Tom Yum Talay (Hot & Sour Thai Seafood Soup)

Saturday, 30 August 2008

This is one of my favourite Thai dishes as it has all the elements that I like - spicy and sour. Jade suggested having tom yum with bee hoon so I thought I'll give this dish a go. I substituted galangal with ginger and used lime's zest instead of kaffir lime leaves as I couldn't find those ingredients here. This is my first attempt and it turned out better than expected.



Ingredients: Serves 4
  • 1L Water
  • 15-20 slices Ginger
  • 1 cup Shallots - chopped
  • 1 bulb Garlic - peeled and crushed
  • 1 Lime's zest
  • 2 sticks Lemongrass
  • 2 (or more) Red chilli - sliced
  • Juice of 1 lime

Seasonings:

  • 2-3 tbs Fish sauce
  • 1 tbs Brown sugar

Other optional ingredients:

  • Bee hoon (rice vermicelli)
  • Squid
  • Prawns
  • Fish
  • Sweet peas
  • Baby sweet corn
  • Tomatoes
  • Straw mushrooms
  • Coriander - coarsely chopped

Directions:

  • Fry shallots in a pot with a bit of oil until translucent.
  • Add in garlic and fry until fragrant.
  • Pour in all other ingredients for tom yum and bring to boil.
  • Once it starts boiling, lower heat and simmer for at least 30 mins.
  • Add fish sauce and brown sugar to taste.
  • Bring the soup back to a boil to cook the other optional seafood/ vegetable ingredients.
  • Dish out and sprinkle chopped coriander.
  • Drink it on its own or serve with noodles such as bee hoon.

Comments:


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Spinach in Superior Broth

Thursday, 28 August 2008


Ingredients:
  • 300g fresh Spinach
  • 4-5 Dried Chinese mushrooms - soaked
  • 1 handful gei chi (枸杞, Chinese wolfberry)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Superior Broth:
Directions:
  • For superior broth, bring all ingredients to boil.
  • Pour in softened mushrooms, lower heat and simmer for at least 30 mins.
  • Mix in spinach and gei-chi, leave to cook until spinach is tender (about 3 mins).
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.

Comments:
  • I will add century eggs/ salted eggs in this dish if i have some in hand.
  • Fried slices of garlic will make it very fragrant.

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Tomato Madness

Sunday, 24 August 2008

I've been going crazy about tomatoes lately. Jeff opened the fridge one day and was amazed by the amount of tomatoes accumulating in the fridge. He said he has never seen so many tomatoes in the fridge, ever. I used to hate tomatoes because of its slightly metallic taste. But I guess tastes and views change as you grow older. Sometimes you just eat for the sake of eating. It's like how I dislike eating vegetables but I know I have to eat because of health reasons (and Jeff would actually nag/ force me to eat).

My "love" for tomatoes actually started after I learnt the benefits of tomatoes. It's very nutritious - high in vitamins and other nutrients. Its high Lycopene content is a very powerful antioxidant. Other benefits include preventing heart disease, high cholestrol and even cancer. It's like a miracle fruit that actually helps to ward off any worst known diseases. Not sure how true these studies are, but there's no harm eating what is believed to bring us good.

Tomato Chicken Stew

Ingredients:
  • 750g Chicken
  • 2 large Onions
  • 1/2 bulb Garlic - crushed
  • 3 Carrots
  • 4 Tomatoes
  • 1 cup Red wine
  • 3-4 Bay leaves
  • 1 handful Basil - coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbs Concentrate Tomato paste
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  • Saute onions until translucent.
  • Mix in crushed garlic, fry until fragrant.
  • Add in other ingredients (exept basil). Bring to boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for about 30-45 mins or until meat is tender.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Stir in basil, remove bay leaves and serve.

Tomato Omelette

Ingredients:
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Oyster sauce
  • 2 stalks Spring onions
  • 2 large Tomatoes - core removed and diced.
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:
  • Beat eggs with oyster sauce.
  • Lightly fry tomatoes with a pinch of salt.
  • Pour in beaten eggs.
  • As the eggs begin to settle, use a spatula/ wooden spoon, push the eggs towards the center while tilting the pan to distribute runny parts.
  • Continue this motion until eggs stop flowing.
  • Sprinkle on the spring onions and pepper.
  • Flip over to cook the other side.
  • Serve.

