Salt and Pepper Crispy Chicken Spare Ribs Recipe

I must warn you, this post might end up being so badly written due to the fact that I just ate way too many crispy chicken ribs and now suffering from a bad case of food comma! If my kids were asleep, I would be asleep too right now. I am so full, and content, and sleepy. Writing this blog post almost immediately is necessary to try and stay awake. Writing keeps me away from the comforts of the couch and the danger of falling asleep while little children roam free around the house unsupervised. Better not let that happen, lol.

I LOVE CHICKEN RIBS. I can almost say that every time I go to Yum Cha or any Chinese restaurant, I would most likely end up ordering the Salt and Pepper Chicken Ribs. Why not? Deliciously juicy and crispy chicken that's tender and only one bone to deal with. Amazing flavours in the onion and chilli topping. Serve with the perfect dipping sauce - and I am in food heaven.

These are so easy to make at home though. They don't require a lot of ingredients and this version is pretty basic but hits the spot. I had to specially order in the chicken ribs from my butcher though, as they don't normally stock them (too expensive to keep on regular stock and unpredictable demand). This morning, I got a call from my butcher letting me know my chicken ribs have come in, so I gladly picked them up and cooked them for lunch! Now you can too... enjoy!

500g chicken spare ribs
1 egg white, gently beaten to separate
Salt and Pepper
Kentucky Flour
1 stalk spring onion, sliced
Chilli flakes
Oil for deep frying

In a deep fryer, heat oil ready for deep frying. Season chicken ribs really well with salt and pepper. Be generous with the pepper for extra spicy kick. Coat chicken in egg white and then coat with Kentucky flour. Deep fry for about 6-10 minutes or until the chicken is crispy and brown. Serve onto a plate and then top with sliced spring onion and chilli flakes. Serve with your favorite soy / chilli dipping sauce.

Stirfried Okra with Garlic, Mushrooms & Anchovies

Growing up, my parents have always cooked okra (aka ladies finger) so I have grown very familiar with this vegetable and various ways of cooking it. However, I do realise that a lot of people have never ever cooked with okra nor have they tasted them. If you have never cooked with okra before, perhaps this simple dish will encourage you to try something new. Okra is really not that scary... it is very commonly used in Asian dishes and has a very unique texture.

It is a little... slimy.

Please do not let that put you off!!

Okra when sliced is generally slimy on the inside which is why once you have sliced them, you are not supposed to let it get in contact with any water or else it will just melt away and turn into a slimy vegetable with no real texture to it.

However, if you keep it dry after it is sliced and cook it without any water, the outer later of the okra which is firmer and pleasantly textured really compliments the little gooeyness. This dish makes it even more enjoyable as it also combines the salty crunch of the fried anchovies and the soft textures of mushroom. I love this dish and can easily eat a big plate of this for dinner with nothing else.. but it serves well with rice. It also takes 10 minutes to prepare this dish from start to finish... I simply cannot complain!

Before I start with the recipe, here are a few helpful notes:

  • You can buy okra from most fruit and vegetable shops in Australia, or Asian grocers.
  • You can find dried anchovies (the little ones) in packets from Asian grocers or the Asian section in Coles supermarkets.
200g okra, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
1 tbsp dried anchovies, softened in water for approx. 5 mins, then drain water.
1 medium cup mushroom, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp vegetable oil

Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan. Add garlic, sliced mushrooms, and soaked anchovies. Fry in oil for 3-4 minutes on medium heat, until the garlic is browning and fragrant, and anchovies starting to crisp. Add sliced okra and season with salt and pepper. Stirfry for another 3-4 minutes or until the okra starts to soften. Serve while it is still hot.

Steamed Silken Tofu with Minced Pork & Mushrooms

When it comes to feeding the family, it is hard to strike a balance between something healthy and wholesome that is also a huge hit with the kids. To top it all off, I constantly need to find recipes that are dairy free, egg free and nut free! My kids, like most children, can be quite fussy when it comes to food. At the end of the day, they eat what we eat... but it does make meal times a lot easier when they happily eat what they are given without us having to convince them it's worth at least trying.

This particular dish is such a crowd pleaser. My kids absolutely love this! Just yesterday at a playdate, my kids chose to eat tofu even when toasted marshmallows were on offer! Needless to say, my friends were amazed that the kids just sat there and ate their dinner without any hassles. You wouldn't expect it to be such a crowd pleaser, after all it is tofu. A lot of people's first impression when it comes to tofu can often be... non-enthusiastic in general. Well, we love our tofu and we love them even more when it is silken tofu! This dish can be prepared and cooked within 25-30 minutes, and serves really well with steamed rice. Enjoy!

1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
150g minced pork
3 large shitake mushrooms, softened and sliced
1 tbsp oyster sauce
300g silken tofu
1 tbsp light soy sauce
Coriander leaves 

Heat vegetable oil in a fry pan, fry garlic, minced pork, mushrooms for a few minutes until the meat starts to brown. Add oyster sauce and stir thoroughly. Set aside.

