Monday, November 30, 2009

Panko Shrimps with Sweet and Sour Sauce

I had a big of prawns sitting in the freezer, waiting to opened.
Darling son KW doesn't really like prawns, but hubby dear and darling son YW love it! In order for darling son KW to eat the prawns, I decided to "dress them up"! He gave me the "thumbs up" during dinner =)

Deep Fried Panko Shrimps

20 pcs Raw White Shrimp
1 cup Corn Flour or All Purpose Flour
1 Egg, lightly beaten
1 cup Panko (Add some grated Parmesan Cheese if you like)

  • Deveined and remove tail of shrimps.
  • Wash and dry the shrimps.
  • Coat the shrimp with flour.
  • Dip the flour-coated shrimp in egg.
  • Lastly, dip the shrimp in Panko or breadcrumbs.
  • Heat up a pan of oil.
  • Deep fry the coated shrimps till golden brown.
  • Keep the deep fried shrimps warm in a slightly heated oven.

Sweet and sour sauce is usually the dipping sauce for prawns.

I had no idea how to go about making the sauce actually. Since I was in a mood to experiment with the ingredients, I just mixed whatever I think would taste good! I was very glad the sauce turned out well. The taste of the sauce was right ... sweet and sour indeed, and very appetisting!

I was a little too generous with the amount of ingredients used, and ended with a big bowl of sauce. It worried me a little that I might have too much leftover. Having noodles with the sauce for dinner would be a good way to finish the bowl of sauce, but I had already cooked rice. The boys and the man liked the sauce so much, they polished off their rice and the sauce! Phew!

Sweet and Sour Sauce

5 tbsp Tomato Ketchup
2 tbsp Sugar
1 Carrot, Peeled and Cubed
1/2 can Crushed Pineapple with Juice
1/2 can Canned Mushrooms
1/2 Yellow Onion
1 tbsp Corn Flour
2-3 tbsp Water

  • Heat up a pan.
  • Add 1 tbsp of oil and fry the diced onion till fragrant.
  • Add the canned mushrooms and carrots.
  • Add a little water, cover and cook till carrots are soft.
  • Mix the tomato ketchup and sugar.
  • Pour into the pan of mushrooms, carrots and onion.
  • Add the crushed pineapple and a little of the juice.
  • Add the cornflour mixture slowly to thicken the sauce.
  • Adjust the amount of cornflour mixture used, depending on the desired consistency of the sauce.

My kitchen, my laboratory! Yeah!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

ABC Soup

I love soup and I love this ABC Soup!
I don't know why it's called ABC soup.
Maybe because the ingredients used are simple, and cooking it is as easy as ABC? Or is it because it's full of Vitamins A, B and C?!

Hubby dear cooked this (after researching on the internet on how to cook it) on Saturday evening, since it was a long Thanksgiving weekend. The elder boy loved it so much, he had three bowls of soup for that evening! We omitted some ingredients which are normally used, like potato. I think the next time we cook it, we can add a ear or two of corn into the soup ... YUM!


1.5 lb Pork Spareribs
1 Large Yellow Onion
1 Large Tomato (You can add more if you like)
4 sticks Celery, Diced
4 sticks Carrots, Diced
2 ears Corn, halved (Optional)
2 Potatoes, Peeled and Cubed (We omitted this)
1.3 litres Water

  • Remove any traces of fats from the spareribs.
  • Blanch the spareribs in boiling water for a couple of minutes.
  • Rinse the spareribs in cold water.
  • Prepare a big pot and fill it with water.
  • Put all the ingredients into the pot.
  • Bring the water to a boil.
  • Lower the heat, and let it simmer.
  • Cook the soup for 2 hours.
  • Remove the thin layer of oil, if any, with a spoon.

This soup is very sweet, and not too oily, as hubby dear did a good job in removing most of the fats on the spareribs.

Thank you dear, for the delicious soup ... I really miss drinking it!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Rainbow Fried Rice

Don't you think the fried rice is very colourful?
There's the green from broccoli, red from chinese sausages, black from chinese mushrooms, yellow from egg, and orange from carrots. And there's a whole lot of vegetables in the rice! I call this dish ... Rainbow Fried Rice!

