Sunday, March 28, 2010

Jade: Bitemypesto

I was an only child for 4 years. And the way my mum would try to keep me entertained while she went about attending to her grown-up business was by leaving the telly on CNN or BBC....or any news programme for that matter. The idea was for my toddler self to believe the newscasters were actually talking to me..And so for an hour or so on most days, there I would sit, having rivetting conversations with my anchor friends. I no longer think Larry King is pointing at me because he caught me picking my nose..Some days though, when I am alone in my room and finding it hard to concentrate in the deafening silence, I put on a show on i-player and let the soothing voices of Nigel Slater and Nigella Lawson talk me through chapter after chapter of rheumatology.

Goats cheese and pesto parcel [I was in the middle of osteoarthritis when I caught bits of this recipe..and I knew..I just had to try it]

50 g roughly chopped fresh basil

2 cloves crushed garlic
50 g roughly chopped toasted pine nuts
65g hard cheese..I used pecorino
big glug of olive oil
salt to taste

Pulse everything in a blender until it forms a vibrant green paste, faintly scented with garlic

1 round goats cheese
1 big dollop pesto
1 square all butter puff pastry [try to avoid ready rolled ones, they don't taste as good]
1 beaten egg

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees
2. Roll out puff pastry into a nice big square
3. Place goats cheese in the middle, top with a generous dollop of fresh pesto
4. Brush the edges with beaten egg, bring all corners to the middle and pinch the seams firmly, making sure you get a tight seal
5. Give it a quick eggwash and bake for about 20 minutes
6. Serve hot on a bed of salad leaves and chopped tomatoes gently drizzled with olive oil and tossed in balsamic vinegar..
In the words of Nigel Slater.."There are few things that are quite as sexy to eat as hot, molten goats cheese..and warm, crumbly pastry.."

What to do with the leftover pesto? Beat in some cream cheese, toss with pasta, and top with freshly cracked black pepper...or better yet, seal it all in a fat, fluffy omelette with more goats cheese and thickly sliced tomatoes. They say gluttony is a sin..but for this, I would gladly be deemed a sinner ;)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Jade: Bitemybrownies

Jade's top pet peeve~ nuts in my brownies. I know all these Michelin-starred geniuses go on about contrasting textures but nothing offends me more than biting into a nut while I'm enjoying a thick, fudgy chunk of brownie. Doesn't help that I don't actually like chocolate to begin with. I've been searching high and low for a chocolate dessert that is rich enough to satisfy the occasional craving, yet light enough to not make me put down my fork after 2 forced bites. The tuckshop back in boarding school used to sell cakes from Secret Recipe and oh how everyone raved about the chocolate banana cake. I loved the idea of fruit and chocolate...a lot less crazy about the blah execution....even less amused by the fact that I was actually expected to pay for substandard cake. So I head, once again, into my kitchen, trying to make my world better, one well-made cake at a time ;)

Bananachoc brownies~~[Adapted from Alton Brown's brownies, which are sublime on their own...but I like to be different:P]

4 eggs
1/2cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
8 oz melted salted butter
1 1/4 cup cocoa
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup flour
pinch of salt

2 ripe bananas, 3 if they're smaller
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp caramel
pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees

2. Slice bananas, dump them into a pan with the butter, caramel and salt and heat through so the butter and caramel melt, giving you this lovely toffee-ish sauce
3. Whisk eggs, add sugar and give another quick whisk
4. Add dry ingredients and mix till well combined
5. Add melted butter slowly, mixing as you go along
6. Butter a square pan, pour in half the brownie mix, spread the banana filling over it, and cover with the rest of the brownie batter
7. Bake for about 30 minutes. Without the bananas, 25 minutes is plenty..but with the extra weight of the bananas..a few extra minutes just helps it hold its shape better. I learnt the hard way when my brownie collapsed :(
8. Let cool completely, cut into generous squares and enjoy.

I have 10 squares left and I don't like chocolate. Any takers?

Jade: Bitemynoodles

* Oh yay! 100th post!!

