Friday, October 30, 2009

Jade: Bitemyorange

No recipes this week...3 weeks of radiology and counting means I have all but lost my will to live. Doesn't mean I'm quite ready to give up my food though ;) So for all you like-minded people out there, Click it, watch it, thank me later.

I personally think Anthony Bourdain is one of the most delicious men around....there's something about that raw, unadulterated passion.. albeit slightly masochistic..considering some of the things he's willing to put in his mouth....I did not think his shows could get any better...honestly, sexy host, gorgeous gorgeous food and those tantalizing night markets......that is.. until No Reservations: Food Porn. All that culinary magic...the bold displays of creativity and technique..the blatant worshipping of the kind of solace one can only find in a bowl of perfectly stewed broth....and oh my god the dishes served up.....much much better than sex....and even that, is an understatement.


On a completely unrelated note, it is the weekend, and should you find an extra orange lying around and that bottle of honey that is a tablespoon shy of being completely what I do, and turn it into a face mask.

Orange and honey mask

Juice of half an orange

1. Add enough honey to the juice to get a syrupy, slightly tacky mixture.
2. Apply to clean, scrubbed face. [ It can get messy, but it's a small price to pay for good skin. Just keep a towel nearby]
3. Put on some nice music and let it dry for about 10-15 minutes
4. Rinse off and moisturize as usual.

I love this mask~there's no chemically gunk, it smells divine,doesn't exactly cost much.....It's food, really...for your skin. And your skin will love you for it;)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mars: BELGO, Seven Dials

I LOVED the feel of the place!

I kinda just realized that I'm writing about places that I've always taken for granted because it's always there! I mean yeah, everyone would write up about the amazing places they've been to, but these chains are really not all that bad! And good value for those living on a stuednt budget! (^_^)
v So, yesh! (^_^)v

One of the things that impressed me about BELGO is the sheer friendliness of the waiters working! I mean, come on! It does make the whole dining experience even better when you're greeted with a smile! (^_^)v Not like some places I know of~ (=_=)"

Jade and I decided to split a pot of mussles and a starter.

And that was enough to fill our bellies to the brim. Mind you, I have a huge belly to begin with! (^_^)"v

Since I cannot have the ones with wine in them, we opted for the Green Thai mussel pot! I'm a sucker for things that have coriander in them. And this was awesome! (^_^)v We (by that I think I'm supposed to me 'I') almost tipped the pot over to get more of the juices out!

The starter was a salad with goats cheese on huge ass croutons! With a thick balsamic dressing! I LOVEd it! It's an incredible winning combination! And I was able to recreate it in mai kitchen! (^_^)v
Happy Jade with her power ring!

Belgo Centraal
50 Earlham St, London, WC2H
Open 7 days a week - Mon - Sat 12 noon - 11pm; Sun 12 noon - 10.30pm
Interesting Offers: Express Lunch £7.50; Beat the Clock! (5.oo - 6.30pm weekdays!)

Mars: Noodle Oodle, Bayswater

I was really happy when this place opened in Bayswater. After years of wondering why no one has tried opening a halal duck restaurant in London, Noodle Oodle finally did it! (^_^)v

Personally, I am quite happy with the quality of the duck. Tho at times, I do get really fatty ones. (T_T)v Then again, taste-wise, I'm prolly not the best person to ask about especially since there's a lot of Four Seasons-lovers around and I've never had duck in London before Noodle Oodle opened. (^_^)"v

I'm just happy there is a halal option now for duck in the UK. (^_^)v And I don't have to sit out when other people eat duck around me~ Wheeeeeee~

The lunch offers are not at all bad. A 3 course meal consisting of a starter of 3 dumplings, the main course and a dessert and all for about 9 quid is kinda okay! The dessert is a mango grapefruit 'pudding' that clears the palate after the meal! ;) And is prolly the best part of the offer!

If you're a student, you do get a 20% discount - but I think you need to ask for it. :D

Yeay for halal duck in London! (^o^)v

And now, I wish for a halal bulgogi place in London!!!!

