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Jul 20, 2016

Air-fried Chinese Roast Pork Belly

I must confess. 

As much as I love roast pork, esp the crackling, I've never attempted this at home ... til now.
Fearing all that splatter in my oven and the smells that might contaminate my cakes, etc etc, I've managed to live on store bought roast pork. In this region, I can get by quite happily since there are so many good ones about. 
Then the air fryer came about, caught my eye, got me wondering, wanting, checking out various recipes that have been successfully done in one. I've been putting off getting an air fryer for the longest time. You know, new toy, play with it for awhile, get tired of it and then makes way for the next new gadget and takes up what little space I have. Wait and wait some more ...shall I, shan't I?
Then I visited a neighbouring country and found a locally made air fryer for less than half the price of the popular branded one. Everything about it screams COPY but hey, works the same and it might be sitting on the shelf in a couple of months due to boredom or whatever. Why the heck not?

So here I am, trying out everything I possibly can with it. And boy, I am so happy with this thing, I'm willing to put it in the same <3 category as the slow cooker. 

I've done the basics of potato fries, eggplant, you know .... zzz

I needed to do this at least once and you can see why I'm so happy with it. The crackling turned out super! I'll definitely be making this again.

Cleaning was easy and the color was nice and even. And I believe it takes a shorter time than in a regular oven. Meat below the crackling was moist and tender. The only complaint is having to pierce the skin....I really need to find a better and easier way to do that. But, Oh, the satisfaction of seeing that bubbling crackle!

I'm using the basic instructions from bakecooklove and tweaked some.


about 700g pork belly (with skin intact, cleaned and wiped dry)


white vinegar


1 tsp 5 spice powder

half tsp white pepper
pinch of salt
roasted garlic paste (just plonk a whole bulb of garlic in the air fryer, cook for a few minutes @ 180°C until it's soft enough to mash)


I did not blanch or boil the meat as instructed as I figured all that natural sweetness would just go to waste. 

Pierce the skin with a fine, sharp skewer. Don't get lazy with this part. The more holes the merrier. 

Rub the marinade ingredients into the meat part only.
Leave in fridge overnight uncovered to dry out the skin.
(I pierced more holes after drying out the skin ... )
Preheat the air fryer at 180°C.
In the meantime, brush the skin with white vinegar and coat with salt. (Just put salt in a wide bowl or plate and dip the skin onto it. )
Wrap the bottom part with foil, leaving the skin exposed.
Air fry for about 20 mins. Remove from air fryer and scrape off the caked up salt.
Air fry again for about another 20 mins or until skin is nice and golden and crackly.

Enjoy while warm. 

Should there be any leftovers (you're kidding!), just plonk it into the air fryer for about 3 mins and the crackling will be nice and crunchy again. 

For those who are thinking of getting an air fryer but in doubt of which to get, here are some reviews of certain models which you may or may not find in your area.

Jan 10, 2016

Easy Like Sunday Morning (Avocado Toast)

It’s a Sunday!
And it’s a day of rest, altho I’m sure for some, it’s pretty hectic spending time with family and kids and chores and errands and groceries and …. gosh, I’m feeling tired already.
Feel blessed you have things to do. Feel blessed you have people to do it with.

As for me, I’m taking a break and taking it easy. For lunch/brunch. 
There’ll be some face stuffing later with the tribe.

It’s been a lovely yet stressful week. (How can a mere seven days cause so many mixed feelings?)

Had someone very close to my heart visit for a few short days. It’s always too short. But it was good.
I miss her already.
That’s obviously not the stress part.

A word of advice on texting that most probably already know but we all need reminding, esp folks like me who have diarrhoea of the mouth and thumb/fingers.
Anything you type/text can be misread. It all depends on the other person who’s reading it, what kind of a mood they’re in, whether they’re menopausing/andropausing and possibly a host of past traumatic history they’ve gone thru and one word might just trigger some negative response. 
They could read it as a ‘Grrrr’ or as an ‘Awwww’. 
Sometimes concern can be misread as criticism … how? …. only they know. 
And sometimes, they’re just too damned sensitive. Bah! Humbug!
I have no energy for dramatics.

And then I find out I have no chickpeas …. AARRRGGHHH!!!

*count to ten*

Make do….

1 Avocado, nice and ripe
2 Garlic cloves, nice and chubby
1 can Canellini beans, Chickpeas would’ve been nice
1 handful coriander leaves
Juice of half a lemon
Drizzle of sesame oil
1/4 cup Grapeseed oil, or Olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Some toasted pine nuts

Plonk them all into a food processor except for the pine nuts (you can add it in but I like some crunch).
It’s up to you how smooth you like it

Sprinkle pine nuts.

Use as a dip, a spread on toast or toss with some cooked pasta (just add some grated parmesan for extra flavour)

No stress ….. 

