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Friday, September 30, 2011

梅菜扣肉 – Preserved Mustard Veggies w/ so delicious pork!

This is one of my favourite-est dishes in the world. and the last time i ate this was maybe 6 years ago. I used to only eat the version my grandma cooked, and ever since she started getting sick and past away, i have not eaten a good version of this dish ever since.

I wanted to cook it the way she used to cook it, cause that's the one i know best. Her's did not involve steaming or cooking the pork and veggies separately. Hers with all together in one pot with loads of yummy salty sauce to go with rice or porridge. So i get out to replicate what she made. and i am so so so so so happy to say that i have done it! with great success. She will be so very proud.

This is a time consuming dish. but it is totally worth it. the 3 of us ate it for dinner for 3 straight nights.



Salty and Sweet Mei Cai
1. 500g mei cai (you can use a mixture of sweet and salty or just salty – as you can see, i used 3/4 salty and 1/4 sweet)
2. 6 pieces of pork belly – i'm not sure of the weight though. but a good amount of meat
3. Light soy sauce
4. Dark soy sauce
5. 6 cloves or more garlic, crushed
7. A tiny star anise
8. Water


You have to wash your mei cai really well. The sweet one doesn't really need soaking but the salty one needs. So after washing, soak the salty mei cai for 3 hours, changing the water every hour.

While doing that, you can start to prepare the pork. I don't like hair on my food, so i pick all the hair out of the pig skin. then give it a good wash.

Boil a pot of water, and place the pork belly in. This cooks and gets rid of 'dirty' things on the pork, like excess blood etc..


Taking a few tablespoons of light soy sauce, sorta marinate the pork belly pieces in it, just for a few minutes. This gives it colour and fragrance when we fry it later.


In a wok, place a little oil and fry the pork belly till all sides are nice and brown. Some sides are more difficult to fry, so don't kill yourself if you can't get all the sides. The hot oil stings!

Place the pork, still hot, into ice cold water. and leave it there for as long as you can. This step is what gives you a wonderfully bouncy and melt in your mouth fats. You can leave the pork in here until your mei cai gets enough soaking time.

Then, slice the leaves of the mei cai into bigger chunks – about 1 cm and the stalk into smaller chunks – about 0.5cm.

Fry the garlic till fragrant and slightly browned. Then add in all the mei cai and fry till fragrant and dry. This can take quite long. I was actually watching tv and cooking this at the same time. but i used a really small – medium fire.

Fry fry fry fry till dry and nice. Since it takes a while, you can chop your pork into pieces while frying. Some of them aren't even totally cooked, but it's not a problem at all. Just chop them all up into big chunks. They will shrink slightly, so take that into consideration.

After chopping this up and when you mei cai seems to be done, take out the mei cai and place them on a plate. Adding a little oil, fry the pieces of pork.

It takes time to render the fat and get them all nice and crispy. So i did half a batch and got lazy so i didn't fry the other half. which i think was absolutely fine because these pieces shrunk much more and were harder after the frying and stewing. So half half is good.


Next, i added in 1 cup of light soy sauce and 1/2 cup of dark soy sauce and fried that together with all the pork. When you can smell the fragrance of the soy sauce, add in all the mei cai and mix thoroughly.
At this point, i transferred this mixture to a pressure cooker. You can transfer it to the normal pot and cook for around 2 hours or until the pork is amazingly tender. but i had a pressure cooker and we were hungry, so i transferred it to the pressure cooker and topped it up with 4 cups of water, or until the water covered the ingredients. Then add in the star anise – a tiny one or snap off 3 pieces of a big one – not a few hundred, like they like to do here..

Taste! I decided that it wasn't salty and dark coloured enough, so i added another splash of light and dark soy sauce. This is totally to your taste, but i make it slightly saltier because this is definitely a dish to eat with rice or porridge and not on it's own – although, we do eat it like that as well. haha!

Cover and cook! If you're using a pressure cooker, 30 minutes is great on medium pressure.

