Seared Tuna Steak with Butternut Squash & Mushroom Risotto

Friday, 30 January 2009

Butternut Squash and Mushroom Risotto with Tuna

Chinese New Year celebration starts with the new moon (first day of the new year) and ends with the full moon which is 15 days after the new moon. So it's 15 days of glorious food! Here I present you with more "lucky" foods. We ate more fish which symbolises a wish for excess of fortune every year. And served it with butternut squash risotto - a pool of gold.

Seared Tuna Steak with Sesame Crust



  • 2 (about 250g each) Tuna Steaks
  • Olive oil
  • Sesame seeds
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 3 tbs Dark Soy Sauce () - Pearl River Bridge is a common brand
  • 1 tbs Shaoxing Wine
  • 2 tbs Dijon Mustard
  • 2 tbs Mirin
  • 2 tbs Honey


  • Marinate tuna steaks for at least an hour.
  • Discard marinade.
  • Wash steaks and pat dry with kitchen towels.
  • Coat tuna steaks with olive oil.
  • Sprinkle freshly ground black pepper on both sides of the steaks.
  • On a plate, lay sesame seeds.
  • Place tuna steaks on sesame seeds to coat the surface. Repeat for the other side.
  • Sear steaks in a pan over high heat. 1 min each side.
Butternut Squash & Mushroom Risotto

Butternut Squash and Mushroom Risotto

Ingredients: serves 3

  • 1 tbs Butter
  • 3 tbs Olive oil
  • 1 large Onion - diced
  • 350g Butternut Squash - cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 200g Arborio Rice
  • about 600ml Chicken Stock (low-sodium)
  • 140g Mushrooms (I used Sainsbury’s taste the difference exotic mushroom selections which contains Yellow Oyster, Hon Shimeji and Shiitake) - sliced
  • 1 spoon Knorr Chicken Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg
  • Salt
  • Coriander (for garnishing)


  • In a pan, heat up 2 tbs of olive oil.
  • Add squash and fry until browned. Leave aside for later use.
  • In another pan, heat up 1 tbs olive oil and 1 tbs butter in a pan.
  • Add onions, saute until soften.
  • Mix in rice, fry until rice is translucent at the edges.
  • Add chicken stock (1/2 cup at a time), Knorr chicken powder, half of the fried squash and mushrooms.
  • Stir every now and then.
  • Add more water when liquid is completely absorbed.
  • Continue until rice is cooked and all the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Stir in the remaining fried squash.
  • Mix in grated nutmeg and add salt to taste.
  • Garnish with coriander.

New Year's Eve - Reunion Dinner

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

cny2009 1

Happy Chinese New Year everyone! CNY is all about eating and drinking! Yummy cookies, scrumptious food all day long...yum yum yum and this celebration lasts 15 days. We start the celebration on new year's eve, that's when we have our reunion dinner. For most Chinese families, we normally go back to the "guy's side" for reunion dinner and its normlly held at the house of the most senior member of the family or nowadays, people just eat out. Our family's reunion dinner is held at my grandmother's house (dad's mum) every year. I had to miss this important event this year as I am not back for CNY =(

For reunion dinners, fish and chicken are normally served. Fish is served because of the Chinese phrase 年年有余 (nian nian you yu), which means 'may there be leftovers every year'. Leftovers in this case means money. And fish in Chinese is 鱼 (yu) which has the same pronunciation as 余. As for chicken, I am not too sure myself, I just know it symbolises prosperity. This year, we had our own reunion dinner on Sunday, just the 2 of us and our flatmate. I cooked 2 dishes that involved those 2 main ingredients.

