Steak Sandwich


I came to realize that most men like steaks. Something about red meat and testosterone I was told. Certainly I like my red meat too but not as much as AR.

Steak sandwiches are extremely popular in pubs. I suppose they are also cheaper than a regular steak.

Usually I like to cook half a red onion till soft-it just goes so well with a steak sandwich. I ran out of red onions unfortunately, hence just have to make do with what I had that evening. Contrary to pubs and restaurants, I refuse to add tomato or chili sauce on mine. Let the runny egg do its job I say!

However, if the sandwich only consists of beef and red onions, then a tablespoon of spicy chutney would do wonders to a otherwise boring steak sandwich!

Multi-tasking is the word here. You want to make sure that your steak is still warm when you serve. I tend to cook the steak and eggs in individual pans next to each other at the same time.

Fresh bread makes a world of a difference. Lucky us, a fresh loaf of fig and fennel bread was on sale that morning (and baked that day too!). The sweetness of the figs in the bread adds another dimension.

Steak Sandwich (serves 2)
3 pieces of lean beef sandwich steak salted for 30 mins and rinsed
salt and pepper
olive oil
chili flakes
4 pieces of fresh thick bread (try Ciabatta, Vienna or Pane de casa)
2 eggs

Season beef liberally with freshly ground pepper, chili flakes, some salt and olive oil. Heat chargrill pan till very hot.

Toast bread.

Heat up another smaller pan. Add a tsp of oil in.

Into the chargrilled pan-add sandwich steaks in. Cook for 1 min and turn to the other side. Grill no more than 2-3 minutes. Rest steaks on another plate.

Meanwhile, fry both eggs till just done. Remember! U want the egg to be runny!!

Carefully assemble the sandwich by placing steak on the bottom and egg on top. Top with another slice of bread.

BITE into it!

Big Bowl Noodles

Yikes! This post is looong due. It was one of those weekends when I had an hankering for noodles. I recalled that the night before, a friend told us about this restaurant that serves fresh handmade noodles. Intrigued as we were, we decided to pop our heads in there.

This place is famous for its fresh made on the premises noodles. Situated along William Street-where there are many Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants, the name itself stands out.

Condiments. As we waited patiently for our food, we noticed the writings on the wall. The history of noodles was printed on banners bilingually.


Here comes our order. Dumplings noodles soup. The dumplings were good and they were generous with meat and prawns. The noodles was definitely a winner. The texture was fantastic, it was springy but didn’t taste like cardboard. I’m disappointed by the soup however. It was tasteless. More like boiled water with veges and salt. Well, at least we know they didn’t pour msg in.


Now, this got our attention. Xo seafood noodles. SOoooo goooodddd.. Soooo addictive. The noodles soaked up the goodness of the XO gravy. They were quite generous with seafood as well. Well, since we are on the topic of generosity, the noodles were quite oily as well! Perhaps that was where all the flavours were. LOL

Conclusion: The portion was generous and the fresh noodles is certainly a bonus. I will probably stay clear of the soups and head for the stirfries instead. You might want to head there early, it’s a small restaurant with a steady stream of customers.

Big Bowl Noodles
408 William Street
Northbridge

Banana Cake

(ok, the photo looks like the cake was moldy but it wasn’t! It was the banana!!!! Any tips on beautifying a banana cake?)

Everyone owns a favorite recipe. The one that never fails you. The one that everyone remembers you for! I was speaking to a friend on Sunday and she pulled out a recipe that has traveled for many miles. Canada to Perth to be exact. It was old, torn, tattered but she looked at me with confidence and said I just have to try it because it is the best chocolate cake ever.

Well,this banana cake recipe has probably clocked more miles and stayed in more houses than I have over the past few years. The book “The Singapore Cookbook” was given to me when an old friend/aunty left Perth to return to SG. It was first published in 1976 and is filled with photos of food that we remembered as children growing up in the 80s.

I’m not sure why “Banana Cake” is part of the Singapore food culture. In fact, the recipe was printed next to “Thosai” (my favorite indian pancake!) and right before Assam Laksa. It’s not what my friends and family remembers me for (apparently chocolate brownies has my name printed on it). Nevertheless, this was one of the first cakes I have baked and it has a special place in my heart. And whenever I need a banana cake recipe, I always return to this one.

Banana Cake
3-4 large riped bananas mashed
250 grams of plain flour
100grams of sugar
180grams of butter
4 tablespoons of milk
3 beaten eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicab soda
pinch of salt
handful of walnuts (I added this last time but didn’t do so here)

Preheat oven 180C. Line loaf pan with baking paper.

Gather flour, baking powder, bicab soda and salt in a dry bowl. Cream butter and sugar. Add beaten eggs slowly, beating well after each addition. Add essence, millk and mashed banana. Fold in flour mixture.

Pour mixture into loaf pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove and serve.

