Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Hainanese Chicken Chop & Fig Salad Dinner

I had it all planned out last night on what to have for breakfast this morning.  It will be Malaysian breakfast to celebrate this special day and I thought, why not do something simple ala Kopitiam - a cup of Milo, half boil egg and a simple bun with margerine and kaya except that I am planning to replace the kaya bit with peanut butter since I don´t have kaya. Simple enough.  With the last 2 eggs I have left in our fridge, how hard can half boil egg be. Wrong.  With an egg boiler machine, anything can go wrong. I was clearly dissappointed when I crack the egg open to find them actually almost fully cooked?!

Bah ...

Come lunch time, I decided to pig out in a local chinese restaurant with a 6.50 Euro per person buffet. I figured, I shall do something Malaysian tonight instead and enjoy them with hubby. Lunch was good, and am thoroughly happy with it.

So what´s for dinner you may ask?  Tadaaa .... (drum roll ...)

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Haha .. something unMalaysian for appetiser! I could not resist picking up some fresh figs when I spotted them in the market today so I just gotta have them! I paired them with crispy bacon pieces amongst some baby salad leaves.  Dressing was simple yoghurt sauce and my favourite Balsamic Vinegar AND added in some crunch in form of sunflower seeds too.  It was really good.

Then comes the main course ... and TADAAA ...

Something Malaysian! Phewww ...

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Yeah, this is my version of Hainanese Chicken Chop which hubby gave thumbs up coz I fried the chicken thigh till crispy and the chicken was really, really fresh.  The sauce was simple ketchup, some thai sweet sour sauce and all the vegetables you see here added in. Not so difficult to make but of course, it is my version for lazy people like me.

So, how was your Merdeka so far?

Monday, 30 August 2010

Simple Chinese on Merdeka Eve

That´s hubby saying hello to all of you :-)

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I would be gorging down some lovely Nasi Lemak, Mamak Food or some Chinese Hawker Fare take out (tapau) from nearest coffee shop if I am in Malaysia today.  It is after all the eve of Malaysia´s Independence Day which the locals call Merdeka Day.  But I am here. There´s nothing I can do but make the best out of it.  We will be leaving for our long, awaited holiday soon so I´m trying to clear off as much perishables from our fridge and pantry as possible.  We had a simple chinese dinner tonight, just like how I use to have them when young.

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Fortunately, Germany is a pork country and there´s lots of luncheon meat variety being sold.  The meat quality here is great so I had quite a few pieces.  My mum would without fail cook at least a vegetable dish during dinner by simply stir frying them with garlic pieces and seasoning them with some salt. Our vegetables were cooked the same way as mum tonight.  An egg dish is pretty common too, so does a soup or fish dish but I´m all for egg dish today coz we´ve quite a few eggs left.  I fried them simple with some tomatoes just like how the Hongkies does it.  The fresh, sweetish tomatoes does wonders to this simple egg dish.

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Our drink tonight was rather interesting too. I would love to have Ribena like how I use too back in those days but since its not available, I did the best next thing by mixing local red grape juice with sparkling water.

So, this was our special dinner on this special day. How about you?  What did you had for dinner?

Happy Merdeka to all of you out there and have a nice restday :-)

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Made in Geneva Red Wine, White Asparagus and German Style Bangers & Mash

I had a very, very yummy tomyum noodle (the instant kind!) with huge prawns for lunch today so come dinner time, it was back to German food.

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Some of you may have heard that it had been raining here for the past week while it poured consecutively for almost 12 hours three days ago nonstop. It was so bad that part of our town was flooded and both end of the road leading to our street was blocked off from any exit and entrance coz water level reached more than a meter high!  Thankfully, our street is located on highland and we were save from the disaster.  But the thought of having to stay in, checking our cellar from time to time and making sure there´s enough food in our pantry and all was quite an experience.  Now that the water had subsided, but STILL raining ... we are wondering if our Balloon Ride which falls tomorrow will go on, or not. 

Oh well .. we will see.

