Saturday, February 07, 2009

Just love crowds

Lunar New Year period is generally very hectic but in good sense. It is a good "excuse" to meet up and bond especially those whom we only meet once a year.

Married Singaporeans generally have very busy schedules. Either it is a back to back tuitions/enrichment classes for the kid(s) or those precious weekends are for the jet setting parents badly needed to spent time with their kids.

Thus, for a gathering to happen, a great deal of compromise is needed. When I heard that the system is trying to do away with examination for the Primary 1 & 2. It brought a sense of relief. My mind straight away channel to parents needing to stop sending their K1 & 2 kids to extra lessons just to "catch up" when they hit the mainstream school.

I also lament a sigh of "damns", my little one misses that. Yah, she is in Primary 1 this year and she has to do examinations!!!!

Whatever it is, I simply pity school going kids in Singapore. I also have sympathy for the parents too. Yes, I am starting to feel the pressure as my son will be doing his FIRST National examination this year and I was told that he has got only 5 months to buck up. Haiz.... When L came by for a visit last afternoon, she will understands what I am going through on a day to day basis (mind you, I am definitely a laid back mom but my rules is that he needs to do a little revision each day).

Enough of blabbing.... We are having KT and her family over for dinner. Boy I do misses KT's hearty laughs and my kids do miss hers. (Unfortunately, the kids couldn't make it). Was told on Wednesday that we will have three surprise guests joining us as well. Now, I have to have second thought on the menu.

Usually I like to have a theme for a party but this time round, because of the outbreak of rash (yes, it is intensifying badly of late). I really lost the mojo to search for recipes.

Thus I will have a "rojak" theme. LOLz.

My fridge is constantly stocked with Kim Chi. Yes, home made ones and air flown from Korea. K always courier a huge box over around Christmas time. After sharing my huge loot with my family, I am still left with a big bag of it. Thus, I decide on Kim Chi Fried Rice. A dish that I enjoys alot and now my guests.

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The next dish is Cold Tofu with Peanut Butter Sauce. Hahaa... when I told my hubby that I will have this on the menu, he gave me a strange look. I was actually thinking more in line with the spicy rice that we are having so something cold might be good for the palette.

Peanut butter is a hot favourite for my daughter and hubby, so why not. My guests enjoyed this dish tremendously. Even M, who is an Italian love it.

Recipe was taken from Didally.com. Thanks so much for sharing.

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Now, as we are having quite a number of male guests. I thought some red meat might fill their tummy better. So how about Stir Fried beef fillet with onions? I recalled mommy used to cook this for us too.

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(sorry picture was badly taken as this dish needs to serve hot and the guests just arrived) I also longed for 3 Cups chicken (三杯鸡). Each time I sampled this in different restaurants, they always taste different. I never really find out which one is authentic.

Nevertheless, I took the recipe from My Kitchen, My Laboratory as I always finds her recipe accurate enough not to fail. Thanks my friend, it was really good.

Note: I took A's advice and lessen the water and it cooks beautifully.

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What you need:

1 kg chicken, chopped into fairly large pieces
50 ml sesame oil
1 tbsp garlic, coarsely chopped
5cm piece ginger, sliced
5–6 stalks spring onions, cut into 4cm lengths
6 pieces dried chillies, soaked in water for 10 mins (de-seed the chillies. If you can take the fiery spiciness, can leave the seeds in)

Marinade

1 tbsp onion oil
1 tbsp premium soya sauce

Seasoning

1 tbsp dark soya sauce
60ml premium light soy sauce (I used less salt version)
100ml Shao Hsing Hua Tiao wine
1 tbsp sugar or to taste
100ml water * (I reduce it to 70ml)
1/2 tsp salt or to taste

Method

Marinate chicken with the marinade overnight.

Fry garlic, ginger, half portion of spring onion and dried chillies in sesame oil till fragrant.

Add chicken and fry for another 1–2 minutes.

Pour in seasoning ingredients except salt. Cook over medium low heat until it comes to a boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 30 mins. Then set lid slightly ajar and continue to simmer for another 15 mins or so. Stir occasionally while simmering.

When the gravy has been reduced, add the rest of the spring onions.

Season with salt.

Dish out and serve.

***** Enough of meats, we needed some greens for a balanced diet. I am going to keep it light and simple.

Bok Choy and shitake mushroom look simple enough. LOLz.

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As for dessert, I went for something cold. Afterall, it has been really hot. I really like this dessert, it goes very well with the chocolate custard.

I am definitely going to make this Orange Jelly with Chocolate custard again.

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(adapted from Gorgeous Desserts)

What you need:

Jelly 2 litres of fresh orange juices, sieved (I used mandarin oranges)
2 sachets of gelatine
2 oranges (segmented with skin and seeds removed)
3-4 tbsp sugar

Chocolate custard
400ml milk
4 egg yolks
90g milk chocolate
150g dark chocolate

Method

Bring to boil the orange juice and reduced the liquid to 1.2 litres.

Used a little orange juice from the pot and add in gelatine. Wait till they bloom.

Add a little more orange juice and stir till the gelatine dissolved.

Pour gelatine mixture into the pot of orange juice.

Stir and pour them into your serving glass.

Leave to cool.

Scatter orange segments into the serving glass and chill overnight. (orange segment will float).

For the custard

Melt the two chocolates over double boiler. Set aside.

Bring milk to the boil and whisk in the egg yolks. Pass through the sieve into a bowl.

Pour into the chocolate mixture and stir till it is well blended.

Pour the mixture back into the pot and continue cooking till it thickens further.

Cover and leave to cool, then chill.

Before serving, add the custard to the jelly.

Garnish with either chocolate shavings or fruits.

***** I am truly glad that my guests enjoyed the dinner very much and it was good to see them with second and third helpings. The night ended beautifully.
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