Saturday, September 22, 2007

Easy Grilled Chicken Wings

When I first arrived in Melbourne, first thing I noticed is how cheap wings are. Then Uncle Tony whom I was staying with declared that it is the easiet food to cook in the world. After 5 times a week of wings, I realised he meant grilled wings. And that is practically the first dish i learn besides boiling rice and cooking chicken soup. Ya i was that bad then.

Wings will featured in all overseas students' meals, parties, church lunch, bbqs, pot lucks. If you dont organise your pot luck you will have 10 different people bringing wings. Well, that is because wings are nice even though parents will declare they put injections of hormone there. Well after many years of wings, i dont get any bigger khmm certain anatomy, neither did my brothers. So it cannot that bad but please dont have it everyday. Like all food, moderation is the best.

And wings are suprisingly easy to cook because it has the meaty part and the tender part and therefore whichever you cook it cannot taste bad ~ grilled, stewed, fried ~ deep or pan, steamed etc. We had this fren's fren's fren's boyfren (i dont even remember exact guy so cannot put his name here) who work in a restaurant part-time and he gave us this really nice recipe to do grilled wings. Well it is nice and easy that i never grill it any other way since and i have raving guests to prove. Especially good when you have children at your party. This will be the first dish they point to.

6-8 fresh chicken wings
5 tbsp plum sauce (Lee Kum Kee is good)
2-3 tbsp of light soy
1 tbsp of sugar
3/4 teaspoon of salt

1) Marinade overnight in fridge or for those working ladies, you can do it in the morning and keep it in fridge.

2) Heat up your oven (broiling mode ~ upper fire with the sign of saw teeth) to about 180 deg cel. Line aluminium foil in roasting pan and place your wings on. Broil for 15 - 20 min til golden brown and skin looks puffy.

3) Turn sides and brush with marinade sauce and cont broiling for another 15-20 min.

4) Turn back to original side and pour all your marinade sauce on. Turn up heat to about 200 deg cel. This is to brown it nice. Watch your wings consistently for 10 min or so. The sauce should kinda dry up and looks sticky. Be careful of burning them.
Serve 2-3

Greg loves slightly burn part but i usually slap it off him if he dares to put into his mouth. Tip will usually look burned but that will kinda release a special flavour to other parts. Just dont eat that bit. Otherwise, wrap the tip with aluminium foil.

Broiling is the oven version of grilling. I always think grilling is best describe with fire below and it is open. If you dont have a proper oven, use the turbo hats one can do. That was what Uncle Tony did anyway for all the years. Temperature should be about the same.

Recipes will apply for bbqs.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Ah Loo the Puppy? I Don't Think So!

My father in law has a peculiar name for dogs. No matter what dog it is, no matter who they belong to, the name is always Ah Loo.

So whenever he calls them, he sounds like a Native American Indian doing a war cry.
"Ah Looloolooloolooloo!!!"
Try it. Do a high pitch yodelling yell. That's what he does.
"Ah Looloolooloolooloo!!!"
See what I mean?

We have no names yet for the two fatsoes. Any suggestions?
Something with a little bit more class than Ah Loo would do.
Not Bobby. Nor Brownie.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Puppy Power: Super Cuteness!

My in laws are away and we're helping to look after their brand new pups.
So a couple of days ago, in great anticipation, we went to the petshop to get some stuff.

A Twin Action Feeding Bowl

Two ultra-cute leashes with bells

Some pet food

A cool portable collapsible cage.

AutoCage Transform!

I don't know what you're thinking, but I think we over did it a bit.

Most people would just chuck their dogs into a cardboard box with some old newspaper. And they would eat leftovers out of some old unwanted bowl.

I guess we're spoiling them. Just look at them.

Fatso No.1 Fatty bom-bom. Leader of the pack. You should see his butt when he walks. It looks like he's wearing diapers.
Fatso No. 2 Slow in everything. But just as fat.
No, we didn't get this from the toy store. It is real and alive.

The Three Dogs

Hmm... good quality fur.

Hmm... tender muscles.

Now they look like they're in a back alley restaurant somewhere in Cambodia.
Guess what I had for dinner?
Nolah. Just Chicken Wings. hehehe.

Simply Prawns!

