Vegatarian Nasi Lemak

Here is yet another post on food and I hope that this  post will not get you rolling your eyes :D

I dished out vegetarian nasi lemak last week, using my favorite Mak Nyonya curry paste.  I added cabbage, puffed  tofu, brinjal, tomatoes, ladies fingers, potatoes and hard boiled eggs.

I used vegetarian mushroom stumps as cheat anchovies and tortilla chips to replace the usual keropok.

Rice is cooked with fresh coconut milk – my absolute love!

 

 

 

 

I made a big pot and gave some to the girls’ grand aunt.

Looking at the pix again now just makes me salivate!

 

I used 2 packets since I put in a big load of vegetables into the wok.

 

 

 

 No. of times viewed = 184

Health Freak Mommy’s Homecooked Dinner

I have been really busy the past week.  But despite the busyness, I am still not succumbing much to outside food for my girls.  Many times when I was drowned in my work, I was really tempted to just tell the girls  “mummy ain’t cooking tonight, so let’s go out and eat”.  But I know what goes into the food not prepared by ourselves– some ABC brand recycled oil (am not surprise that some eateries use oil meant for lighting up candles at the altar to cook), loads of salt and white sugar and MSG. Not to mention, the veggies and meat may not be washed thoroughly or worse still, totally not washed.

So, I sacrifice an hour  each evening to dish out something easy and yummy for my girls.

Two nights ago, I made chicken chop with orange juice and rosemary, with raw alfalfa and brocolli sprouts, cherry tomatoes and stir fried pea sprouts with garlic as trimmings.

 

I dished up the chicken chop in under an hour.  Then dashed off in my car to fetch Sherilyn back from the enrichment centre.  While she ate dinner, I quickly swallowed mine too.  Next, zoomed off to drop Sherilyn at the dance centre for hip hop dance class.

 

Yesterday, I cooked creamy spaghetti with fresh mushrooms, cauliflower, char siew (bbq meat) and Okinawa luncheon meat.


Okinawa luncheon meat which my MIL brought back from Japan…

 

So… how do you like my kind of  dinner?   In my many pigging out sessions with the foodie hubs, I scrutinized interesting dishes and then back home, I will try to reproduce them ala health freak mommy’s style. Not bad eh? This is what I call picking up culinary skills by osmosis! ;)

 

 No. of times viewed = 244

Sherilyn’s Homemade Potato Salad

Today is the first day of the UPSR examination for Primary 6 students.  Sherilyn did not have to go to school today while Alycia needed to.  Tomorrow it will be Alycia’s turn to enjoy a day off school.

Instead of going to the enrichment centre in the morning, Sherilyn decided to follow me to the mini market to get the stuff that she needed to prepare potato salad.  She will be taking part in a ‘salad making’ competition organized by the Girl Guide movement that she joins in school.  Today is testing day where she will prepare the food, to be brought to school for her Patrol Leader to try tomorrow.

I told Sherilyn that if she wanted to do something that I do not agree with, she will have to do everything on her own.  I gave her another suggestion, which was easier to whip up but she was darn steadfast in her decision. I did not want her to bring eggs and mayo to school as these 2 items have risk of breeding salmonella if left in room temperature. Sherilyn only wanted to make potato salad and nothing else!  This girl can be really pig headed in certain matters and nothing can make her change her mind!  That’s my willful child.

Back home, Sherilyn wasted no time and got off the ground immediately.  She referred briefly to the potato salad recipe stuck on the fridge door and swung into action in the kitchen, with apron on and hair tied up.

The only thing I helped her was to prepare the wok to steam the potatoes.  As I worked on my computer, she got herself really busy in the kitchen.

A couple of hours later, her potato salad was ready!

 

She forked out a little of her product and shoved it into my mouth.  I  commented her that it needed a tad more salt and pepper and she darted back into the kitchen to add more salt and pepper.  She kept a portion of the potato salad in a take-away box to be brought to school tomorrow, saved a portion for her 2 sisters and brought a small portion to the enrichment centre for her friends to try.

