Madras Coconut Curry for The Soldiers' Charity Big Curry

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

I was recently approached by ABF The Soldiers' Charity to spread the word regarding their month-long flagship fundraising event, The Soldiers' Charity Big Curry, that takes place every April. The Soldiers Charity is a charity organisation that gives lifetime support to serving and retired soldiers and their families. Over the past two years, the charity has seen a 30% rise in applications from soldiers who have taken part in previous and current conflicts and they currently raise £7 million a year to meet this need. The charity aims to double its fundraising by 2015 to be sure that they can help each and every soldier that requests their help.

You can help by signing up to host a one off Big Curry themed event at home by cooking yourself or ordering your favourite takeaway, or take the family out to your local curry house. If you are feeling adventurous, you can even organise a Gala Curry event! For your free fundraising pack which gives you more ideas and tells you how to send the funds you have raised, please go to

Madras curry powder

I made an extremely easy and delicious curry using the Madras curry powder provided. Madras curry originates in the South of India and is typically made of chili peppers, turmeric, coriander, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves, fenugreek, allspice, black pepper, and curry leaves. Imagine having to roast and grind all the spices yourself. Luckily, with the existence of pre-ground spice mixes, you can save yourself half a day's work.

Madras coconut curry

Madras Coconut Curry

Printable recipe
By Pig Pig's Corner

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 1 hr
Yield: serves 4

  • 1.2 kg chicken pieces
  • 1 large carrot - cut into chunks
  • 1 large onion - sliced
  • 2-inch ginger-thinly sliced
  • 1/2 bulb garlic - peeled and crushed
  • 3 tbs Madras curry powder
  • 1 can (400 g) peeled plum tomatoes
  • 1 can (400 ml) coconut milk
  • 1 tsp salt (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tsp sugar

  • Heat up a bit of oil in a wok or a pot.
  • Add onions, fry until soft.
  • Add ginger and garlic, fry until fragrant.
  • Mix in curry powder, fry until fragrant.
  • Add all the chicken pieces and carrots, stir to mix and coat.
  • Pour in plum tomatoes, coconut milk, salt and sugar. Bring to boil then lower heat to simmer for about 30 mins covered.
  • Remove cover and cook until the sauce is thick and red oil floats on top surface (about 30 mins or longer). Stir occasionally. [The wild boar prefers very thick gravy so I left it to simmer for another 1 hr.]
  • Season to taste.

Madras coconut curry

Jamie Oliver's 'Dress the Board' Rib-Eye Steak

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

This is another recipe adapted from MasterChef Australia season 2, the episode where two of the contestants received a Masterclass session with Jamie Oliver in London. In that episode, Jamie Oliver demonstrated a rather simple and interesting method of preparing steak, he called it the "dressing the board" method. The idea is to let the meat "rest" in a pool of herbs and seasonings prepared on a wooden board, which helps to seal the meat after searing and at the same time, impart more flavour to the meat. When all the resting juice oozes out of the meat, it mixes with all the seasonings on the board, flavouring the meat.

Jamie Oliver's 'Dress the Board' Rib-Eye Steak 3

This method worked really well, the meat was so tender and juicy and so much flavour from the fresh herbs. This was by far the best steak I've made. I know I've said that before when I made Momofuku's Pan-Roasted Dry-Aged Rib Eye, but I really can't choose which is best. I love both!

Dress-the-Board Steak

Printable recipe
Adapted from Jamie Oliver's recipe from Masterchef Australia
By Pig Pig's Corner

Prep time: 25 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Yield: serves 2

  • 2 pieces thick-cut rib-eye steak (about 1-inch thick)
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • Olive oil
For dressing the board:
  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • 1 fresh red chili - de-seeded or not, your choice.
  • 3 cloves garlic-peeled
  • 1/2 lemon
  • About 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • Heat a 10- to 12-inch cast-iron pan over high heat. I left it on the stove on high heat for about 15 mins.
  • While the pan is heating, season the steak liberally with salt and pepper on both sides.
  • Pull the rosemary leaves off the stems and push them into the meat. Leave the meat aside while you dress the board.
Jamie Oliver's 'Dress the Board' Rib-Eye Steak

Dressing the board:

  • Finely chop the mint, chili and garlic on a clean wooden board.

Jamie Oliver's 'Dress the Board' Rib-Eye Steak 6
  • Squeeze the lemon juice and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil onto the chopped herbs. Mix.

