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Pork Ribs with Chilli Garlic and Lemongrass

I love pork ribs and especially when it is made Vietnamese style.  My favourite is Pork Ribs wtih Chilli Garlic and Lemongrass which is so easy to make.     My mum usually made this for me when I lived at home and now since I moved out it has become a regular dish at mine :).   It's so satisfying with hot jasmine rice on the side and also you can add some Asian vegetables with it like bok choy or even mustard greens topped with light soy sauce.

I used a lot of chill in this dish cause I love my dishes really spicy.  If you are not a chilli fan omit it.  And don't add anymore salt cause the other sauces are pretty salty anyway.

What you will need:

1 kg of pork ribs
1 tbs fish sauce
1 tbs of light brown sugar
2 tbs ketchup manis (sweet soy sauce)
3 cloves of garlic, diced chopped finely
2 stalks of lemon grass, diced and chopped finely
2 chillis (chopped lengthways) or just use 2 tsps of already minced chilli from a jar
glug of oil (any)
coconut juice (clear not the coconut cream/milk) or you can use stock (unsalted)


Cut the pork ribs into sections and put aside
Combine fish sauce, ketchup manis, garlic and lemon grass (which is smashed flat with the outer leaves removed and slice it thinly), sugar, garlic and chilli and mix well to form a syrupy kind of paste.
Then mix the pork ribs with the mix you just made and leave to marinate for at least an hour in the fridge or better over night for deeper flavour.
Heat a wok and add oil.   Add in the marinated pork ribs and fry until brown each side.  Add in the stock or coconut juice and cover for 10 to 15 minutes or until cooked.
Serve with hot rice and vegetables.


Cooking with Kids: Masterchef Scones

I got this recipe off the Australian Master Chef site which was a previous recipe from masterclass from last year's series.  The recipe is originally dates and lemon but I just added sultanas instead of those ingredients.  Every Friday I have little helpers that are more than eager to help me measure, pour, mix, knead and help me eat the finished product!

These were so good!!!

All you need is:

150ml-175ml milk
150ml cream
1 egg
3 cups self-raising flour
2 tbs caster sugar
1 cup chopped, dried dates
Finely grated rind 1 lemon
Cream & jam, to serve

My little master chefs hard at work!


Makes 12
1. Preheat oven 200°C fan forced. Line large flat oven tray with baking paper.

2. Whisk 150ml milk, cream and egg together until well combined. Combine flour, sugar, dates and lemon rind in a large bowl. Add milk mixture and stir gently to a soft dough, adding remaining milk if necessary. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until dough comes together.

3. Press dough out to 2cm-thick. Cut scones from dough and place onto tray flat-side up. Press dough together gently and repeat using the remaining dough. Brush the tops with milk and sprinkle with a little sugar. Bake 12-15 minutes until golden and well risen. Serve hot with jam and cream.

For a video tutorial head to:http://www.masterchef.com.au/date-and-lemon-scones.htm


Pepper Sauce Tofu Puffs with Couscous

This is something I whipped up in a few minutes.  I had left over tofu puffs in the fridge, pepper sauce from the steak (previous entry), some bean sprouts and herbs and was too lazy to make rice so made 5 minute couscous instead.    I thought it would of tasted weird but turned out pretty good!

All I did was cook the couscous in boiling water for 5 minutes until light and fluffy.  Meanwhile, I cut up the puffed tofu into slices and then added it on a hot pan with oil....stir fried it and then added in all those ingredients and voila...a 5 minute meal!  It was very tasty and filling.

I think the point to this post is that you can whip up anything in the fridge even though "you have nothing to eat".   I could of went out to Maccas but decided to make up something with leftovers which became a satisfying meal.


Steak with Pepper Tomato Onion Mushroom Sauce and Couscous and Salad

I love steak and I have it at least once a week usually on the weekend.  I love it done medium rare with a nice peppery tomato mushroom onion sauce on top and couscous and salad on the side.

All you need to serve 2 people:
2 good quality rump steaks
1 cup of couscous
1 cup of water (for couscous)
mixed salad of your choice

for the sauce:
2 onions sliced finely
clove of garlic crushed and chopped
500 grams of mushroom sliced
2 tomatoes chopped/diced 
1 pkt of pepper sauce (any brand)
1- 2 tbs of worcheshire sauce
some red wine - i use a glug or 2..or 3...
1 tbs of butter (depending how glossy you want the sauce to look)

Firstly melt butter into skillet, add in onions and garlic and saute.  Next add in the tomatoes and mushrooms.  Cook til the mushrooms and tomatoes soften.
Add in the pepper sauce, worcheshire, and red wine.  Simmer for 15 minutes and taste.  If the sauce looks too thick for your liking, you can thin it down with some water.  Stir.
Put the skillet aside.

Next oil or butter another skillet and cook your steak to rare/medium or cooked.  Depending how you like your steak.  I like mine just pink in the middle.  Watch your steak otherwise it might end up tasting tough and not tender.

Meanwhile, add boiling water to your couscous into a bowl and cover.  It takes about 5 minutes for the couscous to be light and fluffy.  Add in butter if you want and mix.   Arrange couscous and salad on plate.

Put the steak on the arrange plates and ladle the sauce over and serve immediately!

This is a simple yet healthy dish to make.  You can have hot chips on the side but I like to keep the food a bit healthy hehe.  Remember you don't have to add any butter to any of the ingredients here.  I just like the butter to give it more flavour!


