Lekkericious Overhaul

>> October 30, 2011

Lekkercious needs an overhaul. I'm planning a couple of changes - mostly aesthetics. Please stay tuned!


Vegetable Tempura

>> October 25, 2011

After learning how to make a proper tempura batter and dip, this has become one of our top favorites. I first got the inspiration to make some vegetable tempura from Natalie's kitchen, Cook Eat Live Vegetarian, my #1 avenue when I run out of dinner ideas.

Here are a number of vegetables you can use for your vegetable tempura:

- Green french beans
- Carrots
- Aubergines
- Okra
- Potatoes/sweet potatoes
- Onion rings
- Mushrooms
- Peppers

Natalie's blog led me to Naomi's recipe where it contains the simple recipe how to make the batter and dipping sauce, plus a youtube video that taught me a very handy technique to fry the veggie tempura.

So here it goes!

Dipping Sauce:

- 1/3 cup dashi (or 1/3 cup water + 1/2 tsp. Hondashi)
- 3 Tbsp. kikoman soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp. sake
- 2 tsp. sugar

1. Simmer the ingredients in a sauce pan to dissolve the ingredients.
2. When it's boiling, remove from heat and set aside.

Tempura Batter

- 100 g all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 egg yolk, beaten
- 200 ml ice water
- Cornstarch for dusting
- Vegetable oil for deep frying

* Chop your veggies. If you are including french beans, tie about 6 pieces using chives to keep it together. After vegetables are ready, heat up your cooking oil. While waiting, prepare your batter.

1. Put all dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Whisk it.
2. Add the ice water in the bowl of beaten egg yolk and blend. Put 2 ice cubes in it. It's important to keep the mixture cold because the crispiness relies on this.
3. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Mix them using chopsticks, in one direction, for about 10x. It's ok to have some chunks in it. According to Naomi's recipe, the idea is to not produce gluten to make a crunchy tempura.
4. Dust off your vegetables with cornstarch.
5. When the oil is hot and ready, dip the veggies in the batter and fry away. Do not over crowd the frying pan.

Here's the video of the frying technique I was talking about. What and learn.

Happy eating!


I Got a Heart Locket From Tika!

>> October 17, 2011

... a Heart Locket Blog award :)!

I'm super psyched to make a great food picture, whether it's just a simple meal or what not, before I post the cute award icon.

Thanks Tika, I feel honored and happy to receive this from you :). It inspires me to make good food photographs. Lately, I've just been clicking away and just only concerned in showing the outcome, but not really spending time in composition and styling - and that's because I'm often impatient out of hunger :P. I want to shoot, get over it, and eat!

So hopefully, I can make good ones in the coming days :).


Grilled Tomatoes and Asparagus Salad

This dish was inspired by an asparagus salad dish we tasted from Malcom's place (I can't find their website). I executed the way I remembered how it tasted, and luckily, Mark approved! So I'm posting it :P.

We both didn't know how to make poached eggs, but thanks to YouTube, we learned in 5 minutes.

- 1 bunch of short stemmed fresh asparagus, bottoms cut
- 7 pcs of cherry tomatoes, halved (or you can add more if you wish)
- 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped.
- olive oil
- eggs
- salt and pepper to taste
- feta cheese (optional)

1. Heat olive oil in a pan.
2. Add the garlic and saute until golden brown. Do not burn it, it will become bitter. Put it in a bowl and set aside.
3. Grill the asparagus and cherry tomatoes until you see nice char marks on it. I used a griddle pan to do this. Set aside.
4. Pour a little bit of the garlic oil on the vegetable - just enough to give it a garlic flavor. Toss well.
5. Sprinkle salt and pepper according to your taste.
6. Take some of the roasted garlic and sprinkle it on the vegetable mixture. Again, toss well.
7. Arrange the vegetable in a small plates (for serving) and set aside.
6. Poach your egg.
8. Lay the poached egg on top of the vegetables. Sprinkle some feta cheese and serve!


