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Chocolate Eclairs

Dear AR

One year ago, you brought me on a surprise trip. We had a wonderful simple dinner with great conversation…and then you asked me to marry you. I was taken aback. I wasn’t expecting it… but at the same time, moved beyond words by your commitment to us.

I always say that actions mean more than words. You knew that was my favorite song. You however, demonstrated more. You did more and you said more. While I was in shock, you continued explaining yourself on why you think it is time for us to seal our commitment and the plans you have for our future.. but I think I surprised you even more by saying yes without asking more questions.

We spoke about marriage so many times…and now, we are on this journey where we are going to make it happen. The past 1 year saw us grew and changed. For me, I have to adapt from being a clinical to research student and then to working full time in a clinical setting. I also have to adapt to being your fiancee. Just as you have to adapt to being my fiance.

I cannot promise you that I won’t be impatient. Nor can I promise you that I won’t have my little mini outbursts…What I can promise you is that I am continuing to learn to be a better partner..and perhaps that may take a journey of a lifetime, but at least I have the privilege to spend the time with you.

Marriage is such a big commitment. It scares me sometimes. The opposite of scared is excited and being scared and excited means that there is always room to grow and love. The seriousness that both of us take on this view also means that we are both committed to make it work despite knowing that it will get hard at times.

Then we have the positives. The lifetime witness to each other growth. How wonderful is this gift that God has given us? A shoulder to cry on. A hug to share the laughter and of course, we cannot forget the anger can we? It’s all part and parcel of loving and working on a relationship.

The planning of the wedding has been interesting…and now we have 6 more months to go. Six more months till we sign on the dotted line. Six more months for us to enjoy our “Singlehood” but that’s ok…we have a life time to enjoy a marriage.

All my love,

PS- recipe taken from Closest Cooking (kelvin)- Chocolate Eclairs.

I love the vanilla bean in this custard.


Lamb Patty Pita

Dear Flu virus,

You are an amazing (not) virus. Despite years of science and medicine, you seem to be lingering around longer that what people has expected. The misery that you caused is painful. Since having a bout of you 6 weeks ago, I thought I can bide you goodbye for the year-but just have to come back. I can’t say I miss you, but it seems that you missed me.

The muscle ache, the fevers, sore throats and irritating cough are part of your grand scheme plan to make me feel low and down. To be honest, I’m not impressed with that cunning method of making people feel tired and sick.

I can say that the honey and multi vitamin companies must be reaping in the big bucks due to your good works. Don’t pat yourself on your back so soon though…I’m sure there will be more solutions towards driving you out of my life once and for all.

I promise this will not keep me down for long-I’m planning to ruin your plans. After a good rest this weekend and drowning myself with echinacea + honey lemon, I know I can defeat you once and for all. It’s a grand week for us (6 months to the day we sign on the dotted line, 1 year since he proposed and engagement photoshoot), so you better stay out of it.

Till then, I have my comfort food to keep me happy.

no love from me,

Lamb Patty Pita

4 pita bread pockets
200 grams of lamb mince
1 egg
3 tablespoons of spiced breadcrumbs
3-4 tablespoons of morrocoon spice
1 tsp of cumin
1 tsp of chili powder
sea salt
cracked pepper

Plain greek yogurt (97% fat free)

1) Marinate lamb mince with breadcrumbs,. egg, morrocon spice, cumin, chili powder and seasoning for 20 minutes. Shape mince into patties.

2) Preheat grill till very hot. Cook patties till done on both side.

3) Mean while, wearm pita bread.

4) Place patties on bread. Spoon yogurt on it and sprinkle with some dukkah. Serve with a green salad.

Oh so Fresh Mushrooms Fettucine

I’m sneaking in a post this afternoon. I have lots of photos in my camera not loaded into the computer yet. Certainly I feel more productive as my “to do” list is endless, but a sense of rush since starting work.

I picked up a packet of fresh mushrooms and pasta and decided to cook something with it. Fresh flavours (*edit-I typed behaviours! argh!) work well together no matter how simplistic the dish is.

The good thing about fresh pasta is it only takes 3 minutes to cook.

Oh so Fresh Mushroom Fettucine
1 packet of fresh pasta
1 packet of fresh mixed mushrooms
100 grams of shredded ham (use smoke salmon!)
1 tablespoon of butter
1.5 tsp flour
1 cup of milk

1) Cook fresh pasta in a boiling pot of water. Drain and keep warm.

2) Melt butter. Add flour. Stir till golden brown. Add milk.Whisk till it becomes a white sauce. Set aside.

