Tuesday, December 16, 2008

recipe is : scrambled eggs and toast

this is not the everyday scramble eggs and toast. a lil bit of this and a lil bit of that has been added to scrumptioustify the menu


4 eggs
5 sweet basil leaves, thinly sliced
handful grated parmesan
100 ml milk
1 tbsp butter
crusty sourdough bread, thickly sliced
herb oil (recipe is here)


brush some herb oil on the bread and toast over a griddle or even on a pan

in a big bowl, break the eggs, add the milk and whisk til foamy. in a wide shallow pan, heat the butter and once the butter melts, pour in eggs and sprinkle the basil around. scrape the bottom of the pan as the egg sets and continously scrape til most eggs has set. add the parmesan and continue scraping until egg is set and no longer liquid and and runny. serve hot with toast

Monday, December 15, 2008

recipe is : steamed ginger chicken rice


2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
3 thumb-sized knobs young ginger, grated
1 thumb-size knob old ginger, crushed
2 heaped tsp salt
2 cups rice, washed and drained thoroughly
3 spring onions, halved length-wise
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp margarine
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp concentrated chicken stock
2 handfuls beansprouts

chilli sauce
1 tsp grated young ginger
1 tsp grated garlic
3 tbsp bottled chilli sauce
1 tbsp oil

shallot oil sauce
4 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tbsp oil (preferably cornoil or sunflower oil)
5 tbsp light soya sauce

to make the chilli sauce, heat up the oil over a low flame and pour into a bowl. let cool. add the chilli sauce, garlic and ginger and mix thoroughly

to make the shallot oil, heat the oil over a low flame in a pan and add the shallots. fry until the shallots turn golden. pour into a dry heatproof bowl and let cool. add the light soya sauce and set aside

fry the old ginger, spring onion and garlic in the oil for a few minutes til fragrant. add the rice and stir fry for 5 minutes. transfer into rice cooker. stir in the margarine and chicken stock to thoroughly mix and add water to cook like normal rice

pat the chicken dry and cut into 1 cm thick slices. rub the salt into chicken and marinate with the grated ginger. bring the water in a steamer to a boil and steam the chicken over high heat for 20 minutes. let rest in steamer for 5 minutes before removing

using the steamed chicken water, blanch the beansprouts and drain. pour in the shallot oil sauce and toss

serve the chicken rice and beansprouts hot. dip the chicken in the chilli sauce for extra spiciness

Thursday, December 11, 2008

recipe is : braised beef


750 gms beef, cut into large chunks
6 eggs, washed to thoroughly clean
a big knob of old ginger, crushed
6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
5 stalks of spring onions, use only the lower part
2 tbsp dark soya sauce
2 tbsp dark rice vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp light soya sauce
salt to taste
a dash sesame oil
1 tbsp oil


heat the oil in a pot and add the ginger and garlic. stir fry quickly til frangrant. add the beef and stir around quickly to brown the meat. add the vinegar and stir thoroughly to mix. add enough water just to cover the meat. add the brown sugar, dark soya sauce, light soya sauce and sesame oil. bring to a boil and let simmer. always make sure that there is enough liquid to stop the meat from burning. add hot water if liquid is running low

after 1 hour, add the eggs and make sure that there is enough liquid to almost cover the eggs. once the liquid is bubbling, let the eggs cook for 15 minutes and remove from the pot. let cool a little and peel the shell. return to pot

after 2 hours or once the meat reached preferred tenderness, add the spring onions and salt (optional). simmer for another 5 minutes and serve

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

recipe is : western oriental roast chicken

ok, i've something to confess. throughout all my years of cooking, i've never, i repeat, never roasted a whole chicken before. this is my first attempt. glad it turned out great.


