Two months ago, we had a small CNY pot-luck reunion with some closed friends.  The pot-luck was decided at the eleventh hour as we had planned to dine at a restaurant, hoping for a larger turnout. Since most of the invited friends had scheduled prior appointments with their families and friends for separate reunions, the planned quorum dwindled further. 

 

Then one of the girls suggested meeting up for a simple pot-luck reunion at her house. The rest of us were thrilled because the lady-of-the-house is a fantastic cook and I kid you not! Not only that, she is a Jane of all trades and ‘master’ of all, which completely defies the figure of speech, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” 

  

 

As you  can see from the photo collage, we were well fed with simple, purely homemade yet fantastically delicious dishes!  The lady-of-the-house made the absolutely delicious Yee Sang (Prosperity Toss) and tasty Pan Mee (with noodles she made from scratch!).  She also baked a flawless pandan chiffon cake, almond/ cashew cookies, chocolate mousse and kueh sepit (not in photo).  I brought my signature dish, Ngo Hiang.  My friends, X, brought a meringue cake and C brought a bowl of minced mix ingredients and a packet of frozen gyoza wrappers or gyoza skins.

 

It was the last item that ‘pushed’ me to write this post. Thanks, C for “reminding” me ;-)

 

By the way, it was a good thing that C did not bring pre-wrapped gyoza‘s.  That way, we all had the opportunity to learn first hand crimping of the gyoza’s from … who else? The lady-of-the-house herself!

  

 

Not the First and Definitely not the Last

 

This was not the first time I have cooked a dish that turned out into something else quite differently but completely edible, like so …

  

 

Making yaki gyoza or guo tie or wo tieh or potstickers has been at the back of my mind for a long, long time. The origin of this dish is Chinese. In China, they are called jiaozi.  The Japanese word gyōza indicates that the word is of non-Japanese origin and was derived from the Shandong Chinese dialect giaozi. There’s 2-in-1-method of cooking gyoza. First they are shallow fried with a small amount of sesame oil in a hot pan or wok until  brown crusts appear on the flat base, and then a small amount of water (or cornstarch mixture) is poured over the dumplings, with the pan or wok covered. The liquid helps to steam the dumplings, creating a texture contrast of the thin crispy bottom and soft and juicy upper part, typical of Chinese cuisine.

 

Why I chose to use the word gyoza is because the ingredients I used as filling were more Japanese than Chinese.  I’m also referring to them as  potstickers, because it’s an English word and a lot easier to pronounce.  Anyway, “pot stick” is the literal translation from the Chinese word guōtiē.

 

Grievous Mistake 

 

I have made a calamitous error when purchasing the gyoza skins or wrappers. I knew the wrappers should be round and not square.  The square ones are used for making Wonton. Without reading the label, I placed the round dumpling wrappers in my shopping basket.  I was a happy bunny that day. 


Finally


I’m gonna make potstickers!! Yay!  


My sons were looking forward to the tasty finger food.  They were thrilled and couldn’t wait for the end result!

 

BUT wait a sec … there’s a difference in the thickness of the wrappers! Gyoza skins are generally thicker than the delicate wonton skins, hence, making them more suitable for frying.  It was a shame I bought the thinner and delicate dumpling skins used for wrapping sio bee or siu mai (popularly served at dim sum restaurants).

  

 

Hmmmm….. I had already marinated a bowl of minced filling for the gyoza.  There was no turning back.  The show must go on!

 

Splashing Plan B !

 

With the flopped original plan of making gyoza or potstickers, I told my clearly disappointed looking boys that there was not going to be any dry finger-food-type gyoza but a wet and soupy dumpling soup! If only you had seen their faces and heard their remarks …

 

I told myself that if the Potstickers won’t stick then I had to transform the dish into something equally appetising, hence, Plan B was put into action :-)

 

Yup, a splashing runny dumpling soup!

