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Friday, May 27, 2011

Progress on my Herb Garden!

So. a few weeks back i started a little herb garden. I started them out from seeds and i grew 5 different herbs. On their little packages, most of them state that they will take about 2 weeks to germinate.

It has been 2 weeks 5 days. and i’m so happy to say that they’ve grown through the horrible weather here. We’ve had wind, rain and cold temperatures. I also don’t get much sun here at my front balcony. so i’m very satisfied and happy at their progress.

After 1 week


I totally forgot where i planted what. so i was so happy that these on the left hand side grew out first – but i have no idea what they are until they grow big.

Nothing much going on on the right hand side.

After 2 weeks 5 days

I took it opposite – so this is where the right hand side was. I have a feeling the long long stems should be spring onions.

This is da centre. So we have a little growth there too. I think it should be rosemary? Cause they grow the tallest, so i kept them in the middle. Not 100% sure though.

The left hand side – little sprouts with little leaves.

Had to bring them inside the balcony instead of nearer to the pavement, where there is more sunlight, but unshaded, so when it rains, i think it gives them a little too much water. I had to run out and save them on tuesday.. haha!

And to suit the green thumb!

Green nails! The colour’s not too right though. This is really green. the classic green. grass green. rich vibrant green.

Okie! So i can’t wait to see them grow even more!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pork Belly. An easy way.

Maybe about a month ago, i ordered 2 strips of pork belly from butcher2u, it wasn’t exactly what i wanted. I was used to ordering a big slab of pork belly but they didn’t have it on the website, but they had pork spare ribs (belly) with a little bone in them. It’s like shao rou – you know where you have the little white bone at the bottom. No harm really. I was intending to braise them but never got around too.

then one day, not too long ago, i remember something i ate with my mum a while back. I think we were in a hurry and we needed lunch, so we had to cook something to eat. it was so simple and yet, so delicious.

The fast way is to just boil a pot of water and simmer the meat in it, no marinade, nothing what so ever, just meat and water. Simmer till the meat is tender.

In my case, i had class that day from 4-6pm. So before i left the house, i washed meat and plucked the hairs and placed it into my rice cooker with adequate water covering the meat (i used it as stock for another dish). I used the soup setting and set it to cook for 2 hours.

When i returned home, the meat was wonderfully tender.

All you then need to do is slice the meat up into little chunks. It’s a little messy cause it’s so tender. you could always just have the whole piece to yourself, then you don’t have to cut it.

What’s the other most important thing? Your dip.

And it’s simple too. Just dark soy sauce and sliced red chilli. I like mine spicy.

If you wanna make it a little more fancy, add some grated garlic.

This is so so so so delicious.

The 3 of us just ate this was bowls of rice and a plate of veggies. Hui actually took a second bowl of rice – she usually doesn’t.

Sorry there’s no pictures. but it sure was delicious.

Time to head back to butcher2u to get more pork belly!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Wantons/Wontons (Recipe)!

I love wantons. especially deep fried wantons. who loves wantons? me!
Last year, fish and i had classes in the afternoon. He has class in the morning but i didn’t, so i sometimes make him a little lunch. This one day, i decided on making wantons. deep fried of course. and he loved it.
Crunchy Crunchy!
My mixture really is quite simple.
Pork Mince
Hua Diao Jiu
Cooking Sake
Spring Onions, finely chopped
Oyster sauce
Light Soy Sauce
Sesame Oil
An egg – i didn’t have an egg on the day i marinated the meat, i only added this right before i wrapped it.

The Hua Diao Jiu gave it an amazing flavour. I didn’t manage to cook it as soon as i wanted to, so i marinated it for around 2 days.
The oyster sauce i only ever use is this:
This is Lee Kum Kee’s Premium Oyster Sauce. The first ingredient on the list is 40% oyster extractives instead of another one of Lee Kum Kee’s panda oyster sauce which first ingredient is water and oyster extract is 4th on the list.
This however, is double the price of most oyster sauces. Over here, this bottle costs AUD$7+. But i won’t stop using it. for one, i love the flavour of this oyster sauce.
secondly, this was the oyster sauce that my grandmother used. i never knew what brand it was, or what it was called, but when she needed us to buy this, she would tell us that we have to make sure that we buy the oyster sauce with the boy and the girl. She was adamant that this was ‘the one’. So this is ‘the one’ i will be using.
Wantons really aren’t that difficult to make.
First: Put the wrapper on your palm.
Second: Place a good amount of meat mixture in the centre.
Third: Wet the edges of the skin with water.
Fourth: Press the diagonal corners together. then push the sides to stick together so that it looks like that on picture no. 5
The skins that i bought this time, was slightly thicker than what i usually use.
so when i deep fried this, i double fried it, so as to ensure that the skin gets nice and crispy and that the meat is cooked inside.
I just ate this simply with japanese mayo. and it is so crispy and delicious.
I ate this with noodles. The meat was quite juicy and very flavourful and delicious.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Maple Walnut Ice Cream!

