Friday, August 29, 2008

Super Easy Peanut Butter Oreo Mousse

I am losing it. Totally losing it. I meant my waist line (sob-freaking-sob), and I only have myself to blame. OK. I've never been stick thin. I always have chunks of meat here and there, but there were at least kinda at the right places ;). I had quite a waist before. Boy, I miss it.

There are a few (or a lot) of reasons behind the disappearing waist line....namely:
Yes! I wrote this in capital letters. Plus, he can't argue against it here, so I am gonna blame it all on him. HA HA HA! Seriously. If you had a partner in crime, who shares the same flaming passion for tasty treats, the temptation gets too great to resist. Sous chef loves desserts, (despite all the denials) especially anything rich and chocolatey and I received regular, if not daily requests or demands to bake something decadent. A huge chocoholic myself, how could I resist? When faced with chocolates, my will power to resist automatically reduces itself to sub zero.

I am not really a couch potato. Unbelievable as it sounds, I actually enjoy physical exercises. However! If it's a situation such as:

An hour of body combat class (even if taught by Mr. Super Sexy Instructor)
-VS -
Mr. Super Sinful, Rich, and Gooey Dark Chocolate Cake

What is it gonna be?
Right.....(PS. If any one of you chose the class, kindly click the X button to exit this blog right now. Hehe)

I faced such situation almost daily now...and what made it even worse? Midnight Snacking! I guess, the more we eat, the hungrier we get. Yesterday, at around 11 pm (after having a proper dinner at around 7 pm, and a bite of dessert at 8) I mentioned that I fancied a bowl of the (again) sinful Indonesian Indomie Goreng (dry instant noodles), and then I thought better of it and decided not to go for it. However, my sweet sweet sweet loving Sous Chef, ever so kindly, insisted to cook the noodle and brought it to my already embedded on the couch lazy ass. Tell me how to say no to THAT?!!! My will power...I probably didn't even have one in the first place. LOL! long as I am enjoying every second of's worth it!

Here's another worthy reason to indulge...
Super Easy Peanut Butter Oreo Mousse

(yields 4 small cups)
- 1 cup of whipping cream
- 2 tsp sugar (you can omit if you don't want it so sweet)
- 3-4 tbsp peanut butter
- 4 oreo cookies, crushed

Mix cream and sugar in a mixing bowl, beat the heck outta them until fluffy, add peanut butter, beat until well mixed, fold in oreos, pour into small cups, refrigerate to set. No egg, no bake, easy peasy.

I am submitting this to...

The Peanut Butter Boy

Shoot. Sous chef is probably now flexing all of his IT related muscles trying to find a way to delete this blog. I should stop blaming lol

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Nasi Tim Ayam Jamur - Indonesian Steamed Rice with Chicken and Mushrooms

It was just yesterday when I gushed and marvelled at how I love participating in blog events. The day hasn't ended yet, I looked at my calendar, with scribbles of food names reminding me of the blog events I was dying to join, and I realized that there are too many events, too little time. Mind you, I don't always scribble everything down, if you look at the number of events I've bookmarked under my "Food Blog Events" folder in my is much much worse (the size of the folder is wayyyyyy bigger than the size of my work related folders all combined. LOL).

I like joining events which are doable enough for me. That rules out joining super challenging baking events. Not only because I suck at baking (big time!), but also because I do not have the energy struggling to attempt yet another baking disaster, especially on weekdays hehe.

Normally, I like doing my blog event assignments on weekends, when I can leisurely enjoy shopping for materials, taking my time whisking stuff while watching TV, surviving failures and disasters, and bending myself out of whack all around my flat to get better pictures while barking instructions at poor lil' sous chef. HAHA!

However, judging from the number of items pitifully scribbled under 31 August, and looking at the number of completed events I've posted. Plus the numbers of weekends I lost to August birthday celebration buffets, I had to sacrifice a day of exercising (ahhh...another LAME excuse to escape exercise) to accomplish this dish I've promised my good blogging pals, Ayin and Deetha.

