Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sweet & Sour Garoupa

We were given a gigantic garoupa and were asked to cook it for our usual Sunday night dinner. When it comes to a fish, I am at my wits' end. The only fish I always cook is Tenggiri and preparation method is always frying after marinated it with chili powder and tumeric powder. By the way, that reminds me of a question niggling at the back of my mind. Does anyone know what Tenggiri is called in English? Ok, back to the garoupa. Hubby was entrusted with the task of thinking how to cook this expensive fish. He browsed the web for numerous recipes and finally decided on sweet & sour style, a recipe he got from He improvised the recipe and I'm posting his improvised recipe here. For the sauce part, I suggest you mix them all in and taste it first. Tweak the sauce ingredients to suit your taste. The dish was rated good by generally most of the gang but I reckon if it wasn't good, no one would dare to utter a word as well. But seriously, it tasted good and I'm not saying this because it was cooked by my hubby :D
Ingredients 600g to 700g garoupa fish, clean and make slanting slashes on both sides some cornstarch
1 egg beaten
1 green capsicum, cut into small square
1 red capsicum, cut into small square
1 small cucumber, cut into small square 1 onion, sliced thinly
2 tomatoes, quartered 1 tbsp ginger, sliced thinly 2 to 3 tbsp oil
1 stalk Chinese coriander, cut into 3cm-4cm lengths 1 red chilli, sliced thinly
Sauce (combine): 1/2 cup tomato sauce 1 tbsp chilli sauce 1 tbsp oyster sauce 1 tbsp lemon juice 2 to 3 tbsp water
1 tbsp sugar some salt Dash of pepper 1 tsp light soy sauce 1 tsp sesame oil
Pat fish in beaten egg and dredge in the cornstarch. Deep fry in hot oil until crispy and golden brown. Put on a serving platter.Fry onion and ginger in heated oil until fragrant. And in all the cut vegetables. Stir in sauce ingredients and mix well. Bring to a boil. Pour sauce over fish and garnish before serving.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Claypot Chicken Rice (without the claypot)

I decided to cook a supposedly hassle free dinner, a dish which I cooked before when I was in the varsity. It's Claypot Chicken Rice, minus the claypot. I substituted the claypot with rice cooker as it is easier to manage the rice this way. The recipe was derived from Rasa Malaysia but I added big onions and carrot because I wanna have some vege in it. I omitted quite a number of seasoning as well. The one regrettably missing ingredient in this dish is the salted fish which I erroneously thought I still have some leftover in my fridge. It would be smashing to have salted fish but I guess I'll just have to do without it this time. Ingredients : 2 cups rice 1 skinless chicken breast & 2 chicken drumsticks 5 inches ginger (peel the skin and chop into thin strips) 6 shitake mushrooms (soak in hot water for 30 minutes and cut into halves) 1 small piece salted fish (cut into small pieces) 2 Chinese sausage (sliced) – optional 2 stalks of spring onion 1 carrot (sliced) 1 big onions (sliced) Seasoning for chicken: 2 tablespoons oyster sauce 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil 1/4 teaspoon sugar 1 tablespoon Shaoxing cooking wine (or rice wine) Method: 1.Chop the chicken breast and chicken drumsticks into pieces. 2.Add the chicken seasoning and mix well. Marinate for an hour in the fridge. 3.Rinse and clean the rice in a rice cooker as if you are making steamed rice after the chicken is marinated for an hour. 4.Heat up a wok with some cooking oil. Add in the chicken and shitake mushrooms. 5.Quickly stir-fry the chicken until half-cooked. Dish out and set aside. 6.Deep fry the salted fish and set aside. 7.Add the chicken, big onions and carrot into the rice cooker when the rice is almost dry (about 7-8 minutes) and continue to cook till rice is completely cooked. 8.Leave the rice cooker on “Stay Warm” for 15 – 20 mintues before serving. 9.Top the chicken rice with fried salted fish and garnish with spring onion. Serve immediately.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Marble Butter Cake

