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Showing posts from March, 2010

Braised Pork Belly

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豚の角煮 During my primary school days, my mom, who walks us to school everyday, would buy a snack for us either enroute to school or home. Some times it would be a curry puff from the Indian shop a few blocks away from my place or a sugar coated doughnut fresh from the bakery next to it. When I was feeling really hungry, I would ask for a steamed cha shao bun or a bun with a piece of braised pork belly stuffed inside it. I'm referring to the less glam version of this ... (picture taken from this website)Over the years, I have been brain-washed by all the media about how unhealthy it is to eat meat laced with fats, especially cuts such as the pork belly. I can't ever recalling I had even cooking pork belly before. Oh, how maligned the pork belly must have felt when being passed over at the supermarket shelves for its leaner counterparts. Think I have gone gaga? Well, it is possible, but hold your judgement until you read this:"Animal fats have lots of good fatty acids that fi…

Japanese Theme

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It seems like a no brainer in the selection of my second book to devote another month. To get everyone to like what's on the table, the basic criteria is that it must be Asian theme. So this month's cookbook is The Encyclopedia of 200 Delicious Japanese Styled Dishes.

I had probably bought this book from Japan during one of my trips last year but had not really tried any dish from it. One of the reason being that some of the popular Japanese recipes are so ubiquitous in almost every good Japanese cookbook I have. So don't be surprised to see some repetitions from my previous Japanese foray in this blog this month. But of cos, the auxiliary reason for this little project is to tingle with new foods, so I will try to cooking something different and interesting.

Yesterday I made two dishes from it. I think I like to start with a big bang.

肉じゃが(picture taken from this website)Please excuse me while I borrow photos from all over the place. I will try to remedy that by taking photo…

Cooking Games

Thanks for my brother for downloading Cooking Mama game into his iPhone, I am totally hooked. So much so that I am pleading Hubby to get the Nintendo Wii so that I can play the full version. It is crazy.

But until that day comes, I have found myself some interesting sites for fun cooking games.

Cooking Mama (not the authentic one)

Cooking Games (a whole list to choose from!)

Spongebob Square Pants Games (some of them are cooking related such as Krabby Patties and Tasty Pastry Party; I love Spongebob!!)

Have fun!!

Kimchi Fried Rice

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The weather is indeed gone awry. Just a week ago, the endless scorching heat of the day is enough to send everyone into freezer rooms to seeking relief. But these few days, when it rains, it is a blizzard of rainfall.

I had just put away all those turtle-necks and knitted wear, only to dig them out again this morning as the sky turn an ominous gray.

(picture taken from Serious Eats)
As it was raining when I picked up my little princess, I had no mind to go grocery shopping and all my energy, or what's left of it for a Monday, was focused solely on getting home and crawling under the quilt.

So when I got a msg from Hubby saying that he is ravenous and he is going to fly home as soon as he can leave office, it was as if he just pushed my panic button. What's for dinner???!!!

As always, necessity is the mother of all invention. I dug deep into the freezer and fridge and managed to gather enough to make a decent dish of kimchi fried rice.

Fried rice is always easy to make and this one…

Round Up Of 1st "Cooking The Cookbooks"

Now that we have come to the end of my first Cooking The Cookbooks, I just want to put down some thoughts on this mini project.

What??!! It's been a month? Yeah, time passes quickly when you are having fun.

Choice Of Book

If I am evaluating this book solely on by merits on the quality of the recipes, this book is definitely chock full of delicious and workable recipes. Except for that clam chowder.

But if I evaluate the suitability of this book for my family taste buds, I can't say that it fare that well. Since our little princess had voiced out that she would very much want her regular rice for dinner henceforth. Sigh ... But at least I got her to eat the beef stew.

So now I am pondering on the selection criteria for my next book to cook. Japanese?

Favourite Recipe

I would definitely choose Chicken Salad with Mango, Avocado and Citrus Dressing. Main dish salad as well as a fruit salad. All my favourite foods rolled into one.