Nasi Tim Ayam Jamur - Indonesian Steamed Rice with Chicken and Mushrooms

Of course, whenever I am under extreme time pressure, the culinary murphy's law happens upon me, totally expected and predictable! (The universe, or whoever it was, you need to do better next time! Do the exact opposite for mushroom's sake!)

I needed either fresh shiitake, button or straw mushrooms, and of course, they were nowhere to be found! HAHA! So I had to get an expensive teeny tiny bowl of other mushrooms instead, which took forever to clean! To top it off, my air con was leaking like hell (it's like I was having a mini tropical storm at my very own home!), I had to line up a bucket, a mixing bowl, and a huge colander to tackle the water!

and still, the floor was wet, and when I was super excitedly walking to the kitchen to check out my rice, I slipped, did a little dance in the air, and my right butt cheek landed flat on the floor, my left ankle hit a sharp edge of the wall, my right wrist hit the floor hard! I either scared the crap outta my sous chef or amused the heck outta him. LOL! SC asked if I'd be pissed if he took pictures, I guess I might have...but came to think of it...too bad he didn't, eh? That would've been one heck of a picture! HAHA!

The chicken

- 2 boneless chicken thigh fillet, remove excess fat, cut into cubes, leave some skin for moisture
- 1 pack of mushrooms (whichever mushroom is available lol)
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 cm ginger, crushed
- dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, sweet soy sauce, salt, pepper, sugar, shaoxing wine, sesame oil, chinese five spice powder, corn starch, olive oil

Marinate chicken pieces with a bit of dark soy, sesame oil, sugar and 1 tbsp corn starch while preparing for other materials. Saute garlic and ginger in hot olive oil, add chicken pieces, cook for a while, add sauces bit by bit according to your taste. The dominant flavors are garlic and dark soy with a touch of sweetness, the rest of the flavors should be mild

The rice
- 2 cups of rice
- 250ml chicken stock
- water
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- a dash of sesame oil
- 1 cm ginger, crushed
- 1 clove of garlic, finely sliced

Arrange some of the cooked chicken at the bottom of rice cooker (I didn't use all the chicken pieces, I left some to be served with the rice later), add rice, add chicken stock, add water (up to the required level), add sesame oil, soy sauce, pepper, sugar, ginger, garlic, mix a bit. Cook until rice is done, add some of the separated chicken into the bottom of a small bowl, add rice, pressed, serve onto a plate, garnish with chopped spring onion, fried shallot flakes, and some sweet soy sauce.

The soup
- 250 ml chicken stock
- 1 silk squash, peeled and cut into bite size chunks (optional, you can other other vegetables)
- water
- 1 cm ginger, crushed
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- olive oil, salt, pepper, sugar

- a bit of finely chopped spring onion and fried shallot flakes for garnish

Saute ginger and garlic in olive oil, add silk squash, add chicken stock, add water if you want more soup, bring to boil, cook until the vegetables are cooked through, season, garnish, serve.

All disasters aside, I had a lot of fun and we ended up having a fan-bloody-tastic meal. The chicken was tasty and tender, the rice was rich and fragrant, the silk squash was sweet. It was pretty close to what I had back home in Indo, if not better, HAHA!

I went through a lot doing this one, so I could sing it song of praises if I wish to. Dammit!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Chicken & Mussels Fusili in Spicy Chilli Bean Sauce - Food Blogging Events Fever

Food blogging events. Wow! There are just sooo many of them nowadays...check them out here, you will find sooo many different topics you can choose to participate in. You name it, they got it. Hats off to those food blogging events creators. Despite all the fun, it is a hard work to host an event, unless you are having other people hosting for you, which I think is very clever. Pure genius! ^_^

Do I like food blogging events? To be honest, I LOVEEEEEEEEEEE them! Probably a little too much...that sometimes I kept thinking about what I could come up with before I fall asleep and as soon as I woke up (SC, no worries. You were also there in my thoughts - pranching around amongst all the ingredients in ballet tights hehe).

