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Xmas Eve Party 2011

December 30, 2011 21 Comments

The first xmas eve party that I hosted was all the way back in 2005, which actually didn’t feel at all like it was already 6 years ago, with everyone still talking about Douglas’s epic puke fest after having one drink too many.

After last year’s absence (we spent xmas eve at Suan’s), the 5th installment of xmas eve party at my place resumes, and this time around we decided to have it back to basic – without the buffet line, satay man, or sponsored beer.

A big thank you to everyone who shows up, and even bigger thank you to those who brought alcohol and home made red velvet cupcake (Lainey) to share.

KY's xmas eve party 2011
Horng, Haze, Terence; Aaron, Ruby, Derek; Terence & Celine

Those who came before in previous years:

KY, Haze, Terence, Horng, Suan, Ruby, Eiling, Michael, FA, Ringo, Ginny, Arthur, Yee Hou, Gareth, Kimberly, Huey Fang, Chan, Kerol.

Newcomer this year:

Lance, Melissa, Michael (yep 2 of them), Li Ling, Lainey, Aaron, Zach, Vinn, Pearl, Derek, Celine, Yuki.

KY's xmas eve party 2011
Eiling & KY; Lance & Melissa, FA, Michael & Li Ling; Michael & Ringo

Unlike previous year’s crazy binge drinking style, this seems to be the year where everyone sorta take things slightly more maturely. Everyone was just having a good time, sipping some single malt whisky or having a cold one.

No, there is no beer bong  this year, and if you want to look at pictures of people passing out, I’ll have to disappoint too. Some might say this is a sign of old age, hmmmm…

KY's xmas eve party 2011
Yee Hou & Ginny; Ruby; FA; Lainey; Suan; Haze; Robb & Zach

The gift exchange part tho, was as fun as ever. Every year we had this rule, and I highly recommend that you do the same for your xmas gift exchange. I initially got this from working at Unisys in Cincinnati (man that was over 10 years ago)

  • every participant contribute a gift, and then draw a number from the box
  • smallest number start by picking and unwrapping a gift
  • next number can snatch the opened gift, whereby the person who lost it gets to choose another gift, or snatch another opened gift
  • you cannot snatch a gift that was in your possession before

KY's xmas eve party 2011
Gift exchange was again the highlight of the night – best was the 1kg bacon

In essence, having the last number usually means you get to pick anything that’s opened, with only one unknown gift. However, even the last person can get his/her gift snatched if she (A) snatched B, then B snatched C, but C can actually snatch back A’s gift.

Loads of fun, try it.

The most snatched gift this year was from Lance & Horng – who contributed a whole 1 KG bacon and a small water feature thing. Those gifts exchange hands at least half a dozen times.

The funniest gift tho was from Robb, and drew by Kerol (after what she chose initially got snatched) – two bundle of bananas!

KY's xmas eve party 2011
fire works; Gareth telling stories; bacon; Kim & Michael

I prepared a bit of BBQ (20 wings, some sausages) for those who happened to be hungry, Lainey brought her home made red velvet cakes (super yummy!), and at the end of the night we bbq some bacon too.

And no, this year we did not have any cops coming to end the party. Now that’s a first.

Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year!

Olympus E-PL3

Of the various type of meat that is popular in Asian kitchen, duck is often considered a bit of an after thought in this country. While you can find pork, beef, chicken, and mutton in almost every supermarket, duck is usually a bit harder to obtain.

The fact is, duck is just not a very popular meat here, and my best guess is the “duck smell” that many dislike, and that it is also less versatile and at the same time, more expensive than chicken.

ingredients for stew duck
ingredients for stew duck

That being said, stew duck is one of my favorite poultry dishes. My mom used to make this a couple times a year during festive seasons, and most of the time we’d finish the whole duck rather quickly.

As it turned out, while the process takes quite some time, stew duck isn’t a particularly difficult dish to cook.

This recipe is one that I find pretty simple to follow, and yet yield a pretty good result.

first boil the ingredients in a frying pan
first, boil the ingredients in a frying pan

The ingredients are simple enough to obtain, and this is for half a duck that should sufficiently feed up to 3 person.

