Tuesday, April 29, 2008

CRISPY SKIN ROAST PORK

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This was what I had for dinner tonite. Crispy
skin roast pork. Succulent juicy meat with a layer of 'pok pok chui' (a Cantonese term to describe very crispy) skin. Where is this restaurant? Sorry, not for sale because...................................................
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...............I made the roast pork myself! After my roast duck experiment 2 weeks ago, I decided to try making the roast pork which is the 2nd recipe of this cookbook here. For those who are interested in getting one, it should be available at all newstands at RM20 per copy.
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First of all, rinse and pat-dry 1 kg of pork belly with skin. Do get those with a thin layer of fats.
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Score few slits on the meat side with a knife, for about 2 - 3 cm deep into the meat.
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For the seasoning: 2 pieces of red fermented beancurd (Nam Yue), 1 tbsp oyster sauce, 1 tsp dark soy sauce, 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine 1 tbsp fine salt, 1/2 tbsp five spices powder, 1 tsp pepper, 1 tsp MSG (optional) and 1/2 tsp caster sugar. Rub the seasoning onto the meat and in the slit.
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Place the pork belly on a plate with skin side up and chill in the fridge (meat compartment) for 2 - 3 days until the pig's skin is dry.
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This was how it looks like after 3 days inside the meat compartment. Yes, this dish needs preparation at least 2 days in advance. I marinade mine on Sunday and roast it for dinner tonite.
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Prepare a roasting pan, add in some water, then put the pork belly with skin side up on a roasting wire rack. Cover the skin with some salt and roast in a preheated oven at 250 degree Celcius for 20 minutes. Remove the pork from oven when bubbles appear on the skin and sides. Remove salt from skin and return the pork belly into the oven and continue roasting it for further 20 mins until skin crispy and golden in colour. Do note that you might need to lower the temperate although the recipe says to maintain at 250 degree Celcius as I find out mine burnt rather quickly. Then again, it also differs from one oven to another.

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Once cooked, leave it to cool, cut into pieces, snap some photos and what else? ATTACK!!!!!
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Another shot of my Crispy Skin Roasted Pork..crunch crunch crunch!!!
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I am so satisfied with my achievement and I am now even more determined to try the 3rd recipe...Roasted Chicken! Wish me luck!

Monday, April 28, 2008

TESTING TESTING!!

It's feeding time!!! This was what I managed to capture the moment I put my new camera into the water.
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Everyone around me seems to be upgrading their camera to DSLR whereas I am still fumbling with the functions of my point-and-shoot camera. I have no intention to replace my camera as it was only a year old and functioning well, so there are no excuses for me to change it at all although I have been eyeing on one for the past couple of weeks. The camera that captured my eyes is the latest model; Olympus µ[mju:] 850 SW which is waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof. It comes in 4 vibrant colours too; shocking pink, bright yellow, sweet baby blue and cool black. For those who know me well, am sure you will know which colour I would like, right? Since we were at Pavillion last Saturday, I knew it was the best chance for me to try out my camera underwater.

It was my second visits to Foot Spa, the first time was pretty unbearable as it took me a long time to get over nibbling fishes. This time round, I was too busy with my camera, hence I don't feel a thing at all.
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A photo of my curious-looking neighbour's feet.
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This was taken with flash!
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Lastly, a photo of my lionhead. If not mistaken, this is Tai Kam (Big Gold).
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So I guess now is the time to arrange for a snorkeling trip!!! Hooray!!!


Thursday, April 24, 2008

HERBAL ROASTED DUCK

Walking pass a newsstand one day, I spotted this locally published cookbook entitled "Delicacies of ChinaTown". Flipping through the first few pages, to my dismay, the introductory write-ups on those delicacies such as "Sei Ngan Jai Roasted Duck", "Koon Kei Wantan Noodles", "Hon Kee Congee" and etc. were all written in Chinese. I would have placed the book back to the display shelf if I hadn't flip further...whereby to my delight, the recipes are in both English and Chinese!

