Category Archives: Exploring

Sushi Pizza

Yay, it’s back!

I couldn’t wait for more than a day before having another taste of my pilaf-pizza. But this time I decided to adhere to my Asian roots and go all non-traditional on today’s pilaf-pizza.

My favorite Asian cuisine is Japanese, so that’s the route I chose. Besides, I had all the necessary ingredients already available, so today’s pilaf-pizza was just brainstormed out of the several ingredients that I wanted to use: nori, wasabi, dried pork floss.

Sounds like sushi to you, doesn’t it? That’s why I’m calling this the “Deconstructed-Sushi” pilaf-pizza. Who says pizza has to have tomato sauce and cheese? If you go to other countries, you’ll find that every country has their own individual version of pizza. Really, pizza is a dish that has so much potential for creativity and uniqueness.

“Deconstructed-Sushi” pilaf-pizza

Let’s start with the base, which I prepared the same way as yesterday:

Base ingredients:

1 cup cooked pearled barley
2 tablespoons black beans
1/4 cup mashed roasted pumpkin
1 large egg white
salt and pepper

Just mix everything up, flatten it out onto a well-greased pan, and pop it into a 450 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes until dry and crispy on the edges.

Topping ingredients:

creamy wasabi sauce (recipe follows)
fried egg
one sheet toasted nori, cut into strips
1 tablespoon dried pork floss

Creamy Wasabi sauce:

1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1~2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 tsp wasabi paste
1 tsp lime juice
salt and pepper

To make creamy wasabi sauce, just mix all the above ingredients together.

Once the pilaf-pizza was done and sort of cooled, I slathered on the creamy wasabi sauce, then layered on strips of nori, placed a fried egg on top, and sprinkled on even more random pieces of nori and the pork floss.

I have to say, this was very, very interesting. In a good way, I mean.
The pork floss might seem like a random addition to you, but it was a nice crispy and savory addition, and there are some sushi’s I’ve seen that are topped with these dried shredded pork.

Definitely doesn’t cry out “pizza” but quite delicious in its own way.
The creamy wasabi sauce was a bull’s eye hit. It livened up the whole dish.

I overcooked the egg a bit though, so it wasn’t as runny as I wanted it to be. But I guess the flowing yolk and the wasabi sauce would have been a strange mix, so it all ended up well.

You might have noticed the short short post (well for me anyway) but I’m really busy these days getting ready for a BIG DINNER on Friday! I’m inviting my whole church youth group over this Friday for a last dinner together before I leave Singapore, and it’s gonna be a group of at least twelve!

I’ll definitely be taking pictures that day, but here’s a teaser menu for that day:

Crudites or salad
Omu-pilaf
Potato cake
Tomato-pork curry
Meatloaf
Cheese-baked pumpkin Mac & Cheese
Banana chocolate chip cake

I think that should be enough for twelve…don’t you?

All of them are dishes I’ve made before (the omu-pilaf and the cheese-baked pumpkin mac & cheese are from my own creations) except the potato cake. I’m quite excited about this savory potato cake. I won’t tell you about it just yet, but you’ll see it Friday!

I did not want to make a banana cake, because it’s just so…boring. But my friends insisted. I’ve already made banana cake for them twice, but apparently they can’t get enough of it! What’s the matter with them? There is nothing special to that banana cake, either, just your regular banana bread recipe with some chocolate chips mixed in. Big whoop. I tried to offer something else, like a frozen banana cream cake, but…nope. Banana cake it is. Sigh.

Alright, gotta go start prepping. Ta-ta!

Question of the day: What are some classic “boring” desserts that you love and would prefer over an exotic luscious one any day?

Waiting for the Big Event

Yup, that’s what I did all day on Friday before the Big Event. I twiddled my thumbs, watched the clock tick each second by, dozed off a bit, then twiddled my thumbs again. I totally got over-dexterous on Thursday with the preparations, leaving me with barely anything to do on the actual day to the big dinner.