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And I thought I have left all the flood water disaster behind me when I left Malaysia two years ago.  How wrong was I.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Chicken Tikka Masala & Naan Bread Dinner

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Our dinner tonight was utterly delicious albeit tad too salty than my usual liking.  AND a lot of hardwork goes into the preparation too followed by intensive cleaning for the aftermath.  The naan bread took me about 2 hours to make, with an hour followed by another half hour more for the dough to rise.  The Chicken Tikka needs an hour in the fridge for the marinade to work too, followed by grilling the chicken pieces in the oven rack which resulted in me having to CLEAN my oven thoroughly one more time (just cleaned them the day before), and then preparing the Tikka sauce to submerge the grilled chicken pieces into in the end. 

Phewww ... don´t you feel tired listening to the description?  As I am typing this, I can feel the dryness of my fingers after all the rounds of cleaning up. No more Chicken Tikka Masala and Naan Bread for quite a while.  Though yummy, it really is too much work!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Kohlrabi Appetiser and Roast Chicken Pasta

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Our dinner last night was Kohlrabi, Brocolli and Iceberg Salad for Appetiser. Frau Pepping, my MIL´s weekly cleaner recently harvested them from her garden but mind you, it is not ordinary Kohlrabi but an XXL one measuring 20cm across! As you can see here, both our portions utilises only 2/5 of the whole Kohlrabi and both me and hubby had a good laugh over what fertiliser she, or her hubby (the one mending the garden) uses?! :-) And yeah, she surprised us with her 30cm tall bush of Parsley too, and normal size tomatoes which hubby calls it Frau Pepping´s Cocktail Tomatoes? Haha.  Jokes aside, they tasted just as any normal size ones you get from store if not better. So yeah .. our appetiser last night.

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I had roast chicken for lunch yesterday and with the balance, I turned them into Roast Chicken Pasta for last night´s dinner.  I cooked them lightly with fresh mushrooms and leeks.  Seasoning was kept to minimum with nothing more than olive oil and italian herb seasoning. I though this was great.

Pea Soup and Sausage

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Last night´s late, late dinner after our grocery shopping.  While hubby unload the goods, I cooked a batch of peas quickly in a pot, add vegetable stock in, let it boil and later puree them with our new Philips Cordless Hand Mixer! I was a bit apprehensive at first with the new toy but wasted no time getting use to it after like ... few seconds.  Easy to use and easy to clean (brownie point!) so, yeah .. I´m really please with it :-) We enjoyed our simple dinner with a glass of French Apple Cider.

Douwe Egberts, Lavazza and now Segafredo, Movenpick Coffee Pads

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We went a bit shopping crazy yesterday evening in the biggest Edeka market I´ve ever come across not far from hubby´s old work area.  Imagine a cooling isle of about 3 metres dedicated to margerine only or 5 metre long of prepacked cheeses choices in addition to gourmet cheese selection which you buy by weight.  I went in with a shopping list with not more than a handful of items written on BUT guess what. We came back with 3 bags full of grocery which we already have in stock.

Food temptation .. :-)

One of the item we went overboard with was our Coffee Pad refills.  Though we are happy with our Douwe Egberts, and loving our Lavazza Mild, we could not resist picking up a bag of Segafredo and Movenpick each.  I have a feeling Segafredo´s gonna blow my mind, don´t know why ... haha but anyway, I will report back as soon as I finish trying them all :-)

What´s your favourite coffee brand?

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Summer Blooms in Our Garden

Summer only appeared around May this year, and now even in mid August, it is already feeling a bit chilly at times. Sign of summer ending soon?  I am not sure but I do hope to enjoy them as much as I can before the winter chill sets it.  Some photos I captured a few weeks ago when it was still bright and lovely here.

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MIL´s new buddha, sitting in one corner of the garden.  MIL was so cute ... she asked me if I mind her placing a buddha in the garden and I was like ... of course not.  The statue will only be of significant if one believes in the spiritual aspect of it.  Complicated to explain but yeah ..

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Some Hortensia´s and Asters and few summer blooms which I am too lazy to go find out what its called .. haha ... enjoy the pics will do okay?

