AFC GRILLED : Chef Sean Connolly

An evening of good food.

Lap Cheong Watermelon Bites

An asian take on watermelon bites!

Baked Fish with Kiwi in Sweet and Sour Sauce

Add a twist to sweet and sour fish!

Semperit Pandan Cookies

Cute cookies for the festive season!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Food Discovery : Veg Fish Farm Thai Restaurant

I've been here only twice but I'm already convinced that this is my favourite eating place.

The Thai Veg Fish Farm Restaurant is all about fresh food. The only problem is that it's miles out of town and in some secluded hilly corner. I feel sorry for my little car. On our way out and heavier from a full stomach,  she just didn't have the power to take us up the hill. We had to reverse the car back down and accelerate forward. Vroommmmmm...! Phew...made it. Would probably never hear the end of "That's what you get for eatin' too much" if anyone at home knew about this! I've no regrets. If we drove THIS FAR to eat, we should satisfy ourselves thoroughly.

Anyway, back to our food adventure. This was one of the dishes we ordered, grilled salted fish stuffed with kaffir lime leaves and a stalk of lemongrass. Mmmm..this was to die for. The aroma and tender meat is etched in my memory.  To eat, simply peel off the heavily salted layer of skin.

Grilled Salted Fish

Grilled salted fish with skin peeled off
 This is another great dish, mantis prawn cooked in cheese sauce.

Mantis Prawn in Cheese Sauce
And finally, crispy fried vegetable. This is good snack food.

Batter Fried Vegetable
Have I gained anything from this trip? Besides a few kilos, yes. The Veg Fish Farm Thai Restaurant has inspired me to cook a little differently.These are easy methods to improve the taste of food. I'm also taken in by the way food is presented.

The fish, the farm, the fresh food!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013



Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's flatbread recipe is amazing. I discovered it while exploring several cooking websites. Click here to view the recipe on Mean Mother Cooker's blog.

I not a big fan of breadmaking. It's because I'm too impatient to see the results. Waiting for dough to rise is akin to waiting for a snail to cross the finish line. But I love standing next to the oven just to watch food evolve. I enjoy watching cupcakes puff up and chicken sizzling to a nice brown. This, I can handle.

No yeast flatbreads is the answer to my dilemma. And Hugh's flatbread is fabulously quick and easy to do. Almost failproof! Just four basic ingredients and half an hour of our time. I tried the recipe out the other day. It was done in a flash. Nothing like soft, warm bread to dip in curry or thick stew whenever I fancy. It's as good as the naan bread I used to buy from local Indian-Muslim restaurants.

I have this recipe stuck on my refrigerator now but I hope to memorise it one day.

My flatbread adventure, in photos:

Flour, Olive Oil, Salt and Warm Water ~ Knead, knead, knead, wait!

Roll and divide into 8

Roll flat, heat pan and voila! Done in minutes.

Flatbread...I am torn

You are so good ~ Flatbreads


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Lemon and Rosemary Roast Chicken

Lemon and Rosemary Roast Chicken

I roast chicken. You don't have to do too much to make it a delicious meal. It is soOooo convenient. For me, it's matter of spreading a few basic ingredients over the chicken and voila! Into the oven it goes. A couple of hours later, dinner is ready.

But I have a totally different take for festive occasions. Special occasions are seasons for complicated recipes. This feeling is not out of any need to impress friends. It's because of the excitement I feel from the positive energy that surrounds the special occasion. It just screams, "Churn out something magical for 'eat' gathering!".

Anyway, this is how I usually make roast chicken on normal days. It is lightly seasoned with salt, rubbed with butter, dried herbs and some sort of fruit like  oranges, mangoes, apples or lemons.

I chose to go with lemon this time. One can never go wrong with lemon. The aroma that wafts through the air in the midst of roasting is heavenly. Makes me drool thinking about it.

If you're wondering whether it tastes sour. It doesn't. It has this savoury lemon flavour without any of that 'sour' taste. Yum stuff. Check out the recipe below.


- 1 small medium chicken
- 3 medium potatoes (quartered or smaller)
- 2 medium onions (cut into wedges)
- 100g butter more or less (softened)
- ½ tsp dried rosemary
- ½ lemon 
- Salt, to taste


1) Rub salt, rosemary and half of the butter all over the chicken. Stuff a wedge of onion into the chicken.

