Friday, September 29, 2006

posting backlog clearance I = Spring Onion Pancakes

There's an immense backlog in the posts i've made as opposed to the food i have cooked. granted not everything i make is worth blogging about, but there has to be a semblance of normality so people don't think that as students we all seem to eat damn well. hehhe. well we do, but thats more creative genius than an increase in student budget. In fact, the budget will have to be further decreased since my cellphone got stolen from the kitchen yesterday, so I'll need to channel some of the grocery budget into the telecommunications budget. Next time i'm not going to answer calls in the kitchen. Coz i always get busy, then i leave the phone behind.

One night last week, my friend and i got bored at work, so i got started on some lovely spring onions, and she saw the fun going on in the kitchen and decided to join in. Spring onion pancakes sprang to mind (excuse the pun), never mind that i've never made a single one, or seen a recipe for a single one in my life.

Due to the estimation method, the dough was so wet that by the time it was the right texture, we had a basinful. But who would mind? Extras got thrown in the freezer ready for a quick toast in the toaster. yummylicious.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The wonders of corn soup

Sweetcorn is a wonderful thing when its fresh and sweet. And corn soup is a gift when the weather is weird. This post is a little late, but i made this gorgeous soup when it rained for days, and it was actually cool enough outside to walk to class in a long sleeved shirt. Corn soup sustained the people in apartment 9 at the MAG2 when they were trying desperately to adapt to the chilly weather.

A light savoury soup, fragrant with the sweetness of corn sliced off the cob, swirled with floating clouds of soft yellow egg, nothing can compare with the golden goodness.

Its dead easy too.

4 cobs corn, kernals only sliced off the cob
2 chicken stock cube
8 cups water
2 eggs, beaten in a bowl, just to combine

in a pot, boil water, add stock cubes and corn, and let it simmer for 20 mins
just before serving, turn up to a boil.
gently pour in beaten eggs, count to three, then gently stir around.
serve with white pepper or none :D

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A culmination of food desires

apologies for the lack of new prose on this blog. Close friends would know how busy i was, no time to sit down and sift through the stuff i wanted to blog. I had definitely started on the note of the knife though.. wanted it for my 22nd Birthday. unfortunately the price tag is a little out of reach for myself or any of my equally impoverished student friends. I even went as far as going and physically checking out the knives, and realised the 6-inch version is better for me, as opposed to the scarily long 8 inch.

One thing about knives is that they're severely underestimated in the kitchen of the average home chef. I've had the fortune of learning to cook with good knives at home, so on the occasions i had to use *erm*, i loathe to say cheap knives, but thats what they are really. okay.. cheap knives, i've inevitably managed to hurt myself. either wrist pain, nicks on fingers, and in one case, blisters.

My little red handled henckels' paring knife was beginning to get blunt, and the tip had been broken off thanks to me using it to pry apart frozen sausages one too many times. so as one of my many birthday treats to myself, i bought a new Henckels TWIN grip black handled paring knife. The cutting sharpness is ggreat. But the blade is thin, so bends alot, thus feeling really flimsy... and is very slim, so chopping is even harder. I know i have no business using a paring knife to chop, but in a hostel kitchen, its hard to have so many knives. Also i'm still a knife snob, so find it hard to use one of the cheap knives. I figure its all about getting used to the knife size and shape.

The week was spent eating out mostly, hawker centre favourites, showing an Irish friend the tasty side of Singapore. Kitchen activities were limited to morning coffee, some simple food to stave off hunger in the afternoon. But everything culminated in two huge ass dinners, one cooked by me mammy, and the other by me for my friends. I totally let myself down by forgetting to charge my camera before going home for the birthday banquet my mother organised and prepared. But just for posterity's sake. There was...

deep fried grouper
tom yam tilapia
steamed promfret
tomato prawns
chilli crab
pepper crab
deep fried marinated pork
braised chicken with nam yu and lap cheong
"New Year" soup (always made for reunion dinner and first day of the chinese new year in my family. Pork and chicken bone base, with chinese cabbage, canned mushrooms, fishballs, stuffed foochow fishballs, fish maw and some other stuff my mammy puts in when she feels like it.)
stir fried bittergourd
stir fried chinese kale
beetroot salad
Bubor Cha Cha
and i honestly cannot remember what else.

see what i mean by "pity i forgot my camera" ?
everyone was there, grandma, several aunts, kid cousins and of course my very own immediate family. absolute madness. But meals like that are great, because then everyone is too full at the end to run and jump. even the children.. hhehhe... all just sit around to digest. Peace and Quiet at last :D

For the birthday dinner i made, it was just an excuse to get my best girl and some other friends to come to my hostel and stuff themselves. Chicken curry, dry fried curry prawns (as requested by a friend who saw the earlier prawn post) some vegetables. eating out of disposable plastic bowls and paper plates, on a straw mat on the ground. (my new favourite way of 'entertaining' guests, but more on that later)

But the point of this super long post is, that the cumilation of all the birthday frenzy resulted in a most wonderful gift from aforementioned best girl. Last year i got a big fluffy pillow 'cause i complained i had not enough, and this year, she bought me proper white corelle crockery so i could eat off a proper surface! Don't you just love a practical best friend? But most importantly dear reader. This also means, i'll be able to take more pretty photographs of the things i cook to eat!

cheers! and.. Happy Birthday to ME!

Friday, September 01, 2006

when the weather gets freaky, take comfort in pumpkin soup!

The past few days have been overcast and rainy. Consequently, its been quite cool, and the body uses this opportunity to crave warm comforting food. I had a wedge of beautiful orange pumpkin i bought during last week's grocery run, and it had been sitting in the fridge since, waiting to be turned into sweet goodness. I had contemplated just stir-frying it with some dried shrimp and garlic, but the weather gave me a chance to make pumpkin soup.

It looks really unassuming in the plastic tub, more like a sweet mango sorbet than the warm liquid gold it really is. Pumpkin is one of those things that i never really saw on the dining table at home as a kid. When i first cooked it, what surprised me the most was the very short cooking period, compared to the time needed to soften other similarly hard vegetables. Separating the flesh from the hard rind is very dangerous too.. first time i cut pumpkin, i cut my finger. I remember that because i've hardly ever cut myself in the kitchen. These days, i cut them into big cubes first before i remove the rind from just one side in a singular swift move. much safer.

To make this soup, i used whatever i had, some onions, carrot, the pumpkin, and potato, in a plain chicken stock. olive oil and garlic too. when everything falls apart when u poke at it with a fork, blend it with a trusty immersion blender. I added skim milk, but you can use cream. salt and pepper to taste. I had ready boiled chunks of lotus root and some beans, and added that to the bottom of the soup bowl before topping up with piping hot pumpkin soup. eat with plain toast, or cheese toast.

A nice warm dinner ready in less than an hour, after a long day of classes, and walking back carefully in the rain, straining not to slip on wet tiles, images of a dislocated left shoulder looming in an overactive imagination.