Friday, November 28, 2008

Chicken Wings in Chinese Five Spice

I am thankful for.... teeny tiny flat which makes cleaning a breeze & gives the best excuse for gardening failures
...a sous chef & a bunch of guinea pigs (you know who you are) who eat everything, including my foodisasters foodisasters. I've failed once, I'll fail again. HAHA! frenemies, who constantly give me good reasons to despise them mama, who doesn't really cook, thus, won't bug me with "No! You're doin' it wrong!" all the time baby sista, with whom I can enjoy guilt-free protein+fat+carbs+carbs+more cabs meals, because the shopping afterward is bound to make ourselves feel even more guilty :p food blogging friends who perfectly understand why I need to take 1001 pictures of the same dish in different poses, background and lightings

and I am also thankful for frozen chicken wings, which can be turned into tasty treats pretty easily.
Chicken Wings in Chinese Five Spice

- 10 pcs chicken wings - mids
- 1 clove of garlic, 2 cloves of shallot, 1 piece of ginger ground until smooth with a bit of olive oil (you can finely chop them and then use pestle and mortar to smash 'em, or simply use the powdered version of everything)
- chinese five spice powder, salt (non iodized), white pepper, and sugar
- olive oil for pan frying/grilling

Boil frozen chicken wings with a bit of salt until the meat is just cooked (poke one of them with a fork to check the inside part), drain, pat dry. Rub wings with the garlic, shallot, ginger, & olive oil paste. Sprinkle salt, white, pepper, sugar and Chinese five spice powder, rub them in, let them marinate for at least an hour. It is best if left refrigerated overnight. Pan fry in a bit of hot oil just to brown the skin, or grill in the oven at 250C until you get enough brownage going.

Want more wings?
- Peanut Butter Chicken Wings

- Mama's Classic: Hong Kong Style Curry Chicken Wings

- Honey Glazed Grilled Chicken Wings

Mmmm...I am also thankful for this fall/winter's puffy silhouette which accomodates my blessings (i.e. ever expanding waistline)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Yolkless Milkless Butternut Squash, Peanut Butter and Raisin Muffins

Restricted cooking. Boy, don't we all hate it?

In a perfect world, there will be no restriction. But my world is a gigabazillion (ref: no such word) miles away from perfect. Out of the 1000000001 variations of different restrictions (or lame excuses), the typical restrictions can be summarized into the following categories:
Especially those which are rarely used, thus, rarely available in Hong Kong. I could probably only get them in luxury supermarkets nowhere near me (a bus, a train, and a boat ride away to get a piece of fresh duck meat???!!! No way, Jose!).
Kitchen Accessories
Sometimes I select recipes to try based on...whether or not I have the appliances/gadgets required. I normally select recipes measured in cups, rather than grams, cos I don't have no kitchen scale, my friend! (Thank God for online converters ^_^). Sometimes it is fun trying to figure out a creative way to get away with not using the required using normal bowls instead of muffin tray...but it is NO FUN chopping my arms off before (just like before I had my food processor) or whisking the bejezuz outta me (just like before I tried a hand mixer).
Financial Resources
Some ingredients/tools/gadgets are so freakin' expensive, I might have to sell my soul to buy them (oh well, so I exaggerated it a little, sue me!). Ehm, maybe they are not really THAT expensive...but it is just my Chinese-Javanese super stingy nature. It's in my blood! I can't help it!
Human Resources
Namely culinary skills or lack thereof. My biggest problem inability to follow recipes. No, I am not an arrogant little bitch who only trust my own recipes. I just have a problem with following recipes. I guess this is just a nicer way to say that I am normally too lazy/impatient and always try to find shortcuts and skip some parts of the recipe (e.g. Oh, Come on! I really need to let the cookie dough chill for 1 hour? I think I can get away with cutting them NOW. Oppps, no, wait. It looks like I can't).

I never had to cook with dietary restrictions. This low iodine diet is something new to me. It is really challenging as well as interesting. If I had to name one ingredient that I miss the has to be soy sauce. It's like breaking up with someone you still like. You've taken the person for granted, and you don't miss him/her until he/she is gone. realized you can't live without this person and uh-oh! It's too late! Oh yeah, Mr. Soy Sauce. I miss you so so so much! I can't wait for us to get back together again in three weeks (I am counting the days).

