Tag Archives: cooking

5-spiced rolls / 五香卷

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ngoh hiang or five-spice roll

ngoh hiang or five-spice roll

i woke up this morning feeling a wee bit adventurous.

well, I haven’t really meal planned for weeks, and Donald has decided that he will be back on his chicken breast and veggies diet in an attempt to fit into the work shirts that he can no longer fit into. So, why not make something that both Ollie and I enjoy?

I have been wanting to make ngoh hiang for a while, the way that my grandma makes. As it is with allllll grandmas around the world I believe, our grandmas do not believe in precise measures and work with a little of this, and a pinch of that. I remembered asking her the ingredients to making these rolls and I vaguely remembered the ingredients to it. A quick check on the internet confirmed some of the ingredients. But I thought I’d better give her a call to confirm the seasoning for the rolls.

500g minced pork (don’t ask for lean as you will need the fatty bits to keep the meat moist)
200g prawns, minced (I used crystal prawns / 水晶虾)
1 carrot, grated
3 – 4 pcs water chestnut. diced into tiny pieces
1 packet of cream crackers
1 egg
1.5 tsp 5-spice powder
1 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 sheet of soy bean curd skin

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. So when you want grandma-esque 5-spice rolls, you do it the grandma way. I thought I might give it a shot. Haha. So off I went mincing the prawns the old fashioned way, using the cleaver; dicing it into smaller pieces before mincing it away. Tok tok tok tok tok. I have to say, it definitely looks different to how it would have turned out if I had used the food processor; it would have just been blitzed into a paste, whereas mincing it with the cleaver still gives it somewhat a bit of a shape, a bite?, not so pasty. I also gave the minced pork another mincing using the cleaver as well, so I wouldn’t get the meat still in little balls, but slightly more pasty.

Tossed everything in, lined the meat mixon the cleaned soy bean curd skin and rolled it outwards in one roll. Ideally, it should only have one layer of the bean curd skin so it doesn’t get too thick. Grandma mentioned that I didn’t have to worry about gluing the sides and edges together and to just deep fry it like this. Cool, that’d save me a step.

Now, I had previously seen Grandma steaming the rolls before deep-frying them. However, she told me to just go ahead and fry the rolls. So I decided to give it a shot both ways. I found that steaming the rolls before deep-frying them meant that the bean curd skin would be more tightly wrapped around the meat mix (kinda like shrink wrapped), whereas immediately deep-frying them gave them little air pockets and the rolls would break easily where the air pockets were. They both tasted the same, but I reckoned steaming them made their skin crispier too. Hmm..

Chances are that I would probably give steaming them a miss unless I was making A LOT of rolls. Waay too much appliances being used for this dish. Haha (Yes..I am lazy about washing up too.).

Verdict: Donald gave the thumbs up, Ollie likes it too, so I reckon this would be something regular..only after a staycation or when I am feeling adventurous hahaha

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lemon meringue tart


now that we are more or less settled into our new place, Donald and I thought it might be time to invite some people over to our place for a meal, do a housewarming shingdig, and chill.

The usual practice in Singapore is that, you’d engage some food caterers, invite everyone and then show them around your place, and hopefully get to mingle and talk with everyone. That was what my parents’ did..and probably any other rellies (relatives) too. As we all probably know by now, Donald and I don’t go down the usual route. We decided that we’d invite various groups of people over for a meal and get some time to actually mingle and have a proper conversation. As for food, I’m damn proud of my kitchen, so of course I’d cook. =)

Speaking of which, let me digress..I can’t wait for the meat I ordered to arrive on Monday!! Got a contact via a colleague and a group of us got down to ordering some meat and snaggers from this wholesaler at really decent prices. I saw the list, and I got really excited, cos there were lamb racks, boneless lamb legs, sirloin steaks, bratwursts..etc. I mean I probably could get them from supermarkets like Cold Storage, or Jasons, but they are so expensive! I’m clueless about getting them from the wet market as well, so ordering them this way was a great idea. My total damage at this point in time is about …S$200. I know, that’s paying alot of meat, but we’re looking at quantities of 2kg pork spare ribs, 4kg lamb chops, 2kg lamb racks..and I wouldn’t have to order them for a while! Red meat makes me  happy. =)

