Monday, 3 February 2014

Traditional Teochew Noodles (Teochew Mee Teow)

Hello world!
Sorry for the lack of updates but I've been busy being lazy. 

This post was scheduled to come out last month but better late than never!
If you're feeling Teochew like me, even though I'm not, here's a simple recipe to get your Teochew tastebuds going crazy. 

Traditional Teochew Noodles (serves 6-8)
1 packet long life egg noodles
500 grams bean sprouts
100g chives
500g pork belly, skin removed and sliced
100g dried shrimps/prawns
10 cloves garlic
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp dark soy sauce, add accordingly

1. In a hot pan of boiling water, boil the noodles and strain immediately.
2. In a hot wok over low to medium heat, add in oil and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant and slightly golden. Be sure to stir continuously to prevent it from blackening.

3. Add in dried shrimp and stir until fragrant. Then, add in pork belly and stir until the pork is almost cooked through.
4. Add in noodles and stir using chopsticks.

5. Add in dark soy sauce and stir well. Then add in bean sprouts at the base of the wok and cover with noodles to steam the bean sprouts. Add in chives and stir well.
6. Serve with chili paste and/or cut red chilies and garlic in soy sauce.

The finished product.

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Wednesday, 22 January 2014

In Loving Memory

Dear Orli,

Thank you for laying down your life for us today. Thank you for showing me how it's like to truly live like Jesus - to place the needs of others above your own needs. You didn't die in vain.

You will be dearly missed.

August 8, 2007 to January 21, 2014.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. - John 15:13 (NIV)

Epilogue - I miss you Orli, I really do. No words can describe how big of a difference you've made in so many people's lives - from the ones whom you barked at nonstop to those whom you loved and cuddled with. You even made people who didn't like dogs love you. Oh, how I wished I could avenge your death, but know that you died protecting us and you didn't die in vain. Also, your barks are like no other. I looked around YouTube and not a single white terrier sounded like you. I love you and I miss you.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Tiramisu Recipe

I was really bored the other day and wanted to try my hands on making some desserts, mind you, I actually suck at baking. If you follow my Instagram, you would've seen the disaster that was me trying to make macarons and chiffon cake. So anyway, I started searching for the best tiramisu recipe on the Internet to see if I could pull it off. After my second try, my mom finally gave her seal of approval - the first one was too soggy and the coffee wasn't thick enough.

I got my recipe off as usual and adapted to our liking with my mom's friend's recipe. And don't worry, it won't take you more than an hour to prepare, I promise!

Tiramisu (serves 8)
For the coffee mixture:
4 heaping tsps of Nescafé coffee powder
4 tsps of caster sugar
1 tsp of vanilla essence
1.5/375ml cups of hot water
A few drops of coffee liqueur/Kahlua/Amaretto (optional)

For the mascarpone mixture: 
3 eggs, separated 
1/3 cup caster sugar
250g mascarpone cheese
300ml thickened cream, lightly whipped
~25 sponge fingers (2 packets, depending on how closely you're laying them later on
Van Houten cocoa powder

1. Mix the first four ingredients for the coffee mixture in a shallow dish or a large bowl. 
2. Add in a few drops of coffee liqueur/Kahlua/Amaretto and chill in the fridge while you proceed to making your mascarpone mixture. 

If you want to make a child-friendly version, don't add in the coffee liqueur. Alternatively, I've read that you can swap the alcohol for orange juice but I haven't tried it out myself, so don't take my word for it. 

3. In a large bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar using electric beaters until pale and thick. Then, add in your mascarpone cheese and stir until well combined. Gently fold in the whipped cream until combined. 

I'm not too sure what'll happen if I stirred the whipped cream with too much force but considering that I did have to beat air into it, I didn't want to take any chances. 

4. Whip your egg whites until soft peaks form. I think I went a bit overboard but the mixture still turned out alright. Gently fold your egg whites into the mascarpone mixture. Folding in too vigorously may cause the mixture to deflate. 

I forgot to take a photo of how the egg yolks should look but if you enlarge the first photo in the collage, you'll be able to see the desired colour and consistency - pale and thick.

5. Dip the lady fingers into your coffee mixture but don't dip for too long or it'll become soggy!

Remember, once you chill it overnight, the lady fingers will continue to absorb moisture.

