Thursday, January 31, 2008

Soup good for your skin????!!!

I woke up with a sore throat today and decided to skip an entire day's worth of lectures. And in a bid to make myself feel better, I visited two of my favourite places in the world - the Adelaide City Council Library on Grote Street and Central Market.

Due to its proximity to the most well-stocked market in the whole of Adelaide, the library's cookbooks section is HUGE!! The collection is pretty comprehensive- I found Mrs Lee's Cookbook there and all the familiar names -Jamie Oliver, NIgella, Gorden Ramsy and Kylie Kwong- and lots of other interesting books and dvds as the place!!!

At Central Market, I met up with one of my favourite friends for lunch..she brought me to the old food court (the one which is not connected to central market) and directed me promptly to the Korean stall. I believe it is always a good sign when the cashier is actually Korean and cannot speak much English..."the food must be authentic!!"

We both ordered the same dish..ox tail soup...Emi really knows how to push my buttons. She said that a number of her friends (with exceptionally beautiful complexions) have told her that this soup is excellent for the skin and promises when i wake up tomorrow, I will see a distinct improvement. (Does it work? Update tomorrow!)

The broth was milky (cos all the goodness has been extracted from the bones??) and a tad too salty...the meat was quite gamey but for the sake for good skin, i ate everything...haa.....the best part of the meal was the free flow (yet to verify) side dishes..yum!

And here's adorable Emi with her lunch..

I looked up some recipes for this soup...seemed straight forward enough.....soak chopped ox tail in cold water to get rid of any blood for 1-2 hours, then simmer with onions, garlic, ginger and water for 6- 10 hours, skimming off scum regularly...

shall try it soon... hmmm...and perhaps i can use the rose wine to marinate the meat to get rid of the strong smell....

UPDATE: Yes...i think the soup feel smoother when i washed my face this morning..but also not sure whether it's a placebo effect...Emi reckons that now we need to get more people to go and try the's number 12 on the menu ok??? :) Let us know whether it works for u too!!

Chinese Rose Wine (Mei Kuei Lu Chiew) with cocktail recipes

Nope, Chinese Rose wine is not pinkish like its western counterpart...but clear...and the alcohol content is...54%!!!!!!! (normal wines have around 9-14%, liquers around 40%)

It is predominantly a cooking wine and is made from sorghum wine (gao liang jiu) and distilled rose petals, sugar and salt.

What is it used for???

Apparently bak kua (dried pork) and lup cheong (chinese pork susuages)... the company's website informs me that it has been hailed as China's Brandy and can be used as a base for various cocktails.

compared to the usual shao xing wine ($1.6- 5), chinese rose wines ranged from $6.5- $ first i thought it was a bit expensive...but hey, $6.50 for a bottle of brandy isn't bad at all!!!!

Taste is quite hot, has a very subtle rose fragrance and is quite salty (instead of sweet as I expected). I got it to make Bak Kua for a dear friend who is leaving for Port Lincoln for her first placement...the meat is currently marinating in the fridge..

I must admit that I am quite impressed with the packaging of the comes in quite a presentable box and the bottle is sealed with gold foil and even has a promotional leaflet showing a pretty pictures of the production process (a whole vat of pink rose petals) and recipes for some cocktails...seems positively luxurious!! (very rare in my experience for made in china foodstuffs.. :P the grocers here must have just been importing the lower end products..)

1 kg of bak kua requires... (cue drumroll..) 2 tablespoons of the now i have a full bottle left...Rose cocktails anyone???

** Lily did mention that the wine can be substituted with shao xing wine but for first attempts, i usually prefer to get the exact ingredients and then experiment with following attempts...


here are some rose wine cocktails from the company's website for the benefit of non-chinese reading friends...

Night of Tianjin
1/6 rose wine
5/6 pineapple juice

Put some crushed ice and pineapple juice into a glass, add rose wine and stir. Serve.

Night in Paris
1/6 rose wine
1/6 grenadine
4/6 orange juice
1 egg white

Add crushed ice to shaker, add the rest of the ingredients, and shake vigorously.
Pour into cocktail glass.

Fragrant rose
2/3 rose wine
1/3 grenadine

Add wine and juice to crushed ice. Top with some lemonade. Stir and put into a ball glass.

