Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Sausage Fajitas

I'll start by admitting that this dish was, errr.. "accidentally conceived". Unintentional by-product of a some frustration and fun.

I bought some cheap-ass sausages from Tesco, grilled it, and it tasted horrid. I made sure that it was cooked, but it was still somewhat bland and has some weird texture to it. In short, in was unappetising!

Had the rubbish bin in the kitchen not been full, those sausages would have found themselves taking up residence in there. But it was. And I was hungy.

So I chopped up the sausages, and raided the fridge to see what can be used to make up for the lack of taste.

Chopped up some big onions, spring onions, mushrooms, and some red/green pepper. (Yes, I always seem to use the same ingredients in most of my dishes. I'm not very creative with my shopping.)

I first fried the big onions with butter till it was translucent (long enough for it's sweetness to emerge). Then everything else went in some order that I can't recall, but that's not important. Seasoned it with a good portion of sesame seed oil (must have!!!), and a little soya sauce. When the mushroom looks cooked, the chopped sausages (already grilled) were added in. Gave it about 30 seconds to get heated up again, and kao tim (done).

I took a bite, and immediately immediately thought of the Sizzling fajitas from TGIF. Of course, not exactly the same, but that's what it reminded me of.

So, to go with the flow, I served it up with some toasted pita bread and salads.

Proper fajitas should come with Salsa or Guacamole, but both oso nada. As consolation price, I had some Garlic and Chive dip from Tesco, and it turned out pretty decent as well.

Sausage fajitas!

Note: sausages can be replaces with grilled/fried chicken, lamb, beef, ... everything can adjust based on preference and availability, but the spring onions and sesame seed oil MUST be there!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Pan Grilled Cod

Decided to pan grill the other half of the cod. Another fast simple meal.

Had to cut the fillet in half because the only non-stick pan in my kitchen is a small one.

Marinated the cod fillet lightly with curry powder, salt and pepper.

I somehow recall reading/watching some cooking guide somewhere that the best way to pan grill fishes like cod and salmon is to spread the oil on the fish itself, and none in the pan. Not sure how true it is, but I seemed to turn out pretty good. Meat side first...

... then the skin side. If I remember correctly, the guide mentioned something about flipping it ONLY ONCE.

While the fish was grilling on the pan, I prepared a quick sauce with milk, butter, and some pre-mixed instant sauce.

The vege in the pic is fresh kale. Also employed express cooking methods. Just put them in a bowl, added a little water, some salt and pepper, covered with a plate, and cooked it in the microwave for 4 minutes. Instant steamed vege :)

Pan Grilled Cod.

Microwave-steamed Cod

Found some cheap cod in Sainsbury's and decided to give it a try.

It was a whole fish, filleted into two halves. Just nice for two meals.

I've never cooked fish before so it was a welcome change. Unfortunately, time is an expensive commodity these few weeks, so I couldn't afford to attempt anything too fancy.

Here's my express version of steamed fish :)

Seasoned the fish with soya sauce, salt, pepper, and Worchestershire sauce. Then, I soaked some finely chopped spring onions in sesame seed oil, and sprinkled them over the top along with some butter.

Placed it in a microwave-safe deep enough so that when covered with microwave-safe saran wraps, the fish doesn't touch the plastic. The saran wrap was meant to trap all the heat and moisture in while microwaving it, thus effectively steaming the dish.

Of course, I've never done this before so I was quite apprehensive at first. To be safe, I made last minute modifications and opened a small gap in the plastic so that the whole thing doesn't baloon up and explode :p

4 minutes on high. (supposedly, cod cooks much faster than other fish. err... I think..).

From here:
Cod is very easy to cook. Because it's a lean fish, it cooks quickly. And if you poach or steam the fish, it can be extremely succulent

Didn't turn out too bad loh. A bit bland. For once, the Green Devil came it handy!

Microwave-steamed cod - the fastest dish I've ever cooked! 5 minutes only. Even faster than Maggi Mee.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Sampan Kebab

This dish was inspired by Silencer's post.

By the way, the term kebab here is used in a very loose sense. No meat roasting on rotating skewers involved here. I adopted the name due to the fact that the final product resembles that of how kebab is often served in malaysia - mixed with some vege, mayonaise, onions, ..., wrapped in a bun/pita.

Why call it sampan kebab? We'll see soon enough.

The pita that I had lying around in my cupboard finally came in handy.

I've always thought of a kebab as a heavenly blend of opposing taste and texture. And so I toyed around with ideas having that in mind, and decided to use layered fillings.