6. Arrange the lady fingers in a dish and then top it with a generous layer of mascarpone cheese. Finally, sift the cocoa powder over the mascarpone mixture and repeat. I made 2 layers but you can opt for more.

This recipe should be able to fill a 19cm square dish. Alternatively, you can put them into a few dishes/containers like I did. Be careful not to layer your tiramisu to the brim, or you won't be able to cover your container later. You must cover the container, otherwise, your tiramisu will dry out.

7. Cover the container with cling wrap or the cover that came with your container. Refrigerate and chill overnight.

This dish is best served two days after preparation, so hang in there!

You can opt to sprinkle the final layer of cocoa powder when you want to eat it but I prefer to let it set together with the rest of the tiramisu just because I don't want to choke on any dried cocoa powder.

Obviously I ran out of the mascarpone mixture until the very end and this was the product. 

Friday, 10 January 2014

Fancy some cheaper sashimi?

So the other day my parents and I were trying to kill time while waiting for relatives and we decided to enter this little shophouse that was open on a Sunday morning. We had no intention whatsoever of buying anything because we purely wanted to kill time. Well, we ended up buying a lot more than we intended to because we wanted to see how fresh the fish really was and whether it was worth our while, because it certainly was worth the money. 

We ended up buying some fresh tuna (~RM15 ea), vacuum packed and frozen salmon (~RM15 ea), unagi (~RM30 ea), short grain rice, miso soup paste, sushi molds, vinegar, wasabe and ginger.

Yep, definitely more than what we expected. 

Because I wanted to photograph the whole experience of eating sashimi at home for the very first time, we whipped out our most 'restauranty' plate and shaved some ice and made the whole plate look pretty.

I think I should stop typing now and let the photos do the talking. 

Yes, boys and girls, this was actually done at home. 

My mom also steamed the frozen unagi. Yes, the restaurants basically just steam your unagi and all of them have already been pre-cooked/pre-grilled, vacuum packed, frozen and sent to your favourite Japanese restaurant, surprise surprise. 

More photos after the jump! Like seriously, just click 'read more'!

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Christmas Dinner!

Last Christmas my family and I decided to stay home and have Christmas dinner at home just so we could avoid the terrible Christmas traffic jams that came with the holiday.

Of course, they left the cooking to me, surprise surprise.

Since we'd bought some really expensive looking salmon a couple days ago, I figured, 'why not match this with some asparagus, since that's what everybody does anyway?'. And mom, being mom insisted we added some carbs to the menu - baked potato wedges. 

I'm really not sure how to write a recipe for these 3 dishes because they were relatively easy to make but oh well, here goes nothing. 

Bacon-wrapped asparagus (serves 3)
6 strips of bacon
2-3 bunches of asparagus (~24 stalks of asparagus), depending on your bacon to asparagus ratio
3 cloves of garlic
olive oil

1. Wrap about 4-5 stalks of asparagus with bacon and slip in half a clove of garlic in between the asparagus and bacon as shown. 
2. Drizzle with olive oil.
3. Place it into a cold oven and set it to 200ºC for 20 minutes or until the bacon begins to brown.

  • If you're worried about making a mess, line your baking sheet with some aluminium foil to trap all that oil. Lining the sheet with some foil will also make it easier to trap that bacon fat for other uses.
  • You're not supposed to preheat the oven because the bacon will burn.
  • Cover your baking sheet with an aluminium foil once it is out of the oven to keep warm. 

Bacon-wrapped asparagus before hitting the oven.
Baked potato wedges (serves 3)
6 small potatoes/3 medium potatoes
2 tbsps of butter
2 cloves of garlic, smashed

1. Raise your oven temperature from 180ºC to 200ºC, assuming you baked the asparagus before this.
2. In a food processor, combine room temperature unsalted butter, garlic, salt, pepper and rosemary. You can make extra portions and freeze them for later use.
3. Wash and cut your potatoes into wedges, as shown. Leave the skin on for extra crunch and texture.
4. Season with the butter mixture and mix with your hands. Yes, get your hands dirty!
5. Place into the oven for 45 minutes or until golden brown. 

