Sunday, January 31, 2010

Beach Hopping In The Winter

We went driving along the coast line from Massachusetts to New Hampshire to Maine yesterday and decided to do some beach hopping in the winter. Don’t let the sunny blue skies fool you, it was definitely around 20F I think!! =)

The coastline was pretty and we may have gotten some ideas on where to do some R&R next time! Renting a beach front property with a group of friends sounds like an awesome idea!

Anyway, here are 2 of my favorite shots from our romantic coastline drive. I brilliantly brought my DSLR only to forget the battery pack!! Argh!! Thank goodness for my compact camera I happen to have in my bag! First picture was taken at Salisbury Beach, MA. The second picture was taken somewhere in New Hampshire I think! =) Pretty, aren’t they?



Friday, January 29, 2010

Zico (Natural Coconut Water)

Hubby and I first saw this Zico natural coconut water on TV on either the Food Network Channel or the Travel or Discovery Channel. It was a TV program about the next new food product or something like that. What caught our attention was the way the guy on TV (at the trade show) trying to cut open a coconut and let the show attendees taste the difference between a fresh coconut and Zico’s Coconut Water. We were laughing our heads off at the way the guy sort of struggled to open the coconut..Hehe!

Apparently, Zico is all pure coconut water. No preservatives. And it seems Coca Cola has invested some money into the company/product who actually gets their supply of fresh coconut from Amacoco and now owned by Pepsico. Go figure! =) Read article HERE.


Anyways, back to Zico. Hubby and I saw the product at an Indian Grocery Store a week later and decided to give it a dry. We paid about $1.40 or so for it. It came in a tetrapack and reading the back of the package, the only ingredient is only coconut water.

We tried it. It’s not bad. Very mild tasting. I thought I tasted a funny aftertaste. Somehow, it tasted like old coconut water and not those fresh young ones which are way more refreshing. It might be the type of coconut used that give the coconut water a little different taste than what I’m accustomed to. I assume they used Brazilian coconuts since they are after all manufactured in Brazil. I found an entry in Wikipedia which confirms my suspicion: “Coconuts from various parts of the world also differ in taste. For example, Indian coconuts tend to be sweet while Brazilian coconuts have a mild taste and Bangladeshi coconuts (due to the soil composition) have extremely sweet water and flesh with a very slight salty aftertaste similar to the Indian.”

It is indeed nice that there isn’t other preservatives or additives in the drink unlike many of the packaged coconut drink out there. In the mean time, I will still stick to fresh coconut water…at least those packaged in its original shell or husk. The best coconut water are those from the Pandan Coconut which are more commonly available in Malaysia. The water is fragrant, naturally sweet, the flesh is soft and almost gelatinous. It’s just the perfect thirst quencher in a hot weather! Yums!!


Well, get a packet of Zico and let me know what you think of it. =)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tau Yew Bak

Tau Yew Bak (in Chinese/Hokkien) literally translates to Soy Sauce Pork…..Braised Soy Sauce Pork to be exact. This is one comfort food I love to eat over rice back home and often find myself craving for it. Hubby and I both love  the mighty Tau Yew Bak and the last time I made some…we finished the whole pot of it! I’m truly blessed to have a husband who loves to eat as much as I do! And he usually doesn’t complain about the stuff I make! Just feed him, and he’s a happy man! =)

Pork Belly is usually used in making this delicious braised pork dish. There are however many versions and recipes of Tau Yew Bak out there. Some uses less or more soy sauce, some has bean curd, some mushrooms, etc. I like mine with pork (of course), egg and mushrooms. And a DARK Sauce! Serve the Tau Yew Bak over a plate of steamy white rice and I will quietly eat my meal and lick clean the plate!! Here’s my Tau Yew Bak recipe!




  • 1-1/4 Lb Pork Belly Strip
  • 4-5 Chinese Mushrooms, Soaked & Halved
  • 4 Hard Boiled Eggs
  • 4 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce
  • 3 Tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 Tsp 5 Spice Powder
  • White Pepper
  • 2 Star Anise
  • 5 Cloves Garlic, Smashed
  • 1 Pc 2” Cinnamon Stick
  • 2 Tbsp Oil
  • 1-1/2 Tsp Sugar
  • 3 Cups Water


Cut pork belly into 3/4” strips and put them into a bowl. Add to the same bowl 1 tbsp dark soy sauce, 1 tbsp light soy sauce, 1/4 tsp 5 Spice Powder and a dash of white pepper. Let the pork marinade for 20-30 minutes.

Heat oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add cinnamon stick, star anise and remaining of 5 spice powder and fry spice until they are fragrant. Add pork, mushrooms and garlic and let pork sear for about 5 minutes. 

Pour in water, remaining light and dark soy sauce, sugar and a dash of white pepper. Increase heat to high and let mixture come to a boil. Add hard boiled eggs, reduce heat to low and let mixture simmer for about 1 –1/2 hours. Stir mixture occasionally and add a little of water if you need to. The sauce will reduce down and slightly thickened. Serve over a hot plate of white rice. Don’t forget to douse that yummy sauce over your rice too! Serves 3-4.

June’s Comments: I wasn’t able to get hold of pork belly so I used pork butt strips and cut it into 3/4”. Of course pork belly would be ideal, the substitute is equally satisfying.