The final product tasted impeccable!    Cass commented that it tasted better than those served at Japanese restaurants.  Sherilyn is now at the enrichment centre.  I’ll bet she will be deliriously overjoyed when she finds out that both her sisters polished off her potato salad and praised it sky high! I think she will excel in being a chef. She’s got the natural talent and love in cooking .

Sherilyn did not chop off part of her finger (again) and did not break anything or spill anything in the kitchen. She passed the test!

 

 No. of times viewed = 425

Wednesday Grilled Dinner

I love dishing out grilled fish, meat and veggies.  I call them my ‘healthy homecooked fast-food’.  And they taste really good too.  Most importantly, grilling food in the oven is sweat-free and oil splatter-free too!

Funnily, for someone who gets ‘heaty’ very easily, grilled food somehow does not make me feel heaty or sick, unlike deep fried food, which would give me an instantaneous after-effect.  That is how sensitive my throat is. Thus, I have completely stopped eating deep-fried food for the past one year, well almost. If I am at a function and nothing else is served except deep fried food, I will then have not much choice but to eat whatever is served and then face the aftermath.

Yesterday was a hectic day for me.  Alycia and Sherilyn were back from school at 4:30pm.    They are normally famished whenever they are back from school.  My ‘farn thoong’ (rice-pot) will always demand for rice with dishes.  So a grilled dinner came to mind. I actually thought long and hard on what to cook for dinner in the morning.  After my half-hour run in the morning, I settled for a grilled dinner coz that’s the easiest and fastest dinner to dish out.  Plus the girls love anything that is grilled.

In the morning, I marinated the salmon fish and chicken. At 4:30pm, I cooked the rice and chucked the fish and chicken into the oven. By 5:15pm, we all had dinner. By 6:45pm, I sent Sherilyn for hip-hop dance class and did some grocery shopping. At 8:30pm, I fetched her back from class. Oh yes, by 9pm I was drop-dead exhausted.  I have been cooking two meals a day these days as I am sick of having takeout food.

My salmon fish and chicken were marinated with all the herbs and ingredients that you can see in the below picture.  I used black pepper, oregano, Italian herbs, turmeric (for chicken), blackstrap molasses (for chicken) and my latest new found love – ground cumin and ground coriander seeds.  These two robust herbs can add so much flavor to my meat dishes.

I marinated the chicken drumsticks with blackstrap molasses to give it a nice brown color as well as a touch of sweetness.  I actually did not know what to do with the bottle of organic blackstrap molasses that I recently bought as I did not like the taste of it when consumed neat.  I have read and heard all the ravings about how beneficial blackstrap is, so I bought a bottle to try.  Now I have found a way of using it.  Today, I used the blackstrap molasses to replace dark soy sauce when I cooked braised soy sauce chicken and it turned out very well too. :)

 

 No. of times viewed = 503

Random Thoughts

Whenever the MIL goes abroad to stay with her daughters, I tend to find it hard to get the momentum to take over the cook’s job after having enjoyed the luxury of staying away from the hot kitchen for a period of time.   For the first few days after she leaves, I will normally cook something really simple.  In the meantime, I would need to spend some time to think and plan on what to cook, as well as check out blogs of good cooks (who cook yummy yet simple to prepare dishes) to give me some ideas and inspiration to start cooking again! Hahaha!

I was and still am feeling under the weather, no thanks to the pesky bugs that the 2 younger rascals  brought home from school.    With 2 rascals who love to kiss and hug me and share my food and drinks no matter how careful I am to stay them away from my food, it really ain’t easy to escape from those virulent bugs.

This was the super simple dishes that I served the girls for dinner yesterday …

Blanched veggie and omelette with loads of onions and scallions.  Everyone needed the potent compounds from the onions and scallions to ward off flu bugs! Onions scavenge free radicals and have vitamin C! Onions are good for your liver and body cells too. Thankfully my girls love onions and they can never get tired of eating omelette with onions.

 

Steamed chicken with tong kwai herbs, wolfberries, garlic and red dates.

