Month: February 2014

Sweet and Sour Prawns

Sweet & Sour Prawns

Prawns are my family favourite and to most Chinese, if we are able to eat prawns on normal days, we are considered lucky, as prawns are normally served during special occasions.  I grew up with all kinds sweet & sour dishes for e.g. sweet & sour pork (gu lou yuk), sweet & sour fish, sweet & sour chicken, sweet & sour crab etc.  As long as you can master the sweet & sour sauce, you can absolutely cook it with almost anything under the sun!  Boy o’ boy, I absolutely love this sauce. To make this dish, I have borrowed Smokywok’s recipe, but I made mine with a tad more sauce to go with my rice!  This is a super super easy dish to make and if you don’t fancy prawns, you can replace with chicken, fish or pork.  Truly versatile. The sweet & sour sauce recipe is just a guide and highly dependent on the taste you want to achieve. In this recipe, I wanted the sauce to taste a little sweeter for my …

Crisp Rice Paper Rolls

Crisp Rice Paper Rolls

I’ve been trying out a few new dishes this week … thanks to my neighbourhood library.  I love my library – it’s so well stocked with a variety cooking & baking books.  I could spend hours and hours in the library getting inspirations with new dishes to cook every week. As I was browsing through Luke Nguyen’s The Food of Vietnam, this recipe caught my attention. Having eaten this simple dish at Vietnamese restaurants tempted me to try my hands to make them at home because I really liked the texture and flavour.  Normally, you’ll find these rolls served as starter with Nuoc Mam Cham dipping sauce.  If you plan to eat it as entree/main, you can serve it on a bed of vermicelli salad with vietnamese mint, peanuts and drizzle with Nuoc Mam Cham. Whichever way you choose to serve, they still taste awesome.  Plus, my lil’ one can gobble up a few of these babies and she simply loves it. Crisp Rice Paper Rolls with Nuoc Mam Cham dipping sauce (adapted from Luke …

Red Velvet Cupcake with Sprinkles

Red Velvet Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Today, I attempted to bake cupcakes.  I’m not a baker material because I don’t follow measurements to the exact and I’m not patient.  For baking, the cardinal rule no 1 is follow (repeat: follow) the measurement! My first attempt a year ago was a total flop.  Wait a minute *flashback time*sad background music*, due to the mistake of not following measurements, my cupcake tasted horrible and looked terrible.  Yes, those cupcakes were made to kill.  So, after that horrendous experience, I stopped baking. Since I started this blog, I have learnt to cook and have had more hands on experience and knowledge with food and techniques.  So, naturally, baking is the next course that I wish to attempt. Again 🙂 The fun part about baking is the decorating.  Baking, to me, is like art and a blank canvas that is waiting to be decorated 🙂  No doubt, the texture and taste is important too but if it doesn’t look good, it wouldn’t taste good too. Since I’m just a beginner baker, I followed this video …

Coriander & Panko-coated Fish and Chips

Coriander & Panko-Coated Fish and Chips

This week has been a crazy, busy week for me at work.  So, the posts have been slow.  I hope yours wasn’t as crazy as mine 🙂  And boy, am I glad that we are fast approaching weekend. Last week, I made fish and chips for dinner.  Who doesn’t love fish & chips?  It’s one of my family’s favourite classic dishes of all time.  Everyone loves a good fish and chips. But for some reason, I decided to make it with a twist … from Chin Chin’s recipe.  Instead of coating the fish with traditional beer batter and serve with tartar sauce, this recipe comes with a bit of an Asian twist by adding chilli and coriander into the process. Don’t be discouraged by the amount of ingredients or steps in this recipe.  This is actually an easy dish to prepare.  The additional time that you need is the pre-work to get the sauces or accompanying ingredients ready in advance.  My family loves the flavour and texture it gives to the fish and that chilli …

Chicken Cooked in Ginger

Chicken cooked in Ginger

Have you ever looked into your fridge and have difficulty in deciding what to cook?  Well sometimes I do – especially the day before my big grocery day.  Turned out that today was that day.  When I checked my fridge – I was staring at some leftover chicken pieces, ginger and scallion.  So, what would I do with that? Chicken cooked in ginger?  Now, that’s a simple and delicious dish which I learnt from Luke Nguyen’s The Food of Vietnam. Chicken cooked in Ginger (adapted from Luke Nguyen’s The Food of Vietnam) Serves 2 Ingredients: 2 pieces chicken thigh fillets, fats removed & cut to bite-size pieces 2 tbsp fish sauce 1/2 tsp oyster sauce 1/2 tbsp sugar Small knob ginger, peeled & chopped 2 tbsp garlic, finely diced 2 scallions, cut into 2 cm lengths 100 ml chicken stock 2 tbsp vegetable oil pinch of cracked black pepper red chilli, to garnish coriander leaves, to garnish Method: 1. Combine the fish sauce, oyster sauce and sugar.  Mix well and ensure the sugar dissolves completely. …

