Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Flying Fajita Sisters

I was going through my photos and realised I never blogged about the Flying Fajita Sisters (FFS - in the nice way). I guess I forgot all about it as it was on the day that I found out my Granddad passed away. But I had already made a date with Moishii to have a catch up as I didn't see him for almost 2 months. I had a quick look on the net for something in Glebe and picked the FFS. We met up and decided it was time to get trashed. Its been awhile. We walk into Liquorland and pick up 2 bottles of wine. One each.

We get to the restaurant and we're seated upstairs. I loved the decor of the place. It was so cute and charming. My only complaint would be all the wooden floors and walls didn't help minimise the sound. We ended up screaming at each other half the night. Mind you, that could be because of the alcohol. Talking about the alcohol, they had the strangest wine glasses. They're curved at the very top in such a way, you can barely drink from the glass without having to pour it down your throat. Once we mastered the technique, we downed half a bottle each before the food came out:

Trio of dips with corn and purple corn tortillas

Chicken Burrito with corn salsa and guacamole

Pulled pork Tamale with mole sauce

The food was fantastic. So fresh and flavoursome. It was a real contrast to the Baja Cantina, where the food seems to be heavier. We spent a good part of the night sitting there, eating, drink, laughing and talking about going on holidays again. All I can say is, good thing flight centre was closed.

After about 3 hours, the noise started getting to us, so we paid our bill and went to San Churros. No photos here since my camera died. But we gorged on churros and coffee before heading home for the night. I think I might have been tipsy...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

More home cooking

I think I've had enough of going out for awhile. With my holiday and nonstop farewell drinks, I've really enjoyed staying at home or going to a friend's place for some cooking. Here are a few more of my latest creations.

Simple refreshing udon noodle soup - Absolute WINNER!

Pork and vegetable wonton soup

Garlic roasted potatoes.....

...served with steak, corn and home made gravy

Homemade BBQ Pork (CHAR SIU!)

Its been a good 6 or so years since my parents have sold the restaurant. And for the last few months, I've really been missing our "restaurant life". I've also started my own recipes book (Yes I know I don't follow recipes). But its not really a recipe book of stuff I usually cook, its a compilation of recipes our family cooks. Specifically the comfort food my mum dishes out, and our secret recipes for some dishes we used to serve in the restaurant.

I know some dishes will never ever taste the same as they did when we cooked in the restaurant. Partly because we can't get the same ingredients again unless we buy wholesale, we're also more conscious of using MSG, oil, salt etc. But its also because the food always taste better in our memories. And unless I go back in time, I'm going to have to settle for my inferior replicas of our favourite dishes.

One of my favourite memories would be BBQ Pork (Char Siu) day. Every Saturday, my parents would make up a few kilos of BBQ Pork which we use in many of our dishes. And every now and then, my parents will call us about 30mins before the BBQ Pork is ready, to come to the restaurant for lunch. So we'd hop into the car and drive 10mins to the restaurant and sit there waiting for the final basting on the BBQ Pork.

When the pork finally comes out of the oven, dripping with the sweet caramelised basting, we'd elbow each other out of the way to get the pork with a pair of scissors each. Why? We were both after the best bits. What's the best bits? It would be the end bits where the meat, where the honey has caramelised it until the was slightly charred and crunchy. Armed with a pair of scissors each, we would pick up every chunk of BBQ pork, and snip the ends off onto our plate of steaming hot rice. We'd load up our plates with the best bits of BBQ pork, drizzle over a little of the juice that we caught in the pan during the roasting process and add a little soy. We load up the plate with plain boiled vegetables so we could taste the juicy BBQ pork.

The restaurant is gone, and my brother is living overseas. We also don't have a gas oven anymore to give it that extra charred flavour. But when I was visiting Singapore and I made BBQ Pork with my nephews and niece, I taught them what was the "best bit". Suddenly, I had someone to fight with me over the best end bits. Food always taste better when you need to fight for it. ;) With that memory in mind, I decided it was time to actually try out the recipes I've been collecting. First up, BBQ Pork:

It certainly doesn't look like what we used to serve in the restaurant. Mind you, I didn't add any colouring at all, which is what all restaurants used. Plus, my one was baked in an oven rather than dangled over flames like we used to. But I think its an alright effort for my real first attempt. I would definitely make it more charred next time, but I kind of forgot about my pork and didn't want to grill it anymore in case I overcooked it. But in fact, it was perfectly cooked and sooooooo tender and juicy! Marinating it for 24hrs really did the trick ;) I can't wait to try it again!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Day 15 - Bike riding before going home

My niece had piano practice today, so me and my sister took the boys out for breakfast.

