Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bak Chor Mee

Lunch time!
Comfort food on a Saturday.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Random Photo Day!

Spotted while on a Saturday morning walk.

I was walking; the cat had other plans.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bang-Kwang Photo

As promised, a photo of the bang-kwang. Eat with lettuce, popiah style. Accompany with home-made chili. Potent stuff.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Saturday Breakfast

My love for the everyday enjoyment of moments & things is pretty obvious, I think.

After the morning marketing, we stopped for some makan. Chwee-kueh. Kopi. DEEP FRIED carrot cake. F&N Cherryade.

I love how a saturday morning at the kopi-tiam feels. It's a chaotic, messy, come-as-you-are affair. Slightly dirty but in a D-rating-means-good-food kind of way. I enjoy seeing the hustle and bustle of aunties and uncles ekking out a decent living. The sight of families eating their morning wanton mee and prata kosong. Aunties having their morning kopi-o-siu-tai, with cookies brought from home (none of that no-outside-food business here).

So the marketing is on the table. We eat, relax, chat. This is communal eating (eat your heart out).

Monday, February 21, 2011

CNY Visiting (Moderately random pix)

I hardly ever do much visiting at CNY.

This year I was invited to a colleague's for lunch.

Photos from the visit:

Old school sweets!

And a spot-the-dog contest! I was amused to see the dog blend into the carpet.

The End!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Stir-fried pork for dinner

On the menu tonight.

I can add one more recipe to my repertoire, but boy did the cooking go by in a whirl.

1) Prep: We used rib-eye, sliced into strips. Add dark soya sauce liberally to season. In a bowl, dissolve some corn starch in water, as seen here.

2) Cooking begins. Into the pan goes oil, chopped garlic. Then the black bean paste (tau chio), maybe a generously heaped spoonful. And some of my mother's nasi lemak chilli (oil, garlic, onions, chili, blended & fried), but she says sliced red chillies can be used too. It's got a bit of a szechuan taste, she says. Stir vigorously. Ingredients used are shown below (no need for salt for this dish because of the bean paste used):

3) Add the pork to the aforementioned pan. Expect lots of sizzle!! An exciting dish, this.

4) Pour in the corn starch mixture when the pork has been suitably pushed around and shown who's boss. Ok I just said that to amuse myself.

5) Turn down the heat, leave the mixture to simmer. This simmering (plus the corn starch effect) makes the pork softer & smoother.

6) Wait patiently for dinner time.

Sunday teatime: sweet & savoury

Saturday, February 19, 2011

At the Wet Market

Today we take a walk through the wet market!

The aunty in a dried-goods store is busy, busy, busy. Next to her is a fresh coconut grater, you don't see too many of these nowadays. I love the wide array of goods on display.

Luscious veggies. Er I think this is spinach.

I know what these are. Yummy. Water chestnuts are great boiled and eaten as they are. Or made into a cooling drink. Or chopped into tiny bits, mixed with minced pork, and wrapped into crunchy wantons. And of course lotus root is great for delicious soups.

My brother doesn't like this spiky-looking vegetable. But I do! Grate the skin off, slice into chunks, and stir-fry with egg...voila.

At the fishmonger's! Love the weighing scales hanging from the ceiling. I like the batang fish - the one that's got the grey skin and costs $5 apiece, seen here. When fried, the fish splits into neat quadrants.

We bought mangoes. They're sweet, said the vendor. Eat them tomorrow, he said. All the shops I passed by looked suspiciously like their owners had undergone training on how to better display their wares (lifelong learning, indeed).

We queued up to buy Char Siew and Sio-Bah. It felt rather satisfying to be lugging home food to put on the table and food to be cooked tomorrow, to boot!

I do so look forward to my Saturday mornings... till next week!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

POSB Ang Pows

I actually prefer long ang pows so that the cash doesn't get creased.
But these small square ones are quite cute when you put them together.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dinner with my godmother

So, valentine's day was spent with my Godma. If and when I get my own
kitchen, I'd like to whip up cosy dinners with thoughtful little
touches too.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Random Photo Day!