1 whole chicken, about 2 kgs, cavity thoroughly cleared and cleaned
2 tbsp split green beans, soaked at least 4 hours or overnight
handful of dried chestnuts, soaked at least 4 hours or overnight
2 sprigs rosemary
3 stalks spring onion
1 sprig sage
5 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp dark soya sauce
3 tbsp herb oil (recipe is here)
2 carrots, cut into big chunks
3 onions, skinned
4 stalks celery leaves, ends trimmed
6 big potatoes, peeled and cut into huge chunks
brussel sprouts (or any greens of your choice)
garlic butter


boil the split green beans and chestnuts in salted water for 20 minutes or until just tender. drain and set aside

preheat the oven to 180 C. arrange the rack so that the roasting pan will sit in the middle of the oven

use kitchen napkins to pat dry the chicken and carefully separate the skin of the chicken away from the flesh at the the breast area and at as much surface of the skin as possible. rub the salt into the cavity and under skin of the chicken. rub 1 tbsp of the herb oil into the cavity and 1 tbsp herb oil under the skin of the chicken. spoon the split green beans and as much of the chestnuts as possible into the cavity of the chicken. add 3 cloves of garlic, the spring onions, a sprig of rosemary and some sage leaves into the cavity. put one clove of garlic on each breast area under the skin. add the sprig of rosemary under the skin as well. rub the dark soya sauce all over on the outside of the chicken skin. rub the remaining tbsp of herb oil onto the skin

in a roasting pan, arrange the celery, onions and carrots so that they sit at the bottom of the pan. put the chicken on top of vegetables and if there are any remaining chestnuts, strew them around in the pan as well. roast for about 2 hours or until the juice runs clear when a skewer is pierced into the thickest part of the thigh. take out of the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before carving

while the chicken is roasting, parboil the potatoes in lightly salted water, drain and add to the roasting pan once potatoes are just cooked. a little bit of the herb oil can be used to toss the potatoes just before add to the pan

steam the brussel sprouts for about 5 minutes or until just cooked. toss in garlic butter and serve with the chicken and potatoes

Monday, December 08, 2008

recipe is : sheperd's pie


Potato crust
5 large potatoes
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp butter for dotting the pie crust
2 handfuls parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Pie filling
700 gms minced mutton and beef
3 large onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
2 cups mushrooms (button or swiss or portobello or a mixture of all three), broken up into small chunks
2 stalks rosemary
3 bay leaves
3 leeks, finely sliced across the length
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil


preheat the oven to 180 C

boil the potatoes, peel the skin and mash. add the butter, cheese and salt and pepper and thoroughly combine. set aside

heat the olive oil in a big pan. add the onions and stir fry til translucent and softened, add the garlic, rosemary and bay leaves. stir fry for a few minutes til fragrant. add the leeks, celery and carrots and fry for about 3 minutes

add the minced meat to the pan and stir fry til just cooked. throw in the mushrooms and cook for a couple more minutes. add salt and pepper to taste

spoon the meat mix into a big casserole dish and top with the mash potatoes. even out the surface with a spoon and dot the top with little bits of butter here and there. bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until the top turns golden brown

a little bit of stock or liquid can be added to the meat mix if it is too dry. do not add too much water as the whole pie will become soggy.

don't add milk to the mash potatoes as the pie crust will not be firm enough to hold it's shape

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

recipe is : herb oil


olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 stalks rosemary, bruised
5 sage leaves, bruised


get a clean, dry jam jar with an air-tight cover.

fill the jar up to three-quarters way full with olive oil. add in the garlic and herbs. make sure that the olive oil completely covers the herbs totally. let it sit to infuse the flavour for at least 1 day before using


you can use almost any strong aroma fresh herbs for this oil.

can be used for salad dressing, brushed onto bread before toasting, for grilling meat and vegetables, for cooking, and many many other ways.

make sure that the oil completely covers the herbs at all times. discard any herbs that sticks out.

check the oil before use to make sure that it's still good. do not use moldy or bad oil.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

recipe is : happy rainbow salad

I call this my Happy Rainbow salad as the colour combination always brings me to my 'happy place'.