I just love new cookbook and usually I will spend the next few days studying the recipes and drooling over the pictures...and finally it will ended up sitting nicely on my bookshelf collecting dust! But this time, I was very determined to try some of the recipes as I need to brush up my cooking skills otherwise I would have nothing to serve my guests should I host a party. Everything looks good in the cookbook and since I was so indecisive, I decided to choose the first recipe of the book which turns out to be Herbal Roasted Duck.

This is my first time cooking a duck, hence I have no idea how much it would cost for a fresh duck. But I definitely would not expect it to cost a whopping RM29. Gosh..the roast duck seller just a few stalls away is selling a whole roasted duck for only RM34!!! Anyway, I told myself, it is the end result that is 'priceless'. Anyway, first of all, rinse the duck and drain well. A word of advice though, please choose a duck that doesn't stare at you throughout the whole cooking process.
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For the marinade ingredients; 5 pieces of Angelica Roots/Dang Gui, 5 star anises, 1 tsp five spice powder, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, 1/2 tbsp of Angelica Roots powder/Dang Gui Fen, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp sugar. Personally I felt 1 tsp of salt is not enough so I would suggest to double the portion.
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Flatten about 4 pieces of shallots and mix all the ingredients above with 1 tbsp of Shaoxing wine. Put the marinade into the cavity of the duck and give it a good rub.
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Using a bamboo skewer, seal the opening properly to ensure the marinade doesn't seep out.
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The duck then need a good bath and the ingredients needed for the bath are: 1 tbsp of malt sugar, 200ml Chinese rice vinegar, 500ml water and a few drops of red food colouring. Bring the bath water to a boil and bath the duck for 5 minutes. I hooked the duck at the neck so that it is easier to bath the body. The presence of a male or someone stronger than you while bathing the duck is HIGHLY recommended as the duck becomes heavier as you bath it and not to forget, the heat of the boiling water!! *Almost cried at this point in time when dad came to the rescue, hence it allows me to snap a photo of it*
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After a nice warm bath, the duck is ready for a good sunbath. Hang up the duck and basked it under the hot sun for few hours. You must be wondering why my duck is in pink. I used only 2 drops of the red food colouring, hence the lighter shade of red aka pink. I love pink..sweet or not? Now, I received feedback from Boolicious as well as my brother-in-law that the duck should be air-dried either leaving it overnight or under a fan. My bro-in-law was particular in doubt on the freshness of the duck after hours of basking in the Malaysian hot sun.
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To tan it further, roast the duck in a preheated oven at 200 degree Celcius for approximately 45 minutes or until cooked. Remove the duck and then hang up and bath it with hot oil over the skin until golden in colour and crispy. I find this process is the most difficult to deal with as the duck was really heavy and the hot oil...well..very very hot! I didn't bath it in the oil for too long since it drained out my energy within the first 20 seconds. For your information, i suffered from sore arm the next day.
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Lastly, chop it into pieces and serve immediately. Thanks to my dad who volunteer to chop it for me.
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I wasn't too happy with the end result. The recipe which requires only 1tsb of salt for a duck is definitely not enough. Hence, it tasted rather bland. The meat was juicy and soft. The duck skin was acceptable as certain parts were crisy and some were not, well, due to my fault as I gave up bathing it with hot oil too soon. And the day I made the duck, it was cloudy the whole day, so it probably didn't dry very well.
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My in-laws and nieces were around for dinner and everyone gave a thumbs up for the duck while I was sulking throughout the dinner. I thought they were just being encouraging but they finished the whole duck! Hmm...I won't give up that easily as I will surely make it again...soon I hope *before the cookbook ended up on the bookshelf*.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

