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Showing posts from February, 2006

Soto

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I have switched from supermarket grocery shopping to wet market shopping in these recent weeks. I found that if I am going to cook oriental dishes, ingredients are available in abundance. For example, when I was reading a recipe which calls for fenugreek for making curry, I had a hard time finding that in the supermarket spice shelf. In the end, I spotted one bottle and shelled out $5.75 for a tiny bottle. Only to find out that in the wet market, Indian spice stall was selling the spice for a mere $0.50!!! So, I paid $5.25 tuition fee.

While I was at the Indian spice stall, I overheard a Malay lady ordering a packet of soto rempah (spice mix). Ah-huh! Decided to copy-cat and make soto as well! Although I have the recipe to make soto from scratch, but ordering from the Indian spice stall does makes things easier. No grinding or pounding. Just dump the whole packet of spice in and fry in oil until frangant. However, I found that the spice mix was not frangant enough. Something was still …

Pork chops and spaghetti

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Suppose to be making Mrs Lee's Pork Chops, but changed my mind when I was at Martha Stewart's website. There are quite a few recipes for pork chops and they all sound yummy (esp Lemon Parsley pork chops). But since I didn't want to step into the grocery store to pick up lemon and fresh parsley, I chose her Asian-Style Pork Chops. Pan fried the chops instead of grilling.

Verdict: The chops were too sweet for my taste. Chops turned out tender. Will probably make it again but will reduce the amount of honey.

Porky porky weekend

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After drooling over a dear friend's blog where it screamed of yummy, drool inducing dishes from Mrs Lee's cookbook. So not to be outdone, I dished up sweet and sour pork.

Sweet and sour pork has always been a favourite dish of mine since young. Maybe it’s the generous ketchup sauce (which kid doesn’t like ketchup?) on the dish, maybe it’s the crunchy boneless pork nibbles. Whatever the reason, this dish has always been a staple whenever my family dine out at some zi-char stall.

Frying is a highly avoided form of cooking in my kitchen, whenever possible, due to the post cooking clean-up. Unfortunately, hubby and I have a soft spot for deep fried stuff; we have to put up with the occasional major post cooking cleaning. This recipe calls for deep frying of the corn flour coated pork. Though mine didn’t turn out as fluffed as the picture (instead it looked more like the flattish pork chop style), it tasted good. Thought that the instructions were slightly vague; then again maybe I d…

Breaded chicken cutlets

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Made breaded chicken cutlets with my DIY breadcrumbs on Friday night. As I didn't use enough oil for frying, I had to compensate for a longer cooking time and hence the burnt crust. The cutlets turned out so-so only. I found it slightly bland and lacks the "oomph" factor despite my adding of extra hot Cayenne pepper. Maybe I didn't do something correctly. Would probably look for other recipes to try.

DIY breadcrumbs

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Loading fresh food into my fridge these days is requiring skills of a professional packer. My fridge is filled with so many things that I am left with only 3 shelves for fresh food storage. It is not like my fridge is a mini-bar fridge or the likes, but it is a decent sized one. I am completely puzzled. So I set out to raid the fridge and rid of useless stuff, if any.

What immediately caught my eyes were bags of old bread from the period of time when I have been having bread for breakfast almost everyday since it was the quickest fuss-free food to my busy morning routine. Geez ... I was fully expecting it to be mouldy enough for a science project, but hey, they were still fine and in edible condition. Racked my brains to think of what I could make of it. Bread pudding? Nah, my underwriter (aka hubby) won't like pudding stuff. Cracking my brains furthur ... Breadcumbs! For making those crunchy golden brown medallion of pork cutlets or tempura. Yes, hubby would love that! So a quick …

In the mood for .... curry chicken

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After a few consecutive days of crock pot stews (read: ang-moh stews), I can see that hubby is beginning to show less enthusiasm on what's for dinner. Given that he is an oriental food lover, that is to be expected. So its back to my trusty Mrs Leong cookbook once again.

