Sunday, 28 February 2010

mostly yesterday and a tiny bit of today

Last week has been pretty busy and exciting. I was in London (I love London) for a couple of days for a conference for the new job last week. I arrived a day earlier before the conference and I, of course, used the opportunity to eat. I had a Greek feast of grilled octopus, saffron rice, and grilled pork souvlaki with peppers and tomato relish at The Real Greek restaurant in Westfield. I walked around for a little bit and then it was time for dessert. I went to this cafe, Ca’puccino and I had an apricot croissant and espresso with tiramisu cream, and it was the most delicious sweet thing I ever put in my mouth. I’m currently trying to recreate that dessert.

Yesterday I had some friends over for dinner, my usual weekend with friends, and I had Leonard, Carla and Helen over. It seemed like my friends had been around London themselves recently. Helen was in London for her Birthday; and Carla was in London for the fashion week which was exciting. She won a competition from Look magazine and was invited for this VIP treatment, champagne drinking, front-seat fashion show where she mingled around Janice Dickinson, Jimmy Choo, etc. If you’re interested in her stories or just into fashion in general, check out her blog at

To kick off the evening, we had a cocktail, Moscow Mule, and to make that I combine ginger ale, lime syrup and vodka; add mint leaves and pour over ice in glasses (I use jam jars). Garnish with lime wedges. And In honour of my stylish friend, Carla, I got some limited edition decorative bottled Evian Spring Water designed by fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier. And she was pleased.

I made my Japanese Cream of Corn soup. I don’t think this soup exists in Japanese culinary but I call this Japanese because I use some ingredients that are originated from Japan. The soup is easy to make and very comforting. I like to make the soup the night before, because I think it tastes better the next day when all the flavours have married and settled. All you need to do is sauté some onions in olive oil and butter until soft. And then add some sweet corn kernels (canned/frozen), miso paste, dashi (Japanese fish stock) and water until covered. Let it come to a boil and then simmer. When the soup has had its time, blend until smooth. The soup then needs to be strained and it's done! At this point I let the soup cool completely, cover and keep in the fridge. Just minutes before dinner, I can reheat the soup, add a little bit of double cream for richness and adjust the seasoning. The final addition to the soup is some finely chopped chives and if available, strips of sweet and salty inari (Japanese fried tofu). Yum!

Next we had Jamie’s perfectly cooked crispy duck with spiced plum chutney. Delish!! I love duck. My friend Helen never had duck before and it is now officially her new food friend. Am I right Helen? And my friend Leonard wished I was a girl, so that he can marry me. Scary thought.

Along with the duck, we had rosemary roasted miniature potatoes, and green salad with Dijon mustard, honey, lemon and olive oil dressing.

We took a little break before continuing to desserts (not very long). The first dessert was strawberry- lemon puddings, a recipe from one of my favourite cookbooks, Dinner at My Place, by Tyler Florence. It’s basically a trifle of slices of strawberries cooked in lemon juice and sugar, vanilla pound cake, and lemony whipped cream; very refreshing.

I promised there will be something chocolate-y to my guests and dessert number two was supposed to be fifteen chocolate tart from ‘the book’. Yesterday, I tried to make pastry for the first time and I failed. I think I worked the pastry too much because when I baked it in the oven, the pastry melted and it looked horrible. I pulled it out the oven, let it cool, and threw it in the bin where it belongs. I was furious... *sigh...

With leftover ingredients from the tart, I made my dark chocolate mousse, “Light as a feather” as Carla described it.

I had a great night and thank you friends. You’re all lovely to feed and we have to set another dates :)

I had a relaxing day today. Merlyn came over for lunch and we had Thai pork fried rice; watched DVD and I made hot chocolate with Baileys. Good times.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

lemony Sunday

I had a few lemons need using before they go dry; and when life gives you lemons, you have three choices. First, is to make a sour face. Second, is to make lemonade. And third, make Jamie’s Nan’s lemon drizzle cake.

This old-fashioned tea cake is actually the very first recipe I made from the book when I bought it a couple years ago. The cake is easy to make and it’s delicious. It is also very moist because after baking, it’s drizzled with lemon syrup.

I also have leftover minced beef from yesterday, not a lot, but just enough to make some meatballs for tonight’s meal, penne pasta with tomato and cream sauce and meatballs. I’m gonna use the same meatballs recipe from last night’s pappardelle. Adding a little lemon zests to the meat makes all the difference.

