Monday, August 31, 2009

Peanut Butter Sauce Tofu &...


Black Pepper Popcorn Chicken, that's what we had for dinner a couple of nights ago. Both are easy to dish out in no time at all.

Here's how I did it: while deep-frying the popcorn chicken, I set out to cut the green bell pepper, its yellow cousin and the red capsicum. Also quartered a yellow onion. Get ready the seasoning of black pepper sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, salt and water.
Once the chicken was ready, I heat up the wok, fry the onion till slightly limp, then pop in the capsicums. Fry for a minute or two, then added 3tbsp black pepper sauce, 1tbsp oyster sauce and 1/4 cup of water. Let it boil before the chicken goes it. Give it a stir or two, then finally season to taste with sugar and salt.

One dish down, another one to go.

For tofu, I remove the square silky white tofu from its container, rince it gently and slid it onto the serving bowl. In another bowl, I put in 3 tbsp of peanut butter (I used Skippy's Chunky) with 3tbsp of hot water, then whisk both till smooth. I tried using a spoon to stir but still both peanut butter and water would not combine, so best tool is to use a hand-held baloon whisk. This gives a smooth sauce in no time. Then I added 1tbsp of light soya sauce to balance the taste to get a salty-sweetish sauce for the bland tofu, top with scallion and another dish is out. Almost forgot about the century egg which was diced, add that atop the sauce drenced tofu before the scallion.

That means dinner is served!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Muffin Tin Meal #4 090827

Braised meat with a hard-boiled egg
Broccoli florettes with some carrot cutouts
Forella pear quarters
Rolled oats with a red cherry
Corn mayo and goma dressing
Canned fruit cocktail



Saturday, August 29, 2009

Braised Meat

I found this method of cooking Braised Pork interesting, which uses oil to caramelise the sugar first before searing the meat. Thanks Josh for the pictorial step-by-step guide and recipe in kc, he really took the time and effort to post it up back in 2005, that was quite some time back and I would not have chanced upon it if not for some forumers who tried out the recipe and posted their results, thus 'reviving' the recipe.

Simple ingredients that yield excellent result. Original recipe calls for pork belly, but I only had pork cubes in the freezer. Rather than to brave the wet weather for a run to the morning market, those were what went into the pot for today. I didn't follow the recipe to the dot because of the leaner cut of meat I use, that means shortening the cooking time to the point where the meat was tender before getting too overcooked. Think I only braised it for an hour or so.


1kg pork
6tbsp oil
3tbsp sugar
5 slices of ginger
Dark soya sauce
Water
3tsp 5-spiced powder
1tsp salt

1) Heat up oil in the container which is going to be used to braised the meat, be it a deep pan or pot.
2) Add in the sugar to caramelise to a golden brown liquid, be careful not to let the caramel get burnt, else there will be a burnt bitter taste of the outcome.
3) Add in the ginger slices and fry till aromatic, followed by the pork. Allow meat to sear and be evenly coated with caramel.
4) Add in dark soya sauce, then top up with water to cover the pork.
5) Allow to boil and turn the fire to small flame and braise for 1 hour, while stirring occasionally.
6) Add 5-spiced powder and continue braising for another hour, topping with more water whenever water level goes down.
7) After the total of 2 hours (step 5&6), turn the fire to medium and uncover the pot to let the sauce thicken.
8) Dish is ready when the sauce is about one-fifth of the level of pork. Add salt to taste before serving.

I stopped at stop 5 once the meat is tender to my liking.

Thumbs up for this easy one-pot dish that I had with my rolled oats for lunch. As for dinner, I piled up some onto my dry instant noodle. Equally good for both meals.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Muffin Tin Meal #3 090826


Fried egg
Tomyam soup with minced meat
Stained-glass cookies
Vegetarian sweet and sour sauce
Rolled oats with furikake topping
Organic sweet slightly-crunchy mangoes (organic because it was grown by my neighbour in his garden)

Felt so full after this wholesome meal *burp*

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ayam Masak Merah

With the current H1N1 pandemic, we are eating out less often and that equates to eating home cooked food more frequently. Time to polish up my cooking skill also at this opportune time. Here is one hot & spicy dish that one lady generously shared in kc forum which got some forumers interested, me included. Recipe extracted here for my own reference and also as back-up should the original copy vanished for whatever reason, as what had happened to another forum.

