Thursday, 26 January 2012

Dragon Year

Today is the 4th day of Chinese New Year. For those who didn't know, it actually goes on for 15 days. 15 days of celebration with food, food, food and more food!

I did a count for Mr. and this year his 8th consecutive Chinese New Year away from his family. Not too bad for me but this year I missed home a lot. Why? A sign of getting old??

Pineapple Tarts
I also managed to get more organised and made some Chinese New Year goodies and cooked a few dishes for Reunion Dinner. Finally had more than a week break during Christmas period and I started making my 1st batch of Pineapple Tarts using the late Mrs Leong's recipe.

Pineapple tarts is a must for me every Chinese New Year. Without fail I will make sure to make some for self consumption. Mr. love them. It's not hard to make but just very time consuming especially on the jam. I always cooked the jam the day before and fridge it before used.

This has make making pineapple jam so much easier! I'm glad mum & dad made me bring it back from SG
Me granting fresh pineapple using a very antique tool which I bought back to Melbourne during my most recent trip home. Not too sure is it available in SG as it's from Malacca. Super handy tool and made granting a lot easier and fast! I used to had this process but not anymore :D

Ready for oven, 1st batch
1st batch of pineapple tarts consist of 6 medium size pineapples and managed to end up with more than 140 of tarts. I shared most of it with friends and keeping about 30 tarts for self consumption.

I did a 2nd batch the weekend before Chinese New Year again for some friends which missed out on the 1st batch and more for self consumption. This time round, I used Little Teochew's recipe for the base.

In comparison, Mrs Leong's base is firmer not as sweet while Miss Teochew is more "melt in your mouth" texture. Both are as good and really depends on individual preference.

Kueh Bangkit
I tried my hand making Kueh Bangkit. I love them and haven't had them for years! Totally clueless who to make it, I went to late Mrs Leong cookbook for help again. I was having doubt how it will result. But never expect it will turn out to be hard as a rock...LOL

Making a mess
Me frying the flour for Kueh Bangkit. Did I fry it long enough? Maybe not. But I definitely made a mess. Flour all over the floor, stove and onto me. Dough was too wet and I ran out of flour. :((((
In the end, I left the mixture in the fridge. Fried more flour and continue the next day. Guess that's definitely a no-no :(((((

Kueh Bangkit mould which I'm going to try use tomorrow
Kueh Bangkit which I bought in KL. I would love a wooden mould but doubt I will be able to hid it from the strict Australia customs. Not going to even try.

Making a huge mess

Raw Kueh Bangkit
Raw Kueh Bangkit. It took me quite a while to get the hang of using the mould. The dough kept getting stuck.

Cooked Kueh Bangkit
Freshly cooked Kueh Bangkit. Nice color, smell really yummy but too hard to even bite into...LOL
Definitely going to try them again. I'm not going to give up on them but not too sure when I will succeed.

Peanut Cookies
I made these just before Chinese New Year. @eiin was very kind to share her mum's recipe and I can't resist not to give it a go. Although it's really fast and easy to make, I still went lazy and used pre-grounded peanut which I had in the pantry. One thing for sure, I will toast and ground my own peanut next time. I strongly believe it will improve the taste and smell.

Peanut cookies ready for tanning

@piggyeatalot upon your request. Same filter used

Reunion Dinner
We invited some friends to have reunion dinner together.

Yu-Sang from Red Hot Wok. This was really yummy. When we first saw how big serve this dish was, we were all afraid half of it not only to be eaten. But we all surprised ourselves because more than 90% actually went into our tummy.

For dinner, we had Yu-Sang, Prawn in Spicy Pineapple Gravy, Roast Duck and Soy Sauce Chicken, Mushroom with Broccoli and Vegetarian Fried Vermicelli. Missing on the table was Chicken Herbal Soup.

I cooked 4 dishes in total and I think I managed well. Started cooking Chicken Herbal Soup the day before and let it continue to cook in my trustable thermal pot. Took me less than 20mins to fried up the Vegetarian Vermicelli. Pounded the rempah for Chilli Prawn the day before and cooked the dish just before starting dinner. As Mushroom with Broccoli, the mushroom was braised in Chicken Soup and some seasoning a few days before and freeze till dinner day.

