Friday, March 26, 2010

Presto Pasta Night 156

Whenever we look forward to the biggest happening in our lives, more often than not it’s coupled with much enthusiasm and joy, isn’t it? Well, the long wait is over for the grandest event yet for Our Taste of Life. The table is now filled and oozing with sensory stimuli from all the dishes that came in. With this gastronomic ensemble, this is utterly a parade of stars! I am simply lost for gustatory words to describe how creative and scrumptious the pasta dishes are. Undoubtedly, each is a star in its own right.



Thank you to Ruth Daniels, the brain behind this much awaited weekly pasta lovers’ event. Through PPN, there’s simply no dull moment for our noodle bowls and pasta plates. Instead, it always feels like a party just like today. Consequently, what could be more stimulating than a “world pasta party”?! So, grab your favorite spoon and fork or chopsticks and let’s all dig in to what the world has to offer…
Our first stop is the table from Canada. This table is flowing with so much variety. From downright simple to the most fiery even to the most touching of all stories to tell behind the dish. I couldn't agree more with Ruth, every kitchen does tell a story. Aren't these a delightful feast to have?....


Pollo Bianca of Oriana from Doughader







Mahogany Fire Fire Noodles of Cynthia from Kitchen Slave


Angel Hair in Broth of Christine from Kitschow








Our next table is a fusion of countries that brought truly mouthwatering flavors. From UK and Greece, let's have hefty dollops of these...









The third table is known to be the home of the most passionate people in the world. And with the dishes they turned in, there's no doubt, this passion translates to their cooking as well. These are what Italy has to offer...


Nameless Low Carb Dish that resembles Lasagne of Judith from Think On It








From our most number of guests, the table from USA has the most robust of flavors and fusions. I am simply in awe with the creative juices flowing in here. This is pasta and noodle sophistication at its best!




Haluski of Chaya from Comfy Cook



Strawberry Balsamic Pesto Orzotto of Joanne from Joanne Eats well with Others







Simple and Easy Sausage Cart Spaghetti of Bob from I Cook Stuff




Tuscan Pot Pie of Cool Lassi from Pan Gravy Kadai Curry













And last but definitely not the least, the table from Asia. Two types of noodles showcasing the most popular kind of dishes in town.








and my homestyle Yaki Udon from the humble kitchen of Our Taste of Life.



With 20 dishes to be had, this was truly a bounty! Thank you to everyone for generously sharing your kitchen treasures. I hope you'll enjoy every nibble and must I say that we all deserve a satisfying slurp.


If you would like to join in the fun at PPN once again, next week's host will be no other than Ruth. Drop your gastronimic concoctions at ruth (at) 4everykitchen (dot) com.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Homestyle Yaki Udon

With so many ingredients available in the market for Asian Cuisine, I can now practically cook any thing I'm craving for especially when it comes to noodle dishes. I am in a noodle country by the way, so I think that supports this claim. Be it fresh, instant or dry, the possibilities are just endless. These past few days, I am into Udon noodles. Among the different noodle varieties, Udon has the most likeable texture attribute for me. It has a pleasing smooth, chewy bite that's truly enjoyable down to the last strand. My family's favorite dish for udon noodles is the one that's served stir-fry, the Yakiudon. This homestyle version is so easy to make. It doesn't speak of any sophistication at all yet there's something in its taste that's very pleasing to the palate.
How to make: Cook 250 g of pork (cut into bite size pieces) in water until all water evaporated and the pork is browned. Put to one side of the pan. Saute onion and garlic in 2 tbsps canola oil until fragrant. Combine with the pork and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add chopped vegetables (cabbage, carrots, red bell pepper) and stir-fry for a few minutes until vegetables are almost done. Add in Udon noodles (cooked in boiling water for 2 minutes and drained) and mix well for 2 - 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add tempura & noodle sauce to your desirable taste. Mix well and serve.
This is what I'm sharing with Presto Pasta Night happening right here at Our Taste of Life. Stay tuned!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Cereal Prawn

When we set foot to a new place or a new country, almost always we tend to search for the must haves. The must visit sights, the must eat foods and the must try experiences. Only, the order of priority varies from our individual preferences. If you are a gourmand like me, definitely food comes first. Foods in Singapore awake the adventurous cook in me. If the locals are known to be a well travelled lot they too are a well fed flock. Food abounds everywhere. If we narrow down the list of the must devour local signature dishes here, Cereal Prawns would definitely be on it. This famous dish is also a classic favorite from the finest dining area to the unpretentious hawker center. Thus, I didn't have any second thoughts in trying to cook it at home. I asked around and searched online for the typical recipe of the dish. I found out that there are a number of variations and ways of cooking it. And because I am no traditional cook, I tried to make my version at the shortest possible time. I was pleased to find an instant mix that helped me do so.


