DIY Burgers

During MCO, I’ve ordered burgers through online delivery. It was awful. The packaging came wet and the buns were soggy. That was the last time I ordered burger online.

We tried burgers at myburgerlab and it was superb. Absolutely yummy. I bought DIY pack from them for a fast and easy dinner at home.

Ingredients that I used to make the DIY burgers. My first attempt. 

Options to make the burgers more impressive and look like a gourmet burger:

  • Portobello mushroom: Season with salt and pepper, glaze with olive oil and put on frypan inside out. Crack an egg on top of the mushroom and fry/grill for a few minutes.
  • Streaky bacon: Cook till nice and crispy. Cut/break into smaller piece to fit into burger
  • Lettuce
  • Sliced thinly tomatoes
  • Caramelized onion – lightly seasoned with salt and pepper and grill

My 2nd attempt. Depending on what I have in the fridge.

Thaw DIY charcoal buns and patties overnight before cooking.

I used my brand new Tefal Everest frypan to make DIY burgers for lunch today.

Lightly toast the buns, face down on a frypan, for a nice and crisp, not soggy buns. Do for the other side too.

The frypan surface is big enough for me to toast the buns and also pan fry the burger patties and bacon.

Used Tefal egg frypan to fry eggs. The egg will be round and fit nicely on burger bun, thicker and make the burger looks more impressive.

Cook patties on a frypan or grill at medium heat, 3 mins on each side.

Assemble the burgers while the patties are cooking.

  • On the base of bun, spread some dressing of choice i.e. mayonnaise, thousand island, mustard, ketchup, chili sauce, etc.
  • Snap and break lettuce and put on top of dressing
  • Add sliced tomatoes, streaky bacon, fried egg, and caramelized onion and portobello mushroom.

I followed Gordon Ramsay’s advice and lightly brush some butter on the patties on the last few seconds to add the nice buttery, moist taste to the patties.

Add cheddar cheese on top of the patties.

Finally, put the burger patties on top of burger.

The staff of myburgerlab was kind enough to give me few burger pockets to use at home.

Put the assembled burger into the burger paper pocket and eat it immediately.

You can choose to have a simple burger of just egg and patty or make them a gourmet burger. Either way, we enjoyed the DIY burgers. They are yummy and most importantly, not soggy.

 

Chili and Garlic Prawns

We always like the tapas from El Meson, especially their garlic and chilli prawns. So, I decided to try cooking it at home today.

I browsed through internet and YouTube for recipe and I found this.

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil: 50 ml
  • Chili: 1
  • Garlic: 3 cloves, minced
  • Paprika: 1/2 tsp
  • Prawns: Cook 2 minutes on each side
  • Parsley
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt to taste

Made just a small portion to try out and it turned out well.

Jaden said delicious and asked me to cook more next time. Yes, Jaden. 

The prawns are flavourful and it’s nice to eat with bread.

We ate it with Poke bowl too.

Jjajang Deopbap (Rice Bowl with Black Bean Sauce)

Lunch: Jjajang Deopbap (Rice bowl with black bean sauce)

Earlier, we made jjajang sauce. Something that can be meal prep. 

Today, for a quick lunch, I cooked deopbap. It’s a simple and flavourful lunch. Added seaweed and mix the rice and Jjajang together..

[Ingredients]

2 eggs
1/4 stalk (20g) green onion
2 tbsp (40g) good-for-all jjajang sauce
2 tbsp (15g) cooking oil
3 tbsp (30g) water
1 bowl (200g) rice

[Directions]

1. Finely chop the green onions.
2. Add cooking oil to a pan and stir-fry the green onions.
3. Push the green onions to the side of the pan.
Crack in eggs to the other side and scramble them.
4. After the eggs are scrambled, stir-fry them with green onions and jjajang sauce.
5. Add some water when stir-frying for the flavor of the sauce to blend with the eggs. (You can add more sauce to taste instead of using salt)
6. Scoop rice into a rice bowl and pour the sauce over it.

Apple Kefir Butter Cake

CMCO Day 12 – Teatime: Apple Kefir Butter Cake

Another Sunday of baking experiment with the 2nd attempt of Apple Kefir butter cake. This time, the cake is much nicer with texture that is soft, fluffy and nice crusty outer layer.

Apple kefir butter cake is not a common cake sold in bakeries and cafes. I first tried this cake in Yin’s Sourdough when our lunch took longer time to be served during lunch busy period. The sweet lady from Yin’s Sourdough offered 2 slices of this cake complimentary to us while waiting for our lunch. We told her 1 slice will do. We ate, loved it and wanted to ask if we may have the 2nd slice back 😁. So yummy, healthy and refreshing.

