Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Happy Chinese Valentines! ♥ Double Seven (Qi Xi) Valentine

i am so so sorry. this post is 2 days late.

The chinese valentine's day falls on the 7th day of the 7th month on the chinese lunar calendar, hence the term qi xi (double seven). This special occasion relates to a beautiful and romantic legend about the forbidden love of Niu Lang (an orphaned cowherd, literary means ox boy) and Zhi Nuu (the 7th daughter of the Emperor of Heaven, literary means weaving maiden after her talent in weaving). The Emperor was not happy to see his youngest daughter in love with a worthless cowherd so he cruelly separated the two by forcing Zhi Nuu to move to the star Vega and Niu Lang to the star Altair.

The are only allowed to meet once a year on the 7th day of 7th lunar month. I find this fact particularly strange. Not entirely sure why they were allowed to meet once a year. Anyway, on this day each year, the gap between star Vega and star Altair is diminished by magpies lining up the sky thereby forming the milky way.

It is said that the Chinese Valentines is usually a rainy day from the happy yet sorrowful tears of Niu Lang and Zhi Nuu when they finally reunite but not for long...

Legend from: http://www.chinesefortunecalendar.com/77a.htm

The Chinese Valentine's falls on Aug 23 this year.
Oh, by the way, this also indicates that it is now the ghost month (the 7th month) in the lunar calendar. Just a word of precaution from the elders: do not stray on the street when it's late at night. *shiver*

foodies date: 23 August 2004
where: pinkcocoa's kitchen and ShinChan's kitchen

We dont actually celebrate the Chinese Valentine. But this year, a few friends in Taiwan reminded pinkcocoa about this important date. Ha! Just another reason to celebrate and eat more! ;-) To celebrate this special day and to be fair, ShinChan cooked up dinner (yes! Finally, I got my man in the kitchen not washing up but cooking!). Me? I was in charge of the dessert. I baked a cake.

♥ lovely dinner: kare raisu (curry rice)
ShinChan decided to cook up one of his best dishes: kare raisu (Japanese curry rice). It was yummy though ShinChan complained that the curry is a little too mild.

In the kare raisu were:
chicken thigh, diced
potato, diced
onion, sliced
carrots, diced

Serving together with the rice dish was a Japanese yogurt drink that is specially formulated to go perfectly with curry (Said so on the pack). I think it is called "miruku yoku" (milk yogurt drink). It comes in sachet. Simply add ice and 150ml milk to the syrup from the sachet then stir and it's done! Easy as that.

The drink is creamy with a lemony, acidic flavour. Very refreshing and kinda appetizing.

♥ Valentine's Pound Cake
I have been wanting to try making pound cake for a while now but I have been super lazy. Guess the special day just gave me enough motivation to get into the kitchen and messed with some flour and eggs and milk and butter. Oh hm, this is a low-fat pound cake by the way.

The recipe originally comes from Alice Medrich's Chocolate and the Art of Low Fat Dessert. Thanks to Renee who kindly post up the recipe for everyone to share. By now, you should have noticed I like to use Renee's recipe? She has really great yummy and easy to follow recipes;-)

I baked my cake in a 23cm springform pan. It took about 40min at 160c. We could smell the vanilla aroma from the oven long before the cake was cooked!

♥ low fat buttermilk pound cake
My cake didnt rise evenly. *sigh* I wonder what I did wrong. One side of the cake was higher than the other. It might be me fiddling with the cake for a bit before putting it into the oven. I wanted a flat top so i decided to make a trench in the centre of the cake batter. Maybe i overdid my scrapping or did it unevenly without knowing so.

Luckily, the uneven rise didnt affect the tenderness and texture of the cake. The crust is crunchy. Just the way I like it. Dont really know how to decorate the cake so I came up with the simplest solution. Use Nutella. *yum*

pinkcocoa: is the cake nice?
ShinChan: ya
*chomp *chomp *chomp
pinkcocoa: you like it?
ShinChan: ya
*chomp *chomp *chomp
pinkcocoa: so....would you believe it if i tell you this cake is low fat?
ShinChan: what? low-fat? no way!
pinkcocoa: it is really low fat. only 75g butter!
ShinChan: no way. i dont believe.
pinkcocoa: ......
ShinChan: .......
ShinChan: can i have more please?

♥ Slowly the cake diminishes
Ihad about half a slice, mainly the crust. ShinChan had about 2.5slices. He kept eating and wanting more and more after he was told the cake was low fat.

It was 1am in the morning when he asked for another slice and said 'it was low fat right?'
Continue Reading Happy Chinese Valentines! ♥ Double Seven (Qi Xi) Valentine


Monday, August 23, 2004

Joy of Baking
{adventure#04} Blueberry Muffin

I know. I know. I am so obsessed with making muffin these days. Baking muffin has turned into a weekly baking ritual now. Lucky I have someone to gobber all the muffins down. Or else my waistline....urgh Nightmare!