Fish loves his ice cream and maple syrup. So one day, i chanced upon this recipe and decided that we could make it. He was so excited, he dragged me out to buy the ingredients.

Making ice cream using a ice cream maker, really isn’t difficult. This has a few more steps than making a normal ice cream (like chocolate or vanilla), but not more difficult.

Not the prettiest picture i know. but fish eats it usually out of the tub instead of scooping it nicely into a bowl.


1 1/2 cups whole milk (i used skim milk)
2 tablespoons sugar (keep it if you like your ice cream sweet – i would omit sugar cause for me, it was too sweet)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
3/4 cup maple syrup (i didn’t have enough maple syrup – a little less than 3/4 cup)
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Wet Walnuts

1/2 cup + 1 tbsp maple syrup
1 1/2 cup roughly chopped roasted walnuts
1/4 tsp coarse salt

*Don’t use maple flavoured syrup. It is totally different. This is the one i used.


Warm milk and sugar in a saucepan.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Add the warm mixture slowly into the egg yolks – we do not want to cook the egg yolks here, so continual whisking while pouring the warm mixture in slowly.

Pour the mixture back into the saucepan, stirring continuously over a low flame. Don’t leave it for a moment, don’t even think of switching off the fire and walking away. It will become scrambled eggs. I only not stirred for a moment, and i got scrambled eggs.

*If by any chance, you get scrambled eggs, don’t fret. get angry. as i did. but don’t worry. we can still save it. If you have a hand blender, just blend the mixture out till it gets smooth again. I think there’s only once downside to this, which is the smell and flavour of cooked eggs – so the flavour of the egg intensifies. but it really is quite ok. don’t worry if you don’t get all the little lumps, we will sieve it later.

The mixture should get thicker and coat the spatula.

Add cold cream which will cool the mixture right down. Mix well, then strain the mixture into a bowl. This would get rid of all the little lumps that you might have missed. Cover well, then refrigerate for as long as you can. I only refrigerated it for 30 minutes.

*Another thing. when you use a hand blender on it, this creates a lot of foam, so when you strain it, press it down using the spatula.

After that, make the ice cream as per your manufacturer’s instructions. Add the wet walnuts at the last few minutes of the churning cycle.

Wet Walnuts

Toast the walnuts in a frying pan or in the oven.

Heat the maple syrup in a saucepan till it comes to a boil.

Stir in the walnuts and salt. Cook till the mixture boils again, stirring the walnuts around.

Remove the saucepan from heat and leave to cool completely.

The nuts will be wet and sticky when cooled.

*It is very cold here right now in Sydney, so when cooled, the walnuts actually become a hard block – if this happens, just put the saucepan over a low flame for 20 seconds and the heat would softened the hardened maple syrup and then you’re able to stir the mixture again.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Herbs in a Container

I’ve been wanting to grow herbs for a long time. but we used to stay in an apartment with no balcony and fish and hui said no.

so. i didn’t.

but now. i have a front porch and a front balcony. and so i set off to get my herbs growing.

i am growing them all from seeds. i praying really hard that they will grow. considering that it has been really really cold these days. and the sun doesn’t really get into the balcony that much. the sun shines on the other side of the road, not mine. We’re also going into winter time soon, so it’s really quite cold these few days.

It was a beautiful Sunday morning, the 7th of May 2011. the sun was out shining. so i decided to start.

I used yates premium potting mix and a self watering trough. I poured the soil in and mentally divided the pot into 5 sections – for my 5 different herbs.

These are the herbs that i will be growing – these are the ones that i use more often. Parsley, thyme, rosemary, chives and spring onions.

Here are pictures of the seeds close-up. they are really tiny!

Really small seeds.

They take around 2 weeks to germinate. so i am crossing my fingers. i am slightly afraid though, cause i might have overcrowded it with too many seeds. We’ll see how it goes, if they manage to grow perfectly, i’ll weed out those that aren’t growing too well to thin it out.

