Thursday, July 30, 2009

Three Cups Chicken

Three cups chicken literally means chicken cooked in 1 cup of soy sauce, 1 cup of cooking wine and 1 cup of sesame oil. The resulted dish is very fragrant and the sauce is delicious. The cup measurement here must means the traditional Chinese rice bowl and cooked in a big pot of chicken, for a large family back then where everyone live in the same house (grandparents, uncles, aunties, etc). So, for the small family size these days (a family of four), we cannot use the stated measurement as the name. We have to cut it way down as long as the measurement is still the same, for example 1/8 cup for all or 1/4 cup for all or 1/2 cup for all. How much you add will depend on how much chicken you wanted to cook. I added Chinese mushroom into mine to soak up the delicious gravy. I won't be sharing my recipe here as you can easily find the recipe on the web.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Pork Balls Soba Noodle

When my husband was away for a business trip, I cooked something easy for lunch. I had minced some pork and decided to make pork balls with it. Then, I just boiled the soba noodle until cooked and set aside. Boiled another pot of water to make the soup for this noodle. When the water was boiling, added the marinated pork balls, boiled until the pork balls were cooked. Added in the bok choy and seasonings for the soup such as soy sauce, sesame oil, chicken stock granules, salt and a little dark soy sauce. I added some cripy fried shallots too.

Served the noodle in a bowl, added in the soup with pork balls and bok choy. Later cut some Japanese seaweed (for sushi roll) and place it on top of the soup. It was special with the added seaweed as it brought another flavor into the noodle. Easy to prepare and nutritious too! I ate mine with spicy chili in oil with soy sauce as a dipping sauce, shiok lah!

Now, I would love to share this dish with Presto Pasta Night, an event created by Ruth from Once Upon a Feast. This week host is Amy of Very Culinary , do go and check out her round up on Friday!

And I am also submitting my recipe to the Original Recipe event hosted by Lore at Culinarty. Check out others' recipes around the week of 15th.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Banana Cake

The only time I would make a banana cake is when I have some banana freeze up in the freezer. Sometimes we would have one banana left that was too ripe and nobody wanted to consume it. So, I put it in the freezer bag and left it in the freezer. When I have two in the freezer, that's the time I would make this cake for breakfast. This banana cake is made with butter and thus it's not that oily. Don't get me wrong, I like banana cake made with oil too as it's very moist but sometimes it can be quite oily.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Japanese Curry Rice

I don't know about you, but this looks absolutely delicious to me. We all loved Japanese curry, especially Vermont Curry Hot brand. When my hubby was on a 3 nights business trip away from home, I cooked a big pot of this Japanese curry with chicken breasts and mixed veggie with onion and red bell pepper. It was so easy and so yummy that we could have it for days. I also served easy noodle soup for lunch for variation. But seriously, this is so good and healthy. As you can see, I did not add potatoes in mine, not quite fancy with the starch and prefer mixed vegetable instead. This mixed vegetable has Lima beans too, extra bonus eh?

Look how good that is! Even though the packet said it's Hot, but it is not hot at all. My two girls can eat a bowl of rice with lots of gravy in it with no problem as Japanese curry is on the sweet side, very different from our Malaysian curry. What I love more is no coconut milk is used so I can eat with no guilt feeling. One packet came with two packs inside so you can actually cook two big pot of Japanese curry when you buy one. Very suitable for working people who cook big portion on weekend and pack it in individual serving size in containers for weekday meal.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Our Camping Trip (Part 2)

These two campsites had the best view of the lake, but not shaded all day long though.

Let's walked down to the lake.

The forest.

Finally the lake was in sight!

Beautiful blue sky and clear water!

So clear.

Lots of people fishing and boating too!

Let's have some fun!

Evy loved it! She kept saying the water was not cold.

Now, let's have some camping food! I wanted the meal to be easy to cook and delicious. Instant broccoli rice, low fat, low sodium SPAM and...

Fried eggs!

Enjoying their lunch.