Since a few months back, I have started including whole chicken in my grocery shopping list everytime cos I find that it is so flexible to cook. On lazy days, we would just dunk the whole fella in boiling water of ginger and sprigs of spring onions to make hainanese chicken rice. And on days when I feel more up to it (like today), I would make a more fanciful dish out of it. So a quick flip of Mrs Leong cookbook, and I spotted Chicken Coconut Curry. For a heart stopping (literally, cos the recipe calls for 455ml of coconut milk!) moment, I thought that I didn't have all the ingredients on hand! But what's the omission of 4 kaffir lime leaves gonna make to the dish? For naught, I tell ya! The dish turned out…

Buttermilk, buttermilk, how to use thee? (con't)

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To save that poor forlorn-looking carton of buttermilk from being dumped without ever being opened, I set out on a mission to scour for a nice recipe using buttermilk. I know that buttermilk makes wonderful pancakes (imagine McDonald's hotcakes), and read that other foodies swore by buttermilk for that fluffy pancakes. So off I went, clicking away for a recipe that would use the whole carton of buttermilk that I have instead of part of it (cos it's expiring today!). Hey, presto! I found a recipe at Martha Stewart website. It's called the Best Buttermilk Pancakes, and sure enough it was really the best that I have tasted! Yummy!! No more visits to McDonald's for hotcakes when I can make such delicious jewels at home.
Dairy Farmers Buttermilk, 600ml S$3.75 (available at Cold Storage)

Buttermilk, buttermilk, how do I use thee?

During grocery shopping many sunny days ago, I came across a neat row of blue miniature milk cartons. Upon closer look (note: I don't usually wear glasses while grocery shopping), I realised that they were actually packets of buttermilk. I was like: "Ooh... so this is buttermilk, huh?" Without much thinking of how to use it, I just dumped it into our shopping cart. And now the forlorn little blue carton is sitting in my fridge waiting to be called upon for mission, but I still am clueless what I am to do with it. =sWhat is buttermilk? According to The New Food Lovers' Companion : Buttermilk of times past was the liquid left after butter was churned. Today it is made commerically by adding special bacteria to nonfat or lowfat milk, giving it a slightly thickened texture and tangy (reads: sour) flavour.

Cook book addict

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Yay!! As promised a few weeks ago, hubby finally haulled us to Kinokuniya yesterday and bought a copy of Mrs Leong's cookbook for me! Whilst we were there, I spotted a book that I have been contemplating on buying. And what's more, was that the book was much cheaper than buying from Amazon. What a boon! The book is From Julia Child's Kitchen . I first saw this book in the library and borrowed it. After flipping through the first few chapters, I told hubby that I must absolutely own one. Why? I don't know. Perhaps since she is such an icon in the culinary world, I must have one of her books too to look like I am a serious home cook. =)

Mushroomy beef stew

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It has been donkey years since I have visited the library. I still remember the time when the library was still using paper card system (ie. to borrow a book you need to bring along your paper cards when you visit the library). Gone were those days and now the library has an impressive system that even allow you to search books by location! I have borrowed a couple of good books from the library and hard pressed for time to read them all. And I am only allowed to renew them once, which I had already did! Can't bear with part with good books. *sob*Well, one of the books that I foraged from the library was this 150 Best Slow Cook Recipe by Judith Finlayson. I had already made the vegeterian Cheesy Mushroom and Spinach casserole and it was yummy! Very rich and extremely satisfying. Pity I didn't take any photo, but even if I had done so, I don't think it would look as good as it taste and smell. And yesterday we made the East-West Roast Beef with Shitake Mushroom sauce (East-…

Wantonly filled wan-ton

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Wanton is extremely easy to prepare. Just marinate minced pork with soy sauce, pepper and sesame oil and you will have a wonderful base filler. For a more fanciful filling, diced re-hydrated dried shitake mushrooms, diced crunchy water chestnuts, julienned black wood fungus, whole fresh scallops may be added. The filled wantons may then be either fried, boiled or steamed.

