Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe!

While most people are baking Christmas puddings, fruit cakes and gingerbread men at this time of the year, I baked a chocolate cake instead. The kids had a birthday recently and my options are usually a vanilla sponge cake, mud cake or red velvet. I've never really made chocolate cake before (really!) other than chocolate mud cake (I prefer to distinguish the two). It wasn't until I brought Miss H to her friend's birthday party that I tried the most amazing chocolate cake with buttercream frosting, that I was determined to solve the mystery of the best chocolate cake ever. Simply, the cake was so light and moist and the frosting was just awesome. For a while, it did remind me of the chocolate cream buns that I used to enjoy during my childhood days.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Grilled Miso Chicken Don

There's been a lot of chicken going on in the TFWL household lately. We've been having Grilled Miso Chicken, Roast chicken, Hainanese chicken rice, air-fried soy honey chicken wings and as of last night, Chicken Katsu. As I'm typing, Mr G is preparing chicken rice for tonight's dinner, by popular demand from the three little fussy eaters. I was wondering what to post this week, as we've been busy with Christmas shopping, cleaning and planning for our Christmas party.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Moroccan-spiced Roast Chicken

I was inspired to make a Moroccan-style roast after having some super tasty barbecued chicken at Gladstone Park Bowling Club recently. They also served up the most amazingly crispy and delicious roasted potatoes. Best I've ever had. I'm still trying to figure out they made those potatoes, and if I do, you'll see it here first! Anyway, I came across this recipe for Moroccan-spiced roast chicken and thought it might be close to what I was searching for. Well, it turned out really good, and I loved the idea of tossing the cauliflower and sweet potatoes with the spice mix. This is a nice change from the usual lemon and herb roasted chicken I usually make for the family. And with summer just around the corner, this spice rub will be perfect for barbecued chicken wings and thighs.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Garlic Fried Rice

In my previous post, I made a Miso Grilled Chicken which I served with garlic fried rice. The recipe for the fried rice is really simple, where I basically fried the chopped garlic until it's lightly golden and crisp before tossing the rice in with some eggs, soy sauce and scallions. Please find the recipe after the jump.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Grilled Miso Chicken

It's been a busy weekend in the kitchen. The kids have been waiting all year (since last Christmas) to make gingerbread men, and so we did that this afternoon and they had fun painting the gingerbread men, trees and stars pastel colours of blue, green and pink. They enjoyed them so much that I couldn't bear to eat any (maybe I will pinch a bit when they're not looking!). In the midst of the baking and cookie-decorating, I prepared a simple dinner of grilled miso chicken. With the leftover rice in the fridge, I made a garlic butter fried rice (click here for recipe) to serve with the chicken. And since there were bones from the thighs I had deboned, I made a chicken soup with carrot and corn. No waste!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Okonomiyaki Pancake-style Gyoza

There are some things in life that just can't wait, like these beautifully charred pork dumplings (or gyozas) topped with okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise, spring onions and bonito flakes. I was getting my regular TV fix of Destination Flavour Japan last week, and as I watched Adam Liaw flip over a pan of crisp charred dumplings onto a plate, I couldn't help but imagine how tasty those gyozas would be if I could just have a bite. Gyozas are similar to Chinese potstickers (guotie), though their Chinese counterparts usually have thicker skins and are slightly bigger. Both are usually served with a soy and vinegar dipping sauce, sometimes with chilli oil and shredded ginger too.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Beef Lasagne

As Mr G was clearing the dishes after dinner, he started whinging about how he's always clearing the dishes. I told him "I've always offered you the chance to cook while I babysit and clean up, but you always say that I'm the cook". Well, I knew he would rather "clean up" than cook anyway, and dare I say that I trust my cooking more? Haha. I have to give him credit for some of his culinary skills. Let's see now... Mr G's forte lies in his famous Hainanese chicken rice. Famous because anyone who is invited to our home for the first time is usually treated to this Singaporean favourite. Oooh...he bakes a good pineapple-glazed Christmas ham, and roast beef too. We'll be looking forward to that soon! And last but not least, he does a pretty good lasagne. I say "pretty good" because the recipe is in his head, and sometimes it can be a little inconsistent. The last lasagne he made had too much béchamel and mozzarella cheese in it. He blamed it on the brand of cheese he used. However, little H loved the cheesiness and sauciness of the lasagne.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Lamb Kofta Kebab