Steamed Chicken


There are nights when all I want is simple, clean palate tasting food. Nothing fancy. Just a nicely marinated moist steam chicken with rice + veges.

Chinese New Year is approaching again. At around this time, grandma will start preparing food for reunion dinner. She will salt and steam a huge chicken, before freezing it for later use. Saves time she says, when she knows that the chicken is ready for re-heating.

Simplicity is the key to a good steam chicken. I haven’t master the art of chopping chicken into even sized pieces, hence I like to keep things simple and use drumsticks.

One thing I learned though, that the meat is far more juicy and moist if steamed with on-the bone. If it is a fillet or cutlet boneless, it’s not as moist.

Ah.. what about the gravy! You can’t forget the gravy. Sweet goodness from the chicken + marinate. Goes so well with rice, don’t you think?

Steamed Chicken (serves 4)
6 chicken drumsticks, skinned
6-7 tablespoons of hua tiao jiu
sesame oil
salt and more salt
pepper
several pieces of ginger

Marinate chicken with salt for about 30 minutes. Be quite liberal about it-remember you are not eating the salt, it’s just to tenderize + draw out flavor.
Rinse and pat each drumstick with paper towels. Using your hands, coat chicken with the hua tiao jui (a kind of wine), sesame oil, salt and pepper. Arrange on heat proof plate with the sauces. Place slices of ginger over it.

Steam on high for about 15 minutes and lower heat. Continue to simmer for another 15 minutes or so. Switch off the fire and let the chicken stay in its sauna for another 5-10 minutes.
Serve with the gravy + some killer chili sauce. Natural goodness- you can’t beat that!

Jamie’s Asparagus Soup wtih Poached Egg


I’m not sure what got into me but there must be something about the heat that fried my brain. I mean, I actually made a pot of soup for dinner when it was a hot 35C day.

Or maybe it was the handsome Jamie Oliver who got my attention.

Or maybe it was the gift.

It was on Christmas Day when a family friend came to visit. She handed over me a card and present and asked me not to read the card till she left. I opened up a cute santa claus bag and found ….

A cookbook-Jamie at Home.

I was excited. I have sooo many cookbooks that I would like to own but finances doesn’t always permit you to have everything. Besides, I have always believed in delayed gratification.

To cut the long story short, Jamie’s asparagus soup caught my attention straight away. Perhaps it was his chapter on how to grow asparagus (and that stopped me complaining about the prices of asparagus straight away), or perhaps it was the lovely idea of adding a poached egg.

Unfortunately, when I arrived at the supermarket, I realised that wasn’t any leeks for sale that week. That didn’t stop me from grabbing 2 bunches of asparagus to give this a go.

Indeed, the poached egg added a creamy and sweet flavour to the soup. I added 4 cups of stock but I think it was wayyy too much, hence in the recipe below, I reduced it to 2-3 cups-do add in moderation.

Now, I wondered how it will taste like with leeks. hmm, I guess I have to wait till the asparagus are in season again.

Asparagus Soup (serves 2)
2 bunches of asparagus
about 2-3 cups of stock
1 chopped onion
1 leek (which I omitted)
Olive oil

2 or 3 free range eggs (and if u can afford it, go organic!)
Fresh bread-we used Vienna but I think Ciabetta will be nicer.

Prepare asparagus by chopping the tips up and leaving them aside. You can choose to snap the asparagus to remove the woody bits but I didn’t. Chop the remaining middle pieces.

Heat up the olive oil. Add onions and cook till soft. Add in the asparagus (not the tips) and gently stir it for about 3-4 minutes. Add stock in and simmer for about 20 minutes or so. When the asparagus are soft, it’s time to cool the soup down.

Using a hand-blender, whizz the soup. Return to heat. Add the tips in and simmer. Season to taste.

Meanwhile, heat a pan of water up. I’m a klutz, so I chose to cook my poached eggs one by one although Jamie Oliver stated in his book that he would cut the chase and cook all the eggs in one pan.

Toast bread.

Ladle soup up into bowls. Drain poached egg and slowly slide the egg onto the soup. Dip a piece of bread in and SERVE.

Nutella and Roasted Hazelnut Challah


There are moments when you feel overwhelmed by emotion. When I was baptized-that was significant. When I left SG for Perth-I cried my eyes out. When I walked up the stage to collect my undergrad degree-I knew my dad would be proud. When I presented my research proposal and was informed that I would be accepted into the program on that day itself-that was another moment.

But nothing could be compared to the day when AR proposed. The day when I know that things will change forever.

And that’s not even the wedding yet!!!

