Sunday, 29 March 2009

Spring into BST

Today we tuned our clock an hour forward, better known as British Summer Time(BST). So much to look forward to, as daylight is getting longer, weather is getting warmer and yes my spring bulb flowers are starting to take shape and showing off their vibrant colors. I love fresh cut flowers for display in my home, beauty and fragant, will definitely lift up your mood. Again enjoy the spring colors.

White Hyanciths, her perfume is so sweet . I planted them in the fall

Blue Delft hyancinths, so sweet they are in their almost dark blue purplish color

My hyancinths border in front garden, they filled me with lovely fragant

The versatile daffodils

Different varieties of daffodil cut flowers from my garden

Blue muscari, yellow primrose and white ranunculus

Early single white tulips in bloom

I think this is Queen of Night Tulips

My favorite white Ranunculus, look so beautiful with layer of petals

Also known as Persian buttercup-Ranunculus

So beautiful, isn't it?

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Grilled cherry tomatoes on vine

Don't underestimate these little gems. So pretty they are on their vine, perfectly ripe, supple to the touch and perfectly sweet to the taste. I also learnt that tomatoes that ripen on their vine tasted so sweet compared to those that were loosely picked. Last year during summer I planted 2 cherry tomato bushes in pots and they yielded heavy crops throughout my summer months that I swore to be off from consuming tomatoes for awhile. I also learnt that if uneven ripen tomatoes on the vine, one can remove them from the tree and place them with banana to quicken the ripening process. Banana has a ripening agent.
I always try to eat them raw, use them in sweet & sour dish and one of my favorite is to simply grill them with lots of olive oil and drizzle of sea salt. Simple and nice to go with pasta dish or use them in salad.

Grilled cherry tomatoes on vine
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes on vine
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp of sea salt
  1. Wash the tomatoes, pat and dry them with paper towel.
  2. Place them in bakng dish. Drizzle with olive oil and coat. Sprinkle the sea salt.
  3. On the oven grill to 190C and grill for 10-12mins, till the tomatoes just break off from skin.
  4. Served.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Tender pork rib with yam

This is my hometown dish, only served as one of the dishes during wedding and birthday banquet. Me and my sis normally will aim for the yam(taro) that was perfectly steamed and moist, absorbing the savory sauce during steaming. I like this dish because the sauce is very well absorbed into the meat . It requires about 2-2.5hours to steam to perfection, the meat on the rib is so tender and lovely. Even my mum will be so envy of me now. :-)

Tender pork rib with yam(taro)
Ingredients (good for 2 persons)
  • 300 gm pork rib (chopped into 1.5inches long)
  • 2 tbsp of shaoxing wine
  • 1 tbsp of soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp of honey
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • a dash of pepper
marinate the pork rib with the above ingredients overnite.

  • 2 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp Maggi chiili sauce/ sweet Thai chilli sauce
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp soya sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soya sauce
  • 1/2 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil

  • 3 slices of spicy Szechuan preserved vegetable (soak in water for 10mins to remove the chilli paste and the saltiness)
  • 1/2 big onion (diced)
  • 1/2 green pepper, 1/2 red pepper
  • 50 gm yam cut into wedges of 1cm thick
  • 1 red chilli (use more if you prefer it to be more spicy)
  • oil for frying
  • some corn flour
  • some sesame seed, corriander for garnishing (optional)
  1. In a wok/fryer, fry the yam till lightly brown and drained. Coat the marinated pork rib pieces with a little of corn flour and fry them till lightly brown.
  2. In a wok, pour in a tbsp of oil, once hot, add in onion, chilli and stir fry till fragant. Add in green, red pepper and Szechuan preserved vegetable and stir fry for 2mins. Then add in the fried pork rib and yam. Pour in the sauces and coat well. Add in 4 tbsp of water and continue to stir. Let it simmer for 3mins until the sauce thickens. Then scoop the dish into a porcelain bowl and cover it with a flat plate. Ensure that it's compacted.
  3. Prepare a steamer. Place the bowl with flat plate into the steamer and let it steam for 2hours or until the meat is soft. You can use a fork to prick the meat, at this time the fork could easily prick into the meat without any effort.
  4. Once done, removed from heat and turn the plate over and remove the bowl. Garnish with sesame seed/corriander . Serve with rice.
It's nice indeed. All the essence of the flavor(vegetable & sauces) blended and absorbed nicely into the meat. What an enjoyment.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Char Siew Soh (Chinese roast pork puff)

