Friday, January 29, 2010

Grilled Herbed Pork Neck

It's been ______________ since my last confession (can't be bothered trying to remember).
I've been hit by..., not a disco stick.
I've been hit by a lazy stick.

I have not been cooking lately.
When I cooked, it's so simple I couldn't be bothered to take pictures.
When I took pictures, I couldn't be bothered to style it.
I have even been too lazy to try some new and exciting establishments.
This lazy stick, it's gigantic.

This ridiculously simple dish was not a product of my recent sloth.
This was one of the dishes I made when I still had the heart to think of what to cook, cascade the meat beautifully on a little place, took a photograph of it in more than just one "pose", and scattered the ingredients around it as a (desperate) form of "food styling".

Although it's not much, it'd be better than my recent serial local fast food/charchanteng spread.
Please, enjoy.

- 1/2 lb pork neck (rinse, pat dry, leave them whole)
- salt, black pepper, dry mixed herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano)
- additional lemon zest and a bit of lemon juice would be fantastic

Preheat oven to 250C, rub pork neck large pieces with salt, pepper, herbs and lemon zest generously, place them on baking sheet, grill until golden. Take them out of the oven, slice thinly and serve.

Pork neck is really a forgiving meat due to its high fat content, get them a bit charred to get tasty crispy bits. Never worry about overcooking them (but of course not up to the point where all you got is a couple chunks of charcoal). They'll remain juicy.

Serve 'em over salad with some vinaigrette, as appetizer, or as party food...but the way I see it, it tasted amazing with steamed rice :D

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Choco Cat Cafe, Tsim Sha Tsui

Wanna play with these cuddly cuties but wanna be spared from scooping poop outta kitty litter boxes?

You may wanna go to Choco Cat cafe.

Here kitty kitty kitty kitty...

Who's this bitch and why is she interrupting my sleep? Roarrr~

Look at those chairs....:D
I can assure you, it wasn't me ;)

Scribble down what's on your your inner cattiness.

Wait, is there food at all in this cafe? Or only cat food?
Ehm...the thing with the food have to get involved in the cooking process.

I dine out precisely because I despise cooking, why do I have to do that?
What if I screwed up? I'll end up with yucky food!

Relax, you won't be doing all the cooking.

All ingredients have been prepared...
...all you have to do is following Mr. Chef's instructions.

Did you see SC? Never thought that he's a pinkie SC poured vinegar, bottled Caesar dressing (yikes?), and seasoning on the salad...

...and assembled it.

Of course he wanted to put cherry tomato pieces on the side of the plate in a circular pattern. It's the only way that made sense! Add some smoked salmon on top...and...


The apron made all the difference.

But how was the salad?

Well...imagine salad packs you get from supermarkets, with instant Caesar dressing, smoked salmon and a tad too much vinegar. It is what it is.

Now, the drinks...

We have to be involved in the drinks making too!

Pour ingredients, blend...


...and serve.

Anything made of canned lychee, syrup and ice...

is bound to be good.

What did I help making?

Raspberry some-kind-of-slurpee.

I don't really visit this place for the food, I went mostly for the cats :)


Chococat Cafe
3/F,Parmannand Hse
No. 51-52 Hai Phong Road
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Hong Kong
Te: +852 2721 2129

Friday, January 22, 2010

Heirloom Tomato Seeds from Kenny

The ever so sweet and kind Kenny from Chic Eats sent me two packs of heirloom tomato seeds before Christmas. The mail got lost, however, it finally found its way to my apartment (it was like, after new year ^_^). Upon receipt of the seeds, we could not wait to get them planted. We went shopping for a pot and some soil and got them planted. Now, we are seeing little tomato plants! I'm so excited!

I can't take any credit for this though. SC was the one planting and nurturing the seeds and plants every day, showering them with lots and lots of love...

Oh, tomatoes, please don't die on us!
Kenny, thanks so very much again for the seeds~

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cheese Burger with Turkey Bacon & Sauteed Mushrooms

I generally love burgers, including the ones from McDonald's and Burger King (sorry).
I hardly meet any burgers that I don't like (you know this is NOT the truth, I've bitched about quite a number of burger joints before via
Why am I contradicting myself in my blog?
Who knows? It's the weather. It's Wednesday. I'm hungry. I'm confused!

OK. Back to burgers. Love them, love them much.
However, I don't love doing burgers at home, no matter how delicious, how much I can customize the burgers to fit my wildest imagination...I just try not to do burgers at home.

