Monday, February 28, 2005

Claypot Chicken Rice ala Spots Style

So there I was in front of my computer, my eyes dazzling and my mind oozing over the many colourful and attractive (food) pornographic photos. It was friday night and I was musing over whether we should head out for dinner or stay in for dinner. I was in fact very much in my "dont-want-to-do-anything-yet-I-feel-I-should-do-something" mood. You know that guilty feeling that haunts you when you are not doing anything?

Now, there were photos that tempted me to head out and then there were also photos that were tempting me to stay home and get myself busy in the kitchen. The weight of guilt on my shoulder became heavier and heavier. A decision has to be made. Soon. Before we had to resort to eating fast food.

In the end, we stayed in after the health-freak inside me kindly reminded me the horrible fast food dinner we had last night and had a wonderful nolstagic meal at home all thanks to the super easy Claypot Chicken Rice recipes from my little cyberspot.

I had been wanting to try out the claypot chicken rice recipe ever since I first spotted it. But our kitchen pantry and fridge had been in a poor state for a while. We did not have the three main ingredients at all: lap cheong (chinese preserved sausage) , chicken (or as a matter of fact, meat of any kind. No seafood either) and chinese dried mushroom. That's why we jumped at the chance to stock up on our Asian pantry when we saw many Asian supermarkets were having 10% sales off everything. I even got myself a pack of Japanese rice mochi (A$9)!

♥ tabeshimashita @ pinkcocoa's kitchen on 25 Feb 2005
Claypot Chicken Rice
♥ Claypot Chicken Rice
Traditionally claypot chicken rice is of course cooked in a claypot (duh!). We do not own a claypot. In fact, our kitchen still lacks a lot of kitchen tools and utensils. Credits given to the super tiny storage space we have in the tiny kitchen of our tiny apartment. *sigh*

I was (still am) very delighted to see a rice cooker version for claypot chicken rice. The one-pot dish is prepared in a couple of very simple (and dummy-proof) steps:

1. Chop and marinate meat
2. Wash Rice. Cook rice in rice cooker.
3. While waiting for rice to cook, slice lapcheong etc.
4. Five minutes before rice finish cooking, chuck everything inside the rice cooker.
5. Wait 15 minutes and dinner is ready.

Definitely one of the best recipes for students abroad! *yay* You rock, spots!

♥ Variations I made:
* I used my Taiwanese Tatung electric cooker instead of the usual steam rice cooker. It allows for indirect heating so I actually let my rice cooked double the normal time by placing more water than usual on the outer pot. With this, we managed to get tiny bits of crunchy charred bits sticking to my stainless steel pot. Absolutely wonderful.
** I added a handful of dried shrimps to the rice before cooking.
*** No lettuce so I added some other greens. When the rice was done, I chuck in some snow peas and carrots into the cooker and let them cook in the remnant heat.

Claypot Chicken
♥ Soy Chicken with black & white rice
The chicken was wonderfully succulent and tender. It was not wet like when you steam the chicken nor was it too dry. It had the tendency of braised chicken, minus the oil! We also like how some rice is white while some rice is very very dark.

Lap Cheong & Chinese Mushrooms
♥ Chinese Lap Cheong and Chinese Mushroom with black & white rice.
As I am typing this, I have the urge to name the rice "oreo rice"! Not so sure why but the black and white description makes me think of oreo cookies!

I love the lapcheong so much! (I did not have the chicken) ShinChan likes the lapcheong which was to my surprise. He did mention that he wasn't a fan of cantonese lapcheong (what's with Taiwanese not liking lapcheong? Mum also doesn't like it). With this dish he found the lapcheong surprisingly nice and not oily. Ha! Seems like I finally convinced him Cantonese lapcheong is just as good as Taiwanese sausage!

ShinChan: pinkie honey~ Oishiiiiiii.
pinkcocoa: Really? You sure or not?
(worried about lapcheong but thought even better if he didn't like it cos I get to eat them all. hahaha!)
ShinChan: *chomp* ya *chomp* nice wah. dont worry.
ShinChan: pinkie honey~ The lapcheong also berri nice.
pinkcocoa: oh really ah?
(a little disappointed but a little surprised and happy....?)
ShinChan: pinkie honey~ So nice the flavour that rice.
ShinChan: yummmm.
(chomp. chomp. chomp)
pinkcocoa: ShinChan darling ar. Why you not eating the chicken? Why you eating just lapcheong?
ShinChan: Aiya. I forgot the chicken. Lapcheong too nice wah.
pinkcocoa: o_O|||

Please excuse the use of improper English there. I am training ShinChan with a little bit of our broken English there.

