Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Rice cooker dinners : Stewed pork, mushroom & cabbage rice


3 cups of rice, washed 
500g of cabbage, washed and chopped
10 small black mushrooms + 200ml of water, soaked and sliced, reserve water
20g dried shrimp, soaked and drained
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can of stewed pork chops, bones removed and roughly shredded
1 tsp of dark soy sauce
1 tsp of light soy sauce
1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
0.5 tsp of sesame oil + 0.5 tsp of cooking oil
A dash of white pepper
1 tbsp of chicken stock concentrate mixed with 250ml of water


Set the rice cooker to cook function and fry garlic, dried shrimp in sesame + cooking oil till fragrant. Add in the roughly shredded stewed pork. 
Pour in the washed rice and mushroom slices with the reserve water.
Add in chicken stock mixture and the reserve gravy from the canned stewed pork.
Mix in the dark, light soy + oyster sauce and a dash of white pepper.
Add in the chopped cabbage and stir to mix well. Add more soy sauce here if needed.
Leave to cook.
Fluff up the rice and mix well to ensure that all the rice is cooked. 

From our kitchen to yours,
Brenda x

Monday, November 23, 2015

Orange Soy Glazed Salmon x Soba

Marinade for the salmon:
1.5 tablespoon of Kikkoman Soy Sauce
0.5 teaspoon of brown sugar (caster sugar works too :))
1 small knob of old ginger, sliced
A squeeze of orange
1 stalk of spring onion, whites roughly chopped

Place salmon skin side down into the marinade and coat both sides with the marinade. Then leave it flesh side down and set this aside for about half an hour or overnight in a ziplock. :) 

Buckwheat soba:
Boiled and drained, put into iced water immediately.

With a knob of butter in a pre heated pan, place the salmon skin side down and grill till the skin leaves the pan. Turn the salmon fillet around and sear it flesh side down. Pour the remaining marinade over the skin and fry up the ginger and spring onion slices on the side. 

Grill the salmon till well cooked and flip it skin side down to grill till crisp. :)

Serve with cold soba sprinkled with chopped negi, nanami togarashi and mentsuyu dipping sauce.

From our kitchen to yours,
Brenda x

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Clarity in keeping focused

This was clarity. After all the soups I've boiled, this was by far the clearest pot. 

This was a medium sized chicken, chicken breast used for poached chicken slices on soba.

The thigh and the wings were used for sesame oil chicken.

Which leaves the neck, ribs and feet, aside from all the bones reserved.

So I blanched those, chopped up some carrots, corn and red dates and threw them all into my inner thermal pot for a fierce boil before I added a tablespoon of salt (4- 4.5L of water) and transferred it over to the outer pot to cook in its reserve heat for about 1.5 hours. 

And there we have it, chicken soup for the soul. Clarity in keeping focused. 

From our kitchen to yours,
Brenda x

Bittersweet Symphonies

Half a bittergourd, seeds removed and sliced thinly
(Soak the bittergourd in a heaped teaspoon of salt and water for 5- 10 minutes then remove and drain completely)
2 stalks of spring onion, chopped into 2 inch long slices
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 eggs, beaten with half a teaspoon of soy sauce and half a teaspoon of white pepper.
20 ml of water + a dash of soy sauce

Heat up the pan and a tablespoon of oil. Fry the minced garlic and the white ends of the spring onion stalks till fragrant.

Add in the drained bittergourd slices and stirfry with the water and soy sauce. Let the steam soften the bittergourd slices. 

Add in the beaten eggs and sprinkle the rest of the spring onion generously. 

Turn off the heat and let the reserve heat cook the eggs. 

Serve with fluffy hot white rice :)

*Alternatives: Stir fry with dried shrimp, preserved black bean sauce 

From our kitchen to yours,
Brenda x

Friday, November 20, 2015

No Bake Matcha Cheesecake

This was the second attempt on the same recipe. 

Except with matcha powder this time. :)

Exactly the same steps just replacing strawberry jam with 2 level tablespoons of matcha powder (I used the O'sulloc matcha powder from Jeju) and omitting the lemon rind. But don't forget the squeeze of lemon! :)

The green tea flavour was subtle. You might want to add more of it but I didn't want the bitterness to overwhelm the whole filling. The other way to do this would be to add a sprinkle of powder at the side to add as they wish.