roast chicken slices
red/purple cabbage, thinly julienned
turnip, cut into thin strips
cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
asparagus, cut into 4 cm lengths, blanched and drained

extra virgin olive oil
lemon juice

grated cheddar and grated parmesan cheese


put all the salad items together in a bowl. put the dressing items in a air-tight jar, close and shake vigorously to combine

pour the dressing onto the salad and toss to mix thoroughly

top up with the cheeses and serve


notice that i didn't jot down the amount of the ingredients. this is because i find salads to be a very personal dish. some of us like more of a certain ingredient than others. generally my rule of thumb is one handful of each salad ingredient for each person. as for the dressing, well, that's entirely up to you, some like it more sweet, some with a little more bite.... just taste the dressing and adjust accordingly before pouring over the salad

Thursday, November 20, 2008

recipe is : rice wine chicken


1 chicken, chopped into bite size pieces, cleaned and pat dry
2 big pieces of black fungus (wood ear fungus/mook yee), soaked to softened and cut into broad strips
1 whole chunk of young ginger, skin scraped off, and thinly sliced
1 bottle (about 1 litre) of rice wine
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp oil
salt to taste


heat the oil in a wok or big pan, add the ginger and black fungus and stir fry for about 2 mins. add the chicken and stir fry until chicken is just cooked

add the rice wine and sesame oil and salt, turn down the flame and let simmer for 15 minutes

dish up and serve hot


this is a chinese dish made mainly for ladies during their confinement month (the time commencing from the day they give birth, 'confined' to the home to let the body heal and recuperate). if this dish is meant for the consumption during the confinement period, old ginger is normally used and salt is omitted.

i personally do not agree with breastfeeding moms (i'm a HUGE advocate of breastfeeding!) consuming this dish as the alcohol will pass through the mother's system into the breastmilk. babies' young organs cannot process the alcohol properly and will put their livers and lives at risk. moreover, the ginger will irritate their digestive and bowel system and can cause tummy upsets.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

recipe is : easy peasy bruschetta


a loaf garlic bread, cut into 1 cm diagonal slices ( or however you like your bruschetta)
5 plum tomatoes, seed and veins removed, finely diced
10 basil leaves, chopped
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
salt to taste


mix the tomatoes and basil and set aside

brush the bread with some olive oil and sprinkle the parmesan on the bread slices and pat the cheese firmly onto the bread. on a griddle, add a bit of olive oil and toast the bread, parmesan side down until it's golden brown

sprinkle the salt to the tomatoes and mix thoroughly. add the extra virgin olive oil and mix to combine

spoon the tomato mix onto the bread slices and serve


i used garlic loaf out of sheer laziness. you can use any good loaf like ciabatta or even french loaf. just toast it little and rub a cut clove of garlic on it before brushing with the olive oil and sprinkling the cheese

you can add other toppings like olives, cripsy fried panchetta, feta cheese, salmon. the list is endless, it is up to you to experiment. the tomatoes and the basil is the base of it all though

Thursday, November 13, 2008

recipe is : fried radish cake (loh pak ko)


1 kg radish cake (loh pak ko) (recipes for these can be found easily), diced into 1 cm cubes
2 eggs
3 handfuls beansprouts
2 tsp chilli boh (chilli paste)(can be substituted with chilly sauce)
2 tbsp finely chopped salty choy poh ( preserved radish)
10 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp dark soya sauce
3 tbsp oil
a pinch of salt


in a large non-stick pan, heat up 1 tbsp of the oil and fry the cubed radish cake til it starts to brown (it's a personal preference as to how brown it gets. the radish cake is already cooked anyway). dish up and set aside

put in the pan remaining oil and add the garlic and choy poh. stir fry quickly to prevent burning. add the chilli boh and dark soya sauce. stir fry to mix thoroughly. add the fried radish cubes and stir fry to thoroughly mix and coat the radish cubes

push the radish to the sides to make a small empty area in the middle of the pan. break open and add the egg to the empty area of the pan. add the pinch of salt to the eggs and stir just the eggs to mix with the salt. keep turning over the cooked underside of eggs to the top every few seconds until all the egg is cooked.