IMG_2401  IMG_2403

After dinner and all dishes done, another round of food started. This time round dessert: Bubur Cha ChaAgar Agar and of course Pineapple Tarts and Peanut Cookies.


How did you spend your Chinese New Year?

Thursday, 5 January 2012

New Year Day Dinner : Chicken Rice

Tonight Dinner : Chicken Rice

What did you have on the 1st day on 2012?
I had Chicken Rice which I cooked and made up the recipe according to my knowledge for this dish. I was surprised how the dish turned out. I cooked the rice, poached the chicken and the only store bought condiment was chili sauce. Initially wanted to serve the cucumber achar which I made few weeks ago but I already had sliced some fresh cucumber therefore gave up the idea.

When Cherrie saw the photo I posted on Instagram, she was very keen on trying and asked for the recipe. That triggered me of jotting it down on the blog, why not? I hadn't done it before. I had others asking how I cook particular dish and sharing it with others is good. Agree? So here it is.
Ingredient (for 2 big eaters)

- 2 Maryland
- Spring Onions, I used 3
- Ginger, about 5cm
- Garlic, 2 cloves unpeeled
- Salt, big pinch
- White Rice, 1.5 cup
- Ginger, 3cm diced ( I didn't finely diced them to make it easier for Mr. to remove them if he wants)
- Garlic, 2 cloves finely diced
- Chicken Fat
- Chicken Stock


While cleaning the chicken, remove the big chunks of fats and place it aside. Do not throw it away as it will be used to cook the rice later.

To poached chicken :
Boil a pot of water and add all the meat ingredients except the chicken. Add the chicken only after it start to boil. Turned off the fire after 10mins and leave the chicken in the hot pot. That will keep the chicken warm while rice is cooking.

To cooked rice :
With a non-stick pan on low fire, pan fry the chicken fat. This is to "squeeze" out the fat to become oil. Fat pieces will look dehydrated when all the oil get extracted. Remove the fat pieces and throw them away.
Used the freshly extracted chicken oil and fry ginger and garlic till fragrant. Then add rice and mixed everything together. Continue frying for a few minutes till all oil absored by the rice.
Transfer the rice to the rice cooker and add it chicken stock. Chicken stock used is the water that's used to poached the chicken.

Before serving, mixed some soy sauce together with sesame oil and poured it onto the cooked chicken.

Now I just need to learn how to make my own Chicken Rice Chili Sauce and it will be perfect!

Hope my instruction was clear enough :-)
If there's any way to improve it, let me know!

Friday, 2 December 2011

Still Korean if it’s not BBQ??


Z popped into town for a very short trip. Date and time was fixed for a catch up but not the venue. We left the decision to J as he seems to be very adventurous recently, eating round the whole Victoria. City? Suburb? Singapore/Malasysian? Malaymas? Straits Café? Finally Trang was decided after back and fro a few messages on watsapp. Not of us has being to Trang except for J but all are up for a try.

We rocked up earlier than scheduled. Z noticed Trang doesn't have any exhaust fan hanging above their table and commented "Don't think we'll have BBQ". Told Z it's pretty common for Korean restaurant not to provide the fan even though it offers DIY BBQ. Being to 1 very recently along Chinatown and swear never to return again. This particular Korean restaurant used gas stove and hot plate for BBQ instead of coal. In the end, food was cooked soaking in animal fats instead of being dripped/drained off. Us being attacked by the splattered hot oil while dining. Not a very pleasant experience.

I was very glad that I don't have to go thru that here at Trang because they only served cooked food. Looks like they specialised in stews which I'm not really exposed yet. We left the hardest job to J which was deciding what to order. All 5 of us do not have any dietary requirements which definitely made the job a lot easier.

We started off with Korean fish pancake. It was tasty and big chunks of fish can be found. Felt it was slightly oily but without oil, how to make the skin crispy?