Meanwhile, I will try the best I can to produce better-than-just-edible-despite-the-restrictions treats for sous chef, to facilitate his speedy recovery. This time, I am doing an adaptation of Jamie Oliver's Butternut Squash Muffins recipe...I call it an "adaptation" simply because...surprise, surprise! I can't follow the recipe exactly, as always.

Yolkless Milkless Butternut Squash, Peanut Butter and Raisin Muffins

I removed the egg-yolks from the recipe (low iodine diet), reduced the recipe to half (some of my regular guinea pigs are on business trip), added nutmeg (because I love nutmeg & cinnamon combo), added my home made peanut butter and raisins instead of walnuts (walnuts are expensive hehe), and removed the whole frosting part (no dairy products allowed - low iodine diet). Is there anyyyy part of the recipe that I still follow???

- 1 cup of butternut squash, leave skin on, remove seed, chop into chunks
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 2 egg whites (you can include the yolk)
- non iodized salt (you can use normal salt)
- 1 & 1/4 cup plain flour
- 1 heaping tsp of baking powder
- 3 tbsp home made peanut butter (you can use normal peanut butter or a handful of peanuts)
- lots of cinnamon, and a couple sprinkles of nutmeg
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- a couple handful of raisins

Preheat oven to 180C. I threw all ingredients into my food processor (I didn't even bother with the sequence, apparently, I blame it on my lack of attention to detail) and blend until everything's mixed. Pour batter into muffin tray lined with paper cups, bake for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

I was wondering what do egg yolks do for this recipe if I could just take them out and they still taste fan-bloody-tastic? Hmmm....interesssting. The skippy jar is just to show that I made these babies with peanut butter. I actually used my home made peanut butter....whose jar isn't as photogenic as skippy. My bad, it is probably now suffering from low self esteem. I am gonna submit this to Nick's Peanut Butter Lover’s Month

...and....let me just shut up and wish you all a...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Black Pepper Beef & Mushrooms Fusili

I love the humble lil' fusili. Call it common, call it boring, call it unimaginative. Whatever. I still love it. Everything about it. The spiral shape that traps bits and pieces of goodness from the dish, the way it catches the light and look all pretty on a plate, and how I could just gobble a spoonful without having to maneuver them with a fork. I suck at that. I can never manage to roll spaghetti with a fork elegantly, then nonchalantly bring it to my mouth and eat it without losing a huge portion of my lipstick or smearing my face with pasta sauce. I normally savagely grab whatever I could with a fork and loudly slurp the rest, and lick the plate clean hehe (that is not a pretty sight - this is why I don't normally order spaghetti outside the enclosed perimeters of my flat). I am also partial to all kinds of flat pasta, such as lasagna, fettuccini and tagliatelle. Maybe they remind me of my favorite Chinese flat rice noodles (hor fun/kway teow).

Enough pasta bullshite already! Let me continue to bore you with this...
Black Pepper Beef and Mushroom Fusili

Another math lesson, guys (by the way, I suck at math too. Luckily this is a no brainer math)
Beef + mushrooms = good
Good + garlic = fantastic
Fantastic + black pepper = freaking fantastic
Freaking fantastic + pasta = super freaking perfect

Hmm...I don't think I need to write this recipe...but oh, well.
(serves 2)
- 4 handfuls of fusili
- 0.7 lb thinly sliced nicely marbled beef (if available, the one for sukiyaki)
- 0.5 lb straw mushrooms, halved (or any other mushrooms)
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- olive oil, water, salt (with no iodine, you can use normal sea salt), black pepper

Boil pasta according to directions in the packet. While pasta is boiling, saute garlic in a bit of olive oil (the beef will release some additional fat, so you don't need to use a lot of oil), add beef, add mushrooms, sprinkle black pepper (I like quite a lot of it), season with salt, add pasta, mix well. Done and done.

Sharing this with Presto Pasta Night's Gang, created by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast, hosted this week by lovely Daphne from More Than Words

Other Low Iodine Recipes...

Surprisingly yummy Eggless Milkless Chocolate Cake

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Eggless Milkless Chocolate Cake, Yuck or Yum?

