Friday, February 29, 2008

An Impulse Buy

While browsing the frozen meat shop for fish fillet...look what I've found!! 4 fillets of beauties at HK$10!!!Bargain alert! Bargain alert! Oh wait..Expired Product Alert!! Code Red! Code Red! We quickly checked the dates..nonono..not expired (use by 05-09-2008 hehe). So, although this was not on the list...not a part of the grand plan...I couldn't help but grab it.

Hmmm...what do you think I should do with these babies?

Golden Fish Nuggets with Creamy Corn Sauce

Why the pictures of my dishes seem like "flying UFO" most of the time (did you guys notice?)? Because oh because, I could not maintain a balanced horizon, and am lazy to (i.e. don't know how to) use photoshop to correct it. HA-HA-HA

When I was in Sydney, Australia, I adore the fish fillet with corn sauce from Kingsford Chinese Restaurant. So far, I haven't found any version in Hong Kong, which could match the succulent goodness of the fish meat, the crisp batter and the rich and creamy sweet sauce. Ironically, this dish is a classic from Hong Kong coffee shop menu(!!!). When I finally dreamt of it one night, woke up with a huge pool of drool on my pillow (ok, tat's yucky-my apologies) I knew I had to do something about it.

The fish
- fish fillets (I got 2 big fillet from a frozen meat shop for HK$18)
- salt, sugar and pepper

Defrost and slice fillets to approx. 5x3cm nuggets, don't cut them too small, we wanna bite into some succulent meaty goodness. Season with some pepper, sugar and salt

The batter
- 3 tbsp self raising flour
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- 1 egg
- salt, sugar, pepper
- some water

Mix well, dip fish nuggets into batter, fry in hot oil until golden brown, set aside.

The Creamy Corn Sauce
- Sweet corn cream style (I love HK$5.50 Del Monte)
- Finely chopped garlic (just a little)
- Egg
- 2-3 tbsp cream
- salt, pepper

Mix corn cream and egg, season with salt and pepper. Saute garlic with a little oil, add the corn mixture, cook until thoroughly heated, add cream, pour over golden fish nuggets.

My version has a touch of garlic taste in the sauce, and cream. You can go sans garlic and cream for a more authentic version.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Crispy Stuffed Beancurd Puffs with Indonesian Peanut Sauce

I've been missing Indonesian Batagor (fried fishcakes stuffed into tofu/potatoes/etc, drizzled with peanut sauce) more than I've missed shopping (this is amazing for the former Ms. Shopaholic). Due to below challenges, I had to dramatically tweaked the batagors, to be an entirely different, unrecognizable ones.

The Challenges
(aka Lame Excuses)
- I got off work at 6 pm, even if I ran to the market, the earlier I could get there for is by 6:30
- By 6:30, the tofu suitable for batagors was ofcourse gone, I could only get beancurd puffs
- It takes time to stuff the fillings into different pouches (e.g. potatoes, chillies, bitter melon), and it would be pricey, so I opted to go solo (just beancurd puffs)
- I have hungry "diners" waiting, so I can't take too long to make the batagor fishcake filling/peanut sauce from scratch (okok. The real thing is I DON'T know how to make those from scratch la...if I were to, I'd have to refer to (i.e copy) from online recipes and THAT would take more time..HAHA)
- Tempted to buy pret-a-manger fishcake filling, but fancied something meaty, so went for minced pork instead

Those are some of my "challenges" which yielded these fake batagors. You'll find more and more as you scroll down (good luck!)

The pouch
- HK$6 beancurd puffs
The filling
- HK$10 minced pork, select partially fatty one for smooth buttery feel (can be replaced by other minced meat of your choice: beef, chicken, fish)
- 1 chilli (remove seeds, finely chopped), 1 tiny bulb or garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 egg (it glues everything together & gives nice golden color)
- corriander
- 4 tbsp corn flour (I love them a bit sticky)
- salt, pepper, sugar, oyster sauce
The peanut sauce
- if available Sambel Pecel/Satay Sauce (you can try substituting this with crunchy peanut butter)
- Hot water to dissolve
- Corriander
- Salt

Pour all filling ingredients into a bowl, mix well. Normally I don't post "behind the scene-raw material" pictures, as I know "raw fatty minced pork" is not exactly photogenic. Yikes!

Cut an opening beancurd puffs across the middle, scoop out the inside if there's no space for the filling (some are already hollow). Stuff the beancurd puffs with fillings. The stuffed puffs won't be thoroughly cooked if they are just pan fried. So, I nuked them in microwave for 6 minutes, then pan fried them until golden brown.

