Thursday, December 08, 2011
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Anyway what I have recently started to do more of – cooking! I have always enjoyed the little cooking I’ve done over the years and have been pretty restricted to the few dishes that I keep cooking over and over again but being here permanently means I have to learn to cook more than what I know........and you know what? I’m starting to get really interested.
Problem is sometimes I don’t know what certain ingredients are called and I still don’t know many cooking techniques. So most of what I do is trial and error. I am rubbish at following recipes for cooking (baking is another story, I used to do a lot of that) so I find myself throwing in whatever I feel should make up the taste....and improvise.
Last night’s dinner turned out well again (thank God!) and Oscar enjoyed it so much he was scraping off the sauce! Hehe
We had Watercress Soup, Siew Pak Choy annnnddddddd ......... Char Siew!! Yes I had cravings for Char Siew (not the icky red and overly sweet ones you find in Food Courts!) Oscar loved the meal last night and he even offered to wash up!!
Bear in mind that I don’t follow any “recipes” so I’m sure there are better ways to cook it but here’s my version of last night’s dinner. I only remembered to take photos half way through it so it's all half eaten already hahaha and Oscar likes the Char Siew Sauce so we scraped everything out of the pan and decided to drown the Char Siew. -_-
What I used: (bear in mind this is only for 2)
5 pieces pork bone (you can use pork ribs, chicken cage, chicken bones...whatever lah)
1 small piece pork belly
10 red dates
Wolfberries (Kei Chi in Chinese, I didn’t measure – I just put some in)
1 pkt watercress
½ piece of dried squid (sotong)
What I did:
1) Bring water to boil in pot
2) Put in pork bone & dried squid. Boil for ½ hour
3) Put in red dates, wolfberries, pork belly, watercress
4) Boil for another 45 minutes. Ready!
What I used:
I pkt Siew Pak Choy (I separated the stalks and leaves)
3 cloves garlic, chopped (I loooove plenty of garlic in my veggies though)
4 slices ginger
1 tbsp light soya sauce
5 tbsp Hua Diao Jiu / Shaoxing Wine
Dash of white pepper
Pinch of Salt
Pinch of Maggi Ikan Bilis Stock
What I did:
1) Heat oil in work, fry garlic and ginger until fragrant
2) Add in the stalks
3) Add in soya sauce, hua diao jiu & ikan bilis stock
4) Add in the leafy parts
5) Add pepper and salt
Reason why I separated the stalks is because they take a longer time to cook and I don’t like the leafy bits over cooked.
What I used:
2 pieces pork belly (I picked the ones that were not overly fat)
4 tbsp Lee Kum Kee Char Siew Sauce
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tbsp Hua Diao Jiu
½ tbsp Oyster Sauce
½ tbsp Light Soya Sauce
Some honey for glazing
What I did:
1) Marinate the pork belly with the char siew sauce, hua diao jiu, oyster sauce and light soys sauce. Make sure the marinade evenly covers the pork. Put in the garlic. Leave for at least 2 hours (or overnight!)
2) Heat pan in very low fire (there is high sugar content in the char siew sauce so if fire is high it will burn too quickly)
3) Put pork in pan and cover
4) Turn over after 10 minutes and cover. Let the other side cook for another 10 minutes
5) When the pork is cooked and the sauce turns sticky, glaze the pork with some honey
6) Increase fire to medium but you will have to keep turning it to prevent it from turning into charcoal!
7) When it’s ready slice the char siew and spread the remaining sauce over
Oscar being Oscar, his accompanying drink for this meal was.....
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
So.....I resorted to the next best thing – cooking!! Thankfully Oscar loves Chinese food and I have always rather enjoyed cooking (I just don’t cook in KL because I have my mum to do that! Hehe). I picked up cooking whilst I was studying in Perth. I remember ButtercupTjin and I buying all the ingredients from the Asian store and when it came to us cooking for the first time, we were both crouching next to the bag of rice we bought, armed with a rice cooker and looked at each other and said “I hope you know what you’re doing!” hahaha!! ButtercupTjin said “How would I know, I have a maid at home” in which I replied “How would I know either, I have a mum who’s a good cook!”.