How to make: Wash, trim and slit open the prawns (500 g) to take out the inedible part. Season with salt, pepper and 1 tbsp sesame oil. Fry in canola oil until it turns pinkish red. Set aside. Melt butter in a heated wok, saute chopped garlic (3 cloves) and curry leaves (10 - 15 pcs) until fragrant. Add in cereal prawn instant mix and fried prawns. Stir-fry for a 1 - 2 minutes until well blended. Serve immediately.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Chinese Garden

I still can't get used to the extreme, at times bizzare weather that Singapore has. It's hardly predictable. One moment you're sweating excessively and the next, you're running hurriedly from the raging rain. It's how it was when we spent a leisure weekend in one of the country's most relaxing retreats - the Chinese Garden (also known as Jurong Garden). Though the weather was unfavorable for a relaxing visit, we still managed to get a few good shots and enjoyed the scenery prior to a heavy downpour. Welcoming us near the entrance gate of the garden is a 7-storey pagoda that beautifuly sits on a small hill. It exudes an admirable Chinese architecture that never fails to amaze me whenever I see one. Roaming around adorable landscapes, you'll find statues of great Chinese political leaders like Confucius.

There are also enchanting stoneboat and pavilions which complete the traditional feature of Chinese gardening art.

Apart from that, a Japanese Garden is built in the other half of the area. I was brought back in time to a memorable stay in Japan when I saw the Bonsai Garden. It's downright sublime.






With so many things to do and appreciate, Chinese Garden is another picturesque and calming spot that's definitely worth a visit. It's a fitting choice for bonding activities with friends and families. Be it a simple afternoon picnic, a morning exercise or just plain leisure walk this is the perfect place to be!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

PASTA PARTY right here @ Our Taste of Life

I'm truly elated with the current traffic report and visitor hits the blog is getting. Thank you to everyone for all your unwavering support to the site. The jump in the statistics is just beyond my expectations. And as I relish hefty servings of such inspirations, one big happening is yet to come in Our Taste of Life. I'm hosting this week's PPN - Presto Pasta Night! Thank you to Ruth Daniels for this delightful opportunity.
I'm inviting everyone to partake in this week's pasta celebration. Check out the mechanics on how to join here. If you would like to have a peek on how it's usually held, hop on to the previous round ups made by innovative foodies around the world. Make sure to turn in your dish by Friday (Mar 26, 2010) the latest (Asian time). I'm looking forward to meet your dishes at the table. See you then!

PASTA PARTY right here @ Our Taste of Life

I'm truly elated with the current traffic report and visitor hits the blog is getting. Thank you to everyone for all your unwavering support to the site. The jump in the statistics is just beyond my expectations. And as I relish hefty servings of such inspirations, one big happening is yet to come in Our Taste of Life. I'm hosting this week's PPN - Presto Pasta Night! Thank you to Ruth Daniels for this delightful opportunity.
I'm inviting everyone to partake in this week's pasta celebration. Check out the mechanics on how to join here. If you would like to have a peek on how it's usually held, hop on to the previous round ups made by innovative foodies around the world. Make sure to turn in your dish by Friday (Mar 26, 2010) the latest (Asian time). I'm looking forward to meet your dishes at the table. See you then!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Beef Udon with Portobello Mushroom

I was in the mood for experimenting the other day ergo, this unorthodox noodle dish emerged from my kitchen. I oftentimes encountered the beef and mushroom combination in meat dishes but rarely or never at all had I encountered a noodle dish having this kind of fusion. If there is, none that I was aware of. So, it really did come out as a trial thing for me. I have a mixed overall regard about the dish. The after taste is a typical dark, meaty soup which is acceptable. However, the creaminess is also a bit overpowering especially the initial aroma. If you are averse of the somehow distinctive earthy mushroom smell, a definite modification of the recipe might be deemed necessary. Otherwise, if you are a fan, this is a different way of enjoying portobello apart from the classic grilled and fried.
How to make: Saute chopped onion (1 med sized) and garlic (3 cloves) in 2 tbsps olive oil until fragrant. Add in sliced portobello mushrooms (3 pcs) and saute for 2 minutes. Add in thinly sliced beef meat (250g) and stir-fry for a few minutes until tender and browned. Add 3 cups of water and 1/2 cup of osyter sauce dissolved in 1 cup of water. Allow to boil and simmer until the beef meat is fully cooked. Add in 3 packs of fresh udon noodles and simmer for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Famous Amos Cookies

It's been a long while since I had a real, good tasting cookies. The kind that's finger licking good to the tiniest of the crumbs. A lot of household names had evolved in making their own cookies world recognized. Among the leading ones are Mrs. Fields and the commercial brands Oreo and Chips Ahoy. Each of these brands had established its own standards of how a cookie (or a chocolate cookie for that matter) should taste like. But what exactly defines a best tasting cookie? The ingredients in making cookies are no secret and very basic. Similarly, the manner it is being prepared and baked is widely written. But how come we get to see a lot of variations in quality and each claiming its own unique selling point? In as far as taste and liking are concerned, I would say this is the one thing that's specific to a person. As for me, I'm particular to the sweetness level, the crunch and the overall taste appeal of a cookie. I'm very partial to the type that exhibits a short-crispy bite but melts in the mouth when completely eaten. I was wowed to find these likeable attributes in Singapore's Famous Amos.