♥ foodies date: 21 August 2004
♥ where: pinkcocoa's kitchen

♥ donna hay's blueberry muffin

my last 2 muffin projects (see here and here) had very different result. The apple cinammon muffin was moist and cake-like while the choco-alcoholic muffin was yummy (because of the rum) but a tad too dry. I have been using the creaming method ie. making the muffin the way as you would make a cake. I am starting to wonder if the muffin method would have a different result and perhaps help solve my muffin problems.

I hesitated in using the muffin method because in the past, I had produced some very floury and probably undercooked muffins using the muffin method. When people's never fail recipe falls into my hand, they just turn into some inedible sorta mess. *sigh*

Anyway I needed a change in my muffin making skill so I took out my Donna Hay's modern classic 2 cookbook. Her blueberry muffin (using the muffin method) looks really good.

blueberry muffin
from donna hay's modern classic 2
270g plain (all-purpose) flour*
2tsp baking powder
170g caster (superfine) sugar
250g sour cream**
2 eggs
1tsp finely grated lemon rind***
1/3cup (2.5 fl oz) vegetable oil (i used canola oil)
1&1/4cups fresh or frozen blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 180c (350f). grease a 6 x 1 cup capacity non-stick muffin tins. (I used canola oil spray)
2. Whisk flour and baking powder together and sift into a bowl. (I sifted twice). Add sugar and stir to combine.
3. Place sour cream, eggs, lemon rind and oil in a bowl and whisk until smooth.
4. Using a spatula or metal spoon, stir the sour cream mixture through the flour and sugar mixture until just combined. You should have a very crumbly mixture.
Do not
attempt to mix until it appears smooth and glossy. Dont worry about the crumbly texture. the crumbs will disappear as the sugar in the muffin melts in the cooking process. (see tip below)
5. Sprinkle over blueberries and stir once. Spoon mixture into muffin tins until two-thirds full.
6. Bake for 35min or until cooked when an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Tip from donna hay
For tender muffins that rise well, stir the mixture evenly nd only until just combined. Do not overwork the mixture.
If bake in a 12 x 1/2 cup muffin tins, reduce the cooking time to 12min.

* i used wholemeal plain flour. a good way to add extra fibre to the diet perhaps?
** i used lite sour cream. i am not sure if this is going to have a different result if i used full-fat sour cream. i am trying to cut down the fat content.
*** didnt have lemon at home so i omitted this and added 1tsp cinammon powder in step2. alternately you can add vanilla extract in step3.

♥ the very crumbly looking muffin mixture.
I was actually very tempted to smooth out the mixture. Took a hell lot of a great will to stop myself from over-mixing. Dont want to have another bad-tasting muffin again.

♥ puffy blueberry muffin
Just out from the oven! I tested the muffin with the skewer. It was clean and the muffins sprung back immediately on pressing. Guess it's done!

The verdict
The muffin is very soft and moist. The sour cream sure did a very good job in adding moisture. It's a little too moist though and did have a bit of floury taste. Argh. I dont like floury taste.

The over-moist bit i reckon I can overcome by subsitituing the sour cream with either milk or buttermilk (for richer flavour). I would imagine using pouring cream produces a very moist muffin too.

I think i like my creaming method method better. It produces a silkier texture though I still have to overcome the dry texture barrier. Okie, it's back to the creaming method. This time I am searching for a low-fat recipe!
Continue Reading Joy of Baking
{adventure#04} Blueberry Muffin


Sunday, August 22, 2004

Joy of Baking
{adventure#03}Chocolate Snow Ball

I have been missing a few home food lately. The Brunei delicacy that I miss most is a sweet round and white floury ball usually coated with icing sugar or caster sugar called kuih mur (or kuih makmur).

Kuih mur is more of an east malaysia/brunei delicacies. I havent seen it in West Malaysia nor in Singapore. It is a Chinese new year or Hari Raya (Muslim's new year) yummies. If you go around visiting during the new year period (both chinese and malay), kuih mur is one sweets that is seen on every single household's table.

It really is a type of cookies that has a buttery melt-in-your-mouth texture. It's incredibly sweet too but let me assure you, it is certainly very very more-ish. I havent had any pictures of kuih mur but check out Jo Deli's Bakery for a recipe of kuih mur.

I really would love to get my hands on kueh mur but I lack a few ingredients at home. Then i stumbled upon leilako's ko kitchen and found a recipe of chocolate snowball. she described this cookie has a 'ru kou ji san' (spread-in-your-mouth texture). The description seems very similar to kuih mur plus the ingredients are all on hands. So yup, chocolate snowball it is to soothe my homesick tongue.

♥ foodies date: 21 August 2004
♥ where: pinkcocoa's kitchen

♥ chocolate snow ball
*ho ho ho*
*merry christmas*
Somehow the chocolate snowball has a very Christmasy image to me. And the fact that it is called "snowball" only makes it more of a christmas goodies.