AYAM MASAK MERAH
Ingredients A:
1 whole chicken - cut into 8
1 tsp tumeric powder
1 tsp salt
oil for cooking


Method:
1/ Mix all the above together and leave the chicken to marinate for 5 to 10 mins.
2/ Heat the wok, put in the oil and fry the chicken till cook and lightly crispy.
3/ Drain with the kitchen papers and put aside.


Ingredients B:
15 stalk dry chillies *
3 bombay onions - peeled *
5 pieces garlic - peeled *
1 inch old ginger - peeled *
1 tbsp belachan *


Cooking oil
1 stalk lemongrass- pound only
1 tomato - quartered
1/2 tin of tomato sauce - canned version
3 lime leaf - sliced thinly
Salt and sugar - to taste


125ml water
2 stalk coriander leaves - cut finely for garnishing
Some fried shallots


Method:
1/ Blend * with a lit bit of water until it becomes a paste.
2/ Heat the wok and pour it as enough oil with medium fire. Put in lemongrass and follow up by the chillies paste and fried it till frangrant with small fire, approximately about 20 to 30 mins.
3/ Next put in the lime leaves and keep stiring. Follow by tomato sauce and and a bit of water.
4/ Keep on stirring until it become thick and then put in chickens keep on stir till it become all even.
5/ Add in fresh tomato for awhile, then season with the dish salt and sugar.
6/ Garnish it with coriander leaves and fried shallots before serving.


Best eaten with piping hot steamed white rice.


Verdict: I find the this Ayam Masak Merah a tad too spicy for my tastebud, so will cut down on the chillies accordingly. Also I would add some kurma and raisins for some sweetness.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Stained Glass Cookies


It has been raining on and off over the weekend, and for the fear of getting wet (tho I know I'm not of ice so I won't melt), but still the idea of getting some plitter-platter was not welcoming, I got down to do this.
I had earlier bought 2 bags of Fox's Crystal Clear Candy with the intention of making this Stainted Glass Cookies, so it was a good opportunity to get down to business before the idea gets stale although the sweets won't. I opted for the Fruits flavour so that there was a variety of colours.
A pack of about 90grams gave me about 22 sweets of assorted flavours, and more importantly, it was the assortment of colours I was after. The myriad of red, purple, orange, yellow and green was interesting. Some blogs I came across recommended to finely chop the candy, then there were others that mentioned it was not necessary to go through the hassle but just to chop the candy into quarters. The rationale was that the sugar crystals will boil faster in smaller pieces and thus the risk of burning the candy before the cookie is ready. Of course I opted for the later as it spells less work also, although the task at hand was not as easy to tackle because when the knife hits the candy, and the candy being hard, the pieces went flying away. I had to literally track them down, each morsel so that the ants don't get a chance.
This being my first attempt, I wasn't sure how much candy to fill each cavity, so I was checking the oven from time to time. Too much and the candy will overflow, too little means the cavity won't be filled, so to start off, it was better to start little and top it up as I went. As I got more experience with the first tray, I ended up just filling the cavity with one WHOLE sweet, yup, just unwrap the wrapper and pop it into the hole. It was proven to be just the nice amount, nothing more, nothing less.
The recipe here gave a very short cookie with buttery fragrance. I just flipped to Alex Goh's Cookie recipe and settled for it, a mere 5 ingredients of butter, sugar, milk, all-purpose flour and cornflour. The most basic of basics.
Ingredients:
100g butter
50g castor sugar
1 tbsp UHT milk
170g all-purpose flour
20g cornflour
Method:
1/ Cream butter with sugar till pale and creamy before adding in the milk.
2/ Add in both flours which had been sifted together to get a soft dough.
3/ Refrigerate for 15 minutes for easy-handling of dough then roll the dough between 2 pieces of plastic sheets.
4/ Cut out using any cookie cutter per one's fancy.
5/ Transfer to a tray lined with aluminium foil.
6/ Bake the cookies for 15 minutes before filling the cavity with one Fox's Crystal Clear candy.
7/ Continue baking till candy has melted and the edges of cookie is slightly browned.
8/ Let cookie cool before removing. Be extremely careful not to break the precious pieces of hardwork!
It was a satisfying bake and what a pretty sight to behold for the end-products. Aren't they a beauty?!?
Adapted from Alex Goh's {Joy of making Cookies} pg 50 (Orange Shortbread)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Finally...

