Thursday, November 27, 2014

Lemon Chicken (Chinese Style)

I made this dish at home last week and the result was very good. The best result will require deep fryer but I used my old faithful ScanPan wok. Some recipes will call for just egg whites or just egg yolks but I used the whole egg.
For 2, you’ll need:
½ kg chicken breasts, skin off
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Salt & Pepper
2 Tablespoons Corn Flour
1 egg
¼ teaspoon baking powder
Oil for frying

Cut the chicken into bite size pieces – some people might like the bigger pieces and chop them up before pouring the sauce on but I like mine in smaller pieces. Marinate the chicken pieces in soy sauce and pepper – refrigerate for an hour or so.

In a bowl, beat egg and corn flour together then add a pinch of salt, baking powder and a little bit more pepper. Pour the batter into the chicken pieces and turn to coat.

Heat oil in the wok over medium high heat – when the oil is hot, fry the chicken pieces in batches. Drain on kitchen paper towel.

2 Tablespoons lemon juice
¾ cup chicken stock – I use Chicken stock powder dissolve in hot water. If you make your own, you might have to add more salt
2 – 2 ½ tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon corn flour
1 tablespoon oil

Mix lemon juice, chicken stock, sugar and salt together in a jug – taste and add more seasoning if needed. Then add corn flour and stir to combine. In a pan, heat the oil over medium high heat then add the lemon mixture. Let it bubble and thicken for a few minutes. Pour over the chicken.

To garnish
2 lemon slices
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon chopped spring onion

Sprinkle the chicken with sesame seeds and spring onion. Serve warm with steamed rice and stir fried greens. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Just finished watching 3 seasons of Borgen  last week. Borgen is Danish – it means castle and is a nickname for Christianborg Palace in Copenhagen, home of the Prime Minister Office, the Parliament and the Supreme Court. The series features the fictional first woman Prime Minister for Denmark and people around her including her party members, her mentor, her staff, her family, the opposition and the media. It is more realistic than House of Cards or West Wing and we have learned a lot about politics in Denmark – and the way the Danes think about relationships and, guess what, politics!

If you have seen The Killing   you’ll see several familiar faces in Borgen. I like the Killing to some degrees but I like Borgen much, much more. The series ran from 2011 to 2013 but covered 5 years in the story line. Season 1 was created long before the real life first woman Prime Minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, was elected into the office.

Sidse Babett Knudsen portrayed Bergitte Nyborg, the Prime Minister very convincingly down to the little thing like the way she switched on, switched off her charming smiles. The series is of course in Danish but because it ran on BBC, it has sub-title. Highly recommended.

Note: Photo above is from Amazon

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Tapas at Poco Loco

Barbara and I had the girls’ night out last Tuesday and we went to our Tapas restaurant, Poco Loco. We have known Poco Loco for ages and frequented the restaurant when it’s newly open many, many years back but haven’t been there recently since they were open from Wednesdays – Saturdays. Poco Loco is now also open on Tuesdays – that suits us better.

They offer 5 & 6 dish platters for two people. Depending on how hungry you are. We opted for 5 as we wanted to also enjoy the puds. That was a good choice – five dishes were enough for us. My favourites are Fried Calamari and Fried Beetroot with Chorizo. Very, very tasty.

For puddings I had Crème Brulee (or Crema Catalana) and Barbara had strawberry cheesecake which interestingly came as a deconstructed version. It’s delicious in a lazy way and you can also easily make it at home. Try this recipe  (but substitute Graham crackers with digestive biscuits without adding sugar) from The Italian Dish

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Two Fat Ducks

Spring is here and although it’s still windy – the weather is getting warmer. I saw Spike in my neighbour’s backyard (not surprised, he’s there quite a lot – Heather feeds him when we are away. I patyed him a bit but he seemed to focus on something else.

There was also a pair of ducks in Heather’s backyard. That’s not usual – I guessed they wandered from one of the ponds not far from us. When the ducks saw me, they came running towards me expecting food! So obviously they were not shy of humans – people around here feed them (at the ponds) all the time. And for Spike - he ran away before the ducks getting too close!