Let’s recap: I have eight items on the menu for the dinner:

I baked the banana chocolate-chip cake on Wednesday, and made the Potato cake, tomato-pork curry, meatloaf, and the frozen mango cream cake on Thursday. That left me with just the vegetables, the omu-pilaf, and the cheese-baked pumpkin mac & cheese to do on Friday, plus reheating the dishes I’d made beforehand.

I finished everything I needed to do for Friday in just about 2 hours, and was left with practically nothing to do but watch the time go by for the rest of the day! I guess my planning for the pre-preparations were a little off. Oh well, I’ll learn from my mistakes.

Anyway, as promised, the pictures from my farewell dinner organized by yours truly…

First off there’s the nice little carrot and celery sticks which nobody really touched except for me…
And then the big-ass omu-pilaf drew a lot of exclamations…

My friends were all bowled over by the fact that I used barley instead of rice. It was like they’ve never seen barley before!

And then of course the baked potato cake which I featured on the previous post…

It was incredible. Very very cheesy and flavorful, dense and creamy in the mouth, an ultra-rich version of mashed potatoes. I definitely recommend this!

And then the tomato-pork curry…

This wasn’t as special as the omu-pilaf or potato cake as they’ve all seen curry before, but still was popular in its own familiar way…

The meatloaf, which was my own personal favorite…

I slathered extra ketchup on top to keep it moist and to create a nice thick, sticky glaze. Awesome!

And my amazing Cheese-baked pumpkin mac & cheese!

I didn’t have macaroni so I used penne pasta. Everyone loved this a lot, because you don’t find much mac & cheese in Singapore.
Here’s the banana chocolate chip cake that I am so sick of baking but did so under the insist of my dear friends…

Honestly, do you see anything special about this cake? It’s so boring! But is was devoured in a blink of an eye. I guess my friends are simple creatures.

And…the grand finale, frozen mango cream cake!

The crust is an almond-sugar cookie, with pureed mango, orange juice, and ong>freshly whipped cream filling, and I topped this with fresh grated coconut.

And what do you know? My friends raved about this as well. But half of them still preferred the plain old banana cake! What’s wrong with them?

All in all it was an awesome dinner. For the first 10 minutes it was total silence as everyone just dived into the food and chewed and chewed like it was their last meal! And then it started getting really noisy, as all fourteen dinner guests began praising and complimenting the food, and asking me how I made them. I forgot the rules of a good chef and foolishly divulged all my secrets. What can I say? I’m a sucker for compliments.

I definitely broke the bank on this dinner! The frozen mango cream cake itself cost about $20 to make! But every penny I spent, every last drop of energy I used for this dinner was well worth it and more as I watched the happy faces of my friends, and the way they mopped up every last bit of morsel, licked their fingers, and sat back with a groan of satisfaction.

Oh, and another reward I got for making this dinner? My youth group leader did a special prayer just for me! And my friends also gave me a present: a cool sweatshirt that they searched high and low over all of Singapore for, looking for something that is “thick�? enough. That’s not easy, considering that Singapore stays well around 90 degrees all year round! Hee hee. And what’s more, they also helped with cleaning up! They washed up the dishes, wiped the tables, vacuumed the floor, and took home all the leftovers. They were the world’s greatest and sweetest guests ever! I felt very much appreciated and loved.

That said, the next week will be a bit of a battle for me, because I’ll be having quite a lot of farewell dinners and will be eating out a lot more than usual! But I think my sadness for leaving overtakes my fear and anxiety of the food…For once, being sad is working for my favor…

Question of the day: Do you have your own specialty dish that is famous among your family and friends? And do you ever share your secret recipes with others?

I have quite a lot of “specialty dishes?, but I’m famous for incorporating pumpkin into practically everything. My friends tearfully told me during dinner that each time they see a pumpkin, they’ll think of me! Ha ha!

Having a good laugh

I have had the best time yesterday night with my friend. It was awesome in so many ways. First of all, she got a pay raise, so she treated! Second of all, she chose to dine in our favorite place, Out of the Pan! But best of all, we had so much fun!