   

 

Ingredients –

  • 300g minced chicken
  • Napa cabbage, thinly shredded
  • 1/2 Leek, finely diced (or 2-3 spring onions)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cm Ginger, finely grated
  • 1/2 Carrot, grated
  • 5 cm Daikon, grated
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp sushi and sashimi soy sauce
  • 2 tsp Thai spicy fish powder ( in lieu of bonito powder)
  • 1 Tbsp Shaoxing wine ( in lieu of mirin)
  • 1 Tbsp corn flour
  • Freshly milled white pepper
  • Salt, to taste

1 packet (250g) Round dumpling skins

For the broth

  • 1 big carrot, washed and cut in very thin rounds
  • 2 stalks celery, washed and remove stringy outer layer
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, bruised
  • 3 cm ginger, bruised
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 red chilli (optional)
  • Sesame oil
  • Shaoxing wine
  • Dried Coriander (I did not have fresh coriander that day)
  • 1/2 a chicken stock cube
  • Coarse Sea Salt to taste 
  • Freshly milled white pepper to taste 
  • 1.7L Water, boiled in electric kettle
  • Water, boiled for cooking the dumplings 

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients together and refrigerate for at least one hour 
  2. Remove the minced mix at least 15 to 30 mins before starting to wrap the dumplings
  3. In a soup pot, throw in the cut carrots, celery, 2 cloves garlic, ginger, lemongrass, coriander and chilli. Pour in the boiling water into the pot.  At this point, you can smell the fragrance and aroma of the herbs and vegetables whiffing past your nostrils
  4. Season the broth with sesame oil, Shaoxing wine, salt and white pepper
  5. Cook the broth further until boiled 
  6. In another pot, boil enough water to cook the dumplings per serving. Note: this water is NOT the broth for consumption, but just to cook through the dumplings separately.
  7. Ready to serve.  Place 8 to 10 pieces of dumplings in the hot water. The dumplings are cooked when they start floating to the surface. Scoop the dumplings, removing as much water as possible to a serving bowl. Then scoop the broth picking up some carrots, celery, chillies and coriander and transfer to the serving bowl.

Et voila!

 

Verdict: Without a word said, my boys slurped their bowls of  dumpling soup clean. I think that’s translated as “Thumbs UP” :-)

Be warned, though, of the spicy filling (spicy fish powder) and the extra chilli in the broth. The extra garlicky flavour differentiates the Gyoza soup with a twist from the milder wonton soup. I will definitely make these again ;-)

I’m linking this post to Little Thumbs Up April event “CHICKEN“, organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of my little favourite DIY, and hosted by Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe 

 



Have a great weekend!

Cheers!

I first ate this dish in one of our frequent summer breaks to the Provence (South-East France).  My family loves garlic, hence, a dish called “poulet à l’ail” (garlic chicken) on the menu card would not shrug us off in any way, however, we learnt that it was not just another garlic chicken dish.  We were stunned when the waiter told us “Beaucoup d’ail sont allés dans ce plat de poulet” or lots of garlic went into this chicken (dish). Then I recalled of the renowned recipe called “Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic“.  The waiter just winked back at me.

 

Damn, it was brilliant! And I am not kidding.

 

Reliving Provence in Belgium ?

 

I tried to find the origin of the dish. It’s rather obscure, if you ask me.  I double checked with a French colleague who hailed from Marseille and he confirmed the method of cooking the chicken is very Provençal, id est with the fresh herbs, generous amount of garlic, cooking wine and the slow oven-roasting technique by using the extra-heavy cast iron casserole dish or “French oven” or “Dutch oven”.

 

On the other hand, this same dish is ubiquitous to the French-speaking Canadian of Québec while the Americans know this garlicky chicken dish from The Stinking Rose restaurant in San Francisco. The resto has a catchy motto which goes like this, “We Season Our Garlic With Food“. Cool!

 

Wherever the origin of the dish may have come from, I have a gut feeling that it’s a Medieval dish.  Just visualise the poultry cooked in lots and lots of garlic and herbs in a heavy cast iron cauldron suspended above hot charcoals or open fire.  Erm… to shoo away the vampires, perhaps? Ha ha …

 

40 cloves of garlic sounds dangerously lethal, but trust me the slow-cooking mellows the pungent smell of the once raw garlic taste into something very sweet, creamy and buttery-mild paste. This is a very rustic dish, a comfort dish that can be consumed all-year round with the family sitting together at the dining table.

 

And here’s my creation of  THE One Chicken and 40 Cloves of Garlic!

 

  

 

 

There are several ways of preparing this dish.  I’ve experimented and fiddled my way through the many occasions I have cooked this “garlicky” chicken and I found the one I made with the herb-spice-butter mix rub the best.  There’s no need to brown or sear the meat prior to baking it.  The chicken will brown nicely once placed in a pre-heated oven at 230 – 250 deg Celsius for the first 30 minutes or so, uncovered and then slow-roasting the chicken for another hour at 160 deg Celsius, covered. Then again the temperature of the oven depends on the type of oven you own.

