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Showing posts from 2013

Main Course Salads: Soba Salad with Prawns

It has been some time since I have put a salad post up here. Well, it is not that I wasn’t eating salads, but it was because I have been in some sort of salad rut. The same salads didn’t seem to bother me, but I don’t think you will have liked to read about the same things too often. However, I thought that this is wonderful combination for a salad and I must absolutely share it here. This is really easy to prepare if you have shelled prawns on hand. Just boil the prawns and soba noodles. Toss the soba noodles with a little sesame oil to prevent sticking. Make a soy-sauce based salad dressing like this or this . Half some cherry tomatoes, rip open a bag of salad vegetables and toss everything together with the salad dressing. Garnish with chopped spring onions and cilantro. I was particularly hungry that night so I made more noodles, although I would have prefer to make it healthier with more veg than carbs. Oh well, next time then. I definitely need to eat light these few da

Almost Vegetarian Steamed Buns

With primary schools closed for the whole of last week, I took time off from work to stay at home with our little princess. During the week, we did a some revision but mostly we had fun either cooking or just playing games. I don’t like study week. I dread it, in fact. Ask any JC/poly/Uni student. And if I were to call it that, I am sure our princess would come to dread it too. So we kept things light-hearted and generally just enjoying time with each other. We started off the week by making these buns for dinner. She had initially asked for pan-fried buns (生煎包) but there was not a scrap of minced meat to be found in the fridge. So I created my own filing based on whatever I could find. I had used the same dough in my previous post on Nikuman . I love the texture of this dough. The buns were light, soft, springy and the dough was easy enough for a beginner to handle. And the beginner in this case was our little princess. She was tasked to man the mixing in KitchenAid while I did

Cold Tofu with Miso-Garlic Dressing

Despite cooking and eating miso soup for innumerable times, I have to confess that there are still a lot that I don’t know much about miso. So one day at the supermarket, I decided to give the yellowish looking white miso a try. You see, I have been buying brownish looking miso since my very first pot of miso soup. And then disaster struck! Having a quick taste before adding to the soup, I found that the white miso tasted a tad too sweet for a decent pot of miso soup!  Frustrated at being denied a bowl of soup and bewildered at what exactly I ought to do with this packet of this white miso, I went digging for some answers. As it turns out, white miso is sweeter and lighter in taste, colour and texture. It is said that it is more suited for use in salad dressings, glaze and marinades! Argh … Moral of story: do your homework beforehand. Well, there is no use crying over a packet of sweet miso now. So I made a salad dressing out of it, as the first attempt to run down this 1 kg pa

Sour Cream Sandwich Bread

Since we moved to our new place, my KitchenAid has been sitting idle in the corner of my kitchen waiting for me to pay it some attention. Recently, I have been reacquainting myself with my old kitchen friends. I dug out the food processor to make Cheez-it-ish Crackers . And now I dusted the KitchenAid and dump flour into it to take this recipe from Dan Lepard’s Short and Sweet . And since I haven’t turn out a bread for so long, it is always a good idea to check if the yeast have all but given up on me. I have no intention to turn out another brick and going into another emotional tailspin . To test if the yeast are still well and alive, stir the yeast and sugar into a cup a warm water. Let it sit for 5 – 10 minutes. These yeast are good to go! I believe I did a little happy dance in the kitchen when I saw these bubbles. Is it normal for an adult to be this happy with bubbles? No? Okay, I will try to restrain myself next time. The dough came together pretty quickly in the mix

Cheez-it-ish Crackers

These days I can be heard saying that after walking this earth for a third of a century, I have had enough sugar to last me for a lifetime. In the past, … Whole chocolate bars? … No sweat. A tub of ice-cream with syrup and sprinkles? … Barely satisfying. Dressed up cakes? … Piece of cake! Candies? … Don’t let me near them. If I had known earlier that how people in the west celebrate Halloween, I would have convinced my mom that she ought to put us all, or at least me, on a packet heading there. Then recently, I was watching Wreck It Ralph with my princess and I thought to myself, I would have loved to be in such a land during my youthful days. But as years go pass, I found myself turning away from sugar land. Sugary bites which were once my main reason to live, have totally lost their appeal. I even skipped the dessert section in a buffet often. These days I seldom pick up baking books any more. Most books feature sweet bake goods prominently on their cover and/or their conten

Ochazuke (茶漬け)

