While browsing thru the food review section of the newspapers, a picture of a bittergourd dish caught my attention â€“ it was cooked with a combination of eggs and bean sprouts. What really aroused my interest was the presence of bean sprouts in the dish. It definitely looked unique and new to me. Bitter-gourd is one of our favourite vegetable. It is a versatile gourd that can be cooked in numerous ways such as stir fried with eggs/pork, stewed with chicken/pork, stuffed with fish paste or as a soup. In fact I have tried out many combinations and styles but never with bean sprouts added. I decided to read on. To my surprise it was a specialty dish of a Japanese restaurant. Rather than going all the way to that restaurant just to savour that bittergourd dish, yours truly decided to put her skills to test. From the picture, I gathered there were 3 major ingredients, namely bittergourd, bean sprouts and eggs.
The next day I bought all the necessary ingredients and my Goya Delight made a grand entrance for dinner. And now comments from the critique – none other than my better half of course). He took a mouthful, chewed on it slowly, swallowed it as I eagerly watched him in anticipation of some positive reactions or â€œyummy” look. However he just stoically carried on with his dinner without a word nor any expressions. So with a dejected smile, I asked him “not nice ah” Staring hard at me with a frown on his face he replied “what do you mean not nice!” and paused. Feeling disappointed and was on the verge of saying “better try next time, I was totally caught off guard when he continued and said “Itâ€™s simply fantastic and the best Iâ€™ve ever tasted!” Feeling pleased and satisfied I retorted “Of course, see whoâ€™s the chef.”
One day my friend’s mother gave me a bottle of her homemade marmalade jam. It tasted really good so I asked her for the recipe. With that first recipe I’ve cultivated an acquired love for homemade jams that is set to be our daily breakfast companion. Since then, I’ve checked out other jam making tips from the internet as well as recipe books and experimented with different fruits as well as improvised some adjustments to suit our own taste and preference. Now we are so spoilt with our very own 100% genuine homemade preserves that we have problems finding a mass produced brand off the shelf with the texture and taste that meet our expectations. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not blowing my own trumpet. It’s just that generally those available in the supermarkets are either too sweet (for the locally produced) or too jelly-like (due to added pectin/gelling agents).
Actually making jam is as easy as ABC. Not joking because basically you just chop up the fruits, boil them in water and sugar until it starts to gel. All that’s needed is time and patience to cook it until the mixture thickens. It’s also a great way to convert excess fruits or non crunchy apples to some delicious spreads for your morning breakfast. Coupled with the fact, one can customise according to your likes in terms of
i) amount of sugar
ii) types of fruits or combination
iii) creamy or chunky texture
For those who have a passion for jams or keen to try their hands at it, I would like to share the very first recipe that I used. For beginners, take this as a kick start recipe to get into the hang of it. Once you have the experience, you can move away from a rigid recipe and innovate with different fruits or combinations of fruits, the amount of sugar added, etc., in other words treat it like an art.
Mixed Fruit marmalade
1 ½ kg sugar
2 litres water
1. Clean fruits, remove stalks
2. Remove skins and cut them into thin slices
3. Boil fruits and the sliced peels in water for 1 hour
4. Stir in sugar and continue to boil for 2 hours or until it gels to a rich golden color.
5. Fill them into recycled jam bottles.
6. Store in fridge when cooled.
Trust me, it’s simply so yummy enjoying your very own homemade creation. Just dripping good on toast or biscuits. –
We have a local brand of instant noodle called Sarawak Mee Golok that we’ve a special liking. Generic instant noodle is eaten in the soup form whereas this one is taken dry i.e. after boiling the noodle, the water is drained off, then the seasoning is mixed in.
Much to my surprise, my better half came up with an innovation when left to survive on his own while I was out of town. He substituted the seasoning with tomato ketchup and EUREKA! simply delicious. To bring out the perfect combination of both noodle and tomato taste, add just enough tomato sauce to evenly coat the noodles; so don’t be greedy and pop in too much sauce.
As a reward for his discovery, he’s knighted the royal chef for this special dish (ps: he can’t cook anything else)