Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013!

Wow, the whole December must have been on fast forward mode. In the food blogging world, there were many themed challenges this month, some of which I was able to participate (sorry Alan, didn’t get to do your Aspiring Bakers’ Challenge). While in the musical part of my life, it has been a mad run with the average of 2 gigs per week. One more gig tomorrow at Jaya One (right in the middle of Palm Square, outside Brussels Beer Cafe) and then we’ll kickstart the year with another gig at Tom, Dick and Harry’s Bar at Pavilion on Jan 1st. Excitement.

Speaking of Tom, Dick and Harry’s, we were just there on Wednesday and it was such a fun gig. I was really glad that so many of my friends came out to play and sing along with us. Even on some of the cheesy Christmas Carols.

Picture taken by Tim Chew.
Picture taken by Tim Chew. How unfortunate to have blocked off both my bassist and drummer.

I got my dress from rarablack.com. Many gorgeous dresses on that website.

Own Pic.
Pic by Frank

Here’s a rare moment of me on the keyboard in public. I was playing my original song “You and I

Some of the MHB girls are there too!
Some of the MHB girls are there too, photobombed by random white dude. Pic by Tim Chew again.

Thank you my friends (new and old) for being there for me, not just this time but for all the previous gigs I’ve done. Hopefully you all had as much fun as I did.

As 2012 draws to a close, I’d like to do a quick summary of my favourite recipes through the year. Your opinions matter too of course, as I’ve made the list up based on traffic and number of comments.

Click on the pictures for the respective blog posts.

10. Starting off with the totally crazy Purple Carrot Cake, inspired by mummy’s creation.

Purple Carrot Cake

This was made in conjunction with my blog’s 1st anniversary. I also used it in my slightly weird East Meets West Poached Egg Dish.

9. This dish caught the attention of Yummly.

Pan Fried Salmon, Spinach Quinoa, and Mango Salsa

Nice and healthy dish perfect for the hot weather. It was about the time I started falling in love with Quinoa.

8. Somebody posted this one on Reddit.com and I suddenly got 2000+ hits in a day. It was shocking. But in a good way.

Cheddar Biscuits

This was actually something I made out of boredom. I was thinking to make something with cheese, and these delicious morsels materalised (sadly went to cheese heaven soon after).

7. First time making pasta and most of you were more interested in the way I hung the pasta on the back of a chair. Hehe. Seriously though, the magazine taught me that, so I’m not going to take any credit for it.

Beef Stroganoff with Handmade Parsley and Pepper Spaghetti

That Beef Stroganoff was absolutely delicious too.

6. I’m glad that there are more than one vegetarian dishes that made into the Top 10.

Broccoli and Cauliflower Fritters

You might have also noticed that I’ve recently posted a carrot version too. Fritters are the best way to make vegetables irresistible.

5. One of the many egg dishes I’ve posted and this has to be a personal favourite.

Shakshouka – Egg poached in Spicy Pepper Sauce. Best with Pita bread.

The best breakfast doesn’t have to involve bacon and all the trimmings. I can be perfectly happy going vegetarian.

4. This might not have the highest traffic but it’s one of the most time consuming dishes I’ve cooked this year.

Tonkotsu Ramen

But after having Marutama Ramen, I don’t think I’ll be making my own again. Unless I can get my hands on their secret recipe. Hehe.

3. This is the second most popular Sarawak dish, first being the Sarawak Laksa and that was posted last year.

Sarawak Kolo Mee

Yes yes another noodles dish. I can’t help it!

2. This baking episode has a very painful story attached to it. But turned out to be the most commented post. Do you like to see me in pain?

Linzer Torte

Kidding. I know I’m a walking accident. Oh and by the way my knee is almost painless now. It’s now time to start with the rehab exercises.

1. *Drum Rolls* This is a special one because it’s THE competition dish. Something that’s actually enjoyed by a bunch of strangers (and friends).

Pineapple and Tomato tart with Poached Egg, Olive Pâté and Balsamic Reduction

Watch out for the January edition of nourish magazine for a short feature on the Top 3 contestant from Nutriplus Pastry Challenge.

That’s it, folks! See you in 2013. Happy New Year to all!

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Sarawak MFF: Kolo Mee 干捞面

I’m absolutely loving the Malaysia Food Fest’s Sarawak Month. Seeing everyone’s enthusiasm about Sarawak and its offering is rather heartening. If you have not joined in the fun, check out the facebook event page for all the lovely entries so far. Even as a Sarawakian myself, I’m still discovering new dishes I’ve never tried before.