I was a fussy fussy eater as a child. I would pick and prod and push everything around on the plate until someone mercifully took it away. Explains why I never really reached my full growth potential:( When we lived in Miri though, there was one particular dish I would always finish, which is saying a lot because back then, food in Miri was frankly, crap. It was tomato noodles, not unlike the tomato kuay tiaw we get in Sibu. The chef was this old man with like 20 daughters [or at least that's what it seemed like at the time] and one of them was always pregnant. Her noodles tasted the best after the dad's. Perhaps it was the pregnancy hormones...alas she never stayed un-pregnant long enough for me to test that hypothesis. I have been searching for that taste ever since..but whenever I ask for it in Sibu, all I get are blank stares....which frustrates me to no end. It really isn't that complicated: use egg noodles instead of rice noodles.the end. Sigh, goes to show..if you want something done properly, do it yourself.

Tomato noodles [Thanks to the pictures on suituapui ;) Not quite 'old man in Miri' yet..maybe I need to get pregnant to grasp the true essence of the dish..but god, did it hit the spot.]

150g egg noodles
3 cloves garlic, minced
Bacon, diced [ use pork or chicken or fish, I used bacon because I wanted to render some of the fat]
Pak Choy roughly chopped [ mustard greens would be even more authentic]

Kicap Manis
Splosh of dark soy for colour
About half a cup chicken stock or water [ depending how much gravy you want, if you want a thicker gravy, get yourself some cornstarch slurry]
sugar and fish sauce to taste

1. Heat up some oil and render some bacon fat. You don't have to, I just couldn't bear to throw the fat away.

2. Throw in half the chopped garlic, fry till fragrant and add the noodles
3. Add kicap manis and dark soy, stir till noodles are evenly coated and leave it. This way they get a little charred at the bottom. It's near impossible to replicate that whole 'wok hei' thing you get in the shops, especially on an electric hob, so this is probably the next best thing
4. Dish up the noodles and set aside
5. In the same pan, fry the garlic and bacon till fragrant, add stock, and stir in abt 1-2 tbsp of ketchup, tasting as u go along. The idea is to have a really subtle tomatoey sweetness..the last thing anyone wants is to taste nothing but ketchup
6. Add the seafood and veg, and season to taste, aiming to get a balance of sweet and savoury and the tiniest whisper of a tang.
7. Pour gravy over noodles, top with some pickled chilli and SLURP, as loud as you can ;)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sush: Peanut Butter Cookies

Like Jade here, I have this constant need to have peanut butter. I swear, I think I'm addicted!

Anyway, one of the food blogs I frequent is Smitten Kitchen. :) I love her stuff and her pictures are divine!
From my random browsing last night after revision, I came across her Peanut Butter Cookies recipe and I just had to give this a shot! A replica of the peanut butter cookies found in the famous Magnolia Bakery in NYC, they looked too good not to try!

It looked less guilty than the Peanut Butter Brownies anyway... lol.

They came out amazing. :) Soft and warm and chewy. Ahhhh...and so infused with peanut butter!! <3

You can get the recipe from the direct link I've provided! Next attempt this weekend will be Blueberry Crumb Squares. ;)


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Jade: Bitemyburger

Everyone I know loves a fat, juicy burger with a side of hot, salty fries. But like the elusive cupcake, a good burger is so difficult to come by. Granted the definition of good is hugely subjective, case in point Mc.D's prosperity burger. I was so full of hope having read countless reviews about this seasonal treat..only to have my bubble go 'pffffttttttttt' when I finally took a tentative bite: soggy buns check, patty that tasted like cardboard check, watery peppery brown liquid check. I mourned that night..for the unnecessary wasting of precious calories.

Rice burger with sweet potato wedges~ Because it's healthier and because I would rather stop talking for a week than look at another potato.