During this CMCO, I missed eating this cake and placed delivery order for 5 boxes of this Apple kefir butter cake to share with family and friend to cheer everyone up during this CMCO.

This is my feedback on Yin Sourdough’s Apple Kefir butter cake, as posted by them on their IG stories.

Ingredients:

  • 113g (1 stick) of unsalted butter
  • 115g of castor sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 120ml of milk kefir at room temperature to prevent soggy cake bottom and allows good bacteria to grow for airy texture. May substitute milk kefir with sour cream or yogurt thinned with milk (30ml of milk mixed with 90ml of plain yogurt)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 190g of cake flour or all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 60g of raisins soaked in rum or apple juice
  • 2 cored, peeled and thinly sliced crisp apples
  • Topping: 50g castor sugar mixed with 1 tsp of cinnamon

 Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Line the bottom of a 8” (20 cm) round tin with removable base or spring form tin with parchment paper. Lightly grease sides and apply thin layer of flour or spray with non-stick baking spray.
  3. Core, peel and thinly slice apples and place in lightly salted water, or lemon juice, to prevent them from premature browning
  4. Sift flour, baking powder and salt and set aside
  5. In a mixing bowl, add in butter and sugar. Mix it on low speed until the sugar disappear. Then increase to medium speed and mix for 15 minutes, until the butter is white, light and fluffy.
  6. Add in eggs, one by one and mix until the yellow eggs disappear.
  7. Add milk kefir and vanilla extract. Continue mixing for another 3-5 minutes.
  8. Add in the sifted dry ingredients and raisins and fold together until just combined.
  9. Pour half the batter into the baking pan.
  10. Place a layer of sliced apple on top of batter and sprinkle with thin layer of sugar and cinnamon.
  11. Pour the balance half of the batter into the baking pan.
  12. Place sliced apples on top of batter
  13. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over top of apple layers

Bake for 55-60 minutes. Test the cake using a cake tester. Cool the cake on a cooling rack for about 15 minutes.

Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar (optional).

The taste of milk kefir is natural and infused with probiotic. The addition of kefir to this cake will make the cake extra soft, airy and lighter texture.

Afternoon tea with a slice of cake and coffee. Heavenly.

Enjoying afternoon tea at home during this CMCO. So grateful that we can bake simple cake to enjoy at home.

 

—Bottom: 1st attempt. Middle: 2nd attempt. Top: 3rd attempt

Different attempt of decorating the cake.

Garlic Fried Rice

Jared and Jaden like the garlic fried rice they had in Japanese restaurant.

During one of my Teppanyaki lunch, I watched the chef frying garlic fried rice when we sat at the Teppanyaki counter.

Ingredients:

  • Garlic – 5 cloves, slice thinly.
  • Garlic – 1 bulb, minced.
  • Oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Butter – 20g
  • Eggs – 6
  • Rice – Overnight, 4 cups.
  • Chicken powder – 1.5 tsp
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Soya sauce – 1 tbsp.
  • Spring onion – 4 stalks, chopped
  • Black pepper – 1 tbsp

Method:

  1. Fry sliced garlic on low heat to avoid burning, till golden brown and set aside.
  2. Fry minced garlic till golden brown and set aside.
  3. Put Oil and butter on wokpan
  4. Fry eggs till 80% cooked
  5. Pour rice and mix with eggs
  6. Add chicken powder and salt.
  7. Continue frying until rice jumping
  8. Add fried minced garlic and soya sauce

Add chopped spring onion and black pepper.

Scoop rice into a bowl or a serving place.

Decorate with fried sliced garlic.

I’ve tried cooking this fried rice several times since MCO and CMCO and it always get Jaden excited and enjoyed his lunch.

Eat on its own and with any meat as side dish.  

Pantry Organisation

I always know my pantry should be more organized. And that’s was it. Nothing done for a long time.

Until this MCO when we couldn’t go out but to stay at home, I wanted to do a few mini projects so that by the end of MCO and CMCO, those days were not wasted but filled with memories and a few projects accomplished.

One of the few mini projects that I have on my list is pantry organization. I spent a lot of time over the long Hari Raya break browsing on internet and watched lots of YouTube to get some ideas on how and tips to organize pantry.

I saw few things that I like and also things that I should avoid, what suits my kitchen cabinet and practical to use. I want clear and transparent containers, with no prints and design, no other colours except white. It has to be in square shape to save storage space.