  • half a duck
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • half a dozen cloves
  • 3-4 slices of ginger
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • 1 lemongrass
  • 3 tablespoon of dark soya suace
  • 2 tablespoon of sugar
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup of water
  • pepper

stew the duck for about one hour, cut before serving
stew the duck for about one hour, cut before serving

Cooking instructions:

  • rub salt all over the duck and let sit for at least 15-20 minutes
  • in a frying pan large enough for the duck, heat up water & dark soya sauce
  • add cinnamon, star anise, cloves, sugar, ginger, pepper, and lemongrass, bring to boil
  • reduce fire to simmer, and add duck, garlic
  • use a soup ladle, pour sauce over duck to cook the exposed portion
  • turn the duck over every 15 minutes and cook for about an hour
  • add water if it gets too dry
  • cut and serve!

Teow Chew Stew Duck
and here’s half a duck, cut and served

The duck will shrink a bit after cooking. I prefer to cut them into bite size before serving, but that can get a little tricky when it’s piping hot.

The stew duck goes well with white rice, and for those who loves garlic, you’ll also enjoy that bulb of garlic that is now soft and soaked with rich ducky flavor!

haze, KY, vinn
Haze, KY, and Vinn who is obviously enjoying herself!

Happy cooking! For those who doesn’t care about cooking, you can have some good stew duck at Fatty stew duck at restaurant Okay, or the stew duck stall at PJ State.

Curry fish head is one of the Malaysian delicacies that is pretty tough to find anywhere. While most of us consume this at restaurants, it is actually pretty simple to prepare them yourself, and here’s the recipe that I hope you find useful, especially for those who are reading this outside our beloved country.

I like my curry fish head with plenty of vegetables – and here I put tomato, bell pepper, okra, long bean, and brinjal, but if you can generally substitute them as per your liking.

I also use a pre-packaged curry fish paste to keep it simple, but for those who wants it more “authentic”, you can prepare the curry paste yourself by blending curry powder with shallots & garlic, for example.

Anyway, here goes!

plenty of vegetable makes this a complete meal
plenty of vegetable makes this a complete meal

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet of fish curry paste
  • 1 brinjal – chopped into chunks
  • a bunch of long beans – chopped to 3 inches in length
  • 10-15 shallots – whole
  • 2 tomatoes – cut into 6 pieces each
  • 1 bell pepper – slices
  • 6 okras – halves
  • 1 fish head (grouper or red snapper preferred) – cut into chunks
  • 1 lemongrass – whole, flattened
  • 1 packet of santan (coconut milk, even better if you have fresh ones)
  • salt to taste

fry the chili paste and vegetable first before adding fish
fry the chili paste and vegetable first before adding fish

Instructions:

  • heat up the wok and fry the sambal paste till fragrant (1-2 mins)
  • add brinjal, okra, eggplant, and bell peppers, continue frying for another 2-3 minutes
  • add fish head and enough water to almost cover everything
  • bring to boil and then add tomato and lemongrass
  • add the santan
  • simmer the whole thing until everything is cooked (around 10 mins)
  • add salt to taste, and serve while hot!

add tomato, then coconut milk
add tomato, then coconut milk

The result is a huge portion of curry fish head that can feed a small family. Just add rice and it’s a complete meal by itself already. Total cooking time should not be more than half an hour too so there’s plenty of time for you to play with your kittens.

Haze and Vinn liking the curry :D
Haze and Vinn liking the curry :D

Cheers and happy cooking!

We bought some lamb chops from Jaya Grocer about a week back and really didn’t know what to do with it at first. A bit of research on the internet tells me that garlic, mustard, pepper and rosemary makes good marinate for lamb, so I decided to use them all for this recipe.

I added asparagus and tomato to serve as sides to compliment the savory taste of lamb with the freshness of asparagus and sweet/sour taste from tomato. As an added bonus, they make the dish looks better with added colors. :D

While many are not as familiar with lamb, this is a surprisingly simple dish to prepare, and takes only half an hour to serve.

lamb chop with tomato and asparagus on the side
lamb chop with tomato and asparagus on the side

This is a three part dish, the lamb, asparagus, and tomato. Luckily all three of them are very simple, and the only juggling act is to time each dish properly so you get to serve them all on the same time.

Lets start with the lamb.