In my previous post, I wrote about my first time dining at a Lebanese (or Middle-eastern) restaurant, Al Aseel. I had ordered the "Mixed Plate", comprising an array of dips and a three types of grilled meats on skewers - chicken, lamb and kafta. I wasn't a fan of the chicken as I found it a little dry. The lamb was not bad, but my favourite was the kafta.
Kofta generally refers to savoury balls of ground meat (or vegetables, potatoes, lentils etc) mixed with spices, herbs or other ingredients. In Lebanese cuisine, it's called kafta and is usually made with ground beef, allspice, parsley and onions. I decided to make a lamb kofta kebab instead by placing the lamb mince on skewers and then grilling them on the barbecue. You can use either beef, lamb or a combination of both.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Falafel Wrap

Never judge a book (or falafel) by its cover. Before this, I never gave much thought to falafels. They are the round brown balls that look like croquettes or arancini, and are commonly displayed in kebab stalls at the food courts here. I love kebabs, but those falafels just never looked appetizing to me. That was then.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Movida braised beef cheeks in Pedro Ximenez with cauliflower puree

My sister thinks that my posts are long and verbose at times. Well, I don't deny that. I guess I enjoy reliving the gastronomic experience and want to describe every chewable aspect of it. Maybe I should explore how to incorporate sound effects in my posts/photos next time. Crunch! Crackle! Slurp! Ahh....

Now, what would best describe these meltingly tender beef cheeks and that silky smooth cauliflower cream?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Hokkaido Cheesecake (Farm Design Choco Moo Cheesecake)

I brought this cheesecake to my uncle's housewarming party last Saturday. My aunt took a look and said "I think I've seen this cake before, with the cow-pattern. Wasn't it on TV recently?". Yes! It was on Destination Flavour Japan on SBS. "The show with that Adam Liaw guy from Masterchef..." she says. I was thinking, gee, she must have REALLY wanted to eat that cheesecake to have remembered it so well. I guess it is a rather unique-looking cake. And it tastes absolutely heavenly. Velvety smooth and silky, not too rich, not too sweet. It's really the perfect cheesecake. It's the Choco Moo cheesecake, made popular by Farm Design Hokkaido Cheesecake.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Crème Brûlée and Announcement

Hi everyone. Just a little announcement that I've migrated my website to a new domain name Any previous links from the old blogger website will be automatically redirected to the new one.

For those who absolutely love crème brulee (my favourite too!), here's a simple recipe that I've tried and tested, and you will never have to order crème brulee at the restaurant again :) Just make sure you have a blowtorch handy. Enjoy!

Crème Brûlée Recipe
Adapted from SBS


300 ml pure cream
200 ml milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways, seeds scraped
5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup caster sugar
2-3 tbsp demerara or caster sugar

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Lipton High Tea @ Masterchef Dining and Bar (plus Lipton Pyramid Giveaway) - Closed

This post is sponsored by Nuffnang. So, here I am at my computer, typing away while enjoying a freshly brewed cup of Russian Earl Grey tea, compliments of Lipton. I attended the ‘High Tea Brewed By Lipton’ event on 8 September as an invited guest, held at the Masterchef Dining and Bar pop-up restaurant at First Fleet Park, Sydney. In celebrating the release of its new Lipton Pyramid tea range utilising an innovative, pyramid-shaped teabag, Lipton conducted a tea-tasting session, hosted by Lipton Master Tea Blender, Kurush Bharucha. The afternoon's menu featured an array of exquisitely crafted desserts and high tea classics, from Waldorf sandwiches to Vegemite Caramel Chocolate Cups (yes, Vegemite!). It was definitely one sweet afternoon! Read on and find out how you can sample these delicious teas with our giveaway.
Feast your eyes ....

