National Day 2014

 8 – 9  August 2014

To celebrate National Day this year, our cell group had a potluck dinner followed by prayer for Singapore. For the potluck, we had to bring a dish which was red/white and also wear red/white in the spirit of national day!

Decided to bring Mee Goreng. I have never cooked Mee Goreng before so I did some research beforehand. Consulted my mother-in-law who can cook mee goreng that is quite delicious and also googled and read other recipes. Finally, this was the recipe I went with after combining all my research. And the result? Yummy! This is an easy to do one dish meal too 🙂

Mee Goreng (Serves 6 adults)

Ingredients:

1) 2 packets of yellow noodles

2) Cai Xin

3) Tomatoes (2-3, sliced)

4) Bean Sprouts

5) Fish cake (3 pcs, sliced)

6) 4 eggs (beaten)

7) 1 large red onion (chopped finely)

8) Garlic (4-5 cloves, chopped finely)

9) Tomato Ketchup

10) Bottled chilli (I used Singlong Sambal Belacan)

11) Dark Soy Sauce

Method:

1) Add oil

2) Fry the garlic and onion

3) Add the vegetables, fish cake, tomatoes and stir fry quickly

4) Add the noodles – Mix and stir-fry together with the rest of ingredients.

5) Add the egg and stir fry evenly

6) Add ketchup, dark soy sauce and chilli (Unsure about exact amount as I added based on the colour and taste)

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After dinner, we spent some time praying for Singapore followed by a time of charades on local topics.

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Here’s another birthday cum national day gathering I had with friends on National day itself.

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One dish goodness

Over the past few weeks, I have had a few successful attempts at one-dish meals that tastes pretty decent and that I really enjoyed. The best part about them is that they are pretty easy to prepare. Minimal effort for a yummy home-cooked meal 🙂 A pity I did not take any photos. Thought I would record this for future reference as these are dishes I would want to cook regularly. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget what works and what is nice.

1) Simple Fried rice

Ingredients: (For 2 adults and a tot)

  • Cooked rice (1 cup of rice)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 4-5 Hotdogs (I usually use luncheon meat but I was out of it)
  • 2 Eggs
  • Frozen mixed vegetable
  • Oil for frying
  • Light soy sauce
  • Sesame oil

Method:

  1. Precook rice in the rice cooker.
  2. Fry the egg and set aside for later
  3. Add oil to the pan. Fry the garlic and onions until fragrant. Add the rice and the other ingredients. Fry and mix everything together. Add light soy sauce and sesame oil and continue to stir and fry for a while.
  4. Ready to serve.

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 2) Cabonara

I got this recipe from Campbell soup website. And it tasted awesome for home-cooked cream based pasta. I have tried some other brands for cream based pasta sauce and so far have not found one that I like. But thumbs up for Prego Cabonara Mushroom sauce!

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3) Yee Mee noodle soup

Missed this dish that my mum used to cook for me during confinement (she would add liver too) so decided to give it a go. For soup dishes, the stock is critical to how tasty the dish is. I don’t make stock often, so it’s pretty experimental. And this time round, the experiment was successful 🙂

Ingredients: Ingredients: (For 2 adults and a tot)

  • ikan bilis
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 packet 250ml swanson clear chicken both
  • Water 1.2  litre
  • 3 pieces of yee mee noodles
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Porkball and fishball from supermarket
  • Crabstick
  • Mince meat
  • Cooked frozen scallops
  • 3 eggs
  • Fried shallots

Method:

  1. To prepare the stock, rinse the ikan bilis, chop the onion into a few pieces and remove the garlic skin. In a pot, fry them till fragrant. Then add 1.2 litres of water and simmer for 90 minutes. Add the swanson clear broth. Drain and remove the garlic, ikan bilis and onion. Stock is ready for use.
  2. Marinate the mince meat using some light soy sauce and sesame oil.
  3. Add the noodles to the boiling stock.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients (I added the mince meat first followed by the rest of the cooked ingredients).
  5. Add the eggs.
  6. Scoop into individual bowls and add shallots for garnishing.

Papa’s birthday cake – Matcha cake improved!

For my dad’s birthday, I decided to give this matcha recipe from allrecipes one more try. I decided to do the matcha cake again for the following reasons.