Ingredients:

  • lamb shoulder (I made 5 pieces), I got them frozen from Jaya Grocer
  • 1 bulb of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 table spoon French mustard
  • black pepper
  • rosemary
  • a teaspoon of butter, and a bit of cooking oil

marinate lamb chop with mustard, pepper, rosemary, and garlic
marinate lamb chop with mustard, pepper, rosemary, and garlic

Instructions:

  • marinate the lamb with all ingredients in a zip locked bag for at least an hour in the fridge, over night if possible
  • preheat oven to 200 celcius
  • pan fry each side of the lamb in medium heat for 1-2 minutes, use minimal cooking oil, or butter
  • put the lamb in the oven for a further 10-15 minutes (depending on how well cooked you want the lamb to be, I also add a bit of butter to the aluminum foil)
  • remove from oven and let the lamb chop rest for about 3-5 minutes before serving

Total time not including marinate takes not more than 20 minutes or so. If you don’t pan fry the lamb in advance, baking process should be between 30-40 minutes. Of course, you can also use a grill for this.

lamb chop and baked tomato
lamb chop and baked tomato

The lamb chop will not be complete without side dishes, so here’s how you do the tomato!

  • remove the core of tomato
  • add half a teaspoon of sugar (brown sugar if available), 1 clove, and a teaspoon of vinegar into the core
  • bake in oven at 200 Celsius for 30 minutes

Haze, Vinn, and KY
Haze, Vinn, and KY

Last but not least, the asparagus

  • remove wooden end of asparagus, and shave off the bottom with a vegetable peeler if the skin’s a bit tough
  • add a teaspoon of butter and salt to the water in you steamer
  • steam asparagus for 7-8 minutes
  • sprinkle some salt before serving

To get everything ready at the same time, the timeline for this should be something like this:

  • 0 min: bake tomato
  • 10 min: start pan frying lamb on both sides
  • 15 min: put lamb in oven
  • 22 min: start steaming asparagus
  • 25 min: remove lamb from oven
  • 30 min: serve everything!

Give it a try, this is really much easier than the dish suggests. For more cooking recipes on this blog, click here! Now what should I cook next.. ermmm.

It is no secret that one of my favorite meat is pork, the most versatile and tasty of all meat if you ask me. The only meat that is prohibited by at least 2 major religions must only mean that it is so good it’s practically a sin to indulge one with such luxury.

So when we started cooking regularly, it was one of my aim to be able to master as many pork dishes as possible. Since I’ve managed the tau eu bak (braised pork belly with soya sauce), naturally the next one would be mui choy pork belly.

ingredients for mui choy pork
ingredients for mui choy pork – mui choy, garlic, pork

Mui choy pork is a dish that is more popular in central Malaysia than up north in places like Penang. I first tasted it when studying at KL, and never did remember my mom making this dish.

Anyway, the list ingredients is pretty simple:

  • pork belly, 300 gram
  • 1 portion mui choy (any wet market)
  • plenty of garlic
  • 1 table spoon dark soya sauce
  • 1-2 teaspoon sugar (according to taste)

steps in cooking mui choy pork
steps in cooking mui choy pork

Cooking this dish is also very simple, but do remember that step one is never to be skipped or skimmed (will tell you why later)

  • soak mui choy for at least one to two hour, change water 2-3 times in between, use slightly warm water for better effect
  • pan fry the pork belly till slightly brown
  • chopped mui choy in small pieces and fry with pork belly, add dark soya sauce
  • cut pork belly into bite size then simmer with mui choy for at least 30 mins, add just enough water to cover half the pork and monitor every 5 minutes
  • add sugar to taste before serving

mui choy pork goes well with sambal belacan
mui choy pork goes well with sambal belacan

Alternatively, the simmering step can also be replaced with steaming. The benefit of steaming is that you don’t need to constantly make sure that you don’t run out of water.

The dish is best served with sambal belacan, the salty mui choy really does accentuate the taste of succulent pork with that layer of fat. I’m ready to make this dish again. :D

Vinn, KY, and Haze
Vinn, KY, and Haze

During this first attempt, I actually noobed it with the mui choy by not soaking it long enough. The result was extremely salty soup base for the dish, I ended up having to rinse the pork and mui choy 3-4 times while cooking half way. That should teach me a lesson not to try to be fast in cooking traditional Chinese dishes.

Till the next recipe post, happy cooking!