Being a fan of the Masterchef series, I was really looking forward to dining at the pop-up restaurant. I felt like a kid going to the carnival for the first time. The hostess at the door showed us into the restaurant and led us up the stairs onto the second level of the room. I was pleasantly surprised that it was quite a small and private function. I brought Mr G along and we were seated at a quiet corner with a lounge chair, right next to the railings. It had a great bird's eye view of the entire room. I managed to snap some pictures of the kitchen below and admired the entire setup from floor to ceiling.

Kitchen and dining area

Moments later, Mr G turned to me and whispered "Look, there's Julia". I turned to look and there she was, making her entrance. I was kind of star-struck for a minute, and the initial thoughts running through my  head were "I have to get a picture with her". I was also thinking, how does someone like her who makes desserts everyday manage to stay so slim? If you've watched Masterchef 2012, you would remember Julia Taylor as the Dessert Queen, famous for her sweet creations, and more notably, her Melting Moments. I have made them countless times and have garnered quite a huge following for them at work. She stopped by at each table to chat with the guests, and I was thrilled to finally meet her in person. And I had a picture taken with her too! Meeting her was definitely one of the highlights for me.

Each table was laid out with 5 glasses and 5 different teabags on either side. In between sat a row of tiny porcelain dishes displaying the contents of each teabag under mini glass domes. I could see how the new pyramid shape allows the bag to hold larger leaves, real fruit pieces, petals and herbs. It also gives the tea more space to swirl around and release a fuller taste and aroma. In essence, it's like brewing with loose tea leaves, but with the convenience of a tea bag!

Green Gunpowder tea

There were five specialty blends of tea up for tasting, and Tea Master Kurush walked us through each one of them in detail:

- English Breakfast (lovely with a splash of milk)
- Russian Earl Grey (delicately flavoured black tea with orange and lemon peel and blue petals)
- Forest Fruits (black tea blended with a medley of berries - smells amazing)
- Fruit and Herbal Collection (black tea with berries and lemongrass)
- Green Gunpowder (a well-rounded green tea with natural pear flavour)

Lipton Master Tea Blender happily at work

Love the pretty colours

I enjoyed all the teas, with my favourite being Russian Earl Grey, which has an exquisite aroma of bergamot and citrus. I think it was Julia's favourite too, and reminded her of lemon myrtle. I did like the Green Gunpowder tea as well, which was smooth and delicate. The name "Gunpowder" is a description of the manufacturing process which rolls and twists the leaf until it looks like little balls of Gunpowder. One interesting tip I learnt from Tea Master Kurush (who has almost 30 years of tea-tasting experience under his belt) was that green tea is best brewed in water that is well below boiling temperature, and should be infused for only a short time for best results. At home, I usually have black tea with milk, as I sometimes find the tannins from the tea a little bitter without it. I was pleasantly surprised that with these Lipton pyramid teas, there wasn't the slightest hint of bitterness, even without milk.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Japanese-style Risotto with Roasted Eel

Risotto. It's not a dish that I would usually order at a restaurant, probably because the ones I've had in the past weren't all that great. I've had some which were delicious at the first few mouthfuls, and after a while they just got a little boring. After all, it's just spoonful after spoonful of the same thing. Up until recently, I've never attempted cooking risotto either. Everytime I hear the word "risotto", it conjures up images of Masterchef Australia, where George or Matt would give the "eyebrow" and the cynical look that says "Death dish. Don't even think about it". For that reason, risotto never had a place in my kitchen. Well, not until a few months ago when we brought the family to a fusion Japanese restaurant in Malaysia where the kids ordered this Unagi Risotto with soft boiled egg. It looked good, but before I could even

