Braised Chicken Wings with Chestnuts / 栗子鸡

I braised some chicken wings with chestnuts for dinner couple nights back and my honey bear was extremely delighted! He loves chicken wings so any dish that features chicken wings as THE main ingredient makes him happy. Braised chicken (wings) with chestnuts is a popular Chinese/Cantonese dish which is often cooked at home, and especially over the autumn period. Deepfrying and stir-frying all the time can get a little boring, so today i tried out another cooking style, braising.

Pan-Fried Cheong Fun (Rice Rolls)

Mid-week breakfast for the honey bear and myself: pan fried cheong fun (rice rolls) with xo sauce & peanut sauce.

Onigiri: Mini Japanese Rice Balls

After watching Ochi's onigiri video couple days back, I decided to attempt to make some myself! I grocery shopped at the Asian grocer's and bought 4 packets of furikake (rice seasoning). I can't read japanese, so i can only guess what they are from the pictures & from a couple of chinese characters that are printed on the packets. So i think i bought: plum rice seasoning, salmon rice seasoning (?) (i think it tastes abit salmony, but i cant be sure. Ochi, is it salmon? haha, u can be my co-contributor to this post), vegetable rice seasoning, & bonito flakes rice seasoning (?) (Ochi, did i get it right? ^.^ Correct me if i'm wrong, & i'll edit the post later!) Anyways they all tasted good, i liked the plum rice seasoning, because it's a bit sourish (appetite whetting) & it looks pretty with the purplish bits:)

Da-dang! That's my masterpiece, mini onigiri (aka mini japanese rice balls). As i was mentioning to Ochi previously over at her blog, my honey bear likes smaller-portioned food/dishes; he loses most of his appetite when food is huge (e.g. when meat slices are huge & thick or when stems of vege are not chopped into half), so i always have to beautify my dishes abit, making them look pretty, and of course, everything has to be smaller-portioned! So instead of making the usual huge triangular onigiri, i made mini-sized onigiri; i think they look very pretty^_^ It takes a much longer time than the usual sized ones, n my legs ached from standing too long in front of the kitchen table, rolling, wetting my hands, rolling, wetting my hands, etc. But i'm glad they turned out fine & that my honey bear likes them:) When my honey bear's happy, i'm happier *_^

(p.s. I served these mini onigiri with HK-style curry fish balls. Weird combination i know, but my honey bear was craving for curry fish balls at the same time, so i decided to cook that too. My bf makes the weirdest suggestions sometimes!)

Decided to embed Ochi's onigiri video, for those who want to try making some onigiri! Her instructions are clear and the steps are easy, purrrrrrrfect! Good Luck with your onigiri making, i certainly did have fun:)

♥ Steak & Pan-Seared Asparagus

Pan seared porterhouse steak for monday's dinner, served together with pan seared asparagus and halved cherry tomatoes, and then topped off with some garlic BBQ sauce! Simple, easy, & hassle-free. Just have to get the timing right! 

Pandan Chicken!

I'm lagging behind in my updates yet AGAIN. No surprise there anymore, since its way too often that i'm slacking and not diligently updating. Many a time i'd start a few lines, upload a couple of pictures, then run off to cook/get something or get distracted by something else/someone. So there's actually heaps of unfinished drafts in my "Edit Posts" section! *Guilty* So anyways, today's update is a dish which i cooked last friday for lunch: Oven Baked Pandan Chicken!

blood is boiling!!!!

At 2:06am, i am:

  • watching the Liverpool v Tottenham match;
  • getting my blood boiled;
  • getting EXTREMELY agitated;
  • swearing endlessly at the TV;
  • wondering why the referee is so FUCKING biased; and
  • hoping the referee will go to hell.