  1. I measured my kitchen cabinets, its length, height and depth and looked for products that fit into those measurements.
  2. I browsed through the products online in Lazada and Shopee and read the review on the products and sellers.
  3. Follow the seller. You may get seller vouchers and notified of seller promotion.
  4. Check on bulk purchase discount. I bought 4 items from the containers seller as they offered 13% discount for purchases of 4 items and above. It turned out cheaper that just buying 3 items.
  5. Get delivery voucher for shipping fee discount as most items were shipped from China. The shipping fee is quite costly.
  6. Check on credit card promotion. There are promotions with Citibank, CIMB, Maybank, etc.

 

1st Phase: Spice Jars

Since I have to cook during this MCO, I used these items more frequently now.

Before

I wanted standard, clear bottles for spice storage and I bought these 12 pieces of square glass spice jars from Lazada. It came with proper packaging.

Caps and airtight lids to keep spices stay fresh longer.

Wash and dry before use.

I’m getting quite a number of questions on these spice jars since I posted it in my IG and FB. My friends love them too. I bought it from Lazada under seller “PickEgg”. This item has been sold out, replenished, sold out and the last I checked, it was replenished again.

Filled with my favourite spices.

For easy assess to these spice jars, I also bought rotating tray to put these spice jars as I will not be able to reach those at the back of my kitchen cabinet.

I can turn and easily assess to all of the spice jars but the turning is not very smooth.

High up on my kitchen cabinet.

 

2nd Phase: Dry Food Containers

I am right. I’m getting more questions for this. Before buying, I suggest the following:

  1. Open up your kitchen cabinets and list the items that you have.
  2. Categorise them and decide which items to be placed in wet kitchen and dry kitchens.
  3. Note down the contents volume so that you know how many containers of each sizes that you need.
  4. Measure your kitchen cabinets, height, depth and length.

I shortlisted 2 designs but I chose these albeit this is more expensive than the other.

I like this clear, clean, simple, neat looking design, made of BPA-free, durable plastic.

The containers stack well on top of each other due to the lids design. The height of the containers was also perfect for my kitchen cabinets.

There’s rubber at the bottom of the containers that are anti-slip and made them very stable. This seller was also having 13% discount for 4 items and above.

I saved almost $200 from seller promotion and shipping fee discount

The hard work results. Satisfaction. Stood there and admire it for awhile, love them so much. The kitchen cabinet is so much neater now and I can see in a glance what I have and what I need to stock up.

Labels

I bought the following labels to label my containers.

 

3rd Phase: Sauces and Bottles

Whenever I need to use sauces, I have to pull out the basket to reach the sauces. Sometimes, I need to move my hand around to reach those at the end row.

I saw this rotating tray. Just what I need and I bought it.

 

All these organisations will make cooking more enjoyable and life a little easier. I am very happy with the entire pantry organization results. Jaselyn said I’m very Auntie. Things like this ie organizing pantry, make me so happy. She must be thinking I’m such a boring Auntie.

Next on my list is to organize my fridge. I’m waiting for the items to arrive.

I’ve Lost Over 10kg

Finally, I shed some weight and achieved one of my 2020 resolution of weight <50kg.

Losing weight has been in my mind for more than a decade and in my resolution for many years. Somehow, I couldn’t achieve it or probably I didn’t take it seriously or take action to achieve it.

I signed up for gym membership and went for Bodyjam, Body Combat and Body Balance classes and Group Training. After classes, I was always hungry and had dinner past 9pm. I used to think since I’ve worked out so hard, burnt lots of calories and sweat so much, it’s alright for me to eat.

My weight kept on increasing and when I saw this photo that I took in June 2019 in Lucerne, a very beautiful place, I felt worried. I noticed I looked so bloated and put on a lot of weight.

After 2 weeks in Lyon, a city of gastronomy and Switzerland, I really put on a lot of weight, hitting 60kg. My family told me the same thing and asked me to watch out on my diet and weight. My favourite breakfast were nasi lemak and fried meehoon that I used to pack on the way to work, with a cup of coffee with creamer.

My sister invited me to the Nutrition Club and I decided to join the wellness program. I have a personal weight management coach to guide me through the program. I have a better understanding of the value of good nutrition, healthy eating habit and active lifestyle. She also guided me how and what to eat before hitting gym and after classes to replenish lost muscles.

With coach Catherine Chua and my sister, Catherine Koh. The 2 sweet ladies and supportive coaches.

My biggest takeaway from this coaching is, not only we have to know our body weight, we should be aware of the composition of our body. What’s the fat %, muscle %, water %, visceral fat rating and body age. I was so worried then as my metabolic age was older than my age.

With the patient and knowledgeable coach, Natalia Lai.

This is my weight progress tracked from Fitness First boditrax from the day I started weighing myself till the last reading just before MCO.

