Marsala Chicken

Have you ever tried a recipe without having the slightest clue what the end product should taste like?

A while back I tried making gnocchi and did not know what to expect. My initial thoughts were that they were nothing special.. they tasted like pockets of denser than usual mashed potato. But then I had some ready-made gnocchi from the supermarkets and I realised how much better homemade gnocchi was. Since then, for some wierd psychological reason, I’ve developed a taste for homemade gnocchi and make it now and then.

Like gnocchi, I’ve never had marsala chicken before and decided to give it a go as I had some marsala wine left over from the tiramisu recipe. After scouting the internet for recipes, I distilled it down to several key ingredients: marsala wine, mushrooms, chicken stock, sherry if you have it and parsley for garnish.

ImageWhen I first tasted it, I thought it was a bit sweet and there was an underlying taste of chocolate. I’m not sure whether I used the right Marsala wine, or whether types of marsala wine even exist… I actually know nothing about wine…other than that there’s a white and a red one. But when I ate more and more, I found it to be alright. The mushrooms, onions and the thin savoury crust of the pan fried chicken balances out the sweetness of the wine. I may actually try this one again.




  • about 4-5 chicken thigh fillets (most people actually use breast but thigh was fine for me)
  • 2 tbsp flour (bit more if you run out)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Grind of pepper
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 2-3 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp butter + another 1 tbsp for later
  • 6 button mushrooms
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • Half an onion sliced thinly
  • Half cup Marsala wine
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • dash of sherry
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parsley finely chopped


  1. If the chicken fillets are too thick, cover it with cling film and pound it until it is around 1/4 inch thick
  2. Mix flour with oregano, pepper and salt
  3. Coat chicken fillets with flour mixture on both sides and shake off excess
  4. Heat oil and butter in pan on medium to high heat
  5. Evenly place chicken fillets in pan and let cook for around 5-7 min. you can turn the heat down a little if it is starting to burn. If you are using chicken breasts the cooking time would be less. Around 3-4 minutes.
  6. Flip the chicken and cook for another 5-7 min. Just make sure the chicken has developed a nice deep brown crust. Take chicken out when done.
  7. Turn down heat to low-medium and add in extra butter. When melted, place in mushrooms, garlic and onion. Let cook with minimal stirring.
  8. When the mushrooms have browned a bit, add in the marsala wine. If the pan is starting to burn, then add in marsala wine anyways.
  9. Let the initial heat burn off some of the alcohol and then add in the chicken stock, sherry and let simmer for around 2 min. Taste, if it is really sweet, add in some salt and more pepper. Taste again.
  10. Add the chicken fillets back into the pan and let simmer for 8-10 min with the lid covered after 5 min.
  11. Dish out and garnish with chopped parsley.
  12. Serve with rice, mashed potato or pasta.

Green mango salad

Although it looked delicious, my take on Luke Nguyen’s mango salad didn’t go too well. I think it came down to the green mango being too ripe and soft. Because of this, the salad wasn’t very crunchy. For the dressing, it tasted delicious on its own with a bit of sourness but when added to the mango it was way too sour. I also didn’t have most of herbs listed in the recipe.. I think they would have helped balance out the sourness and added the necessary freshness to the salad.

However, it was still something special that I’ve never had before and would try and perfect for next time. Especially as it heats up in Australia, this salad would be a great accompaniment to your bbqs.

For those making it themselves, I would probably get firmer unripe mangoes. I got mine from woolworths lol…. you might have to go to Cabramatta for some good ones. Also pick up some of those herbs listed while you’re there. Hope yours turns out better!


Beijing style pork neck

There’s something about crispy batter soaked in sauce that really satisfies. And I’m not the only one that is attracted to this combination.. the popularity of korean fried chicken in Sydney and the staple buffalo wings in the states is testament to this crisyp, starchy, flavoursome deliciousness.

If you go to any cantonese style restaurant, you will likely come across this dish. They either call it peking/beijing pork chop/strips or ging do gwuk in Chinese. I’m not sure whether the sauce coating the pork is the authentic one from Beijing but it is addictive with a slight tangy-ness and full on umami flavour. Although you can have it at the restaurants, why not try making it at home. In fact most of the ingredients are probably in your pantry right now. Here’s what it looks like


Although I just cut mine into flat chunks you can slice the pork into strips to help it cook faster. If you can be bothered (I could not), some people serve it on top of a bed of deep fried thin rice noodles.


