Monday, January 31, 2011

A night to remember and an excellent meal

Last Saturday evening, I went to support my son, Nicholas’ band, ROSEVELT at the Global battle of the bands competition.  He is the vocalist in the band.  


The band was formed 2 years ago.  They are currently recording their first full album and they hope to launch it by this year.  All the songs were originals composed and arranged by Nick and guitarist, Josh.  I am so glad to announce that they were selected to compete in the National finals. I wish they will be selected as the National Champion and go on to represent Malaysia to compete in the Global Championship. 

Me and Nick at GBOB 

ROSEVELT website: http://www.roseveltband.com

I would like to share with you ROSEVELT's first music video:

video
Title of the song: Madicine 
Vocalist : Nick Davis

While I was waiting for the opening of the event, the drummer of the band introduced me to this little brasserie called D’Empire and I had an awesome meal there. I enjoyed the meal so much that I am still thinking about it today.  They are so delicious and I will definitely return with my Quay Lo to try other dishes in their menu. The prices are fair and affordable. For the locals, if you want to check this restaurant out, it is in SOHO KL.


Left: Escargot, Center: Chocolate truffle with vanilla ice cream, Right: Garlic prawns with Angel hair




Saturday, January 29, 2011

Egg Roll with many symbols for Chinese New Year

Do you know why spring rolls is one of the side dish for Chinese New Year? I just found out what its symbolic significance is. It symbolizes wealth because of it's somewhat similar appearance to a gold bar. So if you make spring rolls and put it on a bed of lettuce, you have both wealth and rising fortune because the Cantonese for lettuce, sang choi, sounds the same as "sang" for rising fortune. Wow!

So egg rolls, which uses egg for the skin, versus the bean curd skin of spring rolls, can be a nice side dish for Chinese New Year too. Why? Okay, let me see what I can make out of the recipe. The skin of eggs symbolizes fertility. The skin is yellow and that color symbolizes success and gold. There is chili inside and it is red so which is another, more generalized symbol of good fortune. Put a little sugar for rich and sweetness in life, and the addition of cornstarch makes the filling stick together for family togetherness, while the layers symbolize rising abundance. Last but not least, the sound of prawn in Cantonese is "ha" so many prawns inside becomes "hahahaha" and there will be lots of laughter too. (I made that up, haha) Chive for garnishing is perfect because it's sound in Cantonese is eternity. What do you think? Does egg roll qualify to be served as a Chinese New Year dish or not?



Ingredients:
2 eggs, lightly beaten
10 medium prawns, removed shell, deveined and minced
1 tbs chopped choy poh (preserved radish)
4 thinly diced chili or 1 thinly diced red chili 2 florets of black fungus, (soaked and thinly sliced)
¼ tsp ground white pepper
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp corn starch
4 chives for garnishing

Method:
Mix minced prawns, choy poh, pepper, sugar and corn starch. In a 6 in. pan, pour in egg enough to thinly cover the bottom of the pan and let it cook on medium heat. Remove cooked egg wrapper from pan and let it cool. Repeat till eggs are finished.

To assemble the rolls:
Place an egg wrapper onto your work surface with one corner pointing towards you. Place about 2 tablespoons of cooled filling in a heap onto the bottom third of the wrapper. Fold the bottom corner over the filling and roll firmly to the halfway point. Fold the left and right sides snugly over the roll, then continue rolling until the top corners seal the roll Repeat with remaining egg wrappers. Heat water in the steamer to boil and steam the rolls for 20 mins. Cut and arrange on a serving plate and garnish with chives.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sweet Sour Chicken for CNY instead of a whole chicken? - Featured at Dishfolio on 31 Jan 2011 & at Group Recipes Best of the Week

For my Chinese New Year reunion dinner, I usually have another variation of chicken dish in addition to the steam chicken which my family likes.  This is because Stitch is not crazy about the steam chicken.  The past years, I have made Lemon Chicken which is his favorite. This reunion I am including this dish in my menu for a change. How about you? How do you prepare yours?






