Anchovies and SoyBean Broth

Many of you know of my love for having Yong Tou Fu (YTF). Stuffed vegetables with fish paste. It’s a hit when I was a kid, and even more so as an adult. There is a place near us that sells fresh YTF, and we have been eagerly buying packets and cooking them.

Well of course I can probably attempt to make the filling and stuffed them myself… but frankly, I have been too tired to do so (more on that later). Suddenly, from loving cooking, I’m starting to feel a little tired of it now. Have you ever felt that way? Sure, I still love making a special dish or meal here and there on the weekend, but these days, I’m keen to come home and rest.

My dear mother in law brought us a packet of dried anchovies from Malaysia. With some soy beans on hand- and inspiration from Tigerfish, the meal was easy.

I really like this broth. It’s simple, and very tasty. I bet this will be nice with some noodles or even some meatballs, but all I wanted was YTF and broth. Oh, and soy sauce and chopped chilli.

Anchovies and SoyBean Broth 
1/2 cup of anchovies
1/4 cup of soy beans
6 bowls of water (around 2 litre)

Bowl everything together for around 1 hour or so. Add in your favourite vegetables, noodles or like me, some YTF!

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Guanxi Steam Chicken

My grandmother loves steaming chicken for dinner. She would often steam a whole chicken, serve half for dinner and freeze the other half for another night. It’s one of my favourite dishes as it is so clean and healthy. On the 2nd day of CNY, we usually start our morning with a full meal- signifying full and prosperous start to the new year. Chicken is definitely a feature.

Once again, I am not back in Singapore to enjoy the festiveness this year. I miss the preparation, the food, and seeing my extended family.

When I spotted Celine with her version of Guanxi Style Steam Chicken and of course I read it on Wendy’s blog before, I knew I just have to give it a go. I tweaked it as I am used to following my grandmother method of steaming chicken. I chose to focus on how Wendy make the sauce for the chicken.

The Nam sauce added another dimension and depth to a simple steam chicken. The sauce is light and tasty. It lingers in your mouth and the gravy is perfect with a bowl of steam rice (or if you are in the mood- make a pot of chicken rice flavoured with the essence of chicken and pandan).

The other thing I did was that I couldn’t bear to part with all the sweet essence of the chicken after it has been steamed. So I actually combined the sauce with the juices and reduce amount of oil. I chose to serve the chicken with the sauce and rubbed my hands with glee looking at how the chicken absorb the flavours of the sauce.

I chose chicken thighs- boned in instead of a full chicken. I didn’t want to do any chopping (But i really should do it one day…).

I’m submitting this post to Chinese New Year Delights 2013 hosted by Sonia aka Nasi Lemak Lover.



Guanxi Steam Chicken
1.5 kg of chicken or used boned in chicken thighs. Celine used deboned chicken drumsticks.
around 1 tablespoon of salt
2 tablespoon of Shan Xing Wine
1 tsp of sesame oil

Nam sauce
1 small bunch of chinese chives- probably around 100 grams I used
1 big knob of ginger chopped finely
3-4 tablespoon of oil
5 tbsp of soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil

Spring onion chopped

Steam chicken- prepare steamer with some water.

Meanwhile, rub chicken with salt and wine all over. Steam over heat for around 30-40 mins depending on the size of the chicken. I kept the cover on for another 5-10 mins. Make sure juices run clear. Sprinkle sesame oil on it.

To make the sauce, chopped chives. Dry fry ginger and place it into a heatproof bowl. Place 2/3 of the chives in the same bowl.

Then heat oil till very hot. Place chives into the hot oil (pays to have the chives really dry first!). Pour the hot oil into the heatproof oil. Season with sesame oil and soy.

Plate chicken. Combine juices with the sauces. Pour it all over chicken. Sprinkle spring onion over it. Eat!

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Slow cooked Corn, Tomato and Potato Soup

Another of my “all in one pot” meal. Having some success with my lotus soup, I decided that soups are perfect for weekday meals. This has corn, potato, tomato, and even mushrooms. Good clean carbs with heaps of vegetables. I used pork ribs for the broth base again given my success the last time.

Oh why didn’t I think of this earlier? I should know, when in doubt-turn back to childhood food!

Slow cooked Corn, Tomato and Potato Soup (serves 4-6)
2 fresh organic corn- chopped in half
600 grams pork ribs
3 tomatos chopped
2 potato chopped
3 carrots- chopped
1 cup of button mushrooms chopped
handful of black pepper corns.

Slow cooked everything for as long as you want! Serve with rice or like me…. just have it by itself!

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Nachos

Did you see this right? Nachos? Corn chips? I had an attack of nachos one afternoon. I have to say it was influenced by my colleagues who had nachos for lunch one afternoon.