For my chicken dish: I shall call it

Happy Reunion

cny 2009 2


  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Bok Choy
  • 8 Chinese Mushrooms - washed
  • 1/2 cup Dried Scallops (Conpoy) - washed
  • 4 pieces Chicken (2 thighs, 2 drumsticks)
  • 1 can Abalone - cut abalone into slices, keep juice for sauce
  • 500ml Chicken Stock (low-sodium)
  • Sugar
  • Pepper
  • Corn Starch Slurry
For sauce:

  • Place mushrooms and dried scallops in a bowl, add enough water to cover mushrooms and scallops, cover with clingfilm and leave to soak overnight.
  • The next day, place chicken pieces and chicken stock in a pot, bring to boil.
  • Lower heat and simmer until chicken is tender.
  • Remove chicken pieces from pot.
  • Shred chicken pieces and leave aside for later use.
  • Pour water that was used to soak mushrooms and scallops into the pot of chicken stock.
  • Add all the juice from canned abalone into the pot of chicken stock.
  • Add in mushrooms.
  • Boil at medium low heat to reduce stock.
  • Cook vegetables in stock and remove vegetables when they are cooked. Leave aside for later use.
  • Continue to reduce stock.
  • Add sugar and pepper to taste.
  • Thicken with corn starch slurry.
To assemble:

  • Line the inside of a bowl with clingfilm.
  • Place a layer of abalone slices on clingfilm, lining the insides of the bowl.
  • Spread a layer of shredded softened scallops.
  • Followed by a layer of shredded chicken.
  • Alternate between chicken and scallops, cover the top with leftover abalone slices.
  • Wrap with clingfilm.
  • Steam for 10 mins.
cny 2009

  • Remove from steamer.
  • Open up clingfilm. Place a plate over the bowl and flip over.
  • Slowly lift up bowl and remove clingfilm.
  • Arrange vegetables and mushrooms all around and pour sauce over.

For my fish dish:

Steamed Spicy Sea Bream

cny 2009 3


  • 1 Sea Bream (about 500g)
  • Sesame Oil
  • 10 slices Ginger
  • 3 cloves Garlic - minced
  • 1 Red Chili - sliced
  • 1 stalk Spring Onion - diced
  • Coriander
For sauce: I used the following seasonings but not sure the exact amount.


  • Fry ginger, garlic and chili in sesame oil until fragrant.
  • Remove ginger, garlic and chili from pan, leaving the sesame oil in the pan for the sauce.
  • Place a few slices of ginger on a plate.
  • Make a few slits on the fish and place on top of ginger.
  • Put the rest of the ginger, garlic and chili on top of fish, and stuff a bit in the stomach.
  • Steam until done. (for this 500g fish, it was done after 12 mins)
For sauce:

  • Add all the seasonings in the pan with sesame oil.
  • Add spring onions.
  • Bring to boil then lower heat to simmer.
  • Pour on steamed fish.
  • garnish with coriander
  • The mirin that I used:

Little Bags of Gold - Pineapple Tarts

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Tomorrow is the first day of Chinese New Year and I finally made my first batch of CNY cookies! I've never made CNY cookies as there will always be jars of different cookies lying around the house. My favourite is pineapple tart! My mum makes the best melt-in-your-mouth pineapple tarts. I helped her once with those gems and it was a PITA trying to push the dough through a nastar mould. I gave up after pressing out a few strips and needed the rest of the day to replenish my energy. I won't be home this year for CNY, so I decided to make some myself.

I remember my mum saying we should reduce ALL the juice that comes with the pineapple to get a more intense flavour, so I did, and that was the worst part of the process. I think it took me about an hour just to cook that paste. The paste was very flavourful, just a tad sour as I cut back on the sugar. I quite like the sourness of it, but the wild boar says it's not sweet enough for him. So just add more sugar to suit your taste. I don't have a nastar mould, so I rolled them up into balls instead. They don't look as nice, but it was definitely less tedious.