Why do I love participating in food blogging events so much?
- I am a natural born virtual party animal. I sniffed a party, I got all itchy to join :). I got to know many cool food bloggers from everywhere from these virtual parties!
- I'll never get out of ideas. The events are stimulus for me to build ideas around various themes. Plus, they gave me the necessary nudge to try new things. Without participating in food blogging events, I probably wouldn't have known what leek is ^_^
- I know participating in events boosts hit rate, linky links and stuff like that, but I'd rather not get too focused on that. It could spoil all the fun for me :)

One of my favorite food blogging event in which I try to participate regularly is Presto Pasta Nights, created by Ruth from Once Upon A Feast. This event motivates me to should create a new pasta/noodle dish, at least one day of the week ^_^...and here's my spicy pasta this week:

Chicken and Mussels Fusili in Spicy Chilli Bean Sauce

(serves two)
- 5 handfuls of mini fusili pasta (they are smaller than your regular fusili)
- approx 8 medium sized mussels, deshelled, marinate in lime/lemon juice
- half lb of skinless, boneless chicken breast meat, whacked and cut into bite sized chunks
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of shallot, thinly sliced
- a sprig of fresh corriander, chopped
- 3 tbsp of chilli bean sauce (dau ban jiang)
- olive oil, salt, pepper, sugar, corn starch

Marinate chicken pieces in a bit of lime/lemon juice, salt, pepper and 1 tsp corn starch. Start cooking pasta as instructed in the packet. Saute garlic, shallot, some of the fresh corriander, add chicken and mussels, add the chilli bean sauce, mix well, cook until the meat is almost done. Drain pasta, use some of the pasta water to thicken sauce, pour the pasta into the sauce mixture, mix well, add seasoning if necessary, garnish with freshly chopped corriander.

Now it is my turn to go pranching around in pink ballet tutu in SC's mind while SC's thinking about video games

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bean Cake Fritters - Tempe Mendoan

It's the dreaded time of the year....when I have to do my work performance appraisal. Don't get me wrong. I am pretty happy with my performance. What I hate is tracing and putting everything I did on paper. Man! That was one heck of a tedious job....but I was glad I did. I was amazed by how muchhh I've done...and I found things I can do to improve.

It got my thinking about my food related performance. It's been a little over a year since I started cooking regularly in Hong Kong plus a few months of blogging. Let's see how well I perform based on my key performance indicators (which I've briefly discussed in this post) hehehe:

1. My fear of baking
Performance overview
It's been kinda cured. Although I've been doing just simple, basic baked goods, but I bake. In fact, I think I've been using my oven wayyyy too air con could not handle the heat of summer + the heat from my oven and decided to go on strike by leaking in more than 3 places lol
Customer feedback: there were hits and misses
Challenges: my stubborness and my lack of measuring devices made me could not follow recipes exactly...and naturally, my modifications do not always bring better results :p
Action plan: procure a measuring device of some sort and do more baking until hits get greater than misses ^_^...and I promise not to always do banana, no matter how much I am in love with it. Try other things for supermarket's sake!

2. My Fear of Cooking from Scratch
Performance overview:
Be it Indonesian food or other country's food, I learnt bit by bit not to always use spice packets, and I had a lot of fun grinding spices using my wooden stick (I long for a traditional Indonesian stone spice grinder aka cobek + ulekan...or a food processor! ^_^)
Customer feedback: sous chef can't really differentiate the quality difference between things made from scratch of spice packets. Is this a clue for me to simply don't bother? Hehe
Action plan: The heck with customer feedback! I want to be able to say proudly that I made something from scratch!

3. Complacency and Boringity
Performance overview:
OK. There were certain all time favorite items that I've done repeatedly, such as beef & veggie in soy sauce or banana muffins (haha!). But throughout the year I've tried hard to bring variations to the table...and see how my customer think.
Customer feedback: sous chef has the memory of...(I know elephants have excellent memory, who is the most forgetful creature then?)...well, something that forgets as soon as, if not before it finishes a meal hehe. So, sous chef won't remember the thing he eats yesterday, let alone last week LOL. This is a double edged sword. The benefit is...I could repeat a dish as often as I want, and I realised the disadvantage when I asked "What do you think is my best dish so far?" (SC's brain went to panic mode "OMG! Shit! This is a trick question! A wrong answer and I should say goodbye to home cooked dinners!")...and SC always replied with whichever dish I just cooked previously. It means, no matter how fabulous I cooked a dish, SC won't even remember sob sob. Hmm, anyway, I think I can live with that :)
Action plan: Continue trying to cook more variety of food and I found that this food blog is the best way to refresh SC's memory hehe

