…aaand I’m back. Can’t believe it’s been nearly two years since I’ve posted something here! Since then I’ve moved into a new place with a kickass kitchen, and I’ve been cooking more than ever. Here’s hoping I find the time to post more of my recipes here.

This is a stew I came up with today, by combining leftover ingredients in my fridge. It’s adapted from various pork stew recipes I researched, and it’s a nod towards traditional Irish stews that use beer. The Hoegaarden really adds a lot of complexity to the flavour: sweet, slightly malty, and faint fruit accents.

The stew is perfect when it’s a cold and rainy day and you just want something tasty and hearty. The best part is that it’s really simple to make too! Feel free to make a huge pot of it and freeze individual portions, so when you come home after work and can’t be arsed to cook, you can just quickly defrost it in the microwave and eat it with some rice or a lovely crusty baguette.

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Tom yum yaki udon

tom yum yaki udon

This is a typical post-hangover dish that I like to make for myself – hearty, easy to whip up, and spicy enough to wake me up from my alcohol-induced stupor. As with most fried rice/noodle dishes, it’s a great way to use up leftover food or random stuff you can find in your refrigerator. In this case, I used leftover sliced pork belly from my salad that I made a few days ago and it went beautifully with the noodles.

I like yaki udon, not only because of thick springy texture of the noodles but also because you can keep the shrink-wrapped squares of noodles for months and they never seem to go bad (have you ever seen expiry dates on udon packets?).

So here’s the lowdown:

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pork belly and spinach salad

More than Justin Timberlake’s dancing, more than 30 Rock, I love roasted pork belly. There’s nothing more amazing then biting into a hefty chunk of belly, with the fat melting in your mouth and the meat exploding with flavour. Done right, it can be beautifully sinfully delicious.

“Sinful” is the operative word here. So I thought I could “healthy” things up a bit by having it as a salad (although with the amount of fat intact and the oil-rich dressing, it may not quite be the best thing to eat when you’re on a diet). It’s easy to make and quite fuss free; just marinate, roast, then slice it up and toss with the salad.

sliced pork belly pork belly closeup

Porkgasmically delicious. Check out the layers of fat!

And here’s the recipe:

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Orange Cranberry Muffins

orange cranberry muffins
Coolin’ on the rack.

I first had an orange cranberry muffin at Cedele, an awesome bakery chain in Singapore. Light, zesty and fragrant, with bursts of berry tastiness, it blew my mind as I ate it at my desk (accompanied with Gryphon’s lemon tea, it was a truly transcendental food experience and a better perk-me-up than a double espresso).

Off I went, hunting for an approximate recipe, and in the end I settled for Nigella’s, substituting the almonds for the cranberries and caster for brown sugar (I like the earthier taste). I also used store-bought orange juice from a packet instead of freshly squeezed OJ, to save time. They turned out light, fluffy – divine. This is a great breakfast treat which you can make ahead of a busy week, you can store them in the fridge in an airtight container and they last for up to a week.

Berry love.

You know where to click…

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Nutella and Banana Pancakes

 nutella and banana pancake

‘NanaNutella pancake love.

Been a while since I’ve posted so I’ve decided to go for a double whammy today. First up, nutella and banana pancakes which I made just a few hours ago for a tasty Sunday morning breakfast 🙂

For this I googled around for a quick pancake recipe. I read about Mark Bittman’s (he of NYT’s Bitten blog fame) 1-1-1 pancake recipe on some sites, and I found a rough approximation of it here. I love how simple it is – the 1-1-1 stands for the ratio for flour, milk and eggs. But, as I’ve found out in life, you can always chinchai things a little more.

The best thing about pancakes is how customisable they are. You can make them savoury with a bit of cheese and ham, or sweet with raspberries, or rich with some ricotta or cottage cheese. You can play around with their texture as well: I love thin crepe-like pancakes, with bananas, the kind you find everywhere at backpacking spots in Southeast Asia. Add a bit more milk and you get runnier batter which make great light yet chewy pancakes.

basic pancakes

Pancake love. I made a few plain ones to go with jam and honey as well.

Recipe after the jump!

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Laksa Risotto

laksa risotto

laksa risotto closeup

I can’t believe it’s been nearly half a year since I’ve posted a recipe here! Then again, a lot has happened since January: I got promoted to a new, more challenging department; I went on a few holidays including one that was pretty life-transforming; and I’ve started afresh as a singleton. So I guess it’s no surprise that I haven’t been cooking or baking much 🙂

Anyhoo, enough with the blabber. I thought up of this dish the other day while making beetroot risotto (which deserves its own post another time), and decided to make it just for kicks. Laksa, in case you don’t know, is a popular Malaysian and Singaporean dish: it’s rice noodles in a rich spicy coconut broth, and usually comes with prawns, cockles, beansprouts, fish cake, and tau kwa (dried beancurd). 

Above all, this is a really easy recipe as long as you can get your grubby mitts on a packet of laksa paste, which is available at all local supermarkets (if you’re overseas, it should be available in Asian supermarkets). It’s lovely and rich,  and translating the heartiness of laksa into a new medium that has a different texture somehow makes the flavours really pop up. I wish I thought this up when I was living overseas because it’s the kind of thing I would have loved to nosh on when it was 5 degrees outside!

Recipe after the jump:

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couscous closeup

This is one of my all-time favourite party dishes for potlucks; it’s tasty, light, and suitable for vegetarians/vegans. It’s also good for a quick and easy dinner after work, as it takes only about 20 minutes to prepare and assemble.

I love everything about halloumi – how it’s buttery, tasty, and mysteriously unable to melt when you apply direct heat to it.  Sadly, halloumi has disappeared from supermarket shelves in Singapore recently. I used to be able to get it (Lemnos brand) from Carrefour and some Cold Storage outlets. In desperation, I recently bought frozen paneer from Mustafa, and it was a surprisingly good and cheaper substitute – it only cost me $3 compared to the $7 I used to shell out for halloumi. The only  thing is that you need to salt it generously while grilling it (halloumi usually comes salty, I believe).

This salad is even better when it’s been sat in the fridge overnight and all the flavours has infused into all the ingredients. So don’t be afraid to make extra and take it to work for lunch the next day – it’s good warmed up after a quick high-power minute in a microwave, or chilled too!

Aaaaand here’s the recipe:

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