Monthly Archives: June 2012

Sparkling Espresso

I think it’s high time we add some fun into espresso, shall we?

Bubbly and cool, probably they are not the first few words you would use to describe an espresso. I was intrigued by the concept of sparkling espresso while flipping through a coffee table book while waiting for my coffee at my favourite cafe in Orange. As the book is not available for loan (obviously!), I was trying hard to remember the recipe and instructions which are on the Campos coffee feature page. After all photographic memory, I don’t have (channelling my inner Yoda ha!). And, I, before morning coffee is as good as a walking zombie.

Anyway, I have gone back to re-read the recipe for the third time now and I think I have pretty much included the information as per the book. One thing though, usually the grade-A baristas are quite technical and super precise with their instructions i.e. 6ml/ 0.2 fluid ounces of crema (foam) and the temperature of sparkling mineral should be at 1 degree C/33.8 degrees F. So what I am trying to say is I’m not really precise about this stuff and try to adapt the recipe according to my convenience and what I already have at home.

The result was a refreshing glass of espresso and in my opinion better than a straight black ice coffee which I sometimes buy from chained coffee shops. My beloved thought it tasted unusual and somewhat reminded him of Cola.  I was quite happy with the result and I cannot wait to make this my staple summer drink.

Sparkling Espresso

(Recipe adapted mostly from the Cafe Republic of Australia – Campos Coffee Recipe; also checked out  Corridor Kitchen to confirm the method)

What you need:-

  • A 220ml/7.4 fluid ounces latte cup (or a good quality glass cup which can withstand extreme temperature change)
  • Sparkling mineral water (try to get one with plastic bottle)
  • An espresso machine or coffee machine like Nespresso or Expressi
  • Freshly ground coffee (if using an espresso machine); or a coffee pot if using a coffee machine

 Let’s get started:-

(1) Chill the glass in a freezer until frosted. Also chill the sparkling mineral water in the fridge the night before. Just before making the sparkling espresso, place the sparkling mineral water in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes. According to the book, the temperature of the sparkling mineral water should be 1 dregree Celsius /33.8 degrees Fahrenheit. (2) To make the drink, pour sparkling mineral water into the frosted glass up to halfway. Then run your espresso machine or in my case, I used an Expressi coffee machine (settings: the smaller cup) to fill up the glass. Add more sparkling mineral water to fill the cup all the way if needed.

How to drink: According to the book, it is best to drink all at once.

PS: Check out Corridor Kitchen for a video instructions. You may notice Lau (the writer behind Corridor Kitchen) filled the glass with espresso then  the sparkling mineral water. I was worried about cracking the glass even though a heavy duty latte glass is used so I did it back to front.


Pea Shoots Chow Mein

Maybe I could have thought of a better name than this.

Noodles with pea shoots perhaps? Or maybe stir fry pea shoots with noodles?

Sometimes I can be indecisive on how I want to name my post plus my beloved thinks I don’t give good names.

You see, I was given the privilege to name our two super adorable conures (like a miniature parrot if you are wondering what is a conure). Even though we have agreed to name them Mango and Pineapple, I tend to call them by their nicknames, Mang Mang and Pi Pi. Oh believe me,  the nicknames sounded cuter than they look on my blog post! My beloved thinks they sound silly…but you got to agree with me that they sound cute right?

But names aside, the two words I could describe this dish are simple and delicious. It may not seem like a lot of flavours going on, but it does. You see, I start by making some crispy shallots. In the same oil which was used to make the crispy shallots, I sauteed the garlic until aromatic. Coupled with the nuttiness from the sesame oil, smokiness and savouriness of soy sauce and sweet caramelly kecap manis, you get the idea – it’s fragrant and flavourful. Not to mention pea shoots add a touch of lightness and playfulness in the dish.