Chocolate Snow Ball
75g cake flour
10g unsweetened cocoa powder*
35g chopped walnuts (roast @ 130c for 30min then chopped to tiny bits)**
65g unsalted butter, softened
25g icing sugar* (snow sugar)
icing sugar, extra for sprinkling

make sure everything is at room temperature.

1. Whisk together cake flour and cocoa powder. Make sure the cocoa powder is well distributed into the cake flour. Sift together. Set aside.
2. In a mixing bowl, whisk butter and icing sugar until it is a little pale, but not too fluffy.
3. Mix in chopped walnuts
4. Sift in the cake flour and cocoa powder into the butter mixture. Mix until it resembles a soft dough.
5. Place the dough on a sheet of cling wrap and roll to 1 inch thick. Leave it in the fridge for an hour.
6. Preheat oven to 180c. Line baking tray with greaseproof baking paper.
7. Bring dough to room temperature (about 5min). Using a knife, divide the dough into bite size piece. Roll using hand each portion of the dough into rounds of about 1.5cm***
8. Place on tray at 3cm interval and bake for about 15-18minutes, depending on size.
9. Generously sprinkle icing sugar over hot cookies. To coat the bottom, simply shift each cookie to its right or left onto an empty space where there's icing sugar sprinkle. Make sure the sugar is sprinkled on when the cookie is hot, otherwise the sugar might not stick to the cookie once the cookie has cooled down.

Makes 29 snowballs
i manage 25 bite-size snowballs without the walnut.

*this recipe is highly adaptable using different ingredients. try using coffee powder or even mocha powder for a different taste.
** i omitted the walnut since i have none on hand plus i dont really enjoy nuts. i think other sort of nuts or even dried fruits would be nice too.
*** shorten the cooking time to 13-15min if you flatten the cookie a little.

♥ ready for some sprinkling action
As usual, i twitched the recipe a little. I rolled the dough into cylindricals instead of rounds then flatten the dough using a fork. i am treating the dough like gnocchi. :p i was hoping the trench could pick up more icing sugar and it did! it also gives the cookie a nice shape. at least it is more interesting than the normal rounds.

on my last few cookie dough, i flatten them out into very thin and large pieces, like making a dumlping wrapper. into the centre, i placed a rum-soaked raisin and wrap the raisin up. ta-da! rum and raisin chocolate snowball!

the dough is very delicate. i find the warmth from my hand was enough to melt the dough. the situation tends to get a little sticky once the dough returns back to room temperature. if this happens, chuck the dough back into the fridge for a few minutes and then continue to work with it. what i did was i cut the dough into half and chuck one-half back into the fridge, working with only one-half. once the first half was in the oven, i continue with the second hand.

♥ sprinkling fun!
as a chocoholic, i would never pass by a chance for me to consume more chocolate so out came chocolate drinking powder (from haigh's too!).
top to bottom:
normal icing sugar
chocolate drinking powder
cinammon icing sugar

chocolate and cinammon has always been an interesting combination. i think i am in love with cinammon at the moment. i have been adding it to almost all my baking projects! this time i mix in about 1/4 tsp of cinammon into a large tbsp of icing sugar. the result was an icing sugar with a very slight taste of cinammon.

♥ cooling and more sprinkling or snowing!
i did have a little bit of problem with the icing sugar. the recipe actually calls for icing sugar that is damp-resistance. i havent heard of this type of icing sugar. not sure about the correct term for this type of icing sugar too. anyway the icing sugar actually melts on the heat of the cookie so i had to keep sprinkling and sprinkling on more and more icing sugar. i can see my weigh piling up more and more too!

♥ eat me! eat me!
the verdict:
the snowball in fact does have a spread-in-your-mouth consistency. they taste very nice. the ball without the snow is bittersweet. the addition of icing sugar balances out the bitterness.

after trying out the three different sprinkles, i quite like the normal snowball. the chocolate powder snowball was alright, not very sweet. this is the one to go if you are after a not-so-sweet chocolatey taste. the cinammon didnt have too much interaction with the snowball. as with the rum and raisin chocolate snowball, the comment was that there wasnt enough raisin inside!

unfortunately it doesnt resemble my much-loved kueh mur. but then again it presses on the idea of a chocolate kueh mur. *yum yum* i can see this recipe is a keeper. i would imagine it makes a very good present on special ocassions too!
Continue Reading Joy of Baking
{adventure#03}Chocolate Snow Ball


Friday, August 20, 2004

Steaming the night away: Part 2

Winter is almost over and yet we havent managed a decent steamboat or hotpot together. A get-together was much talked about over the past few months but nothing has been done. To cater for everyone's request, it was decided that steamboat might just do the job with minimal effort needed by the hostee.

Just in case you were wondering, the requests on get-together were:
- cheap
- somewhere nice and comfy
- somewhere where we could chat long time
- yummy food

♥ foodies date: 07 August 2004
♥ where: k's place, st leonards

We had clear broth pot and kimchee pot last time. So we wanted something different. This time, we had only one pot since we only had 7 people attending and that we all can fit snugly at the dining table.

