More Easy Vegetables: Sesame-Sugar Long Beans

Easy vegetable recipes are pretty much my staple, with a throw-everything-in-and-fry omelette and rice.

Here is yet another one. Sometimes, dinner is for watching Masterchef Professional after a long day on Excel, rather than actually cooking.

Be lazy, lik ea bean

Sesame-Sugar Long Beans

Learnt it from my uncle, this works with any green / leafy veg

3-4 servings of green beans, chopped
2 tablesp sesame oil
1 teasp soya sauce
1 teasp sugar, brown / white
A dash of white pepper

2 thin slices of ginger – for blanching. They don’t even need to be skinned, just clean ūüôā

  1. Boil some water in a pan, and drop in the two slices of ginger. Cover with a lid, and bring everything to a rolling boil. 
  2. Blanch the ¬†beans for 30 seconds or so, taste one to check done-ness. If it’s how you like it (I like mine under-done), drain off the water and transfer to a bowl. If not, keep checking until it is cooked enough.
  3. While hot, pour all other ingredients into the bowl, and stir well. Taste. Adapt as you like.

Boilin’ Bomlea and the Pufftastic Tuna Puffs

Bigfoot found a fictional name generator and apparently my chef name is Boilin’ Bomlea. Go figure, I burn stuff sometimes. His was much more boring, after a few attempts he got BBQ’in Bigfoot, which isn’t anything to do with kitchen explosions at all. I like to think that I have a flamboyant style, rather than posing a threat to anyone else in a 10m radius of the stove.

He made these puffs, but doesn’t seem keen to guestpost. But, unless I write down the recipe, I’m pretty sure he will forget exactly how they’re made and then I’ll never get to try them. This would make me sad, because they look pretty tasty. And also, they appear to present the perfect laziness:impressiveness¬†ratio that I do love so. Hence, I could not let such a snack be¬†relegated to the depths of “some random yummy puff I ate that day”.

Wriggle wriggle wriggle wriggle wriggle wriggle yeaPuffy bellied puff

He also takes much better iPhone pictures than me. Though I suspect everyone takes better iPhone pictures than me. Cry cry. I shall never be a photographer.

Cheesy Curry Tuna Puffs

Inspired by Sweet Whisk.

2 sheets puff pastry
2 cans tuna in tomato sauce
1 red onion
2 tablesp fish curry powder
1 teasp chilli flakes – or to taste
1/2 to 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated – or more, to taste
1 egg, beaten

Oven temperature – follow the instructions on the puff pastry, ours was 180 degrees fan forced

  1. Fry onions until they brown a bit, then throw in the tuna.
  2. Mix in the chilli flakes and curry powder. Keep frying until the mixture is a bit dry.
  3. Let the mixture cool down. Meanwhile, defrost the puff pastry and cut it into squares.
  4. Put a spoonful of tuna mixture into the centre of each little square, followed by a spoonful of cheese.
  5. Roll up the puffs, and dunk them in the beaten egg.
  6. Bake according to the puff pastry instructions, ours took 18 minutes.

To try next time – add chives / spring onions, or cubed bits of potato

Vege + Dressing = Instafood

Problem: want to eat fresh vegetables, but too lazy to cook after the effort of making onigiri. Here is your solution!

Fresh and crisp and tasty

Tastes best with crispy fresh asparagus, because it’s one of those recipes where the taste of the actual vegetable comes through. It’d probably work with any vegetable actually, or even as a nice salad dressing.

Now wasn't that simple

Asparagus with Sesame Dressing

Adapted from About.com’s Japanese Food section. I wonder if it’s some sort of crime to use recipes from here? I’ve never seen other bloggers use anything from About.com.

About 200g of young asparagus
2-3 tablesp sushi vinegar
1 tablesp soya sauce
1 tablesp sesame oil
2 teasp sugar – or to taste
A few shakes of white pepper
Sesame seeds – I didn’t have this but it would be nice

  1. Cook the asparagus somehow. I fried mine in a little oil, but you could also steam or blanche if you feel so inclined.
  2. Mix up all the sauces and the sugar. Taste. Adjust if you like.
  3. Pour the sauce over the asparagus, add the pepper, and some sesame seeds if you have them.

