Lo-Fi Muse #19-001

Lo-fi musings

See

A customer service officer was attending to a senior and realised that she was using an iphone X .

CSO: “hello Madam, I see that you are a smartphone user! That’s great, you would need to download our app to access the full range of information.”

Senior: “app? What app?!” (Senior glancing at her phone)

CSO: “you got to go to the App Store and search for the app an

Senior: “wait wait, I don’t know what you are talking about. I use this phone to call my Daughter only..”

A customer service officer was attending to an elderly person and while attending to her, realised that she was using an iPhone X. “Not the best, but good enough.” She mused to herself.

CSO: “Hello Madam, I see that you’re a smartphone user! That’s great, now you only just need to download our customised app and then access all the information you will need and our full suite of services.”

Senior: “huh? App? What App?”

  • CSO: “There.. thereee.. ” (pointing to the phone) you got to go to your App Store and then search for our app and then download it. It’s easy. All the information will be there after that.”
  • Senior: “Wait wait. Where is this store? How do I get there? And what is this App that you keep referring to?!
  • CSO: “erm, the apps on your iPhone?”
  • Senior: “this?! (Shaking the iphone) For your information young man, my Daughter gave me this so that she can call me.”
  • Think

    Communication is not a one-way street, active listening is involved, and if we don’t listen in to the people around us, how do we then create products that people would buy? How do we channel the right information to our customers? How do we meet the needs of our customers?

    Act

    What would you do differently?

    Bitter Gourd Soup Noodles

    Bitter gourd soup noodles

    Bitter Gourd Soup Noodles

    It’s become a family classic or comfort food as they say. So I think my Son will probably come home next time from National Service on the weekends and request for PaPa’s Bitter Gourd Soup with KOKA easy cook noodles.

    He has loved bitter gourd since he was a teeny weeny bitsy toddler. Often reaching out for more bitter gourd than we would have expected him to eat. It’s every parents’ dream to get their child to eat their greens. The other favourite that he likes would be my Stir Fry Bitter Gourd in Salted Black Bean Sauce which he simply loves.

    I hope he will one day say he wants to learn how to cook, and this recipe resource can hopefully be his to carry forward.

    Ingredients

    Bitter Gourd (just one medium sized one would do fine. Cut into thick slices.)

    Pork Ribs (250grams to 400 grams. Depending on whether you plan on eating the pork ribs or not)

    Sea Salt (just 1 teaspoon to 1.5 litres of water)

    KOKA Easy Cook Noodles (my Wife usually gets these easy cook noodles as they are just plainly that – easy to cook)

    Method

    1. I use a thermal cooker for this recipe, so that basically means boiling the ingredients at high heat for about 15-20 minutes and then allowing them to cook slowly in the thermal cooker for at least 10 hours.

    2. Boil a kettle of water and then blanch the pork ribs. I usually use frozen pork ribs for this recipe, so it is important to remove dirt that may be present.

    3. Boil another kettle of water (about 1.5 litres) and then add to the pork ribs, add the sliced bitter gourd and sea salt. Boil at high heat for about 15-20 minutes. Then place the pot into the thermal cooker to cook for another 10-12 hours before serving.

    4. For the easy cook noodles, I usually boil once and discard the water. Then ladle the bitter gourd soup into the noodles and serve.

    Easy.

    Bon Appetit!

    Macaroni and Leeks

    Macaroni and Leeks

    Macaroni and Leeks

    This is great for little kids. No matter how resistant they may be towards vegetables or generally anything remotely vegetable-ish, they will somehow love this simple dish.

    Leeks can be one of the last vegetables in the vegetable family that any child would want to slurp up happily, but interestingly it is. The key is to cook them until they are super soft and its goodness fully extracted into the broth.

    Adding leeks into the chicken soup made out of just chicken bones that you could pick up from any wet market or supermarket is probably one of the easiest and fuss free recipes anyone could do. I usually get the chicken bones from NTUC because these are generally cheaper because they go by weight. Whereas the wet market Aunty will just go by per piece.

    Ingredients

    Macaroni (I usually get Barilla brand pasta as I think it is the best. I could be wrong but the blue packaging appeals to me, so there. For this box of mini macaroni, the cooking time is 6 minutes. Not sure why they call it differently by another name, but just take it from me, it is macaroni.)

