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Friday, February 27, 2009

Dedicate to My Mom

Guess it is another post depicting my Mom's influence on my taste buds. I wonder why I was never interested in learning how to cook when I was much younger or especially when my Mom was still alive. There were times when I was standing at the side of the kitchen's window and watching her cook or when I was in the mood of giving her a hand I offered to do little things, like cutting vegetable or peeling garlics. That was all. Mom would definitely be willing to teach, just that I was never curious. Gosh!

Anyway, I would like to dedicate this dish to my Mom who introduced our family to the delicious taste of lotus roots. How many hundred times she had served her special lotus root soup and made us enjoy its special taste.

As I gazed into the bowl filled with floating red paprica slices, I came to admire how simple things could be so aesthetically beautiful!

Serves 4 persons

- Lotus root > 1 section approx.170 gram
- Red sweet paprica > 1
- Corn flour > 1 tablespoon
- Water > 2 tablespoons
- Sweet peas > 10
- Black mushroom > 6
- Garlic - mince > 2 cloves
- Roasted cashew nuts > 10
- Vegetable oil > 1 tablespoon

- Soya sauce dressing > 1 tablespoon
- Oyster sauce > 4 tablespoon
- Sugar > 1 teaspoon
- Salt >1/4 teaspoon

- Mix corn flour and water. Set aside.
- Prepare seasoning by mixing all ingredients together.
- Slice lotus roots and red paprica.
- Fill one bowl with boiling water and another with cold water.
- Blanch sliced lotus roots, red paprica, and sweet peas with boiling water for 1 minute, then rinse with cold water.
- Saute garlic in vegetable oil until fragrant. Add black mushrooms.
- Fold in lotus root, sweet peas, and red paprica. Then add cashew nuts and seasoning.
- Finally thicken with corn flour mixture.
- Serve hot.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Don't know why... as I was looking into my files seeking material for the new post, I found Macaroni and Cheese and just instantly had craving for it. Tried to remember what exactly I had in my fridge, and need to swing by supermarket to get the rest of the ingredients, especially those fresh ones like onion, parsley, and milk.

After a long working day, just hope I could fix my dinner quickly, sit down comfortably on my couch, eat my macaroni hot and watch "No Reservation" - for the third time. Yes, third time ..... just totally love love love it.

Serves 2 persons

- Macaroni > 100 grams
- Water > 500 grams
- Salt > 1/2 teaspoon
- Butter > 9 grams
- Garlic - mince > 2 cloves
- Onion - mince > 50 grams
- Ham – thinly dice to 1x1 cm > 50 grams
- All purpose flour > 1/2 tablespoon
- Milk > 115 gram
- Oregano > 1/2 teaspoon
- Ground black pepper > 1/4 teaspoon
- Cheddar cheese – grate > 75 grams
- Parsley – chop to sprinkle > 1/2 tablespoon

- Boil water and salt in pot. Add macaroni and cook for 10-12 minutes. Drain and apply some cooking oil so macaroni will not stick together.
- Saute garlic and onion with butter till fragrant. Add ham.
- Fold in all purpose flour and stir swiftly. Immediately pour in milk gradually while stirring until smooth and thicker. Sprinkle oregano and pepper.
- Lower heat, put macaroni and grated cheese. Mix well.
- Serve on plate and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Bonding

This could be something common - no matter where I go I think of my home, a place where I grew up. Basically I am still very attached to it in many ways. Guess that happens when we stay in one place for a long time - we bond!

I have been away from home for 11 years. Many things have happened and things could never go back to where it was. My parents have passed away and some of my family members have moved out and made another place a new home. And so have I.

But certain things remain the same. For instance, my family cooking or foods that I and my family members ate when we stayed together at home travel with us no matter where we go. Recipes might not be the same but somehow we always try to recompose them again, or when in some cases forgotten, we reinvent them all over again.

That happened to Chicken Curry. In the past my mom cooked it for dinner. My sisters were fond of doing the same and still do. On a holiday trip to Hong Kong, I was surprised my auntie there served the same dish. And now I am cooking it too…

I figured.... we might not stay at home anymore but our bond to home is still very strong!

