Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ho Ho Ho...Merry Christmas To All



Christmas is a time to reflect
On all that God has done
It's not a matter of what we get,
But the birth of the Holy one
It's not about gifts
With ribbons and bows,
Or Christmas trees,
Tinsel and mistletoe
The Christmas gift given to us,
Is Jesus Christ's
Gift of love.

- M.S.Lowndes


MERRY CHRISTMAS 
and
A HAPPY NEW YEAR !







Sunday, December 22, 2013

Stir Fry Mini King Oyster Mushrooms With Preserved Radish


I have been buying these mini King Oyster Mushrooms from Jusco but of late I don't see them in Jusco anymore. The have the bigger specie on sale but I like the mini ones :)  I shall wait for the new stock to arrive from Korea.   I have used them in many dishes. If you have been visiting my blog, you would have read my previous posts on Linguine With Homecooked Ratatouille and Mini King Oyster Mushroom Fritters and Mini King Oyster Mushroom Omelette , all uses these delectable mushrooms. There are so many ways to cook these mushrooms and for today's post, I would like to share on a simple yet flavorful dish - Stir Fry Mini King Oyster Mushrooms With Preserved Radish.  It is easy to whip up and it takes less than 20 minutes to have it ready on the table :) The preserved radish gave this dish the oomph.  The three main ingredients for this dish is the mushrooms, preserved radish and garlic. 


Ingredients:

2 cups of mini King Oyster Mushrooms - cut into thick slices
2 tbsp of preserved radish
1 tbsp of garlic - chopped
1 tbsp of vegetable oil
1 tsp of oyster sauce
3 tbsp of water mix with 1/2 tsp of corn starch

Method:

Heat up oil in a wok in medium high heat , when the oil is smoking hot, add in the garlic and preserved radish, stir fry till fragrant, add in the mushrooms and continue to stir fry till well combined and cooked Add in cornstarch water and oyster sauce. Continue to stir fry till the gravy thickens.  Dish up and serve hot.



























Enjoy  !



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Friday, December 20, 2013

Linguine With Homecooked Ratatouille


Ratatouille is my favourite dish .  I simplified the method so that WB doesn't need to stand in front of the stove for an hour :p  I shortened the cooking time so he doesn't mind cooking this dish for me. During my recuperating period,  I ate pasta most of the time .  I try to make things easier for WB :) Some man are clumsy in the kitchen...ehh forget I said this :p

Besides eggplants, carrot, zuccchini and yellow onions , I added korean mini king oyster mushrooms to the basic ratatouille recipe ...knowing me!  A mushroom fan :)  A tin of tomato paste, olive oil and mixed herbs , black pepper and sea salt is all you need to cook this ratatouille dish.  And of course a bit of patience *wink    You can keep this for two weeks in the fridge .  Linguine with homecooked ratatouille makes life easy and keep us healthy :) 





















Linguine With Homecooked Ratatouille - WB's Kitchen

Recipe for ratatouille

1/4 cup olive oil,
1 cup diced yellow onion
2 cups medium diced eggplant, skin on
1 1/2 cups diced carrot
1 1/2 cups diced zucchini
1 cup seeded tomato
1 1/2 cups korean mini King oyster mushrooms
1 1/2 tbsp of mixed herbs - you can use fresh herbs of thymes, basil, parsley leaves
2 tbsp of minced garlic
1 small can of tomato paste mixed with 1/2 can of water
sea salt and ground black pepper

Method:

Heat up a saute pan over medium heat and add the olive oil.  Once hot, add the onions and garlic to the pan.  Cook the onions, stirring occasionally until they are wilted and lightly caramelized. Add all the diced veggies and cooked till soften.  Add the tomato paste water mixture , mixed herbs, black pepper and simmer till the veggies are soft and cooked and the gravy has thicken up.  Add seasalt to taste.  Stir well to blend and serve on your cooked pasta.






