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Monday, March 2, 2015

Week 9, 2015

Feb 23 (Mon)

Having eaten so much over the past four days I hauled myself out of bed and went straight to the gym. It's a new gym and a new workout and I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but at least the scenery is nice.

 
I haven't been exercising at all besides riding and walking the dogs, so two rounds of this intense interval training almost killed me. On hindsight, it probably would've been wise to eat a light breakfast. Instead I had a cup of coffee, which threatened to come back up during one of the "mountain climber" sessions. I'm so out of shape =o(


Post workout, I'm inspired to eat healthier, so I made myself a big smoothie for lunch using whatever I could find in the fridge

1 green apple, 1 banana, half a mango, half an avocado, handful of blueberries, 3 baby romaine lettuce leaves, 1/3c plain low fat yogurt and enough water to make it drinkable.

It contains 460 calories, 15g of fat, 16g dietary fiber (50% of daily requirement) 11g protein. It tasted really good without any additional sweeteners and lasted me until dinner time.

Ok, I had two pineapple tarts around 4pm. But not because I was hungry but because they were sitting there asking me to eat them. I'm weak =o(

For dinner I made a deluxe version of the Shanghai rice cake soup. Usually the soup is plain, but I added a whole chicken and some dried scallops. It came out so fragrant and the soup is milky white from the rice cake with all the goodness of the chicken and scallops. It was hard to stop at one bowl, so I had seconds.


Chicken Rice Cake Soup

6 dried shiitake mushrooms
15g dried scallops
1 small chicken, chopped into large pieces
200g dried rice cake, soaked for at least 4 hours
1 leek, cut into long pieces
2 slices of ginger
30ml Chinese cooking wine
6 Shanghai cabbage
Salt & white pepper

- Place chicken into a large pot and add enough water to completely cover chicken pieces. Cook on high heat.
- Add shiitake, wine and scallops after the water has come to a boil.
- Turn heat down and simmer for 40 minutes. Remove foam from the surface periodically
- Drain rice cake pieces and add to pot with cabbage. Simmer for 10 more minutes
- Season with salt and white pepper

I also made black pepper tofu, which turned out to be entirely unnecessary because the rice cake soup is a one-dish meal. But the tofu is very nice, and it keeps well in the fridge, so it can be eaten as lunch tomorrow.

Feb 24 (Tue)

Glutinous Rice with Crabs


Ever since I saw a glutinous crab dish photo posted by a friend during Chinese New Year I wanted to make this, but alas no crabs could be found anywhere during the annual CNY shutdown, until today. It's kind of similar to the glutinous rice dish we had at our friend HT's house, with the Caribineros prawn juice poured on top. Except here you steam the crabs on top of the rice so essence of the crab roe drips down into the rice directly.

There's a lot of ingredients, but nothing out of the ordinary, except the lotus leaf. You could try searching Chinese medicine stores and wet markets. If it's not available you can use parchment instead, but of course you won't get the subtle aroma from the lotus leaf.

Recipe from Xi Yan cookbook:
3 female flower crabs, preferably with roe
1.5c glutinous rice
1 tbsp dried shrimp
1/3 of a large taro
preserved pork belly or 1 Chinese sausage, sliced
preserved turnip/Chai Poh
3-4 dried scallops, steamed until done, and shred into pieces
3 dried shiitake mushroom, soaked until soft, and dice
1 1/2 tbsp shallot, chopped
diced spring onion
1 dried lotus leaf, soaked in water until softened
wolfberry

Seasoning:
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp rice wine
1 tsp sugar
pepper
2 tbsp oil

1. wash glutinous rice and soak for 2 hrs
2. wash crab and cut into pieces, marinate with salt for half an hour
3. Peel and dice taro, steam until cooked.
4. Heat wok and add 2 tbsp of oil. Add shallot and stir fry briefly. Add dried shrimp, preserved turnip and mushroom and stir fry further. Add seasoning ingredients and bring to a boil. Transfer to a bowl
5. Drain rice. Place a piece of muslin cloth in a bamboo steamer. Steam rice for 20 min or until done. Transfer to a big bowl.
6. Add ingredients from step 3 and 4 and pork belly or sausage to the rice and mix. Season with S&P to taste.
7. Line a bamboo steamer with lotus leaf and place rice on top of the leaf.
8. Place crab pieces onto rice, sprinkle with wolfberries, wrap up with lotus leaf
9. Steam on high heat for 15 minutes. Sprinkle spring onions on top and serve


Feb 25 (Wed)

Today I had dinner at M's house with friends I've met at the polo club. M's from Belgium so the theme of the night is French food.