Well today I’m going to blog about probably the most well-known signature dish in Sarawak: Kolo Mee. The allure of this dish lies in its simplicity. Usually in a bowl of Kolo Mee we would expect a few things: Springy and oily noodles (with pork lard), Minced Pork (well seasoned), Char Siew (usually of less fatty cut), and Vegetables (Choy Sum). Sometimes you could also find special version with extra toppings such as pork liver and prawns. There are also halal versions too, although I doubt it would be as addictive as the original.

The funny thing is, I’ve never really ordered Kolo Mee in Bintulu. I’d either go for Kampua (Foochow) mee, or Kolo Kueh Tiaw (purists would probably scoff at this, hehe).

Kolo Kueh Tiaw, Popular Corner Bintulu

Old habits die hard I guess, my family has been ordering this for many many years at the same place. That’s why it never even occur to me to change it to the original noodles. But luckily, my mum recently travelled back to Bintulu and I’ve asked her to bring me some dry kolo mee noodles.

That’s a lot of Kolo Mee!

To make Kolo Mee at home, it actually does take a considerate amount of effort. First, you have to prep the Char Siew, render the pork lard for the oil (though I have some leftover from a while ago), then you’ll have to cook/blanch a few things at once to put together a perfect bowl of noodles. I’ve also pickled some green chilies a day ahead.

“Kelly’s Kolo Mee” does have a bit of a ring to it eh?

So, without further ado, let’s walk through the steps of making this dish.

Pickled Green Chilies:
All you need are some chopped up green chilies (of course), about 5 or 6. Put them all in a sterile jar, add a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of salt, then pour rice vinegar until everything’s covered. Keep this in a fridge at least overnight. This will last for weeks too. Use it for anything. Frank kept stealing pieces out of the jar!

Yummy!

To render the pork lard, refer here.

For Char Siew, I’ve referred to this recipe from My Asian Kitchen (and tweaked the amount of ingredients). I’ve actually use quite a lean cut of Pork too.

Char Siew :

200g pork
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon cooking Chinese wine
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon 5 spice powder
1-2 drop red food color
honey for brushing

Combine all seasoning with pork in a large container. Marinate pork for a few hours or overnight in fridge.

Heat oven to 180 degree Celcius. Line a baking tray with baking papper. Place marinated pork on the baking tray,bake pork for 20 minutes,then turn the other side,bake for another 20 minutes.

Brush pork with honey and then change setting to grill at 200 degree Celsius,roast the pork for another 5-10 minutes or so each side (brushing the other side too) until it is charred around the edges. Let cool, and cut to serve.

You’ll also need to prepare some Shallot oil. Just fry chopped shallot in peanut oil until golden brown. Set aside, leaving some oil on the pan.

Mince Pork Marinate (for about 30g):
1 teaspoon Shao Xing Wine
2 teaspoon of light soya sauce
a couple of dashes of white pepper powder

Marinate for at least 1 hour. Fry pork in the shallot oil until well-cooked.

Now that most of the preps are done, let’s get to the main part of the cooking.

Kolo Mee:
1 serving of dry noodles
Handful of Choy Sum
1 tablespoon Pork Lard
1 tablespoon Shallot Oil (Shallots included)
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Chicken Stock Powder (or MSG)*
1 teaspoon Rice Vinegar (from the Pickled chillies)
White Pepper, to taste
Pickled Chilies for Garnish
Chopped Spring Onions for Garnish

*As I’ve previously mentioned, I don’t cook with MSG at home. But Chicken Stock Powder is a good substitute and much better for you. 

Add all the seasonings in a large bowl.

Cook the noodles in boiling water until al dente, for the dry noodles it takes about 3-4minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Then return to the boiling water again for around 30 seconds. In the same pot of water if you like, blanch the choy sum for about 1 minute. Set Aside.

Once the noodles are ready, mix in the bowl with the seasonings. Then garnish with Char Siew, Minced Pork, Choy Sum, Chilies, and Spring Onions. Enjoy while hot!

Delicious and sinful!

The noodles, while perfectly al dente and springy, are fragrant with the pork lard and shallot oil. You get the sweetness of the Char Siew complementing the Savoury Minced Pork, while the Vegetables provides the crunch and freshness. The vinegar is just enough to cut through the richness of the noodles. A bowl of this would keep me full for hours. Now I’m just glad there are more nooodles lying around.

Have you got a favourite Kolo Mee stall?

I am submitting this dish to Malaysian Food Fest, Sarawak Month hosted by Sharon of Feats of Feasts