 

Tonight’s menu will be grilled Saba fish, stir-fried fresh mushrooms and blanched veggie again.  Pix to follow soon! :)

 

 

 No. of times viewed = 281

See No Touch

Inspired by my friend’s posting of the picture of her mum’s homecooked black sweet vinegar pig’s trotters in Facebook and also aroused by the killer aroma of this dish from the unit above ours (a lady just gave birth and dang it, her Confinement Lady is drowning me with the aroma of her confinement dishes from dawn to dusk!), I asked my MIL to cook this dish. And so she did a few days ago :)

 

 photo pigtrottervinegar_zpsa7592ae5.jpg

 

As she cooked a huge pot, there was still some leftover in the fridge. Yesterday she reheated the dish but dang it, I could only see and salivate! See no touch :(

With a fresh wound from a tooth extraction, putting black vinegar into my mouth would only leave a deadly aftermath of stings and possible infection of the wound. So as I watched everyone else sipping on the mouth-watering black vinegar pig’s trotters broth, I could only eat bread and cabbage (cut till very fine with scissors) like a sick cat using one side of my mouth, boo hoo hoo :(

 

 

 No. of times viewed = 1823

Organic Yee Mein

My girls are so in love with yee mein.   Yee Mein is a kind of noodles made from wheat flour and eggs and deep fried. One of the ingredients in it is ASH. And I have no freaking idea what ash is but it sure does not sound too healthy to be eating ash.  Also, I am dubious on the kind of oil the manufacturers used to deep fry the noodles. Imagine RM3.50 for a packet of about 6 noodles, that’s a steal. Now, can things that cheap and mass-produced be healthy? I don’t think so. Much as my girls love to eat yee mein, I try to limit their consumption of this noodles.

I was so excited when I saw organic yee mein sold at an organic shop at my neighborhood.  I bought a packet and cooked it for dinner several nights ago.

 photo organicyeemee10Apr2014_zps1e2ae556.jpg

The noodles were blanched for less than a minute in a pot of hot water, to ‘cleanse’ it first before eating.   We personally prefer to eat the noodles as it is, without blanching it.  We love the super crispy texture of the noodles but I feel that it is healthier to blanch the noodles in hot water before serving them to young kids. Abuden, this has to come from a health freak mommy :D

I whipped up some minced pork sauce with Shimeji mushrooms and meat balls for the noodles and made an extra portion of the pork sauce to be cooked with our tofu dish the next day :)

 

 

 

 

 No. of times viewed = 780

Mushroom, Sweet Corn & Chicken Pasta

This was our dinner last night…

Fresh portobello mushroom pasta with chicken fillet, fresh sweet corn kernels, garlic and whipping cream topped with cheddar cheese.   I used a mixture of ribbon and spiral pasta to make the dish look more interesting. After all, it was  a kiddo dish. Shapes, sweet corn, cream and cheese, these are things most kids will heart and yes, my kids heart this pasta dish with all their heart. Every single pasta was walloped and every drop of cheesy and creamy sauce was licked clean :D

mushroom sweetcorn pasta 1

 

There was also a stir-fried organic baby pea sprouts with garlic.  Looks yummeh ya?  It sure was super yummeh. I kept a portion for lunch today. I should have cooked more and keep some in the freezer, to be reheated on days when we don’t get our water supply.  Yes, our area is finally hit by the water rationing despite it raining almost everyday for the past few days! WTF!

mushroom sweetcorn pasta 3

 

 No. of times viewed = 610

Yummy Rice Cooker Chicken Rice

Two days after Maid M resumed working for me, the lump in her neck began to nag her with pain again. Today, she sent me a text message informing me that she has to stop work and that she will only resume work again after her surgery. The last time she took a break from working part-time for me, she took a half-year break. Thankfully at that time, I found another wonderful part-time maid, but she never came back to me after she went back to Indonesia for her holiday. This time round, I guess I will be left with an even more cruel fate. I can sense that my back-up part-time maid does not wish to continue working. But I am not about to panic just yet. When life throws lemons at you, catch them to make lemonade!

So what if I am maidless?  I can cook 3-4 times a week and  eat out on the rest of the days.  Hubster who is super anal about how his clothes are ironed will have to send his clothes to the laundrette for professional ironing. He has no problem with this.  The rest of the chores, I will find a way to settle them myself with the help of the girls, whether they like it or not. When there is a domestic crisis, everyone has to pull together and pitch in.