 
This dish was featured in Asian Food Channel (Official) Facebook page
on 25th September 2012

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 lb. chicken breast (cut into bite size pieces)

1/2 green bell pepper, cut into pieces
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into pieces

2 stalks scallions, only the white part, cut into 2 inch length
1/4 fresh pineapple, cut into small pieces
1 tsp garlic, finely chopped,
1 tbs vegetable oil

MARINATE FOR THE CHICKEN:
(A)
1 teaspoon soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon corn flour

1/2 teaspoon rice wine

BATTER TO COAT THE CHICKEN:
(B)
1/2 cup water

2 oz. all-purpose flour

1 oz. corn starch

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 egg

1 teaspoon cooking oil

1 small pinch of salt
½ tsp vanilla

SWEET AND SOUR SAUCE:
(C)
1 1/2 tbs tomato ketchup

1 tsp plum sauce

1/8 tsp Chinese rice vinegar
1/2 tsp Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce

1 tsp oyster sauce

1 tsp corn starch

1 tsp sugar

2 tbs water

METHOD:
Marinate chicken breast pieces with (A) for 30 minutes. Mix (B) to form a thick batter and set aside. When the chicken is well marinated, add them into the batter and have them all well coated. In a deep wok, add in oil enough for deep-frying. Once the oil is hot, deep fry the chicken breast pieces until they turn golden brown. Dish out and drain on paper towels. Heat up the wok again and add in some oil. Add chopped garlic and stir fry until fragrant, followed by the bell peppers and pineapple pieces. Stir fry until you smell the peppery aroma from the peppers before adding in the (C). As soon as the sauce thickens, add the already deep fried chicken breast pieces into the wok and stir well with the sauce. The last thing to add in is the white part of the spring onion. Mix well, and transfer to serving plate. This is delicious to serve with steamed white rice.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I give you my LOVE on Valentine’s Day! – Giveaway

Answers to my 2 questions:
A heart and 4 eggs


ANNOUNCEMENT OF WINNERS:


WINNER FOR A PAIR OF EARRINGS AND 
AN EXTRA SET OF PINK EARRINGS AND BANGLE:
Diane: http://lifeincharente.blogspot.com/


WINNERS FOR A PAIR OF EARRINGS:
Rudi: Please contact me to let me have your postal address
Daphne: http://theduckquacking.blogspot.com/
minneville: http://minneville.blogspot.com/
courtacy: http://pancakesandpostcards.com/
lequan: http://luvtoeat.wordpress.com/
Theitalianfam: http://thisitalianfamily.wordpress.com/
littlecorner: http://belachan2.blogspot.com/
cathy: http://cathy-joy.blogspot.com/
jess: http://j3sskitch3n.blogspot.com/
Becky: http://bakingandcookingataleoftwoloves.blogspot.com/
pigpigscorner: http://www.pigpigscorner.com/
elin: http://www.elinluvdelights.com/
Belinda: http://www.zomppa.com/


THANKS FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION AND CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WINNERS! 
I will contact you guys for your postal address.
*******************************************************************************

I have designed and handmade some plastic beads earrings to give away as Valentine’s gifts.  Since Valentine falls on the 14th day, I have made 14 pairs of earrings.  In order for you to qualify for an entry to get a pair of earrings, you just have to do the following before 12 mid night on 10th February 2011.

Leave a comment on this post and tell me what do you see on my carrot cake and how many eggs are used in the recipe. 



AND

Follow me on my blog

OR

Follow me on twitter

Those who are already a follower on my blog and on twitter just have to leave a comment on this post with the answers to my questions.

I will then draw lots for the 14 winners.  Residents of the world are welcome! Winners will be announced on Valentine's day. I will contact you to get your postal addresses and I will mail the earrings to you before end February by normal post. 

Here are pictures of some earrings I made, they are inexpensive but they are gifts from my heart to you. Let's have some fun!


P.S.: I appreciate some people would rather remain anonymous when they post a comment but I am sorry I cannot accept your entry because there is no way I can contact you for the postal address. Furthermore, I would like to know who I am giving the earrings to, so I hope you understand.




Top 2 pairs of earrings have burmese jade beads and pi

Top left pair earrings have burmese jade barrel beads


Who will be the lucky winner for an extra set of lovely PINK earrings and bangle? Entries that have all both answers correct i.e. 1) what you see on my carrot cake and 2) How many eggs are used in the recipe will stand a chance to win this as well!


Saturday, January 22, 2011

My Blueberry Muffins look pathetic!

Somehow, I am not able to bake very well.  You look at the pictures and tell me how pathetic my blueberry muffins look.  My hubby said they taste good and I have to say they do.  They are very fluffy too but then, they just don’t look inviting:(  Please tell me where I go wrong.

I found this recipe on the web and the person who submitted the recipe is Coleen.  This is a good recipe, it is the baker here that did a lousy job.




Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg

Method:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.

To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 tsp cinnamon and ½ tsp nutmeg.  Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ngoh Hiang/Lobak (five spiced pork rolls wrapped)



I knew my best friend forever, Peng Peng when we were both in our twenties so by calculation, we have been buddies for thirty over years! Peng Peng is the most intelligent, rational, honest person I have ever known. She is a friend that you can trust to be there for you in a time of need. I feel so blessed to have her in my life.


