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Monthly Archives: July 2011

Vermicelli with BBQ Pork and Mushroom

Tonight’s dinner was one of those ‘use whatever you have’ dishes. Hubby wanted noodles for dinner and I had half a packet of dried brown rice vermicelli (‘mei fun’ in Cantonese) in the pantry. Rice vermicelli is usually fried with meat (pork), shrimps and greens. I had some BBQ pork in the freezer, dried mushroom and some baby bok choy so it’s perfect.

Fried rice vermicelli is a simple dish but involves several steps: soaking the dried vermicelli, frying an omelette and cutting it to shreds, and frying the vegetable and meat separately. It is not an easy dish to make as you can either undersoak or undercook the vermicelli resulting in hard, indigestible noodles, or oversoak or overcook the noodles resulting in a sloppy, gloppy dish! The first time I fried vermicelli, I had noodles everywhere, it was a mess! But you do get better at it over time. :)

(Forgive the rather poor pictures. I took these photos with a camera phone! I’m still waiting for my computer to arrive.)

Fried Rice Vermicelli with BBQ Pork and Mushroom

Ingredients
200g shredded BBQ pork (you can also use 100g shredded pork and 100g shrimps)
3 dried Chinese mushrooms
2 eggs
200g baby bok choy
250g rice vermicelli (I used brown rice vermicelli)
1 small shallot, sliced (or 1 stalk green onion)
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp BBQ pork drippings/juice (ask from the BBQ pork butcher, the meat is usually in a pan with the juices).

1. Soak dried vermicelli in lukewarm water for 10 minutes or until softened. Pour into a colander and drain well. (If using pork, season with a little soy sauce, cornstarch and pepper.) Rinse mushrooms and soak in hot water till softened. Retain the water and slice mushrooms thinly, set aside. Beat eggs in a bowl and fry in a non-stick pan into an omelette. Cut into shreds and set aside. Combine the BBQ pork drippings and the light soy sauce to make one and a half cup of seasoning. (Or use 1-2 tbsps of oyster sauce if you do not have the drippings.)

2. Wash and cut bok choy into section. Fry with 1 tbsp of oil till softened. Remove from pan and set aside. Fry BBQ pork till fragrant and heated through, remove. If using raw pork and shrimps, fry till cooked and remove. Fry mushrooms and shallot till fragrant. Drizzle over the dark soy sauce, mix, then add in the seasoning. Bring to a boil. Bring heat to medium.

3. Add in the rice vermicelli and toss well. Add the bok choy and cover for 1 minute. Remove the cover and toss to combine all the ingredients and to make sure the noodles is evenly covered with the seasoning. Toss until the the vermicelli is fairly dry. Add in the pork and toss again to combine. Taste and add more light soy sauce if needed. Dish out and scatter the shredded omelette on top. Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2011 in Cooking, Food

 

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Breathing New Life into Failed Cake

Remember my earlier post about the cake that didn’t rise hence I couldn’t make the tall party cake? I didn’t know what to do with it but I couldn’t just throw it out so I put it away in the fridge. Then yesterday I remembered my long procrastinated project – cake pops! I had all the ingredients and materials. Just never gotten around to making them. It was a fantastic way to use up the cake, I’m so pleased it didn’t go to waste. The cake pop was great with the lemony cake and the chocolate. I served them at an ‘Everyday Style’ party I hosted this morning and they were a hit!

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Dorie’s Perfect Party Cake crumbled and mixed with canned cream cheese frosting. Dipped in melted Mercken’s chocolate wafers, thinned with sunflower oil. 

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2011 in Baking, Food, Life

 

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French Fridays: Coconut-Lemongrass-Braised Pork

Another Asian-influenced dish from Around My French Table; pork curry-stew. Turmeric, curry powder, cardomom seeds, coriander seeds, lemongrass and coconut milk are used in this curry. This recipe says to braise the stew in the oven but I cooked it the way I cook curry – entirely on the stove. It was too hot to have the oven on anyway! I cooked the potatoes and carrots separately as Dorie said but cooked the onions with the pork to add extra sweetness to the stew. I also poured all but 1/4 of the can of coconut milk into the Dutch oven and added the remaining milk only at the end as the flavour of the coconut milk will be cooked away when cooked too long. I omitted the honey too as I didn’t think the stew needs it, preferring it savoury than sweet.

It was a pleasant and mild curry. I found the strongest flavours were the lemongrass and cardomom. My kids could eat it and they think it’s quite nice. After all, only 1 heaped teaspoon of curry powder was used. I found a drizzle of soy sauce to chicken curry enhances its flavour and it worked on this dish as well. We had it two days in a row and it did taste better the next day. The first night I served it over white rice and garlic fried rice the second. (The second night’s dinner was better!)

That’s all from me on this recipe. I’m curious how other French Fridays with Dorie members found it. Click here for their links. (I’ll update this post with the link when it’s up. The FFwD website appears to be down at this moment.)

