Monday, January 30, 2006

Peeling an egg with a single blow

I have GOT to try this one day...

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Spicy Sardine Soup

There were three dishes my grandfather used to make that I vividly recall. When I close my eyes in reminiscence, I can almost taste those dishes as I see myself back when I was a young kid, bugging my grandpa for food on a rainy day.

The big three:
* Spicy Kampung fried rice
* Curry flavoured Maggi Mee with egg, which everyone knows how to make :p
* Spicy Sardine Soup, which I decided to attempt recently.

I never did ask what went into that magical brew such that even after more than 15 years, I still crave it.

All I can recall is the dominant sardine taste, the insane spiciness (after a few rounds, you learn the art of soup consumption without it touching your lips), and a sourish aftertaste which closely resembles tom yum.

With that as a reference point, I quickly drew up the ingredient line-up based on what I had in stock.

* Sardines in tomato sauce, mashed into moderate sized chunks
* Onions, sliced
* tomatoes, cubed
* Chillies
* Lime
* Tom Yum Paste, half a teaspoon
* Assorted spices (rempah ratus), just a pinch
* Salt or Soy Sauce or Fish Sauce to taste

(The spices I used)

The cooking part was easy. Dumped everything into a pot of boiling water and let it simmer for 20 mins.

Served piping hot!

Spicy Sardine Soup.

Did not turn out exactly like my grandfather's dish, but it was still good. Went down very well with rice and a quick vege dish.

Some greens + chopped onions and garlic.

Boiled the greens in lightly salted water.

Fried the onions and garlic in oil, mixed in some oyster sauce and soya sauce, and poured over the cooked vege.

I got too carried away the the oyster sauce. :(

P.S. It's been a day since I had the sardine soup, and now my pee smells of sardine :o
Now, I get that often with coffee. Yes, coffee... fine... but SARDINES????

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The things they eat

... and I thought it was bad enough they way the used it. They cook it too???

Sick sick sick...

Jonkanoo Seriously Hot Jamaican sauce

Project Framing Glasshopper is taking too long. Time to just scrap the whole thingy and go ahead with my own purchases.

I ordered this today: Mad Dog 357 Collectors Edition. It's like the standard Mad Dog 357 ON STEROIDS! Instead of the standard 357,000 Scoville Units, the Collectors Edition packs a mind-blowing 600,000 units!

While waiting for that to arrive, I'll have to make do with this: Jonkanoo, Seriously Hot Jamaican Sauce.

It comes in the 150ml bottle, standard for many hot sauces. It also fits the stereotypical product design of hot sauce - colourful, cartoonish labels with warning signs that stare you in the eyes and dare you to give it a go.

Ingredient wise, it doesn't look too impressive. I guess I was attracted more by the price than the listed ingredients; it costed me less than a pound ;)

Upon opening the cap, it was immediately obvious that this sauce would not be as potent as it would like people to believe. It smelled sweet instead of spicy, and there was no stopper fitted at the opening (Like the ones you get on other sauces like Great white shark to prevent you from accidentally pouring too much).

With an opening that wide, you can't help pouring out a generous amount to cover your food.

As expected, it wasn't as spicy. gave it a heat rating of 7/10. There don't seem to be a Scoville rating for this sauce, not even from it's manufacturer's site.
If I were to take a stab at it's rating, I would put it somewhere in the region of 15,000-20,000 Scoville units, although it could be a little higher since it's sweetness might have dulled the spiciness a little.

Taste wise, it was awesome. Similar to the thai chilli sauce you get in KFC back home, just less sweet, a slight hint of sourness, and much more spicy.

Is it really that good? Well, I've only used it for a few meals, and bottle is already half empty... err... half full.. err... the bottle is now twice as large as it needs to be to contain it's contents. :p

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Spaghetti Steak Pasta

Took a while for me to decide what to do with the "cacat reconstructed steak" that i terbought. Since it tasted like meatball, I might as well treat it like meatball. Sphagetti and meatballs came to mind.

Slicked it up into nice chunky pieces.

Pan fried it on low heat till cooked.

Dump in all the ingredients (red & green pepper, a tomato and mushrooms) along with the pre-cooked "meatballs". When it's nice and fragrant, some pre-made pasta sauce (bought from Tesco) was added.

Served on freshly cooked spaghetti, with some grated cheese and ground pepper for the extra uummpph.

Hmmm... looks a little gross in the picture, but it tasted pretty decent.

p.s. this is my 100th post! Woo Hoo!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Life's a blur

"The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play."

~ Arnold J. Toynbee

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Peppered Steak and Baked Mushrooms

(backpost from few days ago)

I was feeling good.

