Winter Melon & Minced Pork Soup

The weather has been blazing hot recently! This is a very quick and easy boiled soup using winter melon, which supposedly has cooling and detoxification properties. For my family of 2, just soup with rice is sufficient for a wholesome dinner.

Ingredients

  • 1 slice of winter melon (usually sold in disc slices at supermarkets)

  • 200g minced pork

  • 8 - 10 prawns (optional)

  • 1 - 2 eggs, lightly beatened (amount of eggs depends on preference)

  • 1/2 piece of dried seaweed (usually sold in packs of 2 pieces)

  • 1 cube of anchovy or chicken stock (can also make your own soup stock)
Steps

  1. De-shell the prawns and mince. Mix with minced pork and marinate with some light soy sauce, Hua Tiao cooking wine and white pepper, for at least 15 mins. Just before use, shape into balls.

  2. Cut the winter melon into strips.

  3. Boil 2/3 pot of water and add the stock cube.

  4. Once water is boiled, add the winter melon.

  5. When winter melon is softened, add the minced pork and prawn balls into the soup.

  6. Bring to boil on medium high heat till the meat is cooked, then lower heat and cook for another 15 to 30 mins (if you prefer the winter melon to be really soft - no need to bite at all, cook for longer period).

  7. Turn heat to high and add the egg, giving it a quick stir in the soup.

  8. Break the seaweed into smaller pieces and add just before serving the soup.

Chiffon Cake 2 Workshop

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This is such an outdated post coz I was lazy busy :p Attended Chef Christopher Tan's Chiffon Cake 2 demo workshop at Shermay's Cooking School two Saturdays ago. Checking back on my past entries, I realised it's been almost 3 years since I last attended his Chiffon Cake 1 workshop! The Zingy Orange Chiffon Cake is still a hot favourite among friends who have tried it. Personally I also prefer cakes that are light and moist like sponge and chiffon (except for financiers).

This Chiffon Cake 2 was in fact a repeat class; had missed it previously and glad that there is a repeat. 3 recipes were demo-ed with 3 bonus recipes included in the recipe pack.

1) Tahitian Vanilla Chiffon Butter Cake - marriage of chiffon cake and butter cake, rich yet not too heavy with floral aroma of Tahitian Vanilla.

2) Black Forest Chiffon Cake Roll with Kirsch-Soaked Cherries - Featherlight chocolate chiffon with whipped cream, black cherries and tangy cherry-kirsch syrup.

3) Earl Grey Tea Chiffon Cupcakes with White Grapefruit Ganache - Chiffon infused with Earl Grey tea leaves, baked into individual tall mini cupcakes. Topped with a white chocolate ganache flavoured with fresh grapefruit zest.

The first recipe demo-ed was the Black Forest Chiffon Cake Roll with Kirsch-Soaked Cherries. I always have this phobia of baking swiss rolls as the rolling part is quite tough to me and it's not easy to get the fluffy texture desired. Chef Chris also taught us how to make our own Kirsch-Soaked Cherries which was surprisingly easy. We got to taste the cake roll which was yummy! The cake was light and slightly moist and paired really well with the whipped cream and cherries. Some gelatine was added to the whipped cream giving it an almost ice cream-like texture.
This is a hybrid of butter pound cake and chiffon cake, giving it a rich, buttery flavour with slightly lighter texture. I don't really like butter pound cake as pound cakes tend to be drier and heavier; so this is Chef Chris's solution to a pound cake that is lighter by combining techiques of chiffon.
I love how this Earl Grey Chiffon was presented, in a mini cupcake case which was so easy to eat. Texture was really cottony light and I could polish a few of these at one go. The White Grapefruit Ganache was a nice touch to complement the chiffon. Yums!


Besides tasting the Black Forest Chiffon Cake Roll in class, as usual we brought home a special takeaway box of the items demo-ed prepared by Chef Chris.

I can't wait to try some of the recipes (if I have the time!).

Grilled Mayonnaise Black Pepper Wings

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Of all chicken parts, my favourite has got to be chicken wings! Besides cooking chicken wings in tomato, or soy sauce, I'm constantly looking for more new and interesting recipes.

This recipe is refered from My Kitchen Snippets. Was quite excited when I found this recipe as I love mayonnaise and reckon that the combination of mayonnaise and black pepper would be interesting.