Nov 17, 2015

Rosemary Ginger Banana Cake

I thought I’d posted my favourite banana cake recipe awhile ago. Can’t seem to find it anywhere. 
But, no biggie. 
Here’s a twist to the basic.

That worked really well …. lightly fragrant with rosemary and ginger. I used crystallised ginger instead of fresh, so as not to have it too pungent and spicy. And a sprig of rosemary on the top and not chopped nor mixed into the batter. It is after all, a banana cake and we don’t want to confuse the main hero of this recipe.

And if you’re a stickler for tradition, just omit the herb and ginger and stick with the same proportions, it’ll still yield a lovely loaf…well, three little loaves if you use the same tins I did. 



1+ 3/4 cups flour, sifted
1+1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp fine salt

3 large eggs
1+1/2 cups soft brown sugar
1 cup mashed bananas (I used pisang emas, also known as monkey bananas)
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil (or any unflavored cooking oil)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

coarsely chopped crystallized ginger
rosemary sprigs


Preheat oven to 180C.
Oil and line loaf pans. I used 3 mini loaf pans (6”x3”x2”)

Whisk sifted flour, baking soda and salt together.
In another larger bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, mashed bananas, vanilla extract, melted butter and oil until well mixed.
Add flour and fold evenly into mixture.
Stir in chopped crystallized ginger.
Fill tins.
Place a sprig of rosemary on the top of each loaf.
Bake in preheated oven for 45 mins.
Remove from tins and leave to cool on rack.

*(Remove rosemary sprig before consuming.) 

Aug 25, 2015

Chinese Red Glutinous Rice Wine Stewed Chicken

Sigh …. I’m in heaven ….
Thank you, Pris!

It’s been too long since Priscilla’s grandmother fed me my first taste of this very traditional Foo Chow (Hock Chew) dish. Stewed Red Wine Chicken. At the first look of it, I was a little scared. But after the first bite ….. I made the little old lady happy by asking for a second helping. Or maybe she just thought I was such a greedy girl.
She’d passed away two years ago. Bless her soul. 
There goes my chance of having more of this wonderful dish, or so I thought. 
I did give the commercial ones a try and they have never been up to par. It’s either too sweet or too sour. Seriously, I thought this was a difficult dish to make. 
Another friend made some for me when she’d got a homemade batch of the wine and lees. And I went off to heaven again. Sigh … will I ever be able to make this myself?
Then Priscilla came for a visit and brought me a bottle of homemade red wine and lees (made by her niece), recipe handed down from grandma! Gosh … I didn’t know if I could pull this off. 

Well waddaya know? I did. I know it doesn’t look like the real thing. Hey, it’s my first attempt but the taste is just as heavenly as I remembered it. And you know, it isn’t rocket science. In fact, I took the lazy way out and just dumped everything in the slow cooker.
You’re suppose to sauté some ginger for garnish and brown the chicken pieces before stewing. Oh what the heck. 

By the way, this isn’t red wine made from grapes. It’s made from red glutinous rice. So, basically, it’s a rice wine with a glaringly vibrant deep red. That’s why it’s so scary looking. 


Half a chicken, cut into large chunks
1 heaped tbs Chinese glutinous red wine lees
1 cup Chinese red wine
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbs finely grated ginger or ginger juice
5 - 6 pieces thick sliced old ginger


(Like I said I did the lazy easy way)

Marinade chicken pieces with the lees, sesame oil and grated ginger. 
Leave for 30 mins to an hour
Plonk chicken into slow cooker.
Add sliced ginger, Chinese red wine and soy sauce.
Set slow cooker to High and cook for about 2 - 3 hours or until chicken is cooked. 
(You don’t want to overcook the chicken or it’ll fall off the bone)

Serve as is with fluffy white rice or the traditional way, over cooked rice vermicelli.

*What I’d learnt from this dish. It isn’t in the cooking. It’s in the wine making. Good wine makes good stew.
The commercial stuff …. yuk. Chinese glutinous red wine making is an art.

Aug 16, 2015

Penang Style Indian Mee Goreng (Fried Noodles)

You gotta do what you gotta do.
Especially when you’re desperate.

I’ve been having a craving for the Penang style Indian Mee Goreng for the longest time. Actually, come to think of it, I’m forever craving this. It’s a life long, constant crave. 
It’s addictive.
There’s a ton of carbs in here … but who cares. Malaysian food is all about carbs anyway. 
And I don’t get this anywhere in the big city, nothing that can compare to the ones on the island.
And when you’ve had one too many bad ones, you kinda give up and get all hot and bothered and then decide to just make it yourself.

I must say it isn’t bad at all …. can’t get up to par to the island masters but it’s as close as I can get without the sweet potato spiced gravy or the chilly squid curry/sambal that is such a secret to each individual stall. It’s enough to satisfy my crave …. for now.