Comments:
  • Core of tomatoes removed as the core gives out a lot of water. Will make the omelette very soggy.

Spicy Steamed Fish Fillets with Tomatoes
Ingredients: Jade's creation
  • Fish fillets
  • Spring onions - chopped
  • Ginger - sliced thinly
  • Red chilli
  • Tomatoes - chopped into tiny pieces (core attached)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:
  • Place fish fillets on steaming try.
  • Sprinkle salt and pepper on fish and leave for about 10 mins.
  • Add other ingredients on top of fillets.
  • Steam on medium heat until cooked.
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Salad Medley

Friday, 22 August 2008

Spicy Green Salad with Squid and Smoked Salmon

Ingredients:
  • Ready to use salad mix
  • Squid - pan fried, seasoned with salt and pepper.
  • Smoked salmon - shredded
Salad dressing: processed in food processor
  • Chives
  • Parsley
  • Coriander
  • Green chilli
  • Basil
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Honey
  • Fish sauce
  • Black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Fried Garlic

Crispy Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Ingredients:
  • Ready to use salad mix
  • Apple - chopped
  • Smoked salmon - shredded
Balsamic vinaigrette: processed in food processor
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic - roughly chopped
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Honey
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Parsley

Grapefruit and Avocado Salad

Ingredients:
  • Ready to use salad mix
  • Grapefruit - retain juice for salad dressing
  • Avocado
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

To prepare grapefruit:
  • Remove grapefruit skin using a knife.
  • Remove all the white skin as it is very bitter.
  • Cut between segments to remove the flesh.
  • Squeeze out juice and discard the core.
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Silver Medal Glory

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Kenny and KK came over yesterday to watch the Olympic men's singles badminton finals as it was Malaysian Lee Chong Wei against Chinese Lin Dan. Lee didn't perform very well and got trashed.

Despite all that disappointment, we had a great time eating, as usual. We watched badminton after stuffing ourselves with fried chicken, hot wings and fries from KFC. Kenny then made Strawberries and Cream for tea. Very yummy and satisfying dessert for tea. My only comment about it is that it needs to be chilled more. It is basically made up of strawberry coulis, whipped double cream and crème patissière which involves milk, double cream, plain flour, corn flour, egg yolks and caster sugar. He then served it with coursely crushed biscuits and a scoop of cornish cream ice-cream - umm....

Strawberries and Cream


Football was up next - Man Utd vs Newcastle. Not a fan of football so Jade and I kept ourselves busy in the kitchen while the guys enjoy football. Jade prepared Mango Lassi, as requested by Kenny. It is a delicious Indian yougurt drink, very refreshing especially after eating spicy Indian food. She made hers with fresh mangoes, natural yougurt, milk, mango juice and sugar. While Jade was measuring all ingredients according to the recipe, KK appeared all of a sudden and just dunk everything he could see on the countertop into the blender. Turned out quite good actually.

Mango Lassi


We had prawn noodles for dinner after football. It is from an instant stock paste pack - the best instant prawn noodle stock paste I've ever tasted. I served it with egg noodles, hard boiled egg, boiled pork, prawns and beansprouts. I added less water as stated on the packaging to make it more concentrated. Added concentrate tomato paste and garlic to add flavour.

Prawn Noodle
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The Hinds Head, Bray [Restaurant Review]

Friday, 15 August 2008


We've been indulging in lots of rich and scrumptious food last week because Bryan, was around. When the four of us are together, it's all about eating - non-stop eating. We went to the Hinds Head, which is owned by Heston Blumenthal whom also owns the 3 Michelin starred Fat Duck restaurant. It was one of the best if not, the best restaurant that I have been to. Everything was cooked to perfection. We had a 3-course meal each - ordered everything different as usual so we could try almost everything on the menu.

For starters, we had potted shrimps, terrine and pea and ham soup. I was a bit skeptical about the potted shrimps at first as I wasn't too keen on peeling little prawns. To our surprise, the potted shrimps actually came in a mousse form and it was really really good - my favourite. The pea and ham soup was light and frothy, very flavourful. The terrine was very tasty and has chunks of foie gras embedded.