 

By the way, the authentic way of cooking this dish is using an earthenware pot, with its lid sealed with a a paste made of flour and water to retain the moisture. The chicken becomes juicy and beautifully tender during the slow cooking in the oven.  I don’t have an earthenware dish, but an enameled cast iron casserole dish (similar to Le Creuset but of a humbler brand)


The original recipe was based on a French cookbook which was at my disposal (for reading and trying out the Provençal cuisine) during one of our summer trips to the Provence.  The cookbook was tucked neatly on the kitchen shelf in our rented cottage.  By the way, all the recipes were in French. I could not recall the title of the cookbook because I was trying to memorise the ingredients of the “poulet aux 40 gousses d’ail”. 


Fortunately, the ingredients used were simple to find and the cooking method was quite straightforward. 


Ingredients –

 

  • 1 whole chicken ( I used Val Dieu chicken, 1.7 kg)
  • A bunch of fresh rosemary (yes FRESH, please!)
  • A bunch of fresh thyme (there you go, FRESH again! )
  • 3 whole knobs of garlic (circa 40 cloves)
  • 1 drinking glass White wine plus 2 Tbsp (I used blends of Semillon and Chardonnay. Note:  this is optional. You may use chicken broth or just water) 

Herb-Spice-Butter Mix  (own method)

  • 40g cold butter
  • Fleur de sel (I strongly recommend to use this salt instead of the common table salt. I bought this moist hand-harvested sea salt in Camargue Note: Fleur de sel or Flower of salt has more mineral complexity than common table salt. Another alternative is coarse sea salt )
  • Black peppercorns
  • Dried Persillade (which I bought at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence)

  

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven 
  2. Use a pestle and mortar to grind the black peppercorns, fleur de sel and Persillade before mixing them in the butter to form a herb-spice- butter mix
  3. Rub the herb-spice-butter mix all over the chicken and inside the cavity.
  4. Tuck in a third each of the fresh herbs and about 10 cloves of garlic inside the cavity of the chicken.
  5. Prepare a bed of herbs with the remaining Rosemary and Thyme and some cloves of garlic in an ovenproof dish and rest the herb-spice-butter rubbed chicken on this glorious bed.
  6. Use the rest of the garlic cloves and sprinkle them nonchalantly around the chicken
  7. Add 2 Tbsp white wine in the casserole dish
  8. Roast with the lid open between 20 – 30 minutes
  9. Lower the oven temperature and add the glass of white wine. Close the lid of the casserole dish and continue slow-roasting the chicken for 1 hour.
  10. Remove the chicken to a clean serving plate and keep it warm.
  11. What’s left in the casserole dish makes a deliciously sweet and fragrant sauce. For this, use your imagination ;-)

And that’s it!

This was probably one of the tastiest chicken dishes I have made and not only that, it was so simple to cook.   

   


I’m linking this post to Little Thumbs Up April event “CHICKEN“, organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of my little favourite DIY, and hosted by Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe 

 

Because I have used Rosemary, Thyme and Persillade, I’m linking this post to Lavender and Lovage’s Cooking with Herbs April Linky

 



This post is also linked to Tasty Tuesdays @ HonestMum


  



Have a wonderful weekend!


Cheers!

 

 

Either you like it or you LOVE it! I don’t think I’ve met anyone who does not like Chicken Satay, unless you’re a vegetarian or a vegan ;-)

 

This meat on skewer snack makes one of the best, tastiest and fast moving pot-luck platters loved by every carnivore from 2 to 92!  Chicken or Beef Satays are popular dishes at Malay ‘kenduri‘ (feast), and open-houses during the festive seasons. This dish knows no boundaries and appears on the table of a Chinese family at Chinese New Year, a Malay/ Muslim at Hari Raya Aidil Fitri or Eid al-Fitr, a Christian at Christmas, an Indian/ Hindu at Deepavali, native Sarawakian at Hari Gawai and native Sabahan at Pesta Kaamatan (Harvest Festival). It’s a dish that unites the people of Malaysia! Satays are sold in every strata of the society from roadside hawker stall to high end hotel restaurants.

 

My husband and both my sons LOVE their skewered meat. It’s sweet, tasty and simply delicious on its own but doubly addictive, smothered with peanut sauce!  It has been a while since I made this dish and I thought of treating the guys to another feast of chicken satay *wink*

  

 

Labour of Love

 

It takes only seconds to nibble the skewered meat down one’s throat, but it takes a LOT of preparation and a LONG time waiting for the end result. I call it “labour of love”. That accounts to the infrequent investment of time in making the dish at home, especially so when I’m the one and only chef in the kitchen :-(

 

The labour begins with the chopping of the fresh herbs and spices and blend them, one for the meat marinade and another batch for the peanut sauce.  The sliced meat needs to be marinated overnight, hence, a waiting time of 12 hours or more.  The peanut sauce takes at least 2-3 hours to cook to the right taste and consistency.  It’s hard work if done alone and I’m glad I had 3 pairs of thumbs UP, otherwise, I’d go on strike. LOL!