HK Day 2 (Dinner) - Fung Shing Restaurant 鳳城酒家

In terms of food, I got to say that this trip was indeed a very satisfying and fruitful one as I get to try a number of big and established restaurants in Hong Kong. Our dinner with bro-in-law's relatives turned out to be at one of the outlets of Fung Shing Group in which specializes on Shunde cuisine. His relatives must be a regular of this restaurant as I can see his aunt happily chatting with the Captain, and of course she took charge in ordering our dinner. The outlet we went to is situated at Tsim Sha Tsui. Although it was quite huge as it occupies two shop lots, again I felt claustrophobic as they try to maximize the space but putting in way too many tables. Don't blame them as this place seems popular and it was full house the night we were there. With such huge crowd, do expect the place to be noisy, even noisier than the wet market. For appetizer, I didn't expect to be served with roasted goose which I think people would normally serve as a main dish. Of course I didn't mind at all and in fact, I was jumping with joy as I was starving at that time. The goose was meaty and juicy while I would prefer to skin to be slightly more crispy. It was tasty nonetheless. Much better than the version I had in Tai Hing but of course, nothing beats my all-time-favourite Yung Kee!
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Soup was served next and I was quite, ahem, surprised when I saw a bowl of starchy-based egg soup placed in front of us. It has got bits of creamed corn inside and it reminded me of my student days back in Melbourne as Chicken Corn Soup on Rice was a big hit for those on budget. The soup was pretty alright but I would certainly prefer traditional Chinese clear-based soup.
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I find the Sweet and Sour Pork was pretty good. The pork was lightly batter and coated well with the shiny reddish sauce. Sweet, tangy, lightly salted and a hint of chilli sauce, PERFECT!
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I am totally fascinated with the next dish, a very traditional Shunde dish called Stir-fry Milk that was served on a plate like a white hill sprinkled with pine nuts.
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The texture was extremely smooth and milky rich. To be honest, I didn't quite like this dish as it tasted funny and it doesn't go well with rice at all. I find the fragrant of the milk a bit too overpowering for a dish meant to be salty. Just as well, I restricted myself to just a soup spoon since I am lactose intolerant. Nevertheless, am glad that I had a chance trying such classic dish.

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I helped myself to two servings of the pan fried minced pork cutlets with lotus roots. It was a perfect combination and absolutely wonderful dish that can easily replicate at home.
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The "CRISPY" Roast Chicken was probably the best dish for Hubby that night. The skin was really crispy, perhaps it should be renamed as chicken skin cracker. Chicken was flavourful, moist and tender.

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I was stuffed when a huge Claypot of Soupy Dace Fish Paste was served. It looked exactly like Salted Veggie Tofu Soup! I don't think I gave this dish a try since I can't recall at all how it tasted. I have checked with Hubby and his answer was "so-so". 12

Big grin on my face when bro-in-law ordered Snowpea Sprouts cooked with 3 kind of eggs; chicken egg, salted egg and century egg. Am totally in love with Snowpea sprouts
(my dog's name has got nothing to do with my passion for this veggie, it was just a coincident) as it's a rare find in KL. This dish didn't meet my expectation as I have tasted better versions before, but I still enjoyed it nonetheless. Just think that it would be perfect to have it stir-fry with garlic; simple and nice!
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Another veggie that I love most is the Kai Lan (Chinese broccoli) BUT it has got to be the Hong Kong version in which is generally shorter, tinier leaves with flower heads and most important thick crunchy stem. We had it stir-fry with garlic and it was done perfectly. Just look at the colour...BRIGHT GREEN and it was crunchy and sweet! Everyone was full by the time it was served so it was only bro-in-law and I happily munching away. Psst..don't you find veggie tastes so good when you are overloaded with too much meat dishes? 14

We waited almost 30 minutes (it could be more than that) for dessert to be served. Bro-in-law's aunt told us that their Baked Sago Custard Pudding is their specialty and a must try item. I was convinced as I saw dish after dish of the pudding being served to other tables. We were quite annoyed with the long wait and decided to cancel our order and as expectedly, they kept assuring us that our order is on the way. It finally came and I was truly disappointed. Apart from the aromatic burnt layer that I enjoyed, the pudding tasted bland and not sweet at all. I politely swallowed my portion and later found out that my sis, dad and hubby didn't like it at all too!
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The total bill including tea, rice and tax came up to HKD1218 (~RM500) for the 9 of us. Although there are some hits and misses here and there, I find the price pretty reasonable for having such meal in Hong Kong. Probably that explains the huge crowd of locals patronising this place.
You can check out the address of all the other outlets here.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