Here's one of my latest attempt of my favorite Indonesian snack...
Tempe Mendoan - Bean Cake Fritters

The Bean Cake

- 1 pack of tempe (bean cake), sliced to 3-5 mm thick pieces, marinate with salt and pepper
The Batter
- 6 tbsp all purpose flour
- 3 tbsp corn starch
- 1 egg, beaten
- a spring of chives or spring onion, finely chopped
- 1 small clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp ground corriander
- a dash of nutmeg
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- a dash of pepper
- a pinch of baking powder
- couple tablespoon of coconut milk
The Dip
- sweet soy sauce (the dominant element)
- light Soy sauce
- chopped red chilli
- chopped shallot
- a dash of vinegar
or you can eat it with chilli sauce or Indonesian sambal or do what the Indonesians do and just bite some small green chilli along with the bean cake fritters (warning: those are HOT!)

Mix batter ingredients well, heat up some oil for pan frying. Dip bean cake pieces into batter and fry on medium heat until golden brown. Serve with the dip and iced sweet jasmine tea.

Let me see how many times I can get away from repeating this dish before sous chef noticed hehe

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sweet & Fruity Sandwiches

Whoa. Yesterday, Hong Kong was hit by the third typhoon this summer. The third! OK. To most of us, office 9-5 people, it meant 2.5 additional days off (yippie!). But it was no fun for those who still had to work and those who were affected by the typhoon.

Banners and scaffoldings were blown off Hong Kong high rise buildings, just like the one near my place. Engineers were immediately called to remove the banner before it whacks something.

What do Hong Kongers do when the territory's hit by typhoon?
- Some chose to stay safe at home and watch the Olympics live on TV (normally, at work, people just kept refreshing their computer every 2 minutes, staring intently at the screen, watching every game's scores while clutching their mouse is hard to keep from screaming seeing the opponent of your favorite team winning hehe)
- Some played mahjong while watching the Olympics (talk about double betting, eh, God of Gamblers?)
- Some chose to catch a movie at the cinema
- Some decided to torture their friends by singing (mostly out of tune) their heart out in karaoke
- Some flocked at dimsum joints and had a gossipy yum cha
I bet it was no fun for those who worked at the cinema, karaoke and restaurants ;)
"Someone" chopped, peeled, sauteed, and cooked their azz off catching up to all the pending blogging events to participate in hehe. Here's what I came up with for Michelle of Greedy Gourmet's Snack Shot Event: Sandwich

Just Peachy

The day before typhoon signal no 8 was hoisted, I went to the market to find the market was almost empty. Everyone pretty much swept everything clean fearing lack of supply during the typhoon. Luckily, I could find some peaches and over ripe bananas (Yay! People dislike them, I absolutely love them!)

You can use pretty much any fruit you fancy for these sweet sandwiches. Bananas are my personal favorite and I never tried peaches before. I was amazed to see the lovely, blushing pink hues.

For these sandwiches, you'll need:
(recipe adapted from my favorite manga, Delicious!)
- 4 slices of bread (white or grain), remove crusts for a more delicate finish
- 4 tbsp butter, softened
- 2 tbsp sugar
- tiny little bit of vanilla
- 1 ripe peach, peeled, pitted, slice into 3mm pieces, sprinkle with a bit of sugar and cinnamon
- super ripe bananas (I love those small 11 cm ones), slice into 5mm pieces

Caramelized Bananas

Caramelised bananas with a bit of sugar and butter (tiny little bit). It gives you sweet and smoky flavor

Sweet Vanilla Fluffy Butter Spread

Whisk softened butter, sugar and a bit of vanilla until pale and fluffy. Spread on pieces of bread.

Sweet & Fruity Sandwiches

Arrange caramelized bananas on top of bread which has been spread with the sweet vanilla butter, you can add other things such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or chocolate. You can toast the bread and eat it hot.

Do the same with the peaches, spread the remaining sweet butter all over the bread, and refrigerate for about half hour before cutting if you want to consume them cold.