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Great News For UK Residents :)

Great news for all UK residents. The UK government is giving Green Deal Scheme to all house owners and business owners. A few of my blogger friends in UK had signed up for the government grants for solar. They are able to save money on energy and help the environment at the same time. The government initiative makes it easy and affordable to improve the energy efficiency on one's home and business premise. And the best thing about this Green Deal Scheme is it stays with the property , rather than the owner. The owner will only pay back the cost of the improvements while he is enjoying the benefits of reduced energy costs.  If the owner moves, the new owners will take on the payments.   This scheme covers improvements like home insulation, heating, double glazing and even solar panels and wind turbines.

Wow, I think this is a great scheme for the UK residents and feels that all house owners should sign up for this Green Deal Scheme. This would help house owners a lot in terms of savings and energy and at the same time contribute to the environment.  I hope the UK government will come out with more saving schemes grants for the residents.  If you are UK resident and have not signed for this Green Deal Scheme, you better not missed this great opportunity and for more information, check out their website for this grant.




Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Countdown - Christmas Menu And Wine


Christmas is just ten days away and the countdown has started :) I have planned our Christmas dinner menu far in advance so that I can trial run on a new recipe , Roasted Lemongrass Chicken ( Gai Ob Ta Khai ) which I wanted very much to have it as one of the meat dishes.   I have invited some close friends and relatives to join us for dinner on Christmas day and planning the perfect Christmas dinner is top on my list besides getting Christmas presents for each of them. 

I am glad that I can test out the recipe before hand.  It turned out perfect and WB agrees that we can have chicken wings instead of whole turkey.  This is more flavorful with the strong aroma of lemongrass compared to stuff turkey.  Anyway , for a change we will leave out the turkey this year.  Besides chicken wings, I have pork loin roulade with cranberries and pistachio and crusted with fresh italian parsley.  The salad , I will assigned Piggy Jo to take over the salad and dessert * I think she is making red velvet cupcakes for dessert and tiramisu...ahhhh..just thinking of the Christmas menu and knowing that everyone in the family is helping out has made this year Christmas dinner stress free for me.  And WB and Josh has been assigned to find cheap wine online from Jims Cellars and make sure that the wine they order matches my Christmas dishes.   With the wine being taken care of , I just have one last thing to do and that is to find all the serving dishes, plates, cutlery, glasses and table linen and to make sure that the table is set the day before.

















Roasted Lemongrass Chicken ( Gai Ob Ta Khai )  - adapted from Honeybee Sweets


Ingredients for Roasted Lemongrass Chicken Wings (Serves 3-4)

8 chicken wings, trimmed of fat, wash and pat dry
3 lemongrass stalks
2 Tbsp olive oil

Marinate 
2 lemongrass stalks, ends trimmed and bruised
1 tbsp dark soy
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp sugar
125 ml water 

Method:

Prepare the marinate 3-4 hours ahead. Chop the lemongrass finely. Heat the saucepan on medium fire and add in the lemongrass in. Then add in all the rest of the marinate ingredients and bring to a boil. Then remove from fire, cover and let cool completely.
Once the marinate is cooled, pour into a big mixing bowl. Then add in the chicken wings, coat the chicken wings well with the marinate sauce. Leave the chicken to absorb the marinate in the fridge for 3-4hrs.
Preheat the oven to 200C
Take chicken wings out from the fridge. Arrange chicken pieces on an aluminum foil lined baking tray. 
Using the bruised lemongrass stalk, dip in cooking oil and use it as a brush and brush the chicken wings well. This step will help crisp up the skin / surface and prevent burning.
Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes or till the juice runs clear.
Remove from oven and place on serving plate and serve immediately. Garnish with lemongrass if desired. 

















Enjoy !