The bottom layer will be the fried/meaty/spicy one. (clockwise from top: red and green pepper, quater-pounder beef burger, diced mushrooms, onions, a little tomato)

The burger is first pan-grilled till the crust is crispy. It is then shredded up and stir-fried with the rest of the ingredients.

Once the mushrooms looked cook, some pasta sauce and mad dog are added.

Spicy meaty ingredient of the Sampan Kebab.

The next layer is the cool, fresh layer. I only had cucumbers and tomatoes, which I guess is sufficient.

Prepping this layer is just a mater of adding in some mayonaise, salt, ground pepper, and a few drops of lime.

The pita bread was then grilled lightly, and halved length-wise.

The first layer was filled in.

and then the next.

To add in even more variety in texture, I added a layer of crushed potato chips (pringles would do just fine) followed by grated mozzarella cheese.

Then, back under the grill they went for the final touches.

The finished product!

It was really fun to eat, and not as messy as i expected. Everything held together nicely after each bite.


So, back to the question - why sampan kebab?


I am invincible

The 'Suah-Koo'* in me speaks:

I was about to get off the bus when it started raining heavily. Since I was running late, I got off anyway.

As I was rushing like crazy towards shelter, I suddenly paused. To my utmost delight, I realised that raindrops were bouncing off me like how bullets react to superman. Wow! My coat really IS waterproof.

... and then, Jakun fever ended, and I realised it wasn't rain after all.

It was hail, sleet, or whatever it is that makes frozen water fall like raindrops and make you feel bloody kebal.

(up next, food post -- Sampan Kebab)

* Definition by The Coxford Singlish Dictionary:
A Hokkien term which literally translates as “mountain tortoise”. Used to describe or suggest someone as being unsophisticated and ignorant. The Singlish equivalent of a “country bumpkin” or a “hick”.
“You donno how to use a microwave oven? Why you so suah koo one?”

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Green Devil Wasabi Sauce

[Another touch-and-go post.]

Spotted the Green Devil Wasabi Sauce during my weekly shopping at Sainsbury's.

Quoted from here:
Hot Oz sauces are a fiery heat from down under! Hot Oz are the definite “Australian hot sauces” marrying unique, natural Australian ingredients with the chilli and spices of Asia, India and the Americas and a range in chilli power from a mild heat that tickles the palate, through to “damned hot!”

This was what made me add the bottle to my shopping basket - "A wicked blend of Japanese wasabi, a touch of habanero chilli and mountain pepper".

Wah lau eh.. Sounds wicked indeed!

The setup for the taste test - Sausages, baked chillie mushrooms and a bull's eye.



Don't get me wrong. It was pleasant tasting, and would definitely go well with a range of food.

How did it taste like? Somewhat like mustard diluted in mayonaise. Ahh... you know the mustard dip you can ask for when you order Chicken Nugget in McDonalds? It taste EXACTLY like that.

So what's the problem?

No tear-inducing wasabi effect.
No traces of habanero. (more like haba-zero. Coincidentally, haba is a malay word for 'heat'. Hehhe.. ok. lame joke. Just forget it.)
... and what about those f[backspace]clucking mountain peppers?? Aren't they supposed to be up to five times hotter than other peppers? Bollocks.

Nevermind. Mad Dog to the rescue. :)

Related Posts:
* Mad Dog 357 Collector's Edition Hot Sauce
* Predator Great White Shark Hot Sauce
* Blair's Jersey Death Sauce
* Jonkanoo Seriously Hot Jamaican Sauce
* Sriracha Hot Chilli Sauce

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Mad Dog 357 Collector's Edition Hot Sauce

It's assignment time again - when sleep is substituted by caffein, and fresh-cooked food by reheated leftovers. I intended to hold this post till I had the time to do a proper write-up, but as usual, procrastication never sees an end. Time to cross it off my todo list.

This will be a touch-and-go review with mainly photos and limited comments. It regrettably does not do justice to such an amazing product.

Got myself the Mad Dog 357 Collector's Edition Hot Sauce about a month back.

Unlike the stadard Mad Dog 357 Hot Sauce which is rated at 357,000 Scoville units (hence the 357 in it's name), the collector's edition packs an anus-scorching 600,000 units.

So insane is the consumer intensity of the sauce that it comes with a warning and disclaimer:

"I agree, as indicated by my opening of this bottle, as follows in connection with my purchase of this product:
1. ... extremely hot ... bla bla bla
2. ... to be used at my own risk .... bla bla
3. If I give this product as a gift, I will make the recipient fully aware... potential danger... bla bla
4. I hereby disclaim, release and relinquish .... lawsuits... relating to any damage or injury ... consumption .. bla bla
5. I am not inebriated or otherwise not of a sound mind ... sound decision.. purchase... bla bla"

Besides the eat-liao-die-your-own-fault warnings, the bottle also comes with a cool bullet key-chain.

