Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy Niu Year!

Found some clementines at the supermarket. They are real tiny.
How tiny? Fits nicely into my palm. They taste and resemble the mandarin oranges we get during Chinese New Year!

Oh ... I am starting to miss the new year goodies and the festive mood back home. But to be able to find such festive items here, it brings me nearer to home. Eating them (in the woods) makes me feel like I'm celebrating Chinese New Year back home ...

Here's wishing my family and friends ... from the woods to a tiny island called the "Little Red Dot" ... Good health and a prosperous year ahead! Happy Niu Year!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Homemade Sweet Treats!

Think of pineapple tarts, you think of Chinese New Year.
You eat it once a year, and you never seem to get enough of it, especially when the pineapple tarts are baked well : the moist sweet jam and the
melt-in-your-mouth crust.

Back home, there are so many brands and varieties of pineapple tarts :
the open type with pineapple jam on top, or the closed type.
One is really spoilt for choice.

But in the woods, things are somewhat different ...

We are limited to the ones sold at the asian mart if we really want some pineapple tarts for the occasion. The feeling is different. The pineapple tarts come in a box, a very pretty box. It's more like a gift a friend will bring back to you from Taiwan.

We cannot find any pineapple tart moulds here. There's no ready made pineapple jam. Pineapples are expensive. What can you do if you want to make your own pineapple tarts?

Well, I used my cookie cutter instead of the pineapple tart mould. I made my jam using canned crushed pineapples instead of fresh pineapples. Instead of the normal sized tarts, I made mine into mini tarts. Not too bad, considering it's the first time I'm making the tarts.

So mom and dad, don't worry ... we do have homemade pineapple tarts for Chinese New Year!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Cabbage Soup

I love soups.
I love clear soups.
And I love drinking soup on cold winter days.

For this soup, no meat is required as the onions and dried figs add lots of sweetness to this simple soup.

1/2 Cabbage, shredded
8 pcs Dried Figs
2 Small Yellow Onions
500ml Chicken Stock (Store-bought)

  • Clean and cut the cabbage.
  • Cut the onions.
  • Put the cut onions and cabbage into a big saucepan.
  • Add the can of chicken stock to the pot.
  • Add more stock/water if you necessary.
  • Soak the dried figs in warm water for 15 mins.
  • Add the water and dried figs to the pot.
  • Add more water if necessary.
  • Bring the pot to a boil.
  • Lower heat and simmer for another 20 minutes, till the figs and vegetables are soft.
  • Add salt to taste if necessary.

.... I'm missing my mom's soup back home ....

Monday, January 5, 2009

Herb Marinated Chicken

We eat chicken meat quite often. The boys love chicken wings and chicken thighs. They dislike chicken breast meat. Which is good, as chicken breast meat here is more expensive than the wings =) I love baking wings, as there is minimum cleaning after cooking.

9 Chicken Wings
3 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
2 tbsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Salt

Juice from 1/2 lemon

  • Clean and cut wings at joint. Discard tip.
  • In a bowl, mix together lemon juice, olive oil, italian seasoning, salt and garlic powder.
  • Using a zip-log bag, put wings and seasoning in and mix well.
  • Refrigerate 30 mins or longer.
  • Remove chicken from marinade. Discard remaining marinade.
  • Grill for about 10 mins per side, or till the chicken is browned.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Starry Starry Night

Since entering the woods six months ago, our activities are confined to the day. We are indoors most of the time after sunset. The kids are usually in bed by 8pm.

In winter, the sky darkens at 430pm.  The coldness after sunset can be quite unbearable, especially when the gusty wind blows. Despite the freezing cold, hubby dear has been diligently bringing the trash out to dump. Recently, he starts noticing that the sky (when there's no winter storm coming) can be so clear that he can see many stars!  That really got him excited!  By staying at home after dark, we are missing out something! The stars! Constellations which we may not be able to see back home, where the sky is too illuminated by the city lights. So for several nights when the sky is clear, hubby dear has been out star gazing, with his newly bought binoculars, and our digital/SLR camera. It is his newly found hobby =) I dislike the bitter cold at night, and the kids cannot be left asleep in their room without an adult at home, so I stay at home. But from the photographs taken, I find it interesting to identify the constellations, and to find out the stories behind the constellations. I am no professional in reading the constellations. I only know the Orion ... can you see the Orion in the photo-collage below?