  

 

To Bake or to Grill?

 

Authentic satays are sold, grilled over hot charcoals, dabbed with cooking oil and coconut milk using a stalk of lemongrass, bruised at the fatter end of the stalk, like a paint brush. The taste and aroma of the slightly charred meat is to die for.  

 

My first chicken satay made in Belgium were oven-baked, and the most recent ones were home-grilled using an electric Grill-teppanyaki hot plate, which I got as a gift from work. It’s so easy, but you need to make sure that the kitchen extractor is on at full blast and the windows are opened!  It can be a rather smoky affair :-)


But the result was worth it!

  

 

Main Item (for the satay) –

  • 1 kg chicken meat (I used 5 pieces chicken breasts)

Marinade ingredients-

For blending

  • 9 shallots
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 lemongrass
  • 4 candle nuts 
  • Fresh ginger
  • Fresh turmeric

Dry ingredients to be added to blended ingredients-

  • 1/2 Tbsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 Tbsp cinnamon powder
  • Brown sugar and salt, to taste

Marinade chicken overnight.

  1.     

Peanut Sauce

Ingredients

  • 400g roasted peanuts
  • Fresh ginger
  • Fresh turmeric
  • Galangal
  • 4 Lemongrass 
  • 20g dried shrimps in lieu of belacan
  • 4 candle nuts 
  • 12 dried chillies
  • 3 fresh chillies
  • 9 shallots
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, ground 
  • Tamarind paste
  • Cumin powder
  • Coriander powder
  • Brown sugar, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Water
  • Cooking oil 

   

   

I prefer to have lots of peanuts in my peanut sauce, hence, you will notice that the end result of my peanut sauce is a lot thicker than the ones you get at  the satay stalls or restaurants in Malaysia. Well, nothing beats home-cooked food wherever you may be ;-) 

If you have an allergy for peanuts, try cashew nuts or any other nuts of your choice. I’m sure they work as well. 

!! Warning !! Please be warned when using candlenuts.  According to Wikipedia, the seeds contain saponin and phorbol, that are mildly toxic when raw.

The rule of thumb as follows-

  1. If making uncooked sambal, it is absolutely a must to toast / dry roast the candlenuts before blending them with the rest of the herbs and spices
  2. If you are making a paste which includes candlenuts as one of the ingredients, make sure to stir-fry the paste absolutely well before preparing your desired dish.

And by the way, the chicken satay freezes well too. 

I’m linking this post to Little Thumbs Up April event “CHICKEN“, organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of my little favourite DIY, and hosted by Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe 

 


This post is also linked to HonestMum @ Tasty Tuesdays live.

 


I’m also linking this tasty chicken satay dish with its absolutely delicious peanut sauce to Lavender and Lovage’s Cooking with Herbs April Linky

 


Cheers!

I wanted one whole chicken, but hubby came back with 8 pieces of chicken breasts! 

 

I was planning to try out my new Philips Multi Cooker (PMC) by cooking the entire bird in there, after Miss B from EEWIF showed me a photo of her cooked bird in her PMC not too long ago. Hmmm… yummy! 

 

With 8 chicken breasts, it’s another story.  I definitely had to put on my thinking cap and think of Plan B. So I ended up making this in my Philips Multi Cooker😄

  

 

Just one of my Kitchen Gadgets …

 

The PMC was one of my latest additions of kitchen gadgets.  I had wanted to buy a new Rice Cooker to kinda  “replace” my 20-year old National Rice Cooker.  It’s not that my “grand dame” was not working. On the contrary.  She’s been fighting tooth and nail, winning every battle by providing us with nicely cooked rice and porridge and cakes! The new RC was thought of under the condition of “what if..”

