Friday, November 28, 2008

Lunch Box #8

My son has been snacking a lot in his tuition center. His excuse was he is hungry. I said it was an excuse because he took a full meal before he goes for his tuition and his tuition is only 1 1/2 hours long. He is just looking for excuses to eat tibits. So now I have to prepare tea for him too. Sigh! I'm going to make the kitchen my bedroom one of these days. Anyway, this is a quick and simple tea. Bread with ham and cheese. I fitted the bread in the muffin cup. I use a 6 cup tray. Add some (Mozzarella) Cheese, some (shaved) Ham, some more Cheese and sprinkle on some Parmesan Cheese. I baked on 180C for 5 minutes. Remove the bread from the muffin cup. The results will have the bread looked like a flower or a cup with all the ham and cheese inside. Hopefully, no more tibits or excuses.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Grilled Butter Corn on Cob

I miss the Pasar Malam (a Malay word for Night Market) I used to go to when I was a little girl. The sellers just laid a cloth or canvas sheet on floor and display what they are selling there. Very much like the the flea market at Sungei Road.

Then came the Fun Fair with all the rides and game stall. I can't remember what we ate then because I was only interested in the games. But I do remember the drinks were still in glass bottle form and the stools were all made of wood.

I love the game where you try to throw and get your ring to land on some coloured pins for prizes. And not forgetting the knock down cans! Sigh! The good fun old days. And yes, I'm that old. ;)

The Pasar Malam nowadays are b-o-r-i-n-g. Even my kids doesn't like to go. Well, except when there are rides. We just have a look if we happen to be there. Usually, we will buy some food back.

My son's favourite is the "Shark's Fin" soup. No, no shark's fin in there. ;) For me, I got to have the "bird's nest" drink, which is one thing that hasn't changed much for a long time. Even the sign still look similar. Like the "Shark's Fin" soup, this drink doesn't contain Bird's Nest either. Just agar-agar to fake it. ;P

The other food I miss was the grilled corn by the Malay sellers. I'm not sure why they no longer sell this maybe rami burgers make better moolah.

The Chinese sellers have it though but as corn kernel, steamed. They will add some margarine and salt into a foam cup, add some corn, give a quick stir and that's it. I guess it's easier to eat this way but I still preferred the 'original' grilled version. It smells and tastes is so much better. Plus it's fresh corn on cob! Not frozen corn kernels. I wished there's a time-machine. But thank God. This is super easy to make and anyone can do it even if you say you can't cook.

My son try it for the first time and love it and we were 'fighting' for it. You just need to spread butter on the corn, and grill it for about 12 minutes on medium heat. I used a grill pan but you can use a regular pan but remember to turn it often so as not to burn it. Towards the end of the grilling, add a pinch of salt and it's done!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sweet and Sour Pork

What I'm going to share here is not the authentic way of making Sweet and Sour Pork. I discovered the use of Mirin in one of those Taiwanese cooking shows. The show was in their local dialect, hence I wasn't able to understand what they were talking about BUT I could recognized some of the ingredients used. ;) When the chef bought out the bottle of Mirin, which was what I'm using too, there were so much talking about it and the tone of the host was different too. I guessed that must be his secret ingredient for that dish. ;) Anyway, I got to experiment it myself and I used it on my pork dish. Hmm .... it's really quite good. You should try it too if you have Mirin at home.  

  • 300g Pork, cubed
  • Corn Flour
  • Oil for frying
  • Corn Flour Mixture, thickener
  • 1/2 tablespoon Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2/3 tablespoon Corn Flour
  • Additional Corn Flour for dusting
  • 5 tablespoon Mirin
  • 2 tablespoon Water
  • 1/3 tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Tomato Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Chili Sauce
  • 1/2 - 1 tablespoon White Vinegar
How to do it:
  1. Marinate pork for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Heat enough oil for frying.
  3. Dust marinated pork with additional corn flour and fry till light brown.
  4. Dish and drain.
  5. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of oil used from frying the pork in the wok.
  6. Stir fry vegetables if using, for 30 seconds to 1 minutes if you prefer it less raw.
  7. Remove the vegetable and set aside.
  8. Pour in the sauce. If you are making Sweet Pork, use only tomato sauce. For Sweet and Sour Pork, use both chilli sauce and vinegar, adjusted according to your taste.
  9. Heat sauce till it bubbles.
  10. Gradually stir in the corn flour mixture.
  11. Return the vegetable and pork back to the sauce.
  12. Stir to coat well.
  13. Dish and serve.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Durian Puff cum Ice Cream

The supermarket here was selling durian at $10 for 3 boxes. I just couldn't resist buying them. They were quite good for the price.