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Pork Ragout Chunks Ala Italia

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Our dinner last night was lipsmacking good. Imagine a pot of pork chunks being simmered for hours with lots of leeks, onions, garlic and italian spices :-)  I made a simple butter and raisin rice to go along with the meal.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Spanish Inspired Dinner

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Last night dinner which cost quite a bit when you order them in restaurnts ... Shaved Galia Melon with Blackforest Ham in Balsamic Drizzle.  I´ll say, make them at home!  Galia Melon was too ripe, too sweet, in many cases, the best of the best but paired down and sliced this way, it could not hold on its own and was too watery.  Tasty combination anyway.

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Many of you do remember that hubby does not eat fish or seafood.  But I made these last night.  Perhaps my brownie point is gone after this meal, but he seems to be acceptable to it.  I think I made the right decision to mask the fishy taste a bit more by introducing a strong saffron base sauce.

Provence Style Stuffed Vegetables

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Something was baking in the oven for dinner yesterday!  Easy peasy stuff, no need so much cooking action but instead, just plopping them into the oven :-)

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I learned this dish from my cousin whom lives in South France last month. Delicious way to eat vegetables I tell ya :-) We had paprika/capsicum/pepper, mushrooms, zucchini and tomatoes stuffed with minced pork meat. The potatoes were not filled.

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Season them with lots of salt, pepper, a good dash of olive oil and LOTS of fresh herbs ...

and VOILA!

Dinner´s readyyyyy :-)

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Federweisser & Zweibelkuchen Dinner

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Every year before the Italian winemakes bottle up their grape juices for wine making, they would sent some over to Germany to be bottled into Federweisser. This combination of Federweisser (Fresh Wine) and Zweibelkuchen (Onion Cake) is very popular around the region of South West Germany (Pfalz area) and East of France (Alsace) but thankfully, we get to enjoy Federweisser all over Germany as most supermarket chains stocks them around this period.

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One can buy Zweibelkuchen from the store, but I prefer making them from scratch. We tried the bread style ones from the recipe listed behind the Federweisser´s bottle last year (click here for the post) but after trying the thin crust version from Weichnachmart (Christmas Market) last year during Christmas, I decided to abort the thick version and go crusty instead :-)

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We both loved this version :-)

Ina Garten´s Pissaladiere dough crust recipe as mention in her book states that it is for two but check this out!  It was soooo huge ... I think it can easily feed four!

I will skip any appetiser next year ...

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Al-fresco Mexican Dinner at Home

After weeks of gloomy, autumn-like weather, Mr. Sunny decided to resurfaced again yesterday.  It was a gorgeous day yesterday around 26C with little wind.  Not too hot, not too humid but perfect so we decided to go al-fresco dining on our balcony.

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It was my first time making something Mexican and I did not have any recipe on hand. But I do know that their famous Tacos came with a few component.  It has the essential tortilla wrappers (bread), guacamole spread (which I added smashed garlic, chopped onion and lots of lime juice into the avocado base mash), tomato/cucumber salsa and some side shredded cabbage to balance off the whole wrap meal. 

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While I did the cooking, hubby helped set the table outside with candle light, table clothe and all :-) He even prepared me a `Mexican`inspired cocktail drink using a replacement of Vodka instead of Tequila.

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I thought it was a not bad Tacos meal except to be more careful with the spices in the future, coz I accidently sprinkled cinnamon on the chicken meat instead of paprika.  Also, I should go easy on the lime juice :-)

Friday, 20 August 2010

Hortensia, White Lilies & Wickel ...

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Our New Kitchen Toy ... Each

We bought some new stuff while waiting for our new glossy white kitchen door to arrive :-) Hubby finally got himself a Brabantia Bread Bin from Amazon.de  I know how expensive can Brabantia products cost in the other part of the world particularly Malaysia but guess what.  We paid no more than 27 Euro on this particular model.  We also love it simply because it is white and how positive the reviews were on the freshness of the bread kept within despite it being metal base.