Jamie Oliver's 'Dress the Board' Steak
    Searing the meat:

    • Drizzle and rub olive oil on both sides of the meat just before searing.
    • When the pan is good and hot (Remember to wear your oven mitts at all times when handling the cast iron pan)- the steak should sizzle aggresively when it touches the pan, this also sends out lots of smoke, remember to switch on the exhaust fan and open all the windows you can open - brown the steak. Put the steak in the pan and don't touch it or press it or do anything stupid like that after you add it. After about 2-3 mins (depends on your preference for doneness and also your instincts really), the steak should release easily from the pan and the seared side should be on the golden side of browned. Flip it. Sear the other side for another 2-3 mins.

    Jamie Oliver's 'Dress the Board' Rib-Eye Steak 5
    • Transfer meat to the board and coat with dressing.

    Jamie Oliver's 'Dress the Board' Rib-Eye Steak 4
    • Let meat rest for about 5 mins before cutting and serving.

    Jamie Oliver's 'Dress the Board' Rib-Eye Steak 2


    Garlic & Chili Clams

    Sunday, 27 March 2011

    I've been cooking a lot of Sake-Steamed Clams (Asari no Sakamushi) ever since I discovered the dish sometime last year. It's so simple, yet packed full of flavours, not to mention boozilicious. The wild boar got kind of sick of it so I had to find another way to cook them. Now, this is my new favourite way of cooking clams.

    Boozy, spicy, garlicky, what's not to like right?

    Garlic & Chili Clams 2

    This recipe works well with prawns too!

    Garlic & Chili Clams

    Printable recipe
    By Pig Pig's Corner

    Prep time: 10 mins (plus at least 1 hr for cleaning/ soaking clams.)
    Cook time: 10 mins
    Yield: serves 2

    • 500 g clams
    • 1/2 tbs sesame oil
    • 1/2 bulb garlic - peeled and pressed or finely minced
    • 1 red chili - de-seeded or not your choice, thinly sliced
    • A few splashes of Shaoxing wine
    • A pinch of salt
    • 2-3 tbs mirin
    • Clean the clams and soak in brine (1 tsp salt in 2 1/2 cups water) for at least 1 hr. Rinse.
    • Heat up sesame oil in a pot.
    • Add garlic and red chili. Fry until fragrant.
    • Mix in clams.
    • Pour in a few splashes of shaoxing wine.
    • Cover and bring the liquid to boil at high heat.
    • As soon as the clam shells are open, remove from heat and season to taste with salt and mirin.
    • Remember to discard any clams that do not open as they may be contaminated.

    Garlic & Chili Clams

    Absinth and Raisin Ice-Cream

    Thursday, 24 March 2011

    I was delighted when Cuisinart asked if I wanted to review one of their products. It took me quite awhile to figure out which product to review as I have most of the products listed (I am a gadget hoarder, I know.). Finally, I chose an ice-cream maker, something that has been on my "I-want" list for like forever. It's not in my "I-need" list for a reason, like the actifry. If I have it, I'd be obliged to use it and that isn't good for my waistline or arteries. Since I have it now, I shall put it into good use.

    Here's a bit about the Cuisinart Ice Cream Deluxe: like any other home use ice-cream machine, it comes with a housing base, a 2 litre freezer bowl, a mixing arm and an easy-lock lid. The machine requires you to pre-freeze the bowl filled with liquid coolant. Remember to freeze this thoroughly. You can check this by shaking the bowl, you won't hear any ice or liquid moving if the cooling liquid is frozen. I learnt this the hard way. I used it when it's not completely frozen and my ice-cream base was still liquidy after 30 mins of churning. I had to transfer the mixture to another container, wash and re-freeze the freezer bowl and churn the mixture all over again the next day. The whole process was delayed by a day and my ready-to-digest-ice-cream-stomache was screaming with much disappointment. I had to calm it down by eating chocolates instead.

    cuisinart ice-cream maker

    The machine is easy to assemble and operate after you've got your frozen freezer bowl. It is fully automatic, simply pour your ice-cream mixture through the open lid and press on. Wait 20-30 mins, that's it! You should get a soft scoop-like ice-cream after the churning, and if you want a firmer consistency, just transfer the mixture to an airtight container and store it in the freezer for 2 hrs or more. You can also use the machine for frozen yoghurt, sorbets and frozen drinks.

