Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hot, Hotter, Hottest! Chill Out with Lychee Jelly & Foie Gras Sushi

Hong Kong's summer heat is taking its toll on everyone & everything. While Hong Kong's 36C is probably nothing compared to Middle Eastern 50C summer, but...
- People are dropping like flies from the heat wave
- Senior citizens (that shall include me) had to be rescued and relocated to shelters
- Pandas are taking over the streets of Hong Kong as black eyeliners and mascaras melted
- Body fragrances evaporated the moment they were sprayed, immediately replaced by nasty BO (yikes)
- People's temper gets heated up in such a way, a reply to a friendly "good morning" is now "good morning, MY ASS! @#$$@#!$#!!!" (with the finger, and I can assure you it ain't no thumb :p)
- The hottest accessory now is colorful portable fan. Soon enough, LV will have to produce monogrammed ones
- My T-zone produces enough oil to deep fry my next batch of banana spring rolls
- I could pickle cucumbers just by placing them under armpits
- My living room AC is leaking from three different places (let me photograph the line of 3 buckets on my floor)
- The temperature of my kitchen is so hot, it got my face dripping with sweat, appliances got kicked around and my poor sous chef got yelled at for no reason (I'm so so so SORRY, SC)

Excuse my lame excuse, but this starts to feel like it is a bad time to get busy in the kitchen. Most Hong Kong kitchens aren't air conditioned...and with all the heat from the stove and the oven...whoa! But I am determined not to stop. I shall think of dishes which involve less heat (mind you, we aren't the type who can eat cold salads and sandwiches daily) and I'll probably have to start cooking buck naked, with a portable fan cellotaped around my head, while sucking on ice cubes.

Today, to cool myself down, I'm posting this...
Lychee Jelly
- 1 packet konyaku jelly powder (or plain), which you can buy online from Asian Supermarket 365
- 1 can of lychee in syrup, you can buy online here
- 1/3 cup sugar
- water

Separate lychee meat from the syrup, keep both. Place lychee meat into jelly cups or you can use shot glasses/martini glasses/etc - be creative. Mix konyaku jelly powder with lychee syrup, add sugar, heat up on stovetop until the sugar is completely dissolved, add water to reach the required amount as stated in konyaku jelly powder's packet, mix well, pour into jelly cups, let cool, refrigerate.

You may also like Longan Jelly, and don't stay there, so many things can be done with konyaku jelly, think rose or lavender, no no, not bacon, at least not yet ^_^

...and...I am sharing this wonderful sushi I tried the other day at Mi-Ne Sushi...
Foie Gras Sushi

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh! How brill! It is as heavenly, decadent, rich, creamy, and tasty as I imagined! It is totally worth the HK$35 (US$4.5) a pop price tag! I couldn't get enough of this...

Gosh, is it just the heat or am I in love?

Those who are in Hong Kong, visit Mi-Ne Sushi:
Shop A, G/F Chong Hing Square
No601 Nathan Road
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Tel: (852)3586 9515
Business hours: 11:30~0:00 Last order 23:30

No, they don't take reservations and it is best to visit them before 12:00 noon or just around 18:00 if you don't want to queue for hours....

In this weather, you're bound to beat each other up or maybe even murder the hostess.

PS. Check out the chef in charge of Mong Kok outlet, boy, Chef Taku is HOT. Sorry again, sous chef ^_^'

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Taste of Failure: Baked Banana Cinnamon & Banana Chocolate Rolls

First of all, my apologies on another banana related post. I guess I can't go too long without bananas eh? Heck, who doesn't love bananas...I DO! LOVE. BANANAS. SMALL ones! (Somehow, this sounds SO wrong! LOL). Anyway, the above picture didn't look so much like a major failure, eh? Wait 'till you see the one below....

It all started when I made my first spring rolls. A food blogger pal, Michelle of Greedy Gourmet, pointed out that the amount of oil needed to fry spring rolls scared her, and I totally agree. What if we could bake those rolls, or steam 'em? Wouldn't that be nice? So I did my lil' experiment...

Baked Banana Cinnamon & Banana Chocolate Rolls

- half pack of spring roll wrappers (you can make some savoury and some sweet rolls with the whole pack)
- 4 small bananas or 2 big ones, cut into small pieces, sprinkle half generously with sugar and cinnamon
- sugar, cinnamon, chocolate meisjes (looks like rice, or you can use semi sweet chocolate chips/chunks)
- vegetable oil

I used 150C oven, I wrapped bananas as I would savoury spring rolls, lay them on a greased oven tray, brush with a bit more oil, bake until browned.

