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Category Archives: Appetisers/Starters

Sriracha Grilled Tofu

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This is a light lunch dish I made up plainly because I love tofu and I love Sriracha sauce and yes, I made my own Sriracha sauce and I can also make my own tofu but in this case, I didn’t make the tofu but bought it 😉  Tofu is one food you either ❤️ it or hate it … most non-Asians normally don’t fancy it as they find it tasteless/bland but it is how you cook it that makes the difference so keep following my journey with Tofu and you’ll see the various delicious ways you can enjoy it 😜

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You will need a piece of 6″ x 3″ x 6″ block of fresh, plain tofu … for this dish, a block like this is probably good to serve between 2 – 4 people, depending on how many slices tofu you serve per pax  … slice them into 1″ thick slices or into big cubes, per your own preference …

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Marinade ingredients : 3 Tbsp of Sriracaha sauce (use more or less depending on your taste for spiciness) + 1 Tbsp light soy sauce + 1 Tsp dark soy sauce + 1 tsp sugar + 1 tsp sesame oil … mix all these ingredients together and marinate the sliced tofu for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator …

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Heat up a skillet with some Canola oil until hot … then pan-grill the marinated tofu slices until sauce is caramelised and tofu is pan-grilled to golden on both sides

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Dish tofu out onto serving plate … pour balance of marinade into pan and cook for a minute to caramelised it a little and then coat grilled tofu pieces with it and serve up with salad of your choice … this can be served as a starter/appetiser or as a light lunch …  enjoy 🍴  NOTE : this can also be served up as one of your many dishes in a Chinese-style dinner 🎎

Chopped Cauliflower & Broccoli Quinoa Salad

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I made this refreshing, colourful salad to be served with the Marmite BBQ Ribs I made for dinner… a very simple salad with just lemon for dressing … very suitable served with grilled meat or fish or even on it’s own by adding some salad beans

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for 2 of us, I used ½ cup quinoa … I like to toast my quinoa in a heated hot pan …

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…add 1½ cups water and boil until the quinoa is tender  …

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…drain the quinoa and set aside to cool …

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I’m preparing only for 2 of us so I merely use 2 small florets …chopped into small bits …

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…likewise with broccoli …

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…other ingredients I used are : 1 chopped celery; 1 small bunch chopped scallions/spring onion; ¼ cup chopped parsley; …1 used 1 seeded chopped tomato for added colours but you may use capsicums

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Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, squeeze in juice of one lemon and mix thoroughly and set aside in the refrigerator for the flavours to develop

Szechuan Hot & Sour Soup

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This is one soup that is tough to get the right consistency of .. I’ve personally followed various recipes from various cookbooks/online with no joy …. ultimately, I attempted making the soup with my own adaptation and through practice, I now can make it superbly with my eyes closed 😉

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These are about the main ingredients I used … wood ear, shitake mushrooms, preserved Szechuan vegetable, tofu, pork/chicken, potato/corn starch, chopped onions & garlic … + the water from the re-hydrated mushrooms and chicken stock

RECIPE

Ingredients :

3 – 4 dried Shitake mushrooms, rehydrated by soaking in hot water (reserve water for soup)

1 big wood ear (about 8-10g), rehydrated by soaking in hot water

1 preserved Szechuan vegetable, soak in water for an hour to leach salt out

30g bamboo shoots (optional)

1pc firm tofu

1 chicken breast/100g lean pork

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

3 – 4 Tbsp potato/corn starch, mix with some water to make a paste

1 – 1½ ltr chicken stock (adjust accordingly)

1 Tbsp sesame oil

1 Tbsp Shaoxing wine

1 Tbsp sweet dark soy sauce

¼ cup Chinese black vinegar / Malt Vinegar

1 – 2 tsp chilli powder (adjust accordingly)

½ tsp ground white pepper

1 egg, beaten

2 Tbsp cooking oil

Scallion, diced for garnishing (optional)

Methods :

  • Julienne the Shitake mushrooms, wood ear, bamboo shoots (I don’t use this as I can’t stand the smell!) and preserved Szechuan vegetables
  • Sliced tofu into ½” by 1″ thick strips
  • Heat pot with 2 Tbsp cooking oil, toss in the garlic & onion and cook till soft then add in the chilly powder … stir for about 30 seconds then add in the meat, stir to mix till meat is opaque then add in all the julienned ingredients, i.e. mushrooms, wood ear, bamboo shoots and preserved Szechuan vegetables … stir to mix and cook for another minute
  • Pour in the chicken stock + the reserved water from rehydrating mushrooms …. if you wish for a more diluted soup, you may add more chicken stock and vice-versa
  • Bring soup to the boil and reduce heat and allow soup to simmer for 15 minutes
  • Add in the vinegar … taste and add more vinegar if you feel you want it more sour and then stir in the sweet dark soy sauce, sesame oil and the Shaoxing wine
  • Add in the tofu, stir to mix and allow to heat through for a few minutes then pour in the starch paste, stirring as you do so and you will see the soup thickening up … if too thick, add some more chicken stock and if not thick enough, add more starch
  • Add ground white pepper, stir and taste and adjust salty/sweetness/spiciness seasoning accordingly
  • Now swirl in the beaten egg and voila! soup is ready 😉
  • Serve hot with some diced scallions sprinkle over for garnish and a dash of white pepper, if so desired … I didn’t bother with any garnishing 🙂

Cheesy Bacon Egg Muffins

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If you love bacon, if you love cheese, if you love eggs … you simply gotta try this simple yet lip-smacking egg muffins!!!  … served up atop a bed of rockets & red chard salad + slices of beef tomatoes  (would prefer cherry tomatoes but I ran out of those!)