I was pleasantly surprised when I realised that the bulb connecting the chain to the bullet can be screwed off to reveal a miniature tasting spoon.

Somehow, it reminds me of the thingy that Sarah Michelle Gellar (in Cruel Intentions) had around her neck to store and snort coke/meth/flour/whatever.

The ingredients did not seem as impressive compared to the Predator Great White Shark Hot Sauce. However, taste wise, I very much prefer this compared to the Shark or even Blair's Jersey Death.

Mad Dog is not so heavy on the vinegar, and has more of the peppery base. It does not have a strong taste that overwhelms the flavours of your food, and is not oily and thus blends well with just about any dish.

This is the setup I prepared for my maiden taste test. Sausage, hash browns, and eggs as the main meal, lots of milk just in case my innards burst into flames, and some auxiliary sauces as mixers.

I always test the water with a single pure drop on plain food. As with other insanely hot sauces, the kick is delayed when it is taken in concentrated form. It's when the sauce mixes with saliva and coats your tongue that you feel hell breaking loose.

I noticed that my spiciness threshold has increased quite a bit over the last months. Unlike my initial flirts with Hot Sauces when a few drops had me gargling milk, I can now withstand a tiny puddle of undiluted hot sauce. Well, at least my tongue can. My digestive track is still no fan of Capsaicine.

That's where the mixers come it. By diluting hot sauce in food or other sauces, the tongue is kept happy with a continuous battery of flaming attacks, while the tummy is spared the misery of having to store and digest a whole load of liquid pain.

All it takes is a small blob of Mad Dog ...

... accompanied by ketchup and mayonaise...

Yumm... "Fire! Fire! Fire!" *pant* *pant* ... Yumm... "Fire! Fire!"

Related Posts:
* Predator Great White Shark Hot Sauce
* Blair's Jersey Death Sauce
* Jonkanoo Seriously Hot Jamaican Sauce
* Sriracha Hot Chilli Sauce

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Can't see where I'm going

Network connection in my apartment has been somewhat flaky recently. Can't stay online long enough to write a proper post.

Postings will resume once everything is sorted out.

Next up ... Review of 2 hot sauces!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Dance with me?

IMG_7341_1.JPG, originally uploaded by shawnchin.

"If you can't learn to do it well, learn to enjoy doing it badly."

Monday, February 13, 2006

Flaming Nostrils

Note to self:

Don't dig nose after mucking about with chillies and hot sauce.

No. Washing hands beforehand doesn't help.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Spicy Beef Toast

Welcome back to another episode of "Experimental Cooking with Limited Ingredients!".

The dish today was inspired by those yummy French Toast you get in Hong Kong style restaurants like Kim Gary. Well, at least that was the base idea lah.

As usual, the toying with ideas session got a little out of hand. First I decided I wanted some meat and potatoes in there as well. Perhaps a hybrid pizza-toast thingy? Should I roast or bake it instead? Would prawns and mushrooms go well with the dish? At one point, I was even considering how to include fruits and perhaps coffee beans.

Eventually, after hovering around the fine line between the impactical and the possible, the Spicy Beef Toast was born.

Ingredients used:
* a quater can of corned beef
* mashed up hash browns (I'm out of fresh potatoes)
* Hot Sauce + Bird Eye chillies
* tomato ketchup or pasta sauce
* sliced bread
* 1 egg
* Chopped onions
* mayonaise
* soy sauce, salt and pepper

I first precooked the toast fillings.

Stir fried all the ingredients, minus the egg, bread, and mayonaise.

The fillings were then spread out generously on the bread. Squirted on some mayonaise to add on to the unhealthy goodness.

The egg, well beaten and seasoned with some salt and butter, was used to coat the bread.

After giving the bread enough time to soak up the egg (about 1-2 minutes), it was pan-fried on medium heat to golden perfection!

From past experiments, I learnt that I could get a crispy tasty crust on the bread if I fried it with a generous amount of butter. Yes, that's another dot added to the heart-attack probability chart, but what the heck, it's worth it.

Oh, and frying with butter on a hot pan seems to build up a lot of smoke. However, heating up a little oil in the pan before adding in the butter seems to alleviate the problem.

You know you've done it right when you can get a clean cut through the crispy crust to reveal the nice juicy core.

I had some extra filling and was too lazy to cook another toast, so I just layered it on top, and finished it off with another coating of unhealthy goodness. (Don't worry, I usually use low fat, light mayonaise. Hehe.. )

Spicy Beef Toast! This would definitely not be the last time I'm making it. I'm getting hungry all over again just thinking about it.