Next day tastes even better! Add hard boiled eggs before you keep it in the fridge and it will be perfect the next day!

Yum! Blogging about this has so totally made me crave for it again!!!

Egg White Lemon Cake! aka Angel Food Cake

I had just made a big batch of ice cream for my upcoming party. and had 6 egg whites leftover. I didn't want to make another egg white omelette, so i searched the net for something else. and i found this!

If you're wondering about the shape. I don't know how to properly line a cake tin. Although i know now, learnt it after placing the cake in the oven. So the shape came out a little weird. but who cares, it still tastes great. It also has a sugary coating on the top and sides of the cake. yum!

It is so good. Light yet dense. Totally don't miss the egg yolks at all! So i guess it is a slightly healthier cake since it has low cholesterol.

and it is really simple to make. as long as you have 6 egg whites on hand.


6 large egg whites
180g + 2tbsp caster sugar (if you like it sweeter, you can add more sugar)
160g plain flour
1 heaped tbsp corn flour
1 tsp baking powder
100g melted butter, slightly cooled
Zest from 3/4 lemon


In a bowl, add the egg whites with 2 tbsp of sugar. Whisk till the egg whites are thick and foamy, before it reaches soft peaks. When it's there, lower the speed to the slowest for 30 secs to get rid of any big air bubbles.

In another bowl, while whisking the egg whites, mix the 180g caster sugar, plain flour, corn flour and baking powder together. Then fold this mixture slowly into the egg whites. You can choose to sieve this mixture, but i wanted it quick, so i didn't and it didn't cause a problem.

Then fold in the melted butter together with the zest. You can add the zest of the whole lemon or as i did, 3/4 of the lemon which gives it a slight lemon fragrance. I only took the upper top most layer of the lemon, the shiny yellow. Didn't grate the light yellow part that's right underneath, although i think that should be fine as long as you don't get the white parts.

Stir them all together and place the mixture into a cake tin. Bake at 180 degrees for 20 mins. Use a skewer to check if it comes out clean. Leave to cool for a while.

It tastes really good warm too.

You can see little bits of brighter yellow in the cake – those are the zest of the lemon.

Yum! I hope you try it too!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

5th Year Anniversary – Lunch Cruise!

For our fifth year anniversary (which we originally mistook for 4 years), i surprised fish with a lunch cruise.

We couldn't have chosen a worst timing, it was raining extremely heavily in Sydney that week, so 21/07 was the day, and so we insisted.

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HAPPY ANNIVERSARY DARLING! this post is a little late though.. hehe :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dome Restaurant @ The Arthouse Hotel, Sydney

6 months ago, i bought 2 coupons online for this restaurant, which i had never heard of. but i decided it might be quite nice.

So i went there first with fish on his birthday, but the place was too dark and the pictures didn't work out too well. This time, we went with hui and i used flash, so at least you can see something now!


I have to say, their best dishes are their entrees. For me, at least.

King Fish & Tiger Prawn Chowder served with garlic croutons. This was delicious! I'll gladly drink more.

Gorgonzola Soufflé served with pumpkin oil & rocket. This was Hui's entree. It was good, especially if you like your blue cheese!

Grilled Queensland Scallops & Gnocchi Medallions with nut brown butter. This was fish's and he loves the scallops. This can also be ordered as a main dish.


Corzetti Pasta, Pan-Fried with prawns, parmesan, chilli & chives. I ate this the first time as an entree and loved it so much, i ordered it as a main this time round. It's like aglio olio. I like.

Grilled Eye Fillet Of Beef with mash potato, agrodolce onions & béarnaise. The first time fish ate this, it wasn't awesome. He ordered it medium well and it came well, so it was a little tough. This time, he ordered it medium and it was perfect. It was so so delicious! He was very nice to share it with us. :)

Handmade Tagliatelle Pasta with sautéed mushrooms, parsley & pecorino cheese. Hui had this and to be perfectly honest, it wasn't that great. She couldn't finish it all and the pasta wasn't as delicious as i had hoped. So, unless this was below standard, i say skip this and go for mine's or fish's.


