Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I Had Five Guys!

So I know I've been MIA for the last 3months or so.  Both Mary and I have been busy with our move to different parts of the world again.  Her to London and me to Chicago.

I've been cooking up a storm almost everyday just cos it's much cheaper to cook than to eat out.  Then again I'm in the land of amazingly good "Junk" food.  Don't ask me why but Coca cola and burgers just taste good here.  Mac was ok...KFC was pretty dry and gave me sore gum after that.  Then there was FIVE GUYS....OOoooo FIVE GUYS was amazing.  I've had Five Guys... 5 times since I arrived in Chicago .... Wait....just before you all get too excited...I did not literally had FIVE GUYS.....

Really...Five Guys had me at FREE delicious ground nuts.  The minute you enter.  U see boxes and boxes of Ground nuts and sacks and sacks of fresh potatoes.  So you know it's not shitty fries you're getting.  It's a REAL potato!  And on top of that there is a whole list of stuff that you can chose to have with you burger.  U can have them all if you like.  From Mushtrooms to pineapples to Jalepenos...these are just a few I can think of.  Bacon burger is a MUST TRY.  Those who know me will know how much I dislike Bacon...but I'd kill for the bacon burger at Five Guys.  It's fried till crispy and not as salty as regular bacon which is what I love about it.  The smokiness did not over power the chargrilled patties.  It was just PERFECT.

Their Cajun fries is absolutely TO DIE FOR.  Best fries ever.   Thou they definitely don't the the most fanciful packaging.  (Burger wrapped roughly in foil)  But it sure hell is quality fast food!

I'm going to pen off now and go prepare ingredients for Katsu Kare tonight.  And I promise that will be the next item on this blog you'll see. :)

Bon Appetit
Monica Eng

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Playing with Food - The Spagheddog!

My love for food started from young.  It all started with me and my cousin Clare's obsession with Playing with our food.  Perhaps it's the fact that I was brought up in a very food centric family/country. Every Sunday we had a huge feast at my grandma's house.  Clare and I both had games on creating the Perfect mouthful.... making the perfect plate.  Trying to wrap a little bit of everything on the table into a piece of green, carefully drizzling the different gravy onto our little parcel.

As an adult, I still love playing with food.  Once I was making Pineapple tarts with my friends Michelle...started of with real pretty flour shaped tarts....slowly we got bored and started to make "unmentionable" tarts.  U don't want to know what we made but everyone had a good laugh and it was especially well received by our gay friends.  

Well not long ago I came across a fun idea for hotdogs.  I shared the idea with my friend Andy from Chicago, he was amused and suggested we both have a cooking date and make the same thing in our own version and shared the recipe here.   We call it the Spagheddog!   The images below is self explanatory! :)  

Here is my Spagheddog, you can use any sauce you like for your spagheddog or just eat it on it's own.  I made a Bob Marley with my Spagheddog...but i kinda lost him in the sauce and accidentally ate him.....well I remembered my sad looking octopus before eating him....ok looks kinda gross cos I had to lick the cream sauce off his face so u can see his eyes and mouth for the photo.....

 Here is Andy's Spagheddog aglio olio,  he did a much better job than me considering he had a Hotdog scarecrow... which was suppose to be him on a swing with his dog Rupert somewhere nearby.

Bon Appetit
Monica Eng

Friday, June 1, 2012

Nyonya Laksa

I have cooked this many months ago in Singapore but haven't posted it as I wasn't entirely happy with the end result, while it tasted pretty good, I felt it was a tad too spicy... and the paste could be a little finer.  But since I have been in Europe for last 1.5months and as all Singaporeans really craving for some Laksa... it looks amazing right now.  So here you go!

You can consider Laksa as the National dish of Singapore.  Laksa is a popular spicy noodle soup from the Peranakan culture, which is a merger of Chinese and Malay elements found in Malaysia and Singapore

Ingredients for Rempeh A (Chilli paste for the stock)

10 dried chilies (soaked in warm water for it to soften)
5 candle nuts (Buah Keras)
A thumb length of gelengal/wild ginger [Lengkuas]
1 whole garlic
15 pieces of shallots
2 lemon grass (Just the whites)
1 1/2 tablespoon of dried shrimp paste [Belacan]
A thumb length of fresh turmeric root
2 fresh chilli

Ingredients for Rich Laksa Gravy B

1 liter of coconut milk (equivalent to 2 coconut)
1.5 liters of chicken stock
5 sprigs of Laksa Leaves
Fresh shrimps
Shredded chicken
Beancurd puff (Tau Pok)


Noodles (Rounded Thick vermicilli)
Shredded chicken
Hard boiled eggs, halved
Bean sprout (Optional)
Chopped laksa leaves

How to make

Pan roast Belachan (dried shrimp paste) till fragrant and kinda crispy

Grind or pound ingredients A into a fine paste.  I prefer to use a pestle and mortar as I like my paste to have a little texture

This is a very crucial step.  Heat up wok and fry chilli paste with lemongrass on low fire till it darkens.  The paste has to be fried till fragrant otherwise the stock will not be nice.  The oil and the paste should seperate when it is ready.

 Add in Coconut milk and let it simmer for a while.  Add chicken stock and salt to taste.  Lastly add in the beancurd puffs.  Leave to boil for a while and switch off fire.

 In a bowl arrange noodles and condiments according to your preference.  Pour hot laksa gravy over and sprinkle with some laksa leaves.