Half a cup cooked sushi rice, formed into patties and panfried till crispy

1 piece butterflied chicken thigh, grilled [ I marinated mine in worchestershire sauce, honey, smashed lemon grass and garlic]
Fresh lettuce, tossed in the pan juices from the chicken
some tomato slices
Kewpie mayo

Sweet potato, boiled to soften, tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted for 30 minutes

Assemble burger, and enjoy a non-soggy bun, perfectly juicy meat and crunchy veg that hasn't been lying at the back of someone's fridge for a month.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Jade: Bitemyokonomiyaki

The first time I had okonomiyaki must've been last year..when Mars and I [and by that I mean I wanted to, she really didn't have a choice in the matter] went on a food crawl around Covent Garden. Non-stop eating; 12 restaurants in 2 days. One of the best birthdays I've ever had, but I digress. I've never given much thought to this japanese pancake...the idea was novel, it looked pretty on a plate, but somehow it just never seemed intriguing enough. That is, until I took my first bite....light, almost creamy pancake packed full of crunchy vegetables and chunks of the freshest seafood, drizzled with tangy okonomiyaki sauce and silky Kewpie Mayo.....It was so much more than just a was comfort food and a fuzzy hug all rolled into one. All those years I spent giving a disdainful sniff whenever someone suggested having it..what was I thinking? Ah well...better late than never, I say ;)


1/4 cup all purpose flour [ I used self raising because I was lazy to measure out baking powder]
1/4 tsp baking powder
salt to taste
1/4 cup water or dashi stock [ I crumbled in some vegetable stock granules instead]
1 egg
1 spring onion, chopped
about 4 cabbage leaves, stems removed and roughly chopped
mixed seafood [ use bacon, mushrooms, cheese, anything you fancy]

2-3 tbsp ketchup
1tbsp worchestershire sauce
soy sauce to taste
squirt of honey to balance out the tang

1. Get a non-stick frying pan nice and hot
2. Whisk the flour, salt and water till you get a fairly thick batter
3. Add cabbage, spring onion and seafood, crack in your egg
4. Give it a good stir, mainly to break up the egg, taking care not to overmix
5. Drizzle some oil into the hot pan, pour in your okonomiyaki batter and cook for about 5 minutes. I used my rice cooker lid to cover the pancake because that's what the lady at the shop did. I'm sure it has something to do with half steaming the pancake so it cooks thoroughly.
6. Get yourself 2 spatulas and flip the pancake, let it cook for another 5-10 minutes
7. Stick a skewer through the middle to check if it's cooked all the way through, brush on a generous amount of okonomiyaki sauce and drizzle on some Kewpie Mayo. You could use normal mayo, but it won't be the same.
8. Share with someone you like:)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Jade: Bitemysesame

It is so hard to find a decent cupcake. I know.. it seems like a ridiculous claim to make, especially when specialty shops selling nothing but intricately crafted cupcakes are sprouting up everywhere. But if you look beyond the colourful sprinkles, arty swirls and sometimes enticing flavour combinations, more often than not, what you're left with is an overpriced, overly sweet, and altogether dry piece of confection. If I sound bitter, it's because I am. With the exception of Hummingbird Bakery, all the brightly coloured stores promising 'the moistest cupcakes baked only with the best ingredients' have failed to deliver again and again. Even then, the chocolate and beetroot cupcake I had at Hummingbird recently was a complete letdown..serves me right for ignoring the shopgirl's vehement headshakes.
It's not rocket science. A good cupcake has to be light and fluffy, with the perfect cake to frosting ratio. The frosting shouldn't overwhelm the cake, it should complement it, with just the right amount of sweetness. That said, having utterly given up on store-bought cupcakes, there was only one place to go when the cravings hit ;)

Browned butter cupcakes with black sesame frosting
[If you like cupcakes, you HAVE to try this recipe. You make the browned butter earlier, everything else takes 30 minutes start to finish, baking time incuded, and I promise you, it gives the tenderest crumb]


60g browned butter [ melt some butter in a pan over medium heat, let it froth, stirring constantly, until the sediments turn a beautiful shade of caramel and the smell..oh.. so evocative...reminds me of the smell of freshly toasted bread slathered with butter, my favourite breakfast back when I had time for it. Should take about 5 minutes]
90g brown sugar
pinch of salt
1 egg
1/4 cup yoghurt
105g self raising flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

100ml double cream, whipped till stiff
50g butter
pinch of salt
50g icing sugar
2-3 tbsp black sesame powder

1. Brown the butter beforehand and let it cool to a soft slushy consistency. Overnight would be great
2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees