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Hope Concert ...Awesome

WB and I attended the Hope Concert last Sunday and it was awesome. This concert is in aid of the church Street Ministry.  I did not know that our church stage is big and can hold 60 strings players.  And also thanks to our church music ministry committee members that the show was a success.  There were enough mics and the music was great. Earlier on they had ordered five gooseneck mic stand at Musicians Friend and the stands arrived in time for this concert :)  The people who came to support the concert were captivated by the young string musicians and needless to say, WB and myself were talking about it the whole night.  I will definitely go again when they come to perform next year.  The 60 string musicians are from all over the nation , during their bit for charity.  God bless them for their charitable character.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Red Wine Marinated Pork Loin



Simple to prepare red wine marinated pork loin and yet flavorful and aromatic .  Every bite burst with red wine sauce...mmmmm lovely.  This was what I did with the balance of the cooking red wine in the fridge.  Marinate the pork loin over night in a zipper bag and pan seared it till cooked with a bit of burnt edges...ah, I love the slight burnt part..it add flavors to the meat :p  . With the balance of the marinade sauce....cook into a sauce and pour over the cooked pork loin...one word Yummy!



Red Wine Marinated Pork Loin - WB's Kitchen

1/2 kg Pork Loin - cut into 1/4 inch thick slices

1 tbsp of vegetable oil for searing the meat

marinade sauce - mix all the marinade ingredients together
1/2 cup red wine
2 tbsp of brown sugar
salt to taste
2 tsp black pepper

Method:

Marinate the pork loin slices with the marinade sauce . Keep them in a zipper bag and leave over night in the fridge.

Add veg oil in a non stick pan.  Under a medium high heat, pan seared the marinated meat till cooked on both sides.  Repeat until all the pork loin are pan seared.  Pour away excess oil from the non stick pan. do not wash the pan.
To make the red wine sauce , using the same non-stick pan , pour the balance of marinade sauce into the non-stick pan and cook the marinade sauce till it thicken.  If the marinade sauce is not enough to make the sauce, add in a tbsp of red wine and water . Once it thickens, pour over the cooked pork loin and serve hot . 

Enjoy !


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Musical Instruments Makes Worship Lively :)

Our music ministry is proud that we had quite a complete set of musical instruments...from the keyboard to the drums.  Oh,  did I share about the lastest drum set that the church ordered from crush drums at music123 for the young people.  The sound was fantastic and that makes our worship session wonderful.  The old and young worshippers really enjoy the beat of the drum and thus making the worship very lively and you can see how the older members blend in with the modern style of worship.  Thanks to the drums and wonderful sound system that we have a wonderful time of worship every Sunday.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Mini King Oyster Mushroom Fritters



I have been indulging in these little mini King Oyster Mushroom the past one  month. There are from Korean and the beautiful thing about these mushrooms is, they have a springy and crunchy texture after they are fried.  Besides having them in my pasta, I made them into fritters as snack .  Delicious and they are very very additive.  I have them deep fried as snack while watching the Korean drama on TV.  Best snack ever...so yummy!  Do try them deep fried...they sure are lip smacking good.



























Mini King Oyster Mushroom Fritters - WB's Kitchen


1 packet of fresh Mini King Oyster Mushrooms -  those prewashed one would be appropriate for this recipe
( if you need to wash the mushrooms, make sure you dry the mushrooms with paper towel before you deep into the batter for deep frying )

Batter:

3 tbsp of plain flour
1 tbsp of rice flour
1 tbsp of corn flour
1/4 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp of  herbed sea salt
Chilli flakes - to taste
4 tbsp water
2 tbsp oil

Method:  

Combine all the dry ingredients and salt together in a bowl . Add in water and oil  and whisk the mixture into a batter.  Heat oil till right temperature.  Dip in a wooden chopstick into the hot oil , if you see bubbles at the end of the chopstick , then the oil is ready for deep frying.  Coat the mushrooms with the batter and drop into the hot oil.  Fry till the mushrooms are lightly browned.  Take out and drain on paper towel.   


Enjoy !