At first we were thinking of doing a tom-yum broth but that, we did it a long time ago.
3 girls scratched scratched scatched their heads.
Nothing inventive came out.
Brain cells and creativiness were down.
Oh well. Let's go shopping and we shall see.

So shopping it was we went (right after yumcha at fookyuen). We discovered satay broth from the Campbell Soup Swanson broth range! It's specially for hotpot too. We have never tried a satay hotpot before so satay steamboat it is this time. Now, shopping is really therapeutic. *grin*

We used one whole pack (1 litre) of the satay broth in our first pot. It said on the pack that the broth can be used straight from the pack without diluting. We found the broth a tad too thick so we decided to dilute it in a 1:1 ratio with water. We were worried that the thick broth might be just a tad too thick as a hot pot broth and could have an adverse effect on our appetite. If we had 2 pots, then we might have used the broth without diluting.

♥ Warming up the broth
Notice how the broth has a creamy caramel colour. Some veggies were chopped up and added into the satay broth. Bring it to a boil on the stovetop and let simmer until all veggies are soft and tender. This is done before serving it on the table. By doing so, the sweetness from the veggies are able to dissolved into the broth.

In the pot were:
chinese cabbage (tian jin bai cai)
Dried chinese mushroom (soaked before use)

♥ cute chinese cabbage
I can't help but to show you how cute the chinese cabbage we bought. It was so cute that we didnt want to 'kill it'. But alas, our hunger won over our sympathy so the chinese cabbage was granted a new life in our hotpot.

♥ chinese pork and cabbage dumpling
In fact, the cabbage ended up with 2 new life. One bathing in the satay broth, the other one in the form of chinese dumpling. There was simply too much cabbage leftover, so we decided to make pork and cabbage dumpling.

On the left was the pork mixture before adding in the cabbage.
On the right was freshly made dumpling. You can plonk them into the hotpot too to warm it up a bit but we just ate it as it is. We also had another plate of pan-fried dumpling. No pic here. I was too busy eating to snap pics.Tthe plate of pan-fried dumpling was snatched up really fast and we all reckon it tasted a lot better than just its normal boiled peers.

One of the best thing about having hotpot is the amount of time needed in preparation. We only started preparing about half an hour before dinner. Off we went chop, chop, chop. Cut, cut, cut. It was simply a matter of washing up veggies, slicing and chopping them. With the ready-made food, simply took them out from their plastic packages and arranged them nicely on plates!

♥ hotpot ingredients #1
Clockwise from top:
Tofu-fish ball (dou fu yu)
Cuttlefish ball (met yu yun)
Sliced zucchini
Baby corns
Canned bamboo shoots

♥ hotpot ingredients #2
Clockwise from left:
Deep-fried beancurd (dou fu pok)
Mushrooms of all kinds: oyster, enoki and button
Fresh silky beancurd

♥ hotpot ingredients #3
White: fish dumlping (laurel brand)
Yellow: egg dumpling (laurel brand)
Red: seafood stick
Orange (top left corner): chinese fish cake

Of course, we also have very thinly sliced meat. The beef is a must-have at all steamboat. The chicken was there because one of us dont take beef. We skipped pork and lamb this time. We would love to have seafood in our steamboat but our theme this time is a low-cost get-together. So seafood was out.

♥ Satay hotpot
When everyone has arrived, we plonk the pot onto our electronic burner.
Chuck what you want to eat.
Wait until the pot starts boiling.
Then dig in!

Another good thing about steamboat is you are able to pick what you like and want to eat and just cook them.

The satay broth didnt have much of a satay taste. We must have diluted it too much. So we added another half a pack of satay broth, undiluted, half way into our pot. The soup turned thicker yet the satay taste was not very distinct. We were slightly disappointed but this did not dampen our spirit to enjoy the steamboat. Afterall, this is an occasion for everyone to meet and be merry! Let's not ruin it with something this tiny.

The steamboat was followed by yummy dessert: bubur cha-cha. it's a nyonya sweet delicacy of taro (yam) and sweet potato that has a thick coconut cream flavour. It's extremely easy to make. While shopping we discovered ayam brand coconut milk now comes in pandan flavour! wow. That saves us the time to go hunt for pandan leaves.

The dinner bill came up to $8.60 inclusive of everything from drinks to desserts. not to mention We had a large pot remaining and half a pack of meat not finished. So i guess it's not too bad.
Continue Reading Steaming the night away: Part 2


Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Joy of Baking
{adventure#02} Triple Chocolate Rum and Raisin Muffin

Yet another muffin project. The rum and raisin bit is done according to ShinChan's demand after sighting a rum and raisin muffin ad

♥ foodies date: 13 August 2004 (friday the thirteen!)
♥ where: pinkcocoa's kitchen

This muffin was a choco-alcho-holic delight. The 'choco' bit to satisfy pinkcocoa the chocoholic. As with the 'alcho' bit...I will leave that to your judgement. *grin*

Let's have a look at the ingredients I used:

♥ bacardi rum and classic chocolate milk
I think i am supposed to use dark rum. Oh well. Who cares. Anything in the pantry would do. To make the muffin more chocolatey, I decided to use chocolate milk instead of the normal plain milk.