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I made 4 egg muffins … 2 of each of us …  so, I lined 4  cups of my muffin tray with 4 slices of bacon … and bake for 15 mins in a pre-heated oven at 220ºC

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Cube a medium potato or 2 small potatoes .. heat up a pan with a little olive oil, toss potato in oil then cover to let it cook for about 10 – 15 mins

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Cube about ½ cup of cheese of your choice … I used mozzarella …

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When bacon is done, remove from oven and remove some of the oil if you find too much of it in the cups by blotting it off with a paper towel .. meanwhile, reduce oven temperature to 190ºC

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Put equal portion of the potato cubes in each cup and top with equal portions of the cubed cheese

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Whisk 3 eggs with a dash of freshly ground black pepper

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Pour whisked eggs into the muffin cups … bake in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes or until firm & done

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Voila! Look at these golden puffy egg muffins … who could resist them!!! 🙂 

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Just look at those awesome cheese oozing outta the muffins … yum, yumm, yummmmmilicious 😉 … I served up atop a bed of rocket & red chard salad

Grilled Seafood Skewers

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Was gonna make Seafood Paella for dinner tonight but ended up with Grilled Seafood Skewers and since this was impromptu, I wanna quickly blog my recipe lest I forgot the marinade I concocted which tasted relish!

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Whisked together all ingredients for marinade … i.e. 2 Tbsp tomato sauce, 1 Tbsp Sriracha Chili Sauce, juice of 2 lime, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, a dash of freshly ground black pepper, 3 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil, 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley and 1 Tbsp minced garlic … marinate seafood with marinade for 30 minutes …. thought to self : try adding 1 Tbsp fresh ginger juice or 1 tsp ginger powder next time 😉

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Thread prawns, scallops & squid onto pre-soaked bamboo skewers

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Preheat barbeque grill on high heat until hot … reduce heat to medium-high .. grill skewers, basting with marinade, for 1 to 2 minutes each side, or until cooked through

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Bon Appetito!!

Red GrapeFruit & Parma Ham with Blue Cheese Salad

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This is an awesome salad combination which is bursting with flavours that compliments each other … the salad greens consists of arugula, celery, tomatoes, lolla rosa & frisee… drizzled with a zesty Italian dressing

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This is a similar salad minus the blue cheese for moi 😉

Sesame Crusted Tuna with Chili & Ginger Dressing

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Absolutely lip-smacking delicious .. served up with an Avocado & Cucumber Salad … this is done medium-rare the way I love my tuna steak to be done 😉

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Chopped-up shallots, chillies & finely grated ginger for the dressing

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More ingredients for the dressing … light soy sauce, fish sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, sugar

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Fry ginger, shallots & chili in the heated oil for 3 minutes

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The Chili & Ginger Dressing done … set aside to cool

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I served up with an Avocado & Cucumber Salad …. slice avocado & cucumber thinly and put all in a bowl along with one tablespoon of chopped peanuts & some chopped chives

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Toss the salad ingredients with lime juice to combine and set aside

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I used a block of 500g tuna steak which I sliced into 2 x 250g steaks … in this pix is the coating ingreadients … fennel seeds, freshly ground pepper & sesame seeds

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Tuna coated with the seeds mixture ready to be pan-fried

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Cook the tuna to the doneness of your liking … I love mine medium-rare whereas my hubby likes his to be done medium!

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Hubby’s dinner … a medium-done Tuna 😉

RECIPE

Ingredients :


2 avocados

2 Lebanese cucumbers

1/4 cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped


2 Tbs chopped chives

Juice of 1 lime/lemon

1/3 cup sesame seeds

1 tsp fennel seeds


2 x 250g pieces tuna steak


1 Tbs oil

Ingredients for Chili & Ginger Dressing :

2 ½ Tbs olive oil

4cm piece ginger, finely grated


3 shallots, finely chopped

1 bird’s-eye chilli, seeded, finely chopped (add more if you like spicy)


1/3 cup caster sugar

½ cup rice vinegar

1 Tbs light soy sauce


1 Tbs fish sauce

Juice of 1 lime/lemon

Methods:

  • To make chilli and ginger dressing …. heat oil in a small saucepan over low heat … add ginger, shallots and chilli and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until soft……stir in sugar and vinegar until sugar dissolves, then simmer for 5 minutes to mellow the vinegar taste …add 2 tbs water and bring to the boil….remove from the heat then add soy sauce, fish sauce and lime juice, and stir to combine ….set aside to cool
  •                To make salad, cut avocados into thin wedges ….slice cucumbers in half lengthwise, remove seeds and thinly slice on the diagonal …place avocados, cucumbers, nuts, chives and lime juice in a large bowl and toss to combine
  •                 Place sesame and fennel seeds on a plate and season generously with freshly ground black pepper…press a piece of tuna into seed mixture to coat evenly then turn over and coat the other side….repeat with other piece of tuna
  • Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium–high heat…cook tuna for 1½ minutes each side for medium–rare or until cooked to your liking
  • Divide salad among plates ….slice tuna and place next to the salad… drizzle the chili & ginger dressing over the salad and the tuna