 

I bought my PMC during the Big Sale month of January this year, by the way. Miss B already bought hers in December. It’s good to have someone giving a review for the same product. Thanks, Miss B for “pushing” me into buying this new toy.  Ha ha …

 

I’m glad the PMC came with a recipe book in 2 languages (Dutch and French).  I was turning the pages looking for a chicken recipe.  There were a few – chicken curry, chicken tagine, basque chicken, however, the one that caught my eye was chicken legs with honey and soy sauce.  I did not follow the recipe completely as there were too few ingredients used; only 4. I wanted more flavours which I’m used to in my cooking, however, what I was interested in was the method of cooking the chicken with the PMC. To me, the steps are more important than the ingredients that went in the chicken. Well, that’s just me 😜


The following are the ingredients I used a lot in my kitchen, not necessarily the same, but ingredients that are available in my kitchen pantry, hence it can be any “mystery” item😄


Main item

8 pieces chicken breast meat

Marinade ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp Sushi & Sashimi Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp runny honey (I used Borneo Wild Honey)
  • 1 Tbsp ABC Kecap Manis (dark sweet soy)
  • 1 Tbsp Shaohsing wine
  • 1 fat clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon grass, minced
  • 3 cm piece ginger, finely grated
  • Fresh coriander leaves and stems, finely chopped
  • Freshly-milled White pepper
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes 
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil 

 Steps

  • In a clean bowl, prepare the marinade, mixing all the ingredients together (see marinade ingredients)

  

  •  In a large bowl, coat the chicken breast meat with olive oil. 
  • Select the Bake/ Fry function. Pan-fry 3 pieces of chicken meat at a time to seal and brown lightly for 1 minute each side. Transfer to a plate.  Continue with the rest until the entire batch is done. Select the Off/Keep Warm function.

  

  • Coat the chicken meat with the marinade and immediately transfer to the cooking bowl of the PMC. Select the Slow-Cook function and pre-set the timer to 35 minutes.
  • After 35 minutes, make a cornflour mixture to thicken the gravy. Slow-cook for another 20 minutes. 
  • Garnish with torn fresh coriander leaves and white sesame seeds

  

Verdict: The chicken was tender and succulent, not dry, which I liked. I was amazed that the chicken browned really nicely with the Bake/ Fry function. The sauce turned out rather thin despite the cornflour mixture. Overall, it was a tasty chicken. 

I will cook this again, but improving as I go along😉

I’m linking this post to Little Thumbs Up April event “CHICKEN“, organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of my little favourite DIY, and hosted by Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe 

 

This post is also linked to HonestMum @ Tasty Tuesdays live.

 

I’m also linking this special slow-cooked chicken to Lavender and Lovage’s Cooking with Herbs April Linky

 



Happy Easter everyone!

I’m glad to see the sun shining outside as I write this post😄

Have a great week!

Cheers!

It’s not a big store, but big enough to store the most basic and fast moving inventories. I used to buy my Asian products at the family-run store and I appreciated the many advices I got from the owner.  I have written briefly about this friendly Chinese lady at this post : A Very Special Mapo Tofu.

 

It must be due to health reason that she has stopped operating the convenient store. I sensed she had undergone a facial stroke as her face was partially contorted and she limped quite badly. I have neither heard nor seen her since her shop was bought over by a young couple some 3 years ago. When I went back to the store, it’s not the same anymore.  I noticed there are more “kiddy-like” and less healthy stuffs, like instant noodles, sweets, cookies, instant sauces etc.  There are not many choices in the deep freezer section either. Quite sad, really.

 

One Healthy Advice

 

Fortunately, before she sold her business, she gave me tips on making healthy broth or tonic soups.  I don’t read Chinese so a first hand advice from someone who excelled in both Chinese and English was tremendously refreshing.

 

In one of my many stopovers to her shop, I was looking for the ingredients or herbs to make a tonic broth. She beckoned me to one of the shelves and showed me a few packages of Chinese herbs.  Erm…. it was all Greek, or rather, Chinese to me.  Ha ha …

 

And by the way, for a first timer, she introduced me to a mix of 7 dried Chinese herbs, which sounded sacred and biblical at the same time – Solomon’s Seal Root, Foxnut, Lily Bulb, Job’s Tear Barley, Lotus Seeds, Longan (dried dragon eye) and Chinese Yam.  These 7 heavenly herbs made up the Chin Po Liang, a very popular all-purpose tonic soup in a Chinese kitchen, particularly, of the Cantonese origin.  The Chin Po Liang is a ‘yin‘ soup as Liang means cooling and Po means tonic or nutritious.

 

I bought 2 different packages. I couldn’t remember what the other one was good for. It must be something similar which is also popular in the Vietnamese kitchen.

  

 

Pork is normally used in the broth, but I chose chicken.  I was told by the friendly “aunty” that if chicken is used instead of pork, then I had to choose a very old chicken.  BUT, where could I get an old hen in the supermarkets in Belgium?!

