Friday, April 26, 2013

Little Lunch Box #49

It's Friday and it means swimming day. It was raining this morning and we thought swimming class may be cancelled. Nevertheless, I went ahead to prepare my daughter's lunch box.

Although she asked for sandwiches with chocolate spread (New!! It's usually Kaya.) last night, I pretended to have forgotten this morning and went ahead to cook. :P

She didn't grumble because she saw her favourite meatballs it there. Hehehe ... And this cunning mother placed the meatball last on the skewers so she had to eat the first 2 items before getting to her favourite. LOL

On the skewers from the left, pan-fried tofu with bonito flakes, rice ball with nori and meatballs (I added coriander to it) with edamame as sides.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Non-bake Crème Brûlée

I'm not sure if you notice that the French dessert, Creme Brulee is very much like the Chinese Steamed Egg Custard 扽蛋. The difference I guess is the the layer of caramelised sugar on the top.

Few days back, inspired by the Chinese 扽蛋,  I decided to try making the French Creme Brulee the Chinese way. LOL I'm sure it can work even without using the oven. And you can tell from the pictures here that I have succeeded. ;)

So good news for those who loves Creme Brulee but do not have an oven to do it. Well, you don't need an oven after all.

Ingredients (for 2 cups):
  • 3 Egg Yolk
  • 200ml Whipping Cream
  • 100ml Fresh Milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Additional 2 tablespoon Sugar (one tablespoon for each custard)

How to do it:
  1. Mix all ingredients except for the additional sugar together.
  2. Blend well to incorporate all ingredients.
  3. Sieve mixture into deep dish.
  4. Cover with foil.
  5. Boil a pot of water and place dish in to steam for 15mins.
  6. Cool completely before chilling in the fridge.
  7. Sprinkle additional sugar on top of the custard.
  8. Use a touch to burn the sugar to caramelise it.
  9. You can serve immediately or return to the fridge and serve when ready.
  10. To eat, use the back of a spoon to hit the caramelised sugar to break it.

  • If you don't have a torch, the closest you can do is to make caramelised sugar.
  • You will need to boil 1 part water to 4 part sugar (eg, 1 tablespoon water to 4 tablespoon sugar) till the solution turned light brown and slightly thick.
  • You have to watch the heat as you only want to caramelised the sugar and not burn it.
  • Please note that the lesser the quatity you use to make the caramelised sugar, the faster it will burn due to the wider cooking surface. So find the smallest pot you can to make this or increase the quantity of the water and sugar to avoid burning.
  • As water is used to make the caramelised sugar, it may not as hard as torching the sugar directly. Hence return the custard to the fridge for chilling immediately pouring the caramelised sugar.

Friday, April 19, 2013


This is my third and final dish that I will be sharing from last Friday's dinner.

Although this is a very simple dish, almost like instant soup dish, it has always been my favourite. It's one of the items that I will eat when I visit the Japanese Restaurant, Kuishin-bo.

Oh, I have to state here that this is not the traditional Japanese Oden. I'm only doing a replica (on the soup base) of what I had in Kuishin-bo. The ingredients for the Oden used are from a Yong Tau Foo stall. You can go ahead and get Konyaku, Kabocha, Tsukune, etc for a more authentic Oden. ;)

I'm using instant Hon Dashi Stock Powder to make Dashi. You can make your own Dashi by using Kombu and Bonito Flakes.

  • 1 Daikon/White Radish, top removed, skinned and cut into 1 1/2cm thick
  • Assorted Surimi like, Imitation Scallops, Chikuwabu

Ingredients for Stock Base:
  • 750ml Water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Hon Dashi Stock Powder
  • 2 tablespoon Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Mirin
  • 1 tablespoon Sake
  • 1/2 tablespoon Sugar

How to do it:
  1. Soak prepared daikon in water for half an hour and drain.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
  3. Add the daikon and boil for 2 minutes and drain.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the stock base by bring all ingredients required for the base to a boil.
  5. Add daikon to the stock base.
  6. Let it simmer for an hour or till daikon is tender and opaque.
  7. Add in the rest of the surimi items.
  8. Continue to let it simmer for 15 mins or longer if you prefer.
  9. Dish out and serve.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Cheese Stuffed Pork Cutlet

This is the second dish that I prepared last Friday that I will be sharing the recipe.

In fact this, like the Pork and Vegetable Stew, is my old recipe which I'm trying to improve. Now the pork tasted better and you can fry it on it's own without cheese stuffed in it.

  • 250g Lean Pork, about 6 slices
  • 3 slices Cheese, 1 for each Cutlet
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • Plain Flour for dusting
  • Breadcrumbs for coating
  • Oil for deep frying

  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 2 tablespoon Light Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon Mirin
  • 1/2 tablespoon Sake or Chinese Cooking Wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ginger Juice
  • a dash of Ground Black Pepper

How to do it:
  1. Pat meat dry with paper towel.
  2. Tenderise and flatten the meat on both side with a meat mallet till the meat expand and thin.
  3. Marinate the meat with seasonings for at least half an hour.
  4. Cut cheese into half or to size to fit inside the meat. Keep the cheese away from the side as it will melt and sip through the meat when you fry.
  5. Cover with another piece of meat.
  6. Dust with flour.
  7. Dip in beaten egg.
  8. Coat well with breadcrumbs.
  9. Deep fry till it turn golden brown.
  10. Serve immediately, here with BBQ sauce.