3. Put all the ingredients in a bowl following the order in which they're listed. So butter, sugar, salt, egg...
4. Beat on high for 3 minutes
5. Scoop into little pastry cups and bake for 15-20 minutes
4. Let cool.
*Did I not say this was the easiest thing to do? All those places selling dense, dry cakes have no excuse.
5. For the frosting, whip the cream and set aside
6. Cream butter and sugar and salt, add black sesame powder, beat until well mixed, and fold in cream.
** You could just use buttercream, but the cupcake is quite light and buttercream just seemed a bit too heavy for it. This way you get a really nice airy frosting
7. When the cupcakes have cooled completely, frost as you wish, although.. the cakes are good enough on their own
The nuttiness from the browned butter and the subtle sesame fragrance from the frosting, brought together in a small, fluffy package..who needs cupcake bakeries?;)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Jade: Makan

I'm a homebody. I would rather lounge around in tatty pj's than get dolled up for a night out; I think curling up in bed with a good book is a much better use of time than heading down to the local pub, even if they do have the most amazing beer battered onion rings. Largely because my entire week is spent in a hospital making small talk with nurses and prying into the most intimate details of my patients' lives~[Who wants to talk about their menstrual cycle with someone they've just met 2 seconds ago. Frankly, I'm not quite sure I want to hear about it either]; so when I finally get a chance to enjoy the comforts of home, I struggle to leave my cushy little cocoon.

Last week though, struck by a sudden need to be spontaneous, possibly brought on by my quarter life crisis, I decided to have a wander around town with a the evening!
Shows how far England has come~when I first got here, shops shut at they shut at 8. How's that for progress!..Right, this is all beginning to sound a bit sad. Point is, we were walking to Debenhams when we saw the word 'MAKAN' across the street. We ran a red light to get there. And when we saw penang char kuay teow on the menu, we just had to go in.

It was cosy...dimly lit, black furniture..although I wasn't quite sure about their choice of music..a remix of "qing ren de yan lei'' playing in a loop ..felt like I was in a low budget horror film...On to the food~ I had the singaporean curry laksa and teh tarik, which I was well excited about considering the only other Malaysian place in Southampton doesn't serve my favourite milky tea. It wasn't as 'kao' as I would've liked it to be...but beggars can't be choosers. The laksa, however....oh where do I begin....the broth was clear. Need I say more? To be fair, the flavours didn't suck..but if you're going to call it Singaporean curry laksa, some authenticity in the form of coconut milk would be nice. So if anyone in Southampton has a craving for curry laksa, I say stick to Supreme.

My friend decided on the Penang Char Kuay Tiaw. Wiser choice by a mile, although again, authenticity was a big issue. No slightly damp rice noodles, no chilli paste, no cockles. Taste was fantastic, plenty of 'wok hei', and really, it would have gone down so much better had they just called it char kuay tiaw. If anything, it reminded me of the CKT we get back in Sibu.

Service was good...not that I expected anything less considering we were the only customers in there..Fortune cookies at the end of the meal were a very nice touch, and the owner did say he was looking to introduce tea-time items like roti kaya, curry puffs and the like. So I will be going back...only next time, I will steer clear of the laksa.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Jade: Bitemymuffin

I've gone on before in a previous post about the wonder that is my mum's prune and horlicks cake. Gorgeously buttery, incredibly rich, it's one of those cakes that's guaranteed to please even the fussiest eaters. I would know, I live with 2 of them. Truth of the matter is though, delicious as that cake may be [and trust me, it is. I brought it to clinic once, and got a bonus mark in my assessment because of it. Don't play play], the mere thought of the amount of eggs and butter that goes into it is enough to dampen any urge I might have to bake the damn thing. Well I said dampen, not kill entirely :P I wouldn't be here if I hadn't figured out a healthy compromise..Aren't you a lucky lot ;)

Prune and Horlicks muffin with caramel swirl-- a butter-free and rather deconstructed version of my mum's naughty treat

1 1/4 cup plain flour [ take away 2 tbsp of plain flour, add 2tbsp corn flour]
1/4 horlicks
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup yoghurt
1 cup chopped prunes [ tossed lightly in flour so they don't sink to the bottom]
1/2 cup chopped pecans [ optional, I had some lying around and thought why not]
50g caramel