♥ rum-soaked raisins
Sorry for the out of focus here. Still a long way to go on mastering the skill of food photograhy. Initially i only planned to soak the raisin overnight but the muffin project was pushed backwards. So the raisin ended soaking in the rum for 5days. They were very plump and juicy. We actually used the left over as topping on ice-cream. *yum*

Chocolate bits

♥ chopped cadbury dark rum and raisin chocolate
Half a family-size block of cadbury dark rum and raisin chocolate was added into the muffin mix. At first, I chopped and added about a quarter of the block but they seemed to dissappear into the mixture so I decided to add in more and more and more. I chopped more and more and more until I used up half a block (which really is the remnants of my chocoholic pigging out the night before)

Triple chocolate:
1. chocolate milk
2. chopped chocolate bits
3. cocoa powder (i added 2 heaped tablespoonful)

rum and raisin:
1. rum soaked raisins
2. rum (about 3-4 tablespoon of rum)

I have also reduced the sugar to half of the original quantity.
Creaming method was used.

♥ just out from the oven
Phew~ I was worried the muffin might not rise. Luckily, they did and completed with several beautiful cracks on the muffin.

♥ triple chocolate rum and raisin muffin
I was a little disappointed to find the muffin without a very heavy rum aroma. ShinChan reassured that he could smell the rum but somehow I couldnt smell it.

First bite into the muffin, ShinChan said the muffin wasn't very rum-my. It wasnt until he got to the raisin bits. It was overly full of rum. After one muffin, he smelt like an alcoholic. Unfortunately, the muffin is on the dry side. I wonder if it has to do with the sugar that I omitted. More room for improvement i guess. I have to find the perfect pinkcocoa muffin mix!

One extra note: We heated the muffin up for supper and it tasted better than eating it cold. we served it with leftover creme anglaise from Simmone Logue. Yummilicious!
Continue Reading Joy of Baking
{adventure#02} Triple Chocolate Rum and Raisin Muffin


Monday, August 16, 2004

Washing it down with a cup of Tea
{ fook yuen yumcha }

Weekly or even daily yumcha must be a Cantonese/Hong Kong thingie. Back home, a usual sunday would normally start with a long yumcha with a couple of family friends. When I said long, it was a real long yumcha. I remembered going to the restaurant at about 10-ish and leaving at around 3-ish!

'YumCha' is a cantonese term. It literary means 'to drink (yum) tea (cha)'. Of course, it doesnt take after its literary meaning and is more than just drinking tea. Traditionally yumcha is to be consumed early in the morning at the cha lau (tea-house). You sit down with a good pot of chinese tea, order a few nice dimsum dishes when the dimsum carts stroll by, read newspaper and chat to friends and families.

The first time i had yumcha in Sydney, i was pretty much impressed by its large portion. The portion is at least twice as big as those back home. But everything is in proportion. The price has at least doubled too. As much as i would love to go for weekly yumcha, my meager student allowances sadly do not approve of such indulgence.

♥ foodies date: 07 August 2004
♥ where:fook yuen, chatswood

This is probably my second (or third) yumcha of the year. Been on a yumcha crave for a long time. *Someone* had promised to bring me yumcha but never did. Alas, I had to arrange for a yumcha myself.

Everyone was put off by the thought of long queue outside the restaurant and the funny murmur of ticket-number calling for your table (think Dragonstar aka Kamfook in Chinatown). So this time we ventured out of the usual yumcha spot in Chinatown and headed north to the much recommended fook yuen in chatswood.

♥ first round of dimsum!
Front row (l-r)
Siu mai (pork dumpling)
Fung Jao (literary means phoenix feet) - it really is steamed chicken feet in black bean sauce

Back row (l-r)

Yong ai gua (stuffed eggplant)
Har gow

♥ Har gow - prawns dumlping
This is one of the staple dimsum at every table. Not much of a prawn fan, I always wonder about the magic of prawn dumpling. This also reminds me of my dearest friend, C (now back in malaysia) who would order prawn anything dimsum.

♥ Gao Choy Gow - Chives dumlping
I like this much better than prawn dumpling.

Jin cheong fen - pan-fried steamed rice-noodle roll
Sorry for the funny english name I have come up with. How can it be panfried and steamed at the same time? It's a double cooked dish. In fact, many chinese delicacies have been double cooked but it can be hard to tell. The rice-noodle roll is steamed until it's cooked. Then pan-fried with lots of oil until it's brown and golden on both side. Served with peanut sauce and hoisin sauce, the best bit is the crunchy almost charred bits.

Har Cheong Fun - prawn steamed rice-noodle roll
The steamed rice-noodle roll is the same of the pan-fried one. Instead of rolling the rice-noodle sheets up into bundles and then pan-fried, prawns are rolled in as fillings and this dish is once again steamed until the prawns are cooked. other fillings include char siew (bbq pork), beef.

