Thursday, February 28, 2008

fudge which brightens up your day!!!

this fudge is really amazing!! Just reading about it can brighten up your day!! Well, mine at least!!! Saw it over at Bev's and left her a comment...didn't know that she was feeling down and that my message cheered her much so that she gave me an award...'You make my day!!" to be specific!! (actually i was not that sunshine-y myself so her award worked wonders for me too!!!)

So you see...this fudge is really quite magical...hehehe....extremely extremely easy to put together...ingredients are few so use the choicest u can afford...

the original called for pistachios or walnuts..cos i had macadamias and cranberries so i tossed them in as well...thought that the cranberries would add a lovely tangy touch...

The original recipe can here found here

Thanks Bev for the award and the recipe and for making my day!!!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

the thirsty rice noodle..

this is the beef horfun with black bean sauce from last week's menu....

hmmm....i went to central market mainly to buy horfun (broad rice noodles)...but i borrowed books, bought various other groceries and came home without the i used the thai rice noodles in my pantry...but they are so thirsty!!! I added ALOT of liquid and still couldn't achieve the slurpy consistency... :( shall try again in a few months' time... with real horfun...
oh...n see the many broken pieces?? mainly due to the fact that oil was used over whole strands of noodles, a small payoff nah??

Soba with eggplant and tahnini

Soba with eggplant and tahnini

serves 6

350g dried soba (buckwheat noodles)
1 eggplant, around 800g, sliced thinly**
2 carrots, shredded
1/4 cabbage, shredded and microwaved for 5 mins with 1/2 cup water. (discard water)
10 spring onions, diagonally sliced
20g dried shitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 30 mins (or longer if u can afford it) with a tsp sugar, sliced thinly. (soaking water reserved)
3 tbs oil
2 tbs oyster sauce
1 tbs sugar (can be less, i added it mainly to play down bitterness of eggplant)

seasoning for noodles:
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tbs dark soy
2 tbs light soy
3 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs sugar
6 tbs tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 small bunch coriander greens (around 50g)
1 garlic clove (can add more too)
1/2 tsp cumin powder
5 tbs of shiitake soaking water

1. Cook soba according to package instructions. Drain and rinse under cold water. (the original recipe didn't call for this step..i rinse noodles/ pasta out of habit...used to do that at my mom's removes excess starch and makes the noodles more 'Q'/ al dente). Drizzle 1 tsp sesame oil on and mix well.

2. Blend seasoning for noodles in a food processor. (A whisk and bowl will do fine as well, just chop the coriander before adding.) Add to soba.

3. In a hot pan, add 2 tbs oil. Add eggplant and and fry for 7-10 mins or under tender and golden brown.
Remove and set aside.

4. Heat 1 tbs oil, add spring onions, carrots, mushrooms and cabbage. Stir fry til soft. Add oyster sauce and sugar. Add eggplant.

5. Combine seasoned noodles and veggies.
Can be served hot or cold.

Recipe largely modified from Bay's Books 'best vegetarian dishes'.

** note about eggplant, i salted and rinsed it but it was still a little bitter and bitey... :(( why???

Friday, February 22, 2008

Popcorn popcorn!!!

OCF is organising a movie night..and i tot i'd make some popcorn to share..(once again, a pantry clearing exercise....u won't believe the amount of stuff i have.. :P )

made 4 types : green tea, butter, chili-cumin and black pepper...

green tea tastes a little weird...i think i still need to add some butter to make the green tea powder and icing sugar stick better...right now, after putting the pop corn into your mouth, u get the feeling tat some green tea powder floats up to the back of your throat?? Funny sensation... :P

my favourite is chili-cumin..yum yum yum!!!

Basic instructions for popcorn:

makes enough for 2

100 g corn kernels
1 tbs oil

1. In a deep pan, (i used my non-stick stock pot) heat oil.
2. Add corn. Cover. Hold pot by the handle and shake vigorously side to side to ensure that corn kernels are coated with oil. Use a medium flame.
3. Wait for the glorious popping sounds and shake pot intermittently.
4. Popcorn is done when it is all quiet!!! theory is that the correct temperature results in fluffy popcorn...and if the temp is too low, the popcorn does not fully pop? Not sure what is the correct temperature too, was just cooking this by instinct... :P

for Green tea topping: (inspired by the modern vegetarian)
mix 1/2 teaspoon green tea powder with 1/4 cup icing sugar and sprinkle all over popcorn
(as mentioned earlier, a tbs of melted butter before the green tea mixture might not be a bad idea..)