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees

2. Whisk dry ingredients together
3. Whisk sugar, oil, egg and yoghurt till smooth
4. Add dry ingredients to the wet, and fold for a count of 10. No more, no less. Doesn't matter if the batter is lumpy, doesn't matter if you still see streaks of flour, just leave it. Chewy muffins= bloody waste of time
5. Add prunes and pecans and do a quick stir. 3 stirs should be more than enough
6. Spoon into muffin cups, I tend to fill mine up quite full because I'm greedy like that. And fat muffins are just so much more attractive
7. Drop a dollop of caramel on the top of the batter and swirl
8. Pop the tray in the oven, turn the heat up to 200 degrees and bake for 20-25 minutes
9. Cool the muffins completely, break one in half and enjoy the tender, malty crumbs with a nice cup of english tea :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sush: Cream tea scones

Well ok, maybe not cream tea scones. :P Just ordinary basic fruit scones. But although they're only the basic recipe type, these babies are very light and fluffy, and dreamy :)

Best eaten when fresh out of the oven!

Taken from Nigella Lawson's "How to be a Domestic Goddess". It is my baking bible. ;) Although I do admit that I still tweak her recipes to suit my calorie intake and taste buds.

500g of plain flour
1/2 tsp salt (recipe asked for 1 tsp but I altered)
2 tsp baking soda
4 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
75g cold butter (I use salted)
300 ml milk

1 egg (for eggwash)

Preheat oven to 200C
Sieve all dry ingredients together.
Dice up cold butter and rub in with the flour mixture until the butter is rubbed in well and the flour mixture is like damp sand.
Add in milk and mix until dough forms a ball.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with 3cm thickness.
Using a cookie cutter (or any round object), cut out the scones.
Baste with eggwash and bake until golden brown.

Eat with butter and jam or if you prefer (and can afford the calories), clotted cream. :)


Mars: Gold Chilli

I know I KNOW, Jade! I know! I'm sorry. I promise you I will start posting more! (^_^)v

Firstly, there's this little awesome place in SS 15 Subang Jaya where the butter chicken and kangkung belacan is just AWESOME!

This friend of mine, a Melawati native, decided to venture into the unknown parts of Subang to look for this shop called PopMyBerry (as eheh as it sounds.. its a shop selling BB accessories! really cool!) The Melawati native mistakenly said that the address is at SS15/1 - which resulted in the 2 of us driving around the place for half an hour looking for 15/1 AND which made me wonder whether I REALLY knew Subang like the back of my hand.

Annnyyywayy... we found the place and to change her housing would take about half and hour. We had time to spare, and I was starving after the gym... we walked a few doors down to Gold Chilli. (don't judge me. hmph!)

The kangkung belacan was a perfect balance of spiciness and sourness that just explodes in your mouth. I know that kangkung belacan is a normally a safe choice when going to these sorts of restaurants... but why leave out the favourites kan? ;)

And the butter chicken! SO creamy and buttery but you don't get tired of it if you pair it up with the kangkung belacan! You can distinctly taste a bit of curry and will get hit by the bits of cili api they sprinkle on the dish!

If you're looking for a place to go hang out whilst waiting for a new housing for your phone, and do not want to go to the usual mamaks littered around SS 15... Gold Chilli is awesome!

Gold Chilli - SS15/8B, Subang Jaya.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Jade: Bitemycrisps

I was watching Rachel Allen on BBC the other day and found myself drawn to the thinly mandolinned slices of root vegetables on her work counter--paper thin slivers of bright purple beets, bright orange sweet potatoes, and creamy white celeriac. These were then tossed in olive oil and baked at 220 degrees for 4-5 minutes to a golden crisp. I tried it. Didn't work. Pfft. My lack of a mandolin might have had something to do with it...In any case, I turned to my trusty vegetable peeler, lowered the temperature to 120 degrees, baked my slightly deformed slices for 20 minutes, slapped on some aluminium foil and baked them for another 15 minutes. Not as satisfyingly crunchy as I would've liked..colours are pretty though :P so if anyone has an easy recipe for oven baked crisps, I would love to try it :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Jade: Bitemysushi #4

Last one on sushi..I promise. It's just I saw this being made at a sushi bar ages ago, and have been itching to try it since..Especially when I was charged 8 pounds for 6 pieces :( Granted it was less wonky than mine... but still...