  • If you prefer more cheese, you can add another half a slice. I use 1 1/2 slices for my cutlet.
  • Although we want to get the meat thin, try to be careful not to over do it till it's too thin as it may tear during frying causing the cheese to oozes out.
  • If you would like to make plain pork cutlet without the cheese, just skip steps 4 and 5.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Pork and Vegetable Stew

This is one of the dishes that I prepared last Friday for dinner. This is one of my favourites as it is very easy to make.

I shared a similar recipe years ago but using beef. Here, I used pork instead. You can use pork or even chicken if you like. Though my husband prefers beef and I, pork with lots of vegetables.

I'm using thinly sliced (shabu shabu) meat as it helps cut down cooking time and it's easier for the kids to eat.

  • 150g Thinly sliced Pork, (shabu shabu Pork)
  • 1 large Potato, skinned and chopped into chunks
  • 1 Medium Carrot, skinned and chopped into chunks
  • 1 Onion, wedged
  • 1/2 tablespoon Mirin
  • 1 tablespoon Sake
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Light Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Hon Dashi Powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 250ml Water

How to do it:
  1. Stir fry pork with a little oil till almost cooked.
  2. Remove and set aside.
  3. Add in the vegetables into the same pot used to cook the pork to stir fry.
  4. Add in the remaining seasoning except for salt.
  5. Bring to a boil before reducing heat into a simmer.
  6. Simmer till vegetables are tender..
  7. Return the pork back into the pot and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes.
  8. Add salt to taste if necessary.
  9. Serve with rice.

  • You can use thicker slice meat too. However, add the meat together with the vegetable to cook so the meat will be tender enough.
  • You can thicken the sauce with some corn flour as it helps make the meat velvety.

Friday, April 12, 2013

{ Cheese Stuff Pork Cutlet, Veggie Stew and Oden }

It's a busy day for me today as I have parent volunteer duties in school in the morning for the kids' swimming programme. By the time I reached home, it will be past noon time.

So dinner today has to be prepared ahead so I don't have to rush and have more time to clear my housework for the weekends.

I prepared the pork and vegetable stew and oden and let them 'cook' in thermal pots. When it's close to dinner time, I just reheat them and add in the shabu shabu pork with the vegetable stew and the rest of the (yong tau foo) ingredients for the oden.

The pork cutlet was marinated last night and I too had it ready this morning, wrapped in cling wrap till they are ready to be fried.

After getting my daughter's lunch box ready, I'm off with my daughter to school. This is how a typical SAHM (me) spend her Friday morning. How did you spend yours?

Little Lunch Box #48

My daughter has swimming lesson with the school today.

Last night I asked her what she would like me to pack for her for lunch and she asked for these. Haiz .... the same food ... again. Sometimes I wished she would be more adventurous with food (and not be like me >_<).  At least, she didn't ask for biscuits and candies. XD

The boring food in here are, rice balls with furikake, fried long bean with egg and tofu fishcake with edamame in sticks. Well, if she is happy enjoying her boring food, I happy too.

Homemade Breadcrumbs

What do you usually do with the bread crust from the loaf of bread you buy? When you make sandwiches for your kids, do you throw away the bread trimmings? There is bound to be a lot of bread wastage if you are into making bento, right?

Next time, keep all of those to make breadcrumbs you can use for your cooking. No wastage. You can keep the breadcrumbs in air-tight container in the freezer for months.

I'm going to share how to do this using oven and pan over stove top.

For Oven Owners:
  1. All all bread crust into strips.
  2. Place all the bread crusts on a tray flat.Toast in a preheat oven at 120c for 15 mins till the bread crusts are dry. We do not want to brown them.
  3. Place them in a blender and grind them into your desire texture.
  4. If you do not have a blender, place them in a Ziploc bag and roll them with a rolling pin or similar object to crush them into bits.
  5. When they are completely cooled, store them in air-tight container till you are ready to use.

For Non-Oven Owners:
  1. Cut bread crust into strips.
  2. Place all bread crusts into a blender and grind them into your desire texture. I do not recommend you grind them too finely because it turns brown easily when toasting on pan.
  3. Heat a pan till hot then lower the heat.
  4. Place all bread crumbs into the pan and toast them till they are dry. Keep stirring and tossing to avoid burning the crumbs.
  5. When they are completely cooled, store them in air-tight container till you are ready to use.

You can do the same for stale bread too.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

{ Cheesy Pork Cutlet and Veggie Miso Soup }

What did you have for lunch today?

I made myself  Cabbage Salad, Cheesy Pork Cutlet and Vegetable Miso Soup to go with my mixed rice (white plus brown rice).

My son had extra classes in school. So I reheated the pork cutlet in the oven for him when he returned. Come back can check out for the recipes that I will sharing soon.

Now, I have to get back to my kitchen to get ready for dinner.

