Wednesday, 30 July 2008


I am taking a 'management' imposed holiday from bloging. I will be away on work and will resume writing mid next week. I will respond to any comments or e-mails upon my return.

I wonder what my little mice (and papa mouse) will get up to when I am away????

Tuesday, 29 July 2008


I am not a glutton; I am an explorer of food - Erma Bombeck


Imagine my surprise today when I came home from work and saw a poached chicken and homemade CHAR SIEW (Chinese barbeque pork) on the kitchen bench! Mr G decided to make chicken rice all by himself. I don’t know why I am surprised for he does help me when I do make the dish but it is more due to his initiative to make it on his own accord that caught me by surprised. Anyway, I did contribute a tiny little bit to the effort – I made the chilli sauce, cooked the rice and seasoned the soup ;)

The recipe that we use is from a book called ‘Singapore Food’ by Wendy Hutton (1979) and it’s been my bible for all my favourite Malaysian/Singaporean food. The poor book is looking thin from wear and it is one book that I don’t loan out; ever. My eldest daughter has even earmarked it as hers when I die! I hope that is not likely to happen any time soon….touch wood! Like all recipes, it makes a good base. It is up to the individual to alter some of the basics to suit their palate. For example, this household is very partial to garlic and chilli so we may change some recipes to reflect this.

Anyway, below are the recipes for HAINANESE CHICKEN Rice with CHAR SIEW.

PS: I would have loved some stir fried bean sprouts to go with it but Mr G said that the supermarket had not been replenished since the weekend trade. Bummer!

To serve Hainanese Chicken Rice:
On a plate, arrange the HAINANESE CHICKEN, CHAR SIEW (optional), CHICKEN FLAVOURED RICE and sliced cucumber. Serve with CHILLI GINGER SAUCE in individual sauce bowls, accompanied with CHICKEN SOUP. Nice with Chinese tea or a cold beer (during summer).

PS: My fingers are aching from typing today's posts!


The chicken for this dish must be fresh. Although a very simple recipe, the results are excellent.

Ingredients – serves 5 to 6
1 whole chicken – about 1 kg
1 tbsp chinese rice wine
2 to 3 tbsp light soy sauce
Thumb size ginger – sliced thickly
2 to 3 cloves garlic – smashed using the back of a knife
2 spring onions – chopped
2 tsp seaeme oil
½ tsp salt

Rub the inside of the chicken cavity with the rice wine and 1 tbsp of the soy sauce. Stuff the chicken with the ginger, garlic and spring onion. Secure the cavity with a toothpick.

Bring a large pot (enough to hold the chicken) of water to the boil, carefully put in the chicken and turn off the heat. Let stand for 1 hour.

After 5 mins of standing, lift up the chicken, drain the water from the stomach cavity and put the chicken back into the pot. Repeat this process another 2 to 3 times in the ‘standing’ hour. This makes sure that the chicken is cooked inside and outside.

After 30 mins in the ‘standing’ hour, turn on the heat and bring the water almost to a boiling point and turn off the heat again. The chicken, never being allowed to boil, will be very tender and juicy. At the end of the hour, remove the chicken on to a platter and rub with the remaining soy sauce and salt. Leave to stand for about 5 mins and then cut into bite sized pieces. Do not discard the HAINANESE CHICKEN COOKING STOCK. Use it to make the chicken RICE, SOUP and CHILLI GINGER SAUCE.


‘Char siew’ literally means ‘fork burn or fork roast’ after the traditional cooking method for the dish: long strips of seasoned boneless pork are skewered with long forks and placed in a covered oven or over a fire.

The meat, typically a shoulder cut, is seasoned with a mixture of honey, five-spice powder, fermented tofu, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, red food colouring (optional) and rice wine. These seasonings turn the exterior layer of meat dark red. (Source: WIKIPEDIA)

Char siew is typically consumed either in a bun, with noodles, or with rice. The accompaniments served with char siew are strongly influenced by regional variation.

There is a good step by step recipe HERE if you want to make it from scratch or you could use my recipe below. You could also use Lee Kum Kee premade Char Siew sauce to make the char siew. It is passable. Just follow the instructions on the jar.

The recipe I normally use is from my Wendy Hutton book, ‘Singapore Food’ and it is as follows.

1 kg pork fillet or boneless loin - in long piece
4 cloves garlic – crushed
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp chinese rice wine
2 tsp tomato sauce
1 tsp chinese five spice powder
½ tsp powdered ginger
Red food colouring – optional

Cut the pork lengthwise into strips about 4 cm thick. Combine all ingredients and marinade the pork for at least 2 hours, turning from time to time.

Put the pork on a greased rack set over a pan at least 4 cm of water and roast for about 45 mins to an hour at 230˚C, basting with the marinade every 10 to 15 mins. Allow to cool, cut into thin slices and use as a supplement to HAINANESE CHICKEN RICE, noodle dishes or stir fries.


I used a Rice Cooker to make the rice. You can use a microwave or the stove top. Use the normal absorption method.

Long grain rice – I use 4 cups for 6 people
Hainanese Chicken cooking stock – 1 ½ cups of stock for every cup of rice
1 tsp chicken stock powder

Wash the rice until the water runs clear. Measure out the stock water according to the amount of rice cooked. Add in the chicken stock powder. Mix well and start the rice cooker! That easy.


Serve with Hainanese chicken rice or any other dish as desired such as fried chicken or spring rolls.