Bakuteh - Pork rib soup, preserved vegetables, pork hock and fried dough sticks

The boys on the phone with their dad

After breakfast, we drove to the local Bishan park for bike riding. We hired a bike each, with the exception of my sister. She's going to be running behind my youngest nephew again today. I went for a few kilometer ride around the park with my older nephew, whilst the youngest one learnt how to steer and brake. He actually did quite well by the end of the day. He stopped crash landing.

We went home to rest up afterwards. I did some last minute packing to make sure there's nothing I've forgotten and spent some time with the kids. When it was dinner time, we decided to go back to the Chicken Rice place we stopped by the other day.

A whole Hainese chicken

Boneless chicken feet and kidneys

Chilli bean sprouts

Lime juice

Since I don't appreciate plane food, I grabbed a box of chicken rice take away to eat on the flight. I was already really fully, but my brother in law wanted to have some strudel at the Applebee strudel shop that was next door. He went and ordered a durian strudel, but after one bite, I was full to bursting. And my coffee hasn't even arrived yet! And when it did, I thought I was supposed to wash my face in it. Look at the size of the cup! My hand doesn't even go half way around it!

We get back to my sister's place where I spend some time with the kids and have a quick shower. When it was time to leave, my nephews and niece gave me big hugs and even asked me not to leave. Its always hard saying goodbye to the kids.

I get to the airport in record time and check-in without any problems. Even though my suitcase was 27kgs. And my hand luggage was 17kgs. I was planning on doing duty free shopping, but because of the stupid liquid restrictions, I can only buy liquids an hour before departure. The reason is they need to seal the goods in a plastic bag and they will deliver it to the gate for you. Since there was only an hour left, they reckon they can't deliver to the gate so I miss out on my duty free shopping.

I get onto the plane and spot a row of 4 seats next to me empty. The minute they closed the cabin doors, I jumped seats and claimed all 4 to myself. And when the seatbelt signs went off, I raised all the arm rests and laid down for a good nights sleep. I even skipped breakfast since I knew I had my chicken rice.

It was a short 2 weeks, but I'm glad I took the time to go to Singapore and spend with the kids. Even though I had all the problems going on at work, I think it was probably good that I missed most of the tension in the office. And now, to diet and detox.

Day 14 - Good Friday gorging

Its Good Friday, and the whole family is off to church whilst I stay home to pack so I know how overweight my suitcase is. I duck downstairs to get a big breakfast to keep my energy up in dealing with my shopping:

Noodles with fish cakes and chicken wings

Shredded turnip dumplings

It took me a good 2 hours to pack my suitcase, which involved removing all wrapping and price tags from my goods and checking all the DVDs I got. By the time I had everything done, it was time to meet the rest of the family for lunch. I cab it to the church where I hop into a car with my brother in law to go to lunch.

A bunch of their friends came and we went to a Hakka Yong Tau Fu restaurant. We lined up for 3omins before we got a table. And to be honest, the food was pretty ordinary. I don't know why its so popular. Actually, my brother in law hated the food and went home to eat bread instead. Of course, their friends took us there, so we all had to be polite.

The original plan was to go back to East Coast for bike riding. But again, its storming. I spent the rest of the day lazing about, reading, watching tv and surfing the web. The rain dies down around dinner time, so we make a dash to a cheap seafood restaurant next to the Roti restaurant we went to yesterday.

Its nothing flash, plastic tables and chairs, but the food is GOOD. Plus, the price of seafood is half the price you would pay at the touristy places.

Sizzling beef stir fry

Prawn paste fried chicken wings

Sweet and sour pork

Steamed mantou (Plain buns)

Butter fried crab

Singapore Chilli Crab

The crab was good, but the sauce was better. I got a big bowl of rice and drenched it in the sauce. God that was good. Really good.