You know how I love one-pot, minimum-effort-maximum-flavors dishes?
Burgers are just so not it.
In Cantonese...they're MA Q FAN!
The patties, the buns, the fillings, the sauces...OMG.
The troubles!

However, when we put our heart into it, we can make it happen, right? (What is this? A motivational talk? I'll pass :D)
Anyway, I was in a rare madness of wanting to do burgers at home, so I did.

The burger patties
I used a simple recipe adapted from

- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
- a couple dashes of worchestershire sauce
- 4 strips of turkey bacon, chopped

Crack the egg in a mixing bowl, add salt and pepper, add beef and turkey bacon, mix well, add a couple dashes of worchestershire sauce, the bread crumbs and mix well. Form the mix into thick patties (1.5 -2 cm thick), flatten the middle part a little.

Preheat oven to 200C and preheat a grill/frying pan and lightly grease it. I preheated mine on medium heat for about 4-5 minutes, place patties on the pan until you get nice brownage, just a couple of minutes on each side. Dump patties into the oven (preferably with the pan) until you reach the desired level of doneness. I ovened mine for about 10 minutes and it ended up with a really nice crisp outside and juicy inside.

The buns
I used store bought English muffins for the buns, buttered both sides and toast them lightly right before assembly.

The fillings

- 2 cups of sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- dry mixed herbs (oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage)
- a touch of white wine
- olive oil, butter, salt, black pepper

Saute garlic in a bit of olive oil and butter, add mushrooms, add white wine and cook for a couple of minutes, add herbs, season with salt and black pepper, set aside.

The assembly

Butter toasted English muffin, sauteed mushrooms, grated mozzarella and parmesan, burger patty, and the other half of the butter toasted English muffin.

Now, do the right thing...

Grab this with both hands and enjoy.
It surely gets messy, so eating this without a plate on a white fabric sofa?
Be prepared to buy a new sofa.

Serve them with chips if you wish, but I don't make chips at home.
Serve them with salad if you wish, but I don't make salads at home...I hardly even order them in restaurants.
I am not a purist and I don't get offended if you'd like to enjoy this with ketchup, chilli sauce, soy sauce, mayo, jam, ice cream, toothpaste (OK, it went too far, toothpaste would just be too minty)...whatever curls your toes, goes.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Grilled Turmeric Chicken (Ayam Panggang Kunyit) & Sambal Kecap (Chilli & Sweet Soy Condiment)

I know exactly what you wanna say...
- I can't believe she grilled a bird again!
- Can she do anything else other than grilled bird?
- If I saw another grilled bird on this blog, I'm gonna...(fill in the blank)
- Another bird? That's it. I'm gonna unfollow, unsubscribe, unfriend, and everything else starting with "un" her.


I know, I know, I know!
But I just can't help it.
I like easy and tasty, and these grilled birds are.

This time, I tried grilling chicken using Jamie's duck grilling method. Obviously, because it is easier than my old method, which involves marinating, covering, uncovering, lowering and cranking up heat etc. All those steps got eliminated and I wonder if it would still end up as good.

- 1 (relatively small) chicken
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 6 cloves of shallot or half an onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cm ginger, sliced thinly
- turmeric powder, ground corriander seeds, cumin, salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 180C. Rinse chicken, pat dry, I removed neck, feet, tail, tip of wings and excess fat. Stuff some garlic, ginger slices and shallot in the chicken's cavity and or in between skin and flesh. Rub chicken all over with salt, pepper, ground corriander seeds, cumin and turmeric powder. Generously. Remember the cavity and in between the skin and flesh. Place chicken on baking dish and grill (uncovered) for 1 hour, flip and grill for another hour (total two hours).

Crispy, golden delicious skin, tender, juicy and tasty flesh.

I mentioned that the best way to consume this sorta chicken is with Indonesian sambal, right?
This time I made sambal kecap.

Back home, we'd use mortar and pestle to make the paste. Alternatively, we could use a blender or food processor to do it. But since the thought of having to wash a food processor, the vessel, the blade, the cover, etc scared me beyond belief, I decided to chop all of the ingredients. Whew!

- 20 red chilli (I removed most of the core and seeds, leaving only about 5 with seeds and OMG! the sambal stil ended up so bloody hot)
- 2 small cloves of garlic, minced
- 4 cloves of shallot, thinly sliced
- juice of half a lime
- 1 tsp salt, fish sauce, kecap manis, olive oil

Heat up a bit of olive oil, saute chilli, garlic and shallot (you'll need a super strong exhaust fan. If you're making this for a party, it is better to do it before your guests arrived, I've experienced suffocating my guests with chilli fume before) until fragrant, add salt, fish sauce, and kecap manis. Transfer to a bowl and drizzle lime juice over it.