Been awhile since I bake, mainly because my cranky oven make a hell lot of noise when in fan mode (luckily my neighbor has yet to complaint) and secondly it requires a long time even to bake muffins. So I decided to dismantle it and clean thoroughly the fan. With a little effort and some elbow grease, I managed to get the oven working less noisy and at least there is oven heat to bake :-).
I'm making char siew puff, yes I've make them many times before but never got the chance to upload them, either the photos were not up to my standard or rather the puffs were all long gone before I've the opportunity to shoot them. You decide :-).
Char Siew Puff is really nice to go with a cup of Chinese tea, my friend tend to go it with English tea. Whichever way, it is char siew puff that matters.

Char Siew Soh ( Chinese Roast Pork Puff)
Ingredients (make about 16 puffs)

Char Siew(Roast Pork)

  • 300 gm pork fillet/ pork belly (nice with some fats)
  • 1 big onion-diced
  • 1/2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
Marinating ingredient
  • 4 tbsp honey/ 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp shaoxing wine
  • 2 tsp five spice powder
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • Natural red coloring (optional)
alternatively you can buy Lee Kum Kee Char Siew Sauce (use 3 tbsp sauce to marinate 300gm of pork)

Delicious Roast Pork just out from oven

  • 350gm Just Roll Pastry Puff
  • some sesame seed
  • 1 egg yolk for brushing

  1. Marinate the pork with char siew marinating ingredient and leave for at least 2hrs.
  2. In a oven roast the pork at 180-190C for about 25-30mins, basting the pork with the marinating juice. You can switch to grilling for the last 5mins to get that charred look on pork.
  3. Removed and cooled. Diced the pork into small pieces.
  4. In a pan, heat 2 tbsp cooking oil, brown the onion until fragant, add in the roast pork and stir fry for 2-3mins. Add hoisin sauce, sugar, sesame seed and water and let it simmer for 4-5mins on low heat. It should be moist but not wet. Remove and let it cool.
  5. For the puff, roll it into thickness of about 1.5mm. Cut into 2.5in x 3.5in rectangular. You should get about 16 pieces.
  6. Lay the pastry, scoop a tbsp of char siew and roll, press both edge flat to form a pillow. Use a fork to imprint the fork mark onto both edges. Also make fork holes on the top side of the puff. This allow the inside ingredients to breath while cooking, else the puff will expand and breaks.
  7. Continue for the rest. Lay them on a baking tray that has been layered with baking sheet or tin foil. Brush with egg yoke and sprinkled with some sesame seed.
  8. Bake for 20mins on 190C, or till it turn golden brown.....look like a golden pillow :-) .
Heavenly Char Siew Soh as I called it Char Siew Puff .......

Monday, 9 March 2009

Melon sago

This is a refreshing dessert that one can easily associated with good dim sum restaurant. I remembered back then, one of my favorite Chinese restaurant is non other than Crystal Jade.
Having bought, buy one get one free canteloupe melon from Tesco, I thought why not prepare this easy desserts for lovely spring day...ideally this desserts is superb for summer.