I didn't have classes, the weather was great, and I found a huge Sainsbury's 20 mins from my place. A wonderful day.

Out came my celebration plate!! (Thanks again Dr. Hodges)

Dug out the best stuff from the fridge, worked the oven and grill overtime, and came up with a Grilled Steak, Nacho Cheese Wedges, and Baked Mushrooms platter, with strawberries for desert.

For the baked mushrooms, I used Large Flat mushrooms, baked with olive oil, garlic and red/green pepper for 15 minutes, then grilled for 5 minutes with a generous topping of grated cheese.

The wedges were equally easy. The potatoes were cut into wedges, covered with olive oil, and mixed with the Nacho Cheese coating. They where then baked for 40 minutes, with a quick flip halfway through.

I might have overcooked the wedges a little.

The Grilled Steak was pre-prepared. All I needed to do was put it on the grill for 15 mins.

Taste wise, it was somewhat dissapointing. Tasted more like meatballs than steak.

Only later did I realise the finer prints - "chopped and shaped with breadcrumbs and peppercorns".


Now what do I do with the other piece?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Family-Recipe Kampung Fried Rice

Here's a dish that I've loved since I was a kid.

My grandfather used to cook it. So did my uncle, aunts, and my mom. Since I've never tasted anything similar outside of the family, I'm assuming it's a family recipe (secret? not any more..)

Recently watched my mom cook it, and was surprised at how easy it was. Ingredients are few, cheap, and easy to find (in malaysia). Yet, the results are simply amazing.


* Main ingredient - dried baby shrimps and anchovies. This provides the main flavour of the dish.
Soak it for a while, then chop into fine fine pieces (as in following pic). Tumbuk even better.

* Slices of cucumber (a little more than in pic would be good)

* Garlic. My grandfather used to just take several cloves and smash it (along with the skin). Since garlic is scarce here, I chop mine into fine pieces to get as much flavour out of my 2 miserable cloves.

* Chilly. Just put aside as much chilly as you think you can take, and add on one more. Spiciness brings out the best in the dish. I don't have cilly padi, so I used dried bird-eye chilly. More spicy, but less taste.

* Another important ingredient - Fish Sauce, either Nampla or budu. Nampla should be easier to find. They even sell it here in Edinburgh. In the event that both are not available, soy sauce could be use as a substitute but with a significant loss in flavour.

* (not in pic) Overnight rice, ie. cooked rice that has been kept in fridge overnight. Provides the ideal texture for frying.

* (not in pic) 1 egg.


Stir fry garlic in oil till lightly brown, then add in the chopped shrimp and anchovies.
Within a few minutes, you will get a wonderful aroma, a quick preview of the final results. (At this point, if you don't like the smell, it's still not too late to make a detour. Just add water, vege, some meat, and you'll have a decent soup :p )

Add in the cucumbers and chilly padi. Splash on some Fish Sauce to season the ingredients.

When the cucumber is visibly softer, add in the rice. Mix it well, and add in a little more Fish sauce.

Finally, part the rice to give an opening in the center. Add a little oil, and crack in an egg. Keep stirring the center portion till you get scrambled egg. Mix up the whole dish, and server.

Eat while it's hot!

Family-Recipe Kampung Fried Rice

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Holiday Recap

Spent the afternoon looking through my photo album. Relived pleasant memories of my recent trip back. It also lead to a bout of homesickness.

Cooked a family-recipe dish for lunch. An attempt to feel as much "at home" as possible. It helped. Might share this recipe on following posts.

For now, here's a summary of how I spent my holiday:

Spent quality time with people dear to me.

Monkeyed around with close friends.

Allocated some time to laze around and rust.

Played a fair share of golf.
(Raub, Nilai Spring, Bukit Jawi, KGCC)

Took photos of funny signs.

Travelled around enjoying food and the company I had.

Changed my hairdo. HORRORS!
(I'm still trying to get used to how I now look)

Monday, January 16, 2006

Quick balanced meal


ho hum...

I realised I've been staring at the screen for 10 minutes now, and I still don't know how to start writing this post. I'll write in point form today :p

Earlier = famished + lazy
Dinner = balanced + fast & easy to cook
Now = Full + still lazy

Time taken for preparation & cooking = about 15 mins

Simple greens.
1. Heat a little oil pan.
2. Fry coarsely chopped garlic till fragrant
3. Add ikan bilis + a little of the water that was used to soak it
4. Add vege
5. Add kicap and/or Nampla sauce
6. serve

Rice topped with mince meat and corn.
1. Fry some onions in pan
2. Fry minced meat.
3. Add corn
4. Add Oyster sauce and dark soy sauce
5. Serve on rice

Oh, and I now have the priviledge of eating rice, thanks to Dr. Hodgie. :)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Sweet and Sour Nectarine Lamb

Finally psyched myself into doing some cooking. Nothing too fancy though. I have 3 new housemates, and I don't want to freak them out too soon as I did with my previous housemates.

