Tuesday 30 March 2010

Chocolate Hot Cross Buns

Often Easter isn't complete without eating some warm hot cross buns straight from the oven. So for this coming Easter, perhaps you would like to give this recipe a try and bake a batch of your own. I saw this recipe from one of the Australia best selling Food Magazine known as "Super Food Idea". I am a big fan of this magazine during my stay in Australia a few years back and today all thanks to my dear friend, Quinn who stays in Adelaide. With her help on getting this magazine for us, we are able to try out this wonderful Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Bun. She is so sweet and helpful that she even take photo of the recipes and email to me in case we don't received the book before Easter.

Sunday 28 March 2010

Nested Easter

Today is exactly 1 more week to Easter Sunday. Christians celebrate Easter Sunday because they believed Jesus rose from death. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the fundamental principles and beliefs of Christianity and they celebrate Easter Sunday because they believe, Jesus died for their sin on the Cross-on Good Friday, buried and rose from death on Sunday.

Friday 26 March 2010

Double-Boiled Fresh Lily Bulbs Soup

Recently a lot of my son's classmates as well as a few members in our family are suffering for dry cough/sore throat due to the hot and humid weather. And while chatting with one of my son's classmate parent, she has shared with me some remedies for smoothing throat as well as cough which they practice way back in her hometown, in China. Although the ingredients that they used are rather simple and inexpensive, but the result is so effective and some of it can also be treated as one of the summer cooling dessert too.....

Lily bulbs taste slightly sweet and is slightly Cold in nature. It benefits the Lungs and Heart as well as nourishes the Lungs, stops cough and calms the nerves. It has certain effects on cough and helps with anxiety and insomnia. Lily Bulbs are rich in proteins, phosphorous and carbohydrates which is one of the good body tonifying and nerve calming Chinese medicine for those suffering from cough due to coldness and loose stools should not eat. Fresh Lily bulbs are rich in glucose that promotes digestion and they are commonly used in cooking and desserts.

Ginkgo nourishes the lungs and relieves asthma but this cannot be taken too much at a time.

Ingredients: (serves 2)
2 - 3 Medium Size Fresh Lily Bulbs(鲜百合)
8 - 10 Fresh Ginkgo Nuts
500ml Boiling Water
Rock Sugar to Taste
2 Pandan Leaves, optional

1. Rinse, clean and remove the petals from the bulbs, soak in water for a few seconds to remove dirt.
2. Wash and clean the pandan leave then tie it into a knot and set aside.
3. Bring 500ml of water to boil, add in the fresh ginkgo nuts, lily bulbs petals and pandan leave and bring it to boil.
4. Transfer the mixture to a double-boiler and place it in a slow cooker set on AUTO mode and cook for about 1.5 hour on HIGH.
5. Or alternatively, you can simmer on low heat over the stove for about 30 minutes.
6. Sweeten it with rock sugar and serve warm.

~ You can purchase Fresh Lily Bulbs and Ginkgo Nuts is most local supermarket at the vegetable chiller section.

This is a very tasty sweet soup that is suitable for all members of the family. And if you are towards the healthy or weight-watching side, perhaps you can omit the adding of rock sugar and consume this soup on base on it's natural sweetness and fragrance that is being released from the lily bulbs petals. My son loves the taste of this soup and also due to the long hour of simmering/double-boiled, the lily petals will be soften with the melt -in your mouth texture. Posted by Picasa

Monday 22 March 2010

Beetroot & Sweet Corn Soup

I have very limited encounter with "Beetroot" as I only ate it as one of the ingredients found in some sandwiches. Although I have heard/saw a lot of interesting recipes using "Beetroot" as one of their ingredients, I have never thought of using it till today. And to my surprised this can really blend well into our Asian soup too.....

Beetroot can consider to be a very versatile ingredient that can be in many area of cooking. For eg:- in salad, sandwiches, bakes, cakes, dessert and even soup. Sometime it can also be use as a dye to replace artificial colouring. So today's soup of the day, we will try this together with corn and carrot which will add in extra sweetness to the soup.

