Sunday, October 30, 2011

Doenjang Jjigae (Again!) with Clams

I cooked Doenjang Jjigae again, for the second time in two days. If you are not familiar with this dish, it is a Korean stew made with soy bean paste, and contains vegetables, meat and other ingredients. This time, I used the proper Korean soup pot,  ttukbaegi, which I just bought this morning, so that I could enjoy another delicious serving of this wonderful stew! This time though, I opted to use clams instead of pork. Fresh clams are pretty hard to come by in Australia (or Sydney at least), so I bought prepacked frozen baby clam meat instead, which worked really well in this dish. The clams don't take long to cook, so I added them into the stew during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Both the clam and pork versions are yummy. However, I do enjoy the texture and taste of the clams in this dish, and it's also quicker to prepare compared to using pork, which has to be sliced first (unless you use frozen pre-sliced pork).

Friday, October 28, 2011

Japanese Chicken Karaage / Tatsuta-age

We used to order chicken karaage (Japanese seasoned fried chicken) quite often whenever we dine at Japanese restaurants, where we would usually compare which ones made the best karaage. There are many versions to these succulent and crispy deep-fried chicken "nuggets". Some have a thin smooth layer of coating, some are more crumb-like, and some have hardly any coating at all, but they are delicious in their own ways. A lot of it also depends on the marinade used for the chicken. I can't say what the perfect karaage should taste like, but the ones I've made here are are really tasty. It has a nice balance of flavours with a perfect layer of coating that is deliciously crunchy.

Doenjang Jjigae (Korean Soy Bean Paste Stew)

Last night, I just made the most delicious stew for dinner! Doenjang Jjigae is a traditional Korean stew made with soy bean paste (doenjang) and contains ingredients such as tofu, meat, seafood, mushrooms and vegetables. Both G and I agreed that it tasted really authentic. And since this will probably feature regularly on our dinner menu, I will purchase one of those Korean soup pots called ttukbaegi, which is a black glazed earthenware pot used to cook Korean stews in.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Maple Cinnamon Pear Tarte Tatin with Fudge Sauce

If you have a look at my pantry, you'll find that it's practically bursting with all sorts of food - junk food, canned food, packets of dried noodles, instant noodles, pasta of every shape and size, grains, lots of snacks and juice poppers for school recess... G reckons that we're well stocked in the event of any food rationing. Oh yes, not to mention the refrigerator which is also full of bottles and jars of sauces, amongst other things (like the many blocks of butter that I stock when they go on sale). G has been pushing me to start using these things that are "clogging up" our pantry, but I told him that if I did use them up, I would probably just go buy more, just in case I needed them again.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fujian Fried Rice with Gravy

I know, I know. You 're thinking, fried rice? Even a six-year old can make fried rice, so why post a recipe for it? Well, there are many versions of fried rice if you think about it, not only the kind you get in chinese restaurants. There's Thai fried rice, pineapple fried rice, nasi goreng (Indonesian), Yangzhou fried rice, salted fish fried rice, Indian-style fried rice with anchovies, Japanese omu rice - the list goes on. Here, I am sharing with you a recipe for Fujian fried rice, which is essentially fried rice served with an oyster sauce gravy. The gravy is thick and gooey, which allows it to perfectly coat each grain of rice with a layer of tasty savoury goodness. You've got to love rice with gravy!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hiyashi Chuka (Cold Ramen Noodle Salad)

Hiyashi Chuka is a Japanese cold noodle salad usually served in summer. Cold ramen noodles come with a colourful assortment of toppings, drizzled with a slightly tangy sesame-soy-vinegar dressing. I first tried this dish two years ago at a Japanese restaurant when it was on the special summer menu. It was a scorchingly hot day and the refreshing taste from the cold noodles provided some cool respite from the summer heat.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Stripey Hot Fudge Milkshake