Hubby dear wanted to cook dinner, since it's a long Thanksgiving weekend. I got get some rest too, since he would be cooking. However, he had only a vague idea of what to put in for the fried rice, so I helped in preparing the ingredients. As it was his first time frying chinese sausages, he was not too sure when he should add the rice. So the rice and sausages were added into the pan the same time. I tried to put the rice aside while frying the sausages. Chinese sausages have a high percentage of fats in them, so when frying, no oil is needed. There will be some oil left the pan, after the sausages are fried. The rice can be fried in this little sausage oil then.


2 Chinese Sausages, diced
12-14 Dried Chinese Mushrooms, reconstitue in water and sliced
1 Carrot, peeled and cut into thin sticks
1 Small Yellow Onion, diced
2 cups Cooked Rice
1 tbsp Oyster
1 tbsp Oil
2 Eggs
1.5 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Sugar

  • Cook rice, and let cool. Alternatively, you can cook extra rice the day before, and keep in the fridge. The rice has to be cold before frying.
  • Reconstitue the dried chinese mushrooms in water. Squeezed the water out from the mushrooms, and sliced.
  • Marinate the sliced mushrooms in : 1 tbsp Soy Sauce + 1 tbsp Sugar.
  • Set aside for at least 15 minutes.
  • Add 1 tbsp of oil into a heated pan.
  • Add onions. Fry the onions till and fragrant.
  • Add seasoned sliced mushrooms. Fry for a while.
  • Add carrots and broccoli.
  • Add some water, cover the pan.
  • Let cook till the carrots and broccoli have softened.
  • Alternatively, microwave the vegetables first before adding them.
  • The vegetable stir fry should not be too watery. Add some oyster sauce to taste if you like it more salty. We are ok with nothing added, as the mushrooms gave the mix some taste.
  • In another heated pan, fry the chinese sausages. No oil is needed for frying.
  • When the sausages are done, remove, and set aside.
  • Add rice into the heated pan. There should be some oil from frying the sausages.
  • Loosen up the rice, and add 1 tbsp of oyster sauce. Mix well.
  • Add eggs, and mix well with the rice.
  • Add the cooked sausages and mix well.
  • Add the cooked vegetables. Scoop the vegetables from its pan and drain, if the pan of vegetables is more watery than what you desired.
  • Stir well and serve warm.

There's lots of vegetables in this dish. You can add whatever vegetables you have in hand. The seasoned mushrooms and the chinese sausages add a nice sweet chewy touch to the pan of fried rice.

As a side dish, I oven-baked some chicken wings. The nice thing about baking wings is that you can flavor the wings with whatever you have in the pantry or fridge. Some alternatives to marinating the wings:

a) Lemon Juice, and add a dash of Italian herbs to cornflour.
b) Lemon Juice, and add a dash of grated Parmesan Cheese to cornflour.
b) Shaoxing Wine and a dash of salt
c) Shaoxing Wine and some grated ginger
d) Salt
e) Soy Sauce
f) Oyster Sauce

  • Coat the marinated wings in corn flour. Shake off excess flour.
  • Arrange wings on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake at 425F for 20 minutes.
  • Turn the wings over and bake for another 10-15 minutes.
  • Switch to Broil function and broil for another few minutes to get a crispy skin.
  • Keep warm in the oven till ready to serve.

I'm glad I omitted the butter this time. The wings were crispy, and there was no oil in the tray when I took the wings out. It was a very simple, but tasty dinner on Thanksgiving Day! The kids gave their Papa ... Two thumbs UP for the Rainbow Fried Rice ... YUMMY .. they said! The next dish by hubby dear? ABC Soup, he said ... I'm looking forward that!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Nutella Swirl Cake/Cupcakes

I used to bake these back on the tiny island called the Little Red Dot. Mini Nutella Swirl Cupcakes, to be exact. I love mini bakes ... small enough to be popped into the mouth, especially when you need a snack while working. However, I do not have any mini muffin pans with me in the woods. Since hubby dear will need to stay back late in the laboratory tomorrow evening to finish his experiments, I used my loaf pans to bake as cakes instead of cupcakes. He can share the mini-loaf with his classmates, while the boys and I have can share the bigger loaf at home!