We chatted and laughed at everything. Don’t you love doing that with your friends? Being in such an euphoric high of camaraderie and jovial mood that you laugh and crack jokes about the stupidest and most random things? I thought I almost cracked a rib, and food flew out of my mouth a few times.

One thing I regained back during my time here in Singapore is my ability to relax, enjoy social activities, and just…laugh. Oh, to laugh freely and naturally! I missed that carefree burst of cackles, spilling out from deep within me with no restrictions or awkwardness. After not being able to have a real laugh for so many years, I was pleasantly surprised at how beautiful and delicious it felt to be able to do such a simple, basic thing. To all of you who laugh on a regular basis, take a second to relive the moment, and give thanks for it, because there truly is nothing as sweet and pleasant as a good, jolly laugh.

Tra la la~

Oh, yeah, on to food.

I know many of your are rolling your eyes at our choice of venue at Out of the Pan again, but I swear I tried to suggest other venues to her! But she really craved Out of the Pan (who can blame her?) and since she was treating, I was in no position to oppose her wishes. 😉

This time, I ordered the Tandoori Chicken in whole wheat crepe:

Chicken marinated in spices and baked in tandoori oven with cucumber in mint chutney

I’d actually debated getting the Norwegian Salmon again for its wonderful creamy pistachio cheese, but I’m so glad decided to order something different because this was freaking awesome!!

The chicken was so nicely marinated with all sorts of lovely spices, and was so tender and flavorful!

And the mint chutney with cucumber…Obviously, I would love it because it’s this brilliant green, but it was such an interesting and complex chutney. It was both spicy and bold yet refreshing and cool at once, and complemented perfectly with the tandoori chicken.

She, however, was not so lucky with her choice of Honey Soy Chicken in sundried tomato crepe:

Grilled honey soy chicken with sauteed organic leeks in garlic shoyu

Truthfully, I didn’t think it was that bad when I tasted it, but she complained that it tasted weird, as in, too Asian. I guess the combination of crepe and strong Asian flavors just did not match.

It looks pretty good, though, doesn’t it? I thought the filling would actually be delicious with Shanghai pancakes, or on top of fragrant jasmine rice.

While she was complaining about how strange it tasted, she shoveled it down and was done before I was halfway through mine. Ha ha!

We also ordered a side dish of tortilla chips and guacamole:

They were terrible. I thought the guacamole was way too sweet. I think they added honey or something in there, but the sweetness was just overbearing for me! She liked it, though she couldn’t finish it.

Today is a “relax” day. As in, no eating out, because I have discipleship training meeting at church tonight. After all the extravagant, interesting eats I’ve had, I was actually craving something really simple for lunch today. Which was a good thing because since I’m leaving on Sunday, I can’t buy any more groceries and really needed to clear out whatever’s left in the fridge.

I decided on a simple cheese-omelete sandwich:

Two whole wheat bread, slathered with blackcurrant jam, encasing a 2-egg omelet with huge handfuls of Parmesan cheese and chopped red onions, a small sliced tomato.

Well, okay, maybe it’s not that simple. The blackcurrant jam might seem like a strange addition, but it’s gave a very pleasant fruity bursts of sweetness to the sandwich.
And do you see that glob of melted gooey cheese in the egg? Yum!

After eating this I still felt a bit empty, so I ate some roasted pumpkin (or winter squash) as well:

So today is a simple simple day, but sometimes simplicity can be so comforting and enjoyable! I hope all of you have a great day, enjoying all your simple pleasures of life!

Question of the day: What are some really simple things in life that make you happy?

For me: Curling up in my bed with a good book, sipping on a fresh-brewed cup of coffee in the morning, taking a walk by myself in the breeze, my daily poop exactly between 12-2 pm, hugging a loved one, crunching on ice during a hot day, a brief stretch before bed.