I can still recall them staring thru the kitchen door at me with my camera in one hand, and juggling between the stove, oven, grill and microwave with the other.

For a change, it would be nice to have housemates who don't think I'm cuckoo.

Anyway, back to the dish.

The experimental speciment ingredient for today is the nectarine.

Nectarines are just variants of peaches.

The way I see it, it looks like a cross between apples and plums, and tastes like a cross between plums and mangoes.

I picked the one that is slightly less ripe, and thus has an acceptable full flavour but still sour. When diced and cooked, it has the texture of a tomato and thus ought to make a pretty good addition to a sweet-and-sour dish.

* Diced nectarines
* Diced onions and cucumber
* Pure Gula Melaka (brought this from home). Can be substituted with sugar.
* lamb pieces.
* 1/2 cube Knows vegetable stock
* Tomato Ketchup
* Soya Sauce
* Sesame Oil
* Dried Chilli

Pre fry the lamb pieces.
Just before it's cooked, add a dash of soya sauce and sesame oil as seasoning.

Once done, remove from pan. Clean pan, and put back onto stove.

With very little oil (just to line the pan), saute the onions for a while, then throw in the cucumbers and nectarine. (Some diced capsicons would be nice too).
Toss it around for about 30 seconds.

Add in vege stock diluted in about half a cup of water.
As the water comes to a boil, add the Gula Melaka, dried chilli and tomato ketchup.

Let it simmer till sauce thickens.

If you like your dish with more sauce, use more water, then thicken with ... err... corn starch??

Add in the pre-fried lamb pieces, mix well, and serve!

Sweet Sour Nectarine Lamb

Taste wise, it was actually pretty good. Gives the standard flavour of a sweet-and-sour dish, but with a fruity after-taste. I quite like it, but I would presume that some people might find the taste a little peculiar.

Improvements? Substitute the lamb with either chicken or pork. The tangy/fragrant flavour doesn't gel that well with the pungent lamb taste. Pre-frying the meat (dipped in batter) till crispy ought to bring out the best in this dish.

Serve hot with freshly cooked rich topped with a fried egg. Yumm!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Truth Behind Sushi

After all the trouble or learning how to eat sushi, out comes the truth.

The Singing Comedian

It seems my previous entries on Russell Peters received pretty good responses.

Well, perhaps you might like this guy too - Stephen Lynch

Here's a 20 minute video of his act I found on youtube

If you think 20 minutes is too long, here's a 2 min 30 sec clip extracted from that same act:

If you enjoy his performance, his Albums and DVDs are available in stores.

p.s. yeah.. this post is just a space filler :p Still not in the mood for experimental cooking. Had instant Maccaroni and Cheese for dinner today

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Ini Bukan Bilik Rakaman

Somehow still not in the mood for much cooking. Also, I'm yet to fully stock up my kitchen.

Here are some amusing signs I spotted while roaming around Malaysia recently. (taken with phone cam)

This was found in a guest house bathroom in Raub, Pahang.
Translation: "This is a bathroom, not a recording room"

Is it supposed to be a sarcastic reminder to not spend too much time posing in the bath? Or perhaps an assurance that there's no hidden cameras around (can do as many naked squats as you want).

Are you short of a sex organ? Call now! (poster plastered all over Raub town).

The fella also has a branch in Cameron Highlands.

Placenta Shock Treatment anyone? Or perhaps some Caviar DNA? (flyer found attached to newspapers in Kota Bharu, Kelantan)

Photo out of focus. Sorry. Here's what it says:
* Colagen Shock Treatment - RM320
* Placenta Shock Treatment - RM 320
* Hydro Marine DNA Treatment - RM360
* Effi-Tea Treatment - RM320
* Phytotherapy Treatment - RM360
* Caviar DNA Treatment - RM330
* Multi Vit-C Treatment - RM265

Do you really need all that treatment? Well, take a photo of your aura and find out. If you have a weak Base Chakra, you could always call Saphin Wachit for a massage ;)
(Spotted in KB Mall, Kota Bharu)

Couldn't stop laughing at this brand name - Gajah Duduk @ Sitting Elephant. Don't play play ah... it's an established brand.

Fag? Yeah, they have balls.

What else they expect people would throw in? Beach balls and toddlers?
(taken in KGCC golf course, Kelantan)