Oil for frying
5 large garlic cloves (chopped)
4 tbs chilli paste
500g yellow noodles (blanched and drained)
2 pieces firm tofu (fried and cut into cubes)
1 large waxy potato (boiled, peeled and diced)
1 tomato (diced)
dough  and shrimp fritters (I got these from the rojak man), cut into bite sized pieces
2 large handfuls beansprouts
1/2 cup coarsely ground peanuts (optional)
Sliced chinese lettuce for garnish
Sliced green chillies for garnish
Sugar and salt to taste

Lime or calamansi

Sauce: mix together

3 tbs soy sauce
3 tbs thick dark caramel soy 
3 tbs thick tamarind juice
1 tbs white vinegar
3 tbs tomato ketchup


Heat a deep pan or wok with a few tbs of cooking oil. Fry chopped garlic and chilly paste.
Add cut potatoes and tomatoes.
Stir in drained noodles and sauce mix.
Stir until noodles are slightly dry. Then add in the tofu, fritters and bean sprouts. 
Turn off heat. You don’t want to overcook the beansprouts. 
Stir in ground peanuts or just sprinkle over the top when you wanna eat. 
Garnish with sliced lettuce and sliced green chillies.
Eat with a squeeze of lime and get transported to the lovely Pearl of the Orient. 

I’m so satisfied right now …. burp …. squeeze me.

Jul 22, 2015

Overnight Oats

Some folks just don’t like eating oats. I’ve been told it’s boring.
Well …. YOU are boring. 
Oats are so boring you can actually make it very interesting. 

Growing up, mum used to dump an egg, milk and honey in my oats, cook it to a custardy yumminess and serve it to a delighted me. Don’t go eeww … custard IS made with eggs.

Just last week, a visiting good friend was talking about overnight oats. That triggered a childhood craving for oats …. but with a new and modern, healthy twist … no cooking and raw.

You know, it saves a ton of time in the morning. Just prepare it the night before and it’ll be nice and ready when you’re rushing for time the next morning. 
It’s yummy and keeps you energised til lunch …. sometimes I still don’t feel hungry at lunchtime and just have a light snack. How good is that? And that’s even after a tough 2-hour tennis game. Of coz that also depends on how much of the oats you consume.

This is my portion …
(I use a 200 ml jam jar)

3 - 4 heaped tbs rolled oats
1 tsp chia seeds (this makes it gooey. I love gooey oats …. oats are meant to be gooey. You can omit this if you don’t want it gooey. It’ll be a little coarser. I’m not a horse. I don’t like coarse and gritty down my throat)
1 tsp honey
1 good pinch of cinnamon
milk (filled to about 3 quarters of the jar)

Stir everything together and then add the fruits. You can also add the fruits just before eating.

diced peaches

Put the lid on and leave in the refrigerator overnight. 
Yeah … overnight …. why do you think it’s called OVERNIGHT oats?

Tons of options:

Almond / soy milk
Yogurt (dilute a little)
Other spices
Chocolate chips / syrup
Cocoa powder
Your fav fruit
Whatevers ……

DO NOT be boring

Jul 4, 2015

Some Kinda Korean

Fresh, clean, simple flavors.
Just perfect for hot, humid days. 

I called it “Some Kinda Korean” so as not to have someone come after me telling me it’s not.
I used a Korean Beef Bulgogi Marinade. That’s all.
I love the simplicity of their summer dishes. It’s more of a salad. 
Easy, light, refreshing ….. preparation is easy too. My fav kind.


Beef slices (for stir frying)
Beef Bulgogi Marinade (bottled, any brand will do)
Dash of sesame oil
White vinegar
Ground white pepper

Carrots, julienned
Spinach, cut into about 2” lengths (or your preferred greens)
Toasted sesame seeds

Oil for stir frying

* I don’t have exact measurements for this. Just use enough marinade sauce to coat beef generously. The vinegar was added to compliment the sweetness of the sauce. 


Toss beef slices with the bulgogi marinade sauce, dash of sesame oil, dash of vinegar and ground white pepper into a baggy or container. Coat beef well with the marinade. 
Leave in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Blanch carrots and spinach (or just have them raw if you prefer. I like blanching the carrots as it makes it a little sweeter in flavor.)
Drain the veges.

Heat a little oil in the pan.
Stir fry the marinaded beef and remove from pan once cooked. Leaving it too long will make it tough to chew. 
If you have some liquid left from the marinade, add it to the pan and cook it down to a thick syrupy consistency. Otherwise, simply pour a small amount of bulgogi sauce from the bottle and heat through. Spoon over cooked beef.

Serve beef and veges over fluffy rice or just as a salad on it’s own. 
Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top and devour!