Refreshing Lemongrass with Lemon Honey

I made this last week when the weather was unbearable. Usually, I'll just boil the lemongrass and sweeten it with sugar but I wanted the kids to drink it so I used honey instead this time.

Personally, I prefer sweetening it with sugar or rock sugar as honey sort of mask the smell and taste of the lemongrass.

My suggestion is, if you have a sore throat or suspect you are going to have one, you might want to use honey. It help soothe it. Use sugar instead if you just want to make yourself a refreshing drink,

  • 7 stalks Lemongrass, cleaned cut into 3 sections
  • 1 litre Water
  • Half a Lemon, slice
  • Sugar, Rock Sugar or Honey to taste

How to do it:
  1. Smash lemongrass to help release flavour during boiling.
  2. Place lemongrass in a pot of water and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue to simmer for half an hour.
  4. Drain and discard the lemongrass.
  5. Sweeten with sugar, rock sugar or honey.
  6. Serve it warm or chilled with lemon slices.

If you prefer a more tangy drink, squeeze some lemon juice before serving.

{ Oshinko Maki with Salad }

This was my dinner on Monday, along with some leftover fried rice I did for my kids which they couldn't finished.

I was trying to clear my fridge for the week. Fried rice was the easiest to do cos everything can goes in it. Then I still had half a Japanese cucumber, some corn and kanimi surimi left, so I made myself a salad to go with my favourite Oshinko Maki but I used Korean pickles here though. :P

Dinner will be more local, more Chinese with more dishes when my husband is back from his overseas trip. :)

{ Mini Pandan Waffle with Kaya }

My daughter couldn't get enough of the waffles we had on Sunday and decided to make them again the next day.

This time she asked me to add pandan paste in the batter to make pandan waffles.  This is her here making her own pandan waffles with kaya for breakfast.

There were some batter left so I made myself mini waffles with them. Bite size waffles are so much easier to eat. :)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

{ Waffle Ice-Cream Sandwich }

If you have been following me on Instagram, you will know that I sometimes shared the food I prepared for myself or my family there. It could be breakfast or something simple for afternoon tea or any meal of the day.

When I have the time, I will reload those pictures to my Facebook, but they are usually 'wordless'.

I thought I will selectively share some of the pictures here too. I hope you will enjoy them too.

I bought a cheap waffle maker recently and I did some waffles using Morinaga pancake mix to test it.

My daughter came out with the idea of making the waffles into ice-cream sandwiches. To do this, you have to totally cool the waffles down otherwise the ice-cream will melt before you can sink you teeth into it.

Mac and Cheese with Ham Gratin

Many years ago, my BFF Shirley and I frequent this Japanese Restaurant at Scotts Isetan very often after work. I always order their Macaroni with Teriyaki Chicken Gratin. (I'm a boring person).

It's different from the American's Mac & Cheese, which is basically Macaroni with Cheese Sauce, if I'm not mistaken. This Japanese Macaroni Gratin, is not as thick or over loaded Cheese Sauce. It's more like a cream sauce with Cheese in it and the top is baked with golden Parmesan Cheese. It could be other Cheese though but I'm sure it's not breadcrumbs that gives it the colour. ;) And it goes really well with the succulent Teriyaki Chicken, which I shall add on the next time I improve on this dish. :)

The restaurant has closed years ago and we haven't found any Macaroni and Cheese Gratin quite close to theirs. As much as I tried my best to replicate the dish, I too didn't come close to it.

Well, if you would like to try making your own Mac & Cheese Gratin instead of buying the instant ones from the supermarkets, you might like to try my recipe. At least, it helps clears out Cheese scraps for mommies who are into making bentos for their kids.

Ingredients (for 1 portion only):
  • 60g Macaroni or Assorted Pasta
  • 50g Chopped Ham
  • 1-2 tablespoon Parmesan Cheese
  • 15g Butter
  • 100ml Cooking Cream
  • 120ml Water
  • 1 tablespoon All Purpose Flour
  • 2 slices Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 slice Regular Cheese

How to do it:
  1. Cook macaroni in salted water according to the package or till just done.
  2. Pour them in a oven proof dish and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, melt butter in a pan on low heat. Butter should not be burning.
  4. Gradually add in the flour and whisk till smooth.
  5. Turn up the heat to medium low and gradually add in the cooking cream while whisking.
  6. Repeat the same for the water.
  7. Add in the ham.
  8. Melt the cheese in the sauce till all has blend in.
  9. Pour the sauce over the cooked macaroni. Mix them if you like.
  10. Top it with Parmesan Cheese.
  11. Baked in a preheated oven at 220c for 10 mins.
  12. Serve hot.

  • Do not cook the roux (butter with flour) in high heat as it will burn and the roux will turn dark.
  • The amount of water add depends on how thick you want the sauce to be. Hence, add gradually and stop adding if you think the sauce is thin enough for you.
  • I recommend you use 2 slices of cheddar cheese with 1 slice of regular or mozzarella. You can have any combination you like.
  • For those who do not have an oven, you may serve it after step 10, with salt and ground pepper to taste, if you like.