Lime Icy Poles

Lime Icy Poles

Recently, I was obsessed with Chin Chin’s cookbook!  If you can see, I have attempted a few impressive recipes from Chef Benjamin Cooper himself.  So proud of myself 🙂  In the original recipe, Benjamin served the pops dipped in toasted rice flakes and sugar mixture but I find that too sweet for my liking, so I omitted it. These popsicles are the perfect zesty way to end a nice meal with friends and family, especially on a super hot day.  So, next time, when the temperature rises, think of Lime Icy Poles, the fourth recipe in Pop Series. Lime Icy Poles (adapted from Benjamin Cooper’s Chin Chin the Book) Makes 12 popsicles  Ingredients: 1/2 cup condensed milk 2 cups milk 3/4 cup lime juice zest of 2 limes pinch of salt Method: 1. Mix the milks, juice and zest in a bowl.  Ensure it’s evenly mixed.  Then add a pinch of salt. 2. Slowly pour the mixture into the popsicle molds – dividing them equally.  Cover the molds and place the sticks into the mold. …

Strawberries

R.A.W #7 – Strawberries & Happy V-Day

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! To all the love birds out there, this is a special day to celebrate your undying love and hopes for each other.  As for me, I’m saying them with fresh, red, juicy strawberries.  Why not?  It’s red and it’s shaped like a big love heart 🙂 In Australia, strawberries are farmed all year round in the Australian regions.  We are very lucky! My family absolutely adores strawberry.  Whether you eat it as breakfast in fruit salads or with fresh cereal or yoghurt, it is delicious.  Strawberries can also add a tinge of colour and flavour in champagne for that special occasion.  If you want to have a sexy and romantic night, say it with strawberries dust in icing sugar or dipped in chocolate fondue.  So, whether it’s the night before or the morning after, why not say “I love you” with fresh, juicy, red, sweet strawberries…

Seafood Congee

Seafood Congee

It’s not even fall yet but I’m already craving for good ol’ fashion home-made ‘chuk’ aka congee or porridge.  A good home-made congee tickles me warm in my tummy.  I remembered when I was sick, my mum would make a good bowl of pork congee and I would immediately felt better after eating it. It’s like the “chicken soup for my soul”. Congee can be cooked to several different textures.  If you want to see rice grains and the consistency to be not too starchy, don’t cook too long.  If you want a more starchy consistency, the rice grains will be broken by cooking it longer. The wonderful thing about making congee is you can put just about any ingredients and it’ll still taste good.  The broth absorbs the wonderful flavours impart by the ingredients that you’ve put in. Congee can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  I like to eat my congee with fried peanuts, pickled lettuce and fried anchovies.  This recipe generates congee with broken rice and slightly starchy consistency which is …

Soy Glazed Mushrooms

Soy-glazed mushroom

This is one of those dishes that I enjoyed very much in a restaurant and based on the recollection of my taste and ingredients, I try to recreate this at home.  I’m sure many of you have done that before – do share what dishes you have liked so much that you re-created it at home.  I would very much like to try them too 🙂 The dish came very close to what I remembered and I’m a happy woman.  Soy sauce lent a hint of sweet saltiness and the butter used to flavour the succulent mushrooms gave it a good buttery depth that gets you wanting more and more of them. It’s such a versatile dish that you can eat it on its own, as sides with pasta, with steamed rice or serve as part of a tapas meal. Soy-Glazed Mushroom Serves 2 Ingredients: 50g white mushrooms or button mushrooms, halved and remove stems 3 tbsp unsalted butter 2 cloves garlic, finely minced 1 tsp soy sauce 1/2 scallion, green parts only, sliced Ground …

Sticky Glaze Beef Short Ribs

Sticky Glaze Beef Short Ribs

Warning! This dish is not for the faint-hearted 🙂 When I read the recipe in Not Quite Nigella, I couldn’t wait to cook it.  It sounded and looked too delicious to wait (this dish is a winter, rainy dish).  It was a combination of that melt-in-your-mouth-slips-off-bone beef together with spicy and sweet asian flavours that made this dish so oh-my-goodness tasteful and heartwarming. Looking for beef short ribs was a tiring activity and I almost gave up.  I thought it was a common cut, but apparently it’s not that popular for home cooks.  When I went to my local butcher’s, he showed me what was labelled as “beef spare ribs” and told me they are the same.  Don’t be fooled thinking they are they same, they are surely not!  The beef short ribs that I have eaten in restaurants has a thick slab of meat attached to a short bone and it’s the best cut for braising.  We went from market to market, looking for short ribs and finally found them at a butcher in …

Spices

R.A.W #6 – Spices & Have a Spicy Saturday

Spices are such wonderful ingredients to photograph.  So colourful, textural and aromatic.  Spices are used in a lot of Asian and Middle East cooking for braising, soup stock, flavouring dishes like curries and may more.  They’re also popular ingredients to spice up beverages or desserts too! Spices are used in small quantity as they are very intense and may overpower the hero of the dish. One of the places that has been in my bucket list for a long time is the Spice Market in Morocco.  I think I’d go mad with excitement, going through labyrinth of stalls after stalls packed with beautiful colours, wonderful-smelling spices and mysterious lanes. Food for thought – So, what would food or beverages taste like without spices? or what would the world be like without spices? Have a wonderful Spicy Saturday, everyone!