MY BIRTHDAY.....by SnowPea

I woke up this morning barking mad as usual, hoping to get JiehJieh out of her slumberland...cos it's toilet time for me. JiehJieh came down but she didn't scold me as I expected. Instead she gave me a BIG cuddle, followed by kisses and my favourite tummy rub. JiehJieh told me that I am 5 today. GorGor and BahBah also wished me Happy Birthday..I think today is really a special day for me..."Woof"!
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During dinner, my JiehJieh cooked me a big fat juicy drumstick. I noticed that my drumstick was twice the size of Pumpkin's share....arf arf arf arf arf (neh neh neh neh neh)!

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After my yummy bowl of chicken rice, JiehJieh took out a small muffin with a candle on top. Now I remember....JiehJieh always buy me a muffin once every year. But JiehJieh said, this year no toys as present as that notti brat always snatch it away before I even get to sniff at it. So JiehJieh got me some treats instead. *Wag wag wag*
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I am so full. Need to take a nap now. Till my next birthday...ArfArf (Byebye)!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

HK Day 2 (Teatime) - Honeymoon Dessert (滿記甜品)

Following our lunch at Tin Hau, bro-in-law made a dinner appointment with his aunt who lives in Causeway Bay, a station away from Tin Hau. Hence, it would be more economical to spend the rest of the afternoon hanging around that area as it would be costly to go back to our hotel in Kowloon and then to come back again to Hong Kong island for dinner (The fare is expensive when we have to cross the sea to get to the other side of the island). Having stayed in one of the hotels in Causeway Bay before, I am totally in love with this place which is one of the best place to shop in Hong Kong, and ohh..not forgetting many good food to offer too! The other thing that I am amazed with Causeway Bay is the crowd. A place that perfectly matches the famous Chinese proverb "People Mountain People Sea" (人山人海) which literally means a big crowd of people filling up the mountain and the sea. I am totally fascinated observing the crowd crossing into each other's path whenever the traffic light for pedestrian turns green. It reminded me of marathon. Only that this marathon is going at all directions; left, right, front and back! I took a few photos of the crowd to share it with you here:
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Three more hours to go before dinner and we were already aching from the continuous walk since morning. We decided to find a place to rest; a place where we could order drinks and sit comfortably for an hour. Normal dessert shops were out of question as it is usually crowded, cramped and with a long queue outside. We definitely do not want unwelcome stares for hogging their seats. Coffee joints too were packed with shoppers as tired as we were. Suddenly I thought of World Trade Centre, a place I used to love cos their Esprit outlet was HUGE back then. Leading the entourage, I brought my family there as the place is much more spacious and less crowded as well. We ended up at Honeymoon Dessert located on the fourth floor.

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We were not hungry nor thirsty as we just needed a place to rest our feet. So I shared a bowl of Grass Jelly in Watermelon Juice. The bowl was frothy and I was quite turned off with the presentation. It wasn't too bad once I put it into my mouth especially the chewy grass jelly cubes. Cool and refreshing
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My dad's reaction towards Ginkgo is identical to Hubby's reaction towards beef noodle; A MUST ORDER! Bro-in-law ordered the same too...a bowl of Fu Chuk Bak Gor Tong Sui (Ginkgo with Soya Bean Sheet) served warm. The soya bean sheets were boiled till fully dissolved, hence it tasted like soya bean drink. Very fragrant and smooth, I liked it as well.
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Meanwhile, sis ordered a serving of Mango Pancake. She took a bite and passed the rest to me to finish off while she kept saying how good it was. Now it got me wonder..(a) if the pancake really that good and want me to have the rest cos she loves me a lot? or (b) the pancake was not nice at all and so shoved it all to me? or (c) she was just too full to have another bite? Whatever the reason I know the answer is either (a) or (c). To be honest, I have not tested many mango pancakes before as I am not a fan of fresh cream. To rate this one, I find the skin was thin and soft which is good, while the big chunk of mango was sweet and fiberless. Hubby took a bite and gave an approval nod...so I shall conclude, it was good!!