    Chicken Bones (NTUC sells the cheapest and best chicken bones. They usually pack 2 chicken carcass into a pack and that’s sufficient for this recipe. I like NTUC’s chicken bones because they tend to leave a lot of meat on the bone which is great because for this dish, I save money by not having to buy additional chicken parts. Sometimes the chicken bones from the wet market poultry vendor can be really just bones as they are experts in removing flesh from bones. So that’s a tip for you!)

    Leeks (I usually get the Malaysian variety and not the huge ones from China. These are more flavourful and delicious. But you can use the ones from China if you can’t find any local varieties at your local grocer. 4 lower ends of the leeks would flavour your broth real fine.)

    Sea Salt (1 teaspoon for cooking the macaroni and another for cooking the chicken broth)

    Olive Oil (a few droplets for cooking the macaroni and a few droplets for keeping them from sticking together. I know the olive oil doesn’t have a very big role in this recipe, but it is very important in making this dish work.)

    Method

    1. Boil a kettle of water, measure out 1.5 litres and pour it into a pot. Add chicken bones and bring to a bubbling boil. Add a teaspoon of sea salt.

    2. Once broth is bubbling boiling, add the tail ends of 4 pieces of leeks. The green leafy portions you can use for something else. The flavours are usually in the lower ends of the leeks. Discard the roots. For this, lower the fire and slow cook with lid covered. Cook until the leeks are softened, chicken oils are seen in the broth. And the chicken meats are white.

    3. Using a small pair of kitchen tongs, shred the chicken meat into flakes. This will later go into your macaroni.

    4. Boil another kettle of water, pour into another pot. Add a few droplets of oil. Add a teaspoon of sea salt. Add the dry macaroni into the pot (for 3 persons, I cooked half a box, you might wish to cook less) and bring to bubbling boil. Set the timer for 6 minutes or as per the cooking instructions on the box.

    5. Once the macaroni is cooked to al dente remove from the pot and pour the cooked macaroni into a metal strainer and douse in ice water to stop it from cooking further. Add a few droplets of oil to prevent the cooked macaroni from sticking to each other.

    All that’s left is to combine the macaroni with the soup and the shredded chicken and you can serve.

    Bon Appetit!

    Ginseng Black Chicken Soup

    image

    Ginseng Black Chicken Soup

    The best Ginseng Black Chicken Soup in my honest opinion (bet you thought I was gonna say humble, right?) is probably the stall located at Jalan Bersih (Hawker Centre). The stall on level two of the Hawker Centre sells Turtle Soup that is totally traditional and out of this world. They also sell a kick-ass Ginseng Black Chicken Soup. It’s really yummy, and the portions of Ginseng herbs is just nice and not too overwhelming.

    So I decided that I would replicate that and bought my own Ginseng Beards from the supermarket. They sell a very cheap version of Ginseng Beards and for me, that will do very fine. I mean how hard can it be?

    I poured half the packet into the thermal pot to make the soup. And the strength was just about right, a teaspoon of sea salt against 1.5 litres of water, and the soup would be nothing short of awesome.

    After 12 hours of thermal-cooking, what turn out that evening, was a very delicious bowl of black chicken soup m, fully infused with the ginseng herbs.

    If you would prefer a different taste, you may want to try my Herbal Black Chicken Soup which is equally good IMHO. LOL.

    Ingredients

    Black Chicken (one whole black chicken, otherwise not enough for my family.)

    Ginseng Beards (get the cheapest ones at NTUC and that would be good enough for two portions)

    Sea Salt (best form of salt ever, just 1 teaspoon per 1.5 litres of water and it would be Super flavourful.)

    Method

    1. Boil a kettle of water. Wash the chicken thoroughly, then place it into the thermal pot, then pour the boiling water into it and boil the chicken until water bubbling. Discard the water. This is to remove impurities, dirt, blood, etc.

    2. Boil another kettle of water, pour about 1.5 litres into the same pot with the chicken. Add the ginseng beards. Add the sea salt. Boil st high heat for about 15 minutes with the lid covered.