Stir-fried KangKong with BambooShoots

>> October 13, 2011


- 1 bunch of Kangkong (swamp cabbage)
- 1 small can of bamboo shoots, cut into strips (if you can't get it fresh)
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped.
- 1 small red onion, chopped.
- 2 tbsp Kikoman Soysauce (or regular soysauce)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp sambal oelek (optional)

1. Remove the leaves and include young crunchy steps of kangkong. Wash thoroughly and remove excess water.
2. Heat oil in a wok. Fry the onion until a bit soft, then add the garlic. Saute until golden brown.
3. Toss in the bamboo shoots and give mix it well.
4. Add kikoman soysauce and mix well.
5. Add the kangkong and toss well. The kangkong is cooked when the leaves starts to wither.
6. Add salt and pepper according to your taste.
7. Add the sambal oelek to give it a spicy kick.

Serve hot with steamed rice :).


Birthday Letter From Mark

>> October 9, 2011

I was feeling extra lazy since this morning. I just want an easy Sunday, bum around with my cats, sleep in, and spend a quiet evening with Mark. Besides, I seldom celebrate my birthdays - and it's not because I don't like the fact that I'm getting old - I am just like that. Funny how I take more enjoyment planning Mark's birthdays and other less meaningful occasions like Valentine's day, house warming, or meetsaversary (which we just invented) than my own special day.

This evening, Mark woke me up from a nap with a very cute letter, printed in a special textured paper.

Dearest Pupi,

Today you have completed 29 trips around the sun! It's time to have a big slice of cake and celebrate! This year we are taking it easy. no big party so no mix and mingle with your friends, just the 2 of us. We will find a nice resto & blend into the scenery there while we enjoy the food. You wanted to stay in and whip up a nice meal in your kitchen which I love, but today your cooking must grind to a halt so that you can rest and enjoy your special day. So go get ready, chop chop, and let's have a nice evening together pupi. I have a feeling it will be grate!

Love forever,

The words slice, mix, blend, whip, grind, chop, grate were all printed in bold, like some sort of subliminal message. After reading it out loud, Mark brought his present, a multi-purpose food processor! Yay! It's so cute how he made way to get these words describing a food processor put it all together in a form of letter and make it jive altogether.

I joked that the letter should end with "Love forever, Imarflex".

You can call it cheesy - but I call it creativity! Love you pupi!


Vegetarian Pinakbet

>> October 5, 2011

My taste bud's been missing a lot of my favorite Filipino dishes lately. I can't cook them since they all have meat in them. You can't have tinola without the chicken, sinigang, caldereta, dinuguan, binagoongan, and sisig without pork or beef.

I kept thinking of famous Filipino dishes that doesn't involve any amount of meat that my head started to ache, when I suddenly realized, hey why deprive myself of my Filipino favorites when I can try cook them without the meat? I certainly can't cook my top favorites I mentioned earlier without the meat, but that shouldn't stop me from trying to cook my other favorites, meat free right?

Pinakbet is one of my favorites. I used to order it in every Filipino restaurants we dine in each time. It's always on the table! Pinakbet have shrimp paste and pork, but I skipped those two in this recipe, replaced the pork with tofu to make it vegetarian friendly.

- 1 firm tofu, fried and chopped in to cubes
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 200g Kalabasa, chopped in to cubes.
- 100g Ampalaya (bitter gourd), deseeded and sliced
- 4-5 pcs Okra, sliced in two (or three if it's long)
- 100g String beans, cut about 2 inches long
- 1 pc long eggplant, cut in to 4 parts
- 2 pcs tomatoes, quartered
- 2-3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- salt and pepper

Note : To remove some of the ampalaya's bitterness, rub it with salt and let it sit there for 10-15 minutes and then rinse it.