We will definitely see more of this dish on our dinner table from now on given its super simple methods. I could just place everything in the rice cooker and then go take a shower before dinner. Great huh?
Continue Reading Claypot Chicken Rice ala Spots Style


Friday, February 25, 2005

Yum Cha: Fook Yuen

With a Sydney food blogger yum cha meet-up coming up this Sunday *excited*, I reckon it's a good time to post up photos of my most recent yumcha which was way back in January.

This time we went to Fook Yuen again. As I have mentioned before, I did find Fook Yuen's food not as spectacular as people have described. But we went there again mostly for the convenience and the time saved on queuing. We found it rather unbearable to have to withstand the impatient and uncomfortable feeling holding our tiny little colour-coded ticket while waiting for number to be called out ourside the restaurant. Worse yet to add on top of that: the strike of hunger pang.

We had quite a few different dimsum this time and skipped a few usual dimsum dishes. It's always good to try something new!

♥ tabeshimashita @ Fook Yuen on 15 Jan 2005
Peas Sprout Dumpling
Gao Choy Gow -Chives Dumpling
If I am not wrong, this was gao choy gow. I am having a mix up between the photos because we also had dao miu gow - pea sprout dumpling(see below).

Inside Pea Sprouts Dumpling
♥ Inside Gao Choy Gow
Sorry for the blurry photo. Still have so much to learn with food photography. Maybe someone out there can help? I didn't use flash this time because I was worried I might disturb other diners. Plus, my dining companions didn't seem eager for me to take photo. They didn't like the glare from the flash. :-( Then again, they had been well trained now. They waited until all dishes had been taken before they started digging in. ;-)

Vegetarian Dumplings
Dao Miu Gow - Pea Sprout Dumplings
Not something we ordered everytime but I do love the green fresh smell of the pea sprout.

Yu Chi Gow
Yu Chi Gow - Sharkfin Dumpling
We skipped siu mai (meat dumpling) this time and opted for this more extravagent meat dumpling.

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♥ Inside Yu Chi Gaw
The Yu Chi Gow tasted very much like siu mai except it has a different wrapper (siu mai has egg wrapper, yellow in colour). We hardly tasted the sharkfin. We really wonder if it's real sharkfin we were having there.

Deepfried Tofu
♥ Deepfried Beancurd Patties
I can't remember the name for this dish. This was marked as a special dish, served with a sweet soury sauce.

Inside Deepfried Tofu
♥ Fluffy beancurd patties
The beancurd pattie was crunchy on the outside and very soft and fluffy inside. And the sweet sory sauce was just the right condiment for the slight oily pattie. We truly enjoyed this.

Ham Sui Gok
Ham Sui Gok - deepfried savoury glutinous dumpling
Not very sure how well this tasted since I skipped this. I was trying to avoid deepfried stuff.

BBQ Pork Buns
Char Siu Bao - BBQ Pork Bun
The real classic of yumcha. Again, no comment since I didn't have this. I usually don't take any bread-type dishes. The only reason was because it fills me up too quickly!

Siu Long Bao
Siu Long Bao - Steamed Shanghainese Dumplings
This pork dumpling was served with a sauce of dark vineger and shredded ginger.

Pai Guak Fan
Pai Guak Fan - Pork Ribs Rice
A dish I used to like a lot when I was young. One of this and I am full. The best part of this dish is the slightly burnt and charred bits of rice that is stuck to the pot.

Ma Lai Gou
Ma Lai Gou - Sweet Steamed Cake
In Hong Kong/Cantonese, Malaysia or Malay is referred to as Ma Lai. However, this is definitely a Hong Kong dimsum dish and not something from Malaysia. I guess the logic is just like you can never really find Singapore Noodle when you are in Singapore.