You can experiment with your favorite fruits, maybe kiwi, berries, grilled pineapple, canned fruit, or jams...and stack 'em high to create layer cake effect.

One down, a few more blog events to go hehehe...;)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Threesome, Anyone? (I meant Three Ways of Wontons)

I love the idea of threesome. In fact, more than threesome! Bring on the gang b*ng of flavors and let's party!

I was talking about food (I always do, right?), specifically wontons. They are the Chinese version of dumplings or ravioli? (I am not gonna discuss and debate who invented what here hehe). They are so versatile and super easy to make! I love making a big batch, freeze them, and have them the way I want them anytime (is it just me or it gets a lil hotter here? Hehe).

Here's how I "do"...
Wontons - Three Ways

Wonton Ingredients
- 1 pack of wonton skin (has anyone tried using ravioli skin instead?)
- 1 lb minced pork
- 0.75 lb smallish shrimps (deshelled, deveined)
- 1 small clove of garlic, finely chopped
- a few sprigs of spring onion, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- a few tbsp corn starch (depends how sticky you like them to be, I personally love mine very sticky and starchy)
- chicken stock powder (optional), salt, pepper, sugar
- a bit of sesame oil

Mix all ingredients together well, except for skin.

Here's how I fold wontons, three ways:
Remember not to put too much filling and your they will burst before all the actions even begin (hehe)

and see how adorable they are...

...and here are my three favorite ways to have them:
1. Wonton Soup

I used a simple soup of chicken stock, a dash of oyster sauce, sesame oil, pepper, salt, sugar, with vegetables. Boil your wontons separately (wonton skin has a distinct scent which I don't like), and serve with the soup. Serve with Chinese chilli oil and vinegar for condiments, garnish with fried garlic flakes and chopped spring onion.

You can go crazy with the soup. Think beef with Chinese five spice soup, ginger soy chicken soup, tomyum soup, satay soup, curry soup base, and so on...

2. Deep Fried Wontons

Fry wontons in medium heat until golden brown. Serve with chilli sauce, or mayo, or even dip them into the wonton soup base, drenched in kecap manis, tres Indonesian! Hehe

3. Wontons in Spicy Sauce

This dish is very popular in Hong Kong's Shanghaiese restaurants. My version is absolutely NOT authentic. I pretty much just throw whichever spicy sauce I love :p
Boil wontons, drain. Prepare sauce on a plate, I use bean chilli sauce (dau ban jeong), Chiu Chowese chilli oil, dark soy sauce, sesame oil and a dash of vinegar). Feel free to mix and match or create your own sauce. If you don't like it hot (really?), oyster sauce with dark soy sauce will work too ;) Garnish with fried garlic flakes and or chopped spring onions

Sharing this recipe with Presto Pasta Night's gang, invented by Ruth, hosted this week by Kitchenetta

Sous chef, if you are reading, this is only about food. Don't start getting any ideas from this post, okie?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Choco & Cinnamon Palm Sugar Sweet Potato Balls

We get inspired by everything. Famous chefs, popular cookbooks, recipe sites, top food bloggers, markets, restaurants, our mom/grandma/auntie/cousin/neighbor/pets, the city, the sky, the ocean, you name it.

My recent inspiration came from one of my favorite manga series, Delicious! (デリシャス!) by Yui Ayumi (あゆみゆい)

Yeah, baby! I am a big kid at heart ^_^ and until today, I still love reading my battered and dangerously falling apart manga comics right before I sleep. This series is about a girl who was clueless about cooking (kinda like the old me), and had to learn how to cook as she turned into a cooking show host (kinda like me (had to learn how to cook), but for different reasons (the last time I checked, I am pretty certain that I didn't host any cooking shows, apart from the private ones I did for sous chef - details censored - lol!). At the end of each book, there's a collection of recipes, and I found one I always wanted to try since I was twent...(Oh, let's just say since I was a lot younger hehe :p)

Choco & Cinnamon Palm Sugar Sweet Potato Balls
Here's the original recipe (in Bahasa Indonesia):

and here's what I did:
- 2 cups mashed sweet potatoes (peel potatoes, cut small, boil until soft, mash)
- 4 tbsp caster sugar
- 2 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp cream
- for filling/topping: ground cinnamon, palm sugar (chopped into small pieces), semi sweet chocolate chunks, chocolate rice

Mix the mashed sweet potatoes with butter, sugar and cream, make into small balls, flatten and place your filling, close and roll into balls. Sprinkle with cinnamon or chocolate rice...mix and match...and you can do a lot more!