So happy to be able to acquire this from the 100 yen shop locally, must applaud their effort to bring them to our shore, and particularly to my shore, hahha.. Saved me a fair amout of moolah for being patient and wait for them. Also thanks to the timing the other time that some of the items, in particular, the plastic cutters were out of stock when I wanted to purchase them online. Blessings in disguise which I came to realise it only later now.

Slim beige 2-tier collapsible bento box
Alphabet cutters
Number cutters
Animal fork-foodpicks
Forest fork-foodpicks
Transparent foodpicks

Imagine how happy I was when I spotted them on the shelf unexpectedly. Needless to say, I grabbed them without second thoughts and went to bed a happy lass that night.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Simple Dinner Do

This was a very simple Sweet & Sour Chicken that we had for dinner last nite. I said simple because I cheated by using ready store-bought Popcorn Chicken , but prepared the sauce from scratch. It was something that can be whipped up in an instant rather than bread the chicken before deep-frying them as with this Ayamadu brand, I skipped that process and simply did it with from-freezer-to-fryer-style. Less mess, absolutely!


The colourful dish with a myriad of colours coming from the tri colour sweet bell peppers, also known as capsicum.

The ingredients before cooking being laid out. At a glance, there were tomatoes, canned longans, onions, red capsicums, yellow capsicums, green capsicums, carrots, canned pineapples and of course, the main ingredient of popcorn chicken.

Another shot before cooking begins, here one can see the popcorn chicken before being fried. I normally use half a pack and the serving size is just sufficient for the two of us.

In the midst of the cooking process, here notice the popcorn chicken pieces were fried to golden perfection. As for the seasoning, I used 3 tbsp of chilli sauce, 3 tbsp of tomato sauce, a tinge of salt and 1 tbsp of sugar. Pour in water (I used the syrup from the canned pineapple here to add a better taste) and let the sauce boil, and final step only pop in the popcorn chicken and give it a quick stir before turning off the fire.
Note: Here the sauce was sufficient for one bag of the popcorn chicken, so I saved up half a portion of the sauce for another meal.

Seen here with our complete meal of steamed white rice plus another dish of "stir-fried loofah with minced meat and egg".
What did you have for yours?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Muffin Tin Meal #2 090819

The muffin tin meal for this round was mostly dominated by the colour green. Home-made pandan swiss roll with kaya (store-bought) in both the top left and right corner. In the middle was strawberry-flavoured low-fat yoghurt.

On the bottom row was cubed mangoes, sliced green kiwi fruit and a medley of canned longans, red cherry tomatoes plus yellow cherry tomatoes.


What a colourful way to kick-start the day!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Bombay Chicken Stew

While blog-hopping, I came across Bento Pet's simple recipe for Chicken Stew, and the way she decribed it made me go on a quest to find the one important ingredient, the curry powder. Not any curry powder for that matter, it must be the bottled variety and Made in England. Previously I had came across this version of curry powder and I wondered to myself, a curry powder from England, that's interesting.

But forward to the time when I need to locate it, I can't recall exactly which supermart carries it, was it Cold Storage since it carries a lot of imported products? A trip there yields nothing back, so off I went again, this time to Sunshine Farlim, and I was jumping for joy when I saw it stood on the shelf and I grabbed it without second thoughts. It was only RM4.80, but my joy was certainly valued way higher than that.