Recipe from I heart CuppyCakes

10 tbsp (140g) Butter, softened
3/4 cup Sugar
3 Eggs
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 3/4 cups (200g) All Purpose Flour
1/4 tsp Salt
2 tsp Baking Powder
Nutella About 1/3 cup (I just scoop what I need)

  • Preheat oven to 350F, since I am baking a cake instead of cupcakes.
  • If baking cupcakes, preheat oven to 325F instead.
  • Cream butter. Gradually add sugar, and cream both till light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs, one at a time.
  • Add vanilla extract.
  • Stir in Flour, Salt and Baking Powder.
  • Fill one third of the loaf pan with the batter and spread evenly.
  • Spread a thick layer of Nutella on the batter.
  • Top the Nutella with batter and fill the pan to 2/3 full.
  • Top the batter with more Nutella. Swirl the Nutella with a toothpick.
  • Fold a bit of the batter over the Nutella.
  • Bake at 350F for about 25 minutes or till done.

This is a "Once-in-a-long-While" type of cake as the amount of butter is too much to my liking. I omit the frosting, as I find cakes with frosting a tad too sweet for my taste buds. The cake itself is sweet without the frosting, and the sides are a little crispy. The Nutella moistens the cake and it makes a good after school snack!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Want An Apple, Tooth Fairy?

Dear Tooth Fairy,

You love visiting me when I'm eating my fruits.

Were you around when my first milk tooth fall out?
Last Fall, I was at a place far away, watching the many colourful kites flying in the sky. Maybe you were afraid of getting caught by the many kites, so you didn't come and look for me ... Was that why I couldn't find my tooth when it came out, because you were not around?

You came when my second tooth fell ... just when I was eating my melon!
It got stuck in the melon!

This fall, the third tooth came off in class. I was using my tongue to push it because I was bored listening to my teacher talked. It just came off ...
I wrapped it in a piece of paper and brought it home for my mom to see =)

You visited me again, this evening, when I was eating my apple! Again, the tooth was stuck in the apple ... it came off just when my mom reminded me to be careful not to bite the apple with the loose tooth ....

My mom said to me ... fruits are not only good for you, they help to remove your loose tooth, in a painless way! I think she is right! Tooth Fairy, will you visit again the next time I eat a piece of fruit? Hopefully, a melon ...
it's neater than having a slice of apple pulling the loose tooth off.

Baked Soy Oyster Sauce Chicken

The oven, my good friend. A great helper in dinner preparation.

Baked soy oyster sauce chicken thighs .... I used to marinate chicken wings, instead of chicken thighs. Instead of baking the wings, I fried the wings in some sesame oil until half cooked, poured the marinade, together with some water and braised the wings till fully cooked. The stove would be covered with spots of sesame oil as the wings fried in the pan. Imagine the amount of cleaning up after cooking!

Being in an adventurous mood one day, I decided to use the marinade on the packet of chicken thighs I purchased. I knew I couldn't fry the thighs, as it would take ages for me to fry these thick pieces of chicken parts. Baking would save me all the trouble of cleaning up!

I baked the chicken thighs in a baking tray lined with aluminium foil.
The dish didn't disappoint us! The chicken meat was very tender, unlike chicken breast meat. However, the oil from the chicken skin after cooking, plus the sesame oil used in the marinade, was a little more than what I had expected. But all I needed to do was to try to skim off the oil with a metal spoon before serving .. not too bad after all, since the gravy would be poured over the blanched Bak Chok, which needed some oil anyway.

6 Chicken Thighs
2 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
1-2 tbsp Soy Sauce (I used Kikkoman's Low Sodium Soy Sauce)
1 tbsp Oyster Sauce (I used Shitake Flavored Vegetarian Stir-Fry Sauce)
1 tbsp Sesame Oil
1 tsp Sugar
A few dashes of ginger powder or grated ginger from a 2cm knob of ginger.

  • Put chicken thighs and marinade in a ziploc bag.
  • Mix well and marinate for at least two hours or overnight if possible.
  • Line a baking tray with aluminium foil.
  • Transfer the chicken thigh and marinade into the baking tray.
  • Place the chicken thighs with skin side down.
  • Cover the baking tray with another piece of aluminium foil.
  • Bake at 425F for about 30 minutes.
  • Turn the chicken thighs. Continue baking with the aluminium foil covering the tray.
  • Bake for another 20 minutes, or till the meat is cooked through.
  • Leave in oven to keep warm, with aluminium foil covering the tray, till ready to eat.
  • Skim the layer of oil away before serving, if necessary.
  • Serve with blanched vegetables like Bak Choy, Spinach, and a bowl of steaming hot rice.

Minimum cleaning, no oily spots on stove. Yeah!

