Classic Chinese Chicken Potato Stew Recipe

Wednesday, October 30, 2013 0 Comments A+ a-

Chicken Potato Stew Recipe
Growing up in a Peranakan family, I am inseparable with chili. Home-cook meal is incomplete without chili dishes and there would surely be at least a chili dish for every meal. Rarely will there be an exception unless someone at home is suffering from sore-throat. Inborn with a vulnerable throat, I am prone to sore-throat and this is the dish that mom would cook for me - chicken potato stew.

Do I like the dish?  I may not appreciate the dish when I was young but now I do. Simple reason, nothing tastes better than home cook food. I believe wanderers like me will agree wholeheartedly with my statement.

My little secret to curb homesickness is to warm my tummy and satisfy my taste buds with this dish. This is a healthy yet simple dish to prepare.

Ingredients
300g of chicken breast (cut into cubes, season with pepper, salt and soy sauce)
1/2 carrot (cut into cubes)
2 stalks spring onion (cut into stripes)
4 medium size potatoes (cut into cubes)
1 yellow onion (sliced)
1 tbsp of cooking oil
50ml of water
few ginger slices (optional)

Sauce
1/2 tbsp of sesame oil
2 tbsp of thick soy sauce
1 tbsp of light soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
(In a bowl, mix the sesame oil, thick soy sauce, light soy sauce, salt and pepper and stir well)

Instructions
Step 1: Parboil the potatoes in salt water for approximately 7-10 minutes (light boil). Set aside for later use. Alternatively, you may bake the potatoes in the oven for 20 minutes.
Step 2: In a heated pan with cooking oil, stir fry the onion, ginger (optional), carrot, chicken slices and potatoes. Once the chicken slices are light browned, add in the sauce and water. With medium heat, simmer for 10 minutes until sauce is thicken.
Step 3: Add in the spring onion and simmer for another 2 minutes and the dish is ready.

Simple one dish meal to pair with fluffy white rice, Yum!!

Chicken Potato Stew Recipe

15 Minutes Meal: Curry Shrimps and Paprika Toast

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 0 Comments A+ a-

My initial plan was to have pasta for dinner tonight. I soon realized I was running out of spaghetti and any form of pasta in my kitchen. How can a shopaholic forgot about her staple food while doing her weekly grocery? Simple answer, there wasn't any pasta on sale in Albert Heijn ...

I skip the idea to cook rice as it may take more than 20 minutes to cook a pot of rice. Down with the defrosted shrimps and diced paprika (also known as capsicum or bell-pepper) which I prepared earlier of the day, I decided to make something quick -- the Curry Shrimps and Paprika Toast.

simple toast recipe

In a heated pan with cooking oil, stir-fry the shrimps and paprika. Once the shrimps turned red, add in 4 tbsp of Patak's Original Indian Curry Sauce and cook for another 2 minutes before dish out. The final touch is to top the shrimps and paprika curry sauce on a slice of  toast.

For a color twist, I served my toasts with some green cucumber salad -- mini cucumber sticks with honey mustard mayonnaise salad dressing. This is indeed a very refreshing salad which I highly recommended. Unlike the conventional mayonnaise salad dressing, the honey mustard mayonnaise salad dressing is lighter and the mustard seeds provide the added texture and heat to the salad. Salad lovers, please try this at home and you will definitely love it.

cucumber pickle salad




Another 15 minutes meal and I enjoyed it in front of my TV. Haha ... this is what I reckon, a lazy but yummy meal!

Pretzel King "Brezelkonig" @ Basel Switzerland

Monday, October 21, 2013 0 Comments A+ a-

Brezelkonig

On my recent trip to the Swiss capital of watch production: Basel, I wowed to try as many local delicacies as possible. Pretzel, the unique baked bread with a knot-like shape which originated from the Swiss German area is high on my food-sampling list. 

Lady luck was definitely on my side as I smell the unmistakable scent of freshly baked pretzel while visiting the famous red-colored Basel town hall at Marktplatz. I quickly finished my tour and yupe, there is a pretzel stall with a promising name "Brezelkonig" in front of Manor shopping center.