I am not sure why they cracked, but I will treat that as a good sign for my wealth this coming year. I hope my money will be like the pineapple filling, too much to be contained in bag (bank) =P

Apart from the fact that they cracked from baking, the pastry was delicious! It was crumbly and melt in your mouth. Although not as soft and fine as my mum's but they tasted great! We all love the texture of the pastry.

pineapple 4

Ingredients: about 24 pieces

  • 1 Egg - beaten (as egg wash)
Pineapple paste:

  • 2 cans (452g each, 260g drained weight) Pineapples , Unsweetened in Natural Juice
  • 6 tbs Maltose
  • 6 tbs Caster Sugar
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon Powder


  • 120g Unsalted Butter
  • 20g Cookeen (shortening)
  • 30g Icing Sugar
  • 1 large Egg Yolk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Essence
  • a dash of salt
  • 175g Plain Flour
  • 25g Corn Flour

For pineapple paste:

  • Process pineapples in a food processor.
  • Pour everything including all the juice into a pan, add maltose and sugar, simmer at medium low heat until all liquid has evaporated and until the paste turned golden brown. Remember to stir constantly to avoid burning.
  • Add more sugar to taste.
  • Mix in cinnamon powder.
  • pineapple 1
  • Leave to cool and refrigerate overnight.
For pastry:

  • Beat butter and cookeen until light and fluffy.
  • Mix in icing sugar.
  • Beat in egg yolk.
  • Mix in vanilla essence.
  • Sieve together plain flour, corn flour and salt.
  • Slowly fold into butter mixture.
To assemble:

  • Roll out pineapple paste (1 tsp) and pastry dough (about the same size as pineapple paste) into balls.
  • Flatten pastry dough with palms and put a pineapple ball in the middle.
  • Wrap and roll into a ball or shape it to however you want it to be.
  • pineapple 2
  • Preheat oven to 180°C
  • Brush the surfaces with egg wash.
  • Bake for about 20-25 mins or until golden browned.

pineapple 3

新年快乐! 恭喜发财! 身体健康! 万事如意! 祝你牛年行大运,发大财!!!

Happy Moo Year everyone! Wish you all a prosperous new year! May this year bring happiness, health, wealth and success to all!
Happy Ox-picious 2009!


Royal Foodie Joust - Cauliflower, Mushrooms & Noodles

Saturday, 24 January 2009

I just signed up for the foodie blogroll forum and found out about the Royal Foodie Joust which is hosted by the Leftover Queen. Each month, a foodie who won the previous month's Royal Foodie Joust gets to choose 3 ingredients of his/her choice, and everyone will have to come up with a dish using these ingredients. A winner will be picked each month and gets to choose the next 3 ingredients for next month.

Since I just joined the forum, I thought I'll participate in this month's event. But I was dismayed when I saw one of the ingredients - cauliflower. I dislike cauliflower and can't even recall when was the last time I had it. The wild boar would use it for stir fries whenever I'm not cooking or eating as he knows I won't eat it. Anyhow, it's been years since I last had it so maybe my tastes have changed.

I added crispy bacon hoping that it would distract me from the cauliflower. And yes, it did its job and added lots of flavour to the dish. The only problem was the hint of bitterness from the cauliflower. The wild boar says it was because I did not get rid of the core...hmm I here's my entry: A simple pasta meal -
Cauliflower Linguine with Mushrooms and Crispy Bacon.

cauliflower mushroom linguine

Ingredients: serves 4-5

  • Linguine
  • 250g Bacon - cut into small pieces
  • 500g Mushrooms - sliced
  • 1 head Cauliflower - coarsely chopped
  • 500ml Stock (low sodium)
  • 2 tbs Creme Fraiche
  • 1 cup Mature Cheddar - grated
  • 1 cup Walnuts - toasted and coarsely chopped


  • Place bacon in a heated pan and fry until browned and crispy.
  • cauliflower mushroom linguine1
  • Remove half of the bacon. This will be sprinkled on the pasta before serving.
  • Add in mushrooms and leave to cook until mushrooms are softened.
  • cauliflower mushroom linguine3
  • In another pan, heat up a bit of olive oil and butter.
  • Toss in cauliflower, stir fry for about 10 mins.
  • Pour in stock and bring to boil.
cauliflower mushroom linguine5
  • Lower heat to simmer until cauliflower softened.
  • Puree in a blender.
  • Transfer to a pan, stir in creme fraiche.
  • Slowly mix in cheese.
  • Stir in mushrooms and bacon.
  • In another pot, cook linguine as instructed on the package. Drain.
  • Pour cauliflower sauce in and mix.
  • Toss in walnuts.
  • Top with some crispy bacon and serve!