The batter worked out really well this time. I actually ran out of self raising flour, which i normally use, but instead used plain flour with a pinch of baking soda and baking powder. Here’s the recipe



  • Around 500 gm pork neck or loin or any part of pork that won’t be tough if fried for a short time
  • 1 handful + a bit more of plain flour
  • 1 medium not too large but not too small pinch of baking soda and the same amount of baking powder
  • 1 tbsp of oil but you may need a bit more, it really depends… don’t you love how detailed this recipe is
  • Around 1-2 tbsp of water
  • 2-3 tbsp corn flour
  • Oil for frying, enough to reach 1cm of pan/pot

For the sauce

  • 1.5 tbsp of tomato sauce
  • Just a bit less than 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • A dash of chicken powder (knorr brand or similar)/ or you can use half a cup of chicken stock instead
  • Around half a cup of water if you are not using chicken stock
  • A dash of pepper
  • 2 tsp of soy sauce
  • Around half a tbsp of sugar
  • A dash of Shaoxing wine
  • Salt if needed
  • dash of vinegar (can be white vinegar or some chinese brand vinegar if you have it) around 1 tsp
  • 1 tsp of sesame oil


  1. To make the batter, mix the plain flour, baking soda and powder well. Then add in the oil to make a thick paste
  2. Add in water enough to make it into a cake batter like consistency. Not runny but slightly thicker than lava consistency.
  3. Add in sliced pork and make sure every piece is covered
  4. Heat oil in pan/pot on medium-high heat until oil is heated up
  5. Coat each piece of pork in cornflour then slowly place into hot oil. You may need to turn down the heat depending on whether it is frying too fast or things are getting out of hand
  6. Fry for around 4-5 min for each piece turning now and then until you get a deep browning. Really depends on size of the pork. Maybe test one to make sure its cooked through. Don’t cook it until it is too dry though. A little little tinge of pink may be alright
  7. Take out and place on paper towel
  8. To make the sauce, mix all the ingredients and pour into work/pot on low to medium heat
  9. When it comes to the boil, taste and see whether you need to add any vinegar or sugar or salt. Adjust and taste. Adjust and taste
  10. If the sauce is tooo liquidy, then mix a little bit (around 1 tsp) of corn flour and 1 tbsp of water and pour into sauce to thicken it up. Taste again
  11. Once you are satisfied with the flavour then add in the pork and toss, coating each piece.
  12. Serve with rice and enjoy!

Tiramisu (aka coffee) cake

Yay! so I finally finished my exams 🙂 and decided to make a cake.. not to celebrate the end of my study but for my mum’s birthday. There’s actually a lot of birthdays in November, even mine is in November. Sometimes I feel that making and giving food may be a better (and cheaper) present than chipping in 20 dollars, especially if you’re unemployed like me. Actually if you think logically about it, if you were getting paid say 20 dollars an hour in a hypothetical job, then cooking for around 2 hours would mean you gifted 40 dollars to your birthday friend/relative. Just kidding, you cook for them because you care and love them haha

So for my mum’s bday cake, I saw this recipe online for the tiramisu cake and thought it was doable and not too complex. Instead of using their chocolate cake recipe I used this one instead. Unfortunately, for me, the finished product did not look like their beautiful images. Firstly, the chocolate cake didn’t rise as high as I wanted although I did use this technique where you wrap a wet towel around the tin whilst baking to help the cake rise evenly with a flat top. Not sure if that stuffed it up, but I ended up with two cakes that were around 4 cm high.

Secondly, the filling tasted delicious but like the other comments on the page, the consistency was all wrong and was too runny. When I first tried to spread the filling it looked fine and seemed to hold its shape. But as I went to mix other stuff and turned back to the cake, the filling had become puddle of mess leaking everywhere on all sides of the cake and looked more like a sauce. Thankfully, I had some thickened cream and whipped that up and folded it into the ‘sauce’ to give it some volume.. and it kind of worked.