Last night, I was listening to Steven Curtis Chapman “I will be there”..and the overwhelmed feeling came about again. Wedding preparation has been slow but steady. The “action phase” as we called it is when we start booking things and last weekend, we booked our photographer for Australia. The payment done, the quote prepared-I looked at AR. “It’s really happening huh?” He said with a big smile: “Yes, and i can’t wait”

So last night, when we sat down and shortlisted our reception venues, slipping ice water (hot hot hot!) and munched on Jaden’s version of Nutella and Roasted Hazelnut Challah--we listened to that song. Over and over again.

Being engaged-we have so much to look forward to. So much to discuss. It’s not just about the wedding but it’s about our lives together. Two different people wanting to be together-having to compromise, having to negotiate.

Both of us changed since we become engaged. More focused. We know what we are working towards to-and together we are a team.

Oh there are down moments. The many nights of not seeing each other much as I struggle with my thesis/work and him working hard for our future. We try to have dinner together and even then-it’s a rush..we meet and separate.

But last night was different. We laughed. We discussed. We split the work up. Decisions were made. Things are happening.

and then, the overwhelmed feeling came again- maybe it’s the song. maybe it’s the Nutella and Roasted Hazelnuts Challah.

But we are happy.

I Will Be Here Lyrics
Artist(Band):Steven Curtis Chapman

Tomorrow morning if you wake up
And the sun does not appear,
I will be here.

If in the dark we lose sight of love,
Hold my hand and have no fear,
‘Cause I will be here.

CHORUS
I will be here when you feel like being quiet;
When you need to speak your mind, I will listen.
And I will be here when the laughter turns to crying;
Through the winning, losing, and trying, we’ll be together,
‘Cause I will be here.

Tomorrow morning if you wake up
And the future is unclear,
I will be here.

As sure as seasons are made for change,
Our lifetimes are made for years,
So I will be here.

CHORUS
I will be here, so you can cry on my shoulder;
When the mirror tells us we’re older, I will hold you.
And I will be here to watch you grow in beauty,
And tell you all the things you are to me;
I will be here.

I will be true to the promise I have made,
To you and to the One who gave you to me.

As sure as seasons are made for change,
Our lifetimes are made for years,
So I, I will be here.
We’ll be together and i will be here.

PS- I have to thank Jaden for breaking my fear of yeast. I have plenty of dough in the fridge and I’m not afraid anymore. My only regret is that I didn’t put enough nutella in this challah! Never mind, it means I can have one more piece of bread. I will not posting the recipe here but do check out Jaden’s blog for a detailed step by step guide on how to make Challah and bread.

pps-this post is for you singairishgirl!!! Hope everything will be all clear and your hubby will be well!!!

Red Cabbage Vermicelli Salad

When we bought a HUGE red cabbage from Albany markets, I wasn’t sure what to do with it. This was the case of “I have never experimented with red cabbage, how do I use it?”. Besides, I thought it was wayyy too fresh to do a stir fry and wanted to retain the sweetness of it. Instead of googling or peaking into one of the recipe books I have on the shelf, I decided to make a thai-style inspired seafood vermicelli salad.

I love the fact that this was a one pot-salad dish. The mixture of flavors were beautiful. Sweetness from the cabbage blended very well with the dressing that was mixed up. The toasted cashew nuts provided a crunch and I simply adore the stain that the red cabbage gave to the vermicelli noodles.

I will not hestitate to make this again- I just have to locate a good vegetable store that sells fresh red cabbage.


Red Cabbage Vermicelli Salad (serves 4)
150grams of squid cleaned and scored
50 grams of shelled prawns
1/4 of the red cabbage sliced thinly
3-4 sticks of rice vermicelli soaked in hot water and drained
1/4 cup of cashew nuts toasted
sweet chilli sauce
seasoned salt and pepper
olive oil

Dressing
Juice of a whole lemon
2-3 tsp of fish sauce
1 tsp of sugar
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tsp of sesame oil

After cleaning the squid and scoring it, I marinated it with some sweet chili sauce, pepper and salt. Heat a grill pan. Swirl some olive oil in it. Place the red cabbage in the pan and heat it up for 1 min. You don’t want the cabbage to be fully cooked, the heat just mellow the flavors down slightly without taking the crunch out. Remove from the pan and placed it in a huge salad bowl.

Now that the pan is hot, char grilled the squid and prawns.

Mix the dressing up in a jug.

Assemble salad. Place drained vermicelli into the salad bowl and top it with char grilled squid and cashew nuts. Toss it and serve.

Black Pepper Chicken Pies


One of the most useful items that people left for us was a pie maker (+3 bookshelves). Dusted, cleaned and removed from the cupboard, I took it out to make some pies. You see, a close friend of ours doesn’t cook and her family members went overseas. Other than the usual rice/vege/meat combo, I thought some pies in the freezer might come in handy for her.

Hence, the UFO look alike pie.

