Monday, February 23, 2009


Japanese cuisine is elegant and refined. The essence of Japanese food lies in its simplicity and flavour.

I think it's a great party idea because sushi rolls can be made several hours in advance but always store it chilled because the rule about sushi is- it has to be consumed at its best, which is the same day or even better, immediately. It also makes a delightful finger food adding to the array of colours and varieties. The varieties are endless and quite frankly, i just didn't quite know where to begin.

From the Chicken Kara-age, which is Japanese style fried chicken flavoured with ginger to the authentic Japanese grill over hot sizzling sauce baste on the Yakitori kebab pieces placed on the skewers in alternating order are simply marvellous. Yakitori are ideal for barbecues or parties as one can prepare them ahead of time and store them marinated until it's time for the grill.

A must have accompanying dip sauce- Tempura sauce and Japanese soy sauce.

Wasabi is Japanese horseradish. It is most famous in form of green paste used as condiment for sashimi (raw fish) and sushi.

Some sushi accessories that i'd found from a Japanese little store in a Mall i had bought to make work light for sushi rolling and moulding. I had hoped that even my younger son would be able to make some for himself whenever he wanted a quick snack.

But later found that the press mould was a little tricky even for me especially if the rice was not sticky enough. So the children usually prefer to either do a California roll (triangular wrap with the seaweed piece) or roll the usual way with the seaweed and then cut into bite sized pieces.

Simple Rolled Sushi

Variety shaped sushi

Some popular sushi names to get acquainted so you can order with ease-

-Nigiri are those with fish, shellfish, etc. on top

-Norimaki are those rolled out ones then cut into bite sized pieces. Did you know that these kind are only popular outside of Japan but rarely in Japan?

-Temaki are those cone shaped nori seaweed we usually refer to them as California Rolls.

-Gunkan are those with the sea urchin and various kinds of fish eggs. These are really the cool ones. My boys go gaga with these and snapped them up quicker than they could replenish on the conveyor belt in a Japanese Restaurant.

Chicken & Prawn Hot Pot

also known as Yosenabe, for a 4 pax,

400g chicken thigh or breast fillet
8 raw tiger prawns
4 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
3 leeks, sliced diagonally
6 small tofu , cut into bite pieces

in 1 litre of kombu and bonito stock
6 tsp sake or dry white wine
2 tbsp of soy sauce
4 ysp of mirin
a pinch of salt

Miso Soup

A Japanese tradition which is very nutritious and delicious, a popular accompaniment that usually goes with a Bento, which is an adorable Japanese lunch box that offers not only a delicious slice in presentation, taste and colour but also a very healthy meal.

Is it any wonder that the Japanese are enjoying healthier and even more youthful lives even into old age. Is it not an astounding fact that more than 20,000 Japanese are over a 100 years old? Life expectancy in Japan, for both men and women, is statistically, still very much, the highest in the world.

Trout marinated with Teriyaki Sauce, grilled

Baked Salmon in Miso Sauce.

This one is too easy. i think i can do this blind folded- (with the fold slightly more over the top, of course :P)

here, i add in a few dashes of Japanese soy sauce, miso paste, some olive oil, a large tablespoon of butter and lots of grated cheese- a great pouch lunch with some rice after 10-15 min at 350F/180C. Open the foil and usually i throw in more cheese at this point and then bake it for a further 5 min or so until the cheese melts and oozes and is slightly browned.

or pan fried in a little olive oil and butter

Teriyaki Salmon in Garlic Butter Sauce

a slow searing in some olive oil, butter and finely minced garlic also releases some of the oil from the salmon pieces. Combined with the marinate and butter oils and garlic, the sauce is magical.

(And yes- if you must ask, it was a little over done because your gracious blog hostess here was trying to capture some good angled pictures while it was searing away back there?)

Cod pieces

Marinated cod pieces taste great whether poached or grilled/pan fried with butter. The secret is basically in the sauce and of course, if you use cod, the firmness and taste of the sea will just be a long affair to remember.

Vegetables deep fried in Light Batter

Tempura can be prawn or other seafood pieces as well.

Excellent with either sake (alcoholic beverage) or green tea. Finish off with some sweets of rice cake with fruit which is really a more modern version, although one would find it in aduki bean paste traditionally.

Here's some love blown out to all my blogging friends out there. Wishing you a great week ahead.. will be visiting you soon to find your posts and new happenings around the blog !

PS By the way, no Memoirs of the Geisha here- If you were the people who had clicked on my post  when i first hit the PUBLISH button- you would have noticed a great part of incoherence, which is nothing strange about me usually- but .. the truth is, i did this post, putting all these pictures together in my insomniac, clarity of mind could be a tiny disadvantage.

