Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Homey Mac'n'Cheese with lotsa veggie

Mac n Cheese with lotsa veg

Mr T and I returned from our brief break from sunny and warm Surfers Paradise and was greeted by the wet and freezing cold of M Town.

I was really craving something homey and decide to make mac'n'cheese. It's also Mr T's number 1 comfort food. This is what he would request when he's sick. No Congee for him....

I remember we had this whole head of cauliflower sitting in the crisper section of our fridge that we got at the market nearly a month ago and this long forgotten leek. So thought we'd better use them up now that our oven has been fixed (it was out of commission for nearly 6 months! >.<)

Ingredients (feeds 4 or more)

  • 1/2 packet of pasta (I used macaroni coz I like their shape)
  • 1 whole head of cauliflower, separated into florets
  • 1 leek, sliced finely up to all the edible bits 
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 1 carrot (grated)
  • 1 red capsicum, diced
  • frozen green peas (optional and use as much as you like)
  • bacon, diced (optional, use as much as you like)
  • butter
  • flour
  • milk
  • white wine
  • 1 egg
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of whole grain mustard
  • mixed herbs
  • Slap ya'Mama (cajun/chili powder - optional)
  • Dukkah (optional)
  • cheese (cheddar, Parmesan, mozzarella)
  • breadcrumbs (optional)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Season the cauliflower florets with mixed herbs, salt & pepper, slap ya'Mama and Dukkah in a roasting pan (or whatever you'll be making the mac'n'cheese in), place in oven and roast for 20 mins or so, until soften. 
  • Cook pasta on stove top per packet direction til 70% ready (under cook them, because they'l cook further in the oven).
  • In a large saucepan, over medium heat, fry up the bacon bits over a splash of olive oil, add the leek, cook for 5 mins.
  • Add garlic and grated carrots cook for another couple of minutes, add capsicum & frozen peas, keep stirring so they don't stick to pan and everything is thoroughly mixed, season slightly with salt and pepper.
  • Pour out cooked pasta and drain.
  • In pasta pot over medium heat, make a roux with the butter and flour until it's a nice nutty tan/brown colour.
  • Add in milk and white wine, make sure it's NOT bubbling and crack in the egg, keep whisking so it doesn't form a poached egg!
  • Season with whole grain mustard and Slap ya'Mama, keep whisking and add in cheese until it's one gooey gooey glob.
  • Transfer cooked cauliflower to the saucepan of veggies along with the cooked pasta and mix well.
  • Pour the mixture back into the roasting pan and then add in the cheese sauce, top with a sprinkle of breadcrumb to give it that crunchy top 
  • Bake for 20 mins until it's golden. 
  • DIG IN!!!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Taiwanese 3 Cup Chicken (Samg Bui Gai)

So apparently the '3 cups' in 3 cups chicken is in reference to the quantity of soya sauce, Chinese cooking wine and sesame oil in the dish. Unless you're cooking a banquet for 100 people you just need 1 tablespoon each. Though '3 tablespoon chicken' doesn't quite have the same ring to it does it?

This was super quick to make and it was ready to eat before my rice even finish cooking. So I had to wait around smelling this aromatic dish. Not good on a hungry belly.

3 Cups Chicken
  • 4 chicken thigh fillets (approx 500g)
  • 1 red onion, choppped
  • 1 red capsicum, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp of chopped ginger 
  • red chillies
  • Thai basil leaves
  • spring onion
  • 1 tbsp soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1–2 tspn cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp peanut/vegetable oil
  • cut up chicken to bite size, I removed the excess fatty bits
  • add cornstarch, soya sauce, cooking wine, sesame oil, ginger and garlic to chicken and mix well
  • heat oil in pan/wok on medium heat
  • add chopped onion and cook for a little til soften
  • add chicken mixture and leave it don't stir for a few minutes
  • add chopped red capsicum to pan and stir to make sure the other side of the chicken is cooked
  • add red chilies, spring oil and Thai basil leaves a few minutes before serving
  • the cornstarch in the marinate would thicken to a nice sauce.
Served hot with white Jasmine rice. yummm

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Mozzarella stuffed spicy meatballs with romesco sauce

So after visiting the Scorsese Exhibition at ACMI I simply could not get the meatballs that his mom Kathy made out of my head! (And wanting to watch all his movies as well, this guy is a cine-genius!)