I am still suffering withdrawal syndrome from my recent bout Korean drama serials. After watching more than sixty episodes of Dong Yi, it is hard not to feel otherwise. I need another distraction. Something to occupy my mind and soul. So I went back to my most favourite thing to do in this world – reading cookbooks. More precisely I was researching on more Japanese recipes in hopes to bring my cooking skills to the next level. T hrowing myself into learning to cook something new is always exciting. I can never know what I will like eating tomorrow. And it did help reduce the withdrawal syndrome. Sort of. I was digging around my fridge the other day trying to figure out something to make for dinner. Until I chanced upon a piece of baked salmon which was left over from lunch earlier. I said chanced cos I don’t do lunch duties these days. So in order to avoid doing dinner duty that night, or rather minimal dinner duty, I thought of making ochazuke since there was minimal prep involv

I Should Remember

I think I have become a very cynical person over the years but events that have happened this week had pretty much made me want to re-evaluate my view of this world. A few days ago, I officially became an aunt when my sister delivered. Carrying that little milky-smelling bundle in my arms made me admire the wonders of life. How can this little thing be so perfectly built? I would like to send my compliments to the Chief Engineer and Project Manager. However, this is not to say that I don’t think my princess was less perfect, but I don’t remember feeling this awe when looking at her in her newborn state. I was in too much pain. On the way to the hospital to visit my sister, we stopped by a few shops to pick up some stuff. I was standing at a bakery scanning their wares when suddenly this little boy, I guess no older than 2 years of age, came to stand beside me. He held a $2 note in his hand and the other was on a pack of buns. He did not remove the pack from the shelf, merely putting

Main Course Salads: Antipasto Pasta Salad v.2

While ago at the supermarket check-out the other day, the cashier asked me a funny question. "Would you prefer wholemeal or white?" she asked. "Huh?" I replied with a puzzled look on my face. "Wholemeal bread or white bread?" she kindly explained. "Erm ... I will take wholemeal, thanks?" I replied uncertainly. And that was when I saw a little promotional poster at the check-out counter that explained this little scene. You see, in return for not physically signing for your purchases, the supermarket would give you a free loaf of bread. Simply just tap your card on a little flat pad of equipment attached to the check-out machine to charge the payment and that loaf of bread is yours. Why not? Freebies are always welcomed. So I ended up with a giant loaf of wholemeal bread, which I have no idea what to do, and it sat there with another two compatriot which Hubby picked up from a bakery. With just days before they end up with free inedible mush

Hearty Breakfast

My sister-in-law came over bright and early to accompany our princess for a morning swim. In anticipation that they will be hungry once they finished their workout, I made what my sister-in-law termed as a “gourmet hotel breakfast”. I guess she would know more about hotel breakfasts as I don’t order breakfast on room service. Unfortunately, it rained just five minutes into their swim. But they lapped up the breakfast with hearty appetites regardless.

Korean Mixed Vegetables–Japchae

For the longest time, I have meaning to make this dish, but somehow that just didn’t happen. Until recently, that is. Perhaps it due to some recipes calling for all the ingredients to be fried separately before combining in the final dish which gave me the impression that this is one of those fussy dishes to prepare. If you have followed me long enough on this space, you would know that I am fearless when it comes to tinkering with recipes, regardless of how authoritative they may be. So I away I went and cooked everything in a pan. And so how did it turn out? It was definitely better than the many versions I had while dining out. My only problem was that I had soaked the noodles for too long and hence they started to break up while I was stirring it. Apart from that, it was certainly a satisfying dish. It was so good on its own that we didn’t bother with our rice. The ingredients list seems like anything goes. Optimally, you should aim for 5 colours to make the dish more appetis

Tarts and Thoughts

Just the other day while waiting in line to pay for some items I had picked up at a neighbourhood bakery, I spied a big jar of pineapple tarts sitting on the counter. A quick glance on the price tag left me reeling! S$26 for about 45-50 little tarts? Since when the humble pineapple tarts were alleviated to the status of high-price baked goods? These aren't some pastries which have names so foreign that I can’t even pronounce!  Rather than spend my time thinking about that last question, I decided it was time to work this pair of arms since I can't get the visions of those pineapple tarts out of my head and my itchy mouth waters every time that vision pops up. If I had learnt anything at all about baking after all these years, it must be this one golden rule: Plan ahead! Baking is a process that greatly benefits from planning. Here's what I mean: Planning detail #15: Re-use the bowl used to prepare the egg yolk mix (i.e. egg yolks and vanilla essense) for water to mix in

