Saturday 19 December 2009

Tomato Chicken Stew

Recently I saw this dish in one of my favourite TCS Channel 8, TV show known as "星期二特写之《家传菜7》". In this show, they actually shares about family tie and pass-down homecook food from older generation. I remember, about two years ago, I have a chance to chat with one of the producer who is interested to find out on what are the traditional pass-down homecook food that I would like to share with the viewer if I will to be invited on this show :) But too bad, at that time I am still a novice in cooking so I dare not agreed on their invitation.....

But in this particular series that I saw that day, I was very impressed by this simple and yet nutritious homecook dish that is shared by columnist, Ng Wai Choy on his beloved grandmother Tomato Chicken. Upon viewing that show, my memories on my late, grandmother also vividly appears in my version with all her lovely dishes for us. So I decided to give this dish a try since it only require very basic ingredients.

Ingredients: (serves 2 -3)
5 Pairs of Chicken Wings with Drumlets
5 Medium Size Tomato, cut into wedges
2 - 3 Medium Size Red Onion, cut into wedges
3 Cloves of Garlic, lightly crushed
1/2 to 1 Tablespoon of Oyster Sauce
100ml water

1. Clean and wash the chicken wings and separate the wings and drumlet.
2. Preheat the pan and saute the onion and garlic with 1/2 tablespoon of oil till fragrance, add in the tomato wedges and continue to saute till the tomato wedges are soften.(about 3 - 5 minutes)
3. Next add in the chicken pieces, and give it a quick stir, then follow by the oyster sauce.
4. Continue to simmer for about 1 minute, add in water, bring to boil, covered and continue to simmer on low heat for another 10 minutes or so until the chicken pieces are cooked through and soften.
5. Remove from heat and served with warm rice.

As you can see from the steps, this is a very simple to prepare homecook food that is full of nutritious and vibrant. The use of Red Onion in this recipe adds extra fragrance and sweetness to the dish. So don't wait any longer, grab some extra red and big tomato and onion during your next visit to the grocery stall and try out this super easy one-pot dish. Posted by Picasa

The Pasta Shop By Sakae

The Pasta Shop at Wheelock Place branch is one of the sister company own by the popular sushi chain restaurant - Sakae Sushi. Since we are at Orchard area doing our last minutes Christmas Gifts shopping, we decided to pop-in and to try some of their chef recommended items.

As readers of my blogs, you will know that I simply love all kinds of soup. So whenever I visit any restaurant, I will sure order one of their soup. For today, I ordered their Clam Chowder soup which cost around S$7.90 per bowl. The texture of the soup was great and i not over powder by the taste of the clam chowder. And the bread sticks goes just well with the soup so I guess this is worth trying :)

We ordered two plates of pasta dish, one is the TPS Carbonara served in Wafu cream sauce with crispy bacon and sunny-side up egg. The taste of the sauce was great, it was slightly infused with the fragrance of the bacon and left it with a kind of smokey taste. The sunny-side up egg is so nicely done that it adds extra points to the dish as well as the overall appearance.

Rey choose this "Japanese Style - Braised Five Flower Pork Burger" from the menu list because he was aiming at the fries and bread......... While I was eying on the "Braised Pork Belly". When the manager placed the burger on the table, we will so shock. The burger was "HUGE", it was about 1.5 times or slightly bigger than the usual fast food burger that we use to have. The homemade bread was soft and nice, but we still find that the braised pork can be more soften as in and full of that special favour that melt in the mouth.

There are really too many selection to choose from the menu, so after much thinking and selecting, we settle for this chef recommendation of the Japanese Style Tsuyu Cream Sauce with Sea Urchin, Salmon Roe and Squid topped with extra shredded nori sheet. The waitress was very kind and thoughtful that she actually let us know before confirming our order that the 3 main ingredients are all RAW. Personally, this is our very first time trying out Sea Urchin(also known as Uni), and the most challenging part is we have to eat this raw........ But at least, we took the courage to try it out and it has a very strong aroma and taste which might not be acceptable by most people.

As for refreshing, we ordered a cup of coffee and this Yuzu Ice Blended. Yuzu (柚子) has an aromatic zest that is used for garnishing some dishes or bakes while its juice is commonly used as a seasoning, somewhat like the way the lemon is used in other cuisines. This Yuzu Ice Blended has a very refreshing and fragrance taste that can "washed" away the grease of those creamy pasta and pork belly that we consumed :p And they also topped this drink with some fresh cut Aloe Vera to enhance the texture.Posted by Picasa

If love western pasta, you might wish to give this Japanese-style pasta shop a visit and try out their way of preparing these mouth-watering pasta dishes.

Thursday 17 December 2009

Assorted Decorated Christmas Cookies

Decorated Christmas cookies can be found easily during Christmas season in most bakery. It can be made as simple as a sugar cookie dusted with colored sprinkles, or an elaborate with different combination of decorating techniques to create an edible work of art. Whereas, each cookie is unique and it makes excellent as homemade gifts that work great for Christmas cookie exchanges.