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Apple Frangipane Tart


So, I was telling my friend Samuel the other day that I made fish head curry three times in a row prior to posting the recipe for it last week. I explained that I couldn't get it to taste the way I wanted it to, and I couldn't possibly share a recipe for something I'm not happy with. I got it right on the third attempt though, after I figured out who the culprit was - it was the fish curry powder with the Candlenut! So I changed that, made my own curry paste and it turned out almost exactly like I wanted it to.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Malaysian Fish Head Curry

This is a Malaysian-Chinese style fish head curry, as opposed to the Indian-style which uses fish curry powder, curry leaves, fenugreek and mustard seeds. I think most commercial fish curry powders are meant for Indian style curries, and so I made my own from scratch using ground coriander, chilli and turmeric. After three attempts, I was happy with how this final one turned out. Cod fish head was fantastic, although snapper head works perfectly well too. Some of you may cringe at the thought of having a fish head served at the dining table. If that's the case, you can always substitute with fish tail or fish cutlets. I love having lots of okra, eggplant and tofu puffs in my curry, making it pretty much a one pot wonder. Find the recipe after the jump.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Caramelized French Toast with Strawberries

Finally, a recipe for French Toast that the kids couldn't get enough of! I made this two mornings in a row, and both times, they"fought" over who could have the last piece. I was quietly pleased, of course. I used less sugar in the first batch, and served it with a generous glug of maple syrup. Yum! With the second, I was more heavy-handed with the sugar and butter. I had been meaning to make Kouign Amman, a crisp, chewy French pastry that is loaded with sugar and butter, and tastes like a rich croissant glazed with butterscotch. I figured if that's what it takes, then bring on the sugar and butter! And my, it was sinfully delicious and indulgent for French toast. In fact, it wouldn't be a bad idea to serve it for afternoon tea or dessert either. It's eleven pm right now. I'm thinking, French toast for supper, anyone?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Salted Egg Yolk Crispy Squid

I had the pleasure of dining at one of Sydney's most popular Roti Canai establishments on Friday. Mamak specialises in Malaysian cuisine, in particular its famed roti canai, which are freshly made on the spot and served on a silver-coloured platter with two curries. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that it was my "inaugural" visit to Mamak, since almost everyone I know has been there at least once. I didn't set any expectations for this place, and was pleasantly surprised by how authentic (both in flavour and heat from the chillies) the food was. One dish I just had to try was the Sambal Sotong - stir-fried brown cuttlefish in fiery (indeed!) sambal sauce. I grew up enjoying nasi lemak, lontong and roti canai served with sambal sotong and it's one of my favourite Malaysian dishes! Typically, it uses dried brown cuttlefish which is soaked in alkaline water to rehydrate, tenderise and give it a springy texture when cooked.
In Malaysia, we use the term "sotong" loosely, regardless of whether they are cuttlefish, squid or calamari. In a different context, namely Singlish, "sotong" can also refer to a person who is "blur like sotong". Anyway, I picked up a book from the library today - Sydney Seafood School Cookbook - and learnt a new word: Cephalopods. It comes from the Greek word, meaning "head-feet", which sums up the appearance of squid, cuttlefish and octopuses. Squids have long cylindrical heads and a thin, translucent feather-shaped internal shell, called a quill. Cuttlefish is similar to squid, but have a broader, thicker head, shorter arms and a thick, calcified internal shell. Octopuses are different in that they have round heads instead of cylindrical, and lack the two longer tentacles, side fins and internal shells that the other two species have. Calamari (flashbacks of Kellie Pickler in her Southern drawl) is just the Italian word for squid, though it also refers to another species of squid.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Chimichurri Roast Chicken


