Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pita chips

This is yummylicious! My daughter kept requesting for it since she tried it at her grandaunt's place. Yeah at 28 months old she already remembers food that she likes even after only having eaten it once! So thanks to my ingenious aunt, here's something for a healthy snack.
Simply cut/tear some pita bread into smaller pieces, top it with some Olive Oil (I used extra fruity EVOO) and rock salt and fan bake it in the oven for about 1 hour at 110C. These are really crispy and crunchy, I could eat a huge container full in front of the tele.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Food to get you through winter

Winter does have a way of getting to your tummy and certain food just makes wintry days seems so much more bearable. In such times, I always turn to my food idol Nigella Lawson. I did two recipes from her consecutively and I must say I am a happy chap :)
This is Mughlai Chicken from her book Feast. Altered it slightly by using evaporated milk instead of yogurt (since i had none) and I must say it was heaven!!!! Picture does no justice to it, honestly am not gifted in the photography department and neither do I have one of those sophisticated DSLR ( I think) like other food bloggers, oh well I'm more into making memories though.

And this is her 'Meatballs with Spaghetti' from Nigella Bites. I needed some real comfort that night hence i added in some cream at the end of the cooking process and it was ohhhh sooo good... I know my Mum's shaking her head reading this :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Soft sweet buns

I lurveeee soft buns that we get back home in Malaysia. Here in New Zealand, "ang moh's" prefer heavy breads, nothing wrong with that, just means we got to get use to it. Recently some Asian bakeries have sprouted and there were bakes like soft buns, swiss rolls and all that we Asians love. BUT, the prices! A swiss roll cost NZ$12!!! I'd save that till I get DESPERATE!
Stumbled upon this recipe while I was blog hopping and am so grateful for this PERFECT recipe from 'A Daily Obsession'. I'm no baker and surely am not very gifted in this department but it worked hence its Dummy proof!
Check out what I yielded:

After the first rising, shaped them and left for another hour of rising:

After an hour, ummmm potential d...Aren't they preeetyyyyy????

And ohhh so soft...These breads are gone within a day or two in our household, be it ate just like that or with some dips or curry, its PERFECT!!!

Tips for dummies like me (I learnt it the hard way, so thought I'd share-only if you're a dum-dum like me):-
I used dried yeast and the recipe says mix everything together, so naturally I did. Was so disappointed that the dough didn't rise for like 5 hours, was gonna throw it away after 3 hours but left it there cause I was watching some show. Luckily for that, it did rise when I came back later to chuck it!!! But only after so many hours???
Hmmmm okay i got to ask Mum why????
Turns out I should activate the yeast first-meaning dissolve them in some lukewarm water and add in a wee bit of sugar to wakey those fellas.
Secondly, this recipe called for a teaspoon of salt which is quite enough to kill the yeast, so Mum advised that the salt should be added to the side of the dough, knead them in after the first rising.
BINGO!!! I didn't have to stay up till 12am to finish baking them ever since...yeah stupid rite? How did I pass home science? Wait a minute don't recall ever baking breads back then :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Lite Cheesecake

A friend requested for this recipe after seeing the picture in my FB. The credit really is not mine, it belongs to Big Boys Oven What i merely did was convert the recipe to 1 1/2 portion to fit into a 9" baking pan. The result delighted us as we really love these Japanese version of cheesecake and used to buy them from Isetan despite the hefty price!
Here's the recipe after conversion:-
240gm Cream Cheese
40gm soft unsalted butter
180gm milk
6 egg yolks (mid-size)

60gm plain flour
4gm corn flour
6 egg whites (mid-size)
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
150gm Sugar
a pinch of salt

Heat oven to 180C.
Sift ingredients B.
Whisk ingredients A, add egg yolk one by one. Add ingredient B in portions.
Whisk egg whites, add in sugar portioned, cream of tartar and slat. Whisk till firm peaks forms.
Add C into A and mix gradually.

Place into a 9" baking tin. Bake in water bath-cling foil the cake tin and then sit it onto a roasting pan filled with boiling water (half full will be enough). Bake till desired color.

Tip: I made this some time back and did not take down the amount of time it needed in the oven. But it took quite some time i recall so do be patient. Test it with a skewer to check for doneness. If under baked, the inside will be very wet.