2) Line roasting tray with foil and brush on a bit of butter.

3) Place chicken onto the tray. Arrange potatoes and onions around the chicken.

4) Spread remaining butter over the potatoes and onion.

5) Squeeze lemon juice over it. Then, stuff the lemon into the chicken.

6) Roast at 185C for 1 hour 10 minutes or longer (depending on the size of your chicken). 
Note: I basted the chicken twice in between roasting time using the juices that had accumulated on the tray. This is to keep the chicken moist and to add a little more flavour to the skin. 

Butter it. Squeeze lemon juice all over.
Roast chicken underway
Fresh out of the oven ~ Lemon and rosemary roast chicken with a nice brown

I had mine with lettuce and dragon fruit.

Roast chicken with Dragon Fruit balls (used a melon baller) and lettuce. Yum!


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Soup : For variety sake


Soup day in, day out. Don't you find it a challenge putting something fresh on the table daily. I do. It doesn't help when people go, "This soup again..?" *roll eyes*

I'm that ordinary cook who doesn't have a whole lot of fresh food ingredients stocked up in her little fridge, and cabinet space that will make most chefs cry. I'm that person who dream of having a Nigella Lawson kitchen one day. But for now, I make do.

One soup, one vegetable and one meat - That's my cooking rule. It's what I tell myself every time I plan the day's meal. Sometimes I make it a one-plate thing but mostly, it's two or three separate dishes with white rice.

Along the way, I've learned some simple tricks to deceive the fussy eater. It helps that I'm a genius...kidding.

This is what I do to clear the week's ingredients from my fridge especially when I have more than necessary the food items I need. I cook the same dish twice in  a week, one with a small twist to give the illusion that I'm making something totally different from yesterday.

I'm going to share with you how I handle soups. I often make clear soups intending to repeat the dish a couple of days later with only one difference. I stir in a tablespoon of evaporated milk.

Example: from clear fish ball soup, it becomes "milky" fish ball soup. Not ... same! *grin*

And that, ladies and gentleman, is my one-tip wonder. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in this. I bet you have something up your sleeves too when it comes to making daily meals a less boring affair.

Fish ball soup ~ from clear to milky


Monday, August 19, 2013

Slow Cooked Beef Goulash


Slow-Cooked Beef Goulash

It was the perennial question - "what to cook for dinner". I had fresh beef. That helped a lot. At least it narrowed down the recipe search. Eve suggested that I make Goulash out of it, a paprika based stew with spices.

G-o-u-l-a-s-h ....sounds exotic. Why not!

I was skeptical about having only paprika in the stew. It seemed ...harsh somehow. There were many tug-of-wars in my mind about adding tomato into the mix - pureed, mashed, chopped and more tomato related thoughts. But I stuck it out and stayed on the paprika course. I was trying to be as "Hungarian" as possible! There were no regrets. It turned out fabulous.

Who knew that paprika could be more than just a pinch on anything...

A lot of flavours went into this stew so it's hard to describe the taste. I'll try! It's a little spicy but not as hot as I'd imagined and not the curry kind I was used to. A cross between chilli and pepper spiciness. Am I making any sense? All I can say is that it's addictive and goes nicely with the likes of naan, flatbread and even rice.

The recipe.

- 500g beef (for stews, cut into chunks)
- 3 medium potatoes (peeled and diced)
- 1 cup diced pieces of pumpkin
- 1 red chili (halved and sliced into squares)
- 1 clove garlic (chopped)
- 1 large onion (chopped)
- 2 tbsp paprika powder
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 stalks fresh coriander (chopped)
- 2-3 dried bay leaves
- Salt, to taste
- 1-2 tbsp cooking oil
- 3 cups hot water, or more

The ingredients

1) Season beef with a bit of salt. Leave aside.

2) Heat oil in pan. Saute the onions and garlic.

3) Add the beef. Fry until it's browned a little. Then, add the potatoes, pumpkin and chilli. Stir well.

4) Add paprika and brown sugar into the mix and stir well. Transfer all the ingredients into a slow cooker.