 

Not easy. I found the first chicken I saw at the poultry meat section at Delhaize. It was not a big bird, which I thought would be just right for my family of 4 people. In Belgium, the chicken is labelled as “soepkip” or translated literally as ‘soup chicken’.

  

 

Ingredients –

  • 1 whole “soepkip” (chicken for making soup), skin removed
  • 1 packet of the 7-herb mix of Chin Po Liang
  • Enough water to cover the chicken 

Oh by the way, I added the 8th “herb”, one carrot.  This is completely optional. I added this for colour and sweetness.

 

NOTE: Chinese tonic soups are usually slow-cooked without any enhancer. No salt, stock cube or pepper. That’s why it’s “chin po” (very nutritious)

 

Method –

  • Rinse the Chin Po Liang herbs with cold water.  Set aside 

  

  • Wash, clean and remove the skin off from the Chicken
  • In a soup pot, add enough water to submerge the chicken
  • Slow-cook the Chicken broth. If cooked in a pot over the stovetop, slow-cook for 2 hours. If cooked in a Slow-Cooker, cook on High for 2 hours plus another 4 hours on Low. You can leave the Slow-Cooker on overnight and enjoy a nutritious mug of goodness the next morning😉

NOTE: The water must be clear looking. Remove any scum floating on the surface of the pot.

  

 

Here’s  how I like my bowl of Chin Po Liang Clear Chicken Broth, without the herbs, as the herbal flavours have infused in the broth from the long hours of slow-cooking.

 

Brilliantly YUMMY!

  


By the way, my Mum calls this “Tun Kay T’ng” ( slow-cooked chicken soup). Mum used to make this kind of soup for my siblings and I when we were younger. We loved it. I still do and I call it chicken soup for the soul because it helps me when I feel a little under the weather. That’s what my GP would advise me as well, “Have plenty of rest and take chicken soup”😄

I have made this tonic broth on several occasions already. It works exceptionally well with frozen chicken as well. The last time I made the soup was with frozen chicken drumsticks.

The soup must be very clear that you can actually see through it. I added some Kei chi (goji berries or wolfberries) for colour and natural sweetness. 
  

  

 

!! WARNING !! This chicken broth is an acquired taste. Remember there was absolutely no enhancer.  By slow-cooking the broth, the flavours develop to one very rich-tasting tonic soup, however, if you simply cannot take a salt-free broth, then by all means, add some salt and pepper with rock sugar to taste.  I promise you it will transform the nourishing tonic soup to another level as well ;-)

 

Transformer

 

I guess that’s my middle name. LoL!

 

I love fiddling around with leftovers.  Anyway, I have to be good at it because the 3 guys in my household do not like to eat the same dish 2 days in a row. I’m glad I work full time by day, otherwise I would run out of ideas cooking different dishes every single day.

 

With the leftover Chin Po Liang Chicken Broth, I added more water and brought the soup to a boil.  I added ginger, spring onion, sesame oil, Shaoxing wine, salt, pepper and a piece of rock sugar to taste. I boiled some spaghetti sticks and served this in a bowl, garnished with char siu, brocolli stir-fry, thinly sliced napa cabbage, prawns and of course, topped with a piece of the leftover chicken.

 

And there you have it! One of the best transformers!

  

 

Enjoy!

 

This post is linked to Little Thumbs Up April event “CHICKEN“, organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of my little favourite DIY, and hosted by Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe 

  

I’m also linking this post to Farmersgirl Kitchen’s Slow Cooked Challenge for the month April 2015

  

 


This post is also linked to HonestMum @ Tasty Tuesdays live.

  


I’m also linking this herbal chicken broth to Lavender and Lovage’s Cooking with Herbs April Linky

  




Have a great week.

 

Cheers!

 

 

 

At the of age of 17, he wrote his first Science book, “Schitterend!” (Brilliant!) about the Universe and the theory of Evolution. He was 18 and the youngest nominee for the Eureka. At age 21, he published his second book, “Fantastisch!” (Fantastic!) on Evolution and Neuroscience. Fantastic! was also nominated for the Eureka. By age 25, he became the author of 3 Science Books and had invented a new food model for his patients to slow down ageing and reduce the risk of ageing-related diseases. This achievement won him the title of ‘Person of the year‘ in his home country, Belgium.

 

Dr Kris Verburgh is the author of one of the most controversial books, “De Voedselzandloper” (The Food Hourglass), which is available in 9 languages.





