Friday, July 19, 2013

No Sundays for single mums, also my last post until ....

Hi all, I just want to announce that I will not be posting after this for a long while. I can't tell when I will be back. However, I will still keep my Quay Po Cooks facebook page to share my food photos. Do visit me there if you have the time. Here is the link. 

Thank you all for your love and support these past three years. Your comments and your visits are very much appreciated and knowing that you all enjoyed what I have shared so far brought me much joy. Hugs to you all! 

Here is my last post until..... 

When I was a single mum, I don’t have Sundays.  Sundays are supposed to be a rest day where one can laze around. You will often hear children of single mums are at a disadvantage but that is not true. When I was one, my son Nick had everything children with both parents had. That is because single mums are usually very dedicated to their children and they sacrifice even more to ensure their children’s well being. Here is an article which I would like to share with all the single mums out there. Kudos to you all!  Oh and please don't let anyone tell you that you have a broken family just because you are a single mum. 

Who wouldn't yearn for lazy Sundays where one could take it easy and stay home, eat something fast and simple when feeling hungry. Even stale baguette and eggs could make a divine afternoon snacks! Mm… Mm… Mm

French Toast

1 whole baguette
4 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup full cream milk
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
2 tbs butter

Cut baguette into 1 inch thick pieces. Mix beaten eggs with milk and add ground cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix well. Soak pieces of baguette into the egg mixture for 10 mins each side.  Fry pieces of baguettes in two batches. Melt 1 tbs butter in the pan on medium heat. Reserve the balance 1 tbs butter for the second batch.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Don't regret regret

I came across a speech “Don’t regret regret” by Kathryn Schulz. She is a journalist, author, and public speaker. Her speech had a direct effect on me and made me stop procrastinating attempting to make a dessert which I had put off because of fear of failure.

To start I had this paper in my recipe folder for ages....

Please note milk is missing in the note below. Use 2/3 cup low fat milk.

It was given to me by my Quay Lo and I kept it in my drawer for quite some time. Usually, I am quite excited about new recipes and it isn't very long before I try it. However, this time I put off attempting the recipe for a long time. I had tried making pudding cakes from other recipes several times in the past and I always regretted it when I did. I never seemed to get it right and the outcomes were disappointing. So was I regretting regret through my procrastination? Let me answer by saying how much I am thankful for hearing Kathryn's speech. 

She said, “We need to love the flawed and imperfect things that we create and forgive ourselves for creating them. Regret does not remind us that we did badly. It reminds us to know that we can do better.” 

It sounds almost unbelievable but immediately after hearing her talk I got that piece of paper out of my drawer and went into my kitchen to make the pudding cake. To my surprise, although I judged that it did not come out perfect, the taste and texture were better than I had expected, and it was actually quite good. Not only that, but the attempt helped me to identify ways to improve the recipe to get to a more perfect result. I was happy that I learned an important lesson today and that is not to regret regret.  It interferes with our learning.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Living with a lot less

After I broke my foot, I have been living my life in our living hall with just one small carry on bag so I could avoid the stairway. 

The experience reminded me of an  article I had read about living with a lot less which was very interesting. I think it is worth sharing.  

I mentioned to my husband many times that I wanted to live with a lot less since we were getting old. However, the experience with my broken foot, has really made me fully realize that we could.  Like the author of this article, I really do not want to be cluttered with excess belongings! I want to give away and sell all my possessions (except my Quay Lo). LOL!

Jokes aside, I knew I would be much happier to live more simply with less. I did not want to be a slave to things! I know this sounds very Buddhist, or at least minimalist, but it appeals to me deeply.

Then, something struck my mind; how could I really become completely free of possessions if I still wanted to bake and cook? I satisfied my concern by remembering that I could bake this healthy loaf of bread in a counter top microwave cum convection oven, and it turned out so beautiful! Who needs a big four burner oven? Not me. So I can still become the Zen chef after all. As long as I am sure not to toss out the mixer, or that large spoon, or that big porcelain bowl I use for resting dough, or the canisters with the ingredients all line up so trimly on my kitchen countertop, and I must have that......