Armed with some organic corn chips, I melted some parmesan on it in the oven. Prepared guacamole. Dollop of sour cream and spring onions- lunch is served.

My hubby? Oops- another lunch without meat.

Nachos for two.
150 grams corn chips
handful of parmesan cheese
1 avocado
1/2 tomato finely chopped
2 tsp of tabasco
salt and pepper
1/4 red onion chopped
2 tablespoon of sour cream
2 sprigs of spring onion chopped

Toast corn chips with cheese in a 180C preheated oven for 10 mins. Meanwhile, mash avocado and add in tomato, tabasco, onion and salt and pepper. Transfer corn chips onto another plate. Pile it high with guacamole and sour cream. Sprinkle with spring onions. EAT!

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Lotus Peanut Pork Ribs

I know. It’s summer. Yet we are having lotus peanut soup. It reminds me of home. It’s the kind of soup we grow up with. Slow cooked with lots of flavour, it’s a clear broth with the nutrients from lotus root and ribs.

You see, when I was a child, I can never understands why my family enjoys drinking hot soup on a hot humid day. I’m not sure why singaporeans in hawker centres love having bowls of noodle soup either. Sitting in a hot stuffy hawker centre, the last thing I wanted was something steaming hot.

I was naive. Hot soup warms the soul up. It is often full of nutrients and best of all, low in saturated fat.

Back to the lotus peanut soup. Truth be told, it was just getting a little tricky coming home on time and cooking dinner on time. Because it’s so hot, we find ourselves not really wanting to have a full meal at the end of the day. Suddenly, a common side dish that we have for dinner growing up became our main meal.


Lotus Peanut Pork Ribs (serves 6)
600 grams of pork ribs
200 grams of lotus
100 grams (1 cup) of raw peanuts soaked for a few hours
3-4 seedless red dates
small handful of wolf berries
1 litre of water

Blanched ribs with hot water first.
Placed everything in a slow cooker (I used my thermal cooker). I had mine from morning till night but I think it is just as good after 4-5 hours. Serve with some cut chill and soy sauce!

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Corn Fritters with Bacon and Maple Syrup

I discovered the magic of sweet, savoury and salty. I should have known. Coming from a chinese background, many of our snacks and dishes are sweet and savoury. However, it is only recently that I tasted bacon with maple syrup and was wow by it.

Corn fritters in shops are usually made of flour. Attempting to eat cleaner, I substituted it with almond meal instead. Corn is not exactly paleo- but I’m not really a strict paleo eater. It’s a lifestyle guideline about eating clean and fresh that appeals to me. I love corn and the sweetness of it (probably a vegetable with too much sugar, but it’s ok occasionally). Surprisingly, the almond meal provided it a little fluff and texture. I added baking soda so that the mixture is slightly lighter.

Crisp bacon, syrup and corn fritters together? A light but fulfilling lunch. I’m not that fearful of fat anymore- but try to make sure that my meat is grass fed and organic as much as possible.

Maple syrup is sugar but probably the lesser of the evil as it is less processed. We bought some back from US where it is so much easier to find maple syrup than Australia! We managed to obtain Grade A- I think it means purer? Amazing stuff. A drizzle is more than enough.

Corn Fritters with Bacon and Maple Syrup (Makes around 8 fritters)
1 cup of almond meal
2 eggs
1 chili chopped
1 tsp of garlic
1.5 cups of corn kernels
1/2 cup of almond milk

6 slices of bacon- free ranged
drizzle of maple syrup

Mix almond meal, eggs, chill, garlic, corn kernels and milk together. Heat pan with coconut oil. Spoon mixture into pan. Turn after 3-5 minutes. Cook till done.

Mean while in another pan, sizzle bacon till crisp.

Serve fritters with bacon and syrup.

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Tahini Roast Pork

I have been using the oven quite abit recently. It have always enjoyed using the oven to cook- it’s clean and simple.

This was actually taken from Nigella’s website. I did have some tahini paste and wanted to use it. I was also curious to know how sesame will taste like with pork- should be good I imagine. Sesame goes well with most things!

I didn’t use pork belly- but used a leaner cut of pork roast instead. I also did marinate it overnight as instructed but added more lemon juice instead hoping that the acid will help tenderise the lean cut further.

The result is a rich roast. I didn’t think it was that rich! The taste was strong- so less is more for tahini paste I think. It’s a different type of roast- one that is very easy to do.


Tahini Roast Pork
1 kg of pork shoulder or pork belly
3-4 tablespoon of tahini paste
3-4 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 whole lemon juiced

Marinate pork with everything overnight.

Preheat oven 160C. Roast for 2.5 hours till done! Serve with veges.

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Dark Chocolate Rocky Road

I have not been making sweets for some time. One reason is because we have been eating clean, hence these fall into the treats category of course. I made this for Christmas as well and I actually found myself really liking the process. It’s really easy as well- and a hit with our nephews and nieces (and my MIL!).