    3. Place the thermal pot into the thermal cooker enclosure. Leave it for 12 hours. The slow cooking process in the thermal cooker will slow cook the meats until it is tender and succulent.

    When you are ready to eat at dinner time, boil it hot and eat with rice.

    Bon Appetit!

    Stir Fry Sichuan Cai with Minced Pork

    Stir fry Sichuan cai with minced pork

    Stir Fry Sichuan Cai with Minced Pork

    My Mother came by the other day with Minced Pork for my Son who hasn’t been feeling very well since the beginning of the new year. She said minced meat cooked with porridge would improve his appetite and help him recover faster.

    Now before you zip off to google the medicinal benefits of minced pork, please, get a hold of yourself. It is just minced pork.

    I decided that it was far more practical to make a dish out of the minced meat rather than put it all into his porridge. For all you know he might take one look and scoff at it for reasons unknown and we would have wasted good minced pork.

    Good thing wifey bought Sichuan Cai aka SiChuan Vegetables in easy to cook convenient packaging. NTUC sells it in packs of 6 sachets. And I decided to cook another all time childhood favourite Sichuan Cai with Minced Pork.

    These 2-3 ingredient dishes are simple to prepare, singular in flavour, and uncomplicated in taste.

    Ingredients

    Sichuan Cai (aka SiChuan Vegetables. Apparently it came from Sichuan and it prepared in chilli powder to give it that spicy kick. They not offer it in spicy and non-spicy sachets, pretty good for kids)

    Minced Pork (about 100-150 grams will do.)

    Old Garlic (sliced thinly for best flavour. Easier to cook also via the tilted wok technique, 3 cloves would do fine)

    Method

    1. Sliced the garlic first, thinly for maximum effect. Then deep fry the garlic slices in about 3 tablespoons of olive oil using the tilted wok technique. If you are wondering what is this tilted wok technique, I wrote about it in my recipe Stir Fry Ladies Fingers.

    2. Immediately add the minced pork, un-marinated, and start frying over low fire just to get the minced to cook slowly.

    3. Once minced starts to turn slightly white from pink, add the sachet of Sichuan Cai and continue to stir fry. The saltiness of the vegetables would be sufficient for this dish and no additional seasoning is required.

    Once cooked, you can have it with plain porridge. Easy.

    Bon Appetit!

    Stir Fry Ladies Fingers

    Stir fry ladies fingers

    Stir Fry Ladies Fingers

    I told my Son that we would be having Ladies Fingers that night and he squirmed at the thought of it. Then I thought I heard him say under his breath, “papa, if we must eat, then I will only eat mummy’s fingers.”

    I was bemused at the very thought of it and my creative juices kicked in for a nano second and wondered what that would taste like with Teochew Tau Jiu, maybe a little finely chopped garlic with quartered Tomatoes, lightly stir fried and it just might be really yummy!

    And then I came to myself. “Did he just say that or did I imagine that he said it when he didn’t really say anything.” LOL. Oh well.

    Wifey’s a lady, but to eat her fingers would be so wrong. I mean I know it would be finger-licking good but that’s besides the point! I would never do that to my beloved. As it is I am already eating out of her hand, to have her fingers as well would be simply unthinkable.

    So I am cooking a very simple version of Ladies Fingers with Tomatoes, exactly how, is actually even simpler. I like to keep my recipes simple and uncomplicated. It gets complicated only the first time when I am actually trying out someone else’s recipe as I navigate through their rigorous ingredient listing and techniques. If you prefer another way of cooking, you may want to try my Sambal Belacan Okra with Tomatoes recipe. It’s also not bad. LOL.

    If you have been following my postings, you would know that I love making quick meals and using techniques that help me save time and ingredients.

    Tilt the wok technique

    The picture above shows my tilt-the-wok technique to save oil and fry the ingredients evenly. I am sure you have better ways to manage your oil consumption, please feel free to carry on your own way of cooking. I am not here to convince you otherwise.

    Ingredients

    Ladies Fingers (aka Okra, one of my favourite mushy vegetable. I am using about 21 pieces of Ladies Fingers. Why “21” you may ask, well, no special reason.)