Eggless? Milkless? Ewwwww! Ew! Ew! Ew!
You'd probably think...why don't you just make it non fat, chocolateless, sugarless, thus, pointless.

Why, why, why? Why did I have to inflict such a cake to humanity?
Ehm, the reason is...sous chef has been recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer. While waiting for his radioactive iodine therapy, he has to be on a super strict low iodine diet. That means, no seafood, no dairy products, no egg yolk, no seasalt/salt that contains iodine, no soy related products, no products with red food coloring (E127). Hence, no dining out, no baked goods from bakeries and no packed snacks. Everything has to be home made to make sure that no iodine-rich ingredient is being used.

Oh, my...

Actually, the diet isn't so bad. It has even brought some good things for us. Such as...
I've learnt how to produce things I would never even imagine I could, such as: baking my own bread, making my own peanut butter, and jam! Oh, Gosh! The closest I got to baking my own bread was watching the famous video of NY Times' "No Knead Bread"! Fortunately, there's a downloadable cookbook available at, which helps me dealing with this low iodine cooking a great deal. Plus, the restrictions drove me to cook healthier food...and I am amazed to learn that healthier food can taste pretty fantastic! (She is saying this now, but she will probably run to KFC later. Haha!)

I thought sous chef was probably missing I searched for an eggless chocolate cake and found this recipe.
Eggless Milkless Chocolate Cake

I have been trying to bake the perfect chocolate cake for the longest time...with egg, milk, butter, and super rich chocolate bars...and so far, it has never been perfect. It has always been too dry/too wet/not sweet enough/too sweet/not chocolatey enough/blablabla. It has always been wrong.

I thought an eggless and milkless cake was gonna suck...but I was so pleasantly surprised by this one. It's really moist and chocolatey. I can even say that this is the best textured chocolate cake I've baked so far! I was totally amazed!

(serves 6)
Dry Ingredients

- 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons sifted all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup oatmeal
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt (non iodized)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Van Houten)
Wet Ingredients
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 175C. Mix all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, make a well in the middle. Mix all wet ingredients in a bowl, pour into dry ingredients, mix well. Pour batter into greased pan or muffin tray lined with paper cups until almost full. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

When sous chef's done with his therapy, I'll probably replace water with milk and add loads of dark chocolate chips. Hehe. So much for trying to bake healthier.

So the cake wasn't a yuck at all. It's a yum, but I guess more sinful ingredients could've made it yummier (as always). ^_*

Friday, November 21, 2008

Lamb in Creamy Coconut Milk and Mint

When I saw people posting great dishes using fresh ingredients from their own garden...I turned bright green, full of envy. It gets even worse when I see them submitting their fabulous entries to this fantastic foodblog event called Grow Your Own. I always thought...damnnn!! When do I get to have my very own garden...where I could pluck sprig after sprig of fresh herbs, basketful of fruits and vegetables...with a serene look on my face...and maybe a flower or two in my hair (OK, yuck! My apologies for going a little overboard with the flowers there, guys).

Why can't I grow my own stuff?
I live in Hong Kong. If I told you that I had a garden with a capacity to hold an extensive collection of fresh herbs, fruits, vegetables and flowers..chances are: I am either...a tycoonista/gadzillionairess/married to a gadzillionaire/an heiress/lying to be any of the foresaid people/living in a village so far away from Hong Kong city's probably China. Well, I am none of the above. From
my crappy photoshoot post, you can see how teeny tiny my flat is (it can barely contain my huge azz hehe). I don't have a little balcony or an empty windowsill to place even a pot of plant. Sob sob.

And it's not only about the lack of space. I am a notorious plant murderer. When I was browsing through Prince Edward's flower market, it was all "Oh, I've killed this one before, and that one, and that one...and those ones too (basically almost everything)", and I could feel that all the plants were fearing the possibility of going home with me, which would make them my latest potential victims (if they could speak, they'd be saying "pleaseeeee, don't buy me, I don't wanna dieeee!!!").

Nevertheless. I was determined to give it another try. So, I picked a (lucky or unlucky?) pot of mint, and brought it home. I heard stories of raging mint plants taking over food bloggers' whole freaking gardens, and they are almost impossible to stop, let alone kill, yada yada yada. Let's see how they hold up with me. I bet they were either planning a strategy to take over my flat or crying their way to my home. Plus, I love the fresh, fragrant scent of mint, and they normally are not available in wet markets.

