Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Vegetable Soup

Weather was cold thus I have decided to cook vegetable soup for dinner.

Have you seen purple sprouting broccoli spears?

It's delicious with a slightly nutty flavour.

It's so easy to cook vegetable soup. I am temporarily staying in England and am not buying unnecessary spices simply just to take the soup to another notch.

Save money by buying seasonal vegetables and sell by dates. They are absolute value for money.

Enjoy experimenting but do remember simplicity is best. Let the ingredients work for you. It is pointless buying expensive ingredients for the sake of it.


For the base ingredients
2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
One slice of fresh ginger (optional)
For the aromatics
1 bay leave if available
One tablespoon of dried mix herbs or fresh thyme or any available herbs you have in stock
For the main ingredients
6 potatoes, well scrubbed without peeling if possible and cut into chunks
2 carrots, cut into chunksOne stalk celery, leave and stem
¼ cup of barley pearls (soak in warm water, do not discard water, add into stock)
To be added in only during last five minutes of cooking
A stalk of spring onions, slice finely
Cabbage, tear leaves into bite size pieces but cut the core roughly
Broccoli, set florets aside but cut the stems roughly
For the Stock
Water about 3 inches above vegetables when simmering in pot
Two vegetable cubes
Freshly ground black pepper or ordinary white pepper

Heat the oil gently in pot, add in onions and ginger.
When onions are soft without browning, add carrots, saute for about ten minutes.
Add all vegetables minus cabbage leaves and broccoli florets.
Continue sweating vegetables, add freshly ground black pepper, bay leaves and mixed herbs.
Mix well and continue to sweat for another five minutes.
Add barley pearls, vegetable cubes and water to vegetables and bring to a boil then simmer gently without lid on.
Cook vegetables to desired doneness.
Last five minutes before serving, bring stock to the boil, add spring onions, cabbage leaves and broccoli florets.
Check and adjust seasoning.
Garnish with fresh coriander before serving.
Delicious and hearty on its own or serve with garlic bread.

Scones with Clotted Cream

Few days ago was on the way to stay with relatives when we popped in at Waitrose.

I have totally forgotten about scones with clotted cream thus it was a must order.

Unable to forget the taste of cream tea, we bought some last evening to whet our


For those of you who have never tried, give it a chance as it's very gratifying.

The clotted cream is rich, cool and with a silky texture.


Scones of your choice

Cornish Clotted cream from Cornwall

Jam of your choice

Butter of your choice


1. Slice scones into halves and warm up a wee bit

2. Spread butter

3. Spread jam

4. Top scones with clotted cream and serve

Perfect with a cup of tea.

What's cooking?

After spending three quality days living in the countryside with family members I am now back home.
I am going to cook vegetarian this evening but have not made up my mind whether
it's going to be roast vegetables or vegetable soup.
Shall decide within the next few hours.

Just called my friend in Spain to wish her happy birthday but unfortunately she was out.

I am feeling lazy as it's bitterly cold outside. Just did my laundry and feeling peckish too. What should I eat?
"Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with." - Mark Twain

Tai Ka Lok, London, March 21st 2008, Makan Session

Finally the day had arrived for moi to meet up with Siaoeh at St. Pancras International, London. Alamak, waited patiently and feeling so hungry yet there was no sign of her. Apparently, due to some miscommunications we had waited at opposite ends. Incidentally, very malu to say I do not have a sense of directions but seek alternative ways by default.

Nonetheless, the first stop was at Selfridges for CKT. Been yearning for it for ages. Siaoeh suggested buying frozen see hums as an add on to the CKT. Hehehehehehehe, doubt that would be feasible. We checked in our luggage at the luggage counter at a cost of £6.50 per bag and ventured out for our makan spree.

By the time we were seated to take the first mouthful, moi nearly fainted from hunger liao; without breakfast, the travelling and walking. We had walked a few miles by now, taking in the crowds, the surroundings and atmosphere along Oxford Street.

The CKT was quite disappointing to me. It was tasteless, the fish cake was like eating into a piece of tasteless dough and extra chilli meant spoonful of chilli flakes on the side. What saved the dish was excellent wok hei, crunchy bean sprouts and three pieces of fresh prawns.The saving graces were excellent wok hei, crunchy bean sprout and three pieces of decent size fresh prawns. It was okay for Siaoeh but after more than a few mouthfuls and at £7.90 per plate, I walked back for some light soya sauce to make it more enjoyable.

We walked from one end of Oxford Street to the other looking for a place for lunch. It was finally settled at Tai ka Lok as we liked to try the pipa duck. Thought of Eslim (Makansutra) when I saw the big intestines and what a shame that they didn't have hoon tern. Tiantianchi aka TTC was in my mind too when I ordered the orangy coloured sotong amongst other goodies.

Food was okay, cheap and service was good. The highlight of the dish was the pipa duck. It would taste better IMO, if the gravy was served in a separate bowl.

Erhemmm, have you ever asked the server to reheat your soup after drinking half of it? ((*:*)) Moi did and they were very nice about it.

After lunch, we walked further to burn off some calories in search of you tiao and soya bean curd. Thank god for real teeth if not we would have lost some tooth while biting into the chewy and hard you tiao.

More kai kai and in search of extra food to eat. Finally we found the place that sold chwee kuey but it didn't look appealing at all. We gave it a miss and bought some egg tarts and sesame seed balls with lotus filling to satisfy our craving.

Time out to make the trip to Obachan's house for Peramakan mee siam. We were served two huge bowls and that really was the icing to the cake.

Golden Dragon, London, Makan Session, March 24th 2008

It was on a cold snowy morning that we said goodbye to Obachan and her family. They have been very gracious to both Siaoeh and moi. Yummilicious home made pineapple tarts were baked and packed by Obachan for us.

After a ride to the train station from Obachan it was an uneventful journey to London for our next makan session before heading home.

When we finally arrived at Golden Dragon, mercifully we were seated very quickly in part because there were only two of us. The restaurant was fully packed with the lunch crowd and there was a line of people waiting for the next available table.

By this time, gastric juice was oozing big time and we couldn't wait to eat. It was worth the journey due to the quality food served, cheap and excellent service.

The Captain wasn't angry when I rejected the wrong vegetable and size served. Very upbeat to replace with a smiling face. The dou miao was worth waiting for.

The egg tarts were simply delicious, very smooth custard and delightful light pastry. The hum shui kok Oooooooooooooooo. The carrot cakes were at par with Crystal Jade and Lei Garden in Singapore.

At the end of lunch, both of us ordered extra loh mai and carrot cakes as takeaways. Regretfully we didn't have the chance to order the egg tarts.

We parted ways as Siaoeh has to rush to take the coach back to Wales whereas I headed for my hair appointment.

Bought extra bitter gourd amongst other goodies, jalan jalan on my own before heading home.

It was a fabulous weekend and a chance in meeting up with friends and putting a name to a face.

Many thanks to Obachan for putting up with us and Dribbly for making it all possible. Kum sia kum sia. :))

Oriental City, Colindale, UK, March 23rd 2008

Home away from home yet missing local food big time. Got to tapow too :))

Smoked Salmon Sandwich

Bread of your choice

Horse radish sauce (optional)

Few pieces of smoked salmon

Fresh salad

Slices of red onions

Few pieces of capers (optional)

Butter bread

Assemble ingredients and indulge.

It's so simple and yummy. Very tasty with mayo spread minus capers.