Ingredients:- (serves 4)
500g Pork Ribs
2 Medium Size Beetroots
1 Sweet Corn, cut into section
1 Medium Carrot, cut into 1" slices
6-8 Red Dates
1/2 Tablespoon Wolfberries, optional
1.5 Liter of Boiling Water

1. Rinse, clean and place the pork ribs in boiling water for about 3 minutes, remove and rinse well. Set aside for later use.
2. Rinse the beetroot, peel of the outer skin with a vegetable peeler. Cut it into big cubes or wedges.
3. Remove the husk and leaves of the corn, rinse and cut it into 3 sections.
4. Bring 1.5 Litre of water to boil in a medium soup pot, add in all the above ingredients except wolfberries.
5. When the mixture comes to boil again, lower the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes or alternatively you can transfer the soup to a slow cooker and cook it on AUTO for about 2.5 hours or so. (add in wolfberries 15 minutes before cooking time)

This soup is so sweet and full of flavour that it don't even require any extra seasoning. The sweetness comes naturally from all the ingredients used and the colour of the soup look so gorgeous. From the glance of it, it looks just like any red wine/red currant juice. Em... but just a little sharing, although the soup might give a little "Rooty" flavour but this is indeed a very nutritious soup for kids. We ate all the ingredients except the "beetroot" because it has a very odd taste which my boy feedback that it taste like "roots/wood" :p Posted by Picasa

Friday 19 March 2010

New Menu @ Sakae Sushi

I didn't know that Sakae has a branch located at Icon Village around 12 Gopeng Street which is within less than 10 minutes walk from "Tanjong Pager MRT - 丹戎巴葛地铁站". Since we are all at Mum's new place at Pinnacle Duxton, rey suggests that he wanted to have sushi for lunch at Sakae which Uncle Daniel bought him once before.

Because of the lunch hour crowds we managed to get a place at the conveyor belt table after some "not so good" incidents happened. But after all the 5 of us are still very excited to try out those new items on their New Menu.

Rey was too hungry and busy with his usual "Tamago Sushi" that he has starts his meal without waiting for us. I was impressed by their new menu which is bright and colourful and it gives us a very classy outlook.

There are about 5 new salad items on the new menu for you to select from. Actually I am looking at the "Maguro Tataki Salad" which is not available at that branch according to the Manager. So we will have to go for the 2nd choice which is this "Wafu Salad". We must compliment that their ingredients are very fresh and it goes well with their sweet salad dressing.

Mum suggest that she would like to have something hot and soupy so I introduce her this new "Chicken Sukiyaki" which is like a mini hotpot that consists of toufu, negi(type of green onion), vegetables, chicken, mushroom and jelly noodles in a pot of sweet broth. Rather than using the Raw Egg as a dipping sauce, mum prefer to add it into the hot soup to give it more flavour. Em... while eating this Sukiyaki, I found a special Fried tofu pouch that contain so mochi like fillings in it. Other than we all agreed that the soup is more towards the sweet side of our preference, the taste and ingredients are all worth to give this a go.

With the new menu, they have this S$3.99 pink plates which consists of some worth trying items. Here I will share with you 4 of the items that we select from the menu. 1st let's look at this "Unagi Tamgo Sushi" which they add another layer of Tamago on top of the usual Unagi Sushi to enhance the sweetness of this dish.

This "Soft Shell Crab Sushi" seems to look good which half portion of the crab stick to a piece of sushi rice. Aunty comments that the crab is not crispy enough and it's kind of oily too. So perhaps this will not be on our list again :)

"Ebi with Kanifumi" consits of rice stuffed in the fried tofu pouch and top with ingredients like prawn, crabmeat and tamago. This stuff will be great for those who loves seafood without extra sauce combination.

"Ni Hotate with Tobiko" captures my attention while flipping through the ordering menu because I love the vibrant colour of this dish. Furthermore, the toppings are one of my aunty and mother-in-law's favourite.

Here comes the "Butterfly Mentai" that we are all very disappointed with. The colour of the prawns seems to be over-cooked and the colour of the Mentai topping look so huge different from the one showing on the menu. Although the taste is quite good but the appearance won't bring it for another ordering. Perhaps I should give it a second chance to try at another Sakae branch to compare the end-result :p

Avocado is always one of our favourite fruit on sushi toppings, whatever sushi or side dish that include avocado will definitely be in our considering list. "Unagi Avocado Maki" is another new item found on their Special Makimono section.