Grilled Mayonnaise Black Pepper Wings


Ingredients:
  • 8 - 10 pcs chicken wings (I bought drumlet and wing separately i.e. 16 - 20 pcs of drumlets and wings)
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 4 cm fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sweet soy sauce/kicap manis
  • 2 ½ tbsp of mayonnaise
  • salt to taste
Method:
  1. Clean and wash chicken wings and pat it dry.
  2. Put the rest of the ingredients into a blender and blend into a paste.
  3. Marinate the wings with the paste for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degree celsius. Line a sheet pan with some aluminum foil. Drizzle it with some olive oil. Spread wings over the base.
  5. Roast for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Turn the wings half way through the baking. Serve warm or at room temperature.

To my disappointment, the chicken wings turned out not the way I expected. Didn't really taste the mayo or black pepper, garlic taste a tad strong. Probably I added too much garlic? In addition, the wings were not as crispy as I hope them to be. Probably instead of placing them directly on aluminium foil, I should have place them directly on grill and use a tray to catch the dripping sauce and chicken oil/juice.
 
Oh well, probably I will tweak the recipe to better suit my prefernece next time. Nevertheless, a good attempt and I still polished all my favourite chicken wings!

Emperor Herbal Chicken

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For the duration of my maternity leave, I cooked most meals as it's easier to dine in than bring baby out. And now that I'm a SAHM, all the more I could indulge in cooking as a form of destress. As much as I would like to attempt elaborate recipes, I would go for simple and easy recipes due to time constraint.

This is one quick and easy recipe taken with reference from 'Little Corner of Mine'.

The usual way of cooking with emperor herbs chicken spices is to rub the herbs and spices all over the chicken, wrap the chicken in the plastic sheet and aluminium foil provided and steam for at least 1hr. Hubby doesn't really like this method of preparation as the taste of the spices is too overwhelming.
With this recipe, this becomes more like a soupy herbal chicken. Addition of woodear fungus gives a chewy crunchy bite which we like. And the soup base goes very well with rice.

Emperor Herbal Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet Emperor herbal chicken spices (I use Seah's)

  • 6-8 chicken drumsticks, chop into 2 or 3 pieces each

  • Generous handful of wolfberries (quantity according to preference)

  • 1-2 cup of wood ear fungus (quantity according to preference)

  • Few thin slices of ginger
Method:

  1. Add a little oil in a deep pot.

  2. When oil is hot, add ginger slices and fry until fragrant.

  3. Add cut chicken pieces and fry until slightly brown.

  4. Add water until almost cover all the chicken.

  5. Add Emperor herbal chicken spices, wood ear fungus and wolfberries, stir to mix well.

  6. Bring to boil and then simmer in low heat for 1 to 1.5 hours or until chicken is softened.
This has become a staple recipe in my family, really easy and tasty. Give it a try!

Wolfberries and Char Siew Chicken

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Recently I watched Channel 8's cooking variety show 3 Plus 1 Series 2 三菜一汤 and came across a very interesting recipe, Wolfberries and Char Siew Chicken. I happen to have a bottle of Char Siew Sauce idling in my fridge (I think a free gift from some grocery purchase) and the steps look really simple although specific measurements wasn't given in the programme, so I decided to give it a go using my own estimation.

Wolfberries and Char Siew Chicken

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 2 deboned chicken thighs (I bought ready deboned slabs from supermarket)

  • 2 handfuls of wolfberries (quantity can be more or less according to personal preference)

  • 2.5 Tbsp Char Siew Sauce (quantity can be more or less according to personal preference)
Steps

  1. Pre-soak the wolfberries in water till soft. Save some wolfberries for dish decoration and pound the rest into mash (no need to be too mashy).

  2. Marinate the chicken thighs with Char Siew Sauce and mashed wolfberries. I use a disposable plastic glove to rub the marinate thoroughly onto the chicken as the sauce can get quite sticky and messy. Leave to marinate for at least 15 mins.

  3. Heat non-stick pan (no need to add oil) with medium low fire.

  4. Place the marinated chicken thigh skin side down on to the pan.

  5. Cover the pan with a cover (I use the non air vent type of glass cover from another pot).

  6. Check the meat constantly and flip over once the meat is cooked and you can see the skin is golden brown with some charred portions. Same for the other side of the meat.

  7. Once both sides are cooked, cut into about 2cm slices, decorate with wolfberries and parsley and ready to serve.
It's important to control the heat (medium low) as the skin/meat tends to char quite easily due to the caramelised char siew sauce, yet the meat may not be cooked thoroughly as thigh meat is quite thick-cut.

