Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Prawning Feast Fest!

I’ve heard of the term, ‘prawning’ lots of times. In fact, my sister has done it many times herself. It ‘destresses’ her, she says. So we arranged to do it last weekend. It was quite a big group of 6 adults and one child. Jasmine, Ken and Marcus their son; Justine, Jasmine’s sister (our wedding MC), Min and Andy, Julien and I.

I have never fished in my life before, so when they gave us this pot of live worms, I didn’t know what to do with it. Min, being the prawning veteran that she is already, tore up the worms into little pieces with her bare hands. EEEEEEEW! I couldn’t. I just get too squirmy.

So anyway, we paid $26 for 2 hours, and caught a total of 48 shrimps! They’re huge ones too. Apparently they’re not like fish where they just bite into the bait. The prawns first hold on to the bait and then swim around a little to a place they feel is safe, before they bite into the bait. So we let them take the bait and follow them around as they swim and wait for the bite before we pull them up.

I had a lot of fun overall. What did we do with the shrimps?

We went to the hawker nearby, ordered claypot noodles with shrimp, rice noodles with shrimp, and steamed garlic shrimp, but gave him our bag of prawns. What a feast!!! Your own catch always tastes better.

Very satisfying indeed.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Idiosyncrasies, we all have them. Even cats I realised.

Panda has this odd love for my facial cotton tissue bag. I don't know why. It's like his favourite play thing at the moment. I disapprove of course, since it's used to wipe my face, and it ain't nice wiping your face with cotton that's been dragged all over the floor smelling of cat drool. He knows it the little sneak! First time, I let him at it, and he really went all out on that poor little bag.

Second time he knew I was watching, so he took a different route/approach to sneak himself to get to the bag. I have videos of this but I can't seem to load them up.

Third time I caught him, and that was it. This time he had taken the route BEHIND the curtains where he thought I wouldn't see him. He was so busted. Tattered but still salvageable this facial tissue bag goes into the drawer where his little paws can't get to. I'd have to be careful though. They KNOW how to open drawers when you don't close them proper. I found mouse one morning sleeping his head off in one of our drawers. Apparently, either Julien or I had taken something out of it the night before and forgot to fully close it so there was a tiny gap. Mouse had conveniently opened the drawer, and climbed in for a snooze.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

When Four Friends Get Together

It all started with an arrangement for dinner together. Julien, well being Julien, decided he should have his hair done like that for the rest of the meal.

This gave Jimme and Yihmay inspiration for a funny face. Then Yihmay asked me to give it a go.

So I did.

Suddenly everyone else wanted to try.

Then Jimme recommended a photo taking method with flash that captures fast moving objects at an instant. He showed us how it was done by vibrating his lips.

His picture turned out so well that we all decided to give it a go.

Then we decided to have a competition. On who can do the funniest face. We did this by capturing our profiles while shaking our heads really fast from left to right.

Yihmay: Not Funny

Me: Trying Too Hard

Jimme: Getting there

But guess who won hands down??!!!

JULIEN: WINNER !!!!!!!!!!!!


Assorted Vegetables with Chicken Thigh on the Side

I never used to like garlic, or onions, the two most essential ingredients used in almost all dishes, which I only started to realise when I started cooking. It's hard to make someone like something they already don't like, let alone eat it. But I also discovered through my own experience that, it's not that a person does not like to eat something, it's because it's just not cooked to suit this person's taste.

I was at a restaurant with my parents and I had the most wonderful dish in my life (at that time). Every mouthful was dancing on my tongue as the flavours fused themselves in my mouth each time I took a bite. I looked back at the menu... GARLIC CHICKEN!!! WOT??!! There's GARLIC in this thing?!!! But I remembered garlic, the first time I tried it I don't know where. It tasted SO bad in that dish I spat out the contents in my mouth. So why did I like the garlic that was in this dish? It's because I could not taste it. It was cooked long enough for the garlic to just melt into the dish. Same goes with onions. I LOVE onion soup. Doesn't make any sense to me because it's a bowl filled with onions. BUT, they're so soft, I didn't know they were onions. I thought they were cabbage ( I was little). Give me a pasta dish heavily dressed with garlic that I can taste and smell now, and I'd still start to pick them out of my dish.