On a Lack of Chocolate, and Lazy Lemon Cinnamon Rolls

I am a chocolate addict. No house should be without chocolate. Chocolate is good for you, for the health of your mind and the health of your heart (flavenoids, yay!!)

However, I do concede that I eat too much chocolate for it to be considered healthy. Also, I generally binge on milk rather than dark chocolate. Nice dark chocolate isn’t quite as easily available in Malaysia as it is in other places.

Lemons and lemons Make sure you soften your butter first - not like me

Now that I’m in Melbourne visiting Bigfoot for a week, I have made the unfortunate discovery that he has no chocolate in his house. I correct myself, he has 3 chocolate truffle Lindor balls in a box in his room. Now, there are 2 balls left. I have realised that if I eat another Lindor ball I will get caught, as the difference between 1 and 3 Lindor balls is slightly more dramatic than between 2 and 3 Lindor balls. Hence, over the course of this week, I have eaten only one Lindor ball.

It is bad to be caught stealing other people’s chocolate, because that makes you look like an addict. If I thought he wouldn’t realise they were gone, there would probably be zero Lindor balls by now.

Yes I do pretend I like them misshapen like this

But, in the name of healthy diets, I’ve decided that I’m¬†not going to take the easy way out, and buy some chocolate from the supermarket. No, surely I can last a week without eating chocolate at odd hours of the day? Even if barely?

Brown and crispy

In that vein, when deciding what to eat for brunch, I immediately concluded that it would need to be sweet, and include cream cheese. Sweetened cream cheese is *almost* chocolate. It also needed to be do-ahead, because neither of us wake up early to cook.

Chocolateless indulgence

Lemon Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze

Inspired by a recipe by The Kitchn, adapted to include the method of making rolls with puff pastry found in Just Jenn Recipes. Yeasty rolls seem far too difficult for breakfast.

2 sheets of puff pastry
2 lemons, juiced and zested
1 tablesp butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablesp cinnamon powder
1/2 tablesp nutmeg powder

80g cream cheese
2 tablesp milk
3 tablesp brown sugar

Oven temperature: 180 degrees C, for about 20 minutes or so – may take less time depending on your pastry

  1. Defrost the puff pastry, and lay it out flat.
  2. Mix in a food processer:
    1. 2/3 of the lemon zest
    2. 1/2 the lemon juice
    3. 1 tablesp butter, you can add a bit more if you need to. Make sure it is soft! (not like me)
    4. Cinnamon powder
    5. Nutmeg powder
    6. 1/2 cup brown sugar, note that I don’t like my rolls too sweet
  3. Spread half the butter mixture out on to the first sheet of puff pastry. Roll it up and slice into little rounds.
  4. Put the rounds into a greased baking tin, leave a bit of space between them.
  5. Repeat 3 and 4 with the second sheet! Then bake the rounds (or leave it in the fridge overnight until the next day’s brunch)
  6. To make the glaze, just whiz the cream cheese, milk, brown sugar, and 1/3 of the lemon zest in a food processer. This also keeps well overnight.
  7. Drizzle the glaze over the baked rolls, and done!

Vegetable Tirade

I have a belief. I do believe that vegetables should be present at every meal. I believe this very strongly and may proceed to proselytise if provoked.

You can provoke me by trying to feed me a meal in which there are no vegetables. Repeatedly. If you don’t realise you’ve done this then you are probably a prime target.

Obligatory pre-cooking shot

Based on my recipe track record here (which is a pretty accurate indicator of what I eat), I’m clearly not one of those mega health freaks that thinks that you should drink wheatgrass smoothies every morning and go on raw vegetable purges and whatever. I completely admire their dedication, but, seriously, have you tried wheatgrass? It has “grass” in the name you know, for good reason. I don’t like the taste of grass (as I’ve mentioned before in reference to broccoli). Grass is for creatures that are 4-legged and go moo.