Finally, when I proceeded to decorate the cake I had all these fantastic ideas of tempered chocolate scrolls and cocoa sprinkled onto the cake in the form of roses… but I just gave up. I first tried tempering the chocolate and it seemed to go well until i tried to remove the scrolls from the paper and it just melted in my hands. The rose shaped cocoa also ended up more like clumps of cocoa… In the end to conceal all my mistakes I just haphazardly flung chocolate everywhere… I’ve realised the abstract look is the best solution to resort to when everything falls apart.

Having said all that, the cake actually tasted pretty good. To be honest I’ve only had tiramisu 2 times in my life but this tasted edible and pretty legitimate. Here’s a picture of the finished product!


And here’s a picture of the insides


And here’s a few tips if you want to use this recipe:

  • Add less marsala wine into the filling
  • Whip the filling over the bain marie for a longer time until it is really thick and custard like


Pan fried salmon with black bean sauce

Sometimes a simple dish with one or two elements done ‘perfectly’ is better than one with many mediocre elements.

This salmon dish is one of those simpler dishes where if you get the salmon cooked just right, and the sauce adjusted to the right balance of flavour, you will be very satisfied. The slightly pungent fermented black beans matches really well with the subtle flavours of the salmon. Many people would probably think that a strong sauce would overpower a fish like salmon, but I think it accompanies it really well. Overall, it doesn’t take too much time to cook which is good because I am right in the midst of an exam block :/ but I’ve heard omega 3 really helps memory so that alright then… i think. Anyways, here’s a picture of the salmon

Here’s an innards shot of the pink meat. I realised that the photo above doesn’t look too appetising, looks like a slab of brown something


Hmm the photos really don’t look good, I will have to look into fixing that after my exams



  • 1  fillet of salmon with skin on
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped finely
  • 1-2 cm ginger chopped finely
  • 0.5 tsp of salt
  • Grind of pepper
  • 2 tbsp of oil
  • 2-3 tbsp fermented black beans chopped up roughly
  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • 1 long red chilli
  • Dash of Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tbsp of soy sauce
  • Some sugar
  • Dash of oyster sauce
  • Dash of sesame oil
  • 1 tsp corn flour
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 green onion sliced finely


  1. Season salmon with salt and pepper, add a bit more salt on the skin because it makes it extra crispy
  2. Heat oil in pan on medium to high heat and place salmon in skin first
  3. Fry for around 4 min. You should be able to see the salmon change colour on the side. When you see the colour change up to half way flip the fillet and fry for another 4 minutes.. It really depends on the size of the fillet and the level of heat. You may have to cut it a bit open to see whether it is actually cooked. However keep in mind that seafood continues to cook after you take it off the heat, so if it is just about done, you should take it out.
  4. With the pan still on heat (you can turn it down to low-medium) add the ginger, garlic, chilli and black beans. Fry for a a bit without burning it
  5. Add a dash of shaoxing wine and let that cook off a bit, then add the  stock, soy sauce and oyster sauce and bring to a gentle boil. Taste and see whether you need to add any salt and pepper. You will need to add some sugar. Remember to keep tasting every time you add something. And remember to add things in smaller amounts if you are not confident… you don’t want to ruin your sauce with an overload of salt/sugar.
  6. Once your sauce is to your preferred balance of flavour add a little bit of sesame oil, it really finishes it off nicely
  7. Mix the cornflour and water and add to sauce whilst mixing. Once it has thickened and the sauce has heated up again (not too much) then take off heat.
  8. I presented the salmon skin down because it would be easier to take apart, but if you really want to savour the crispy salmon skin then present it facing up.
  9. Pour the sauce ontop or around the salmon. Trust me you will need the same amount of sauce as in the photo to accompany the salmon and to mop up with your rice that you serve with it.
  10. Add the spring onions on top and serve with rice

