29 Jan 2014

road trippin'

A few days ago I went on a road trip with a group of new and old friends to Mount Martha Beach. I usually avoid going out when it's hot, but it was fun to do something different once in a while. Props to my friend who drove from the other side of town to pick me up!

11 Jan 2014

that's so quiche!*

The first time I ever made a quiche was sometime during middle school. The experience can be summed up as bad, or even chaotic. The other time being when I burnt my garlic bread into a blackened coal in the grill (because I didn't know you had to leave it open)! Or maybe the time when my white sauce turned into a grey sauce because I put in too much ground black pepper...!! Not "quiche" at all but everyone learns from their mistakes.

It was a warm day and our shortcrust pastry was made with room temperature margarine which hardly got to chill in the fridge as the door was repeatedly opened every five seconds. The horror when we tried to roll it out and line it in the tart ring. I don't remember about the others but I didn't do a very good job at all, so my egg filling was leaking out as soon as I poured it in. If anything, I wanted to give up and just dump the whole thing in the bin. But that's not cool. It came out as a badly made tart shell filled with sauteed onions and sliced tomatoes with a slimy slick of egg on top. I was surprised it even held together. Since then, I've only baked quiche twice, redeeming myself sometime last year. It didn't look too bad and actually tasted alright.

This time round, I wanted to use the tart ring again. I used a wholemeal shortcrust pastry adapted from here, which is very, very manageable. I didn't blind bake it this time, but I will for the next as the shell was a bit soft.

Filling wise: a layer of finely grated parmesan cheese, followed by sauteed diced bacon and onion, blanched baby spinach, peas and mini truss tomatoes cut into two. For the egg mixture, I use the ratio of 1 large egg to 50ml each of thickened cream and milk, seasoned with a bit of white pepper and salt. Before it goes in the oven, I put another layer of cheese on top. In regards to baking time, I just wing it and bake it at 180-200 degrees until it is slightly wobbly and let it finish cooking in the residual heat. My 16 x 3.5cm quiche took about 50-60 minutes altogether. Allow to cool slightly, cut and serve warm.

*If you don't get the quiche joke, maybe you should check this out. Or maybe you've already seen already on tumblr or something. I haven't seen the series yet, but I've watched the mockumentary, We Can Be Heroes at school.

8 Jan 2014

the secret bulgogi recipe

Sometime last year I met S on an island via Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Occasionally we visit each other in-game and chat on skype. One time I asked if she knew a good bulgogi recipe and she sent me her mum's recipe! I finally had the chance to make it this week. It's very easy to make at home and tastes good too! Although my parents did find it a little bit on the sweet side; I'll just tweak it a little bit for next time. 

The recipe isn't as 'secret' now as S and her mum have kindly allowed me to post it here, but I hope you all enjoy it just like I did! Hopefully I'll be able to share some more recipes from S's mum soon!

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S's mum's secret bulgogi recipe     serves 4-5 as part of a meal
slightly adapted by me

500g rib eye steak (I used beef skirt)
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
4 Tb soy sauce (+/-) depending on how salty you want it
1 Tb honey or sugar
1/3 kiwi fruit, finely chopped (or 1/2 cup asian pear juice)*
2 Tb red wine (I used sake)
1 Tb sesame oil
2 small onions, sliced
black pepper
sliced spring onions and mushrooms etc., optional, to serve

Slice beef thinly against the grain and mix well with garlic, soy sauce, honey, kiwi fruit and wine. Leave in the fridge to marinate for a few hours to overnight.

When ready to cook, heat a pan and drizzle with some sesame oil. Saute the onions until fragrant and add in the beef. Allow the underside to brown and add optional vegetables before stir frying to cook for a few more seconds. Season with a little black pepper.

Garnish with sliced spring onions and toasted sesame seeds and serve with rice.

*According to S and her mum, it is more common in Korea to use asian pear juice, whereas in western countries, it is more common to use kiwi fruit.

I had a bit of beef leftover from the previous night and stir fried it this morning for breakfast. I made a little seaweed wrap with the leftover rice, sesame seeds, pickled carrots and spring onions. It was kind of hard to eat in one bite because I put in too much filling. In the end I just dumped everything in a bowl and mixed it together. 

Here's a screen cap of us going to the island this afternoon. There's Ting-Ting in the back of the boat, S in the red hat and me in the blue cap. 

6 Jan 2014


I made a little list of the things I wanted to cook/bake this week and it's currently stuck on the fridge as a constant reminder. One of them is a sausage patty that tastes like the one in the sausage egg McMuffin. I remember reading this forum about a potential recipe and just worked from there. Apparently the ones in Australia are primarily made from beef, whereas the ones in the US and UK are made from pork. 

I combined the best of both worlds and used both beef and pork. Seasoning wise, my not-so-secret "11 herbs and spices" consists of ground: paprika, nutmeg, coriander, sage; onion, garlic, mustard powder; mixed italian herbs, sea salt, white and black pepper and worcestershire sauce. Crack in an egg or two, add in a handful of panko bread crumbs and a glug of cooking oil and mix. I can't say they taste anything like the ones at McDonalds but these were pretty tasty. The leftovers are going to become sausage roll filling.

I even attempted to make my own English muffins using an interesting recipe from Bill Granger's Bill's Basics. It requires folding in an egg white beaten into stiff peaks into a wet dough before kneading it with additional flour. After the first rise, they are rolled, dusted with polenta and cut into small rounds for a second rise. After that just pan fry them on both sides until golden. No baking required. I think these taste better with some jam after a steamy rendezvous with the toaster. 

Edit (07/01/14): The sausage roll! Roll out a sausage of meat and wrap it around half a sheet of partially defrosted store-bought puff pastry, glaze with egg yolk and bake.

3 Jan 2014

happy 2014

Something sweet to kick start the first weekend of the new year. A recipe slightly adapted from Ryohei Oguma's Mangue Passion. From the bottom layer up; a slice of genoise sponge, passion fruit jelly and cheesecake to finish. Just when I thought the cream cheese layer lacked some tang, the tartness from the passion fruit jelly brought the cake to life.

Another thing to note is his recipe for the genoise - one of the best I have made up to date. In fact I have already used the same recipe 5-6 times! It's subtly sweet, light and moist. It reminds me of the homemade sponge cake my classmate brought into class one afternoon.

Here's to another year filled with happiness, endless opportunities and cakes!