10 fresh red chillies
2 to 3 cloves garlic
5 cm fresh ginger
Sufficient Hainanese Chicken cooking stock (to ensure that the blades of your blender can rotate – about ¼ cup)
Juice from fresh lime – to taste
Salt – to taste

Put all ingredients (except salt and lime) into a blender. Process. Add lime and salt to taste. Serve with the Hainanese Chicken Rice.


Hainanese Chicken cooking stock
Chicken stock powder or cube to taste
Spring onions – sliced, for garnishing

Reduce the Hainanese Chicken cooking stock slightly by boiling it for 10 mins. Add in the stock powder/cube and salt. Dish into individual soup bowls. Garnish with spring onions.

Monday, 28 July 2008


If you want to be loved, love and be lovable - Benjamin Franklin


As a treat (in other words, when I get fed up with eating home made sandwiches), I would normally go over to this restaurant near work and have Phad Thai. On the weekend, I decided to make some for the family for lunch as a treat.

Phad Thai is a dish of stir-fried (dried) rice noodles with eggs, fish sauce , tamarind juice, red chilies, plus any combination of bean sprouts, shrimp, chicken, or tofu, garnished with crushed peanuts and coriander. It is normally served with a piece of lime, the juice of which can be added along with Thai condiments. In Thailand, it is also served with a piece of banana flower. (Source: WIKIPEDIA)

I got the recipe from THAI TABLE so if you would like to try it, just follow the easy step by step instructions. Good luck.

Sunday, 27 July 2008


One kind word can warm three winter months - Japanese Proverb


We just had the most awesome hail storm in Canberra today. For the novice, one might think that it was snow but it is actually hail. It fell that heavily that it blanketed my suburb. The kids went out and had a quick ‘ice fight’ but they soon came in as it was very cold. The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting snow here today, so fingers cross. Anyway, these are some pics from my home.

PS: If you want to know more about Hail, you can read it here.

Saturday, 26 July 2008


Not to decide is to decide - Harvey Cox


This is a truly yummy dish. I saw this recipe at my blog mate’s site (see HERE). Thanks Sis Ummi for sharing this. The taste is a cross between a sambal and a curry. It really is nice change from curries or sweet and sour dishes.

1 kg prawns – peeled and cleaned
3 tsp seafood curry powder – I used ‘Baba’ Brand (made in Malaysia)
2 tsp mustard seeds
2 red onions - diced
20 dried chillies – de-seeded, soaked and ground
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 tomatoes - quartered
2 sprigs of curry leaves
Salt to taste
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp turmeric powder

Rub the prawns with the turmeric and season with salt. Leave for 10 to 15 mins. Heat a deep pot or wok and lightly fry the prawns in shallow oil. Lift and set aside.

Using the same oil (about 2 tbsp) and pot, fry curry leaves, followed by the mustard seeds and the onions. After 1 to 2 mins, add in the curry powder, mix well and add in the chilli paste. Cook till aromatic (add a little water if needed – not too much though). Next add in the tomato puree, salt and sugar. When the oil has seeped through the paste, add in the prawns, mix well and thicken the sauce. Before lifting, add in the sliced tomatoes. Serve hot with rice and dishes such as BABY BUK CHOY IN COCONUT MILK (BUK CHOY MASAK LEMAK).

Note: the sauce in this dish is fairly thick.


Not a good dish to eat often, especially if you have heart problems or suffer from high cholesterol; but it is okay once in a while and it is a nice change to stir fries. You can use other vegetables such as cabbage, pak choy or sin qua. Just adjust the cooking time and you can also add seafood such as fresh prawns or calamari.

1 big bunch of baby buk choy – cut according to preference
4 to 6 bird’s eye chillies – sliced half lengthways
3 cloves garlic – minced
1 large red onion – sliced thinly
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
Big handful of dried Asian anchovies (Ikan Bilis) - soaked and drained
½ tin of large coconut milk
½ tin (or according to preference) water
Salt to taste
2 tbsp veg oil

In a deep pot, heat oil and fry the anchovies for 30 secs followed by the mustard seeds, garlic, onions and chillies until the anchovies have turned golden brown. Add in the vegetables, mix well and cook for 1 to 2 mins. Add in the coconut milk and water and bring to a boil on medium heat, stirring constantly. Once it has come to the boil, lower the heat further and simmer for 1 minute. Add salt, lift and serve with sambal or deep fried fish.

Note: Do not overcook the vegetables – you still want them to be crunchy.

To make this a purely vegetarian meal, omit the anchovies.

Friday, 25 July 2008


You keep asking us who called the cook a bastard; What we want to know is who called the bastard a cook! - Anonymous Australian Soldier


Mr G makes great sausage rolls and I always get asked at work to bring some in whenever we have a do or it is my turn to bring in morning tea. His secret is in the sausage mix – he puts in grated granny smith apples, just like his mother used to do. This is how he makes his sausage rolls.

1 kg sausage mince
2 onions – finely chopped
1 egg – lightly beaten
3 cloves garlic – minced
½ tsp mixed herbs
1 tbsp tomato sauce
¼ cup sweet chilli sauce
3 tsp Worcestershire sauce
½ cup bread crumbs
2 granny smith apples (green apples) – grated
Salt and pepper to taste
Around 10 good quality premade puff pasty sheets (eg Borg’s or Pampas brand)

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line baking trays with baking paper.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients (except pastry and milk) in a large bowl. Mix well.

