Baked rice for lazy people

17 01 2010

I’ve decided to turn this blog into a food blog of sorts, posting recipes every now and then in addition to travel/life/Japan related posts as and when I manage to churn them out.

Today I was craving baked rice really badly, and knowing my lazy self I knew I had to find a way to minimise the washing-up after.

So what I did was cook and bake the rice in the same bowl, all done in my toaster oven.

Recipe:

  1. 1/2 cup uncooked rice
  2. slightly less than 1 cup of water
  3. half a cube of chicken stock
  4. 3 tablespoons of tomato-based pasta sauce
  5. hotdogs/frozen vegetables
  6. cheese

Combine the liquid ingredients together in an oven-safe bowl, then heat up briefly till chicken stock cube has melted completely.

Add rice in, and let soak for 10 min or so.

Cover bowl with foil and cook for about half an hour at 1000w.

When most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice, fluff with a fork and add in the hotdogs/frozen vegetables and leave to sit, covered, for a few minutes.

Finally, sprinkle cheese on top of the rice and bake till cheese is golden brown.

Tasty and convenient.





What I did today

25 03 2009
IMG_0646

MYLORD! We are awed by thy majesty!

I took my parents to try Japanese Pasta at Mylord in Shinjuku today.

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What I did today

25 03 2009

 

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Lunch at Cedele

19 03 2009

I was treated to lunch at Cedele Depot at Wheelock Place yesterday.

To most, Cedele is synonymous with zero trans-fat and cold pressed olive oil – things that will not shorten your lifespan by a decade or so. 

I ordered a White Mushroom and Bacon pasta (penne), 

Yummy bacon bits with al dente pasta. Wheee~

and my friend had a Portobello Mushroom and Beef sandwich. 

Beefy and nice.

 

The Good: The food was, as far as I’m concerned, above reproach. Also, Cedele’s “healthiness” quotient was a sweet bonus factor. 

The pasta was chewy without being uncooked, and went perfectly well with the cream sauce, which was more flavourful and less oily than other restaurants. There was also a generous amount of bacon given, which imparted a delicate punch to the dish. 

Decadent without being sinful

Dessert was Lemon Jewel (Lemon-flavoured almond meal cake, supposedly with vanilla mascarpone but they ran out), and 2 scoops of icecream (Earl Grey and Fig, and Blueberry Cheescake).

The former was deliciously warm and moist, with a  delicately crunchy crust which went beautifully with the tart raspberry sauce and mellow vanilla icecream. 

The Earl Grey and Fig icecream was aromatic to say the least, studded with bits of pleasantly sweet and chewy figs. It’s a departure from the traditional Chocolate/Vanilla/Strawberry, but a nice one – I felt that the icecream was tasty without overdoing the sweetness. 

As for the Blueberry and Cheesecake icecream, it was comparable to Ben and Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake, maybe even better. A great blend of crunchy graham crackers and blueberry swirls that was just perfectly balanced between tartness and sweetness. 

 

The Bad: Service, unlike the food, was lacklustre. The wait staff took quite a while to respond to our frantic gesturing, and actually made a mistake with our icecream order. Our original order was actually for an Earl Grey and Fig, and a Caramel Sea Salt icecream -.- 

 

The Verdict: A definite thumbs-up for the food. Cedele has a rather varied and detailed selection of food both local and Western flavours, and it is also stated in the menu if each item is suitable for those with allergies/celiac disease. 

Cakes and other confectionery is made with unrefined sugar and has zero trans-fat, so those watching their health and waistlines may feel more comfortable with Cedele. The selection of cakes/bread/buns at Cedele bakeries is also very extensive, and tastes great to boot. I have to say though, their muffins are fantabulous 🙂 

The poor service was regrettable, but I doubt it will stop me from enjoying another meal at Cedele Depot again. Afterall it was  lunch hour when we were there.





What you can do with a $6.25 box of cornmeal.

24 02 2009
Cornmeal muffins
Ingredients:
3/4 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup self-raising flour
Pinch of salt
Vanilla essence
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sugar
Mix all ingredients together, pour into muffin moulds and bake at 200deg for 20mins. 
Cornmeal Pancakes
Ingredients:
3/4 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup self-raising flour
Pinch of salt
Vanilla essence
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups skim milk
1/4 cup sugar
Mix all ingredients together and fry till both sides are golden brown 
Cornmeal pancakes and muffins are essentially the same thing, except that the former has the addition of skim milk. That’s all. They even taste suspiciously alike. 
Cornmeal mush is basically just cornmeal+water, cooked over a fire until glutinous and translucent. It can be used as:
  • Porridge substitute with your favourite pork floss etc
  • Breakfast cereal substitute. Tastes great with brown sugar.
  • Chilled till hard, sliced and pan fried. Delicious both sweet and savoury 
  • As a thickener in fruit smoothies (this is hypothetical, I haven’t tried it yet) 
Cornmeal rocks. Apparently it’s really cheap too. $6.25 for about 500g is actually on the expensive side :O 
On a side note, this blog is exactly a month old! Check out the newly updated
gallery page. 




