Category Archives: Kitchen News

We are What We Eat (& Drink)

Garlic Chive Use for Dummies (like me)

With all the digging, splitting, re-potting ….
how can I not have some in hand for a hurried, no planning, throw any(every)thing in, to prepare a 1-plate dish for lunch.

*Main ingredient can be leftover rice, cooked al-dente pasta, blanched wheat noodles, whatever you fancy.

Ingredients – Lot 1

GARLIC CHIVES cut in 2″ length, Eggs, Bean Sprouts, oops! some diced onions not in pic ~ already in the pan…

Ingredient – Lot 2
Sliced beef, pork, chicken, leftover favorite meat, vegetarian soy, anything … I found some shrimps in my freezer.

Peeled shrimps I found in the freezer.

Then with further fridge browsing, I found and used some homemade Sambal but you can use any of your favorite sauce, seasoning, paste, etc.

Heat some oil in the pan, add Lot 1 + diced onions in (er… crack the eggs please, do not include shells in this dish) and pan-stir till sizzling. Then add Lot 2. When semi-cooked (shrimps begin to turn a little pink & opaque), add your favorite sauce or seasoning.

Pan stir till well mixed.

Finally, add your *Main Ingredient … I used pre-soaked Rice Vermicelli or Bee Hoon which is a staple in my pantry. Thoroughly mix; sprinkle some water if necessary and Voilà!!

Fried Bee Hoon

Lunch is served.

Built by a Jewish Merchant in 1928

I walk the streets of Singapore, each time when I’m back, with a different feel these days. I try not to take anything for granted. So when I saw the David Elias Building, I stopped, I observed, I approached…

David Elias Building

Note the significant Star of David at the top and along its sides. Built by Mr Elias, a Jewish merchant, in 1928 to house his trading company it just emits vibes of history.  It stands at the the junction of 2 main roads indicating a prime location.

The tallest point of its façade.

With the intermingling of races & religions over the years, I think ownership and tenancy has played a significant role in little addition(s) to this conserved historical building. From my brief observation, it shows ~ very subtly. I wish I had a reason/excuse to explore its interior but alas … 😦

Little mirrors attached.

Mirrors outside a building, placed in strategic locations, are used to deflect “poison arrows” in Feng Shui… other buildings’ pointed corners, roof edges, broken walls, etc., so this indicates a Chinese Feng Shui believer owns/rents some or all of this building now.

Down on the ground level, what else can there be but a food shop/eatery for us Singaporean food lovers.

Dual purpose blinds – block sun’s rays & advertise.

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Passionfruit+Banana = Good Blend

In the last fortnight, even with 2 chill spells, our Passiflora Incarnata vines just happily stayed green and gave us some superb fruits. They do not need to be picked because when fully ripened, they simply fall off the vine. I just need to pay ‘ground attention’.

A constant supply ...

A constant supply … different colored Passionfruit

Just leave them for a few days till the skin gets crinkled then those are the best for eating. Rich in Vitamins C & A and one of the superb breakfasts I have concocted so far is the Passionana Mix.

Recipe: 1 super ripe Passionfruit ~ cut open preferably with kitchen cutters to prevent mess.

Snip open tough peel

Snip open tough peel

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My Root Awakening

It’s slightly over 2 months now, since Hurricane Matthew’s visit but I have taken my time unearthing my fallen edible “debris”. Why rush when Ma Nature is keeping them alive although no longer their usual vertical self.

Bit by bit my Cassava/Tapioca/Ubi Kayu is getting unearthed and used in the kitchen so yes, I have to keep thinking of “new” dishes. In the past I have usually grated these chunky roots to make sweet cakes but this time I’ve decided to use it in savory dishes too since there’s ample. So Mission Cassava begins with cleaning and parboiling.

Rinsed in the backyard and ready for peeling.

Rinsed in the backyard and ready for peeling.

Once peeled I soak them for 4 hours.

Once peeled I soak them for 4 hours.

... then cut them in chunks add pressure cook them for 20 minutes, yes, they're tough.

… then cut them in chunks and pressure cook them for 20 minutes, yes, they’re tough.

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Not All Pestos are created Equal

I was told that the word Pesto may be derived from Latin words, either pistus which means “crushed” or pastare which means mortar-pounded. My Italian girlfriend could not specifically tell me which held more weight.

Nevertheless, when I found that my Curry Leaf plants (Murraya Koenigii) simply grew amok (they must have loved Hurricane Matthew) … I decided it was time for another coppicing session, a severe one too.

