Thursday, April 30, 2009

Food Trip Singapore - Part 1

I had to unearth my photo archives for these pictures. I totally forgot that I wanted to share these pictures with you. These are some pictures taken from a food fair in Singapore. Isn't it just great that when we arrived in Singapore a few months back, there was a food fair! We actually did not know about this. We have to thank our friendly taxi driver for this valuable information :) (Of course this information is valuable to us food lovers... he he)

Of course no Singapore food fair is complete without the Bee Chieng Hang. This is Singapore's most popular food store! It is often featured in Singaporean movies. I love their meat floss and peppered beef jerky. Yum!

Takoyaki Balls, Singaporean style. I think this originated in Japan?? Taiwan also has their own version. These are made of eggs and various fillings. Very tasty!

Hubby, being a noodle fan, of course, cannot resist handmade noodles!

Madelines and other sweets and pies...

More pies, both sweet and savory... can you see the people waiting for their turn?

Why is it I cannot resist Sushi wherever I go?

Stay with me! More foodie pictures to come!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Chicken Ginseng Soup

For the Chinese, this is the ultimate comfort Chicken Soup - the one with Ginseng (Ren Shen).

The golden brown root you see in the above photo is ginseng. Ginseng in traditional Chinese medicine revitalizes the body energy, improves circulation, increases blood supply. If you ask the elderly people what other benefits ginseng has, they will be surprised why you have to ask such a question. It is good for you. It is the ultimate - the sovereign remedy to any illness anyone could ever have. Period.

Lately, Western researchers have started to study the nutritional benefits of ginseng and initial findings show that ginseng has anti-cancer and anti-oxidant properties.

Ginseng is usually available in dried form, this should be available in Chinese or Asian stores. We usually steam ginseng sweetened with white fungus, or bird's nest. And it can also be added to chicken soup that will make this truly a comfort and energizing food for every member of the family.

This is a very easy to prepare soup. Just add all the ingredients to boiling water, simmer for an hour and you have a nourishing, energizing soup.

1 K chicken, chopped (preferably organic, or native)
4 pcs dried ginseng root
1 stalk leeks, washed, chopped
a knob of ginger, sliced
1 clove garlic
3 T Chinese wolfberry (Guo Qi Chi), optional

salt and pepper to taste

Sharing this nutritious soup featuring ginseng to the Weekend Herb Blogging community, headed by Haalo of Cook Almost Anything At Least Once. This edition is hosted by Marija of Palachinka. Check out her blog on Monday for the round-up!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Veggie Juice : Juicing for Your Health

Am I hearing "Yuck! Yuck!" from you??? :D Please take time to read. I hope you might change your mind just like I did. :D

I have heard of juicing many times before. But I never paid attention to it because I could not imagine what raw veggie would taste in liquid form. I would eat them cooked, but juiced raw?? I thought that would be yucky! In Filipino, "Kadiri!"

My interest was piqued when the children's Ninong (godfather) DL was raving about the health benefits of juicing. Why? This good friend of Hubby was a certified junkfood addict (chips, processed canned meats, soda, etc) And if he liked the raw veggie juice, then it would not be all that bad!

In the same week, our good friend and co-worker at Couples@Work Fellowship, J, (the same J who gave us strawberries last December) shared with me that they have also started juicing because of its healthy benefits. She was the one who taught me the ABCs of juicing. And it is so easy!!!

This is the simplest to remember: Take a look at the picture above, top row, left to right, then bottom row left to right.

1 A -- Apple
2 B -- Bell Pepper and Bittermelon
3 C -- Cucumber, Celery, Carrot

Wash them well, chop them and throw all of them (yes, while they are still raw) into the juicer. Drink fresh, at room temperature. Preferably at breakfast.

I admit the taste is something you have to get used to. But really, it is not bad. If you do not like the taste of bittermelon, you can add one more apple to sweeten your juice. (Shhh... sometimes I do not add the bittermelon at all...)

