Friday, August 06, 2010

Little Joys

The Boy and I went on a weekend ferry trip to Bruges in Belgium, and it was a really beautiful city full of visitors, souvenir shops and...touristy trappings.

That means expensive and mediocre meal offerings. Wikitravel recommends walking further out of the city centre to get a more 'genuine' and local feel of life...and so we did. We meandered down a street off Burg, crossed the river and found outselves on Langestraat.

Map location:

And here, we found a deli, greengrocer's and a tapas restaurant, all on the same street. And one morning, we came back to buy some ham, salami, cheese, bread, roasted chicken leg, salad greens, nectarines and juice...

...and walked to a park and made our own breakfast sandwich.

I took a couple of ravenous bites before remembering to take a photo.

With a pond in front of us, ducks, family and dogs playing in the sun, people on grass reading and relaxing, it was one royal meal on budget.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Banana Loaf

Did I tell anyone how much I love banana loaves? And how I was such a noob that my 'baking' experience was limited to cookies in Home Economics class and that I thought I'd be hopeless at baking?

Well not that I've suddenly turned professional, but I've tried making brownies, ready-made puff pastries and now banana loaves, and it's suddenly not too difficult. It's just very different from cooking...baking is an exact science - all measurements and weights and numbers, cooking is just 'instinctive'...but that's not a new thing anyway.

Anyway, I thought it was one of those things I'd never get to buy casually in England, because it seems more American than English, and only places like Marks & Spencer and the huge Sainsbury stock them. But at £1.99 per loaf, it has been a rare and far in between treat for me (in comparison, a small loaf of wholemeal bread costs about 79p)

I've once made a banana loaf back in March, but it was less than successful with no enticing banana aroma (or taste!) and was quite soggy. But I intended to try again, and saw a bag of bananas going reduced at Sainsbury and grabbed it. And let 3 of them stand on the side til they were soft and turning dark.

And it turned out beautiful! Quite on par with the ones I've bought! I was haaappy! :D

Here's a photo evidence:
Rolo enjoying cheese

Opps, so that's not a banana loaf, just my housemates' hamster, but isn't she so cute?!

This, on the other hand, is the real thing.

That was freshly taken out of the oven, with 3 cheery walnuts on top of the beautiful split. My loaf looked like a work of art. I loathed cutting into it. It was so beautiful I spent minutes upon minutes cooing and fussing over it. Like a baby.

Here's the recipe (which was given to me by my housemate Tim):

Banana Loaf
for a 2lb loaf tin

2-3 large, very ripe bananas, mashed
115g butter or margarine
170g sugar (any type, but demerara gives a better depth of taste)
225g self-raising flour
2 eggs
1 handful of walnuts, chopped (can be omitted).
(I left 3 whole for decoration)

1. Pre-heat oven to 180C
2. Grease the loaf tin
3. Cream together butter and sugar, mix in eggs, then add mashed bananas and walnuts
4. Mix in flour
5. Scrape into tin, bake for 40 minutes, then a further 20 minutes at 150C
6. Cool it, slice it, and devour!

Isn't that beautiful? Or what!

-End of gushing-

Friday, June 18, 2010

Lamb patties

When I dropped by a Tesco after work one day in March, I saw reduced price minced lamb and thought, aha, dinner.

Lamb Patties
Minced lamb
1 onion (very finely chopped)
1 potato (grated and squeezed dry to prevent sogginess)
A handful of parsley (chopped, could be substituted with mint or any herbs of your choice)
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 egg
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine all the ingredients above and mix well with hands.
2. Form into patties (not too thick, to ensure even and quick cooking).
3. Pan fry with a bit of olive oil. You can griddle or grill on a George Foreman as healthier options.
4. Serve with yogurt and mint raita!

(I served it with Thai chilli sauce because it was at hand and *someone* thought it was weird to eat savoury yogurt)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer BBQ

Friends, housemates, boyfriend, sunshine, charcoal and meat...

From left: Pork sausages, lamb burgers, lamb chops, kebabs, 
skewered peppers and mushrooms

...if that's not bliss I don't know what is!

Banishing thoughts of dying animals and the year I was vegetarian

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Wa Tan Hor

Phew, not abandoned yet......Not yet anyhow.

I'm really sorry. The fact that I need to keep this blog alive is always at the back of my mind, I thought maybe an update every 2 weeks would be decent enough but I've fallen dreadfully behind. I don't know what it is, like maybe I'm not passionate or motivated enough about writing (because I sure am about food), I don't bother to take photos or upload ones that I actually took, maybe it's just general laziness. Yet I still stalk EatingAsia, Camemberu and a few other food blogs's easier to consume than to produce. Obvious fact, no?

I'd still like to do this though, I just need to be a lot more disciplined and structured about it. Write down deadlines and so on if it comes down to it.

But this is a long-due entry for Cantonese noodles (Wa Tan Hor) or Eggy Noodles, as I use with Tim.

It's always one of my favouritest tze char noodles along with the dark Hokkien noodles, and one I never thought I could reproduce. But with a few recipes floating about, I thought I'd try it out, and this is probably my third attempt to date and the best (apart from a slight mishap in the end).

Wa Tan Hor
For two

Hor fun (fresh or rehydrated)
4 tbsp oil
dark soy sauce
light soy sauce

The noodles:

I bought fresh hor fun from the local Oriental supermarket, stir fried with oil, dark and light soy sauce til slightly charred around the edges. Put aside.

The gravy:

3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 eggs
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp cornflour (mixed with some cool water)
1 cup chicken stock
*Prawns (shelled and deveined)
*Calamari (sliced)
*Lean pork/chicken (sliced)
*Napa cabbage/Choy sum (sliced to 1" width)
Salt and pepper to taste
(*How much is up to personal preference)

1. Heat wok til very hot and stir fry prawns and calamari until just cooked, set aside.
2. Stir fry garlic til fragrant, add pork/chicken slices and stir fry for 1 minute.
3. Pour in chicken stock and bring it to a boil. Simmer for a 3-5 minutes.
4. Add in cabbage/choy sum and cornflour mixture.
5. Add cooked prawns and calamari and season to taste.
6. Turn off heat, crack 2 eggs and stir gently to cook the eggs. DO NOT stir too vigorously as this will make the gravy stodgy. You want smooth egg wisps, not scrambled sauce.
7. Dish gravy onto noodles, serve.

Eggy noodles has always been a favourite from home, and surprisingly easy to make!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Teriyaki Chicken

Get a bottle of Teriyaki sauce...

And a pack of chicken thighs (or any chicken parts, for that matter)...

Marinate for at least 2 hours (I defrosted the thighs over night in a bag, and when I transfer the chicken from freezer to fridge, I whacked in loads of teriyaki sauce so 2-in-1 action heh)...

Bake in oven a 200C for about 25-35 minutes (until juices run clear), and baste once with honey...

And yummeh results with minimal fuss!

Okay, as a journalism graduate sourcing and not crediting photos is not the best practice, so here are the links to them:
Freezer bag
Teriyaki sauce

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The different types...

Ham choy

Credit: masak-masak

Choy poh

Credit: Simple Life

Char choy

Credit: Very Sedap!!!

Tung choy

Credit: CT Food

Kiam chye (that comes with bak kut teh)

Credit: munkhea

This is for my own reference, due to my lousiness with the Chinese names of preserved vegs...I buy them by sight, not names :S