Thaw out pastry sheet, cut sheet in half and using a tablespoon, spoon a portion of the mince mixture close to one side of the long edge, keeping about 2 cm from the edge. On the opposite long edge, brush with milk. Carefully roll the pastry to make a cylinder shape. Lightly press the milk edge to seal the roll.

With a sharp knife, cut each roll into four. Lightly pierce the top of the roll with the point of a sharp knife. Put the sausage roll on a tray, with the sealed edges facing down. Continue process until all mince has been used. Lightly brush the tops of the sausage roll with milk.

Increase oven heat to 250°C and bake the sausage roll for 25 to 30 mins or until golden brown. Serve with your favourite sauce.

Thursday, 24 July 2008


The longer the title, the less important the job - George McGovern


125g butter
1 tsp vanilla extract (stronger and nicer than essence)
½ cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup cornflakes
½ cup desiccated coconut
½ cup sultanas
1 cup SR Flour – sifted
2 cups cornflakes – lightly crushed

Grease baking tray and preheat oven to 180°c.

Cream butter, sugar and eggs until fluffy. Add in vanilla.

Stir in coconut, sultanas and flour. Add in cornflakes. Mix lightly.

Roll 2 tsp of dough into ball. Coat with cornflakes.

Flatten slightly and place on baking trays, allowing a 4 cm gap between the cookies.

Bake in 180°c oven for around 15 mins. Remove from tray and cool on wire rack/s.

Once again, we always make double mixture. The first batch usually does not make it to the wire racks! Even the dog waits patiently for his share.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008


All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind - Aristotle


As I have said repeatedly, I am very partial to muffins…..and these muffins appease both of my vices – muffins and chocolate. The recipe makes 6 large/12 medium muffins but they are so yummy that they won’t last long so I’d recommend doubling the mixture. Try it!

DID YOU KNOW that in many countries, white chocolate is not considered chocolate? This is because white chocolate is made from cocoa butter and not cocoa solids which gives normal chocolate its colour and taste. During processing of the cacao bean, cocoa solids and cocoa butter are separated out at an early stage. The two are recombined in the manufacture of regular (brown) chocolate bars. The confection known as white chocolate contains cocoa butter but not cocoa powder. (Source: WIKIPEDIA)

Ingredients – makes 6 large or 12 medium muffins
2 cups self raising flour
2/3 cups caster sugar (I used normal sugar, as long as it is not too coarse)
¾ cups white choc bits
½ cup chopped macadamia - toasted under golden in the oven (I pu it into the oven while it is preheating for the muffins)
60 g butter – melted
¾ cup milk
1 egg – lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 200°C. Grease a 6 hole or 12 hole muffin pan.

Sift flour into a large bowl. Add in dry ingredients and mix well. Make a well in the middle and add the milk, butter and egg. Mix with a METAL spoon, making sure that you do not over mix. The mixture should be lumpy.

Bake for about 20 to 25 mins.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008


An easy dish to make after coming home from a hard day’s of work. Using broccoli would have made the dish look prettier but I could not be bothered walking to the supermarket so cauli it is instead!

Ingredients (feeds 5 to 6)
750 g pork fillet – sliced thinly
¼ head of cauliflower or broccoli
1 ½ tbsp salted black beans – washed and chopped coarsely
1 tbsp dark soy sauce*
1 tbsp light soy sauce*
1 heaped tbsp chilli bean sauce*
1 tsp sugar*
1 tsp corn flour*
3 to 4 cloves garlic – chopped
3 to 4 bird’s eye or 2 red chillies – sliced thinly
Veg oil

Combine * in a bowl with ¼ cup of water. Blanch the veg in boiling water for a min. Drain and set aside.

Heat a wok with sufficient oil. Fry the pork in batches until brown. Remove and set aside.

Retain about 1 to 2 tbsp of the oil and fry the garlic and the black bean for 15 secs. Stir in the sauce mixture and chillies and cook until the mixture boils and thickens. Return the pork to the wok, mix well to cover and add in the veg. Mix well again and until the veg is heated through. Serve hot with rice and veg such as STIR FRIED CHOY SUM WITH TOFU AND OYSTER SAUCE.

Monday, 21 July 2008


A simple stir fry to accompany most Chinese meals.

1 bunch choy sum – stalks and leaves kept separated and cut into 4 cm lengths
3 cloves garlic – sliced thinly
1 large red chilli – sliced (optional)
4 portions hard shanghai tofu – cut into two lengthways and sliced thinly
2 tbsp oyster sauce – you may use a vegetarian oyster sauce variety to make this a vegetarian dish
2 tbsp light soy sauce
Veg oil

Heat a wok and add about 2 tbsp of oil and fry the garlic until aromatic. Add in the tofu and fry for 30 secs.

Next add in the choy sum stalks and I tbsp of the soy sauce and oyster sauce. Fry for 1 min. Next add in the leaves and the remainder of the sauce. Add more sauce if desired. When the leaves have wilted, add in the chillies and add salt if desired (I don’t as the soy sauce and oyster sauce are salty enough for me). Lift and serve hot with rice.

Sunday, 20 July 2008


Actually an apple pie but made into tiny parcels – Mr G has too much time on his hands, I say! Perfect eaten warm with ice cream or cold by itself.