Roger is right we had been loading ourselves with cholestrol and fat since we come back and while in KL. Tonight, I decided to go as oil free as possible. Did a boiled midin salad, grilled chicken wings and 'Gud' Prawns.
The best and nicest way to cook prawns is actually the simplest, provided that you have the freshest prawns possible. 'Gud' (Cantonese translation: throw it in the wok and cover it and let it cook) is good for fresh praws. It has no salt, no sugar, no oil, only the prawns and the prawns alone.

10 - 12 nos of big fresh prawns, cut half heads off and deveined with shells on

2 tbsp of maggi seasoning sauce
1/2 tbsp of light soy (something light like Camel brand will do)
1 no of fresh coriander stalk with leaves, chopped to small pieces
4-6 no of chilli padi
1 no of small garlic (optional)
1/2 of sugar
1 tbsp of water

1) Put all ingredients for sauce together. Set aside.

2) Heat up wok to the extent that you can feel the heat above the wok. No need smoky. Throw in the prawns and cover with cover. Turn heat to medium and let it cook for about 2-3 min. Turn the prawns over. 'Gud' for another 2-3 min. Prawns should be really nicely red by now. If prawns are really big. Leave for another min or so.

3) Dish out and serve with sauce.

Do not overcook. This is the hardest part cause it maybe undercooked.
If prawns are not fresh enough, it will not give the natural crunchy sweet taste of prawns, rather it will be soggy and has a fishy prawn-ish stink.
Choose prawns with firm texture, shell nicely attached and nice reddish orange colour especially the head and tail. Blackish spots indicate prawns have been left out a little too long.
Alternative: White boiled ~ Pak Sap. Which is equally health

Hong Kong Western Style Food (Cha Chaan Teng)

Well i cant really say Hong Kong Style Cuisine, can i. Hong Kong Cuisine has its earliest influence from Cantonese Cuisine. And Cantonese Cuisine is one of China's main school of food tradition. It has gone round the globe. Cantonese are superb cooks and their cuisines has a certain level complication and refineness.

Cha Chaan Teng are more of Hong Kong daily cafes (our version of kopitiam). Melbourne and Sydney have them way in 1998 when i was still doing my undergrad. Maybe i am a little out of date but Hong Style Food and this cha chaan teng culture thingy seems to recently hit KL and Penang with a force like typhoon or is it the tail already. Well it is for sure ever so slightly sweeping to Kuching (why Kuching always last ah? Wat's wrong with Kuching ppl?!!!). Kuching had one Causeway Bay Cafe while in KL you can see them in all major shopping malls.

My verdict is the food are actually fusion ~ of east with west mixture in ingredients and/or cooking methods. The food are Hong Kong version of western food and the Hongkies had definetely created a style of their own. The world are eating them. And they are interesting cause they are different from our usual nasi lemak, fried rice, roti kahwin, kolo mee etc.. but most of all can distinguish them from others.

In KL, we ate this eatery called Food and Tea. We were drawn at first by its neighbour Uncle Duck which has promotion everywhere in Times Square. We walked past Food and Tea. Got to Uncle Duck, look at the crowd which is almost non, then the menu, we back tracked.

Rule no 1: when not sure where to eat: FOLLOW THE CROWD. Food and Tea has them.
Rule no 2: when not sure wat to order: Order what the chef recommended and take a peep at your neighbours' to see the actual product. (Those of you if you see me at a restaurant and i just look through you, well sorry, i m more likely looking at your food than you)

French Toast (Sai Tohsi) ~ Nice and crispy on the outside loaded with melted butter and soft on the inside. Definetely not healthy but hmmmm...yummy

Crispy Salad Rolls ~ Nice and crispy also. Really good in the first few bites but gets a little too creamy after a while (gelak)

XO Sauce Vermicelli ~ Dried prawn taste a little heavy which does not go well with rest of the food

Siew Jap Pai Kuat (Pork Ribs in BBQ sauce) ~ Nice this dish with big pieces of onions and the sauce is sweetish. Rice and a small dish of beancurb hot and sour style is the accompaniment

Spagetthi with meat balls ~ meatballs only got 4 and they are hard. Spagetthi is too floury like got too much starch and the sauce is slightly too garlicky for me

Baked Cheese Rice with chicken cutlet ~ Greg loves this. Very lightly fried rice with egg topped with fried chicken cutlet and topped with cheese. Good combination!