mix thoroughly with the radish cubes and add the beansprouts. stir fry quickly to mix and dish up


a lot of other ingredients can be added to this simple dish. like for example finely cubes char siew, chinese sausage, leftover roasts and most savoury meat.

sometimes when i'm lazy, i simply buy the loh pak ko found in the nyonya kueh stalls around the place and cut those into cubes to use instead of making my own radish cake.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

recipe is : stir fried tung hoon (glass noodle/cellophane noodle)


300 gms tung hoon, soaked til soft and drained
1 handful dried prawns (can be substituted with small shrimps)
2 packed cups of thinly sliced cabbage
3 cups beansprouts
4 stalks spring onions, diced
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 tbsp oil
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp light soya sauce
1 tsp chicken granules


in a large pan, heat up the oil, add the dried prawns and stir fry for a minute, add the garlic and stir fry for another minute. add the cabbage and stir fry til it's limp. add the tung hoon and the sesame oil, light soya sauce and chicken granules (if using small shrimps instead of dried prawns, then add in a dash of salt as well). stir fry quickly to mix the ingredients. it helps to use tongs or chopsticks instead

add the spring onions and bean sprout and stir fry quickly to mix and dish up. sprinkle with fried shallots and accompany with cut chilli padi in light soya sauce (optional)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

recipe is : stuffed tau pok (tofu puffs)


30 tau pok, cut a slit across each one for filling the stuffing


350 gms minced meat (use either pork, chicken or beef, or a combination of those choices. doesn't work well with minced mutton)
4 tbsp chinese cooking wine
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp light soya sauce
2 tsp cornflour/cornstarch
4 stalks spring onion, chopped
a handful chinese chives, chopped
1 tbsp finely chopped young ginger
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley or coriander/cilantro (include the stalks)(can be substituted with celery)
a generous dash of pepper
salt to taste

Stock for braising

6 cups water
1 tbsp oyster sauce
4 cloves garlic skin on, crushed
salt and sugar to taste


in a pot, put in all the ingredients for the stock and bring to a boil. using a teaspoon/desert spoon, fill the tau pok with the stuffing and pop into the boiling stock. do 10 tau pok at a time. let the tau pok boil in the stock til cooked, and scoop up with a slotted spoon and set aside. add water to the stock if necessary, bring to a boil again and cook the next batch.

retain the stock to pour over the tau pok just before serving.


these tau poks can be deep fried, braised or steamed. it can also be steamed/braised and then stir fried with some vegetable of your choice.

should there be left over meat filling after stufffing the tau pok, it can be made into little patties and fried or steamed.

as tau pok comes in different sizes, it's best not to use the big ones as the meat in the centre might take too long to cook.

Friday, October 31, 2008

recipe is : apple crumble


Apple Filling
8 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
10 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp cornflour/cornstarch
1/3 cup blueberry jam

Crumble Base
3 1/2 cup flour
250 gm butter, cold and diced
6 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt

Crumble Topping
2 cups flour
10 tbsp instant oats
8 tbsp brown sugar
120 gm butter, cold and diced


in a large pan cook the apples, sugar and cinnamon over a med flame for 10 minutes to soften the apples. mix the lemon juice and cornflour. stir the mixture into the apples and mix thoroughly. take of the heat and set aside

preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. line the bottom of a 9 inch by 9 inch pan and let the baking paper overhang over the 2 sides. lightly grease the other sides

in a big bowl, mix the flour, sugar and salt for the base. add the diced butter and using only the fingertips, rub the flour mixture into the butter til it resembles fine breadcrumbs. pour into the prepared tin and lightly press down to pack it in a little. bake in preheated oven for 20 to 30 mins or until the base just starts to brown