Potato wedges before being baked.
Baked salmon (serves 3)
600g of salmon fillets
1 lemon
Olive oil
Dill (optional)

1. Preheat your oven to 200ºC, if you haven't already.
2. Season your salmon with salt, pepper and dill (optional). Drizzle over it with some olive oil.
3. If you want a crispy skin, sear your salmon in your hot pan.
4. Place the salmon into the oven for 20-25 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish and how cooked you want your salmon to be. 
5. Cut your lemons into wedges to be served alongside the salmon.

And voila! The final product. Hope this recipe works for you too. I kind of just winged it so I really hope it works.

The final product.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Must-try Places to Eat in Penang

Coming back home for the holidays over the last two end of semester breaks has definitely thought me a thing or two about Penang and her food. One - there is no such thing as going on a 'diet' in Penang because the food tastes too good and it would be a cardinal sin to forgo the good food for a better figure (yes the diet plans can wait). And two - almost everybody sees number one to be true. Also, most of us aren't beach bums and don't need to maintain a bikini body. Because Penang food is so good and because I'm proudly Penangite, I have decided to compile a list of the top go-to makan (eating) places here, in no particular order.

1. Gu Bak Koay Teow (Beef Noodle Soup)
This dish closely resembles the Vietnamese Pho, more commonly found in Australia than in Penang, probably because we have this beefy goodness as a substitute. Unlike the overly-expensive and watered down pho we find in Australia, this beef noodle soup is packed with flavour from the broth, which has been simmering in the pot probably since the wee hours in the morning.

Another dish to look out for at this coffee shop is the fried oysters - oysters fried with eggs. And no, they didn't just waste perfectly good oysters that could've been eaten in a fancy restaurant for this because it's really really good.

Beef Noodle Soup. We opted to take-away our noodles to avoid the crowd. Hence, the really pretty looking bowl.
Lam Ah Coffee Shop is located along the busy intersection of Beach Street and Chulia Street and is constantly packed, even after lunch hours. The opening hours depend on how fast they sell out that day. They start about an hour before lunch time and start taking their last orders a bit after 3 p.m. 

Pro tip: The coffee shop is probably pretty darn good if it is still super packed/has a line after the lunch rush. Most coffee shops in Penang are packed during the lunch hour.

View Larger Map

2. Hokkien Mee (Hokkien Prawn Noodles)
Hokkien Mee, otherwise known as Har Mee or prawn noodles in the southern parts of Malaysia and Singapore is a staple breakfast dish among non-Muslim Malaysians and Singaporeans. I say non-Muslim because most Hokkien Mee sellers incorporate sliced pork into the dish, making it non Halal (permissible for Muslim consumption/use).

Hokkien Mee with their homemade chili paste for that extra kick.
Trust me, don't ask for more. They know how much they're giving and it's just right.
This piping hot bowl of goodness can be found in Classic Coffee Shop along Perak Road in the morning. Be sure to be there early because the waiting time is immensely long but well worth it. Another thing to look out for at this location is the Pork Bone Soup (Bak Kut Teh), which is sold at night. Not too bad considering that you're in Penang and this dish is the star dish of Klang.

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More after the jump!

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Easy Crispy-skinned Oven-Baked Chicken Thighs

If you're constantly busy with schoolwork but still want a nice hot meal, here's a quick and easy way to have a satisfying meal without burning down your house! ;)
I was making some pilaf and wanted to incorporate some protein into my dish and I wanted the easy way out so I decided to chuck three chicken thighs into the oven and I was so surprised with the results I HAD to share it.
This recipe is so easy there's no need for a recipe list. All you need is salt, pepper, olive oil, chicken thighs and an oven!
1. Preheat your oven at 220C and prepare your chicken.
2. Season your chicken with some salt and pepper on both sides and drizzle with some olive oil.
3. When your oven has reached the desired temperature, place the chicken inside the oven and WALK AWAY after setting your timer to about 20-25 minutes depending on the size of your chicken.
And voila! You have crispy-skinned chicken in no time.
If you want to add more flavour to your dish, you could add in some rosemary or thyme and some garlic as well.
Also, if you're really bored, you could whip up some pilaf to go with it using this recipe here.

Wild rice pilaf served with root vegetables and that oven-baked chicken.