Seems like ages since my last post. I've been quite busy of late. Well, actually, I've been on holidays. Busy on holidays with the kids. Then, I returned from my holidays and was busy getting back into routine again. Now that I've settled back in, it was time to start those blogging juices flowing. Not. Speaking of which, I made a juicy roast chicken with chimichurri for dinner last night. I only just discovered chimichurri a few months ago.Prior to that, it always crossed my mind as being related to chimichanga (well, they do sound like they come from the same family!). We have a little herb garden at home, and there are two plants in particular that are thriving throughout the year - the rosemary and the parsley. There was a time, many years ago, when our parsley never survived more than a few months. Now, we have a parsley bush that's enough to make chimichurri for a month.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Korean Fried Chicken with Hot Dipping Sauce

There's been a lot of deep-fried wings going on in my house lately. I've been experimenting with different recipes to come up with the ultimate crispiest chicken wings and the best Korean chilli dipping sauce, and so far, nobody's been complaining. I finally got it down to using a batter made with self-raising flour, rice flour and glutinous rice flour to achieve a light and crisp layer on the wings. The double-frying simply maximises the crunch factor (and I think it prolongs the crispiness too). One of our favourite places for Korean Fried Chicken is Stra Pocha in Strathfield, where you can ask for their special chilli sauce for dipping the wings in. We love the sauce, and I'm happy that my version of it comes quite close - sweet and spicy with a lot of heat from the red peppers.
Let me tempt you with some photos....

Isn't the sauce looking lovely? You can bet those wings are crispy too!

I prefer to serve the chilli sauce on the side, rather than toss the chicken into the sauce as they are sometimes served. That way, the wings stay crisp and crunchy, and it's less messy too if you're eating with your  hands (that's the only way to eat chicken wings!).

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Börek or Burek (with spinach and cheese)

So, I'm not an expert on Burek, nor do I know enough about its cultural background and history to be able to give an accurate account of how it originated. I'm thinking Wikipedia should be fairly reliable, and therefore I quote a few sections from it which provide some insight into this delicious filled pastry.

"Börek (also burek and other variants) is a family of baked or fried filled pastries made of a thin flaky dough known as phyllo (or yufka). It can be filled with cheese, minced meat, or vegetables. Most probably invented in what is now Modern Turkey, in the Anatolian Provinces of the Ottoman Empire in its early era, to become a popular element of Ottoman cuisine.

Börek is also very popular in the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire, especially in North Africa and throughout the Balkans. The Northern Slavic cuisines, historically developed by people living in close contact with the Turkic peoples of Asia and Europe, also feature derivatives of the börek. Börek is also part of Mizrahi and Sephardic Jewish traditions. They have been enthusiastically adopted by the Ottoman Jewish communities, and have been described, along with boyos de pan and bulemas, as forming "the trio of preeminent Ottoman Jewish pastries".

Börek has its origins in the Turkish cuisine (cf. Baklava) and is one of its most significant and, in fact, ancient elements of the Turkish cuisine, having been developed by the Turks of Central Asia before their westward migration to Anatolia.

Börek in Turkish language refers to any dish made with yufka. The name comes from the Turkic root bur- 'to twist', (similar to Serbian word savijača (from savijati - to twist) which also describes a layered dough dish)."

Alright! Now that we've gotten our history lesson out of the way, it's time to make some Burek. Whenever I discover a new favourite food, my first instinct is to look for the recipe and attempt it at home. I love a good challenge. Some may think it's strange, but I used to look forward to exams when I was in school. It bore different consequences of course, but was a challenge nonetheless.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Singapore Fried Carrot Cake (Chai Tau Kuih)

This is the crispy pancake version of Singapore fried carrot cake, though there's some debate over whether it should be called radish cake instead since it uses radish, and not carrot. But then again, sometimes it does not contain radish, so should it be just called rice cake? The radish (or daikon - I think they are similar) gives it a subtle sweetness and flavour. I do like the radish cake to be soft, so the proportion of water to rice flour I've used is about 2:1. After it's fried, the carrot cake will be crispy on the outside, soft and smooth inside. This is a popular dish in Singapore and Malaysia, and is usually eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner or supper. Look out for it when you're visiting a hawker centre there!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Chocolate Frozen Yogurt