Drizzle 2 tbs melted butter and stir briskly.
Add salt to taste. (Ard 1 tsp)

Drizzle 1 tbs melted butter and stir briskly.
Add 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp chilli powder, /2 tsp cumin powder.
Stir and mix well.

Black pepper
As for chili-cumin, but 1 tsp black pepper in lieu of cumin and chili.

note: Toppings are for 100g of corn kernels ok...?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Love at second bite!!

This is a recipe i saw a couple of days ago on Piggy's cooking journal and decided to make it just cos i have all the ingredients....!!

Funny right...??

but unlike Piggy's, most of my mushrooms were of the dehydrated variety....dried wooden fungus (hei mu er), dried enoki mushrooms (first time trying them!! Not bad at all!!), dried shiitake, dried lily flower (kim zam?? 'golden needles' in hokkien)..

the rice tasted way too salty initially but after allowing it to rest for a while, the flavours mingled and it became a really lovely dish...lots of different textures...

my slightly modified recipe:

Love at second bite Mushroom rice

serves 4

3.5 cups cooked pearl rice and 0.5 cups red rice (u can used all white, i just wanted to clear my pantry..)
40 g butter
1.5 tbs sugar
6 cloves garlic

350 g assorted mushrooms (wooden fungus, enoki, shiitake, dried lily flowers)
1 426g button mushroom
8 mushroom meat balls (optional; clearing freezer)
bunch coriander, chopped
1 cucumber, slice
1 chili padi, minced

5 tbs mirin
5 tbs light soy sauce
5 tbs hua diao (chinese rice wine)

1) Heat up butter in a wok. Put in chopped garlic when the butter is half melted. Stir-fry the garlic until fragrant.

2) Add in assorted mushrooms and sugar, saute until the mushrooms are fully coated with butter. Add in seasonings, cook until the gravy has thickened.

3) Stir in chopped coriander, turn off heat. Add in cooked rice, stir until combined with mushrooms.
4) Serve with sliced cucumber and chili.

All these clearing...cos one of my housmates is already here...she's really sweet and hasn't complain but i think I should still make more room....the next one arrives in a week...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Grape Sorbert

This is no doubt, the easiest dessert I have ever 'made'....if washing and plucking stuff off stems can be counted....



These are basically frozen seedless green sugar added..they are sweet enough...they are really fantastic....!!! Pop them into your mouth...guilt-free, cools you down n you are actually doing something good for your body to boot....(Go for 2 and 5!!)!!!

They stay crisp for around 5 minutes and when they thaw, they turn sort of don't wait too long to eat them ok???

Oh....these are not for little kids...risk of choking...u can try slicing them first though... :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Amazingly yummy beansprouts!!

Beansprouts...are one of the most readily available vegetables in the market...u get a fairly big bag for around 70 cents...and i was looking for interesting ways to cook them a stirfry, common additions would be deep fried beancurd (twa kua) or salted fish...since i had neither on hand...i decided on a very simple Korean recipe from Recipezaar...

and the result is fantastic!! So few ingredients; so much taste!!!

Korean Bean Sprouts
serves 4 as a side dish

250g bean sprouts
1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted (important!! Have to be golden n fragrant!)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

Drop the bean sprouts into boiling water and boil 5 minutes. Drain well. Return to the pan.
Stir in the salt, sesame seeds, sesame oil, garlic, cayenne, and green onions. Simmer 2 minutes.
Serve hot or cold.

Kung Po Chicken Updated!!!

This is my favourite dish from my entire's simple and extremely satisfying and everyone who's tasted it loved it...and the main reason?? It's my mom's recipe... :)

Cooked it today for my 'client'...and took the opportunity to update the picture.

Chicken 500g, cubed
15 dried chilli (originally recipe called for 30!!)
2 garlic clove, sliced
10 slices ginger
2 stalks spring onions, cut into 1 inch lengths
1 tsp sichuan pepper corns
1/2 cup toasted cashews
1 red capsicum, sliced
1 green capsicum, sliced

Season the chicken with 2 tsp light soya sauce, 2 tsp cornflour, 1 egg white.
Stir well and marinate for at least 20 mins.