Actually it would've been not too bad if I didn't get impatient and increased the heat to 200C. But I did, and the melted sugar and chocolate started to ooze out of the rolls...and the skin started to burn...sob these were the results:

EEEECCCKKK!! OH YEAH! That's a failure alright! But we ate them anyway, and after peeling the super burnt parts, they actually tasted pretty fantastic! LOL~! My failures never tasted THIS good! I'll try again next time with lower heat ^_^ Never surrender!

If you heard someone screaming "OH NO!" on the background, that's sous chef, who emerged as a hero, not in shiny armour nor on a white horse, but with a cup of oil and a frying pan. Sous chef deep fried the rest of the rolls...and eventually we still got to feast on sweet banana rolls...^_^

Who would've thought one could still go wrong with banana, sugar, cinnamon & chocolates, eh?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Orange Cinnamon Raisins Muffins & My Weekend Loot

Finally! Baked goods with neither banana nor chocolate! HOHOHO! I wasn't exactly feeling experimental, trying to learn new things, yada yada yada....blablabla

I made these simply because:
- There were two large oranges on my dining table (gifts from sous chef's mom, as I don't generally buy and consume oranges), staring blankly at me, almost totally lost their hope of being useful, fulfilling their destiny...threatening to rot then and there in front of me. The idea of rotten oranges with worms coming outta them terrified me more than the fear of having to use and consume them
- My sous chef threatened to report to his mom that I wasted the oranges (she HATES to waste food). I still want to stay in executive chef's good book ^_*
- There was no banana in sight (or the title would've been "Banana Orange Cinnamon Raisins Muffins" ^_^)

Anyways, they turned out light, fragrant, and perfect with my morning jasmine tea (the coffee machine at the office nearest to me is broken!)

- 1 large orange, peel skin off, separate orange into tiny pulps (I didn't use the skin and squeeze the juice, I threw in the little segments of pulps. If you wish, you can grate and include some zest, and cut the orange into segments and throw them into blender/processor)
- a handful of raisins
- 1 cup self raising flour
- a dash of cinnamon
- 5 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 175C. Mix flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl, sprinkle with cinnamon, make a well in the middle. Mix egg, vanilla, oil, and milk in another bowl. Pour liquid into flour, mix it a bit, add orange pulp segments, add raisins (keep some raisins to sprinkle on top of the muffins). Pour about 2 tbsp of mixture into greased muffin tray (I lined mine with paper cups, so no greasing necessary), add a couple of raisins on top, bake for about 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes.

....and...last weekend, I did my favorite weekend activity = supermarket browsing. This time I went to Whampoa's JUSCO Supermarket...and got myself these goodies. I heard about these Oreo goodies from a galpal from the States, but we surely never saw these in Hong Kong! ^_^

I love the softness of this Oreo cakesters. But pleaseeee nabisco, could you produce one without the stuffing? T_T pleaseee

These are great as they aren't too sweet, but a little too crunchy for my taste. I am more of a softie gal.

Let's see how long I can do without baking any banana-related goodies ^_*

Monday, July 28, 2008

*A Pleasant Surprise: Cheese Pork Balls with Creamy Mayo Sauce, Beef Pineapple Fried Rice & Vegetables with Chinese Miso

Who doesn't love pleasant surprises? Hehe I surely do! I love the surprises such as...finding $20 notes in my jeans pocket, fitting into my 6 years old micro mini skirt or skinny jeans (unfortunately, no luck in this area nowadays) , finding my favorite sausage, Beddar with Cheddar on SALE!!...or finding the muffins I thought I was gonna fail miserably actually taste fan-bloody-tastic! ^_^

Yesterday afternoon, I was out for a girl's tea time, when my sous chef called and said that he was gonna cook something. I was so worried to hear that he was gonna cook without my supervision (lucky sous chef, in the kitchen, I am such a dominatrix tyrant!)...I expected to reach home finding my kitchen had collapsed into broken pieces...dirty dishes and bowls piled mountain high in my tiny sink...oil, flour, and various ingredients covering the whole kitchen floor...and a tasty dish :)

I was pleasantly surprised to find the kitchen was still there...with minimum spillage on the floor, everything was still in place, and I didn't get just one tasty dish...there were one, two, three, FOUR tasty dishes! Wow! You guys know me...I am all "The More, The Merrier" girl when it comes to tasty treats hehe!