Actually juicing is also very versatile. You can juice any vegetable you prefer. You can start with just celery and cucumber. Then you add more veggies as you go along. You can add lettuce and spinach. Later on you can even add bok choy and cabbages. The key is that you try to juice different vegetables each day so that you can maximize the different vitamins and minerals that different veggies offer. Instead of apples to sweeten the taste, you can try coconut or grapes. Experiment on different combinations and find the taste that you like.

Why juice instead of eating them cooked? Health proponents say that cooking and processing our veggies alters their nutritional benefits. It is better to eat the veggies raw in order to get the full value of nutrients the veggies offer. And if we get the full benefits, it would greatly help our immune system. Another thing is that our digestive system is already impaired because of our poor food choices over the years. And juicing would help us absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables.

Oh, and one more tip, clean your juicer immediately after juicing. I add a small plastic bag inside the tray that catches the pulp. So when I am finished juicing, I simply throw away the plastic bag (containing the pulp.) As for the blades, I use a toothbrush and run it under the tap. I also rinse the other washable parts under running water. No need for soap.

I feel good when I drink this veggie juice. I know I am doing something good for my health. I do not feel constipated. I feel more energetic. Many health sites claim that we can lose weight if we try vegetable juice regularly. Well, I am looking forward to losing some weight. :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Easy Beer Bread

I found this intriguing bread recipe from Maggie's Doghill Kitchen. She in turn got it from the Zesty Cook. Maggie gave good reviews to this bread, so I knew I just have to try this. And guess what? When I was viewing YouTube, looking for videos on the proper techniques on how to knead bread, I found this video that shows us how to make Beer Bread!

This bread is really super easy to do. No yeast needed. That means no more waiting for the dough to rise. The beer gave the bread its distinctive aroma. And the melted butter poured on top before baking gave the bread a nice crunchy texture. This bread is so delicious, I already made this several times. Once, I served this with soup. Another time, I simply slathered on some cream cheese and it made a tasty snack.

mixed dough placed in the loaf pan

1 and 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 and 1/2 C whole wheat flour
4 and 1/2 t baking powder
1/3 C brown sugar (I used muscovado sugar)
1/2 C butter, melted
1 can (12 oz) beer

1. Preheat oven to 375 F.

2. Mix all the dry ingredients together. Add beer until dough is thoroughly mixed.

3. Place dough in a lightly greased loaf pan. Drizzle melted butter on top.

this may look so sinful and artery clogging
but when baked, it dries up into the crust
that gave the bread its crunchy texture

4. Bake until golden brown (approximately 50 to 60 minutes) Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes before removing from pan. Cool completely. Resist from temptation to taste :)

The first time I made this bread, I used dark ale. I thought I wanted the taste and flavor of strong beer. I found that though it was yummy, there was a slight bitter aftertaste. So, the next time I experimented and used light beer. The flavor of beer is less and there was still that ever-so-slight bitter aftertaste. I wonder why. However, inspite of that aftertaste, this bread really tastes good and the recipe is definitely a keeper.

Sharing this bread with the Bookmarked Recipes community, created by Ruth of Ruth's Kitchen Experiments.

Also sharing this bread with the BYOB Bake Your Own Bread community, headed by Sandy of the Baker's Bench.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Stir Fried Bok Choy (Pechay) with Pork and Tomatoes

Bok Choy or Pechay is one of the first vegetables my kids learned to love. This is not surprising actually because it tastes mild and sweet and its texture is crunchy. Another factor to love about this vegetable is the price! It is one of the cheaper vegetable available around here. We all know that we have to be more budget-conscious nowadays. And bok choy simply fits the bill! Nutrition wise, it is high in calcium, potassium and even in vitamin C! There is nothing that you will not like about the ever-versatile BokChoy!

This is also a very easy vegetable to prepare. You can put it in soups, or make stir fries such as this recipe. Cooking time is short, so this is also a perfect veggie for quick-cooking meals.