Talk about tofu in Sakae, our favourite used to be their "Fried Tofu" or "Agadasi Tofu" but now, we have another choice:- "Lobster Salad Tofu" @ S$7.99. If you are craving for some cold appetiser like lobster salad, this will be a great dish for you. The tofu taste great with their special dressing and everyone of us feel so refreshing with this dish.

Finally, it's dessert time again!!!! I have being aiming for this "Matcha Cheesecake - S$5.99" long before they release on the branch from Sakae facebook updates. We were all very impress by their new serving of this cheesecake which consists of 3 layer of plain cheese, red bean filling and matcha flavour cheese filling. In the end, we all agreed that this taste more like ice-cream cake rather than cheesecake :)

Lastly, I must highly recommend this "Matcha Ice Cream with Warabi Mochi" which cost S$3.99. The Matcha ice-cream is so full of flavour that we all fell in love with it. This ice-cream has a very fragrant Azuki Bean taste in it and the texture is so creamy and smooth with a refreshing matcha scent. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday 17 March 2010

Hot Cross Buns & Roasted Strawberries

Easter Sunday will be coming in about 3 more weeks time and even now you can find all sort of Easter goodies available in local supermarkets such as Easter Bunny/Egg chocolate. Other than Easter Egg, Hot Cross Bun is also another popular snack to be consumed during Good Friday. It is a type of sweet spiced bun made with currants or raisins and leavened with yeast that has has a cross marked on the top.

Thursday 11 March 2010

Jalan Sultan Prawn Mee

Off Geylang Lorong 1, at a coffee shop opposite Kallang MRT there is this famous "Jalan Sultan Prawn Mee" that is always crowded with people especially during lunch peak hours. This coffee shop has about more than 30 over tables with 3 stalls selling beverage, prawn noodles and wu xiang.

It has being about 4 years since my last visit till now, and I am admit that their soup base is still as good as before. We ordered the "Pork Ribs" with "Prawn Noodles" which I think is worth its cost. I personally believed that, a bowl of good prawn noodles lies on it's soup. The soup here is full of flavour, sweetness and a kind of special taste that you would want to finish off the whole bowl of soup. Other than pork ribs and prawn, it also comes with some lean meat and vegetables.

For those who prefer dry version of this prawn noodles, they only have 3 types of noodles for your selection which is the "yellow noodles - 黄面", "thick vermicelli - 粗米粉" and "thin rice noodle - 河粉". We think their chilli sauce for the dry version is not as good as the soup use for the soup version unless you are those who prefer dried prawn noodles. Posted by Picasa

Lerk Thai @ Woodland Civic Centre

There are a lot of Thai Restaurants in Singapore for those who fancy hot and spicy Thai cuisine that range from budget to high-end spending. But no matter which type you are targeting for, I am each restaurant will have some of their special dish that will capture your taste bubs. Today we will be trying this Open-concept style Thai restaurant that is located on the ground of Woodland Civic Centre which is known as Lerk Thai.

The 1st appetiser to be served is this Vietnam Spring Roll which is accompany with their special "peanut dipping sauce". These spring roll are stuffed with “rice vermicelli - 米粉”, “assorted vegetables” , “cooked prawns” and etc and it is wrapped with a layer of Rice Paper wrapper. It is a very light dish which can be served as appetizer or finger food.

Next to come is this “Yam Som OPomelo Salad with Shrimps & Peanut” which is a very popular appetizer amongst the Thai Kampong Folks. I was attracted to the presentation of this appetizer where the chef used the orange peel as a “serving cup” for this dish to give it an extra critic flavour. This appetizer is rather towards a bit of salty dish due to the adding of "Fish Sauce - 魚露" and I find the adding of small onion(shallot) has actually overpower the taste of this dish.

This “clear” seafood Tom Yum Soup comes with a generous amount of assorted seafood like fish, prawn and squid together with some straw mushroom. Although the soup look clear without any chilli oil or so, but it does taste hot and spicy with a light critic fragrance which makes it absolutely refreshing. You can either have it with some steam rice or you can order this soup to be served with rice noodles.

Here comes my favourite “Deep-fried Pandan Leaf Chicken” which is a popular dish in Bangkok. The Pandan leaf is used to keep the juices of the chicken in a parcel so that you will still able to taste the tender & juicy fried chicken.