The recipe didn't require baking. I tried baking some, but nothing happened apart from softening the chocolate chip and liquifying the sugar stuffing. So, next time, I'll just stick with the no bake recipe ;)

Loving the extremely different feel of both palm sugar - cinnamon and the chocolate ones. When I eat something, I want to know what's inside, so I presented both versions differently. You could follow the original recipe's recommendation and surprise others with whatever they were going to get inside the sweet potato balls...marshmallows, peanuts, hazelnuts, or even bacon! Hehe ;)

Hmmm, watching some hot swimmers in action at the Olympic made me think of greasy fries (I am sure that's just me and my twisted imagination ^_^). How about you?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Nasi Goreng Merah Putih: Red (Spicy Shrimp) & White (Chicken) Fried Rice

Thanks to Dhi, Fitri and Dwi's Red and White food blog event, I learnt that I am not the only Indonesian living outside Indonesia with growing sense of nationalism. There are many out there who knew exactly how I felt.

I knew I had to participate in the event, and this dish I am presenting, is everything about cheesy, corny, sappy, and nostalgic me.

When I was young, I don't grow up eating my mom's cooking. She works hard and never had any time to cook (play a sappy music here). But, waitaminute! That was hardly a sad thing as there were plenty of food to eat (ordered in, take away, deliveries, etc hehe - change music to Indonesian dang dut here please). There's a place where we often order from, it is a small restaurant tucked in a corner at the end of my street, the name is Tjandra. Regulars like us know how to order beyond their famous chicken noodle dish :p. My personal favorite were their super tasty red fried rice and white fried rice. The red fried rice is typical Indonesian and the white fried rice is adapted from Chinese fried rice. No other place did fried rice like this one.

Another trip down the memory lane, I recall my primary 6 days...when I had my home economics final exam. Girls had to cook and boys had to do something technical (last time we girls swore "lucky them". All they did was connect a few cables and we had to do all the sweating, chopping, and sauteeing!). We were clueless, our mom and aunties and nannies worked hard preparing all the ingredients, all we had to do was throwing everything into a wok, and yet so many of us still managed dramatic failures, ranging from throwing a plate into flaming fire to burning our rice LOL. I am amazed our school building survived that final exam LOL. Guess what was the dish I first learnt how to cook, my final exam piece? (If the answer isn't fried rice, then it is a very twisted story build up lol) Yes, it was fried rice. Gloriously red and spicy fried rice, with all its classic and corny embellishment such as lettuce and sliced tomatoes base. Our male classmates tried our cooking and most of them ended up spitting stuff into the bins HAHAHA!

So, I've decided to recreate this dish for the event, as nothing represents everything about me and my life back in Indonesia more than this dish.

Nasi Goreng Merah Putih
Red (Spicy Shrimp) and White (Chicken) Fried Rice

Red (Spicy Shrimp) Fried Rice
- 1 cup of rice, cooked one day ahead, refrigerated over night
- 1 pack of shrimps, deshelled, deveined
- 1 egg
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 4 cloves of shallot, chopped
- 4 red chilli (remove the core and seeds if you do not want it spicy, adjust the amount of chilli according to your taste)
- lime juice
- 1 tbsp shrimp paste
- salt, sugar, pepper, sweet soy sauce (kecap manis), soy sauce, ketchup, sambal ABC
- oil

Marinate shrimps in salt, pepper and lime juice. In food processor, grind garlic, shallot, chilli, shrimp paste, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, pepper and some oil (if you don't have a food processor, just like me, do it manually or just slice the ingredients as finely as you can). Saute shrimps in hot oil until just pink, set aside. Saute spice mixture in a bit of oil, add rice, add seasoning and sauces, ketchup and kecap manis being the most dominant, add shrimps, add eggs, set aside.