Jade: Bitemycaramel

I have hoarding tendencies. I save giftwraps, cards, name cards...and when I can't find a bin, which happens quite often in this country due to the whole 'bomb in bin' paranoia, I stuff bills in my bag..and they stay there, until my sister cleans them out while giving me looks of absolute disgust. Sentiment or rather, sheer sloppiness aside, I also hate throwing out food. Only because I cannot stand the idea of wasting food. So my freezer is packed full of leftover soups, frozen carcasses for stock, leftover dumplings..all waiting to be revived in one way or another.

I had a mid-revision craving for Haagen Daz Chocolate Fudge Brownie yesterday...only the fudgy brownie bits that I painstakingly dig out, though.. I don't even like chocolate ice cream. Enter a tin of caramel and a hunk of frozen leftover kek batik~

Salted caramel ice cream with faux fudge chunks

300 ml double cream
200 ml evaporated milk [ chilled. You want this properly cold. I usually pop it in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes while I get the rest of the stuff ready]
150-200 g caramel [ You could make your own: sugar, butter and cream; I chose to open a tin]
1/2 tsp crushed sea salt [ Add this slowly, tasting as you go along..not difficult to do, I assure you]
Chopped up fudge, or in my case, kek batik [completely optional. The ice cream is lush enough on its own. Or you could do what I did, divide the mix in half and make 2 tubs of ice cream~one plain and one with fudge]

1. I like to pop a steel bowl and my mixing blades in the freezer for 15 minutes or so before I start just to get everything nice and cold, but it's up to you, really
2. Add sea salt to caramel and mix until you're happy with the balance of sweet and salty

3. Add double cream to caramel and whisk till well mixed, about a minute or so with a hand mixer
4. Pop in the freezer
5. In a separate bowl, whisk the evaporated milk till it thickens and doubles in volume. If your milk is cold enough, this should take about 2 minutes
6. Fold the cream and caramel mixture into the whisked evaporated milk. Don't worry about fiddling with the flavour at this stage, you'll get your chance later
7. Pour into a shallow container and freeze uncovered for 1-2 hours
8. Take out your ice cream, which should be frozen on the top and slushy underneath, and turn it into a bowl
9. Taste, add caramel or salt if needed, and whisk till you get a nice creamy mix
10. Fold in the fudge bits if using, and pour back into container, again, freezing uncovered for about 2-3 hours
11. Take it out, let it soften for a minute or 2, grab a spoon, close your eyes and savour the velvety, buttery cream..not too sweet, thanks to the sea salt..and that distinct taste of burnt sugar..mmm...better than Haagen Daz...

More importantly, leftover cake~sorted; craving~quelled;)

Jade: Bitemysushi #3

Had some friends over for dinner and decided the easiest way to feed anyone was sushi. No grease, no hours of braising, no mincing garlic. Well, that....and the fact that I really wanted to try my hand at the the whole reverse roll thing :P

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Jade: Bitemysushi #2

I love how the saltiness of pan fried luncheon meat complements the barely there sweetness of rice. And since I had bits of everything lying around, it seemed the most natural thing to do to wrap it all up in another fat sushi roll. Oiisshiiii...So much for my carb free diet..pfft

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Jade: Bitemysushi

I think the first time I ever had sushi must've been when I was...10? And to a 10-year old with a near pathological fish phobia, there was nothing worse than a piece of raw fish sitting on some cold rice. But I didn't want to hurt my dad's feelings, so I chewed and swallowed as quickly as I could then took a big gulp of scaldingly hot green tea. I figured if I couldn't have it cooked, I would cook it on it's way down, nevermind my possibly eroded oesophagus. Poor oesophagus:( So a tip for those of you who want to introduce sushi to the steps, my friend... baby steps. Because once I discovered all the wonderful rice rolls that didn't involve raw fish, which I now love by the way, I was absolutely hooked. And really, with all the gorgeous colours, different textures and the fact that a good roll is a perfectly balanced meal in itself, what is there not to love? ;)

Breaded Surimi Sushi-- first attempt, won't be my last. Thanks for the help and moral support, Trina!