Zucchini Bread

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
 1/2 tsp baking powder
 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
 1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 jumbo egg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
 1 cup granulated sugar
 1 1/2 vanilla extract
 1 cup grated zucchini
1/2 cup chopped hazel nut

Grease and flour one 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl. Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Put to good use, No waste

Lessons learnt from my mum always stays with me. My mum never let me waste food. She would make sure I finished every bit in my bowl. I was taught to take what I can eat only and leaving food and let it waste is totally unacceptable. She even scared me by saying if I leave a grain of rice in my bowl, I will marry a husband who have a face full of scars. LOL!

Nowadays, children are raised in an environment where parents rushed to fulfil their desire so they grow up to be indifferent towards what they get or own, including food. My mum said, it is the parents’ doing that they developed this behavior. I think she is right. So it is the parents’ responsibility to eduate their children that they must not waste food.

So under the training of my mum, I could never stand leftovers food starring at me when I open my refrigerator. I had this Tupperware of left over pulled pork which I could have make pulled pork burgers again but then I wanted to do something different with it. What I came up with is this.

Pulled pork and spinach penne
Largely adapted from

1 cup left over pulled pork
1 tbs unsalted butter
2 medium leeks, white and pale-green parts only, diced
sea salt to taste
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 cups penne
½ cup shaved Parmesan
parsley for garnishing

Heat butter in pan over medium heat. Add leeks and season with sea salt. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring often, until leeks begin to caramelized. Add pulled pork. Add cream and chopped rosemary. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1cup pasta cooking liquid. Add pasta and 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid to sauce and stir to coat. Increase heat to medium and continue stirring, adding more cooking liquid as needed, until sauce coats pasta.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Be careful what you give a woman Ha! Ha! Ha!

If you are a woman, I am sure you will agree with this.
What about me? I agree with it 100%!!

The above makes me think of  a “ball” story I heard from one of my ex boss'. Somehow, it seems to underscore the joke above. He told me one of his golf “kaki” (mates) brought home a few boxes of new golf balls and handed them to his wife to put away one evening when he returned home from a fantastic golf session. When dinner was served that evening, he saw a huge bowl of soup on the table and nothing else. Know what the soup was? “Golf ball soup”!!! LOL! I am sure you know why he got that! So gentlemen, be careful, be very careful what you give to your lady. If you give her the right “balls”, she might make this delicious meal for you instead. 

Meat balls

Enough oil for frying the meat balls
1 lb ground beef
1 finely chopped medium size white onion
1 egg
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp minced garlic
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 cup bread crumbs
Quay Po’s tomato sauce (click to the recipe)

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl by hand except bread crumbs and sauce. Roll meatballs to about the size of a golf ball or slightly smaller. Roll meat balls in bread crumbs. Heat oil and fried meat balls till golden brown. Set the fried meat balls on paper kitchen towel to drain the oil and set aside. Heat tomato sauce in the pan and add in the fried meat balls and let it simmer for about 10 mins. Garnish with parsley before serving.

You can serve the meatballs with just freshly baked bread or pasta. I served them with pasta and garlic butter sauté zucchini.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Do you believe in "Destiny"?

"Yau Yuen Chin lay lang seong wui, Moe Yuen tui mien but seong foong" (A Chinese proverb with the meaning: If one is destined to meet another, they will even from afar, if not, they will not know each other even they are face to face." 

This expains the belief in "Destiny" by example. Do you believe in destiny? I believe in destiny but I do not think it is pre-ordained. I think destiny is self created by choices we take in our lives. For example, how I got to know these two nice people, Fan and Treedson is through my choice to accept the invitation from the "nourish" team to be the judge for the baking competition "Think Out of the Shell" sponsored by Nutriplus last October. 

During the whole duration of competition, I had fun with all the contestants...