Avery special steamed rice-noodle roll and also one of my favourite is 'zar leong'. It's yao-zar-guai (chinese deepfried cruller, the name means 'oil fried ghost') rolled with rice-noodle sheets.

zar wonton - deep fried wonton
Served with a red sweet and sour sauce (not in pic). I used to like it as a kid. It's absolutely yummy with mayonnaise. The yumcha restaurant back home serves this with mayo. now i wonder if it's the mayo that I am in love with or the wonton...

char siew sou - bbq pork pastry
Another of my favourite but highly fattening!

sha yong - chinese donut
'Sha yong' means sand-man. I am not sure of the story behind it. i guess the 'dan' has to do with the sugar sprinkle on top. sugar (sha tang) rhymes with sand (sha) in chinese. it is made with flour and eggs, and then deep fried. the white bits on top is caster sugar. it's the white bits that lured us into ordering this dish. it has a very egg-y taste. you got to eat this when it's still warm, else you would be eating a bread soaked in oil!

Hong Dao Ye Zhap Gow - red bean coconut jelly
One description: plastic-like.

This is the only dessert dish we ordered apart from the chinese donut. Usually we would have ordered the mango pudding but we didnt this time after learning that one mango pudding cost $6.50! Oh dear. $2 more expensive than its peer: Kamfook.

Food isn't bad at fook yuen. Service was okay. At least no rude waitresses. It's a lot more spacious and a lot brighter (thanks to the large clear-glass panels). But i do have some doubt about their dimsum cart waitresses. Some muttered the dishes rather quickly, some seemed shy and dishes were announced in very soft tone. Definitely not helping in a very noisy environment. And some couldnt even pronounced the dishes in Cantonese properly. We had to take a guess at what she was trying to tell us.

To tell the truth, I do find fook yuen food a little ordinary. Would it be because we haven't actually come across their specialties? hmmm..It's something to wonder about. The price is no cheaper either. It cost us about $15pp (no drinks, no special dishes). There are still many dimsum that we didnt get to try out. Maybe next time or perhaps we should venture out to search for another yumcha place? *hint hint*

fook yuen
level 1, 7 help street, chatswood
ph: (02) 9413 2688
Continue Reading Washing it down with a cup of Tea
{ fook yuen yumcha }


Thursday, August 12, 2004

More Bento

Continuing from my last post on bbq pork bento, this fourth bento has nothing to do with bbq pork. I had some leftover lean pork sitting in the fridge and so i decided to do a different bento.

♥ foodies date: 08 August 2004
♥ where: pinkcocoa's kitchen

7hearts; Shredded Pork in Peking Sauce Bento
In the bento were:
Shredded pork in peking sauce
Stir fried string beans
Corn omelette
Good old rice

I am not sure whether this is a truly pekingese dish. I merely did a direct translation from the chinese name of the dish 'jing jiang rou si' (peking sauce pork shreds). This is a quick and easy chinese dish, perhaps more towards a taiwanese taste.

This dish is served on shredded shallots originally and mix together with the cooked pork on the table before you eat. I didnt have shallots on hand so i omitted the shredded shallots.

Shredded Pork in Peking Sauce
300g lean pork, cut into shreds
onion, julienne*
carrot, julienne*

1tsp rice wine
1tsp soy sauce
1tsp corn flour
1/2 tsp sugar
few drops of sesame oil

Peking Sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1tbsp water
2tbsp sweet bean sauce (tian mian jiang)**
1tsp rice wine
1tsp sugar

To make:
1. Mix marinade and shredded pork together. Leave to macerate for 10 minutes. The best way to save time when cooking is to marinade the meat first, then go on and do your other bits in the kitchen eg. wash and cut up veggies etc. Mix together all ingredients under Peking Sauce.
2. Heat oil in pan on high. Stir fry onion and carrot until soft.
3. Add pork and stir fry until white all over.
4. Add Peking sauce ingredients all at once. Let simmer for a while until the pork is cooked through and sauce is well coated on the meat.
5. Serve on bed of shredded shallots. Mix together before eat.

*The original recipes didnt call for onion and carrots. I reckon adding a little veggies help to balance out the dish a bit so i added just a quarter of an onion and about one third of a small carrot. you can add as much as you like, as long as the vegetables do not become the main ingredients. any types of vegetables would be fine.
**Sweet bean sauce tastes very much like hoisin sauce except that hoisin sauce is milder in taste. this sauce is very widely used in taiwanese cooking as marinade or even as a dip condiments.

I believe that good looking and well-presented food helps to stimulate appetite. Unfortunately, i still have not mastered the skill of beautiful bento presentation as observed at bento moblog. The only thing i could do is to make the bento as colourful as I can while making sure the diet is a balanced one.