SC shares his recipes below:
Cheese Pork Balls with Creamy Mayo Sauce

- 1 lb minced pork
- salt, pepper, sugar, chicken powder, corn starch
- your choice of cheese, cut into small cubes
- olive oil
- mayo
Marinate minced pork with salt, pepper, sugar, chicken powder, corn starch and a bit of oil. Roll into small balls with a piece of cheese inside. Microwave for 5 minutes to minimise frying time. Fry pork balls in hot oil until golden brown, set aside on paper towel. Heat up mayo in a hot pan, add pork balls, mix well.

Vegetables with Chinese Miso

- 0.5 lb baby bak choy
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 cm ginger, crushed
- 2 tbsp chinese miso
- olive oil
Clean veggie, saute garlic and ginger, add veggie, add Chinese miso

Beef and Pineapple Fried Rice

- small canned pineapple
- 0.5 lb minced beef
- a handful of green peas
- 2 eggs, beaten
- olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 sprig of spring onion, finely chopped
- salt, pepper, sugar, chicken powder
- 1.5 cups of rice, preferably cooked the day before and left overnight in the fridge
Saute garlic, spring onion, beef, add eggs, pineapple, green peas, rice, mix well, season, serve.

...and he also did an encore of his Tasty Steamed Tofu

Hmmm, I could really get used to this kinda pleasant suprises ^_*

Friday, July 25, 2008

Seafood n' Scrambled Creamy Egg White and Fresh Cucumber n' Crab Roe Salad

My sous chef found this recipe from youtube, went all mad about it and demanded to try it ASAP! From the video, the dish surely looked gorgeous, seemed easily doable, healthy and delicious. Thus, it managed to push everything on my super long "to try" recipe list down...and we did it!

Whoever did this dish called it "Fried Milk" which made it sound even sexier in my ears. However, judging from the looked more like scrambled egg whites to I am calling this...

Seafood n' Scrambled Creamy Egg White

If you can understand Cantonese, you could simply follow the video instruction.
Otherwise, here's the recipe:
- 320 gr milk
- 320 gr egg white
- 1.5 tbsp corn starch
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2.3 tsp sugar
- 3 tbsp oil
- 50 gr shrimps, deshelled, deveined
- 6 pcs of medium sized scallops
- a sprig of spring onion, finely chopped
- a bit of crab roe

Mix milk with salt, sugar, oil and corn flour in a bowl. Marinate shrimps and scallops with a bit of salt, sugar and corn powder, then pan fried on high heat until cooked, set aside. Heat up another pan, add oil, add the milk mixture and stir slowly, follow just one direction only (either clockwise or anti clockwise) until the mixture looks firmer but still creamy. Turn off the heat, add seafood, spring onion and crab roe on top.

The dish we did looked as pretty as the one on the video, so we were super excited and couldn't wait to taste all the yumminess....


Boy! I was SO WRONG! This was one of those cases which trigger the following question:
"How could something that gorgeous taste so BLAH?"

Normally, I'd adjust any recipes if I thought I saw something which didn't sound right...but this time I followed the recipe exactly, based on souf chef's request. Maybe this recipe is perfect for Hong Kongers? The next time I try this recipe again, I'll keep the yolk and add more seasonings....and yeah, some butter and bacon won't hurt ^_*

Luckily, we also prepared this...
Fresh Cucumber 'n Crab Roe Salad

Since I didn't want to waste the rest of the crab roe...I did this salad, which is generally available in most Japanese eateries in Hong Kong. It's easy and refreshing, perfect for summer, and pretty much saved our otherwise super blah dinner
- 1 Japanese cucumber (the skin is dark green and a bit prickly), peel off skin and cut into thin ribbons using a peeler
- faux crab meat, torn into long thin pieces (even better if you have fresh crab meat)
- crab roe
- mayo (in Hong Kong we call it "salad sauce")
Simply mix everything and you're done. ^_^

Now let me remind you (and myself again)...