Night rose
½ rose wine
¼ limejuice
¼ grenadine

Add to crushed ice, stir, and serve in short glass.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


just tot i'd show the picture of my gift to my mom and grandma when i went home a couple months back...Abalone from central market! They are slightly larger than my palm and about twice as weighs around 250 grammes. my mom was pretty pleased when she got them...but she hasn't cooked them yet so i can't tell you whether they are good...

Other than the auspicious sounding name ('bao yu' = literally 'precious fish') which makes it a 'must-eat' for many during the Lunar New Year, they are supposed to have aphrodisiac properties as well...

Many australians (or least the ones i know) do not eat would one describe abalone to the uninitiated?
The flesh is slightly chewy and tastes of...the sea??? hahaha...i dunno....Can anyone tell me why they are so highly prized???

Sunday, January 27, 2008

DB challenge 4!!!

Lemon Meringue Pie!
a close up of the browned crust

before baking

sliced and served
I've never had it before i can't tell whether this one was good or not... :P
Brought it to a party but there was plenty left over...the lemon taste was quite pronounced; I thought that if less lemon juice was used, perhaps less sugar is needed...the meringue was quite a challenge to make, the baking time and temperature stated in the recipe was only enough to produce an extremely thin crust (perhaps that's the way it's meant to be???) and i left it in the oven on low for another 2 hours...

and the result was a crunchy top layer around 2 cm thick, a light fluffy middle layer on top of a very watery custard (the leftover set in the fridge beautifully) and a fragrant, if slightly wet pie base.

Hmmm. I m not sure whether it's an Asian thing or what but most of my friends really don't appreciate meringues that much...myself included...cos it's so sweet and it feels like to me, at least, that i m just eating air and sadly, this recipe (and pretty much meringues in general) is one that will be filed and ticked off!! :P

Count down to Lunar New Year!!

The Lunar New Year is almost here. This year, it falls on 7th Feb and it's the first time that i am spending it away from home...the leadup to the most important festival in the lunar new year is always a whirlwind of activities and stress...spring cleaning, buying new clothes, household goods, new year goodies etc etc. Ever since i discovered that my mom's love language is 'acts of service', i took over the spring cleaning of the house cheerfully....I think my mom was utterly shocked and totally impressed when 2 years ago, i asked her for an old toothbrush and then proceeded to scrub the lines between the tiles in the living room with bleach...that took a good six hours...but the payoffs are totally worth it...!
Cos my mom's love language is acts of service, she shows her love for us, by, you've guessed it, cooking....and as I think about chinese new year in my family, the dishes that will ALWAYS be on the table include: braised sea cucumber with shiitake mushrooms and pork ribs, pig's stomach soup, a fish dish (for prosperity), abalone, wu xiang (minced meat wrapped in beancurd skin) and a sweet soupy dessert on the first day of the new year. Almost every dish will signify some sort of positive meaning...mostly related to wealth, health and success.

Hmm. This blog has been a collection of the stuff my friends n i have cooked over the past 8 months..and mostly i cook to quench homesick feelings by replicating the taste of home...but this time, i feel that it is really the company that matters. Urghh!! I miss my family!!! No use whinning (too much)...will concentrate on the least there are still friends to celebrate with here...and being apart makes me appreciate my family, especially my mom much more...
To commemorate the occasion, i think i will trying cooking sea cucumber...apparently there is a tedious soaking process (and it's very smelly too but never mind cos my new housemates are not here yet...)
Why sea cucumber? Cos though it taste like fatty pork, it hardly contain any fat and is actually full of glucosamine (good for joints n stuff), helps fight against malaria (err...not a real issue downunder), it is my favourite dish amongst all the LNY goodies....and the main reason?? Sea cucumber retails here for about 10% of the price in Singapore...Yes, can u tell i love bargains??? Hehe!!
Pictures and recipe will be posted nearer Lunar New Year. :)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Back to good 'ole Adelaide!!!

my ibook is dead n the new one is only arriving in a week's time...
so....not much updates til mostly simple stuff...and lots of soups...this visit home has invoked an interest in 'beautifying' foods!! more about that in the next couple of weeks....

til then... a pay it forward 'game'!!

“I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, which is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.”