Place tofu in a steaming plate. Top the tofu with stirfried pork and mushroom mix. Drizzle with light soy sauce. Steam everything for approximately 15-20 minutes. To serve, garnish with fresh coriander leaves. 

Homemade Vietnamese Roast Pork Roll (Banh Mi) Recipe

Warning: This is seriously easy and seriously addictive... lol.

This is my cheat version of a Banh Mi, with readily available products that you can get from any supermarket. I substituted a Vietnamese baguette with a Turkish roll because.. well, Turkish rolls are deliciously fluffy on the inside and crusty on the outside which makes this roll the best thing in the world! Ok, maybe I am overreacting but my mouth is watering even as I type this.. so that's a good thing right?!

Whether you're craving a nice big delicious lunch that will surely make you feel sleepy after lunch and unable to continue being productive, or you just felt like banh mi for dinner but all the Vietnamese shops are closed... this is for you! Kimba's cheat but yummy banh mi replacement recipe hehe.

300g pork belly or pork spare ribs (the sliced ones as shown in this pic below)
1 carrot, julienned
1 cup of fresh coriander
Turkish bread rolls
Sweet Chilli Sauce
Salt and Pepper

Slice the pork into little strips, season well with salt and pepper and roast it in the oven for approximately 30 minutes until it is brown and crispy.

To assemble the roll, slice the bread roll to form a pocket without slicing all the way through. Spread mayonnaise on one side of the roll. Stuff in carrots, coriander and pork according to your preference. Drizzle some sweet chilli sauce and take a huge first bite in contentment! Then keep eating and hope you don't crave for more than you should eat.. because I know I tend to have that problem! Haha :)

Beef & Corn Burrito Recipe

Most nights, after looking after the kids and keeping up with house chores and working on my business from home and socialising and play dates and grocery shopping and all the things I have to do as a working mum... cooking seems to be impossible.

Thankfully, I have a collection of easy meals up my sleeve that take very little effort to prepare and tastes absolutely delicious - plus they are usually a big hit with the family! Imagine that.. I don't even need to slave in the kitchen for hours to please my family :)

Mexican food is so yummy. I love their tacos and burritos and enchiladas and nachos. Whenever I make wraps, I make a Mexican burrito wrap and this one is my favorite version of a quick and easy burrito. I love the freshness of the tomato and the flavors from the coriander. So stop stressing about dinner tomorrow night, Mexican it is!

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup fresh coriander, chopped
500g lean beef mince
1 cup corn kernel
2 tbsp taco seasoning powder / spice mix
1 baby cos lettuce, shredded (or salad mix)
1 avocado, sliced
Sour cream
Sweet chilli sauce
A packet of white wraps / tortillas

Heat oil in a frying pan and brown beef over high heat for 5 minutes. Add corn and taco seasoning. Stir through for a few more minutes, season further with salt and pepper if required and set aside.

Mix chopped red onion, tomatoes and coriander to create a fresh salsa.

Fill wrap with lettuce (or salad mix), sliced avocado, cooked beef, and fresh salsa with sour cream and sweet chilli sauce and enjoy!

Dairy Free Scones Recipe

Here is another recipe to prove that you are not missing out if you cannot have dairy! Scones! While I was still breastfeeding my daughter (who is allergic to dairy, eggs, peanuts and cashews), I myself could not eat any of the things she was allergic to. So whenever we go around to other people's houses and scones were served, I have always felt so deprived! So I did a little bit of research online and found just the right recipe for dairy free scones... and this one is delicious! When served with jam and coconut yoghurt, this comes pretty close to the real deal (although obviously coconut yoghurt is no yummy cream.. mmm) but this satisfies the occasional craving for scones! So easy peasy to make too! Enjoy :)

3 cups of self raising flour
1 cup of coconut cream
1 cup of lemonade

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and gently knead into a soft dough. Flatten dough using a rolling pin and using a round scone cutter cut them into round portions. Bake in a preheated oven at 170C for approx. 8 - 12 minutes, depending on your oven, or until they are nicely risen and slightly brown crusted.

To serve, cut scones into half horizontally, spread jam onto each side and spread a generous dollop of coconut yoghurt on top... and enjoy!

Dairy Free Lemon and Coconut Cake

This is one of my favorite cakes to make for when we need a treat around the house that is suitable for my youngest daughter Silver, who is allergic to dairy, eggs, peanuts and cashews. It is amazing how we don't have to miss out so much on treats just because we have a kid with allergies. The only problem is when we go out and people are unaware of what she cannot have, but when we are at home, it is so easy to whip up something yummy without dairy / egg.

2 cups self raising flour
1 cup sugar
2 cups fine desiccated coconut
250g dairy free butter (I use Nuttelex)

Combine all ingredients and flatten onto slice pan lined with baking paper and cook in preheated oven at 180C for 20-25 mins until brown. Allow to cool in tray before turning onto a chopping board. Spread Lemon Icing onto the top of the cake whilst still slightly warm. Cool in the fridge to firm up before slicing.