    Tomatoes (these are the regular tomatoes, nothing special. I am using 3 medium sized ones)

    Old Garlic (3 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly)

    Dried Shrimps (otherwise known as Hae Bi, these little shrimps add a little punch to the flavour of the dish, I used 2 tablespoons worth)

    Light Soya Sauce (2 tablespoons will be quite nice, but if you’re eating them with porridge, a little saltier is not that bad an idea)

    Method

    1. Wash the ladies fingers and cut them slanted. Quart the tomatoes. Soak the dried shrimps and sliced the garlic.

    2. Heat about three tablespoons of olive oil, and using the tilted wok technique, fry the garlic slices until lightly fragrant. Then add the soaked hae bi and continue to fry until fragrant.

    3. Immediately throw the cut ladies fingers into the wok and stir fry. Do this until it starts to wilt. Add the sliced tomatoes. Continue to stir fry a little. Then add the soya sauce and a bowl of water and turn up to high heat with the lid covered.

    4. Steam the ladies fingers for about 5 minutes until dull green and mushy looking.

    Serve with plain porridge.

    Bon Appetit!

    Garlic Egg Omelette

    Garlic Egg Omelette

    I love Garlic. My affection for garlic will turn any vampire friend away. Is that why I have so few friends these days?! Perhaps. But I am sure it has got to be my scathing personality rather than my obsession with garlic that has driven my friends away from me.

    Or maybe it is my anti-social behaviour that has made me much withdrawn and alone. Or perhaps people around me have become distracted with their handphones to notice that we have become socially isolated from each other. Kind of like being there and yet not fully present. I know the feeling.

    But I prefer to think that it is the garlic that has caused the riffs between us human beings (and some lesser mortals) than the pervasiveness of technology in our lives. After all, you are probably reading this off your mobile phone. I can’t fault you for that.

    Anyway, Garlic Egg Omelette, what’s there to say except that it is by far one of the best ways of frying up an omelette. Without adding the garlic, your Egg Omelette will be just plain vanilla, it will be lifeless; void of distinctive high notes. It will be less fragrant.

    By the way, just in case you’re wondering, I know my photo taking skills leaves much to be desired. I know also you guys out there probably use better equipment, lighting, better photo-editing software, better placement of your dishes to tease the visual senses. Whilst that’s all well and good, my main objective is cooking up a delicious dinner that my Wife and Son will love. So there.

    Ingredients

    Eggs (I always buy the Seng Choon Golden Corn Eggs from NTUC not because I have a special feeling towards their eggs but rather they have these 10 plus 2 free promos. For this recipe, I use 4 eggs, or else there wouldn’t be sufficient eggs between the two of us.)

    Garlic (Old Garlic is the best and you only need 3 pieces for the magic to happen)

    Purple Onions (one medium size purple colour onion would do the trick)

    Mini Shrimps (these are fresh mini shrimps that you rarely will be able to find at the wet market. But if you do come across it or find it, make sure you get some as they will add so much flavour to your omelette. A small portion of SGD 3 is enough for two portions of Egg Omelette.)

    Light Soya Sauce (3 tablespoons of Lee Kum Kee premium light soya sauce.)

    Method

    1. Break the eggs into a bowl. Add the chopped onions. Add the light soya sauce. Add the mini shrimp. Give it a good whisk.

    2. Heat up the wok, add about 3 tablespoons of Olive Oil. Heat it till it is reasonably hot. Add the minced garlic and stir fry first to bring out the fragrance.

    3. Add the egg batter into the wok and let it bubble and cook. We are looking for a light brown burnt flavour on one side before turning it over.

    Once cooked, you’re done.

    Bon Appetit!

    Steamed Snake Beans with Chinese Anchovies

    Steamed Snake Beans

    Steamed Snake Beans with Chinese Anchovies

    Traditionally known as the Oriental Yard Long Bean, this vegetable found commonly at the local wet market around Singapore is a well-loved vegetable by Chinese households. Actually, I am sure other households also love the vegetable, but I know I grew up eating these snake-like long Beans. And I love them.

    Some folks refer to them as Snake Beans, which I kind of prefer as well. In Hokkien, we usually call it Cai Tau which literally mean Bean Vegetable.

    I have always stir fried these legumes but decided that I would try steaming them instead. No special reason, just like the thought of steaming the snake beans into submission.