Peng Peng inherited this “Ngoh Hiang” (five-spice pork rolls wrapped) recipe from her mum. This morning, she took time off from her busy schedule to show me how to make this dish. As I watched her preparing it, I recalled the first time I met her mum. Although we had been friends for many years, I have only met her mum once. On that occasion she left a great impression with me because she was a very beautiful and elegant lady. She looked very distinquished with her silver hair. She appeared to me as the ideal “wife and mum”. In the old days, she would have been every man's perception of an ideal wife. For a lady like her, the Cantonese people would say she is a “Yin Chye Leong Moh” (supportive wife and a caring mum). She passed away peacefully not long after I met her and I consider myself very fortunate to have had the opportunity. I dedicate this post to her and thank her for giving me a great friend and now, a terrific recipe.

Ingredients:


(A)
70gm sliced purple onion
150gm ¼” long srtips jicama
600gm ¼” long strips pork belly
1 ½ tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp dark sauce
1 ½ tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
½ tsp salt
2/3 cups green pea flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
15gm five spices powder
1 big pc of bean curd sheet cut into 8” x 5” rectangle
a dash of ground white pepper

(B)
oil deep enough to fry the rolls

Garnish:
1 tbs roasted sesame seeds
some parsley

Method:

Mix (A) thoroughly.

Place 3 tbs of mixture onto each bean curd sheet. Fold into a neat roll. Place rolls on slightly greased plates and steam for 15 mins. Leave to cool.

Deep fry steamed rolls in hot oil till crispy. Place crispy rolls on absorbent paper to remove excess oil.

Cut rolls, garnish with roasted sesame seeds and parsley and serve with sambal belacan.

This dish was featured in the Asian Food Channel (Official) Facebook page 
on 23rd October 2012

Tip: Wipe both sides of the bean curd sheet with a damp cloth to remove excess salt. The steamed rolls, when thoroughly cooled, are suitable for freezing.



I have submitted this entry to  Malaysian Monday.  Do check out 3 hungry tummies or test with a skewer for more information.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Stir fry baby bok choy with almond - an appropriate side dish for Chinese New Year

There are so many variation in cooking baby bok choy. Here is another variation. Quick, simple yet delicious and healthy. This makes a lovely vegetable dish for Chinese New Year if you are looking for one. Since almonds signify goods of life, it is an appropriate dish to include for the celebration.





Ingredients:
350 gm baby bok choy
¼ cup almond, chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp chopped garlic
½ cube bullion chicken stock
¼ tsp sesame oil
¼ tsp ground white pepper
¾ cup water

Method:
Dissolve bullion chicken stock in ¾ cup warm water and set aside. Heat oil in wok and sauté garlic till fragrant. Add almond and stir fry till they a golden brown.  Add bok choy , chicken stock and stir fry till bok choy is limb .  Add sesame oil and ground white pepper and mix well.  Transfer to serving plate and serve hot. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Saffron Risotto


I got this risotto recipe from my hubby but I took the liberty to add ginkgo nuts, steamed asparagus and herb sausages to the risotto. I garnished it with chopped spring onions. I had mine with some “Chilli padi” and it was a very satifying one dish meal! 



Ingredients:
1/2 litre (I pint) chicken stock
40 g (1 oz) butter for the vegetables
2 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion finely diced
1 clove garlic minced
1 stalk celery, chopped
230 g (8 oz) risotto rice
8 oz dry white wine
110 g (4 oz)) Asiago cheese (you can sub with aged parmesan or Romano but Asiago will be consistently more creamy)
40g (1 oz) butter for the rice
1/2 tsp chopped saffron

Directions:
Begin heating the chicken stock in a pan. In a frying pan add 40 g of butter & olive oil and heat on medium flame. When the oil is hot add the diced onion, the garlic, and the celery and fry for two minutes. When the vegetables are soft, and before they begin to brown, add the rice and turn flame up to high. As the rice begins to cook, add the dry wine. Keep stirring until the wine is cooked through the rice.   Turn down heat to medium low. Add ladles of chicken stock, one at a time, allowing each addition to be absorbed while stirring and pressing the rice. The mixture should be taking on the creamy consistency of great risottos. Taste test to determine if cooked and continue working the rice in the pan until smooth and fully cooked. Turn off flame and add the cheese, butter and the saffron continuing to stir until all is incorporated into the rice. Remove from stove top and place lid on the pot.