What not to adore about a pie though? Saucy meat encased in a flaky pastry. Black pepper is also one of the most versatile sauce mix you can have in the fridge. Black pepper stir fried pasta, black pepper chicken, black pepper noodles, black pepper crabs… you get the message. ;p

Black Pepper Chicken Pies (makes about 8 pies)
200grams of cubed chicken
4 tablespoons of black pepper sauce
1cup of sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup of frozen vegetables
1/2 cup of water

4 Puff Pastry-estimate diameter of pie maker. Cut out a bigger ring and a smaller one.

Prepare filling
Heat oil in pan. Quick stirfry chicken. Add mushrooms and vegetables. Keep frying for about 1-2 minutes. Add black pepper sauce and water. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Cool.

Place the bigger piece of puff pastry on the pie maker. Gently press it down so it fits nicely. Spoon some cooled filling into the casing. Top it with the smaller piece of puff pastry. Using your fingers, press the smaller piece of pastry down. Cook till the pie maker tells you that it’s done!

PS-when I’m in a very lazy mode, I pour the filling into a dish and top it with a piece of puff pastry. Bake in 200C oven for 20 minutes. Ta dah, black pepper chicken pie done in a jiffy.

Midnight snack- Nutella French Toast


Whoever invented Nutella is a genius. Not good for our waist lines but it’s sooo hard to resist. Yes, Nutella won the shonky award but no one said that we are supposed to eat nutella every morning. (yes, it would be great if we can isn’t it..*sigh*)

Think about it- CHOCOLATE advertised as “Low GI”; chocolate that can be spread on any sorts of food and viola! a transformation!

Comeon! Fess up- how many of us dipped into the bottle of nutella with a big spoon and eat it off like that? I know I have my moments…

So one night, when AR wanted a mid-night snack, I had a light bulb moment. YEAH! What a chance to experiment with nutella.

You must be thinking that Daphne has gone mad! I mean, when do I advocate having sinful treats like this?

Comeon! I’m only human….and nutella just happens to be one of my weaknesses(or is it my strength?).


Nutella French Toast
2 pieces of couple days old bread
1 egg
couple of tablespoons of milk
1 tsp of sugar
spread
NUTELLA

Spread nutella LIBERALLY onto a slice of bread. Sandwich it.

Beat egg with sugar and milk. Soak the sandwich in the egg mixture for a few minutes. Meanwhile, heat your pan up and melt some spread. Gently left the sandwich out of the egg mixture and lower it in the pan. Wait for it to sizzle. Flip it over after about 3 minutes. remember to toast the sides as well.

More nutella action?

See Jaden’s No knead Nutella and roasted hazelnuts Challah and my Dark Chocolate Nutella Cookies

Spreader of Love Award

Sweet Little Corner of mine has given me my FIRST award of the year.

This blog has been awarded The Spreader of Love Award created by The Love Blog, for an outstanding demonstration of blogging love.

How good is this!

So I’m passing on the award to

Ruth
Jen-For I cherish you
Elin
Brought up to share
Frankensteina
Inspired mum of 2
Wandering Chopsticks
Evan Kitchen’s Ramblings

*waves* have a sweet weekend.

Bintang Cafe

We stumbled into Victoria Park and noticed an Indonesian cafe restaurant there. After our appointment with a photographer, we decided to have lunch over at the cafe we spotted.

Best home made egg noodles huh?

Bintang Kechil- Mixed of orange, pineapple juice and gourmet syrup, topped with soda water.
GOURMET syrup????!?!?!? It was really refreshing though and great for that 38C day!

This reminds me of old style kopitam in SG and Malaysia.


We ordered Mie Ayam Jamur & Bakso- their menu says “boiled egg noodles topped with chicken and mushroom with our own sauce and served with beef ball soup.”

At first we thought that the portion was a little small for it’s price ($7.50). But even AR felt full after that (then again, he ate both the noodles and lontong). Either it was the hot weather or they did pack lots in that tiny bowl. The noodles have a lovely texture. Not too soft- just the right amount of bounce in it. It was almost like dry style wanton noodles EXCEPT there wasn’t any wantons in it.It was quite addictive and we wondered the amount of MSG they added into the noodles AND the soup! The beef balls was a surprise. Tender and flavorful. Certainly a nice touch to the meal.

Since we ordered one noodle dish, we decided to try their Lontong Sayur-Rice cake with boiled egg, vegetables and beef in coconut milk ($7.50). That was the first time I had lontong AND beef (usually it’s vegetarian). Again, the portion was really tiny and I rather we sticked to the noodles. It was ok for Perth’s standards but not worth our buck.

Our conclusion? Stick to their noodles if you are after a MSG fix. We were extremely thirsty after that meal but agreed that the texture of the noodles + beef balls is worth a visit from time to time. Just make sure you bring plenty of water!

Bintang Cafe
Shp12/ 910 Albany Hwy East
Victoria Park

WA Australia 6101
Phone: (08) 9472 9788.