    Ingredients

    Snake Beans (the vegetable Uncle usually ties them into bunches with a rubber band, it makes it easier for him to calculate prices without having to weigh the stringy vegetables.)

    Chinese Anchovies (the Malay word for these guys are ikan bilis otherwise known as mini anchovies. These are the mini-mini versions. Sun-dried and possibly full of its local sea flavour. Good to soak them in hot water before frying.)

    Old Garlic (3 pieces of Garlic, minced, should be enough for flavour.)

    Fish Sauce (I love fish sauce, but the ones that I love the best are the lighter ones from Vietnam. These fish sauces are simple and not complex and usually brings out the flavours of the vegetables. I have been using flavours a lot haven’t I? LOL)

    Method

    1. Wash and cut snake beans into 3-4 cm lengths. But before that, you would have to strangle them into submission first. I don’t like my stringy vegetables twisting and turning all over the place. So after releasing them from the rubber band, it is important to douse them in cold water to make sure they are all ready.

    2. Ready for what?! I hear you ask. Good question. Ready for the chopping board of course. Remember to cut them into equal lengths of 3-4 cm. Okay if you do that they wouldn’t be all that equal, but I know you know what I mean.

    3. Soak the Chinese Anchovies in boiling hot water to extra the flavours of the tiny little fellas. 5 minutes would be more than sufficient.

    4. Minced the garlic. I am using 3 pieces as I always believe the slave shouldn’t be the master. He wouldn’t know what to do as Master with a Slave mentality, and the dish would be overpowered with garlic and that’s not what we want.

    5. Heat the wok, add 2-3 tablespoons of Olive Oil. Wait till the oil is heated, add the minced garlic to fry until lightly fragrant. Add the Chinese Anchovies and continue to stir fry. I like using the tilted wok technique as it helps to brown the garlic pieces rather evenly.

    6. Dump the entire bunch of cut Snake Beans into the wok and add about 4 tablespoons of the fish sauce. Add a cup of water and steam those snake beans into submission. 5 minutes at high heat with the lid covering the wok. Usually the Snake Beans will turn into a dull green colour and would stick their tongues out with two crosses for eyeballs. That’s how I like them. Mushy and nice.

    Best eaten with plain porridge.

    Bon Appetit!

    Deep Fried Fish Head with Leeks

    Deep Fried fish head with leeks

    Deep Fried Fish Head with Leeks

    Since discovering the KOGI tempura mix (where have I been all this time, you may wonder – I also say!!), I have decided that this is the go-to flour mix for all my deep fried dishes. Life should be simple right?! Why complicate it by following some purist video on YouTube (nothing wrong with purist videos) on the benefits of mixing your own flour mix? The reality of it is someone went to all that trouble and food technology to develop this perfect flour mix and I the snob is not using it.

    Therefore I now use it.

    So I decided to follow some other guy’s recipe for making Claypot Fish Head and minus all the unnecessary stuff that I didn’t want (more like I didn’t have in my fridge) and whipped up the same dish but in a different style with the same ingredients.

    I deep-fried my fish head following the classic claypot fish head style – Claypot Fish Head (incidentally I also have another recipe on that cult classic). But this time I added leeks. And more importantly, this time I used the KOGI tempura mix!

    The end result was needless to say perfect! (Okay lah, as perfect as perfect can be) I am only but a home cook trying to cut corners and make delicious foods with as little ingredients as possible.

    Ingredients

    Fish Head (any kind will do, angoli aka red snapper or garoupa aka grouper is good, I usually pay SGD 5 for one large one at my favourite fishmonger at CCWM, because I am cheapo, I usually select the bigger head, ask the uncle chop into small pieces and bag into two portions)

    Leeks (wet market leeks are the best, you can choose until you bruise the entire batch and the vegetable Aunty won’t be mad at you – do this at your own peril)

    KOGI tempura mix (apply this mix on the surface of the marinated fish pieces lavishly)

    Light Soya Sauce (I like to use premium soya sauce, not because I am rich, but the premium soya sauce really does taste much nicer! This also goes into the marinate for the fish)

    Shao Xing Hua Tiao Jiu (They sell this at NTUC and there are many different brands that have similar packaging. Again, I buy the most expensive one because it really does make my food taste better. This also goes into the marinate for the fish)

    Teochew Fermented Soya Beans (aka tau jiu in Hokkien/Teochew,this is our favourite type of fermented soya beans. Not overtly salty, and consistently great tasting)

    Oyster Sauce (I prefer the brand that has an image of a lady rowing a boat with a small boy, Lee Kum Kee Premium Oyster Sauce)

    Olive Oil (I use olive oil to do the deep frying because I use that for cooking anyway, so it works for me. I know I should be using some light vegetable oil like canola etc – not palm oil – but I can’t be bothered really as I don’t use all that much oil anyway. Just enough to fry two pieces at a time.)