There were dozen of more types of pretzels on offer from the original flavor to melted cheese. The size of the pretzels were huge and at least 2x as large when comparing to Aunt Anne's version. Priced from CHF 3 onwards, I was tempted to try all varieties. In the end, since breakfast was just over an hour ago,  I chose the pumpkin seed and sesame version.
Pumpkin Seed Brezelkonig

The dough was top quality and I love the crunch and sweetness from the pumpkin seed. My only complaint would be the excessive used of salt on top.

Sesame Seed Brezelkonig
The same could be said of the sesame seed version too, love the earthiness from the toasted sesame seeds to bits. Hence, if you crave for a good old quality pretzel in Basel, do try out the version of Brezelkonig.

Breathtaking Sceneries at Kijkduin Beach @ The Hague

Thursday, October 17, 2013 0 Comments A+ a-

Kijkduin Beach at the Hague

Kijkduin is an underrated yet amazing seaside resort facing the North Sea near the Hague. It is underrated because there is another more famous seaside resort nearby: Scheveningen. Unlike Scheveningen, which is jam packed round the year by tourists all over the Netherlands, Kijkduin is relatively peaceful and more laid-back yet it boast stunning sceneries, white sandy beach, beautiful promenades and friendly paved walkways. In short, it is perfect for a family weekend day-out.

There are a handy of brave souls surfing and swimming at the beach albeit the cold and chilly north sea. I did enjoy munching on Kibbeling and Patat, the Dutch version of fish and chips sold by 2 shops at the beach. There were also a handful of restaurants at the promenade including a small shopping complex to cater for the diverse crowds. It is very easy to get to Kijkduin beach from the Hague city center--only about 20-30 minutes via HTM bus.

White sandy beach at Kijkduin

Check out the long, white and clean beach front.
Kijkduin Beach
Relatively clean and clear North sea flank by dozens of sea gulls.
Kijkduin Beach at the Hague

The wooden fence added a sense of rustic and charm to Kijkduin beach.
Wooden fence at Kijkduin Beach

If you have the stamina, do hike up the pavement to the small ruins on top of the sand dunes. You will be rewarded richly by the breath-taking panoramic view of the entire Kijkduin beach.
Small abandoned ruins at Kijkduin Beach

If you are tired of the hustle and bustle of Scheveningen beach, do give Kijkduin beach a try. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
Kijkduin Beach at the Hague


What You Can Do With Wasa Crispbread

Sunday, October 13, 2013 0 Comments A+ a-

simple afternoon snacks
Wasa crispbread The bite size cracker pizza is my all-time-favourite. It is indeed a no-brainer snack with simple ingredients and is very easy to prepare.

I am expecting guests this afternoon and this easy cracker pizza is just the prefect snack for the afternoon tea. 

The original recipe calls for soda cracker (苏打饼) as the pizza crust. Since I find soda crackers do rather easily turn soggy after a layer of pizza sauce, I opted to use the underrated Wasa Crispbread as the pizza base instead. Besides being the healthier alternative, Wasa crispbread is drier, less absorbent and will not turn soggy easily after baking with the pizza sauce and other ingredients such as paprika, onion or tomato.

Just like the usual method to prepare pizza, spread the pizza sauce evenly on the crispbreads. Then add toppings of your choice (I topped my crispbread pizza with ham and paprika), follows by a layer of mozzarella cheese. Bake in the oven for roughly 10 minutes, at 200°C heat until the cheese has melted. The Wasa crispbread pizza is ready to be served.

For an ideal finishing, I will serve my guests with freshly squeezed cranberry and raspberry smoothie to quench the thirst after the savory snack. Sounds like a perfect plan isn't it?

Simple ingredients, health, fuss free and tasty -- the Wasa crispbread pizza. Pizza lovers, do try this at home!