Egg Tarts
♥ HongHa Hot Bread
Then we finsihed off with egg tarts. I skipped this though after I found out how much fat and sugar an egg tart has! *yikes* The egg tart is crowned the fattest king among all dimsum, followed closely by char siu sou (bbq pork pastry). *sob*

Another one to watch out for is Ma Lai Gou It is highly dangerous for someone watching their diet. Even if you are not, it's probably best to stir clear because of the high fat and sugar content ladled inside them.

Oops. I have done it again. Spoiling all the delicious moment with my health freak talk! Sorry, guys..........*bow*

Fook Yuen
Level 1
7 Help Street,
Chatswood NSW
ph. +61 2 9413 2688
Continue Reading Yum Cha: Fook Yuen


Wednesday, February 23, 2005

A bite of this and Luck is on your way!

Nyonya Pineapple Tart
♥ Nyonya Pineapple Tart
This is homemade Nyonya pineapple tart, a festive delicacy much loved and adored during Chinese New Year and Hari Raya (Malay's new year). The Chinese believes that pineapple attracts prosperity and will bestowed good luck upon one's self.

Pineapple, feng li 鳳梨, literary means the phoenix pear. It is also commonly known as 黃梨: huang li (Mandarin) or wong lai (Cantonese) or ong lai (Hokkien); meaning the yellow pear or if you like, the golden pear. The common name vowels with the term for attracting prosperity: wong or ong to prosperity and lai to attract. For a more detailed description in the significance of pineapple in Chinese culture, see my Taiwanese pineapple cake post.

And so you ask, whether I was the one behind the making of these yummy looking golden nuggets. My answer is gonna disappoint because no, I did not make these delicious looking golden nuggets. In fact, these pineapple tarts came directly from Malaysia! Yes, airflown (actually handcarried back by ShinChan) to Sydney and handled with extreme care. It was a gift from my dearest friend in Kuala Lumpur.

Closer Look at Pineapple Tart
♥ Sweet, Citric and Buttery
A sweet, citric and buttery aroma escaped from the container the moment I opened the lid after a slight struggle in tearing away the stickytape seal. This aroma is just so addictive. I would open the container and simply enjoy the dainty aroma. This is, in fact, a dangerous act because it is so easy to lost selfcontrol and before you realise it, you have already conducted a pig-out session. At least this was what happened to me many times! Now you know I have very poor self-control when it comes to sweet things.

Crumb has Melt in Your Mouth Texture
♥ Melt-in-Your-Mouth Pastry
The pastry has a melt-in-your-mouth texture that is definitely very very more-ish. On biting, the pastry crumbles softly and dissolves upon contact with the heat in your mouth.

Filled with Absolutely Scrumptious Pineapple Jam
♥ Sweet Golden Delicious Pineapple Centre
The pineapple filling, on the other hand, has quite a bit of tangy bites to it. A perfect match to the soft crumbly pastry. The filling in this particular pineapple tart is a little fibrous so it is a little chunkier and involves quite a bit of bite when eating. There is also pineapple tarts with a smoother and silkier filling. I prefer the chunky one.

I am addicted to pineapple tarts. Mentioned Chinese New Year, I immediately think of kuih mur and nyonya pineapple tart. The culprit to the addiction must be the combination of the slightly sweetened pastry with the sweet yet tangy pineapple filling. The golden colour and the sweet tangy aroma proves very inviting too.

This container with 3 layers of pineapple tarts was finished within 3 weeks, well before Chinese New Year even arrived. I am such a pig, I know. And this probably explains why all my clothes have shrunk. *yikes*

See Jo's Deli Bakery for a recipe of Nyonya Pineapple Tart. I haven't tried her recipe yet. I am actually looking for a simpler version and also for a smaller quantity. Nonetheless, I have got my hands on the pineapple jam and it proves very popular around the house. It has now become a breakfast staple and is disappearing fast!

I have yet to get my hands on the pastry. *sigh* Not to mention today is the last day of Chinese New Year: Yuan Xiao Jie - the Lantern Festival. A night to admire the beautifully lit lanterns and also a night for some Chinese riddles! Be sure to snuggle up closely with your honey/sweetheart because the Lantern Festival is also Chinese Valentine's!