    Ginger (young ginger is good, but any ginger also can. Grate it so that it forms part of the marinate for the fish pieces)

    Purple Onions (instead of saying medium onions, I prefer to just call it like it is. You go to the typical wet market and it is the medium size purple looking onion. Just one will do.)

    Old Garlic (there are the two basic types, Chef Garlic and Old Garlic. Use the old ones as they have more flavour. Just three pieces will do.)

    Marinate

    a. Use a Ziplock bag to marinate the fish head pieces. The Ziplock bag is useful because can Ziplock and seal in the marinate and allow the fish to soak up the juices.

    b. Grate an inch of ginger and dump it into the bag.

    c. Pour in about 3 tablespoons of light soya sauce.

    d. Pour in about 3 tablespoons of Shao Xing Hua Tiao Jiu. Leave it to marinate for about an hour at least in the fridge.

    Method

    1. Marinate the fish head slices first. Let it stay in the fridge for about an hour.

    2. Heat the olive oil in the wok and pour just enough for frying two pieces at a time using the tilt-the-wok technique. If you are using a light vegetable oil, please use that. Olive oil is healthier. Try not to use palm oil. It’s unhealthy.

    3. Coat the marinated fish pieces in the KOGI tempura mix, ensuring a good coat and then frying the fish until the fish pieces are a light brown. Place them in a metal strainer with a paper towel to absorb excess oil. Do this until all fish pieces are fried.

    4. In a heated wok, with three tablespoons of olive oil, stir fry the ginger until slightly fragrant, then add minced garlic, and sliced onions. Continue to stir fry. Then add two tablespoons of oyster sauce and a tablespoon of the fermented soya bean. Continue to stir fry until fragrant.

    5. Add 2 bowls of water, add the sliced leeks (make sure you wash them thoroughly as these usually have sand in between their leaves.) and immediately dump all the fried fish head pieces into the wok. Cover with lid and let it cook for a good 5 minutes over a big fire.

    The leeks should be softened, the fish head crispy skins should now be soggy and the water should be a thick sauce.

    Serve with white rice.

    Bon Appetit!

    Deep Fried Prawn Fritters

    Deep fried prawn fritters

    Deep Fried Prawn Fritters

    If there is something that I love, it would be my parents’ Prawn Fritters. I think they have achieved Michelin star status as far as I am concerned. But seriously, the prawn fritters are seriously shiok.

    So what is the secret to that delightful crispy crackle? Well, it’s the texture and consistency of the batter, and the secret’s out. It is this fantastic tempura flour mix known as KOGI.

    KOGI tempura flour mix

    This tempura mix is the bomb. Meant for seafood and vegetables, it is already pre-mixed and all ready to go. Just mix with water to achieve the right consistency of batter, and you are all set.

    Ingredients

    Medium Glass/Grey Prawns (I made about 12 prawn fritters)

    KOGI Tempura Flour Mix (I found it at the wet market at the Indian spice lady’s stall, cheap SGD 1.10)

    Olive Oil (must be sufficient for deep frying, I use the tilt the pan/wok technique to save oil, and for optimum deep frying, the oil must be smoking hot)

    Method

    1. De-shell the prawns. Most people leave the tail, I did as well, you can also do likewise.

    2. Prepare the batter to achieve a smooth liquid consistency. Too much batter, the prawns will stiffen, too little batter, you can’t taste the crispy crackle. Do the spoon test. Scoop and let it drip, if it flows too quickly, it is too watery. You want a slow drip. Best thing to do is to take notes and find the best consistency for you.