If you prefer a lighter sauce, reduce the dark soy sauce sauce or add more water. Again, it’s all about personal preference. Also, feel free to add some Fried Tofu to the Tau Yew Bak.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Priya Indian Cuisine @ Lowell, MA

This place was known as Indian Kebab for a year or two. When hubby and I went back for their buffet recently, we noticed the name has been changed to Priya. We’ve enjoyed most of our Indian Buffet lunches at the old place although there’s once or twice where the food was not the best. We saw the new signage when we were walking towards the door and was a bit shocked. Instead of walking away and eating elsewhere, we decided to give the new place a try.


Everything is still the same in the inside (the restaurant is in the basement). The staff also looked the same. I guess it’s just the ownership that has changed. The usual lanky guy who we think was the owner is no longer there.

We went for our usual lunch buffet and hit the buffet line very quickly. There weren’t much people when we first got there (about 12.30 pm) but some tables were filled soon after that. We were happy that the menu still looked almost the same with some new looking dish on the buffet line. The lunch buffet was $11.99 per person and you get to feast on an array of both meat and vegetarian dishes.

This time they had plain basmati rice, Chicken Briyani (Yums!), Chicken Korma, Egg Curry, Paneer Tikka Masala, Vada, Tumeric Cabbage, and lots more. Everything I tried was delicious! =)

Priya Priya1

With the buffet, a freshly made Masala Dosa is also brought up to your table. I’m not sure if you could request more than one serving though. The dosa is cripsy and not overly sour although it is made from overnight rice mixture. The masala filling (potato) could use a little more spice and maybe heat though.

Priya2The service there has always been quite pleasant. The staff are quite friendly and removes empty plates (and refills water) quite timely. If you enjoy Bollywood (and Sharukh Khan) songs and mtv, you’ll enjoy having your meal there! They almost often play Indian songs every time we dine there. 

Feel free to browse Priya’s extensive Indian (and Indo-Chinese) menu HERE. What are you waiting for? Tantalize your tongue and try some Indian food at Priya’s! They are located off Drumhill Road in Lowell/North Chelmsford.

1270 Westford Street
Lowell, MA 01851
(978) 454-7777

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Yao Char Kwai

My brother and Qi had been wanting me to attempt Yao Char Kwai (You Tiao in Mandarin) since Christmas. Or was it Thanksgiving? They have tried it before and did not have a successful result and wanted me to try making it. I’ve been delaying…delaying..delaying and finally decided to give it a try last week.

Yao Char Kwai /You Tiao/Chinese Cruller is basically fried dough commonly eaten during breakfast in the Chinese Community. There are several ways to eat this delightful fried dough; with soybean milk, with congee, with Malaysian black coffee, with Kaya (Coconut Egg Jam) or just plain. It’s all personal preference and sometimes differ from region to region.

In Malaysia, Yao Char Kwai is always freshly available from the street vendors. Here in the US, we can get frozen ones (which are not the greatest) and also fresh ones from Dim Sum places or some Asian grocery stores.

My Yao Char Kwai attempt was a success! The dough expanded, was crisp on the outside, holey, chewy and soft in the inside. I was quite nervous when I started mixing the dough together and trying to get the right dough texture. The next few hours of punching, folding, and resting the dough was antagonizing especially since it was my first time making it. I did not know what to expect and what would be the right texture. I was just keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for the best. After a few hours, the dough became softer and nicer to touch. I decided to let the dough rest overnight per the suggestion of the recipe. It worked out like a charm. The dough was soft, and it stretched when i pulled the dough before dropping it into the hot oil. And best of all it EXPANDED!! And I managed to get the Yao Char Kwai to be uniform in size.

Here’s the recipe from one of my favorite food blog; Lily’s Wai Sek Hong.




  • 3 Cups Bread Flour
  • 7 – 10 Oz Water
  • 1 Tsp Ammonia Bicarbonate
  • 1 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 Tsp Alum
  • 1-1/4 Tsp Salt


Mix the ammonia bicarbonate, baking soda, alum and salt with 7 ozs water until dissolve. Add in to the flour and using the end of a wooden spoon, stir in a circular motion until a dough is form – dough should be sticky, if not, add in more water – dough must stick to fingers.

Cover with cling wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, punch down the edge and all over dough with your knuckles for at least 8 punches, then take the dough from the side of bowl, lift it as high as it can go and fold in the middle - 4 folds will do . Let is rest for 15 – 20 minutes. Repeat the punching , folding and resting for 3 – 4 times more.

Next, oil your fingers and dough, lift it up and overturn it, oil the top so that it will not dry. Wrap tightly with cling wrap, and leave in the fridge for 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove from bowl, divide into 2 portions and fold in to make a long smooth elastic dough. Wrap it back with greased cling wrap. Then put in a Ziploc bag and leave in the fridge for 3 – 4 hours. Leaving in the fridge, well wrapped, overnight is better – the dough is easier to handle and the result is lighter.

Heat a large wok with oil half full. After 3 – 4 hrs or overnight, lightly flour the pastry board. Spread dough into a flat long 2 inch wide and 1/4 inch thick. Use a rolling pin to aid the spreading. Cut into ½ inch strips. Check oil temperature, it must be more than 350 F to begin frying.