It say's "Waugh's Curry Powder", and from the back label, it can be used for so many things. It is not spicy at all but very flavourful and fragrant. Later I realised that this item was called for quite extensively in one of those recipe books I bought (shows how I stash them after buying and didn't test them out - a classic case of out of sight, out of mind). Good to know that I can use it in other ways apart from making
Bento Pet's Chicken Stew. Thanks for sharing it so generously!


Here's the output after the great 'hunt' of the so-called bottled-curry-powder.


Recipe replicated here for my future reference:
2 tbsp curry powder
2 tsp salt
1 chicken (cut into medium-large pieces, then marinated with the salt and curry powder]
5 bomba onions (medium-sized)
5 potatoes (small-sized)

1) Refrigerate the chicken while marinating for at least 3 hours for the flavour to soak in.
2) Deep fry the onions, followed by potatoes and chicken.
3) Put the deep-fried onions, potatoes and chicken in a deep pot and fill the pot with hot water to cover the ingredients.
4) Bring to a boil before lowering the heat to let it simmer for 20-30 minutes.
5) Season to taste.
I ate them with toasted wholemeal bread and white rice. With the remaining gravy, I cooked instant noodle with it and this tasted like mee soto. Not a single drop was wasted. Yum yum!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Bento #030 090819

There has been a lapse of time since I last had rolled oats for my lunch, and a quick check revealed that it was last featured in Bento #18, which was dated back in April. Wow, how time flies, that was like more than 4 months ago, unbelieveable.

Surely it is time to rekindle the spirit to feature the humble rolled oats again, and in this Lock&Lock container there were leftover zhar-jiang sauce from here, knotted french beans and yellow onion omelette. Sprinkled some furikake on the rolled oats for colour and taste, it was an awesome bento lunch!

Love the "french knots" of beans, hahha...it was a mouthful to bite and provided a different texture than having them the usual non-knotted, or should it be un-knotted way. Very easy to do, just lightly blanch them in boiling water for a minutes, then plunge them in cold water to stop the cooking process and also for easier-handling, and then, knot away... When boiling the water in the pot for blanching, I like to add a little bit of salt and one teaspoon of oil to get the shiny inviting look of the end-product. Practising what my late granny taught me. That's all for today. :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Muffin Tin Meal #1 090818

I first learnt about this from Peony's blog (to read more, refer here) and I absolutely like the idea. For one thing, it serves as a good portion control with the dimension of each muffin hole. Secondly, it reduces washing so many serving containers (ya, lazy me, gotta admit). Thirdly, it breathes in more life for my muffin pan because I haven't been using them for baking for quite some time now as it takes up more space in the oven and can only bake 6 at one time. I had been using those disposable muffin casing now and can bake the whole recipe of muffins at a go, so much for saving electricity and time.

Time to dig into the storage for the almost-retired muffin tins, so here's the "revival". A good healthy serving of fruits here to kick start the day!

Top row from left to right: Checkered red apple quarters, golden kiwi floret rings, blueberry yoghurt.
Bottom row from left to right: Yellow mango slices, green kiwi floret rings, banana slice with cinnamon sugar.

Thanks for sharing, Peony! Can always count on your for "opening" my eyes to new things.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Banana Pie from Continental Bakery

Continental Bakery has been around for quite some time now, and the range of bread that they offer keeps expending. It is seriously good bread which a very wide variety, my personal favourite being the Sambal Udang Bun which has a generous filling of spicy dried shrimps. The size remains constant but the price has escalated quite a bit and is standing at RM1.90 each.

Next item that I will not fail to pick up is the Cheese Stick, which is about 0.5 meters long. Doubt I can find that length in any other bakeries. Nibbling on it is fun because it takes like forever to finish.

They also make a lot of healthy bread with don't-know-how-many-types of grain, with less sugar, with non sugar, sprouted and blah blah blah...last I spotted was low GI bread. They really have their following because if one goes toward closing time, the shelf is almost bare with limited choice, so go early in order not to be disappointed. Oh, and be sure to bring enough cash because during my last visit, I left the store with nearly RM20 of "investment". Good bread equates to good price. :)

Always on the lookout for new items, we tried this Banana Pie @ RM3.80 each. There was one whole banana, Pisang Raja variety encased in puff pastry, egg-washed and with some almond flakes on top and baked to a shiny perfection. There were some custard filling in between the pastry and the banana, so it all blended very well together.

