Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Salad with quail's eggs and tuna

Once in a while, when I don't know what to cook, or don't have much of an appetite, I would prepared salad for dinner. I know it lack some colour, like tomatoes. But I'm not really fond of tomatoes in the first place. Anyway,  it complemented our chicken pie perfectly.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Favourite Cake

This is my all-time favourite chocolate cake from Four Leaves. I've bought this for Jerome's birthday before I knew how to bake and decorate cakes. Yes, I bought my favourite cake for Jerome so that I can eat it :)

What I love about the cake is between all the rich and smooth chocolate cake and chocolate moose, there is a crispy layer. Don't know what's that. The next time I eat this cake again, I'm going to 'dissect' it and find out exactly what it is. Going to try to 'duplicate' it at Sheryl's Kitchen :P Anyone knows what's that crispy layer?

Vegetable Curry- Hai's Instant Lontong Paste

Bought a packet of instant lontong paste and cook a nice big pot of vegetable curry. It was a great dish to go with rice as our dinner when we went vegetarian on Monday. Well, strictly speaking, it's not really vegetarian as dried shrimps were used in the production of the paste.

Anyway, I've added cabbage, long beans, turnip, tou pok, tou kee, eggs and used evaporated milk instead of coconut milk. We've enjoy the vegetable curry very much just that it could be a little more spicy. Next time, I'll add more chilli paste to it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Po Piah & Spring Rolls

Last Monday, we had Po Piah & Spring rolls for dinner and lunch respectively. This was in line with our plan to be vegetarians on Mondays. It was the first time I tried to prepare this. Another experiment. Was quite satisfied but Jerome was saying he will not eat another Po piah for the rest of the year. We had too much in a day :P All food in moderation!

A few days later, as I still had some turnip left over, I tried to make the deep fried version, the spring rolls, for teabreak.  This time, I added cabbage and dried mushrooms. Jerome prefers this version. He said it was better than old chang kee :) He demanded more. So I promised him that I'll make them again the following Monday.

And on Monday, I made them again. This time, I also added beansprouts to the turnip. So there's turnip, carrots, cabbage, mushrooms and beansprouts. It was the best I've made so far. But in the end, Jerome also said he'll not have another spring roll for the rest of the year. It's hard to cook for 2. When you put a little of everything, you really get a huge pot in the end! Who wants to join us for lunch or dinner next time?

All the ingredients for po piah making...

 Putting all the ingredients nicely on a po piah skin to be rolled up...

 There you go, 2 po piahs done!
I'm glad they tasted better than they looked :)

Deep fried Spring rolls served with sweet sauce and Thai sweet Chilli Sauce.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Crab Affair

The time was 11.55a.m, another 5 minutes before "A Crab Affair" Buffet officially started and there was already a queue of about 50 people at the Ellenborough Market Cafe at Swissotel Merchant Court. I had made a reservation earlier during the week as this seemed to be a very popular buffet. I had read about the various crab dishes and was looking forward to some good Sri Lankan chilli crabs and fried mantou.

Once we were led to table, we went to check out the spread. It appeared that many diners knew their way and the queue for the star dish- chilli crab, big prawns & steam fish was long. I decided to go where there's no queue. I felt kinda silly returning to my table with just a few slices of salmon and a saucer with wasabi and soya sauce. I saw the elderly couple next to us with a full plate of chilli crabs each. Yes, each of them took a plate of chilli crab that was piled up high.

Fortunately, Jerome managed to get us both some crabs, but there was no fried mantou... These are just common mud crabs that Jerome said cost less than $5 at Sheng Siong for a live one, not the big Sri Lankan crabs we were expecting. So it was kinda disappointing.

Anyway, as we were enjoying the crabs, we couldn't help but observe the diners nearby.  If we thought the elderly couple were 'amazing' with their plates full of crab, we saw that they were not the only ones nor the worst. 2 tables away, a woman who looked to be in her 30s was with her mother who seemed to be in her sixties were 'incredible'. They had 5 plates heaped high with crabs! This is really a typical kiasu Singaporean, the ugly Singaporean's doing.

If you put a full plate of crabs in front of me, I would wonder if I could finish them. If you place 2 full plates of crabs in front of me, I think I'll lose my appetite. But these 2 women managed to get 5 full plates laid out on their table even before they started their 'feast'. Can they finish everything? Jerome was saying it's better better to get warm food when you want more later which made sense.