Noodle Oodle, Bayswater
106 Queensway, Paddington, London, W2 3RR

Mars: Princi, Soho, London

Sush first brought me here earlier in the year and I TOTALLY fell in love with the place! You don't feel like you're in London or like you're even in the UK! The atmosphere is always warm and bustling with people. The employees/bakers there are always all smiles and give off a feeling like they're constantly on a caffiene high! (^_^)v My kind of place!

If you're living in London, or even if you're here for a visit~ GO! And order at least ONE cannoccino (as per Michele's brief by effective lesson on basic Italian grammar) and it'll bring you back craving for MORE cannoccini! (^_^)v

Btw, the the 2 rolly things on the front plate~ ;)

Princi, 135 Wardour Street, London, W1F 0UT
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 7.00-00.00, Sun 9.00-22.00

Mars: Breakfast @ PAUL's

Jade: Mars! I'm going to boycott posting recipes if you don't post anything on the blog! Why you so useless one!?

Mars: *how am I supposed to eat if I don't have new ideas about WHAT to eat! (T_T)*

Thus, after numerous threats and blackmail by Jade, I am going to suggest (as if you people in London/UK don't know it already) to go to PAUL for breakfast!

They even open at 9am on a Sunday! So the last time Jade came down to London, I dragged her to have their incredible scrambled eggs! It's soft and fluffy and has the right amount of water to it! And it tasted amazing on their fresh out of the oven bread!

Jade, on the other hand, opted for the equally delicious poached eggs with salmon under a whole lot of hollindaise sauce~ See the happy Jade? Jade is picky about her food and this face is already at Level 4 (out of a possible 5). ;)

But the main reason I dragged her there for breakfast is this! The Fraisier~ It's incredible. I'm not a huge fan of marzipan, but it worked on this one. The cake was soft an light and not very sweet. Just nice to take the edge of the tangy-ness of the strawberries!

And it looks pwetty! (^_^)v

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Jade: Bitemyglassnoodles

On days when I come home shattered and starving, I want nothing more than a steaming bowl of slurpy noodles. But having subsisted on every brand of instant noodles I could get my hands on in the first few years of uni..I think it's time to give the carcinogens a rest. For days like these, I make sure there is always a large pack of glass noodles in my pantry. You can get them in chinese stores either in one big packet, or like how I get them, in individual packs of 10. Super quick and I have to say, the fact that they are transparent is enough to convince me that I'm not actually eating anything at all...eases the guilt about 2nd helpings:P

All it takes really is some rough chopping, and a quick stir-fry. And what you decide to throw in is absolutely up to you. I use garlic, anchovies, mushrooms, and since I'm not a big fan of meat, any vegetables I have on hand: fresh bak choy, spinach, french beans. I have to insist you try cucumber though. Peeled and thinly sliced, let it simmer in a bit of stock or water and oyster sauce while you do your washing up..until it goes all tender and translucent. Chuck in the soaked glass noodles, give it a quick stir, dash of white pepper if you so prefer...just a little bit though [ I find white pepper so much more pungent than black pepper] and tuck in. So refreshing, so delicious.

Jade: Bitemybakchoy

I think I've proclaimed time and time again my love for grocery stores. There's nothing I enjoy more than spending hours just staring at packets and jars, secretly feeling a sense of pride when I discover something new. And it was during one of my little trips to my neighbourhood chinese supermarket that I discovered dried bak choy. For all it's blackened stringiness, I thought it was fascinating..and as a huge fan of fresh bak choy, I couldn't wait to try its alien-looking friend.....Only I didn't quite know what to do with it. A quick browse on google showed it's apparently a popular soup ingredient....I'd certainly never heard of it...but maybe that's because Sarawak's always been 10 years behind anyway:P


Dried bak choy soup

500g pork ribs or chicken...I think I used both since I had a bit of everything in the freezer
small handful red dates
smal handful goji berries
half a packet dried bak choy [around 150g]
Salt to taste