We had it with a cuppa coffee, heavenly. On second thought, we would try to heat it up the next time to see if it would be better to bring the aroma a notch higher. Now to let the photos do the talking.

After...


Before the Attack.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Black Sesame Minis by Gemie Pastry


2 words that caught my fancy "black sesame", and into the shopping cart these mini paus went while grocery shopping yesterday. One can say that curiosity got the hold of me, and promptly I had them for yesterday's afternoon tea, which I don't normally practise. The fillings were generous, and within the fillings there were mung beans and black glutinuous rice to add to the bite. It was a nice twist that I didn't expect, but it would be better if the fragrance of black sesame was stronger.

Good to go with a hot cup of mocha (Milo & Nescafe),


Monday, August 17, 2009

Bento #029 090817

While waiting for the minced meat to thaw, this idea sprang to mind, why not try to replicate the Zhar-Jiang noddle which is normally served at Taiwanese Restaurants? No fixed recipe, I just fried the chopped onions till limp before adding in the minced meat and stir-fried till the colour changed. Add in some seasoning - light soya sauce, dark soya sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce and some light brown sugar to balance the taste. Some water to get gravy and tadaa...an easy lunch.


I parboiled the instant noodle till al-denta, then leave it in the colander to drip dry a tad. Then topped up the concoction with fine strips of kyuri and carrot.

On the side was a box of green kiwi and yellow kiwi. Also some cherry tomatoes to fill the gap.


This was the tool I used to get the fine shreds of vegetables. Now the mystery is solved for me because previously I had been wondering how the restaurants get their vegetable done in such long strands and so fine. Good investment and I heart it very much.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Little Sunshine Cafe, Farlim

A new establishment that just opened at Sunshine Farlim Shopping Mall, not sure when they opened their doors for business exactly, but I deduce that it wasn't that long ago because the red curtain at the door is still hanging there. Since we were hungry and it was drizzling outside, we decided to give this eatery a try before doing some grocery shopping.

After browsing the menu from cover to cover, we decided on the Unagi Rice Set that came with a drink. 4 choices of drinks to choose from: Honey Lemon, Herbal Tea, Kiwi and another, I forgot *shepish grin*. The Iced Honey Lemon was refreshingly quenching, right balance between the sweetness of honey and the sourness of lemon.

The other item that caught our fancy was Salted Fish Pork Ribs Rice set, which was at 10% discount. All items are entitled for 10% discount except those sets from the Japanese range. Wonder if I make sense here.



As for the food, it was nothing to shout for. The rice that came with the unagi was just normal rice and not japanese calrose variety. There was a piece of agedashi tofu together in the salad compartment. Priced at RM14.90 I felt that it could have done better in terms of quality. There was miso soup, I nearly missed that out. And two pieces of chilled sweet papaya as dessert. Like the serving tray no doubt.


The claypot Salted Fish Pork Ribs Rice set was a good choice for the chilly weather. The ribs were tender with little bits of salted fish in the gravy. There were leeks, onions, carrots and button mushrooms as well. This was served with rice for RM9.20. Actually dh made a blunder here, he thought that it was a one-pot-dish akin to claypot chicken rice, so instead of chicken, one gets pork ribs. Bet he had misread the menu, or that his eyes read one thing, but the mind registers another.
Total bill of RM25.70 for the above plus a hot coffee.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Bento #028 090814

Photobucket
Home-made Pandan Kaya Swiss Roll (with store bought Kaya)
Tomyam Stir-Fried Pasta
Heart-shaped Chicken Nugget
Mexican Chicken Piece
Sweet Yellow Mango
BBQ Sauce in Tomato cup

Bento #027 090806

Nothing could be easier than this quick ensemble of sandwiches using wholemeal mini buns, just a slit horizontally and slab the fillings on. I made the savoury fillings earlier and stored them in the fridge. This arrangement makes life so much easier with meals quicker to fix, appetite faster to whet. Good to go with bread, pancake or even crepe.