Drinks ~ Spectacular in look but taste so-so

Well after our KL trip, i m kinda hooked on this cha chaan teng style food. As least for a while to to come and had been reverse engineering some of the food we ate. Check out our previous blog. Well, greg will have to bear with it for a while. Not that he has choice.

Both of us are definetely looking forward for our January Hong Kong trip where we hope to try real genuine hong kong cha chaan teng style food. Therefore we dont want to grade this cafe yet because dont think we have taste the most authentic ones. But they are ok nice for a franchise, where you can definetely eat there if you run out of places.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

When I Came Home Today...

... I press the button and three of these things popped up!

Auntie Nee's Soft Almond Pretzels! Foochow Kiasu size!

Those things were gigantic, not like Auntie Anne's in KL.

See, I told you Auntie Anne's were small.

Sweet Vineger Pork Leg

Asians especially have this thing about confinement after birth. We call it 'Sit Month' which in all Chinese dialects means sitting (or rather not laying down) for one whole month. I still cant figure out why but then again I had not given birth to appreciate the fact which most old people or the older generation insist " it is good for you. you dont do it now, later you will know"

Besides being confined to your house or a room for one whole month, most mothers have to take tonic and super nutritious stuff to help recovery. Never see that with ang mos though(they all go out after 2 days with the baby somemore). Foochow has the Mee Sua with lots of homemade red wine, Hakka has the Ka Ca Ma (Herby chicken mixture with lots of homemade white and red wine which only 'connoisuers' can appreciate) and the Cantonese generally has the Sweet Vineger Pork Leg (Cu Jiao Chu). Really should be blogging about the Foochow mee sua first but heay this one is as nice and Ka Ca Ma is yummy too if you cook it the right way.

Then again i love all confinement foods and therefore if they are any confinement parties given by the new parents, i am always there. But please dont ask me to give birth myself ah and dont ask why.

Cu Jiao Chu for new mothers are slightly more complicated with the preparation of ginger and vineger and sugar brewed a week or two before birth. So that the gingers are well soaked and perserved in earthern jars. On the big day itself and when needed, the cook will cook the pork with the preserved liquid and ginger and mothers will have this almost everyday for the next month or so and giving it away is a way of informing people that your wife has given birth. But who says you cant eat it for dinner.

1 no (about 1.5 to 2kg) of pork leg including hock
1 big slab of ginger
1 clove of garlic
4 pieces of dried chillis
5-6 pieces of sour plums
8-10 Tbsp of sweet vineger
6-8 Tbsp of dark soya
4-6 Tbsp of sugar
Water to cover
1 pot of boiling water
3 Tbsp of cooking oil

1) Clean well and cut pork leg into small pieces. Can ask your butcher for help. Put pork leg pieces in pot of hot boiling water to clean out the blood and rid the smell (esp important for those in Australia, pork there has a smell) for about 5 min or so. Dish out and wash with cold water.

2) Scrap ginger clean and break into smaller pieces. Mash it wil back of chopper knife. Cut off the bottom ends of garlic.

3) Heat pot with oil and stir fry ginger garlic and dry chillis til fragrant. Add pork leg pieces and continue frying til slightly yellowish. Add the others ~ sour plums with a little of the juice, dark soya and sweet vineger and sugar. Finally enough water to cover. Simmer for an hour or so til all meat is tender and you can even eat the ginger if you like it. Add some for sugar, sweet vineger or salt to taste before serving.

Use bulldog brand SWEET vineger or any others SWEET ones. It must be 'tien ding chu' translated 'Add child vineger' . Cannot substitute will black sour vineger or white vineger.
Do not overcook the dish. Meat will become too lean and chewy while skins fall off.

This modified way of cooking is nice and simple and really really yummy with plain rice. Anyway, the new mothers way is soooo nutritious that you prob get a nose bleed if you cant take the 'heat'.

The Bestest Steaming Boat in Town!

We went to Tien Siang Steamboat on our first night in KL.
The thing with this place is that it's got the whole package. The first surprise is when you step in. They bang the gong. So you enter like some big shot emperor. But the bad news was that we unknowingly went through the back door. Silly Sakais from Kuching.