Ducks in our local parks are pretty safe. We haven’t heard any news anyone trying to poach them from the ponds…well, so far anyway.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Crumbed Fish with Lime Zest and Parmesan

I craved fish and chips the other day but was not keen on cooking deep fried stuff myself. So I had crumbed fish instead.

You will need:

4 fillets of white, firm fish
2 -3 tablespoons of flour
Salt and pepper
1 cup whole meal breadcrumbs
Zest of one lime/lemon
A tablespoon or two of finely grated parmesan or cheddar
Egg, beaten and add a tablespoon of water

Pat the fillets dry with paper towel. Place flour with salt and pepper in plastic bag – add fish fillets and shake to coat.

In a bowl, mix breadcrumbs with lime zest and parmesan cheese. Dip fish fillets in egg mixture using tong and then coat in breadcrumbs. Rest the crumbed fish in the fridge for at least half an hour before shallow fry. Drain on paper towel. Serve with wedges of lime or lemon, tartar sauce and oven baked potato chips.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

My Little Darling

Pipi is a tiny cat. When she was very, very fat – she weighed up to 3.8 kgs. As she’s getting older she seemed to lose some weight. However in the past several months, she seemed to lose weight quite quickly although her appetite was very good. She was only 2.7 kgs when we took her to the vet for her vaccination and check up last week.

As I suspected, she has been diagnosed with hypothyroidism. It seems to be not unusual for old cats to have over active thyroid – there is sustained release anti-thyroid medication that’s designed especially for cats. Pipi is on this medication at the mo. I have also found out that cats can also have radio-iodine treatment here in New Zealand as well. That’s good news as Pipi is not the easiest cat to pill even with the pill popper (2 man task). We will be looking at this option when her condition is more stable.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Moment of Truth - Salted Duck Eggs


Remember I was given some duck eggs early last month? Well, I have salted some of them and after 4 weeks it was time to test one of them.

Yes, I have done it! I boiled just one egg to start with and the result was OK. It was not perfect as the egg white was a bit too salty. Mel gave me another half a dozen duck eggs two days ago so I have made a new lot but this time the curing time will be shorter, I'd say 3 weeks should be enough

You'll need to cure the eggs in brine. I have been told chicken eggs are also OK but the texture of duck eggs are firmer and creamier. The brine is made out of 1:4 salt and water (one cup salt and four cup water will be enough for 10-12 eggs). Dissolve the salt in water and bring to the boil - leave to cool completely. Wash the eggs and pat dry before placing them in glass or plastic container then cover with brine. 

My brine is very heavy and I still have undissolved bits of salt but that's okay as I don't it to be too diluted. Some say 1:5 salt and water but I wanted to stick to the Thai recipe he..he.. Fill zip lock bag with water (I use double bags to make sure that the water will not leak out) and place it on top of the eggs to weigh them down. Cover the container and leave it in cool dry place for 3 weeks. Boil one egg at the end of 3 weeks and taste - if it's salty enough, lift all the eggs from brine. They will keep in the fridge for weeks. Boil or fry (warning:the pan will be spitting like mad) and have them with steamed rice or rice congee or chop and sprinkle over Som Tam. I told my friend to use chopped boiled salted eggs on pizza (not too much egg white) - better than anchovy!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Pods

I like listening to music and I know that my favourite kind of music is very pleasant on a good audio system. Bob loves his music too – and also his audio system. He can spend hours playing with all the gears. However, with engineering background, he seems to know a lot about the sciences behind good sound. I used to be “his ear” as I could tell the differences in details better than he.

Since we have embarked upon our new venture late last years to manufacture and sell audio system enhancers, I am no longer the best ear in the house as you need hours and hours of practice – listening to the same old tracks over and over. That is what Bob does day in day out not only when he develops and tests the products.

I apologise for infrequent posting as we have been so very busy at work launching our new footers. These babies, the BlackPods, will attract the vibrations vertically and horizontally. They look a bit like cupcakes – but I cannot share the recipe with you my dear readers – it’s a trade secret!