Fan and I
(Photo courtesy from "nourish")

Kelly, Treedson, I and Fan
(Photo courtesy from "nourish")

.....and since then I have been keeping touch with a few on facebook. Fan and I have been talking for months about a get-together but just could not find a time where both of us were available. Finally we did it. Fan and Treedson came to my house to have tea with me. (This was before my trip to USA). Fan brought a lemon butter cake, carrot cake and her famous brownies while Treedson brought with him a box of yummy madeleines and a bottle of champagne to celebrate our friendship. As the host, I could not just serve coffee and tea, could I?  So, I decided to introduced them to a new dessert which was recently introduced to me by my Quay Lo. Fried Pie but this time, I put in my own little twist. The original recipe did not call for lemongrass and pecans. I included these two ingredients because I wanted to use them up to clear space in my fridge. So I made a blueberry paste infused with lemongrass and added toasted pecan for the filling. 

You will only know how good this dessert is when you try it. True enough, like me, Fan and Treedson loved the fried pie. Don't let the photo of this fried pie fool you. It tasted far better than it looks. This is a very difficult dessert to get a photo that can suggest its delicious flavour.

Fried pie with chopped apple & pecans in blueberry paste infused with lemongrass and anise.

Enough oil to fry the pie
Pie Dough (Please click to get the recipe)
Filling (see recipe that follows)
1 egg beaten for egg wash

Ingredients for the filling:
1/2 cup toasted pecan, roughly chopped 

1 apple, remove skin, cored and chopped

Blueberry lemon grass and anise paste

250gm frozen blueberries, thawed

8 tbs sugar

6 - 8 tbs water
2 stalks lemongrass (tender inner white parts only, smashed)
1/2 tsp ground anise or 1 whole anise
1 tbs flour (more when needed to thicken the paste)

To make the paste, place blueberries, sugar, water, lemongrass and ground anise in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add flour and let simmer until the paste thickens, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the paste cool completely. Remove lemon grass. Pour mixture into blender and blend till smooth. In a bowl, mix blended mixture with chopped apple and toasted chopped pecan and mix well.

Assemble the pie:
Roll doll out in about 1/2 cm thick and cut out 4 inches circles. Spoon 1 heaping tbs of prepared filling onto the center of the dough and then seal it. Lightly brush with egg wash on both sides and then deep fry the pie in hot oil. Drain the oil in paper towel before serving with either whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

What is a Stage Mum? Oh and Happy Mother's Day

My Quay Lo teased me often and call me a "Stage Mum" whenever I share our son’s music. 

I was not very sure what it means so I checked it in the wikipedia. What was written there was “A stage mother may also be the official manager of her child (e.g., Rose Thompson Hovick, Dina Lohan, Ethel Gumm, Teri Shields, Jaid Barrymore, Susan Duff, etc.) — representing her child in negotiations for the professional services of her child. Such managers have often been derided as "momagers" in the film industry.” Haiyah, where would I be qualified to be a Stage Mum? I don’t have a say in my son’s career. All I do is to share his music whenever and wherever I can. LOL!

Having said that I am going to share with you his new venture into making his first electronic dance music and the titled of this piece is “Sieze the Night”. Since today is Mother's Day, hey Mothers, go seize the night and, if you like what you hear, please share the link with your friends. Your support will be greatly appreciated.

Please click on the picture to watch on youtube

This is the first time, I hear up beat music from my son and it is pretty cool because I found myself dancing to the music while cooking in my  kitchen before I broke my foot. So now, you must be curious what dish I was cooking right? It was a simple lunch for me and my Quay Lo on one lazy Sunday afternoon. Although I could not dance to the music today, I will still seize the night for this is my special day. My gift to all the great mums out there is this simple yet delicious recipe. Happy Mother's Day!

Smoked oyster stew and grilled cheese sandwich

2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
½ tsp minced garlic
½ small onion, chopped
1 tbs unsalted butter
2 cups full cream milk
1 cube chicken boullion
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 can smoked oysters, drained
1 tsp diced chives

Boil potato cubes till tender in small pot till tender, drained and set aside. Saute garlic  in butter till fragrant and add chopped onion and saute till translucent. Add cream, milk, chicken boullion, pepper, smoked oysters and cook on low heat Stir occaisionally. Add sliced mushroom and cook for another 5 minutes. Garnish with diced chives. Serve with grilled cheese sandwich.