Lemon Icing:
Icing Mixture
1 tsp Nuttelex
Enough lemon juice to turn mixture into a smooth, spreadable icing.

Dairy Free Banana Pancake Fritters / Dairy Free Egg Free Banana Cake

My daughter is allergic to dairy, eggs, peanuts and cashews. So naturally, I have learnt to substitute a few things around the house to suit her. For example, Nutella for Sweet Williams Dairy Free Chocolate Spread. Cow's milk for soy milk. Butter for Nuttelex dairy free spread. Eggs for silken soy tofu (for the soft texture in meals). We have adjusted really well, and our meals at home have been allergy-free 80% of the time. The other 20% include chocolate snacks (just stay away from her while eating it), ice cream (she has her own dairy free soy ice cream), peanut butter (again, eat away from Silver and wash hands and mouth immediately after). Thankfully she is not anaphylactic, so we are not as paranoid.

This is the simplest snack I make once a week for morning or afternoon tea for the kids, especially if we have some browning bananas just sitting around in the fruit bowl because nobody wants to eat them now that they look disgusting. Those browning bananas are so useful for snacks such as this, or my dairy free banana bread.. so I will share both recipes now. Enjoy!

Dairy Free Banana Pancake Fritters

2 browning bananas
1 cup soy milk
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp caster sugar
A pinch of salt

Combine bananas and soy milk in a mixing bowl. Mash bananas and stir well. Add plain flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Mix well. Heat 4 tbsp vegetable oil in a fry pan. Cook batter for about 1 minute on each side. Be careful not to burn them! 

Dairy Free, Egg Free Banana Cake (Very Moist)

2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup Nuttelex spread
2 browning medium sized bananas
2/3 cup soy milk
1 1/2 cup self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
Lemon Juice
Icing Sugar

In a bowl, mix brown sugar and Nuttelex spread well using a hand mixer. In a separate bowl, mash bananas and mix well with soy milk. Add vanilla essence and baking powder. Combine the banana mixture into the sugar and Nuttelex, and add the self raising flour. Mix well.

Pour onto a cake tin and bake for approx 40 - 50 minutes at 160C, or until a skewer comes out clean (or cake doesn't wobble when you give the tin a little shake), depending on the oven you may need a longer time to bake as my oven is HOT and cooks very quickly!

Leave cake out to cool for approx 15 minutes. Then, sprinkle some lemon juice onto the warm cake for a hint of lemon flavour. Sift icing sugar onto the cake. Wait another 20 minutes to let it cool further before slicing, the longer you wait the more the butter will emulsify and therefore make the cake more solid and ready to slice. The cake fresh from the oven can be extremely soft and crumbly so let the Nuttelex cool and be more binding to hold the cake together better.

What's With The Cookbook Obsession?

What is it about cookbooks that makes me go... "mmm.. tempting (to buy)"... ALL. THE. TIME. It's not like I actually use it to cook at home. It's not like I actually follow recipes to cook, in fact 95% of the time I wing it and food still turns out pretty tasty. I am not saying I can naturally whip up a 5-star dish without referring to any guidelines on the Internet, but I know what tastes good so I cook what tastes good to me.

So... why do I keep buying these cookbooks??

The more and more I contemplate, the more my reasonings don't make sense.. but I will share it here anyway, because well, this is my comeback post lol. My comeback post is meant to be me being myself, and light, and non-serious, and hopefully encourages some discussion. So here goes...

  1. I have a crush on the Author aka The Chef - this is particularly true in the case of Curtis Stone. I have always had a massive crush on that Aussie chef... so I collect his cook books. I own all 6 of his published cook books and they are all still in mint condition because I just let it sit pretty on the shelves just like that pretty face on the cover. There you go.
  2. I love swooning and drooling over beautiful food porn - not just in cookbooks but also on Instagram and food blogs. I admire pictures of beautiful looking food, so it kinda makes sense that cookbooks appeal to me, and therefore I pay money for them. Serious case of Want not Need.
  3. Cookbooks are like textbooks - you don't particularly read them all the time, but when you need to learn something it serves like a useful guide. So occasionally I do read them, to learn a certain technique, to find out roughly what ingredients make a particular dish / even just a sauce, or just some light educational reading for when I am bored.
  4. I love touching them - this one sounds weird... but I love holding a brand new cookbook in my hands. The hard cover, the smooth pages, the gloss, the matte, the textures, the beautiful stationary used to make it... the delicious "new book smell"... it just makes me happy, so I buy.
  5. They look pretty on my shelves.
  6. They make me look like I really know what I am doing (with cooking).
  7. They make a great collection.
  8. They are not particularly expensive. Unless it's a Jamie Oliver book!
So those are some of my absurd reasons for buying and owning so many cookbooks... do you have the same problem? Do you maybe have another addiction with silly reasons behind it? Please share! I need to know I am not crazy... xoxo.