♥ Sambal Petai with Ikan Bilis & Scallops stir-fry

Have you heard of Petai (Bitter Beans)? Sambal Petai with Prawns stir-fry is a popular dish back home in Singapore and i reckon most Singaporeans have either heard of/know/tried this dish. I was told before by my mum that petai (bitter beans) is good for health because it rids our kidney of 'rubbish' and is especially beneficial for individuals who like to eat foods that border on the salty side (yes, that'd be ME). Petai helps to prevent depression and helps to overcome premenstrual syndrome (PMS). It can also help to lower your blood pressure! Other benefits of petai (bitter beans) can be found here. Whenever I feel slightly homesick or miss food back home, I'd go hunting for products that are marked "Product of Singapore" with the hope of locating that homely flavour in the dish. Silly me i know ^_^  Usually, sambal petai is stir-fried with ikan bilis and/or prawns. My version includes ikan bilis and scallops:)

♥ Fettuccine with Fresh Tomatoes & Capers Sauce

I've been doing a good deal of asian stir-fries and decided to attempt something different! I was grocery shopping with my honey at the supermarket and was flipping through the pages of an Italian cookbook on sale and decided on 1 of its many recipes, Pappardelle with Fresh Tomato Sauce. Instead of using pappardelle pasta, I used fettucine. I'm more of a linguine lover, but figured that fettuccine resembled more like pappardelle pasta, so decided on fettuccine instead:) I'm gonna share this recipe and some of my snapshots with you now...

♥ General Tso's Chicken

For lunch on Friday, I decided to attempt to cook "General Tso's Chicken", a Chinese dish that is very popular in Chinese restaurants in America & Canada. The chicken is first deep-fried and then coated with a sweet and spicy sticky sauce, a good accompaniment to a bowl of fragrant steamed white rice!

♥ cookies that'll make u smile

For afternoon tea on Thurs, i baked us some butter cookies with mini m&m choc!

♥ Congee does not have to be boring!

Congee does not necessarily have to be your usual boring congee options such as fish congee, lean meat & century egg congee, small boat congee/Ting Zai Congee (艇仔粥), lean meat & peanut congee, and all the other more commonplace congee options. Today i cooked congee with the following ingredients: canned pacific clams, chicken fillet chunks, and shredded chinese cabbage. My honey really loved this congee very much; in fact, he finished this entire pot of congee by himself yesterday (I'm not really a congee lover, so i mainly cook congee because i know it's my dear's favourite and i want him to love me more! Hehe, you know of the saying, "the way to a man's heart is through his tummy", dont you?! So anyways, major evil plan in progress! As for myself, i made myself some olive fried rice.)

♥ Stir Fry: Chicken, Salted Fish, & Bok Choy!

Our mid-week dinner ~ a simple Asian stir fry of chicken, salted fish, and bok choy. I realized most of my stir fries had pork fillet as their main ingredient, so i decided to feature chicken fillet as the star ingredient for this  stir fry this time round. In Chinese cooking, the pairing of salted fish with chicken is no surprise, somehow the flavours of both complement each other really well, with the salted fish adding flavour to the rather plain tasting and rough textured chicken fillet (usually not as tender and soft as pork fillet) and making the sometimes unappetizing chicken breast fillet tastier and more appealing to your palate. Salted fish isnt exactly a healthy ingredient because it's packed to its brims with salt; hence in part to transform this dish into a healthier meal, and in part to beautify the dish a little, i decided to throw in the stems of a large bunch of bok choy (i used the leaves of the bok choy in my previous dish, fish soup!).

Some simple steps/instructions:

1. Chop up chicken fillet pieces into medium-sized chunks (cube-like). Marinate with a little peanut oil, a few drops of sesame oil, some sprinkling of salt and sugar, some cracked black pepper and a few dashes of maggi sauce. (Note: Marinate for at least half hour/overnight)

2. Whilst the chicken is being marinated, chop up bok choy stems slant-wise/diagonally, so that it has some shape (makes the dish look less boring). Rinse well under running water and then place in vegetable drainer and drain the water from the vegetables. Set aside.