1 1/2 tsp light soya sauce
1 1/2 tsp black soya sauce
3 tbsp wine
3 tsp black vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
3 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp cornflour
2 tbsp water

stir well to combine

Heat pan and add 2 tbsp oil. When it's hot, add chillies and fry til they are black and smoking. (warning: the smoke will make you cough and choke!!)
Toss in garlic, ginger and peppercorns and fry for 1-2 mins.
Add chicken and fry til 90% cooked.
Add capsicum and gravy and stir fry til chicken is cooked (when you can cut through the meat quite easily).
Add spring onion and nuts and stir through.
Serve with rice.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Jamie Oliver’s Lovely Crab Linguine (simplified!)

“Jamie, English please!!!”

I pride myself on reading and understanding English…but Jamie just confuses me!!!! Usually I have to go through his recipes a few times to understand what he wants… :P
Perhaps the editor of his ‘Cook with Jamie’ cookbook want the ‘instructions’ to sound as if Jamie is right there cooking with you…..ahh well… here’s the simplified version…I hope it does the dish justice..!!

Lovely Crab linguine
serves 4-6, depending on appetite

1 heaped teaspoon fennel seeds
2-3 fresh red chillies, deseeded and very finely chopped (1 tsp reserved for garnish)
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 fennel bulb, outer leaves removed, halved and very finely shaved with a speed peeler, herby tops reserved for garnish
140ml extra virgin oil, plus extra for drizzling ( I used around 100ml)
400g freshly picked white crabmeat, 150 freshly picked brown crabmeat (used 175g canned crab and a slice of smoked red snapper)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a bunch of medium sized asparagus, trimmed and finely shaved (reserved in a bowl of ice water)
500g linguine or spaghetti

dressing for aspargus:
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp olive oil
pinch of salt

1. Toast and grind up fennel seeds with mortar and pestle.
2. Heat oil gently in a pan. Add fennel seeds and chilli first, toss til fragrant. Add lemon zest, juice, fennel and crabmeat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
3. Boil pasta according to package instructions.
4. Combine crab mixture and pasta, adding a bit cooking water or seasoning as necessary.
5. Dress asparagus with lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Sprawl all over on top with the reserved chilli and fennel tops. Serve immediately.

Additional comments:
The shaving of the asparagus and fennel…took almost an hour!!! I couldn’t believe it!!! No wonder he specified the use of a speed shaver….Haa….think the veggies looks much more interesting this way but perhaps slicing/ chopping it would have been fine too… :P
And cos I misread the instructions, I combined the asparagus together with the fennel so all the shaving was in vain cos they just wilted….but next time I will do it properly….
Taste-wise…?? Really refreshing!! Can be served hot or cold I reckon…and would work equally well with octopus, squid or fish.

Creamy pumpkin pasta with feta

This is one of those recipes which get a second chance...

i remember serving it last year to an insipid reception...but somehow or rather, everytime i flip through the recipe book, the picture catches my eye...

And i'm really glad that i've cooked it again!!! Cos i think the first time, even though i had all the ingredients, i didn't follow the instructions at all....baking the pumpkin, onion and garlic makes a HUGE a very much sweeter and smokier flavour....

This is a recipe which i m shortlisting for my future restaurant's menu!!!

The pasta..which was accompanied by a simple salad, smoked snapper and turkish bread..

1kg butternut pumpkin, peeled and cut into 2 cm chucks
1 red onion, thinly sliced
8 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
4 tbs olive oil
400g short pasta
200g marinated feta cheese, crumbled
2 tbs grated parmesan cheese
2 tbs finely chopped parsely

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Put the pumpkin, onion, garlic and rosemary in a roasting tin.
2. Drizzle with 1 tbs of the oil and the oil all over the ingredients until well coated.
3. Roast for 30 mins, or until the pumpkin is soft or starting to caremelise.
4. Cook the pasta in boiling water til al dente.
5. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of its skin and place it in a bowl with 3 tbs of olive oil. Mash with a fork
6. Add the garlic oil to the hot pasta, then the remaining ingredients. Toss well and season.

recipe from Bay Book's Best Vegetarian Dishes

Dog days dog days....!!

It's 39 degrees today!!!!!!!!!!!

It's really really hot!!!!!