The second thing that you'd notice about this place is that the waitresses are from China.

CK was mesmerised (notice how his vision blurs at the unecessary areas). Well, he had every right to, since he's still single, available, eligible and very much financially able. (A note to all aunties. Please spread the word. And if you have under 35 unmarried daughters)

I was happy cos we didn't have to do the work ourselves. The waitresses were always nearby and ready to rock & roll whenever we needed them.

Rock & Rolling! Strong China arms make strong Chinese steamboat!

The third thing about this place is the food.

The steamboat soup base seems to be made up of a secret and magical concoction of 1001 spices (NEE Says: Big Cannnon of Greg. The Lady boss says got like 64 and no ajinomotos. We did not feel thirsty after so must be quite true).

Of course I had no clue at all what was inside. But Nee was right on it, playing CSI, slowly dissecting and analysing the contents (NEE Says: Figure out about only 10 or so), while CK and I just ate away.

The fourth thing is that this place serves a very special kind of tea. It looks black.

I suppose it has some beneficial or medicinal properties cos for the next couple of days, I was able to make very smooth, dark coloured 'cakes'. Unfortunately I have no photos of it to share with you. I'm sure you would have liked to see my creations
(NEE says: Please B, Dont get so vivid).

But of course, all this comes with a price. When the bill came, it also made us feel like a big shot emperor.

This is how NEE rates the place:

Service 10/15 (would be better if the waiteress did not push us so irritatingly to buy the vouchers. Nee got pissed after like saying 10X NOs. Should have approach CK, hai silly her)

Ambience 13/15 (Pot is hot and boiling all the time but place is cold enough, cutlery is clean, place is well decorated and no loud annoying music so we can talk. Foongsin and Richard our good frens from KL joined us so we really want to catch up)

Food 58/60 (According to Lady Boss most things are homemade (like mongolian pau which goes into the soup, la mien, fish balls; soup and tea is nice; food is creative and nice and fresh, wooooo the meat ~ lamb, beef, ostrich, pork soooo thinly nice like shabu shabu and so fresh, variety good but portions can be slightly bigger)

Value for Money 6/10 ( heay we pay about rm60 over per person, though we did not attempt to chew plates but it is still pricy, not like you can afford every week kinda thing)

Overall, about 8.5/10

We got 8.5 on our faces!

Place is in Jalan Pudu, behind Times Square

All photos courtesy of CK.

Jacky Cheung is Still The Heavenly King!

I finally understood what canto-pop is all about after 20 over years. To sum it all up, canto-pop is Jacky Cheung. He is still the Heavenly King. If music is religion, then it is working very well. He still commands the audience in a god-like manner.
When Jacky presses a button, the audience screams, including Nee. When he hits a note, they scream. When he gestures, they scream. I think when he farts, they will also scream.

I'm glad that we were sitting far enough for Nee to be restraint a bit. I'm glad the aunties there didn't attempt to throw their undergarments onto the stage. I would have needed my eye-mo.

Nee bought this flourescent blinking stick which has 3 modes of lighting.

Red Darth Maul mode
Blue Jedi mode
Psychedelic Everything-also-got Disco mode

The stick costs RM5 and comes with a ear-splitting whistle.

The Heavenly Whistle in its immaculate condition

The concert was a spectacle to behold.

Before the concert: Audience filling in the seats. 30,000 fans that night baby!

Joom in: A closer view of the stage

The lights, stage, screen and pyrotechnics helped a lot as we were too far to see Jacky's face. The stage changes colour like the flourescent stick.

Blue Jedi Mode

Red Darth Maul mode

Watch Jacky's entrance!

To sum it up, Jacky still has power. He sings from his soul. He draws you emotionally into his songs. People say that he is already sunsetting. Someone in the audience shouted, 'Man Man Hang'. Even if that is true, I know it will be a glorious one for him.

Concert pics and video courtesy of CK.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Lucky Me!

I had these for dinner tonite:

1) Hong Kong Style French Toast

with hot melting butter on top!

when you cut it into half, hot peanut butter sauce flows out!

2) Pork Chop with Rice!

3) Crispy Prawn Salad Rolls!

4) Pork Leg in Sweet Vinegar!

I think I'm lucky to have a wife like this! Press one button and the food come out!

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