Melon Sago
Ingredients (good for 4 persons)
  • 1 canteloupe melon/ honeydew melon
  • 120 gm sago soaked
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk + 1 cup of water
  • pinch of salt
  • sugar syrup to taste (this depend on how sweet your melon is)
  1. Half the melon and scoop out the seeds.
  2. Use a melon scoop to scoop out the flesh and form into melon balls from half a melon.
  3. The other half, remove flesh and liquidize in a food processor. Chilled.
  4. In a pot pour in some water to boil. When it is boiling, pour in the sago and let it cook. Continue to stir until all the sago white beads turned transparent(this will take approximately 15-20mins) . Drained under running tap water.
  5. Add melon ball, sago, coconut milk, salt, sugar syrup into the melon puree and mixed. For those healthy option you can opt out coconut milk, can be replaced with millk, still taste as good.
  6. Served chill.
I also make sago ball coated with desicated coconut to go with my melon desserts since I have leftover sago, nostalgic, as my mom used to make this sago ball for us to bring to our primary school party.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Cod in Thai Sweet Chiili sauce with bed of rocket grapefruit salad

I'm keen on creating a fusion dish tonite. I always like fusion food where there are element of different taste blended nicely together, just like east meet west.So I'm bringing this superb, easy to make dish for you all to try out.

Cod in Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce with bed of rocket grapefruit salad
Ingredients (good for 2 pesons)
  • 2 cod fillets ( about 180-200gm)
  • some sea salt
  • 3 tbsp of Thai sweet chilli sauce
  • 2 tbsp water
  • some olive oil to grease cast iron grill pan
  • 2 bunchful of rocket leaves
  • 1/4 grapefruit sacs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • a pinch of sea salt
  1. Rub sea salt on the fish fillet. Then marinate the fillet with thai sweet chilli sauce for alf an hour.
  2. While the fish is left to marinate, prepare the salad. Add the grapefruit, olive oil and salt to rocket leaves, mixed well (I use my hand to mix them). Leave aside.
  3. Grease the grill pan with some olive oil and heat till hot. Then brown the skin side of cod fish till brown and slightly cisp(takes about 4-mins), then turn over and drill the other side for another 4 minutes. Don't overcook as meat will flake off. Just cook it jus nicely and it will be so tender and lovely.
  4. Do not throw away the marinating chilli sauce. Add in 2 tbsp of water to the sauce and cook it in another sauce pan. Simmer and remove, add in corriander if you like.
  5. In a plate lay a handful of the salad, lay the cooked cod fillet on top of the salad and drizzle some sauce over the fish.
The peppery rocket salad goes really well with grapefruit, the tenderness of fish goes well with the marinating sauce, and the whole combination is pleasing to one tastebud. Enjoy this lovely, healthy meal.......I bet you'll love it.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Spaghetti with chargrilled vegetables and tuna flakes

Lately my weekends were mainly spend on tidying up my garden for spring display. That explains my lack of activities and updates on my blog. Another good reason is , weather has been of spring theme even we're still officially in winter. But nevertheless, I enjoyed the earlier spring anyway :-) and fresh air outside.
I also tend to cook easy meal for lunch so that I can maximize the time spend on daylight outside :-). Here's an easy recipes and quite healthy.

Spaghetti with chargrilled vegetables sauce and tuna flakes
Ingredients (good for 2 persons)
  • half a bag of dry spaghetti
  • half a bottle Bertolli chargrilled vegetables sauce
  • 1 small can of tuna flakes
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • a bunch of corriander finely chopped
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • some black pepper
  • some grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • a dash of sea salt
  1. Cook the spaghetti till al-dante (this takes about 11-15mins). Drained in colander. Put in a bowl and pour in the olive oil and sea salt and toss.
  2. Meanwhile the spaghetti is cooking, pepare the sauce. In a little of olive oil, fry the garlic till fragant. Add in the tuna flakes and stir fry for about a minute or so. Then pour in the vegetable sauce and simmer for about 3-4minutes, add the lemon juice. Remove from heat and add in the chopped corriander. Stir and mixed well.
  3. Put the cooked pasta on a plate and dressed with the sauce. Drizzle with black pepper and grated parmesan cheese.
Quick yet tasty meal and I'm off to my garden :-).

Here are some flower pictures from my garden which I took yesterday. Enjoy the vibrant color :-).
Light purple crocuses in full bloom

Christmas rose or Hellebores

Dark purple iris

Hue of purple crocuses basking in the sunlight

white crocusses, don't they look like little chicks coming out from their shells

White daffodils blooming in the pot