Ingredients – Makes 16 parcels
5 g butter
½ cup brown sugar
2 granny smith apples – cored and chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
2 sheets of prepared butter puff pastry
25 g butter, extra – melted
Demerara sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 220°C. Heat a non stick frying pan over low heat. Add the 5 g butter and brown sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add in the apples and cinnamon and simmer for 5 mins or until apples are tender. Remove from heat and cool completely. If you use hot filling when making the parcels, the pastry will become soggy with the heat.

Place one sheet of the pastry on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Spoon 16 tbsp of the apple filling onto the sheet, to create 16 pies; leaving enough space to seal the edges. Top with the remaining pastry.

Using a pasta cutter (or knife), cut in between the squares. Now spread the pies to fill the tray and using a fork, seal in the edges of the individual pies. Prick a few holes on top of the pies with the fork as well. Brush with the melted butter and sprinkle with the Demerara sugar. Bake for 15 mins or until golden and crispy.

Saturday, 19 July 2008


This is supposed to be Singapore’s national dish but Malaysians are very partial to it too. It is a bit like we Australians; anything good from NZ we accept it as our own but we take the Mickey out of the Kiwis when it suits us!

There are a few dos and don’ts when eating Chilli Crab:
Do set aside a longer time for dinner – eating crab is time consuming;

Do try to fry the crabs outside – it spits when you fry them in the oil and it makes your kitchen all sticky. If you have a wok burner on your barbie, use it;

Do put your table manners away – there is only one way to eat crab and that is with your fingers;

Don’t wear a white top – you will regret it;

Do not rub eyes until you have washed your hands very, very thoroughly; and

Make sure that you have something else lined up, maybe dessert – eating crabs is hard work and you will be hungry again after an hour or two!

Here’s my rendition of Chilli Crabs.

1 kg fresh mud crabs or blue swimmers – cleaned and halved
6 cloves garlic – chopped
Thumb size fresh young ginger – chopped
4 large red chillies – finely chopped
4 bird’e eye chillies – finely chopped (optional)
½ cup chilli sauce (I used Yeo’s brand)
½ cup tomato sauce
2 to 3 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 cup chicken stock (I used 1 ½ tsp chicken stock powder mixed into 1 cup hot water)
1 tbsp cornflour mixed with 3 tbsp water (you may not need to use this if you like a bit of sauce with your crabs)
1 egg – lightly beaten
Salt and black cracked pepper to taste
2 spring onions – sliced finely at an angle

Deep fry crabs in hot oil until it turns bright red. Be careful as it will spit and splatter when you put the crabs in the hot oil. Remove and set aside.

Pour out the oil and put ¼ cup of fresh oil in a large wok. Heat and fry the garlic, ginger and chillies. Stir until fragrant.

Add in all the sauces, sugar and sesame oil; cook for a minute and season with pepper and salt.

Add in the cooked crab, toss well to coat with the sauce. Add in the chicken stock and cook on high heat for around 3 mins. Move the crabs to the side of the wok and stir in the egg and corn flour if using. Mix well and cover the crab with the sauce again. Add in the spring onions, lift and serve on its own or with some rice/crusty bread.

We had MINI APPLE TURNOVERS WITH ICE CREAM for dessert. I’ll post the recipe tomorrow.

Friday, 18 July 2008


You all must be wondering why I am making quite a lot of muffins these days. Well, it is because it is school holidays and the kids are forever complaining that there is nothing to eat at home and also, muffins are easy to make and don’t use as much butter as cakes (so bit less fattening). But secretly, I am actually quite partial to muffins and I like to take them to the office for morning tea or to share it with my team (a form of bribery??!).

Anyway, after the rich chocolate muffin, I thought I’d better tone it done a bit so I made these really simple banana muffins minus the caramel syrup. You could try the sauce if you like. It is actually quite nice (I made it pre blogging days so I don’t have a photo). Here’s the recipe.

2 cups self raising flour
½ cup caster sugar (I used normal sugar, as long as it is fine and not overly coarse)
1 cup milk
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
75 g melted butter – cooled
1 cup mashed bananas – around three medium sized bananas
Caramel Syrup – 1 cup sugar and ½ cup water

Preheat oven to 200°C and grease a 12 cup muffin tray.
Sift flour into a bowl and stir in the sugar. Mix well and make a well in the centre.

Whisk together the milk, egg and vanilla in a jug and pour into the well. Don’t mix the ingredients yet. Add the butter and banana and now fold the wet ingredients through with a METAL spoon, avoiding over mixing the batter. It should be lumpy.

Divide the batter into the tray and bake for 20 to 25 mins or until the muffins come away from the tin sides. Leave in the tray for 5 minutes then transfer onto wire racks.

Whilst the muffins are cooking, make the syrup by cooking the sugar and water over medium heat. When the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat and cook for 8 minutes or until the syrup is golden. Remove from heat and stir in 1/3 cup of water. Be careful as the syrup will spit when you add in the water. Leave to cool then pour onto the muffins when the muffins have slightly cooled.

Thursday, 17 July 2008


I have to acknowledge ‘My Kitchen Snippets’ for the inspiration of this dish. After seeing her skewered chicken with satay sauce, it brought back memories of eating satay in Malaysia. Unfortunately the current season and weather here does not inspire one to have a BBQ …. so as a compromise, I made chicken in satay sauce instead.

If I could have been bothered, or if I was making proper satay, I would have made my own satay sauce with ground peanuts and spices. However I find that the commercially available satay sauce works just as well with some ‘modifications’.