I made a long distance call to mum to ask her how to cook rice.
And that was how I started cooking!!
To cut the story short Tjin and I had many funny incidents with cooking which I shall not mention here but “invented” many dishes – Spaghetti ala MichTjin, Nasi Goreng Sambal ala MichTjin, Black Pepper Chicken ala MichTjin, Hokkien Mee ala MichTjin and the list goes on. I must say by the time we left Perth we perfected most of these dishes (by our own standards lah!).....hahaha
When I lived in Johannesburg I cooked a lot as well, mainly because it wasn’t very safe to go out at night and it was quite expensive to eat out. My flatmate at that time, Viv, loved it! We had Bak Kut Teh, Ayam Masak Merah, Chicken Rendang, Nasi Lemak etc in South Africa – in the middle of the frigging cold winter. When you’re that far away from home, even OldTown White Coffee is nice as the smell of it reminds you of home. So imagine being in Africa, 2 celcius when you get back from work and have Bak Kut Teh for dinner. Yummm!
I have cooked up a few meals in Singapore but again, I’m rubbish at taking photos. By the time I remember dinner is usually in our tummies already :-(
However, there was one dish which I was really happy about as it was the first time for me cooking it and mostly from scratch! No recipes, just a lot of “agak-ism” and thankfully it turned out well!! I planned on cooking Lamb Meatballs in Tomato base Spaghetti but when I turned up at FairPrice they had run out of minced lamb so I bought minced pork instead.
Most of the ingredients were again measured using my grandma’s famous “agak-ism” metrics so .... just agak-agak lah ya!
What I used:
Minced Pork (you can replace with minced lamb)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Scallions, chopped (I guess this depends on how much you like the taste of scallions)
1 medium sized onion, chopped
Fresh parsley, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp light soya sauce
1 tsp cornflour
Dash of Salt
Dash of grounded black pepper
Dash of paprika
What I did:
1) Mix all ingredients
2) Roll into medium sized balls (don’t make them too big or it will be difficult to get the middle part cooked)
3) Fry in pan
4) Cool on paper towels (I don’t like them oily!)
Chicken breast, cut into small pieces
1 large onion, diced
2 - 3 cloves garlic, chopped
5 large tomatoes (you can replace with canned diced tomatoes)
1 can tomato paste
1 can button mushrooms (depending on preference, I’m not a huge mushroom fan so I use less)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sugar
Olive oil for frying
Vermicelli Pasta (I prefer this as it’s thinner than Spaghetti – cooks faster)
Preparing the Tomatoes:
1) Boil water in pot
2) Cut the bottom of the tomatoes – I just made a cross mark
3) Immerse tomatoes in the boiling water (maybe half a minute)
4) Let it cool (I just ran it over tap water)
5) Peel the skin off with a small knife
What I did:
1) Heat some olive oil on pan
2) Sautee onion, garlic and mushroom on low heat
3) Add chicken pieces on medium heat – cook until it’s no longer pinkish
4) Add in diced tomatoes, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar and spices to taste (I prefer adding a little of everything first, taste it later and then top up to taste)
5) Mix together, simmer over medium low heat for about 30 minutes – actually when the diced tomatoes look like spaghetti sauce it’s done
Whilst waiting for the sauce to cook:
1) Boil the Vermicelli Pasta, add in a little salt
2) When it’s ready, toss it with olive oil
Top the pasta with the sauce and meatballs and serve hot.
I will take photos next time lor but it turned out very well. Oscar loved it which means it was quite good lah, considering he is a snob when it comes to non-chinese food!
Monday, February 16, 2009
Though everyone keeps telling me that Singapore is a VERY small place, I am still stuck in the little girl in big city syndrome (for now). I am still discovering places and restaurants (mostly) but am still not satisfied with the knowledge I have (or the lack of it) of shopping places in Singapore. In KL / PJ I know exactly where to go to get what I want and know my way around almost every major shopping mall. I know where to park, where the shops are, how to plan my shopping....and most importantly, I can DRIVE myself there. Honestly I don’t know what a luxury driving is until I got here. I am not referring to the morning and after office hour jams but more of the weekend shopping driving and driving myself around to run errands kind of driving.