From our kitchen to yours,
Brenda x

Friday, November 13, 2015

No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake


For the crust:
150g McVities digestive biscuits (I used wholemeal this time)
30g caster sugar
85g unsalted butter, melted and set aside to cool

Mix the crushed digestives, sugar and melted butter together. Press in FIRMLY onto the bottom of a 20-23cm pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill while making the filling.

For the filling:
1 block of cream cheese (227g) at room temperature
2 tablespoons of no sugar added strawberry jam
40 g of caster sugar (less if the jam isn't a no sugar added jam)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 bottle heavy whipping cream 240ml (36-40% butter fat)
A few pieces of lemon rind, chopped into small bits and a squeeze of lemon.

Beat cream cheese until smooth, add strawberry jam, sugar and vanilla essence and beat again till light.
Beat the whipping cream separately until soft peaks form. Do not overbeat whipping cream or it will split and liquefy itself and the cream can no longer be used. 
Gradually fold in the whipped cream, a squeeze of lemon and lemon rind bits into the cream cheese.  
Pour in the filling into the crust base and smoothen the top. 
Chill overnight.

*I used the back of a chopper to crush up the biscuits but you could do it with a rolling pin or a simple food processor.
*I used a home blender with mill to do this. The cream cheese was a bit tricky. Remember to break into smaller pieces before turning on the blender. 
*Whipping cream was pulsed till the required soft peaks consistency and it turned out beautifully.
*I didn't use a springform pan and although the filling was a little hard to handle, it still came out easily in slices. This is really dependent on how well the crust was done. :)

Credits to https://www.joyofbaking.com

From our home to yours,
Brenda x

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Double happiness steamed egg // 双喜蒸蛋

3 eggs
1 preserved egg
A dash of sesame oil 
0.5 tsp soy sauce
1.5 tsp of Knorr concentrated chicken stock 
9 half egg shells of water (water : egg // 1.5 : 1)

Red chilli slices
Chopped spring onion


Beat eggs till yolk and whites are well mixed. 

Add water in half egg shells, mix in the concentrated chicken stock, soy sauce and mix well. 

Strain the mixture through the sieve (don't hold it up too high or there will be bubbles created) Or you can simply remove the bubbles with a spoon :)

The sesame oil can be added at this point or after the steaming has been done. 

Cut the preserved egg into slices and slide the pieces gently into the egg mixture.

Bring water in the steamer to a fierce boil. Place bowl into steaming rack. 
**My steamer cover drips off water from the side so it's not required to put cling film over the bowl. Either use cling wrap or a flat dish to cover the egg mixture if you're worried. 

Turn it down to low heat and steam for 15 minutes or till done. Gently shake the bowl to check if the egg is ready. Or use the back of the metal spoon to gently slide on the surface of the egg mixture to check.

Serve hot with rice.

Credits: http://www.tastehongkong.com/recipes/steamed-eggs-how-to-make-them-smooth-is-no-secret/ (for the half egg shell measurements :))

From our kitchen to yours,
Brenda x

Chicken Bulgogi


2 large pieces chicken thigh, deboned and skin reserved.
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 – 3 spring onions, roughly chopped


3 tablespoons Gochujang sauce
1 tablespoon Gochugaru/ Togarashi
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons soba sauce (this was the secret shortcut to eliminate sugar and mirin)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon grated ginger
a pinch of white pepper


Combine the meat, onion, and scallions with the marinade and mix well. Marinate for at least an hour or overnight.

Grill skinside down first to render the oil from the skin and turn over after the edges have crisped. Cook thoroughly.

I sliced it up before serving for easy sharing but feel free to be selfish and have the whole chicken leg to yourself!  

Adapted from www.rasamalaysia.com From our kitchen to yours,
Brenda x

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Earle Swensens x Dilmah Tea Pairing Session

Earle Swensens x Dilmah Tea Pairing Session was hosted by OpenRice SG at the Vivocity outlet of Earle Swensens.

This beauty was a hot water dispenser and it always serves as a teapot warmer!

There was a wide range of tea put on display. And I wish we could've tasted some of these flavours too!

All of them were in luxury leaf bags, better known as the pyramid tea bags.

Besides looking fancypants, these pyramid tea bag shapes allow the tea leaves to completely unfurl in the process of brewing tea. Which allows for one to better taste the tea as compared to when you get the traditional tea bags which may make for a stronger brew and perhaps even a more bitter taste.

We were first brought through a presentation on the background and philosophies of Dilmah and introduced to the basics and essential of tea from growing, to manufacturing and eventually the production of the different types of tea. 