Cheesy, but it makes for a funny photo. Hee.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Making Bang-Kwang

Bang-Kwang: The filling one finds in popiah.

So today I have a potluck lunch at a colleague's place. I'm bringing home-made bang-kwang.
It took my mum & I about 45 min to make, including the times that I got in the way with my photo-taking and amateur skills. We started at 7am, and mum is now reading the papers, feet propped up on the table, ahh what a life.

We start with the basic ingredients: turnip and carrot. My mum is quite cute as she obligingly moves aside to accommodate my camera getting in the way.

We bring out the Benriner Japanese Blade.
But first, a warning:

Memo to self:
Use the medium blade next time. The fine blade made the turnip too thin, like mee sua.
The knobs to tighten the blade are underneath.
And there's a 3rd knob to adjust the height of the (errr what do you call it) platform on which the veggies are cut.

Ok let's cook!

The large pot gets oil and diced garlic. Once slightly yellow-brown, put in the carrots, followed soon after by the turnip, followed soon after by salt (to taste. I used 2 tiny heaped spoons) and dark soya sauce (aggaration, as always. Basically to get the bang-kwang to a slightly more pleasing brown colour.). Stir, leave to simmer.

The smaller pot is for boiling prawns. Once boiled, the water gets strained into the bang-kwang, and the prawns are peeled and sliced separately. These are the prawns that my mum bought from Chinatown before CNY, and we'd already de-veined and de-whiskered (Do prawns have whiskers? Well those whisker-like tendrils on prawns. Do prawns have tendrils?).

Stay tuned for the end result!

[8:30am. NTUC is open, says mum, should we get another turnip to re-do it properly...?]

Friday, February 4, 2011

Lunar New Year (Year of the Rabbit)

Tis the year of the rabbit!

Ang Pow from my parents

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Ang Pow Na Lai! (Never gets old, that one)

Cute, square ang pows.

I quite like having another new year. It gives me fresh inspiration to do de-cluttering. Maybe we should have a new year every month. But my waistline couldn't take it.

The festivities roll by in a sweet almost-repeat of previous years, with familiar sights, sounds and smells: reunion dinner, making and tossing the yu-sheng, the gentle clash of mahjong tiles, snacking, snacking and more snacking.

Oh the familiar food favourites: steamboat, steamboat ingredients cooked teppenyaki style, chap chye, her-pio soup, bakuluat chicken (I'm pretty sure the spelling's not right...oh well, I'll explain it some day).

Steamboat (how blessed I feel to have this laden table). Chicken, Pork, Fish, Prawns, Mushrooms, Toufu, Veggies, Meatballs, Crabsticks. Chicken stock. Sambal Belachan and Sliced Red Chillies. Steamed White Rice. Oh we forgot the squid this year.

I half worry that when the time comes for someone else to take care of the cooking (i.e. me and the cousins), we won't know what to do. That's why I think of this blog as a kind of record of things. Things to eat. Things to cook. Things that happened.

But between me and my brother and cousins, we should be able to do a decent job. Case in point: kris and I did a haphazard arrangement of yu-sheng the first night. I was mortified that after all these years of eating it, I hadn't quite remembered how to arrange it. "Oh no! What will we do when it's our turn?", I go. "I'll remember from now on," says Kris comfortingly.

Memo: The brother knows how to arrange the yu-sheng.

The other thing I like about Chinese New Year is that it's the time of the year when I put on lots more gold jewellery, like this favourite bracelet that kris, gwen and I each have (shout-out to gwen, if you're reading this!). Our grandma gave it to us years ago, and although I thought it was supremely PIANG when I first received it, it's grown to be one of my most nostalgic & treasured items.

~ The End ~

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Chinese new year deco: giant pineapples

It's funny how my cousins - who are half Chinese and half Indian -
always have a house all decked out in deco, much more than at my house