Grew faster & thicker than usual.

Grew faster & thicker than usual.

I also decided, with so much Curry Leaves going to be available after the cutting and snipping, to try making Curry Leaf Pesto, out of curiousity . These days with global fusion cuisine there’s no reason why Pesto has to be Italian in taste and aroma, and only be used on pasta, right?

With the kind contribution of a Facebook friend, I got a link to a recipe from ‘The Star’ that did not look too complicated.  recipeSo a portion of the tallest branch was trimmed and the leaves washed & dried.

All needed ingredients.

All mentioned ingredients.

And the outcome… ?

a mildly fragrant pasta

a mildly fragrant, delicious pesto!

I think this will go very well with brown rice and on toast and am going to put it to good use for tomorrow’s lunch.




Cutting a Hedge for Dinner on the 1st day of Fall

Yes, we trimmed our Katuk Hedge this afternoon and the leaves are going into tonight’s dinner plus some for the freezer. This edible hedge has grown so well I’ve even introduced/shared some Katuk dishes with neighbors.

My hedge harvest

My hedge harvest

Katuk flowers are edible too!

Katuk flowers are edible too!

Many Katuk gardeners in the US have blogged about “throwing them in salad” and tasting its “nutty flavor” but having eaten this plant for decades in Asia (& I used to call it Cekur Manis) I simply prefer the cooked version ~ in curries, in sambal (hot paste with shrimp base) dishes, etc. Well, today, I decided to cook it in a “fusion” kind of dish.

sauteed with garlic and olive oil

sauteed with garlic and olive oil

Too much for 1 dinner so I’ve frozen half of the sauteed Katuk, the other portion got cut up finely on a cutting board. It’s much easier to ‘control’ when cooked so if your dish requires “finely chopped/diced” greens, stir-fry Katuk till it’s slightly limp then cut them up.

I’ve slow-cooked it with pasta sauce from my freezer (made from home-grown tomatoes) plus onions, mushrooms, firm tofu and loads of sweet basil from the backyard.

Vegetarian pasta topping

Vegetarian pasta topping

Tonight’s dinner is probably unheard of, as yet, so I’m going to call it Penne con Katuk.

Penne con Katuk

Penne con Katuk



Pandan Nasi Lemak ~ Made in the USA

With no “hawkers”, which is what we call food vendors in Singapore, when I have a craving, I invent ways of creating what will satiate.

Nasi Lemak is rice dish that is cooked in/mixed with coconut milk. It is commonly sold in any foodcourt, hawker center & even coffee-shops … but alas, not where I live right now. I craved Pandan Nasi Lemak yesterday, so to the garden, then to the kitchen, then the cooking began.

Long, fibrous Pandan leaves were cut up.

Long, fibrous Pandan leaves were cut up.

Put in my little cup blender with coconut cream.

Put in my little cup blender with coconut cream.

Add 1 cup of water or what your “mini” blender allows, then blend away…

Blended concoction poured through sieve.

Blended concoction poured through a tea strainer into rice pot.

Add some salt and more water to your rice – up to the required (usual) level of cooking – then cover and press the “Cook” button. Pandan Nasi Lemak is in the making.

I decided to be really Singaporean and knocked up some dried anchovies and peanuts which usually accompanies this dish.

Dried Anchovies and Salted Peanuts (common snack) out of a bottle

Dried Anchovies and Salted Peanuts

So what did I end up having for dinner?
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Pandan Wrapped Chicken

Summer heat is on; humidity is high … it’s just like in the tropics.
Pandan plants are happy! In case Pandan growers run out of ideas as to what they can do with them apart from rice and cakes, try wrapping meat then steaming or baking.

Today's tropical vegetable harvest.

Today’s tropical vegetable harvest – Pandan, Chili-Pepper & Water Convolvulus.

I made Pandan Wrapped Chicken (again) and as usual this is when I really do not mind the lingering aroma emitted from the air-oven, of Pandan, hovering around the house for a couple of hours after dinner.

Chicken all wrapped up.

Chicken all wrapped up.

Baked Pandan Chicken

Baked Pandan Chicken

Tiny shredded Pandan pieces added to the marinade.

Tiny shredded Pandan pieces which were added to the marinade.

We had this with white steaming hot Jasmine rice and Spicy Stir-Fried Water Convolvulus, just a simple home style Asian meal.