3) Quickly fry mushrooms and ham (add garlic if u want) with seasoning. Toss pasta with mushroom mixture. Add sauce. Serve hot.

I’m serving this dish with my friends at Presto Pasta Nights hosted by Ruth from Once Upon A Feast

Marble Chocolate Chip Cookies

Quick post before I head to work. I’m still in love with cookies. Something about the smell of cookies that make a kitchen so heartwarming! I remembered a movie once-“Because I said So” with a scene of Mandy Moore preparing for a date. She baked a batch of cookies just so that the house is filled with the choc chip smell when the new man came to pick her up.

I made this cookies awhile back…and I admit that I’m attracted to a good looking cookie. The swirls are so pretty! I also like it that it uses dark chocolate to make the swirls and not the fake stuff. Alas though, I didn’t like the texture of the cookie-it was a little soft for me. Perhaps a few more minutes in the oven will do it good…

Marble Chocolate Cookies
1/4 Cup of dark chocolate
1 cup of flour
1/2 tsp of baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup of butter
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg

1) Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Melt choc on top of saucepan of boiling water.

3) Preheat oven at 180C and line baking trays.

2) Cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Add egg. Fold in sifted flour, baking powder and salt. Drop 1 tsp of dough on baking tray. Drizzle melted chocolate and swirl it using a toothpick. Bake for 12 minutes.

Siew Yoke Spicy Bean Paste Stir Fry

A few years ago, I wonder about the fascination with “stirfrys“. Food magazines and celebrity chefs repeatedly post recipes and rave about the wonders about this “new technique” of cooking. Often, these recipes turn me off because their definition of stirfry means “heat wok, add ingredients, oyster sauce, dish and serve”. Literally, it was stir the ingredients in a heated wok.

As I reflect about the cooking journey during the last few years, I laughed at myself when I recalled making the same mistakes when I was 16 too. Yup, I did the “heat wok, add ingredients, oyster sauce, dish and serve” technique. It suxs big time but it served me through college.

Slowly I learned that heat is very important in a stirfry. And a good wok.

Being short on time recently made me realize how easy it is to miss the first step of pre-heating the wok. Then, I ended up with a stir fry that resembles… well, meat/veges drenched in sauce.

Looking at this photo made me realize how much I miss stirfrying roast pork. Add some spicy bean sauce, lots of fresh green veges and rice… a quick one dish dinner.

Ah, I think that was the message those magazines were trying to tell me..stir frys, when done correctly is often full of flavour, quick and healthy.

Siew Yoke Spicy Bean Paste Stir Fry
250 grams of siew yoke
1 tablespoon of spicy bean paste
1 generous bowl of garden peas
1 red capsicum chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 chilli chopped

1) Pre heat work. Add olive oil and fry garlic and chili till fragrant.

2) Add siewyoke and keep frying on high heat. Add the bean paste and a few tablespoons of water. don’t forget your veges. Keep tossing.

3) Serve with rice.

Yogurt Cake

After depriving myself from cooking or baking for 1 week (having relied on what I prepared and froze earlier), I spent the whole of Sunday afternoon cooking and baking. With AR out of the house, I turned up the music volume and immersed myself in a few hours of cooking therapy. It was good excuse too as that means I have enough food and variety to last for 2 weeks.

There is something in the spring air I think, that got me interested in baking more cakes recently. Nothing too fancy, just a nice touch for tea. I didn’t bake this on sunday but looking through my folder, I was surprised that I didn’t blog this earlier.

The yogurt cake was a recipe I stumbled to a few years ago. People tend to think it is a butter cake but there is no butter in it. It’s a quick measure and mix cake but with impressive results. I think I posted this a few years ago too but I can’t seem to find my own link!

Yogurt Cake
1 cup of yogurt
1/2 cup of sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup of olive oil
3 cups of flour
1 tsp of vanilla essence

1) Line loaf pan. Pre heat oven 180C

Whisk wet ingredients together. Sift dry ones and fold them into wet ingredients. Spoon in loaf and bake for 30-40 mins. Serve with fruits.

Grilled Steak with Almond Couscous and Grilled Lemon

I was having a chat with my colleagues yesterday and the topic inevitably turned towards food. One of the girls has an English/Walsh background and said that meat and veges are usually prepared for dinner. Another Singaporean girl said she must have rice every day and enjoy a good stirfry. For myself, I like variety in my food and I prefer to have different types of carbs such as pasta, rice, noodles or potatoes on different evenings of the week.