Rumbledethump - My Way

Friday, 23 January 2009

Rumbledethump is a traditional Scottish dish which involves the mixing of potatoes, cabbage, onions, then topped with cheese and baked till browned. This is normally served with meat or ate as a meal on its own. I happened to have all ingredients needed for rumbledethump and a lot of leftover meat from 8-hr Braised Pork, so I decided to combine the ingredients and make an all-in-one dish. I didn't want a cheesy crust, so I placed cheese in between the meat and rumbledethump. The cheesy surprise was amazing. The cheese melted onto the meat and was really delicious with the rumbledethump.

rumbledethump 5


  • Leftover meat from 8-hr Braised Pork - shredded
  • Leftover sauce from 8-hr Braised Pork or stock - just enough to keep the meat moist but not drown the meat
  • Mature Cheddar - grated
For rumbledethump:

  • 550g Potatoes - roughly diced
  • 1 head Savoy Cabbage - shredded
  • 1 large Onion - sliced
  • 4 shallots - sliced
  • 1 stalk Spring Onion - diced
  • 1 bunch (~15g) Chives - diced
  • 2 tbs Creme Fraiche
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper


  • In a casserole dish, place a layer of shredded meat.
  • Pour sauce over meat.
  • rumbledethump 1
  • Sprinkle cheese on meat.

rumbledethump 2

For Rumbledethump:

  • Place onion and shallots in a pan with a bit of oil, salt and brown sugar. Leave to caramelise at low heat.
  • Boil potatoes until soft and mash evenly.
  • In a pot, fry cabbage with a bit of butter until wilted.
  • Mix together potatoes, caramelised onions and shallots, cabbage, spring onions, chives and creme fraiche.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Spread potato mixture onto meat.
rumbledethump 3

  • Bake at 180°C until a crust is formed (~30 mins).
rumbledethump 6

8-hr Braised Pork

Thursday, 22 January 2009

The wild boar was on call last weekend so I had a lot of time to myself. After sending him off to work on Saturday, I started preparing for this 8-hr braised pork as well as my yummy cheesecake, which I will blog about soon. It was a very hearty and flavourful dish and the meat was amazingly tender after long hours of slow cooking.

8 hr pork 1

  • 2kg Pork Shoulder Joint
  • 1 large Onion - sliced
  • 4 Shallots - sliced
  • 2 Celery Sticks - coarsely chopped
  • 2 Carrots - coarsely chopped
  • 1 Leek - coarsely chopped
  • 3 Dried Bay Leaves
  • 1 small bunch Rosemary
  • 1 small bunch Thyme
  • 1 tbs Black Peppercorn - crushed
  • ~500ml Chicken Stock (low sodium)
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper


  • Preheat oven to 120°C.
  • Dry meat with paper towels.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Sear meat on all sides until golden brown.
  • Saute onions and shallots until soft.
  • Place all ingredients in an oven-proof pot. Add enough chicken stock to cover 1/2 the height of meat.
8 hr pork

  • Cover and leave to cook for 8 hrs. Turn meat over after 4 hrs and continue cooking.
  • Remove from oven, season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve!

Simple Spring Onion & Chives Mash

8 hr pork 3

  • Potatoes - boiled and mashed
  • Spring Onion - chopped
  • Chives - finely chopped
  • Creme Fraiche
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  • Just mix everything together.
  • Season with salt and pepper.

8 hr pork 2

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Navita of Zaayeka who gave me this lovely Butterfly Award:

Thank you so much for this award! Very much appreciated! This is my very first award and so I would like to pass this on to all of you! Sorry for breaking the rules here but you all have such wonderful blogs and it's just so hard for me to choose. Also, thank you for all your support! I would like you to pass on this award with just a few rules:

  • Add the logo in your blog.
  • Add a link to the person who gave you the award.
  • Nominate 10 other blogs of your choice.
  • Don’t forget to add links to those blogs in yours'.
  • Also leave a message for your nominees in their blogs, informing them about the award.