Anyway, the queue was perpetually long for the chilli crab and I don't believe in paying so much and still have to queue. The crab was not fantastic anyway so I took other food which was really quite limited. There was roti prata station which I didn't queue up for. I have tasted the best prata at Marsiling so no prata here. So I had half a bowl of their famous durian pengat, but nothing beats the real thing. I had a few pieces of kuehs, a scoop of ice-cream, a few pieces of cakes and a few slices of fruits and that was it. No more crabs as the queue was just too long and they're not fantastic to warrant effort in queuing.

From where we were sitting, we could see that the tray for chilli crabs were often empty. Hmm... And we get to observe some undesirable behaviours, like people digging all around the dish, looking for certain parts, especially the claws. When Jerome got the crabs earlier now,  a woman in front of him had a plate full of crab claws. She turned to her son behind her and said, "Hurry! Take the claws. The claws are finishing!" ... speechless...

At around 1pm, I overheard the lady sitting next to us telling her boyfriend, "Can you believe it? They ran out of crabs! Some customers are angry and demand to speak to the manager." I'm surprised to hear that, I could understand why the customers were upset. If you paid good money for a crab buffet, you expect to get what you paid for. But then because of some inconsiderate kiasu diners, who piled their plates full of crabs, leaving little for diners behind. Remember the 2 ladies with the 5 plates of crabs?

I bet they couldn't finish the crabs. By the time they finished their 3rd plate, they didn't seem to be enjoying the crabs anymore. But still, the younger lady went to get more food! She returned with a bowl heaped high with the durian pengat, easily thrice the amount that I've taken earlier on, among other food. Incredible! Suddenly, the durian pengat doesn't look that appealing anymore, reminding me of something else in the toilet. Really, all things in moderation. When you have too much of a good thing, it actually become not so fantastic afterall. But I guess when you come to a buffet, sometimes it brings out the ugly sides of some people.

I overheard (seemed like I was ease-dropping on others' conversations all the time... maybe we 're just sitting too close) the elderly couple sitting next to us saying that the crab buffet this year was worse than last year. Hmm... so they had been here before.

I guess if there are many dinners who pile their plates high with crabs, the hotel can't afford to provide the quality. They can only provide the quantity to cater to the hungry ghosts. So they've replace the Sri Lankan crabs with the common mud crabs.

Indeed at 54++, we were presented with common mud crabs, flower crabs, prawns, clayfish, fish (we didn't even get to eat any prawns or clayfish or steamed fish), some local desserts, 2 flavours of ice-cream, ice-water, tropical fruits, salad and ice water. Hey, and there was no mantou. But there was white rice though. I never understood people who took white rice during buffets.

Basically the Crab affair is just mud crabs and flower crabs cooked in different ways. At the end of it all, Jerome and I managed to eat 1 mud crab and 2 flower crabs. We didn't expect it to be such a 'crappy' meal. Well, let's just say this was our first time and last time there.

This was the plate of crabs that I shared with Jerome...

This was a plate full of crabs seen on another neighbouring table...
This was the 1st of the 5 plates that the 2 ladies had- 1 in her 30s, the other in her 60s.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Black & White Fried Carrot Cake

Jerome & I decided to go vegetarian every Monday. This was after we watched "Food Inc" the documentary that showed us the reality of the food we eat. It kinda shocked us and scared us about the food we eat. One thing for sure,  I know we won't be eating any beef from US and we'll try to eat less meat.

Anyway, I tried to prepare fried carrot cake for lunch. A common hawker dish- carrot cake fried with preserved radish and eggs. Jerome prefers it black and I prefer mine white so I prepared both. It's definitely not the best fried carrot cakes that we've eaten. I was kinda disappointed as I couldn't get the eggs to be crispy like my favourite crispy fried carrot cake. Anyone knows how to make the eggs crispy?

Recipe for fried carrot cake

200g carrot cake, cut into cubes
2 eggs, beaten
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tbsp preserved radish, rinsed and dry on kitchen napkins
2 tbsp sweet sauce (for black) or 1 tbsp fish sauce (for white)
3 tbsp oil

1) Heat up the oil in the wok. Saute chopped garlic till fragrant.
2) Add the preserved radish and stir fry for a while. 
3) Add the carrot cake and stir fry. 
4) Pour in the beaten egg. 
5) Add seasoning. 
6) Fry well, dish up & garnish with chopped spring onion. 

The best fried carrot cake I've eaten is from Lim Hai Sheng located at the hawker centre at Ang Mo Kio Central. The egg was fried till crispy just the way I liked it. Jerome also gave his approval. Sometimes we would travel to Ang Mo Kio just for the carrot cake :P

Stir-fry Frog Legs with Ginger and Spring Onion 姜葱田鸡

I bought some frogs from the supermarket. They were already skinned and killed. I wouldn't dare to kill a jumping and croaking frog otherwise. I tried to search for a recipe for Stir-fry Frog Legs with Ginger and Spring Onion 姜葱田鸡 but can't find one. So I experimented and according to Jerome, it was great :) I think frog legs is very healthy, a healthier alternative to chicken's meat. Here's my recipe.