I was so nervous that the mint was gonna be dead the moment it arrived my home, I literally looked at it every few minutes, giving it lots of love. I took care of it according to what the seller told me (water when the soil feels dry, about every other day, give it a bit of sun tan every day)...and surprise surprise! It looked like it was dying the day after. HAHA! Sous chef came to the giving it more love than one can imagine. The plant was being fed the leftover water we use to wash rice, egg shells, the sun tanning sessions were strictly supervised, the dying leaves were trimmed, and it now has a cute, adorable, Hong Kong nickname, mint jai. It is now a he.

The lack of space I mentioned earlier is jai is experiencing it first hand. He is pretty much a nomad mint. It doesn't have its own space. On the TV stand near the window? or the dining table next to the laptop? too much radiation. In the kitchen near the stove? Too hot. On the sofa? People sit there. So, poor mint jai shuffles from one place to another, depending on which activity is being carried out at home. When there's no cooking going, he stays in the kitchen by the stove. Otherwise, he has to move to the tiny side table near the window, unless if there's a food blog photo shoot, then he has to move to the dining table, and so on, and so forth.

Our love is not purely unconditional though (hehe, we are selfish bitches after all). We expect mint jai to give us minty fresh leaves for our culinary experiments and gastronomical enjoyment. Here's one:

Lamb in Creamy Coconut Milk and Mint

- 1.5 lbs thinly sliced lamb (for sukiyaki)
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 cloves shallot, thinly sliced
- 5 cm ginger, crushed
- 1/2 cup mint leaves
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground corriander seed
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 1 cup coconut milk
- a bit of water, a bit of olive oil
Saute shallot and ginger in a bit of olive oil, add garlic, add lamb, ground cumin, ground corriander seed, salt, sugar, white pepper, add a bit of water, bring to boil, cook until the meat pieces are cooked through, add coconut milk, mix well until heated through, add fresh mint leaves, mix a little, turn heat off. Serve with more fresh mint leaves.

Submitting this recipe to Grow Your Own, hosted this time by Rachel of the Crispy Cook

Hmm, I could probably buy more plants and hang them out my window. But with the risk of killing a passerby, probably not. :p

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Choco Oreo Brownies: Love-Hate Relationship with Food Blogging

My love-hate relationship with food blogging...
- Orchestrating yummy treats for family, friends, and most of all...myself (a truly selfish bitch, aren't I?)
- Discovering that most of my newfound blogger friends from all over the world share unconditional love for chocolate and Anthony Bourdain
- Finding out that someone out there...committed the same ultimate culinary sins as myself (burnt dishes, blah dishes, slipping while sprinting to check on dishes, mixing up salt with sugar, to name a few)
- Continuing to develop myself into something I am not (a great cook/photographer/writer)
- and so on and so forth

- when there are too many great things, too little time (great recipes, blogs, people, ingredients, ideas, whennnn will I get to try them? I guess one step at a time, eh?)
- when work interferes with passion. Yep, I still need my salary to finance all this cooking, photo-taking, writing somehow I had to make work my passion, most of the time. Arrrgghhhh
- taking gadzillions of pictures of the dish in front of me and I still can't get it right
- having loads of yummy dishes with nice pictures, without any ideas on what to write (I simply can't post just recipes...I need the something extra)

and....just like today's case...

- I hate it when I found a nice and easy recipe, tried it, it worked, the result was unbelievably great.....only to find before posting that I forgot to bookmark (!!!) and I can't remember whereeeee the freak was the recipe from....dammit dammit dammit! I spent a good few hours searching loads of possible sources..and finally found it!

It is super easy and it is darn good. Well it has chocolate, sugar and oreos...I didn't think it's ever gonna be bad.

Choco Oreo Brownies

(adapted from, reducing the recipe by 1/2)
- 1/2 cups sugar (the original recipe called for 2 cups of sugar for 1/2 cup of flour, but I figured the oreo cookies will make it sweet enough. I am not crazy about sickly sweet things)
- 1/4 cups flour
- 5 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used peanut oil)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- a whole bar of oreo cookies, crushed

Preheat oven to 175-180C. Mix all ingredients in one bowl, pour into a greased pan (I used a loaf pan), bake for 30 minutes, let cool for a while and cut into squares to serve. They are perfect with hot tea, or milk. Yum!

