Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Cook on Leave

I'm off to the land of million elephants, Laos, tomorrow, via Phnnom Penh-Stung Treng-Pakse-Vientiane-Luang Prabang-Vientiane route. The husband and I will be on a two-week holiday -- a much anticipated R and R. As I am looking at more time spent on rural areas where internet access is rare, I might not be able to update as much as I'd like to. I will, however, give you a detailed account of my road (and food) trip, with pictures, when I return. Ciao!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Simply Delicious Sunday Recipe 002: White-peppered Pork

For this week's Simply Delicious Sunday Recipe, I am re-posting a recipe that I borrowed from the Cooking Ninja several months ago. Here it is:

My husband loves pork chop very much that it is served every week at home. They are tasty on their own, but I have to say that they're even tastier when they are marinated before cooking. Soaking the pork in basic marinade such as soy sauce, lemon, and sugar, gives a better flavor to the meat.

I have to admit though that it gets boring after a while making the same pork chop over and over again. It challenged me so much that I scoured the Net for more ideas and, luckily, I stumbled upon this exciting recipe (and bookmarked it), white-peppered pork slices, from the Cooking Ninja.

I tried it not long ago and I am happy to say that my husband loved it! In fact, he asks for it every week :) So I paid another visit to the Cooking Ninja to tell her how we love her recipe and to ask if she would allow me to post her recipe here. I'm glad that she gave her go-signal ... big, big thanks!


* Pork (cut into big slices)
* Ground white pepper
* Black soya sauce
* Potato flour or cornflour
* a bit of sugar
* oil (for frying)


1. Tenderize the pork slices.
2. Coat the slices with ground white pepper (to your desired amount).
3. Add some dark soya sauce, and a little bit of sugar on it and marinate them well with your hands.
4. Then sprinkle some potato flour on it and mix them well.
5. Heat up some oil in a frying pan or wok till hot, fry the marinated pieces for a few minutes or until cooked. Then drain it on paper towel.
6. Serve it while hot. Can be taken as part of the main dishes.

Cooking Ninja's original recipe didn't include minced garlic but we at home love garlic so much I had to add it in. I marinated it overnight and the result - a succulent, sweet, garlicky flavor. It did remind me of tocino, the sweetened cured pork native to the Philippines, but the white-peppered pork is spicier (superb) and more flavourful. For my husband, I served it with chips (french fries to our American friends) - it was an instant hit - while I prefer mine with steamed rice and a side dish of sliced tomatoes and cucumber.

Again, many thanks to the Cooking Ninja for sharing me her recipe (and the photo above) and for letting me share it to others through my blog. For more exciting recipes, visit the Cooking Ninja's blog.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Four Foods Friday 005

Here are this week’s four questions.

1. Olive oil. What kind do you prefer to use?
- We just use ordinary olive oil, Latino Bella.

2. Meatballs. Do you make them from scratch, buy premade cooked or buy premade frozen?
- I make them from scratch.

3. Do you use napkins at home? Paper or cloth?
- Paper napkins

4. Share a recipe for a white sauce.
- Melt a tablespoon of butter over low heat. Stir in chopped onion, ground pepper, and milk, and bring to a boil. Add in a can of Campbell's cream of broccoli or cream of mushroom soup, your choice of herbs, e.g. coriander, and let it simmer. Voila, it's done in minutes.

On restaurant furniture

After choice of menu, one of the factors that make us decide which restaurant to dine in is the restaurant’s ambiance and interior. But of course, if we’re paying more than the regular price for the food, we expect that the restaurant is comfortable, has a nice atmosphere where we can enjoy the food and talk.

It is difficult for some restaurants to maintain its ambiance. Nowadays, restaurants seem to offer same things that you get the impression they are merely copying each other. If I were to open my restaurant, I want mine to be unique. And how, you may ask? I am no expert myself but I say aside from the choice of menu (food), the next most important factor is the concept. For example, romantic, cozy, bistro-style, etc.... The concept of choice basically will dictate the ambiance and to achieve the ambiance, it is important to determine what kind of restaurant furniture works best.

Choosing the right and proper restaurant furniture could be very daunting – imagine having to decide amongst the multitude of materials, sizes, designs, colours, among others. For example, what size of tables and chairs would be ideal for a specific dimension of the eating area. Don’t forget the bar counter and the size of the matching bar stools for functionality.

I am sure there are other great ideas to spice up a restaurant’s interior. Tthe things mentioned above are but some of the crucial choices a restaurant owner has to take into consideration right from the beginning. It is important in a restaurant business to invest in the right kind of equipments to ensure success.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Simply Delicious Sunday Recipes 001: Indian-style Meat Patties

I have been away for so long and now that I am back, I am bringing a recipe I recently discovered and I am sharing this to Simply Delicious Sunday Recipes (my first time!). This Indian-style meat patties is very tasty and so easy to cook. This is also for my sister whose son doesn't like vegetables. Her son eats rice, fish and meat alright but runs away from vegetables. So she asked me how to make him eat vegetables. I told her the idea is to blend in the vegetables in his food without him knowing it.

The following is the recipe for Indian-style meat balls and it calls for potatoes. I adapted this from Meera Blackley's Indian Home-cooking and cleverly mixes potatoes and spices with meat.

The ingredients:

Indian-style Meat Patties

And here's how to do it:

*In a saucepan, place potatoes and two cardamom pods together, adding just enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat after the water comes to a boil and simmer for 10minutes or until potatoes are cooked.

Indian-style Meat Patties 2

*Add onion and minced meat and cook for 5 more minutes. Drain off excess liquid, remove cardamom pods and set potato and meat mixture aside to cool for 15minutes. Add chillies, cumin seeds, coriander, ginger, garlic, egg and salt to taste to the potato and meat mixture and mash to combine. Form mixture into patties.
*Heat oil in a large frying pan and shallow-fry patties for 3-4minutes each side or until golden. Drain on absorbent kitchen paper and serve immediately. Makes about 20 patties.

Indian-style Meat Patties 3I replaced minced lamb meat with pork. Kids normally don't like spices so it is better to adjust the amount of spices, if not omitted totally, to suit your kids' tastebuds. While the flavour might be slightly different, I'd say the meat patties will still be delicious. I know the photos didn't come out nice but I assure you they taste better than they look.