Simple spaghetti and poached egg

Having nothing interesting in the pantry is a great way to train up my ability to create delicious meals from everyday ingredients. Especially tonight, I was cooking for one and had no meat or veges in the fridge. However, I did find some spaghetti and garlic which was all I needed for a simple garlic spaghetti with olive oil. It tastes better than it sounds…in fact, lots of Italians enjoy cooking their spaghetti this way. I did have a bit of tomato paste leftover so I used that as well for extra flavor. I also had some eggs in the fridge and decided to poach one to accompany the spaghetti. I love poached eggs but don’t really have them that often mainly because you need really fresh eggs that hold their shape, or else you will end up with egg soup..mmm. However, the mental image of runny egg yolk oozing over a glistening tangle of garlic spaghetti was all I needed to take the risk and poach an egg. Overall, it was delicious! and I didn’t even miss the meat. Here’s a picture of what it looked like


And here’s a picture of that glorious egg yolk.. Admittedly, I wanted to have it runnier but accidentally left it in the pot too long. oops. Proof that I have yet to master the skill of multi-tasking


Lamb chops and an unconventional risotto

Finally, I have a post that is not about seafood.
I had these lovely lamb chops today and was thinking of what to serve it with. I usually have plain boiled rice with everything, which is like oxygen for Asians like me…. but I wanted to have something a bit special. Even though it is summer in Australia and the temperature is like 30 degrees, I decided to make a pumpkin risotto! I didn’t have any arborio  rice either, but who cares.. I used some thai long grain rice instead… talk about a multicultural dish lol. For the lamb chops I went for a moroccan style spice rub, which actually translates to a whole lot of paprika, cumin and coriander powder.

Here’s a picture of the dish.. I am yet to make the pictures look profesh and good… and I know that the liquid pooling at the bottom of the dish looks kind of yuck and insipid, but I promise that it is delicious, its actually the meat juices from the lamb.  Let’s just focus our eyes on that charring instead mmmm




NOTE: start your risotto off first then when its about done, start on your lamb. A degree of multi-tasking is needed


  • 6 lamb cutlets
  • 3/4 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1tsp coriander powder
  • 0.5 tsp chilli powder
  • 0.5 tbsp sugar
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • pepper
  • Drizzle of oil and more for frying
  • A wedge of lemon to use later
  1. Combine everything except the lemon, and rub into the lamb. Let it sit and marinate for at least an hour.
  2. Heat a pan on medium to high heat and pour in some oil and wait until the pan is hot
  3. Carefully place in cutlets one at a time and evenly spaced around pan. If there’s not enough space, don’t force it, you may have to wait and fry off some of the others first.
  4. After frying for around 3 minutes, turn over.. You may have to judge for yourself. I prefer medium-rare (but leaning towards medium). Fry for another 3-4 minutes.
  5. Once its about to be done, squeeze in some lemon juice, covering all the lamb cutlets and take out of pan.


  • 1-2 cups of rice (really depends on how much you want, 1 cup should feed 2 people fine). I used long grain but if you have arborio, go ahead and use that
  • half an onion chopped finely
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped finely
  • 150-200 gram pumpkin (cubed into really small pieces, around 1.5 cm cubed)
  • Sprinkle of sage
  • salt and pepper
  • sugar
  • Oil
  • A sprinkle of mixed herbs such as thyme, rosemary
  • Chicken stock (buy around 2 litres just incase your rice takes a while to cook)
  • Splosh of white wine (optional)
  • half a cup of cooked corn kernels (I just cut some off a cob and boiled it for around 1 minute)
  1. First you need to cook your pumpkin. Heat oil on medium heat on pan/pot (with a lid) and place in pumpkin cubes. Let cook for around 2 minutes.
  2. Add in some salt and pepper and a sprinkle of sage. Mix it abit and turn the heat to low-medium and cover with lid. This will allow the pumpkin to cook faster and steam in their own liquid. Cook for around 8-10 minutes until it is soft and mashable
  3. Mash up the pumpkin and set aside in a bowl
  4. Heat oil on medium heat in a clean pan
  5. Add in onion and garlic and fry for a bit until translucent, then add in a sprinkle of mixed herbs. Mix for a bit and then add the rice.
  6. Stir the rice and let it fry off for a while (~1 min), then add in the white wine and let the alcohol cook off a bit.
  7. Add in a ladle of chicken stock (evenly) and stir the rice a bit. Now is the point of time where you are stuck at the stove until the risotto is done.
  8. When the rice has absorbed the chicken stock, then add in another ladle. When you stir, you are massaging the rice and helping it release a bit of the starch to make it creamy. Don’t mix too vigorously but gently and making sure the rice from the sides are being pushed to the middle and to the bottom where the heat is.
  9. Keep ladling in chicken stock and letting it get absorbed into the rice until done. You will have to try a bit of the risotto to see whether it is to the texture you want. Ideally, you want the rice to just be cooked without any hard or chalky white bit in the centre.
  10. At this step, you want to season lightly with salt and pepper and remember to taste! 
  11. After it is to your desired taste, add in the mashed pumpkin and corn kernels. Stir and make sure the pumpkin has dispersed fully throughout the rice. You want to have that orange tinge. Taste again
  12. Dish out and serve with your lamb. Enjoy!