By the way, we had Chilli Crab today….yum yum. I will post the recipe in the next few days.

750 g chicken breast or thighs – cubed
2 large handfuls of snake or French beans – cut into 4 cm lengths
2 brown onions – quartered and sliced finely
½ thumb size ginger – minced
4 cloves garlic – minced
1 tin Malaysian or Singaporean made satay sauce such as Ayam Brand (hot variety), Glory or Dragon Phoenix – trust me, this variety makes a difference to the flavour!
Chilli powder and salt to taste
1 cup water or thin coconut milk
Few splashes of fish sauce
2 tbsp veg oil

Heat oil in a pot or wok and fry the onions, garlic and ginger until aromatic and the onions have softened.

Add in the chicken and fry until the chicken is nearly cooked. Season with a few splashes of the fish sauce. This gives it a slightly sour taste.

Add in the tin of satay sauce, mix well and season with chilli powder if desired. Add in the beans and water/coconut milk and cook until the beans are done and the gravy is to your desired consistency. Check seasoning and add salt if required. Remember, the satay sauce would have some salt added to it by the manufacturer and also there is salt from the fish sauce. Lift and serve hot with rice and some stir fried vegetables. Voila!

Wednesday, 16 July 2008


A really, really rich muffin recipe; the texture of the muffins is more like a mud cake. For the true chocolate lover. Should have been called ‘death by chocolate muffin’.

Ingredients – makes 12 regular muffins
310 g self raising flour
60 g good quality cocoa powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
165 g soft brown sugar
¾ cup dark choc bits (you could use milk choc)
¾ cup white choc bits
1 ¼ cups milk
2 eggs
100 g unsalted butter - melted and cooled
Extra ¼ cup of each dark and white choc bits

Preheat oven to 200°C. Grease 12 cup regular muffin tray.
Sift flour with soda and cocoa into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and both the choc bits. Make a well in the centre.

Whisk together the butter, milk and eggs. Add into the well and using a METAL spoon, gently fold the ingredients making sure you don’t over mix the batter. It should be lumpy.

Fill the muffin cups only ¾ full. Sprinkle with the remaining choc bits, distributing it evenly between the 12 cups.

Bake for 20 to 25 mins or until cooked. Cool in the tin for 5 mins then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm with a nice hot cup of tea. Delicious!

Tuesday, 15 July 2008


I got my usual 1.00 pm phone call at work yesterday from Mr G, “Who's cooking today and What’s for dinner (did not wait for answer)….. I bought some nice rump steak….. what do you want me to do with it….would you like me to cube it or slice it… the way, what’s for dinner again?”

Well, we haven’t had curry for some time so I made a suggestion that I could make some curry but dinner would be late as I had quite a bit to do and could be late getting over unless ‘somebody’ could make dinner. The hint obviously got through as there was a lovely curry waiting for me when I got to see the kids . So all I had to do for my share was fry the vegetables. Here is how Mr G made his Asian style beef curry.

1 kg rump steak – diced
3 large potatoes – quartered
2 large tomatoes – quartered*
Thumb length and thick ginger*
½ a head of garlic*
3 large red or brown onions* (shallots would be better but they are currently nearly $10 a kilo in the supermarket, so normal onions it is!)
2 cinnamon sticks
3 large black cardamom pods
2 sprigs curry leaves
4 to 5 tbsp Malaysian meat curry powder
1 to 2 tsp chilli powder - optional
1 cup natural or Greek style yoghurt (or substitute with tinned coconut milk)
3 tbsp veg oil
Coriander – for garnishing

Grind together * ingredients with 1 cup of water.

Heat oil in a cooking pot; add in the curry leaves, cinnamon and cardamom pods. Next add in the ground ingredients and fry until the water has nearly evaporated.

Next add in the curry and chilli powder and about 1 cup of water. Cook for about 4 to 5 mins or until the water evaporates again and oil has seeped through the paste.

Add in the beef and cover the meat thoroughly with the spices and continue stirring to avoid the meat from sticking to the pot and until the meat changes colour. This seals the meat.

Add about 1 to 2 cups of water and the potatoes and cook until the meat is tender and the potatoes are nearly done. Add in the yoghurt and render the gravy if you like your thick; or add more water if you like your curry runny. Serve with rice, crusty bread or Indian breads such as puris, naan or CHAPATTIS. Also with stir fried vegetables like okra or cabbage such as STIR FRIED CABBAGE WITH TURMERIC.


Another easy way to stir fry cabbage. Goes exceptionally well with Indian or Malay curries.

½ a cabbage – finely sliced
3 cloved garlic – finely minced
½ an onion – thinly sliced
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chicken stock powder – optional
Salt to taste
1 egg – optional
1 tbsp veg oil
Coriander leaves to garnish

Heat oil in a wok and add in mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add in the garlic and onion and cook until aromatic.

Add in the cabbage, mix well and season with the turmeric, salt and stock powder. Add a little water, if desired, to moisten the vegetable. Cook until the veg is done.

If using the egg, make a well in the centre and add the egg. Fold in the vegetable and distribute the egg throughout the dish. Add in the coriander, lift and serve with a curry.

Monday, 14 July 2008


I was going to call this chicken with oyster sauce ala VG but as the oyster sauce wasn’t the only sauce I used in this dish, I decide to give it a more exotic name. The secret to a stir fry is that you can practically put in whatever you want (within reason of course). So this is what I added to mine.