Healthier options: once nuked, the puffs are pretty much done, you can skip the pan frying. You can also steam the puffs until thoroughly cooked. Those alternatives will give you soft & fluffy beancurd puffs instead of crispy.

Dissolve the sambal pecel/satay sauce in a bit of hot water, sprinkle corriander all over, add salt if needed, drizzle sauce all over the stuffed puffs, or dip the puffs into sauce when served as finger food in parties.

Have I given you guys enough lame excuses? Expect more in future postings LOL

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

King Ludwig Beerhall

We needed a venue to celebrate (opps, farewell) a workmate. Foodaholiv suggested this great German place in Tsim Sha Tsui, King Ludwig Beerhall. We started by drinking Happy Hour 0.5 litre buy-1-get-1-free beer on empty stomach (yeah baby, no baby!)

Our carbo quick-fix arrived soon after, warm bread with liver pate & herb cheese spread and roasted garlic pasta with pesto, which we quickly gobbled, preventing further alcohol damage. LOL

The rest of our orders arrived soon after. No, we were NOT at Cafe de Coral, or any other fast food chains, this is just Hong Kong, where everything is super speedy, where people throw themselves into MTR trains despite the 1 minute waiting time during peak hours.

The pork knuckle. Our server kindly let us take some pictures before butchering up this bad boy. Something funny about our server: (name omitted) he seemed to have difficulties digesting our words (both in Cantonese and English), we were wondering if he was on drugs (maybe some potent flu medicine?)

Crispy skin, juicy meat with crispy fluffy fried potatoes

Spicy sausages with pickles and creamy potatoes. Yes we can't go German without ordering sausages, aye?

Mixed grilled sausages. I am a big fan of sausages. Call me cheap and fussy, personally, I am just not a big fan of german sausages eaten in restos. I still love my favorites more: Valley's chicken franks or Beddar Cheddar sausages (available in local supermarkets)

Chestnut puree with merengue...nothing special for this pricing. I'd rather get this at a local bakery. Sorry guys, it was my idea to order this one. Oooopssie.

Chocolate mousse, this one is rich and creamy, until I realized there are chunks of sour mangoes and peaches at the bottom...hmmm...the sourness shocked me. I could live without it.

Mocha Creme Brulee. This is the best dessert on that evening. Creamy, with a tinge of chocolate and mocha, the brulee cracked perfectly. I'd go for this one again next time.

*Lazily Healthy: Tasty Steamed Tofu

If you always say:
- I am constantly on the go, move, move, move!
- I have NO time
- I am too busy
- I am juggling being a company executive/career woman, a mom/cruel or loving stepmom, a wife/girlfriend/mistress/lover, a bitch, an angel, etc etc
- I have too much on my plate and they aren't edible
then you are probably really busy.
For me, I am just LAZY.

As I mentioned in previous posting 5 Facts about me, I am fond of short cuts, and I am constantly, desperately seeking fast and easy recipes. This recipe from a friend's dad, is perfect for busy ladies (or lazy bitches like me. HAHA)

Doing this recipe is better than:
1. Getting a lover to cook for you
As you might need to flirt outrageously, wine & dine the girl or bullshit & seduce the guy, which takes time, and loads of effort
2. Dining out
Imagine having to dress up/dress down/looking "effortlessly" gorgeous and the nightmare of deciding where to eat (ate there yesterday, sushi the day before, wonton the day before, etc), then what to order, then contemplating whether to order dessert, etc
3. Ordering take out
I get exhausted browsing the 1000001 items on the take away menu, dialing the right number (and trying NOT to get the "massage parlor" or "mental health clinic" all the time), arguing with the delivery person (I SAID, I ordered meal #198789 and NOT #189789, you @#$@#%@#$#@!!!), and buying something hello kitty clad and useless from 7-11 (convenience store) just to break my HK$500 note

OK. I know, I know, as enticingly easy as it sounds, the words Steamed & Tofu appalled me to the core and had me trembling with fear/disgust/skepticism too, the first time I heard them. But I kid you not, the word Tasty I later slapped on was not to trick you into eating bland food while I am MUHAHAHA-ing at the background. As mischievous as I am, deep down, there's mr.integrity constantly yelling at me to stop tricking people (you win, dammit) lol.

- Fermented black beans
- Finely chopped garlic, spring onion, chilli
- Olive oil
- Fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar
- Tofu

Cut tofu into big chunks, lay them on a plate (1 layer), mix everything else, except spring onion in a small bowl, spread onto tofu pieces, steam for 5 minutes, sprinkle spring onion on the 4th minute or after steaming. Serve with steamed rice.