Picking up some turkish delight from our local deli store, I can’t help but pop a few in my mouth. so sweet! I love the jelly like texture though. That’s what rocky road is about to me, all different texture coming together. The crunch of pistachios, the softness of mash mellows and jelly like turkish delight.

I chose dark chocolate- because I like dark chocolate best. The other reason though, is that the slight bitterness will offset the sweetness from the turkish delight and mash mellows.

It’s a slab of chocolate mess but that’s what I love about it. It is meant to be messy. I don’t have to worry about chopping it in straight lines (Which i can never do for anything) or making it pretty. It is pretty, the way it is.

Dark Chocolate Rocky Road
300 grams of dark chocolate (Lindt)
6 of your favourite turkish delight pieces chopped
1/2 cup of pistachios and walnuts chopped and toasted
1 cup of mash mellows chopped

Line a brownie tray with baking paper.

Melt dark chocolate in microwave in 20 seconds burst x 3-4 times. Remember to use a very clean bowl if not the chocolate will seize. There will probably be some chocolate in the middle that is not melted. Using a wooden spoon, stir it.. the residue heat will melt the rest.

Then pop all the ingredients in the melted chocolate. Toss and turn. Then spoon the gooey mess into the baking paper. Fridge it overnight. Cut and serve.

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Indian Spiced Nuts

In 2012, I found a new love with munching on nuts. I have always been a fan, but eating clean also means I avoid eating processed snacks. Nuts is such a good source of protein and fat- one that keeps me full and happy.

This post is probably a little late as I made this for some friends and colleagues for Christmas. It turned out to be pretty popular with my FIL and guests at our Christmas party. That’s not to say this little snack can’t be done through the year too- I think it’s pretty handy to have some in the pantry from time to time!

Indian Spiced Nuts
1 cup of cashews
1/4 cup of brazil nuts
1 cup of almonds
1/2 cup of macadamias
1 tablespoon of curry powder
1 tsp of chili powder
1 tsp of turmeric
1 tablespoon of cumin
2 tablespoon of coconut oil
tsp of salt

Pre heat oven to 190C. Toss nuts with all the spices and coconut oil. Toast in oven for 15-20 mins! Cool and eat!

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Happy New Year 2013

Happy New Year 2013!

I can’t believe my little break turns out to be at least two weeks… or is it three? Well, during this period of time, I have been super busy preparing for Christmas- one that I neglected to take any photos. I regret it fully. After all, it was our house warming as well. However, I was in host mode, and was everywhere talking, making sure the food was served and of course having a good time.

My in laws and brother in law came by too and it was such a nice family affair. While there are many horror in laws stories out there, I’m really blessed with marrying a lovely guy and into a wonderful family. Unfortunately it did get too hot for them- Perth hit 40C on Christmas week and into a heatwave for the whole week!!!! I am so glad the weather has cooled down now.

Every year, I like to look at my highlights of 2012… and while I’m a little late this time round, better late than never right?

Highlights 2012

– My hubby turned 30!

– We officially….moved into our NEW HOUSE. It took us awhile..and then the madness began with the moving process, settling in… and now, just enjoying it. Now, extended family can visit us and have some space.

– We celebrated our 3rd year wedding anniversary at Margaret River.

— We splurged (something we are not used to) and went to NYC and LA. Was caught in the 2nd aftermath of Storm Sandy and enjoyed the snow.

– At work, I took on the role of clinical manager for a few months and learned so much from my fellow colleagues and other team members.
– Won an award at work
– Fell in love with boxing and the team at my gym together with two other girlfriends said we have the best improved technique! (yes, do not mess with us. :p)
– Stopped weighing myself and not be too obsess with my weight.
– Started lifting weights- heavy weights.
– Seeing my friends have babies!!!
– Eating cleaner and less processed food.
– Learning how to respect my hubby more and be careful on my use of words.

Cooking?

Let’s have a look at my goals last year:


Other highlights?
  • I made roast! It crackles! 
  • Seeing the ice cream churn! 

My goals for 2013?

  • Continue to eat clean food by using less processed ingredients and fresh ones.
  • Fulfil last year goal of making creme brûlée! I still have to find butene……. 
  • Definitely more home styled asian dishes. I don’t think I did enough last year. And if I can, make more kuehs! Oh, perhaps making bak kwa! 
  • Definitely more baking. 
  • Keeping it simple. Reduce commitments and learn how to breathe more
  • Maybe looking at developing my blog further. 
  • Praying more with my hubby. 
  • Embracing more life challenges and excitement in 2013!
Wishing you an AWESOME 2013. One filled with good food, laughs and memories. One that you will look back and smile and go… I had a good year!! 

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