Kimchi soup arrived next, how can we not have it when having Korean? It wasn't too spicy with big cubes of tofu, kimchi. Think there's also meat, slices of pork maybe (can't really remember, was too busy chit chatting instead). We ordered another as there wasn't enough to go around.

Beef ribs stew was recommended from the staff. It's a very different stew from the rest as its sweet stew and not spicy. It was very sweet! A bit too sweet for me but the rest enjoyed it. It's a dish which is different, full of beef ribs and potato. I only had a sip of the soup to try. Beside the sweetness, it was the overpower beef taste/smell which I can't tolerate.

We also had a big pot of Korean style curry chicken? No idea what's its called on the menu but all of us felt it taste very similar to Singapore/Malaysia curry chicken but less spicy and with mushrooms, spring onions but without coconut. The chicken was very tender and falls off the bone.

Every single dish except pancake contains Korean noodle,hanja. Is it a must on stews?

It looks like a very popular dining place for the Korean. Although the place is small, it was fully packed when we left and with a queue outside the restaurant. Almost all table had a gas stove with a big pot of stew on the table and every customer had a bowl of rice in hand.

Tarng on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Sushi Train Fail

Weather was hot and warm and I was too lazy to cook on a monday evening. Both of us were craving for something cold for dinner and sushi pop out of Mr. mouth. I like the idea too but where??? Majority of the Japanese restaurant closed on Mon, am I safe to say that? Some on both Sun and Mon. Can't complain much because they need their break too. Can only blame ourselves why we always crave on Japanese food on either Sun or Mon??

I came across Edomae few months ago while I was there for my hair cut. I saw the sushi train and did note the restaurant to give it a try next time. Suggested to Mr. since it's near as well. We did read the reviews on urbanspoon but still decided to give it a try even though it was bad. Never taste never know right?

We were the 4th couple when arrived. There wasn't a lot of different variety of sushi on the train. In fact quite a few dishes were all deep fried food.

Started off with Edamame which wasn't even lightly salted.

Next was spicy salmon roll. It was really spicy!!! I was suspecting whether the salmon was tinned salmon with chilli that are available in the supermarket. I made a wrong purchased before and it was too spicy to consume.

Don't really remember what type of fish this is. The fish was at room temperature and was kind of tasteless. Not fishy for sure but also doesn't taste fresh.

Unagi was very thinly sliced and rice was fully soaked with sauce. Rice roll breaks once we tried to pick it up with our chopstick. Rice roll was machine made and not handmade. Can't expect too much for the price.

Salmon was pretty tasteless again. Why?

Fried Ebi roll was done pretty well. Both of us was amazed as the few dishes before wasn't good.

Mr. ordered bubble tea which is green tea with milk. It tasted horrible! I tried it and told him to stop torturing himself. How did they manage to serve such a horrible drink??? Wonder if the waitress is attentive enough to sense something wrong when she clears the table. Doubt so!

Torched salmon sushi. Can smell the burned fish fat but why the hell dress the fish with mayonnaise? It spoiled the dish totally!

DSC09249 DSC09254Mini roe sushi. I was amazed how skinny the sushi turn out.

Mr. ordered a fried pork cutlet curry bento. It was one of the better dishes we had throughout the whole dinner. The cutlet was crispy and curry wasn't too sweet.

Suggest to go for their deep fried menu if you are dining there. Don't expect too much from their  service because it sucks! The waitress practically just dump the bento box and throw the spoon to us when serving. Definitely won't be going back again.

Edomae on Urbanspoon

2011 Birthday Present

On the eve of my birthday, I was chatting with my Sis, nephew and niece through Facetime. The kids made me a Lego birthday cake and sang me birthday song. It made me really homesick. I made me drop a few tears but I got back to normal pretty quickly as well. That's something I have to constantly adjust and get use to. Can't have everything in the world. I gain some and lose some.