As you can see on the coverpage of the book, the 2 triangles interlocking at the pointed tips are quick summaries of 2 pyramids (“hourglass”).  One pointing up with its hierarchical strata of foods which we should consume more of and the top half tapering downwards indicating foods we should eat less of. Not many University Professors are in agreement with Dr Verburgh’s theory. As a result, he had to resign from the University he graduated with magna cum laude.

 

I did not buy Dr Kris Verburgh’s “Science” book, but I bought “De Voedselzandloperkookboek” (The Hourglass Cookbook), authored by Pauline Weuring based on the young doctor’s scientific theory of nutrition in slowing down the signs of ageing through what we eat, and losing weight in the process.




 

By the way, there is a catch. According to Dr Verburgh, he says, diets do not work and what does is educating oneself about what to eat with knowledge that is readily available. What we eat determines how fast we age. Basically, discovering thefountain of youth‘ is to avoid the typical diseases of ageing, which is anything from loss of eyesight to heart disease, type II diabetes, cancer or osteoporosis. 

 

Quotes from Kris Verburgh, MD

 

If you want to have the health benefits of healthy food, you have to do it your whole life. Not just for a period of time, but always

 

We can add more than 10 years to our lives if we know what foods to eat and which ones to avoid. That would keep us healthy well into our eighties

 

Ageing is a very complex process. We know that the rate of ageing is influenced by our genes and our environment and more specifically by how and what we eat. Powerful interventions that slow down the ageing process will come to see light in the coming decades. For now, the most potent tool at our disposal to impact the rate of ageing is our diet“.

 

Cakes and sweets should be replaced by dark chocolate and nuts

 

The Food Hourglass will show you how to immediately identify what is healthy and unhealthy food, and how to replace unhealthy foods with alternatives“.

 

 

Fountain of Youth

 

When I flipped through the pages of The Hourglass Cookbook, I saw a cake recipe!!! What’s a cake doing there? I exclaimed!

 

But then I realised it’s not an ordinary cake. It’s a cake recipe based on Dr Verburgh’s “fountain of youth” theory. Very interesting indeed.  No sugar. No flour. No butter. No milk.  Erm…how to make a cake without all the basic essentials?  Well, of course, the young doctor has the answer and the result? 

 

This! 



 

I made this healthy Banana Bread or Cake and was surprised at how moist and delicious the cake remained on the day of baking and subsequently. Anyway, the cake was gone in less than 48 hours! It was really light. I have made the cake twice already and was very pleased with the result both times.



 

Due to copyright, I am not listing the measurements of the cake. If you really want the recipe, leave your comment with a valid email address and I will get back to you personally or for readers who know me, please pm me😉


The ingredients used in the recipe are as following –

  • Bananas
  • Dates
  • Eggs
  • Almond meal or flour *
  • Baking soda
  • A pinch of Salt

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven
  2. Combine the mashed bananas and dates in a bowl
  3. Beat the eggs with salt until light and fluffy 
  4. Fold in the almond meal or flour and baking soda
  5. Grease the cake tin with some baking spray
  6. Pour in the batter and bake in the pre-heated oven
  7. The banana bread is cooked when a toothpick pricked in the middle of the cake comes out clean
  8. Cool the cake on a cooling rack before cutting

*Almond meal or flour is a result of ground almond nuts (with or without skins respectively) which is the healthier option to a normal cake flour



 

Note: For more variations, you may want to add pure chocolate chips or chopped pecan nuts

 

Obviously the sweet taste from the cake came from the bananas and dates.  Very natural and healthy options, indeed. 







 

Oh by the way, I think I’m feeling young already.  Yay! Ha ha…!

 

According to Wikipedia, a popular Flemish TV chef said his diabetes is stabilized due to the Food Hourglass theory and he claims to have lost almost 8 kg (17 pounds) as a result.

 

Honestly, I am fascinated by the theory, but I have some issues. I do love a good steak with fries, an oven-baked pizza, a bowl of spagbol with lots of grated mozzarella, cupcakes/ muffins, cakes (chiffon, pound, Sarawak kek lapis), and the “bad” list goes on….

 

Oops! There goes my fountain of youth! LOL!

 

BUT… I will not stop baking this light and gorgeous Banana Bread.

 

I’m linking this post to the Little Thumbs Up (March 2015 – BANANA) event organised by Zoe (Bake for Happy Kids)and Mui (my little favourite DIY) and hosted by Faeez of BitterSweetSpicy.