"Looks is deceiving"

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sesame Grilled Chicken with Veggie Rice - the Benefits of Cooking at Home

Some friends who did not understand my new found passion for experimenting in my kitchen (Yes, experiments. More failures than successes. :p) and writing about them in a blog always wonder why the heck I carry my camera at all times and take pictures of everything I eat like a scoop hungry paparazzi (the difference is, things I am after can't be considered a scoop)...and most of all, they were wondering why the heck I bother cooking at home??!!! Isn't that such a waste of my super valuable time??!! I live in HONG KONG, for freak's sake! Heaven of convenience as well as cheap and tasty food! The home of HK$10/bowl wonton noodles, served faster than I could finish saying "one wonton noodles, please" as well as 100001 other choices of yummy treats, local and international.

I asked myself the very question, and I concluded that
Cooking at home....
- is cost saving. I generally spend HK$40-50 to prepare 4 meals (HK$12.5/meal = US$1.6/meal) compared to HK$30-40/meal dining out. I don't count my man hour as I enjoy doing it hehe
- at least allows you to say "I cook" (add barely, badly or well as desired/required) with pride
- impresses your in-laws (or in-laws to be). Who doesn't like a homely girl who cooks? They don't really need to know that this girl/boy might party like an animal outside LOL...and the result of the "cooking" might be inedible most of the time LOL
- keeps your sous chef happy. It shows you care. Plus, outside, he/she can proudly say "my girl/man does this wayyyy better!". Yep, home cooking keep them home ^_*
- is the perfect activity for you and your sous chef. You guys can brain storm, throw ideas, annoy/seduce each other in the kitchen (handle with care, please. We don't wanna see any kitchen appliances related "accidents"), gaze into each others eyes admiringly at dinner table, sing sweet praises about each other's skills (or at least efforts), fight about who's the top chef in the house, use the results of "cooking" in other places such as bedroom, etc etc etc (I had to stop here before it goes beyond R-rated :p). Doesn't it sound like FUN? ^_*

Don't get me started on the benefits of food blogging...hehehe...

Anyways, here's my...
Sesame Grilled Chicken

(serves 4)
- 3 chicken leg fillets, cut each fillet into 2, trim excess fat, keep skin on
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 3 cloves of shallot, finely chopped
- honey
- sesame paste
- white sesame seeds, toasted
- salt, pepper
- butter, olive oil

Boil chicken with some salt and pepper until just cooked, keep the stock. Preheat oven to 250C. Lay chicken pieces on an oven tray, add butter, olive oil, garlic and shallot pieces, salt and pepper, sesame paste, honey, mix and rub until all the chicken pieces are well covered, sprinkle sesame seeds, grill until chicken skin is golden brown and crisp. I cut each fillet into bite sized chunks (optional). To avoid cooking a separate veggie dish, serve it with...

Veggie Rice

(serves 4)
- 1 head of Chinese lettuce, finely chopped
- 1.5 cups of rice
- a sprig of spring onions, finely chopped
- a bit of olive oil
- salt, pepper
- chicken stock (optional)
- fried garlic/shallot to garnish

Pour rice, add chicken stock according to the rice cooker (if you don't have a rice cooker, the liquid should be up to 1 cm above the rice - I like my rice a bit mushy, you can add less liquid for harder texture), add water if you don't have enough chicken stock (alternatively, you can use just water, without chicken stock). Add chopped spring onion, veggie, some olive oil, salt and pepper, mix well. Turn on your rice cooker, sprinkle fried garlic or shallots to garnish.

This meal is sooo going to score me major brownie points from my sous chef...pssst, I want a pressure cooker!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Summer Fresh - Tangy & Spicy Beef Rice Noodle Soup

During winter, here are some stuff I hoped to do this summer:
- Running around at the beach in my bikini ala Sisheido's sun block ads
- Get fabulously smooth and tanned
- Roaming around Hong Kong's old and georgeous street corners taking pictures on weekend mornings
- Finally learn how to make desserts which contain anything other than chocolate or banana

but, instead....

