Archive for June, 2009

W sandwich lunchbox

June 30, 2009

W has finally given up on me.

It all started with subtle hints by sending me emails on sandwich recipes websites. With a grin stretching from ear to ear, W would get me to look into his laptop wherein lie images of delicious looking grilled sandwiches spilling with bacon and melting cheese. Well, for months, I managed to fend it all off with ‘Hmm, ok, yeah looks good, goodnight, cheese is bad for you!’ But alas, he can take it no more and finally requested for it outright. ‘I WANT a sandwich for my lunchbox, PLEASE’.

Argh! That means I’ll have to drag myself up in the wee hours of the morning *horror* to make sandwiches! On top of it, have/know the ingredients to make a sandwich and VARY IT OVER A WEEK when W can be so very fussy about his food. Sigh.

Ok. It shouldn’t be tough. Right? There are ONLY these few categories to vary – Bread, Veggies, Meat, Cheese, Condiments. But the recipes usually call for gourmet ingredients which must be bought IN TOWN and don’t keep well in our weather!

The blog I was tasked to learn from – Panini Happy a fantastic blog with interesting (gourmet) recipes and great tips!

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Stress. But I will survive.

char siew

June 20, 2009

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The char siew tasted great! The only problem was, I baked too long which resulted in a tough texture. I did not flip the pieces over which resulted in a pink ‘underbelly’ (due to the water filled pan below) so the prolonged baking was to get a deep rich colour for both sides. I think different ovens work differently so it’s important to know your oven unless you have a super duper brand like Miele.

I am a fussy char siew person. It is crucial that the char siew must not have a porky aftertaste (if you know what I mean). It must have a well balanced flavour. This recipe adapted from Chubby Hubby works really well! (click here for pictures).

Ironically, the best char siew I have had was in Yung Kee Restaurant in Hong Kong. Although they are famous for their goose, I love the char siew much more. It is indeed cruel to have tried char siew so good and not be able to have that at home *sigh*.

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roasted pumpkin soup

June 20, 2009

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Pumpkin soup seems to me, a good recipe to use the beautiful pumpkin I just bought yesterday from the market (see previous post). It is simple and a breeze to make. Heh. I went through a few recipes and incorporated a bit of everything to come up with something on my own. It’s healthy and delicious and everyone liked it!

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RECIPE

> 600g Australian Pumpkin cut into chunks to get more roasted surfaces, unpeeled.

> 1 medium sized Carrot peeled

> 2 medium sized Purple Onions cubed

> 3 cloves of Garlic

> 1/2 cup Chicken Stock I use Swanson’s Chicken Broth with no preservatives

> 3 cups Water

Rub the pumpkin and carrot with olive oil (or butter). Roast the pumpkin and carrot in the oven at 180 deg for 40 mins or until brown at edges (depending on the accuracy of your oven). The pumpkins are cooked if a knife cuts through them readily. In the meantime, caramalise the onions, garlic and a pinch of salt, in olive oil (or butter) in a pan by stirring the mixture constantly over a small fire for 30 mins. Do not let it burn or fry up. Set aside the above ingredients to cool. Peel the cooled pumpkin.

Chuck pumpkin, carrots, onions and garlic into a blender. Add 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup of stock. Blend into a smooth texture. Transfer the mixture into a pot to cook. Add the remaining 2 cups of water and simmer over low fire stirring constantly. If the fire is too big, little specks will form. Just take the pot off from the fire and stir vigorously.

Note: Depending on the capacity of your blender, you can add all the water when blending or do so later after transferring to a pot. In fact you can vary the water added to control the consistency of the soup. The stock can be varied to taste as well. Go ahead and experiment!

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The recipe worked out 8 bowls of soup. The leftover soup can be refrigerated, reheated and served hot with warm crusty breads for a hearty breakfast. Try adding sour cream or creme fraiche for an added creamy texture.

secret hideout

June 19, 2009

AH HA! Found their hideouts! I see snails in the garden at night and I never knew how they made it there. This morning, whilst feeding ground coffee beans to the plants (just discovered that it’s an organic snail poison too), I found them nestled within the creeper walls of our garden. Since they are nocturnal, they must be sleeping. If you look closely, there is another hidden behind the leaves at the bottom right.