A friend whom I haven’t seen for a while is coming over for dinner later and I cannot wait to catch up.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday everyone.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

fresh pasta

Today I made my very first fresh pasta. I was a little terrified at the beginning, but it was actually a lot of fun. I followed Jamie’s instruction for basic recipe for fresh egg pasta dough. There were two options, you can either make the dough in a food processor or the traditional way; and for my first time, I went for the conventional way with the big wooden board, flour, well in the centre, eggs and the two best tools attached to my body, my hands.

I wasn’t particularly good with kneading the dough, but I know that it takes practise. And as Jamie said, there’s no secret to kneading. You just have to bash, squash, pull, stretch and bash again with your hands until it’s smooth.

The dough was then rolled with a pasta machine, which again loads of fun, and cut into some long strips to make pappardelle with a ragu of tiny meatballs.

My friend Leo came over for dinner and he was well impressed that I made fresh pasta. To be honest, so was I.

The pasta was a little thicker than my liking but it was still very nice.

I’m halfway through the project now and it’s getting more and more exciting.

Thanks Jamie.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010


For dinner tonight, I made schnitzel with watercress and spiced apple sauce. Thin slices of pork, covered in breadcrumbs and then fried until golden and crispy; served with sweet and sour home-made apple sauce. Yum.

I must confess, I like any food that's fried and crunchy. Not the healthiest, I know, but sometimes it's just what I need.
I had the schnitzel with apple sauce, and apples are healthy, right? :)

The past three days, I've been attending a First Aid Course for work and I passed my test today. So, Yay!

I just got home from the cinema. My friends and I went to see 'Invictus' and I thought it was bril. The film is based on a true story of how Nelson Mandela (one of the person I'd love to meet, played by the amazing Morgan Freeman) joined forces with the captain of South African rugby team, François Pienaar (played by another great actor Matt Damon)to help unite their country. And don't worry, you don't have to be a fan of rugby to enjoy the film. I don't mind rugby, but I feel like I can feel the pain when watching it.

anyway, I'm off to bed now. I'm going back to work tomorrow.

Saturday, 13 February 2010


I got the job!! Yay!
I'm very excited :)

My friends are cooking tonight for Chinese New Year's eve, and I cannot wait to celebrate with them.

Thanks for all the wishes.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, 11 February 2010


About five hours ago, I have been short-listed for a new higher role at work. The interview is tomorrow...

The new role is not too far away from my current job which is great. I love my job as student liaison officer, but after a couple of years, I think it's time for a new challenge.

Wish me luck...

P.S. I had leftover penne with spicy Italian sausage, tomatoes and cream, a side of rocket salad with Jamie' creamy French dressing.

Monday, 8 February 2010

a fennel weekend

I'm sure you'd agree that the weekend is too short.

I spent the Saturday with some usual stuffs, food shopping and house chores. In the evening I had two friends over for dinner and I made mussels steamed with fennel and crème fraiche, Jamie's version of moules mariniere, which was delicious. A little spicy with the dried chilli in it, but still enjoyable. I'd be happy with a big bowl of this and a baguette to soak all the yummy juices, and maybe a pint or two of cider.

I also made slow roasted pork belly with the sweetest braised fennel. Again, yum. I love good crunchy cracklings. And very interesting with the braised fennel, they're sweet, just like slowly cooked onions, but with a 'bite'; if you get what I mean or it's too confusing?!

The pork was accompanied with the oh-so-good must try red cabbage braised with apple, bacon and balsamic vinegar (and butter on top). What not to like.

Dessert was the super-speedy eton mess. yum...

Yesterday was my friend's 21st birthday and I made the bloomin' easy vanilla cheesecake. It was very light and refreshing with the orange and lemon zests in the cake. I had one last slice in the fridge screaming at me, but I'm gonna wait until tomorrow. Sorry, cake.

Today was another busy day at work. I just got home from choir rehearsal, watched an episode of Glee for the I can't remember how many times, and I think it's bed time now.

Last but not least, happy 16th birthday sis. Hope you had a great one. I missed you. X

Day 162, Recipe 77

Friday, 5 February 2010

ready for the weekend

Work was busy today *sigh and I'm so ready for the weekend. I cannot wait to cook more recipes from the project tomorrow and I'm also cooking for a friend's birthday party on Sunday.

For dinner tonight, I made spaghetti with uncooked tomato, rocket and olive sauce from Jamie's dinners cook book. This must be one of the quickest pasta recipe out there. By the time the spaghetti is cooked to al dente, well... it was time to eat really.

Anyway, my little sister is boycotting my blog because it makes her hungry every time she reads it. Sis, why don't you come and visit me and I'll cook you something yummy ;)

anyone doing anything fun this weekend?