- I got less bikini ready than what I already was LOL! But I still did get my butt off to the beach....put on my biking and ran around ala slimming centre ads (the "before" shots LOL)
- I realised I look terrible tanned. It's so not me. Thus, I planned to stay away from the sun this summer and hope to emerge smooth and porcelain-like for winter. Plus, my original skin color looks has a good contrast against dark chocolate hehe
- I sleep through most weekend mornings, comfortably curled under my summer blanket in my air conditioned room, and woke up just to eat and stare at the fierce sun glaring outside LOL
- I still have no clue on how to make anything other than my usual banana-chocolate baked goods. Now I have a couple of pears and oranges threatening to be spoilt soon. I need to try using them urgently! Help! Help! least I tried using sliced beef for something other than my normal beef-tomato-tofu's citrusy, spicy, light, simple, easy...perfect for summer dinner!

Tangy & Spicy Beef Rice Noodle Soup

- 0.7 lb thinly sliced, nicely marbled beef
- 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
- 2 small cloves of garlic
- a bunch of fresh corriander, chopped
- salt, pepper, sugar, vinegar
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
- olive oil, hot water
- 2 packs of dry rice noodles (you can use other noodles if you want)

- 2 red chilli or more, depending on how spicy you want it to be

Saute onions, garlic, and a bit of chopped corriander in hot oil, add a bit of the beef, add water, season with salt, pepper, sugar and vinegar. At the same time, prepare rice noodles/other noodles according to the instructions on the package, then add into the soup, add the remaining of the beef on top, cook until they are just almost done. Serve with fresh corriander, lemon wedges and chilli, to be added according to individual taste.

Sharing this with Presto Pasta Night's Gang, hosted this week by Thyme for Cooking

My sincere apologies to those who had to see my jiggly bits at the beach :p

Monday, July 21, 2008

South East Asian Scrambled Eggs with Shrimps

How do you like your eggs?

Generally I am not a picky eater. I eat pretty much anything...including durian, which even Andrew Zimmern of
Bizarre Food couldn't handle, and I can tolerate eating lukewarm food, soggy french fries, and I even love burnt foods.

But, when it comes to eggs, I like them cooked in certain ways, and despise them any other way, I began to hate myself for being such a diva:
- Scrambled: I like it moist, well seasoned and creamy. The best one in Hong Kong so far is
Fairwood's breakfast set, they do scrambled eggs perfectly! Dry, overcooked, tasteless scrambled eggs? Thanks but no thanks.
- Fried: I like eggs fried on both sides, the egg white can be a little crispy and burnt, but the yolk must still be partially soft/liquid. It has to be just right, you can't overcook the egg yolks, and no sunny side up for me, please.
- Boiled: I hate hard boiled eggs. I love it still soft and partially liquid, eaten with a mini spoon off the shell, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper...oh, my!
- Fried, Indonesian style: beaten, fried with salt and pepper until golden brown, pour kecap manis all over, devour with steamed rice. Gulp!

Scrambled Eggs with shrimps is a classic home cooked dish. I've been to dinner at local friend's place, and I've been taking peeks at everyone's lunch boxes, and this dish appears more often than Paris Hilton on! So, I tried to create my own version and as always, I made South East Asianize it *grin*

South East Asian Scrambled Eggs with Shrimps

- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 red chilli, chopped
- 1 can corn kernels, drained
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- a small bunch of fresh corriander, chopped
- half pound shrimps, deshelled, deveined
- 2 tbsp corn starch, dissolved in a bit of water
- salt, pepper
- olive oil
- fried shallot to garnish

Mix beaten eggs with coconut milk and dissolved corn starch. Saute shallot, chilli and corriander in hot oil until fragrant, add corn kernels, shrimps until just pink, add eggs, cook until browned a bit at the bottom, mix it about until you get your desired texture (I like it creamy, not firm) garnish with fresh corriander and fried shallot. Serve with rice.

I hope I am not the only egg diva around here ^_^

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Banana Choco Chip Oatmeal Muffins - The Wake Up Call

Do you sleep like a log? Are you a light sleeper? Do you snore? Do you sleep walk?...and what does it take to wake you up?

I am a light sleeper, I don't generally sleep a lot, I hate the feeling when I woke up from an afternoon nap (feverish and even more tired instead of refreshed), and it is super easy to wake me up.