    3. Heat the oil and make sure it is hot. Then deep fry using the tilted wok technique and fry two to three at a time. Of course if you work for the vegetable oil factory, you can fry all at once. But alas, I don’t work for the vegetable oil factory.

    4. Once golden brown, take them out and let them rest on a metal strainer with a Scott’s paper towel to absorb the oil.

    That’s about it. Serve with sliced tomatoes as decoration.

    Bon Appetit!

    Stir Fry Garlic Butter Mushrooms

    Stir Fry Garlic Butter Mushrooms

    You know you have done well when you begin to feel good about what you have cooked and you know the feeling is mutual. Wifey says cook this. And it is so. She can’t be wrong. After all she is my biggest critic. She criticise just about everything I do. And that’s why I love her so much.

    I mean besides my Mother, no one else would bother to give me their honest opinion about anything. Okay maybe some. But they are mostly rare and few. So I have arrived at the final conclusion. She loves me. There is no other reason why.

    So when she says this is good, it is good.

    Ingredients

    White Button Mushrooms (I bought my white button mushrooms at Market 628, 1kg SGD 14. For this dish, I am preparing for 12-15 pax, so I bought 2kg)

    Garlic (I am using old garlic, about 10 pieces, finely chopped)

    Thai Basil (3 stalks of Thai Basil, plucked the leaves)

    Chinese Celery (5-6 stalks of local celery, not the Australian kind, these local ones are great for flavour)

    Butter (real butter please! Not margarine or low fat whatever it is that you call it. I use SCS because I think it is the best butter in the world. For this recipe, 1 whole slab.)

    Olive Oil (use extravagantly, mushrooms tend to soak up the oil and butter, so you would definitely need quite a lot of olive oil.)

    Sea Salt (a sprinkle every 500grams I had to cook them in batches as my wok was too small to cook all 2kg at one go.)

    Method:

    1. Snip the stem off the white button mushrooms. Although the stem is edible, most people wouldn’t eat it for some reason. You may wish to wipe the mushrooms with a paper towel if you like. But there’s no need really.

    2. Finely mince the garlic, finely chopped the local celery and pluck all the Thai basil leaves.

    3. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil and add 1/8 of the slab of butter to melt it. Once the butter starts to melt, add the mushrooms in to stir fry. At this time the mushrooms will start to soak up the oil.

    4. Add the minced garlic, chopped local celery and Thai basil to fry. Sprinkle some sea salt, add another 1/8 of butter. Stir fry until fragrant and the mushrooms starts to brown a little. Repeat this process until all the mushrooms are cooked.

    5. Easy only.

    Bon Appetit!

    Doodles 00005

    Saw this bus this morning, and I thought that it would look totally cool. The problem was translating it into lines.

    Doodles 00004

    My wife loves Dr Suess, and so I made a Dr Suess tissue pouch for her, except that where the opening was, there was the hat, and the bottom part of the opening was the legs.

    Doodles 00001

    I have decided that one of the things that I would take up is drawing digital cartoons. Here’s one for starters.

    Fighting the email monster

    “It’s fierce.” Those are the words of a seasoned traveler. And it doesn’t wait for you to touch down. It just keeps coming until your email quota bursts.

    Speak Right

    Speaking right is important because it shows your beliefs and your stand on matters arising. Furthermore, the odds of you saying the wrong things are also lowered.

    So what happens when you have to mix with people who have different values or beliefs from you? Well, there is such a thing as non-conforming, and keeping to a standard.

    So if my friends swear, I would usually not participate. Why not you might say? Why yes is what I would say. Simple reason is I have very little compulsion to swear.

    The fact is, I use my mouth to praise Jesus. And I use it to speak good things. So to use it to swear, is not very smart in my opinion. Anyway, your choice.

    Being Sick

    When you’re sick, it messes with you. My mind loses reality and all that self-condemnation and fear gets intermingled with the fake reality that messes up our confidence in Jesus.

    Yet, the reality is, our standing in Jesus has not changed, but our perception of reality has become somewhat warped due to the emotional imbalance of being sick. Our mind loses control of our bodies. We become enslaved to the running nose and itchy skin and woozy feeling of drowsiness. The meds meant to help you are partly causing you to hallucinate and messes up your thoughts.

