Silks Mid-Autumn Festival Banquet

Just a couple of weeks back, I was invited to a Mid-Autumn Festival banquet at Silks Crown by Chef Tsang, and it brought back lots of fun memories! Being away from home, I rarely get to celebrate mid-autumn festival anymore. But it was a yearly event in my family when I was much younger. We used to have lots of food, endless mooncakes and after all the feasting is done, we would light up a paper lantern and walk around the neighbourhood! Just thinking about it brings a smile to my face! hehe

8 course dinner banquet

I love love love when I get my own personal place card. hehe I know it’s a small thing, but just makes me feel important haha Just for the night (: The banquet menu included 8 delicious courses and I couldn’t wait for it to begin!

steamed scallop  and vermicelli with garlic

The first dish was the perfectly steamed, plump and juicy scallops with vermicelli and garlic. This was so so good and one of my favourites of the night! There’s just something about chinese cooking where it looks simple, but the balance of the sauce is what’s critical to the dish. This was a perfect balance of sauces and was delicate enough to go with the scallops. Amazing!

Double boiled chicken consomme with dried scallops and mushroom

The second dish for most chinese banquets is soup. No ordinary soup, it’s soup that has been simmered for a long period of time to extract every single flavour from the ingredients. Every sip was just so flavoursome and I could just have a huge bowl of this for the night and I would be a happy camper!

Giant coral trout enrobed in minced shrimp

This third dish definitely wowed my sense of smell, sight and taste! I was definitely intrigued and super excited when it was placed in front of me. A crispy prawn head and tail, and in the middle is a piece of coral trout enrobed in minced shrimp! How amazing is that?? I was sitting next to the amazing Zeboy & Ms I-Hua and we were saying how difficult that must be to do!

inside the enrobed coral trout

See how the layers were so distinct? The best part was the crispy skin of the fish! I seriously wanted more and wished the Mr was there with me, so the prawn head didn’t go to waste! Any prawn head lovers out there? This was fried till every bit of it was crispy, but I still couldn’t bring myself to eating the shell! haha

Sauteed lobster with black bean sauce and pine nuts

This brought smiles on many faces! The lobster pieces were all cooked perfectly – still tender and juicy and went so well with the black bean sauce. It’s not usual that pine nuts are used in chinese cooking, usually it’s cashews or peanuts. But pine nuts worked equally as well, and it’s good for u too! hehe There’s always a huge packet (from Costco) in my pantry cause I love to add them in my sautéed vegetables (cauliflower, Jerusalem artichokes) ! hehe

diced beef tenderloin with mixed mushroom in gravy sauce

The fifth dish was melt-in-your-mouth beef tenderloin with mixed mushrooms in a terriyaki sauce. A little sweet for my liking, but I absolutely loved the texture of the beef. Not sure how Chef Tsang did it, but the beef was juicy and really tender!

chicken fried rice with XO sauce

The last savoury dish was chicken fried rice in XO sauce. Every rice was coated with egg and you could see the glorious yellow grains in the bowl! It had a chilli kick to it as well, from the XO sauce. I could never fry rice like this, never turn out to be this delicious. Think I need to invest in a wok! hehe

Sweetened walnut soup with glutinous rice ball

After 6 savoury dishes, I was so stuffed. But there’s always room for dessert, yes? Absolutely! When I saw what we were going to have for dessert, I was a little apprehensive, cause I never had walnut soup before. Plus the only other nut-soup I tried (and didn’t like it much) was almond soup. So I was a little worried about how it would taste. But I was so wrong. This was so smooth and delicate and absolutely divine. For a cold night, it was really comforting as well! Perfect winter warmer! I would head back just for another bowl of walnut soup. hehe

black sesame glutinous rice ball

Within the soup was a hidden treasure – a glutinous rice ball with black sesame. Absolute love! How sexy is the black sesame oozing out from the middle after a bite? hehe Rich but not overly so. Did I say it’s perfect? Cause it was!

