Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Exam food

So at the very start of the exam period, there was a day where I had to eat out for breakfast, lunch AND dinner. Not only was I SO shocked when I found out I had spent $45 in ONE day just on food, but I felt extremely sick and bloated until the next day. Not good.

It was right after that scare, I ended up cooking at home almost every day. And I have never cooked so much in my life, I admit, let alone during exam period. Though it was made even more challenging when I had to feed FIVE other BIG eaters, just thinking of the menu for the next day, preparing, cooking etc. And if you've cooked for a big group before, you will know that even simple tasks like boiling drumsticks was made so complicated and exaggerated because of the amount of food. So yeah, try doing that every night.

BUT, it was very worth it. I enjoyed cooking for myself and my friends. And I was determined to do so also cause I didn't want what happened to me or my friends at the start of exam period to ever happen again. And it paid off. Because every one was in a better mood and felt comfortable to study after having had a nicely prepared homecooked meal. Not only that, every dinner costed each person arount $2 - 4 per person. And that's dirt cheap cause we ate a LOT every night.

So, despite the challenges and sometimes exasperation, it was well worth it. Plus, I was really happy to see all the smile on people's faces from eating something healthy and homey. And Jamie Oliver was right, healthy eating meant happier people. Which to me, was crucial during exam seasons.

Just want to thank God for this opportunity that I can bless my friends and feel blessed in return by His provisions during the intense exam period. Cause the meals we shared (and there were many of them, trust me) really brought us a lot closer too. Praise the Lord for food and friends.

Won't post recipes for the food from this post, will do it some other time. But I did write down carefully what I did and how much and what ingredients I used for every dish so I can share or improve the recipes in the future.

Nyonya Curry Chicken cooked with the paste I bought while I was in Melaka. So delicious and spicy. This is particularly memorable cause it was had when I invited a good friend over for dinner to catch up after so long. Good times

Simple dinner with friends one night

Was very happy with how my steam egg turned out. Like, REALLY happy, exactly how I wanted it to turn out. Will share recipe another time

Friend is obsessed (and I don't blame her one bit) with Koko Krunch from Malaysia that she's got like a lifetime supply in her apartment in Melbourne, that her parents brought. Very kind of her to share that with all us big eater boys. Am sure it wasn't easy for her lol

Actually the BEST Lamb Stew I have ever tasted (and cooked). Was so surprised by how it turned out. Lots of praises for this. But it was made with whatever I could find in my pantry, maybe it's cause I let it stew for about 2.5 hrs. Will share recipe another time

Dinner next night. This time had half a Woolsworth chicken per person and some leftover stew. Too easy but so much better than eating out.

My snack after being starved from watching Masterchef. Have I mentioned that I LOVEEEEE Curly Fries... Man I could use some right now

Sister made really yummy carrot cake. I love carrot cake icing mmmmm...

Sis was really cool for cooking for us sometimes. This is her signature eggplant dish. SOO tasty and yum

And I steamed fish. So like my Dad for cooking steamed fish. It's cheap, healthy and tasty. Love it

Ingredients for roast leg of lamb

I told you, seriously, my friends and I eat a LOT. You'd think one whole lamb leg could feed a table but nooo... At least ppl liked it and it only costed them $6

Really happy with the flavour cause I seriously stuck shoved the garlic as deep as I could. Might have overcooked just slightly cause was experimenting with temperature and times

Made gravy for the first time WOOOOO YUMMMMM...

Final product... So much meat and rice... Every Chinese man's dream... I also stir fried a bowl of veg to have a slightly more balanced meal but don't think it'd look nice on the plate

Happy people nom nom nom...

This exam period I was also sort of addicted to streaky bacon. I don't normally like bacon unless it's the streaky part and cooked till crisp and almost all the oil has been removed

Ultra thin and crisp. The ONLY way I like my bacon. Such a tasty snack, you have no idea

One Saturday, I suddenly felt like treating myself to a GOOD old steak dinner. So went down to my favourite butcher at Clarendon Street Meats to get a couple of beautiful aged scotch eye fillets for my mates and I.

Usually I would try and go for meat that is around the medium shade of red colour like that on the left and right cause of the freshness, but didn't mind the middle one cause it had better marbling

Ingredients for the lovely steak dinner. Was recommended to use saturated duck fats to back my potatoes. LOVED the idea of cooking with duck fats ever since I had that French dinner at Vue De Monde last year

Turned out SO crispy and beautiful. One of the best baked potatoes we've ever had. The skin started to peel a bit while it was in the oven which gave it this excellen CRUNCH to it, SO YUM!

I wanted a steak dinner also cause we had leftover gravy from the roast lamb dinner. Was inspired to make onion gravy after flipping through this cookbook I got from Sydney for $10. Basically just sauteed onion with lots of butter, seasoned with lots of pepper and added in the gravy. BEAUTIFUL.

Finished product

All QUALITY stuff for only $10. See how cheap and way better it is to cook at home. It'd cost you a bomb to have this at a restaurant

Dinner that night was PERFECT. Even the steak was exactly medium rare and beautifully pink. We were so happy that night man =]

Oh erm, HAD to upload this cause it was the BEST Maggi I have ever eaten, according to my preference (cause every one likes theirs differently). Curry Maggi Mee (Malaysian only) with Fish Tofu and Hakka Beef Ball. But the soup was perfect thickness/consistency, egg was still half boiled and lovely and most importantly, the noodles was still nice and SPRINGY!