I knew I didn't want big fist-sized meatballs because I just find them too dry, eating this massive chunk of mince meat did not appeal to me, but little ping-pong ball size ones filled with gooey mozzarella cheese....ooooh yeah baby! Get in mah belly!

We had pasta at a really cute Italian restaurant in the city after the exhibition, called Il Solito Posto, it was quite cozy and the food there was lovely, will definitely be going back there again. Though then made me crave something less traditional to go with my meatballs, so I decided to go Tapas/Spanish style with Romesco sauce, if you haven't tried it before, it is amazing! My Romesco sauce is made with roasted char-grilled red capsicums, so their flavours really intensify and brings out the sweetness and slightly smokiness, there's almond flakes, breadcrumbs to give the sauce body and other spices like smokey paprika to up the pepper and smokey flavour. It went really well with the meatballs. Here's what you'll need to make this simple but yummy dish.

Romesco sauce ingredients:

  • 2 large capsicums, grilled whole in the oven on high heat for 30 mins
  • breadcrumbs
  • almond flakes
  • tomato
  • garlic
  • smokey paprika
  • chili flakes
  • red wine vinegar/balsamic vinegar
  • salt & pepper
  • basil
  • leek/onion
  • olive oil
  • Remove grilled capsicums from oven and place in ziplock bags, careful not to lose any of it's juices, this is vital part of the sauce!
  • Let the capsicums cool in bag and remove the skins and the seeds
  • In a blender thingy add all the ingredients except the basil and leek/onion and blitz til smooth
  • In a saucepan, add olive oil and brown/sweat the onion/leek
  • Add in the sauce, it is now ready for the meatballs to be be simmered in.
So let's get right into them.

Meatballs ingredients:
  • 500 g of half pork half beef mince, you can incorporate other mince if you like
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • breadcrumbs
  • mozzarella/bocconcini quartered
  • mixed dried italian herbs
  • chilli powder/flake
  • paprika
  • salt & pepper
  • kasundi


  • Add all the ingredients except the cheese together, mix well
  • Take a spoonful of the mince mixture and flatted it a bit and add the piece of cheese in the centre, then wrap mince around and roll it up into a ping pong ball size
  • Add them to a fry pan with butter/olive oil to brown on all size, doesn't need to be cooked through.
  • Do this in batches until all the meatballs have been browned, then add them all to the Romesco sauce for simmering for 15-20 minutes until they're cooked through and the sauce thicken up a bit.
  • Serve with some chopped basil and you may top it up with shaved Parmesan cheese if you like.
Yuuummm :D

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Cantonese–style Wonton Noodle Soup

Giant Cantonese–style wonton noodle soup
I was really really craving wonton noodle soup. This is a comfort food for me when I was very young growing up in HK and it has been ages since I've had homemade ones. Frozen wontons are available in supermaket and Asian stores but I find them incomparable to the homemade ones.

T-Rex helped me wrapped these and some of them are pretty ginormous. heheheh.

I confess, it's been awhile since I wrapped any dumplings and I was never very proficient at it. So I watched a few youtube videos on how to fold them. We experimented on a variety of ways to wrap them. It's really up to you, as long as the filling stay inside, it's all good!

Speaking of filling, it definitely needs to have prawns, chunky bits of prawns, so there's some texture to it and not just dry and meatbally.

  • A package of wonton wrappers
  • A dozen frozen prawns
  • 500g mince pork
  • Minced ginger
  • Spring onion
  • Coriander
  • White pepper
  • Chinese cooking wine
  • Sesame oil
  • Light soya sauce
  • Dry thin egg noodles
  • Choy Sum or any green veggie
  • Wonton soup mix (yeah I know! Being super lazy, but this mix powder gives me the exactly flavour of the soup of my childhood memory)
  • Defrost the frozen prawns and soak them in cold water and then chop each prawn into 3.
  • Mix prawns with pork mince, herbs and the other seasoning, keep stirring until the mixture seems gooey (at least 5 mins).
  • Now you're ready to wrap, I generally use about 1 tablespoon of filling per wrapper. Fold it up whichever way you prefer. I liked folding them in half in triangles and then folding the ends behind and pressing it in so they look kinda like tortellinis - which I've always thought of as Italian wontons.
  • Get your water boiling in a pot and add the wontons, cook until they float - at least 10 minutes.
  • At around the 5 minute mark, add in the noodle, veggie and soup mix.
  • There you have it, yummy homemade wonton soup. I think I'll add some shitake mushrooms to my filling next time.