A colleague in SG was asking me whether I have any recipes for butter cake. That reminded me of a marble butter cake which I haven't been baking for more than 2 years. So I took the recipe out and attempted it on Friday morning. It turned out slightly dry this time eventhough previously when I baked it, it was pretty moist, as in buttery and oily. I attribute that to the size of the eggs I used. However when I ate it the next morning (and I had the middle section of the cake), it wasn't as dry as the day before. Anyway, I'd still recommend this recipe which I got from the book "I love Buttercakes" by Kevin Chai. I had the cake for breakfast in office, cut a portion out for cousin Soo and took another small portion out for my colleagues. I wish I could have taken a nice snapshot of the cake but as it was baked in the lab, my usual photographer was not around to take over this task. So, I'll just have to settle with this pix then.

Ingredients: 200g butter
100g margarine
100g castor sugar
4 eggs
200g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
20g cocoa powder

1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp water

1. Grease and line a 20cm baking tin. Preheat oven to 180C.
2. Beat butter, margarine and sugar until light and fluffly. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition.
3. Fold in sifted flour and baking powder to form a batter. Reserve 200g batter mix with cocoa powder to form chocolate batter.
4. Spread batter alternately into prepared tin.
5. For garnishing, mix cocoa powder with water and 1 tbsp batter, mix well. Sprinkle on top of cake. Swirl mixture in circles with skewer. Bake for 40 minutes.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

How to deter cats in your territory

This is the last straw. The ultimatum came last night when the cat went one step further to shit on my porch, right in front of my front car tyre! The worst part is this is NOT my pet cat. In case none of you are aware, we have been bogged with the problem of cat's poops and cat's piss for a long long time. The cats, the culprits, belong to my neighbours (both left and right) as well as the uncountable stray cats loitering in the neighbourhood. Their favorite pooing place is none other than (1)our now shabby garden, thanks to the cats; (2)the cement slab near to my Balinese pond and (3)the shoe rack next to my main door to the house. Arrgh.. it is so frustrating to pick up someone else's pet's poops in your private vincinity and at the same time, have to endure the horrible stinking smell which lures humongous flies. No offence to the cat lovers here but try imagine you picking up your neighbour's cat's poops and smelling their piss almost everyweek and you'll then empthatize with my situation here.

Ok, so I'm popping out this question now. Does anyone know of any effective methods that could deter cat? So far, I've tried out the following economical methods:

1. pouring bleach on cement slab and wash it off
2. spray insecticide on previously peed and pooed area
3. spread some black pepper on affected areas
4. buy a few small pots of cactus with pricks and place them on the 'prone' areas

So, did any of the above method work? Answer : NO ! NO ! NOOOO !!!! Below are costly methods which according to my sources, are effective:

1. get the cat repellent "Silent Roar" (equally smelly)
2. setting up barb electrical fencing (and end up electrocuting myself)

I've read some really interesting articles on ways to exterminate cat without the neighbour suspecting it. Yes, I do fantasize on eradicating them. Bare hands strangling would be my best preferred method. But am I gonna be the next cat killer? Hell.. no way man!. I ain't no murderer. has 9 lives, remember?
Please post some comments here if you have any brilliant suggestion on cat detterent.

Penned by Rachel

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Linguine Vongole

I had spaghetti in my larder but the stubborn streak in me insisted on using linguine instead. So, I drove out to Cold Storage to get one packet of linguine. I’ve cooked linguine with clams and chili flakes before but it wasn’t that flavorful that time. So, this time, armed with some recipes I’ve browsed earlier on, I’m ready to try it out again. I’ve added Buna Shimeji mushroom because I do not want to eat just pasta and clams alone. Someone was perspiring all over the head and spitting fumes from his mouth after he finished a plate of it. I on the other hand, thought the chili flakes were just nice. The recipe I used was from foodnetwork. I didn’t sliver the garlic but had them chop instead (and chop heaps and heaps of it). And I didn’t follow the measurement. I just went along with what I think suit my tastebud but for the lemon juice, it’ll be wiser to either omit it or just pour a teaspoon will do. The basic ingredients are : Clams Dry white wine English Parsley Chili Flakes Ground black pepper Garlic Olive oil Butter Linguine Emm... pretty easy to get started, right?