I also hate it when I have nothing more to say to end a post. Oh well.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Indonesian Ox Tongue & Brisket Stew - Semur Lidah & Daging

I've been hearing the magical power of pressure cooker for the longest time. Reducing 3 hours cooking time to just 20 minutes?! Wow!!! Is it for real?!! Now I don't have to spend my whole afternoon checking out my stove every 15 minutes? and I will be able to enjoy yummy stew dishes on weekdays??? Gosh, I thought such miracles only happens in (my friend's imaginary) culinary heaven...

So, the moment I heard about a major sale in a famous department store,
SOGO (of which I have HK$200 cash coupons hehe), I wasted no time and marched straight to kitchen appliances floor, ignoring floor after floor of gorgeous clothes, bags, shoes, scents and jewelries, which were all on sale, and practically calling my name, enticing, pleading, begging me to check them out and buy them. Boy! It was the hardest thing I had to do...even harder than my post graduate examinations.

Once I got to the floor, I managed to ignore all the kitchen appliances demonstrations , despite my obvious, palpable attraction to them (I learnt my lesson well ^_*), and found Tefal's Clipso Basic Pressure Cooker. It is a beauty. It's love at first sight. I know all pressure cookers from famous brands probably perform very similarly, reducing cooking time, durable, blablablah...So what made me choose this baby?
- The small volume is just right for my household
- The foldable handles (I have a thing for two ear handles instead of just one long handle) fits my non existent space perfectly
- The price (at HK$1071 - about USD137-after discount, it was the cheapest among all famous branded pressure cookers)
......and the fact that I saw Jamie Oliver on the brochure. Hehe.
So much for my decision making wisdom :p

As expected, it's gonna be damn hard not to de-virginize my pressure cooker the moment I got home. If it was my dream hunk, I'd push him through my door, rip his shirt off, and get him to unclog my plumbing and fix my washing machine (this is not a metaphor hehe). So the moment I got home, the box of the cooker was savagely underwent some serious cleaning process...and it was ready to go!

Guess which dish de-virginized my new love?

Indonesian Ox Tongue and Brisket Stew (Semur Lidah & Daging)

- 1/2 lb beef brisket
- 1 small ox tongue
- 1 large potatoes, cut into bite sized chunks
- about 8 cm ginger, crushed
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1 cup chicken stock/chicken stock cube/powder/or just plain water
- Indonesian sweet soy sauce (kecap manis), or you can use palm sugar/brown sugar
- salt, white pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg
- crispy shallot and mint leaves (as garnish/optional)

Rinse brisket and ox tongue, cook in boiling water and half of the crushed ginger for about 10 minutes, drain, set aside. This way, you will get rid some of the excess fat, after boiling, trim excess fat further with scissors if necessary. Saute onion and ginger until fragrant, throw in garlic, then diced tomatoes, ox tongue, brisket, salt, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, kecap manis (until it looks a bit dark), add water/chicken stock just to cover everything.

If you are using a pressure cooker, put the pressure cooker lid,set to "cooking meat" and cook for 20 minutes, release steam, take lid off, throw in the potatoes, cook until potatoes softened, adjust seasoning.

If you are not using a pressure cooker, use a bit more water/stock, cook with low heat for about 2-3 hours, checking from time to time, add liquid when necessary, until the meat gets tender and the sauce thickened, adjust seasoning.

Cut ox tongue into about 1 cm thick pieces, cut beef brisket to 5 cm long pieces, garnish with crispy shallot and mint leaves. Serve with steamed rice.

A friend of mine asked if the pressure cooker could shorten a 5 days work to just 1 day work...yeah, right! We wish!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Potatoes 2 Ways: Fries with Black Pepper plus Italian Herbs and Roasted Potatoes with Garlic, Herbs and Balsamic Vinegar

I was feeling rather spuddy the other day. All I wanted was potatoes, potatoes, potatoes...yellow, orange, purple...deep fried, roasted, mashed, baked...if only I could have them all in one night! Plus...I just got myself this bitchin' slicer from the market.....