Over in Singapore whenever I don’t have Oscar with me I have to take the CAB. Before you think I’m being atas or uppity-markety and all that, let me just say that the nearest MRT station to my place is about 25 – 30 minutes walk (in slippers, may I add) and the nearest bus stop is around 20 minutes walk (in slippers too). So it’s virtually impossible to get real public transport – just about the only thing I hate about where I am living!! So I have to resort to taking cabs – it costs me roughly SGD12 to get to work (when Oscar can’t drop me) with the stupid ERPs and about SGD9 to get back from work. But the beauty of it all is, I am actually early every morning and it takes me less than 10 minutes to get to work. On days where Oscar does drop me at the other end of the road (it’s easier for me to turn back to his direction which is the total opposite of where I work), I get a very relaxing walk by the river along Boat Quay, and it takes me about 6 minutes to get to my building.
looking back at the famous stretch on boat quay
my office at the bank of china building, which is next to the fullerton hotel
Oscar and I have spent a fair bit of time happily exploring the restaurants around Muhammed Sultan, which is within walking distance to our place though we have vowed to cut down considerably as it is NOT a cheap way to feed ourselves!!! Hence he is subjected to my cooking (which he says he likes – I’m not sure if it’s because it’s really home-cooked food that he misses or it’s the fact that he doesn’t need to pay crazy amount of money to feed us... hehe). It’s quite nice to chill out in front of the TV with a bottle of wine and chilling out at home sometimes, as Oscar likes to call “normal things normal people do at normal times”. Doing all these little things together is bringing us closer together as we both know how precious these moments are, especially when we were deprived of doing all the “normal everyday stuff” two years ago. Plus, it helps that we have a pretty good view of Singapore from our place...
muhammad sultan at the foreground and part of Spore behind it
Oscar’s been really sweet, taking me around to various places in Singapore for food and wine – this is one thing we definitely have in common – we’re both foodies!!! I think I will do some justice and try to document these trips so I can at least remember where he takes me. I do remember a few though...
I absolutely loved L’Angelus, the French restaurant at Club Street. I will remember to document my next visit there as the food was absolutely excellent. I had the best Duck Confit (sorry I don’t remember the exact name of this dish – but it was a damn good duck confit lah!) and the Escargots were simply heavenly. I have always felt a bit icky about eating snails and my few past attempts at eating GARDEN SNAILS were not very pleasant so I politely declined when this arrived. After some coaxing and his “mmmmm......this is sooooo good...you sure you don’t want to try?” I agreed to try the sauce. And then I thought if the sauce was that good the damn snail can’t be that bad. And I ended up finishing half of it! I can’t remember what wine we had but it was so good we ended up having 2 bottles. See lah, this is why I need to start taking photos!
Another place I liked was Picotin at the Turf Club Road. We went there for brunch one Sunday and I ordered the wild mushroom soup and the pan seared scallops. YUMMY!!! Oscar had a rabbit leg which I refused to try because I cannot get over the fact that he’s eating what was once a fluffy white bunny. Yes that’s just me being very food-naive but hey I got over the snails thing maybe one day I will have one small nibble of the poor bunny rabbit. In some yummy sauce (I know because I dipped the chips into the sauce – but I DID NOT eat the bunny).
There’s this other place near our house called Boomerang – an Australian restaurant by Robertson Quay that serves Fish & Chips like the ones I used to get at Freemantle in Perth. I have tried nothing else on the menu so I can’t comment but have been there at least 4 times for Fish & Chips (such a nostalgic feeling) and shared a couple of bottles of Sauvignon Blanc (which is like our favourite type of wine to order) and copious amounts of Victoria Bitter.
Would write more but am going to head home now.....more to come!
Thursday, February 05, 2009
Yes I know it does sound embarrassing but in 28 years of my life I have not been to a single concert (I blame this on my once over protective parents). But better late than never and I’ve been told that I’m lucky it wasn’t someone like Tommy Page or Chris Cuevas 18 years ago!! Which I think is quite true because 18 years ago I wouldn’t be able to go to a concert feeling chilled out and relaxed after a couple of alcoholic drinks. I also wouldn’t like to dig out photos of me at one of these concerts wearing over sized T-shirts (or God forbid a bright yellow and red BeeDees’s Tshirt!!), carrot cut jeans and high cut sneakers from LA Gear. Ugghhhhhhhh!!!! What were we thinking??!