Serves two generously

Note: an interesting version of this recipe omits 1 tbs of the olive oil and the saffron and adding 1 1/2 tbs of truffle oil

Recommendation: Serve with Chicken, Italian sausages, or veal cutlet and a bottle of chilled Pinot Gris (Grigio).

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Black Pepper Sirloin Steak - Back To The Basics - Featured at GROUP RECIPES

After eating very light for the past week, mostly vegetables and salads, I thought I would like to make some meat last night. I went to the freezer and there I saw a package of beef. There were two sirloin steaks, about ½ inch thick and about 200gm each, and I knew they would hit the spot. I had some black pepper sauce, which I had made earlier, in the fridge. The sauce is actually very pasty when stored in the refrigerator and it keeps well. Then it can be brought out for just when you need it. I had most recently used it to sauce some crab claws I had made for a dinner during the holidays. The recipe is included below. Spying that at the same time that I found the steaks, I knew this was a perfect marriage for making something fast and simple. I decided to make black pepper steak, steamed broccoli, and boiled new potatoes tossed in butter with roasted garlic and parsley. I got all these ready in 45 mins, actually beating my own estimate of one hour.


To prepare the steak:
2 fully defrosted steaks, ½ thick, 200gms each, trim excess fat, if any. 1 tbs of the black pepper sauce (recipe below)
Marinate steaks in 1 tbs black pepper sauce, rubbing over both sides of both pieces of meat, and set aside. Rub a stove top ribbed grill with some vegetable oil and heat it up over a high flame, until quite hot. Lay the steaks on the grill and grill each side for about 2 mins for medium, depending on individual preference. Transfer to serving plate and allow to rest a few minutes.

To make the gravy:
1 heaping tbs black pepper sauce
½ cup milk 2 tbs blond roux*
kosher salt for seasoning
* Called blond roux, it is simply equal parts flour and butter blended together and used to thicken a sauce and enrich it. Heat a sauce pan on moderate heat and heat the sauce, stirring a bit until fragrant. Add ½ cup milk and mix well till sauce is well blended with milk. Thicken the sauce with roux, adding a bit at a time until gravy thickens . Season with salt to individual taste.

To make the basic pepper sauce:
Ingredients:
Largely adapted from Chef Sam Leong's recipe
Good for 10 servings, keep balance in fridge for use later with some other dishes
30g (2 tbs) butter
15g (3-5 cloves) peeled and minced garlic
15g (2 rounded tbs) red chilies minced
200ml (4/5 cups) water
15g (2 1/2 tablespoons) ground black pepper
30ml (2 tbs) Maggi seasoning (available at Asian markets, can substitute with light soy sauce)
12 grams (1 tbs) icing sugar
1 tbs pear balsamic (other balsamic is fine)
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
70g (1/4 cup plus 1 tbs) tomato paste
1 rounded tbs all purpose flour

Instructions:
Heat butter and sauté minced garlic. Add red chillies, mint leaves and water and bring to boil. Add all remaining ingredients except flour. Thoroughly mix flour with some water and stir into the sauce to thicken.

Ingredients for new potatoes:
20 small or 12 medium new potatoes, peeled and rinsed ice water (enough to cover potatoes in the pot)
2 tbs butter
1 tbs minced garlic
½ cup chopped parsley
black pepper and kosher salt for seasoning

Instructions

Place ice water and potatoes into the pot and bring to boil. Cook potatoes till the skewer can just poke through. Drain and rinse briefly under tap water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside. Cook garlic in butter till golden and pour onto the potatoes. Toss with parsley, ground pepper and kosher salt until potatoes are evenly coated. 


Stitch opened a bottle of Pinot Noir for our dinner that turned out to be quite a surpsrise. Here are his tasting notes: 


Sybaris Undurraga Reserva Especial Pinot Noir - Chile 


I opened and poured a glass and let it stand for  6-8 minutes to allow the cabinet chill to go off, and to let the wine breathe a bit. Great varietal nose, immediately attractive. I quickly poured the second glass for Quaypo and returned to the tasting. This bottle had been a dinner gift from friends during the holidays and I was unfamiliar with it. In the glass it displayed the classic red ruby color of a pinot noir. The wine had very round tannins that were soft on the palate. Rich blackberry with a finish closer to sweet ripe dark cherry but velvety throughout. I was really surprised by this one and hope I can find more. At approximately $18 dollars it is a bargain. It is a terrific wine for attracting new initiates to the glories of red wine. We had, in the past, thought not to add wine tasting notes to the dishes my lovely wife makes. But this one was exceptional.