Instead of eating it with a bowl of rice, you can pour the gravy over some noodles and have your plate of chicken noodles! Dont like the soft skin? Just before serving, broil the chicken pieces for a few minutes to get that crispy skin! But make sure you don't leave the thighs under the broiler for too long or they will burnt.

Hmmm ... Enjoy!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Creativity and Drawing

Give kids some time to observe, and give them the space to be creative, and they will come up something to surprise you =) At least that's the case with my two boys.

Darling son KW loves construction vehicles.

When he was younger, about age 2+, he would use his many mini construction vehicles and wooden bricks, and set up his own construction site. We would roll little paper balls for his bull-dozer, and he would transport the wooden bricks in his bigger dump truck! Our estate was undergoing upgrading then, and there were plenty of construction vehicles moving in and out each day ... dumptrucks, cranes, bulldozer, excavators and cement mixer trucks. He would stand outside the coffee shop for hours, with grandm who came over for her weekly visit, and watched as the workers operated the vehicles.

We never told him "Can you draw what you see at the shop for us?". All we did was supply him with the drawing materials and paper. If he felt like drawing/scribbling/tearing the paper, he knew where to get his supplies. After many weeks of playing with his construction vehicles, and watching the workers, he drew his first vehicle at grandma's house one weekend .... We couldn't believe what we saw and had to ask his grandma again and again if she helped him with the drawing. No, came the answer. "I looked at the vehicle and drew it on my own.", said the boy.

Can you see the difference between two drawings, and the last two? He has since progressed from freehand drawing at four years old, to using a ruler at six! Again, no one told him to use a rule in his drawing.

How about his little brother?
He has been observing his elder brother draw. But he wasn't very keen in drawing. He was more keen in tearing up paper and sticking them onto another piece. It was only when we moved into the woods, and allowed them to plaster our living walls with their drawing that he took a keen interest in drawing. As with all kids, he started with 'stick figures', and flowers. "Mama loves flowers, so I draw more for her" the boy would say ... so sweet of him (when he is not throwing a tantrum). Then came the "gingerbread", Mario, and family portraits. Next came the Rock Monsters in the Power Miners!

The latest craze? Dinosaurs!
All thanks to PBS's "Dinosaur Train"!
Library books on dinosaurs, both factual and fiction, sat on our book shelf at the moment.

They learn all the big words from the show ... Paleontologist, theropods and names of many dinosaurs. They are better at naming the dinosaurs than I do! No, we didn't draw any dinosaurs for him. Having read the books, and watched the tv programme, he concluded that "a dinosaur has four legs, a long tail, and sharp teeth". And hence, the drawings. I was pleasantly surprised to see the drawings, which he did last night before bedtime, and this morning before going to school. I love the dinosaurs drawn!

Maybe he will start drawing snowmen and Santa Claus, since Christmas is coming?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Day of Baking

Mom has gone crazy .. she is very sleep-deprived.
Coffee keeps her alive, and baking herself awake!

It's so easy to fall asleep while reading to the kids on the bed, sitting down playing with them .... better to stand and keep herself busy in the kitchen. And she gets to play with her new "toys" =)

Toy #1 : 4-inch Springform Pan

Since darling son KW requested for a cheesecake, a request which I had been ignoring for days, I finally get around to doing it today, using my newly acquired 4-inch springform pan from Wilton. The colourful sprinkles and the happy smiles on darling sons' faces cheered me up at the end of a tiring day ...

Toy #2 : Dinosaurs Cookie Cutters

I prepared the wholemeal cookie dough yesterday, as I was tired of packing Fruit Crisps and store-bought Chocolate Chips cookies for darling son KW as snacks in school. I was not in the mood to bake or try out new recipes last couple of weeks. The dinosaur cookie cutters, which I bought from Amazon, together with my three other dougnut pans, had been sitting in the drawer for almost a month. It was not difficult to cut the dinosaurs out when the dough was firm and just out from the fridge. But after two rounds of rolling, the neck broke when I tried to lift the dinosaur onto the baking tray. That's why I ended up with flowers, hippopotamus and elephants. They were a lot smaller than the dinosaurs, and easier to lift onto the baking tray without breaking. I used mini M&Ms as the eyes this round, instead of chocolate rice. They did make the animals looked more alive! Of course, the boys preferred the bigger eyes to the tiny chocolate rice! They had the cookies for their afternoon snack, and finished a quarter of what was baked! Growing boys?

Ok, time to try out some new recipes next week ....