Pea Shoots Chow Mein

(Feed 2 to 3 people)

What you need:-

  • 450g / 16 ounces fresh Hokkien noodles (I used Fantastic brand)
  • 50g / 2 ounces pea shoots (aka pea sprouts)
  • 1 French shallots
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 dashes of white pepper
  • 3 tbsps kecap manis aka Indonesian sweet sauce – click here to make your own
  • 2-3 tbsps light soy sauce (Kikkoman soy sauce) – to taste
  • 2 tbsps cooking oil
  • 3 – 4 drops sessame oil
  • A kettle of recently boiled water

Let’s get started:-

(1) Chop garlic finely; slice a French shallot finely and pat the sliced onion with a kitchen towel to remove excess moisture. (2) Add 2 tbsps of cooking oil and shallot over medium flame. When the shallot starts to sizzle, lower the flame to low and fry until golden brown as per photo above. Set aside in a bowl to cool. (3) Add chopped garlic and saute over the lowest possible heat settings. In the meantime, in a mixing bowl, add noodles from the packet and pour boiling water over the noodles. Try to loosen the noodles in the hot water using a chopstick or a tong. As soon as the noodles are loosen, drain the water and add into the pan.  (4) Saute the noodles for a minute, then add kecap manis, 2 tbsps of light soy sauce, sesame oil, white pepper and pea shoots. Toss all the ingredients until well mixed. Taste the noodles and add more kecap manis and/or light soy sauce if you like. If the noodles feel a little try, add a tbsp of water. (5) When the pea shoots are wilted slightly and noodles are well heated, the noodles are ready to be served. Sprinkle the fried onions just before serving. To add a little kick, sprinkle some dried chilli flakes.

Re: Step 3 – You have to work quickly for this step to avoid the garlic being burnt. Or you can blanch the noodles before sauteing the garlic.

Homemade “Instant Mi Goreng”

This recipe is a little ironic, isn’t it?

Normally, instant ramen tries to emulate home-cooked dishes but in this instance, I’m trying to emulate my favourite brand of ramen noodles – Indomie Mi Goreng, which delightfully to have earned a pretty good ranking from the Ramen Rater.

Even though this stuff tastes pretty good in my book and have been my go-to meals on my university days, I try to limit my intake to once in a blue moon for obvious reasons. Anyway, before knowing its existance, the inspiration of making this at home actually came from my dad. When he was studying overseas, he used to cook instant noodles.However, instead of using the seasoning sachets, he concocted his  own “sauce” using soy sauce, ketchup, sesame oil and white pepper. I remember when I was little, he made this for me when I was hungry in the middle of the night craving something savoury. (Yes I can be a difficult child sometimes)

So when I was savouring this, it was a walk down to memory lane for me.

Homemade “Instant  Mi Goreng”

What you need (for two packets of 85g/3 oz ramen noodles):-

  • 1 French shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp kecap manis aka Indonesian sweet soy sauce (adjust to taste) – see here if you want to make your own
  • 1 tbsp tomato sauce (ketchup) – you can substitute with Sriracha
  • A dash of white pepper
  • 3 drops of sesame oil
  • A pinch of salt or soy sauce (adjust to taste)
  • 2 packet of instant noodles (discard the enclosed seasoning sachets)
  • Cooking oil
  • A recently boiled hot water to cook the noodles

Let’s get started:

(1) Start with making the kecap manis if you decide to make your own. See here for the recipe and instructions. If not, go straight to step two. (2) Thinly slice a French shallot. Pat the sliced shallot with a paper towel to absorb excess moisture before pan frying. (2) Add 2 tbsps of cooking oil and shallot over medium flame. When the shallot starts to sizzle, lower the flame to low and fry until golden brown as per photo above. Set aside in a bowl to cool. (3) In a bowl, add 1/2 tbsp shallot oil, 3 drops of sesame oil, 1/2 tbsp tomato sauce, kecap manis, white pepper and salt and mix until well combine. Set aside. (4) Cook noodles in boiling water according to packet instructions. Once cooked, toss the noodles with the sauce until well mix. Sprinkle the fried shallots just before serving. *Optional* top with a sunny-side up egg and vegetables of your choice.

Note – just so you know the sauce may be on the sweet side because of the tomato sauce and kecap manis. I love my food a little sweet…so if you like yours on the salty side, add salt or soy sauce to taste.