    The wild boar wanted rum and rasin ice-cream, but I only had Absinth (don't ask me why), so Absinth and raisin ice cream it is!

    Absinth 2

    Absinth or more commonly known as Absinthe (with the e) has a natural green colour, thus, it is also known as the Green Fairy. Absinthe (with the e) is the French spelling while Absinth is the Czech spelling. Since I used Czech absinth, I will refer to Absinth without the e. It has a very high alcohol content - anywhere between 55 and 75 percent, which equates to about 110 to 144 proof. Traditionally, absinth is made of anise, fennel and wormwood (a plant), and many Absinth recipes add other herbs and flowers to the mix. It doesn't contain any sugar, so it's a spirit instead of liquor.


    Since alcohol has a very low freezing point (pure ethanol freezes at -114°C or -173.2 degree Fahrenheit), adding alcohol to ice-cream reduces the overall freezing point of your ice-cream, keeping your ice cream soft. The softness would depend on the alcohol content and do keep this in mind as the more alcohol you introduce, the softer the ice-cream will be. To much and you'll be eating mousse instead of ice-cream. The absinth I used was 70%, I added about 3 tbs and that produced a soft scoop-like ice-cream. The ice-cream was really boozy and the flavour is more complex as compared to rum and raisin as it has this slight liquorice and aniseed flavour. It was really delicious and the wild boar loved it!

    Absinth and Raisin Ice-Cream

    Absinth and Raisin Ice-Cream

    Printable recipe
    Adapted from David Lebovitz's recipe
    By Pig Pig's Corner

    Prep time: 15 mins
    Chill time: Overnight
    Churn time: 25 mins
    Yield: 500 ml (2 cups)

    • 1/2 cup (125 ml) whole milk
    • A pinch of salt
    • 1/3 cup (65 g) sugar
    • 1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
    • 3 large egg yolks
    • 3 tbs Absinth (more or less to taste)
    • 3/4 cup raisins
    • Set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2l) bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the cream into the bowl.[I didn't do this over a waterbath.]
    • In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks.
    • Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan over low heat. Gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.
    • Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.
    • Strain the custard into the cream. Stir over the ice until cool, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Preferably overnight.
    • The next day, stir in absinthe just before churning.
    • Freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once churned, stir in the raisins.

    Thanks again Cuisinart for the wonderful product, there will be more yummy ice-cream recipes coming soon. Stay tuned!

    Spare Ribs in Preserved Black Bean Sauce 豉汁排骨

    Wednesday, 23 March 2011

    Steamed Spare Ribs in Preserved Black Bean Sauce is one of my favourite dimsum dishes. The meat is usually very tender and juicy, and the sauce is extremely tasty. This recipe involves tenderising the meat in baking soda - a common way of tenderising meats in Chinese restaurants apparently - before actually introducing other flavours. I've used the baking soda method a couple of times for tenderising meat for stir-fries, it works really well, but it leaves a weird aftertaste especially in pork and beef, not so much in chicken for some weird reason, that the wild boar doesn't really like. I'm fine with it since the taste isn't horrible, in fact, it reminds me of Hakka braised pork belly. Nothing is worse than eating tough, chewy meat and this is by far the the best tenderising method I've came across.

    Spare Ribs in Preserved Black Bean Sauce 豉汁排骨

    The main flavour of this dish comes from preserved or fermented black beans, which are made by fermenting and salting soy beans - a process which turns the beans soft and black. They are either sold as a paste, soaked in oil or dried. The flavour is extremely strong and pungent. They are also very salty, so remember to rinse before use to get rid of the excess salt.

    Preserved black beans

    Spare Ribs in Fermented Black Bean Sauce

    Printable recipe
    Adapted from Dodol & Mochi's recipe
    By Pig Pig's Corner

    Prep time: 10 mins
    Marinade time: 1 hr 30 mins - overnight
    Cook time: 30 mins