Prawn again

I had some prawns left over from last night and couldn’t really think of what to make.. but then I decided to experiment and came up with this sweet chilli prawn dish. This was quite an easy recipe as I had most of the ingredients already in my pantry. To add an extra layer of texture, I battered and fried the prawns first before coating it in the tangy sweet chilli sauce mmm.. the texture is actually not unlike that of buffalo wings 😀

Those square things are pieces of fried tofu. They are really good in soaking up all the sweet chilli sauce. I actually didn’t want to add any cucumber pieces, but my mum had some left over and didn’t want to waste it so she scattered them everywhere. However, they do add a bit of crunch and ‘greenness’ to the dish


So here’s the recipe


For frying the prawns

  • 12 prawns deshelled and slit slightly down the back
  • 2-3 tbsp self raising flour
  • 1-2 tbsp oil (i used olive)
  • 1-2 tbsp water
  • pinch pepper
  • 1-1.5 tbsp cornflour
  • 4 tbsp of oil


  • Minced 1 tbsp of garlic and 0.5 tbsp of ginger
  • 1-2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce, I used the amoy brand
  • 3/4 tbsp of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water or chicken stock
  • pinch of salt
  • pepper
  • 1 green onion chopped up
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1-2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp corn flour
  • 1tbsp water


  1. Mix self raising flour with 1-2 tbsp of oil until it is paste-like. Then add in the 1-2 tbsp of water until you get a light batter that is not too viscous but also not too watery.. hmm almost like pancake batter
  2. Add in a pinch of pepper then the prawns mixing them so they all get an even coating.
  3. Add the 1-1.5 tbsp of cornflour and mix lightly. Just make sure there’s no clumps
  4. Heat oil in a pan on medium heat and then add in the prawns. Even though the prawns aren’t deep fried, shallow frying them will suffice to provide a satisfying crispy layer. Turn the prawns regularly until the batter is crisp and the prawns are pinkish white. It took me around 1-2 minutes. Do not overcook!!! take them out once they’re done
  5. If there’s too much oil in the pan, pour some out, we only want around 2 tbsp left
  6. Add in the garlic and ginger to the pan (on medium heat)
  7. Fry for a bit, but don’t burn it
  8. Add in chicken stock and let it come to a boil
  9. Add in sweet chilli sauce, tomato, soy and oyster sauce. Mix them around
  10. Let it come to a gentle simmer/boil again.
  11. Taste and add in salt, sugar, pepper if needed
  12. Mix cornflour with water and pour into sauce whilst mixing
  13. Once it is thickened, add prawns back into sauce and add in green onions as well.
  14. Make sure the prawns are coated in the sauce
  15. Serve and enjoy!

Note: if you want to add tofu pieces, add them whilst making the sauce

Crumbed prawns

Woo more seafood tonight!!

Decided to make crumbed prawns and crispy prawn heads mmmmm.. nose to tail eating, seafood style!

The crumbed prawns were yummy although I couldn’t get the sides of the prawn to brown more. Nevertheless, it tasted delicious with some thousand island dressing I made by mixing mayonnaise, tomato sauce and a bit of chilli powder. Here’s a photo to tantalize your senses 🙂


So the recipe is pretty simple. If you’ve made chicken schnitzels before, you can do this easily. I also added in some parsley for that extra flavour.