My Perfect Steamed Eggs

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Steamed Eggs4
When we were in boarding school, we used to have cookout sessions with another couple almost every Sunday. One Sunday, we decided to cook Japanese food and one of the dishes was chawanmushi (egg custard). That was the first time all of us tried to make a steamed egg dish. We didn't know that we have to add liquid to the egg mixture before steaming. So we filled a huge bowl with 4 beaten eggs (with the though of 1 egg each sounds reasonable) together with some other ingredients like mushrooms, chicken and seafood sticks. All of the ingredients only filled up about a quarter of the bowl. We starred at it for awhile wondering what to do. The guys then shouted "Just add more eggs la!". We did and we decided to stop at 12! The steamed eggs looked somewhat "normal" but it was as dense as hard boiled eggs! Despite that, we finished everything, and stayed away from eggs for awhile.

We learnt about adding liquid to beaten eggs but there are other "tricks" to make silky smooth steamed eggs. I picked up some tricks from browsing through food blogs and forums but have yet to make the perfect steamed eggs until this. Was it sheer luck? I am not sure. I will have to try this again.

I used 1:1 eggs to water ratio instead of my normal 1:1.5-2. It was very silky and smooth, but not too soft and watery. The texture is very similar to Japanese egg tofu, maybe a bit lighter.

Steamed Eggs5


  • 3 Eggs (~3/4 cup)
  • 3/4 cup Water (boiled then cooled to room temperature)
  • 1 Century Egg
  • 1 tube Japanese Egg Tofu (玉子豆腐)
  • 1/2 spoon Knorr Chicken Powder


  • Place egg tofu and century eggs in a bowl.
Steamed Eggs1

  • In another bowl, mix yolks and white by gently stirring using a fork. Don't beat. This is to avoid incorporating unnecessary air bubbles.
  • Add water and mix.
  • Mix in chicken powder.
  • Pour egg mixture onto egg tofu and century egg through a sieve. Discard remaining egg white in sieve. The surface should be free of any air bubbles.
  • Steamed Eggs2
  • Cover with aluminium foil.
  • Steam on medium low heat for about 15 mins.
  • Check for doneness with a chopstick. It should come out clean.
  • Garnish and serve.
Steamed Eggs3

Sweet and Sour Pork Ribs (糖醋排骨)

Saturday, 17 January 2009

This is a recipe from my aunt. It is another very simple dish and has all the flavours that I like - salty, sweet and sour.

In Malaysia, dark soy sauce means thick caramel sauce, and that's the only dark soy sauce I knew before I came to the UK. When I came to the UK and bought a bottle of Pearl River Bridge dark soy sauce, it was not what I expected. Pearl River Bridge Dark soy sauce is less viscous as compared to the Malaysian dark soy sauce and saltier. I didn't like the taste of it.

Malaysian dark soy sauce (thick caramel sauce) is made out of caramel, salt and some flavourings. It is very viscous and has a distinct taste. Despite its name, it is not very sweet and adds a lot of flavour and colour to a dish. I used to bring it over from Malaysia, but recently, I found a shop in London that sells this.

sweet sour ribs


  • 2 kg Pork Ribs
  • 1/3 cup Light Soy Sauce
  • 1/3 cup Vinegar
  • 90g Rock Sugar
  • 2 tbs Cheong Chan Thick Dark Soy Sauce (Thick Caramel Sauce)



  • Place all ingredients in a pot, add just enough water to cover all the ribs.
  • Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer until meat is tender and sauce is thick and sticky.

sweet sour ribs2

Chocolate Chip Cookies II

Friday, 16 January 2009


I have a cookie monster at home and he has been bugging me about baking chocolate chip cookies for awhile. I saw this recipe on mybakingaddiction and decided to give it a try. Knowing that she is a big fan of "The Chewy" which I too love, and after reading about how great the cookies were, I just had to try this recipe.