While still on the topic of bento, a japanese bento is quite different from a chinese bento. 'Bento', translated as lunchbox in english is termed 'bian dang' in Taiwan. I take it to mean 'easy and convenient (bian) meal box (dang)'. In HongKong, such lunchbox is termed 'rice box' - 'fan hap'. In taiwan, school kids would usually bring to school a stainless steel lunchbox and hand it to the school kitchen before class. The school kitchen would then steam the lunchbox just before lunch break. Like so, kids are ensured a hot and yummy homemade lunch!

My understanding of a Japanese bento is that it's of the cold variety. Usually the bento is made in the morning on the day it is consumed. The taiwanese bento usually consists of food that is served the night before as dinner and reheated just before eating. At least, this is the way done in my family.

These days I am addicted to making bento. My dinner dishes are planned around bento, having to make sure the dishes will still taste as good after re-heating. Beef stew and Japanese curry are perfect for bento because they taste better after re-heating. Now, my next project: would it be curry? maybe not. Someone had *promised* to cook curry. ah-hem. It's been more than 2 weeks. *hint hint*

cute bento pics!

Continue Reading More Bento


Wednesday, August 11, 2004

the many faces of charsiew {bbq pork fried rice}

In response to popular demand, more chinese sweet bbq pork (charsiew) using Renee's recipe was made. The meat portion more than doubled (0.5kg to 1.4kg). Pork neck with lots of fatty bits was used this time. I found the shoulder meat I used last time was a little too dry. I wonder why the pork shoulder I bought is so different from the one Renee bought. Hers had a nice distribution of fats while mine was basically something like lean pork.

♥ be prepare for a meat feast!
The1.4kg pork neck ended as 3 large strips of delicious looking sweet bbq pork. 1.4kg of meat is a little too much for two especially when one is a half-vegan. Some leftover went into the freezer. It's going to come in handy at emergency point. The remaining leftover was transformed into bbq pork fried rice bento.

♥ foodies date: 08 Aug 2004
♥ where: pinkcocoa's kitchen

♥ bento frenzy in pinkcocoa's kitchen

Clockwise from front left:
Bbq pork fried rice with bbq pork slices and seasonal veggies
Bbq pork fried rice with corn-omelette
Mini version of the two larger bbq pork fried rice
Shredded pork in peking sauce bento.

I was a little obsessed this time with making bento. I ended making 3 bento for ShinChan. No, it doesnt mean he has to eat 3 in one go. The three were for his lunch, dinner and then lunch again. Got the idea? Making 3 bento isn't really much compared to my flatmate who cooked once a week and made 14 bento in one go: 2 for each day of the week.

♥ a very charsiew bento!

Charsiew Fried Rice
bbq pork, diced
beans, diced
carrots, diced
corn kernels
3 eggs, seasoned and beaten*
2 large bowls of cooked rice, preferably cold**

To make:
1. Stir frythe first four ingredients together until cooked.
2. Heat oil in another pan and stir fry rice until rice is heated up all over.
3. Flatten the rice evenly in the pan and pour egg mixture over the rice.
4. Quickly stir the rice. Keep stirring until the rice is coated evenly with eggs. Voila. You get golden rice!
5. Add in ingredients from step (1), and stir until mixed evenly.
6. Seasoned to taste with salt, and pepper if you like. I have also added a few teaspoonful of the charsiew marinade.

*I used 3 eggs which should result in some extra strands of eggs not coating the rice. use only 2 eggs or maybe less if you are after golden colour rice with no egg strands
**Sometimes the rice can get a little sticky or become 'unbreakable'. This can be oversome by sprinkling a little water over the rice in the middle of step 2.

♥ bento #2 - charsiew fried rice with corn kernels omelette
Using leftover corn kernels and eggs, a different looking bento was produced. There was a little surprise underneath the omelette

♥ my mini bento
Still had a little bits of leftover after filling up ShinChan's bento, so i decided to use the leftover to make a mini bento for myself. It's going to be great for lunch with k in the city.

I will post up the shredded pork in peking sauce bento recipe tomorrow. Right now I miss the charsiew friedrice. It was surprising chunky. More fried rice, anyone?
Continue Reading the many faces of charsiew {bbq pork fried rice}


Tuesday, August 10, 2004


I jumped at the chance to watch Tetsuya at a cooking demo in David Jones on reading about his appearance in smh good living. I mean who could resist the thought of sampling food that you would have to book at least 3 months in advance and pay $175per head for Tetsuya magical degustation menu? I wouldnt.

Diary out.
Penciled (or maybe stenciled!) in.

♥ foodies date: 05 August 2004
♥ where: david jones foodhall, sydney city

Tetsuya's cooking demo was to start at 5.30pm on the thursday night. In a mere 1.5hour time, Tetsuya played magic and transformed simple food into luxurious dishes!