Last Thoughts

Cookbooks are definitely worthy investments. I…

Chicken Francese

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I have never heard of this dish before and there wasn't a single picture in the book of the finished product. If I had my brains on stand-by mode, a search on the internet would have answered one part of the uncertainty. The ingredient list looks simple and concept sounds vaguely familiar. Pan frying the floured cutlets and serve over sauce. Sounds do-able enough to me.
This dish bridge the adult food and the kiddy food realms. Our little princess ate it without the lemony butter sauce and declared it edible. Phew! With all the pepper I had dumped into the flour, I wasn't quite sure she would even swallow it.
The chicken breasts were tender inside it's crunchy coat. And the lemon butter sauce was tangy and perfect with it.

All-American Potato Salad

While watching "Chef At Home" on Asia Food Channel, this was what transpired ...

Hubby: "Hmm ... What's he making?"

Me: "Gnocchi, I think."

Hubby: "Really?"

Me: "Yeah, baked potatoes, flour and eggs. What else could it be?"

Hubby: "I don't know. He made it looked so easy to make. Maybe mashed potatoes?"

Me: "It's his job to convince you that it is. Look at those baked potatoes. I need some potatoes now!"

With that, I bounced off the sofa, zipped into the kitchen and rummaging through my pantry bin. Russet potatoes. Perfect.

By the time I re-emerge from the kitchen with a bowl of cream potato salad, the TV screen has been switched to CNBC.

Hubby: "What do you have there?"

Me: "Want some?"

Hubby: "Wow, creamy. Give me some more."

Me: (With eyes still on the CNBC screen) "The number is up again."

Hubby: "(Mistaking my reference to the Dow Jones) "Yeah, it has been up fo…

Hearty Slow Cooker Beef Stew

This blog has seen quite a number of stews and it is not stopping there. I love stews. I can't explain why. Someone, I once met, told me there's no need to go ga-ga over a bowl of mashy meat and vegetables. But that bowl of mashy meat and vegetables describes comfort and nostalgia. It is something that I would start searching when life goes awry, which is pretty much every alternate days now.

When I was growing up, my mom would make a big pot of stew with potatoes and carrots in it almost every week. Once the stew was done, she would haul up all the ingredients and then mash everything up with a fork to make a huge mould of yummy mash. Holding our spoons in eager anticipation, we would stand around the table waiting to dig in. But, hang on, ... That's the best part of it?? Of course not!! Stir in a generous helping of Brovil. Real beef Brovil, mind you. We were a bunch of happy kids sitting at the table wolfing down our moulds of mash and sipping the wonderful broth.

The st…

Gastric Flu

Down with a mild case of gastric flu and the kitchen will be closed for few days.

In the meanwhile, I am huddling on the bed with:

Secret Ingredients

Home Cooking

The Best Food Writing 2009

Next up from Cooking the Cookbooks: Hearty Slower Cooker Beef Stew.

Braised Sole Provencal - Redux

After picking up my little princess, I decided on a whim to bring her exploring Leisure Park near Kallang Stadium after hearing about the ample parking for doing grocery shopping at Cold Storage. Ahh ... the newfound freedom of the car after my mental block.

So what's up at Leisure Park?

The first thing we did was plonking down at YoGuru and gulping down the frozen yogurt as fast as our teeth could withstand the chill. S$3.30 for the smallest and S$1.20 per topping. Not too bad, but definitely not the best that I've had.

Next, we wondered around the shops and found a Korean grocery-cum-stationery-cum-cosmetics shop. All things from Korea!! Pricing was a bit steep in my opinion but they offer quite a wide variety.

Amongst other things, there are cinema, ice skating ring, bowling alley, Watson's, KFC, Subway, CoffeeBean and, of cos, Cold Storage. The place was quite empty for a Friday afternoon.

