Saturday, December 26, 2015

Stir-fried Chicken

Stir-fried Chicken
Nowadays, kids can be really picky with food.  Gone were the days where kids ate anything they were given or not have anything at all (other hungry siblings would gladly eat up extra portions).  There was a stage where Big One got so picky that he refused to eat what I had already cooked, insisting on going to a particular food store for a particular dish.  After some ranting from an angry Mummy, and some crying from a stubborn kid, Big One reluctantly ate his meal at home.

This went on for quite some time and I got so tired of forcing Big One, it was like forcing him to eat poison that I personally cooked.  Enough was enough!  I embarked on a new plan - getting Big One to cook his own meals!  I figured out that

  1. Big One would know what exactly goes into cooking a meal
  2. Big One would also learn some life skills
This was one of the first dishes that Big One helped to cook.  From not knowing how to keep garlic pieces in the wok, he can now help to stir-fry stuff while I wash up some dishes without tossing the food everywhere.  If a little kid can cook this, anyone can too!

Onion, cut into wedges
Red pepper, cut into pieces
Chicken thigh, deboned and cut into pieces
Tomato sauce
Light Soya sauce
Dark soya sauce
Black pepper
Cornstarch + water

  1. Season chicken pieces with tomato sauce, light soya sauce, dark soya sauce, black pepper for at least 30mins.
  2. Heat up wok and add some oil.  When oil is hot, add in onions and fry until fragrant.
  3. Add in chicken and stir-fry until almost cooked, then add red pepper to the wok.
  4. Mix cornstarch with a little water and add to the wok while stirring its contents.  This helps to thicken the gravy.
  5. Once the gravy is thickened (thick enough to coat the chicken pieces just so slightly), its ready to serve!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Fried Cabbage

Fried Cabbage

This dish is one of those that remind me of home, something that is often cooked by my Mum.  Once again, all it takes is a few simple ingredients, a few minutes of cooking and you are done!

Cabbage, cut finely
Carrot, cut into thin strips
Garlic, minced
Light soya sauce
Cooking oil

  1. Heat up a little oil in a wok, then stir fry garlic until fragrant.
  2. Add in cabbage and carrot and stir fry for a few minutes.  (Add a little water to the wok and cover for quicker cooking)
  3. Add some light soya sauce and stir fry to mix in evenly and it's ready to serve!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Chicken Chop with Cashew Rice

I love a good chicken chop with a simple salad, but sometimes I need to have some rice.  Instead of the usual plain rice, I added in some butter and some cashew nuts to the rice cooker and cooked it exactly the same way.  I was feeling a little fancy too, so some fresh mushrooms for the chicken chop and some sliced onions (for a little kick) and green pepper for the salad.  Yummy!!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Healthy Sandwich

Healthy Sandwich
Healthy homemade meals don't have to be time consuming.  All you need is a few simple ingredients, a tiny bit of cooking and you are done!  For this sandwich,  I used 2 slices of my homemade Chocolate Walnut Bread, fried an egg, sliced some tomatoes and avocado and washed a few leaves of lettuce.  It takes just a few minutes to assemble and you have a very healthy meal :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Baked Pita Chips

We usually make our own pizza dough but once in a while, we use store-bought pita bread as the base.  So after all that pizza making, what do you do with the leftover pita bread?  Cut them into wedges, spread them out on a tray, bake them at 200 degrees Celsius in the oven for a while, and you get healthy baked pita chips!

Pita Chips

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Chocolate Walnut Bread

Chocolate Walnut Bread
Ever since we got a bread machine, I've been playing with ingredients so that we're not eating the same old bread every single day.  Add in some cocoa powder and walnuts, and out comes a chocolate walnut bread :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Chicken Chop

Chicken Chop

I love food that can be cooked in the oven!  You just dump them in the oven, and all the work that you need to do is to flip it over a few times while it cooks.  While waiting, you can cosy up with a good book or watch some television.  No slaving in the kitchen :p

chicken thigh, deboned, skin on
garlic, minced
plum sauce
light soya sauce
black pepper

  1. Season the chicken thigh with garlic, plum sauce, light soya sauce and black pepper for at least 1 hour.
  2. Place chicken thigh in pre-heated oven (160 degrees Celsius) and let cook for about 45 minutes.  Flip the chicken thighs every 15 minutes or so.
  3. Add some vegetables to complete the meal!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Lemon Seedlings

I'm on the roll with planting stuff from seeds.  These are lemon seedlings and are just barely out of the soil.  Aren't they cute?