When I had my first bite of this "oh-so-licious" cookies, I know I would never stop craving for more. Just like any other cookie though, it tends to be too sweet when you have munched for more. Hence, a hot tea would perfectly complement to balance it out. I tried the best sellers and I never doubted why they were so.


Famous Amos Cookies

It's been a long while since I had a real, good tasting cookies. The kind that's finger licking good to the tiniest of the crumbs. A lot of household names had evolved in making their own cookies world recognized. Among the leading ones are Mrs. Fields and the commercial brands Oreo and Chips Ahoy. Each of these brands had established its own standards of how a cookie (or a chocolate cookie for that matter) should taste like. But what exactly defines a best tasting cookie? The ingredients in making cookies are no secret and very basic. Similarly, the manner it is being prepared and baked is widely written. But how come we get to see a lot of variations in quality and each claiming its own unique selling point? In as far as taste and liking are concerned, I would say this is the one thing that's specific to a person. As for me, I'm particular to the sweetness level, the crunch and the overall taste appeal of a cookie. I'm very partial to the type that exhibits a short-crispy bite but melts in the mouth when completely eaten. I was wowed to find these likeable attributes in Singapore's Famous Amos.


When I had my first bite of this "oh-so-licious" cookies, I know I would never stop craving for more. Just like any other cookie though, it tends to be too sweet when you have munched for more. Hence, a hot tea would perfectly complement to balance it out. I tried the best sellers and I never doubted why they were so.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Pork Binagoongan (Pork with Shrimp Paste)

As I perused the busy aisles of supermarkets and grocery shops on weekends, I noticed that there are plenty of ready made sauces and culinary pastes confined in the shelves. These include the popular chili-garlic sauce, sambal chili, hoisin sauce and other Asian favorites. Among the choices to be had, it's the sambal chili that interests me most. It resembles very much of our own "bagoong alamang" (shrimp paste) both in taste and appearance except that it is mainly chili based. Sambal chili is a favorite condiment for Malaysian dishes such as the Nasi Lemak. It has a subtle sweet note that blends well with the hotness of the chili. It's a good accompaniment to food for a more enjoyable taste.
Back in the Philippines, "bagoong alamang" is typically used in one of the well-liked local dishes - Pork Binagoongan (Pork with Shrimp Paste). I tried to cook it here with the absence of the fresh shrimp paste. As an alternative to the fresh one, I used the bottled version which is already sauted. It's not as traditional as it should be but the taste profile still captured the same customary appeal.
How to make: In a wok, cook 3/4 kg of pork belly with 1/2 cup of vinegar and 3 cups of water until tender (adjust the amount of water if needed). Allow all liquids to evaporate and the meat to brown. Push the meat to one side of the wok, saute 1 med sized onion and 3 cloves garlic (both chopped) in pork fat until fragrant. Add 2 medium tomatoes (sliced) and saute for 1 min. Blend with the browned pork and add 2 - 3 tbsps of bottled bagoong alamang (shrimp paste). Saute for 2 minutes. Add 2 cups of water and 2 tbsps sugar. Allow to boil and simmer until the pork is almost done. Add string beans and cook to just the right vegetable crisp texture. Serve while hot.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Asian Kitchen

A good many travels to some parts of Asia introduced me to eclectic, delish eats. The abundance of fragrant spices is just second to none. Discount the element of bias for my being of Asian origin, but great is even an understatement to describe the foods in the region. I would stand for its genuine richness. I have seen this substantiated countless times by famous celebrity chefs like Anthony Bourdain and Bobby Chin just to name a few, who had great discoveries and experiences with Asian foods. They share our proof that this territory has nothing but good food.
Now that we started a new life in one of its most diversed countries, I have been enticed a number of times with delightful offerings around. My eyes is always into a feast with riveting choices. This restaurant named Asian Kitchen (located in City Link Mall) stirred enough curiousity in me that I was prompted to try with the family. It's not in the range of the finest but there's something in the menu list and food shots that says we have to sample this. And with these picks, we're glad that we did.
The fried rice is very tasty. It can actually be eaten on its own. It's so delicious that there's no need to pair it with a viand. I noted that Singapore does have a better rice quality than the Philippines. So far, I've never tasted any that's beyond my liking. The texture is just right and very aromatic.

The noodle dishes are equally appetizing albeit fatty too. The dimsum is plain acceptable and there's nothing much to hype about. On the whole, our first time visit was more of a hit than miss. I may go back to taste some more.