Friday, October 26, 2012

Chili Crab

Touted as the culinary emblem of Singapore, Chili Crab is a well known dish in the Lion City that not having it while visiting the country is tantamount to saying you didn't have the best experience at all. Many claim it to be among the city-states' must try foods. As a proof to this claim, it's listed on the 35th spot in the World's 50 Most Delicious Foods by CNNgo.
Chili Crab is a dish that provides you with a good mix of taste sensation. It's slightly sweet, savoury and spicy. There are a lot of variations and different ways of preparing this dish. But really, it's just simple and easy to make. So, if you're keen on taking the challenge of making your own at home sans the pricy tags that most popular restaurants charge you, this recipe from BBC Good Food - Asian Edition is satisfying enough. Also, you can personalize it according to your own liking. Adjust the level of ingredients when necessary. As they say, anyone can whip a hearty dish only if he believes in the culinary power of his hands. That's a mantra I always adapt in my kitchen. Hence, the recipe below is my modified version.
Note: This is mild spicy by Singapore standard (or maybe not spicy at all to some). If you want it real spicy and hot, add 3 tbsps of finely chopped chili in number 1 of preparation. I have kids who will taste it ergo, I have to keep the level of spiciness at a bare minimum.
What you need:
3 tbsp olive oil
2 - 3 tbsps garlic, finely chopped
2 - 3 tbps ginger, julienne
1 1/2  tsp chili sauce
3 tbsp tomato sauce (or to taste)
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp light soy sauce
4 tsp sesame oil
2 Mud Crubs (med - large size)
250ml chicken stock
2 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp cornflour, dissolved in 2 tbsps water
How to make:
1. Heat olive oil in a wok on med-high heat. Saute garlic and ginger until fragrant.
2. Add chili sauce, tomato sauce, sugar, soy sauce and sesame oil. Stir for 1 min.
3. Add the crab and cook, stirring continuously for another min then add the chicken stock.
4. Stir the mixture and bring it to a boil. Cover the wok and simmer for 10 mins or until the crab is cooked.
5. Add the eggs and the cornflour mixture to thicken the sauce. Mix thoroughly until the crab is coated in the sauce. If necessary, adjust the seasoning or tomato sauce to taste.
6. Serve with fried bread (mantou) or rice. Top with chopped coriander leaves or thin slices of spring onions (optional).

Monday, October 22, 2012

Weekend Dinner #5: Kids & Adult Fusion

A calorie loaded dinner plate!
The kids requested for pasta and pizza for dinner recently. Naturally, I thought of the classic ones and something that they would really enjoy. Meat Ball Linguine and Pepperoni Pizza surely fit to this criteria. To complete the menu, I've added a salad and a popular Filipino dish - Pork Steak. I ended the repertoire with a luscious Banana Blueberry Parfait and Macaron Parfait. I'm still salivating as I mention this food selection. This dinner was so indulging that I won't mind having it again the next time.
 Greek Salad
What you need: Mix Greens, cherry tomatoes (halves), feta cheese, black olives (halves), cucumber (cut into cubes), cruotons, vinaigrette dressing
How to make: Prepare the vinaigrette by mixing 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp sugar, 1/2 tsp dijon mustard and 1 tsp finely chopped garlic until emulsified. Set aside. Place all the other salad ingredients in a bowl and drizzle with enough vinaigrette. Toss to coat evenly.

Meat Ball Linguine
What you need: 250g Linguine Pasta (cooked according to package directions), 1 med onion (chopped), 3 cloves garlic (chopped), 1 glass pasta sauce (I used Napoletana), meat balls (see cooking directions below)
How to make:
1. Prepare the Meat balls - mix in a bowl 500g ground beef, 2 cloves finely minced garlic, 1 pc egg, 1 cup bread crumbs, salt & pepper to taste. Form into 1 inch size meat ball and fry in olive oil until it turns brown. Set aside.
2. In a separate pan, saute onion and garlic in 2 tbps olive oil until fragrant. Add the pasta sauce and meat balls. Allow to boil and simmer for 5 - 10 minutes. Stir in cooked linguine and serve topped with grated parmesan cheese.

Pepperoni Pizza
In the interest of time of preparation, I used a ready made pizza dough but if you have the luxury of time you can also opt to make your own dough. I used a pasta sauce instead of a plain tomato sauce for an added taste dimension.
How to make: Put a generous amount of pasta sauce on top of the pizza dough, grated mozzarella cheese and pepperoni slices. Bake in the oven until the cheese melts.

Banana Blueberry Parfait
Parfait is perhaps one of the easiest desserts to make.You can practically come up with any combinations of your favorite fruits, baked goods, nuts, ice cream and what have you. The options are literally limitless. You just have to layer your ingredients according to your liking and generously top it with your favorite syrup.

Macaron Parfait

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Legoland, Malaysia

This is by far, the post that's most heavily loaded with pictures! Having said that though, Legoland is more than just meet the eye. We've visited this newly opened theme park in Iskandar, Malaysia a few weeks ago and we're more than delighted that we did. It's relatively smaller in size compared to other popular theme parks like Disneyland and Universal Studios but it's definitely packed with so much fun and adventure.
This was the crowd at the ticket booths on a friday morning (just minutes before the park opens).

 Situated right after the entrance gate is the biggest Lego shop that you can find in Asia.

The theme park is divided into seven major attractions:
1. The Beginning
2. Miniland
3. Lego City
4. Land of Adventure
5. Imagination
6. Lego Kingdoms
7. Lego Technic

Each attraction is filled with exciting rides and lots of activities to enjoy. They range from just pure fun to educational programs designed to encourage creativity and out-of-the-textbook ideas. The best way to start your route is through the LEGO CITY. Driving Schools and Boating Schools are the must try rides in this area.

Get your camera ready when you stop by at the MINILAND. Bulk of the pictures that you will have inside the theme park might probably come from this attraction. It houses some of Asia's well known landmarks re-created with more than 30 million Lego bricks. Miniland is coined as the centre piece of every Legoland Park. Upon seeing those awe-inspiring, very detailed miniature creations, I never wonder why it was so. They were indeed stunningly beautiful!

Scene from the Philippines. This particular creation made me feel so much closer to home. Did you notice the banca and the jeepney?

 Kuala Lumpur International Airport

 Petronas Twin Towers

 Taj Mahal, India



 Great Wall of China



LAND OF ADVENTURE features attractions that show the world of Pharoahs and Dinosaurs.

Beetle Bounce - the ride that's a sure hit to the kids.

The attraction where my kids enjoyed the most - IMAGINATION.
Build & Test is the place where kids and kids at heart can reunite with the much loved lego bricks. Since the crowd is not that big during our visit, there are a lot of bricks available that enabled us to build our own Lego creations.

LEGO KINGDOMS -  This is where you will find the usual and the ever familiar roller coaster ride.

Royal Joust - another must try for the younger kids

Playhouses are also aplenty.

In LEGO TECHNIC, kids will have the opportunity to explore and learn in Lego Academy and Lego Mindstorms. There are a lot of hands on activities in this area.

The ride that gives the highest adrenaline rush. Definitely a wild ride suitable for adults.

Food is not a problem at all inside the theme park. There are a number of restaurants to choose from serving different kinds of cuisines. From continental to western and asian, there is something that will surely please your palate.

Legoland is undoubtedly another must see theme park. My kids even liked it more than Disneyland. Generally, I would say it's more suitable for younger children but that doesn't necessarily mean that adults and older children will not find it equally enjoyable. It provides a highly interactive experience and that defines its differentiation from other popular theme parks.