Friday, December 31, 2010

Fried Rice and Short soup

Happy New Year everyone!!  After years of partying and counting down, squeezing with the crowd and getting thrashed on New Year's Eve.  I've decided to spend this New Year's Eve reflecting and making new resolutions for 2011.  A nice cosy meal, and hurdle up infront of the TV watching all the good movies I've missed during the year.

Today's menu is really simple and what I consider comfort food.  Takes less then 30mins from preparation to eating.

Ingredients for soup (You can use anything u fancy, i've put in all my favourite stuff in the soup)

Chicken Stock
a packet of Abalone Mushroom
2 hot dogs
some thin slices of pork belly
Pork balls

Ingredients for fried rice

Luncheon Meat aka Spam
Fish cakes
Mixed peas or green peas
One egg
minced garlic
a dash of soy sauce
optional (Cashew Nuts, Pork floss) - I didn't put this as i didn't have any at home.

Instructions on Soup

Boil chicken stock.  Add all the ingredients.  Bring to boil.  Once they are cooked.  Ready to serve.
If your ingredients are frozen, add those first.

Instructions on Fried Rice

Stir fry mince garlic till fragrant
Add in Luncheon Meat/Spam, fry till golden brown
Add in fish cakes
Add in a dash of soy sauce
Add in Peas
Stir fry for a while then
Add in cooked rice and mix all the ingredients well.  Add in Cashew nut,  mix well.
Let it heat for a while, keep stirring it.
Serve with a sprinkle of Pork floss (which i didn't have.... :( )

Happy New Year & Bon Appetit
Monica Eng

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Glutinous rice balls in peanut soup - 湯圓

It's Dongzhi (winter solstice day) today, this festival is celebrated by many chinese/ japanese/ koreans/ vietnamese around the world.  Traditionally, the Dongzhi Festival is also a time for the family to get together. One activity that occurs during these get togethers is the making and eating of Tangyuan (湯圓) or balls of glutinuous rice, which symbolize reunion. Tangyuan are made of glutinuous rice flour and sometimes brightly coloured. Each family member receives at least one large tangyuan in addition to several small ones. The flour balls may be plain or stuffed. They are cooked in a sweet soup or savoury broth with both the ball and the soup/broth served in one bowl. 

The festive food is also a reminder that we are now a year older and should behave better in the coming year.

Ingredients for Soup

Peanuts (Shelled)
A handful of glutinous rice 
Rock sugar

Ingredients for Glutinous rice balls

500gm Glutinous rice flour
Food colouring

Ingredients for Peanut filling

Roasted peanuts (shelled)
Orange or white sugar
Roasted sesame seeds

How to make the soup

Wash the peanuts and glutinous rice, put them in a pot, fill with water and bring to boil
Lower heat to low and let it simmer for at least 2-3hours till peanut is soft and rice broken. 

How to make Peanut filling

Put peanuts & sugar in a blender, blend till fine

Add in roasted sesame seeds
Add in melted butter and mix well

Mixture should be like course peanut butter, easy to handle and not liquified

How to make Rice balls

Seperate flour into 3 or 4 portions, depending on how many colours u want to make
Prepare 3-4 cups of water with different colouring
Add water to flour a little at a time

Knead till the colour blends in
Dough should be easy to handle without breaking, if it breaks just add more water.  If it is too wet add more flour
U can make little ones without filling, just roll them into desired size and set aside in a plate that you have floured

For the ones with fillings, take a bigger piece of dough, roll up into a ball, make a hole with ur thumb and add peanut stuffing inside, not too much as too much it will crack.  Then roll it back into a ball again

Set balls aside and let it dry for awhile.

Hit a big pot of water,  add the rice balls in when it's boiling.
The rice balls will sink to the bottom of the pot
When it's cooked, the balls will float.  Let them float for 1minute.

Scoop out the cooked balls and put them in a bowl of tap water.
Serve rice ball with Peanut soup.

Monica Eng

Monday, December 20, 2010

Samgyeopsal - 삼겹살

We had a little gathering tonight and I've made one of my favourite gathering dish,  Samgyeopsal.  It's a very popular Korean bbq dish.  Samgyeopsal literally translates to 3 layered flesh.  Which is the delicious juicy Pork Belly.

Samgyeopsal is typically served with 2 kinds of sauce.  ssamjang (쌈장), a paste consisting of chilli paste (gochujang 고주장), soybean paste (doenjang 된장), sesame oil (jamgireum 잠기름) and other ingredients.  You can buy ssamjang from the Korean supermarket.  The other sauce used is (gireumjang 기름장), made with salt and sesame oil.  Usually samjang is used when the pork is eaten with vegetables like lettuce/ sesame leaves/ preserved radish sheets.  And the gireumjang is used when you want to taste the cooked meat itself.

Ingredients for the pit

Slices of pork belly
Slices of King Oyster mushroom
Slices of Garlic
Slices of Onion
Lettuce/ Sesame leaves

Ingredients for off the pit

preserved White radish sheets
Sesame oil
Ssamjang (Add some sesame oil in and stir till not so thick)
Gireumjang (Some salt in Sesame oil)

You'll need a hot plate but I much prefer grilling it on charcoal


Prepare Ssamjang & Gireumjang, set aside

Prepare lettuce & sesame leaves and set aside

Heat up pit. Make sure charcoal is amber.