Let's washed our hands.

Marshmallow dessert after dinner. Too bad hubby didn't take picture of our easy dinner of instant INA pan mee with fish balls and broccoli. Yum!

Rolling up her sleeves to wash her hands. Look at her marshmallow face!

In the end, it was a fun and relaxing trip. Both my girls loved it and they liked the camping food too. It was raining on our last night there, luckily it stopped for 3 hours just enough for us to have our dinner and some marshmallow treat for the kids before it started to rain into the night again. Hopefully we can do another camping trip before the summer end this year.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Our Camping Trip (Part 1)

After 3.5 years of camping hiatus, we finally geared up for our long awaited camping trip. It was Evy second time and Edda first. We love camping in the national forest where there was some distant between campers and lots of shades. This seem to be our favorite place to go camping as it had everything, a trail to a lake, lots of trees & shades, restrooms, fire pit, water supply and the basic necessity for a camper site. Now, I will let the pictures speak for itself.

Our campsite.

Lots of shades, it's shaded all day long.

The campground.

Our SUV was packed to the brim! This is what we called car loaded camping.

Inside the tent. Edda was happy sleeping in her Dora cushion bed.

Evy was helping me taking the water out from the truck.

Edda wanted to be a little helper too!

Enjoying their breakfast of apple juice and matcha castella cake.

Happy, happy!

Let's pose for the camera!

Trying to build a wood castle from the pile below.

Heeya! KungFu fighting jump!

I thought this was super cute!

Haha, now I could see you!

Stay tuned for part 2 when we walked to the lake and what's serving for our camping lunch!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Green Tea Castella or Matcha Kasutera

We were going away for a three days two nights camping trip and I wanted something easy to serve as breakfast. What easier than having two pieces of cake and a cup of instant 3 in 1 coffee or milk tea? Since I made the Castella cake earlier and we all loved it, that sponge cake was my easy picked. I read that the original Japanese sponge cake does not called for oil/butter/margarine so I was interested in experimenting. However, I was too careful to remove all the oil because I was afraid that it might be too dry thus I reduced half of the oil and some sugar. I added 1/2 tablespoon of green tea powder for a change too. Since I reduced the oil, I also tried the method mentioned in my previous post that was to place the cake in the refrigerator while still warm but I didn't brush the top with honey water (I didn't want it to be sticky).

The resulted cake had fine crumbs and more compact than my previous one. Still soft and light like a sponge cake with the tint fragrant of green tea. Still tasted good after reducing the oil.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

POM Pomegranate Juice

My parents' house used to have a pomegranate tree and I remembered my siblings and I used to pluck the pomegranate fresh from the tree and eat it. It was fun time back then where all kinds of fruit tree can be found at my parents' yard and we just ate from what we grew. Pomegranate tree is very common is Asia where the weather is hot all year round. But when I moved here, it was pretty scarce and those carried in the supermarket can be quite pricey as it's hardly go on sales. Then, POM came along and made this 100% pure concentrated Pomegranate juice. For me, it is easier to drink the juice then eat the fruit itself (tedious don't you think?).

What is so wonderful about this Pomegranate juice is its' antioxidant potency, where better than green tea, cranberry juice, red wine, concord grape juice and blueberry juice. Not only that, it also proved in a $25 million scientific research that by drinking 8 oz. of 100% pomegranate juice daily, one can experience significant improvement in heart (increase blood flow, decrease arterial plaque, lower LDL oxidation), prostate and erectile health.

