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What I cooked for Winter Solstice dinner celebration 2013

My family decided to celebrate Winter Solstice earlier this year because of its proximity to Christmas. I was in charge of cooking, while hubs was in charge of cleaning the house.

I made a 9-course dinner.

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For appetiser, I made a cold dish called Chicken Crystal Jelly, which is an aspic. I added blanched prawns and baby corns to make it look more pretty. To make this was very simple, simmer 3 chicken thighs in seasoned boiling water for about 30 minutes, like making chicken soup. Skim the gunk off the surface of the soup while it’s simmering, this will help make the stock clearer. After 30 minutes, remove cooked chicken thighs from soup, let cool and debone. As for the stock, strain it (I used those paper made specially for straining oil, bought from Daiso) to achieve an even clearer appearance. While the soup is still hot, mix in gelatine or agar-agar according to instructions.

Arrange chicken meat, prawns and baby corn in the jelly mold, then pour in the stock and chill in the fridge overnight or at least 5 hours. To unmold the jelly, place the mold in hot water for a few minutes, put a plate over the mold, then turn it upside down…the jelly should pop out effortlessly.

# – 1. Chicken Crystal Jelly.
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Second dish was steamed prawns with egg white and wine. The easiest of the lot. Arrange prawns on a plate, plate ginger slices and spring onions on top. Mix 2 tablespoons of ShiaoXing rice wine and 1 tablespoon of soya sauce then pour it over the prawns. Steam on high heat for 4 minutes and just before you turn off the fire, pour in 3 egg whites all over. Voila, done.

# – 2. Steamed prawns with wine and egg white.
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Easy stir-fry vegetable medley. Dump everything into oiled wok and flip em around till everything’s cooked.

# – 3. Sauteed vegetables.
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Poached chicken. Stick chicken into boiling water for 30-40 minutes, take it out and them brush skin with sesame oil (3 tablespoon) and salt mixture (1 teaspoon). Let cool for a couple of hours then chop it up and serve. I also used the stock from boiling chicken as a base to my soup.

# – 4. Pak Cham Kai in cantonese.
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Dry bak kut teh. The BEST of the lot. Basically make stock with store-bought bakkutteh soup spice. Boil a head of garlic, pork belly, spare ribs and porn neck in the soup for 30-40 minutes. After that fry 10 pieces of dried chillies, soaked dried squid and chopped up bird’s eye chillies in oil till fragrant, make sure in a wok or a wide saucepan. Remove the meats and garlic from soup and add to the frying. Add a dash of dark soya sauce and a dash of oyster sauce. Then, ladle the BKT soup in and simmer for 30 minutes or until the soup thickens to a consistency of your liking. Chopped up ladies fingers and throw it in a minute before you turn off the flame. I think I will start making this pretty regularly…

# – 5. Dry BKT.
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Suan pan zhi or hakkan yam abacus. The last time I made this dish was back in 2008, when our kitchen was basically a little corner in the apartment with the floor as the work area. This year, making this dish was a lot easier as I am better equipped. The hand mixer was very useful, so I didn’t have to stick my hand into hot yam to knead it hehe. This time I added sliced tofu and slices of chillies too.

# – 6. Hakkan Yam Abacus.
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Easy pan-fried threadfin steaks, just finished with a dash of soya sauce.

# – 7. Pan-fried kurau/threadfin fish steaks.
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Soup base was stock from cooking the poached chicken. Added handful of boxthorn berries, handful of red dates, handful of peanuts, a few pieces of pork neck and chopped arrowhead tubers. Boiled for an hour, yummy yumyum.

# – 8. Arrowhead and peanut soup.
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Of course, glutinous rice balls is a must for Winter Solstice dinner. These are homemade with gula melaka and peanut butter fillings. Click here to learn how to make tong yuen my way. Broth was made by boiling gula melaka, few slices of ginger and a handful of red dates.

# – 9. Tong Yuens.
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Of course I made too much food. What’s new? Luckily my youngest brother and mom were willing to take the leftovers.

Posted in: Chicken, Dessert, Homemade Recipes, Pork, Seafood - Continue Reading

Apple pie

Woke up with really bad hair so had to wear a hairband :P

# – All straight.

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# – All out.

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# – All wide.

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Dress with paper boat motives bought in Chatuchak, red belt too. Shoes bought in Hanoi and bag from ri2k.

# – Paper boat.

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I wanted to blog about the wedding preparation but couldn’t find any picture of my rockstar bridesmaids DIY-ing. Arghhhhhh!

Think I might have lost those pictures forever. I am such an idiot :(

I spent too long looking for them pictures and it is bedtime soon so will have to abandon initial blogging topic.

For now you just have to contend with a picture of my homemade deep fried apple pies.

Apple filling was made from scratch but I used store bought puff pastries. Busy woman has got to learn how to cheat in the kitchen.

# – Homemade deep fried apple pies and premium vanilla ice cream (not homemade).

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Love my deep fryer!

Posted in: Dessert, Homemade Recipes, Random Musing - Continue Reading

Recipe for luxurious bread & butter pudding.

There are always opportunities to make bread & butter pudding in this household. Since it’s just the two of us, we almost always have more than half a loaf of near expiring bread in our kitchen.

Bread & butter pudding is easy to make and so delicious in spite of the minimal effort involved. I love it!

# – Luxurious bread & butter pudding.

I’ve posted a bread & butter pudding recipe before, but this is quite different. Like the title of this post, it’s a lot more luxurious and tastes rightly so ;)

The ingredients:

  • 300ml of milk
  • 1 vanilla pod (or 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence)
  • 40 grams of demerara sugar (or ordinary granulated sugar)
  • 8 slices of white bread
  • A handful of raisins
  • 50 grams of butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 150 ml of whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoon of apricot jam
  • A handful of sliced almonds
  • # – Throw in the sugar, vanilla seeds from as well its pod into a saucepan on medium heat. Pour the milk in.

    # – Stir until the mixture is almost boiling and the sugar has dissolved. Turn off the heat.

    # – Set the mixture aside to cool while you continue with other tasks.

    # – Cut the bread slices across into triangular shapes.

    # – Butter the bread. You can butter both front & back if you’re hardcore like that.

    # – Arrange the bread slices in a baking tin, like this.

    # – Then sprinkle a handful of raisins all over the bread slices.

    # – In the meantime, break the eggs into the whipping cream.

    # – Beat until combined.

    # – Then pour in the milk mixture prepared earlier into the egg mixture. Make sure the vanilla pod has been removed. Stir.

    # – Next, pour the mixture all over the bread. Set aside for 30 minutes to allow the bread to absorb all the milky, creamy goodness.

    # – Put the baking tin into a larger tin filled half way up with water and stick them into a preheated oven at 170 degrees celcius for 45 minutes or until set. You are essentially steaming and baking at the same time with this method.

    # – When done, brush apricot jam all over the crust to glaze.

    # – Then sprinkle a handful of almond slices all over the top.

    # – Stick it under the grill for 10 minutes to brown (top rack of oven, on grill mode).

    # – Luxurious bread & butter pudding, DONE!

    # – Serve with more whipping cream, ice cream or custard sauce.

    # – Yummy!

    Soft & creamy in the middle with a crispy, fruity crust. This recipe is enough for 4 but we hoovered everything up in a matter of minutes, just the two of us.

    What better way to make use of stale bread? Have fun baking!

    Posted in: Bread, Dessert, Homemade Recipes - Continue Reading