1. Wash and soak dried bak choy in warm water for about 2 hours. It's remarkably sandy, so give it a good scrub. [ that's saying something, coming from me. I dont usually bother washing anything]
2. Dump everything else in a big pot and fill it with water...up to the level of the handles is usually a good estimate.
3. Bring to a boil, then let it simmer on low heat for about an hour..or if you're lazy like me, just leave it until the dried bak choy is ready.
4. Give the veg a final rinse, chop into about 4 segments lengthwise, and add it to your stock.
5. Let it simmer for say another hour? Depends on the bak choy you get really, they can get rather fibrous.
6. Season, inhale the comforting scent....ladle the dark golden liquid into a nice deep bowl..whatever you do, please don't forget a proper chinese soup me old-fashioned, but drinking chinese soup with anything else but a proper soup spoon is an insult to the chef's efforts.
7. Sip away, and let it warm you up from the inside out:)

Note: In case you were wondering, the dried version tastes nothing like fresh bak choy. It smells slightly of seaweed...with a really subtle twang at the end. Tastewise I thought it was similar to 'mei cai', the type used in pork braises.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Jade: Bitemywanton

I went to a boarding school for A-levels...some of the best years of my life. My only gripe was the scarcity of pork. Don't get me wrong, I was and am all for respecting cultures and in the grand scheme of things, no fatty meat seems a reasonable price to pay for a healthy heart and a 24'' waist. But I am Chinese...certain cravings cannot be's in my genes:( don't judge me. So one of the things I used to do when we were allowed out on weekends was sneak off to any cantonese restaurant I could find for my weekly bowl of wanton soup. And if anyone asked where I was, "I needed time to be alone with my thoughts". Thoughts about fat, crunchy wantons;)

My mum makes really good wantons, so when the cravings struck, I bought some wanton skins to wrap me some dumplings.

YCMama's Wantons:
500g minced pork [feel free to used minced chicken]
Dried shitake mushrooms, soaked and diced
4 spring onions chopped
200g prawns, roughly chopped, NOT minced [use more for more crunch]
5-6 water chestnuts, roughly chopped
1tbsp lard chopped [optional- my mum says it gives a better texture]
1 packet wanton skin

Fish sauce
Sesame oil
Msg [optional]
2 heaped tbsp corn flour

1. Mix everything together and beat until sticky and almost gelatinous. It sounds vague I know, but that's all my mum said :( She also said not to skip the beating because that's what gives the wantons their bouncy texture.
2. Wrap. [ I picked this trick up from this really really old coffeeshop at home that serves the best dumplings. They roll out the wanton skins! So rather than wrapping straight from the packet, pick up your rolling pin, roll out the wanton skins to stretch them and you will end up with a silkily filmy casing. No more thick starchy wantons.]
3. Boil till wantons float and serve in hot clear both or with a hearty bowl of noodles..mmmm...perfect on a cold cold day.

* To freeze, since this recipe gives about 50 wantons, spread it on a baking tray, pop in the freezer for about half an hour to freeze them individually, then spoon into a freezer bag.

Jade: Bitemychinesepuffs

I used to get sooooooooo excited when my uncle ( distant cousin? who knows) from Singapore came to visit. Partly because his name made me laugh...literal translation meant ''no talent''...honestly it's a wonder he didn't sign emancipation papers. Any judge would've been sympathetic. But more importantly because he ALWAYS came bearing gifts. The one thing I looked forward to the most was this tiny little pastry, wrapped in very old school greaseproof paper. I remember how my heart would pound with anticipation as I peeled away the wrapping carefully to reveal layers and layers of the flakiest pastry that seemed to melt on my way to my favourite bit--the gooey filling, sweet and savoury at the same time, bursting with the flavour of shallots and toasted sesame.... and when it was all over, mopping up every last crumb with my little fingers and wishing I hadn't eaten it so quickly. Talent or no talent, the man knew how to make me happy.


And so, MTAS. Me stress. Kitchen. Moving on..

马蹄酥 [ Some people call it heong peng; we've always called it 'Beh teh sor' ]- adapted from seadragon

Pastry: It's all science really. This whole flaky pastry thing works on the principle that water and oil don't mix; so if you have overlapping layers of oil and water pastry, they cook differently and what you end up with are these gorgeously thin and melty films of pastry.