Chicken Slice Flat Noodle Soup

Kai See Hor Fun (Noodle Soup with Shredded Chicken)

This is a winning Malaysian dish – anybody who hails from Ipoh or have been to Ipoh would fall in love with this simple noodle soup.  The best Kai See Hor Fun (those found in Ipoh) will taste significantly different compare to the mediocre ones – with silky smooth hor fun (flat rice noodles) and addictively rich chicken-prawn soup stock. Unfortunately, staying in Melbourne deprives me of this delicious and heartwarming dish.  No restaurant in Melbourne has made the mark and I am so missing this dish.  So my search for the recipe continues until I stumbled upon The Food Canon and voila! So, now, I can make this wonderfully tasty noodle soup at the comfort of my own home.  Go on, have a go and let me know what you think… Kai See Hor Fun (Noodle Soup with Shredded Chicken) (adapted from The Food Canon) Serves 4 Ingredients: 2 litres of water 1/2 chicken 300-500g fresh prawns Vegetable oil 1 tbsp chicken stock powder, optional 1 pack fresh flat noodles Chicken shreds, for garnish Spring …

Chilli Salt Chicken Wings with Bandit Sauce

Chilli-Salt Chicken Wings

OK – let me start by saying, “These chicken wings are SUPA DUPA FINGER-LICKIN’ YUM and thanks to you, Chin Chin, for sharing this recipe!”  That bandit sauce was pure evil, EVIL and kicked the be-devil out of me in a way I’ve never felt before. In slow motion, let me describe that feeling – when I bit into the wings, it was light and crrrruu…nnnch….y, then I dipped the tender, white meat into the sauce and piiin….ggggg, my eyes and tongue just popped right out with that hot, sweet, sour flavours all coming right to me at once. I made 10 chicken wings and believe it or not, it wasn’t enough.  It took us less than 15 minutes to sweep them all into our hungry tummies 🙂 Thank god, the bones remain on the plate – squeaky clean. If your family love fried chicken wings, you should try this recipe and start prepping 1 day before.  I would strongly recommend to go with the sauce because the sauce made up the other 50% punch! …

Ingredients for Master Stock Chin Chin

Master Stock

Master stock is a crucial ingredient for braising meats.  It’s like the mother of all stock!  The surprising flavours that you find so intense actually comes from the mix of spices and ingredients used to boil for hours with the meat.  There are many variations of Master Stock but there are much similarities across the ingredients used in Master Stock.  This recipe is adapted from Chin Chin the Book as I was using it for the Chilli-Salt Chicken Wings recipe. I replaced some of the ingredients which I could not find like Mekong Whisky with normal whisky and cassia bark with cinnamon.  Still taste awesome. How master stock works is that you don’t throw away the stock after using to braise chicken/pork/beef/duck but you strain and freeze it for use the next time.  The next time you use it, just defrost the frozen stock and top up with some water and add some ginger, garlic and spring onions.  Master stock gets their intensity and richness of flavour when it has been used over and over …

Japanese Chiffon Cheesecake

Japanese Chiffon Cheesecake

Aaahhhh….soft, melt-in-mouth Japanese Chiffon Cheesecake.  It’s the first decent cake I’ve ever baked in my entire life and it was well worth the effort.  We finished the entire cake after refrigeration the next day!  Yes, it was damn good and it’s heading straight into my family favourite recipe list.  This recipe (thanks to Bing Cooks and all the step-by-step photos) hits the right notes to achieve that super delicious home-made good quality Japanese Cheesecake. The ingredients are relatively easy to get.  Just follow the recipe and measurements as indicated and you’ll get a light, fluffy and “not-too-cheesy” Cheesecake.  Can be enjoyed 2 ways – right out from the oven for the sponge cake texture or chilled for the cheesecake texture.  We absolutely love love love the chilled. Japanese Chiffon Cheesecake (adapted from Bing Cooks)  Serves up to 12 slices Ingredients: 1 block of cream cheese (I use Philadelphia cream cheese) 3/4 cup pouring cream (I use Bulla pouring cream) 70g butter 5 large eggs (separate yolks and whites) 4 1/2 tbsp plain flour 3 tbsp …

Asparagus

R.A.W #5 – Asparagus & Chinese New Year

Asparagus is a spring vegetable – it’s long with a unique looking “flower” head.  In Australia, it’s available from September through to March.  There are 3 kinds of asparagus – green, white and purple, with the green asparagus widely available at most grocers and most affordable one also. Asparagus is easy to cook and is very versatile – you can steam, bake, stir fry or barbecued. I like to stir-fry asparagus with Sambal Belachan – the “Malaysian” way. It’s super super delicious and so easy to make.  Heat up the wok with oil and when the oil is hot, toss in some shallots and stir fry until fragrant.  Then put in the asparagus and fry until slightly soften.  Put 2 tbsp of home-made or store-bought Sambal Belachan and coat well.  Stir-fry until you can taste slight burn from the sambal (I like it slightly burnt but you can remove it earlier if you like).  Remove from wok and serve.  To add more drama and texture to the dish, add fried shrimps or fresh prawns. And … Gong Xi …