So yesterday, I dished up something really easy-peasy yet yummy to the max! It was my first time cooking chicken rice in a rice cooker and it turned out so well! I could not believe how something so easy and fast to prepare could taste so good. My girls were pouring out praises on the chicken rice, which tasted better than Nam Heong chicken rice ^^

In the morning, I marinated the chicken with some sea salt, ginger wine, sesame oil and garlic + onion oil.

Put uncooked rice in rice pot and add water like you would to cook rice.  There is no need to increase or decrease the water.  Then, add in the marinated chicken into the rice pot.  Add in more fried garlic and onion together with the oil.  The fried garlic and onion oil will impart flavor and an oily texture to the rice, just like those oily rice from chicken rice stalls.

Rice pot chicken rice 1

This is how the chicken rice looks like in the pot after it’s cooked.

Rice pot chicken rice 2

 

Dish it out and serve with cool cucumbers and a veggie of your choice.  We had stir-fried cabbage.

I used low GI Basmati rice to cook this chicken rice, so that I could chomp some down without the fat guilt :D

Rice pot chicken rice 3

 

The unfinished portion was kept in a glass lock and lock container to be frozen and reheated for lunch next week.

Rice pot chicken rice 4

This one-pot meal is so going to be repeated in days and weeks to come until the MIL returns.  I am so glad I finally tried out this dish after procrastinating for months since last year.

 

 

 

 No. of times viewed = 821

Meal In A Jiffy – Braised Chicken Thigh

The first new dish that I cooked for 2014 is my own version of ‘loh kai pei’ (braised chicken thighs).  This is SO easy to prepare and the taste was top notch, according to my monsters :)

Here’s what I used, based on what I could find in my fridge.  The chicken need not be marinated.

INGREDIENTS (for 4 whole chicken thighs) :

1) Soy sauce.

2) 1 whole bulb of garlic

3)  Star Anise and some tiny dried twigs. I found this in a bottle that my MIL kept the Star Anise. I used about 4-5 tablespoons

4) About 1-2 tablespoons of oyster sauce

5) About 1-2 teaspoons of dark soy sauce

6) About 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (you can omit this if you do not like a tinge of sour and tarty taste)

7) Agave nectar – about 1/4 cup

8) Brown sugar – about 1 tablespoon

9) Filtered water

10) Black pepper – ground and unground

11) White pepper

12) About 1/2 cup of ginger wine.  I remember my MIL uses rose wine but I could not find it, thus I replaced it with ginger wine.

 

Loh Kai 7 Jan 2014

 

METHOD:

I did not use any measurement cup or spoon – as usual, everything was done in a rush as I had to get this dish done before I went out to fetch Alycia and Sherilyn back from the tuition centre.  Preparation time, including washing chicken and peeling garlic is about 40 minutes.  About half-way through simmering the chicken, I tasted the sauce. You can adjust the taste to your liking by adding more of whatever sauces or spices that you fancy or add water if it is a tad salty.  My sauce is mild in saltiness and sweetness – just right for kiddos :)

Add all the sauces into the pot of water, which was enough to cover the 4 chicken thighs.  When it boils, add in the chicken thighs.

Let the sauces simmer with the chicken thighs in high flame for about 20 minutes, then lower flame to medium and let it simmer for another 10 minutes.

While the chicken are simmering in the pot, I quickly did some work on the computer while enjoying the aromatic smell of 5 Star Anise and garlic mixed with soy sauce wafting in the house, which made my tummy growl :D

After 30 minutes, I turned off the flame and went out to fetch Alycia and Sherilyn back from the tuition centre.

Remember the Chicken Adobo that I cooked the other day? My girls loved that to bits.  I asked them which they liked more – Chicken Adobo or mummy’s braised chicken and the answer was “BOTH also nice” and then they voted Mummy’s Braised Chicken first and Chicken Adobo second :D

I have kept the remaining sauce in a pot in the fridge and am going to make another round of Mummy’s Braised Chicken on Friday. This dish is just perfect for busy days :)

 

 

 No. of times viewed = 3735