Water pastry:
131g plain flour
45g shortening
26g icing sugar
pinch of salt and 67.5 mls warm water

Oil pastry:
97.5g flour
22.5g cornflour
60g shortening

1. Mix water pastry and let it rest for 15-20 minutes.
2. Mix oil pastry--it gives a very short texture, slightly crumbly
3. Divide both pastries into 15 portions each, I weigh them out because I'm anal like that.
4. Flatten a piece of water pastry and wrap the oil pastry in it. So you want the water pastry on the outside, and the oil on the inside.
5. Roll it out thinly, but not thin enough that you break everything. Roll it up like a cigar, turn the pastry so it's vertical, roll out again.
6. Roll it up again so this time it looks short and stubby, turn it over so the spirally ends are facing you and flatten the dough. It should feel stiff but still malleable.
* You may wrap as you go along, or choose to get the fiddly pastry bits out of the way. Doesn't matter, but if you do the pastry first, cover them up with a damp towel so they don't dry out.

100g brown sugar
generous pinch of salt
30g maltose
20ml shallot oil
50g cooked glutinous rice flour
20g corn flour
50ml water
1tsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tbsp fried shallots

1. Spread the glutinous rice flour on a baking tray and roast in a 180' oven for about an hour or till it's lightly golden. It's a pain I know, apparently you can buy it ready cooked in some places.
2. Melt the maltose in the water.
3. Mix everything together till it comes together to form a very soft dough.
* You MAY NOT need all the water, so add it slowly.

4. Now wrap the filling in the dough and make sure you seal the bottoms tightly so nothing leaks out in the baking process.
5. Bake at 210' Celcius for about 12-14 minutes, I usually leave it for a bit longer to brown up a bit more.
6. Let cool, break it apart, and relish the beautiful combination of delicate pastry and the almost toffee-ish filling.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Jade: Bitemynuts.....peanuts

I was reading up for my clinical exam tomorrow and apparently sitting down for long periods of time increases the pressure in your intervertebral disc and puts you at risk of getting slipped disc. Not one to argue with Wikipaedia, I thought I'd take a little walk to the kitchen...


My mum used to buy these peanut brittle bars from this dingy little shop when she went to the wet market, a little treat we would both share. You can get them anywhere now..supermarkets, Chinatown...but they never taste quite the same..much like how nasi lemak from a 5-star hotel never tastes as good as the one from the oldest stall in the oldest part of town. It's that special homey flavour that is sorely lacking.

So with half an hour to kill, I thought I'd try to recreate that naughty little sweet from my childhood:)

Peanut Brittle [adapted from Lily's wai sek hong]

1 cup sugar [ I used half dark brown, half castor; I love the caramel-y tones you get with brown]
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp water
pinch of salt
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
300g roasted peanuts

1. Mix sugar, vinegar and water
2. Melt over medium heat, DON'T STIR, however tempted you are to. The sugar will crystallize. Just swirl gently now and again.

* Tip: before you start anything, lightly grease the pot you're using with oil all the way up to the edge. It will not alter the taste or texture, but trust me, whoever's doing the washing up will thank you.

3. Let it bubble away gently for about 10 minutes. The original recipe said till 300 degree Fahrenheit but i don't have a candy thermometer. The mixture should be thick and stringy when you stick a spoon in it
4. While waiting for the sugar mixture, line a baking tin with foil and grease it thoroughly.
5. Sprinkle half the sesame seeds and all the peanuts onto the pan.
6. Once the sugar is ready, scrape it out with an oiled spatula and spread evenly onto the seeds. I got too impatient so I used my hands.
7. Sprinkle with remaining sesame seeds and let it cool slightly while you do the washing up, which should take no time thanks to my little tip;)
8. Once it's cool enough to handle, cut into little rectangles and let it cool completely.
9. Crunch away while you reminisce about days gone by:)

It tasted almost as good as I remembered...only things missing were my mum and our huge dining
table strewn with vegetables..