  1. I still had green tea powder left
  2. We were going to a Japanese restaurant (Rakuzen@Tampines) for his birthday dinner and a matcha cake would be in line with the cuisine
  3. I wasn’t totally satisfied with the one I did for Nami’s birthday. I felt that the green tea flavour was not strong enough and it was much too sweet for my liking. So this time, I drastically reduced the sugar and increased the amount of green tea powder.

The result: Yumz!!  I enjoyed the cake a lot, which I was surprised, cos I seldom enjoy cake so much. I have more of a savoury rather than sweet tooth. I also like eating it as a loaf cake without any icing.

Here is the revised recipe which is certainly a keeper and one which I will use again! The method remains the same.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 teaspoons green tea powder (up from the original 4)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar (down from original 1 1/4 cup)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup plain yoghurt

For the icing, I also adjusted the amounts slightly as I did not need so much since I would not be doing a layered cake.  I also wanted it less sweet with a stronger green tea flavour.

  • 1 teaspoon vanila extract
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2-3 teaspoon green tea powder
  • 1 table spoon butter
  • 2 ounce cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon milk
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Daniel always joins the cake cutting and candle blowing even when it is not his birthday!

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Zixuan (Pris’ bf) also shares the same birthday as my dad!

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Rare big family shot!

Christmas cookoff

This is a much belated post but one that I must definitely do!

Christmas 2013 was spent with cell group. This year, we had a food/cooking competition. It was a potluck format where everyone had to bring a dish, with the option of either cooking it or buying it from somewhere. Each person got to pick an invitation card with a specific food category (eg. Meat, dessert, veg) that they had to prepare. The dish also had to be in line with the theme Christmas/Western. There would be prizes for Best Chef and Most popular dish so as to recognize efforts to cook as well as effort to source out and bring a really tasty dish.

christmas card 2  christmas card

What was amazing was that 90% of the dishes were cooked with love by our cell members. A lot of effort went into each and every one of the dishes. Most of the time these days for potluck, we just da bao something out of convenience. Guess the competitive element helped to motivate us all to cook something. I like what one of them said – that he would rather attempt something and have it fail rather than just simply buy something. And it turned out that his dish was quite a hit! So the event was a successful one because everyone participated. The dish that was bought were really good too!

Cell cookoff 2

christmas cookoff

The food category that I picked was vegetable!! Not my favourite food and not easy to make it shine ….. how to win with a vegetable dish?? Nonetheless, I tried my best and was quite pleased that I managed to do a yummy coleslaw – almost like the one at KFC. My dish did not win but it was quite palatable and enjoyable and I was happy with it 🙂 I used this recipe. There was a lot of love that went into it for sure! Was quite sick during that week and had contemplated abandoning the dish. But decided to do it anyway donning a mask and all. Glad I managed to pull off quite a pleasant dish in the end.

Cell cookoff 3

My husband won the best chef. He picked meat and chose to do ribs. Good choice! It was a winner! Not bad considering that this is the first time he is cooking ribs.

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After lunch, we spent the rest of the afternoon exchanging gifts and chillaxing over card games.

What a lovely Christmas day spent with my spiritual family!

Cell cookoff 1

Popiah Party

Popiah has been a regular dish at my family dinner table since I was young. My grandma used to make it for family dinner from time to time. After she stopped cooking, my mum has continued with this tradition. So a few times a year, this will be a meal for us which we all enjoy and always look forward too. Ivan and I have tried doing popiah by ourselves for a gathering about 5 years ago, but it was not too successful. Decided to have another go at it for our Nov birthday gathering for Nov babies – Ivan, Xinyi and Daniel. So once again, I got the recipe from my mum). This is the recipe that my family has been using to make delicious popiah all this while. This time round, we were quite successful and it was quite well-received by our guests.