20/2/2012- Baked this today and took note of the time for baking. Baked the above recipe in an 8 inch square tin (prefers this as the cake is slightly taller), took 60 minutes. The cake was tent once the top of the cake reaches the desired color/tan.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cous Cous with grilled veges, steak and garlic mushrooms

Self explanatory this dish. It was not dry as I thought cause of the lack of sauce in this dish, it was really nice and almost guilt free. Everything was just merely seasoned with salt and fresh cracked black pepper and tossed in olive oil. The yummy-ness in this dish comes from the grill, the smoky flavour that has gone into the steak and the veges. The mushrooms was sauteed with garlic and also merely seasoned with salt and black pepper.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

'Ma Po Tauhu' ala my version

I love this dish immensely and have tried many different versions of it at restaurants. What's the original taste of 'Ma Po Tauhu'? No idea! But I do know what i like about it though. One the aromatic spices and two the spiciness of it. Never cooked this before as I had no idea how to replicate it and have always been tempted to buy the ready mix at the markets but its so expensive! NZ$8/box for a mix!

While walking down the Asian market sauces aisle the other day, i chanced upon Spicy Bean Sauce aka Ma Po sauce and bought it at a hearts beat. So here goes my experiment:


-300gm ground pork scotch (much better than store bought mince)

-2 packets of silken tauhu

-about 2 tbsp of spicy bean sauce

-1 tsp of black bean garlic sauce

-1/2 tsp sugar

-1 tsp of chicken granules

-3 tbsp of 'Chiu Chow Chili Oil'

Brown the ground pork with some garlic (add in garlic later otherwise they will be too burnt) when the pork is 80% cooked, add in all the other ingredients and stir for another 3-4 minutes. Taste test and adjust the sauces to your liking. I added in the Chili Oil as it was not spicy enough to my taste but still i think that didn't work too well for me. Next time I'd add in some grounded red pepper flakes. I like it the way the name suggest it to me i.e. 'Ma Lat' spicy to the degree of numbness hehe...

Do try this, it is very very nice! Down side of this dish is that it makes you go for lots and lots of rice! Especially perfect on a cold day like it is here in Auckland now.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Salty Rice aka 'Ham Fan'

This is one of my favorite lazy but yummy meals...easy peasy.
Marinate some chicken pieces with :-
- enough dark soy sauce to blacken the rice to your liking
-a couple of dashes of light soy sauce
-a dash of sugar
-a dash of corn flour/starch
Put washed rice and some ginger pieces to boil in the rice cooker, during the last 15mins of cooking time, pour in the chicken together with all the marinate. (Important note: reduce the amount of water that you'd normally need for the rice to cook because the marinate and some juices from the chicken will moisten the rice further) Add in some preserved Chinese sausages or any other preserved meat as you desire and enjoy when your rice cooker beeps that its done cooking!!! Of course do a taste check and see if its salty enough for you, it never is for me and I'd season it with some Chicken granules or salt.
I had some blanched lettuce mixed with some oyster sauce and the normal other jazz to go with it. And of course one must not forget the star of the show...the 'chilli padi's'! Well for me anyway :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

On a typical nice day.

How many SAHM out there constantly cracks their brain as to what to do to occupy their tots day? New Zealand climate if pretty kind with more summery days than wintery ones. But its May now and winter's approaching soon with lots of tell tale rains. So on a perfect sunny day with clear blue skies and no rain in sight, its time for a stroll in the park with the little one Yay Yay!!! Had to pack some food cause when we made it out of the house its her tea-time already. Its lots of work making such things honestly (first timer) so hats off to those mummy who makes it everyday for their kid!

Packed up some coffee for meself and a little bottle of milk when its time to coax the little one back to the car for the ride home.
Sunblocked, sun hat, loads of layers and a wind cheater, safely tucked into her seat, off we go.

This is Barry Curtis Park in South Auckland New Zealand, officially opened in April 09. Its the biggest park in South Auckland and lucky us its only 1 min drive from our home. Its just a vast piece of greenery's for now till the trees grows.
Alyssa's new to such skewers, but since it looks so cute, she was more game with her food. Effort paid off :)
One thing about making bento kinda food is that there are bound to be lots of scraps of food leftover by the cut out pieces and all, but since I didn't want to be a human dumpster why not give it to the gulls/ducks/birds, there are plenty of them here.
Most importantly, the little one should be allowed to exhaust some of her energy so that Mummy can have a little more time on the net when she goes for a longer nap in the afternoon :)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Nigella's Aromatic Lamb Shanks

This is a very very nice recipe that I've adapted from 'Nigella's Bites', love the spices in this recipe that somehow makes you heady at the first taste. Here's the original recipe from Nigella, and of course i tweaked the amounts of spices to my liking, so feel free to do so if you ever make this.