My kids love ice-cream, and so when my three-year-old whizzed past (as quickly as I tried to push the trolley) the freezer section of the supermarket last weekend, his "ice-cream-and-lolly-and-all-things-sweet-sensitive-eyes caught sight of the tubs of ice-cream on display, as he instantly called out "Mummy! Ice-cream! Can we buy ice-cream?". I already had my pre-crafted response ready in times like these, and I said "Mummy will make you some ice-cream at home. Do you like chocolate ice-cream?", and quickly proceeded towards the checkout. I wasn't about to buy a 2-litre tub of rainbow ice-cream, firstly because there's no space in the freezer, and secondly, frozen yogurt is a much healthier alternative and it's a breeze to make too, if you have an ice-cream maker at home.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Oysters with Thai Lime and Ginger Dressing


My father-in-law used to tell us (over and over) that his record for eating oysters was forty in one sitting. Look out Adam Richman! You may have a contender here. I guess if it's a buffet and oysters are the most expensive item on the table, then of course you'd want to get your money's worth. I just remembered that my father used to think along the same lines. When I was a kid, we used to make short family trips to Singapore. He said that whenever we have one of those pricey buffet lunches at the hotels, he usually tries to eat more oysters because they were the most expensive item. The thing is, he didn't even like eating raw oysters, though I think he's grown to enjoy them a bit more over time.

As for me, I love oysters, whether they are crumbed and deep-fried, in an omelette, or just served natural. When we had guests over for our Wining and Thai-ning lunch party, I made a quick and simple Thai style dressing to go with the oysters. It turned out wonderful and paired well with the Prosecco we served. Serve these at your next lunch or dinner party, and don't forget the bubbly!

Oysters with Thai Lime and Ginger Dressing


1 dozen fresh oysters, in half shell
2 tbsp chopped scallions/shallots


2 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp palm sugar (or to taste)
1/2 tbsp grated ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp chopped bird's eye chillies


Combine ingredients to make the dressing.

Place the oysters on a serving plate. Drizzle over the dressing and sprinkle with the chopped scallions. Serve immediately with a glass of sparkling white wine.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Coffee and Almond Pork Ribs

Deep-fried pork ribs with coffee sauce is a popular dish in Singapore and Malaysia, and is usually served with steamed white rice. During my recent trip to Singapore, I had the chance to try it at Prosperous Kitchen restaurant and it was really good, especially with the almond flakes on top which helped cut through the richness of the sauce. I attempted to replicate it at home and it was a success (applause from Mr G), though my version was more robust with an intense coffee flavour. These sweet and sticky pork ribs are absolutely delicious and addictive, and are best enjoyed with a generous plate of white rice.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Vepro-Knedlo-Zelo (Czech Roast Pork with Dumplings and Sauerkraut)

A few weeks ago, we had a team lunch at Tony Roma's, and naturally at some point, we talked about food, allergies, cooking etc. My boss then posed a question on what was the best meal we've ever had. I couldn't think of a particular "best meal" because eating is not just about the food, but the experience and atmosphere as well. So, my response was more around my most memorable meal, many years ago when I first had deep-fried herb-crusted lamb's brains at Ginger Nuts (what a funky name!) at Port Fairy, a charming fishing village at the end of the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia. I will never forget that experience, and boy, did they taste good!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt


Winter is coming.

It will officially be winter next month (in Australia), and yet the weather has been rather erratic of late. We had a few warm almost-summer-like days which came as a nice surprise. It kind of makes you think that winter won't be that bad after all. I suppose I shouldn't be complaining. Winter in Sydney is relatively mild. I remember this one time, in college, I was with a group of International students and we were all waiting at the bus-stop (can't remember where we were going) and it was smack in the middle of winter. For many of us, it was our first winter experience. I had my el cheapo Lowes jacket on (such is the life of a poor student) which wasn't much help in keeping out the cold. One of the students was from Canada, and there we were shivering our butts off while she was looking comfortable (though a bit out of place) in shorts and a tank top, oblivious to the cold. Most of us were probably thinking, is this girl mad? Someone asked if she felt cold, and her cool response was "No, this is like summer back home."