For now, i’m just anxiously waiting. it’s like a baby. because we don’t get much sunlight and when we do, it moves across the porch, so i have to leave it nearer to the pavement at night, cause that’s where the sun hits in the morning, then move it into the front balcony when it’s late morning/afternoon for it to get as much sunlight as possible.

Today was really cold and cloudy though. and there was no sunlight at all. and i decided to bring the pot into the balcony instead of in the open where the sun would hit it, cause the wind was really strong and i didn’t want my growing seeds to feel too cold. (sounds weird eh.)

but yah. i’ll keep you guys updated on the status of my herbs. hopefully they grow soon!

Monday, May 09, 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Holes!

This was done purely on a whim.

I was watching youtube – betty’s kitchen – you can see her wonderful video here.

I had all the ingredients at hand, so i decided, why not?

Fish really liked it. It was a more dense doughnut than if you compared to krispy kreme etc. but delicious all the same.

How delicious does that look?!

I didn’t eat much though – have been feeling quite heaty these days.

The cinnamon sugar was delicious!

Oh. do not. drop these on the floor. fish being the clumsy fish, dropped 2 on 2 separate occasions. He got so angry. The sugar coating flies everywhere and you get sugar everywhere! so don’t drop it.

Here goes the recipe!


1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon (i don’t think there’s a difference, but i used dutch cinnamon)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 tbsp melted butter
1 beaten egg
1/3 cup milk + 1 tbsp fresh lime/lemon juice (or 1/3 cup buttermilk)


1/2 cup caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon


You need 3 bowls.

In the first, combine all the dry ingredients and mix well.
In the second, combine all the wet ingredients and mix well.
In the third, combine the sugar and cinnamon to make the coating and set aside.

Add the dry ingredients (1) to the wet ingredients (2) and mix to form a soft dough.

*My actually came out a little sticky and wet. I’m not 100% sure what the dough should have been like. but i added a little more flour to make it not so sticky.

Place the dough into the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

The recipe makes 48 doughnuts, so you could divide the dough up as betty does to ensure that the balls are relatively equal. but i was lazy. i just rolled them into balls of all sizes – just not too big.

Deep fry them. till golden brown and they tend to burst a little – but that’s no problem.

Place them onto paper towels to absorb excess oil, then into the cinnamon sugar coating (3). You have to do this step while the ball is still hot.

Then back onto the paper towel to cool. and you are ready to eat!


By the way, i didn’t fry up the whole batch. i rolled them into balls and placed them into the fridge. this is a good idea if you know that you’re not going to finish the whole batch. especially if where you are is hot, the sugar would melt and become all sticky instead of being crunchy sugar bits. so i would say, cook only as much as you wanna eat at that point in time.

Fish said it was nice both warm and cold.

So, there you go! I hope you try it cause it really is, very very simple.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Yesterday’s Dinner!

Yesterday, we decided that we would have leftovers. So we dug up whatever we had in the fridge, and i made us a happy happy dinner.

This makes me hungry. Let’s see.. what do we have on this plate.

We have, counterwise from the left, fried tofu bits, sweet potato leaves in sambal chilli, a hard boiled egg and fried fish. In the centre is cabbage rice with saya lodeh (vegetable curry).

I made saya lodeh the day before and we had leftovers which included the egg. I also had 3 pieces of tofu leftover, so i chopped them into little cubes and coated them in seasoned tapioca flour and deep fried them. The sweet potato leaves were dying, so i plucked the leaves and fried them in sambal chilli.

Cabbage rice was from the day before as well. I couldn’t replicate the flavour the way my grandma used to cook it. But it wasn’t too bad.

So, this is the mixture i fried for the rice. It has dried shitake mushrooms, loads of cabbage, onions and garlic. Seasoned with light and dark soya sauce and a little sesame oil.

You could add meat etc to this mixture. So i cooked the rice in the rice cooker till the water gets nearly absorbed, then i place the mixture on top of the rice to continue its cooking process.

This was the rice, we added more dark soya sauce and sambal chilli.

Now, for my favourite part! Saya Lodeh!

I make this using Prima Taste’s Saya Lodeh pre-mix. I just add more veggies than recommended and more water, sambal chilli and coconut milk to make more curry sauce. I have in here, hard boiled eggs, carrots, green beans, fried tofu and cabbages. I love love love it.

Well. that was my dinner. i made dessert after dinner. as per fish’s request.

a maple walnut ice cream. Will be posting that soon! :)