Enough of all the emotion, back to happy event. Past midnight, I was still chatting with Sis and Mr. suggested I better start hunting for my present. Last year, he hid my present as well and it only took me less than a minute. That was because I knew what he was planning. Accidentally spotted him on KA website. This time round I was total clueless, I was shocked! In fact I spend 2 minutes repeating this question " You really bought me something? When did you have the time to sneak a trip to the shop?". When I finally believed him, I didn't know where to start. Although the current house is not extremely big but there's 3 rooms plus quite a bit of storage cabinets. Most important, I don't know what I'm looking for! How big or small is the present???

The kids got involved started giving me suggestion and asking where am I etc. It did take me a while as I'm expecting a small gift. Don't ask me why but that was the 6th sense at that moment. But I was wrong. The gift was huge and heavy! Definitely something from Matchbox when I spotted the wrapping style.

Same wrapping paper and ribbon as last year.

Kids were both excited when present was found and kept shouting for me to open it up quickly as they were curious too.

Did you manage to guess it right? It's a KA food processor. A kitchen appliance which being missing from my kitchen counter .

It was definitely a surprise. How did Mr. know I wanted one? I had never mention to him before. In fact I was still trying to come up enough reason to convince myself that I need one.

While admiring my new toy, Mr. again suggested to start searching for present #2. This time round I spend even more time reassuring that wasn't something he made up to give me a good work out before bedtime.

It was a lot harder to hunt for present #2. Again without knowing what I'm searching and already looked at all the highly possible areas, I hadn't left with much choices. I almost wanted to give up but Mr. said if I can't find it, it will go back to the shop :( No idea how true but I chose to believe it. Sister who was still online was helping by suggesting areas to look even though she had never being to my place before.

Finally I found present #2 hidden among all the unfolded packing boxes we had in the study room.


It's a Pasta Press attachment for my KA stand mixer!

Mr. know I being eyeing on a pasta machine and decided to buy this when he came across it at the shops. I was shocked how expensive it was when I surfed KA website the next day. Well I can't really scold him for spending so much right? Lucky it's only once a year. :P

Yesterday I finally had the time to study, learn and play with my 2 new toys. It took me awhile trying to figure out the food processor. It has a total of 3 bowls and 2 blades. A large working bowl which matches the big blade. A 4-cup small bowl which matches the small blade. What about the medium bowl? The mini blade is too small and the large blade is too big. After reading the manual at least twice, I finally figure out that the medium bowl is require only when using the shredding disc.

I made a batch of pasta. Using the food processor to make the pasta dough and the pasta press to make the pasta. I only play with 1 pasta disc out of the 6 which came with it. Felt I had too little dough to play with all. I wasn't feeling very confident too and had a Plan B as backup if I needed to.

It didn't take me long to feed all the dough thru the pasta press. 

I didn't end up with lots of pasta as well. Just enough for dinner for 2 and Mr. night supper. It tasted alright but both of us felt the pasta was a bit too thick. Not too sure because of the type or because the dough. Need to have more play to find the answer.

DSC09278 DSC09272

Pasta night

I didn't follow the basic pasta recipe from KA manual book. Came across another recipe while I was researching on the pasta press before playing and decided to try that instead. Plus it was a smaller volume recipe. I tweaked it further by using just egg yolk instead of whole egg.

Egg Pasta Recipe 
1 1/2 cups Italian '00' flour (original called for all purpose flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
100g egg yolks (original asked for 2 eggs)
1 tablespoon oil
Enough water to mixed into a dough (original didn't state water but mine seem too dry)

Monday, 21 November 2011

Red Wine Chocolate Cake, Rotweinkuchen

Chocolate and red wine, combining both my favourite sinful snack and alcohol together I know it will be silly of me to give this a miss when I saw it on Sarah's blog few weeks ago!

iPad with Sarah's recipe on the benchtop.

As my birthday falls on a Saturday and I decided to bring in a cake on Friday to share with my lovely colleagues. I bet they won't say no to a slice of red wine chocolate cake for morning tea. It's also a good chance to start the "rule" back in the office. The birthday gal or boy has to bring a cake to work for morning tea. But we kind of stopped after shifted to the new office location. Felt it's a good excuse to allow all of us to mingle around and chit chat.