Using a bamboo skewer, dip in water and dap very little in the middle of a strip of dough. Top with another strip and using a dry bamboo skewer or a chopstick, press down horizontally in the middle of the two strips to adhere. Pull and stretch (until it resist) the pressed strips until as long as possible, and put the stretched strip in the hot oil. When the dough floats to the top, use a pair of chopsticks and turn the dough. Keep on turning until it has finished expanding. Fry until slightly brown. Remove from oil and drain excess oil. Repeat with the rest of the strips until all are done.


June’s Comments: When you mix the Ammonia Bicarbonate, Alum and Baking Soda with water, be sure not to sniff the mixture…you don’t want the strong intrusive smell of Ammonia up your nostril!

I only made half the portion and ended up with over 20 pcs of 3” Yao Char Kwai. I wasn’t sure how much the dough will expand, hence I decided to make mini ones. I did not use a whole load of oil to fry the dough. I filled up my frying pan with slightly less than 1 inch of oil and was still able to fry the Yao Chat Kwai without any trouble. I rest the freshly fried Yao Char Kwai on a cake rack for the excess oil to drain. I like that the Yao Char Kwai was not as oily as the store bought ones!

It was a great Saturday morning breakfast for Hubby and I. We ate our Yao Char Kwai with some Malaysian Black Coffee and also some homemade Kaya. Yums!!!

YaoCharKwai2 YaoCharKwai3

Monday, January 25, 2010

Christina’s Ice Cream @ Cambridge, MA


It has been a long time since I visited my favorite ice cream parlor. Christina’s Ice Cream offers about 40 delicious homemade ice cream flavors everyday. You could get the usual boring flavors like Vanilla and Strawberry or go for tantalizing (and sometimes exotic) flavors like Burnt Sugar, Khulfti, Coffee Oreo, Chai Spice, etc. They also offer seasonal flavors through out the year and have an array of frozen yogurt, sorbet, smoothie and of course sundaes.


During the summer, the lines can be quite long. There are some seats inside the ice cream parlor for you to enjoy your frozen treats. Once you get there, hunt down a flavors you like or get a sample for tasting and choose from 3 different sizes (small, medium or large) and if you want it in a cone or a cup. Of course you could order what ever you fancy that night. Pay for the ice cream at the end of the line. We usually have have trouble choosing the flavors. It’s just too many to choose from!!

A few weekends ago, hubby and I went there for a after dinner (and Dessert #2) treat after dining at our favorite Brazilian restaurant; Muqueca. Christina’s Ice Cream was dessert #2 that night and we decided to order a medium ice cream to share. I picked Mango, hubby picked Pistachio. We sat in the store which was quite empty (since it was almost 10pm) to enjoy our frozen treat. I forgot how much the ice cream cost us….it should be less than $4.

The Mango ice cream was heavenly. It was rich, creamy, smooth and you can definitely taste the hint of Mango. It would be yummier if there were chunks of mango to chew on. =) On the other hand, the Pistachio ice cream was just ok. It was also creamy, rich and smooth (with chunks of pistachio) but I think they used Almond flavoring in the ice cream. I’m pretty sure it tasted like Almond Extract of which I’m not a big fan of. If it weren’t for the Pistachio nuts in the ice cream, I would have thought I was eating an Almond ice cream.

Christinas3 Head over to Christina’s whenever you’re in the Inman Square/Cambridge Area during hot summer days or whenever you have a ice cream craving! Do bring cash (no credit card accepted) if you decide to stop by for a frozen delight.

1255 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02139-1338
(617) 492-7021

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Let The Baking Begin!

Chinese New Year is just around the corner, to be exact it is 3 weeks from now. This year, CNY will also fall on the same day as Valentine’s Day! What a coincidence! And hubby and I have are going to be skiing in Vermont that weekend! Hotel’s been booked! We’re spending the weekend there with friends. If only we could have some hot pot in the snowy mountain!!!

Anyway, I’ve complied my baking list and have started stocking up my pantry. So, I should probably start the baking soon! Here’re what I have in mind to keep my kitchen busy!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Muqueca Brazilian Restaurant @ Cambridge, MA


Muqueca is another of my favorite seafood place serving Brazilian Seafood Stew. Whenever Brazilian food is brought up, those glorious Brazilian BBQ buffet meat spread is the first thing most of our friends would think of. This is not your typical Brazilian food filled with endless skewers of BBQ meat; this is heaven without being overwhelming! =) Muqueca offers an authentic range of dishes from the region of Espirito Santo which is near the coastline, hence the abundant seafood. =)

If a friend had not introduced us to this restaurant, we would probably never thought about dining in there. We pass by the restaurant quite often; especially when we’re in the Cambridge area. The exterior of the restaurant looked colorful and a tad eccentric…whimsical in a way that would kept us away if we have not known about the various delicious Brazilian seafood stews the kitchen serves up.

The last time we dined there, I think we waited for more than 1 hour. It might have been closer to 2 hours. You see, getting a table for 8 without a reservation and having some friends who arrived late was a mighty task. This time around, it was a dinner date with just the husband. It’s been probably a year since we last ate there and we were determined to get our hunger pangs satisfied by hook or by crook..and no matter how long it took us to indulge ourselves in some yummy stew.