The super convincing sales lady demonstrated how the device works by gingerly using it to slice and cut various fruits and vegetables into those cute, adorable shapes!!!...and you could do all that...with just HK$30 (less than USD4)!!! WOW!!! It is idiot proof and comes with a safety holder which makes it absolutely safe! You don't have to worry about losing a nail or two in slicing catastrophes!!!...the lady said...

I was impressed...but still contemplating whether or not I should get it, as normally I don't have any luck with any magical products I've bought off street demonstrations. They generally fell apart or wouldn't work in my hands. But this time, I was wowed by those lattice cut veggies! What the heck! Wouldn't it be awesome if I could make my own lattice cut fries at home?

As if!

Fries with Black Pepper & Italian Herbs

From a whole big potato, we only managed to lattice cut these teeny tiny bowl of spud. The rest crumbled into pieces. The slicer was difficult to manouver, the detachable bit always pops out of place, it is not sharp enough, and the safety holder made it even more annoying to operate. HAHAHA!

- 1 potato, sliced into any desired shape of fries
- oil for frying
- salt, black pepper, dried italian herb mix (rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano)
Wash and peel potato, sliced, pat dry, fry in hot oil, lay on kitchen towel to drain excess oil, sprinkle with salt, black pepper and mixed herbs.

Roasted Potatoes with Garlic, Herbs and Balsamic Vinegar

After the slicing blooper, I was not about to slice these babies into any funny shapes anymore. I just wanted the ordinary good 'ol thick chunks i can bite into.

- 1 potato, sliced into thick chunks
- olive oil, a bit of butter
- salt, pepper, dried rosemary and oregano
- balsamic vinegar
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed, leave skin on

Preheat oven to 200C. Throw potatoes into a tray, drizzle olive oil, throw in a bit of butter, season with salt, pepper, and herbs, drizzle balsamic vinegar, scatter crushed garlic, give them a little rub, bake until golden brown and a bit charred. My whole flat was perfumed with delicious scents when I was baking these babies.

Will I stop using the slicer? Nah, I'll give it another try...
I guess it's either "practice makes perfect" or "if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is" hehe

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Purple Sweet Potato Cheesecake with White Chocolate Cookie Crust

I hardly choose ingredients just because they are pretty. Normally, I am more of an ugly beautiful kinda gal. I love food which are charred, browned, wilted, limp, burnt...simply butt ugly, but delicious.

But the time I saw these purple sweet knees went weak. I was instantly in love with their deep, rich, exuberant color. Plus, they are more than just a pretty face. They are sweet and fragrant...and rich in complex carb, dietary fiber, beta carotene, vitamin C and B6.

There are so many things I could've done with them...deep frying them, roasting, boiling them for Chinese or Indonesian desserts...and many more! What the heck, with two big pieces, I think I can do all of them, starting with...
Purple Sweet Potato Cheesecake with White Chocolate Cookie Crust

Adapted from I Nom Things's
Pumpkin Cheesecake

The Cookie and White Chocolate Crust
- 12 digestive cookies/graham crackers
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 stick of butter, melted, cooled
- a row from a bar of white chocolate, grated
Preheat oven to 175-180C. Whack cookies into crumbs or use food processor. Mix cookies with sugar, melted butter and grated white chocolate, pour into cake pans (I used a loaf pan) and press until compact, bake for 5-10 mins, let cool and refrigerate while preparing other ingredients. Keep the oven heated.

The Sweet Potato Cheesecake
- 1 cup of mashed purple sweet potatoes (I cut them into small cubes, microwave on high for 6 minutes with a bit of milk, then mash them with a fork, I left some chunks, cos I wanna bite into some sweet potato goodness)
- 1 package of cream cheese, room temperature, cut into a few chunks with knife which has been dipped into hot water
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- a dash of vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp flour
- 2 eggs
In a mixing bowl, using a hand mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Add other ingredients gradually, mix well until creamy. Pour into pan over crust, bake until slightly cracked (about 30-40 minutes), let cool, refrigerate. Ehm, actually I love eating them hot too, especially in these cold winter days.