Also, I could never pretend to be that health conscious because I like to binge on sugary things. It would be too hypocritical of me. Blah blah, sugar loading, yes yes.

Do you see the old man onion face??!!

Well. I believe there should always be there because I like vegetables. I believe that a lot of people would feel loads better if they decided to eat one (just one!) portion of vegetables with their meals. That’s like, the size of your fist. Not much! Well, I don’t have a big fist. If you don’t eat any vegetables and you eat a portion the size of my fist, I’m sure that’d be good enough?

Also, don’t you feel a bit ill if you eat a meal with only¬†meat and carbs? Like sleepy, and heavy, and a bit like this?

JABBAAAA

Okay you caught me, actually I just wanted to put a picture of Jabba the Hutt in a food related post. Wahahaha.

Not how it's done in Vietnam, I'm sureLook it's modern art!Not burnt not burnt not burnt

But, you know. Vegetables don’t have to party it up all the time. Sometimes they can be demure, supporting cast members to a more dramatic dish.

That’s what I thought this was going to be, up until I realised I was walking to the rice cooker to get extra rice so I could eat more eggplant and plain rice.

Sorry excuse for an attempt at plating

Anyway, I realise I’ve gone off on a bit of a tangent here, but my point was that I made this dish in all of about 15 minutes because there was no vegetable dish when I sat down at the dinner table today (It wasn’t my turn to cook). ¬†I thought it upstaged the chicken curry but perhaps I’m biased?

Note: it was curry from a packet. I don’t think anyone in my house knows how to make curry from scratch.

Jabba hungry

Grilled Eggplant with Vietnamese Dipping Sauce and Scallion /¬†C√† t√≠m n∆įŠĽõng mŠĽ° h√†nh¬†

Adapted from Cooking Practice, I lazied it up and subbed for things I didn’t have (spring onions again).

2 long skinny eggplants
3 spring onions – I didn’t have this, so I subbed for half a small red onion. Spring onions would probably be better but onion was nice too.

1 tablesp fish sauce
1 tablesp water
2/3 tablesp sugar
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red chilli, chopped – I’ll probably increase this next time
A few drops of lemon juice Рoptional, or you could use white vinegar, or omit this altogether

  1. Chop the eggplants into sticks and soak in salty water for a bit. (This is the beginning of my cheating method, for the authentic Vietnamese method go back to Cooking Practice ūüôā )
  2. Prepare the sauce Рchop up the garlic and chilli, and mix in the fish sauce, water, sugar, and lemon juice.  Taste it and keep adding to it until you like the taste. Leave it to sit.
  3. Oil up your eggplant sticks and toast them in the oven on the grill setting. This is cheating, you’re supposed to char them over a flame but I didn’t feel like working so hard. For the instructions relating to charring over an open flame, head back over to Cooking Practice. It took my eggplants between 5-10 minutes in the oven to cook.
  4. In the meantime, chop up your spring onions. By the time you’re done, the eggplant should be done.
  5. Heat some oil (about 2 tablesp) in a pan until it smokes. Drop in the spring onions and stir a couple of times, then dump everything on the eggplant sticks. Which you’ve now nicely arranged on a plate, right?
  6. You can either keep the sauce aside as dipping sauce, or pour it all over the eggplant. I did the pour-over because…I didn’t want to have to explain to my dinner companions that it was dipping sauce as they were only coming home at 9.30pm.

A Sluggish Feesh

So I don’t have much to say about food this time. It’s tasty and consistent, that’s what you want from food. Nothing to scream about but always works, and is well¬†received. Can I write about something else?

 

What if I write about how I’m fed up with icing sugar and don’t want to eat anything except hard cheese and grilled vegetables? Also, plain rice? This fish goes well with plain rice, in case you were wondering.

I’m sure this is temporary.

In other news, the weather is terrible. The haze is causing my eyes to squish themselves closed all the time (you know I’m scraping the barrel when I talk about the weather). Hence, general grumpiness has ensued.