Serves 4 persons

- Fresh chicken drumsticks > 8-10 (approx.1 kilogram)
- Potato > cut into big chunks > 150 grams
- Tamarind juice > 4 tablespoons
- Thick lemon grass - remove outer shell and crush the center > 1
- Kaffir lime leaves > 4
- Coconut milk > 1 litre
- Salt > 1 teaspoon

- Coriander seeds - toast on pan > 2 teaspoons
- Red chilies - slice > 8
- Red onions - slice > 8
- Galangal - peel and slice > approx. 4 cm
- Ginger - peel and slice > approx. 4 cm
- Turmeric - skin and slice > approx. 2 cm
- Water > 2 tablespoons

- Marinate chicken drumsticks with tamarind juice for 30 minutes.
- Mix spices in a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Sauté spices for 5 minutes until fragrant.
- Fold in lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, salt, and coconut milk.
- Turn to low heat. Simmer for 10 minutes while stir constantly.
- Add chicken drumsticks. Cook for 30-35 minutes until they are soft and cooked.
- Serve hot.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Fruits Companion

It was Monday evening after work and I just realized that a colleague was going to celebrate her birthday the following day. I am always the one who is silently in charge of the birthday cakes - either self baked or purchased from the patissarie shops. Everybody else would notice though if someday - hasn't happened yet so far - another colleague's cake is displayed on the celebration table. When that day comes, I will finally release myself from this coming-to-six-years duty.

As I gazed into my desktop calendar I panicked... since I didn't really have much time or ingredients to play with. After some consideration I decided to go with Dacquoise from my Spiced Pears and Dacquoise post - with a bit of shape modification and adding cocoa powder for chocolate taste and tone. Luckily I had various types of fresh fruits in my fridge plus canned ones, handy for decoration.

The result was an array of colors complementing chocolate Dacquoise, accompanied with almond slices and red jelly beads. Final touch was a brush of glaze over fruits to make them shine and avoid overnight decoloration.

"Happy Birthday, Phi Nid!"

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Les Poissons de Mon Père

As I sat in my kitchen and remembered all the delicious dishes my Dad used to cook for our dinner, one definitely outweighted the rest: silver pomfret soup. Regretted never really had the curiosity to learn from my Dad. He was a creative cook - experimental and smart!

Well, as I obviously never learnt anything from him besides tasting his dishes, now that I am into cooking I have to find and explore pomfret recipes myself. Haven't got into that delicious pomfret soup just yet, but rather start with steamed pomfret. Oh, Dad, send me some inspirations from Heaven, please!

Serves 3 persons

- Silver pomfret - medium size > 2
- Ginger - cut into small chunks > 10 grams
- Spring onion - chop into 0.5 cm segments > 2 stalks
- Dry mushrooms > soak in water till soft, slice lengthwise > 10 grams
- Vegetable oil > 4 1/2 teaspoons
- Salt > 1/2 teaspoon
- Granulated sugar > 1 teaspoon
- Ground black pepper > 1/8 teaspoon
- Garlic - mince > 3 cloves
- Red chilies > slice lengthwise, remove seeds > 3
- Sesame oil > 1 1/2 teaspoons
- Oyster sauce > 1 1/2 teaspoons

- Marinate fish with salt, sugar, black pepper, and ginger for 10 minutes. Keep ginger and drain.
- Steam fish on heat-proof plate. Add mushrooms, spring onion, and 3 teaspoons of vegetable oil. Cover and steam for 10 minutes. Remove from fire.
- Separate soup formed during steaming from the fish. Set aside.
- Saute minced garlic with 1 1/2 teaspoons of vegetable oil until fragrant.
- Fold in soup, sesame oil, oyster sauce, and chilies. Cook until boiled.
- Return fish to steamer. Add in boiled soup and steam for 10 minutes more.
- Serve hot.

Monday, February 16, 2009


It has been a wonderful blog journey with many interesting events happening here and there.... A few had triggered a nod and a smile, others filled me with overwhelming bliss and content, a few had inspired me to keep going and create something great and better, and a lot more brought me to express my gratitudes and appreciation to all of you, my food blogger friends!

So here there are the special highlights in chronological order...
August 5, 2010: One of the 10 finalists in Leites Culinaria Food Photography Contest...

June 2, 2010: The judge of the June DMBLGIT Photo Contest.

May 26, 2010: A Sweet Friends Award from Tanja of Tanja Cupcakes.

May 12, 2010: My Blog post was featured in Dessert Magazine Issue 14. Feel free to flip to page 68-69.

April 30,2010: A DMBLGIT Win hosted by Melanger Baking.

March 31, 2010: A DMBLGIT Win hosted by The Well Seasoned Cook.

March 19, 2010: A Beautiful Sunshine Award from Tanja of Tanja Cupcakes

March 15, 2010: A DMBLGIT Win, hosted by Snacksgiving

February 7, 2010: Contributed a feel-at-home cooking recipe for "A Hand of Haiti", a cooking/baking e-book composed by Lauren of Celiac Teen. The e-book was sold online to raise fund for Haiti through the Canadian Red Cross.

January 13, 2010: An Over the Top Award from Mandy of What The Fruit Cake?!

January 3, 2010: A DMBLGIT Win, hosted by Home Mades By Arfi

December 20, 2009: An Appreciaton Award from Ann of Anncoo's Hobby

December 14, 2009: A Snoopy Blog Award from Sue Sparks of Munchkin Munchies

December 3, 2009: A DMBLGIT Win, hosted by Le Pétrin.