Sharing this with the folks at Weekend Herb Blogging (boy, it's been a while), created by Kalyn, hosted this week by Heather from Diary of a Fanatic Foodie

Too much beauty overwhelms me...let me get back to ugly beautiful cooking now. Burnt pancakes, anyone?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dining with (Famous) Rodents at Hong Kong Disneyland

Have you tried dining with rodents? Now I can proudly say that I have....and they are not just your average house rodents...these are THE super famous rodents of Disney! M-i-c-k-e-y M-o-u-s-e! That's right! Mickey Mouse!

I am not a big fan of Disney cuties...but I am a sucker for theme parks. I love theme parks, and I've been to the teeny tiny Hong Kong Disneyland three times!!! I always said to others that I simply brought visitors there, but deep in my heart, I knew it, I am a theme park addict. Why do I love them? Theme parks transport me to a world that is entirely different from my every day life...and for once, I don't have to worry about my work, the economy, Hong Kong's property market, or how I could not fit into my skinny jeans least until I get transported back to the "modern city of Hong Kong" (as announced in Hong Kong Disney MTR line ^_^)

So, my addiction to theme parks, and my other addiction to....all you can eat buffet meals (haha!), brought me to Hong Kong Disney Resort's Enchanted Garden. The hotel was every bit as magical as it boasted itself to be...and the dining room is no less. Food, cuties, and you are expected to take loads of pictures without being harrassed by the hotel's staff. Talk about a happy place!

The spread was scrumptious, and they are divided into geographical sections. From the western world, I couldn't help but notice these Mickey mouse shaped pizza. How cute!

From the salad bar, I picked this adorable little glass of shrimp, corn and french beans cocktail, and my favorite unhealthy salad, Mr. Caesar ^_^

One of my favorite items of the night: french fries, which were drenched in creamy mushroom sauce. Yummmm!!! Take note that I shamelessly ate off the kiddie plate ;)

Throughout the night, Mickey, Minnie and friends were roaming around, playing with (or scaring the heck outta) kids, mute chit-chatting (ala Charlie Chaplin), teasing, posing and letting adult dinners take their pictures. It was cute in the beginning, but the novelty quickly wore off and I became annoyed when I was about to enjoy a bite and either Mickey or his friends closed my eyes with their gigantic hands...I wish I could just scream "Would you just let me EAT?!!!!" But nah, I don't wanna be someone who's mean to a bunch of cute characters who are suffering inside their costumes. I think I should write to the management :)

The hot Japanese section has my favorite treats, assorted tempura, yakitori and seared seabass.

The Chinese section offers extensive variety of treats, including some sticky rice and chicken ginseng soup...

Roasted goodies...chicken, suckling pig and my favorite...roasted duck with plum sauce.

...and these stir fried prawns...they were succulent, bouncy and juicy!

The South East Asian section boasts a laksa and fishball noodles bar as well as Indian curry spread...which I didn't get to try as I was already stuffed to my throat. I bet they're good. Damn!

When I saw "Indonesian Fried Rice (Nasi Goreng)"...I just had to sample it! It wasn't the best nasi goreng I had, but not bad at all. The Malaysian sambal sotong (spicy cuttlefish) was tasty too!

As expected, the sweets department was manifested with rodents. They are everywhere! Well, as long as they don't tamper all the good flavors, I am good! :)

My chocoholic selection: chocolate covered strawberry, pecan pie, and chocolate eclairs with raspberries...which was heavenly!

I can't have lots of sweets without anything salty in between, so I munched on some cheese and crackers before I further attacked the dessert table

Cheese souffle, apple coulis, chocolate eclair (encore), white wine gelee, which tasted absolutely gorgeous and luxurious, and the best of the plate....the bread pudding, it is a little cup of heaven! The perfect ending of this magical (and slightly annoying) dinner. between mouthfuls of treats, I managed to pose with the famous animals, Goofy the dog, who covered my eyes as I was about to dig into my plate...lucky I wasn't wearing fake lashes or it would've ended on my plate. LOL

and the famous rodent himself, Mickey! Whose girlfriend, Minnie kept hitting on sous chef. Poor Mickey.

Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel
The Enchanted Garden
via hotel hotline: +852 3510 6000
Weekday dinner price as at 11 Nov 2008: approx HK$450/person (including tax)