FIRST time getting it all right at the same time. Enjoyed it so much. Is it a bit absurd I'm so excited over my bowl of Maggi? Trust me, I don't care ;p

Ingredients for Chinese herbal soup. Don't know any of the names but will ask my parents one day cause I really wanna know too

Dried Ikan Bilis from Malaysia and honey date for salty and sweet

The soup tasted SO yummy that I happily finishedthe entire big ass pot on my own with rice over the next few days

More crispy streaky bacon snack

Can't tell you how much I love this

Had Thai Food delivery and some omelette for dinner. So yum. My favourite Thai Curry is still Red Duck Curry

Honey soy baked chicken and omelette for dinner. Received good praises for this. Honestly, as long as you cook the chicken right, ANY marinade would make the chicken tasty anyway. Can't go wrong.

Eagerly wanted to try my friend's mum's recipe of Chicken in a Basket ever since I read about it a year ago. And after my friend watched V for Vendetta, I thought, THAT'S IT, it's time for me to do this. Couldn't wait anymore

Finally got around to trying Bearnaise Sauce and loooooove it. Goes so well with steak. Like it as much with steak as I do fried food with Jap mayo, and that's HUGE ;p

One of those lazy nights where you don't wanna cook anything too troublesome. I love eating THINLY sliced liver lap cheong (the darker one) with a dash of Chinese cooking wine yummm... I must say that I am very particular at how I want my bull's eye egg and must say have become very good at it after much practice haha

I'm not usually a breakfast guy but this was my ideal brekkie. Nutella toast with Soy Milo. Yummo... I know, who would wanna take a picture of their Milo and Toast right? But you're talking about the guy who uploaded a picture of his bowl of Maggi on the Internet

My sister's extremely YUMMY pesto pasta. I have been inspired by this dish too love it so much that I've made it for some of my friends that liked it too! SO easy and tasty.

Chinese herbal chicken soup ingredients. Don't know what they are or taste like individually but would really like to. All I know is that if you chuck these in a pot of water, you can't go wrong.

All of the above and bought two chicken frames from Woolsworth for $1.20 and you're set for the next few meals. How cheap is that? Before shot.

After 2.5hrs... Yummo....

Another one of those nights where we were rushing to finish our studies so we had Pizza Delivery from my favourite delivery place in the city, Pepperoni's Pizza. I recommend it cause it's nice and delivery fee is free if in the city

Baked chicken with Lee Kum Kee's Korean Marinade and (perfect) fried egg for dinner =]

One day we cooked our lunch instead of dinner. Stir fried vermicilli with XO sauce. Super yummooo...

Cause that wasn't enough, also boiled porridge. I cooked all the drumsticks separately and added a generous amount of ginger and garlic which later gave me a wonderful natural stock which I used to boil the porridge with and tasted great. Also used seaweed for extra flavour and texture

Really EXCELLENT instant coffee from Malaysia. Highly recommend it to everyone, cause it's even better than KK's Tenom White Coffee. This is the Lao Qian brand from Melaka. SO smooth and fragrant. You can get it from your local Air Asia airport cause that's where my parents got it from, TRY IT!!

And then... Exams were FINALLY over and we went to Kitchen Workshop to finally try their buffet after hearing SO many good things about it. Great cause they also had a 0.5kg tiger prawns/person promo. Sweeeet

TIGER prawns weh

I must admit that these prawns tasted pretty good. I don't normally like boiled prawns cause I'm very Asian and I would always prefer the Steamed prawns but these ones weren't bad hmmm

Salad plate, really enjoyed this

Vegetable soup

Teppanyaki chicken and beef with mixed veg

Baked ham (which I took just so I could eat the skin and not the meat), roast beef (which tasted like meat loaf), pasta and roasted potatoes. Didn't like the beef or any sort of processed meat for that matter but that's okay. Got really bagged by my friends for barely touching this plate yikes... I tend to do that at buffets =/

Wuu... I liked this... Beef stroganoff (I believe?) with baked chicken and really good garlic mussels mmm...


What people rave most about Kitchen Workshop besides being so affordable is that the food is pretty good too, especially the dessert. I was impressed cause usually buffet desserts just look good but taste like crap, not true for Kitchen Workshop. For the same price with Sante, this place is SO much better than that.

However by the time I wanted to eat my dessert, I was almost the last in the entire restaurant and most of it had run out and they stopped refilling cause it was late ARGH!! Sticky date pudding, brownie and Apple and Pear Cheesecake (SOO GOOOD!!)

What was left from the huge array of desserts when I finally got to it, Mango Pudding and Tiramisu

Most of my friends kept going back for the jelly cause apparently it was really good but I didn't get a chance to!! GRR

Secret Recipe's Chocolate Banana Cake (courtesy of Jade's Mum) and complimentary sparkling wine cause we celebrated someone's birthday

Caught up with an old friend at the famous DOC Pizza but had the Antipasto set instead. WAO WAO WEEE it was SO good! Every single item on that platter was soo nice! Didn't think I'd enjoy Antipasto this much YUMMM... Have to go back there to try everything else on the menu hehe. So authentically Italian.

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