    • 550 g spare ribs - chopped into bite size pieces
    • 2 tbs sugar
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • For marinade:
    • 2 tbs preserved black beans - rinsed a few times and minced
    • 1 red chili - de-seeded or not, your choice. cut into small slices.
    • 2 tsp grated ginger
    • 3 cloves garlic - peeled and minced
    • 1 tsp Knorr chicken powder
    • 2 tsp sugar
    • 2 tsp light soy sauce
    • 1 tbs oyster sauce
    • 1 tbs Shaoxing wine
    • 1 tsp sesame oil
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp white pepper powder
    • 2 tsp cornstarch
    • Combine spare ribs with sugar and baking soda, leave to stand for about 1 hr to tenderise the meat.
    • After the 1 hour is up, wash the spare ribs very well to remove the baking soda; drain well or pat dry to remove excess water
    • Combine all ingredients for marinade in a steaming bowl, add ribs, mix well, cover with clingfilm and leave to marinate for at least 30 mins (preferably overnight).
    • Steam on high heat for about 30 mins or until cooked through. [I left the clingfilm on while steaming as I didn't want to accumulate too much liquid in the bowl.]

    Spare Ribs in Preserved Black Bean Sauce 豉汁排骨 2

    Pumpkin Butter Cake & Another Giveaway!

    Monday, 21 March 2011

    When I went home to Malaysia in December last year, I had a chance to meet up with some wonderful bloggers. I still remember my mum's reaction when I told them I was going to meet up with some bloggers - people that I have only "met" through the internet. Her eyes grew so big, I thought they were going to pop out. And I was so close to taking out an an iron to iron out her forehead wrinkles. LOL.

    I met up with Sunny and Sidney from Big Boys Oven, Mei Yee (iamthewitch) and her hubs Saucer, and Vialentino for a restaurant review in KL. That was my first outing with food bloggers and it was quite an experience. For once, I didn't have to stop everyone from digging into their food. And that was the only time I didn't feel weird taking pictures with my DSLR in a restaurant as almost everyone had one, all armed with huge lenses and speedlites. My little 450D was like a mouse beside elephants.

    About a week or two later, I met up with Peilin from Dodol & Mochi, Wendy from Table for 2 or more, Swee San from The Sweet Spot, Youfei from Loving Baking, Tracie from Bittersweet Flavours, Melody from Meldylocks and Her Three Bears. Not only once, but some twice, even thrice! That was a whole new experience as I get to eat bloggers' homemade yummy goodies at restaurants! How often do you get to eat outside food brought into a restaurant?? Birthday cake doesn't count! Anyway, Wendy brought her pumpkin velvety butter cake.

    Pumpkin Butter Cake

    The texture of it was amazing. The crumbs were super fine, which made the cake super velvety smooth and soft, so tender, so moist..OK I'm running out of words, you get the idea. I just had to make it again. I couldn't find cake flour, so I used a combination of plain flour and cornstarch. The crumbs were not as fine as Wendy's, but still very moist and yummy!

    Pumpkin Butter Cake 2

    Do check out all the other delicious treats we had:

    Pumpkin Butter Cake

    Printable recipe
    Adapted from Wendy's recipe
    By Pig Pig's Corner

    Prep time: 15 min Cook time: 1 hr
    Yield: 8-inch square cake

    • 200 g caster sugar
    • 200 g unsalted butter - softened at room temperature
    • 1 vanilla pod, use scraped seeds
    • 5 large eggs
    • 240 g plain flour
    • 60 g cornstarch
    • 200 g pumpkin puree
    • Handful of pumpkin seeds
    • Preheat oven to 160°C (fan). Line an 8-inch square pan
    • Beat sugar, butter and vanilla until light and fluffy.
    • Add in eggs, one at a time. Beat well after each addition.
    • Add in half of sifted flour, on low speed then beat until well combined.
    • Mix in all of the pumpkin puree and beat until all mushed up.
    • Pour in remaining flour and beat until just combined.
    • Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.
    • Bake for 45-50 mins or until done. [skewer should come out clean]
    During our bloggers' gathering, Melody gave us a little ball of flowering tea leaves. Tea leaves are hand-tied around a flower, when hot water is poured over the ball, it blooms! Pretty isn't it?

    flower tea

    It is safe to drink. After a few rounds, when you don't get much taste out of it, you can leave it in water for decoration purpose.

    flower tea 3

    Now, here is a chance to win these pretty flower teas! I have 6 tins with 6 different flowers to giveaway, so 6 people will be chosen at random. Each winner will get a tin with 2 different types of flowers.

    flower tea 2

    For a chance to win a tin containing 2 balls of flower teas, simply leave a comment below! To increase your chances of winning:
    • Tweet about this giveaway.
    • Share this on Facebook.
    • Stumble this post.
    PS. remember to leave a comment below with a valid email address once you've done the above so I can take into account those entries. This giveaway is open to EVERYONE from ANYWHERE and ends midnight GMT 25th March 2011. Good Luck!