500 gm prawns peeled, leaving the tails

Handful of breadcrumbs

Handful of plain flour

1 beaten egg

pinch of salt

pinch of pepper

Around 6-8 leaves of parsley finely chopped

3 tbsp oil


  1. Mix bread crumbs with parsley, salt and pepper
  2. Take a prawn, coat in the flour, remove any excess by shaking it lightly
  3. Immerse into the egg mixture. Make sure it is fully soaked by the egg
  4. Coat in the bread crumb mixture.. We want all that flavour to stick to the prawn!
  5. Repeat for all the prawns placing them evenly on a plate (we don’t want them to be on top of each other or they might stick together
  6. Heat oil in a frying pan on medium heat
  7. Place prawns in one by one. Here’s a tip: because they curl inwards, you want to place the inward side of the prawn into the pan first so that at least it’ll get some browning.
  8. After they’ve been frying away for around 1-2 minutes, flip them. You may want to check them regularly, we don’t want them to burn!
  9. After they’ve browned evenly take them out and place on a paper towel. Yumm
  10. To make the thousand island dressing, mix a squirt of mayonnaise with some tomato sauce and chilli powder. You can squeeze a bit of lemon juice in as well for extra tang.
  11. Enjoy!

Note: you can add finely grated lemon zest into the bread crumb mixture for extra fragrance and flavour

Here’s a picture of the prawn heads I fried off as well. I got the idea from this blog

And they do look like those face huggers from the alien movies!!


Ginger and green onion mud crab

Starting off with something special

We headed off to the fish markets on the weekend to stock up on some seafood and decided to get a live mud crab, which isn’t something I eat regularly. However, I do like it cooked with ginger and green onions like the way they do in Chinese restaurants. I looked around other blogs/sites for a recipe and most of them included chicken stock, green onion and ginger (obviously) in their ingredient list…So I kind of mashed them together to create this recipe. Enjoy Image



1 Mud crab

2 tbsp corn flour

4 tbsp oil

2 cm of ginger sliced

2-3 whole peeled garlic cloves- squash them a bit with the back of the knife

2 green onions- cut into 4-5 cm segments

Splosh of shaoxing wine


1 tbsp Oyster sauce

3/4 cup of chicken stock (best if unsalted)

1 tsp sugar

a pinch of salt to taste

dash of white pepper

Corn flour solution

1 heaped tsp of corn flour

1-2 tbsp water


1. Humanely kill the crab. We followed the rspca guidlines and put it into the freezer for 1hr and then proceeded to cut it up. To take apart the crab, Sydney Fish Markets have put up a really informative video on youtube so go there for more info. Remember to scrub and remove any algae or mud.

2. Pat the crab dry and coat with the 2tbsp of cornflour. This will make sure the sauce sticks to it later for finger licking goodness!

3. Heat the oil in the wok on high heat until it is really hot then carefully slide in the crab pieces

4. Fry for around 2 min, turning the pieces occasionally.

5. Take out of wok and set aside. If there is not enough oil left in the wok add a bit more.

6. Add the ginger and garlic to the wok. Don’t let the ginger or garlic burn, but at the same time let them cook a bit for their aroma and flavour to come out.

7. Add the crab back into the wok, stir it a bit.

8. Add a splosh of shaoxing wine

9. Add in the seasoning, mix it a bit and then put on the wok lid for around 4 minutes to let the crab cook through. You can turn the heat to medium.

10. Open lid and taste, add salt/sugar/ pepper if needed. Also if there is not a lot of liquid left, add a little water or chicken stock (not too much). Taste again.

11. Add in the corn flour solution to thicken the sauce. Do this whilst stirring so it doesn’t clump. Add in the green onion pieces and give it another stir

12. Dish out and enjoy with some rice


Usually this dish is best served with some e-fu noodles, to soak up all the delicious sauce, but if you can’t get it, serve with rice.

Also, make sure when you are chopping up the crab, use the back of your knife to sharply tap the shell on the claws until they crack. Make sure the shell is broken up extensively so it is easier to eat. Don’t forget, because it is torturous having to break that shell yourself when eating.