We arrived there and was lucky to find parking about a block away. Street parking is tough especially during weekend nights. The wait staff told us it would be about a 15 minutes wait for a table which was fine by us (since we’re really craving for their food) and there were 2-3 parties waiting for tables outside the premise too. The restaurant is tiny and sits maybe 30 at the max, I think. We were finally seated after a 30 minutes wait outside the cold New England winter…thank goodness that night was mild! I don’t blame the wait staff for her slight underestimation of the wait time…the patrons just dwelled a little too long! =)

We sort of knew what we wanted right away. Since both of us were quite starving, we decided to order an appetizer to share. We ordered the Brazilian Crab Cake (Bottom) @ $6.95 to share. That came out in about 10 minutes right after we placed the order. Unlike the regular American (Maryland Crabcake), it came stuffed in a crab shell resin, which for one second I mistook for the real crab shell. It had some baked cheese on the top and was mushy in the inside. Mushy but still good. The first thing that hit us was the taste of crab (of course), onion and then cilantro. Lots of onion actually, which we didn’t mind. The crab meat was quite finely shredded and although I would really like lumps of crabmeat, it was still good. Definitely different from the ones I’m more familiar with… We enjoyed it to the very last bit nevertheless.

Muqueca1 Muqueca2

Our entree came about 5-10 minutes after we were done with our appetizer dish. Hubby ordered Mariscada (Shrimp, crabmeat, mussels & squid with cilantro, tomato, onion & coconut milk. Served with rice, farofa & plantain moqueca) @ $18.95 (Bottom Left).  The stew was light, slightly coconuty, slight sweet and had a slight shrimpy taste. Seafood were surely fresh, though the calamri rings and the mussels would be a tad bigger. =) The dish came with a seasoned rice which I really enjoyed. The toaste Farofa accompanied well with the rice and the sauce. Plantian Moqueca was also a nice side dish.

I ordered their Signature Dish of Shrimp Moqueca ( Brazilian Stew with Shrimp, Tomatoes, Onions, Cilantro and other spices) @ $14.95 (Bottom Right). Moqueca according to Wikipedia, is a traditional Brazilian stew with fish, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, garlic and other ingredients, cooked without water. There were about 10 succulent shrimp in there in a delicious broth of tomato and onion. No coconut milk in dish dish, unlike the Mariscada. This too came with a very fragrant rice. Hubby and I wondered if it would be awkward if we asked for rice refills (like in Chinese restaurants)! Don’t worry, we refrained from embarrassing ourselves that night!

Muqueca3 Muqueca4

Oh yeah, if you would have notice by now, the dishes came in a black claypot serving dish looking thing. According to Wikipedia, “These pots are made with black clay and mangrove tree sap. After being shaped and fired, sap is applied a few times. This blackens the clay and makes it water resistant. It must be seasoned with oil a couple of times before use.”

We decided to order a “pre-cursor” dessert before we head to our my favorite ice cream parlor in town. We skimmed thru the menu and decided to go with a Brazilian cake to share…only to be told that they have stopped selling that particular item for almost a year now…. It would have been nice to reprint that piece of dessert menu and take out whatever they no longer carry…rather than have a patron like me to be a little disappointed…Right? =P. We settled with choice #2; Passion Fruit Mousse @ $3. It was the best tasting mousse we’ve ever tasted. We were quite skeptical when we saw the word mousse, coz we never quite enjoyed it in the past. Passion Fruit just sounded to good to be passed on that we held our breaths, sucked it in and waited for the dessert to arrive. It was definitely a great choice. The mousse was nothing we’ve ever had. It was so exotic, so rich, so creamy, that it reminded me of crème brulee actually.

Muqueca5 Muqueca6

We paid for our dinner soon after that as they were still patrons waiting patiently outside for a table and made our way to destination #2, for some yummy homemade ice cream.

service was overall pretty good and attentive. The staff were quite friendly and patient to those who are new to the restaurant/cuisine. Oh yeah, I did like how the waitress sort of nodded in agreement with our choices that night. We must have appeared we know their real deal!! We did not ask questions, just ordered right away when she appeared table side. Next time, I’m gonna gather my guts and order the plantain lasagna for a change!

Parking might be a little pain in the neck, but we’ve always been lucky to find something after a few rounds of driving around. =). Let me warn you again that the place is small and getting a table for more than 6 is a chore unless you arrive there early or very late I guess! Oh yeah, they do not have a liquor license, (and I’m not sure if you can BYOB) but feel free to indulge in their range of fresh fruit smoothie!

What are you waiting for? Head over for some delectable Brazilian Seafood Stew today! Check out their website HERE and their menu HERE. Here’s their location:

1093 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02139-1411
(617) 354-3296

Friday, January 22, 2010

Delimas Curry Laksa (Curry Mee)


I forgot if I bought this packet of Delimas Curry Laksa paste from an online merchant or from a retail store in Flushing, NY. I appreciate the availability of such product overseas and definitely welcome the convenience of being able to prepare a Malaysian dish quickly at home. It surely saves precious time from searching for a reliable recipe to scouting all the exotic ingredients needed to prepare the the dish and in this case the fragrant curry broth.