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Wedding Invitation Cards And Wedding Dinner

My colleague is getting married this coming February, after the 2014 Chinese New Year celebration. She is busy planning her wedding trousseau and wedding photo shooting.  Besides engaging a renowed wedding photographer , she has to engage a wedding card designer to design her wedding invitation cards  She has asked the designer to recommend a card printing company to her for some cheap envelope printing , so that she can save some cost for her coming wedding.  There is still the wedding dinner to think about.  Chinese 7 course dinner would cost at least $900-$1000 per table of 10 person. Mmmm..not cheap when it comes to a chinese wedding :) 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Poached Chicken Chinese Style



This is what I normally do with a whole chicken besides roasting them.  This is how the chicken is poached for chinese chicken rice . We called this dish ' Pak Cheet Gai ' in cantonese ( literally translated as white cut chicken  ) .  The soup after poaching the chicken can be used freezed up as chicken broth for later use or you can add in carrots and potato to make a carrot soup to serve with this ' Pak Cheet Gai '.  The wonderful dip sauce to go with this poached chicken is the ginger and onion sauce. Actually , this sauce is the main attraction for this dish :)



Poached Chicken Chinese Style  -recipe source: by Sonia aka Nasi Lemak Lover)

Ingredient:

1.6kg free-range chicken
Few slices of ginger
2 sprig of spring onions
1tsp salt (i use fine sea salt)
1 and 1/2tsp sesame oil

Method

1. Stuff ginger and spring onion inside the cavity of chicken.
2. Boil a large pot of water over high heat ( use a pot that is large enough to fit a whole chicken)
3. Slowly place the chicken ( breast side down ) into boiling water, boiling water become simmer.
4. Once water boil again, reduce heat to the lowest.
5. Cover the lid and let chicken simmer in hot water. While cooking half way (abt 10 mins) flip the chicken breast side up, cover and continue simmer.
6. Cook for 16 mins (depend on the size of chicken or when you see chicken become light and float on top).
7. Switch off the fire, over the lid and let chicken continue to simmer in hot watr for another 10 mins, flip the chicken breast side up, cover and continue simmer.
8. Mix salt and sesame oil in a mixing bowl. Remove chicken from hot water, use a brush to evenly brush salt mixture on the whole body of chicken.
9. Let it cool in room temperature for several hours (5-6 hours) before cutting into small pieces.

Ginger and Onion Dip Sauce

Ingredients
ginger and shallots ratio of 1:1
a stalk of spring onion - cut finely
salt to taste
oil enough to cover the ground ginger and shallots

Method:
Blend together ginger and shallots in a food processor until fine texture.  Take out and mix in the cut spring onions in a bowl.  Add in enough sea salt and stir till well combined. Leave aside.

Heat oil till  smoking hot, add to the bowl of ginger mixture. It should sizzles. The sizzlings will bring out the aroma of ginger mixture.  This is what make the sauce good to go with the poached chicken.

Yummy !


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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Linguine With Mini King Oyster Mushroom And Salmon


This is my kind of preparation for pasta.  I prefer linguine to chinese noodles.  I like the soft chewy texture of linguine .  I have some balance of mini king oyster mushrooms , so I stir fry them with garlic and mixed herbs and then add to the cooked linguine with a dash of  salt. Pan seared salmon with black pepper .  Serve linguine with the pan seared salmon and mini King oyster mushrooms.....this is so yummy.  Garnish with spring onions for color and taste .  I am begining to like this mushroom.  It has a springy and chewy texture even after cooking it, unlike the other type of mushrooms which turned soft after cooking.





























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Outdoor Garden Foam Seats

With our wet weather, it is good to have Foam Factory upholstery foam for our garden sofa and seats. I log in to this website that deals with outdoor foam seats and did a  quick survey . I am happy that their dryfast foams are suited for outdoor use where moisture and precipitation like rain is prevalent...exactly great for our weather.  The foam have large open cells that provide a degree of airflow not present in other foams . This allows it to dry quickly, even after a complete saturation. The dryfast foam formula is anti-microbial and helps suppress microorganism growth which is common in damp areas. Wow...this is great for our outdoor seats.  WB will surely be pleased with this info :) 






Red Wine Marinated Roast Wings


Christmas... Christmas......I love Christmas dinner...it is either roast wings or turkey.  But turkey is too large for me to handle, so we settled for wings instead.  Not even a whole chicken LOL!  I tried out this roast wings recipe and gosh I think it is really good . I think it would be great to add this dish for the coming festive dinner.  I am sure my Piggies would love these delicious finger licking good wings. The recipe is easy....just marinate the wings with red wine and over night in the fridge.  I saw this recipe from the Australian Women's Weekly and adapted it a bit.  Instead of using dry sherry , I used red cooking wine which I bought from BIG :)   