3. Cut up salted fish slices into small pieces. Set aside.

4. Flatten 1 garlic clove and then cut the clove into half. Set aside.

5. Heat peanut oil in wok (Note: I love to use peanut oil because it makes the dish more fragrant and leaves a faint peanutbuttery taste in the food). Throw in the garlic and saute for a minute or two/before the garlic is burnt. 

6. Throw in salted fish and fry with the garlic until salted fish turns slightly white/crispy. 

7. Add in the bok choy stems and give it a good stir-fry at high heat.

8. When the bok choy stems are 85% cooked, add in the chicken chunks and give it a good mix/stir-fry, still at high heat. Continue to stir/mix until chicken is 90% cooked through. Add in few teaspoons of water, a teaspoon at a time, and with the addition of each teaspoon of water, remember to give it a good stir again. Refrain from allowing too much water to accumulate; too much water will make the dish alittle too watery. I like my dishes without too much gravy/water.

9. When cooking is completed, dish out onto plate and serve with rice!

♥ Not Your Ordinary Fish Soup

Our mid-week lunch: A huge bowl of nutritious soup each! 

♥ Late Autumn Snapshots

Tuesday, 3 May 2011:
Capturing the beauty of late Autumn here in Melbourne!

♥ writing tag!

Morning lovelies! I've been tagged by the beautiful Suki-Pooki sometime around late March for a writing tag and it seems like i've taken FOREVER to blog about it. My sincere apologies! Before i proceed to upload the snapshot of my handwriting, i'll like to thank my dearest blog friend, Suki-Pooki, for her unwavering support all this while. You're truly a valuable friend, and a very sincere one indeed! Loving you lots

♥ edie vintage

♥ impending visit from home

♥ round eye steak served with garlic basil butter & kimchi fried rice

His mid-week dinner: Steak with garlic basil butter sauce & served with caesar salad, pan-grilled specially for my guinea piggie bf, with love

My mid-week dinner: a satisfyingly huge bowl of kimchi fried rice! 3 cheers for kimchi! lol... hip hip, hooooooray! hip hip, hoooooooooray! hip hipppp, hoooooooooorrrraaaaaayyyy!

Recipe for Kimchi Fried Rice, from Mysoorean's Kimchi Fried Rice:

1 cup of kimchi (chopped)
1 garlic clove (crushed)
1 tablespoon onion (chopped)
1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean red pepper paste) - (Note: I omitted this. Add it only if you want to add that extra reddish colour to your kimchi fried rice.)
2 cups cooked rice
A handful of scallions/spring onions (chopped)
Fried Egg (optional)

1. Heat oil in pan. Saute garlic & onion for approx. 1 minute.

2. Add in kimchi & fry for 3-4 minutes.

3. Add in Korean red pepper paste, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, and rice. Mix well.

4. Garnish with chopped spring onions/scallions & serve with a fried egg on top!

Similar recipes available here and here!

♥ mixed vege stirfry

♥ oven baked salmon steaks with tomato basil relish

Tuesday lunch: Oven Baked Salmon steaks with Tomato Basil Relish! I absolutely loved this recipe but i think i added slightly more vinegar to the relish, which the boyfriend found to be alittle too sour for his liking. Nevertheless, a great meal!

Detailed recipe for Oven Baked Salmon Steaks with Tomato Basil Relish from Elana's Pantry's Salmon with Tomato Basil:

1/2 pound salmon
1 cup cherry tomatoes (sliced into quarters)
1/2 small shallot (minced)
1 clove garlic (minced)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh basil (finely chopped)
salt (to taste)

1. Preheat oven.

2. Cut salmon into half (leave the skin on), rinse, and then pat dry with paper towel.

3. Place fish skin side down on metal baking sheet.

4. Rub salmon liberally with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt.

5. Place salmon on lowest rack, oven temperature at 275deg.

6. Bake for 8-13 minutes, so that centers of the thickest parts of the salmon are still translucent when cut into with a pairing knife.

