Friday, March 31, 2006

Happy April Fools Day

May all your pranks go the way you planned, and may you stay clear of better pranksters than you.

Happy April Fools Day!

Yes. I'm back. While the holiday was really wonderful, it does feel good to be home.

On a bridge over a canal, having coffee and apple pie with cream.

Spend a fortune good portion of my holiday here. Lovely place. Unfortunately, for some reason I can't really recall or comprehend, I only took TWO photos during my trip. *gasp* (Guess the location and solve the mystery of the missing photos. LOL)

Normal postings will continue when I stock up on groceries again. Hopefully soon :)

Friday, March 24, 2006

away from Away From Home

I'll be away from home for the whole of this month, so no updates till April.

As a side note, here's a really interesting e-book : God's Debris.
It's by Scott Adam, creator for Dilbert. If you like his work and his blog, you'll probably like his book.

Quoted from the into page:
"The target audience for God’s Debris is people who enjoy having their brains spun around inside their skulls. After a certain age most people are uncomfortable with new ideas. That certain age varies by person, but if you’re over fifty-five (mentally) you probably won’t enjoy this thought experiment. If you’re eighty going on thirty-five, you might like it. If you’re twenty-three, your odds of liking it are very good. "

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Burger Wannabe

First, show-off time: I DID IT!

OK, it's actually quite simple. Not much skill needed. But it looks really cool, saves you time, and was GREAT FUN! Good way to impress chicks at parties... err.. wait. .. No. I don't think being a good "egg blower" would go down that well. Forget I even mentioned it.

I might end up eating more boiled eggs just to play some more. Hehee.

All right, back to business.

Haven't really gotten down to doing any serious cooking. Last few meals were results of randomly+hastily put together leftovers or instant foodstuff.

Well, hasty meals does not mean it has to be plain or boring. Here's one that I enjoyed making. Not much explanation needed, so the rest of this post will be mainly pictures.

Note: I'm making two sets in parallel. Saves a lot of time.

New York Bagel, *cough* skillfully *cough* split in two, toasted under the grill and slathered with Sunflower Spread.

A layer of sliced cucumber - for taste as well as to plug the hole on the bagel - followed by some shredded left-over fried chicken wings.

And how can we not have ketchup and mayonaise?
I skipped the Mad Dog this time.

Then a layer of fried egg. I cooked only one egg, spead it thin, and cut it in quaters. Photo shows the first two quaters.
Next, our somewhat overshadowed main actor, the beef burger, grilled.

Cheddar slices, topped with a quick stir fry (in olive oil) of my favourite ingredients - mushrooms, onions, chilli peppers & spring onions. Seasoned with a little salt and fresh ground pepper.

Made sure it was hot out of the pan, so that it would melt the cheese. The melted cheese mingling with the fried mushrooms promoted the flavours to a heavenly scale. Mama Mia!!

Final touches, the next two quaters of the fried egg, and some sliced tomatoes (to plug the other hole of the bagel on the other end).

Cover, compress, wrap one, eat one. Two meals settled :)

If you're thinking that the whole procedure took a lot of time, not really. Most of the activity could be done in parallel. Beef burgers in the grill, joined after a while by the bagels. While waiting, the chopping and frying took place. By the time the grilling is done, everything can just be thrown together with seconds (with only the photo taking to slow me down).

So, time taken for the preparation = time taken to grill a burger. Circa 10 minutes. For 2 meals, that's pretty fast.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Last Supper

If you're wondering why nothing has come out from my kitchen in a while, it's because I've been in Solitary Confinement mode for a week now.

Now, rewind time by one week.

Just before I started, I knew I would be eating pasta and roti and fried rice and pasta for quite a while, so I decided to give myself a treat. A proper, satisfying meal to kick off a week of mind bending labour.

Here's what I had.

Char Siew with some Hainanese Chicken Rice's rice.

This time, the char siew was properly made. Got the pre-packed mix, soaked the right cuts in it for 3 hours, and grilled to perfection. Yes, with the sweet crunchy crust and all. :)

A good meal must always be a balanced meal. This quick Pak Choi dish fit the bill just nice.

The whole setup! The bowl of soup in the background was some left over Spicy Sardine Soup.

Friday, March 17, 2006

My healthy prostrate

I knew there was something good about it, other than the capsaicine high!!