 
 

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Failure and comfort

Tomorrow is Big Kid’s birthday. He saw the Perfect Party Cake in my Baking book and liked it. That boy likes fruit and jam so I know he was attracted to the red jam filling between the cake layers. I know many who baked this cake had problems with the cake not rising. I read all the tips but alas, my cake failed too. Maybe it was the dark pans, maybe it was the lower heat I used (since I was baking with dark pans), maybe I overbeat or underbeat the batter but whatever it was, my cake did not rise. They were barely an inch tall. I would not be able to recreate the tall four-layer cake from the book. It was disappointing. After some consideration, I just decided to cut my losses and abandon the project. Don’t shout at me. It’s already too late. I have placed an order for a cake from a bakery. A lemon mousse cake because my boy likes tart desserts too. I felt sad because I’ve always baked birthday cakes for my family unless there was a specific request for something else.

I didn’t have the mood to make dinner but we got to eat. I took the 4 egg yolks left over from the cake recipe and made comfort food – pasta with carbonara sauce. We had rotini carbonara with bacon, peas and garlic. Yum. I feel slightly better.

 

Boiled pasta till al dente. Meanwhile, put sliced bacon into a cold saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, under bacon is crispy. Pour oil away leaving a teaspoon and stir in minced garlic and some frozen peas. Cook till garlic is fragrant and peas are heated through. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, 1/2 cup half-and-half, 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan, salt and pepper. When pasta is done, drain pasta and pour it back to the pot. Toss the egg mixture through the hot pasta then toss with the bacon mixture. Serve immediately. 

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2011 in Cooking, Food, Life

 

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Fields of Gold

I drive pass this (I think it’s) wheat field and others almost every day. This field is particularly pleasing – wheat as far as the eye can see! I just had to snap a picture and share it with you all!

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Posted by on July 18, 2011 in Life

 

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Summer Break

Summer break started more than 2 weeks ago and it’s been good so far. No cries of boredom from the boys and they get out sufficiently. No cries from me either! It’s good taking a break from waking up early and packing snacks and lunches. I like the carefree days and the spontaneous activities that I do with the boys.

I am going to take a break from the Internet and that includes blogging too! My notebook broke and I’m going to have to buy a new one. We’re going to get our basement finished first so we’re not sure when we’ll be buying a new computer. It won’t be too long though! I’m using my husband’s work notebook now but I try not to use it. Thankfully, I have my Windows Phone so I can still check my email and Facebook. I’ll be able to follow blogs that I’ve subscribed to over email and also post comments. I actually can write blog posts using my phone too as there’s a WordPress app for WP7 but typing out words letter-by-letter is not really fun, know what I mean? :)

So I’m just going to take it easy and enjoy the lazy days of summer with my family while I’m not so ‘connected’.

Wishing all those living in the northern hemisphere a happy Summer and days of sunshine, ice-cream, camping fun, water play and of course, delicious grilling!

The boys on 'Aslan'.

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2011 in Life

 

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Lemon Pound Cake with Strawberry Sauce

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This recipe is taken from LCBO’s Food & Drink Summer 2011 issue. I had been looking out for it and was quite pleased to see it was available when I went to get some summer beers yesterday. This pound cake doesn’t require the usual creaming of butter and sugar and uses a combination of oil and butter. It produces a soft and buttery cake with slight tartness from the lemon. 

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The original recipe served the cake with a sauce made from fresh strawberries and strawberry jam but I used my own homemade strawberry sauce instead.

LEMON POUND CAKE

5 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt (use greater amount if using unsalted butter)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 lemon
1/3 cup canola or other vegetable oil*
1/2 cup butter, 1 stick, very soft
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160C).

2. Separate eggs, placing whites in a clean mixing bowl. Place yolks in a small bowl. Using extra, very generously butter and flour a Bundt pan.

3. Place measured flour into a large mixing bowl. Stir in 3/4 cup sugar along with salt and baking soda; mix well. Finely zest lemon with a rasp; squeeze 2 tbsp juice.

4. Slowly add oil in batches to very soft butter, stirring well after each addition. Stir in yolks; then zest, juice and vanilla.

5. Beat egg whites until foamy; beat in cream of tartar. When soft peaks form, gradually beat in remaining 3/4 cup sugar until glossy stiff peaks form. A bit of whipped egg rubbed between fingers feels smooth, not gritty.

6. Make a well in the flour mixture; add butter mixture all at once. Stir until all flour is absorbed. Using a large rubber spatula, fold 1/3 of whipped whites into dough until evenly mixed. Then fold in remainder just until streaks almost disappear. Turn into prepared pan; smooth top.

7. Bake in centre of preheated oven for 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in cake middle comes out clean. Cool upright on a rack for 15 minutes to firm up cake. Then loosen and turn out upside down to finish cooling on rack.

8. To serve, dust cake top lightly with icing sugar in a small sieve. Serve slices with some berry sauce.

* I used sunflower oil but I may have mistakenly used half a cup!

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STRAWBERY SAUCE

1 lb strawberries, hulled and halved
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon sugar (or 3 tablespoons sugar if you’re not using maple syrup)
Juice of 1/4 lemon
Zest of the 1/4 lemon (optional)
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Put the strawberries, maple syrup, lemon juice and zest (if using) into a medium saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for 10 mins. Taste and add the the 1 tablespoon sugar if it’s not sweet enough. Mix the cornstarch with 2 teaspoons water and add to the saucepan. Continue to simmer for another 10 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and mash lightly with fork to break up the bigger pieces. If you want a smooth sauce, puree the cooled sauce in a blender.

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9 Comments

Posted by on July 10, 2011 in Baking, Food

 

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