Cooking: Love, art, technique

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That pot right there. That’s a vessel of love. Packed with plump lup cheong (chinese sausage), black fungus, lily buds, chicken thighs, and wholesome brown basmati rice, that’s an unadulterated Hong Kong style claypot rice for hungry people. I take no credit for this amazing culinary feat. Hats off to my darling chef who whipped this up in less than an hour. All for my family who were coming to visit. We had two things to celebrate – my brother turned 27 this Wednesday and my father had a successful follow-up op (he had a minor accident last year). How else would we celebrate such a joyous occasion than with an enormous helping of comfort food!

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Speaking of comfort, food is a language I am most comfortable with, thanks to early childhood conditioning. My greedy formative years spoiled by Dad’s fantastic cooking have indeed shaped my attitude towards cooking and eating. 

Hervé This, an exemplary figure in the world of molecular gastronomy puts it quite simply, “Cooking is love, art, technique”. The emotional aspect of cooking reigns supreme, above expression or method. The most perfectly cooked egg is just protein and carbs if it were one of the many churned out by your nearby brunch place. No emotion, memory or feeling tagged to it. 

Cooking is more than slicing, dicing, sautéing, frying, steaming, yada yada. A sequence of steps driven by a purpose to feed those you care about. That’s cooking for love right there. Throw in art and technique, and the cycle is complete. That ensures you won’t have a burnt pot of rice 😉 Or maybe a tagine of charcoal black grains!

Main star of the show at our lunch yesterday. In a @lecreuset tagine no less. Guess what's in it? More to be unveiled soon ;) #thechefwholifts #lecreuset #tagine #homemade #homecooking #slowcooked #slowfood #lunch

Daryl used to work in Hong Kong so he was more familiar with the Hong Kong style claypot rice. And that was what he cooked up in a sexy fire engine red Le Creuset tagine. I’m not sure it made the rice any tastier; we just didn’t have a claypot and couldn’t be bothered to buy one. 

Personally, it made for an enticing tableside ‘show’. Call it culinary theatrics or showmanship if you will but it worked! Just look at our unveiling: 

No different than presenting a delicious work of art at a gallery where the guests are all welcomed to partake of that ‘not quite picasso but more so pollack-esque’ piece. 

The technique part was easy when you have a trained chef at the helm. My chef certainly didn’t disappoint. If you’d like to try your hand at this claypot rice, check out the recipe at Daryl’s site.

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We had oyster sauce kailan for our greens. Daryl’s repertoire apparently is not limited to the kitchen. He is an excellent decorator too. Check out the table he laid out. Impressive aye. I have no doubts that our future bistro/restaurant/cafe is going to be spectacularly handsome.

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A beautiful empty table does not compare to a food filled one with bustling chatter. I love it when our family dines together (something that never was a habit because of our schedules). Now, we have new furry additions like darling Savannah, a sprightly cocker spaniel I love so dearly.

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On to what we were here to celebrate! The birthday boy makes a wish (or 27 wishes maybe).

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“Come let’s take a family photo,” my mother gestures. And after struggling with my camera (I forgot how to set the timer) and after many takes later, we had a beautiful family photo.

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Extremely thankful for the generous amounts of food and love I have in my life. 

I do love my family as much as I love food and cooking. I must do this more often. 

Credits: Daryl a.k.a. The Chef who Lifts for cooking this scrumptious meal. 😀

Posted on 1st May 2016 in birthday, chicken, Chinese, Rice  |  Post a comment

Pancakes, brain food?

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Nothing rings in the weekend quite like some freshly made pancakes. I find myself craving for them ever so often. That’s why I now keep a bag of pancake mix in the pantry. And believe me or not, it is possible to have pancake packed with nutrients, as long as you make it with sprouted grain pancake mix (I used Arrowhead’s Mill) and Magnolia’s super healthy Omega Plus Lo-Fat Hi-Cal Milk.

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I never thought I’d say this but this version of pancakes is like brain food. Every bite of pancake provides a big boost of omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), one of the major building blocks of the brain that is critical for optimal brain health and function. Omega 3 is also said to reduce blood LDL and triglycerides. How about that.

There’s also the fibre from the sprouted grains. Mine containted pure organic sprouted wheat, barley and corn that was hydrated with water until they begin to germinate. They are then dried and ground in a mill. Sprouted foods are said to enhance the bioavailability of nutrients naturally found in the original grain and improve digestibility of the food.

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Just for the heck of it, I had the pancakes with a large cup of the Omega Plus Milk. Talk about having healthy bones.

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Just so you know, I also used Omega 3 fortified eggs.

Whoever told you that you need to eat lots of fish for your Omega 3 got it wrong.

I advise adding some chia seeds (if you have any), to make this pancake even more ‘powerful’. Go all the way!

PS. The recipe depends on the pancake mix you use. For this one, it was 1 cup pancake mix, 3/4 cup milk, 1 tbsp honey (I used maple syrup), 1 tbsp oil (I used avocado oil) and 1 egg.

Posted on 12th Mar 2016 in milk, pancake  |  Post a comment

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