I have to think of a few more meat dishes for the meat eating Piggies :p  So, a lot of baking and roasting will be involved.  And now thinking of all the greasy pans and plates, I have to use the dishwasher instead of washing up at the sink.  WB will have to do a clean up the dishwasher first with dishwasher cleaner before the big day comes. Sometimes we may think that our dishwasher is clean because it looks clean but grease and limescale may build up in the vital parts of the dishwasher that are hard to see.  WB will just have to use a bit of detergent like Finish Intensive Clean and Care , it will eliminates all grease and limescale in the hidden vital parts of the dishwasher . To WB, a cleaner dishwasher means cleaner dishes :)  Sorry , I got distracted by the dishwasher, it is WB's job anyway not mine :p.  Okay , back to this finger licking good roast wings, I have to pair it with a good bottle of wine.  Ah, I will leave this to my Piggy Joanna.  She will know what to pair with these wings and I am thinking of roast ribs too. Noted. Meanwhile, I will share the recipe for this dish so that you can make this for your Christmas dinner.



Red Wine Marinated Roast Wings

Ingredients:

12 large chicken wings
1/4 cup of soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger
1 tsp of sugar
1/2 cup of red cooking wine
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 tbsp of honey
2 tsp of hot chilli sauce

Method:
Remove and discard tip from each wing; cut wings in half at joint. Mix chicken pieces with remaining ingredients in large bowl till well combined.  Put the chicken pieces and sauce  into a zipper bag . Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight. 

Heat the oven to 200 deg C . Arrange the wings on a wire rack over oven tray and roast them in the preheated oven for 35 - 40 minutes till it is tender and cooked. Brushing often with the extra marinade often. 





























Enjoy ! 


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Holidays Holidays :)

Everyone is going for holidays except me...I am on medical leave till 23 Dec after a surgery thus no holidays for me this year :( .  My neighbor, the whole family is going to Korea for their year end holiday. They have booked six months ago through the Matta Fair. Air tickets are cheaper during the fair and since it is winter, the package is so much cheaper and it meets the family budget. And the moment they have booked their tour , they started surfing for luggage bags...it is not a joke when the whole family is going for the tour :)  And they told me that they searched and logged on to http://www.trunksdepot.com/  and found the luggages they wanted.  This website has a wide range of luggages to suit each individual likes . Design and colors.  I am happy to look after their dog for them while they are away for holidays . This is what neighbors are suppose to be :)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Mini King Oyster Mushroom Omelette


A simple dinner last night because WB was well the past few days.  Fever and cough but thank God , he is much better today :)  I cooked this simple mini king oyster mushroom omelette for our dinner -bought them from Jusco and these mini King Oyster mushroom are from Korea , it is crunchy in texture and taste good .  One functional arm and one handle non stick pan did the trick LOL!  

Thank God I am now 90% recovered and soon I will be able to go back to my mundane routine of baking and cooking again.  The physiotherapy is killing me though.  Imagine your arm being pushed to the limit each time you go for the exercise...gosh it is nightmare for me but it does do me good though. As the saying goes ...no pain no gain.  I am still not able to sleep through the night coz of the pain from the inside.  Well , as the doctor said...the pain will be there for 3-6 months.  Wow, I didn't know this is the side effect from the surgery and I hope that I will be able to endure the sleepless night and pain.  But food can smooth the pain for the time being :)



























Mini King Oyster Mushroom Omelette 

Mix all  the ingredients together:

a handful of mini king oyster mushrooms - rinse and dab dry with kitchen paper towel
2 eggs - beaten
a pinch of herbed sea salt to taste
chilli flakes to taste
a tsp of chopped garlic
a tsp of olive oil
a tbsp of cut spring onions

Method:

Pour the mixture into hot non stick pan and cooked on med low heat till both sides are golden brown and edges are crispy.  Dish up and serve with hot rice.



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