Saturday, November 21, 2009

We miss you ... Nasi Lemak!

Dear Nasi Lemak (Rice in Coconut Cream),

I have been waiting for your arrival since Wednesday. We are happy to receive an email from the Malaysian Student Association, informing us that they will be selling Nasi Lemak to raise funds for their association. Being neighbours to Malaysia, we are more than happy to support the fundraising project. We miss you so much, we have to place order for three packets to be delivered to our house, instead of two!

A neck-breaking wait ... and finally, it's Saturday!
It was a beautiful morning, though a little chilly. We brought the kids out for an early lunch at McDonalds ... ok, Mom was too excited thinking about Nasi Lemak to be able to cook properly for the kids. Mom and Dad would be having Nasi Lemak for lunch! Delivery would be between 1 - 2 pm ... Couldn't wait for the packets to be delivered!

1pm came and went.
2pm came and went.
3pm came and went.
4pm came and went.

Nasi Lemak, did you lose your way?

Knock, knock ... 4.30pm. Finally arrived!
Three packets of Nasi Lemak ... back in Singapore, I would rate the rice and chicken delivered, a star out of five ... however, when you are in a faraway land, any home food is delicious and comforting! And the sambal chilli ... uhhhhh ..... love it!

I'm going to bed tonight, dreaming of .... Nasi Briyani, Curry Chicken, Chicken Rice, Fishball Noodles, and many many more .... Drool ....

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Power Miners Still Rule!

Yes, the Power Miners still rule the day!

Darling son KW had been playing with his Power Miners since he got them for his birthday. He borrowed the Mine Mech from his brother, and the set found its home permanently on KW's table since then. In order that they do not end up fighting over the Mine Mech, I bought another set for KW. It arrived yesterday, and last night, the boy requested that I combined his Stone Chopper and Mine Mech to form a "super powerful" vehicle. Truly, this boy has been surfing the Lego Website like studying for the exams! He knows which are the sets that can be combined! Really ...

The "super powerful" vehicle is now sitting on his table, waiting for him to be back from school ....

Thursday, November 19, 2009


The Parent-Teacher-Conference was on last Thursday.
We were very pleased with the progress of the two boys at school.

Darling son YW, being in Kindergarten, is reading at Level 6. He is able to write two or more sentences, while expanding ideas in writing. We are pleasantly surprised to learn that he is also solving various types of math problems, including multiplication and division! We know that he is able to write equations involving addition and subtraction. But multiplication and division? The next step for him will be to be able to explain his math thinking, applying counting shortcuts (5s, 10s), and working with two star numbers and two/three stars words (spelling and reading). We do not expect him to do so much in school. We are very happy to know that darling son is enjoying learning and loving school!

The above : "First Quarter Reflection" darling son did in class before the conference.

Darling son is in Grade 2 this year. He is probably the youngest in the class. Some of his friends are at least a year older than him.

Reading through his reflections, I would say darling son is very much aware of his own strengths and weaknesses! He knows he doesn't finish his work on time, as can be seen from his Math timed-test every Friday. He takes longer than the time given whenever I give him an exercise to do at home. He thinks that he spends his time wisely ... good division of time between reading (Diary of a Wimpy Kid), drawing his comics (just like those in the Wimpy Kid), playing with his Legos (Power Miners Rule!), and doing whatever minimum homework from school and those given by his mom. He has been getting full scores most of the time for spelling in class, and although he dislikes writing in his Home Journal 5 days a week, he does make an effort to finish it before going to bed. That is what I call self-discipline.

I am pleased to read what he writes in the Reflection sheet ... I want my parents to know that .... I am listening. I guess the next step is for him to act on whatever he has heard? Listening but no action is no use.

Much as we were pleased with the progress of our boys, we were not too pleased with darling son KW's teachers. During the conference, she showed us a picture the boy drew .. the world map. The kids were asked to draw one before the topic was taught, to show their idea of how the world map should look like. Darling son draw "Singapore" in the centre of the page. At one far end, he drew United States. Near to Singapore, he drew China. I interpret "Singapore drawn at the centre" because he knew that Singapore is near the equator, and the equator is at the centre of the page if you open the world map. But the teacher said (with a laugh) ... "It's so typical of kids to draw their own country in the centre of the page." .... is she missing something? Is she not seeing what the boy know about "the equator", or is she ignorant of the location of the tiny red dot? Before I could correct her, she went on to say that for us, Koreans ... erh ... Koreans? She thought we were from Korea! After a quarter term with the boy, and having asked them to introduce themselves to the class the country they were from?