Wing Wah white lotus seed mooncakes with double yolk

To end our banquet on a even sweeter note and what is seen as a symbol of mid-autumn festival – Mooncakes! This one is the famous Wing Wah mooncake from Hong Kong! The white lotus seed paste was smooth and not overly sweet and had two salted egg yolk! While I grew up opting for the no-yolk mooncakes, I have to say the combination is starting to grow on me. But I still like mine without yolk hehe

After the amazing banquet, Chef Tsang came out of the kitchen to say hi to us and answer some of our questions. It’s no wonder his food was absolutely delish cause he was from the two Michelin stars, Ming Court in Hong Kong! He’s been in Melbourne and Silks for 6 months now and is still working on a in-house recipe for mooncakes. hehe

So if you’re want to take part in some Mid-Autumn festivities, Crown is holding one from 9th to the 22nd of September, and there is something for everyone! Do check out their website for details of the events as they will be converting the Atrium into something spectacular!

Wing Wah moocake

We were so lucky to receive a box of mooncakes from Wing Wah to bring home! The Mr and Melissa couldn’t be happier when I took it out of the bag! hehe And yes, they finished one whole mooncake that very night! heh

Thank you so much Silks Crown, Chef Tsang and Media Moguls for organising this scrumptious banquet! Great food and was so good to meet and catch up with everyone! So do head to Crown and check it out and try some mooncakes if you haven’t had any yet!

Lianne @ Food Made With Love attended the Mid-Autumn festival banquet as a guest of Silks Crown and Media Moguls. Thank you so much for this yummy opportunity! 

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Wantons in Chilli Oil & Vinegar (红油抄手)

Wantons in Chilli Oil & Vinegar

Wantons. Don’t you just love them? I can’t get enough of them! I love them in soups, with noodles and even on it’s own. Steamed, boiled and fried, gimme gimme! I love it when it is really stuffed to the max, and all you need is a few to fill your tummies. Recently, I went back to Food Republik with my dearest Peach Water, and decided to try their wantons in chilli oil and vinegar.

Wantons in Chilli oil and vinegar from Taiwan - Shilin Night Market

Wantons in chilli oil and vinegar in Taiwan - Shilin Night Market

(Photo from my Taiwan trip in 2009, please excuse the blurry picture of the food, I think I was too excited and hungry haha)

The first time I had these were at the Shilin Night Market in Taiwan itself. Let me tell you, it’s a small bowl of yummy-ness! Silky smooth wantons, with flavoursome stuffing, chopped lettuce and a sauce that I still can’t replicate. It had chilli oil, sesame oil, vinegar and a nutty paste (might either be sesame paste or peanut). Just so so good! And because it’s so small, I could easily slurp down 2 bowls! haha

Wantons in chilli oil & vinegar from Food Republik

These from Food Republik were quite yummy too! Although they didn’t have the same sauce, but a really good balance of chilli oil and vinegar! They also garnished with crushed peanuts and coriander. All I needed was a bowl of these wantons and the popcorn chicken. My belly was very happy! (:

Rows of handmade wantons

So a few days after having them. I was somehow craving for more. So instead of going down all the way to Boxhill, I decided to make my own version of it. I have to say, mine wasn’t anywhere close to the ones from Taiwan, but it was pretty similar to the one from Food Republik. Hooray! (:

I think the next time I will try to add a bit of sesame paste just to get the nutty flavour through the sauce. Lucky thing I made heaps of wantons, and because I only eat 4 each time (cos they are ginormous haha) so I could slowly try different versions! But if you’re a fan of the combination of spicy with a sour kick, do give these a try! I’m pretty sure you’ll be hooked! Even though the wantons take a while to make, but it’s actually a pretty fun process and you’ll realise there are many ways to fold your wantons! Mine is just one of which (:

Cross section of the wanton

Wantons in Chilli Oil & Vinegar (An Original Recipe of FoodMadeWithLove)

Wantons 

250g mince pork

100g fish paste

8 prawns, finely chopped

4 shitake mushrooms, soaked and diced finely

20g dried shrimp, soaked and finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

2 tbs fish sauce

1 tbs soy sauce

1 tbs sesame oil

1 tbs oyster sauce

1 tsp ground white pepper

1 heap tsp corn starch

1 stalk of spring onion, finely chopped

Wanton wrappers

Sauce (for 4 wantons)

1 tbs chilli oil* (I used 老干妈)

1 tbs black vinegar*

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp oyster sauce

toasted sesame seeds, chopped peanuts & fried shallots (for garnish)

Steps :

1) For the wantons : In a frying pan, fry the dried shrimp and garlic till fragrant. Set aside. In a large metal bowl, add all the ingredients as well as the fried dried shrimp and garlic and mix till well combined.

