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...
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