No fuss, no muss. No flirting and/or yelling necessary.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Leisurely Br-EGG-fast

A day off! A day off! A Day OFF!!! Woooo hoooo hooo!! Oh yeah oh yeah!! Ho yea!! Hoooo yeaaa!!

From the above emotional-nutty outburst, you must realise that I don't get weekdays off very often. So, a leisurely breakfast is a luxury for me.

A weekday breakfast is normally a HK$3.5 tuna-mayo bun (my current favorite, it is gorgeous, I will take a pic and post tomorrow) bought from a small shop called Sakurashima, eaten at desk out of a plastic bag, while checking out work email inbox, the content of which isn't always a pleasant breakfast reading material.

Sooo, a nice more-than-just-one-item breakfast combo, eaten while watching my current favorite series
Top Chef, is a major luxury.

The Br-EGG-Fast Combo
- Home made egg and honey bread french toasts, slathered with butter, condensed milk & chocolate sauce
- Beddar Cheddar sausages (sausages filled, bursting with liquid cheddar cheese), boiled
- Scrambled Eggs

Egg and Honey Bread French Toasts
(serves 2)
- 4 slices of Garden's Honey and Egg bread, halved (can be replaced with normal white/grain bread)
- 1 egg, beaten, add a bit of sugar and teeny bit of salt (we are going for sweetness)
- butter/cooking oil
- condensed milk/chocolate sauce/strawberry jam/Sam Talbot of top chef season 2, whatever you fancy on your toasts

In case you forgot how gorgeous it looks, here comes the photo again. In case you're bored of this, well, bite me. Ha-ha!

The scrambled eggs were done over low heat, stirred from time to time to form a nice texture, season, serve. Do NOT overcook. Dry fried eggs, me no likey.

*Other drool-able breakfast posts: Jollibee's pancake sandwich & Hong Kong Big Breakfast*

Monday, February 25, 2008

JolliB-reakfast: Pancake Sandwich: GENIUS!

My colleagues and I woke up extra early to visit Jollibee in Hong Kong's Central District, we had to get there by 8:15 (normally most of us arrive office at 8:59:59), devour whatever we order, and walk for around 20 minutes to get to work. Whatever efforts we put, all totally worth it!

This is really THE BEST invention since sliced bread! Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! Which genius thought...Oh OK..I like pancakes, I love burger, I adore cheese and meat...put two and two together and BAM! Pancake Sandwich!!

I just could not get over this heavenly mass produced masterpiece...the rich, buttery, very subtly tinged with sweetness, wrapping beef patty and melted cheese.

If this could not get my day going, I seriously don't know what will.

5 Facts about Me & Kosmo Cafe

I've been tagged by Eliza of Notes from My Food Diary to share 5 facts about me.
An exhibitionist that I am, I am moreee than happy to dish below dirt with you:

1. There are always two sides of me (cocky but humble, pessimist but optimist, understanding but stubborn, boring but fascinating, quiet but animated, decisive but contemplative, simple but complicated-HA HA HA!)
2. Cooking philosophy: If there is a short cut, I’ll go for it
3. Eating philosophy: Life’s short, Eat tasty
4. Health philosophy: I eat, therefore I work out
5. Life philosophy: Work smart, Play smarter

Now…I tag:
Deetha of Mlebu Pawon
Wandering Chopsticks
Suyin of The Journal of A Girl Who Loves to Cook
AG of Masak Makan Kenyang
Rokh of Tham Jiak

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules
2. Share 5 facts about yourself
3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them)
4. Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs

....and...since every post isn't a post without anything to eat/drink, here are some crappy drinks I just tried at Kosmo Cafe, Central.

Soy Hatha. Soy milk with black and white sesame. This one is not too bad, but I'm not crazy about it. Very thick, bland, but the sesame seeds gave it nice texture and crunch

Lavender Latte. The name might sound pretty, but I won't order this again, EVER! I pretty much left the mug untouched, just took a few sips (trying hard to convince myself that it was not that bad-but I failed miserably) and I cringed, totally appaled. Lavender does NOT go with coffee, and munching some lavender pulps inside your coffee is NOT cool. Yuck! Sorry, but YUCK.

*Check out 1 of my favorite Indonesian cafes, Bakoel Koffie*

The Japanese Combo: Roasted Eel Fried Rice & Beef Sukiyaki

My sister just passed by Hong Kong on her way back to Indonesia from her Japan trip. When you are traveling with a tour group, it is perfectly normal to be fed crappy food. No matter where you go, Asian tour groups might feed you Chinese food all the time. I remembered in one of my trips to Japan, in Tokyo, we were brought to a THAI buffet style restaurant (wtf!!!)