2) Place a portion on a wonton wrapper, wet the two sides with water and fold it into half. Press all the air out and stick the two ends together.

Steps to making wantons

3) In a pot of boiling water, drop the wantons in and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the wantons start floating at the top. Drain and set a side.

4) In a small bowl, combine the sauces together until well combined. Place the wantons on top of the sauce and garnish with toasted sesame seeds, peanuts and fried shallots.

Wantons in chilli oil & vinegar

5) Give it a good mix to make sure the wantons are coated with the sauce and soaking in all the good stuff! ENJOY!

* Note : I do love spicy food and I love my black vinegar too, so do give it a taste after mixing the sauces and adjust accordingly to what you fancy!

Remember to always cook and bake with love ! (:

Wanton Noodles

I’ve been on a hawker food journey of late. There has been the black fried carrot cake (chai tow kway), XO fried carrot cake, prawn noodle soup and from a long time ago – minced meat noodle (bak chor mee). It’s no secret that I’m missing home, and it’s just evident with the food that I’ve been cooking recently! My ultimate source of comfort, besides the mr of course. (:

One other thing that I miss is wanton noodles. Especially the ones my grandma makes during our lunar birthdays. Her wontons are the bomb! hehe And when we head back for our holidays, wanton noodles would be one of the first things on our food-list that we wanna have after we’ve touched down. Fei Fei wanton noodles is one place we can’t miss, and let me tell you. Their bowl of noodles is magical. Looks simple, but tastes so good! Just talking about it is making me want a bowl now!

I came home craving for some wanton noodles from work one day and went to get some wanton wrappers to make some. If you know me well enough, you know that I  love spontaneity! When I think of a dish, I’ll head to the markets and get the necessary ingredients and will whip it up and serve it for dinner. hehe Not much of a weekly planner, I have to admit!

Usually, my grandma only has mince pork in her wantons. But I like to add a bit more ingredients to mine, and stuff it to it’s maximum. Whoops! hehe Well, just can’t help myself. hehe Need textures for the extra bite! So just before I share my recipe, just a heads up that making the wantons is quite labour intensive. Especially if you’re making it for the first time. So do make this when you have ample time to prep and do know that all your effort would be worth it! hehe  And also, the sauces for the noodles could always be altered to your own taste! I might prefer my noodles a little on the salty side hehe

Wantons Noodle (an original recipe of FoodMadeWithLove)

Egg noodles

8 slices of fish cake

a bunch of choy sum

bean sprouts

fried shallots and coriander, to serve

Wantons :

250g mince pork

100g fish paste

8 prawns, finely chopped

4 shitake mushrooms, soaked and diced finely

20g dried shrimp, soaked and finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

2 tbs fish sauce

1 tbs soy sauce

1 tbs sesame oil

1 tbs oyster sauce

1 tsp ground white pepper

1 heap tsp corn starch

Wanton wrappers

Sauce for noodles (per serve) :

1 tsp shallot oil

1 tsp fried shallots

1/2 tsp sambal

1 tsp fish sauce

2 tsp thick dark soy sauce

1/2 tsp sesame oil

Stewed Mushrooms (optional) :

6 dried shitake, soaked and sliced thinly (reserve 1 1/2 cup of water)

Knob of ginger, thinly sliced into strips

1 tbs shallot oil

1 tbs oyster sauce

1 tbs shaoxing wine

1 tbs fish sauce

1 tbs light soy sauce

1 tbs dark soy sauce

Steps :

1) For the stewed mushrooms : In a small pot, heat the shallot oil on medium heat and fry the ginger till fragrant. Add the mushrooms and fry it for 5 mins before adding the sauces. Add the water and allow it to simmer on low heat for at least 30 mins. Of course, the longer the better. Just stir it occasionally and add more water if needed.

