Saturday, 1 February 2014

Gong Xi Fa Chai!!

It's the new year again - the Year of the Horse!

This year's Chinese New Year celebration is very different for me. Without my family and friends by my side, it was up to me to make it happen. And I'm glad I did :')

For the first time, I didn't have Dad with me doing all the marketing and cooking in the kitchen. It was very emotional for me in the past few days. But I choose to look at the brighter side of life. I had the bf with me the whole time, my new-found friends and whole lot of things to look forward to! Life is picking up!! :D

For the reunion dinner, I thought it was going to be a breeze with only 3 dishes - Steamed Chicken with dipping sauce, Braised Mushroom & Tofu accompanied by my favorite Broccoli and Crispy Cereal Prawns. Sounds easy but oh gosh, I was in the kitchen for more than 2 hours!! Lol. I have no idea what went wrong but there were more work than I thought. Lucky I have the bf to helped me out in the kitchen and he did a great job with the Cereal Prawns, it was very yum!!

Anyways, I'm so glad it went well, the boys enjoyed themselves and we had a really good reunion dinner :')

Reunion Dinner 2014

Hope everyone had a great reunion dinner with your family and friends, wherever you may be!

Happy Chinese New Year, Gong Xi Fa Chai!
May the Horse brings us all Happiness & Prosperity!
It's going to be an exciting year ahead, let's gallop away!!! Woo :D

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Simple Dinner Recipe: Homemade Satay Chicken

This is my first attempt at making my own Satay Chicken at home. Marinated lean chicken, on a grill and we ran out of bamboo skewers. Truly home style. Haha.

Homemade Satay Chicken

The verdict? So gooooood.

Well, don't compare to the bought ones especially those laden with artery-clogging fats and charred taste of potentially-cancerous carbon bits ;) This is truly homemade and healthier version. And by homemade standard, I have to say it's pretty darn good!

I'm quite impressed with the marinate which I bought from Tesco, Malaysia. I like the fact that I can still taste the lemongrass and it wasn't salty enough! You see, I'm always very skeptical to try packet mix because it's always too salty for my taste but this was different. It still has room for me to adjust the saltiness to my taste - so I added a bit of sugar, salt, pepper and oyster sauce. I'm happy :)

Next, it's the Satay Sauce. Honestly I've tasted better but you really can't complain for something as easy as throwing the whole packet into a hot water bath, cut open and serve!

Here's my happy Satay Sauce enjoying his hot spring, totally ignorant and unsuspicious of the fate that awaits him...

To make your own homemade Satay Chicken (for 4 person):

1kg of chicken thigh (skin removed;cleaned and chopped into small pieces)
1 packet of Satay Marinade
Packet of Satay Sauce (1 packet = a small bowl shown on the packaging = only enough for 1 person. So do the math yourself!)
Chopped Onions
Chopped Cucumbers

Optional: Salt, Pepper, Oyster Sauce, Sugar

Step 1: Marinate the chicken with the Satay Marinade and let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour. (Add water and seasonings to taste. Give it a good stir to ensure all the chicken pieces are well marinated.)

Step 2: Using a grill pan, cook the chicken until slightly charred. Just slightly!

Step 3: Put the whole packet of Satay Sauce (unopened) into a hot water bath for 15mins, cut open and Serve!

Step 4: Serve satay with some chopped onions and cucumbers. We had it with rice too and all we have to say is....YUM! :D

Dinner's ready! I love this one! :D

Oh by the way, my first job interview is happening next week!! Weeee~ I'm so excited. It only means I can cook and bake more yummy goodies without feeling the guilt of being jobless! Wish me luck!!

Be back soon! Muax!

Monday, 20 January 2014

Lazy Dinner Recipe: Mentaiko & Seaweed Pasta

Japanese + Italian.

Who would've thought it would be a happy marriage? Well, certainly not me!

The first time I heard of Pasta Zanmai, I thought it was ridiculous! I'm a huge fan of Sushi Zanmai but it never crossed my mind to give their fusion sister a try.

Not until one day when I had to meet some friends there for lunch.

"....Imagine Carbonara with its usual creaminess topped with raw salmon sashimi slices, ikura and shimeji mushrooms..."

I fell in love!! OMG. Who is this genius?? I mean seriously...Carbonara plus Sashimi? I love it!