Vietnamese Summer Rolls

Yummy vegetarian summer rolls
It was a particularly hot day here in M-town and I really didn't feel like cooking anything after work, or rather turning on the oven and making the apartment even hotter. So I figured some summer rolls would be a great idea, plus T-Rex can also help roll them.

I made vegetarian version for Meat-free Monday and had an addictive spicy peanuty dipping sauce to go with it. I think I crave the sauce more than the rolls.

Here's what you will need.


  • Rice paper
  • Vermicelli
  • Carrots
  • Cucumber
  • Mint
  • Basil
  • Spinach/Lettuce
  • Hard tofu
  • Peanut butter
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Fresh chilies
  • Start by julienne the carrots, cucumber and tofu
  • Cook the vermicelli according to the direction on the package (soak in hot water) and then drain
  • Get a big bowl and fill it with cold/room temperature water for the rice paper, if you use hot water the rice paper becomes too soft and tears very easily.
  • Lay out the damp (but still "rigid") rice paper on a plate/board and add a handful of the noodles to the lower third of the paper, top up with the other fillings and herbs, be careful not to overload, else it's very difficult to wrap it up.
  • By this time, the paper would have soften enough, fold the bottom up, then the two sides and then just roll it up. TaDa!
  • For the sauce, I usually use a ratio of 2 spoons of peanut butter to 1 spoon of hoisin sauce, top with hot water to your desired sauce consistency and add fresh chopped chili to your spice level, I added about 4 chilies.
  • Enjoy! You can try other cooked fillings as well, maybe smoked salmon, prawns, chicken slices. Be creative :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Jamaican Dinner

Yummy Jamaican Brown strewed chicken with red beans and rice
This was the night after the Attica Degustation dinner. And what do you eat after a delicate 5 course dinner?
A hearty, spicy, full of flavour Jamaican meal of course!

This one is a handy, foul-free treat.

Brown stewed chicken with red beans and rice. I also had some left over pumpkin from the previous week's Sunday roast dinner. So here's how you go about getting this easy dinner on the table.


  • Chicken pieces
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Chili
  • Red capsicum
  • Green capsicum
  • Soya sauce
  • Pickapepper sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Thyme
  • Sugar

  • Season the chicken with salt, pepper, chili
  • Heat up the olive oil in a dutch pot, add the chicken pieces to brown
  • Remove the chicken when they look 70% done
  • Top up a little more oil if you need and then add the aromatics: onion, garlic and ginger
  • Add the capsicums
  • Add the seasonings: soya sauce, ketchup, pickapepper and top up with some hot water
  • Bring to boil and reduce heat to simmer, add back the chicken and the juices, cover lid
  • Add the sugar, vinegar, hot sauce, thyme to taste and reduce the sauce til it's nice and thick and just coating the chicken.
I basically cook all my rice in a rice cooker, never learned to do it any other way.
So I added a drained and rinsed tin of red kidney beans to my washed rice, along with a tin of lite coconut milk (I find the coconut cream too sweet). Long grain rice is best to get that individual grain result. season with a little bit of salt and allspice/mixed spice.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Thai Chicken Larb Salad

Spicy, Salty, Sweet and Sour. It packs a punch of flavours!
I just adore Thai food. The spicy, salty, sweet, sour and fresh flavours are tantalizing to your tastebuds. Though some people might not be fans of fish sauce, but it's ok in moderation.

Here's a pretty quick salad that's something different. I combined a few different recipes and added my own twist to it.

Even my new housemate who hasn't had much appetite of late had 2 servings of this yummy salad.

  • Chicken Mince
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Coriander (including the roots)
  • Cucumber
  • Green beans
  • Basil
  • Mint
  • Kaffir lime leaves
  • Dried chilli flakes
  • Fresh chilli
  • Bean sprouts
  • Fish sauce
  • Lime/lemon juice
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Peanut oil
  • Heat oil in wok, add the minced garlic, ginger and coriander roots
  • Add chicken mince brown and break into little bits with dried chilli
  • Add fish sauce and sugar 
  • Add the chopped up green beans and stir until heat through, this is all the cooking done.
  • Remove from heat and toss in all the remaining ingredients, all chopped up except the beans sprouts
  • You can top it off with some crushed peanuts for the extra crunch but I ran out of peanuts.