Look at the beautiful cut of the thigh meat :d~~~
Initially I thought the marinate would be cloyingly sweet like char siew pork but surprisingly, it's not that kind of sweetness; rather natural sweetness from the wolfberries. The chicken meat is tender and juicy (important not to overcook otherwise meat will be too dry and without juice) with just the right sweetness and saltiness that suits our palate. Yummy!

Perfect with a bowl of rice! Since wolfberry boasts of many health benefits and the dish is easy to cook, this recipe is definitely a keeper for my household :)

Tunglok Signatures, Vivocity

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This is a belated post for a belated Mother's Day Celebration with my mum and mum-in-law. With our love for dim sum, we almost always ended up having dim sum when we dine out.

Our usual dim sum place was Kam Boat at Shaw Centre (will blog about Kam Boat another time) but this time, we decided on Tunglok Signatures at Vivocity. My friends had treated me to dim sum there before and I was impressed with the variety and quality.
I think this is pickled radish, kind of an appetiser, served at every table. I quite like the spicy and sour taste along with the crunch.

Steamed Pork Dumplings or Siew Mai, our must-order item whenever we have dim sum, also a litmus test on the overall quality of dim sum in a particular eatery. The Siew Mai here is quite tasty, with good proportion of pork to prawn to mushroom, and a nice touch of roe.

Steamed Shrimp Dumplings or Har Kow, another must-order item. The translucent skin is just the right thickness but somehow breaks easily with we pick up the Har Kow. Nevertheless, the prawn meat is juicy and crunchy.
Steamed Dumplings with Shrimps and Vegetables. I always lament the lack of vegetables in dim sum, so this is a welcoming dish with at least a wee bit of vegetable. The skin is chewy and innards juicy and crunchy.

Steamed Cheong Fun with Shrimps, another must-order item. Somehow the Cheong Fun is not as smooth as we like. Tasted better ones before.

Crispy Roasted Pork Belly. I must rave about this roasted pork belly. I confess that I LOVE pork belly and this is one good roasted pork belly with the right proportion of skin, meat and fats. The skin is roasted to a perfect crisp and combined with meat and fat, a perfect bite! 
The pork belly is served with some mustard sauce, which surprisely complemented the meat quite well. Usually I don't take mustard as the taste is overwhelming but this is quite reasonable.
Pan-fried Turnip Cake with Taro Shreds. This is interesting, combining turnip and taro, usually it's either or. The taste is not bad, with the crisp taro topping and soft turnip cake.
But not the best pan-fried turnip I have tried. Still prefer the usual method of preparation. Somehow the crispy taro topping stuck to the teeth when I was biting it.
Pan-fried Custard Bun. Oh oh oh! I must RAVE about this custard bun. I absolutely LOVE it! It may look ordinary but the moment I took a bite, the warm custard burst into the mouth and best of all the custard is mixed with salted egg yolk, giving it a sweet and salty umami flavour.

See? The custard flowed just like lava... this bun is best eaten warm to fully enjoy the richness of the filling.
Baked BBQ Pork Buns or Polo Bao. Quite reasonable done, bun is soft with crispy sweet topping. The char siew filling is also nicely done. Not the best I have eaten but good enough.
Deep-fried Seafood Salad Spring Roll. Quite disapointed with the appearance as it looks just like an ordinary spring roll. The filling is also so-so only, not much taste or seafood nor salad cream. I would expect the salad cream to ooze out as I bite into the roll but not really...
Deep-fried Wasabi Shrimp and Mango Rice Roll. Similarly, a bit disapointed with this one. There's no taste of wasabi at all and amount of mango mediocre. Thought that rice roll is something special but this is quite ordinary like spring roll.
Deep-fried Beancurd Spring Roll with Shrimp. Ah, finally one decent deep fried item. I must say this is very nicely done. Beancurd skin is crispy and prawn filling juicy and crunchy. Usually deep-fried beancurd skin is a bit hard to chew, but this is surprisingly not.
Steamed Layered Sponge Cake. Ordered this to see the difference between this and the one sold at Din Tai Fung. This is slightly sweeter with custard filling and the sponge softer as well. Hubby still prefered DTF's version whereas my mum likes this.
Since there isn't enough vegetable for a balance meal, I would always order an additional serving of vegetable. This Poached Kailan is cooked just right, crunchy, not too hard with a light complementing sauce.

Overall, it's a nice experience dining at Tunglok Signatures. Service is quite good despite a full house. Tea and water is constantly topped up without reminder. Ambience is good as well with all-white furnishing and view overlooking Sentosa. Not sure if I would be back or try other dim sum places. But if I were to return, it would be for the Pan-fried Custard Bun.