Posts Tagged cooking adventure

Mulberry Leaf Tea Part 2 – Dried

Mulberry tea series : Part 1 – Fresh, Part 2 – Dried, Part 3 – Fresh vs Dried

Preparing my own mulberry tea leaves turned out to be easier than I thought. All I needed were fresh leaves and lots of hot sunshine. Read the rest of this entry »


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Flour Tortilla

Flour Tortilla

It occurs to me that recipes normally contains list of ingredients and steps. But usually, they do not contain the ‘reasons’ or explanations for those ingredients and steps. And for a newbie cook, the recipe can be quite indecipherable.

This is my first time making tortilla in my room without proper kitchen. And it was so easy and wonderful, I made it again. I went through several recipes and several online videos and combine their wisdom into the process.

That’s why the reasons for the ingredients and steps are important to me. I need to know which attributes are key ones, what I can substitute for due to my space and pantry variety constraints and the fact that I do not have a flat pan. I do have a flat bottomed thick pot.

So, here’s the summary of what I found out and what I did to make it work.

If it’s too confusing, the normal format recipe is in bold.

You can ignore the ratio & reasons section and the non-bolded text in the steps.

They are only important if you want variation, alternatives or troubleshoot.

Based on Jason Hill’s video and
Easy enough that it was successful on first try and the measurements are flexible and forgiving, so no need to be too exact.

Homemade Tortilla

Homemade Tortilla

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Leftover Evolutions Part 2: Mutation

I have been dealing with the challenges of leftovers last week that has rolled over into this week. In case you missed the first part, check out Leftover Evolutions Part 1.

I’ve been thinking about how to use up my leftover potatoes and onions. I was vaguely toying with the idea of baking them in toaster oven. I’ve just bought 3 aluminium foil disposable bread tins with no real idea what to do with them.

I had originally thought of throwing one large onion and one large potato into the oven (whole, with skin) and let it char-bake. Then again, not so good idea. It could get messy. Wrapped in aluminium foil then? But I don’t think I want to peel hot onion and eat it like oranges. So I thought, why not cut it up in rings and bake that with herbs. So as I was mulling this while walking home, a friend asked what I was having for dinner. So I just said baked potato and onion rings. Then I did a double take and said, not that onion rings. What was it then?

It’s still baked potato and onion rings, just not what you’d normally think as baked potato AND onion rings. I swear I didn’t plan this till I was arranging the onions and spicing them up for baking. The onions infected the potato!

Mutated baked potato and onion rings


  • 1 Onion – cut into thick 1/2 cm rings
  • 1 potato – diced small 1/2 cubes
  • Separate onion rings and put into baking tin
  • Olive oil – Drizzle over onion rings (extra virgin if possible, use butter for unhealthier yum)
  • Italian herbs – Sprinkle generous amount over onions.
  • Stir and mix well.
  • Arrange onion rings to line the bottom in several layers.
  • Toss potato in olive oil.
  • Put potato cubes on onion rings, arrange evenly.
  • Sprinkle more italian herbs.
  • Sprinkle salt over dish.
  • Cover with aluminium foil
  • Put in toaster oven and bake (top and bottom heat) for 20 minutes.
  • Take out and check potato is soft and cooked.
  • Take fork/spoon and mix potato and onion up.
  • Sprinkle more salt if not salty enough.
  • Squeeze some lime juice over all.
  • Cut chunks of Laughing Cow soft cheese and sprinkle on top.

This time it’s a rather colourless dish compared to the flamboyant earlier incarnations. So I decided to add the cheese for accents when I decided to take photos.  So this dish is a study of subtle tones and shades. It’s not only pretty, but very yum!

Oh! On the plus side, I didn’t buy ANY new ingredients hence no new leftovers.

Current leftover survivors – 1 potato, 1 onion, 1/4 lime, 1/2 bottle spaghetti sauce.

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Leftover Evolutions

So, I don’t have a lot of space to keep cooking ingredients and perishables. That’s why I ended up buy a lot of bottled, canned and dried goods food. And not being able to buy in small quantity means finding creative ways to deal with the inevitable leftovers. This week as quite an interesting one.

I started with … 10 eggs due to cravings for tamagoyaki (which I used 2 eggs to cook). Leftover 8 eggs were hard-boiled and stored in fridge. 2 eaten with soya sauce. 6 got mashed into egg mayonnaise sandwiches.

I bought 1 loaf of bread, 1 pack tomatoes, 2 romaine lettuce and 1 canned tuna. After 3 days, finished eggs and bread, left over lettuce, tomatoes and tuna.