When confronted, our tour guide was fully prepared with 10001 reasons why we should eat THAI food instead of Japanese food, but I bet these are some he wished he could say to our face:

1. Because I said so
2. Because the tour company and I get HUGE commission from this restaurant
3. Because nobody would eat here
4. Because I knew you guys would be pissed and nothing turns me on more than angry travellers

Soooo when my sis visited me over the weekend, seriously lack of Japanese food intake, I decided to use her favorite Japanese foodstuff, Roasted Unagi (Eel) and made Japanese Roasted Eel Fried Rice

To balance the taste of the rich fried rice, I came up with my version of Beef Sukiyaki

I bet these are tastier than the crappy Chinese food she had in Japan ha-ha-ha!

Roasted Eel Fried Rice
- 3 cups of rice, cooked the night before, kept in the fridge
- finely chopped onion
- green peas
- 2 roasted eels, chop into not too small chunks
- roast eel sauce (forgot to take a pic, I will do it later)

- soy sauce
- olive oil

Pan fry chunks of roasted eel in olive oil, set aside. Saute finely chopped onions, throw the rice and green peas in, mix well, add roast eel sauce ans soy sauce, mix well, sprinkle the eels all over, mix em up, serve

Beef Sukiyaki
- 1 pack of thinly sliced American beef (choose the ones with nice marble of fat)
- 1 piece of tofu
- thinly sliced onion
- 3 little bunches of wawa veggie

- olive oil
- soy sauce, sugar
- 1 egg

Saute sliced onion, add some of the beef, add veggie, add soy sauce and sugar, cook until veggie is almost fully cooked, add the remaining of the beef, when the beef is almost cooked, crack the egg on top. P-r-e-t-t-y!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

*Mama's Classic: Cilantro Minced Beef with Tofu & Green Peas

I remember my happy childhood. Every time I was (pretending to be) sick, which happened almost EVERY Monday morning, my trusting mama always let me stay in bed and wrote a sick-leave letter to my teacher. My report card that year showed a high record of 13 sick days, all conveniently fell on Monday. HAHAHA. Until now, I haven't told my mum that those were fake sicknesses (ranging from stomach ache to fever). I guess some things are better left unsaid, I plan to forever be mama's angelic little good girl. HOHOHO.

Ehm, my mama would (get our helper to) prepare a Mun Tahu dish. Back home, it consists of tofu, minced pork, garlic, spring onion and soy sauce. Mixed with warm steamed rice, it is just sooo comforting, like a warm blanket on cold winter days, even for the healthy (lazy).

In Hong Kong, I found from my friends that their mamas made this dish too. This is Hong Kong version of mun tahu, the pork was changed to beef, and it is just as yummy and comforting, plus, it is easy enough to prepare, perfect for busy (lazy) life style.

- 2-3 pieces of tofu (cut into 4 parts per piece)
- Minced beef
- chopped garlic, chopped cilantro, crushed ginger
- a handful of green peas (we used frozen ones)
- oyster sauce, soy sauce, salt, pepper
- a little corn starch

- olive oil

Marinate minced beef in some soy sauce, pepper, oyster sauce, corn starch, for about 15-30 mins. Saute minced beef until almost done, set aside. Saute chopped garlic and crushed ginger until fragrant, add peas, beef, tofu, add sauce when needed, sprinkle chopped cilantro at the end, mix around a little. Serve with warm steamed rice...

and for the record, now I don't take sick leave every Monday, OK? (I just changed it to every Fridays...HR, I AM KIDDING)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Ayam Sambal Tomat

Chilli Tomato Chicken

I fancied something hot and decided to make something with sambal (sauce laden with chillis), and I have always been a sucker for juicy chicken drumsticks.

(serves 4)
- 8 chicken legs (drumsticks)
- Aromatics: crushed ginger, chopped spring onion, finely chopped garlic, onion, chilli (remove seeds)
- 5 small tomatoes
- 1 large potato, cut into small cubes
- ketchup, kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce), soy sauce, salt, pepper

Rub chicken drumsticks with salt and pepper, pan fry until skin is golden brown, set aside. Pan fry potato cubes, set aside. Saute aromatics with olive oil, add tomatoes, add ketchup, kecap manis, soy sauce, throw in the potato cubes, chicken drumsticks, cover wok, cook until the chicken meat is cooked through.

Remember to adjust the amount of chillis up to your acceptable level, as for me, the heat from the chillis bit me in the ass, I guess I am not as heat tolerant (nor jerks- tolerant) as I used to be. LOL

Monday, February 18, 2008

Satay Beef Ramen

I am submitting this for Presto Pasta Nights. Enjoy!