remove from oven and spread blueberry jam over the base. top with the cooked apple. set aside

in the same bowl, mix the flour and sugar. add the butter and in the rub in the same method as before, only this time, rub until the dough resembles lumpy clumps of breadcrumbs. sprinkle the topping on top of the apples and put in the oven to bake for a further 30 minutes or until it turns golden brown. remove from oven and let cool

best served warm with vanilla ice cream

Note: the cornflour is used as a thickener for the juice that oozes out of the cooked apples. any non-taste-altering agent can be used to substitute.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

recipe is : pot stickers


600 gm minced meat (minced pork is normally used, but other minced meat works as well)
1 cup cabbage, finely chopped, sprinkled with a dash of salt, stand for 5 min then squeezed dry
a handful chives or spring onion or both, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp chinese cooking wine
salt to taste
chicken stock or water
a large knob of young ginger, finely julienne
chilly sauce
1 tsp vinegar
1 pack round wonton wrappers


mix the meat, cabbage, chives/spring onion, garlic, salt and cooking wine. mix well to thoroughly incorporate

take a piece of wonton wrapper and soon about 2 tsp of filling in the middle and pleat the edge of the wrapper til halfway round. seal the pleated edge to the unpleated side with a bit of water. repeat til all filling is finished

in a flat pan, heat up about 1 tbsp of oil and arrange the dumplings to fry til golden brown on one side. do not turn or move the dumplings. add about 1/3 cup of chicken stock and cover the pan. turn down the flame and cook for about 6 minutes until most of the stock has been absorbed and the wrappers turn almost translucent. turn up the heat again and cook for about another 6 mins or til the bottom of the dumpling has turn a darker brown

mix the chilly sauce with the vinegar

serve the dumplings with the ginger and the chilly sauce


- this is a simpler version. i used wonton skin to wrap the dumplings. the original calls for the preparation of the wrappers from scratch. methods of making the wrappers can be found on the internet. just do a search of "pot sticker wrappers"

- an alternative dipping sauce is to use malt vinegar instead of the chilly sauce. the young ginger is also used to acompany the malt vinegar

recipe is: simple potato bake


4 big potatoes, peeled and sliced into 5mm thick pieces
a handful of english chives, finely chopped
a handful of parsley, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, skin on
300 ml cream
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
salt and pepper


preheat the oven to 170 degrees C

bring to boil a pot of water and once the water is bubbling, throw in the garlic and boil for 10 mins. add a dash of salt and throw in the potatoes. boil for 10 minutes and drain.

remove the skin from the garlic, use a fork to mash up the garlic flesh

in a small saucepan, pour in the cream, add a dash of salt and the mashed garlic, stir and over a low flame, bring it to a simmer

in a shallow baking dish, arrange the potatoes in a layer and sprinkle a little of the cheeses, parsley and chives. repeat with another layer of potatoes, cheeses and herbs. it should be about 3 to 4 layers.

pour in the cream and bake for 30 minutes

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

recipe is : tumeric chicken a.k.a ayam kunyit


500 gms chicken fillet strips or 1 whole chicken, cut into bite pieces - marinated with a bit of salt and deep fried til just cooked

2 stalks curry leaves, remove the leaves from the stem and crush lightly in hand to bruise to release the aroma

3 medium size onions, roughly chopped up
3 red chillies, roughly chopped up
thick soya sauce
light soya sauce
salt to taste
juice of 4 limes

blended ingredients:

4 thumb-size pieces tumeric
1/2 thumb-size piece galangal
4 stalks lemongrass, use only the white bottom part
8 cloves garlic
3 dried chilly, soaked for 15 mins, and drained


heat up 3 tbsp oil in a large pan over a medium flame. add curry leaves and the blended ingredients and a pinch of salt. stir fry til aromatic

add the onions and red chillies, stir fry til onions soften

add the pre-fried chicken and stir to mix thoroughly

add a dash of dark soya sauce and a dash of light soya sauce to flavour. add salt to taste

add the lime juice and stir to mix thoroughly

dish up and serve

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

recipe is : lontong sayur lodeh


nasi impit/ketupat/lontong packs (prepare according to package instructions)