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As for me, I got myself a Philips Cordless Handmixer, mini mixer, a whisk and a measuring jar.  Also another great bargain from Amazon and if not mistaken, around 27 Euro.  Too bad it comes in normal size and not the mini ones I am looking for, but since it is cordless and came with a holder for charging, it is handy to have in the kitchen :-)

Yay ... I can now make all the frothy, frothy looking stuff those experts make on TV, pureeing straight from the pot and my long, awaited sambal!

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Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Asian Dinner on Urban Nature

I had to find ways to cook a whole batch of sliced vegetables today when a Korean lady friend whom were suppose to visit yesterday stood me up for the third time.  Last minute, after all the shopping and food preparation :-(

First time when she did that, I totally understood.  Second time, I tried to be understanding but raised questions.  Third time, hmmm ... I am not sure what´s the issue and could not be bothered anymore.

Anway.  No point dwelling over what´s in other people´s head ....

I decided to make Kakiage for appetiser tonight.  Hubby lovessss it so it really made my day.  Point to improve on, rice flour is not the same as glutinous rice flour.  I was trying my luck.  Secondly, to simmer the teriyaki sauce with some sugar to give it more kick before drizzling them over the battered vegetables.  Thirdly.  Don´t stinge on the cooking old.  Kakiage are meant to be deep fried so they need lots of it.

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There´s leftover pasta still from yesterdays spinach ravioli making session.   Since the korean red pepper sauce were on `standby`, it was a no-brainer to cook the pasta with the sauce as the base along with onions and chicken slices. Hubby love this Spicy Korean Pasta dish :-)

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Food Taste Better on Urban Nature

My tiny head had been going ooohhhhh .... and my tastebud go wahhhhh for the whole of last week and this week :-)

Our dinner lately has been tasting a lot better.  Thanks to my motivation to cook better since the pantry was up.  Also, motivation for better things to come?!   But above all, it is my way of saying thank you to hubby for doing up the kitchen for me.

Thank you lou kung :-)

Caesar Salad for starter
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Spaetzel with Bacon Bits
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Sunday, 15 August 2010

Work in Progress ... New Kitchen Look! (Part 1)

Finally, our additional Pantry space was up last weekend. But it is not complete yet as we are waiting for its sliding door together with the other cabinet doors we are changing to arrive still.  Our new kitchen look will be very white - glossy white infact (hooray!) from the base all the way to the wall units.  We are not changing our tiles however as it requires too much work but since it is light grey in colour, we gather that it will go well with the light grey wall, the white cornice as well as the white ceiling which we painted recently.

But nothing please me more than having these extra space for growth, including some storage space for my beloved cookbooks! Lovely :-)

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We have hundreds of these lovely jars rotting underneath our cellar downstairs, so decided to make full use of it to store our staple food.

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Our little corner of western stuff, right in the middle rack while the other two bottom is dedicated to asian department :-)

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There´s a small section for our gadgets too.  I cannot believe that even with this new pantry, we still lack space in the event we wanna get hold of the much needed mini food processor cum hand mixer and my rice cooker. Urgggg :-(

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Next, awaiting our new glossy white door frames
with its knobless push-system to arrive in two weeks time
*biggg grin*

Then comes accessorizing ...

We were in Enschede yesterday, and did quite a bit of shopping. Came back with a dark wood cheeseboard cum chopping board (loveee it!), a Pyrex glass jar and btw, it cost 3-4 folds more buying Pyrex stuff in Germany or Amazon.de (unbelievable) than buying them in Holland (Blokker) ... so do take note if you live around this area!
Oh ... I started a white porcelain collection too.  While I have decided to go with Urban Nature´s collection from Villeroy & Boch - chose it because its not so pricey and I think it goes really well with both asian style and western style dining besides it being able to fit it perfectly for both formal and informal experience ... hubby decided to extend his Douwe Egbert Coffee Cup D.E range collection by adding in two new espresso cups.

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I loveeeee this set.

I am starting really small .. . pieces by pieces and hopefully soon, I will be able to have a beautiful table setting like these at home ...

(christmas present, birthday present, any occassion present *hint, hint*