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My green fingers are developing recently. Have been dreaming of an organic garden growing green leafy vegetables and herbs. The organic garden would be complete with DIY compost and icky slimy earthworms *argh*. But this would definitely put our food waste to good use.

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But the garden snails would have to go. Hmm. Escargots anyone?

bittergourd kerabu . char siew

June 18, 2009

Am so excited!

We bought lots of fresh produce from the wet market this morning. When I see fresh ingredients, I feel happy. Bursting with colors and chock full of goodness, I can’t wait to use them. Just imagine the delicious and healthy dishes that can be created!

Just this morning, I attempted 2 recipes never tried before. Char Siew adapted from a recipe from Chubby Hubby for tomorrow’s dinner, and Bittergourd Kerabu for tonight from Lee Sook Ching’s Cook Malaysian (a great cookbook for beginners).

Bittergourd Kerabu adapted from Lee Sook Ching’Cook Malaysian

fresh produce-kerabusteps1RECIPE

> 1 Bittergourd halved lengthwised, de-seeded and sliced

> 2 Tbsp Chopped Walnuts

> 2 Tbsp Raisins

> 5 Small Limes for Lime Juice

> 1 Red Chilli Shredded

> 2 Tsp Sugar & 2 Tsp Salt

Mix the Bittergourd with 1 Tsp of Salt and stand for 20mins. The Bittergourd slices would become limp. Wash the salt away with water and squeeze as much water as you can from the Bittergourd slices. Add in the Walnuts, Raisins, Chilli, Lime Juice, Sugar and remaining Salt to the Bittergourd and mix. Done! Store it in the refrigerator to chill for use.

Full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals! It’s quick and easy.

fresh produce-kerabu

Char Siew adapted from Chubby Hubby

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Since the recipe require a 12-24 hours marinade, results would be posted tomorrow. So stay tuned! *excited*

Assam Fish Head

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Bought a beautiful ‘ang kor li’ fish head and paired with such wonderful ingredients, I have decided to cook ‘Assam Fish Head’ for tonight’s dinner. Initially, I was feeling experimental and wanted to start from scratch (ie buy tamarind and spices to make my own sauce). Alas, laziness took over. I didn’t require much persuasion when I was told how tasty the pre-packed sauces was. So stay tuned for the results!

IN ANTICIPATION.

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Beautiful pumpkin isn’t it! I couldn’t resist when the sellers showed me the pumpkin. It’s from Australia. The seeds were removed to preserve the pumpkin longer. Guess I’ll be surfing around for some recipes to use it! (Hmm. Japanese or Western?)

The veggies sure made my day. Heh.

simplified mango lassi

June 16, 2009

mango lassi-1

Since the Thai Honey Mangoes are in season, my wonderful mother-in-law made this for us in the morning to ensure that we are sufficiently immune and healthy. The colour is so pretty in the morning light that I had to take a picture. It tastes as good as it looks!

RECIPE

> 2 Thai Honey Mangoes

> 2 Tubs of 100g Low Fat Yoghurt

Peel the Mangoes, remove the seed, dump into the blender, add the Yoghurt and CHURN. Simple!

I think I’ll try adding in some lychees, longans or strawberries to intensify the flavours. OR sprinkle Pomelo over, just like the mango desserts in Hong Kong, topped with a dollop of vanilla bean ice cream! Yummy!

arctic hare

June 13, 2009

Ok, call me ignorant. But there are (think) rabbits in the arctic too?! *faint*

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‘In winter, they sport a brilliant white coat that provides excellent camouflage in the land of ice and snow. In spring, the hare’s colors change to blue-gray in approximation of local rocks and vegetation. Arctic hares are sometimes loners but they can also be found in groups of dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of individuals.’ National Geographic Read on here

Wow. I would like to see them in groups of thousands. I would be SO tempted to dive into the balls of fur (ok just kidding, apologies to animal rights activists).

