have you ever had this nagging feeling of what to cook whenever a festive season is around the corner? what mood do i want to create? i want it to be different but not too overwhelming for my guests....who am i inviting? what is the occasion? are they adults or children? big eaters or mousy eaters? well there is room for everyone... read on.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Stir Fry Greens

Stir fry greens is one of the easiest dishes to whip up. Most vegetables can be cooked this way. The best thing is a variety of greens and vegetables can be used and this dish can never, never be boring. In fact, the selection of vegetable I used for this dish is my favourite Peking Cabbage (very crunchy), dried wood fungus (for color and good for blood circulation), sugar snap peas (sweet), baby long beans (also very crunchy), carrots (vitamin for the eyes) and a bunch of enoki mushrooms (chewy and gathers gravy). Wash and rinse how ever much greens you need and drain. Soak wood fungus in some hot water for 10 minutes. Tear cabbage and wood fungus into bite size pieces. Slice carrots in thin rings. Peel off the sides (thread like) of the sugar snap peas and baby long beans. Chop off the ends of the enoki mushrooms and rinse well. 1 Tbsp chopped garlic 2 Tbsp oyster sauce A dash of Hsao Shing fragrant rice wine 1 tsp cornflour (diluted in a little water) Sea salt to taste
  1. Heat wok and drizzle some olive oil and add in garlic. Stir quickly to avoid garlic from burning.
  2. Throw in the carrots, followed by the rest of the vegetables except enoki.
  3. Add oyster sauce and stir. Add some hot water and continue to stir.
  4. Add enoki and stir another 2 minutes before drizzling in the cornflour mixture and rice wine.
  5. Salt to taste.
Note : Never over fry greens cos they will turn limp and chewy. I like them fresh, crunchy and fragrant! Wok must be very hot when putting in vegetables.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Tomato Egg Drop Soup

Simple as it sounds, this is a nutritious clear soup fit for everyone. Most likely originated from mainland China, this delicious wonder has found its way to my home and placed itself comfortably on my dining table and has never left since. This recipe serves 4 persons. Stock 1 whole chicken breast with bone (blanche in boiling water to rid impurities) 2 litre of filtered water 3 cloves garlic (washed, whole) 2 piece of 1 inch old ginger (smashed) Ingredients 3 medium size plum red tomatoes (blanche and skin and seeds discarded - cut flesh into small cubes) 2 soft square tofu (cut into small tiny cubes) 1 egg Method
  1. Bring water to boil in a soup pot.
  2. Put in garlic, ginger and chicken breast.
  3. Simmer for 40 minutes. Leave aside covered on the stove.
  4. Just as about to dine, strain stock (discard chicken breast, garlic and ginger) and bring to boil.
  5. Drop in tomato and tofu cubes.
  6. Boil for 5 - 8 minutes. Beat the egg and slowly drizzle it into the boiling soup. (cloud effect)
  7. Cut off heat. Season with sea salt and serve.
  8. Garnish with chopped spring onions or chopped coriander leaves. (Optional)
  9. If preferred and thicker soup, just dissolve 1 Tbsp cornflour in normal temperature water and add to simmering soup until it begins to thicken.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Braised Pork Belly and Baby Pig Intestines

I am utterly dissapointed with my internet service provider STREAMYX! Just as I was about to press SAVE and PUBLISH my post ... I lost all connectivity. What great timing! Anyway, here goes my post again ...... waste of precious time! It has been a while since I last had this succulent braised baby pig intestine dish. Cooked almost the same way as "Tau Yu Bak" (Braised Pork Belly in Soya Sauce) except for a longer list of ingredients which makes it a mouth-watering authentic dish for any special occassion. As for me, the occassion today is "EAT" for I have been very discipline with my food intake for the last 2 weeks consecutively. I was on my 'Steamboat Diet' together with my whole family. Oiless, Carboless and redmeatless.... I survived and feeling very much refresh and rejuvenated.

Ingredients A 400 gm pork belly (the leaner part with skin, blanche in boiling water) 2-3 bunches of baby pig intestines (blanche in boiling water) 4 hard boiled eggs (shelled) 1 can of abalone (sliced thinly and retain juice in can for stock) 6 dried chinese mushrooms (wash and soak in hot water for 10 minutes, retain water) 100 ml hot water sea salt to taste 1 cup brandy (approx. 150 ml) Ingredients B grapeseed oil 2 star anise 5 cloves 3 cloves garlic (smashed with skin) 1 cinnamon stick 8 black peppercorns (crushed slightly) 1 large dried oyster (rinsed throughly and chopped finely) 4 Tbsp scallop sauce or oyster sauce Dark soya sauce Light soya sauce

Heat oil in wok and put in all of the Ingredient B, mushrooms and pork belly. Flip pork belly until seared then add mushroom water and bring to simmer for 10 minutes. Then add hot water and simmer for another 20 minutes. Pour in the abalone juice and put in the intestines (whole bunches) and eggs, simmer for another 15 minutes. Sea salt to taste. Leave to sit in the gravy for 1/2 a day and just heat up before serving.