Happy Chinese Valentine's, everyone! Be sure to ladle up some hot steaming yuan xiao (glutinous rice ball, similar to tang yuan but different in making) tonight.

ps. It's also Brunei's National Day today. Here's to all Bruneians: Happy Brunei Day (?)
Continue Reading A bite of this and Luck is on your way!


Monday, February 21, 2005

Nian Chu Yi, Pai Pai Qu: First Day of CNY
Chung Tian Temple, Gold Coast

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♥ The Golden Rooster greeting us at the entrance of Chung Tian Temple
On the first day of Chinese New Year (CNY): nian chu yi, we rose early to the wake-up calls of the Golden Rooster. The first day of CNY is a day full of joy and festive celebration with homes becoming a buzz of activity. Back home in Brunei, we would woke to the loud but festive sound of the firecrackers. Firecrackers are lit not only to add to the festivity but it is also believed to drive away evil and non-propitious spirits. There was of course no firecrackers being lit in Gold Coast. It was quiet and the day began just like any other day.

As a kid (oh dear, I can't believe I am talking like an old woman now and starting to recite about my past!) , we would be so thrilled with CNY approaching not just because of the money we would be receiving in the red packets but also because we would have new clothes to wear. It is a tradition to put on new clothes for CNY with red as the lucky colour. With the convenience to resources today, it is unfortunate and sad that this tradition is slowly slipping away. It's just so easy to go and buy something new to put on whenever you feel like it these days. Anyhow, we tried our best to follow the tradition and included something new to wear on the day. We also decided to stick to the colour pink instead of red. :p

Apart from visiting door-to-door exchanging auspicious greetings to your relatives and neighbours, another important custom on the first day of CNY is offering ritual homage to one's ancestors. This is to be done first thing in the morning. It is also a custom to visit temple and pay your reverence and tribute to the Gods. So we headed to Chung Tian Buddhist Temple in Brisbane to attend the Traditional Buddhist Homage Ritual.

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♥ Altar in the Bodhisattva Hall
The temple is one full of love and bliss. We were surrounded by a calm yet festive atmosphere the moment we stepped into the temple and were immediately greeted by many others with bright smiles and a happy tone.

We made our way to the Bodhisattva Hall for the homage ritual. The hall is brightly lit and is air-conditioned. Very different to the temples in Asia, usually with rather dim interior and full of incests fumes.

In the middle of the altar sits the statue of a much loved and adored Goddess: Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva (Qian Shou Kuan Yin: Thousand Arms Bodhisattva). On both sides of the altar are many candles lit by individuals as a prayer to the Buddha for a year of safety and prosperity to come. I think it is also the same with the two well-lit miniature pagodas.

Normally photos are not allowed in the temple. We didn't find out until we spotted the no camera sign at the entrance when we were about to leave! We did obtain permission from ShinChan's mum (she's a member of the temple) so I guess we were not too rude.

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♥ The Traditional Buddhe Homage Ritual
Here you see the mass sitting on the kneeling pad, waiting for the ritual to start. The ritual was conducted in two stages and led by Master Yi-Lai, Abbess of Chung Tian Temple. In the first ritual, we praised every single Buddhas in the form of chanting Buddhist scriptures. I was not familiar with the scriptures so I was given a little scriptures booklet. Mine was in Chinese. I believe there is also an English version for non-Chinese readers.

In the second ritual, I think we prayed for safety and peacefulness for the year ahead of us. Even though I am able to read Chinese without much difficulty, I actually find it a little difficult to follow the chanting especially when there were many characters that I could not recognise.

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♥ The Dining Hall
And then it was time for scrumptious vegetarian lunch (A$10 pp). I had been eagerly waiting for this moment to come!

In some families, it is a custom to become vegan for a day on the first day of CNY. It is also common to find buddhist who eats only vegan meals on the first and fifteenth day of the lunar months. Back home in Brunei, we would feast on the delicious vegan dish comprising of mung-bean noodles, black fungi, chinese mushrooms, dried beancurd sheets, gingko in a sauce of red fermented bean curd (dou fu ru). For the whole day we would feast on this delicious dish prepared by Granny.