Day 13 - Pampering ourselves with Indo food

We were going to go shopping today, but to be honest, my suitcase is bursting at the seams. And I haven't even packed everything into the suitcase yet. So I asked my sister to book us a facial, except we couldn't find a decent place for a facial. So we opted for a full body massage instead. Since I was going to be kneaded like bread, we went for a light breakfast:

Hot coffee in a bag

Noodles with vegetables

Chwee Kueh - Steamed rice cakes with preserved veggies

We arrive at the salon only to find that we don't have a booking. Looks like my sister called their new branch instead of the original store. We still managed to squeeze into one of their slots. The next hour was.....amusing. The woman's English wasn't that great and I didn't speak Mandarin. When I screamed out in pain, she's like "its ok......I'll use one thumb only" and then proceeded to bruise me.

She also climbed onto the massage bed and straddled me for awhile. Whilst that was uncomfortable, it wasn't nearly as uncomfortable as her whipping the sheet off my chest to give me a.....errrrrr...massage. *cough*

I walked out of there feeling like a tenderised piece of meat. I limp to the car where we go pick up my nephews and niece from school. Before we picked them up, we stopped by a really nice Chicken rice shop and got a take away pack that the both of us shared whilst in the car. It was going to be at least another 1.5hrs before lunch. We took the kids, and one of their friends to a sushi train for lunch:


Agedashi Tofu

We took all the kids to go watch Spiderwick after lunch. I actually enjoyed the movie, but my youngest nephew had his eyes covered for most of the movie! hehe

After the movie, we decided to go for dinner since my Brother in law will be staying back late at work. My sister drove to a local Indonesian restaurant where we played charades and pointed at random stuff for dinner.

Lime juice

BBQ Pepper chicken

Assam sting ray

Grilled squid

Stir fried french beans

Sambal fish

Fried potato cakes

Beef rendang

Gado Gado

Bean sprouts with tofu

Oxtail soup

The star of the night had to be the oxtail soup. I've never had such a flavoursome soup before. Its almost like the Pho soup, but with added vegetables to lighten the whole dish up. I was bursting before the soup came out, but we all ended up fighting over the soup anyway. I can't wait to learn how to make this!!

Day 12 - More shopping and my favourite Bugis

All the kids are at school today. So me and my sister headed off for some shopping. Not before breakfast at her favourite Roti house:


Mutton Murtabak and chicken curry

Roti Prata with curry sauce

Nasi goreng

We drove to Sim Lim square where I was hoping to buy a new camera lens, tripod and other accessories. But the prices were way more expensive compared to me ordering it from New York. Instead, I went and bought a new digital camera for the kids. Just a little cheapie for them to go play with and take on excursions. We also grabbed a few blood pressure monitors to use at home.

After that, we went across the road to OG where I ended up buying a wallet that cost more than my camera bags, which cost more than any handbag I've ever owned!! We ducked across the road after an hour to grab a quick lunch:

Hawker centre

Fish head noodle soup

Fish fillet noodle soup

After lunch, we quickly drive to my niece's school to pick her up. In Singapore, they start at 7am and finish at 1pm. We swung by to pick up my nephew before sending him off to Violin practice. It was at this time that it started storming. I'm not talking about just rain. I'm talking lighting and thunder, the type that makes you drop your glass and rattle your window.

Luckily, the plan was to stay home for the night and I helped my sister make BBQ pork for dinner:

The rain died down, so I grabbed a quick bite and ran off to the MRT to go to my favourite shopping centre, Bugis. Don't ask me why I like the shopping centre, I just do. I think its one of the first few I used to go to all the time whenever I visited Singapore. Its more sentimental value than actually good shopping I think. Didn't stop me spending up a fortune though.

My sister has also been raving on and on about the MOS fish burger and how its better than the maccas fillet-o-fish. Since I only had a light dinner, I ordered myself a fish burger and a piece of chicken:

MmMmm cheesy......

This was a whole chicken breast!

I was expecting a chicken strip or something small, little did I know it was going to be a whole piece of chicken breast. It was also incredibly moist. I bit into it and it squirted chicken juice everywhere! I also saw a stall making fresh cut potato chips. They literally cut the potato up in front of you and then fry it. I just had to get myself a small cup, which they drenched with wasabi mayo. Can anyone spell tears?