    This giveaway is now closed!

    The winners are:

    Rachel A.



    KFC (Korean Fried Chicken)

    Sunday, 20 March 2011

    I came across Tefal Actifry last year on David Lebovitz's blog and it's been on my wish-list ever since. It hasn't made it to my kitchen because it is quite bulky and pricey, plus, I can live without deep-fried food. A year later, my fairy godmother paid me a visit and my wish came true!

    If you are not familiar with Tefal actifry, it's a fryer that uses very little oil. You can cook 1 kg of crispy chips with only 1 tablespoon of oil. It is pretty simple to operate, just throw whatever you want to deep fry in the non-stick pan with just a bit of oil, set the timer, set it to start and wait patiently while it does its magic. It works by circulating very hot air through the food, and there's a paddle that stirs the food while it cooks to ensure evenly cooking. It also comes with a viewing window that allows you to observe while the food is cooking.

    The wild boar was so excited he immediately bought a bag of frozen chips to try out. We were quite impressed with the results. The chips were evenly browned and crispy. So next, it was time to try out some of the recipes that involve deep-frying that I've bookmarked. Ellie's KFC came into mind. Deep-fried chicken coated in thick red spicy chili sauce, it looked pretty darn good!

    The original recipe requires deep-frying twice or even thrice for the chicken to become extra crisp. I used David's recipe for the batter and like him, I used my Actifry for deep-frying the wings too.

    actifry KFC

    Look at the beautiful crispy golden brown crust.

    For the chili sauce, I used Ellie's (Almost Bourdain) recipe and tweaked it a bit. Substituted honey for golden syrup and rice vinegar for apple cider vinegar. Tossed in some sesame seeds just before serving. Do give this a try if you are up for some deep-frying action. They were crispy, spicy, sweet and salty, they were finger-linkin' good!

    KFC Korean fried chicken 2

    KFC (Korean Fried Chicken)

    Printable recipe
    By Pig Pig's Corner

    Prep time: 20 mins
    Cook time: 35 mins

    • 1 tbs oil
    • 10 chicken wings - separated, tips discarded
    • 1 tbs toasted sesame seeds
    • 1 stalk spring onion (sliced for garnishing)
    For batter:
    • 1/4 cup (35 g) plain flour
    • 1/4 cup (30 g) cornstarch
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    For chili sauce:
    • 1 tbs light soy sauce
    • 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
    • 1 tbs golden syrup
    • 1 tsp sesame oil
    • 2 tsp ginger - grated
    • 1 garlic clove - finely chopped
    • 2 tbs (30 g) gochujang (Korean chili paste)

    • For chilli sauce, combine ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
    • In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients for the batter until it’s a thick paste. Add the wings and mix with your hands until they’re thoroughly coated.
    • Put the coated wings in the ActiFry and drizzle with the oil. Close the lid and cook for about 35 mins or until brown and crispy.[OR Preheat oil in a deep-sided saucepan to 180C. Dip chicken pieces in batter and deep-fry in batches, turning occasionally until light golden (5-6 minutes). Drain on absorbent paper until cooled slightly (10-15 minutes).Deep-fry chicken again, in batches, until crisp and deep golden (6-8 minutes), drain on absorbent paper.]
    • Add fried chicken to sauce, add sesame seeds, toss to coat and serve hot topped with spring onion.

    KFC Korean fried chicken

    I used my Actifry for honey glazed luncheon meat too.

    actifry KFC luncheon meat

    Beautiful isn't it?

    So far, I'm really pleased with the machine. It's great for potatoes fries, fried chicken, anything that's not too heavily battered I would assume. Since it doesn't cook quick enough and there's a paddle stirring the food, runny batter or heavily battered food would be a disaster.