White (Chicken) Fried Rice
- 1 cup of rice, cooked one day ahead, refrigerated over night
- 1 egg
- 1/2 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast meat, whack them with a wooden stick to tenderize, cut into cubes
- 3 cloves of shallot, thinly sliced
- chicken stock powder (optional), salt, pepper, sugar

Marinate chicken breast meat with salt, pepper and sugar. Saute shallots, add chicken pieces until a bit browned, add rice, season well, add egg, serve

Cheesy and Corny Assembly
Normal days, you don't even have to make both red and white :p and you can serve it in bowls or plates or even scoop the rice off the wok, or heck! Bring the wok and rest it on your lap in front of your TV ala me.

But for this event, I wanna go cheesy and corny. Lay lettuce leaves on a long plate, arrange slices of fresh tomatoes on top, just like how I did when I was 12 LOL! Scoop red fried rice into a bowl, make it dense enough to hold the shape, fill until half full, then fill the cup with white fried rice. I was going for the inverted cone shape (tumpeng), which is associated with celebrations in Indonesia, but I don't have anything in cone shape or even a martini glass, so I went for dome shape instead, with a shrimp on top hehe..and fried rice calls for shrimp crackers, so I slapped that on too!

PS. I wanted to record myself singing either Indonesia's national anthem or the Independence Day song...but I worry it might only be a disgrace for my home country hehe

Happy Independence Day, Indonesia! MERDEKA!

Creamy Mushrooms, Ham & Italian Herbs Fusili plus Hong Kong CBD Lunch Tale

Everybody has their restaurant horror stories. Susan from Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy and Cathy from Noble Pig have shared theirs....and now I wanna bitch about my recent endeavour.

It was...
- not much of a horror (although if there were ghosts there, they probably had fun watching us)
- barely a drama (no one got reunited with their birth parents, cried or died)
- can't be considered a romantic comedy (unless I suddenly realised that my every day lunch pal is my soul mate and decided to seduce him LOL, only to find out that he is gay - I can assure you he is NOT LOL)
but it could be an action flick if I threw in some kung fu moves juggling my BBQ pork rice tray while shashaying to grab a seat at a lunch joint in Hong Kong's Central Business District hehe

Finding a seat at lunch time in Hong Kong CBD is a BITCHHHHH. I am impatient (yeah, tell me something I don't know). I hate hate hate waiting and queueing of any kind especially for food which are just so not worth waiting for (Hollywood could probably make a whole drama series based on waiting and queueing in restaurants hehe). But, you don't have a choice. If you wanna dine at any eateries in Hong Kong CBD at lunch time, be prepared to wait and fight for a seat. Good food, bad food, cheap, doesn't matter. Fight your battle, and wait.

Certain places have hostesses who will organize the queue, but not fast food and self service joints. Thanks to Hong Kong's higher than high rent costs and population density, there is NO SEAT and OH SO MANY PEOPLE!

I went out with my lunch buddy and we crave BBQ pork rice from a fast food joint. He said he will order and I was in charge of looking for a seat (cue music: mission impossible theme song). So I roamed around and tried to find an empty seat, which of course was NOT available :) (the chance of finding a miraculously available seat is almost as slim as winning mark 6 hehe). The normal practice wait for the earlier lunchtime people to clear off by standing near their table. I know it is annoying and obnoxious, but when you are here, be prepare to finish your last spoonful of food under a pair of hopeful eyes, waiting eagerly to take your seat as soon as you lift up your butt off your chair, don't expect to have a nice and lengthly conversation after your meal, of the hopeful eyes will turn dagger sharp hehe.

So, I stood and waited by a table with two uncles, one reading his newspaper and another picking his teeth (they weren't together), with my BBQ pork rice tray with hot tea on hand. I expected the newspaper reading uncle to stay put (he did not seem like a considerate person), but if he has any considerate bone at all in his body, he will probably leave after the tooth picking uncle's the illustration

Apparently, I expected too much from newspaper reading uncle. He did not leave even after tooth picking uncle has left. I was not going to start from scratch and wait by another table. So, after apologizing profusely to the guy at the next table (bless him for his kindness), I took another chair and squeezed into the one person space (this is Hong Kong, so I can assure you the one person space is NOT big), while of course shooting numerous bitchy stares at newspaper uncle. Even after seeing this, he still stayed...and only left when we almost finish our meals.