So when it came to Rachel, my baby sister, I could understand why she didn't want to eat her greens. They just simply did not taste good to her. Plus, she could see that there was garlic in her food. Hence, she wouldn't even want it knowing she would be able to taste garlic. I did an experiment on her. She's a lot like me, and I know how I like my food cooked, so I did the same for her. I made her pasta with lots of onions and garlic, but I diced them so small, and cooked them so long with some good chicken broth that she likes, and served it to her. She couldn't see them, couldn't smell them, couldn't taste them. So she ate it all. I asked her after if it was good, and she said yes. So she does like garlic and onions. She just doesn't like to taste them raw or semi raw. This experience I went through with Rachel, would also come in handy some time down the road. I just didn't know it yet. =)

Julien I found out, likes his greens in salads, fresh. Once they're cooked, he starts to pick them out. With mushrooms, as long as he can taste or smell it, he wouldn't eat it. The two phenomenons I've observed since day 1. Then I realised, when I'd ask him to try to have some greens, he'd take the leafy parts and leave the stems, because ' the stems are too hard'. That's the solution. The carrots, onions, garlic, and asparagus you see in this picture have zero crunch factor. They're not cooked to mush, but they're really really soft when you bite into them. With mushrooms, I only managed to get him to eat it once by accident. When I made chawanmushi. This is a savoury egg custard with chicken chunks/seafood and mushrooms. He ate it mushrooms and all because he could not smell or taste the mushroom even though he could see it. It's funny, because when we go to Japanese restaurants and we order chawanmushi, he still picks out the mushroom. So then I realised what was different. Chawanmushi is a very quick and simple dish to make. Once you have everything combined, it only takes less than 5 mins to cook. That day I made the chawanmushi, I could not find the lid when I steamed it, and hence it took me about 30mins just to steam the egg up. So maybe I cooked it long enough for the mushroom smell and taste to disappear. I don't know, I'm just guessing. This still remains a mystery to me because I haven't made him any mushroom dish since. But it's really interesting how our five senses work.

All this just to tell you the black pepper chicken thigh we had on the side for dinner was good. =)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Oyakodon with a twist.

Oyakodon is a dish that I like to make quite often. It's simple and fast to cook; simply, chicken and egg over rice. I don't usually follow to the tee, the recipes I use, because if I did, then my kitchen would be a tiny convenience store with all kinds of ingredients from all over the world. So I tend to use what I already have in the kitchen and improvise from there. For example, I don't use sake, dashi, or mirin, that are commonly used in Japanese cooking. I use a lot of oyster sauce, soya sauce and chicken stock which I have at home. And it works just as well. Hence, Oyakodon with a twist. Here's how:

Serves 2:


1 whole white onion (sliced thinly)
2 cups of white rice
4 eggs (beaten. To get light and fluffy texture, do not beat the eggs too much.)
1 tbsp of garlic (or however much you like)
1 tbsp of oyster sauce (or more if you like)
1 tbsp of soya sauce
100ml chicken stock
170g chicken breast or thigh cut into bite sized pieces (or whatever amount you feel is enough for yourself and your family. Some eat more than others).
pepper to taste

Cook the steamed rice
Marinate the chicken with the oyster sauce and some pepper to taste

1. In a large skillet/pan, saute the onions till they caramelise.
2. Add garlic, chicken stock and soya sauce, and put the lid on for about 2-3 mins.
3. Add the chicken pieces and put the lid back on again. Turn the chicken pieces over every now and then.
4. After the chicken is cooked, slowly add 2/3 of the slightly beaten egg. Stir lightly and cover with the lid.
5. Let it simmer for about 10 secs, and add the rest of the beaten egg. Put the lid back on, turn off the heat, and let the ingredients sit for 15secs.
6. Serve the topping over hot rice in a bowl.
7. Top with Parsley or Japanese seaweed. Whichever suits your taste better.

Note: This recipe is supposed to be a little sweet but Julien and I prefer it savoury. Hence, we omitted the sugar altogether. However, you can add it according to your taste preference.


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