My big yay of the moment: mooncake festival is coming up = I can get my favourite goldfish biscuits from Bee’s in The Curve. This year they are selling butterfly shaped ones too. I wish they sold these year round. I know they’re intended for little kids, and I don’t care. Boo to you, sensible grownups. I don’t like normal mooncakes very much. Especially not the yolks. Yes yes, come scold me now. I bite my butterfly biscuit at you. Pah.

Yes, I’m using a book as a plate. Your point being?

Fried Fish with Ginger & Soya Sauce

Originally from Rasa Malaysia. I don’t keep Chinese wine around, so I generally substitute for black vinegar (in this case balsamic, but others will do). It doesn’t make a difference to taste in my opinion, just top up the sugar a little to compensate. ¬†This is one of the first (read – right now the only) fish I learnt how to cook properly.

1 decent sized fish – the one I used fed 5, with other dishes
2 inch knob of ginger, cut into strips
1 stalk spring onion, chopped – clearly I used more, not to waste the rest of the packet…

3 tablesp light soya sauce
1/3 tablesp balsamic vinegar – I usually have this on hand, this is instead of the wine
4 tablesp water
1/4 teasp sesame oil
2 1/4 tablesp sugar – I increased this, because I’m using vinegar instead of wine. You can go up to 2 1/2 tablesp
A couple of pinches of white pepper

  1. Fry Mr Fishy until he is brown and crispy. It’s better if you use a “real” fish, but fillet works well enough in a pinch.
  2. Mix up the sauce in a bowl.
  3. Fry the ginger strips in a little oil until golden brown. Remove from the oil.
  4. Using the same oil, add soya sauce mixture and heat until it boils.
  5. Pour the sauce over the fish.
  6. Sprinkle on the ginger and spring onion bits.

Note: don’t pour on the sauce until just before you plan to eat the fish, or the fish will go soggy and weird. Else you can pre-make the sauce and just heat it back up in the microwave for a bit before pouring over the fish and serving.

Aglio Easio Pasta-o

Me and complicated food… We’re alright. Our relationship is somewhat like the one between you and that one friend you have, the too-cool friend, that you aren’t super close to, but when you hang out you have a pretty good time. But you don’t want to meet up more than occasionally. Because it’s tiring. It’s fun.. but being honest with yourself, you are a bit too lazy to meet up with them every day. Every week even. Perhaps once a month or so?

A healthy meal, ish

Don’t judge me. I like drinking tea in the afternoon and eating cheese and cake. And being a bum.¬†This is a very cute place that Shobie and I went to, that serves good tea, and cheese, and apparently cake.

Eat all the pasta! Salad yums

Anyway. These recipes are more like your best, comfortable friends, the ones you don’t mind meeting up with loads of times, for tea, coffee, or random snacks. The ones that you don’t have to entertain or make awkward conversation with. You can just be (your weird self). I wonder what this says about me.

Aglio Olio e Pepperoncino

Yeah so I don’t have a source for this recipe, it was one of the first things I learnt to cook, and I kept trying until it worked. I think everyone makes this a bit too complicated.

Pasta for 2, boiled and drained РSpaghetti or linguine is best
4-5 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
Chilli – either a spoonful of flakes, or 1 or 2 fresh chopped red chilli. Both are fine, depending on what you have and how hot you want it.
Approx 1/4 teasp salt

Black pepper
A bit of hard cheese, like parmasan

  1. Get a big wok, and heat up a few tablespoons of oil. I use about 3-4 tablespoons for 2-3 portions of pasta. Turn the heat to medium, and let it get hot. If it starts smoking, turn take it off the heat for a bit and make the fire smaller.
  2. Put the salt into the oil. Sounds weird, but it makes the garlicky taste come out better.
  3. Drop in a piece of garlic. If it sizzles on impact, that’s good, put the rest in. If it sizzles then turns black and turns into charcoal, take the pan off the heat for a bit and turn it down. If nothing happens, and the heat is already on medium, DON’T TOUCH! Just wait a few minutes longer until it starts sizzling and dancing around in the oil. Then put everything else in (garlic + chilli).
  4. Keep the garlic on the heat until it turns golden, not brown. Then dump in the pasta and stir it around, still over the heat.
  5. Stir stirrrr, keep going until the pasta is all coated. If it looks dry, add a couple of tablespoons of water and keep mixing.
  6. Remove from heat, grind some black pepper on, and add a little cheese. Tadaa! Dinner in 15 minutes.