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Jade: Bitemysoup

It's been so cold:( It's times like these that I wish I were less because my mum makes the best traditional chinese soups. The kind you simmer and stew for hours and hours to coax all the flavour out of the ingredients and render meat so tender it practically falls off the bone. I needed a break from MTAS [...I know...I seem to need an awful lot of breaks....but I'm a girl, and I get cravings] and trying my hand at bringing the flavour of home to my kitchen seemed like the most logical thing to do ;)


Slow-boiled foo-chook soup however you spell that

Half a pack spare ribs [ my mum uses chicken but the butcher didn't want to chop it up for me so..pfft]
3-4 stalks baby leeks, quartered
small handful goji berries [ my granny says it's good for the complexion and I'm vain]
small handful baby anchovies
Half a packet Foo-chook/ beancurd sticks
Enoki mushrooms [ I had some left in the fridge so why not]
3-4 cups water

* You don't really need the anchovies if you're using a whole chicken. I just figured the soup would need a little help in the flavour department since I wasn't using a lot of meat.

1. Put everything in the pot except the beancurd sticks.
2. Bring to a gentle simmer and leave covered for about 20 minutes.
* Don't try to rush it with high heat. It makes the soup murky. I could be wrong, but after years of getting yelled at for ruining my mum's beautiful clear soup, I'm telling you--DON'T RUSH IT.
3. Break the beancurd sticks into pieces and add to the simmering broth.
4. Cover and let simmer for another 20 minutes or so.
* It depends what brand of beancurd sticks you're using, some cook remarkably fast, some are tougher than my grandma, so ... keep experimenting
5. Season to taste.
6. Curl up in a comfy chair, wrap yourself with a nice thick duvet, and savour your steaming bowl of clear, sweet broth... I promise it tastes of home:)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Jade: Bitemysalad#2

This job application thing is not sitting well with me. Maybe I should just become a housewife. Then I can stay in the kitchen and never come out.


Here's a salad that is perfect for a light Sunday dinner, and an excellent way to use up bits of leftovers in the fridge.


Roast chicken salad with wasabi dressing

1 roasted chicken thigh [I bought mine from Waitrose don't judge me:( wait till I become a real housewife]
1 baby gem lettuce
2 tomatoes
Half a green apple leftover from my apple cake

1 tbsp wasabi
2-3 tbsp mayonnaise [depends how much of a kick you're after]
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of half a lemon or a generous splosh of rice vinegar
pinch of sugar
pinch of salt

1. Whisk the dressing in a bowl, keep tasting as you go along...not difficult to do, it is very addictive
2. Shred chicken, please keep the skin...people who take the skin off meat just piss me off
3. Tear up lettuce, you could chop, but I find it so much more satisfying to tear into the crisp leaves
4. Quarter tomatoes, julienne apples

The dressing packs quite a punch so you really don't need a lot. The sweetness of the apples tames the heat a little..and paired with the cold, tender chicken giving that savoury edge...I could eat this all day.

I have a few more pieces of chicken left and I'm thinking there is some nice soft pita out there just waiting to be filled...I'm even saving the bones to make stock..look at me all housewifey! MTAS can bite me.

Jade: Bitemycookies#2

I'd been staring at my job application form for a good 2 hours trying to figure out how best to sell myself as a safe doctor who isn't going to kill anyone on the job....not easy considering I'd spent the morning having dark thoughts about patients who came to clinic because their left armpit smelt different from the right one. I desperately needed a break.....something to wake me up...what better than the warm, nutty smell of butter laced with cinnamon..


Cinnamon raisin Crunch

75g butter [you know how I feel about the unsalted stuff]
3/4 cup flour
4 tablespoons brown sugar [or more if you feel like it]
1/2 tsp cinnamon
big pinch baking powder
pinch of salt
handful of raisins [roughly chopped if you so wish, but sharps and stressed person=bad idea so I didn't bother; plus the idea of plump whole raisins peeking out of cookie dough is so much more

1. Preheat oven to 2oo degrees C
2. Melt butter in the microwave, shouldn't take more than 15 seconds.
3. Combine dry ingredients and add to butter.
4. Pop the dough into the fridge while you do the washing up, not that there's much to be done.
5. Scoop out big dollops onto a cookie sheet and bake for about 15-20 minutes.
6. Crunch away;)