Ingredients – serves 5 to 6
750 g chicken breast or thighs – thinly sliced
Large handful of snow peas
Large handful of cashew nuts
1 tin of champignon mushrooms
1 large onion – thickly sliced
1 large coriander plant – chopped into 3 to 4 cm lengths
4 to 5 bird’s eye chillies – sliced lengthways
4 to 5 cloves garlic – minced
2 to 3 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
3 to 4 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp Maggi seasoning sauce – available in most oriental grocery shops
2 to 3 tbsp peanut or veg oil
A few drops of sesame oil

Heat oil in a wok until hot. Add in garlic and chillies and fry for 30 secs or until aromatic. Add in the chicken and fry until the chicken is nearly done.

Add in the sauces and mix well. Next put in the mushrooms, followed by the snow peas. Mix well. Add in the onions, followed by the cashews. Stir, turn off the heat, and add in the coriander and sesame oil. Mix well and serve hot with rice and a side dish of vegetables.

Sunday, 13 July 2008


I know I promised to put this up yesterday….sorry. Anyway, here it is and a very funny (not ha ha funny but bizarre funny) thing happen yesterday in conjunction with the cheesecake; well actually surrounding the cheesecake recipe. My friend TW and her beau dropped in yesterday and had some of the cheesecake and I mentioned in passing that the recipe was from a colleague of ours, ML and I had found it in some piles of papers that I was looking through. Mind you, the last time we saw this colleague was in 2003 and ironically, TW found a Christmas present that ML had given her (Kris Kringle) a few weeks ago, whilst going through her things too. What are the chances of that happening??! So I guess I should actually try and find where this mutual colleague is now. The last time we heard, she was in New Delhi. I think the cosmos was trying to tell us something here.

Back to THE cheesecake….it is a joint G and V effort – Mr G made the crust and I did the rest.

As I mentioned above, the recipe is from ML, who I used to work with when I was with the DoD.

I doubled the Toblerone amount (200 g) and used 250 g of Arnott’s Choc Ripple biscuits. You can also use Marie biscuits and add melted dark chocolate and butter to make the chocolate base. Below is the original recipe.

1 cup crushed chocolate biscuits
1/3 cup melted butter – around 80 g

2 x 250 g blocks cream cheese (you may use 1 light and 1 normal cream cheese blocks)
½ cup cream
3 tsp gelatine dissolved in ½ cup hot water
¾ cup caster sugar
100 g Toblerone chocolate – melted

Line a springform round cake tin with paper. Mix the butter and biscuits and press into the base on the cake tin and sides. Refrigerate.

Beat cream and cream cheese until smooth. Add in the gelatine, beat, followed by the sugar and melted chocolate. Beat until well combined and pour onto the prepared base. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.

Saturday, 12 July 2008


Poor BG. He welcomes Saturdays with mixed feelings; just like me. I have a love-hate relationship with Saturdays – love it coz I don’t have to go to the office, yay….hate it coz I gotta do the house work, booo.... I think BG feels the same too….loves it because the kids and I are at home but hates it coz he knows he gets a bath, come rain or shine on Saturdays. Mind you, he does not run away or anything but he does tuck his tail between his legs when I call him for his bath. I am surprised that he never goes and hides under the furniture or beds or somewhere. Maybe he thinks it is better to get it over and done with the inevitable. Here are pics of him having his bath. I honestly think his favourite part is the hair dryer bit.

Hint: If you have a small dog breed, the laundry sink is the ideal place to bathe your doggie.

Friday, 11 July 2008


This recipe is adapted from Yan Kit So’s ‘Classic Chinese Cookbook’. The recipe only calls for capsicum but I added snow peas and carrot. I made double the recipe and I must say that this is one of the nicest black bean beef I have tasted. The recipe calls for some salt but I recommend not adding the salt until you have finished cooking and had a taste. I also substituted the potato flour in the recipe with tapioca flour. You could also use corn flour.

PS: I also made a Toblerone cheesecake today. I’ll post it on my blog tomorrow.

450 g beef (rump, skirt or fillet) trimmed and sliced thinly
1 tsp potato flour mixed with 1 to 2 tbsp water
5 tbsp peanut oil
1 large capsicum, deseeded and cut into large cubes
1 large carrot – cut lengthways and sliced thinly (optional)
Large handful of snow peas – tailed (optional)
Salt to taste
5 cloves garlic – minced
4 spring onions – cut into 4 cm lengths
3 tbsp fermented black beans – rinsed and mashed with ½ tsp sugar and 1 tsp oil
1 tbsp Shaohsing wine
¼ tsp salt (I omitted this) *
¼ tsp sugar*
2 tsp thick soy sauce*
8 turns of a pepper mill*
2 tsp Shaohsing wine*
1 ½ tsp potato flour
Approximately 3 tbsp water
1 tsp peanut oil
1 tsp sesame oil

Cut the beef across the gr4ain into thin rectangular slices and place in a large bowl.

Place * ingredients of the marinade onto the beef. Mix well. Sprinkle the flour onto the meat and 1 tbsp of the water, mixing the meat in one direction. Only add the extra water if the meat cannot be mixed when stirred in one direction. The marinated beef should not be wet. Cover and leave in the fridge for at least 30 mins. After 30 mins, blend in the oils.