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♥ Vegan Lunch
Each of us were given a disposable plate and lining up for food, buffet-style except that there are people serving you. I had a bit of everything except the rice.

Clockwise from bottom right:
Fried hokkien noodles
Lightly braised Beancurd with peas and carrots
Stirfry of soy-meat and mushroom in light soysauce
Stirfry of assorted green vegetables
Radish Cake

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Cai Tao Kueh - Panfried Radish Cakes
Radish is an auspicious root vegetable in Chinese Culture because the ponunciation of radish (cai tou) means to bring good omens.

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Nian Gao - New Year Cakes
Chinese New Year won't be completed without the new year cake (nian gao) which relates to the Chinese proverbs bu bu gao sheng; meaning advancing towards higher/better positions and prosperity step by step.

The one on the left is the most common type you will find in the shop, made of glutinous rice flour, dark brown sugar and water. These particular one had been dipped in batter then deepfried - the most common way of enjoying the cakes. You can also sandwich then batter the cake between slicees of taro or sweet potato and deepfried.

The other one is red bean (or adzuki bean) nian gao.

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♥ Chinese Herbal Soup
We also enjoyed a light and delicious chinese herbal soups. In my cup of soup, I found a bundle of treasures hidden under the slightly cloudy soup! Here you see dried beancurd sheets (fu zhu) and chinese mushroom. I have also found taro (yu tou), gingko (bai guo) and carrots inside.

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Fa Gao - Steamed Cake
For desserts, there were fresh fruits and these pink steamed chinese cake called fa gao. It is said to make one more prosperous and rich (fa cai). The cakes here had been cut up into bite-size bits for sharing. Traditionally these cakes are baked in papercups. The addition of baking powder to the ground rice batter makes the cakes rise and split during steaming. It is believed that the wider the split on the cake, the more prosperous the coming year will be.

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♥ Assorted Sweets
There was also many different sweets up for grabs. A favourite for the kids!

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♥ Assorted Chinese Sweets
These chinese sweets were up for sale to raise fund for the extension of the temple.

From left to right:
Crunchy Rice-pops (Mee Pan in Hokkien)
Chewy Peanut Candies (Hua Sheng Tang)
Chewy White Sesame Seeds Slices (Zhi Ma Tang)
Chewy pepitas and peanuts slices

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♥ The Temple's Bell
After a scrumptious lunch, many took their turn at chiming the Temple's bell. Each chimes striked is said to bring peace and good wishes for the new year.

Scriptures on the bell
On hearing the chimes of the bell,
Suffering is alleviated,
Wisdom is cultivated, and
Aspiration is built.
One can also be away from the bell and the
burning flame by hearing this chime,
In the meantime, I vow for attainment of
Buddhahood and savings of all sentient beings.
Continue Reading Nian Chu Yi, Pai Pai Qu: First Day of CNY
Chung Tian Temple, Gold Coast


Thursday, February 17, 2005

Chu Xi: Lunar New Year's Eve

As the Chinese saying goes "xin nian tou, jiu nian wei" (beginning of new year, end of the old year), chu xi is one of the most important occasion in Chinese culture. Chu Xi 除夕 marks the end of the Lunar Year and the start of a bright new year. The Chinese word "chu" takes to mean to discard (qu 去). The term chu xi, in essence, means to discard the old and herald the new. It is celebrated as a family affair, a time of reunion and thanksgiving.

Legend of the Year Beast: Nian Shou de Chuan Shou 年獸的傳說
A popular legend in relation to the origin of the Lunar New Year and one that I remember as Mum had told me as a child is about a beast called Nian Shou (年獸: Year Beast). Nian Shou was a ferocious beast that would go hunting for its prey on the night of New Year's Eve. It was believed that Nian Shou was extremely cruel and had took delight in devouring human flesh. It soon became a custom for a family reunion on New Year's Eve and feast extravagantly as it was their last dinner before death came upon them.

Soon enough, those who had survived from the attack of Nian Shou discovered Nian Shou's fear: the colour red, the light of fire and loud noises. To wad the beast off, on the day of the New Year's Eve, people began pasting red-paper couplets on their doors; had their home all lighted up throught the night and fire crackers were set off throughout the night.