Right … What next? Ah, need to finish cream cheese before it turns icky. Right … salad then. Bought 1 pack macaroni (400g) and 1 lime. So, here’s macaroni salad. I thought it turned out quite photogenic. Couldn’t resist taking pictures.

200g macaroni – boiled and drained
1/2 can tuna chunks in olive oil (drain oil, reserve a spoonful for dressing)
1 tomato – diced
1 tablespoon cream cheese
lime juice (1/5 wedge of lime)
— mix all above —
3 romaine leaves – use as wrap cum garnish
— spoon mixture above into romaine —
black sesame seed (sprinkle on top)
ground peanut (sprinkle on top)


Macaroni Salad


After that, I finished the tuna and lettuce. Leftover macaroni and tomatoes. I was craving soup and weekend was coming, so I decided to break out and do something bold! Bought 1kg potatoes, 1kg yellow onions, 1 carrot, 1 pack shitake mushrooms, 1 can sausages (can’t find chicken stock and I still don’t buy raw meat). Was sick of macaroni, so I focused on finishing tomatoes ala vegetable soup for lazy people with bare minimum kitchenware.

Recipe: Colourful vegetable soup
1 potato –  diced small
1 onion – julienne
1 tomato – diced
1/2 carrot – slice or dice small (adds sweetness)
6 cocktail hotdogs – quartered
4 shitake mushrooms – de-stemmed, sliced thickly
— throw everything in pot —
— add water till covered everything and not spill when boiling —
— boil for 20 minutes to 1 hour,
shorter for crunchy and clear soup,
longer for softer and thicker soup when potato breaks down —
salt – to taste
pepper – to taste


Veggie soup


Finished tomatoes, carrot and hotdogs. Leftover potato, onion, shitake. Oh… and macaroni. Too lazy to go out. What else can I do with these? No more meat, need something else to flavour soup, since I’m still in soup mode. Found 1 bottle spaghetti sauce. So how about a minestrone-like soup? Lightly tomato flavoured.

Recipe: Tomato potato soup (ala just winging it)
100g macaroni – boiled and drained
1 potato – diced
1 large onion – julienne or dice
6 shitake mushroom – de-stemmed, slice thickly
— throw everything in pot —
water – till covered everything and not spill when boiling
1/2 bottle pasta sauce (tomato and herbs)
3 shakes italian herbs
— boil for 30 minutes —
salt – to taste
— Works okay, but a bit unbalanced. Needs more zing! Scrounge around for more leftovers. —
1 pack chilli flakes from domino pizza 4 months back

Voila! Good soup. Quite pretty too.


Tomato wing soup


Finished macaroni and mushrooms. Leftover onion and potato and lime and half bottle of spaghetti sauce. Sigh … I knew 1 kg was too much. What to do? Supermarkets are not friendly to marital-challenged women. Guess I’ll be googling for something potato and onion tomorrow. Anybody have any idea what to do with potato, onion, lime, spaghetti sauce and possibly, toaster oven?

So, here is the chronicle of my leftover quests. I blame the tamagoyaki.



Leftover Evolutions Part 2: Mutation

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Warabi mochi – realism in fiction

I confess, I have a very bad habit. I can obsess about a single trivial detail to the point that it stalls my writting. Take my current dormant LOTR fanfic. It’s stuck for years because I can’t find an original Rohirric sounding name for Eomer’s grandfather!

What does this have to do with warabi mochi? Well, it’s the beginning of how I ended making warabi mochi (at least the semi-authentic one).

It started with the story called The Adventures of Young Tezuka Kunimitsu, a Prince of Tennis fanfiction. Despite my earlier determination to stick to short stories and short time-line stories, I’ve become over ambitious. I’ve decided to write Tezuka’s childhood. Okay, so he’s still a kid. I’m looking at his pre-adolescent stage. What and how he became the 14-year-old Tezuka we are familiar with. So, I’ve limited myself to his life between ages 5 and 11. There are several reasons I did this. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mochi is a Japanese snack from the wagashi category. It is not dessert, but a tea-time snack. Wagashi is a confectionery that was meant to be eaten with green tea. It tends to be sweet to accompany the unsweetened hot tea.

Green tea and brown sugar mochi

Green tea and brown sugar mochi

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Motivation and breaking out

I confess. I am a lazy person. I’d rather laze around with a good book than go socialising. My bed is probably my most used and favourite furniture. When I’m in comfort zone, I don’t want to move out.

Now, I’ve been thinking. Something that got me excited enough to start breaking out of my comfort zone and do things I originally thought of as impossible, has to be pretty amazing. I’ve met several people that inspired me. And inspiration is not their goal or their purpose. Rather, that inspiration and motivation is a by-product of sharing and friendship.
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