I got to DJ at a little past 5, and the place was already filled! I couldnt even see the cooking stage. Aiks. Should have got there earlier after all this is tetsuya i am talking about here. *shucks* After much walking and patrolling the demo area, I decided to slot into one of the tiny space on the far right corner. Still couldnt see tetsuya cooking but near enough for me to hold my camera up high to capture him. *grin*

♥ crowding around tetsuya
And lucky lucky pinkcocoa.
The couple in front decided to leave half way and pinkcocoa instantly snapped a spot on the frontline! *yipee*

What's more, pinkcocoa happened to stand right in front of where Tetsuya's assistant, the gentleman in black suit who kindly and patiently placed tiny wooden tasting forks or toothpicks onto the dish and went around the crowd, offering the dish for taste. He was the one to answer a few of our queries too (for the group of us who stood near him) and ever so nicely stopped with Tetsuya's dishes for us to snap photos!

Now, let pinkcocoa presents you with 9 magical dishes* from tetsuya:
*didnt manage to snap up some of the dishes. The food were gone in a jiffy even before i snapped out my camera. *shucks*

1. oyster with rice wine vinegar dressing

♥ oyster tasting plate - before dressing
Right there you could see tetsuya's assisting chef's hand assmebling the oyster tasting plate. There were many rounds of these oysters going around but the spot where i stood weren't able to grab any. The lady next to me and I were crying out in pain every time we saw these plates being carried around.

♥ oyster with rice wine vinegar dressing and a sprinkle of finely chopped chives
Alas, the gentleman behind me said to me:
"Lady, you got to be tough and push your way round in this situation"
After which he extended his arm and grabbed me this oyster!
Thank you so very much!

The taste of fresh oyster and tangy dressing is just divine!
*crunch* The oyster is very crunchy! Blimey. My second encounter with oyster deemed at least 500% better than my first. If only this had been the first oyster I tried in my life........

2. Tuna carpaccio

♥ tuna carpaccio with rice wine vinegar + soy sauce dressing
This is blue fin tuna. If you are looking after oilier tuna, blue fin is the one to go for. The tuna is thinly sliced and carefully arranged on the plate. A dressing similar to that of the oyster with an extra splash of soy sauce added. Wasabi can also be added if desired. The greens are actually baby salad leaves. How cute!

3. Smoked trout and salmon roe sushi
My attempt to snap pic for this dish failed. The sushi was snatched out within seconds. A small amount of marinated salmon roe is placed on bite-size sushi rice and topped with a thin ribbon of smoked ocean trout. We were told smoked salmon would be fine too. In fact any type of thinly sliced stuff would do. So my guess is thinly sliced beef would be good too. *yummo*

4. Tuna nori-roll

yuzu-kosho tuna nori-roll
I am not sure of the exact name of this dish but I would call it something like tuna nori-roll or maybe yuzu-kosho nori tuna . Yuzu-kosho is a type of japanese citrus fruit pepper (green in colour). It is salty and a little peppery with a citrus tang attached.

My guess: yuzu in japanese is pomelo (of the grapefruit family) in chinese? I know we can buy yuzu-flavoured japanese dressing at Asian groceries. who cares? Must snatch and eat before gone!

5. seasonal green salad

♥ seasona green salad with tetsuya's salad dressing
A very simple dish. Put large bunch of mixed salad leaves into bowl. Drizzle over salad dressing and a little olice oil. Serve.

5. fennel and blood orange salad

♥ fennel and blood orange salad
Stack of thinly sliced wedge of lightly seasoned fennel alternate with blood orange segments in pool of blood orange juice and salad dressing & olive oil. Decorate with finely sliced/chopped parsley. In absence of blood orange season, beet or orange can be used instead.

6. veal tataki

♥ veal tataki with warm mushroom dressing
Very thinly sliced veal with warm chestnut mushroom dressing. This is so more-ish!

7. black truffle salsa butter

♥ black truffle salsa butter on bread
Butter made using tetsuya's black truffle salsa + parmesan cheese as you like. I managed to snatch an extra one for ShinChan (who couldnt get into the crowd at all or maybe didnt even try?)

8. Tetsuya's breakfast
9. Japanese style black truffle salsa pasta

♥ left: the pasta
♥ right: the breakfast
We managed to grab the last strip of fettucine off the plate! A very different pasta made using eggs as a thickening agent for a creamy effect.

♥ Tetsuya's breakfast
This is Tetsuya's style black truffle salsa scrambled eggs. 3 eggs for 1 serve. Heaps of cream and milk. What indulgence! (warning! warning! Those watching your waistline, please stir clear!)

♥ Luxurious breakfast
Bread slice with smoked ocean trout, rocket and black salsa truffle scrambled egg. I didnt get to sample the breakfast. I was far too busy describing tetsuya's magic to ShinChan. This pic was taken thanks to the girl who stood near me during the cooking demo. We oohhh and ahhhh together. She also told us that if you are an American Express card holder, you might have priority in the long queue. Her friend managed to grab a table in less than 1 week booking using the card and it was a saturday night too! Woah.

♥ Tetsuya
529 kent street, sydney
ph. (02) 9267 2900
fax (02) 9262 7099
dinner: tues-sat from 6.30pm

Continue Reading Tetsuya