sift. Fold into butter mixture.
Fill muffin cups 1/2 full. Bake 1 2-18 minutes depending on size. They are done when toothpick stuck in middle comes out clean. (Actually for muffins, i don't test...i just take them out at the stated time or when they are light golden brown)
Apply glaze while muffins are still hot.
Decorate with lavender blossoms. Let sit for several hours to allow flavours to develop before serving.

The strange thing about these that everyone commented on how good the glaze is!!! It's the first time i've actually ever glazed muffins...
wahahahhahahahaha....not sure whether it's cos these muffins weren't nice or something...but Weiqin n I liked them..she loves them cos of the buttery taste..n i like them cos...they are made of flowers!!! :) I think they put me in a very good mood.....ha....seriously...the lavender leaves quite a pleasant sensation in your mouth and throat...very soothing....
it is essential to let the muffins sit around for a while...eaten fresh out of the oven, the lavender is barely detectable...left overnight, you can really smell and taste the lavender...and nope, it doesn't taste like soap..or drawer liners...i was quite skeptical at first too about using lavender....and the main reasons why i used them:
-bought a new glass cake dome and wanted to show it off!
-had a dinner that i was going to and wanted to bring something light.
-lavender is FREE...around here anyways! I picked mine from unihall..:P shhhhhh....
Other ideas for using lavender: sugar syrups, icecream, panna cotta, cookies, scones...or even just leaving them in your sugar container. :)

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Green beans with garlic

1 bag of green beans (around 200g)
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp oil
dash of salt

1. Add oil to heated pan/ wok. (I used a deep non-stick stock pot)
2. Fry garlic til light golden brown on high heat.
3. Add in beans, give a couple of quick stirs. Cover with lid for around 2-3 minutes.
4. Add salt, stir (cover again if needed). Serve.

erm...this seems like such an easy recipe, right?? It's just that it's so easy but tastes so good (and is so expensive in Chinese restaurants) that my mom when she told me how it was done, it was something of an anti-climax! I was convinced that she must have added some msg (her favourite condiment to which i protest vehemently all the time. She has since stopped using it...but only when she cooks for me.....)
Done correctly, these beans are tender yet crunchy with a subtle sweetness. The same method can be applied to most other greens as well. Bon appetit!!