Grilled chicken + sambal + hot steamy rice (eaten with bare hands) = undescribable.

I wish I could promise that this would be the last grilled chicken I post....but you know I can't :p

Monday, January 18, 2010

Indonesian Restaurant 1968, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

What happens if you put food + twitter junkies together?
They tweet & eat, eat & tweet.

I have seen some posts where food bloggers meet each other, get together for a great meal, take each other's pictures devouring tasty food, gossip show off share food/blogging experiences, all in all having a fan-freaking-tastic time.

To be honest, I was jealous as hell.
I haven't met any of my food blogger friends at all!
This is my first :)
I took my blog and twitter buddies trying Indonesian food at Indonesian Restaurant 1968, Causeway Bay. I was so glad to meet another fellow Indonesian, the adorable and amazingly youthful @sporbo. She and I often bitch about share our longing for authentic Indonesian treats via twitter :D

The ever so gorgeous and multitalented @coffeemeow. Is there anything she isn't good at? Read her insightful take on life on her blog, Between Coffees and be inspired. I was hopeless at food styling, I was so glad when she helped me styling this gado gado dish into this gorgeousness below...

Otherwise, you'd keep staring at a chipped bowl instead.

The first food blogger friend I've ever met! Sweet & lovely (ok, these are really weird words to describe a guy, sorry about that :p) @jasonbonvivant from Life as a Bon Vivant. He knows so much about Hong Kong food, he is pretty much our living and breathing :D
Look at Jason's ultra serious expression when he was photographing the gado gado. Adorable, right girls? ;)

Now, about the gado gado. I don't get it sometimes. I can get instant gado gado peanut dressing from any random Indonesian shops and it would taste pretty close to the ones served in Indonesia. How can Indonesian restaurants serve worse gado gado dressing than the instant ones? The vegetables served in gado gado are normally blanched until they are soft, and these were raw. There were no fried tofu, tempe (soybean cake), as well as emping (another type of crackers, which can be easily purchased in any Indonesian supermarkets in Hong Kong). The gado gado is normally drenched and mixed well with its sauce, served with a touch of acid (from lime/kalamansi), and this was not. To conclude, the gado gado is not authentic. This is a just vegetable salad with peanut sauce and prawn chips, being sold as gado gado.

Next victim? The sate. Again, not authentic and they're not the improved version of the sate you get from Indonesian street vendors.

We're missing the smoky charcoal aroma we get from sate, the meat wasn't the most tender nor flavorful, we almost didn't get any distinct flavor from each meat at all (chicken, beef, pork?). The dressing was a sweet and too watery peanut...liquid, which could be improved very easily with some chopped raw shallot, chilli and a drizzle of lime and kecap manis. My non Indonesian friends, this is not what Indonesian sate is about.

@sporbo and I were totally puzzled when we were presented with this plate. We ordered a lontong capgomeh, and this is what we got. It's a pile of lontong (Indonesian rice cakes) in the form of a tumpeng (yellow rice platter). All the "accessories" the lontong were served with (kering teri/kacang, kripik kentang, perkedel, telor balado, etc)...are those normally served with Indonesian yellow rice instead of lontong capgomeh. Lontong capgomeh is normally served soupy with flavorful coconut milk soup base, and this was served dry. If this was lontong capgomeh, then maybe I am not Indonesian.

Was it really that bad? Oh, no worries, the bad news ended there. The beef rendang was pretty authentic. It was not as tender as I'd like it to be, but it is pretty normal for beef rendang to be not so tender, even the ones in Indonesia. The flavors were right, and it tasted fantastic with rice.

The semur lidah (Indonesian stewed ox tongue). Although it is again not served in an authentic manner (semur lidah is normally served as a soup), but this dish was great. It's one of my favorites from this place. The thick cut tongue pieces were absolutely melt-in-your-mouth tender, and the thick sweet sauce served with it was flavorful.

We ordered a couple of nasi kuning (Indonesian yellow rice) and it was served in cute little banana leaf cones. The nasi kuning was yummy, the Indonesian flavors were there.