Before I left to attend my weekly exercise session, I had all ingredients measured and laid on the beach top to bring down to room temperature. I did tweak the recipe slightly as I didn't have any vanilla sugar in the pantry. I never buy them therefore I substituted with vanilla extract.


Cake mixture in my newly bought bundt cake tin. It only cost me $20 from Wheel and Barrow at Doncaster Westfield. Just found out from the website that it cost double the price. Definitely a steal.


It was my 1st time using a bundt tin and was afraid I will have problem getting the cake out after baked. So I greased the tin with butter and coco powder instead of flour. White flour don't match with chocolate cake. That also explain the different colour tone on the cake surface. I was very glad that I didn't go lazy on that step because the cake just popped out straight as I over turn the cake tin.


I went all the way and glazed the cake. But I sucks at glazing :(
I didn't add enough icing sugar to the glaze, the mixture was too thin. Glaze just flow thru the cake and dripped onto the plate below. In the end, I kept scooping the glaze from the plate and spread across the cake trying to cover every single area.


Cross section of the cake. Can't really see the glaze. But it definitely didn't spoilt the taste and texture of the cake. Everybody loves it! Some just felt in love when I told them it's a red wine chocolate cake without even tasting it. M loved the crust of the surface, not sure what cause the slightly crunchy crust. The cake tin or glaze or combination of both? Some commented how moist the cake was.

This is definitely a keeper and a winner!!!

Some of my colleagues are already scratching their head what to bring on their coming birthday....hehe

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Braised Pork in Soy Sauce Bun - 扣肉包

Braised Pork in Soy Sauce,扣肉 is one of many Mr's favourite dish. Every time Mr is back in Singapore, Mummy will definitely cooks this dish for him. When I found the recipe in the late Mrs Leong Yee Soon cookbook, I was happy and determined to give the recipe a try.

  Adding into my collection
Bought a few cookbooks from Kinokuniya during our stay in Singapore. Because our baggage was so over-weighted. I hand carried all of them home to Melbourne. Am I crazy or what? Bought the whole collection (box of 6) of Mrs Leong cookbook.

Bought a beautiful piece of pork belly from Victoria market few weeks ago. Just perfect for this dish.I started cooking the night before having the dish. I tried sticking to the recipe as close as possible to accurately test the recipe. 

IMG_1924 Following it step by step. Pounding garlic and shallots as finely as possible.

Pork done! Bun next but that will be tomorrow homework After slow cooking on the stove for more than 2 hours. 

DSC09144 The next day after cooled. 

The instruction didn't state to sliced the pork and continue to cook in the sauce again but I did it as that's what Mummy always does. Letting the pork to soak in more of the amazing gravy. As I had left the dish over night to cool, a pretty thick layer of oil had formed and harden. I couldn't help to scrap and dump it away. I'm just trying to be more healthy :P

IMG_1931 Sliced pork ready to be place back into the pot of gravy. I continue to let it cook for at least another hour since I need to get busy with the bun.

As for the bun, I started mixing the ingredient and let the dough raise 1st thing in the morning. But it wasn't looking good after proofing for 2 hours. It doesn't seem to have raise double in size. In fact I don't think it had raised at all. :( I was disappointed. No idea what went wrong but I always don't have much luck when it has to deal with yeast.

That didn't stop me from continuing the next step which was splitting the big dough into hen egg size and roll them flat before brushing some oil and fold it into 2. After steaming for 15-20 minutes, it looked pretty good for a 1st timer if I may say so myself.

DSC09151 Hot steamed handmade bun

DSC09148  DSC09154
The final product

Separate the bun, place a slice of pork in between and drizzle a bit of gravy on top of the meat. All ready to be enjoy :)

I'm very happy with the flavour of the pork. Initially I was afraid the end product will be too salty as the recipe required a few tablespoons of dark soy sauce. Although it's dark soy and not light soy, there's still quite a bit of saltiness in it. I also did add a tablespoon of dark caramel sauce to sweeten the pork. This recipe is definitely a keeper and most important Mr loved it.