Anyways, when a friend told me to try Mentaiko (Cod Roe) with Pasta, I jumped onto it immediately!

This is the Easiest...Laziest... Yummiest dinner up to date! :D

Mentaiko & Seaweed Pasta

For those of you who don't know how Mentaiko looks like, this is how it looks and you can get it at the Japanese grocer in their freezer section:

Mentaiko (remove the membrane and scoop out the roes)
Japanese Seaweed Powder
Pasta of any kind (I love Penne!)
Salt & Pepper

Optional: Hard-boiled eggs for extra protein

Step 1: Cook pasta as per packaging instructions. Drain, add salt & pepper and put aside. (Do not drain your pasta in cold water)

Step 2: While pasta is still hot, add Mentaiko, Japanese Seaweed Powder and hard-boiled eggs.

Step 3: Serve!

Superrrr easy and sooo yummm. Perfect dinner on a super lazy day. Dinner was ready in less than 30 minutes!

Hope you like this one! Enjoy! :D

Saturday, 18 January 2014

New Year, New Beginning!

Yes, I've been away.

Reminds me of those times I would write in my diary,

"Dear Diary, I'm sorry I will be away for holidays. Can't write for 2 weeks."

But it's usually more than 2 weeks. And then I'll write,

"I'm sorry Diary, did I say 2 weeks? I meant 2 months. Typo error." LOL.

Anyways, here I am :D Going into the 3rd week of 2014 before writing my first post of the year.

New Year Resolutions? Well, blame the weather!! But ok, I'll get into that soon.

Right now, I need to get my life gear shifted at least to the 2nd gear! I've got my Marriage Visaaaaaa! It was the best Christmas present ever! No, the 2nd best after the Nexus 5 from the boyfriend! Weee...

It was a sweet ending to 2013 :)

2014 started with me stressing over job hunting. Still in the hunt but I should not neglect the other parts of my life, including this little "Diary" here.

Be back soon! Tomorrow! :D


Monday, 25 November 2013

Easy to Impress Dessert Recipe: Baked Lemon Cheesecake

I'm a huge fan of cheesecakes and my choice is always the fluffy baked cheesecakes compared to their dense, pudding-like non-baked cousins. Although occasionally I do enjoy the non-baked Oreo Cheesecake, but that's another story.

So yea, talking about fluffy cakes, it reminded me of my first attempt to bake Butter Cake for dad. I came across this blogger who name himself fatboybakes and I remember the outcome of my butter cake was simply amazing - moist, flavorful and of course, fluffy. It was really really good and dad loved it so much. I can't wait to bake some soon!

So it was only natural that I went back to the same blogger looking for a fluffy cheesecake recipe and boy, there it was a Baked Lemon Cheesecake recipe (Link) just waiting for me to pounce on with eagerness to make my own! The result was an A+ hehehe :D The cheesecake was rich, fluffy, lemony, refreshing and just plain awesome. Definitely a keeper, this one. :D

Baked Lemon Cheesecake

To give you a rough idea of the texture:

The texture I was hoping to achieve - airy and light :)

I didn't have any springform cake pan at home, so I used a baking tray of 35cm (L) x 28cm (W) x 5 cm (H) to bake this cheesecake. And it works! So don't over worry about what pan or tray to use, just improvise with what you have. Recipes are meant to be a guideline, so don't be too strict about it. My recipes are meant for those who have done research on their own and are not afraid to experiment and customize the recipe to make it theirs.

Anyways, here is my experiment and adaptation from the original recipe to make my own Baked Lemon Cheesecake :D

Biscuit Base

Biscuit crumbs of your choice (I used Marie Digestive Biscuits because it's easier to crush into crumbs)
Melted Butter

(I didn't follow any recipe or bother to do any measurements because the amount is entirely based on your preference - e.g. thickness of the biscuit base, texture, additional ingredients like nuts is completely up to you. Some recipes add sugar in their base but not for me.)

Step 1: In a bowl, combine biscuit crumbs and melted butter until you get a soft crumbly sand-like texture (you can use a fork or your clean hands to do this task).

Step 2: Line baking tray with aluminium foil and then with baking paper on top. Gently press the crumbs with a back of the spoon or a fork to make the biscuit base on the baking tray.

Step 3: Refrigerate for at least an hour/overnight.