I had the Lancashire hotpot, which is essentially a lamb stew was absolutely divine. The hotpot was served with a raw oyster on top. By the time it arrived at my table, the oyster was half cooked and was definitely the highlight of the dish. It melts in your mouth and the combination of oyster and the lamb stew was awesome. Jeff's 8oz rump steak with bone marrow sauce was really good. One of the best steaks I had, very tender, well cooked and nicely seasoned. Slow cooked beef and pork collar were the specials of the day and they were great. Very tender and flavourful.

The desserts especially the quaking pudding (wobbly baked cream) and chocolate tart are to die for. Enjoyed the meal very much and am looking forward to another meal there. If not - the Fat Duck!

The Hinds Head
High Street, Bray Berks, SL6 2AB, UK
01628 626151
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Bryan's Little Corner

My flatmate's boyfriend stayed with us for a week to help her settle down. He likes to cook and certainly likes to eat. Here are some of his dishes.

Hot Asparagus Mousse

Made with asparagus, breadcrumbs, milk and eggs. It lacked abit of taste and the texture was a bit mushy. It would be better if it was firmer and maybe an addition of some crab meat or prawns.

Recipe taken from 1080 Recipes, Simone and Ines Ortega
Ingredients:
  • Butter, for greasing
  • 250g Asparagus
  • 165g Breadcrumbs
  • 175ml Warm milk
  • 2 Egg yolks
  • 1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:
  • Soak breadcrumbs with milk for about 10 mins.
  • Process asparagus and breadcrumbs.
  • Mix in egg yolks one at a time.
  • Beat in whole egg and season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour mixture into greased baking tin.
  • Place tin in a roasting pan. Pour boiling water into roasting pan until water reaches halfway up the sides of baking tin.
  • Bake at 150°C for 1 1/4 hrs.

Bouillabaisse

We had this dish at Chez Michel, Marseille earlier this year. Apparently they serve the best bouillabaisse in town. Their main menu consists of only 2 dishes: Bouillabaisse, which is traditional Provence fish soup, and bourride, a classic Mediterranean stew, served with garlic mayonnaise. The bourride was very garlicky and tasty but it was a bit too creamy even for me. 1/2 a bowl I would say is just the right amount. Any more is just a burden. The bouillabaisse was amazing - very fishy and flavourful. The meal came up to about 60 euros per person. Not cheap, but we were all stuffed and it certainly was an experience.

I wasn't sure what Bryan was trying to make. He said it's another version of bouillabaisse. It was certainly very fishy but lacked some taste. Too much water I would say. The fishmonger didn't descale the fishes properly so the skin of the fish was impossible to eat and there were scales floating everywhere.

Poached Pear with Chocolate Risotto

The pears were poached in red wine, sugar and a bit of chopped pears and oranges. The red wine was then reduced and drizzled on the pears. The pears were not poached long enough so they weren't very tender but the reduced sauce was really delicious. The risotto was a bit undercooked but the taste was great. He cooked the risotto with milk and melted milk chocolate. Strained the risotto and coated it with melted dark chocolate and honey. We actually ate this with vanilla ice cream and the combination was divine. This dish would be perfect if the pear and risotto weren't undercooked.
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Awards & Mentions

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Here is a list of awards from my fellow bloggers and notable mentions I’ve received. I would like to thank you all for your warm support and encouragement. Your comments mean a lot to me and are very much appreciated.

  • Top 10 UK Food and Beverage Blogs on Cision UK's ranking.
  • August issue of the monthly cookery column in The Star newspaper (StarTwo Cooking Column) and also kuali.com
  • Lastminute.com - Oh You Lucky Bloggers – the top 50 blogs about good stuff
  • Featured on Guide to Culinary School's list of the Best Asian Cooking Blogs
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Andalucian Stew

Monday, 11 August 2008

We had this dish when we went to Malaga a month ago and absolutely loved it. This dish has everything Jeff likes - a rustic dish with thick gravy, it's very flavourful and tasty. We bought back some chorizo and I thought I'll give this dish a go. I used a mix of chicken and pork to give it more flavour. Left out the fatty pork for health reasons. The chorizo gave out so much flavour to this dish that it doesn't require any additional seasonings. Really yummy!