Singapore is a very small country, no doubt. I cannot expect everyone here in the woods to know where Singapore is, although it would be nice if they do. I am not offended if they do not know. Some moms in the school thought that we are koreans too, and start a conversation by speaking korean to me. There are also people asking me "Where is Singapore?", "Is it part of China?". But as a teacher, and a teacher in school with many international students, I seriously expect her to get her facts right. Being single-minded in her perspective, and not being able to see from the students' point of view doesn't help in getting her students interested in her lessons. When we asked "Why choose Australia to study?", the assistant teacher told us "Because my boyfriend studied there and I knew a bit of the country." .... Eyes rolled ... Speechless. To me, that is not a good reason for teaching the students about the country Australia, since your main topic is the "Continents".

Now I can truly understand why darling son KW has been saying "School is boring, I hate school" every morning as we walk him to school. Darling son will do whatever that is required of him as a student when in class. He will do the given homework and submit on time. He will learn his spelling. But he is not enjoying learning and his lessons. Sigh ....

I can only pray that he works hard enough to be moved to another class next year ...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Baked Chicken Wings

The man and the boys at home love eating fried chicken wings.
This is one dish they never get tired of. But I dislike the amount of oil used in frying the wings, not to mention the cleaning up after the frying.

So here's a baked version of the wings ... healthier, satisfy the man and the boys, and make me happy as there is minimum cleaning up after the cooking!

7-9 Three joint wings
2-3 tbsp Lemon Juice
Corn Flour
Dash of salt to taste
Melted Butter (Optional)

  • Remove the tip from the wings.
  • Cut the wings at the joint to get a drumlet and a wing.
  • Wash and dry the wings.
  • Marinate the wings in lemon juice. Leave for at least 30 minutes.
  • Discard the lemon juice.
  • Add salt to the wings.
  • Coat the wings with cornflour.
  • Line a roasting/baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Put the four coated wings on the parchment paper.
  • Brush the wings with butter if desired.
  • Bake at 425F for about 2o minutes or till cooked through.
  • Broil the wings for crispy wings.
  • Keep an eye on the wings while broiling or they may burnt!
  • Remove excess oil in the tray with a kitchen towel if necessary.
  • Turn over and broil the other side.

Less messy compared to frying in oil =)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Apple Soup with Porkribs

Old Man Winter has been reluctant to show his presence. I'm not complaining, as I am still enjoying the higher than normal temperatures. However, the sky starts to darken by 5pm. A bowl of warm soup for dinner never fails to lift my spirits. I love soups, especially clear soups.
Cantonese style? Even better =)

Pork ribs and apples soup.
It is suppose to be a good Autumn/Winter soup.
It moisturizes the lungs, and is good for coughs. It is easy to prepare too.

A soup spoonful plus of Bitter & Sweet almonds
A soup spoonful of YuZhu (Optional)
A few sweet dates
A few dried figs
1.5 pounds of pork ribs
- I used the country style pork ribs which is quite meaty
1.2 - 1.5 litres of water
5 Gala Apples

  • Remove fats, if any, on the pork ribs.
  • Blanch the pork ribs in boiling water. Remove and rinse in cold water.
  • Peel and cut the apples into smaller pieces.
  • Fill a big pot with 1.2 - 1.5 litres of water.
  • Put all the ingredients into the pot, including the pork ribs.
  • Bring the water in the pot to a boil.
  • Lower the heat and let it simmer for an hour.

The soup may be a little oily. Try to use a tablespoon to remove the oil.
If you are not eating the cooked apples, scoop the apples, dried figs, sweet dates into a sieve. Mash these ingredients and drain the soup absorbed by them into another bowl. Pour the soup back into the pot.
Serve the soup warm.

How about the pork ribs?
Surprisingly, they are super tender and sweet!
I shred them and eat it with steaming hot rice and broccoli. Sprinkle some furikake on the bowl of pork, rice and broccoli if you want more flavor.

Mmmm ... steaming rice with warm sweet soup on a rainy night ...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"Sealed" Toast?

"Sealed" Toast?

Yes, I used my new "toy", the Sandwich de Panda Sandwich mold, to "seal" the edges of the two slices of bread. The mold cuts the crust around the slice of bread, and then "seal" the two slices of bread together. Wow! It was so neat!