Indonesia's answer to croquette, perkedel. This is a dish which I've failed to recreate at home numerous times, and these ones were fantastic! It's everything a perkedel should be. Crispy on the outside, soft and flavorful on the inside. I ate a lot of this with the rice for some classic Indonesian style carb on carb action :D

Normally, I'd never order perkedel jagung (corn fritters) in restaurants, as I found them ridiculously pricey and it is easy to make at home. However, I realize that I am never in the mood for deep frying at home, and the cheap ones I get from Indonesian supermarkets (HK$10 for 3 pieces) aren't good at all. Plus, we feel that corn fritters are totally underrated, I am sure that most of my non Indo friends haven't heard of it. So glad we went for it, as we were really pleased with this golden delicious fritters.

@sporbo and I chuckled when we browsed through the drinks menu and saw mojito under "Indonesian cocktails". Since when mojito is Indonesian? :D
I ordered a guava soda, which I think was a boxed guava juice topped with soda, but it was surprisingly good. The soda really tamed the over sweetness of the boxed guava juice.

Despite a couple of misses on the food, there were plenty of good ones. @sporbo and I were happy to have introduced some Indonesian food beyond sate and nasi goreng to our friends. We had an amazing time enjoying the food, drinks, and more importantly, each other's company. In fact, we enjoyed ourselves a little too much, we were the only customers left in the restaurants right up to its closing time.

Indonesian Restaurant 1968
28 Leighton Rd, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Tel: 2577-9981

All the above food + 2 sodas + 1 bottle of white wine cost us around HK$250 per person

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Chocolate Steamed Milk Dessert from Yee Shun Milk Company

If you walked past these...


...and these...
Take a moment, drool for a bit...
Get in.

...and enjoy.

The problem with dessert specific places is...if I walked past them before lunch/dinner, I'd say to myself "I'm gonna have that later after my meal". Normally, it wouldn't realize, as I'd stuff myself silly during my meal or had dessert with my meal and won't have any space left for anything.

This time, I was having none of it.
I promised myself that I would take a better control of myself at lunch, and would leave some space for one of these babies.
Determination, self control...
...are clearly things I was not born with.

Again, I couldn't help but devour everything on my plate and stuffed myself to my eyeballs.

Never eat something you love when you're stuffed, or you might lose your love. (Wat???)
I didn't want to NOT enjoy my dessert.
So, I went for an intense round of shopping, and went back to the shop when I had enough space for it (like within one hour haha ^_*)

My favorite from Yee Shun is this Chocolate Steamed Milk Egg Dessert.
I tried doing
my version at home.
While mine was really chocolatey, I failed to achieve the same texture of Yee Shun's one. Silky, slippery, satiny smooth, sweet, creamy and chocolatey.
I bet there's a little corn starch in there somewhere.
I wonder why it's only served cold.
Anyone knows?

This is Yee Shun on openrice.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Black Chicken (Silkie), Mushrooms & Coconut Soup

When I was browsing through my photo folder to see which food gets flaunted shown off shared today...I suddenly realised that...I still owe you a soup recipe from my
junk food fest birthday bash!

The feeling of owing a lot of people (and by "a lot of people" I two of them ^_^) is not good.
- It's like there's a heavy stone that needs to be lifted off my heart (I was told that this is a result of eating too much unhealthy food and burping will easily solve this)
- It's like there's a heavy person sitting on my shoulders (I was told that this is only natural for a person who spends almost her whole waking hour in front of a computer)
- It's like there's something that clouds my mind, demanding solutions (I was probably only thinking about dinner right after lunch)

I guess all of my "not good" feelings aren't caused by my owing people recipes after all :p

Anyway, here's another super simple recipe.

You love super simple recipes, don't you?


- 5 cups of mushrooms of your choice (but straw mushroom and its earthy scent is a must for me), cleaned, sliced
- A pack of coconut meat that's chopped into pieces, rinsed
- 1 silkie chicken (black chicken), rinsed, pat dry
- olive oil, water (or stock), salt, pepper, sugar

Heat up a pot, saute mushrooms with olive oil, add the rest of the ingredients, add water (or stock), bring to boil, lower down heat and simmer for min 2 hours, remember to skim the floaty fatty bits. Season with salt and pepper, add a bit of sugar if you want to have the tasty effect of MSG (without adding MSG), serve hot.

Subtle chicken flavor, earthy mushrooms, sweet 'n smooth coconut...nuff said.

Why did I use black chicken (silkie)?
- I haven't tried it before
- Black is so "in" this winter
- My Chinese friends told me that it has more health benefits (lower calories, lower fat content, more antioxidant) than our good ol' regular chicken
- I was told that it is more mildly flavored than regular chicken (sc hates chicken that smells too "chickeny")
- Have you seen a silkie before? They're so mighty cute I started to feel bad cooking them~

Would it work with regular chicken? I think it would, try it and let me know?