Snap from 18 May 2019 to 9 Mar 2020

The 12 months development. Didn’t lose much weight in Dec 2019 and Jan 2020 due to Christmas and Chinese New Year celebrations with lots of gatherings and feast. I told myself to enjoy the process, don’t stress out, I don’t have deadline to meet and to have cheat days as and when I like. This is to ensure sustainability.

Finally, on the last Saturday after 2.5 months since the last time I went to the Nutrition Club due to MCO, I could go back and get my body composition analysis done. I lost 12kg, dropped body fat % and visceral fat layers, increased muscles % and water % and my metabolic age is younger by 19 years!

Funny encounter during this journey:

  • At security registration to sister’s house, the security guard looked at my driving license and asked me “Dulu gambar Mam gemuk. Sekarang kurus. Ada gambar lain? And he is not the first one who commented that.
  • A friend when he saw me told me “Wah, you lost weight. I thought you used photo filter on your photos to look slimmer on Instagram”.
  • When I did presentation at office Townhall, rather than paying attention on my slides, my colleagues whispered “Sawleng lost a lot of weight”.

I lost my double chin and round, chubby face. It is so good to feel lighter, healthier and more energetic. It boosts our confidence too.

During this MCO, I cleared my wardrobe based on KonMari method, segregating piles of clothes to be given away, to dispose and asked my Mom to alter for those clothes that bring joy to me. I cleared more than half of my wardrobe, I couldn’t wear most of them.

I recently bought the following Yellow and Pink size S camisoles from Uniqlo. I used to wear Size L AIRism camisole but now I am wearing size S, down 2 sizes. Happiness.

Top: Yellow and Pink new Uniqlo camisole size S Bottom: Black and White old Uniqlo camisole size L

I am just happy to live healthier, losing fat and gaining muscles. Looking good is the bonus.

Chicken Fajitas

COVID-19 Movement Control – Day 72
Lunch: Chicken Fajitas

Chicken fajitas, a classic Mexican recipe that is easy to prepare and a flavorful meal. I marinated the chicken yesterday so that the chicken is seasoned well and I could cook it fast for lunch today since it’s a working day, the usual WFH.

We ate it 3 different ways ie with quinoa, wraps and butterhead lettuce. Top it with avocado and a dollop of sour cream. So yummy and healthy.

Ingredients::

Ø  Fajita Seasoning

  • 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Ø  Chicken Fajitas

  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, halves the thickness
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 bell peppers , thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lime

Ø  For Serving

  • Tortillas
  • Butterhead lettuce
  • Sour cream
  • Pico de gallo
  • Avocado

Instructions:

  1. Add the fajitas seasoning ingredients to a small mixing bowl and stir together.

2. Season the chicken. Generously sprinkle the fajita seasoning on both sides of the chicken and use your fingers press it into the chicken.

3. Cook the chicken. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and lightly coat it with a drizzle of olive oil or avocado oil. Sear the chicken breasts for about 7-8 minutes on each side.

Then remove them from the pan and let the chicken rest for a few minutes before slicing into strips.

4. Saute the bell peppers and onion. While your chicken is cooking, cut the bell peppers and onion into thin slices.

Once the chicken is removed, saute the bell peppers and onion in the same skillet over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently until caramelized.

5. Mix together. Add the chicken back into the skillet, add a squeeze of fresh lime juice (A must as squeeze of fresh lime adds a punch of flavor) and stir everything together.

6. Wrap it up. Serve immediately with tortillas and extra toppings such as sour cream, pico de gallo and guacamole.

 

Spicy mixed-up seafood noodle soup (Jjamppong)

COVID-19 Movement Control – Day 71
Lunch: Spicy mixed-up seafood noodle soup (Jjamppong)

I still have 2 stalks of dae-pa that I bought from Korean grocer. Not wanting it to go to waste, I checked on internet what I can cook with it and found this from my favourite Korean chef, Maangchi’s Spicy Seafood Noodle Soup.

Another new Korean recipe. Sourish, spicy and sweet seafood noodle soup.

Ingredients:

Vegetables:

  • 1 daepa (large green onion), or 4 green onions, cut into 2 inch length
  • 100g leek, washed and cut into ½ x 2 inch strips
  • 100g ounces bok choy, washed
  • 85g / 3 large cabbage leaves, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 100g onion, sliced
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and cut into 2-inch strips

Seafoods and meat:

  • 4 large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 100g squid, just the body with guts removed and sliced into rings
  • 8 mussels (optional), scrubbed, debearded, soaked in salted water for a few hours, and washed
  • 24 small clams (optional), soaked in salted water for a few hours, and washed
  • 100g of thinly sliced pork belly (or beef or chicken)

Noodles and seasonings:

Bought this from a Korean grocer, $17.20 for 6 servings.