Bon Appetit
Monica Eng

Egg Plant Rolls

Last weekend, Mary brought me to an exquisite Greek restaurant in Nicosia for lunch.  We ordered a couple of amazing appetizers for lunch.

Spinach Mille Feuille with cheese and walnut

Rocket Salad with mushrooms

Zuchinni stuffed with cheese

And my favouriate of the lot was Eggplant Roll

Eggplant is one of my absolute favourite "greens" to eat and after this amazing meal last weekend, all i could think about was eggplant rolls for many days.  I decided to attempt a Meaty version of this egg plant roll with whatever I can find in the fridge.

Ingredients  (Serves 2)

A handful of Mince pork
1 Eggplant
1 medium size onion Chopped
1 teaspoon tapenade
Tomato puree diluted with a little water to form a nice thick tomato sauce
1 teaspoon homemade chilli puree (blend of Chilli, lime, garlic, salt)
1 chopped Fresh tomatoes
Halloumi cheese
Grated feta (We ran out so I just used some random grated cheese in the fridge)
Chopped cilantro
A dash of oregano
A dash of salt to taste

How to make

Heat pan with olive oil and Heat Oven
Sauteed chopped onions with Tapenade and oregano till caramalized
Add in mince pork and stir fry till 3/4 cooked
Add in half of the chopped tomatoes
Add in tomato diluted puree.  Cook on low heat for 20mins and Add Cilantro and let it simmer.
Slice eggplant to about 1cm thickness

Drizzle baking pan with olive oil, Lay the eggplant on the baking pan,  drizzle more oil and sprinkle some seasalt.  Bake till it's soft but not too soft.  U have to be able to roll them

Fill eggplant with meat sauce, fresh tomatoes and sprinkle on some cheese.  Roll.

Lay out rolled eggplants in a baking tray, fill up pan with remaining sauce and a slice of halloumi cheese on top of each roll.  Bake for 10-15mins.

Serving suggestion

Bon Appetit
Monica Eng

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Pasta with pea puree, mix veggies and lountza (you can use bacon)

I have to admit that I really neglected this blog. I am way worst than you Mon :)

One of my new years resolution is to cook more and to remember to take photos while I cook :P yeah !! thats a must dont you think? :).

Anyway I hope that I will be more efficient with my cooking this year.
I want to to wish you all to have an amazing 2012!

Pasta with pea puree, mix veggies and lountza

Serves 2
For the pea puree

*half cup peas
*1 spoon butter

for the veggies and lountza.

*half a leek
*1 onion
*1 green pepper
*5-6 pieces of lountza (cypriot product, you can use bacon)
*4-5 spoons of white wine
*1 clove of garlic
*pepper only cause lountza is too salty to add salt, if you add bacon then add a bit of salt also.

For the pasta.

You cook the pasta as indicated at the box.

For the sauce

You add the peas in a pan with water and the mint. You wait for them to get cooked and then you add the butter and smash them with the mixer.

For the veggies and lountza.

You add the lountza in the pan until its cooked and then you add the rest of the veggies, the leek, the onion, the green pepper and stir until they feel soft. Then reduce with white wine and add the garlic and pepper. Stir for 2-3 minutes and then add the pea puree and stir. Your sauce is ready to serve. If you want you can add some nuts on top.

Bon Apetit!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Bread Frenzy

Firstly, I have to apologize to my dear readers that we've been dormant for so long.  It's been a absolutely crazy and eventful year.  So when 2011 came to an end I made a resolution to revive this site and bring more recipes to you all.   

Well, it's not that I have not been cooking, infact Nana and me has been meeting up pretty regularly to cook on weekends.....well...procrastination happened too... :P  

We've decided to start with something really simple today, something to start the day since my favourite meal of the day is BREAKFAST!!!  I especially enjoy eating breakfast for dinner.  It's the delusion that my day has just started and I still have plenty of time ahead... :P  

After some thought we decided on Mango bread...however, the mangoes at the supermarket looked absolutely hideous today.  Then we had so many ideas and couldn't really decide on one so we made ALL.  The recipes are pretty much the same, only the ingredients and liquids differ.  Takes about 20minutes to prepare and 1hour of baking time.  Each recipe makes 2 loaves.

Banana Walnut Bread

6 large eggs
- 1.5 cup safflower oil or canola oil
4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup wholemeal flour
- 1.5 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
5 very riped bananas (coursely mashed)*
- 1 cup walnuts*

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. Butter loaf pan.

Mix all dry ingredients together

Whisk eggs and oil and white sugar together till it thickens slightly. (Above 3 steps stays the same)  Mash bananas , Roast walnuts
Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients, mix well.  Add mashed bananas and Roast walnuts in.  Bake for 1hour 

Orange Almond Bread

Replace * ingredients with,

- Zest of 4 orange
- Flesh of orange, no skin or pith, one tsp of ginger cooked in sugar with 4 cardamons into a light marmalade
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 300gm finely blended almond
- Almond flakes
-2 -4 tablespoon of milk

Mix zest of orange, light marmalade, zest of lemon, finely blended almond into batter
Pour batter into pan and sprinkle almond flakes on top 

Expresso and Chocolate Chunk Bread

Replace * ingredients with,

- A cup of thick expresso
- A block of milk chocolate
- A block of very dark chocolate
- 4 tablespoon of milk

Mix thick expresso (cooled) into wet ingredients and beat
Mix wet and dry ingredients together well
Stir in chunks of chocolate
Pour batter in pan and bake for 1hour

Bon Appetit
Monica Eng