The strategy was a triumph and the beast fled with its tail between the legs. This strategy was repeated years after years to keep away the beast. By doing so, the Chinese was able to welcome the arrival of New Year's Day with a symbolic meaning in a life renewed. On the morning of New Year's Day, greetings echoed across the town with the most popular greeting being Gong Xi 恭喜 (Congratulations).

There is, of course, no more ferociuos beast out on the hunt today but the customs of a family reunion, a big feast, red-paper couplets, firecrackers and lights throughout the night are passed on and become prominent part of the Chinese culture.

♥ The 3 Main Important Customs on Chu Xi:
- Ji Si 祭祀
Sacrificial offering to the God and your ancestor for a good year to come.

- Chi Tuan Yuan Fan 吃團圓飯
Family Reunion Dinner. Also known as nian ye fan 年夜飯

- Shou Sui 守歲
Staying up until the wee hours of New Year's Eve. Only reside to bed once the clock strikes to announce the arrival of a new year. It is long believed that by doing so on New Year's eve, parents would live a longer life. Another popular believe is related to sleeping. In the olden days, sleep (shui 睡) was also referred as kun (睏). To stay up all night on New Year's eve bear the meaning of not being poor or destitute: bu qiong kun不窮困. Note that the last word kun are pronounced the same.

Of the 3 customs above, we the younger one in the house managed to follow the last two. The sacrificial offering was well taken care of before we got out of bed!

♥ tabeshimashita @ ShinChan's home in Gold Coast on 8th Feb 2005
CNY Eve Dinner
Nian Ye Fan - gold coast style(?)
This was our feast for Lunar New Year's Eve dinner prepared by ShinChan's mum. In Chinese culture (I think this is Hokkien culture), New Year's eve dinner is also referred to as to sit around a pot: wei lu 圍爐. By this we mean to have dinner steamboat or hotpot style.

Weather had been extremely hot in Gold Coast. It was a scorching 34c that day and definitely no one would love the idea of sitting around a large pot with steaming broth, especially when there is no air-con. It just didn't seem like a good idea to have a dinner with sweat dripping down our faces.

ShinChan's mum took a twist and served a dinner of cool dishes! And you are wondering whereabout is my contribution to the feast. I have to be honest here and answer you: none! Yes, shame on Pinkcocoa for not helping. I guess there isn't really any excuses. We came back very late from Lamington National Park. You should try driving up and down there. Now I totally understand what you call a winding road! I was car-sick on going up the mountain and car-sick again when leaving.

Abalone on Sweet Corn
♥ Abalone Slices on golden Sweet Corn topped with Mayonnaise

♥ Pink Rose Cake A$37.50

Fresh Prawns
♥ Broiled Fresh Prawns

Wu Yu Zi - Sea Mullet Roe
♥ Sea Mullet Roe with garlic slices
Sea mullet roe: wu yu zi (烏魚子) is a gourmet delicacy, highly popular in Taiwan and Japan. Apparently this is a popular dish for Lunar New Year in Taiwan. I have yet to work out why.

Apart from these four dishes, dishes of one whole fish and chicken are also a necessity on the table. It is important to leave a small portion of the fish untouched as a representation of having enough to spare: nian nian you yu (年年有餘).

The time after dinner is probably what the children have been longing for: the time for red packet money! Red packet: hong bao (紅包) is a tiny red packet filled with money, usually given by older family members to children.

I was delighted to receive a red packet from ShinChan's mum and even more delighted when my mum sms me to tell me she had collected quite a handful of red packets for me from my uncles and aunties in Brunei!

Once the clock striked midnight, it was time to bide farewell to the Golden Monkey and welcome the Golden Rooster into our home. Listen to the Golden Rooster crows and dispatch the good spirits of luck and prosperity to everyone: jin ji bao xi (金雞報喜 golden rooster announces good spirits)
Continue Reading Chu Xi: Lunar New Year's Eve


Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Music in My Kitchen

I just came back from my short holiday to find an enormous development in the foodblogging community. Ok. I am exaggerating here but for one, there is My Restaurant Rules Blog set up while I was away. (AG and BHR are so secretive!! :p)

Then I am witnessing some musical development in kitchens around the world: see here, here, here and here. And then I found myself being tagged here at PhotoSydney. BHR reckons I am too nice to complain. I am, of course, a nice person *blush* so I shall not complained but ah-hem...BHR, you know what to do at yumcha, don't you? ;-)

I don't actually listen to English music that much. I am really more comfortable with Chinese (Mandarin) songs. You will find you have not seen or listened to most of the songs listed below.