    Rosemary & Thyme Roast Chicken

    Friday, 18 March 2011

    Simple and delicious. Nuff said =)

    Rosemary & Thyme Roast Chicken

    Rosemary & Thyme Roast Chicken

    Printable recipe
    By Pig Pig's Corner

    Prep time: 10 mins
    Cook time: 45 mins

    • 6 chicken legs - make 3-4 slits crossways on the meaty parts of each leg
    • 1 whole bulb garlic - peeled
    • 3 stalks fresh rosemary - use only the leaves
    • 1 handful fresh thyme - use only the leaves
    • 1 tbs olive oil
    • 4 tbs honey
    • Salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper

    • Pre-heat oven to 190°C (fan).
    • Finely chop garlic, rosemary and thyme, or you can do this using a processor.
    Rosemary & Thyme Roast Chicken 3
    • Add olive oil, honey to chopped herbs. Mix well.
    • Add salt and black pepper to taste.
    • Rub this mixture all other the chicken legs.
    Rosemary & Thyme Roast Chicken 2
    • Roast in a pre-heated oven for about 35-45 mins or until done.
    • Enjoy!

    Daring Cooks - ¡Me Encanta Perú!

    Wednesday, 16 March 2011

    Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja was our Daring Cooks’ March 2011 hostess. Kathlyn challenges us to make two classic Peruvian dishes: Ceviche de Pescado from “Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes” by Annik Franco Barreau. And Papas Rellenas adapted from a home recipe by Kathlyn’s Spanish teacher, Mayra.

    I can't believe I missed the posting date for this month's daring cooks. I actually made this a few weeks ago but totally forgot about it. Oh well, better late than never! The theme for this month's daring cooks is "Peruvian cuisine" and we were challenged to make two traditional Peruvian dishes - ceviche, which is basically a raw fish salad, and papas rellenas, which is stuffed potato balls.

    Ceviche de Pescado (Fish Ceviche)

    Ceviche de Pescado (Fish Ceviche)

    So, the first part of the challenge was ceviche, the national dish of Peru. It’s basically raw fish or seafood that is “cooked” with a treatment of citrus juice (traditionally sour orange, but lime is used here). To be honest, I'm not a huge fan, neither is the wild boar as the taste is usually extremely sour and sharp. I couldn't give up on both challenges, so I decided to go ahead with it anyway and made a haddock and scallop ceviche. Instead of garnishing it with sweet potatoes, I mixed it in with the fish. I used haddock and scallops as I wanted the sweetness of the scallops and the different texture. Seasoned with a bit of sugar to balance the sourness.

    Ceviche de Pescado (Fish Ceviche) 2
    • 150 g sweet potato
    • 150 g haddock
    • 150 g scallops
    • 1 clove garlic - finely chopped
    • 1/2 red chili - thinly sliced
    • Juice of 3 limes
    • 2 tsp fresh chopped coriander
    • 1 red onion - thinly sliced
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp sugar
    • Freshly ground black pepper

    • Boil sweet potato until softened. Allow to cool. Peel and cut into small pieces (Can be done hours or even a day in advance).
    • Wash and trim your fish. Slice into pieces between ½ inch (15 mm) cubes to 2 inch (50mm) pieces.
    • Place fish in a non-reactive, shallow pan in a thin layer. Season with salt and pepper.
    • Combine lime juice, chili, coriander and garlic. Pour mixture over fish. Stir lightly to expose all the fish to some of the lime juice mixture.
    • Put sliced onion on top of fish as it “cooks”
    • Let fish stand for 10 minutes.
    • Lift fish out of the lime juice.
    • Mix in sweet potatoes.
    • Season to taste with salt, pepper and sugar.
    • Serve and enjoy!

    Salsa Criolla

    Salsa Criolla

    I didn't make any papas rellenas as the potato balls required deep-frying. But I made the accompanying sauce, salsa criolla, which is a Peruvian onion, pepper and lime salsa. When I told the wild boar that I was going to make salsa and serve it with fish, he suggested that I should try to re-create the "Halibut with confit egg and salsa topped with courgette ribbons" we had at Viajante last year. Of course it's not 100% Viajante's version, but I managed to put most of the main elements with my own twist in this dish. I boiled the courgette ribbons in seasoned chicken stock. Seasoned and pan-fried the haddock and topped it with a poached egg.

    Salsa Criolla 2
    • 1/2 red onion - diced
    • 1/2 red bell pepper - diced
    • Juice of 1 lime
    • Salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper

    • In a medium bowl, combine the onions with the rest of the ingredients, season with salt and pepper.
    • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for the onions to macerate and the flavors to combine. [I left this overnight.]

    Easter Giveaway from Hotel Chocolat

    Friday, 11 March 2011

    You should be familiar with Hotel Chocolat by now as I've done quite a few giveaways since last year. Easter is just round the corner and so my dear readers, I have more chocolates to giveaway!!!