2) For the wantons : In a frying pan, fry the dried shrimp and garlic till fragrant. Set aside. In a large metal bowl, add all the ingredients as well as the fried dried shrimp and garlic and mix till well combined.

3) Place a portion on a wonton wrapper, wet the two sides with water and fold it into half. Press all the air out and stick the two ends together.

4) In a pot of boiling water, drop the wantons in and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the wantons start floating at the top. Drain and set a side.

5) In a serving bowl, add the sauces for the noodles and give it a good mix so that it’s well combined. In the same pot of boiling water, blanch the noodles, fish cake, choy sum and bean sprouts separately. Toss the noodles in the sauce that was previously prepared.

6) To serve : Place the choy sum and bean sprouts on top of the noodles, and top that with the fish cake. Place the cooked wantons on top, followed by the stewed mushrooms (and some extra sauce of course). Last but not the least, sprinkle some fried shallots and coriander. ENJOY!

Prawn Noodle Soup (虾面汤)

I love hawker food. If I were to name the individual dishes that I love (and miss), I probably need a whole blog post! haha But one of my ultimate food I love is no doubt prawn noodle soup. The best part of this dish is of course the soup! I would always finish every drop of the soup and leave an empty bowl behind!

Mum has replicated this dish many times when I’m back in Singapore for a holiday and has taught me the steps to making it. So I needed to practice making it, or I would definitely forget! Plus, I froze the prawn heads from the cheesy butter prawns I’ve made (twice) and have enough to make a good prawn stock.

Prawn Stock 

1 bulb of garlic, finely chopped

500g prawn heads

1 tsp salt

2 tbs shallot oil

1 litre hot water

Steps :

1) In a medium-sized pot, heat the shallot oil and fry the garlic on medium heat, stirring continuously until fragrant, and slightly golden brown. Careful not to burn the garlic, as it will leave a bitter taste in the stock.

2) Add the prawn heads and fry till the shell turns orange-red colour. Using a masher, light press the heads to get maximum flavour. Give the prawn heads a good stir before adding the hot water.

3) Boil the prawn stock for 20 minutes before straining the stock through a sieve. Reserve the prawn stock while you prepare the other components of the dish.

Prawn Mee Soup (虾面汤)

800g pork bones, blanch in boiling water for 5-10 mins

1 bulb of garlic, left whole

3 litres of hot water

prawn stock (recipe above)

8 whole prawns, sliced length-wise and deveined

50g bean sprouts, blanched

a bunch of choy sum, cut into 2-inch pieces and blanched (can use any green leafy vegetables)

12 slices of fish cake, blanched

noodles, any type you like (I used thick rice vermicelli)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground white pepper

4-5 tbs fish sauce, or more if you think it’s not salty enough

1 tbs shaoxing wine

fried shallots, for garnish

chilli powder, to serve

Steps :

1) In a large heavy-based pot, bring the 3 litres of water to a boil, then add the pork bones and allow it to boil for 1 hour. Add the bulb of garlic and add the prawn stock.

2) Add the salt, pepper, fish stock and shaoxing wine and allow the stock to simmer on low heat for at least another 2 hours (or more if you have the time).

3) Just before serving, add the prawns into the pork & prawn stock and cook it until the prawns have turned orangey-red. Take it out and set a side.

4) Plating up : Place a tsp of shallot oil and fried shallots at the base of a big bowl. Add the noodles and give it a good toss. Place the blanched bean sprouts, vegetable, fish cake and prawns on top of the noodles. If you fancy more protein, dish out some of the pork ribs into the bowl as well.

5) Add as much soup as you like into the bowl with a ladle and serve with more fried shallots. Add some chilli powder if you want to add some kick to the soup, I don’t have my prawn mee soup without adding it!

ENJOY! *Slurps*

PS : There should be heaps of soup left, so you can always freeze it up and use at a later stage or just have more of the deliciousness the next day! (:

{Quick & Easy} Shallot Oil

Shallot oil is widely used in many chinese/asian cooking. My grandmother would always have a metal tin full of fried shallots and the fragrant shallot oil. We would have it with her mince meat noodles, wanton noodles, and everything really! Too delicious to resist adding it in the dishes! It adds an extra flavour and depth. It’s really simple to make too! Just that shallots are a little costly here. So use in moderation! hehe

Shallot Oil

1 1/2 cup of vegetable oil

200g shallots, sliced thinly

Steps :

1) In a small pot, heat 1 1/2 cup of vegetable oil on medium heat and add the shallots. Allow it to fry the shallots till they turn golden brown.