Quoted from Reuter's Alertnet:
WASHINGTON, March 15 (Reuters) - Capsaicin, which makes peppers hot, can cause prostate cancer cells to kill themselves, U.S. and Japanese researchers said on Wednesday.

Capsaicin led 80 percent of human prostate cancer cells growing in mice to commit suicide in a process known as apoptosis, the researchers said.


[ Read full article ]

Perhaps that explains the "burning sensation" when it reaches the ... errr... other end of the digestive system.
"Ooooo... That must be the cancer cells dying... OWww.. yeah, die you bastards!! Die!!... Aarrgghh..."

Time to stock up on some Mad Dog, Great White Shark, or Death sauce!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Telur Gulung

Note: Author's sanity is currently on vacation. The world takes on a skewed perspective when boudaries between days are blurred and the mind deprived of a sense of time. Everything seems surreal and consciousness is subjective.

For instance, I'm very sure that earlier today I was pondering over a certain aspect of my work, but I can't for the life of me, recall if I did that while awake or dreaming. Yes, I have a strange trait/gift/curse of continuing work in my dreams if I've been at it too long (and waking up feeling more tired than before). It's not voluntary. I can't disable it. But sometimes, a shot of whiskey helps :)

Am I going mad?

ok.. back to food, in sleep-deprived mode. Sorry.

Here's a quick post of a quick meal, just to make sure the blog doesn't stagnate and die off (like my previous attempt).

Two eggs. Beaten, not stirred. Cooked in round pan to make round omellete.

Made 'no entry' sign with 2 halves of Cheddar slices. Oh.. and green green stuff on egg is not kulat. Those are spring onions (they generally taste better than kulat).

Lightly fried all the good stuff that I like. Heaped generously along the Cheddar line.

Some mayo and ketchup. A little Mad Dog.

Then roll roll roll, ...

... then cut, .. then take photo, .. then eat! YUmm.

Telur Gulung.. who says you need to be awake to cook decent food :p

Monday, March 13, 2006

Orange Chicken

Lemon chicken is always great, so why not Orange Chicken?

Let's find out :)

Disclaimer: author has no idea how to cook Lemon Chicken, let alone come up with a newfangled version of it.

Here's what I worked with.
* Chicken breast dipped in egg yolk (lightly salted)
* mixture of corn flour and plain flour. (why both? becuase i didn't know which to use)
* for the suace: onions, garlic, spring onions, freshly squeezed (sour) orange juice, chicken stock cube

The Chicken is covered in flour and fried like any run of the mill fried chicken.

The sauce was also simple. Fried the onions and garlic in butter till lightly browned. Dumped in the chicken stock, orange juice, and some soya sauce. Thickened with corn starch.

It errr... did not turn out that nice. The chicken stock was too overpowering. So was the garlic. I think I used too much corn starch too. The word "mucus" keep coming to mind :p

Orange Chicken. I just killed a perfectly good dish.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Honey Grilled Chilli and Ceasar Salad

I went vegetarian for a day, just for kicks.

Had a simple meal of English muffins for brunch, and later scouted around for something odd to cook for dinner, just to spice things up (pun intended).

This was what I found...

HUGE ASS CHILLI! I intentionally put the microwave oven in the background for size comparision (of course, taken at an angle to exaggerate it's size).

(yes, I eat at odd hours, as indicated by the time display of the microwave)

No idea how to cook it, so I cut it in half and put it under the grill. Marinated it with olive oil, spring onions, garlic, a little salt, and Honey! My intension was to coat the surface so that the chilly does not loose it's moisture to the grilling, and thus remain moist and juicy.

While waiting for the grill to do it's job, I went ahead and whipped up a quick salad. Some iceberg lettuce, red cabbage, and carrots, tossed in some Ceasar salad dressing I got from Tesco.

The Ceasar salads I'm familiar with is usually enriched with crouton, cheese, and slices of egg. I'm out of cheese, and at the last minute decided not to use stale bread as crouton. Ahh.. but egg I had.

Good chance to try this!!

As you can see from the photo, I took the egg out too early. No prize for guess that my attempt at the egg peeling trick didn't go well :p

Here's the final product. The grilled chilli turned out surprisingly soft, somewhat like the texture of.. er... raw salmon?

Tasted like sashimi glazed with honey. Hehhe.. not too bad lah.