300 gms Bok Choy, cleaned, cut into 1 inch pieces

100 gms ground pork, marinated in
1 T soy sauce
1 T cornstarch

4 T cooking oil, preferably canola
4 T minced garlic
2 pcs tomatoes, washed, seeded, chopped
1 T fish sauce (or substitute soy sauce)
freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Marinate pork for about 15 minutes. You can do this before washing the veggies and preparing the ingredients. By the time you're finished washing and cutting up your veggies, you are ready to cook.

2. Heat up the oil in a wok or a cooking pan. Add in the garlic, and saute until fragrant. Add in the tomatoes and allow the tomatoes to wilt a little, around 2 minutes. Then, add in the marinated ground pork. Saute until the meat changes color and add in the fish sauce. Simmer and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes until meat is cooked through.

3. Add in the bok choy, starting with the stem cuts. Stir for a while so that all the bok choy will thoroughly absorb the flavors. Cook for around 1 minute, as we prefer our vegetable still crunchy. Cook longer if you prefer wilted. Add a dash of freshly ground pepper before dishing up.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


view from down under

I bought some sweet potatoes some weeks back, planning to bake some healthy sweet potato fries. I packed them away in the pantry and promptly forgot about them.

Today, I found that my sweet potatoes has sprouted! Normally, I would throw them away. But this time, I took a photo first, for Jugalbandi's Click April, the theme is Spring or Autumn. I am not really a good photographer, but these budding leaves who thrived inspite of being kept in a dark place with no soil, no water, no sunlight - truly gives an inspiration for life!

Then, after I post this, I am going to plant these babies in a pot. Maybe I will not grow new sweet potatoes (I am not sure if these root crops will thrive in a pot) but I will have the leaves that will add beautiful colors to my humble abode. :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

MultiGrain Loaf

I have been baking all our breads now. A year ago, I would never have thought that I have the patience to do bread. But I am enjoying it! This is really a surprise since I am oftentimes an impatient person. But I have since discovered that baking bread is so easy... and bread recipes are forgiving as well. You can add a little flour here, a little water there, and your bread will still come out nicely.

Perhaps a lot of people do not want to bake bread because commercial bread is easily available and cheap. But as I have discovered, our own homemade bread is healthier. You can choose which flour to use. You control the ingredients so there are no chemical flavor enhancers nor preservatives. And most of all, homemade bread is delicious! And while you are baking, the scent of bread baking in the oven wafts around the kitchen and dining area... hmmmm...

This is how I knead our bread, which I have learned from watching YouTube! Isn't the information age great? I do not have to leave my house in order to learn how to make bread! And you can do it, too! BTW, those chubby hands are mine and the pictures taken by my daughter :)

Hold the dough with your left hand, and gently pull with your right hand.

Fold the dough back and give it a quarter turn and then hold and pull again.
Do this for around 10 minutes until dough is elastic and smooth.

Ooops, here's the recipe...

4 and 1/2 C whole grain flour (I bought mine at Santi's)
1 T caster sugar
1 t salt
2 and 1/2 t instant dried yeast
2 T canola oil
1 1nd 1/4 C warm water

1. Mix flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Add the oil, and gradually mix in enough warm water to make a soft dough.

2. Knead well on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Please see my photographs above or if my instructions are not clear, click on the YouTube.

3. Put into a greased loaf tin. See picture below.

4. Cover loosely with oiled clingfilm and leave in a warm place to rise for an hour or until the dough reaches just above the top of the tin. Below is the picture of my nicely risen dough.