500gm cream cheese
100g sugar
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons corn flour
400 gm whipping cream (or in Aussie, they call it thickened cream)
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon

Step 1: Prepare and measure all the ingredients. Put aside.

Step 2: Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks are formed. Put aside. (Recommended to use the mixer but if you are want to build some arm muscles, go ahead and whisk it on your own. That's what I did. Luckily the pain was worth it! Haha)

Step 3: Preheat oven to 160C.

Step 4: Add cream cheese and sugar in the mixer and beat until the colour is light and fluffy. Add yolks one at a time. Add cornflour and then the lemon zest and juice, mix well.

Step 5: Slowly stir in the whipped cream (you have to whip the whipping cream to make it whipped cream, if you don't already know! >_<)

Step 6: Fold in the whisked eggs whites into the batter.

Step 7: Pour filling into the biscuit base and bake in a water bath for 1 hour or more until set. Switch off oven, take it out from the water bath and let it rest in the oven with the door ajar for an hour or so until it cools down completely.

This was how it looks after it was taken out from the oven

Step 8: Refrigerate overnight. Time to reveal the beauty.....or the ugly!! Lol.

Don't judge me by my looks!

Step 9: Serve with some strawberries and cream if you fancy.

After some trimmings and addition of some beautiful strawberries laced with chocolate. Pretty and YUM :D

That's it! Awesome dessert after a good dinner :)

I can't say it was easy because I whisk the egg whites with my own hands and TWO of my guinea pig's hands too!! Lol! It was the only tiring part which is why I decided the next time I try this recipe again, I will whisk the egg whites first with the mixer and then put it aside to cream the cheese and all. Important lesson learned. But no regrets, all pain was worth it :')

I can proudly say I've baked my first cheese cake and it was awesome!

Have you? ;P

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

I Must Have Breakfast! (Part 2)

Goooood morning!!! Rise n shine peeps, and have some breakfast! :D

It's always good to start the day with good breakfast. As for me, I try to make sure my breakfast contains a good balance of protein, carbs and colours :)

Yea, colours! Colours in my food is very important. It doesn't just make the food more appealing but also a great way to ensure you always have a good balanced meal.

Breakfast 1: Tuna Ciabatta

I could just slab some tuna in my ciabatta and call it breakfast! But the colours would be blah. So I added some red from the tomatoes and greens from the cucumber. Pretty and YUM. :)

Toasted Tuna Ciabatta with tomatoes and cucumbers

Breakfast 2: Avocado Ham Cheese Tortilla wrap

Again the colours from ham and cheese would be too blah. So I added some greens from avocado and cucumber, and of course my red always comes from my favourite tomatoes. :)

Avocado Ham Cheese Tortilla Wrap

Breakfast 3: Cheese Kransky Pastry

If you are interested to make pastries, do check out my earlier post about puff pastries! (Check out the post here: Playing with Puff Pastry!)

Cheese Kransky Pastry with cherry tomatoes and spinach leaves

Breakfast 4: Cheese Kransky and Baked Beans Pastry

Unfortunately, no more greens in the fridge. :'( If you are interested to make your own Tau Sar Piah looking pastry, check out my earlier post here: Puff Pastry Part 2!)

Giant Tau Sar Piah for breakfast. LOL.

How you like the colours in my breakfast?

Can you spot a common item in the photos above? Yes, that's the cup of Milo I can't live without every morning! Hahaha.

I will explore more options to add other colours in my breakfast. But that's all for now! :D

Have a great day ahead! :)

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Easy Snack Idea: Grilled Corn with Butter

4pm. The stomach is growling.

Feels like I am smacked right in the middle of the day when lunch is too late and dinner is too early. Trying hard not to touch that bar of chocolate in the fridge or that bag of chips on the counter top! >_<

Luckily, I have some corn in the fridge!

Great idea for an afternoon snack! Something I would find it hard to resist if I see it selling in the streets! Omg, the holy smell of corn! >_<

This is extremely easy to prepare - just throw it on a grill pan, season it with some salt and serve with a nice cube of butter :D Yummmm....just enough to fill the tummy until dinnertime :)

Extremely Easy and Delicious Afternoon Snack

Extremely easy, but we don't often think of making it at home. I wonder why.

Oh well, I love this one, hope you do too!

Ciao! :D