Lemon Seedlings

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Morning Walk Series [10]

When I was young, my Mum didn't like us to drink Ribena.  "Too much sugar!", she said.  Now, she boils this drink that tastes a lot like Ribena and it is all natural!  Just use the fruits from the Roselle plant.

Common name: Roselle
Binomial nameHibiscus sabdariffa

Roselle flower and fruit

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Toilet Roll Planters

I saved some lime seeds from my Mum's place and wanted to try planting them from seeds.  Having run out of pots, I made some toilet roll planters and placed a few seeds in each planter.  From what I read online, when the seedlings get bigger, these planters can be planted directly into the soil as they are biodegradable.  Now, place them in a warm shady area and remember to water them daily!

Toilet Roll Planters with Lime Seeds

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Growing from Kitchen Scraps

All the way back in April 2013, I wrote a post: What do you do with your kitchen scraps?  One of the things I do with kitchen scraps is to compost it.  What if composting is not your thing?  You could always turns kitchen scraps into a life science lesson for kids!

Many websites talk about regrowing food from scraps.  In order to do this, I left the bottom 1-2inches of the lettuce intact.  Plonk it in some water (remember to change the water daily and watch for mosquitoes!) and watch it grow!

Regrowing Romaine Lettuce

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Morning Walk Series [9]

As we go about our busy lives, other little critters are also busy going about theirs.  When was the last time you noticed an ant nest or stopped to watch the ants busy at work?

Ants' Nest

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Unexpected Drawing

Sometimes, kids do unexpected things.  This was a few years back, after a trip to the zoo.  Big One drew this all on his own without any guidance or prompting.  It's a Casawary!  Has all the main features of the animal, don't you think?


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Fried Cauliflower

Vegetables are the quickest and simplest things to cook!  Other then chopping them up into appropriate sizes, my favourite way of cooking them is with garlic.  As a rule of thumb, get a nice mix of colours both for presentation as well as a good mix of vitamins and minerals!

Cailiflower, cut into small florets
Snow peas, cut on the diagonal
Red pepper, cut into small pieces
Garlic, minced
Light soya sauce
Cooking Oil

  1. Heat up frying pan and add some oil to the pan.
  2. When oil is hot, add in garlic and fry until fragrant on low-medium heat, taking care not to burn the garlic. (Note: burnt garlic tastes bitter... urggh)
  3. Add in all the other vegetables and season with some light soya sauce.
  4. Add a little water, mix well in the pan and cover with lid for a few minutes until cauliflower is cooked.  Serve warm with rice.

Fried Cauliflower

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Steamed Egg with Minced Pork

Steamed egg with minced pork
This is a dish that screams: "Home-cooked comfort food!!!"  Simple, unpretentious, nutritious food that reminds me of Mummy dearest.

Eggs, beaten
Minced pork
Light soya sauce
white pepper

  1. Mix eggs and minced pork together in a shallow plate.  Mix in some light soya sauce and pepper to taste and spread it out evenly.
  2. Steam for about 5-10 minutes or until meat is fully cooked.  Best eaten warm with rice or porridge.
Now, isn't this super simple??

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Morning Walk Series [8]

Found this cute little Buddha statue amongst the rooftop garden bushes one day.  Looks so serene and peaceful...

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Morning Walk Series [7]

After a long long long break, the Morning Walk Series is back with this very common, yet very eye-catching flower, which is also the national flower of Malaysia

Common name: Chinese Hibiscus
Binomial Name: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

Chinese Hibiscus

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Mr Lee Kuan Yew (1923 - 2015)

In the early hours of 23 Mar 2015, Mr Lee Kuan Yew passed away peacefully at the Singapore General Hospital.   Just hours after the passing of Singapore's first Prime Minister, his son, the current Prime Minister, appeared on live national television to address the nation.