Salad with Balsamic Caramelised Onions

So this is the actual first thing¬†I ever learnt to cook, because one of my jobs while cooking in uni with my friend Bar was to make the salad dressing. I couldn’t really be trusted with anything else. I distinctly remember a conversation with her in which I complained that it was not working, and she told me to turn down the heat and be patient because I was burning the onions. My impatient cooking philosophy in a nutshell: heat higher = cook faster, but try not to burn it.

Half an onion
2 tablesp balsamic vinegar
1 teasp sugar
Some oil to fry the onions

  1. Chop the onion into long strands.
  2. Heat oil in the pan – put it on medium.
  3. Dump in the onion and let it cook a bit.
  4. Throw in the balsamic and sugar.
  5. Stir and keep going until your desired level of caramelisation is reached.

Real Fish versus Not-Real Fish, Fried in Turmeric

I went to the supermarket on my way back from the Victoria State Library (went there to leech wifi), to buy fish. I looked at the various types of fish behind the glass and, like any normal person would, proceeded to try to find a Coles staff member to ask where I could find the “real fish”.

Luckily I stopped to think about it a little before I found a staff member to humiliate myself in front of. I assume they would look at me like I was a crazy person, and possibly shake their heads. Real fish, you know? Like whole fish? Not fillet (which is, of course, not-real fish)?

In the depths of my personal embarrassment I went to the seafood counter, picked up a box of white-fillet fish and ran away. Now I have too much fish because the fish comes in boxes of 2 rather than boxes of 1.

I hope it freezes well.

This was a very tasty fish recipe, but I still think it would be better with real fish. It would also look more attractive. It was supposed to be done with red mullet, but I used a random white fish.

Pan Fried Turmeric “White Fish” (Red Mullet) / Pla Kra Bok Tod Kamin¬†

Found on Rice Kingdom. I didn’t change it much, except to reduce the salt, and I used an approximate measure of black pepper powder instead of seeds. And, not-real fish.

2 red mullet fishes, cleaned – I used 2 white fish fillets
5 cloves garlic
2 teasp black pepper powder
1/4 – 1/2 teasp salt

  1.  Crush and chop the garlic into little bits.
  2. Mix in the black pepper and salt. Or, you can pound the garlic and black pepper with a mortar and pestle.
  3. Rub on to the fish. It’s better to use gloves. My fingers were stained yellow.
  4. Fry in hot oil.

The Easy Vegetables

Well this isn’t really the easiest vegetables, the easiest vegetables are when you just use the garlic oil and don’t add the oyster sauce mix. They also taste nice. The oyster sauce part only adds a whole extra 10 seconds though. So really, it depends what you feel like having.

Nice and fresh and crunchySee how the garlic is a bit golden?

A tip – you can use any vegetables, but they have to be green, and they have to be fresh. Else it’ll taste odd. Blanching vegetables is an art I haven’t mastered, so I’m not going to pretend to tell you how long to cook them for. I usually bite one to check. By then the rest of the pot has usually overcooked. I need to work on my timing.

Kailan with oyster sauce and garlic

This is one of my standby weeknight dishes. Often eaten with a spicy omelette (that’s an egg beaten with the Thai chilli paste below. If you feel like being fancy, chop some onions into it).

Thai Chilli Paste - the only

Easy Green Vegetables with Garlic and Oyster Sauce

If you want tips and the original recipe, you can find them at RasaMalaysia.com. I lazied it up a bit – all the sauces are done in the microwave, and you only need to boil a pan of water to cook the vege.