Imagine jumping snowballs. How cool is that!

saving gaia

June 12, 2009

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Read an article about rising temperatures which resulted in the booming air-con business. Ironic isn’t it. MORE air-conditioning units = MORE electricity and MORE heat generated to the environment (ok I’m guilty too).

Mental images of polar bears hanging onto their dear lifes on melting ice bergs, dying crops, drying lakes and increasing desert land; this led further to images of deforestation, derailed migratory patterns (think confused animals), overfishing, over consumption of natural energy sources (more ecosystems destroyed with more oil rigs).

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I also read today about increased waste in China and the lack of garbage dump fill areas and how they opposed to the building of more garbage disposal plants near their homes to contain the rubbish (think poor urban planning).

Man. Sigh.
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I feel moody. It distresses me. It is always somewhere in my head and I DO get worried over this. Where are the scientists? What are the politians doing? Where are the regulations? Yes. I know it is a complex issue involving governments and corporations. Too many interests and little alternatives. I am angry that I cannot help (in a bigger sort of way) and at being a hypocrite because I am part of the destruction too.

What about the next generation?

For now, I can only be mindful. I hope that someday, I would be able to do something about it. I can start with buildings. That’s the least I can do.

It’s back to the basics.

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Nighttime Igloo, Moriusaq, Greenland, 2006 from National Geographic.

koryo

June 10, 2009

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Just want to share another good and reasonably priced restaurant with you all. The restaurant is quiet and make a good getaway from the crowd (esp with the school hols now on). A korean restaurant with a Korean boss, the food is good and fresh. It’s located in Fusionpolis at Buona Vista.

I like the little sides that come with the food. They are good with rice and works up an appetite. I get to try different sides on each visit (kimchi is the staple though) so it’s pretty fun anticipating the sides for the day. The best part is, it can be refilled. Heh.

Cucumber with Wasabi . Kimchi . Bean Sprouts . Ikan Bilis . Pickled Cucumbers

koryo

This is our 3rd time to the restaurant and we had decided to try out the hotplates. It was pretty interesting, we noted that the charcoal is in a ring form designed so that the flame goes through each ring (see top picture). Good quality charcoal we suppose, since there were no fumes nor soot.

Seafood Pancake . Ribeye . Kimchi Soup

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The Ribeye and the Pork Belly were good (so good I forgot to take a picture)! The pork belly was sweet! Despite the goodness, I find it a little expensive for the amount given so I’ll just stick to the menu below next time!

Grilled Saba Fish . Beef Bulgogi . Seafood Pancake . Kimchi Soup

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If you notice, Seafood Pancake and Kimchi Soup are staples. 맛있은!

gurren lagann

June 9, 2009

gurren-lagann

Just finished the 27 part award winning anime series Gurren Lagann.

The ending was a tad unbearable for me. It still pains me when I think about it. But then again, I couldn’t think of any ways to end it either. Argh.

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is about a young boy Simon who would eventually save the universe from the Anti-Spirals oppression and return Earth to man. The Spiral theme is inherent throughout the show. It represents the double helix of the DNA structure and symbolises evolution. Each phase of the anime illustrates how Simon the lead character evolves as he ‘breaks through each ceiling’ to achieve the next level of freedom, from himself and from the system. It is scary because I can relate to the fear. I can also see how the story is synonymous to the world around us. There will always be societies, corporations and people who want to keep others ‘under the surface’. It can be for genuine good intentions. However, because it is a world created out of fear of the unknown, in exchange, freedom is lost.

“Go beyond the impossible and kick reason to the curb!”

“Simon, believe in yourself. Not in the Kamina that you believe in, and not in the Simon that I believe in either. Believe in the Simon who believes in you.”

These words were the source of Simon’s strength and there is a touching story behind it. I will not divulge more. You must watch it for yourself. Do check out the soundtrack too!