7. To make the relish ---- stir together remaining ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl.

8. Remove salmon from oven, transfer onto plates, and serve with the relish!

♥ my growing love for celery

Monday's dinner consisted of a simple celery stirfry and a pork stirfry with korean chilli pepper and a generous amount of chopped scallions! As a kid, i used to dislike celery for its very distinctive taste, but am progressively growing to appreciate it more as i grow older. It doesnt taste that bad after all...

♥ 10.04.2011

Enroute to boxhill because i was craving for freshly baked buns from my favourite asian bakery, Carrington Bakery. Very heavy rain; in short, weather was HORRID! The bf was however very obliging to my request... Thanks dear, !

♥ Jjajangmyun / Korean Black Bean Noodles

I am a huge fan of korean food, especially KIMCHI! Although today's post is kimchi unrelated, it is nevertheless still a korean dish ~ korean black bean noodles (Jjajangmyun).

My version of jajangmyun is totally untraditional in every sense of the word except maybe for the black bean sauce (and noodles) used. Most jajangmyun recipes i sourced online beforehand called for potatoes, zucchini, carrots, pork, & onions. It might be unbelievable but i had neither of these ingredients present in my kitchen at the time i wanted to cook this particular dish, so i decided to improvise with whatever ingredients i could find, and which seemed appropriate. So my version of this all popular korean black bean noodles included: yellow & red capsicums (diced/cubed), ham (chopped up finely), and ready-to-use fried shallots. Weird combination of ingredients? I replaced the potatoes, zucchini, and carrots with yellow & red capsicums; replaced pork with ham; and replaced onions with fried shallots. I thought to myself~ it should work? Lo and Behold! It did work! I then topped it off with a hardboiled egg! Yayy! *a pat on the back for myself*

For recipes i referenced, click here (video & step-by-step pictures) & here (step-by-step pictures)! ~

♥ celery stirfried with pork fillet, carrots, & peanuts

I dislike lamb for its very distinctive flavour and strong appetite-killing smell, so i cooked myself a simple spicy stir-fry dish of celery with pork fillet slices, carrots, and peanuts in place of the lamb cutlets which i pan-grilled for the bf. Yummmms~

♥ Lamb Cutlets

A somewhat overly indulgent lunch for the bf ~ lamb cutlets spiced with lamb herbs and pan-grilled, then served with hash browns.

♥ easter eggies!

yupppppppps, i am already stocking up on easter eggies! ^_^

♥ yoghurt with crumble & crushed oreos

A very moody me with overgrown bangs en route to the shopping mall... So anyways, I got outta the wrong side of bed. I've got the mid-week blues. I need... comfort food. The bf saw that moody cloud hover over my head & he knows a moody me spells trouble (laughs) cuz i'll be picking on every single thing to grumble/complain about and basically just fussing and whining about every thing and any thing. So he said he'll buy me yoghurt. Why yoghurt you might ask? Don't be mistaken, i'm not a yoghurt addict nor a lover of it. It's just that we had been wanting to try out that newly opened yoghurt stall at Chadstone for a long time now. And since we have yet to try it out, he suggested... yoghurt.

I had the original flavoured yoghurt and added couple of toppings: crumble & crushed oreos. I loooooove the crumble but i cant say the same for the yoghurt. There's a strong (milky-ish) flavour that i definitely didnt adore. But i'm happy the bf made the effort to a cheer up a very moody me~

♥ Oven-roasted (sweeeeeet) Potatoes

My simple dinner of oven roasted potatoes & sweet potatoes using McCormick's ready-to-use roasting herbs & spices. Hassle-free. Awesome!

♥ Celery stirfried with Carrots, Shrimps, & Peanuts

A simple healthy lunch stirfry of celery with carrots, shrimps, and peanuts!