Slather satay sauce on anything, and you can't go wrong.

I wanted to make Chiu Chow style "Satay Beef Hor Fun" (rice noodles), but fresh noodles sell like hotcakes here.

If you don't get them from the market early in the morning, armed with weapons:

- Anything physical you can use to get others outta your way (umbrellas/giant cucumber/carrot/sugar cane sticks/squid ink/your elbows)
- Speed (be the first one to snatch the freshest bag of hor fun in 1 split second)
- Solid communication/negotiation skills (30 minutes argument in a combo of at least 3 languages (Cantonese, while pretending to be local to get more discount, Mandarin, to build up sense of fellowship with mainland vendors, Indonesian/Javanese/Tagalog, to distract the array of domestic helpers & slap some English when feigning ignorance) for the extra 50 cents discount)

all the domestic procurement managers (a massive array of aunties, grandmas, mamas, & domestic helpers) would have wiped the noodles off, and you'll end up weeping at the corner with bags of Japanese instant ramen just like me.

The instant ramen I got, not as fresh, not as "elastic" as the fresh ones.

- 4 packets of ramen
- aromatics: chopped garlic, onion, chilli, spring onion, crushed ginger
- sauce: sweet soy sauce, satay sauce, fish sauce, pepper
- olive oil
- sliced beef
- little pak choy

Marinate beef in satay sauce, sweet soy sauce, soy sauce, & pepper. Loosen up ramen in hot water, rinse with cold water, set aside. Saute beef in hot oil, set aside. Stir fry noodles with some of the aromatics, fish sauce, sweet soy sauce, a little satay sauce, set aside. Stir fry pak choy with the remaining of aromatics, add sauces, beef, you can add water and corn starch if you want more sauce. Scoop some noodles onto a plate, pour veggie and beef over, drizzle some sauce, garnish with chopped fresh chilli and spring onion/corriander.

I am currently on some "trainings" (weights, cardio, body and mind) & "drugs" (panadol & multivitamins) to prepare myself for the next fresh noodles procurement battle, and this is the mantra I kept saying to the mirror every morning: I WILL WIN!

*You might also like Fortune Noodles*

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Hong Kong Big Breakfast

If you are from Hong Kong, living somewhere else, this might be something you miss from Hong Kong (except those from cities with big Chinatown/HK community such as Sydney, San Francisco, etc, where you can find identical HK-style coffee shop aka char-chan-teng breakfast).

My all time favorite combo:
- Satay beef instant noodles
- Lucheon meat (aka spam)
- Scrambled eggs
- Unbuttered toasts/white bread (cos I wanna dip 'em into my coffee. Coffee with floating butter is just so NOT me)
- Hot coffee with 2 sugar

This combo is generally available all day in most local coffee shops. Some people eat such breakfast combo every day, but I limit myself only to have this on weekends. Giving me something to look forward to every weekend mornings, it always successfully gets my butt off the bed and makes my day (only to get back to sleep right after HA-HA).

Now, tell me what gets your butt off your bed on weekend mornings (I hope it is food related, if you know what I mean-wink wink)

Friday, February 15, 2008

A Chaotic Valentine

The Menu
~Winter Chicken ala Annie~
~Penne Bolognaise ala Kenneth~
~Zucchini Carbonara ala Rita~
~Choco Mochi with Nutella & Peanut Butter fillings ala Liv~
~Rambutan Punch ala Rita~

The Chaos

CHAOS is what you get when you try to squeeze 4 people cooking 4 different items in little teeny tiny Hong Kong kitchen (200 cm x 90 cm). Feel the chaos (and the fun)

1 cook, 3 busy -bodies

Liv's flour sifting stance

Annie's sizzling (chicken) legs

You should hear the music background of 4 growling stomach

Couldn't wait for dessert, we ate the bunches of flowers from the gentleman

I didn't know chickens could look this good

We suck at portion control, but tat's good cos each of us get 1 lunch box

Don't blame global warming for it was snowing in Kowloon...blame the Thai glutinous rice flour

A great idea of torturing method: stare at this, but DON'T eat

Why our mochis aren't the same shape nor size?

Kenneth made giant ones

Annie made medium ones

I made tiny ones, Liv made perfect ones with double filling of peanut butter & nutella mix

What you didn't see is a beautiful scene of cheese splattered all across the table

A dash of vodka into the punch

The vodka explains this behaviour

~Recipe links coming soon to theatres near you~
*Read my other Hong Kong Valentine's Day article here*