1 cup sushi rice
2 tbsp japanese rice vinegar
2 tsp castor sugar
1/2tsp salt

3 surimi sticks
lightly beaten egg
panko breadcrumbs [ you don't have to, I just had the egg and breadcrumbs left over from my croquettes, plain surimi's good too]
Cucumber, cut into chunky strips
Kewpie mayo

Toasted nori sheet

1. Cook sushi rice as per instructions on the packet. All the sushi recipes I've seen say to cook the rice on a stovetop..I couldn't be bothered. It's what rice cookers are for
2. Mix the vinegar, sugar and salt.
3. Once the rice is cooked, use a rice paddle and fluff it up, fanning as you go along. I used folded oven mitts because I'm innovative like that:P
4. Sprinkle the vinegar mixture over the rice and fold it in. I did it in batches.
5. While waiting for the rice to cool, heat up some oil, coat the surimi and egg and breadcrumbs and fry till golden brown and crispy
6. When the rice has cooled completely, take a nori sheet, lay it on your sushi mat and pat on the rice. You should need about half the rice for one roll.
7. Flatten the rice so you get a thin layer covering the nori sheet, not too much or you'll just end up with a stodgy roll. Leave a 1cm margin on the edge of the nori sheet farthest away from you
8. On the end that's closest to you, pipe a line of kewpie mayo on the rice about 2 cm in. Arrange you surimi sticks on the mayo and lay the cucumber strips as close to the surimi as possible.
9. Now roll! Lift the edge closest to you, bring it over the filling and press down firmly. Use the sushi mat to help you shape and compact the roll. Nothing annoys me more than a loose roll.
10. Now wet the edge farthest from you, and roll everything up. Again, pressing down firmly as you go along.
11. Dampen your knife blade, slice the roll up and serve with some good japanese soy sauce and lots of wasabi for lots of kick. Yummmm

Friday, March 5, 2010

Jade: Bitemycroquettes

I tend to go on forever about what an amazing cook my mum is. And you know what, I do believe it's time for my dad to get some much deserved credit too. You see, if anyone loves experimenting in the kitchen, it's my papa. When we were still in school, my sister and I used to be secretly pleased whenever my mum had to go out of town because it meant pa would be doing the cooking. And as with all macho men, the terms less oil and low salt were considered almost blasphemous. So we'd have oozing soft boiled eggs for breakfast..salmonella who?; for lunch, pa's fried rice with not one, but 3 eggs, yolks included! And for dinner, glistening hunks of barbecued ribs bathed in pa's special marinade...Come to think of it..we still get secretly excited when my dad heads into the kitchen these days;)

One of his concoctions that I love but my mum loathes with a passion are his 'faux meatballs'..luncheon meat croquettes essentially..My mum is from the school of thought that meatballs should contain meat. Well I checked the can, and luncheon meat contains 62% of the stuff. I like tinned food. I also like tuna and sardines that come in a can. Don't judge me.

Pa's luncheon meat croquettes [ The taiwanese call it 'ke le bing'. Now 'ke le' in Mandarin means Coke and for years I could not understand how a soft drink was related to a meat and potato patty..Then it hit me the other day that it was just a really lousy literal translation of croquettes. So those of you who were confused like I was, there you go. Mystery solved.]

1 portion mashed potato [mine was leftover from the stew. I don't like wasting food]
Slightly less than half a can of Maling luncheon meat
1 shallot, finely chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

1 beaten egg
Panko breadcrumbs
Kewpie mayo to drizzle

1. Heat up some oil and sautéed shallots till soft. Set aside

2. Mash luncheon meat and mix with potatoes
3. Add cooled shallots, and season to taste
4. Chill for about an hour
5. Once the mixture has firmed up, shape into nice thick patties, dip in egg and coat generously with panko breadcrumbs
6. Heat up some oil. I hate deep frying so I shallow fried these, but if you have a deep fat fryer and don't mind grotty coronaries, go crazy with the oil.
7. Fry until the patty turns a nice golden brown
8. Drain, plate, drizzle with kewpie mayo..or any mayo for that matter.. and enjoy..crunchy on the outside, creamy on the inside...Still not as good as the one pa makes though......then again, he doesn't have a problem with deep frying.