Ironically, people around me seem to love sleeping very much. Some of them could sleep their way through a weekend...and believe me, it is really challenging to wake them up:

- There's a friend who wouldn't wake up even when I went to his room, dragged his blanket off him in a cold winter morning, and kicked him off his bed. He finally woke up when I pour icy cold water over his head
- Another friend needs to set at least 4 super loud alarm clocks, all placed out of her reach. The alarm clocks woke up her whole family, but her
- A friend's boyfriend won't wake up until my friend promised a morning "activity" or "service", if you know what I mean ;)
- Another friend's boyfriend won't wake up until my friend yapped, nagged, screamed and shouted for at least an hour
- Another friend needs to snooze her alarm clock repeatedly every five minutes for at least half an hour

Now tell me your stories :) ...and look at what's waiting on the breakfast table!
A basket of...
Banana Choco Chip Oatmeal Muffins

- 3/4 cup of self raising flour
- 1/2 cup of instant oatmeal
- 3 tbsp caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 5 small ripe bananas, mashed
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1/4 cup peanut oil
- 1/4 cup milk
- a handful of semi sweet choco chip

Preheat oven to 175C. In a mixing bowl, mix flour, oatmeal, sugar, salt. In a separate bowl, mix egg, oil, milk, and vanilla essence. Make a well in the middle of flour mixture, pour the egg mixture and mix well. Add mashed bananas and choco chip, pour the mixture into greased muffin tray (or you can use muffin paper cup lining), and bake until the top is crisp and toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean.

To wake my sous chef up, you just need one word...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Spicy Spinach with Miso Sauce - Quotable Quotes?

Some of my friends love collecting inspirational quotes.
They are generally super profound, highly philosophical, inspirational, motivational, clever, and bursting with positiveness to the level of life changing...and normally, they are quoted from noble, profound, smart, clever, famous people who are no longer with us, such as Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Einstein, Confusius, and so on...these quotes are normally used as instant messenger additional nicknames or facebook status ^_^

Some possible objectives are:
- self inspiration/motivation- inspiring/motivating others
- a reflection of current mood/state of mind/current personal events/one's principals/emotional experiences
- serving as a hidden passive-aggressive message for the "benefit" of others (hehe)
- perception management, i.e. trying to make others think that I am wise, smart, emotionally stable, etc LOL
- simply showing off

While I too, use quotable quotes to achieve all of the above objectives at some point, most quotes that I chose sometimes make me feel intellectually and philosophically inferior. I am sure you'll agree after reading my recent, newly discovered quote:

"Sleep 'til you're hungry, eat 'til you're sleepy. " ~Author Unknown

OHOHOHOHOHO....I swear by it and really practice it (which was the other night's case, where I had a truckload of carbs before 19:00, slept right after meal until 22:00, woke up, had a super late supper and slept again at 1:00 am 'til the next morning LOL)...

and this dish tastes superb with rice:
Spicy Spinach with Miso Sauce

- a bunch of spinach, cleaned, chopped length-wise into 3 parts
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 or 2 small red chilli, chopped
- 2 tbsp miso paste
- 1 tsp sugar
- olive oil and water

Saute garlic and chilli in hot oil, add spinach until slightly cooked, add miso paste, stir in sugar, add a bit of water (I like it saucy) bring to boil, serve with steamed rice and a meat dish

For all the celebrity chefs out there, here's a spinach quote for you:
"Never eat spinach just before going on the air" ~ Dan Rather

Monday, July 14, 2008

Fashionably Tall & Slim Shrimp Rolls

In Hong Kong, it is all about fashion.

What are so NOW at this very moment?
Rain boots: they are all over the city, in a myriad of colors (I am sooo out as I don't own a pair T_T)
2. Baseball caps, worn just barely touching your head, could be blown away by wind as strong as 0 mph (unless glued down by excessive hair products)
3. Long t-shirts, bearing English sentences with severe grammatical/typo errors, worn to reveal 1 shoulder (cos revealing both shoulders are just so wrong! It's all about asymmetry, baby!)
4. Super short shorts, preferably shorter than the long t-shirt

In terms of spring rolls (or egg rolls)...those stubby short ones or the triangle ones are so OUT! The food fashion police is seeing the long thin ones everywhere! Just like size -2 Eurasian supermodels taking over Hong Kong's hottest clubs, these slim rolls are taking over hottest snack joints. My wild guess is because they don't need as much fillings (LOL).