Recipe for Stir-fry Frog Legs with Ginger and Spring Onion 姜葱田鸡
(serves 2-3 as a side dish)

3 frogs, skinned and chopped to pieces
300g Spring onion, cut into 5 cm strips
1 piece of ginger, cut into slices or strips
2 tbsp oil
100ml of water
1 tbsp of (Vegetarian) Oyster Sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
cornstarch for thinkening

Marinade for at least 30 mins:
1 tbsp of (Vegetarian) Oyster Sauce
1 egg 
1/2 tbsp corn flour
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp Hua Tiao Jiu
1 tbsp water
a dash of pepper

1) Heat up 2 tbsp of oil in the wok. Add the ginger and fry till fragrant. 
2) Add the frogs legs and water. Stir fry till the meat is cooked. 
3) Add 1 tbsp of (Vegetarian) Oyster Sauce and dark soy sauce. Add cornstarch and thicken the sauce. Add spring onion. 
4) Stir fry and mix well.  Dish up and serve with rice. 

Pecan nut fresh from the shell

During our trip to Zhangjiajie, my mother bought a packet of strange looking nuts from a 'nut' stall outside one of the restaurants where we had our meals. I didn't know what it was until we returned to Singapore. It was pecan nut! The pecan nuts I usually see is already de-shelled and halved. So here's something new for me. I spent an afternoon de-shelling the nuts and they're now sitting in a glass bottle waiting for my cinnamon rolls when I do bake them again...

Food from Zhangjiajie, China

In September, I brought my parents on a tour to Zhangjiajie for over a week. Here's some pictures of the food that we ate there. Often, we were served similar dishes for lunches and dinners.  I stopped taking pictures of the food after 2 days. Food were often too oily or salty. I really missed food from home... I know Jerome missed my cooking when I was away.

Anyway, here's a glimpse of what we've "enjoyed" ...

My favourite dish from the entire table... Tomatoes fried egg... 
And the weird thing is that I don't even like tomatoes usually.

Think this was rabbit's meat

Fresh water fish which has lots of bones. 
My father who usually loves to eat fish actually told an uncle in the group that he doesn't like to eat fish. 
I almost choked on my rice. 

 Chou Tou Fu- Fermented Bean curd
Looks kinda black... I don't even wanna know what it's been through...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Nasi Lemak

I asked Jerome what he liked for lunch and he said Nasi Lemak so...

Nasi Lemak- Fragrant coconut rice with stir fried sambal french beans, fried chicken midwings, fried crunchy fish, ikan bilis, peanuts, cucumber, sambal chilli and a sunny side-up :)

Nasi Lemak on FoodistaNasi Lemak

Monday, August 23, 2010

Loong Fatt Tau Sar Piah

Loong Fatt Tau Sar Piah- The Best Sweet & Salty Tau Sar Piah (TSP) in Town!

It's been years since I last had one and I'm always thinking about it whenever we happen to pass by Balestier area or when we have an average tau sar piah or the Malaysia version.

Last Saturday, Jerome and I were in the area and went to a coffee shop nearby for lunch before going for my TSP. And they are still as good as I remembered :)

Address: 639 Balestier Road, located right at the corner
Mon–Sat & PH: 8am – 4.30pm
(Closed on Sundays)

Sweet & Tau Sar Piah, Egg Tarts, Cream Puffs all selling for $0.60 each.

A long queue for the TSP, fresh from the oven...
And everyone buys a few boxes at a time!

Traditional tables and chairs at the confectionary... 
Great to enjoy your coffee and TSP :)

Workers rolling the pastry skin here...
You get to see them work as you queue...

I bought 5 boxes of 10 pieces :P
Of course I didn't eat all! I gave 4 boxes away, leaving only 1 for myself...
Should have bought a few more boxes!

Crispy buttery pastry skin with smooth and tasty tau sar paste filling (taste more like lotus filling to me). Perfect! Best when it's still warm and fresh from the oven...
Still good and crispy a few days later... if you manage to save some...
 Maybe I should go learn and make some myself soon...
But at $0.60 a piece, it's more economical to take a bus and buy a few boxes!

A little about the history of the Singapore Tau Sar Piah here on I eat. I shoot. I post.
Check out the competitions in the neighbourhood here.