For a thicker gravy-like braise, thicken with a tsp of cornflour dissolved in filtered water. Pour in, stir and heat up before serving.

To serve, slice pork belly into bite size pieces, trim intestine into smaller bunches, pour in brandy and garnish with sliced abalone.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Strawberry Pie

Who says 'covenience' doesn't taste good? I happened to have a pack of Pampas Shortcrust Pastry sitting patiently in the corner of my freezer and a tub of ready-made strawberry pie filling in my fridge. Put them both together and pop it in the oven. Strawberry pie in a jiffy!
Sometimes, I take it easy and make full use of 'ready-made food'. Having a dose of comfort food doesn't mean hours of sweating in the kitchen. This should be great news for those who love fruity pies and too darn lazy to make from scratch!
  1. Take Pampas shortcrust pastry out from freezer and leave to thaw in the fridge overnight.
  2. Roll out pastry in between 2 pieces of greaseproof paper or parchment paper. Always roll outwards from the centre.
  3. When pastry is approximately 1 cm or 3/4 cm thick (evenly), place on a round oven proof plate.
  4. Pour strawberry pie filling in the centre and fold in the pastry sides.
  5. Pop into a pre-heated oven at 190 degrees celcius for 10 minutes and cover with foil and bake another 5 minutes.
  6. Take pie out of the oven and cool. If preferred, sift some powdered sugar on the pastry at the sides and serve with coffee.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Pig's Trotter with Old Ginger and Vinegar

Post-Natal Diet
Many new mothers, this generation prefer not to practice the 100 days confinement diet whereas there are many who still take this opportunity to sit back and be pampered, following only certain restrictions dictated only by ourselves and no one else. I am one of those products!
In fact, I have my own mom and darling hubby to thank greatly for taking great care of me during this time of deserved pampering. The first thing I did when I found out I was expecting was not to run out to get a cute infant romper but to plan a long list of what I was going to eat for my 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimester! I was that determined when it came to food. Sadly, eventhough I did not have morning sickness throughout my pregnancy, I had no special cravings for food altogether. I ate pretty much of anything except for chicken, just could not imagine the taste. Thank God! sometime during my 2nd trimester everything changed, I just must have char-grilled steaks, huge bowls of oats, Ramly burgers and extra creamy cakes. Boy! did I enjoy those times!
Some new-mothers simply did not enjoy confinement food but as for me I was overjoyed with every single meal served. Food was so, so, so appetising during this period of time. I remember eating so much and so fast. I secretly wish it could have gone on like this forever! Here is a popular 'confinement diet' consumed to nourish the body back to perfect health after delivery.
Pig's Trotter with Old Ginger and Vinegar
1 pig's trotter (front trotters preferred)
1 kg old ginger, washed and smashed with skin on
8 hard boiled eggs
5 Tbsp sesame oil
600 ml black vinegar
300 ml sweet vinegar or 200 gm brown sugar
500 ml filtered water
  1. Have the butcher clean and chop the trotter into big pieces.
  2. Blanche the trotter in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes. Drained.
  3. Heat sesame oil in a wok and fry ginger till golden brown and fragrant.
  4. Put in the trotter in the wok and brown the pieces slightly. Take the trotter pieces out and set aside in a plate.
  5. Transfer ginger, sesame oil into a claypot. Pour in the black vinegar and the sweet vinegar. If no sweet vinegar, brown sugar will do. (you may vary with the vinegars or sugar, as per your own taste).
  6. Bring to boil and gradually add the filtered water. Simmer the ginger for 30 minutes and add in the trotter pieces. Continue to simmer for 40 minutes to 1 hour. Make sure trotter still springy and not all soft. Take out all the trotter pieces, cool and refrigerate overnight in a glass bowl covered in a cling wrap. (Do not use plastic bowl. Plastic and vinegar don't get on very well)
  7. Put the shelled hard boiled eggs into the vinegar gravy and cover. Let it sit overnight in room temperature.
  8. Next morning, add trotter pieces into the vinegar gravy and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with steamy hot rice.
Black vinegar - purifies blood and cleanses the arteries of stale blood. Old ginger - gets rid of wind in the body. Brown sugar - rids dampness in the body. Sesame oil - promotes blood circulation. Collagen in the pig trotters - to strenghen joints and ligaments. Eggs - to nourish the body.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Wholemeal French Toast