  • Fresh or frozen jjajangmyeon noodles, thawed if frozen, and uncoiled
  • 5 tbsp gochugaru (Korean hot pepper flakes)
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Directions:

Make the hot pepper flakes mixture:

  1. Combine 2 tablespoons of hot pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil in a small bowl.
  2. Mix with a spoon until well incorporated. Set aside.

Make jjamppong:

  1. Heat a large wok (or pot) over high heat. Add the vegetable oil, garlic, ginger, and stir about 20 seconds with a wooden spoon until the garlic starts to turn a little crispy.
  2. Add the pork and stir until slightly cooked.
  3. Clear a spot in the wok by pushing the garlic, ginger, and the meat to the side. Tilt the wok so that the excess vegetable oil slides into the cleared area. Put 3 tablespoons hot pepper flakes into the hot oil and stir and mix with the wooden spoon for about 1 minute, until it creates a smoky flavor but not long enough to burn. Then stir everything in the wok together into the hot oil.
  4. Add green onion, leek, cabbage, and onion and stir for 3 to 4 minutes until the vegetables are wilted.
  5. Add 6 cups stock and all the seafoods and bok choy. Cover and cook 7 to 8 minutes until the mussels and clams are open and the shrimp and squid are well cooked.

6. Stir in the fish sauce, kosher salt, and the reserved hot pepper flakes mixture. Cover and let it simmer over low heat.

We added too much of anchovy stocks that the broth is a little diluted but the taste is still nice.

Meanwhile, cook the noodles:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and stir a few times so that they don’t stick to each other.
  2. Cover and cook 5 to 8 minutes until tender but still chewy.
  3. Strain and rinse the noodles in cold running water to make them nice and chewy.

Put it together and serve:

  1. Heat up the soup over high heat.
  2. Divide the noodles into individual serving bowls. Add the soup over top and include cooked seafood, vegetables, meat over top of the noodles. Serve right away.

Chicken Wrap with Cinco de Mayo Salsa Cruda

COVID-19 Movement Control – Day 70
Lunch: Chicken wrap with Cinco de Mayo Salsa Cruda

Today is already the Day 70, also the 3rd day of Hari Raya and public holiday. Usually, we would have gone out for house visiting or having coffee chat with friends. But now, we are staying in, finding interesting thing to do before we die of boredom.

For me, I have been cooking far more than the total cooking I’ve done for my entire life prior to this MCO. I’ve tried lots of new recipes, inclusive of meal prep and then, take lots and lots of photos and post them on Facebook, Instagram or/and my blog. This blog is active again during this MCO, it was left idle for a few years with only 3 posts in 2016, 1 post in 2017 and I stopped blogging in 2018 and 2019 and moved to Instagram. During this MCO period, I’ve posted more than 20 posts in my blog and contributed 8 posts to Club Tefal Facebook!

2 days ago, I received the sweetest message from Wendy “Sista, I just want to drop u a message that I am happy to see ur FB posts. The old Saw Leng is back to cooking, baking, writing and sharing. Glad ur confidence are back. Lots of hugs”. Hug, hug you back. Tight, tight, Wendy

Using the salsa that we made yesterday, we add in chicken and hard-boiled eggs for protein and wrap them for our lunch today.

Yesterday, on Hari Raya Day 2, since it’s not a working day, another opportunity to explore new recipe. This recipe was shared by my niece, by Chef John from allrecipes.

A simple recipe of mixing everything together but be prepared with lots and lots of cutting.

Ingredients:

  • 300g cherry tomatoes, diced

I used mix of orange and red colours of cherry tomatoes to add some colours t

 

Use small serrated knife to cut cherry tomatoes into small dice pieces. Let it drain over strainer to remove liquid from cut tomatoes.

Onion, minced finely. 1/2 cup.

I couldn’t find jalapeno and serrano chili pepper in both of the groceries shops that I went.

Using normal green chili and Korean Cheongyang pepper that I have at home

Minced finely.

 

Add 2 cloves of garlic mince.

Pour 2 tbsp of lime juice over the top.

Stir in dried oregano, cayenne, pepper, salt and sugar

 

Chop finely mint leaves

Just learned that Cilantro is also called Chinese parsley or Coriander.

Chop finely Cilantro leaves.

Stir in mint and cilantro.

 

Mix well. Refrigerate for 1 hour to let it set. Season with salt to taste.

This salsa goes so well with Tortilla chips