So here goes music in Pinkcocoa's kitchen:

♥ What is the total amount of music files on your computer?
Does music videos count too?
- 600mb of mp3 on local drive.
- 25GB of mp3 shared across the network with ShinChan.

♥ The CD you last bought?
Er...this one is hard. Haven't bought one in ages. I usually buy more than 1 CD when the time comes for me to update my CD collection. This is probably only once a year or even less if I don't head home to Taiwan for CDs at bargain price.
I guess I will just pick my favourite from my last bulk purchase:
JS - Rendezvous with the Future
:: JS - Yu Jian Wei Lai
(Justin + Sophia - Rendezvous with the Future).

A brother and singer group. Justin composes the songs and Sophia sings. This is their second album. Their first being released about 6 years ago and was known as Go Go Me Me (the pronunciation refers to older brother and younger sister) back then. In between the long 6 years gap, Justin has written and composed many popular pop songs for many Taiwanese artist.

♥ What was the song you last listened to before reading this message?
Jasmine Leong - Swallowtail Butterfly
:: Jasmine Leong - Ning Xia
Jasmine Leong (or Fish Leong as she was once known) is a talented singer from Malaysia who makes it big in Taiwan. Ning Xia refers to city in China but in essence, the title also refers to a tranquille summer - ning jing de xia tian.

♥ Write down 5 songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you
Jolin Tsai - Watch Me 72 Changes
:: Jolin Tsai - Shuo Ai Wo (Say Love Me)
Jolin Tsai (Cai Yi Ling) is a Taiwanese artist who rekindle her popularity in 2003 with the hit album from Sony - Jolin Magic: Kan Wo 72 Bian (Behold my ever-changing self in 72 ways).

I just love the tune of this song. On top of that, this is the only song I remember from the top of my head.

Jay Chou - Ye Hui Mei
:: Jay Chou - Ni Ting De Dao (You can hear it)
:: Jay Chou - Qing Tian (Sunny Day)
Jay Chou, also a Taiwanese artist popular for his R&B style songs. He is one talented dude who not only writes his own songs but has also written many of the popular pop songs for other artists.

I really like the music video of Ni Ting De Dao, particularly the miniature merry-go-round model at the end. As for Qing Tian, I like the rhythm and tune. It's slow and kinda romantic.

Stefanie Sun - The Moment
:: Stefanie Sun - Yu Jian (Rendezvous)
Stefanie Sun, a very popular Singaporean artist who made her first hit debut in Taiwan. Her charisma and her bright smile are instant boys killer! Her singing style is very distinctive and this is probably why I like her songs.

Yu Jian is featured in the HK/Taiwanese movie "Turn Left, Turn Right" (xiang zuo zou, xiang you zou) based on a picture book with the same title in Chinese (English title: Separate Ways) by Taiwanese artist Jimmy Liao. It stars Takeshi Kaneshiro of The House of Flying Daggers and Gigi Leong. Yu Jian has a soft tranquille tune with eloquent lyrics.

George Winston's December
:: JohannPachalbel - Canon in D
I first listened to this in George Winston's December and immediately fell in love with it. Pachelbel's Canon become highly popular in Asia right after the release of the funny Korean movie: Yupgi Girl or better known as My Sassy Girl. This tune is an all time favourite to me. When I am sad, I listen to it. When I am happy, I listen to it.

♥ Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?
:: Renee from Shiokadelicious
We both grew up in the same country (Brunei). Would be nice to get to know her even better especially now that she's a star on the Straits Times: see here!
see Renee's music meme

:: fishfish from Kuishinbow~Meow~
Both of us are from the same island (Borneo) with rather similar background (we are both Chinese). Both of us like Takeshi Kaneshiro. I wonder if we have similar taste in music. She's also probably the only few here who knows the music in my kitchen.