It was heart wrenching to watch... being a political figure, a public figure, a leader, he had to face the whole nation to talk about the death of father, and yet still maintain composure.  If he were any other normal person, he would have been able to mourn in peace and private until he was ready to face the outside world, but he wasn't.  This, I suppose is the burden of being the eldest son of such a prominent political figure.

The death of Mr Lee Kuan Yew affected me more than I thought it would.  As I watched the news about his passing, emotions welled up and a knot formed in my throat.  While I never bothered much about politics as a child or even as a young adult, I do believe that the reason why Singapore is what it is today is due to the vision and hard work of Mr Lee Kuan Yew and the Old Guards.  How else could a small island country with no natural resources evolve into the vibrant city it is now?

I remember taking the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) train for the first time when the North-South and East-West lines started running.  Oh, the excitement!  My brother and I took the MRT from one end to the other, noting down the colours of each station, the number of our cabin, then popping out of the then very secluded Marina Bay station.  There was nothing around the station, a far cry from what the area is now.

I remember waiting quite long for trams or trains in Melbourne, Australia many years later.  Suddenly, I appreciated the MRT trains that came at 2-3 minute intervals.  Boy did I take that for granted!

While I do gripe about some aspects of Singapore once in a while, I still think the pros of living here outweigh the cons.  Thank you, Mr Lee Kuan Yew!  Rest in peace.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Rice Cooker Fried Rice

When the kids came, it was always a mad rush to do anything.  There were laundry to be done, floors to be cleaned, dishes to be washed, on top of having to keep an eye on the kids to make sure they were not hurting themselves or each other.  Gone were the days where I could leisurely cook in the kitchen, so I improvised and came up with food that could be pre-prepared (in some way or another).  This rice cooker fried rice is one such improvisation.

garlic, chopped
onions, chopped
carrots, diced
celery, chopped
cabbage, chopped
chicken/pork, cut in small pieces
eggs, beaten
light soya sauce
dark soya sauce

  1. Start cooking rice as per your rice cooker's instructions and proceed to chop/prepare all other ingredients
  2. Heat up some oil in a frying pan, add beaten eggs seasoned with light soya sauce and pepper.  Cook until mostly cooked (about 80% cooked) with some parts still runny.  Remove from pan and set aside
  3. Using the same pan, add garlic and onions and fry until fragrant.  Then add in the meat (seasoned with dark soya sauce and pepper).  Then add in the carrots, celery, cabbage and the eggs fried in (2).  Mix well and season with light soya sauce and pepper.  Remove from heat and set aside
  4. Check the rice cooker, you would want to see the water inside bubbling vigorously.  Pour in all the contents of the frying pan, give it a good mix, close the lid and leave the rice cooker to complete its cooking cycle.

Fry ingredients in a pan

Rice cooker fried rice

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Simple Chicken Spaghetti

Chicken Spaghetti

When I have some time, I like to style my food a little, play with my food.  Visually aesthetic food make s for very good eye candy and it also sets the stage for a fantastic meal ahead.  Most importantly, it also shows that the cook cares, that it wasn't just a mish mash of ingredients thrown together.

Here's the recipe for this simple dish:

dried spaghetti
garlic, minced
onion, chopped
celery, chopped (reserve a few celery leaves for garnishing)
tomatoes, chopped
black pepper
chicken thigh with skin on, deboned

  1. Cook spaghetti as per instructions on packaging.  Drain spaghetti, reserving some of the cooking water.
  2. Heat up frying pan.  Season chicken thigh with salt and pepper then place skin side down into the pan.  Let it cook for a few minutes until the skin is crispy and golden brown.  Flip over and cook till the chicken is cooked through.
  3. Remove chicken from pan and set aside, keeping the oil (from the chicken) in the pan
  4. Add garlic and onion to the chicken oil in the pan and fry till fragrant.  Then, add the tomatoes and celery and a ladle or two of the spaghetti cooking water reserved in (1).  Cook for about 5 minutes, and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Add spaghetti to the pan and stir until well mixed
  6. Presentation time!!  Serve spaghetti in a plate, arrange the pan-fried chicken on top and garnish with celery leaves.  Viola!!
Of course, all this styling is reserved for special days.  When in a hurry, which is most of the time, you could use chicken pieces instead and just mix everything together :)