    I know when I get well, my thoughts will be calibrated and my mind in its right place – with Jesus. The beauty of not being in the right state of emotional wellness, Jesus is there with us all the way. Keeping us safe and sound, like now, in my state of semi consciousness I am conscious of my standing in Christ.

    Eat Out Better

    Eat Out Better

    These days I haven’t had the inspiration to cook, partly because by the time I get back, it is already that kind of timing. Fighting rush hour, fighting time, fighting other rush hour commuters fighting you. 

    By the time I am back I have no time to ponder and consider what I need or want to cook for the night. No time for Creative inspired ideas. It’s straight into the OR (operating room) and start washing, chopping, cutting and drying the ingredients. 

    So I thought I should plan my menu way ahead, separate the Creative process and give it the space that it needs. Plan simple; cook simple and maybe in the process save some money. 

    Here goes:

    Menu 

    Tuesday:

    Dishes: abc soup, tua cai & snapper

    Ingredients: 1 x corn, 1 x carrot, 2 medium tomatoes, 250 grams ribs, 1 x tua cai, garlic, dried shrimps, 1 x snapper, ginger, chicken stock, leeks, onions, chinese sausages, hakka wine

    Thursday:

    Dishes: kiam chye duck soup, minced pork with sichuan veg, fried egg with scallops

    Ingredients: half a duck, tomatoes, preserved plums, kiam chye, 3 x tomatoes, ginger, garlic, minced pork, sichuan veg, eggs, chinese scallops

    Friday:

    Dishes: stir fry frogs, sautéed mushrooms, celery & minced pork, prawns in tomato sauce

    Ingredients: 2 x frogs, spring onions, ginger, oyster sauce, sesame seed oil, cornstarch, button mushrooms, minced pork, Australian celery, large prawns, tomato ketchup, garlic

    Shopping list:

    1 x corn

    1 x carrot

    5 x tomatoes

    250 grams pork ribs

    Half a duck

    500 grams kiam chye 

    Preserved plums 

    500 grams ginger

    500 grams garlic

    Tomato ketchup 

    $5 minced pork

    Sichuan veg 

    6 x large prawns 

    Oyster sauce

    Australian celery

    2 x frogs

    Punnet of button mushrooms

    Cornflour

    Spring onions

    Tua cai 

    Dried shrimps 

    Chinese scallops

    Hakka rice wine 

    Chinese sausages

    Leeks

    Chicken stock

    1 x snapper

    Medium onions

    Eggs

    Light soya sauce
    Ah forget it lah. Eat Out Better.

    This is the story of the little boy 

    This is the story of the little boy and his power ranger toy and the other toy which I can’t be bothered to remember. So anyway, he was playing with this other toy so much that he neglected the power ranger toy that was in his hands. 

    The question was what was so fascinating about the power ranger toy that he needed it and why did he needed the other toy?

    No one knows. 

    Julie Julia and Me

    Julie Julia and Me

    I hesitated too much, way too much for my own good. And when it is time to act, the opportunity is often over and the moment has passed. One of the reasons why I started this food blog was the movie Julie Julia featuring Amy and Meryl. I totally loved the story, and it resonated well with my passion of cooking.

    And then I thought, “why not write a food blog”, and chronicle my experiences as a servant-less home cook, trying out recipes and venturing to make them my own. It will be all about my journey in the kitchen, preparing and cooking wonderful dishes.

    Each time I watch re-runs of the movie Julie Julia, I am instantly inspired, happy, and at peace with myself. And I am reminded of why I often end my recipes with the classic “Bon Appetit!” – as Julia would say. Looking back in retrospect, I am indeed deeply inspired by the movie more than the book.

    Blah.

     

    Honey Velvet

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    Honey Velvet

    I am not usually a fan of sweet stuff. But I felt an urge for yoghurt and so I queued and ordered a honey and velvet from Milk and Honey from basement of Raffles City. I must say it was a very pretty dessert and it satisfied my craving.

    It’s a chick thing but I actually like it. Going at $6.80 a cup for one of their standard mix and toppings, I got mine after a ntuc card discount of 10%. Not bad, and tasted fantastic. Simple yoghurt with the addition of traditional items that you wouldn’t usually put if you ate at some other place.

    Very nice.