Curry Laksa or more commonly known as Curry Mee to the folks in Penang, Malaysia is a spicy noodle soup where yellow noodles and/or thin vermicelli rice noodles are used. The soup is a watery yet fragrant coconut curry broth. You will find shrimp, chicken, dried tofu, cockles, coagulated pig’s blood and mint leaves in a bowl of Curry Mee.

Hubby is quite a fan of Curry Mee, while I almost never really had one. The sigh of blanched cockles and coagulated pig’s blood just steer me away from ordering one. I guess I could always ask the cook not to put those in my bowl of Curry Mee!

Anyway, preparing the Curry Mee broth from the Delimas Curry Laksa paste was easy. Just add a can of coconut milk, let it boil for a few minutes and you get the broth! And then, all I needed to do was to poach some chicken meat, boil some eggs, blanched some bean sprouts, boil and peel some shrimp and cut up some dried tofu.

Dinner was ready in 30 minutes or less. The instruction on the back of the package says it serves 6 people. I think it only serves about 4. I thought it was good….but it’s really hard for me to judge this as I almost never really had it before. Hubby thought something might be missing but said it was pretty good overall. Hubby actually loved it so much, he couldn’t get enough of it and had 2 helpings! We were both very much satiated! Hubby even brought it to work for lunch. This was the first as he usually doesn’t like to bring soupy stuff to work. =) I guess that proves that the noodle soup gained his approval! =) 

CurryMee1 Next time, I would need to have a bowl of Curry Mee when I go back home or try one at the Malaysian Restaurant in town. This would give me a better chance to judge the instant paste and see how good it is. =)

I got the instant paste for about $3 I think. I was not able to find this brand online but feel free to check out another brand; Tean’s  Curry Mee.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ragu Ala Bolognese

I’ve never really ordered any pasta with Bolognese sauce. My earliest and probably my only memory of having a plate of Pasta Bolognese was when I was 11-12. I later found out that it was made from ground beef. I never consume beef back then and since then, I rarely order it unless they use chicken or pork instead of beef.

Bolognese is an Italian meat sauce which originates from the region of Bologna, Italy…..hence the name Bolognese. I had wanted some Pasta Bolognese after looking a picture my friend took in Rome, where she claimed she had the best Pasta Bolognese. After seeing that picture, I couldn’t keep my mind of the Bolognese sauce and did some search for recipes and ideas. I soon found out that the famous Bolognese sauce is not just tomato and meat. It has a list of ingredients that give the sauce an extra depth of flavors. Chopped carrots, chopped celery and cream were some of those surprising ingredients.

Most if not all the recipes I’ve seen uses ground beef, ground veal, ground pork and/or sausages. I decided to make my own Pork Bolognese. =) The sauce came up delicious. I paired it with some linguine the first night. The second day, I paired it with some cheese filled raviolis. I must say Linguine Bolognese tasted much better!! Here’s the recipe.




  • 3/4 Lb Ground Pork
  • 1/4 Cup Finely Diced Carrot (About 1/2 Medium Carrot)
  • 1/3 Cup Finely Diced Celery (About 1 Celery Rib)
  • 1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Onion (About 1/2 Medium Onion)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
  • 2 Slices Bacon, Finely Chopped
  • 3 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 2 Cup Crushed Tomato (Canned)
  • 1/2 Cup Chicken Stock
  • 1/4 Cup + 2 Tbsp Dry White Wine
  • 1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar (*Optional)
  • 1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1/4 Tsp Parsley Flake
  • 1/2 Tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/4 Grated Parmesan (*Optional)
  • 1 Box Pasta (1 lb Box)


In a pot, heat butter and olive oil over medium high heat. Once the oil mixture is hot, add bay leaf, carrots, celery and onion. Stir fry mixture until onion is soft. Add bacon and stir fry until bacon is slightly browned. Add ground pork and garlic. Break ground pork unto pieces while stir frying it and browning it. The more brown you get on the pork, the more fragrant it is.

Then add white wine into the meat mixture and cook until wine has evaporated. Then add tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, red wine vinegar, chicken stock, sugar, parsley flake and oregano. Stir mixture well. Season with salt and pepper and let mixture simmer for 1hour to 1-1/2 hour over medium low heat. Remember to stir sauce occasionally.

Boil 1 x 1lb box of Spaghetti or your choice of pasta in seasoned water (oil + salt) until al-dente. Scoop some pasta onto a plate and pout sauce over. Sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese over the pasta. Serve immediately. This should serve about 4-5 people.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Revisited: New China Pearl Restaurant @ Woburn, MA

I’ve written in the past about New China Pearl Restaurant in Woburn, MA and decided to do another again. This time a little more detailed. =) New China Pearl still remains our favorite dim sum place and we often find ourselves indulging in some delicious dim sum there on the weekends.


Last weekend, we were there at about 1pm. This was probably one of the latest time we’ve had dim sum and this turned out to be one of our longest wait! Our regular dim sum time is about 11.30am. I forgot how long we wait for a seat; perhaps about 15 minutes? Parking were also not available, and we ended up parked at the nearby mall parking lot and walking over.