    Since the egg, which is a symbol of fertility and new life, is often associated with Easter, Hotel chocolat has launched a fabulous range of chocolate easter eggs such as their renowned Extra Thick chocolate eggs, irrepressibly fun Egg Sandwiches and jaw droppingly Gigantic Ostrich Eggs, not forgetting those handy-sized chocolate eggs for Easter eggs hunts!

    Easter Giveaway from Hotel Chocolat

    This Serious Dark Fix Extra Thick Easter Egg is made up of Hotel chocolat's award-winning 70% house dark chocolate. Unlike your usual thin and fragile egg shell, this shell is extremely thick and deliciously dark. That's not it, on the inside, you'll find 12 mini dark chocolates of 6 different flavours – including liquid caramel, coffee liquid caramel, ultra smooth praline, rum truffles, chilli praline and single malt whisky.

    Easter Giveaway from Hotel Chocolat 2

    For a chance to win this Dark chocolate Easter Egg, do one of the following, or all to increase your chances of winning:
    • Leave a comment below telling me what type of chocolates (dark, milk or white) you like.
    • Like my Facebook page.
    • Follow @pigpigscorner on about this giveaway.
    • Follow @hotelchocolat on Twitter.
    • Stumble this post (see the stumble button on the left side of this post?).
    PS. remember to leave a comment below with a valid email address once you've done the above so I can take into account those entries.

    The competition ends at Midnight GMT 20th March 2011.

    Good Luck!


    This competition is now closed, thank you all for your entries!

    The winner is:

    GRACE :"i don't discriminate, but dark chocolate usually trumps white chocolate which always trumps milk chocolate. :)"



    Alvin's Drunken Chicken

    Tuesday, 8 March 2011

    I was hooked on MasterChef Australia season 2 when it was shown on Watch tv in the UK a few months back. I was a bit upset when I had to go back to Malaysia to renew my visa in November last year because that meant I would have to miss the finale. Luckily, all the yummy food back home made up for it. When I got back, I watched all the recorded episodes in 3 days.

    Apart from the usual elimination tests, they have a weekly Masterclass whereby resident judges Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris give the contestants lessons on mistakes that the contestants have made previously. In the last Masterclass, the top 24 contestants were invited back into the MasterChef kitchen and Gary and George recreated their favourite dishes from the competition with the contestants, which included Alvin's dish, "Drunken and Bruised Bruised Cucumber Salad" and Fiona's "Chocolate Ganache Tart with Lavender Cream and Fresh Raspberries".

    Alvin's Drunken Chicken

    Alvin's drunken chicken dish was really intriguing, the idea was pretty simple but it looked and sounded amazing. The recipe involves poaching one whole chicken in Shaoxing, mirin, water, palm sugar and ginger - that's it. I used chicken legs instead of one whole chicken. Tweaked the amount of ingredients a bit but maintained a 2:1 Shaoxing to mirin ratio. I added a bit of salt to balance the sweetness of the dish. Added goji berries to make the dish look pretty. It's really simple yet so flavourful. It's even better if you serve the chicken the next day. The chicken was extremely tender and the meat was so tasty after soaking in the poaching liquid overnight. I was really happy with the dish and the wild boar gave it a thumbs up!

    Alvin's Drunken Chicken 2

    Alvin's Drunken Chicken

    Adapted from Alvin's Drunken Chicken recipe from Masterchef
    By Pig Pig's Corner

    Prep time: 15 mins
    Cook time: 1 hr


    • 8 whole chicken legs
    • 2 1/2 cups Shaoxing wine
    • 1 1/4 cup mirin
    • 2 1/4 cups water
    • 60 g gula melaka (Malaysian palm sugar)
    • 40 g ginger - sliced
    • 2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 cup goji berries

    • Place the Shaoxing, mirin, water, palm sugar and ginger in a large pot and bring to the boil.
    • Add the chicken, then cover and simmer very gently (liquid barely bubbling) for about 1 hr. Add in goji berries at the last 10 mins of simmering.
    • Season to taste with salt.
    • Remove the pan from the heat and allow the chicken to cool in the poaching liquid.
    • Serve chicken with poaching liquid. [You will end up with lots of poaching liquid, so freeze them for future use.]