I might be out of style in terms of dressing myself appropriately for the rain, but I am determined to try for once, to be tall and slim. Or at least my shrimp rolls should be :p

Fashionably Tall & Slim Shrimp Rolls

- 1 pound medium shrimps, just turned pink, remove excess water, season in salt, pepper and sugar
- 1 packet of spring roll pastry
- olive oil for frying
- water & corn flour to seal the pastry
- damp towels to prevent the pastry from drying out

Follow 3 easy steps below to roll these babies:

and fry 'em in high heat until, aren't they HOT?

Dip-A-Dip Dip
I did a Creamy Sesame Dip
- A couple of tablespoon sesame paste
- A dash of fish sauce
- A dash of Kecap Manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
- chopped chilli
- chopped corriander

If only eating these will get myself taller and slimmer .....

Friday, July 11, 2008

Oven Baked Potato Shrimp Cakes - Perkedel Udang

I adore deep fried food. I know I shouldn't, they are not good for me, yada yada yada...but I just can't help it. The love is just SO uncontrollable, it is to the point where I will act crazy and junkie-like (shamelessly sobbing, frantically begging, pleading, demanding, screaming for them) without them. Even when I was super sick from a super seriously sore throat (where I could hardly speak well enough to order them), I still craved them, deep fried goodies.

Referring to the concept of "Our body will tell us what's good for us", I concluded that it's either:
1. Deep fried goodies are good for my body
2. The above concept is absolutely wrong

Hehehe...I remember watching Anthony Bourdain saying that Singapore's Yong Tau Foo is so healthy (he said it as he was stuffing the deep fried goodies into his mouth) and it made him understand why the Chinese are so slim and healthy. It's because they eat Yong Tau Foo!! LOL! Hey, no offense, I love Tony, I love deep fried food, and I love him loving deep fried food, but it made me doubt his knowledge of what's healthy and what's not. LOL...well if Tony said so, they must be healthy, eh?

Ironically, while proclaiming myself as a deep fried junkie, I totally hate having to do my own deep frying at home. I hate having to use a lot of oil, cleaning the kitchen, getting rid of the hot oil smell, cleaning the exhaust fan, cleaning the wok, etc, the whole "Me vs Mr. Tough Grease" extravaganza. No, I do not own a deep frier, and I don't plan to, unless they are self cleaning ^_* (did I just demand too much?..yes)

This is why...despite my great love for perkedels (Indonesian deep fried potato cakes), I hardly do them at home, due to the deep frying, and boy...potatoes love oil. They absorb so much, I was always left with no oil in the wok and ultra greasy perkedels. So, the idea of oven baking them tempted me. I know the taste will be compromised, but at least I could get some perkedels with deep fried-like crispiness fix ^_^ and maybe live my happy life a little longer to eat more deep fried goodies *grin*

Oven Baked Potato Shrimp Cakes - Perkedel Udang

- 1 large potato, mashed
- 1 cup of small shrimp, peeled, roughly chopped
- 1 small clove of garlic, very finely chopped
- 1 small clove of shallot, very finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- a bit of grated nutmeg (or ground nutmeg powder)
- a bit of finely chopped corriander/spring onion
- breadcrumbs, mixed with a bit of salt, sugar and pepper
- olive oil

Preheat oven to 200C. In a mixing bowl, mix everything well (except breadcrumbs), roll into perkedel shape (round-ish? lol). Roll each perkedel to cover with breadcrumbs, lay on an oven proof tray with a bit of olive oil, bake until golden brown. Serve with soy-chilli-corriander-vinegar dip or chilli sauce and your choice of cold poison ^_^

Cheers! Here's to Tony, to fried food, to good health!

Submitting this to Noble Pig's event:
Potato-Ho Down

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tamarind Grilled Snapper with Noodles