"Pad Thai - Thai Style Fried Kway Teow" is one of my favourite noodle dish on the ordering dish. I love the texture of these thin rice noodles and the combination of the side ingredients such as lime wedges, peanuts and chilli powder. This is very different compare to the usual "Char Kway Teow" that we have in Singapore which is stir-fried over very high heat with light and dark soy sauce, chilli, belachan, tamarind juice, prawns/deshelled cockles, bean sprouts and chinese sausage.

After a hearty meal, it is time for some sweet refreshments. From the list of desserts that they have in the menu, we select these "Colourful Mini Dumplings" which is cooked Tapioca dumplings served in coconut milk. But we are kind of disappointed as the dumpling is hard and not chewy and it seems rather tasteless too.

As for the "Mango Pomelo Sago", the mango cream looks dull and it seems to be lack of the mango taste which compare to those that we have tried in other restaurants. Personally, we don't find the these two dessert worth to try on, perhaps their "Mango & Glutinous Rice with Coconut Milk" is much more worth it than these two. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday 10 March 2010

Durian Feast - 猫山王

Look at this gorgeous fruit which you will either "Loves" it or "Hates" it. This is one of the Asian Tropical Fruit which is known as Durian or the "King of Fruits". This fruit is distinctive for its large size, unique odour and thorn-covered husk. The durian is a seasonal fruit and in Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore, the season for durians is typically from June to August, which coincides with the Mangosteen.

Prices of durians are relatively high as compared with other fruits. For example, "Mao Shan Wang - 猫山王" which is the most famous durian among durian lover has a retail prices of between S$8 to S$15 per kilogram and with an average weight of about 1.5 kilograms, a durian fruit would therefore cost about S$15 to S$22 depending on its weight. The taste of the durian flesh were sweet, creamy, dry and a kind of bitterness taste that leave you with an unforgettable taste. And after trying this I guarantee that you won't go back for D24 anymore. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday 9 March 2010

Winter Melon, Sweetcorn & Pork Ribs Soup

The weather for the past few weeks had being so hot and humid that we really need to have some cooling soup to cool down our body system. While chatting with one of the mum of my boy classmate, she was sharing with us on some of her daily soup that she made for her family. One of the key ingredients that she often use for soup is "Winter Melon - 冬瓜", which we rarely cooked in our household.

Accordingly to some housewife myth, Winter Melon is used to boil soup with pork ribs or other herbs for cooling purpose such as quenches thirst and expel summer Heat. Whereas Huai Shan whets the appetite and strengthens the Spleen while Gou Qi Zi improves eyesight and promotes blood cell formation so these two mild herbs are suitable for the whole family. The use of carrots can also lower the blood glucose, invigorate the Spleen too. On the other hand, Corn is rich in many kinds of Vitamin B and C, thus preventing vascular sclerosis.

Ingredients: (serves 4)
1 Round Piece of Winter Melon(冬瓜), around 150 - 200g
300g of Pork Ribs
100g Fresh Huai Shan(淮山)
1 Small Carrot, cut into 1" thick
1 Corn(玉米), cut into 3 sections
5 Red Dates(红枣)
1/2 Tablespoon of Wolfberries(枸杞子)
1.5 Litre of Boiling Water

1. Roughly peel off the outer skin of the winter melon, scrap off the seed, rinse and cut into 2" rectangle cubes size.
2. Repeat the same procedure for the fresh huai shan and set aside.
3. Blanched the pork ribs in boiling water for about 30 seconds, rinse and set aside.
4. Bring the pot of water (1.5 litres) to boil, add in the pork ribs, winter melon, huai shan, carrot, corn and red dates to boil for about 5 minutes.
5. Transfer the pot of soup to slow cooker and cook on AUTO for at least 2 hrs. Add in wolfberries 30 minutes before cooking time.
6. Or if you don't have any slow-cooker at home, you can simmer the soup on the stove for about 45 minutes on low heat.

So why not try to whip out this cooling soup for your family during this hot and humid weather to quench their thirst as well as build up their immune system. I am sure this will be a great soup for kids as the adding of carrot and corn gives this soup it's nature sweetness as well as that extra flavour. Posted by Picasa