    Weight Watchers Oriental Express Recipe Book

    I was recently contacted by Weight Watchers...WAIT! I know what you are thinking. Please stay with me, this post is not about any diet programs (well, maybe just a little), diet menus or meatless, tasteless low calorie recipes. Just continue reading and you will be rewarded with a spicy, yummy recipe, I, I was contacted to review Weight Watchers' newly launched Oriental Express recipe book.

    Weight Watchers Oriental Express recipe book 2

    The book features recipes for the ProPoints plan, Weight Watchers’ revolutionary new weight loss system. Instead of counting calories, the ProPoints plan is based on the latest nutritional science, which is apparently more accurate for weight loss than traditional calorie counting approaches. This plan takes into account how protein, carbohydrates, fat and fibre are processed and converted into a useful form of energy in the body. The higher the energy conversion cost of a food, the lower its ProPoints value and the more eating satisfaction it provides. Protein and fibre-rich carbohydrates are harder work for the body to process and provide a greater feeling of fullness than fat and carbohydrates without fibre.

    Here's an example, a ­chocolate bar and a steak might have the same points value in the old system because they have the same amount of calories, under the new ProPoints system, steak would have fewer points because your body uses up so much more energy processing it. In short, the better the food is for you, the more energy your body can burn digesting it, so, the more of it you can eat. OK, enough of the program I am actually more interested in what I can eat, if you want to find out more, do hop over to their official website.

    Back to the cookbook, it promises to bring the flavours of the Far East into your own kitchen with illustrated, detailed but simple recipes offering healthy choices when cooking oriental food. It has six chapters including Rice and Noodles, Grills and Roasts and In a Wok, featuring 60 easy-to-follow recipes inspired by the tantalising flavours of Southeast Asia, India, China and Japan. Apart from the beautiful and drool-worthy pictures, what caught my eye was the design. All the pages are printed on glossy coated paper, spiral bound and it has thick cardboard stand, built just like tabletop calendar. You can prop it up easily in the kitchen beside you when cooking.

    Weight Watchers Oriental Express recipe book

    As for the recipes, it's not the usual salads, steamed meat dishes or vegetable soups. It has really delicious looking dishes like Chinese rice with pineapple and ham, chili pork ramen, hoisin duck stir-fry, plum and sweet chili beef kebabs, Vietnamese salmon and mango...I've bookmarked quite a few while flipping through the pages. There are also desserts like jasmine tea and ginger pears, cherry blossom and snow, coconut pancakes with caramelised bananas...YUM.

    Weight Watchers Oriental Express recipe book 3

    I made oriental beef with butter squash stew. The meat is seared then slowly simmered in a sauce flavoured with orange juice, Chinese 5 spice powder, star anise, ginger and chili. The dish is then sweetened and thickened with the addition of butternut squash. It was really rich and flavourful, so good with rice!

    oriental beef with butter squash
    From Weight Watchers Oriental Express recipe book
    • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) lean beef brisket - visible fat removed and diced [I used 400 g]
    • Low fat cooking spray
    • 2 onions - sliced
    • 1 star anise
    • 1 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder
    • 5 cm (2 inches) fresh root ginger - sliced finely
    • 100 ml (3 1/2 fl oz) fresh orange juice
    • 400 ml water (14 fl oz) [I used 300 ml]
    • 5 tbs dark soy sauce [NOT thick caramel sauce, it's the salty one, I used only 3 tbs]
    • 1 red chili - de-seeded and chopped [I left the seeds on.]
    • 450 g (1 lb) butternut squash - peeled, de-seeded and cut into large, bite size pieces [I used 400 g]
    • Salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper

    • Heat a large lidded casserole dish. Spray the beef with the cooking spray and add half of the meat to the pan, searing until browned all over. Using a slotted spoon, remove the beef and set to one side. Repeat with the remaining beef.
    • Once all the beef has been seared and removed, put the onions in the pan, spray with the cooking spray, and cook over medium heat for 4 mins, stirring occasionally. Add the star anise, Chinese 5 spice powder, ginger and chili (if using) then stir fry for a min.
    • Pour in water, orange juice and soy sauce. Stir and then add the beef. Bring to boil, then redice the heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hr.
    • Add the squash and cook for 30 mins, partially covered, or until the squash and beef are tender and the sauce is reduced and thickened.[I left it uncovered as there was quite a lot of liquid.]
    • Season to taste before serving.

    oriental beef with butter squash 2