Couscous is another type of carb that I like to have occasionally. I like the quick and easy way of preparating couscous-just add boiling water or stock, cover, fluff and serve! This time round I chopped vegetables into tiny pieces, saute it with some olive oil and salt and toss the vegetables with the couscous. I think I was inspired by ABC Delicious magazine some time ago to grill lemons-and I was surprised by how the taste slightly differs (a little sweeter?) just by grilling it!

And of course, the steak was grilled quickly with cracked peper, seat salt and olive oil rubbed on it.

Grilled Steak with Almond Couscous and Grilled Lemon (serves 2)

2 pieces of steak (I can’t remember what cut I used!)

1 lemon cut in small wedges

1 cup of couscous

1 cup of boiling water

chopped capsicum, peas, corns

olive oil

2 tsp morocoon seasoning

1/4 cup of silvered almonds toasted

1) Grill vegetables with olive oil, morocoon seasoning and salt. Boil water and cook couscous according to package instructions. Toss vegetables and almonds with couscous.

2) Rub 1 tsp of olive oil, cracked pepper and salt on steak. Quickly grill them (3-4 mins on each side, depending on how you like your steak to be done).

3) Grill lemons.

4) Serve! =)

Warm Sesame Prawn Ramen Salad

I finally realized that the best way to juggle between work and posting is to save some drafts in my folder and write it up when I have a break (or need a break). So I’m trialing that this week-hopefully I will have more chances to write up! My “to write” folder is getting quite full.

Something interested happened over the weekend. AR and I attended our first pre-marital session. We did a questionnaire about 1 month ago and then met up with our pastor to have a chat about our views about marriage. It’s a real eye opener and I was surprised that AR found it helpful as well. Certainly both of us did not approach the topic of marriage without any consideration to the topics discussed but it is useful to have a 3rd party person giving us some honest opinions and thoughts as well.

For me, it is a different experience as I’m used to being on the other side of the table. I did find it refreshing because it reminded me of how it would feel being on the other side.

This week, I’m sharing a noodle salad dish with the lovely folks at Presto Pasta (will add links later when I’m at home). Spring is upon us here in Perth and it feels great to have the sunshine again. The juiciness of prawns and tangy sauce goes well with the ramen.

Warm Sesame Prawn Ramen Salad
1 cup of peeled prawn cutlets
carrots, julienne
2 stalks of spring onions
1 cup of dried shitake mushrooms, dehydrated and sliced.
1 tablespoon of soya
1/2 packet of dried ramen noodles
1 tsp of sesame seed

1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of fish sauce
1 tsp of honey
1 tsp of sugar
1 tsp of sesame oil
3-4 tablespoons of warm stock

1) Boil water and cook ramen. Drain and keep warm.

2) Quickly heat a tsp of oil and cook prawn cutlets with a pinch of salt. Add the remaining vegetables. Add soya. Do a taste test.

3) Spoon vegetables and prawns on top of ramen noodles. Combine dressing together and pour on salad if needed (or serve at the table).

Sharing this with the gang at Presto Pasta organized by Ruth from Once Upon a Feast.

Zen Chef’s Thin and Crisp Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookies galore! Remember my search for perfect cookies? Well, my definition for a good cookie is one that is slightly chewy in the middle but crispy on the outer.

AND I think I found it! Or at least ONE of it. Who says that we need to stick to one cookie recipe! LOL.

This is my favourite cookie recipe of all times. Seriously good stuff. I couldn’t stop eating it..and it actually resembles Subway cookies. AR requested me to make the cookies immediately after he finished it, which tells me that he really liked it. I have to thank Zen Chef for sharing this really hit a spot in me.

I suspect the reason for this is the use of corn syrup. I dont know why, but it gives a slight different texture and taste to the cookies. I love this in the morning with a cup of coffee but hey, eat it anyway you like it.

Zen Chef’s Thin and Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies (yielded around 30 cookies for me)
1 3/4 cups of flour
3/4 tsp of baking soda
1 tablespoon of sea salt or kosher salt
14 tablespoons of butter melted (around 220 grams I think)
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons of light corn syrup
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of milk
1 1/2 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate
1 cup of crushed walnuts

1) Pre heat oven to 180C. Line Tray with baking paper.

2) Sift flour, salt and baking soda.

2) Cream butter. sugars and corn syrup. Stir in vanilla and milk. Add sifted flour mixture and fold in. Fold in chocolate and nuts. CHILL! (very important!)

3) Roll 1 tsp of dough and flatten it. Bake for 15 minutes. Remember to chill dough in between batches. Cool and transfer to baking sheet