Further editing only made more sense afterward- i hit the bed like 6 am this morning and.. I'm cranky!!  Can someone get me a double Expresso, please?


Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Carrot cream soup

the tea lights come in a few different scents. i like the green one. It's in Apple Sauce. A little like when you have Apple Pie baking in the oven- it makes one feel a sense of .. contentment.

Spiced Beef Brisket

1/2 cup sugar
a teaspoon each of ground nutmeg,all spice, garlic, ginger
some olive oil
salt to taste
2 cups of beef stock
marinate in fridge for half a day minimum before roasting

with Vegetable Stew

( wedges of carrots, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, celery and button mushrooms in beef stock )
1 sprig fresh rosemary, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 bay leaf, salt to taste

* personally, i always do the Asian stew version ie with Hoi Sin/Oyster sauce and Chinese Wine, lots of Chinese Wine.

Tropical Fruit Salad
(pineapple, banana, star fruit, Hawaiian papaya, lycees, mangoes, pulp of passion fruits)

In Ginger Syrup

rind of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons finely shredded ginger

to chill before serving

pretty tea cup and pot that stacks and break away

Chocolate Pound Cake

to top a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream before serving

( please e mail me if full recipe & Method is required. )



Nice little corner here for coffee and a little craft work. If you can only hear the birds in the background and feel the cool crisp morning air. Not forgetting the tantalizing aroma of coffee in the air.

I have some errands and appointments to keep today- but guess, i have become one of you guys now. Just got to steal some time to post this. It's a disease and i must have caught on!

Just have to view this from up close. I waited and staked out for about a week now. Sometimes it feels divine when you get a few open blooms at the same time.

Any idea what this is?
(pix above: a pair of silver Kitties)

Flip them upside down = Drinking Little Cups (!)

handmade ( from Lampung, Indonesia )

This is definitely one of my favourites. It's adorning one of the corner walls in Son 2's room at the moment. I don't think they appreciate it as much as me though but i think they do remember why i made this one. I don't say it very often, maybe just only every time i walk into his room and the brothers are there at the same time- " make sure you love each other like he's the only buddy you've got in this world, ok? "

some cross stitch pieces going to be sewn onto the pillow cases.

Must have been at least a decade old, this one. This was one of the fun pieces i did because my husband and boys get to pick out what mode of classic Transportation they would like to see me 'labour' on. Don't ask me how long it took me to complete this one. Just too long. I did a couple more small ones, but i think this was the last 'serious' one.


Friday, February 13, 2009

The Nectar of Flowers

Honey Mousse Napoleon

1 teaspoon of unflavoured gelatin
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cold water, divided
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup honey
4 Teaspoons egg whites
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup whipping cream

4 sheets phyllo dough (14x9 inch shets)
5 tablespoons butter, divided
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons sliced almonds
2 medium nectarines
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar


Friday, February 6, 2009


A mouth watering, healthy dinner that sizzles doesn't have to burn a hole in one's pocket and is achievable if one is adventurous enough to try this and they can all be churned out from your very own kitchen.

Fajita has come to describe just about anything cooked and eaten, rolled up, in a flour tortilla. Fajitas are terrific even for an informal dinner party. There is something inherently festive about them and their accompanying dishes. Or perhaps it's the margaritas and Mexican beer that so often go hand-in-hand with this Tex-Mex treat. Guacamole puts the finishing touch on a fajita and it is a dish with millions of fans. Just pick the variation most agreeable as there are so many out there. (The classic one, made with ripe avocados, Serrano chillies, cilantro and lime based marinate is a good choice to start.)

Taco shells can be tossed into the oven under low heat while waiting for the meat dish. When it's ready to serve, just pull those warm taco shells out and everyone can dish their own. it's both fun and interactive. This also enables the host to work a little lesser through the night. Just set out lettuce, cheddar cheese, grilled or fried onions, tomatoes, bell peppers and olives into its own bowls. Don't forget those salsa, sour cream and guacamole.

You 're in for a great evening.

Spicy Cucumber Salsa

1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 small red/green pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro or parsley
some barbecue sauce mixture
chill them before serving.

Fruit Salsa

2 large cups of chopped assorted fruits.
( pineapple, kiwi, strawberries, mango )

Taco Snacks
1 pound ground beef
1 package (1.25 ounces) taco seasoning mix
fried onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup sour cream
1 large cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Red Hot sauce (optional)

good for about 30 round tortilla chips

Mexican Stir Fry Fajitas

1 pound beef sirloin, thinly sliced
1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
Beef gravy
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin

(beef dish is good for about 8-10 flour heated tortillas. To increase accordingly if necessary)