Friday, April 9, 2010

How To Train Your Dragon & Clash of the Titans

Recently I had the chance to catch 2 movies which I had been very keen about when I first knew of their release date. I originally wanted to buy a 3D movie tix to the Disney movie “How to Train your Dragon” but I couldn’t accommodate to the screening time. So, I had to settle for the normal screening and I brought along my goddaughter to watch the animated show. I wasn’t in the least disappointed. The story is about a little boy, named Hiccup whose father is a Viking and also the head of a village. Hiccup is nothing like a Viking as he is clumsy and scrawny but when one day he had a chance to slay a trapped dragon, he just couldn’t bring himself to do it. He released the injured dragon which couldn’t fly due to a missing half tail. In the beginning, there was wariness and animosity coming from the dragon but gradually, both Hiccup and the dragon became buddies. And it is from here that Hiccup learnt the true nature of dragons and everything the Vikings knew about dragons were totally erroneous. If you like Disney animated shows, you’ll like this one. Not sure whether it’s still screening but go watch if you have the opportunity. I took a day off to watch Clash of the Titans all by myself the day after I watch the Dragon movie. Yea… kind of a marathon, I guess. Was munching my ever delicious crunchy caramel popcorn in the cool theater while waiting for the show to begin. Yes, I do know a wee bit about the 3 gods namely Zeus, Poseidon and Hades. There were many movies filmed on these 3 gods before (ie Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief) but what I like about the show is the visual effects and the actor, Sam Worthington (the Avatar dude, remember?). You definitely need to make a trip to the cinema for this show instead of settling it with a pirated dvd later on. Go , go go !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Penned by Rachel

Monday, April 5, 2010

Bittergourd Bihun Soup

Yes, I cooked tonight and yes again, I took a day off from work. I had such a relaxing day today BUT not entirely stress free because : (1) I did gardening early in the morning and my nostrils detected cat’s poo but I just couldn’t locate where the poo is ; (2) again my internet line failed me. I took off to Midvalley, watched a movie, had coffee in a wifi cafĂ©, then shopped for tonight’s homecook dinner : Bittergourd Bihun Soup. I hardly order a clear soup dish but I did that over the weekend. It tasted nice and so, I wanna try it out for dinner tonight. The stock was prepared with real anchovies with no added msg or stock cubes. Hubby commented that I've added too much of anchovy in the stock soup, hence a bit salty. Other than that, it was good. Well.. I thought more stock means good stuff…. Anyway, if you’ll like to try out this dish, here’s the recipe. Btw, I am leaving the measurements out. You just estimate it yourself in accordance to your taste and preference. Ingredients : 1. Marinated mince pork (salt, soy sauce and sesame oil) 2. Thin slices of bittergourd 3. Tomatoes, halved or quartered 4. Some wolfberries, soaked 5. Lettuce (I substituted with Xiao Bai Cai) 6. Big anchovies, to boil into stock 7. Some spring onions 8. Shallots 9. Organic Brown Rice Vermicelli (Bihun) – Soak in hot water, then drain Method : 1. Boil anchovies in a pot of water for 20 to 30 mins. Remove anchovies from stock. 2. Heat oil, fry shallots till golden brown and add in the prepared stock. 3. Add in the wolfberries and bitterguord. 4. When soup is about to boil, shape mince pork into ball shape and add it in. When done, stir the soup. 5. Once again when soup boils, add in soften vermicelli, then the lettuce & tomatoes. 6. Stir for 1 – 2 mins and turn off fire. Sprinkle the soup with chopped spring onions and serve it with slices of red chilis.