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Thai Roast Duck Salad


So, I googled "game meat" and according to Wikipedia, "Game is any animal hunted for food or not normally domesticated. Game animals are also hunted for sport". I never knew that duck was considered game until someone told me that it is not commonly served or eaten in the United States for that very reason. Well, it makes sense now that I recall seeing duck hunting on TV (specifically the old Looney Tunes cartoons featuring Elmer Fudd and Daffy Duck - rings a bell?). Maybe because I've grown up eating a lot of Chinese roast duck (and Peking duck during special occasions), and so I can't say that it tastes gamey at all. Or maybe duck just tastes best when it's roasted until the fat has rendered and the skin's gone all thin and crispy. The only thing I don't like about duck is that it's really boney and fatty. If you buy half a roast duck, you'd end up with half of it being bones and fat. The meat and skin however is very tasty. If you've watched the "roast duck seller" chop up a roast duck before, you might notice how he tips out the juices from the cavity and reserves them, probably to make the duck sauce or gravy. It's so good over steamed white rice.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Wining and Thai-ning

 Wine matching with Thai cuisine
Almost everyone we've ever invited over for lunch would have tried Mr G's Hainanese chicken rice, at least once. Mr G being Mr TFWL, but I'll save on the keystrokes. In fact, we serve it so often that people have come to expect it from Mr and Mrs G's House of Chicken Rice. Okay, so there are a couple of reasons why it has become a staple on our "menu". Firstly, everyone eats chicken (unless you're vegetarian of course, which means you'd best be eating rice with cucumbers) and I think the neutral flavours agree with the general palate. I can't think of anyone who doesn't like chicken rice. Secondly, it's pretty much a one dish meal served with rice, and perhaps accompanied by a side dish of stir-fried vegetables, which makes preparation a breeze. Coincidentally (ahem...), it also suits my personal agenda, as it means that Mr G does all the cooking while I sit back and relax. No, of course not. There are still appetizers and dessert to think about. But this post is not about chicken rice.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Strawberry Vanilla Cream Cake

The thing about kids' birthday cakes is that, it's not what's on the inside that counts, but what's on the outside. Always judge a cake by its icing. Well, the icing is always the first thing to go whenever I present cupcakes to my kids anyway, whilst the cake is left behind, still stuck to its cupcake liner. Remember that episode from Seinfeld where Elaine had that idea about selling muffin tops? Now, wouldn't that be a fabulous idea for cupcakes too? *wink*

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Baked Kale Chips

There's been all this hype over kale chips, and how they taste like potato chips, except that they are loaded with vitamins and minerals. I finally bought some kale from the supermarket last Sunday and was pretty excited to make these. It's really easy. Roughly tear up the kale into pieces, and then wash and dry them thoroughly. Lay them out on a baking tray lined with baking paper, drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch salt. Be careful not to put too much oil or salt, because the kale will shrink to a quarter of its size and you don't want to end up with oily salty kale chips (now how did I know that?). Bake them in the oven at 180C (350F) for 20 minutes, turning once halfway through. They will be turn translucent and crispy, and they really taste almost like potato chips! And totally guilt-free!

PS: These make a good substitute for crispy seaweed, the Japanese or Korean type that comes in individual packs and taste so umami with flakes of MSG all over. I reckon these kale chips would be great as a topping for noodle soups, or even crumbled over some pasta.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fried Mee Siam (Vermicelli) with Crispy Shrimp