You;ll find ladies pushing carts filled with an array of yummy dim sums from steamed ones to those good fried stuff. All you need to do is pick the ones that you fancy and the ladies will give you a stamp which corresponds with the price of the item you picked on the “order card”. There are 3 basic price levels; Small @ $2.60; Medium @ $2.90; Large @ $3.70. There are also special order items which are priced higher.

Here’s what we ordered (which are usually our must haves during our visits) between the 2 of us:

1) Lo Pak Kou (Pan Fried Radish Cake) @ $2.90. Shredded radish mixed with rice flour batter, steamed then pan fried before serving and served with some HoiSin Sauce. This was good, but a bit cold. It was the last one on the push cart. In some dim sum restaurants, this dish is pan fried right in front of you. We like it when it’s hot and fresh off the griddle.

2) Har Kow (Shrimp Dumpling) @ $3.70. Large delicious shrimp wrapped in a thin almost translucent wrapper. At staple at dim sum restaurants. The wrapper is made from wheat and tapioca starch. We love this. The dumplings are nice, large and mouthwatering. This is one of the best Har Kow we’ve eaten.

3) Har Queen (Shrimp Spring Roll) @ $2.90. Chopped shrimp wrapped in spring roll wrapper, then deep fried. Oh yeah…we love shrimp..hence you’ll see many shrimp items on our table! =) Crispy on the outside and delicious fresh shrimp filling in the inside.

4) Shrimp Cheong Fun (Shrimp Rice Noodle Roll) @ $2.90. Steamed Rice Noodle filled with succulent shrimp and doused with sweet soy sauce. They will only drizzle the sauce upon ordering. There are many types of rice noodle roll fillings available; BBQ pork, minced beef and even fried dough.

5) Shu Mai (Pork Dumpling) @ $2.90. Steamed pork and Chinese mushroom dumpling topped with roe. This is another staple at dim sum restaurants. I like the Shu Mai here as the pork used are mostly lean. I’ve been to places where the mixed in large pieces of fat which tasted so disgusting. They also have a seafood shu mai; shrimp and perhaps fish which is equally delicious.

6) Tan Tart (Egg Tart) @ $2.60. Egg custard baked in a flaky crust. This is a very popular dessert in dim sum restaurants. I love egg tart and will order this every time without fail. The egg custard is sweet, smooth and delicate. The puff pastry crust, oh-so-buttery and flaky! I’m drooling jsut writing about it right now.


7) Mango Pudding @ $2.60. Gelatinous mango flavored pudding with bits of mango flesh. We don’t order this that often but since we both love mangoes..we ordered it this time. The pudding is creamy, milky, smooth and jiggles like Jello! =). You can surely taste the mango and tiny chunks of mango flesh in between bites. Another yummy dessert!


What are you waiting for? Head over to New China Pearl @ Woburn, MA for some delicious dim sum. If you prefer to save other Chinese food, check out their kitchen menu HERE. We’ve tried their regular Chinese food; cooked upon order. It was also pretty good! My in-laws enjoyed having dinner there! Here’s their location:

288 Mishawum Rd
Woburn, MA 01801
(781) 932-0031

Oh yeah, they are also on Facebook. =)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Easy Raspberry Trifle (For One)

I’m not a big fan or eating fresh raspberries. I often only buy it for dessert purposes. I have some fresh raspberries staring right back at me in my fridge and was thinking of a quick, easy dessert to make with it. I did not want to let those berries go bad and throw them out. They were not cheap! Those babies cost me $3.50 for a small little container (6oz)!

Working with what I have, I decided to built a raspberry trifle! I have cake, I have cream, I have berries! Perfect! Here’s the recipe. I like the refreshing punch from the mint leaves and lime juice in the raspberry sauce. I composed the trifle in a martini glass coz I think desserts look pretty in it! =)




  • 1 Standard Vanilla Cupcake, Cubed (About 1 Cup) *
  • 2-3 Oz Raspberries
  • 2 Tbsp Sugar
  • 2 –1/2 Tsp Lime Juice
  • 2 Mint Leaves, Plus more for decoration
  • 2/3 Cup Cool Whip (or a little less)
  • 1 Martini Glass

*  Pound cake would work too.


Thinly sliced mint leaves and add them into a bowl. Add all but one (reserve for decoration) raspberry, sugar and lime juice into the bowl with the mint leaves. Mash the raspberries with the back of your fork.

Scoop about 1 tbsp of cool whip and place it in the martini glass. Add about 1 tsp of raspberry mixture. Layer with a little less than 1/2 cup of the cake. Pour about 3 tsp of the raspberry mixture onto the cake. Make sure each piece of cake gets some raspberry mixture. Spread about 1/2 of the remaining cool whip evenly on top of the cake and raspberry mixture. Repeat with layer once with remaining ingredients. Top of with the reserved raspberry and some mint leaves as decoration. Serve immediately. This would serve one or two. =)


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie is one of my favorite western comfort food. I’ve always loved chicken pot pie as a kid and I still love it now! I just adore the combination of a flaky crust and the creamy filling! These days, when I’m not making my own chicken pot pie, I would head to either KFC or Boston Market for a yummilious chicken pot pie.

Here’s my version of chicken pot pie. Hubby and I can REALLY eat. Between the 2 of us, we happily clean the whole dish of chicken pot pie over dinner!