1 medium head of cabbage, leaves peeled off and torn into smaller pieces
12 long beans, cut into 6cm length pieces
1 brinjal, cut into 5cm lengths, and the pieces cut into quarters or six
1 handful of glass noodles (soak in water for 20 mins, drain and set aside)
10 sticks of fu chuk (hard bean curd skin), snapped into 6cm lengths
6 pieces of taukwa (hard tofu), cut into quarters and lightly fried
milk from 1 grated coconut/120ml pack of coconut cream
1 litre water
salt to taste

ingredients to be blended to a paste:

10 shallot
1 head garlic, skinned
2 big thumb-size knobs of tumeric
1 small knob of galangal
4 big sticks lemongrass
3-8 dried chillies (depending on how spicy you want it)
1 handful dried shrimps (optional)


heat up about 3 tbsp oil in a large pot over a medium flame. add the blended ingredients and stir fry continuously to prevent the spices from burning. stir fry till the aroma arises (about 5 mins), add the coconut milk and water, stir to combine with the ingredients in pot.

add the cabbage, long beans and fu chuk, boil til cabbage softens, add brinjal, boil til brinjal softens and lastly add glass noodle and salt.

in a deep bowl, place the nasi impit at the bottom, ladle in the sayur lodeh and serve hot. can be topped with sambal tumis for added spiciness.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

recipe is : chicken pot pie


4 oven proof containers/ramekins/pots

2 packets ready made puff pastry dough
600 gms chicken breasts or chicken fillet, cut into 2cm cubes
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 big onion, diced
4 bay leaves
1/2 tsp basil
2 sticks celery, cut into 3 per stick
3 big potatoes, cut into chunks and boiled til just cooked
1 cup baby carrots, boiled for 5 mins
1 cup peas
1 head broccoli, cut into small florets, boiled for 3 mins
1 can button mushroom, sliced
250 ml cream
200 ml chicken broth/vegetable broth/water
1 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste

1 egg, beaten (for the pastry eggwash)


heat the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and once it starts to melt, throw in the onions and celery. cook til onion softens. add in the bay leaves and basil. add in the garlic and chicken cubes. stir fry til chicken is just cooked.

add the carrots, peas, broccoli, mushroom, cream and broth. once it comes to a boil, add in the potatoes and season with salt and pepper. let it simmer for 5 minutes. add a bit of water if it get too dry.

prepare the puff pastry according to the packet instructions.

spoon the prepared chicken pie filling into the containers. cover the containers with the pastry. let a bit of pastry overhand the edges of the containers. brush the pastry with egg wash and make 2 small slits in the pastry to let the hot air vent out. bake in oven according to the pastry packet instructions.


i normally discard the celery after cooking as i only use it for flavouring. should you want to leave it celery in, best if you dice it into small pieces.

for a healthier version, use 150ml low fat milk instead of cream, and olive oil instead of butter.

Friday, February 01, 2008

recipe is: salmon fettucine


600 gm salmon fillet
600 gm fettucine, cooked to al dente, drained and set aside, retain a bit of the liquid
3 medium tomatoes, quartered
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 shallots, finely chopped
a handful of chives, cut to about 1 cm length
500 ml cream
6 tbsp olive oil
coarse ground black pepper
salt to taste


heat up a large, deep frying pan and use about 1 tbsp of the olive oil and stir fry the shallots and garlic for about 3 minutes. dish up and set aside

pour into frying pan the remaining oil and put in the salmon fillet. once they start to cook, break the salmon into big chunks. add in the chives and tomatoes. add the cream and let it come to a simmer

add the fettucine and stir fry quickly to mix. add a bit of the retained fettucine liquid if it's too dry. season with the black pepper and salt.

dish up and serve immediately