Steamed Brownies

17 02 2009
Fresh out of the steamer.

Fresh out of the steamer.

Okay, the picture looks a bit gross but hey it tasted pretty good if I may say so myself!

I woke up today to the smell of pandan cakes being steamed – luminous green, fluffy things. My mother then developed a random craving for brownies kukus, a kind of steamed brownie that my father sometimes orders through his Indonesian client. So, I was persuaded into turning my normal baked brownies into steamed brownies!

Here’s how I did it:

Ingredients:

2 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

2 drops vanila essence

1/4 cup self-raising flour

3/4 cups plain flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

200g semisweet chocolate

100g butter

Method:

  1. Beat eggs and sugar together with the vanilla essence
  2. Blend the other dry ingredients together and make sure the cocoa powder is fully incorporated.
  3. Chop up the chocolate and butter, and melt them together. Take care not to burn the chocolate/cause the mixture to become immiscible.
  4. When the chocolate-butter mixture is lukewarm to the touch, stir in the egg and sugar, then the dry ingredients.
  5. Stir for a couple of minutes till mixture is smooth and homogeneous.
  6. Steam at high heat for 15min, then low heat for 30min to an hour till a  skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Tip: Substitute all or part of the butter with canola oil for a low-cholestrol version. Bear in mind that this will cause some loss of flavour from the final product though…






Botejyu Okonomiyaki

11 02 2009

A couple of days ago, while my family and I were shopping at Liang Court, I developed this horrible craving for Okonomiyaki.

So we trooped to Botejyu on the 2nd floor in the pioneering spirit of trying new things. In fact I haven’t much experience with Okonomiyaki in Singapore before, the only time I’ve eaten it here being at Pachi Pachi (Cuppage Plaza).

Botejyu was not too bad. Foodwise, the Okonomiyaki was quite nice (but then again how bad can cabbage+batter smothered in sauce taste), and so was the yakisoba. My parents and I shared a mochi-cheese Okonomiyaki (that the restaurant is trying to promote as “Okos”) and a plate of seafood Yakisoba.

For some reason I still associate Yakisoba with lots of mayo and aonori.

The Good: The Okonomiyaki was nicely fluffy, and the Yakisoba noodles were superb as far as my limited experiences are concerned. The noodles differed markedly from the usual that you’d get at Taka basement, in the sense that they tasted neither prawny nor alkaline, and had a fantastic bounce in them. The noodles were slightly seared before frying, and were just nice and al dente upon serving.

Service was wonderful as well. We were served by a Chinese waitress called Xiao Shuang, who was very attentive and polite. My mum struck up a conversation from her and found out that she was from Fujian. Interesting. What impressed me was that she bothered to come round and ask us if the food was nice 🙂

The Bad:There’s something about the experience of eating Okonomiyaki in a small cramped place with good friends, that Botejyu is unable to provide. The swanky decor and lack of teppan does take away a significant amount of communality from the experience. It’s like eating carrot cake (the hawker centre kind) at Raffles Hotel.

The Verdict: Some 紅生姜 and 青海苔 would have been nice. Otherwise, the food here is not bad and I would reccomend it to anyone who wants to try Okonomiyaki and/or Yakisoba. Kudos to the good service.

However, those looking for a more rustic experience should look elsewhere. I’m thinking fondly of the Okonomiyaki that I had for dinner one night in Osaka with Japclassmates. It was a squishy little mom-and-pop place, about 5 tables or so in the whole shop. The table we sat at was 4 to a table but we managed to squeeze in a 5th person.

Mine’s the 1st from the right, prawn Okonomiyaki 🙂

Ravenous friends.

I miss the quaintness of paper menus tacked on walls, the warmth of the shared teppan in winter, the cramped shop where you can’t move without touching the person next to you….how the owners were like “OMGSINGAPORE”, our “I Never”  games.

Okonomiyaki is best eaten with friends. You can arrange your friends around the table, or chop them up finely and mix them into the batter. It lends a delicate quality to the taste of the final product.

Of course, one aspect in which Singapore exceeds Osaka is the complete absence of cigarette smoke in eateries. Yay.