5) Add 3 cups hot water or more, along with fresh coriander and bay leaves. Cook on high for 3½ hours or longer. Into the second hour, I mashed some of the pumpkin pieces in the slow cooker using a spoon.

6) Taste and season with more salt if necessary, in the last ½ hour of cooking

Note: 3
½ hours was enough for me. Meat is tender, but not falling apart.

Paprika goes in. Mix it well.

Into the slow cooker it goes, along with some water, coriander and bay leaves

Beef goulash and flatbread! Yum!


Monday, August 12, 2013

Sweet Soy Sauce Herbal Chicken


Sweet Soy Sauce Herbal Chicken with Red Dates, Yu Zhu and Wolfberries

Just something I cooked the other day because I was itching to get away from my regular soy sauce chicken recipe, which typically involves only dousing light and dark soy sauce together for taste. It's my lazy-day favourite.

In this recipe though, several natural sweetish ingredients were included to enhance the flavour, like red dates, Yu Zhu (Solomon’s Seal Rhizome - Learn more about Yu Zhu here. ) and carrots. In short, I've complicated the recipe a little for something richer.

The end result is a yummy sweet-salty herbal chicken dish that compliments plain brown rice or yam rice.

This is the recipe. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

- 5 pcs chicken drumstick
- 1 clove garlic (chopped)
- ½ medium carrot (julienne)
- ½ small cabbage - just a handful (sliced)
- 1 tsp dried wolfberries (rinse and soak in water for 10 minutes)
- 6 slices of dried Yu Zhu (rinse and soak until tender, preferably overnight)
- 2 medium dried red dates (rinse and soak in water for 30 minutes, make a small cut before cooking)
- 1½ tbsp light sweet soy sauce
- 1½ tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tsp corn flour to thicken (diluted in a bit of water)
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 tsp cooking oil
- 2-3 cups water
- Spring onions (chopped) for garnishing

1) Heat cooking pan with oil. Add garlic and fry until lightly browned.

2) Add chicken and carrots. While stirring, season with soy sauce and oyster sauce.

3) Add water, followed by red dates, cabbage and solomon's seal. Stir well and simmer until the chicken is cooked and slightly tender (about 45 minutes). Add more water if it gets too dry.

4) Taste and season with a pinch of salt (if necessary) and pepper. Stir the wolfberries in at the last five minutes of cooking.

5) Switch the fire off, add the corn flour while it's still hot and stir well. Serve garnished with spring onions.

Yummy Herbal Chicken

Serve garnished with spring onions!


Monday, August 5, 2013

Old Cucumber and Salted Kohlrabi Chicken Soup


Old Cucumber and Salted Kohlrabi Chicken Soup
It was in our Facebook group that I'd first heard of salted kohlrabi. Kohlrabi - what was it...german turnip, cultivar of cabbage ..according to Wikipedia.

Salted Kohlrabi

I've so far only included it in soups but I'm guessing it'll go great in braised dishes as well. 

It wasn't easy trying to find this ingredient. Partly because I had no idea how it would be packaged for the supermarket. I took some time reading the labels for each salted vegetable I picked up and it would have been easier to spot had it not all been compressed in little clear plastic packets. But joy, I found it!

AndDdDDdddd.. so was born this easy soup recipe.


- 2 pcs whole chicken leg
- ½ medium old cucumber (remove seeds and slice)
- 1 medium red onion (quartered)
- 1 slice salted kohlrabi (rinsed and sliced into smaller pieces)
- 4 pcs dried black fungus (medium variety, soaked for 30 minutes, remove hard parts, slice into smaller pieces  if you wish)
- 1 medium carrot (cubed)
- 1- 1.5L water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 stalk spring onion (chopped, for garnishing)

The ingredients

1) Lay all the ingredients in the pot. Pour water in.
2) Boil until chicken is tender. (One hour on medium heat did it for me.)
3) At the last stage of cooking, taste and season with salt (if necessary) and pepper. Cook for awhile longer.
4) Serve garnished with spring onions.

Slow boil

Tadaaa! Tender chicken with salted kohlrabi and old cucumber

Soup of the day..slurp!


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