I went back the next day to get another 3 boxes with the intention of making durian cake. I had removed all the durian pulp. When I was ready to make it, my friend called and said she couldn't get the cake from me. I always pass some of my cakes to my friend as we can never finish them.

 In the end I decided to make Puff instead, which is much easier. These are mini, bite-size puff.

Since I had already prepared the durian pulp, that is, all beaten up, I decided to use them all. You don't have to add so much. Here's my recipe for the Durian Cream Filling .

  • 200 ml Diary or Non-diary Whipping Cream
  • 350g Durian pulp
  • 10g Gelatine Powder
  • 3 tablespoon Hot Water
How to do it:
  1. Beat whipping cream till soft peak. You might want to use an electric beater as it will take quite a while if using hand.
  2. Melt gelatine powder with hot water.
  3. Add the melted gelatine and durian to the whipped cream and mix well.
  4. Your durian cream filling is ready to use.

As I had put a lot of durian pulp for my durian cream filling, I decided to save half of the amount and freeze it. 4 hours later ... viola! It became creamy and yummy Durian Ice Cream!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Lunch Box #7

I did not cook much last week and had some vegetables left in my fridge. I'm trying to finish whatever is left before I buy some more. All I need was some fish paste to settle this simple lunch box for my son. Some of the ingredients, such as carrots and fish paste, are being used twice differently. By doing this, I can have an extra dish. I added some grated carrot to some fish paste for one of the bacon nuggets and stuff cut-out carrot to make it more fanciful.
Heart-shaped rice and long beans sandwich
Carrots stuffed with Fish Paste
Bacon Nugget with Spring Onions Another set with grated Carrots

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Rambutan Ice Blended

I recently had a Rambutan (flavoured) Ice Blended at those $1.50 ice blended stall. I was telling myself how expensive it was. It was just ice, syrup and some sago. For $1.5o, I could buy a can of rambutan.

That thought gave me the idea of making this. I freeze 10 canned Rambutan with pineapple and the 3/4 can of syrup with 1/4 can of water in ice cube tray for 2 1/2 hours. The syrup won't be totally frozen, which is good as it makes blending easier. Add the fruits and the syrup ice into the blender and blend.

If you find it not sweet enough for you, add in some of the leftover syrup. Add lesser rambutan if you don't like to your drink to have a lots of pulp. The drink won't turn pink. You have to add a tiny drop of red colouring. Try using a chopstick to dip in the colouring and then stir it in the blended ice. Don't pour from the bottle or spoon. Red isn't very nice.

I have tried using blue and green too. They are all nice, as long as you use only a tiny drop. You may want to consider using the same method for longan, lychee or any fruits and use different colours for them.

Nice to serve it at your party.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pan Grilled Terikayi Shitake Mushroom

A quick post to let you know I'm still kicking, though barely alive. I had been busy for the past week with the kids' stuff, making and preparing gifts for their teachers and friends before the end of school.

Both my kids are going to new schools next year. So it was a farewell kind of thing for them. School holidays has only just started this week and it feels like it has been weeks already. My kids are driving me up the wall. I feel so drained out everyday.

Before the holidays, I still had my 2 hours break after I send the kids to school. Now, my break time is when the kids are in bed at night but by then I'll be busy trying to clear my housework. I desperately need to clone myself. Any scientist out there? :P

Okay, enough of my rants. This idea that I'm sharing is really easy and simple. We use to do this for our BBQ but using commercially bought sauce. Here, I had use the sauce left from making the Teriyaki Chicken for my son's lunch box.

I generously basted the Shitake Mushroom with the sauce before setting them on the grilling pan. I sprayed the pan with butter first. You could use normal butter or just cooking oil. Grill each side for 1 to 2 minutes depending on the size of the mushroom. Baste the mushroom with more sauce if you like before turning them over for grilling. As the sauce contains sugar, be careful not to turn the heat to high and burn the mushroom. Medium heat should be enough.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Lunch Box #6

This is a simple lunch box for my son today. It is similar to lunch box #4 except now the rice is shaped into cubes. :P The sides are blanched Broccoli seasoned with a pinch of salt and Teriyaki Chicken, which was a mistake. I should have use boneless chicken instead as this is messier to eat. Must remember the next time I do this again.
Cubed Rice

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Mini Onion Rings

Asians especially the Chinese and Malays will know this very well. It's actually, deep fried onion or shallot. My son calls it mini onion rings. If my daughter could speak well, she would probably called it fried alphabets because she is always showing me how each on them looks like alphabets and sometimes numbers. I see a 'D' there. ;)

They love this on all their food and if I didn't stop them, they would most likely treat them like tibits and finish it at one go. :P My mother used to make this but she doesn't like to do it because she always burned them. So what she did was to fried them with lots of oil and kept them together with the oil and we drizzle our noodles or porridge with the oil and scoop out some of the fried shallot them at the same time. It's more like a flavoured oil.