Combination Laksa

Laksa is my favourite spicy noodle soup dish and nothing beats a good soup like this during winter to warm up the body :).  It's a lovely dish that is full of contrasting flavours and the soup is attractive itself!  I usually go to Malaysian restaurants to eat this when I am not in the mood to labour in the kitchen.

In this noodle soup I have used laksa paste bought from my local asian grocery store.   To me it works as well as the paste made from scratch.   And I love very spicy dishes so I added 2 more teaspoons of grinded chilli with seeds to top it off.    For the broth I used chicken stock,  added in cans of coconut milk and ginger slices!   I have also used store bought frozen fish balls, meat balls, quail eggs, tofu puffs to soak up the yummy flavour, sliced carrots, sliced capsicum and chicken drum sticks.  To garnish it off I used coriander leaves, Vietnamese mint, bean sprouts and last and not least fried onion!  It's so delicious!

To make about 8 large bowls of noodle soup you will need:

glug of vegetable oil
1 kg of chicken drumsticks (for the stock and meat)
slices of ginger
3 cans of coconut milk
2 jars of laksa paste (any will do - you can get this at the Asian grocers)
1 red capsicum sliced and halved length ways
2 carrots halved and sliced length ways
1 can of quail eggs
fish balls (cut into halves)
meat balls (cut into slices or halves)
tofu puffs (cut into halves)
juice of lemon or lime

thick egg noodles
rice vermicelli noodles
the chicken from the broth
spring onions
deep fried onions
Vietnamese mint
bean sprouts
coriander leaves


In a large pot, heat oil and add in ginger slices and stir until fragrant.  Next add the chicken and fry until slightly brown.  Add about 2 to 3 litres of water and cover.  Put on medium high and cook til chicken is cooked.  Take the chicken out and set aside.   Add in coconut milk and the jars of laksa paste.   Add in chilli paste to give it a nice kick!  Optional of course.   Simmer for about 15 minutes on medium. 

Next add in the sliced capsicum, carrots, fish balls, meat balls, tofu puffs, lemon juice and lastly add in the prawns and quail eggs.

While the broth is simmering, blanch white and egg noodles in boiling water and transfer half each into large noodle soup bowls.  Then pour the broth over prepared noodle bowls and top with chicken drum sticks (2 or more if you want).  Garnish the bowls with bean sprouts, coriander, mint and deep fried onion.  Squeeze lemon or lime juice and serve immediately!


Cooking with Kids: Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Today the girls and I made chocolate chip oatmeal cookies!  The cookie photo on top is by one of the girl's....she did go over board with pushing the chocolate chips in didn't she?  I am a big fan of oatmeal cookies because of it's crispy texture on the outside and the chewiness on the inside.  However, I don't like how much butter goes into it but that's why it tastes so nice! lol.

 Little fingers hard at work!

What will you need:
  • 250grams of softened butter, cubed
  • 1 cup of brown sugar (I prefer light)
  • 1/2 cup of white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp of vanilla essence
  • 1.5 cups of plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 3 cups of oats (rolled or quick oats)
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips
  • Optional:  for more chocolate I just cut up 1/2 cup of a chocolate block in little pieces.


  • Firstly preheat your oven at 170 C degrees
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter and both sugars until smooth
  • Then gradually beat the eggs one at a time and then add in vanilla
  • Add all the dry ingredients and combine til well blended
  • Mix in the chocolate chips and chocolate pieces until well combined
  • On a lined baking sheet tray, drop spoonfuls and decorate with a chocolate chip on top (if you want).
  • Bake for 12 to 15 minutes
  • Cool on rack and enjoy!

On a different note:

 Check out what I got delivered last night!  A new masterchef kitchen!  It's got a fridge, an oven, a microwave and accessories and a kitchen sink to wash all the dirty stuff after cooking a big pretend meal lol.

It's not for me really...it's for the kids that cook with me hehehe


Spaghetti Marinara

Spaghetti Marinara is my favourite spaghetti dish mainly because its spicy and its a mix of seafood!!  YUMM!!  I usually eat this at a Fasta Pasta restaurant but since Woolies had a special on their seafood marinara I thought why not make this instead of a traditional beef spaghetti?

Seafood Marina from Woolworths

This is a very simple and yet delicious dish to make.

All you need is:

  • 1 tbs of oil.
  • 2 onions sliced finely
  • clove of garlic sliced finely
  • 1 packet of fettucini 
  • 1 cup of red wine (I used shiraz)
  • spaghetti sauce of your choice (I used a standard size jar of leggos sauce with chill)
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (I used ones with basil and garlic in it)
  • chopped chilli (use as much as you want)
  • Italian herbs (i just used basil) 
  • 700 grams of seafood marinara (you can get this from Woolworths, in frozen aisles of supermarkets or at seafood markets)
  • Parmesan cheese

  • In a medium sized pan, heat the oil and add the onion and garlic.  Cook til tender/softened.
  • Next add in the can of tomato, red wine and herbs and simmer.  Stir.  Cook for about 15 minutes til reduced or til it gets a bit saucier.
  • Next cook the fettucini pasta as instructed on the packet.  Drain.  And put equal small portions on plates.
  • Then back to the sauce base, add the seafood marinara mix and cover on medium heat.  Cook for 4 minutes.  Stir.   Please do not over cook because the seafood will go all tough and rubbery.  
  • Then lastly, ladle the seafood marinara sauce over the plates and serve with Parmesan cheese on top!