Lee Kum Kee Ma Po Tou Fu

Bought a packet  of Lee Kum Kee Sauce for Ma Po Tou Fu to prepare a simple side dish for dinner. Tried it for the first time...

Stir-fry some minced pork, add the sauce and cut-up tou fu... 
and here's a plate of spicy ma po tou fu...

Jerome loves it and it was so appetizing that he demanded for more rice!
My tongue felt a little numb from the spiciness- the Sichuan 'Ma La' effect...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Strawberry Ice-Cream

Singapore's weather is getting crazy nowadays. It was cold, windy and rainy yesterday (flooding in some areas) and today the sun is blazing hot outside!

Well, the weather's perfect for the strawberry ice-cream that I've just made :)
Maybe I'm missing a strawberry in the bowl...

And I still made the ice-cream without an ice-cream maker.
Maybe I don't need one after all...

How to make simple Strawberry Ice-cream without Ice-cream maker

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wedding Anniversary Cake

I happened to find out that Jerome's sister is celebrating their 1st Wedding Anniversary today so I decided to make them a cake yesterday. His sister , who's based in the States, is staying with us with her husband for a couple of weeks. Honestly, I've ran out of ideas on how to decorate a cake... And I'm not confident of using mashmallow fondant to cover a cake. Is it going to be awfully sweet?

A simple 'Love-ing' Cake

Anyway, I hope that the lovely couple would like the cake :)
Have a happy marriage and do come back and visit us often :)

More Longan & Strawberries Cakes

Went to visit 2 friends I've not seen for a few years, now happily married with a 17-month toddler. I decided to bake them a cake. And of course, since the longan & strawberry cake was a hit last Friday. I decided to make another one two :) One for my friends and another one for my dear hubby who had complained that I didn't make 1 for him last week.

It was great to meet up with my friends again after so long... Life's been good and well, all of us put on a little weight since the last time we met... There was a lot of catching up to do and I do hope to meet up again soon, maybe during the next school holiday?

They had a slice of cake each and remarked that I should take orders for the cake :)
Well, I'm just a home baker, baking just for fun :) but glad that they've enjoyed the cake.

Longan & Strawberry Fruit Flan Cake

Longan & Strawberry Fruit Flan Cakes

Dao Suan For a Cold Morning

The wind was howling outside the windows. Dark clouds rolled over the sky almost as far as the eyes could see... Another day when Orchard Road is going to flood?

Well, I'm cosy at home and the weather is keeping me home...
And what could be better than a bowl of hot dao suan for a cold & windy morning?
Hmm... can't think of anything..

Friday, August 6, 2010

Strawberry & Longan Fruit Cake

Made this cake for a friend's birthday. It is an improved version of the logan & lychee fruit cake I've made last Sunday. See how strawberries brighten up and add colour to the entire cake? Well, red and white also happen to be Singapore's national colours. So for a birthday's celebration that's so close to National Day (9th August),  this cake is just right.

I'm pleased with how it looked and tasted. The birthday gal couldn't believe I could create such a cake. She remarked, "No wonder your husband keeps you at home..." 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Prawn Noodles Soup

Was having a hard time trying to decide what to cook for lunch. Finally decided to get a packet of prawn noodles soup premix to try it out.

If you find that the egg looks a little strange... that's because I tried to 'mould' it into a star shape :P

Simple enough, just add water and the soup is ready. Just add whatever ingredients you may like in your prawn noodles soup. I used bee hoon. Opps, you can't see the bee hoon as it's all covered up by all the other ingredients.

Tastewise, it was a more spicy version of the prawn soup. It tastes better than the average prawn soup noodles you can find at the hawker centre and definitely much more ingredients!

Next time, I should try to make my prawn soup from scratch...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Durian Durian Cake

I had some durian cream left from making the durian puffs on Sunday so I decided to use them to make a small Durian Cake on Monday. It was similar to the one I did for Jerome's birthday last year but I think it looks better now :P And what do you call a durian cake that looks like a durian? A Durian Durian Cake?

Durian Durian Cake

To assemble the cake (serves 4-6):
1) Bake 2 small heart-shaped sponge cake, using only 2 eggs. (The tins are from Daiso). 
2) Cool the cakes.

3) Sandwich the cakes with a layer of durian cream (durian puree & whipped cream mixture) and chunks of durians flesh. 
4) Cover the entire cake with butter cream and chill.
5) Pipe lines on the edge of the cake and the middle to create the 'inner skin' of the durian.
6) Mix some green butter cream and pipe the thorns on the sides of the cake using a star nozzle. 
7) Pipe the durian cream onto the top of the cake to resemble the durian flesh.
8) The cake is best enjoyed chilled. :)

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