It was a bright and sunny Sunday morning. I was riding in the car when this song started playing on the radio:
Whatever I said, whatever I did I didn't mean it,
I just want you back for good,
(Want you back, want you back, want you back for good...)
Does that sound familiar? Well, Take That! Listening to the song evoked memories from my 21st birthday which I celebrated with my college friends. I still have photos from that day, when I had my first go at ice-skating and ended up with cuts and grazes from constantly breaking my fall with my bare hands. A couple of my friends had brought a guitar along and made a notable attempt to serenade me with "Back For Good", which is why hearing the song again made me feel quite nostalgic.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Salmon with Black Bean Sauce


Have you ever tried salmon with black bean sauce before? Honestly, I never knew salmon could be prepared this way until I found out from some friends that it is a common Chinese dish. I uusally cook salmon with either miso or teriyaki sauce, but with black beans? It actually turned out really good - sweet, salty, smoky (from the beans), with a hit of chilli in there. These flavours are just perfect with a bowl of steamed white rice, and it's all you really need for a satisfying meal. Of course, to make it complete, serve it with a plate of stir-fried asian greens like bok choy or snow pea sprouts.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Exploring China – A Culinary Adventure (DVD REVIEW and GIVEAWAY - CLOSED)

I'm thrilled to be writing a post (sponsored by Nuffnang) reviewing the newly released DVD, SBS Cooking Titles - "Exploring China - A Culinary Adventure", featuring Ken Hom and Ching-He Huang. SBS is my go-to for all foodie programs, with my favourite being Food Safari. Showcasing the best in local & international cuisines, SBS is home to a who's who of the food scene – along with Luke Nguyen, Peter Kuruvita, Maeve O'Meara, Tetsuya, Matthew Evans, Adriano Zumbo and many more.  Ken Hom is just one of the SBS chefs and personalities whose wonderful shows are available on DVD. Click here to watch the trailer

"Exploring China" is a new series which was aired on SBS early this year, and comprises four episodes where Ken and Ching cook their way across China in a visually rich culinary journey. If you missed the premiere of this new series, don't worry because you can now get them on DVD - all four episodes in one! Read on to find out how to win one of these!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Deep-fried Crumbed Oyster Mushrooms

A few weeks ago, I posted a recipe for Mutter Paneer on my blog, and if you saw the last photo in the post, you would have noticed a plate of unidentified crumbed stuff next to the mutter paneer. Well, I can now reveal that the foreign object that was the subject of curiosity was really crumbed oyster mushrooms! Deep-fried curry-crumbed oyster mushrooms, to be exact. And the things you learn about oyster mushrooms when you're trying to find some inspiration to write about them. Did you know that oyster mushrooms may be considered a medicinal mushroom since it contains statins which work to reduce bad cholesterol? Wow, that puts eating deep-fried oyster mushrooms into perspective. More for me please! The latin name for oyster mushroom is Pleurotus ostreatuswhich literally means "sideways oyster", and refers to the oyster-like shape of the mushroom, plus the fact that the stem grows sideways relative to the cap.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Malaysian Deep-fried Curry Puffs

I made these deep-fried curry puffs over the weekend when we had friends over for lunch (I figured just serving chicken rice might not be enough). As usual, I posted photos of these on facebook and a friend commented that it was his favourite. Actually, he thought that these were "gujia", which I later found out through Dr Google that it was a type of sweet Indian (Rajasthani, to be specific) deep-fried pastry filled with nuts, dried fruit or coconut. Mmm...this sounds like something right up my alley (and something for me to experiment with next!). 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mutter Paneer (Peas and Cottage Cheese)

Mutter paneer is a popular North Indian dish consisting of paneer (cottage cheese) and peas (mutter) cooked in a spiced tomato-based gravy, and it tastes fantastic especially when eaten with boiled basmati rice. I enjoy the paneer for its "bitey" texture that can be described as almost "meaty", and all of this combined together makes a delicious meal that can be quite addictive. I must admit I wasn't really a fan of paneer nor vegetarian food right up till middle of last year when I had some friends visiting from India and we frequented a few Indian restaurants. What an eye-opener it was for me. Indian vegetarian cuisine wasn't just all about peas and lentils, but very much about spices, colours, textures and exotic flavours.