  • 2 Cups Chopped Roasted Chicken Breast
  • 2 Cups Boiled, Diced (3/4”) Potatoes **
  • 1 Cup Frozen Sliced Carrots
  • 1 Cup Frozen Peas
  • 1 Chopped Chopped Onion (1 Medium Onion)
  • 2 Clove Garlic, Minced
  • 3 Tbsp Butter, Divided
  • 1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 Cup Chicken Stock
  • 1 Tbsp Flour
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 Sheet Puff Pastry, Thawed
  • 1 Egg

** I use Yukon Gold Potatoes


Preheat oven to 400F. Over medium high heat, melt 2 tbsp of butter in a pot. Add minced garlic, chopped onion and sauté until onion is translucent and soft. Stir in chopped chicken, carrots, peas, potatoes, onion powder and garlic powder. Sauté mixture for about 2-3 minutes. Add chicken stock and heavy cream. Let mixture come to a boil, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix 1 tbsp butter (softened) and 1 tbsp flour until well combined. Add the flour mixture into the pan, stir until dissolved and cook until mixture thickened.

Pour mixture into a oven safe baking dish. Cover with puff pastry (make sure puff pastry is slightly large than the dish) and press the puff pastry to the edge of the dish to seal it. Trim excess puff pastry and use cookies cutters to cut the remnants and use them to decorate the pie. Make a few small slits on the pastry. Beat an egg, and brush pastry with egg wash.

Place dish on baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Let pot pie cool for about 5 minutes before serving. This will serve 2-3 people.

June’s Comments: If you don’t have roasted chicken, feel free to use any cooked chicken. I just think roasted chicken would taste a little better! I don’t like to line the dish with any crust/pastry as I don’t like soggy crust. I love peas, hence I added about 1 cup of peas. Reduce to 1/2 cup of peas if you don’t want as much!


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Tasca Tapas Restaurant @ Brighton, MA

We picked Tapas to celebrate Rob’s birthday and decided to try this place call Tasca Tapas Restaurant in Brighton, MA. We made a reservation to dine at 5pm; which we realized upon arrival  that reservation wasn’t quite needed since the place was quite empty. It took a while before somebody came to seat us; the staff were apparently still busy setting the place up for dinner. It was definitely CHILLY inside!

Tasca Tasca1

A basket of quite burnt (but still delicious) bread was brought to the table. It came with a little container of green mush later identified as mashed green peas. The mashed green peas were definitely a refreshing change to butter or olive oil. While it was quite bland, all of us enjoyed it.

We ordered a pitcher of Sangria @ $18.00 which serves 5 people perfectly. One glass each, though! The Sangria was pretty good. Surprisingly, we did not order a second pitcher!

 Tasca3 Tasca2

Overall, we did not order as much as I anticipated. I wonder if it was coz we were not that hungry or was the portions THAT big that it filled us up? All of us picked 2 dishes per person.  Here’re some of the Tapas we ordered. Some of my pictures came out blur. =(

1) Atún salteado @ $6.95 (Pan seared yellow-fin tuna over a mixed bean ragout in a saffron Dijon aioli) (Bottom Left). It was a pricey plate of fresh melt in your mouth fish. Perhaps the saffron in the bean raqout jacked up the price of the fish. I think we could get more fish elsewhere for the price we paid. This is after all Ahi-Tuna. I did enjoy the bean ragout which was nice and refreshing.

2) Confít de pato @ $6.75 (Fall off the bone succulent roasted duck leg served over braised red cabbage and apples) (Bottom Right). Now that I read the description, this duck confit didn’t quite fall of the bone! It was just ok, still quite moist but not the best I’ve had. It actually looked deep fried to me. The mysterious sauce drizzled on top of the duck was a little funky.

Tasca4 Tasca5

3) Patatas bravas @ $4.50 (Cubed fried potatoes in a spicy tomato sauce topped with garlic aioli) (Bottom Left). I knew right off I needed to order this when I saw it on the menu. It was sheer disappointment. It was nothing like those I had in Barcelona. The potatoes were a little on the soggy and somehow tastes a bit queer. Not sure if it was the spicy tomato sauce. I regretted ordering this.

4) Pisto manchego @ $5.95 (Roasted Mediterranean vegetables served on garbanzo pesto toasted flatbread) (Bottom Right). This was just ok. I could hardly identify the roasted vegetables; they looked all the same. Perhaps there were some zucchini and eggplant. I think Seyda and I agreed that we couldn’t really taste the garbanzo pesto.

Tasca6 Tasca7

5) Caracoles Escargots @ $6.95 (Escargo baked in puff pastry with herb butter over a roasted garlic and sambuca sauce) (Bottom Left). Now, that I see the description for the escargot and compared with the picture and my memory; the puff pastry seemed missing. This was the only escargot dish on their menu. Hubby loves escargot and yes, he’s the one who ordered this. I did not try this oil butter soaked escargot. I prefer my escargot a little hidden, be it under layers of cheese or yes the missing puff pastry.

6) Calamares Fritos @ $6.95 (Fried calamari with salsa Andalucia) (Bottom Right; Right Corner). This was the best dish of the night! Plenty of perfectly fried, fresh springy goodness. The portion were quite big too, surprisingly. The only downside was they hid the sauce under the calamari. You sort of have to dig thru the calamari to find the delicious and slightly spicy (I think) sauce. I wish we saw the sauce earlier; it would have been better to dip the calamari in them!!