6 tbsp peanut/vegetable oil
8 lamb shanks
2 onions
4 cloves garlic
sprinkling of salt
1 tbsp turmeric
1 tsp ground ginger
1 dried red chilli pepper, crumbled or 1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes (to your taste really)
2 tsp cinnamon (can substitute with 2 cinnamon sticks)
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
black pepper
3 tbsp honey (too sweet for me)
1 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp marsala wine
6 tbsp red lentils

to serve:
3 tbsp chopped pistachio, chopped blanched almonds or a mixture of both or NOTHING!

Put 3 tbsp oil into a large, wide, heavy-bottomed pan and warm over medium heat. Brown the lamb shanks, in batches.
Chop the onions and garlic finely and fry the onion-garlic mush until soft, sprinkling salt over to stop it sticking (now that's a neat trick, it really works!)
Stir in the turmeric, ground ginger, chilli, cinnamon and nutmeg, and season with some black pepper. Stir again, adding the honey, soy sauce, marsala wine. Add the shanks back into the pan, add cold water to almost cover, bring to the boil then put a lid over the pan, lower the heat and simmer gently for 1-1 1/2 hours or until meat is tender ( took me about 2 1/2 hours!)
Add the red lentils (i used yellow ones as that's what i have in the pantry) and cook for about 20 mins without lid (now that didn't work me, i suggest soaking the lentils overnight then maybe, otherwise it would take about an hour for the lentils to soften in its original form) until lentils have softened into the sauce and the juices have reduced and thickened slightly. Check for seasoning.
Toast the nuts by heating them for a few minutes in a dry frying pan and sprinkle onto the lamb as you serve.

Serves 6.

Friday, February 6, 2009

My Food Idol Mr. Chua

Was watching this show on Mamabok's site and this really opens up my mind to a whole new perspective on what good food is!!! I like his principles on searching for perfection regardless if its a common dish like 'wanton noodles' to luxurious dishes which I've not even known some of those ingredients exist till now. Of course what his sense of perfection is fuelled by his memory and his taste bud on what he's been brought up with/used to having which will be very different to what the younger generation has experienced.

The other thing that I really like about this show is that they look for dying trades that's solely being carried on by one or two people now, gives you a very nostalgic feel. Its like taking us back to the soul of food striped down to bare essentials of traditional tools. Makes me feel like chucking out all my gadget's, as if hehe... but i went and bought some bamboo steamers after watching the 2nd episode "wink wink".

I wish I could search for all these perfection in my own little kitchen but with a toddler round me 24/7, I guess I'd just have to give and take. Can't invest all my time and effort on food like these people could as its their profession. Passion and profession fused together gives perfection! Someday when my baby doesn't need so much of my time anymore I just might go to such extremes, we'll see about that haha...but I have a cunning plan for now, I get my toddler involved in the kitchen to start off many years to cooking and experimenting, hope it works!! Hey people go watch this when you have time, won't regret it. Some of the dishes that they have are things that we may never get to experience in our lifetime!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Garlic steamed spare ribs

There's something about these stainless steel wares that makes me all nostalgic. These were what my grandparent's used to use. But anyway this dish came along with some messing around my sauces cubby.
Marinade the ribs for at least 30 mins:
-pork ribs (choose those with more fats to ensure tenderness) i think there were about 300gm here
-Minced garlic as much as you like
-Soy sauce enough to marinade all the meat
-1 tsp of sugar
-1 tbsp of rice distilled vinegar (Japanese type)
-1 tsp of sesame oil
Steam for about 8 mins and yum yum yum....

Sunday, February 1, 2009

'Loh Sang' or 'Loh Hei'

Happy Chinese New Year, welcome to the year of the OX! Though the economy and all seems all gloom and doom, life has to go on, we'll just have to live through such times but there's an optimistic saying 'It came to pass', we'll just hope it passes by real quickly!! In the mean time, it helps when our tummy is filled with lots of good home made and yummy food!
I've always loved 'Loh Sang' in Malaysia and have done it since I was really young, not realising its more of a Malaysian and Singaporean custom. But it seems that this trend is catching on, heard on the Auckland Chinese radio station the other day some restaurants advertising for this dish during this festive period.
This is a home made version of my aunt, I'm so lucky to have such an innovative home cook aunt! I vouch and our whole family vouch for the yummyness of this dish, way better than any 5 star restaurants ones that we've tasted.
Every year during CNY, we practise pot luck among our fellow friends here and whenever it came to my turn to host, I always had the luxury to ask my aunt to make this for me, so meaning I've never once had to DIY! I got this recipe from her to share with everyone who'd like to try to make this on your own.