The cookies were a little disappointing. Yes, they were crisp outside, but I was not quite satisfied with the inside. They were not chewy enough and I much prefer the texture of "The Chewy". I think they were much lighter than "The Chewy". The wild boar says it is neither chewy nor cakey, maybe in between. Despite all these, I still enjoyed eating the cookies and the wild boar gobbled up everything within days.


I am still trying to figure out what went wrong. I subbed Cookeen for half the butter like how mybakingaddition used butter flavoured Crisco. I couldn't find Crisco here in the UK so I used Cookeen, which apparently is the equivalent.


I used 1 cup of chopped hazelnuts and I thought they were in the way, maybe because they were a tad too finely chopped. I chilled the cookie dough overnight, and used an ice-cream scoop to scoop out the dough, each weighing about 60 grams.



These are the first batch of cookies. I baked them for about 2 mins too long. So instead of golden brown all around edges but centre still pale, they were brown all around.


For the second batch, I flattened each ball, depressed the centre slightly, and put milkybar buttons on each cookie dough.


I baked these for 10 mins and they came out perfect!



I will try Deryl Bear's original recipe next time and will leave out the nuts.

Crayfish Linguine in Bisque Sauce

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Sounds like a complicated dish huh? Don't be fooled by its name! It's a really simple yet very tasty dish. Knowing me, I won't go for anything too complicating unless it's some special occasion or if I feel like it during weekends. I don't have much time to fiddle around in the kitchen during the weekdays, so I normally go for something relatively simple yet something that can satisfy the wild boar.

Crayfish Linguine in Bisque Sauce

Ingredients: serves 4-5

  • Linguine
  • 1 large Onion - cut into wedges
  • 4 cloves Garlic - crushed
  • 2 cans (400 ml each) Baxters Lobster Bisque
  • 15g Chives - chopped
  • 180g Crayfish Tails
  • 10 Seafood Sticks - cut into cubes
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • Sweat onions until soft and translucent.
  • Add garlic and fry until fragrant.
  • Pour in lobster bisque and slowly heat it up. Do not bring to boil (that's what it says on the can).
  • Stir in chives, crayfish tails and seafood sticks.
  • Leave to cook on low heat for about 10 mins.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Cook linguine as instructed on the package. Drain.
  • Mix linguine with sauce.
  • Sprinkle a bit of ground black pepper, squeeze some lemon juice on linguine and enjoy!

Crayfish Linguine in Bisque Sauce


  • I'm normally a bit skeptical about using canned soup for cooking as I've had many bad experiences. But I used Baxters lobster bisque for this dish as it has a very strong shellfish flavour, very creamy and very delicious. The wild boar says it's very bisque-y, very tasty.
lobster bisque
  • I was going to use prawns for this dish until I saw this:
crayfish tail

I am sending this to Lore's Original Recipes.

Smoked Salmon Rolls with Spicy Chives Filling

Monday, 12 January 2009

This dish was inspired by Steamy Kitchen's sweet chili mayo and Fool For Food's salmon logs with mascarpone and chives filling and caviar topping. Jeff is not a big fan of cheese, so I decided to fill the smoked salmon rolls with a spicy mayo filling. I added a little bit of wasabi to the sweet chili mayo for a bit more kick and it was delicious.

salmon spicy filling1


  • Smoked Salmon Strips
  • Lemon wedges

Spicy Mayonnaise with Chives Filling:

  • 3 tbs Kewpie Mayonnaise
  • 1 tbs Sweet Thai Chili Sauce
  • 1 tsp Wasabi Paste
  • 1.5 tbs Chives - finely chopped


  • Roll salmon strips forming a little hole in the middle for filling.
  • Mix together all ingredients for the filling.
salmon spicy filling salmon spicy filling4
  • Place filling into a piping bag and fill each salmon roll with spicy chives filling. Keep the rest of the filling and use as a dip!
  • Chill, squeeze a little lemon juice on salmon rolls and serve!
salmon spicy filling2


  • I used Japanese mayo as it somehow feels lighter than normal mayo. It's very creamy, sweeter and tastier.
Kewpie Japanese Mayo

I am submitting this to Lore's Original Recipes.