We all need a little green, so a side of veggies is perfect.
Really quite unnecessary for our meal. but fries if you want. i would say though, skip the fries and eat your veggies!


Cinnamon Poached Pear with clove ice-cream & tuile biscuit. This was quite nice, a light and refreshing end.

Bread & Butter Pudding with rum & raison ice-cream. If you wanted something richer, this is fish's favourite. It really tastes good. Otherwise, their soft-centred chocolate pudding is great too!


We debated a little because i saw all these beautiful drinks being served and i wanted some too! but i'm not a wine drinker and we were afraid the red sangria might be too strong for me, so we tried the white sangria. Very mild, fruity, slightly sweet. Perfect for me. Very easy to drink.


I actually really like it here. It's a place where you can sit down, have a slow meal and a great conversation. I will definitely be back, cause i so like it here. :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Rocky Road!

I've actually never been a fan of rocky road. until. i tried some that came with the chocolates i bought for fish on our anniversary.

It was delicious!

and i set out to create my own.



Marshmallows – 4 flavours and cut them up into 4 small pieces each

Desiccated coconut – toasted in a frying pan
and whatever else you wanted, i added corn flakes in another batch


Melt the chocolate and toblerone over a bain-marie. And leave it aside to cool.

I accidentally added the marshmallows before the chocolates cooled and they just melted into the chocolate. I actually purposely did that the second time because if you melt the raspberry ones, they actually lend a great flavour to the chocolate, but it gets sticky, so just one or two small pieces.

After it's cool, add the ingredients that you want to. Don't worry if it looks like there's a lot of ingredients, it is fine!

Then pour it out onto a tray lined with baking paper or aluminium foil. and leave it in the fridge for around 1/2 – 1 hour.

I like to take it out before it gets fully hardened because it makes it much easier to slice into squares.


And there ya go! so simple so nice.

I like to leave them out a little before i eat them as well, don't like eating them when they're extremely hard.

By the way, Hui just finished all of them.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Fried Bee Hoon!

One could possibly get sick of eating Fried Bee Hoon in Singapore. You get it everywhere! You get it at almost every single family gathering.. right? with chicken curry.

but. since coming here, i've so far only cooked fried bee hoon once. and so, i had a craving to eat fried bee hoon that day and decided to cook it!

For anyone who doesn't know, bee hoon is basically thin vermicelli noodles. I only like this kind of noodles in fried bee hoon. Not in laksa, not in hokkien mee.

I am so proud of this. I love it.

Ingredients (It's not going to be exact, cause it has been a while)

Dried thin vermicelli noodles
You can really add what you like,
Can of straw mushrooms, sliced into halves (cause i love them)
Finely sliced cabbage
Finely sliced carrots (i don't like carrots, but i don't mind them here, cause i slice them so finely)
Pork, which i thinly sliced and marinated for ard an hour in soy sauce, sesame oil and a little hua diao (cooking wine)

For seasonings (i really just add whatever)

Soy sauce
a little dark soy sauce for colour
oyster sauce
a little sesame oil
LOADS of fried shallots and its oil
ground white pepper. because black pepper just doesn't do it in this dish.


Slice up everything. and do all the prep beforehand.

Boil a pot of water. When it comes to a boil, add in the dried vermicelli noodles. Let it stay inside till, when tussled with a chop stick, separates. You know like how you cook instant noodles, and you keep poking at the noodles to see if it has separated? yah, like that. just that it does really separate, it just softens and sticks together in a big lump. Pour the water away, don't worry, you can leave a little water in there, no need to drain till dry. Cover with a lid, or a plate and just leave it there to steam.

In a wok, trust me, just use the biggest wok you have. Wok comes highly recommended. You don't want to know the mess you will create without a big wok.

Fry the onions, followed by garlic. Add in the carrots. then the cabbage. then the pork. Then the noodles.