Anyway back to the concert.
Oscar and I, anticipating the heat and sweat at Fort Canning Park decided to dress down and comfortable. He had on a T-shirt, lazy shorts and trainers and claimed that he was a 30 something year old wanna be 18 years old. But being the boy he is, he didn’t care and went like that anyway. But with his experience with outdoor concerts in London and him knowing that there was going to be some serious moshing at a Prodigy concert, he actually took the effort to put his brand new Blackberry (my Valentine gift to him – yeah I know, so romantic. Not!) in a zip lock bag and my phone and camera in another. I thought that was really cute. :-)
I went in a oversized top, short skirt and trainers. We walked all the way to Clarke Quay and met his mates JimJam and Huges at the Bungy Bar which is like the bar right next to the Ultimate Bungy at Clarke Quay! Haha sorry, I had a giggle that day cause I was asking Oscar what name they will change to if they took away the Ultimate Bungy and replaced it with a Trishaw Station or something.
So we shared a pasta and some chicken wings and had a couple of beers before we all proceeded to walk up to Fort Canning Park.
We arrived just as they came in a Bentley – I got a photo of the car but it wasn’t a very clear photo of the passengers. Damn. We got our paper bangle entrance thingy myjiggy and went in. The stage was set up at the bottom of a little hill and there were people scattered all over the hill (which was great because someone short like me can still see the stage from behind, from the higher part of the hill). The weather was perfect – breezy and not too humid. However I might as well have been in London or Australia....it was like a huge gwailo gathering and I felt like a minority. In Singapore!!
The guys made a beeline to one of the tents where they served candy floss and slurpees. NOT!!! Beer again lah, what else. After queuing up for about half an hour, we managed to get a beer and a Vodka Red Bull each. Oscar’s reasoning is that we have two hands each so might as well make use of both. -_-
The band only came on around 10ish and the crowd went crazy. Everyone seemed to be really comfortable moshing and pogo-ing ........ I think we were all born with this ability because somehow I found myself jumping and throwing my hands everywhere like the rest of them. Oscar and Huges went a little crazy jumping up and down behind me and kept calling their mate in London to force him to listen to The Prodigy at 2pm London time. Boys!!
I look around and see some girls standing awkwardly in tight dresses, chunky jewellery and 3 - 4 inch STILETTOS and cannot help but to secretly bitch laugh inside. I mean, I am vain and love my heels and all that but when you see FORT CANNING PARK printed in bold on the tickets, you’d at least have some brains to make sure your shoes don’t dig up little holes on the ground you walk on right? It’s seriously not a place to stand and look good and hope someone else will check you out cause the men (who became boys) that night were there for one reason – The Prodigy. If they wanted to chill out and spend the evening checking chicks on stilts they’d probably do it in the comfort of one of the bars or clubs along Clarke Quay don’t you think?? Anyway to the girls on super killer heels at FORT CANNING PARK, I respect you for the trouble you had to go through to hike all the way up to the top of the park and hill but honestly you looked very out of place. I bet you also had to bin your heels by the time you got back. * sigh* I hate seeing good shoes go to waste like that.
When the whole thing ended again we walked pass the same Bentley who was taking them out. We then hiked all the way down the hill and headed to Crazy Elephants for some Stellas. I think ever since moving to Singapore I’ve been drinking more beer and wine than water. Bad bad bad bad!!!
I was absolutely bushed by the time we had our lamb kebabs. I crashed when I got home. Fantastic night!! I was no longer a concert virgin!!!
Now I just need to convince Oscar to take me to Jason Mraz.....Rod Stewart.....Duffy......and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Michael Buble and Il Divo makes an appearance in Sin City again.
I am now officially grown up as I have crossed off possibly the last thing I should have done in my teens. :-)
P/s - Photos to come soon!!