2) Strain the fried shallots, reserving the oil in a bowl. Allow the oil to cool down and transfer into a glass bottle. Place some fried shallots in the oil and keep in the fridge. (Should be able to keep for a couple of months)

3) Place the fried shallots in an air tight container. You should be able to keep the fried shallots for 2 weeks.

You could garnish many dishes with the fried shallots, and cooking with the shallot oil just makes the dish more flavourful! Trust me, this is something you should make and keep!

PS : I will be using this in my Prawn Noodle Soup dish that will be posted next! So stay tuned! (: 

Cheesy Butter Prawns : A Family Project

You must be wondering, how is this post a family project. Let me explain.

My whole family is quite hilarious. We set up a group chat on Whatsapp and named it “Super Group” (of course! haha) and have been chatting to each other ever since. The 6 of us are a funny bunch and we chat about everything and anything. We are close like that. (: But the main topic that we usually discuss is of course, FOOD! We are quite a foodie family, I must admit. We enjoy cooking and we definitely enjoy eating. haha

A recent topic has been this particular dish we had at Jumbo Seafood Restaurant when they had a branch at Serangoon Gardens Country Club a few years back. It’s a favourite among the kiddos in the family and we never fail to order them when we are dining there. And now it’s gone, and we have been craving for it since!

Have you ever tried to recreate a dish that you tried at a restaurant/cafe? This was a first for me. My mum did try once a few years back, but it didn’t turn out quite the same, though still yummy. This time, I read up on some recipes online and realise it was the type of cheese we used. We always thought that we have to use the fancy cheeses. Shredded tasty, mozzarella and was pretty close to getting the expensive gruyere  to give it the last shot. But thanks to Bee from Rasa Malaysia, I found out that what chinese restaurants use is actually the slice Kraft cheese! I couldn’t quite believe it. But if there’s someone I would trust, it’s definitely Bee! So I told my mum to try using the slice cheese and being the spontaneous people we are, she made it that very night the conversation took place! haha

I planned to cook it the next day, as Friday was seafood day. Mum gave me feedback the night she cooked it, and told me that using slice Kraft cheese was perfect! It worked out well and tasted very close to the once we had at Jumbo! I got really excited. Couldn’t wait to try it!

Cheesy Butter Prawns (Adapted from Rasa Malaysia)

500g prawns, leave shells on

30g salted butter

1/4 large onion, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

75ml thickened cream

50ml milk

4 slices Kraft cheese

3 heap tsp of corn starch, to coat the prawns before deep frying

vegetable oil, for deep frying the prawns

salt and ground white pepper to season

coriander, for garnish

Steps : 

1) Prepare the prawns, take the heads off and keep it for other use. Carefully slice the prawn into half, length wise, keeping the shell intact and devein. Put the corn starch and coat the prawns well. Deep fry the prawns in very hot oil until the prawns are crispy and the shells have turned orangey-red. Drain and set aside.

2) Heat up a non-stick pan and add the butter. Add the garlic and onion, frying till fragrant. Careful not to burn the garlic, as it will leave a bitter after taste. Pour the thickened cream and milk into the pan, bringing it to boil. Add the prawns and lay the cheese slices on top of the prawns. Cover the pan, leaving the heat on high, and let it simmer for a few minutes or until the cheese melts and the sauce thickens. If the sauce is too thick, just add a bit more milk, a tablespoon at a time.

3) Take the lid off and stir to combine the cheese well with the prawns. Season with salt and ground white pepper. Dish out and garnish with coriander.

Serve and eat immediately with steamed jasmine rice! ENJOY!