Fillings for the bread?
Spreadable strawberry cream cheese on the two slices of bread.
Sliced ham, sliced cherry tomatoes, and some shredded cheddar cheese.

I especially like the Panda stamp on the bread!
The panda stamp would have been more distinct if I had used white bread instead of whole wheat bread.

Nonetheless, it was a yummy, crispy, creamy and toasty brunch for me!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I Love Cream Cheese!

I'm in love with cream cheese ... couldn't stop thinking about her ... especially the yummy cream cheese frosting on darling son's birthday cake two days ago =)

The body must have been starved of sugar. Is that why I'm feeling so tired?

So today, I baked a Yogurt Cake, and topped it with cream cheese frosting!
I added some lemon juice instead of Nutella this time round.

Mmmm ... Bake the Yogurt Cake using olive oil instead of butter ... less sugar added into the cake ... yogurt and eggs ... it did make me feel less guilty when eating the frosted cake =)

Cream Cheese Power!
Helps to fuel me through the week!

Monday, November 9, 2009

My New Toys!

Here's presenting to you ... my new toys!

  • Decorative face nori cutter punch set
  • Sand de Panda sandwich maker bread mold stamp set

These items were bought from eBay.
It was also my first time shopping at eBay.
I did a few searches, to check the prices of the items at stores offering these items, before placing the order from JstuffSale. The order was placed on a Sunday night. I received their invoice for combined shipping and made payment the same night, all within an hour upon placing my order. And the next morning, I received a shipping notification ... "Your items have shipped"! What prompt service! The parcel arrived from Japan today, a week after I placed my order. There was a little gift enclosed too ... A Lilo & Stitch handkerchief. I am one pleased customer indeed!

I am looking forward to "playing" with my new "toys" tomorrow!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Power Miners Rule!

My birthday cake! My Mama baked it for me =) Thank you Mama!
I love the red rock monster, Meltrox!
And I love the miner on the Stone Chopper!

Mama said the cake didn't look very nice, after she frosted it.
But since it was suppose to be the mining ground, she said she could be excused for her bad frosting skills. She added Nutella into the cream cheese, that's why it looked brown .. "Like mud" she said ... Ha Ha.
But I love the cake! I love cream cheese too!
I enjoyed licking the frosting off the spoon after the cake was frosted =p

The inside of the cake! Soft and light, and not too sweet.
See the thick layer of cream cheese? Yummy!

The red crystal! I finally get to own one!
Do you know, Meltrox gets very powerful when he eats the red crystals!
Go, Power Miners, go! Go get the crystals!

The Underground Mining Station! Awesome!
Thank you Waipo, Waigong, and Yi Yi, for sending me this set!

Thank you again, for sending my brother the Mine Mech and the Granite Grinder! I wonder if my brother would let me play with them ... Hmm ..

Thank you Ah Gong, for sending me the Lego Racers, and my little brother the Mail Plane.

Thank you Papa and Mama, for getting me the Coast Guard Helicopter and Life Raft, and my brother, the Coast Guard 4WD and Jet Scooter.

I had great fun playing with my LEGO today!

The Power Miners rule!
The Power Miners rock!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Nutella Butter Cake

"What kind of cake would you like for your birthday?" I asked my boy.
"Chocolate!" came the reply.

This would be his standard answer every year. He is a big chocolate fan. Anything chocolate, he will eat. His birthday falls on a Saturday, and I don't want to waste a Saturday morning baking a cake, cooling it, then frosting it. I am not a big fan of frosted cakes/cookies either. A dust of icing sugar is good enough for me. I find frosted cakes too sweet. But for a kid, a birthday cake is not a birthday cake if it turns out plain with just a candle, without the frosting. Like the one below ...

I have been looking through books and blogs, hoping to find a recipe that will yield a light and yet "not-overly-sweet" cake. In addition, the cake should taste good when left overnight, as I am planning to frost it only the next day. After looking through many recipes, I finally settled on Nutella Butter Cake, from HappyHomeBaking. Thank you, HappyHomeBaking, for sharing yet another yummy recipe from your kitchen =)

As I have no idea how sweet the cake will taste, I pour half the batter into an 8" disposable shallow round pan, and the other half, I pour it into my "GingerBread Man and Christmas Trees" pan from Wilton. This way, the kids can have the "GingerBread Man and Christmas Trees" as snacks after school, and I get to taste the sweetness of the cake as well.