I know, I know...he bought his space at that table by drinking that cup of hot tea (duh!). There are plenty of seats outside the restaurant in this air conditioned building where he could sit and read his newspaper comfortably. This is why I prefer to pack my lunch from home, and for today...I'll have...

Creamy Mixed Mushrooms, Ham and Italian Herbs Fusili

- 1 pack of fresh shiitake mushrooms, each sliced into a few pieces
- 1 pack of oyster mushrooms, slice big ones into a few pieces
- 4 slices of ham, cut into strips
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- dried Italian mixed herbs
- black pepper
- half cup of cream
- 3 handfuls of fusili
- water for boiling, olive oil, butter
- salt, sugar

Boil pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Brown the hams, set aside. Saute garlic, add mushrooms until slightly browned, add ham strips, add herbs, black pepper, season with salt. Drain pasta, add into the mushroom and ham mix, add cream, adjust seasoning with salt and sugar if necessary.

Sharing this recipe with Presto Pasta Night's Gang! Enjoy!

Every time, I'd say I'll never have lunch at that fastfood joint ever again. But, hey!...Never say never, right? They do a really bitchin' BBQ pork rice there :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Cheddar and Corn Muffins

I am always more savoury than sweet. But I think life needs a bit of sweetness, aye? My idea of a perfect meal is the one that's concluded with a little sweet, rich and decadent thing (which preferably contains more than 70% chocolate? hehe)...and...let me tell you about sous chef's love-hate relationship with desserts and sweets...

A Sweet Conversation?

Year 2006
SC: I hate sweets
Me: Really? You don't like it or are you trying to keep fit?
SC: I really hate it. See! I drink my coffee BLACK
Me: OK, I get it

Year 2007
*noticing SC's over enthusiasm towards Haagen Dasz ice cream, chocolates & desserts*
Me: I remember you said you hate sweets
SC: Oh, not really. It was just a cover up, I need to avoid sweets to keep fit (!!!!), and I have an image to upkeep in front of girls, you see?
Me: right....

Year 2008
*in a conversation about sweets*

SC: Yeah, as I told you before...I don't like sweets. See, I like my coffee BLACK
Me: I thought you said that was just a cover up? Hey! This is me! I know you very well, you don't need to cover
SC: *puzzled* What did I say? I really hate sweets, man. I just eat sweets because you bake
Me: *speechless*

Talk about denial!...or PR talk? or fickle minded? or amnesia? Hehehe...anyway...

I've seen so many muffins and cupcakes around the blogsphere, and I believe if others can do it, I can at least try to fail several times long as I didn't accidentally melt my chocolate by microwaving it in a metal mixing bowl and blow my kitchen up (touch wood -touch wood - touch wood - this reminds me to get bigger insurance coverage), I love taking up new challenges. Thus, I started to bake.

...and I baked and I baked and I baked. Sweet treats. First, it felt so amazing being able to produce something new. But the novelty wears off, and I craved savoury treats I made...

Cheddar and Corn Muffins

They are perfect for breakfast, with a hot cup of coffee (I like mine with cream and sugar pleaseeee - no denial hehe)

(yields 6)
- 1 cup self raising flour
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup milk
- 3/4 cup corn kernels
- 1/2 cup small pieces of cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 175C, in a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt, make a well in the middle. In another bowl, mix egg, oil and milk, pour into flour mixture, mix, add corn kernels and pieces of cheddar cheese. Pour into greased/lined muffin tray, bake for about 20-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Now...I've seen impressive food presentations everywhere. But this one caught my eye. It is a display of Beijing's molecular gastronomy at Shangrila's Blu Lobster by Chef Brian (picture's borrowed from Eat & Travel Weekly magazine).
Would anyone care to brush their teeth with this egg white paste...or gargle with this mint wine?

For me, I don't like getting drunk before 09:00 AM (Denial? PR talk? Amnesia? All/none of the above? Hehe)