5. Remove the clingfilm and bake in a preheated oven 200 C or 400 F, for 30 minutes or until bread is browned and sounds hollow when tapped with fingertips. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Sharing this multi-grain goodness with the BYOB - Bake Your Own Bread community, headed by Sandy over at the Baker's Bench.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Thai Tom Yum (Prawn) Soup

I think this is the more authentic Tom Yum Soup I have ever made. And this soup is really, really, as in, REALLY spicy! I used the Tom Yum paste that I bought in Thailand the last time we went there. (You can read about our Thailand foodie adventure here.) And I confess my little family cannot take the intensity of the heat. But then, we are not Thais of course. We prefer the local Pinoy version of the Tom Yum I made here. :) But for those who can take the heat, the real Tom Yum paste would satisfy your tongue. :)

400 gms prawns, cleaned
1 pack (single serving size) Tom Yum paste
5 slices fresh ginger
5 T minced garlic
2 stalks of lemongrass (the white part only), cut into 2", pounded with back of the cleaver
8 C water
1/2 C straw mushrooms, sliced (can substitute with button mushrooms)
1 bunch coriander leaves (wansuy), cleaned very well
fish sauce and/or salt to taste

1. In a wok or a deep pan, saute the ginger slices in a little oil until slightly brown. Saute the garlic until fragrant but not burnt.

2. Add in the prawns and stir fry for a minute or two. Add in the tom yum paste, button mushrooms and lemon grass. Add in the water for soup. (Actually, the instructions on the tom yum package says to add only 4 C of water. But after cooking, we found it too spicy for our taste, so we kept on adding more water and more fish sauce... yes, double the amount of water needed!)

3. Let boil and simmer until the prawns are pink and cooked. Do not overcook the prawns. Add the coriander leaves before serving.

This is actually a very easy dish to prepare. You will feel like a you're in a science laboratory simply adding this and that ingredient to the pot and waiting for the concoction to boil :) Next time, I will only use half a pack to lessen the heat. :)

The lemongrass are harvested from the pots of my balcony garden. I should have coriander as well, but my coriander plant recently dried up because of the intense summer heat!!! So I have to purchase coriander leaves... something I have not done in a long, long time.

Sharing this hot soup with the Grow Your Own community, headed by Andrea of Andrea's Recipes. This month's edition is hosted by Nate and Annie over at the House of Annie. Check out the round-up at the end of the month.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Kimchi Fried Rice

When you are really, really pressed for time. But you still want to have a delicious, flavorful, and healthy meal, try this Korean fried rice.

Kimchi is a traditional Korean pickled vegetable dish. I don't know how true it is, but it is said that this side dish is required in all Korean meals; and that all Korean women are required to learn how to make their own kimchi, or else no man will marry them! :) Anyone who can verify this?

Health magazine has named Kimchi as one of the top five of the world's healthiest food. It is rich in dietary fiber, and vitamins and is low in calories.

For now, I buy my kimchi in small convenient packs. (See the photo below.) I don't know how to make kimchi yet. But I promise myself that I am going to learn how to make kimchi one of these days. I cannot pass up the opportunity to learn a healthy and delicious side-dish :) It should not be too difficult :)

4 C cooked jasmine rice
1 pack (120gms) kimchi
200 gms cooked ham, cubed
4 T garlic, minced (optional)
4 eggs
spring onions, chopped

1. Chop the drained kimchi into little pieces. Reserve the liquid.

2. Saute garlic in a little oil. This is optional. If you are not using garlic, simply skip this step.

3. Add in the chopped ham (or substitute cooked cubed chicken). After a minute, add in the kimchi and the kimchi liquid. Stir for a while until hot, then add in the rice.

4. Mix everything up, so that the rice can absorb the flavor of the meat and the kimchi. Cook while stirring until the rice is hot. This should take around 2 to 3 minutes only. Test for taste. Add a little salt if too bland. But for me the kimchi is already flavorful enough.

5. Cook some sunny side-up eggs. Arrange the cooked rice on a plate. Top with the sunny-side up egg and chopped spring onions. Serve immediately.

A tasty and nutritious meal in a short time - provided you already have cooked rice, of course. :)

Sharing this dish with Wine and Dine featuring Korea dishes over at Joelen's Culinary Adventures.
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