On a completely unrelated note, my new-found secret to the perfect cup of tea- Golden Syrup. One tablespoon shy, a world of difference.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Jade: Bitemygnocchi

I recently discovered the wonder that is bbc-iplayer. It's nothing short of genius, gives you all the perks of television without painfully pointless adverts and the added luxury of a download button so you can save your favourite shows. No I'm not getting paid to say this, but I should be. The best part about all this for me has to be the food shows-nigella, nigel slater, valentine's like christmas, only better;)


Most of the shows I've watched these past few weeks have featured gnocchi in one way or another and what it is is basically a dumpling made of mashed potatoes masquerading as pasta; Not something I've ever considered trying because I'm not a fan of potatoes. But watching all
those brilliant chefs sing praises about these pillowy soft little things made me curious and frankly any excuse to potter around in the kitchen is always welcome.


I thought I'd be adventurous and do a dual coloured version, so I bought some potatoes and gorgeously orange sweet potatoes. All for 79p from the local green grocers. Who knew?! I'm never buying fresh produce from Waitrose again. I used my Hamlyn cookbook this time and all it involves is boiling the tubers whole till tender, peeling and mashing it up, beating in some parmesan and salt and kneading in some flour. I found the dough incredibly sticky..nothing a bit of extra flour couldn't fix.


Pasta cooked, it was time for the pesto. 50g of basil, roughly chopped, 2 cloves of garlic, 50g toasted pine nuts, 60g grated parmesan, salt and pepper and lovely fragrant olive oil. I blended everything with my new favourite toy, my stick blender until it all came together to form a beautiful thick green paste. It was my first time making pesto and I have to say, the smell was incredible...a distinct herby freshness from the basil and a faint hit of garlic. Absolutely


Spoon the pesto over the cooked gnocchi and tuck in. Soft, almost melt in the mouth potato parcels, garlicky cheesy pesto..excellent company and hilarious conversation...I couldn't think of a better way to spend my Saturday evening:)


Afterthought: Sense of accomplishment aside, ready made gnocchi are going for about 1.99 from Waitrose...but do make your own's delicious and it doesn't involve spending an hour getting dough out of your hair;p

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Jade: Bitemyapple

I am the kind of girl who bakes 6 trays of brownies in 2 days using different recipes until I am absolutely happy with how fudgy and chocolatey they are; I make it a general rule to read and compare an average of 10 recipes from various sources before even attempting to try a new dish/dessert..because I know, if it doesn't come out the way I want it to, I will fuss and fret and redo everything from scratch and let's face gets expensive especially in this economic climate.


You can imagine the state I was in when I, surrounded by half a kilo of apples, peeled, cored and painstakingly diced, ready to be folded into my muffin batter, realized I had no cinnamon. Everyone knows apple without cinnamon is like a campfire without marshmallows.......almost criminal. But it was nearly 10 at I baked them anyway. They weren't bad...they weren't great either. Not by my standards anyway.


The thing about cookbooks and all the wonderful
cooking shows is while they show you, some in
more detail than others, how to make the perfect apple cake, no one tells you what to do when things don't go according to plan and the cake turns out less than perfect. Do you bin it? Think of the starving children.....Do you leave it out and pray your drunk housemate gets peckish? One sleepless night on, I am here to share my
attempt to rescue my cinnamon-less cake.


For starters, I bought a big jar of cinnamon. Bah. Tore my muffins up, squished them into a
ramekin and sprinkled some cinnamon on top. Then I whisked some cream with vanilla and honey, folded in some cream cheese and draped the luscious mixture over the cake. Melted some butter, added some flour, brown sugar and salt and who can forget, a big pinch of cinnamon. It's a sad day when one has to stoop to taking their frustrations out on some ground up tree bark, but there you go. Popped the mixture into a preheated oven and 20 minutes later, I had some lovely buttery streusel, ready to be crumbled over my improvised apple cheesecake. I took a bite.......melty crumble, satiny cream, soft tangy apples with just enough bite and of course, that
hint of cinnamon I'd been waiting for all along....Not bad. Not bad at all.