Andalucian stew @ Gorki, Malaga

Andalucian stew @ Gorki, Malaga

Ingredients:
  • 200g Chorizo - cut into pieces
  • 500g Pork - chopped into pieces
  • 500g Chicken pieces
  • 1 bulb Garlic - peeled and crushed
  • 1 large Onion
  • 3 Carrots
  • 1 large Tomato - quartered
  • 1/2 head of White cabbage
  • 1 can of boiled Chickpeas - drained
  • 1 1/2 cup Water
  • 1/2 cup Red wine
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • a few threads of Saffron
  • 1 tsp Black peppercorn - grounded
  • 1 medium sized Potato - cut into cubes and boiled

Directions:
  • Crush together saffron threads, black peppercorn and a dash of olive oil.
  • Heat up a bit of olive oil in a pan and fry chicken pieces until golden brown.
  • Brown chorizo in a pot (without oil).
  • Remove chorizo and leave about a tablespoon of oil released from chorizo in the pot and discard excess oil.
  • Add in onion and saute until translucent.
  • Mix in crushed garlic, fry until fragrant.
  • Add in chicken, pork, carrots, tomatoes, cabbage, water, red wine, bay leaves, crushed saffron and peppercorn. Bring to boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for about 1-2hrs or until meat is tender.
  • Spoon out about 1 cup of gravy, blend with potatoes and mix in with the rest of the sauce. This is to thicken gravy.
  • Mix in chickpeas and simmer for a further 15 mins.

Comments:
  • Could thicken gravy by blending in chickpeas instead of potatoes.
  • Add a knob of butter to further thicken gravy.

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Swedish Meatballs with Linguine

Saturday, 9 August 2008

The nearest Ikea is about an hour's drive from our new flat and we've been there 3 times since we moved in (which was only a month ago). The first time was to get a dining table and of course we bought various other home 'essentials'. A tv stand was our main motive the second time but again we ended up buying other bits and bobs. The third time was to collect our flatmate's bedframe - not a surprise - we bought more stuff and we didn't even get the bedframe because one part was not in stock. The shopping aside, Ikea serves the best meatballs - tender and flavourful. Shopping after indulging in a plate of scrumptious meatballs served with cream sauce and lingonberry sauce...umm....what more do you expect?

Ingredients: serves 4

Meatballs:

  • 250g Minced Beef
  • 250g Minced Pork
  • 100ml Double cream
  • 100ml Milk
  • 1/2 cup Onion - finely chopped
  • 50g Breadcrumbs
  • 2 medium size Potatoes - peeled and cut into large cubes
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg - grated
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Tomato sauce for pasta:

  • 1 tbs Olive oil
  • 1 large Onion - diced
  • 2 Carrots - diced
  • 2 cups Mushrooms - sliced
  • ½ bulb Garlic – crushed
  • 2 cans Canned tomatoes
  • 2 tbs Concentrate tomato puree
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup Red wine
  • 3-4 Bay leaves
  • 1 handful of fresh Parsley - chopped
  • 1 handful of fresh Basil - chopped
  • ~1-2 tbs Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 tbs Chicken powder
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Directions:

Meatballs:

  • Boil potatoes, leave to cool and mashed.
  • Sweat onions until soft.
  • Moisten breadcrumbs with milk.
  • Combine all ingredients in a mixer and beat until well combined.
  • Scoop out meatballs using an ice-cream scoop.
  • Fry in a pan with olive oil until golden brown.
  • Transfer all the meatballs into a baking tray and place in a 180°C oven until cooked (~15-20 mins).

Tomato sauce for pasta:


  • Sauté onions and carrots with olive oil until tender.
  • Add in garlic and fry until fragrant.
  • Mix in all other ingredients (except basil) and bring to boil.
  • Reduce heat to simmer for about 20 mins.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Stir in basil, remove bay leaves and serve.

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Braised Abalone with Fish Maw and Mushrooms

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

I got a can of canned abalone from my mum when I went back for Chinese New Year earlier this year. It has been sitting in the pantry since then. Haven't had a chance to use it since Jeff is not a big fan of abalone. I finally used it last weekend and cooked a rather luxurious dish to welcome our new flatmate.