The good thing about leaving the shell on is that it retains more of the cheese sauce which is really delicious and it’s so crispy you can just devour the whole thing! (: Well the mr and I sure did! I foresee us cooking this dish very often from now. haha Think I got to lift more weights to burn those calories off! Luckily, I’ve got a husband who is a Personal Trainer! *phew*

I declare our first family project a success! (:

Yum Cha Addiction

I don’t think I can ever have enough yum cha. I could have it every single day. It’s something I have quite often with my family when I’m back for my break. Yes, we are a family of foodies! hehe

But because it’s a tad expensive here, we restrict it to once a few months. So I treasure these yum cha days even more! Fun fact : Back home, we actually call it dim sum! Never called it yum cha till I got here. hehe But I am always very happy and excited when the mr and I have planned a yum cha brunch!

We usually only go to one place for yum cha but recently got introduced to a new place by Daisy after seeing her instagram photos of the food there. I couldn’t be more excited to give it a try! Can you tell from the grin on my face? haha I think I was a bit too happy that day. and cold!

Wealth Garden

Add : 866 Doncaster Road, Doncaster East, Vic 3109

Tel : 0398407611

Thank goodness the Mr has the same favourite cuisines as I do, so we could both enjoy our food together. To me, there’s nothing worse than being forced to have something you don’t like! Besides, food tastes more delicious when you have it with the person you love! (: Don’t you agree? In fact, the mr loves almost everything at yum cha so we could order everything I liked! hehe I was doing the happy dance inside.

This is a family favourite : fried chinese dough fritter wrapped in cheong fan (rice noodle roll). These were amazing! The cheong fan was so smooth and thin together with the crispy dough fritters, it’s a perfect pairing! It comes with a sweet sauce that you can go with. What I liked about the ones they serve here is they have vegetables (kai lan) wrapped in the cheong fan as well! Makes me feel less guilty when having it. haha

this is one of my absolute favourite dish at yum cha – char siew sou (bbq pork pastry). The pastry was really flaky and the filling was thick and every bite was filled with bbq pork. DELICIOUS!

Fried prawn wantons. Jammed packed with fresh prawns, this is served with a saucer of mayo. Just after these 3 dishes, we couldn’t stop smiling and saying “this is SO GOOD!” haha. Just thinking back, I can remember our eyes lighting up with every bite of the food. NOMS.

Now, this was the king of all dishes. haha In fact, this was the dish that made me ask Daisy for the place she was at! Steamed white radish cake. You can’t really find this anywhere else. The first time I had it was at Kam Boat in Singapore. Usually, its cute into large rectangular pieces and panfried till it’s crispy. The first time I had the steamed version I was a little reluctant and questioned if it would be as nice as the panfried ones. I was proven wrong with my first spoonful! hehe Amazing stuff!

The glutinous rice was really yum as well! I am sure my mum would love this!

 of course, yum cha would not be complete if we don’t have the usuals. They were all really yummy, but they just don’t stand out after having the others. Don’t get me wrong, they were still really good. Especially the siew mai. It was really tasty and generously filled. Having just one would fill you right up!

The century egg porridge was sadly the least of my favourite that day. It was just a little too blend and nothing really special. But I guess once you’ve had porridge from Crystal Jade then it’s quite difficult to find anything better!

Chicken feet is definitely considered a delicacy cause not every one would like it. The hubs is a big fan and couldn’t resist ordering this although we were already quite stuffed! hah But it was a really generous portion and I could only have a maximum of 2. haha So the poor mr had to finish it on his own! Oppsy!

So it’s time for the desserts. Yum cha cannot be considered complete without ordering egg tarts!

Another food blogger, Liz, also saw that I was at Wealth Garden and highly recommended the po lo bun (pineapple bun)! So we had to give it a try! I was surprised that it was filled!

They were filled with a sweet pineapple paste and also had pineapple chunks in them! I was surprised because in Singapore, I usually get the unfilled ones and have a slice of salted butter with it. It’s what my mum and I would usually have when we are having tea at Crystal Jade! hehe

Okay, feel a bit home sick after a post about yum cha 😦

Thank you for driving me all the way here to try this place! (: I think it has become our favourite yum cha place!

PS : Thanks Daisy for the recommendation and Liz too! (:

PPS : Do call in advance to make reservations, as this place fills up really quickly from the time it opens for business!