Ingredients to be grated:


Use a muslin cloth to squeeze out as much water from the grated vege, the drier it is, the crunchier it'll be.

Other ingredients:

-Spring onion cut into thin shreds
-Deep fried wanton skin (use the thick type, cut the skin into 3 portions before deep frying)
-Ground peanuts (LOTS)
-Toasted sesame seeds (LOTS)
-Pickled onions cut thinly
-Pickled ginger (cut into fine shreds)
-Raw fish slices of your preference (sashimi grade)

Note: You could buy pickled onions and ginger easily at the supermarkets, the DIY is simple enough anyway just pickle it with vinegar and sugar, can be done on the same day.

To make the sauce:

-1 bottle of plum sauce
-1 bottle of apricot jam
-Vinegar and sugar to taste
-a few tbsp of water depending on the consistency

Put everything into a pot and cook over low flame till slightly reduced.

To assemble:

Place all the grated vege in sections on a platter. Then layer on the fish slices, peanuts, wanton skin, sesame seeds and all. Before serving, sprinkle with some pepper, 5 spice powder (just a hint) and a little bit of oil. Pour the sauce on top a few minutes before the 'loh' begins!!!

Here's to a prosperous, happy and healthy new year!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Oriental KFC

This is so so so nice lah, though the photo doesn't do it justice but its worth all the hassle and the fats! This recipe is from Harumi Kurihara from her book 'Harumi's Japanese cooking'.
(serves 2-3)
250gn boneless chicken thighs with skin!!!
3 tbsp potato starch or cornflour
2 tbsp of plain flour

For the marinade:
1 tbsp of soy sauce
1/2 tbsp shokoshu(Chinese sake)
1/2 tsp crushed garlic
Pierce the chicken skin several places before cutting into smaller pieces. Place in the marinade and make sure that they are all well coated and leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Lightly mix the potato starch and flour to dust the chicken pieces.
Deep fry in hot oil for 4-5 minutes till crisp, golden and cooked through.
I served this with soy sauce and wasabi and it was so so so good, same goes with mayo or sweet chilli sauce. Harumi recommended to have these wrapped in salad leaves.

Chicken balls meehoon

This is an unexplainable satisfying bowl of meehoon soup, I'm not sure if its the stock or the effort in making the chicken balls or the fact it does not add on to the pounds! It was oohhh so yummy having it with chilli padi and soy sauce. Its only meehoon that gives such satisfaction, I tried it with other noodles and it does not come close even the egg noodles is no competition.
For the stock:-
2 litres of water
6 mid sized onions-chopped
2 tbsp of dried shrimps
5 tbsp of dried anchovies (ikan bilis)
chicken granules to taste (approx. 1 tbsp)
Rinse the dried shrimps and anchovies then dry it thoroughly with kitchen towel and place in a bowl, add in a tbsp of oil and put it in the microwave for about 2 mins (1100watts), if not brown enough, give it extra time by 10 seconds. Always check before giving it more time in the microwave cause it burns easily once its reached the brown stage.
Put all the ingredients except chicken granules into a stockpot and put it on medium high flame and boil for an hour to one and a half hour. At the end of the cooking time, season with the chicken granules to taste. Optional, you could add in a small cube of rock sugar.
For the chicken balls:
De bone some chicken meat (i used 4 drumsticks)
Put it into a food processor to blend then season with some pepper, 1 tsp salt, 1 tbsp of sesame oil and 2 tbsp of soy sauce.
Cook the chicken balls in the stock. Blanch some meehoon and vegetable of your choice and then ladle on the soup with the chicken balls and enjoy :)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2009!!!

Way late for this post, but Merry Christmas 2008 anyway. Was too busy to put up anything during this festive season cause of all the mad sales going on around! Never seen Auckland so busy ever, getting a parking was actually a problem!
Just wanted to post this recipe for the cupcakes, thought they were really nice and easy.
For cupcakes:
3/4 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup soft unsalted butter
5 tbsp of sugar, increase if you like it sweeter
2 eggs
2 tsp of orange essence
1 tbsp of Cointreau
2 tbsp of milk
Just mix everything together in a cake mixer of a food processor till smooth and spoon into cupcake moulds. Fill to 1/3 full only if u intend to put on icing.

For the ganache:
Melt 100gm of dark compound chocolate over a double boiler (i used the microwave hehe) together with 1 tbsp of butter. Add in evaporated milk to get a smooth consistency. Let cool a little and make your cupcakes pretty as you desire.
Again a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2009!