For aperitif she brought out a tart that's a specialty of her home town Nivelles, called tarte al'djote. The main ingredients are cheese, chard and butter, lots of butter. Mmmmmm. M also baked gougeres and made tartines with duck rillettes. Another friend brought a wine with a black horse label. How appropriate for the gathering of horse crazy ladies!


For main dish M made a quiche Loraine using her mother's recipe and let's just say it was tres tres bon!

 
I made my Reese's peanut butter cup cake again, but changed the look this time. And there was cheese too, lots and lots of cheese.
 


We ate and talked well past midnight, despite everyone's early schedule the next day. I guess you forget the time when you're having fun.

Feb 26 (Thur)

I decided to do a 1-day juice detox because OMG did you see the amount of food I consumed during this CNY period? What I didn't know, however, was that you need to pre-cleanse starting 3 days before the juice detox. You're supposed to refrain from eating meat or heavy food, and be completely vegetarian by the time it's the official detox day. Needless to say, I did not follow any of that, so my detox was doomed before I even started.


There were six juices to be consumed within a 12-hour period so I was downing juices every two hours and running to the bathroom every hour. I was not hungry, but by 3pm, I had a raging headache. I'm not sure if it was due to the lack of sleep the night before, or low blood sugar. Either way it stayed with me until bedtime. I almost broke down and had some pistachios when hubby was snacking on them, but luckily he physically restrained me so I could finish my "detox".

Feb 27 (Fri)

Back to normal eating today! Actually, there's another set of post-cleansing eating rules that are supposed to help you ease back into it, but whatever!

Spicy Wok Shrimp with Coconut Rice


This is what I needed after an entire day of nothing but juices! =oP Again, go for fresh coconut milk and you'll be rewarded with robust flavors.

Feb 28 (Sat)

Today I entered my first ever show jumping competition. All I had to do was to jump eight fences 65cm high in the right sequence without knocking down any fences. I was really nervous, so nervous that I woke up at 4:30am worrying about forgetting the course (ok, the early waking may have been caused by indigestion brought on by eating half a tub of B&J the night before. I eat when I'm stressed =o( ). I am so bad at memorizing the courses that I jump the wrong fence all the time during lessons. In a competition if you jump the wrong fence it's instant elimination. Even if your horse refuses a jump you still get a second chance, but not if you jump the wrong fence! So, must NOT forget the course...

In the end, despite drawing a complete blank as I walked towards the arena, we did ok. I did not forget the course, and Mimo did not refuse any jumps. Yay, us!


For dinner we had Balsamic Brown Sugar Glazed Pork Roast


I am forever searching for the perfect pork roast recipe, and this is yet another attempt. It's pretty good, but still a tad dry even though I brined it overnight. The search goes on... Do let me know if you have a good one that's flavourful and moist! Thank you in advance =o)

Roasted Eggplant with Spinach, Quinoa and Feta


This one was a pretty good accompaniment to the roast pork. It's a little bland on its own, but because the sauce for the pork roast had such strong flavours, they paired well. It can be eaten as a one dish meal, but I suggest you season it more.

J has moved onto dessert in his cooking lesson this week, and he made some berry almond tart and a pretty impressive chocolate mousse cake.




Mar 1 (Sun)

Today was a super long day: up at 6am to scribe for a judge, then took part in two dressage competitions. The thing about these competitions, at least for me, is that you have to keep on eating so you have energy, but you can't eat too much, because it's not comfortable to ride on a full stomach. To keep my energy level up, I made a large smoothie to sip on slowly:


1 c papaya chunks
1 frozen banana
1/8 of pineapple
1/2 c OJ
1/3 c home made yogurt

After making it I decided I needed more protein for energy, so I stirred in a tablespoon of chia seed. Kept in a double insulated jar like this with a frozen bottle of Vitamin water in a cooler bag, the smoothie stayed cold for a good 4-5 hours.

I had a 2-hour gap between the two competitions so I made some PBJ sandwiches with banana slices in the middle. During warm-ups I drank coconut juice, which is supposed to be a natural sports drink, and the Vitamin water that has now thawed to an ice-cold drink. It was an exceedingly hot day and my time slots were 12:20 and 2:40. I think it was an accomplishment just to not get a heat stroke =oP

The day before I found some winter bamboo shoot at the supermarket so I asked my MIL to make the pork and bamboo shoot soup for dinner. The winter bamboo doesn't have as much umami as the spring bamboo, but without any comparison the soup is still pretty good.

I met up with a girlfriend who was in town from HK and we had dinner at Catalunya. Here's a panoramic view of the Marina waterfront as I was walking to the restaurant. Amazing view, isn't it?