September 13, 2009: A DMBLGIT Win, hosted by Spittoon Extra.

September 6, 2009: A CLICK Win, hosted by Jugabandi.

August 14, 2009: A One Lovely Blog Award from Jill of Jillicious Discoveries

July 8, 2009: A CLICK Win, hosted by Jugabandi.

June 6, 2009: A CLICK Win, hosted by Jugabandi.

April 4, 2009: A CLICK Win, hosted by Jugabandi.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Melodious Passion

This week countless of lovely greeting cards would have been sent to the loved ones in the honor of St. Valentine, the patron saint of love and romance. Zillions stalks of roses and packs of chocolate candies were delivered for expressing care and compassion. Most people believed that on that special day, the true spirit of love shined through.

Some suggested that Valentine's Day was not only a celebration of romantic love, but of the friendly love of all mankind. Others commented that Valentine's Day was for commercial purposes - hotels' dining tables were fully booked, greeting cards and lovey-dovey goods were cleared from shelves, and people were in the mood of spending.

Well, for me it comes down to just this little drink - red, sweet, refreshing, and melodious! Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Serves 2 persons

- Strawberries - halve > 177 grams
- Chinese pear - peel, halve, core, cut in segments, slice > 114 grams
- Water > 1/2 cup
- Ice cubes > 1 cup
- Granulated sugar > 3 tablespoons
- Kirsch > 2 1/2 tablespoons

- Mix them all in a blender and whiz till fine.
- Decorate with strawberry and pear slices.
- Serve.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

To Start with Broccoli

When we run out of ideas of what to cook for ourselves or our family, an easy solution always applies: go with something simple and improvize! That was what my Mom used to do and I do it now. She used to cook something as basic as omelette then someday she improved it and there we had omelette stuffed with minced meat served on our dining table. And as time went by, grated carrots and spring onions were added to it and finally we had tomato gravy to go with it too - with extra green peas!

My Mom must have developed her creativity from her experience eating out or simply chatting with her peer housewives. But one thing she could always count on: her courage to improvize...

So I will start with broccoli and in the near future I will bring it to the next level - I promise, Mom!

Serves 4 persons

- Broccoli - tear flowers from stalk, peel and slice stalk > 215 grams
- Chilies - slice lengthwise, get rid of seeds > 2
- Garlic - mince > 3 cloves
- Crab sticks - shred lengthwise > 2
- Prawns - peel except tail, devein > 125 grams
- Vegetable oil > 4 tablespoons
- Granulated sugar > 2 teaspoons
- Salt > 1 pinch
- Oyster sauce > 3 tablespoons
- Corn starch > 1/2 tablespoon
- Water - 3 tablespoons

- Mix corn starch with water. Set aside.
- Saute garlic in vegetable oil until fragrant.
- Add broccoli and prawns. Fry for a while and then fold in oyster sauce, sugar, and, salt.
- When prawns are almost cooked, add water, shredded crab sticks and chilies.
- Fry till prawns cooked. Avoid overfry.
- Serve hot.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Basil Crush

Gosh, this is exactly the drink I am yearning for everytime I am thirsty. Something as refreshing as orange juice and yet has an extra kick of licorice and mint. Superb!

First time tried it in a Thai restaurant near my office and ever since I couldn't get it out of my mind until last night when I actually made it in my kitchen. Chopped chopped, plucked plucked and made my blender useful one more time. And of course many times of tasting to get the taste right! The result was juicy combination of pineapple and passion fruit empowered by Thai basil leaves.

Small leaf herb with distinctive purple stems, Thai sweet basil carries a stronger taste compared to other sweet basils. In the raw form, it is served as a condiment in Thai and Vietnamese dishes. You will recognize it everytime you have a bowl of phở, the Vietnamese soupy noodle. Known as horapa in Thai, it is differentiated from its other Thai fellows: Thai holy basil (kakpraw) and Thai lemon basil (maengluck).

Serves 2 persons

- Pineapple - peel, roughly chop > 200 grams
- Thai sweet basil - pluck leaves from stalk > 12 grams
- Passion fruit puree > 2 1/2 tablespoons
- Granulated sugar > 1 1/2 tablespoons
- Water > 1/2 cup
- Ice cubes > 1 cup or more as desired

sweet thai basil

- Mix pineapple, Thai sweet basil leaves, passion fruit puree, sugar, and water in a blender. Whiz until smooth.
- Add ice cubes and continue whizzing until ice cubes completely crushed.
- Pour into a tall glass, sprinkle with some chopped basil leaves, and decorate with basil flower and pineapple chunks.
- Serve cold.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Don't Worry, Everything is Fine!

Tasting the softness and smoothness of this mousse reminds me so much of that particular moment when I feel safe and everything is alright - an exact perception when I hear someone expresses "Don't worry, everything is fine!"