7) Albóndigas @ $4.95 (Homemade tenderloin meatballs in green peppercorn sauce) (Bottom Right, Left Corner). I did not try this coz it was beef. Hence, I can’t comment on I don’t know what the rest thought of it.

Tasca8 Tasca9

Here are a few others that we ordered and not pictured.

8) Empanadillas de queso de cabra @ $5.95 (Herbed goat cheese empanadas served on a roasted red pepper relish). The empanadas were light and crunchy. Too bad I loathe goat cheese, hence I did not enjoy this dish at all! I can’t stand the taste (or smell) of goat cheese but I did take a bite of the empanadas and still did not like the cheese filling. I think the others said it was pretty good.

9) Asado de cerdo  @ $5.95 (Char grilled pork loin over a rosemary infused white bean ragout with braised mushrooms). For some reason, I don’t know why I did not try this dish. I remember it looked pretty good from far.

10) Gambas al ajillo @ $7.50 (Sizzling shrimp in garlic with chili pepper). I can’t believe I forgot to take pictures of this shrimp dish. Whilst it’s good and plenty, the shrimp were really tiny! It would have tasted much better if they use large succulent shrimp (quality instead of quantity) to cook it in a pot of buttery garlicky goodness. Can’t really taste the chilly pepper though.

Tasca10 Tasca11

There is live music; a guy strumming his guitar in the dining room. In the summer, they supposedly have Flamenco performances. We enjoyed Flamenco performance while in Barcelona, Spain…perhaps we’ll make a trip to the restaurant in the summer for some Sangria and Flamenco.

Overall, I enjoyed the company more than the food. Can you believe they don’t serve Churros? And the waiter has not even heard of Churros!!! Oh yeah, the place did warm up a little..but I still needed my Pashmina to cover my freezing arms… And there were a little more people by the time we left.

I’ve only been to 2 Tapas restaurant in the Boston area and right now my vote still goes to Dali’s @ Somerville. I think Dali feels a little more authentic even though their prices are a little higher. Read my review on Dali HERE. I don’t know why the reviews on Tasca was so great (5/5 Stars); I don’t think I’ll give them 5 stars. Nevertheless, their prices were reasonable for those scouting for an affordable meal.

Check out Tasca’s website HERE and their menu HERE. Check them out in Brighton during dinner hours (yes, they’re only open for dinner) :

1612 Commonwealth Avenue
Brighton, MA 02135
(617) 730-8002

PS: Parking is quite limited there. There’s only street parking and you do need to watch where you park!

Friday, January 15, 2010

FREE Taco From Taco Bell

Here’s another opportunity to redeem some FREE food! Again, I’m not affiliated with Taco Bell in anyway, just passing around a free yummy opportunity! =)

Taco Bell is giving away coupons for a Taco Fresco, their latest promotion for their Drive-Thru Diet. Coupon is limit to one per person and expires 7 days from time of download or until 1 million FREE Taco coupons are redeemed, whichever occurs first. Hurry, first come first served!

Check out their range of Drive Thru Diet menu HERE.


Bacon Enoki

I made some Bacon Enoki Wrap for New Year’s Eve dinner and got my inspiration from the western Bacon Wrapped Scallops and the Asian Beef Enoki Wrap. So, I came out with this East Meets West easy-to-make appetizer! It’s great finger food and does not require much time preparing it! =)

For those of you who’s not familiar or seen Enoki Mushrooms…these mushrooms are off white, long, thin and are very often used in Asian cuisine. You can get them fresh (packaged in a bundle) or canned. It is probably easier to get them at Asian grocery stores, but do check out the refrigerated sections where they sell mushrooms at your local grocery store for the fresh ones or the Asian Food aisle for the canned ones. Specialty Grocery Stores like Whole Foods where they carry a variety of exotic mushrooms would most likely have them!

 EnokiMushrooms-1 EnokiMushrooms

Next time you have a party, make this no fuss appetizers for your guests! =)




  • 1 Package Enoki Mushrooms (About 7-8 Oz)
  • 9-10 Thin Strips Bacon
  • 1 Sprig Green Onion, Chopped (Optional)
  • Black Pepper


Preheat oven to 400F and line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut bacon strips into halves. Quickly rinse mushrooms and cut off about 1 inch from the ends. Separate enoki mushrooms into 18-20 smaller bundles. You will want a bundle of enoki mushroom on a half strip of bacon!

Take a tiny bundle of the enoki mushroom and place it about 1 inch from the end of the cut bacon. Stretch the bacon slightly as you roll and wrap the enoki mushrooms. Place the bacon seam side down on baking pan (lined with aluminum foil). Sprinkle with some black pepper and bake bacon enoki rolls for about 15 minutes or until bacon is slightly golden brown. Transfer to serving platter, sprinkle with chopped green onions and serve warm (or at room temperature).

June’s Comments: Feel free to make bigger enoki bundle if you like! =) Also, feel free to add slices of red pepper or green onion strips to the enoki mushrooms when wrapping them to make them a little more intriguing!

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