Hot Chocolate Fudge, Vanilla Ice-cream, Milk, Oreos and Crunchy Sprinkles

Ever since I read my friend Simran's post on A Little Yumminess: Hot Fudge Sauce a few months ago, I stocked my pantry with a few cans of condensed milk and a couple of bags of chocolate buttons and chocolate chips, just in case I had a sudden urge to make fudge sauce (or anything to satisfy unforeseen chronic attacks of chocolate cravings). Well, the weather has been exceptionally hot these few days, even though we're just in the middle of spring. This gave me the perfect excuse to whip up some hot fudge sauce for making the most chocolatey milkshake ever, with the kids in mind, of course.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Beef Bibim Guksu / Bibim Naengmyeon (Mixed Cold Noodles)

I'm surprised at how quickly I have almost finished my little tub of gochujang (which is Korean red pepper paste), considering that I just started my foray into cooking Korean cuisine a few months ago. So far, I have used it in making Yangnyeom Tongdak (fried chicken), Korean-style Slaw and a dipping sauce for Buchujeon (garlic chive pancake). This time, I'm using it to prepare a cold noodle dish called Bibim Guksu (meaning mixed Korean noodles), or alternatively, Bibim Naengmyeon which literally means "mixed cold noodles".

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Crumbed Pork Schnitzel with Creamed Cabbage and Potato Rosti

Crumbed Pork Schnitzel with Creamed Cabbage and Potato Rosti
We have been watching a lot of "Take Home Chef" on TV recently, mainly because all our favourite dramas or TV series were on break in the US and we needed something to occupy us after we tuck the children into bed every night. If you don't already know, "Take Home Chef" is hosted by Curtis Stone and is filmed in the US, where he picks up the ladies at the supermarket and cooks a gourmet dinner for them and their partners (usually). There was this episode where he made creamed cabbage, and it just sounded so delicious I had to try making it. (By the way, I just watched the episode where he made the best (self-proclaimed) apple tart in the world, so I will be trying that out soon).

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

French Onion Soup

I can't remember the last time I had french onion soup, but it was a really long time ago. It's not easy to find french onion soup in just any restaurant, especially here in Sydney. I found a recipe for it in Rick Stein's French Odyssey, and it's basically caramelized onions simmered in beef stock with some herbs, served with a thick slice of crusty bread with melted Gruyere over the top.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Shredded Pork with Spicy Bean Paste

This dish was inspired by Narcissus brand "Pork Mince with Bean Paste", which is actually one of the tinned food that I used to eat in my "younger days". It comes in a small can, but because it is rather salty, it was usually enough to serve as a supplement to our lunch. The tasty bits of pork and mushroom in the fragrant bean paste sauce goes really well with a hot bowl of rice porridge (congee). Such simple pleasures!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Creamy Lemon Butter Spaghettini with Chicken Scallopini

Here is one of our family favourite pasta dishes that is made with a creamy lemon-butter sauce, bacon, juicy cherry tomatoes, fresh mushrooms and served with a simple chicken scallopini. The thyme plant in our garden is starting to come back to life again (I really need to remember to water the plants!), and I managed to pick out a few sprigs for this recipe. All the other ingredients are pretty basic, and what I would normally have in my fridge or pantry (except for the cherry tomatoes which I happened to pick up on sale).

Cranberry White Chocolate and Meringue Cookies

I have been craving for some Momofuku Blueberry and Cream cookies lately, and I haven't made them again since the first time I had a go at Christina Tosi's recipe. I really loved the taste and texture of these cookies, which are crunchy on the outside with a soft chewy centre. I decided to use the same recipe and substitute the blueberries and milk crumbs with cranberries, white chocolate and crushed meringue. I also added some lemon zest and lemon essence for a little zing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Gyudon (Beef Bowl)

Here is another simple one-bowl meal that is quick and easy to prepare. Thinly sliced beef with onions are simmered in a sweet and salty soy-based sauce and poured over a bowl of freshly cooked rice, served with a side of steamed vegetables. A kid-friendly recipe that takes the pain out of feeding fussy little eaters!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fudgy Brownie Cones