My room feels like a sauna (dry heat, adelaide very arid)'s just over 1 am now and i've spent the last 3 hours in the kitchen...where it is COOLER than my room..

bought the following from one of the asian grocers today....

Dehydrated vegetables!!! (the drawings look like sugarcane, water chestnuts and carrots to me. The chinese words?? i think they mean: mao geng zhu che tang (some root, sugarcane soup)

close up of contents

Think it is supposed to be sort of a cooling beverage...just right for today's weather!!!!

Have benn boiling it for the last couple of hours....and think i added too much water initially cos it's not very sweet...nevermind...after more water boils off, it should taste better.. :)


what it looks like after being cooked

these taste like fresh sugar cane!! U can chew on them for ages!!! thinking of making the vietnamese prawn skewer thingy with them next time...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sharing the love....

Today's Valentine's i reckon it's the best time to pass on the LOVE award that V bestowed on me last week...

For spreading the love and being so generous with your time, words and expertise and making the blogging world a much lovelier place...i pass the award on to..

Culinary Princess

Thanks girls!!

And to all the friends who drop by regularly, thanks for your support!!!

Happy Valentine's everyone!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

to kiss or not to kiss...?

aye........Curious Cook just wrote about a seinfield espiode inspired is true!!! Double dipping IS unhygenic and transfers alot of bacteria!!
So i tot...isn't it the same with the usual Chinese way of eating with chopsticks??
some people when they serve food to other people, use the opposite end of their chopsticks..but more commonly, u see people using their own chopsticks to eat from commual dishes..

Ok, so what should we do?? Rule of thumb and i paraphrase Harold dip or not to dip...depends on whether you are willing to kiss the other people at the same table. :P

Common serving ware it is...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Blind date!!!

I met someone special last December!!!

One of the highlights of my trip this time was going on a blind date.. the person was someone i met through blogging and had travelled all the way from US for our meeting...u know how when u meet some people, u instantly feel right at home and u can talk for hours without running out of things to laugh about? Well, this new friend was one of those...a kindred spirit...and "one in a million" (that came from my astute younger sister, so it's a big compliment!)'s really such a shame that she's married with two kids... ;P

Did i fool you for a minute?? hehe...

My new friend is none other than V from easts meets west kitchen...she is like a very kind big sister to me...very generous and very nuturing....we spent many enjoyable hours talking about food, blogging and eating!!! And she brought along her two little girls...those girls, as Aunty Yochana rightly observed, melt your heart!! They are sooooooo adorable and clever!! I really miss playing with them!!!! They are very humourous!!! I think it's cos V is very creative and her kids are very original... Love watching them dance and sing to their favourite mimi-daisy duck video and playing hide and seek with them...their 'ang-moh' accent is so endearing of their pet phrases....: "Mom-Mee.....*pregnant pause*....I LOVE U!!"
Everywhere we went, they solicited friendly smiles and everyone wanted to pet them or at least talk to them..!
The world seems like a much nicer place when you have twins!!! ; ) V, you are so blessed!!!!! And thank you for everything!!!

Our first meeting....

'Peek-a-boo!' kawaii neh?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

the taste of Chinese New Year...

is Kueh Bangkit!!

Cos tat's the only time when they are widely available...

got the recipe from Little Corner of Mine...she's even posted a step by step guide.

brought the cookies to a CNY gathering for international students and received many grateful thanks...
(made my heart sing cos that's main reason why i replicate the taste of home...)

thanks LCOM for sharing the recipe!!!

The ingredients are pretty simple but just take note to use a good quality coconut cream (Ayam brand is excellent) and cos i didn't have a microwave, i fried the tapioca starch with cut pandan leaves in a non-stick fry do u tell when it's done?? Hmm...not too sure too...just an approximation...maybe around 10 mins on low-medium heat..

they do take quite some time...the first batch took 3 hours but the second was around 40 minutes..most of the time was spent cutting out the dough.

A bit late but here's wishing everyone a very prosperous Chinese New Year!!! May the year ahead bring many glad tidings!!
happy chinese new year to 1 and all from singapore!

I have not been cooking in Singapore as our food centres and restaurants here spoils me.

Well to make up for it, i took pictures of the dessert i had with my family during reunion. Yes we did the uncoventional way, we had our dinner in an Italian restaurant as we feel chinese restaurants would not be able to cook up to standard for such a day. As a result we were the only chinese family dinning in that day. HA!