:: Dennis and Pam from Asian Vegan
Just being nosy and all that, I would love to know the type of music this adorable couple is into and maybe the music they are considering of using in their soon to open restaurant.
Continue Reading Music in My Kitchen


Tuesday, February 15, 2005

A Romantic Valentine's: A Pink Rose for Pinkcocoa

♥ tabeshimashita @ pinkcocoa's cosy home on 14th Feb 2005
Pink Rose Cake from Sweet Belem
♥ Pink Rose Cake A$37.50
A pink chocolate cake for Pinkcocoa and in the form of a rose too. How perfect for Valentine's! I have to thank AugustusGloop for this one. I dropped very very heavy hints to ShinChan the second I finished seeing a pink cake for Pinkcocoa at Grab Your Fork. So we headed to Sweet Belem right after the Chinese New Year Parade (post coming up shortly for both Sweet Belem and CNY Parade).

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♥ So pinkish!
We can't really tell from the look of the pink cake, what sort of cake is hiding under the pink chocolate. We could have asked the shop what sort of cake it was but we decided not to. Just to keep the whole thing mysterious and hoping for surprises! We did catch a glimpse of a dark chocolatey bits hiding underneath. Our guess was it was probably a chocolate mudcake.

The cake was a little hard to cut up. The pink chocolate bits were broken into pieces. I had yummy fun cleaning up all the pieces. ;-)

A Slice of PinkRose Cake
♥ Pink Chocolate Coated Mud Cake
It was indeed a chocoalte mudcake. Just look at the layers of pink chocolate on the mudcake! Imagine how much time and energy was put into creating this elegant cake. Though The mudcake was not too sweet, it was very thick and dense. The pink chocolate has a hint of strawberry in it. It was quite sweet when compared to the mudcake.

My tummy was bursting after going through half of this slice! We reckon this cake can feed up to 10 because you only need a tiny pieces to satisfy your sweet chocoholic tooth. Great for celebration!

Sweet Belem Cake Boutique
35B & 35C New Canterbury Road
Petersham NSW 2049
tel. +61 2 9572 6685
Continue Reading A Romantic Valentine's: A Pink Rose for Pinkcocoa


A Romantic Valentine's: Creative Sushi Dinner

♥ tabeshimashita @ pinkcocoa's cosy home on 14th Feb 2005
Valentine's Sweetheart Cookies
♥ Sweetheart Cookies 2 for A$2.50
Happy belated Valentine's! Hopefully it was all sweet, rosy, dreamy, romantic for everyone yesterday.

Valentine's Dinner - Roll Your Own Sushi
♥ Roll Your Own Sushi Dinner
We had a simple Japanese dinner at home for Valentine's. It was something very simple, requiring minimal effort. All I had to do was julienned up all the veggies, slice up other stuff. Not much cooking involved basically. What's left was just a matter of presentation.

On the left of the photo, we have Chinese Pork Floss. In the white bowl were mayo sweet corn and chili-mayo tuna. In the tiny blue bowl was chopped grilled eel with mayo.

Sushi Ingredients
♥ Sushi Ingredients
Clockwise from top-centre:
tamagoyaki (sweet egg omelette - recipes and instruction from obachan!)
kanpyo (dried gourd strips in sweet soy sauce - bought from store)
snowpea sprouts
tamagoyaki again
cucumber again
unagi no kabayaki (grilled eel - store bought)
carrots again

Right in the centre were some alfafa topped with pickled ginger.

Other ingredients you could add to this include sashimi, prawns and even soft-shell crabs, just to make the dinner more extravagant. Teriyaki chicken, pork-katsu (deepfried crumbed pork), bamboo shoots, potato salad etc etc etc. Whatever you can think of!

Put Ingredients on Nori Sheet
♥ Laying out Ingredients
What you do is take a sheet of nori (seaweed), put some sushi rice on top then pick ingredients you like and lay them on top of the rice. Then using your hand, roll up everything. Don't worry if the ingredients aren't in the centre. This is really like a hand-roll.

Roll Your Own Sushi Done!
♥ Instant Sushi!
So here goes instant sushi made by yourself! You can be really creative with the combination of ingredients! We had quite a bit of fun creating sushi for each other. ;-)
Continue Reading A Romantic Valentine's: Creative Sushi Dinner