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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Week 7, 2015

Feb 9 (Mon)

Spent 3 hours making more than 200 pineapple tarts.  Assigned dogs to handlers for the pack walk on Wednesday at SOSD. Then went to the Polo Club to let Istria out to stretch her legs and eat some grass. After that I was completely pooped so I didn't cook.

My mother in law made a stir-fried rice cake dish. The ingredients she used is not traditionally Shanghainese, but it was still pretty yummy. I'll post a recipe when I make it again with nappa cabbage and pork, the usual ingredients.

Feb 10 (Tue)
Shrimp Curry with Yu Choy and Kabocha

I always use fresh coconut milk whenever possible in Thai curries. I used a mild green curry paste for this. The starch in the kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) thickens up the sauce nicely. It's comfort food for me

Feb 11 (Wed)

I've seen this bottle of fermented red rice sauce (红糟酱)at the supermarket a few times. I went on line to find out what it is, and as far as I know, it's some kind of fermented red rice combination. I found a chicken recipe using it and tried it out. The smell was very pungent when it was cooking, the resulting dish looked a little scary, and I can't make up my mind about whether I like it or not. The taste is hard to describe. I thought it was not very strong, while J thought it was too strong. My in-laws, on the other hand, seemed to like it a lot. It's not something I either really love or hate, so I guess I'll make it a few more times until I use up the bottle of sauce.

Here's the recipe if you want to give it a go:

Fermented Red Rice Chicken and Chinese Veggie

1 whole chicken, chopped
2 T olive oil
1 spring onion
4 slices of ginger
5T fermented red rice
3T water
1.5T light soy sauce
1/2 t sugar
1/4 t salt
34g vermicelli, soaked in hot water until soft, drain

1. Heat olive oil in pan and add chicken, stir fry until meat turns pale.
2. Add spring onion and ginger, stir until fragrant.
3. Add fermented red rice and the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil, then simmer for 8 min.
4. Uncover pan and cook on medium heat until juice thickens, about 2 min. Add vermicelli and cook for 1 more minute.

Feb 12 (Thur)

Turkey Burger with Tomato Jam and Salad

There's no ground turkey in Singapore so I used ground chicken. It's a healthy gourmet burger that's easy to make and delicious.

Feb 13 (Fri)

Friday the 13th, not a good day. I had to ride a different horse today since Istria has to rest for three days after the vet treated her girth gall. I had a choice between two naughty geldings and I randomly chose one. He was misbehaving and testing his limits from the get-go, but nothing too hard to handle. Just when I thought he was going nicely he saw an opportunity to throw a big "spook" and gave a huge buck. I flew over his head and landed with a thud to my head. Luckily nothing hurt and I got back after dusting off myself on and finished the lesson.
See me fly off at the far end of the arena in the first half of the video

I resumed my day, went to the stores, picked up my new car, but by the time I got home in the afternoon I had a huge headache. Spent the whole afternoon in bed trying to sleep it off, and cancelled dinner with friends.

Come dinner time, it was frozen leftovers to the rescue again. This time it was some extra gnocchi and pasta sauce I had frozen a while ago.

Feb 14 (Sat)

Dutch Baby

I made Dutch Baby for breakfast with an old recipe that I've been using for years (the recipe photo on the website is again taken by yours truly). It's super easy and fool proof, even if your oven can't get up to the high temperature called for. You also don't really need a cast iron pan, a glass pie dish works just as well. It does deflate very fast after you take it out of the oven, so make sure your table is set and your coffee is ready when you take this baby out of the oven.

J and I don't usually celebrate Valentine's day, or any other fake Hallmark holidays for that matter. I was going to just cook dinner and eat at home, but when J went for his cooking lesson, my friend L who owns the cooking school invited us to her place. Dinner at L's place is not to be missed, because there is always plenty of amazing food. Since this year V-day is so close to Chinese New Year we combined the two. One CNY tradition in Singapore that I've never heard of before moving here is the "Lo-hei" or "Yu Sheng". It's basically a salad consisting of shredded vegetables and salmon sashimi. Diners are encouraged to toss the salad with chopsticks while saying auspicious things such as 步步高升(better and better),恭喜发财(prosperity),年年有余(abundance). L ordered our favourite healthy Yu Sheng from Chef Shi Erh, which is light and crunchy with a very nice dressing that is not too sweet.

the salmon is all hidden under the crackers, which are supposed to be golden nuggets

The tossing part is always fun. The higher you toss, the better new year you'll have, but you also have to make sure they don't all end up on the table. L bought extra long chopsticks for this occasion. I think we did a pretty good job tossing, despite the fact that nobody knew too many auspicious phrases to say while we tossed.
We had appetizers made by her chefs and some dumplings made by a friend's helper. My favourite was the seafood skewer on lemongrass sticks made by chef Alfie. The texture is similar to otak, but a much nicer version.
Main dish was a hot pot, which is always nice when you have a large group. The soup gets tastier and tastier as more things are thrown in the pot.

Whenever we eat at L's house there's always always tons of dessert. A made her famous PBJ cake, we had four kinds of pineapple tarts to taste and compare, and L brought home some choux and eclairs made by chef Louis. We were spoiled for choices

Feb 15 (Sun)
I had a really good jumping clinic today but it was so tiring because we were under a very hot sun at 10am. Luckily my mother in law made wontons so I could just eat when I got home. Shanghai styled wonton is very different from Cantonese style. The skin is white, with no alkaline agent in it, and it's thicker. We usually put veggie in the filling as well as meat and sometimes shrimp. Most of the wonton wrappers in Singapore are either yellow or are too thin, but I finally found the right kind in a supermarket I rarely go to.
The soup for the wonton usually has seaweed, Zha Cai and dried shrimp skin in it, with a drizzle of sesame oil and a dash of white pepper.

We went to the Botanic Garden for a picnic today. I was supposed to cook these dishes as our V-day dinner, so they're not exactly picnic friendly, but the chicken was already marinated so it had to be cooked.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

If you get tired of Thomas Keller's simple roast chicken recipe I shared on week 1 or just want some variety, this is THE recipe to try. I highly recommend marinating the chicken for one full day, and cook the whole recipe, or even increase the number of chicken if you have more than six people eating. The chicken has a pretty nice intense flavour after cooking so you don't really need the sauce. It is a very nice BBQ sauce however, so you can always save the extra for other uses.

Roasted Potato Okra Salad

This is one of the best roasted veggie recipes I've tried. I always use fresh corn whenever possible and it's much nicer than frozen.

We brought our dogs with us, but I had forgotten how much attention Yuki gets whenever we go out. In the end we had to tie her away from us so people can go and pet her, or take photos without interfering with our eating.

I think I should bring her to SOSD's annual fundraising and set up a petting booth ;o)

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