Lazy morning breakfast!
8 slices of wholemeal bread cut into half.
3 fresh low cholesteral eggs (slightly beaten)
50 ml fresh milk
20 ml filtered boiled water
Brown organic sugar
Grapeseed oil
  1. Heat a non-stick frying pan and drizzle in some grapeseed oil.
  2. Mix the slightly beaten eggs together with milk and water. Whip vigorously with a fork. Set aside.
  3. Dunk the bread into the egg mixture until it is evenly coated on both sides.
  4. Quickly place the bread on the hot pan. Repeat until pan has no more space left for another slice of bread. (Usually 3 - 4 slices) Turn bread over when the bottom side is slightly brown. When both sides are golden brown (golden brown does not mean burnt!) Lower down the heat and sprinkle sugar on both sides of the bread. Flipping them from side to side and quickly take them off the heat. (slightly tricky here ... practice makes perfect!)
  5. Wipe away the oil and sugar left in the pan with kitchen paper towels and repeat the process all over again.
  6. There are many ways to prepare "French Toast" but I like mine with enough egg mixture and evenly coated with melted sugar. I always thought it was worth all the trouble.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Penang Char Koay Teow (Flat Rice Noodles)

The ever famous Penang Char Koay Teow, makes me salivate everytime I see or smell it! I am not a picky eater but I am real fussy about my plate of char koay teow. I remember during my school days in Convent Green Lane, there was this school canteen hawker who serves a to-die-for wet char koay teow. Hungry like a cow after school, I always must have a plate at least 3 times a week. Sometimes, I cannot wait so long and just had to have a dose of it during recess time when the canteen is usually ever so crowded. I always thought lining up for my plate of koay teow was a game of 'squeeze-in-queue' and have to say it's the survival of the most determined. I must say until todate, I am yet to savour a plate of the authentic "Convent Green Lane Canteen Char Koay Teow" as how I remembered it. Even after much attempts, I still cannot fry koay teow the exact same way. So, here my closest replica of the REAL THING.

1 packet of koay teow - rinsed in hot water to rid unwanted oil. (serves 3). Recipe will be according to 1 portion.

1 handful taugeh (beansprout), 1/2 handful garlic chives (cut to the length of beansprout), 3 peeled and deveined prawns (leave tail intact), 1 egg

2 Tbsp Chili paste, 1 Tbsp chopped garlic, dark soya sauce, light soya sauce, sea salt

Heat grape seed oil in a wok, throw in the chopped garlic and chili paste. Stir 30 seconds add prawns. Stir 1 minute and put in the koay teow, dark and light sauce and stir another minute. Put in all the sprouts and garlic chives, stir 30 seconds and push all ingredients in the wok aside. Crack an egg and stir in the free space created earlier in the wok. Slowly flip the koay teow over the quickly cooking egg. (Careful not to over stir, may cause the eggs to be too scrambled). Here, I add a little hot water to give it a wet style. (Chicken or prawn stock may be used). Salt to taste.

Note : I love my fried koay teow with large raw shelled cockles just covered with piping hot koay teow. The raw springy texture is just overwhelming! Sadly, I was very dissapointed for I could not find any fresh looking cockles in the market today and most of them look so depressingly tiny. Life has to go on with or without cockles!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

When the cook falls sick, does the food keep going?

Today is one of those days, the mind is sharp but the physical body is no where near it. Got a package deal ranging from fever, phlegm, a bit of the sniffles and sore throat. I guess I should just empty my pocket once a year and get back to the cordyceps regime for 2 months.
This is a genuine question for all you out there who is the family cook. What do you eat when you're under the weather. Too tired or sick to whip up food? Who cooks us our meals? Does that mean, the better half has to pack food home? or do we still have to drag ourselves to the kitchen and make porridge with ikan bilis soup to nourish ourselves back to health? Just curious.
Anyway, this post is concentrated towards the accompanying vegetables more than the pork chops itselves. I have used the same pork chop recipe found in one of my posts in August 2006 "Pork Chop Stack".
As you can see in the photograph, there is this small green cabbage-like vegetable which I cut into wedges and stir-fried with some yellow capsicum and red bell peppers. This small cabbage is actually our locally grown brussel sprouts. It's a lot lighter, crispier and crunchier compared to it's original imported counterpart. I prefer this specie, it's sweet and easy on my digestive system. In fact, this combination of vegetables brings out the best flavour in the pork chops.
I devoured my meal with 2 slices of wholemeal bread and a tall glass of icy cold plain water. Satisfying!
Note : I had this meal sometime last week not today.
About Me  
I'm Audrey from Somewhere in my kitchen, Malaysia.

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