Fruits on Trees in the Netherlands

Wednesday, October 09, 2013 0 Comments A+ a-

Hail from tropical country, I am always fascinated with the fruit trees grown in Oceanic climates in Europe. I am not new to fruits like apples, berries, pears, grapes, prunes and many other more as these are the common fruits we can get in grocer back home, even the seasonal ones are sold there too. However, when it comes to the actual plants, I seriously have limited idea on how they look like except for grapes and strawberries.

My stint in Europe has indeed given me the golden opportunity to get up-close and personal with these plants. Sharing in this post is the collection of fruits-on-the-trees shots in the Netherlands which I manage to capture in summer and early autumn.


1) Prunes
Captured in the shot are the half ripe prunes. Check out the vibrant blue plus green hues. Aren't they deceptively appealing?

2) Blackberries
Found this plant at the quiet neighborhood near Haagse Bos, The Hague. Fully grown with berries but the plant was unattended. There were a mix of blue and red color berries which I presume the latter was the unripe one. I was so tempted to plug one and pop-into my mouth but put a stop because I was unsure what plant was it and it might be poisoiness. Silly me ...

3) Grapes
My favorite fruit, grapes! They looked absolutely sweet and juicy! My dad used to grow grapes in front of our front yard, unfortunately the grapes were not edible. They took forever to get ripe and they ended-up as the display in our garden.

4) Pears
Another favorite of mine, the crunchy pears. I got very excited when I saw pear trees in the garden of Grand Hotel Karel V, Utrecht. Judging from the look, I could tell these pears are crunchy. Even though they taste sweeter and juicier, the well ripped pears could be too soft for me. So, I still stick to the hard and crunchy version. Yum !! 

5) Green Apples
Fresh and crunchy looking green apples like these are simply irresistible. I would have plug one and give a big bite if no one see it ... haha.

6) Red Baby Apples
You can never get these in grocers back home. Not sure whether they are edible but they look absolutely gorgeous.

7) Nutmeg
Syrup nutmeg pickles were once my favorite snacks. I always saw the hand drawn nutmeg images on the packaging but had no idea at all on how the actual plant looks like. I even Google online to find out what exactly the plant is after the shot. Yup, these are fresh nutmeg fruits, very different indeed from the end products which we can get from Penang island back home.

Simple Snack Ideas with Mini Log Bread

Sunday, October 06, 2013 0 Comments A+ a-

Mini Log Bread
I adore log breads. The symmetrical round shape of the sliced log breads look absolutely appealing and just go well with anything toppings. It is the perfect base for bruschetta or mini pizzas.

Perhaps it is not popular here in NL and I hardly find log breads sold in local pastry house. So far I only spotted plain mini log breads in AH Grocer (selected branches only).


Featuring in this post are 2 simple yet lips smacking snacks prepared from plain mini log breads and basic ingredients commonly found in every kitchen. Easy to prepare snacks and perfect for afternoon tea. Check this out...


Cheese and Sesame Mini Log Bread Toast
Simple snacks with mini log bread





Ingredients: 6 slices of mini log bread, a slice of Gouda cheese and some white sesame seed.

Top the Gouda cheese (break into pieces) on the mini log bread and sprinkle the sesame seeds on top of the cheese slices. Pop the log breads into the oven and toast for 7 minutes (at 180c heat) until the cheese melted and the log bread turn crispy.

Simple snacks with mini log bread
Melted cheese and toasted sesame seeds is indeed a perfect match made in heaven. The crunch of the well toasted bread, couple with the nutty sesame seeds and savory cheese, this is absolutely good and addictive.

Mini Log Bread French Toast
Simple snacks with mini log bread
Ingredients: 6 slices of mini log bread, cooking oil, butter, 1 beaten egg with some curry powder, milk (optional), salt and pepper to taste.

Heat up a pan with butter and oil. Soak the mini log bread (both side) into the egg mixture and pan fry in the heated pan for 2 minutes until the bread lightly brown. Flip the log bread with a spatula and pan fry the other side for another 2 minutes. Repeat the same for the rest of the log bread slices.