Lay slices of pork belly, Onions, Mushroom, garlic on the grill

Cut slices of pork belly into bite size pieces

Wrap pork belly in lettuce or sesame leaves, add ssamjang and preserved radish sheets wrap it up and put whole thing in mouth.  What you want to put inside the wrap is really up to you, it can be as simple as just pork belly and ssamjang or you could put rice and kimchi as well.  And when u run out of vegetables, you just eat the meat with gireumjang as well.

Photos from Iphone

많이 드세요!
Monica Eng

Friday, December 17, 2010

Dancing Chicken aka Beer Can Chicken

Yes, I'm making a Dancing Chicken today.  I'm going to make that Chicken literally DANCE!!  This is actually a BBQ recipe, but since my bbq pit isn't big enough nor does it come with a fully covered lid, i used the oven instead.

If you do have a bbq pit with a full lid, pile the charcoal on the inner corner of the pit, light it.  Heat should reach about 180 degree celsius.  Cook the chicken in the corner of the pit that has no charcoal.  Brush marinate on it every half and hour.  After 1.5hours of cooking turn the chicken so that it browns evenly.  Cook it for about 3hours on the pit.

Ingredients (Serves 2-3)

1 Chicken (I prefer to use free range)
1 can of beer
1/2 a french onion
Black pepper


(You can basically use anything you fancy for the marinate, whatever u can find at home, I used the following)

1/4 can of beer
2 table spoon of oyster sauce
A dash of sherry
Soy sauce
Chopped onions
chilli sauce

How to cook

Preheat oven at 180 degrees celsius

Wash chicken, Cut onions into cubes
Rub chicken with a little salt and pepper

Use only 1/2 can of beer

Stuff beer can with 1/2 beer into chicken's "ass", make sure your onions stay intact inside the chicken's cavity (So now your chicken is standing and ready to rock) This actually allow the beer to infuse into the flesh of the chicken during cooking and keep it moist from the inside and crispy on the outside during the long  cooking time.

Stand the chicken in a baking tray

Brush on marinate on the chicken, make sure u coat it well.

Usher your chicken on to the "dance floor" (oven)

Let it dance for 30mins, brush on marinate again.

While waiting, fry the fries in hot oil for 5-7 mins on high heat, depending on how crispy you want it

Keep brushing it with marinate every 30 mins for about 2hours or till it's beautifully browned and crispy.

Serve with Salad or Fries.  I used the frozen fries my dad had brought for me recently.

 Bon Appetit,
Monica Eng

Monday, December 13, 2010

Fresh green beans or Louvi

I decided to cook something more traditional. In Cyprus people eat Louvi (Fresh Green Beans) twice a week. I remember my mum forcing me to eat it when I was a child. Even though louvi is tradition for us, I love it and it is consider a healthy meal.

For the plain recipe I used Cypriot fresh Green Beans/Louvi and for the salad i used Austrian beans. You can use watever you want.

Plain Fresh Green Beans-Louvi Ingredients

Fresh Green Beans - Louvi (as much as you want)
Olive oil
1 lemon


Clean the beans really well.
Boil the green beans on high temperature for about 5 minute and then reduce the temperature at least half of what it was, cover the top of the pan and cook for another 25-30 minutes until cooked.
Drain them and add a bit of olive oil, lemon and salt.

Serve them with bread or some anchovies. If you want you can also serve them with a can of tuna, sliced onions, lemon, olive oil, salt and some parsley.

Ingredients for the salad

Fresh Green beans-louvi (I used Austrian beans this time, they are smaller in size)
fresh greens for the salad
canned tuna
onion or leek sliced(depends on your taste)
baby tomatoes (cut in half)


Cook the Green Beans as mentioned above.
Then add all the ingredients in a plate with a bit of olive oil, lemon and salt and serve.



Anyone can do them. They are not as difficult as everyone thinks. Just make sure all the ingredients have room temperature.

Ingredients (serves 4)

225gr Slightly salted butter
225gr Superfine sugar (caster)
4 Medium eggs
225gr Self raising flour
1tsp Vanilla extract


Preheat the oven 165 C, then put cupcake cases on a backing tray.
Add sugar, sifted flour, butter and vanilla in a processor, blitz on med power till mixed well.
Add eggs one by one and mix in between each addition.
Spoon into cases and fill just over half.
Cook for 15-20 mins or till golden brown.


100gr unsalted butter
125gr creme cheese (if you don't have creme cheese then you can add 125gr more butter)
450gr sifted icing sugar
2 1/2 tbsp of cold water
1tsp vanilla extract


Beat the butter and the creme cheese in a food processor until soft.
Gradually beat in the sifted icing sugar and water a little at a time until fluffy.
Add colouring and beat again so it mixes well, just at the end add the Vanilla extract and beat on high setting for a few seconds. You can use a spoon to put it on top of the cupcakes or pipe it with a bag and nozzle. I used a spoon to make these ones. You can also use whatever you want for decoration, I used vermicelli.