Ingredients:

  • 250g Chicken
  • 1 Large onion
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 cup Yu-zhu/Yuk-chuk (玉竹)
  • 2 Dried abalone
  • 3 Large Dried Scallops
  • 10 Chinese Mushrooms
  • Dried Fish Maw
  • 1 can of canned abalone - drained and cut into thin slices.
  • Broccoli
  • Corn starch slurry (water+corn starch)
  • Salt

Directions:
  • Wash mushrooms, dried abalone and dried scallops, soak for at least 2 hrs (I normally soak overnight).
  • Pour boiling water over fish maw and leave until softens. Drain and add cold water. Drain and squeeze out excess water. This is to get rid of the oil. Repeat this twice. Cut into small pieces.
  • Blanch chicken. Drain and place in a pot with onion, carrot, yu-zhu, soaked dried abalone and scallops. Pour all the water used for soaking mushrooms, abalone and scallops into the pot. Add enough water to cover all ingredients and bring to boil.
  • Lower heat and simmer for at least 1 hr.
  • Slowly pour chicken broth through a sieve. Retain the dried abalone.
  • Place strained chicken broth in another pot.
  • Add in soaked mushrooms, scallops, dried abalone and fish maw. Simmer for 30 mins.
  • Thicken with corn starch slurry.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Fish out all ingredients and arrange on a serving dish.
  • Pour gravy over and serve.

Comments:

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'Clay Pot' Chicken Rice

Saturday, 2 August 2008

A dish we enjoy eating a lot! I make this at least once a fortnight as it's very easy to make and tasty!



Ingredients:
  • 400g Chicken - chopped into pieces
  • 1 Egg
  • 1-2 Chinese sausage - thinly sliced and fried
  • 1 tbs Garlic - minced
  • ~5 slices Ginger

Optional:
  • Spring onion - diced
  • Salted fish

A:
  • Light soya sauce
  • Dark soya sauce
  • Kecap manis
  • Oyster sauce
  • Shaoxing wine
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Pepper

Directions:
  • Marinate chicken with A for at least 1 hr (I normally do this overnight)
  • Cook rice like normal.
  • Fry garlic and ginger until fragrant.
  • Add in chicken and fry until half cooked.
  • Pour chicken and gravy into rice pot when rice starts steaming.
  • Mix in beaten egg when rice is cooked.
  • Stir in chinese sausage.
  • Add more oyster sauce and pepper to taste.
  • Serve with spring onions and salted fish.
Comments:
  • Nowadays I just cook this dish in a non-stick pot on the stove. Simply because it's easy to scrape off the burnt rice (yum yum!) and easy to clean!
  • Kicap manis is a new addition to the marinade. Adds another level of sweetness and taste to the dish. Loving this new addition!
  • I enjoy eating this even without the addition of an egg but Jeff insist that an egg must always be added to this dish...fine.
  • I usually beat the egg with a bit of oyster sauce before mixing in with rice. Mixing in the egg directly makes the rice a bit mushy and soggy. So what I normally do is fry the egg in another non-stick wok and mix in the rice when the egg is half cooked.
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~Guide to Restaurant Food Ratings~

10 = Awesome, your purpose on this planet is finished after this meal
8 = As expected of a Michelin starred restaurant
7 = Better than most
6 = All round good quality food
5 = As expected of good but cheap food
4 = Nothing special, just ok
3 = Bad
1 = Gut wrenchingly terrible

Value is obviously subjective, but approximately a score of 5 translates into something like "You pay for what you get", 1 is "Total rip-off" and 10 would be "I think I'm now a thief". Factors such as food quality, ingredients, location, Michelin stars all play a part in this. I'm going along the basis that a good quality meal in London is approximately 30 including a drink in a non-Michelin starred restaurant.

Oh, and just in case nobody noticed so far, the * in the restaurant title refers to the number of Michelin stars it holds at time of writing. So * = 1 Michelin star, *** = 3 Michelin stars.

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Chin Kiang Pork Ribs

Friday, 1 August 2008


Ingredients:
  • 1kg Pork ribs
  • Sesame seeds – toasted
  • 2 tbs Chin Kiang Black vinegar (鎮江香醋)
A:
  • ¼ cup Chin Kiang Black vinegar (鎮江香醋)
  • ¼ cup Shaoxing wine
  • ¼ cup Tomato sauce
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbs Chili oil (oil strained, only use the flakes)
  • 1-2 pieces of Rock sugar
Directions:
  • Brown ribs in heated pan with a little bit of oil.
  • Add in A, cook on medium heat for about 45-60 mins or until meat is tender and sauce is thick.
  • Stir in 2 tbs black vinegar.
  • Place ribs on serving plate.
  • Sprinkle sesame seeds on ribs and serve.
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