The bite size yet perfect round shape French Toast not only looks appealing but also tastes good. Serve it with some tomato ketchup if you prefer it to be a savory snack. For sweet tooth folks, just enjoy the French Toast with a sprinkle of icing powder and maple syrup. Tangy raspberry fruit jams go well with the French toast too.
Simple snacks with mini log bread







Above are my 2 simple recipes which worth to explore. The plain mini log breads are so versatile and you can even use it to create more elaborate Hors D'oeuvres. Go creative with your mini log breads!

Ele Spanse Spanish Tapas Restaurant @ Utrecht

Tuesday, October 01, 2013 0 Comments A+ a-

I am pretty sure there are certain charms about Utrecht. I fall for the city not for once but for twice. The very first time was three years ago when I first visited the city. The feeling is even greater during my recent visit as the town simply has so much to offer. From top notch 5-stars hotel to distinctive museum complexes, to great gastronomical dining experience, Utrecht just has it all.

I always wanted an alfresco dining experience along the centuries old canal and it was a dream came through for me when I got the chance to do so in Utrecht.
Utrecht
I have actually not tasted Spanish cuisine before, hence this particular Ele Spanse Spanish Tapas Restaurant caught my eyes. Located in one of the many wharf cellars on the Oudegracht, Ele Spanse Spanish Tapas Restaurant offers a pleasant yet peaceful ambience for my first alfresco dining experience next to the old canal in Utrecht city.

Such a delight to find out that Tapas are served in small portion, almost the size of the normal appetizers. I like the concept as I could sample more food, just like the Chinese dim sum.

Ele Spanse Spanish Tapas Restaurant, Utrecht
We ordered a bread basket with olive spread, fish croquette, shrimps in chili oil, frittata (baked omelet) and deep fried aubergine with honey.

The saltiness of the olive spread added the soul to the soft yet fluffy bread. They can be very addictive.
Ele Spanse Spanish Tapas Restaurant, Utrecht
We wanted the grilled shrimps but ended up with this sinful shrimps in red chili oil. The shrimps were slightly soft but without fishy smell, hence an alright dish for me. I know this is sinful, to dip the bread into the red chili oil. But I just can't help it as the fluffy bread and the chili oil is simply a match made in heaven.
Ele Spanse Spanish Tapas Restaurant, Utrecht
The fish croquette is perhaps a must order dish. Almost every table would have this signature dish served. Fried to golden brown, the fish croquette is just prefect to eat-it-on-its-own without any sauce as the minced fish filling itself is slightly salty in taste. Another sinful and addictive dish.
Ele Spanse Spanish Tapas Restaurant, Utrecht
Spongy texture plus the slight crunch from the potato cubes, the frittata tasted absolutely heavenly. You will never go wrong with this frittata, filling and satisfying at the same time!
Ele Spanse Spanish Tapas Restaurant, Utrecht
Unsure of what veggie dish to order, we went for the deep fried aubergine coated with honey sauce. Appealing dish indeed with a layer of shining honey glaze. Sweet in taste and could be a great hot dessert I think.
Ele Spanse Spanish Tapas Restaurant, Utrecht
The meal is incomplete without the sinful dessert. Yes, it is indeed the sinful one. A huge slice of dark chocolate cake with whipped cream and the sinfully rich coconut ice-cream served in an empty coconut shell.
Ele Spanse Spanish Tapas Restaurant, Utrecht

Ele Spanse Spanish Tapas Restaurant, Utrecht

What a great treat! I really had a great time dinning at Ele Spanish Tapas Restaurant (even with few hundred grams of weight gain after the meal).

Oh ya … forgot to mention, there is also Flamingo dance performance at 9pm every night in the restaurant. Make sure you stay up for the spectacular performance if you could make it.


Ele Spanse Spanish Tapas Restaurant
Oudegracht aan de Werf 211, Utrecht

Operating hours
Tue - Sun   17:00 till 22:00
Close on Mon

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