A Gingerbread man is a cookie made of gingerbread, usually in the shape of a human. It started back to the 15th century where figural cookie-making was practiced and the first documented figure-shaped gingerbread cookies appearing was in the court of Elizabeth I of England. Today, gingerbread man cookies can take form in any shapes and colour depend on the ingredients used and some might only take after it's name but without adding spices or ginger as one of the traditional ingredients.

Although it might look and sound tedious on the making and decorating process but I am sure it worth all the time and effort just to bring a smile on the recipients' face. In this recipe, I omitted the use of spices because my boy don't really fancy the taste of it. Instead I used the 70% Dark chocolate and I sugar syrup using Kahlua(Coffee flavored liqueur) and sugar to enhance the fragrance and taste.

125g Plain Flour
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon Powder, optional
40g Caster Sugar
30ml Water
15ml Kahlua
50g Dark Chocolate
45g Butter

1. Sift flour, baking soda and baking powder together.
2. Combine sugar, water and Kahlua in a small sauce and simmer over low heat to form syrup(until sugar melted, stir on and off to prevent burning)
3. Melt the chocolate and butter in microwave (medium low for 15 - 20 sec), removed and stir the mixture till well combined.
4. Add the slightly cool chocolate into the flour mixture, mix well then pour in the sugar syrup to form a smooth dough.
5. Divide the dough into two portion in two different plastic bags and flatten slightly, keep in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
6. Roll out 1 portion of the dough between two sheets of baking paper to about 5mm thickness.
7. Cut out different shapes using the Christmas cookies cutters.
8. Bake for about 12 - 15 minutes till cooked.
9. Remove from oven, set aside to cool then decorate with royal icing.

When the cookies are completely cool to room temperature, you can make different colour of Royal Icing to decorate your Christmas cookies accordingly to your liking. And this is the fun part where you can get the kids at home to participate. I am sure they will enjoy decorating their favour cookies which make great bonding time for the family.

65g Icing Sugar
1/2 Egg White
1/4 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
Assorted Food Colourings
Assorted Christmas Theme Sprinkles, optional

1. Sift the icing sugar and set aside.
2. Beat the egg white till foamy then add in lemon juice and icing sugar in a few batches till smooth. (about 5 - 8 minutes, it must be a spreadable consistency)
3. Divide the icing into a few portion then mixed with your desire colours.
4. Spoon icing into disposal piping bag, snip the tip off and pipe decorative outlines and design on each biscuit.

This is a "Stars Tower' done by boy where he stack up three different size of the star cookies to form the shape of a little Christmas Tree. He also sprinkle some Christmas Red, Green & White Nonpareils on it.

While playing one of the Facebook game - Pet Society, Rey has a virtual Christmas tree in it. So while decorating the cookies, he also insists of having a big Tree for him to decorate with his favourite toppings. So he used his favourite M&M with only green and red plus some Silver Dragees that we have in the pantry.

Finally, we have finished decorating our Christmas Cookies with all sort of designs that we can think of. And as you can see, these cookies will look just great for gifts during this season after decorated with these colourful icing and sprinkles. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday 16 December 2009

Christmas Fruitcake

Fruitcake is a cake made with chopped candied fruit and/or dried fruit, nuts, and spices that soaked in spirits. Since Christmas is around the corner, it will be the time where you can spot all kinds of fruitcake in the bakery showcase. No matter which type you prefer, what ingredients you want it to be, I am sure there is always a kind to your liking.

From what I had read from books before, it shares that actually fruitcakes were consumed on the twelfth night which is the last day of Christmas traditionally. But despite of what it is, today, you can buy or even make a decent fruitcake at anytime of the year. So today what I wanted to share with you is this golden fruitcake which is full with antioxidants in yellow orange dried fruit like Mango, Apricot and Peach.

125g Butter, soften
250g Dried Mixed Fruit
1 Orange Rind, roughly chopped
40ml Fresh Orange Juice
40ml RUM
1 Tablespoon Caster Sugar
2 Eggs
1 Cup(125g) Plain Flour

For Decor:
Some extra Dried Mixed Fruit/Candied Fruit

For Glace:
1 1/2 Tablespoon Apricot Jam with 1 Teaspoon Hot Water

1. In a bowl, combined dried mixed fruit and orange rind together, pour in the rum and orange juice.
2. Leave it to soak overnight in the fridge.
3. Grease a tube cake pan or 2 disposal small rectangle paper case.
4. Beat butter together with caster sugar till light and creamy, add in egg one at a time and beat well after each addition.
5. Fold in dried fruit alternately with flour and pour batter into cake pan and bake in a preheat oven of 150 degree for about 25 - 30 minutes or until cooked.
6. When the cake cooled down, brush with apricot jam and decorate with extra mixed fruit on top.

1) You can buy the pre-packed dried mixed fruit from any supermarket under dried fruit session.
2) I use the cold storage brand "Breakfast Mix" that consists of California Raisins and Cranberries. Other than these, I also add in chopped mango, apricot and peach.

For this fruitcake, it is infuse with a very light and fragrance citric and fruity taste due to the use of fresh orange juice, orange rind and Rum. You can see from the cross-section of the cake that it is fully packed with assorted mixed fruits. So what can be more meaning to make something like this and pack it up as this coming Christmas Gift and share it with your love ones. Posted by Picasa