Thus far, the only brand that can guaranteed to contain 100% authentic pomegranate juice is POM Wonderful where they grow their own fruit, pick it by hand, squeeze it with their own proprietary presses and even manufacture their own bottles all the way in California's Sunny Joaquin Valley. Their juice is all-natural with no added sugars, preservatives, colors or cheap filler juices. I saw the interview on T.V. about POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice before but I forgot which station already. They definitely trying to create and raise awareness about this wonderful juice. I found this juice to be on the strong side so I had to dilute it with ices.
Drink for our health ya!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Stir Fried Nai Pak (Asian Green) with Fish Balls

I had some leftover fish balls from my previous night noodle soup so what better way than to slice it up and cook with the veggie planned for the next day. Just sliced the fish balls into four pieces and added them in when stir-frying the veggie, as easy as that! I had some thinly sliced carrot for my napa cabbage so I just used that instead of cutting another carrot. For the real Chinese cooking, the carrot would be cut into a flower shape, or circle for better presentation of the dish. We are quite particular about the way we cut our ingredients, for even cooking and presentation, but for home cook food within my family, I won't care that much. :P

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Castella Cake (Japanese Honey Sponge Cake)

Yup, my turn to make the Castella Cake (Japanese Sponge Cake). I was made aware of this cake because of the special ingredient used, honey! My hubby drink a glass of honey water before he goes out for his sport so I always have a bottle of honey at home. Honey Sponge Cake sounds good to me as I like the soft and spongy texture of sponge cake. I got the recipe from Notes From My Food Dairy and made a few changes to it. I just wanted to try the original taste of this cake before attempting other variation. Would certainly love to try the matcha flavor next time. The Castella Cake is all soft to goodness spongy. This cake has fine crumbs and very irresistible because it is so light and soft, I just want to eat more.

You can read more about Castella cake at Wikipedia here. I also found an extract here that is useful for my next attempt:

"In the meantime, mix together the 1 tablespoon of honey and a little hot water, to make a glaze.
As soon as the cake is out of the oven, brush the top with the honey-water mixture.
When it's cool enough to handle but still warm, lift it out of the pan, paper and all, and put into a plastic bag. Seal the bag and put into the refrigerator, for at least several hours. This step is critical to ensure the kasutera has a moist texture. If you let it cool to room temperature before putting it in the plastic bag, it will end up a bit dry." Extracted from Just Hungry. Cool tips ya! :) 

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Seaweed Soup with Fish Balls, Tofu and Chicken

I was so happy I found another way to enjoy the Chinese seaweed. Before that I only know one way to enjoy the seaweed with eggs and dried anchovies. It is definitely a benefit for me when someone posted pictures of the food they eat while vacationing in Malaysia or Singapore. It gave me ideas or ways to cook a certain food that I have not thought of before. My hubby loved this type of seaweed, which I called Chinese seaweed instead of the Korean green seaweed. He just won't touch those at all. So, I was glad that I found another way of preparing this soup.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Cheesecake Cups

I loved to buy cream cheese when it was on sales, just for the "just in case" I need it moment. Then, often time because of my laziness, the cream cheese will left untouched. I really need to do something before the cream cheese past the expiration date and I found this mini cheesecake cups very easy. I used my roasted edamame cookies as base for these cheesecake cups, if you asked me, any round cookies would do. Then prepare an easy cheesecake mix and it was all set. I would recommend you to decorate the cheesecake cups as you desired as it will make it prettier and more presentable. ;) This is definitely an easy party dessert or treat for little kids.
I like the bite size serving too!

Plain ones

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Microwaved Ground Pork

While I was at a ladies gathering, I noticed that my girls loved this pork dish. Lily made this dish with a Chinese preserved vegetable and she told me it was very easy, just used the microwave or put it in the rice cooker 5 minutes before the rice is cooked. This is one familiar home cook dishes in Malaysian households as my mom used to make this dish too, along with the steamed eggs. You can also find it at the place where they sell porridge or economy rice. But for some reason, I just never make it, perhaps finding steaming takes too much time. Anyway, now I learned that it takes 4 minutes in a microwave, I have no reason not to make it anymore. Since I don't have the Chinese preserved vegetable, I substituted it with salted turnips/ "chai por" and used my seasonings since I couldn't remember what Lily told me already (she was busy cooking and spoke so fast that it just went in my right ear and came out my left ear, LOL!). Got to say, it turned out delicious and very flavorful. "Chai Por" is a very good substitute.