The "Gingerbread Man" cake has a little crispy on the outside, maybe because I have left them in the oven for a little longer than I should have. But the cake itself is very soft! I could do with a little less sugar the next round, or maybe, a little less Nutella. As for the cake itself, I think I have underbaked it ... so I did a second cake, using half the recipe, after dinner.

Will have to wait till tomorrow, and hopefully the cake taste good with Nutella Cream Cheese frosting!

Nutella Cream Cheese Frosting

4 oz Cream Cheese
4 tbsp Butter
3 tsp Icing Sugar
1-2 tbsp Nutella

  • Beat the cream cheese and butter.
  • Add Nutella. Mix well.
  • Add icing sugar. Adjust to taste.
  • Spread on cake and leave cake in the fridge to set the frosting.

Yummy! I love cream cheese!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bento and Leftover Pasta

This was my lunch, the leftover after packing the boys' lunchboxes.
I didn't have time to take a picture after packing their lunchboxes.

And lunch was leftover pasta from last night's dinner. I sprinkled a little olive oil into the container of leftover pasta, and kept it in the fridge for today's lunch. All I needed to do this morning was cooked the meat, and microwaved the broccoli! Instead of using spaghetti sauce, I used the sauce from the meat to flavor the pasta.

I cooked Miso Chicken. Would love to use minced turkey (softer texture), but I didn't have any in the fridge. I added a little more miso paste, and some water. When the meat was cooked, I added some cornstarch mixture, to thicken the sauce. The pasta was added into the pot of miso chicken.
Ta Da! Done! Let cool before packing in the lunchboxes. Arrange the broccoli florets nicely beside the pasta.

Are you ready for lunch?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Hanbagu Turned Meat Balls!

Hanbagu, a Japanese minced meat patty.
Sounds like Hamburger, doesn't it?

I found the recipe of Hanbagu from HappyHomeBaking.
The first time I made it, I fried it in a pan. The patty was crispy on the outside, soft and juicy on the inside. I was really surprised at its juicyness! The boys and the man liked the patty. They ate the patty with their rice, and were happy. After a successful first attempt, I paired the patty with a hamburger the second time. Included some tomatoes and lettuce. It was good. However, we could never finish the amount that was cooked. So this time round, I decided I would turn the patties into meatballs! Especially so, since my little boy had been telling me about his friends loving spaghetti and meatballs. However, instead of frying them, I baked them! It was delicious, but not as crispy as I wanted them to be.

400g Ground Beef/Pork/Chicken/Turkey
1 Egg
1/2 tsp Salt
4 tbsp Breadcrumbs (I used Panko)
3 tbsp Milk
1/2 Onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp Butter

  • Saute the finely chopped onions with the butter, till transparent.
  • Set aside to cool.
  • Add to meat and mix well.
  • Soak breadcrumbs in milk.
  • Mix meat, egg, salt, and breadcrumbs mixture.
  • Roll the meat into balls.
  • Coat the meatballs with some olive oil.
  • Put them into a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake at 400F for about 30 minutes, or till cooked.
  • Change the oven from Bake to Broil. Grill till the tops of the meatballs are cripsy. Watch the oven, or the meatballs may burnt.

Instead of spaghetti, I used Whole Wheat Penne.
We finished the plate of baked meatballs!
I cooked a little too much pasta for the night. Well, the extra pasta would go into the boys' lunchbox tomorrow morning!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Bento Love

Love this book!

No kawaii bentos.
Just practical, simple to prepare bentos.
My kind of bento!

Boiled Salmon Rice Bento ... This is one good bento to bring to school. Easy to cook. Healthy.

  • Boil 1 fillet raw salmon in salted water.
  • Cook salmon thoroughly. Don't worry about over-boiling.
  • Drain and pat dry the cooked salmon with a paper towel.
  • Break into chunks and remove skin and bones, if any.
  • Combine 1/2 teaspoon each of sake and soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil in a bowl and add the salmon chunks.
  • Once flavor is absorbed, stir the flavored salmon into rice.
  • Mix in the crumbled nori seaweed, and toasted black sesame seed, if using. I omit the black sesame seeds, as I don't have any on hand.
  • Sides : Blanched broccoli florets, and scrambled eggs.

The boys had the boiled salmon rice for lunch today. They finished their rice and I was one happy mom! Yummy food for the boys, and minimal cleaning up for mom!

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