Another night with clear sky.
So after dinner t, hubby dear brought the kids out "moon-gazing" ... for just 5 minutes. Darling son KW looked through the binoculars, came back and told me .... Mama, I can see the craters on the MOON! He was quite pleased to be able to see the moon so clearly. Indeed, it looked really pretty through the binoculars! 

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Pasta with Broccoli

Something different for dinner ... pasta with broccoli. Why?
Because I am tired of having rice for dinner.
Because the men in the house like broccoli.
Because my boys love cheese.
Because I have a pack of small sea shells sitting in my pantry.

1 bunch Fresh broccoli : Cut into small pieces.
2 cups Pasta Shells or similar type pasta
1/2 cup Heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 tbsp Butter

  • Cook pasta according to instructions on packet.
  • Cook broccoli till tender. You can add the broccoli pieces into the pot with the pasta when the pasta is almost done, or you can microwave the broccoli.
  • Put the drained pasta and broccoli in a large serving bowl.
  • Add butter and cream to the pasta and broccoli and toss with spoons till the butter melts and most of the cream soaks into the pasta.
  • Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top and toss till well combined.
  • Add more cream, cheese, or butter if necessary.
  • Serve immediately.

A simple and fuss-free meal.
Compliment the meal with baked chicken wings.
No nagging at the boys, as they finished up every single shell that was found on their plate, leaving their mummy happy and pleased.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Chicken Noodle Soup

It's another cold winter day.
How about a bowl of hot chicken noodle soup for dinner?

1 Bunch of fresh broccoli
3 Carrots
2 Small Onions
8 Chicken Wings
8 Dried Figs
1 litre Chicken Stock (Store-Bought)
2 cups Pasta of your choice

  • Wash chicken wings and remove tips from wings. Cut wings at joint.
  • Boil a pot of water. Cook wings in water for a couple of minutes. Wings need not be fully cooked in this pot.
  • Peel and cut carrots into bite sized pieces.
  • Cut onions. Cook broccoli.
  • Soak dried figs in warm water for about 20 minutes.
  • Put carrots, onions, dried figs with water, partially cooked chicken wings, and chicken stock into a large pot. Add more water if you don't have enough stock. Bring the pot of stock and ingredients to a boil. Skim off foam that rise to the top as the liquid boils. Reduce heat and let simmer for about half an hour.
  • Add salt to soup if necessary.
  • Cook egg noodles or spaghetti according to instructions on packet.
  • Pour soup over the cooked noodles and broccoli.
  • Serve immediately.

It keeps everyone nice and warm on a cold winter night =)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

A very happy new year to my family and friends!

Here's a slice of Rocky Road Brownie to celebrate the first day of year 2009.

Recipe taken from The Cookie Bible :
Makes about 20 brownies

1 1/4 cups Miniature Marshmallows
1 cup Hershey's Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup Chopped Nuts (I used Pecans)
1/2 cup Butter or Margarine
1 cup Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/3 cup Hershey's Cocoa
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt

  • Heat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan.
  • Stir together marshmallows, chocolate chips and nuts; set aside.
  • Melt butter. Add sugar, vanilla and eggs, beating with spoon until well blended. Add flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; blend well. Spread batter in prepared pan.
  • Bake 22 minutes.
  • Sprinkle chocolate chips mixture over top. Continue baking 5 minutes, or until marshmallows have softened and puffed slightly.
  • Cool completely. With wet knife, cut into squares.

The aroma from the baking was irresistable.
My little boy stopped playing and declared that he was hungry!

The little one has a sweet tooth, and he likes the sweetness of the brownie.
However, I found the brownie a little too sweet for my taste buds. In fact, I cut down the amount of sugar used, from 1 cup to 3/4 cup. The next time I bake it, I will use less chocolate chips and marshmallows. To use bittersweet chocolate chunks instead of semi-sweet chocolate chips. A small slice of brownie is enjoyable, but a big slice is a little too overwhelming.

... A sweet start to a new year =)

Related Posts with Thumbnails