Main Course Salads: Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Strictly speaking, this is not a salad per se. This would be more accurately termed as cold pasta since there is more pasta than veggies. Whether salad or cold pasta, I find myself overeating on this all the time. I can’t help it. I love pasta salads. And better yet, I love Mediterranean-style pasta salads with bits of olives and feta cheese! There are tons of salads by the same name , but here’s my version of it. Pasta, cherry tomatoes, olives, feta, roasted bell peppers, lots of parsley and drizzle your favourite vinaigrette. Mine happens to be the very same lemon-olive oil vinaigrette used in Salad Nicoise . If you need protein, throw in bits of salami or prosciutto and fresh basil instead of parsley. For a vegetarian version, I would recommend throwing in cooked or canned chickpeas. I am all set for a potluck party! Except that there was no party and I ate half of the huge plate by myself. Now my love handles/muffin tops are getting out of control.

When Life Throws You A Tight Corner

The 2 options in my mind were either call our workshop to book a spray paint appointment, or ditch the car and call for Hubby (the better driver in our household) to pick it up later. Luckily, I didn’t have to choose. The car beside me (not shown in the photo) drove off just as I returned to assess the situation, which gave me more space to maneuver. So, when life throws you a tight corner in a carpark, wait until most of the cars have left before returning to your car. I’m putting that nugget of wisdom in my book How I Lived My Life .

Books, Exams and Gastric Flu

I have been burying my nose in books recently and skipping kitchen duties as often as I can. This is the latest haul from a recent Kinokuniya sale. As these books are not the usual walk-in-the-park books, I am taking more time to read and digest the contents. And yes, I like cartoons. Always have. Always will. I had some interesting finds from our National Library as well. I hope to share some of the books here later on when I have time to collect my thoughts. And no, I am not thinking of going on a diet. I love food too much. Right now, I have to tear my eyes from these books to focus on Primary 2 books cos it’s the school mid-year exam season. Then disaster struck. Our little princess came down with gastric flu just 2 days before the exam starts! Fortunately, she recovered enough to take the first paper today. We had initially asked her to skip the exams until she gets well, but she insisted that she is well enough to take the paper. Well, good for her. I will be back once the

Zucchini Orzo Bento

After can’t getting enough of the garlic pasta bento I had packed the day before, our princess requested for the same again the following day. So with the bento order in hand, I set about chopping up garlic at 5.45am. Nobody should be chopping garlic at that time. It is unheard of. It is preposterous. So I told myself that this is definitely going on my To-Prep list the night before. Live and learn. Just after I turned around to vacate the pot from burner, I heard glug, glug, glug. So I thought that Hubby must be helping me prep the pan to brown the garlic. When I finally turned around after washing up the pot, the olive oil was not in the pan as I had imagined. It was all over the hot steamy orzo! That’s what you get when you have a prep cook who was only 10% awake. Needless to say, garlic pasta was not on the menu that day. Instead, I stir fried some zucchini with some leftover shredded roast chicken to toss with the oiled orzo. Orzo, or rice shape pasta, is a favourite with our

Garlic Pasta Bento

The other day I was digging around a cupboard looking for some cables for my I-can’t-remember-what-gadget and I found a pasta cookbook which I had bought another lifetime ago. Okay, fine … I exaggerate. But everything that I had done pre-baby does feel that way to me. I wonder how mothers with more than one kid feel when recalling things/events pre-babies? So as I was saying, this pasta book just fell out of the cupboard and I had to flip through it, even though I had done that many times without ever cooking anything from the book. The photos are just great to look at! Hungry yet? Then I saw this simple recipe. So I chucked the cookbook back to the cupboard and went straight to the kitchen. And chopped garlic. And boiled pasta. And the result was a mountain of pasta drizzled with lots of garlic-perfumed olive oil. And I took a bite. And I felt I was in heaven. And the alarm rang at 5.30 a.m. And I crashed back to earth. And I packed this for our princess in her bento box. P

So, What’s Your Style?

Recently, Hubby bought a pair of shoes from Rad Russel . There is absolutely nothing special about his pair of work shoes, just that our little princess commented that the soles of the shoes looked colourful. Don’t ask me why they would bother to use such vivid coloured fabric for in the soles of a pair of relatively serious looking, well-cut men’s shoes. Perhaps it is meant for people who take off their shoes pretty often (think: property agents in showflats) or those whose eyes are located on their soles. So after she made that comment this morning in the car en-route to school, Hubby pointed me to the FT’s How To Spend It which frequently run articles discussing about styles of people. He said that the style of a person is pretty much determined by the one single item/theme that always appear on the person’s outfit. So this set me thinking about what my style is. I was still thinking about it later on my way to work. Just before I picked up my stuff and leave the car, I saw what