 For me, I want my flavoured oil AND my fried shallot. However, my flavoured oil only allows me for 1 or at most 2 cooking. A friend who made the best fried shallot I have tasted told me the trick to making nicely brown and crispy fried shallot is not using a lot of oil but just the opposite. Enough oil to just about cover the finely sliced shallot just do. Add a tiny pinch of salt and fry the shallot over low fire.

You have to constantly but gently stir it so the shallot will brown nicely. Be prepared to stand over your stove for at least 15 minutes stirring to do this. Drain them from the oil and spread them on paper towels to remove excess oil and keep them an airtight container.

You can use it as a garnish or top some on your bowl of noodles. As for the remaining oil from frying, you can use to drizzle on your food as a flavoured oil or use it as the oil for your stir-fry. It smell really nice.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Lunch Box #5

This is my son's lunch box yesterday. His favourite, Japanese and Mango. Again, I didn't use the usually Japanese short grain rice, just normal Thai fragant rice and I did my own sushi vinegar using the following ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
The ingredients I used for the maki are (Japanese) Cucumber, Avocado, (sweet) Tamago, Kani, Tobiko and (Japanese) Mayonaise. Want my son to eat a lot and fast? Serve him maki. ;)

Egg Dumpling

Have you ever cook a dish so often, like at least twice a week, till are are so sian (bored) of it? My kids can ask me to make this every other day. OMG! Don't they get tired of eat it so often? Even I'm tired of cooking it. :P I beggged them once not to 'order' that and was surprised they agreed. BUT they didn't finished the replacement dish and asked if they could have it the next day. *roll eyes* Since the problem lies with me being bored of making it sooooo often, I decided to change the presentation. It's basically STILL the same thing except the outlook is different. ;) This could work, I told myself. ;) For this verision, instead of spreading the fish paste on the egg, you place it on the middle of the egg. After that, gently pick-up the edge of the egg and gently tie it with a spring onion. Oh, you have to blanch the spring onion to soften it first otherwise it will 'break' when you try to tie a knot. (see above illustration) Then, place the egg dumplings on an oiled dish and have it steamed for 15 minutes or till cooked. You can prepare a simple sauce to pour over it if you like. Otherwise, serve immediately. Ps. My kids said it tasted like the orignal but looked so different, they still prefer the orignal and want to have it the next day! *faint* At least I tried. ;P

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Lunch Box #4

I managed to get the Sakura Denbu that my son loves so much on Sunday. Needless to say, I used it on my next cooking for him. :) I made tri-colour rice balls using regular rice. I just add 1/2 a cup more water to make the rice more moist so it fluffy and sticky. The one in green is coated with seaweed, white is plain and pink, Denbu of course. A friend told me that NTUC has this chicken nuggets that came in various shapes. I bought a box last week and had include that in the lunch box. I didn't find it tasty and of all the shapes, I could only recognize the heart. Hmmm ... luckily, I bought only 1 box. :) The little blue bottle contains tomato sauce for the nuggets. The veggie is just blanched Kai Lan with sesame seed. I'm using a Maggie soy sauce with sesame seed oil for the the seasoning. Everything was wiped off by my son except for the veggie and 1 of the seaweed rice ball which were finished off by my daughter. Seaweed and Kai Lan are a few of her favourite veggies. ;) In case, you didn't know. Both my kids have opposite taste. Whatever that is in my son's hate list is usually in my daughter's favourite list. *slap forehead*

Monday, November 3, 2008

Snapper in Tomato Sauce

The is one of the easier fish dish I did during my husband's fish eating days. He always have it with his bowl of rice but for the rest of us, we would sometimes have it with noodle. Just like spaghetti. ;) If you are rushing for time and want a quick and healthy dinner. This is it. Ingredients:
  • 300g Snapper Fillet or white fish
  • 1 medium Onion, diced
  • 400g Canned Diced Tomatoes
  • 2/3 teaspoon Sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 20ml Water
  • 1/2 tablespoon Cooking Oil
How to do it:
  1. Heat oil in wok.
  2. Add in the onion and saute till soften.
  3. Add in all ingredients excluding fish and salt.
  4. Bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce to a simmer and add in the fish.
  6. Cover the wok and continue simmering for 5 to 10 mins till fish is thoroughly cooked.
  7. Add salt to taste.
  8. Dish and serve.