Detailed Recipe for Celery Stir Fried with Carrots, Shrimps, & Peanuts from Hochiak! Delicious Asian Food's Stirfried Celery with Prawns & Straw Mushrooms:

1 stalk of celery (chopped/sliced into thick strips)
1 medium sized carrot (sliced)
1/2 can straw mushrooms (Note: I omitted this)
8 pieces of medium sized prawns (deveined; shell left intact) (Note: I used frozen shrimps)
4 cloves garlic
Corn starch (mix 1 tablespoon corn flour with 100ml of water)
50ml warm water
2 tablespoons cooking oil
A Handful of Peanuts

1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
A couple of dashes of white pepper powder
A pinch of salt
A pinch of MSG (optional) (Note: I omitted this; i dont use MSG!)
1 teaspoon Chinese cooking wine

1. Heat oil in wok and saute garlic until it browns. Add in prawns & strir fry for approx. 15 seconds. Remove prawns & set aside.

2. Add in celery, carrots, & mushrooms into the wok & continue to stir fry for another 1 minute. Add in seasoning & bring to a boil.

3. Return prawns to the wok to simmer with the other ingredients.

4. Cook for another 2 minutes or so. Add in corn starch to thicken gravy (if necessary).

5. Serve hot with steam rice!

♥ bright & sunny autumn's tuesday

It is a bright and sunny autumn's tuesday today! I'm enjoying the warmth with a cup of fragrant honey rose tea:)

♥ Broccolini with Ginger-Scallion Pork Stirfry

Our weekend lunch: Broccolini with ginger and scallion pork stirfry!

♥ 03.04.2011

The boyfren got pulled over by the police after our grocery shopping trip because he forgot to on the front headlights of his car. Poor boyfren... feeling utterly frustrated. He's now busy google-ing how much the fine might possibly be and the possible deduction of points.

♥ pork cutlets!

I had quite abit of black pepper sauce with crushed peppercorn leftover from the porterhouse steak kitchen attempt, so i decided to use it up for some pork cutlets!:) I paired the pork cutlets with some homemade mashed potatoes with bacon...

♥ Farfalle with Kalamata Olives, Chargrilled Capsicum, and Cherry Tomatoes

I'm not a steak lover, so whilst the boyfren was happily enjoying his porterhouse steak, i continued to busy around the kitchen preparing my dinner~ farfalle with kalamata olives, chargrilled capsicum strips, and cherry tomatoes (topped with basil). I decided to cook it aglio olio style because i wasnt quite in the mood for much tomatoey sauce that night. I just realized, as i was uploading these pictures and typing away on my laptop, that i had forgotten to throw in some bacon! It would have tasted that extra bit more delicious with some bacon, dont u think? ^_^

♥ Porterhouse Steak!!

My latest attempt in the kitchen: Porterhouse steak with Pepper sauce with Crushed Peppercorn and served with salad! I've always always wanted to grill a steak for the boyfren cuz he's really a steak lover but have been reluctant to, because i wasnt confident enough that it'd be a success. But just very recently, we went to Kmart and finally bought a grill pan after months and months AND months of deliberation! So i gathered up my courage (haha, sounds so exaggerated i know...) and finally attempted to grill a steak for my dear.

Da-dang! The steak is ready to be eaten! Look at how delighted the boyfren is... *laughs*

Surprisingly, grilling a steak isnt as difficult as i originally thought it to be. I used to be hooked on cooking shows such as Ready Steady Cook, so i kinda picked up a tip or two from those established chefs from that show! Hooray for cooking shows! *_*

I was very worried that the steak wouldnt be cooked to my desire, but surprisingly (again!) it was! I'd say it's medium-rare? The sides are well cooked but the center of the steak remains a pale pink. The boyfren finished the entire steak in a flash!! He absolutely loved it and was repeating in a non-stop fashion about how yummy it was. I'm not sure if it really tasted that awesome, cuz i didnt even take a bite off that piece of steak (i'm not a steak lover... not 1 bit). But i trust that if he says it's good, then it cant be that bad. So yayy! A surprise success for me! *happy*!