 



 

Homemade Mondays week 123 hosted by Sarah of Frugal by Choice, Cheap by NecessityAubrey of Homegrown & Healthy and Kelly from The Sustainable Couple 

Beth Fish Read’s Weekend Cooking



Cook-Your-Books #21 @ Kitchen Flavours 



Tasty Tuesdays with HonestMum



Have a great week!

Cheers!

Banana is one of the most indispensable fruits in a child’s growing up diet. I remembered when I first started giving solid foods to my boys when they were 4-month old infants. Both boys were bowled over by the cool, soft and sweet taste of mashed bananas.  They loved it!

 

Well, not only infants or toddlers love the lusciously delicious and quite addictive fruit, you know :-D

 

The Large Dwarf

 

One bunch of bananas.  This collective noun is almost always included in my weekly shopping list, however, in Belgium we have only ONE choice. Quite sad, really. The Grand Nain bananas, aka the Chiquita bananas‘Grand Nain(e)‘ is French for Large Dwarf. I reckon the bananas are so-called due to the short stature of the trees while the bananas are quite large!

 

The banana when just ripe, has a lovely smooth yellow skin.   BUT it’s always not the case in my household! LOL!

 

Just before the end of the week, we start to see the peel browning. My boys will just close one eye and walk past the bananas on the hanger until the little brown pigments became bigger and bigger.  I knew someone in our household would thrash that in the bin at a certain point in time and before the poor blotched banana is dumped, I came to its rescue. I saved this one very, very ripe banana recently by sticking a self-explanatory message 😜

 



 

Gladly, the message was understood LOUD AND CLEAR  by my 3 guys 😄

 

Last weekend I transformed the once-upon-a-time ebony-skinned banana to a quick and yummy dessert.

 



 

First Dessert in Belgium

 

My late MIL was a very good cook and a great baker. She baked her own breads, cakes and made delicious desserts.  When I was first introduced to my MIL back in 1993, she was happy to know that her ‘future’ daughter-in-law was not a European 😊.   I remembered vividly the first 4-course lunch she prepared for us on a Sunday family reunion. The starter was a healthy grapefruit. The soup was pumpkin soup. The main course was pork chop with home-made gravy. The centrepiece was a whole cauliflower (cooked but retained the entirety) drizzled with white sauce and surrounded prettily by green peas and baby carrots.  And the dessert was her yummilicious rice pudding, which I cannot forget.

 

I’m not a dessert person, but my late MIL’s rice pudding was to die for.  I know I will not be able to replicate that beautiful consistency, texture and sweetness …. *sigh*

 

So I experimented and made my own version of rice pudding as a tribute to my late MIL but still a pudding that can be made by anyone, anywhere. It’s easy peasy. Takes only 5 minutes to assemble. No cooking necessary.

 

By the way, you need to have pre-cooked cold rice in this recipe. That’s the only “cooked” item, but must be made in advance.

 

Ingredients

(makes 3 dessert glasses)

  • 1 very ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 1/4 cups cooked rice (cold)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsps brown sugar (for me, 1 Tbsp is just right, but I had to think of my sweet-tooth boys)
  • Cinnamon powder

 Garnish

  • Some dried cranberries
  • Lemon zest
  • Cinnamon powder 



Direction –

Mash the banana and pour in the coconut milk. Stir to combine and then add in rice and brown sugar. Mix well. Add some cinnamon powder. Scoop in dessert bowls or glasses. Drizzle with some cinnamon powder, and garnish with some lemon zest and dried cranberries.

 

And there you go, my 5-minute Banana Rice Pudding ala Nasifriet 😄



For best result, refrigerate the banana rice pudding for at least 1 hour or more.





 

Verdict: It’s not a cooked rice pudding, hence the texture of the rice may not be what you would expect with cooked or baked rice pudding. There’s no cream, milk, eggs or butter in my 5-minute assembled banana rice pudding. The bottom line is, we loved it!  I loved the chewy texture of each bite of the rice. The level of sweetness was just right. The coconut milk was the best substitute for either milk or cream, which made the dessert vegan- friendly. We are not vegans, but we loved it.  I will definitely make it again. I’m just keeping an eye on the browning process of the bananas in my kitchen 😉


I’m linking this post to the Little Thumbs Up (March 2015 – BANANA) event organised by Zoe (Bake for Happy Kids)and Mui Mui (my little favourite DIY) and hosted by Faeez of BitterSweetSpicy.

 



 

Tasty Tuesdays by HonestMum



Homemade Mondays week 123 hosted by Sarah of Frugal by Choice, Cheap by NecessityAubrey of Homegrown & Healthy and Kelly from The Sustainable Couple 

Have a great weekend!

Cheers!