1. Parboil the Kalabasa, careful not to overcook. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan and fry the chopped eggplants, turning to the other side when it's slightly browned. Do not over cook.
3. Heat oil in a wok. Saute garlic and onion until garlic is almost golden brown and onion is soft.
4. Add the ampalaya and stirfry for about 15 seconds.
5. Add the sliced okra and tomatoes and stir fry for another 15 seconds.
6. Add the kalabasa and fried eggplant, and string beans. Mix well.
7. Pour 1/2 cup of water and 3 tbsp of soysauce. Mix well.
8. Sprinkle salt. The original pinakbet is sauteed with shrimp paste which makes it salty, so gradually adjust the saltiness to imitate the saltiness of the shrimp paste.
9. Stir fry for a few more minutes until you see the colors of the veggies become vibrant. If it gets too dry, just add another half a cup of water and adjust the saltiness accordingly.
10. Lastly, add the fried tofu. The tofu is used to replace pork in the dish.

Serve it with hot steamed rice.

Serves 3-4 heads.


Curried Green Beans in Coconut Milk

>> October 4, 2011


- 200g green beans, chopped into small diagonal pieces
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 2 tsp. yellow curry powder
- 2 pc long peppers, deseeded and sliced (red is preferred)
- 1/4 cup vegetarian ground meat (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste

Note : I am unfamiliar with pepper families, but the one I used here is the "pan-sigang" type, which is not that spicy. If you can find red pepper (not labuyo please!) that's also not that spicy, use that one instead so you get color contrast.

1. Heat oil in a wok. Saute onion and garlic until onion is soft and garlic is golden brown.
2. Add the vegetarian ground meat. Cook until fried and golden brown. (Skip this part if you won't use any).
3. Add the green beans and saute for about 30 seconds, and then the peppers.
4. Add the coconut milk and yellow curry powder. Mix well.
5. You'll know the beans is cooked when the green color becomes vibrant. Be careful not to overcook the beans as it's nice when it's crunchy. The coconut milk will be absorbed by the beans and it won't be saucy.

Serve with steamed rice!


Indonesian Dessert : Bubur Sumsum

Last week I've been obsessing on making Indonesian cendol from scratch - and failed miserably, thrice :P. So I decided to give it a rest and set it aside until I find the ingredient I'm missing.

Because of that, I'm stuck with a lot of rice flour. And it seems that I haven't let go of the Indonesian dessert obsession, I browsed through my friend's blog, Tika, and remembered my interest in one of the food photograph she posted awhile back, the bubur sumsum - Indonesian rice pudding. So I immediately googled and found a youtube video from Indonesianfoods on how to make it. Now I get to use my rice flour!

- 50g rice flour
- 1 1/2 cup coconut milk (kakang gata)
- 200g Coco Palm sugar (or Palm sugar if you can find one)
- 1 cup water
- pinch of salt
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- jackfruit (optional)

Coco Palm Sugar Syrup.
1. Set the stove in low heat.
2. In a sauce pan, pour 200g coco palm sugar and 1 cup of water. Stir.
3. Keep on stirring until the sugar is dissolved, and it starts to simmer.
4. Remove from heat and set aside.

Rice Pudding.
1. Combine rice flour and coconut milk in a mixing bowl and mix well, until the rice flour is dissolved.
2. Place a pot under low heat and pour the rice flour mixture and give it a stir.
3. Add a pinch of salt and 2 tsp. vanilla extract.
4. Continuously stir until it's thick and cook.

Rice pudding and coco palm sugar syrup. And yes, those are cat legs interfering with my set.
To serve:
You can either use a bowl or a wide mouth short glass for this (as seen on youtube and blogs :)). Scoop out the rice pudding and put it in the glass/bowl. Then pour some coco palm sugar syrup and top it with some fruit if you have any. Jackfruit goes well, but since I don't have it, I'm using kiwi.

You can serve it warm or cold, however you want it.


Bubble Blahs

I work and live at night time. I am a person deprived of natural light. I rarely cook in the morning as I'm almost always asleep, else busy with house chores. As much as I love natural light in my photography, I'm afraid I don't usually have that luxury, unless I sacrifice my sleep, or make an effort to stay up longer during the day to do a cooking + photo session. So I depend on my flash, and sometimes, available light from my fluorescent bulbs. Although, in my opinion, nothing beats the natural light, I am, so far, satisfied with my shots using my flash that I learned to love.

I always look forward to the weekends for some sunlight.

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