Potini ( @ Waterfront hotel)

The food is pricey but fantastic. See the warm chocolate cake, i think it cost S$25.00 but it taste heavenly! its full of good dark chocolate!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Ox tail aka collagen soup

tried to replicate the korean ox tail soup from the other day....

and am quite happy to report....success!! yay!!! and the meat wasn't that strong smelling too..

First I used the slow cooker, thinking that it would produce the same results...(i was looking for a milky broth) but after 8 hours of stewing, the soup was clear and's my first time using beef bones for soup so i thought that it would turn white...
so then i remove the bones and transfered it to another pot, brought it to a boil and viola, after 20 minutes of simmering, the soup turned cloudy!! yay!! Boiled for another hour or so and had the following......

oxtail soup with onions and ramen (ok, instant noodles!)

I continued to boil the remaining soup in the pot and it became really rich and milky...

and then I thought I could use the bones for a third i filled the pot to the brim again and left it to boil....went upstairs to my room and forgot all about it!!!!!!

AHHHH!!!! The bottom of the pot was burnt to a black crust...and the meat pieces, well, they still taste pretty roast beef!! Ha... but the smoke set off the smoke alarm and it was pretty embarrassing when the security guard came to check on me....and his advice: soups are best cooked in the slow ironic!!! :P
But he also checked my WMF pot which I thought was destined for the scrap and said that it should still be fine after some scrubbing!! Phew....

oh and the recipe??

Soak 600g ox tail in water for an hour to let the blood out.
Blanch with hot water.
Add to pot with 1 onion, 4 cloves of garlic, teaspoon peppercorns and handful of celery. (celery cos i heard it removes the gamey smell of lamb and i tot it might work here too...but mainly cos there were some left over in the fridge from a prior healthy impulse)
Add around 3 litres of water and bring to boil.
Simmer for 2 hours, skimming off scum about once a hour.
I haven't used the stove for boiling soups for a long time so i was really surprised at how fast the water evaporated...or perhaps the seal on the lid is not that excellent...hmmm....

but anyways, this soup is very exciting..why??? cos it looks like those from steamboat restaurants back home... i always wondered how they managed to make the broth so white... yay....

Bak Kua Success!!!

most friends in australia know about my passion and have tasted my cooking some time or other but in Singapore, most of my friends have merely heard but infrequently eaten food that i make...not because i love them any less but the practical side of me doesn't think that it is cost/time efficient to make anything from scratch..

so when i phoned home the other day, i proudly declared to my mom that i was making bak kua...and her reply was: "bak kua can make at home???" Yar...can especially when you can't get it here and when it's going for fifty bucks a kg now that it's so close to the lunar new year..

The following recipe is from Lily's website...with some modifications..(i think i prefer a more pronounced taste..)

Bak Kua

1 kg ground pork

3 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp light soya sauce
2 tbs dark soy sauce
250 gm sugar
1 tsp 5 spiced powder
1 tsp kam cho(licorice) powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbs chinese rose wine
1 tsp chili powder (optional)
1/2 tsp red colouring (optional; i used the closest colour i had on!! ha!!)

oil for coating the parchment paper


Season ground pork with the marinate and leave in the fridge overnight or at least 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 150 degrees.
Oil a parchment paper generously and leave on baking tray.
Spread meat on parchment paper evenly...i used my bare hands and flattened it evenly, around 3 mm thick.
Bake in oven for 15 mins or until firm to the touch.
Turn over carefully and brush generously with oil. Bake for another 15 mins.

fresh from the oven (be prepared for shrinkage; i spreaded the meat right to the edges of the tray before baking...oh and be really generous with oiling the parchment and be careful when peeling it off..)

cut and ready to go!

They freeze well apparently...i left mine in the fridge cos i presume they have no preservatives...
errr....interesting tidbit...the licorice root apparently lowers potassium levels in the body and the main preservative used be to be potassium nitrate...i wonder whether the licorice root is used to counteract the effects of the preservative???
And's the potassium nitrate which turns the meat can omit the colouring altogether if you like...

What do u eat it with?? Just on its own usually...heard that it's nice in sandwiches as well...i have exactly 32 square pieces (from around 400g of mince) ...thinking about making some canapes with them....