Ceasar Salad with Honey Grilled Chilli.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Synchronised Goldfish

The japs never cease to amaze me..

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Nanana Split

You see, it's like banana split. Except without the banana. Neither is there ice cream. No, it's not a desert at all. Hmm, so it's NOT like banana split. It does have a split, performed by sausages. Sausages are great. You can grill them, bake them, steam them, fry them, boil them. If you're insane, you can even eat it raw. You know one time, at band camp....


My thoughts are severely muddled. Haven't had much sleep these few days. My nights are spent working on assignments and stomping bugs, and days are wasted spent attending an 'express' not-as-elementary-as-expected course on Computational Chemistry which has effectively Focked up my sanity.

Let me start over.

The following is another episode of "Pre-shopping day: throw together whatever you have!"

Meet the sausage.

He has been grilled, first under moderate heat so that it's evenly cooked, then under high heat to brown and thicken the skin. Poor dude is then split length-wise.

Mr. Sausage, meet Ms. Mayo and Mdm. Ketchup.

The threesome is joined by a group of toppings pre-fried in butter. They are, in no particular order, chopped red and green peppers, corn, bits of carrot, and garlic.

Their conversation ended up somewhat cheesy, and so I spiced things up by cracking on some fresh ground pepper.

Grilled them for a bit....

.. and we get a nice brown crust.

The Nanana Split!!

.. and the customary close-up with shallow DOF

The party started off dull, till the Mad Dog arrived to blow our brains out.

This post was brought to you by the letters N, A, and by the technique of Born-Open_Hernia Approximation.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Pan Grilled Salmon

Did the pan grilled fish dish again, this time with salmon.

Exactly the same recipe and technique, except that salmon takes slightly longer to grill. Since it was more like a block of fish rather than a slice, I had to work patiently on all 4 sides.

Oh, I also added some chopped garlic and spring onions into the sauce to introduce more colour and aroma.

Very happy with the outcome. Nice golden brown on all sides. Crispy surface with soft juicy interior.

Salmon is definitely a much better candidate for this recipe compared to cod.

Friday, March 03, 2006

New Element Discovered - Governmentium

Discovery of a New Element

A major research institution has recently announced the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element has been named "Governmentium". Governmentium has one neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 224 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of particles called peons. Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of Governmentium causes one reaction to take over four days to complete, when it would normally take less than a second.

Governmentium has a normal half-life of 4 years; it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes. This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as "Critical Morass."

When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium - an element which radiates just as much energy as the Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.

Disclaimer: I did not write the above passage, and would love to give credit to the original author if only I knew who it was. I received it in my mailbox, had a good laugh, and decided to share it.

Some of you might have already have seen some of the many variants of it scattered around the Internet.

Heavy snow today

"Walk a mile on frozen ground, and stop laughing you will at the penguin's walk."
~ me, 2006

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Salmon Curry

Got some salmon for a similar deal as the cod - cheap, but of cook-asap-or-else freshness.

I bought quite a lot too, almost half kilo. Best way to cook in bulk? curry loh..

A straight-forward dish - brahims fish curry mix, salmon, tomatoes, brinjals. Wanted to add some Lady's fingers too, but couldn't find.

As a side note, why all the 'curry'able veges all got so many names one???
* brinjal = eggplant = Aubergine = Garden Egg = Mad apple = berenjena = egg apple = patlican = melongene = melanzane = Guinea squash
* Lady's Finger = Okra = gumbo

Good thing about curry, it keeps long, and tastes better after a few days. In too many words than necessary, you end up with curry that has more fish taste, and fish that has more curry taste.

Been surviving on this dish for a couple of days now.

Great when eaten with just plain rice.

Even better when eaten with egg fried rice, and some vege side dishes.

The flat round pieces at the far end of the plate is deep fried cucumber a.k.a zuchini. Picked that recipe up from a friend. Amazingly simple. Just slice up some cucumbers, wipe them dry, coat with plain flour, and deep fry.

Supposedly, that method works for brinjals too, but only the asian variety. The american or italians ones are sponge-like and can cannot be deep fried straight or it will soak up all the oil like, well, a sponge.

The spongy versions need special treatment before cooking, something I learnt from one of the older Alton Brown's Good Eats episodes.

Will include on my future posts, if I don't screw it up. ;)