Heat wok until smoky; add 1 tbsp oil and then the capsicum to ‘blister’ it. After a min, add in the carrots if using; fry for 30 secs and add in the snow peas. Add in the spring onions just before lifting; which is around the 2 min mark. If using only capsicum, cook the capsicum for 2 mins and add the spring onions just before lifting.

Reheat the wok over high heat, add in the remainder of the oil and coat the wok evenly with the oil. Add in the garlic; when golden add in the bean paste and stir to mix. Add in the beef next and stir the meat in a scooping motion, ensuring that the meat is cooked evenly. After about 2 mins, add in the wine around the side and continue to toss and turn the meat until the sizzling dies down. Add in the potato/water mixture (thickening agent), stir well and add in the vegetables, mix and cook until the meat is done and the sauce has thickened. Serve immediately with rice or toss with blanched rice noodles.

Thursday, 10 July 2008


Chinese, fish and tofu are the flavours of the day. Unfortunately we had to fight the youngest child because of the fish (‘I Hate Fish’, was the retort…..but he can eat fish fingers; go figure!). So guess who went hungry then?! Anyway, the dog thought all his Christmases had come true today….he wasn’t complaining about the fish!

The rest of the family thought it was really yummy and it is easy to prepare too. Just make sure that the fish is fresh.

1 whole snapper or bream (about 1 kg) – scaled and cleaned. I used snapper today
½ tsp or more sea salt
½ tsp or more white pepper
3 cm ginger – finely sliced
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
3 spring onions
1 large stick celery
½ a small capsicum
2 large chillies (optional)
1/3 cup peanut oil

Wash the fish and its cavity and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the fish (inside and out) with the salt and pepper and place the ginger in the cavity.

Combine the soy sauce and the sesame oil and lightly brush over the fish. Leave for at least 15 mins.

Cut the spring onions, celery, capsicum and chillies into 4 cm lengths and julienne thinly (like matchsticks).

Place a pair of chopsticks to form a cross at the base of a large wok (to act as a rack) and bring to boil about 7 cm of water in it.

Lightly score the fattest part of the fish about three times, transfer to a heat proof plate and place on top of the chop sticks. Steam for about 15 to 20 mins.

Five minutes before the end of the steaming time, warm a heatproof serving platter in the oven.

Turn off the heat under the makeshift steamer /wok and place all the julienne vegetables on it and leave covered in the wok for three mins. At the end of this time, transfer the fish and vegetables onto the warmed serving platter.

Quickly heat the oil in a small saucepan until smoking; then pour over the fish and vegetables. Be careful as it will splatter. Serve with rice and other dishes such as QUICK AND EASY STIR FRIED PAK CHOY and SILKEN TOFU WITH SOY, CHILLI AND SPRING ONIONS.


1 block silken firm tofu
1 tsp mushroom soy sauce*
1 tbsp light soy sauce*
1 tbsp chinese cooking wine*
½ tsp caster sugar*
2 small red chillies – thinly sliced on an angle
2 spring onions – thinly sliced on an angle
1 small coriander plant – thickly chopped
2 tbsp peanut oil
1 tsp sesame oil

Remove excess water from the tofu packaging and carefully tip the tofu onto a plate ined with paper towels. Cover the top with paper towels as well and let drain for 30 mins. You may need to change the towels at the halfway mark.

Mix all * ingredients in a bowl.

Place a pair of chopsticks to form a cross at the base of a large wok (to act as a rack) and bring to boil about 7 cm of water in it. Cut the drained tofu into 8 to 10 square pieces, place onto a heatproof plate and place onto the makeshift rack in the wok. Pour in the sauce mix and steam for 10 mins.

Carefully remove the plate and sprinkle the chillies, spring onions and coriander. Heat the peanut oil and sesame oil until smoking and pour over the tofu. Serve immediately with rice.


2 bunches pak choy – cut to desired size
3 cloves garlic – minced
1 tsp chicken stock (optional)
Water (if required)
Salt to taste
1 tbsp veg oil
Sesame oil

Heat oil in work and fry garlic until cooked. Add in pak choy and mix through the garlic.

Add in salt and stock powder. Moisten with water if desired. Cook until veg is done. Add in a few drops of sesame oil. Serve hot with rice.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008


Mr G made roast lamb tonight. Recipe as follows.

1 leg of lamb
3 large fresh rosemary sprigs
4 to 5 cloves garlic – sliced in wedges
Dried mixed herbs – enough to cover meat
Sprinkling of garlic salt
1 tbsp oil
Extra oil (2 cm oil – to cook roast vegetables)
Vegetables of choice – Mr G used onions, carrots, potatoes and sweet potatoes

Pierce meat randomly with paring knife. Rub with oil and insert garlic wedges and rosemary.

Sprinkle with dried herbs and garlic salt.

Put on a roasting rack positioned in the middle of a roasting tray, add 2 cm oil and 1 cup water and place in the middle rack of the oven.

Cook at 180°C for ½ an hour, turn down to 160°C and cover with foil. Add in carrots and onions into the pan (not rack). Cook for ½ hour, turning the vegetables once during that time.

Remove carrots and onions and add in potatoes. Cook until meat is cooked (when juices run clear if pierced with a cooking fork). Remove meat and let stand for 10 minutes. During this time, turn up heat to 180°C and turn potatoes. Cook until brown and crispy. Serve with GRAVY and other vegetables such as cauliflower and peas if desired.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008


I was going to make some Bran Muffins in response to yesterday’s natter but I didn’t think people might get the irony of it ;)

Anyway, two of my little (well not so little) munchkins are ill at the moment (the joys of winter and school holidays, I guess; and Mr G is not impressed) and had requested for blueberry muffins. Blueberry muffins must be one of the most popular of muffins and I am pretty sure that there are plenty of recipes floating around.