Brownies are supposedly one of the easiest things to make as the ingredients just need to be stirred together in a bowl, then poured into a lined pan and popped into the oven to bake. Well, I do bake quite often, but somehow, brownies have eluded me all this time. I think I might have baked a batch or two of them before, quite a long time ago, but they just aren't something I'd make often, mostly because I always feel guilty after eating them, non-stop. Addictive little things.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Tuna and Eel Sushi Feast

A selection of Temari Sushi

I enjoy spending time surfing the web for recipes and reading other food blogs, drooling at all the gorgeous photos that look like they came straight out of a magazine. A lot of the time, I get inspired and start printing out recipes, which I would add on to my growing pile of "to-cook-or-bake" recipe print-outs. I haven't gotten around to trying all of them yet, but there are some which are simple and relatively easy that you don't have to think twice about whether or not to make it.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Got Leftover Rice? Make Khao Tom!

Khao Tom is a popular rice soup dish that is usually served for breakfast in Thailand, which I recall seeing on "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations" a long time ago. It's like rice porridge, cooked with pork or chicken, seasoned with fish sauce and served with egg and sliced bird's eye chillies. I remember back in college, I used to see my flatmate microwaving leftover rice with some hot water to make a bowl of porridge, which I thought was a good idea.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ikan Masak Kicap (Fish in Soy Sauce)


This is a simple Malaysian-style dish of deep-fried mackerel in a sweet and spicy soy-based gravy that is delicious served with steamed white rice.

Egg Noodles with Pork and Mushroom Sauce (Kon Loh Mee)

One of my favourite home-cooked dishes that mum used to make is Kon Loh Mee. It's a dry (as opposed to soupy) noodle dish which she serves with minced pork and mushroom sauce. As usual, whenever most of us ask our mums how to cook a dish, it's always "agak-agak" (estimated) when it comes to measurements of the ingredients. So, my dish is also based on "agarration", although I managed to get it to turn out the way I liked it. Most importantly, the kids loved the noodles, and even little J who usually only grazes on cheese, snacks and yoghurt, happily slurped up mouthfuls of it.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Earl Grey Biscuits and Buttery Shortbread Stars

These biscuits are super rich and can be addictive if you don't stop and tell yourself how much butter is in each one. This is the first time I'm making shortbread using a combination of flour and rice flour, and I must say it gives a really wonderful texture that is not too hard and not too crumbly either. Just right! The Earl Grey cookies are sweet, salty and fragrant with a hint of bergamot, and they go really well with a hot cup of coffee! As soon as we finish up these cookies, I might try substituting the Earl Grey with some other tea leaves instead, perhaps chamomile, chai or lemon green tea? :)

Unagi Sushi

Z loves eating sushi (and seaweed) and his favourite is the unagi sushi. Unagi is Japanese grilled eel with a sweet and sticky glaze made from soy, sugar, sake, mirin and dashi. You can get them fresh at a good supermarket, and they are also available in the frozen section.

Scallion and Ginger Chicken with Tomato Rice

G made poached chicken ala Hainanese chicken rice last weekend, and I decided to serve it with tomato rice for a change, and top the chicken with a salty scallion and ginger mixture, a perfect combination. We used chicken marylands instead of the whole chicken as we don't usually like the other parts of the chicken. I made a simple tomato rice by using 2 tablespoon tomato paste and frying that with sliced onions and chopped garlic, before stirring in 3 cups of raw washed rice with 1 teaspoon salt. This is then cooked in the electric rice cooker with the chicken broth that was used for poaching the chicken.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Ai Yu Jelly with White Peaches

Aiyu jelly is a jelly made from the gel of the seeds of a variety of fig, and is commonly found in Taiwan and Singapore (where it is better known as "ice jelly"). It is usually served with lime juice and honey or syrup, and sometimes with fruit cocktail in Singapore. The texture is somewhere between agar-agar and konyaku jelly, and makes a light and refreshing dessert.