Someone asked me to name a happy place, except from my shit-holey flat. I thought for so long...considering:
It is probably heaven, except for the chickens and the slow moving, uninspired, unmotivated staff. But then again, sometimes the slow service pisses me off. So, No. It can't be my top happy place
- The Office
Who am I kidding?!...I should not love my job THAT much, right?
- Exercise classes, whenever that hot hip hop teacher guy is teaching
Although I enjoy exercising and dancing when I am in class, sometimes it really IS kinda hard to drag my ass off my comfy sofa, especially when it is raining cats and dogs outside
- Theme parks
They are supposedly happy places, but sometimes there are so many factors to make them otherwise, such as: sous chef and friends who refused to play any games they deemed "dangerous" such as the merry-go-round (rolling my eyes), too teeny tiny-with very limited games to play (in case of Hong Kong Disneyland), unbeliveably long queue-you can only play a handful of the games nobody wants to play throughout the day (in case of Tokyo Disneyland), etc
- The mall
The cheap ones get me carried away easily, and the expensive ones....there's nothing there I could afford to buy. So, definitely not my favorite happy place I guess it's gotta be.....
- Markets and supermarkets
I loveee markets and supermarkets...there's always something you can buy, and most of the time it won't cost me so much ^_^ (not as much as the latest branded "It" bag at least), and with the teeny tiny seemingly unimportant thing you bought, you can create big, and lotsa yummy things. For daily shopping, I am quite a strict shopper and normally just buy the things which are needed for the day's recipe. However, when I go to supermarkets for FUN, especially INDONESIAN supermarkets, I'd get this and that, and this and that, and I'll end up buying the whole shop.

Sometimes I'd buy something, stash it in my kitchen drawer for "future use" and I'd totally forget that I have it. I've bought a pack of tamarind quite a while ago, and only remember I had it when I saw Wandering Chopsticks' Vietnamese Salt and Pepper Crab with Tamarind, Ginger, Scallions and Garlic!

I dug up my drawer, and found so many buried treasures, such as konyaku jelly powder packets, curry packets, spices, dark chocolate bars (!! How could I?? Maybe cheeky sous chef hid them there?), sweet and sour sauce mix, soup base mix, the list went on and on...and I totally forgot about them!!!

So I've decided to make this
Tamarind Grilled Snapper

Here's the packet of tamarind, I dissolve about 2 tablespoonfuls with a bit of hot water for easy mixing

The marinate/sauce mix
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 cloves shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 cm ginger, chop into pieces
- a bunch of fresh corriander, finely chopped
- 2 red chilli, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp tamarind, dissolved in a bit of hot water
- 2 pieces of palm sugar, dissolved in a bit of hot water
- 1 teaspoon salt

Marinate and refrigerate the fish, for at least 1 hour. Preheat oven 150C, grill with the sauce until the meat is almost cooked, turn the oven to 250C and grill until the skin's golden. Alternatively, you can crisp the skin first before dumping it into the oven (I am not into pan frying fish in my tiny flat :p)

The sauce should not go to waste, so, inspired by Wandering Chopsticks, I used the sauce for this plate of ramen. Tasty, hot, sweet, and sour noodles. Sharing this with Presto Pasta Night, hosted this week by A Scientist in the Kitchen

Now let me continue my dig...I remember hiding some mini Snickers from sous chef a while ago...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

My Kind of Summer Snack - Refreshing Longan Jelly

What do you fancy on a hot summer day?

- offering to slather sun lotion all over sexy strangers the beach?
- a cold shower?
- roaming around (Hong Kong's) below-zero-air-conditioned shopping malls until your credit card can't take it anymore?
- skinny dipping into your neighbor's pool without permission?
- running away from it all and head to somewhere winter?
- a huge glass of icy cold beer? iced tea? or your favorite soda?
- big chunks of cold, juicy and sweet watermelons?
- a gigantic tub of ice cream?
- a bucket of fried chicken?

all/none of the above?

Here's one of my favorite refreshing hot summer snacks, using one of my favorite fruits, longans.

Peel the skin to reveal these gorgeous, luminuous, pearls (imagine me saying this with a seductive smile ala Nigella and try not to laugh, at least not when this page is still open T_T)

When longans are not in season, you can use canned longans, which you can order online here

Use this code RT03Jul8AM
for a 3% discount and a chance to win a $5 voucher for the next purchase.

If you're too lazy to do jelly, simply mix a bit of cold water with a can of longan including the syrup, add some ice cubes, mint leaves if you wish, and you got yourself a refreshing dessert!

Now, here's my refreshing little cups of...

Longan Jelly

- 1 pack of
konyaku jelly powder or agar-agar powder
- the syrup from the canned longan
- 1/3 cup of caster sugar (or less if you want it not as sweet)
- cold water> to achieve the needed amount mentioned in the jelly powder pack

Mix konyaku jelly powder with water and juice from the canned longan, add sugar, heat it up until everything is mixed well, pour into moulds (I use tall glasses and shot glasses here) with longans in them. Let cool, refrigerate.

One for sous chef, one for me, another one for me, and another one for me, for me, me, me...