Ingredients (for about 8 pax)

1. 3 medium sized turnips

2. 2 medium carrots

3. 2 bunches of Chinese lettuce

4. 1 cucumber

5. 6 eggs

6. 1/2 kg prawns

7. 4 medium tau kwa

8. 100 gm beansprouts

9. Parsley

10. Chopped nuts (readily grinded ones are available at supermarket)

11. 5 chillis

12. 1-2 garlics

13. Tao chio (We use the one with the picture of a green urn which can only be found in wet markets)

14. Sweet black sauce (We use the one with yellow cap and manufactured by Sin Ngee Seng)

15. Sugar

16. Salt

17. 30-40 pieces of popiah skin (We usually use frozen ones from NTUC – cheap and good! Or can be bought from shops selling popiah too but this is much more expensive from $16 onwards per kg. This time, we found some at a dry goods shop in the market at $11/kg but I found them to be a little dry.)

Main preparation for popiah is to cook the turnip. The rest of the ingredients are quite easy to prepare.

Method for cooking turnip:

1. Shred the turnip. (This takes quite a while depending on how good your equipment is!)

2. Peel the prawns and keep the shells for the stock. Set the prawns aside for later use.

3. Fry the prawns and about 500 ml water to prepare the prawn stock. Let it simmer for a while. Set the stock aside for later use.

4. Fry 2 tablespoon garlic with oil.

5. Add 3 tablespoons tau chio and fry.

6. Add prawn stock.

7. Add shredded turnip.

8. Stir and balance the taste with sugar and salt.

9. Cover the wok and stir occasionally till the turnip is soft.

Method for the rest of the popiah ingredients:

1. Eggs – Hard boil them and slice them.

2. Prawns – fry with some garlic and dice them.

3. Cucumber – remove centre and skin and shred.

4. Tau kwa – slice into strips and fry.

5. Beansprouts – Blanch them in boiling water.

6. Chilli paste – Blend the chilli into a chili paste.

7. Garlic – Blend/Mince till fine.

To roll and wrap the popiah:

1. Lay out the skin

2. Put a piece of lettuce

3. Spread sweet sauce, chilli and garlic onto skin/lettuce

4. Add all the popiah ingredients

5. Top with turnip

6. Wrap and roll!

To wrap and roll a nice popiah requires skill  …… which even after making for so many years, my skill is far from perfect! Some tips: Too much filling will cause it to burst easily. It also helps to drain the turnip so that it is dry and will not cause the skin to break easily. Having a sharp knife to cut the popiah also helps.

Matcha Cake

There is one cake that I have always been keen to try – Matcha. I luv all things matcha – from edible stuff to toiletries and perfume! Hence I thought to take the opportunity to bake one for Nami’s birthday celebration this week. This is prob my biggest solo baking project to date! Consulted my friend Janice who was very encouraging and recommended me this recipe from Allrecipes.

To prevent myself from changing my mind about doing the cake, I quickly went to get the ingredients, so that there will be no turning back and last minute back out! Managed to get some pretty good green tea powder from Sakura Fish Market at Parkway. This was one ingredient I was on the look out for weeks before especially after reading Janice’s blog on her experience using this recipe.

All in, I would say that it is not a difficult recipe. However, it took me longer than I expected. My oven couldn’t fit 2 trays, hence I had to bake each try separately to create the 2 layers needed for the cake. Also, the matcha icing was insufficient, hence I had to do up more which also contributed to the longer time. I also did icing to write happy birthday. All in, I took a whopping 4 hrs to prepare the cake from beginning to end!

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Agar agar with coconut layer

Thought of doing agar agar for cell refreshments this week, so got my mum-in-law to teach me. Her agar agar is always a winner when she does it every year during Chinese New Year, so what better person to consult! Moreover, cooking/baking sessions are therapeutic after a long day at work and excellent for bonding too. Talk about killing many birds with one stone!

Ingredients:
1. 150-200 gm coconut shaving ( to squeeze 200 ml coconut milk)
2. 1 packet agar agar powder
3. 250 gm sugar (adjust according to preferred sweetness)
4. Pandan leaves (for fragrance)
5. 1 egg (to help coconut float to the top)
6. 800 ml water

1. Add a bit of water and squeeze coconut shavings to get coconut milk
2. Beat an egg into the coconut milk and set aside.
3. Boil the water, add the agar agar powder and add the sugar.
4. Pour in the coconut milk mixture into the boiling agar agar mixture.
5. Stir for a few minutes.
6. Pour the mixture into containers.
7. Cool and refrigerate.

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