Add in your seasonings. You can lower the fire while adding your seasonings so nothing burns.

This comes highly recommended too – use 2 pairs of long chopsticks.

one pair in each hand, start flipping and tossing the noodles around to get it well mixed. Remember to bring your fire back up.

and here's why it is called fried. you have to keep flipping and frying it. just keep stirring and tossing the noodles.

Add a huge amount of fried shallots and its oil. This will give the noodles a slightly sticky mouth feel which can be achieved by using another ingredient (another time).

Keep Going.

Keep Going.

You will reach a stage where the noodles actually look really good, it is tossed well and the colour looks even. Test and see if extra seasonings are needed.

Depending on what you eat this with, usually there's chicken curry somewhere near this dish, so you don't have to make the flavours too strong. but if you're eating it on its own, feel free!

Ta-da! You are finally there, chop some parsley or coriander and eat!

I need some bee hoon right now!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011


Me and a great friend of mine, Yuki, who happens to be a Japanese, were talking one day and we started talking about Okonomiyaki!

Fish loves Okonomiyaki and we wanted to try making it here since it is difficult to find and if we can, it is quite expensive.

So, we bought a packet of okonomiyaki flour. and it was all in Japanese! i forgot to get Yuki to help me with the translation, but luckily, i searched online and someone had the same problem and some kind soul posted a translation.

You can really choose what ingredients you want to add, but the basic ingredient is definitely cabbage!

Ingredients (Stuff i used)

Okonomiyaki flour
Shredded/Finely sliced cabbage – i think i used about 250gm
Okonomiyaki Sauce
Japanese Mayo


To the flour, add water according to packet instructions.

This is the amount of cabbage i used, cause that's all i had, the recipe actually called for double the amount of cabbage, but i really don't think you need that much cabbage.

To the cabbage flour mix, add 2 eggs.

Bacon! This brand's not too bad, just don't buy from David Jones – prices are way too inflated.

Fry it off in a little oil in a non-stick frying pan. I cut up the bacon to layer on top. You could definitely use much more bacon!

Almost-final product!

Add the Okonomiyaki sauce and Japanese Mayo and you're done! (Fish is studying really hard at the background!)

There ya go. Really quite simple.

Try it!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Picnic Food – My simplified version of a Muffaletta

So recently, we went on a picnic to the Japanese Garden at Auburn.

For my first ever picnic here, i made 2 things to have for lunch.

One of the things, was this: A simplified muffaletta.

It is said to originate from New Orleans, Louisiana.

I thought this would make a great picnic sandwich, so this is what i set out to make. It also didn't take much time and effort!


All of the ingredients can be sourced from the deli section of your supermarket easily. And you can also add what you prefer and remove what you don't like.

1 cob loaf – could get 8 wedges. but fish could easily eat 2
Salami – i bought them pre-sliced for convenience
Pepper Mortadella  - from the deli
Tasty cheese slices
Canned olives – Green olives stuffed with feta, kalamata olives and black olives
Fresh mushrooms – sliced and fried in a little oil
1/2 large eggplant – sliced and grilled with oil – could get from the deli as well, but i decided to do it myself
1 small zucchini – sliced and grilled


Make an olive mixture. It's actually more complicated, but i just simplified it very simply.

So, in a bowl, i just mixed the different olives, all sliced and grated a clove of garlic in. Definitely could do with more garlic if you like the flavour.

Next, you'd need to grill the vegetables that are fresh.

After that's done, we need to hollow out the cob loaf and the construction begins!

So just layer all your ingredients in one by one, pressing down whenever you can. Then wrap your cob loaf with cling flim and press it down with a few cans, for a few hours or overnight – in the fridge. It was winter, so i just left it out on the counter. :)

Yes, i brought a knife to the picnic. A knife that has it's own sharpening thingy which is quite lousy so i haven't used this knife in years, but it makes a good picnic knife since it has a safety cover.

Slice into wedges.

And, tuck in! :)