So before leaving, we popped in at Cold Storage and picked up a few items for dinner.…

Blueberry Scones

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What do parents do when they have frisky 4-year-old on hand who doesn't want to go down for a nap?
My answer to that is to do baking. No complicated whisking or folding. No need to wait for a second rise. Doesn't even need to butter any pan. Just simple stir and dump.
Actually the best stir-and-dump candidate is the muffins, but I think that the last blueberry muffins are still fresh on our minds.
I love scones. Especially light and cakely ones, still warm from the oven. The amount of butter used in scones are definitely much less than muffins and I am surprised why Michael Rulhman didn't include it into his book Ratio since they both share the same ingredients.
It took less than an hour from start to sitting down and munch. That was slightly too speedy isn't it when the objective was to kill time.
With blueberries threatening to pop out from each one of these scones, they make delightful snack anytime of the day. Although these don't look much of a resemblance to t…

Shrimp Jambalaya

With roughly another two more weeks to go on this month's Cooking The Cookbooks, I still have a few more shortlisted recipes to try.

Apart from the main challenge of getting our little princess to eat the recent strange foods, the other challenge I have encountered so far is that this book is not an exhaustive tome like Joy of Cooking or The Gourmet Cookbook. Craving for a blueberry scone or something Thai? Sorry, not this book.

Then comes the tough questions: Will I ever cook from this book again after this month? If not, am I going to junk the book?

Let's cross the bridge when we come to it, alright?

Recipe #6 happened to be Shrimp Jambalaya which was something that I had done before from another cookbook. Jambalaya is not hard to make except trying to avoid turning out a pot of soggy mushy rice. I deem myself as a rather decent cook who is able to turn out a pot of fluffy rice when called to task. But this Jambalaya was a whole different kettle of shrimp!

Cooked with all the sau…

Chinese Food At Last

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Dinner at home these days must have been a very bizzare from the view point of our little princess. She must be wondering what's happening to all her favourite foods. Now she eyes the food on the dinner table with suspicion. So I thought maybe I should take a break and cook something for her which she could relate to.


Ever cooked with century eggs (皮蛋) before? Guess there is a first time for everything. Century eggs and salted duck eggs included. Thanks to Betty Saw's Asian Retro Food.

It was a tofu dish but the tofu was completed covered by all the ingredients over it. *grin* As the yolk of the century egg was discarded, its taste was only very subtle. Good to go with porridge.


This dish is riddiculously easy to put together. So quick and easy, that I could still hold a reasonably intelligent conversation with Hubby while doing the prep. I'm going to bookmark this dish for occasions when my brains are fried.

30-Minute Clam Chowder

If you were here last November, then most probably you would have read my 30 Minute Cookbooks ranting. Then why would I cook a 30-Minute Clam Chowder? Because clam chowders can be done in 30 minutes. Long way or otherwise. I remembered doing one from Joy of Cooking, but obviously I didn't post it here.

I love clam chowders but am afraid to eat them outside after many watery or stale versions. And don't get me started on those canned ones. Absolute hellish.

This recipe is a complete waste of time and money. Well, even though this is from my favourite cookbook producer, shit happens. Just like their carrot cake. But that's another story. The chowder turned out to be too briny (perhaps use of so much clam juice).

Hubby: "Wow ... Did you dropped the whole jar of salt in it?"

Me: "No." *grinding my teeth*

Hubby: "Then what's in it?"

Me: "Clam juice." *still grinding my teeth*

Hubby seems to sensed my seething anger decided to retreat to safe…

Poached Shrimp Salad with Avocado and Grapefruit

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Do you think of Sunday as the beginning of the week or end? I have always view it as the end of a week. Last day to get homework done. Last day to rest before work starts. Last day to repent for all the gastronomical sins of the week past.

I've noticed my copy of The Best of America's Test Kitchen 2007 is starting to show signs of use - water spots, spills and crimps, when I flipped through it looking for anything to cook. Guess that's a good gauge if a cookbook is worth it's cost.

Salad. Somehow that word gives me a negative connotation. It makes me feel like eating one is equivalent to depriving myself of an otherwise wonderful meal experience (opportunity cost, if you will) or inflicting a punishment upon myself for having indulged in sinful food (think of the scene from The Da Vinci Code about the crazy monk). It is just my brain wiring. It cannot be undone.

No matter how big a portion a salad turns out to be or how much protein is in it, it will not do as a main cour…