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Honeymoon Dessert have dozens of branches all over Hong Kong and yes, they are as popular as Hui Lau Shan. I am not sure the location of all the outlets but if you happened to be around Causeway Bay looking for dessert and most importantly, a place to rest...then this is the place to be!


Address: Shop P421-423 Podium 4 World Trade Centre, 280 Gloucester Road,Causeway Bay

Business Hours: Open Daily 11am-11pm

Transportation: Causeway Bay MTR Station Exit D1

COMING UP NEXT: THE MOST EXPENSIVE MEAL OF THE TRIP!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

HK Day 2 (Lunch) - TAI LEE BEEF BRISKET

After the satisfying dim sum breakfast, we proceeded with our plan to have seafood lunch at Lamma Island. While we were walking to the nearest MTR station to catch a train to the ferry terminal, we were distracted a couple of times by our second passion; SHOPPING! All the shops were opened since it was almost noon. Within 10 minutes, I was holding two shopping bags containing 3 bottles of perfume, a roller brush and a gadget to get rid of dogs fur.

We got carried away with the shopping and since it would be quite late by the time we reach Lamma Island, and also pitying my sis (and I) who would like to have more shopping time instead, bro-in-law decided to call the plan off. To compensate for the change in plan, we followed Hubby's friend recommendation instead; Clear Beef Brisket Noodle at Tin Hau. According to his friend, he said that this place is a must go as it serves excellent beef brisket.

We discovered that there are two shops side-by-side offering beef noodle in which the queue was equally long! The one recommended by Hubby's friend is called "Tai Lee Clear Brisket Soup" whereas the next door is called "Wah Jie or Sister Wah". While queuing, I spotted some write-ups about this place in Chinese and Japanese.
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My immediate reaction was "Let's try Tai Lee and then hop over next door to Wah Jie" and they actually have the same thought in mind too! From the outside, the shop looked big and spacious but in actual fact, it was narrow and cramp. There are not more than 10 tables and sharing table seems to be a norm here. We have to wait a little longer for a bigger table to fit 6 of us, in actual fact, the table can only accommodate 4. Once seated, practically you can feel your back touching the back of another diner seated behind you. Yes, that is how cramp it is.
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The wonderful beefy aroma coming from the beef brisket and radish fills the air, now I wonder if that is a sign of lack of ventilation, but whatever it is I just LOVE it! All of us had a bowl of the famous clear beef brisket soup. My bowl of egg noodle came with generous amount of tender brisket and beef stomach. While the texture of the noodle, brisket and stomach was excellent, the soup however was not as good as I expected it to be. It was sweet yet not rich and beefy enough. I would still rate the unforgettable beef noodle I had in Bangkok the best!
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As for my nephew, my bro-in-law ordered a bowl of noodle with seaweed and assorted meatball; cuttlefish, fish and beef. According to my sis, the cuttlefish balls were really good. Now, how come I didn't get a bite?
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I am really upset now as I discovered I did not take a picture of my favourite dish at this place. It was a bowl of radish which was cooked in the beef broth till it absorbs all the flavour. Yummy!

We were really stuffed (no kidding) after this meal so we didn't hop over to the next shop as planned earlier. I wouldn't say that this place is highly recommended but if you happen to be around that area, why not?

Tai Lee Beef Brisket is located at:
Address: 15 Electric Road, Tin Hau, Hong Kong
Operating Hours: 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Direction: MTR to Tin Hau Station. Take A2 exit and walk towards Electric Road

 

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