Never experimented with egg whites in a mousse recipe until now. And it was so amazing how great the texture turned out. Come to think about it, I would recommend this recipe for an afternoon tea during friends gathering. It is sweet, tasty, and who could actually resist lychees, right?

Serves 10 persons
- 1 big comma-shaped cake ring size 11"x7"x2"
- Aluminium foil

1. Crust

- Oreo cookies - mash cookies together with the sandwiched cream > 190 gram
- Salted butter - melt > 60 gram

- Cover the side and base of cake ring with aluminium foil.
- Mix mashed Oreo cookies with melted butter to form paste.
- Press Oreo paste to cover base of the cake ring.
- Refrigerate for an hour.

2. Lychee Yogurt Mousse, Topping Jelly and Decoration

Ingredients :
- Canned lychees > 2 cans (each can is about 485 grams)
- Egg white > 60 grams
- Sugar > 60 grams
- Whipping cream > 140 grams
- Plain yogurt > 100 grams
- Gelatine powder > 30 grams
- Hot Water > 50 grams
- Cherries or other fruits available > partially coat with white chocolate
- Carved orange peel
- Chocolate curls

- Open 2 lychee cans and separate 10 pieces of lychees for decoration.
- Weight the rest of lychees plus syrup to 700 grams. Puree them until fine.
- Separate 400 grams for mousse, and 300 grams for jelly topping.
- For jelly topping, strain lychee puree into fine juice.
- Refrigerate both.

Lychee Mousse :
- with electric cake mixer, whip egg white at medium speed until frothy.
- Gradually add in sugar and continue whipping until soft peaks form. Leave meringue aside in the mixing bowl.
- Whip cream at medium speed until soft peaks form. Set aside.
- Melt 20 grams of gelatine powder in 30 grams of hot water. Dissolve it and set aside for a while until it is just warm.
- Mix lychee puree with yogurt.
- Fold lychee mixture into meringue bowl and mix well at low speed.
- Then fold in whipping cream. Finally add warm gelatine. Mix well.
- Remove cake ring from refrigerator.
- Pour lychee mousse into cake ring and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

Lychee Jelly Topping :
- Halve and slice 8 lychees lengthwise.
- Prepare white chocolate coated cherries for decoration.
- Melt 10 grams of gelatine powder in 20 grams of hot water. Dissolve it and leave to just warm.
- Mix gelatine with the strained lychee mixture.

- Take out the firm lychee mousse from fridge.
- Arrange lychee slices on top of the mousse.
- Gently strain lychee jelly onto the surface of lychee mousse to the level where cake ring is 95% full. Straining avoids bubble forming on the jelly surface.
- Decorate with white chocolate coated cherries while jelly is still runny.
- Refrigerate overnite.
- Decorate with carved orange peel and chocolate curls before serving.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tofu Chaos

Just came back from a holiday in Jakarta and had a bunch of Indonesian cook books. So excited! Have many recipes queueing up for experiments - just can't wait to get my hands dirty!

Popular for its spicy foods, Indonesian cuisine offers a vast range of variety - originated both from its rich cultures expanding from 26 provinces and rich natural resources which provide distinctive spices and ingredients. Petai bean (Parkia speciosa) for one is a rare plant popular only in southern Thailand, Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia and northeastern India. Bright green in color and was called sator in Thailand, petai bean has a very strong smell - the reason why it is best to be combined with other strong flavoured food like garlic, shrimp paste, or curry.

So thrilled to cook the dish out of something as unique as these beans. Let's see how it turns out! To find out simply follow the recipe as follows...

Serves 4 persons
Prepare: a rectangular baking tin 22cm x 11cm x 6cm

- Prawn – peel, devein, slice > 70 grams
- Wet white tofu – dice into 1 cm cubes > 300 grams
- Red chilies – slice > 5
- Green chilies – slice > 3
- Shallots – slice > 8
- Garlic – slice > 2
- Tomato – dice > 1
- Petai beans - slice > 10
- Spring onion – chop 2 stalks
- Basil leaves – pluck from stem > 4 stalks
- Egg > 4
- Sweet corn – cut into grains > 4 tablespoons
- Coconut milk > 250 ml
- Salt > 1/2 teaspoon
- Sugar > 1 teaspoon

Method :
- Grease rectangular baking tin.
- Preheat oven at 180 degree Celcius.
- Whisk eggs in big bowl. Add coconut milk, salt, sugar, and corn. Mix well.
- Fold in prawns, tofu, chilies, shallots, garlic, tomato, petai beans, onion leaves, and basil leaves.
- Scoop into baking tin about 90% full. Bake at 180 degree Celcius for 45 minutes until surface is dry and cooked.
- Cut into blocks. Serve hot or cold.