We Went Back To Bento-ing

I was pretty much into bento-ing back in 2007 . At that time, my main bento box recipient was Hubby who accepted the boxes but grumbled that they looked too cutesy for him. Guess, I lacked ways to make bento boxes macho looking. Is there such a thing in the first place? Since our little princess started morning session, we have been making big Japanese style breakfast for her before sending her to school. Initially she had a bit of trouble finishing up everything, but eventually she adapted and we were busy cranking up different dishes before the crack of dawn. Actually, that was Hubby. All was going well, until one day she woke up at 7.00 a.m.! In the mad rush to get her to school, I told Hubby to pack up the food and let her eat during recess time. But this mummy wasn’t going to send the princess to school on an empty stomach, so I grabbed some bread lying around on the table and told her to munch on it in the car. After I dropped her off at the school front gate, I could hear my

Another Blueberry Scones Post

    These are the first batch of blueberry scones from our new oven. I found some leftover buttermilk from previous pancake making session and also a bit of plain yogurt sitting around in the fridge. As I have said umpteen times here that I am the least creative person in the world, I just stuck to making what I know. And what I know is that scones and muffins can be made from any sort of dairy products. So I mixed the yogurt into the buttermilk and add the mixture into the dry ingredients. Voila! Airy, crumbly and tangy scones.   Arghhh … this photo doesn’t do justice to the scones. I have, erm …. somehow, misplaced my big girl camera during the move. I am quite sure it is sitting somewhere around. (I hope!)   Enjoying these for breakfasts and/or tea breaks is one of the best things I like during hectic days. Especially when it is toasty and with a big cup of tea.

The Rotisserie - Chicken and Gourmet Salads

  A quick dinner at Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3.   The idea of holding your name out for something so simple can be a dangerous one. I mean, if you call yourself a patisserie, people will come expecting macaroons, meringues and other French-y sweet stuff to taste reasonably good or better than shops that didn't call themselves as such.   I think such was my case when I popped into the shop. I had some expectations that their roast chicken would be somewhat of their signature dish with some bones to show for it. Unfortunately, it was only so-so. If you are someone looking for plain and simple roast chicken as compared to those of us who enjoy it with a touch of herbs, then this is right up your alley. The chicken was no doubt tender and juicy but it was also red and bloody close to the bones which suggested that it was a frozen chicken rushed to the rotisserie before it was fully thawed. One of these days I will have to figure the science behind this. To me the

Mini Pancakes

Since the start of the school year, Hubby has been the breakfast cook. I had already told him way before our princess started primary school that I won’t be able to drag myself out of the bed at such unearthly hour. So the man took it upon himself to make the sleepy heads morning food every school day. So I told myself that IF I ever wake up early, I would be the breakfast cook. This morning I was given the chance. I managed to crank open my eyes and start crawling out of my bed. While sluggishly moving across my bedroom floor, I thought it would be nice to have pancakes with lots of maple syrup on it. So that’s what came out of my kitchen this morning. It took me less than 20 minutes to assemble the batter and wash up. Then I just tuck the batter into the fridge while I wait for the sleepy heads to wake up. The recipe for this pancake from Cook’s Illustrated. Head over to Cook Like a Champion and take a look at her Blueberry Pancakes . But here’s a little secret that your won

Paul From London

    A chicken sandwich specially brought in by my mum when she returned after a week's holiday in London. She ate at the more authentic Paul while in Paris at the beginning of her trip. How I wish I was there with her!   Does the chicken sandwich taste any different from what they serve here? I will have to try the shop at Taka to know. But on its own, it was certainly delicious (despite the 12-13 hours flight back) enough for our dinner.   

Favourite Korean Restaurant

    Just look at the numerous side dishes they serve! And the best part is when we asked for refills they always gladly obliged!  We love to this Korean restaurant to bits!   Their Beef Rib Soup is a nourishing and satisfying number we would always order.   Ju Shin Jung Korean Restaurant 451 Joo Chiat Road #01-01/02 Katong Junction 1F (next to Joo Chiat C.C.)

Potato, Bacon and Mushroom Soup

    Potato soup is always a favourite in my house. Something about spooning lumps of starchy potatoes and slurping it with a little piping hot soup just make my insides feel right again.       I made this soup with mushrooms as an incentive to get our little princess to eat the soup as well. I am trying to get into the rhythm of my new routine as we are still tweaking along the way. Morning school does take a bit of getting used to.