A bunch of green vegetables
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
1 – 2 tablesp oil – for the garlic oil
1 tablesp oyster sauce
1 tablesp water
1/4 tablesp oil – for the oyster sauce
1/2 teasp sugar
Salt
White pepper – optional

  1. Blanch the vegetables in boiling water. I suggest you look at RasaMalaysia.com’s tips on this not mine. She mentions you should add a little oil to the water to prevent the vege from going limp. Don’t overcook them, or they’ll be soggy.
  2. Remove the excess water from the vege with paper kitchen towels. Put them on a plate, nicely.
  3. Crush and chop the garlic. Put it in a ramekin or a mug with the olive oil. Add a pinch of salt.
  4. Stick the garlic mixture in the microwave on high for between 15 to 30 seconds, depending on how high the power is on your microwave. I start with 15 seconds, then go up in intervals of 5 to 10, depending on how brown the garlic is. The oil keep sizzling after you take it out the microwave, so wait until it stops sizzling before you decide to put it back in for another few seconds. You need the garlic to be nice and golden, but not burnt (black/brown). I actually have a special mug I use for this, because it makes your mugs smell a bit garlicky if you do it a lot. Watch out for hot oil!
  5. Mix the oyster sauce, water, oil, and sugar in another mug. Put this in the microwave for about 10 seconds, then taste. If it tastes done then stop, else put it back for another 5 seconds. Use a high sided mug for this, because it can spit. If you’ve had it before then you know what “done” tastes like. If not, then just go straight for 15 seconds.
  6. Pour the oyster sauce and garlic oil mixtures over the vege. Sprinkle on a little white pepper, if you like. See, done. And you didn’t even need your pan today.

Grudgingly Roasted Broccoli with Feta

I have never liked broccoli. It’s always wet and soggy, and tastes like green. And I don’t mean tastes like green in a nice, healthy way, I mean tastes like green as in eating grass cuttings. Horses like grass cuttings. I don’t like grass cuttings. Don’t let them eat them, they can get stomach ache if it’s fermented.

Only 3 ingredients! Obsessive drying techniques

But in an unfortunate turn of events, I realised that there was a head of broccoli sitting in the fridge, about to go bad. Note that I did not buy this broccoli. I don’t know what possessed the buyer of this broccoli to buy this broccoli. Perhaps he was having a bad day and thought that buying broccoli would make him feel better. You know, in the vein of: “I’m having a bad day, the only thing that could make it worse is owning a head of broccoli”. *Buys broccoli* “Oh look, see how much better my day was before I bought the broccoli? Now I really appreciate my day, pre-broccoli. Life wasn’t so bad then”.

Raw with garlic Ready to roast

Anyway, I am in no position to speculate. I consulted Bel regarding what to do with this terrible vegetable, and she suggested either roasting it with cheese or doing a Chinese stir fry. I don’t really like broccoli in Chinese stir fry either, so that left one option.

Never thought I'd say yummy broccoli

The resulting broccoli was surprisingly tasty, so tasty that we burnt our hands eating it out of the oven dish. I would¬†definitely¬†make it again. Any accumulated likes, thumbs up, and gold stars will be sent directly to Bel. However, I still don’t think I would eat broccoli done any other way at this point. Broccoli-hater’s seal of approval, surely that means something?

Roasted Broccoli with Feta

Inspired by Ina Garten, but turns out I didn’t have half the stuff she needed so I changed the recipe a bit (loads).

1 head of broccoli
5 cloves garlic, crushed
80 – 100g feta, crumbled
A glug of olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste

Oven temperature: 220 degrees C. I suspect it would also work on grill or in a toaster oven.

  1. Wash your broccoli. Dry it meticulously so it doesn’t get soggy. Break it up into little trees. Dry these obsessively too.
  2. Crush garlic.
  3. Mix olive oil, garlic, broccoli mini-trees, salt and pepper in a bowl. The broccoli only needs to be lightly coated with oil.
  4. Put everything into a baking dish. You can line the baking dish with foil if you want to minimise washing up later.
  5. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the tops of the broccoli bits go brownish and crispy.
  6. Crumble feta over the broccoli, and try not to burn your fingers eating it out of the dish. You’ll probably realise you didn’t make enough.