As we have gone on a few days without a soup (being cantonese, we both have an unsatiable appetite for soup), I decided to make wanton soup for dinner. Using the pre-marinated filling, wrapping up the wantons was done in a matter of minutes. Dropped the filled wantons into boiling water and watch it float when cooked through. We added blanched spinach to our jade noodle wanton soup to make a quick and healthy dinner.

Fudgy chocolate brownie

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After watching My Lovely Samsoon (Korean drama serial), I have a gnawing urge to bake something. What's the connection between the Korean drama and baking, you ask? Well, the lead female patissier (i.e. specializing in making French pastry) and that made me think of baking a couple of things myself.
Since its my mommy dearest's birthday tomorrow and my sis wasn't able to order a cake in time, I thought this would be a good execuse to bake a cake! Yay!! Quickly dug out my Martha Stewart Baking Handbook and thumbed it through for a nice chocolately cake. Voila! Found that I have all the ingredients for this brownie recipe (erm.. almost all lah, cos turned out that I ran out of plain flour and had to substitute it with self raising - so what if my brownie is slightly higher??!!). Yipee! Dumped heapfuls of ground almonds into it before baking cos I know my mum would like that addition.
Well, the end product did smell wonderful when it came out of the oven, but I think it looked…

Nonya fish curry

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Its time to showcase my other local cookbook: New Mrs Lee's Cookbook (Straits Heritage Cuisine). Maybe when I am good enough, I will also publish my own book calling it Mrs Cheong's Kitchen Hazards (just as well I won't be using my maiden surname).
I (yes, this time round c'est moi at the stove) made the fish curry cos I am trying to find a way to slip more of those slimmy, colon lubricating veggies into my diet. Since I can't fry up a good lady's finger sambal dish, so made this instead.
I used evaporated milk instead and it turned out ..... healthy tasting. =?

Braised pork in dark soya sauce (Lor Bak)

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For some unknown reason, hubby is crazy about all things soy based (eg. tofu, tau-kwa, tau-pok, foo-chok, tim-chok, etc). So to make him one happy man, I decided to ask hubby (yeah, that's the irony) to make braised pork in dark soya sauce and dump in most of the above (except tofu, of course). The recipe I used came from Mrs Leong Yee Soo's The Best of Singapore Cooking, kindly loaned to me by my father-in-law. It turned out wonderful except that since he wanted to throw in tau-kwa et al, so he had to double the cooking liquid. Hmm... he is getting better and better at cooking already!Now he is all the more convinced that I should own the book myself! Yay!! Another book to add to my already massive collection of cookbooks. (^.^)

Cheese and bacon scones

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Scones are such wonderful treats. Compared with other baked goods (with the exception of plain white bread), scones uses very little fat. These jewels taste especially good when just out of the oven.

Although I prefer my scones to be either plain or sweet, I detected that hubby was hopeful that I would roll out something savoury. So into the mixing bowl went the shredded cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon. With the amount of these two ingredients called for by the recipe, the scones turned out quite plain tasting with the occassional spots of bacon. Guess I was expecting a cheesy and meaty scone, but it turned out otherwise.

Beef char kuay teow

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After all our grocery shopping bags are gone (which is hubby's indicator that its time for grocery shopping), we made our way to Carrefour and bought enough for us to make THREE trips to the car to retrive our grocery. =/ And no, Carrefour is NOT having a sale.
Bought a nice slab of rib eye steak and made our first beef char kuay teow. Its not the thick gravy type dished out by the zi-char stalls, instead its closer to the cholestrol laden char kuay teow. Dry with beefy taste. Only thing to improve on was that the kuay teow caked together after being blanched. Other than that, hubby did a good job of being the zi-char man. (^.^)