Oh the oats

Went to Vivocity with my friend yesterday! YEA! Vivocity is one of the largest and newest mall in Singapore, and it is located right across Sentosa, and has a great view on the top floor…That being said, I have to admit that the real reason I wanted to go to Vivocity was because a friend told me I could get steel-cut oats at a supermarket called Naturally Marketplace there! I’ve been getting quite low on the supply of my Whole Foods steel-cut oats I brought all the way from America, and have been searching high and low throughout all the supermarkets in Singapore for these oats, but all they seem to sell are instant and quick-cooking types! BOOOO!! I like my oats as least refined as possible…What about you? Creamy vs. crunch when it comes to oats? I’ll take crunch any day.

That said, this is what I found to my delight in Naturally Marketplace!

Bob’s Red Mill organic steel-cut oats! Actually it’s so much more expensive than what I’d pay for in America, but money is no matter so long as I satisfy my oat fix. God, I sound like an oat druggie addict.

By the way, just wanted to also share this great brand of rolled oats I found in NTUC…

This was about the only old-fashioned oats I could find, and boy do I love it! It is much less refined than Quackers, because it takes a longer time to cook and the result is a gorgeous nutty bite and crunch that I absolutely love! I much prefer this brand to Quackers!

Check out the whole grains in the oatmeal cooked from these oats! Love love love it~

Lunch was again quite the usual…

Cooked spinach, omelette with 1 whole egg, 2 egg whites, onions and cheese, and a slice of PB and J toast!

I never seem to tire from this omelette…Sorry for the repetitious eating, but eggs and dairy are my main source for protein because I’m not much of a meat eater. The PB & J was delicious…The classic American sandwich; whoever first invented this combination is pure genius~

I didn’t really get the chance to pick up an afternoon snack as I was pretty busy (window) shopping, so I was mighty glad I packed a package of jackfruits with me on the way…

Yum! It’s been so long since I had jackfruit…It has a sweet honey fragrance, and is extremely cooling and sweet…The texture is rubbery and silky at the same time…Ah, can’t explain it, but you’ve got to try it out for yourself!

We had a very early dinner around 6:15 pm because she was hungry…I was sort of hungry too because of the lack of a substantial afternoon snack, so we headed to the food court. We circled the area twice wondering what to eat…and I’m embarrassed to say I got WANTON SOUP again!

Okay, I swear that I seriously considered getting something else…I wanted to get the sliced fish soup at first, but then Angeline said the fish looked anorexic, and then I looked elsewhere and the words FRESH SHRIMP DUMPLINGS caught my eye like a neon signboard in an empty dark street…How could I resist? I was glad I got the wanton soup, though, because the wantons really did taste fresh…

Check out the whole shrimp inside each precious dumpling! These dumplings were huge, and there was also some kind of minced pork paste together with the pink shrimp…The soup was also quite flavorful…I enjoyed each dumpling with a liberal amount of chili…Heh.

Now on to the best course of the day…Guess what I picked up on my way home? What is pungent and stinky to others, but orgasmically delightful to me? What is spiky and hideous on the outside but rich, pale and creamy on the inside? If you guessed durians, give yourself a round of applause!!

I bought 3 whole packets of these! Buy 2 get 1 free, so how could I resist? I inhaled two of the packets and brought the remainding home (I stunk up the train quite badly in the process), which was devoured by Wengang and Liwen (my hosts). Then at night I also ate 2 servings of oatmeal and also a disgusting amount of almonds and cashews. I think I just overdid myself today. My stomach is in some kind of shock. But durian makes it all worth it…muahahaha~

Trying new eggs

I had quite an eggy day today! I had eggs steamed into a custard, eggs beaten into a flour batter, eggs fried into an omelet, and eggs pressed into tofu!

I had a great day today…Despite stuffing myself last night, I still got hungry for my breakfast! To tell you the truth I’d considered forgoing breakfast with just some fruits and yogurt, but when my stomach started growling I decided, Screw ED, I want a decent breakfast or I’ll be giving ED leeway to further restrictions during the day! So I had my usual bowl of oats, fruits, and yogurt…

Just couldn’t resist taking a pic of my fruit medley…A feast of colorful fruits: mango, dragonfruit, orange, pear, pineapple, apple…

And also a bowl of yogurt with chopped apples and cinnamon, yum~ This is my absolute favorite combination.