On the left were some slivers of sweet Chukanan mango followed by egg corn may sandwich bun, then a double-decker tuna pineapple sandwich bun. To complete the meal was a tub of store-bought yoghurt, berry flavour. Almost forgot the two pieces of kyuri round plus one each of red cherry tomato and yellow cherry tomato to decorate the otherwise plain looking buns.

Photobucket

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ayam A1's Chicken Fillets

This was the packet of Chicken Fillets I used in my previous blog post. Convenient to use as it was breaded, but I won't be a repeat customer because the manufacturer was too generous on the salt, in my opinion. Nevertheless a good try.


p/s: I'm doing this for my reference.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Bento #026 090804

A quick bento of cute pasta to go with Japanese curry and a piece of chicken cutlet. The chicken cutlet was store-bought and from freezer to fryer type. Afterwhich I cut it into slices of 1 cm in width to look like how it was normally served in japanese restaurant.

For colour, I cut yellow and red cherry tomatoes into half and slot in a piece of kyuri in between. Was trying to get the traffic lights feel but I only managed to get the colours right, namely the yellow, green and red or the reverse of red, green and yellow. One or two of these got cheese cubes instead for a tinge of savoury.


Served in this pink adorable Hello Kitty box.


This was the Ditali rigati pasta that I used, after cooking, the cross-section resembles gear because of the ridges. My first time trying it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Canton-I oh Canton-I

Between Dragon-I and Canton-I, our preference is the latter because of the variety of dim sum. We would only go to Dragon-I for their siew-long-pau but between that and the dainty dim sum, of course the dim sum wins. What's more, we realise that for the same item offered in both outlets, the one in Dragon-I fetches a higher price, wonders why. A case in point would be their Fried Durian Puff.


The must-have crispy roast pork, which this time was not cut to perfect squares. On the left is BBQ pork ribs, just look at the glossy sauce with the right sweetness.
Like I mentioned in my previous post, this was the wasabi and sugar to go with the siew-yok.


Crunchy crisphy cruellers (again) to go with the smooth gooey silky porridge. We normally go for the option whereby we indicate the ingredients we like to go with, as opposed to having those standard ones. We tried sliced beef and century eggs for this trip, and it was thumbs up! The beef was not chewy nor tough at all.


This, is the accompanying crispy biscuit to go with the porridge. On the side is pickled green chilli in vinegar that dh can't live without.

Here's my 2-combination rice, namely roast duck and char-siew. It came served with half a hard-boiled egg and two stalks of hongkong mini kailan. The accompanying chilli sauce (not shown) has the right combination of spiciness and sour taste.
To complete an awesome meal, this was a good choice we made. It was mochi with black sesame filling, and on the outside it was coated with powdery fine ground peanut. Not sweet at all, definitely concludes the meal well.


Look at the "black gold" within the nugget of mochi, so fragrant and flavourful. Sir, please can I have some more?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Bixies Fruity with Wild Berry

Itsy bitsy tiny squares in this Bixies Fruity box. I picked it up while grocery shopping out of curiosity. Must be the blueberry and raspberry printed on the box that caught my fancy? I don't know, but one thing is for sure, this is good! Worth a try since I got them at less than half-price as they were near end of shelf-life for RM5.00 while retailing at RM10.90 normally.



The side of the box shows a recipe which sounds interesting, but let's see if there's any left to try anything fanciful after I pop open one packet.


The back of the box illustrates the goodness of this range, and I had fun learning that I made the right choice afterall.
A close-up of the fine prints


The other choices in the range, and the photo below shows the meaning of whole-grains. It is the inclusion of the bran, wheat germ and the endosperm (that's a new term for me today!).




Individually packed in foil, there are 5 servings in this box. This is also good for travelling or even camping purposes.

This is how much one pouch yields, about 12 pieces. The berries were very fragrant and not too sweet, which earns it another brownie point.

Best eaten with chilled milk, that's the way I like it, ah ha!