Back when Mummy made breakfast for me to bring to school, I’d always be pleasantly surprised whenever it was toasted fishcake sandwiches. Even though she made it every Friday.
This concept of ‘fishcakes’ is really quite unique to Singapore. For some reason, it’s extremely difficult to find it even in other parts of Asia, not to mention Europe. Back in London, I’d only find it in Chinatown; what a tragedy.
In any case, if and when you get your hands on some ‘fishcake’, please treat yourself to a morning toasted fishcake sandwich. It will complete your day (and your life).
- 1 piece of fishcake, halved and toasted
- 2 slices of bread, white or wholemeal
- 1 thumbsized knob of butter, halved
With a knob of butter and a hot toasty piece of fishcake wedged in each slice of bread, you’ve got one more thing to make your Friday brighter.
I’ve been crazy busy with packing these past few days. It’s the summer and I’m moving, that’s why. So here’s how I’ve been satisfying my fried chicken cravings.
With a pack of battered chicken dippers that I got from Iceland, your friendly neighbourhood frozen food store, I managed to get these babies crispy without having to heat up an entire oven. I don’t even know why I didn’t wanna use the oven but here’s an alternative to the traditional stick-it-in-the-oven trick.
Express Chicken Dippers
- Straight from the freezer and into a wok on the hob, toss the dippers in frozen.
- Turn up the heat to full whack. Put a lid on. TIP! Doing this keeps the moisture in, steaming the dippers.
- After a couple of minutes, get them out and chop them into bite-size pieces. (There is no need to perform this step; I have an obsession with cutting my food into bite-size pieces.)
- Flip them about every couple of minutes.
- Get them out once they start to brown.
- Let them cool a little before chowing down, you don’t wanna burn your tongue, like me.
Or, you can always just use the oven.
If you haven’t heard or seen this before, you must absolutely try it out sometime. Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Fillets will knock your socks off.
Depending on how many you’d like to make, this is what you’ll need for just a humble TWO pieces. But you know you’ll definitely want more.
Two ingredients, two simple steps, for two awesome chunks of meaty goodness.
- 2 streaks of smoked bacon or pancetta.
- 2 fillets of chicken, cut into pieces two inches long
- Put a piece of chicken on one end of a streak of bacon and roll it to the other end.
- Stick it into the top rack of the oven at 180°C for about 20 minutes, flipping it at midpoint.
TIP! If you wanna be a tad more adventurous, sprinkle a dash of thyme, rosemary or basil across each streak of bacon before rolling.
Also, this goes fantastic with a potato mash and gravy. More on that next time.
It was not till I got to London last year that I started appreciating salad, especially when it’s been tossed pretty in glistening dressing. Here are the guidelines to making the Simplest Salad Dressing.
You’ll need a clear jar; something like this:
With this, you can see how much liquid you’re pouring in. Also, you’ll be able to tell what it is without having to open the jar.
Next, components: Olive oil, sour acid, salt and pepper.
The key is noting the ratio of olive oil to sour acid = 3 : 1. That is, 3 parts oil to 1 part sour acid, which can take any form, from balsamic vinegar to lemon or lime juice. Experiment with different kinds to discover which goes best with your salad. Don’t forget that pinch of salt and pepper for added flavour.
And remember, salads don’t have to be boring.
If deep-fried food was not sinful, if it contained no cholesterol nor calories, would you eat it every day? I know I would. Anyway, here’s an amazingly easy recipe for Deep-Frying Batter. I won’t give exact amounts ‘cos what you want to know is the consistency of the batter; that way, you’ll be able to make whatever amount you need.
These are the things you need:
- Mixing bowl
- Self-Raising Flour
- Get some flour into that mixing bowl and add beer in small amounts little by little.
- Whisk as you go along, until you eventually get a creamy texture.
- Then, add salt at your own discretion.
- There, your batter is done!
You can deep-fry practically anything, fish sticks, small chicken fillets, shrimps, or clams. What’s REALLY so very incredibly good with this batter is Green Beans. The dance of bouncy bean flavour and crunchy light batter is phenomenal.
N.B. Make sure your oil is hot enough before you deep fry. I usually just drip a tiny drop of batter in as a test. If it sizzles itself crazy, then the oil is ready.
Cheers, to deep-fried food!
If you haven’t already discovered the wonders of a Microwave, this recipe will shed some light on that radioactive box sitting on your kitchen counter. Apart from preparing readymade meals from the store and reheating overnight leftovers, the Microwave can make you Very Succulent Braised Chicken Portions in under 15 minutes.
Here what you need:
- a dish-plate or a plate-bowl, whatever you call it
- 2 chicken portions, I used frozen chicken thighs
- 2/3 tbsp of soy sauce
- 1 dash of white pepper
- 1 sprinkle of black pepper
- 1 clove of garlic, sliced
- 50ml of water
- chilli powder (optional)
Here’s how you do it:
- Note: The time needed to cook this is for frozen chicken portions.