Lunch out today! I’d originally planned to eat at the food court, but she wanted to eat Japanese cuisine, so she took me to this Japanese restaurant. This was a really cool restaurant…each table had access to a conveyer belt totting all sorts of different sushi, and also a personal computer to order food!

Looks fun, doesn’t it? You just pick out what you want whenever you want…

I’m not much of a sushi fan because I hate rice, so I was glad that there were a lot of other options in the menu as well…and two dishes popped out to me most…The chawanmushi and the okonomiyaki! I’d always wanted to try chawanmushi (Japanese savory egg custard) and okonomiyaki after reading about them in some blogs, but could never find a Japanese restaurant that sold them in America. So these two dishes were on my “to-try” list in Singapore, so I was super glad to see them on the menu!

To tell you the truth, I’d been delaying trying out the okonomiyaki because…it incorporates three of my fear foods: refined flour, oil, full-fat mayonnaise. Okonomiyaki is basically Japanese pizza; it starts with a basic flour and yam batter to which all kinds of ingredients are added, and then pan-fried and topped with a drizzle of mayonnaise. Although I really wanted to order okonomiyaki, I took a long time deciding to finally order it because of this stupid ED fear. But then I told myself, what the hell are you doing? Why are you denying yourself what you want? When else are you going to have the chance to order this dish? When are you going to stop hiding in your comfort zone and try some challenging food for once? Challenge yourself today, or you’ll always be giving in to ED!

So that’s what I ordered. A chawanmushi and an okonomiyaki…

The chawanmushi was so good, like a savory custard! It came with a piece of shitake mushroom and a few slices of fish cakes, and was so smooth and creamy; it practically glided down my throat in sweet ecstasy…

And boy was I glad I ordered okonomiyaki because this was absolutely fabulous! Crunchy and crispy on the outside, while creamy and hot on the inside with little pieces of octopus and cabbage, topped with bonito flakes and complemented with that perfect tang of rich mayonnaise…I thoroughly enjoyed each and every bite of this perfect, dainty little Japanese pizza…One more fear food conquered, hooray!

AND another challenge…Took a bite from Jingwen’s cha soba! Noodles and pasta is still a huge fear food for me, though. I might sample it from a friend’s dish, but I doubt I still have the courage to order a whole dish of noodles for myself…But working towards it!

After lunch (which took almost 2 hours because we had a long talk and the waiter forgot our orders), we cruised around Street, got bored, so walked over to Raffles City and wandered around there. Honestly though, shopping can be quite boring and frustrating for me now because I am way too skinny to be able to buy any clothes that fit…Even the smallest size just hangs on my skeletal frame like a potato sack! I can’t wait to gain the weight and actually shop and buy something instead of just staring enviously at the clothes…

On the way home I picked up a packet of jackfruits again, and also munched on some pineapples which I cut up as soon as I got home.

Dinner was omelette and veggies again, but with something else added in for vareity sake…Egg tofu!

Haha, doesn’t my dish look like a smiling face, sort of? I marinated the sliced-up egg tofu with soysauce and black pepper, then pan-fried them on the frying pan so that the exterior is charred and crispy while the interior stays soft and creamy…Yum! So good especially dipped in some sweet chili sauce!

For my midnight snack I had 2 servings of steel-cut oats cooked with coffee and cocoa…I only remembered to take a picture of this at the last few remaining bites!

See the individual little pieces of oat groats? Great chewy texture! So wholesome and satisfying! Even though the resulting amount when cooked seems less than the oatmeal cooked with rolled oats, it took me longer to finish this bowl! Less refined, more substance, more satisfaction!

Really happy that I managed to try something new today, and am looking forward to trying that awesome okonomiyaki again someday!