The recipe that I use is from the Le Cordon Bleu Home Collection series. I like the recipe cos it’s crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside (I hope this makes sense).

Without further ado, here’s the recipe.

Ingredients (makes 12 medium muffins)
375 g self raising flour
75 g plain flour
115 g soft brown sugar
150 g fresh or frozen blueberries
2 eggs
250 ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract or essence
125 g unsalted butter – melted
Icing sugar to dust – optional

Preheat oven to 210°C. Brush muffin tin with melted butter.

Whisk the eggs, milk and vanilla in a jug.

Sift the flours into a mixing bowl, stir in sugar and blueberries and make a well in the centre. Add in the milk mixture and the melted butter and stir with a METAL spoon until just combined. Do not over mix – the mixture should be lumpy.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin tin, filling about ¾ of the tin. Bake for around 20 to 25 mins or until skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the muffin.

Leave to cool in the tin for 5 mins before lifting onto a wire rack to cool. Dust with icing sugar before serving if desired.

TIP: If using frozen blueberries, use them straight from the freezer. Do not allow them to thaw or they will discolour the mixture.


I received this very special award from Gert at MY KITCHEN SNIPPETS. Thank you very much Gert. This means a lot to a new blogger.

The award is given or is to be given to blogs that have at least 3 posts per week.
I would like to pass on this award to:

Monday, 7 July 2008


The couple were 85 years old, and had been married for sixty years. Though they were far from rich, they managed to get by because they watched their pennies.Though not young, they were both in very good health, largely due to the wife's insistence on healthy foods and exercise for the last decade.One day, their good health didn't help when they went on a rare vacation and their plane crashed, sending them off to Heaven.

They reached the pearly gates, and St. Peter escorted them inside. He took them to a beautiful mansion, furnished in gold and fine silks, with a fully stocked kitchen and a waterfall in the master bath. A maid could be seen hanging their favourite clothes in the closet.They gasped in astonishment when he said, 'Welcome to Heaven. This will be your home now.'The old man asked Peter how much all this was going to cost.

'Why, nothing,' Peter replied, 'remember, this is your reward in Heaven.'The old man looked out the window and right there he saw a championship golf course, finer and more beautiful than any ever built on Earth.'What are the greens fees?' grumbled the old man.'This is heaven,' St. Peter replied. 'You can play for free, every day.'Next they went to the clubhouse and saw the lavish buffet lunch, with every imaginable cuisine laid out before them, from seafood to steaks to exotic deserts, free flowing beverages.'Don't even ask,' said St. Peter to the man. This is Heaven, it is all free for you to enjoy.'The old man looked around and glanced nervously at his wife.'Well, where are the low fat and low cholesterol foods, and the decaffeinated tea?' he asked.

'That's the best part,' St. Peter replied. 'You can eat and drink as much as you like of whatever you like, and you will never get fat or sick. This is Heaven!'

The old man pushed, 'No gym to work out at?''Not unless you want to,' was the answer.'No testing my sugar or blood pressure or...''Never again. All you do here is enjoy yourself.'

The old man glared at his wife and said, 'You and your bran muffins. We could have been here ten years ago!'


Sunday, 6 July 2008


An easy and hearty dish for cold days. If you have a wok burner on your BBQ outside, I’d recommend you fry the cabbage there. I was not impressed with the splatter in my clean kitchen; although I would have froze if I did fry it outside! I served it with rice and FIVE COLOURED OMELETTE.

Ingredients (serves 4 to 6)
½ kg minced pork*
2 tbsp finely minced leek* (or substitute with 1 brown onion – I grated it)
½ tsp ginger juice* (grate thumb size ginger and squeeze for juice)
½ tsp salt*
1 tbsp Chinese rice wine*
1 tsp white pepper*
1 egg
1 scant tsp sesame oil
2 to 3 tbsp corn flour

Oil for frying

8 Chinese cabbage/wombok leaves – cut into 4 cm lengths
1/3 cup Chinese light soy sauce
1 tbsp Chinese rice wine
1 tsp chicken stock powder

Spread the mince pork on a chopping board and chop the meat until very fine.

Place the pork in a bowl and add * ingredients. Mix together well with hands.

Beat the egg, add to the mince, followed by the sesame oil and half of the corn flour. Mix well and keep on adding corn flour until the mixture is smooth and holds well together. Make sure the mixture is not too hard.

With some oil on your hands, form into rissoles/balls; the size depending on your taste. I prefer them slightly larger than a golf ball.

Heat oil in a wok and fry the rissoles over high heat until the outside of the rissoles is crisp and sealed. Lower the heat and cook until golden brown. Lift, drain on paper towels and set aside.

In the same oil, fry the wombok for 15 secs until sealed. Be careful here as the oil will splatter. Lift and line the bottom of a flame proof earthenware with the wombok. Place the rissoles on the leaves.

Using hot water from the tap, add 4 cups or sufficient amount of water to cover the food in the pot. Add in the soy sauce, Chinese rice wine and chicken stock powder.

Bring to the boil then simmer, covered for up to an hour. Cooking times depends on the size of the rissoles. My pork balls were ready in 40 mins.