Now, going back to the topic. We had our 2nd housewarming session today. Our first was with the paternal side of my family last Saturday. I was slogging in the kitchen from 11.30am till about 5.30pm when I finally put the pizza on the pizza stone in the oven. That’s not counting the hour I spent at the supermarket when I just got back from a work trip, and the other hour at the wet market getting more ingredients.

I spent less time this time around, probably because I prepped alot of my ingredients the night before, and I was repeating alot of the dishes I made the week before, so I’m the guru now. hahaha. Then something happened which sorta threw the spanner in the works. I have a really awesome knife which I won, courtesy of Food&Travel magazine. And I sliced my thumb chopping spring onions, an ingredient that I didn’t even need for the dishes I intended to cook!! BAAAAAH. It hurt sooo bad (all good now tho, just have to be careful in case it splits open again). So I had to put the kitchen apprentice in the kitchen. haha. Donald got to slice, dice, chop, peel all the ingredients I needed, and I just cooked with my good hand. It sure does feel nice to have everything prepped, and you cook, and somebody picks up the rest and does the washing. *hint hint*. =P

Anyhoo..this is going to be 2 of the 7 housewarming parties we are probably going to have. I’ll probably have to change the menu, cos my parents can’t be eating the same dishes twice, if I were to repeat the dishes for the maternal side of the family. Hmm..at least the lamb will be in then! mmM..rosemary lamb..*drools*

okay, off to chill!

Category: Daily | Tags: ,

one moment

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the moment


this photo was taken on one of the days when I took a day off to monitor the renovations back in December 2010. It was late, everyone had left, leaving just Donald and I. I was taking a break, sitting on a stool in the corridor leading to the bedrooms, and having a moment.

With the cove lights illuminating the living room, dining room and the kitchen partially, I felt really contented. It felt like home, really cosy. I felt that I could sit there and watch the areas forever. *grin* It was just awesome watching everything come together into this place we call home. The feeling was far out.

We officially moved in 21 December 2010. It was the best Christmas present from Donald ever, getting to move in before Christmas. We cleaned, unpacked, stocked up everything in two days, and then we had to go back to work after those two days. It was kinda insane. And then after work, we’d embark on a 40min journey back home, where we’d still start cleaning and tidying up the whole house.

To today. The past couple of weeks have been perfect, living in our own flat. Donald and I have been catching up with some tv programs, and some free channels we scored for a month as part of our cable subscription. It feels damn good to be able to watch any channel at any time.

Last night we had friends over for dinner for the first time. I put the bread machine to good use, after letting it take a break for almost a year. It churned out some pizza dough, and we used the pizza stone for the first time too (which was quite the experience!!). The oven has been put to good use too, I’ve missed having an oven to bake. What a difference it makes!

Donald got busy too, searching for the right mahjong table. Geez. He took WAY too long IMO. Justina arrived and gave me a hand with the macaroni and cheese. I reckon still not enough cheese. haha =P Of course we had desserts, and then a round of mahjong whilst Kenneth & Leon watched some tv.

It was awesome. I reckon even the boys had some fun with company. Definitely looking forward to many more of those!

Can’t believe we are almost 10 days into the new year. I can’t believe how time have flown, and that in a month’s time, I’d have been back in SG for a year. It’s been quite an eventful 2010. New job, new friends, new flat, renovations, moving in. I’ve been placed in situations that are out of my comfort zone, and I’m learning to deal with them. Guess it’s all part of the growing up process eh?

Other than that, can’t wait to fly through 2011. I reckon it’s gonna be bigger and better. For now, i gotta get down to cleaning some glass. Bah =P

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