- Get the bird parts onto a dish-plate or plate-bowl.
- Pour the soy sauce over the chicken.
- Dash the white pepper and sprinkle the black pepper
- In goes the sliced garlic clove.
- And chilli powder to if you wanna add some spice to your life.
- Add the water.
- Stick it in the microwave. If you have a fancy microwave lid, cover the dish.
- Hit it on full whack for 5 minutes. Note: I used a 700W microwave.
- Flip parts over. Hit another 5 minutes.
- Note: Ensure water does not dry up entirely. Top up a little as needed.
- Welcome the Aroma Fairies.
- Chicken should be almost done, if not completely cooked.
- Flip again and hit it for 1 more minute, if juices do not run clear when poked with a fork.
- Repeat on other side if necessary.
- Let it rest for about a while, or dig in right away. I always choose the latter and wind up burning my tongue.
I got a suggestion from a friend to try this one out – Marmite Pasta. (In case you don’t know what Marmite is, it’s made from yeast extract, a by-product of beer brewing. Imagine a concentrated gravy, thick and sticky.) It’s Nigella Lawson’s recipe, which she got from someone else, and I’m sharing it here. I decided to have an evening snack and had no idea what I was getting myself into.
This five-minute meal is incredibly easy to make. While the pasta is cooking, toss a wad of butter into a hot saucepan. Add Marmite, according how salty you’d like it to be. Then, steal some of that starchy pasta-cooking water and add it to the saucepan as well. Stir and smile to yourself.
At this stage, I got itchy and dumped a portion of minced beef into the sauce. It reminded me fondly of Bovril, which is similar to Marmite, except that it’s beef extract. Well, at the least the original one is, until Mad Cow Disease changed it to chicken extract. I remember. When I was a kid, every time I was down with a fever, Dad would spread Bovril on toast and cut each slice into sixteen smaller parts. Then, he would stick a couple of toothpicks in each piece, so the plate resembled a dish of cocktail finger food. He did this ‘cos he knew I didn’t feel like eating proper food. Thanks, Dad. (:
Anyway, away from memory lane now. Finally, drain and add the pasta to the sauce. Mix and serve. Gobble and slurp.
Asparagus and Bacon, were made for each other. Due to impatience and negligence, this didn’t turn out quite right for me. Follow the instructions below and I’m sure you’ll get a better result.
The beauty of this dish is that apart from the potato mash, no seasoning is required. I made a mash so that it’ll be a bigger meal. If you exclude the carbohydrate, it’s a breakfast fit for a king.
Here’s how to make your own Asparagus in Bacon & Egg Jacket.
- 3 streaks of bacon, halved lengthways
- 6 stalks of asparagus
- 2 large eggs
Asparagus in Bacon
Using the smoked bacon, wrap the sticks of asparagus. Grill in the oven at 200°C till brown and crispy, flipping them at midpoint. (They looked so good that I got impatient and hungry, so they didn’t make it to the slightly crispy and almost charred stage. I couldn’t do it, but you can.)
There’s a trick to getting them right even though you can’t see what’s going on inside. Stick a pot of water on the hob and get your eggs in. Make sure there’s enough water so that the eggs are completely submerged. Hit the switch to full whack. Once the water boils, turn off the heat and let the eggs soak for about 3 minutes. Flush them briefly with cold water and place them on those little egg holders, or shot-glasses would do. With the ‘sharper’ tip of the eggs pointing downwards, lop the tops off with a knife. Say hello to your golden yolks.
To consume, grab a stick of that pretty asparagus, with your fork or fingers, it doesn’t matter. Dunk it into the soft-boiled eggs and take a bite. Let the incredible nuttiness of asparagus mingle with the smokey aroma of bacon. Pay attention to the lush gooey texture of the egg, holding everything together. And just before you swallow, have a little wad of potato mash join the party.
Feel like a king yet?
This morning I made a discovery.
Reluctantly creeping into the very dirty kitchen, I resolved to leave with a hearty breakfast.
So I toss a wad of butter into the pan, then some chopped garlic and spring onions.
Next, comes a mushroom (yes, just one), sliced.
And then the magical herb of the moment: oregano
All these ingredients sauteed and pretty are bound together with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and a beaten egg.
Ta-da! Morning omelette, success! It’s the perfect way to start your morning.
Fresh lettuce, basil carrots and garnishing, optional.
It’s not midnight; I should be sleeping, but I got hungry.
This photo really doesn’t do justice to the taste, especially after you have a bite of it in your mouth. It literally only took five minutes to make though.
The explosion of garlic and pepper mixed with savoury cheese, and the pleasant hang of nutty rocket and olive oil, meaty mushrooms and earthy beef mince, sitting on crunchy crusty bread.
Now I can sleep happy.