You'd be surprised to see how little most people know about tea. I was glad to learn about the different stages in the production of different teas and how teas like Oolong and Green tea essentially come from the same plant - Camillia Sinensis. How the taste and fragrance of these teas differ would then be dependent on the temperature and surroundings of where this plant is grown and processed. It would also be good to know that the cleanest ceylon teas come from Sri Lanka where the climate and soil conditions are optimal for growth.

I was also very inspired by the work of Mr Merril J Fernando, the founder of Dilmah Tea. The name Dilmah coming from the combined names of this two sons, Dilhan and Mahlik. He has dedicated all of his adult life to tea making and is still actively involved in the business, training the next generation (of his grandchildren). He has a MJF foundation which was established to fulfill his commitment to make his family business a matter of human service. The foundation renders assistance to underprivileged people of Sri Lanka and drives the ethical and sustainable efforts of Dilmah. Every purchase of Dilmah goes towards supporting this foundation so keep calm and drink Dilmah. 

Here at Earle Swensens, they have made an ethically conscious partnership with Dilmah in their tea time promotion. A choice of the Neapolitan Cake Slice or Chips 'n' slaw Sandwich with a cup of coffee or tea from the Dilmah Exceptional tea range costs just $6.90 with service charge and GST. A $3 top-up will get you a salad bowl too! 

At this Tea Pairing Session, we got to try four different varieties of Dilmah tea and both offerings of the tea time promotion.

English Breakfast (Single Origin) and Pure Peppermint (Infusions)

Who would've thought chips made for such a brilliant sandwich filling?
Parmesan topped sandwich breads and a filling of potato chips and their signature coleslaw that greatly lessened the guilt factor.
I thought this went well with the Pure Peppermint but mum thought better of the English Breakfast.

And then we were given the chance to brew our own tea.
As good students, we took out our tea bags after leaving it in the hot water for no more than 3-5 minutes.
And no refilling of hot water allowed!
Because each teabag which contains about 2g of tea should only be used to brew a 200-250ml glass once.

Elegant Earl Grey and Ceylon Green Tea (Exceptional)

The vote was unanimous for this.
Earl Grey would be the choice for ice cream pairings.
Or perhaps we were just too used to Iced Earl Grey concoction over at O Coffee Club :p

Many thanks to Dilmah, Earle Swensens and Openrice for this Tea Pairing Session.
We learnt a lot and savoured our tea time together with the other attendees.

So the next time you're wanting to have an affordable high tea option...
I'll see you over at Earle Swensens! 

*All opinions are the writer's own. :)

Sharksfin melon chicken and big bone soup | 鱼翅瓜鸡肉大骨炖汤


Essentially the same except this time I had fresh dried cuttlefish airflown from Thailand that Daddy brought home. Skipped the red dates and corn. And I bought pork big bone for the first time! :)

I liked this version better. It's still sweet but more on the savoury side :)

Salted vegetable duck soup | 咸菜鸭汤. Charcoal boiled. Souper Saturdays!


  •  1/2 a duck (1 kg), chopped
  •  1 head of kiam chye, about 600g (salted vegetables), cut into large pieces
  •  3 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  •  5 thick slices of ginger
  •  Water
  •  A handful of white peppercorns, washed
  •  3 tomatoes, chopped into 8 pieces for each tomato.
  •  1 tsp of light soy sauce

  • Method:

  • 1. Wash and rinse the salted vegetables
  • 2. Clean duck and remove any remaining feather stubs. Remove fat as necessary. 
  • 3. Fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil. Blanch the duck to remove any crushed bones and blood trails. Take out the pieces and discard the water.
  • 4. Fill a pot with water. I used about 5 litres of water in a large aluminium pot.
  • 5. Place the salted vegetables, duck, garlic clove, ginger slices, white peppercorn and tomatoes.
  • 6. Cover and boil over the charcoal stove.
  • 7. Add 1 tsp of light soy sauce for added fragrance and a slight tinge of colour.

  • *I added a packet of soya beancurd after the soup was ready. :)
  • *Many recipes call for sour plums but it's fine to leave it out.
  • *I didn't soak my salted vegetables, which I bought from the wet market and the saltiness of the soup was just right for the amount of water I used.
  • *I had the pleasure of using a charcoal stove but this works well on the stovetops and pressure cookers. 

  • From our kitchen to yours,
  • Brenda x