Archive for the ‘My own creation’ Category

Chickpea, Kale and Rice Soup

Posted: April 26, 2012 by lainey in Chicken, My own creation, Soup

Lovely for a cold spring day.


  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced or diced
  • 4 stalks of celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • a dash of paprika
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas (or 2 cans, drained and rinsed)
  • 4 pieces of chicken drumsticks (or whatever chicken parts you prefer to use)
  • 4 cups of water and 4 cups of chicken stock.
  • 1 large bunch kale, thick center ribs removed and chopped (at least 8 cups)
  • 1/2 cup of brown rice or grain of choice.
  • salt and pepper
Heat some olive oil in a dutch oven. Brown the chicken pieces and remove to a plate.
Add onion and cook until onion becomes soft. Add all other vegetables and garlic and cook for 3 minutes.
Add spices and cook for a minute.
Add water and chicken stock. Make sure you deglaze the Dutch oven to get all the goodness stuck at the bottom into the soup. Add the chicken, chickpeas and rice.
Simmer for about 30 minutes or until chickpeas are soft and chicken pieces are cooked.
Remove chicken pieces from the pot. Shred the meat on the chicken pieces and set aside.
Add kale and simmer for another 10 minutes or until kale is soft. Return shredded chicken into the soup. Add salt and pepper.
Serve with crusty bread.

I love kale, and I love chickpeas. And being Cantonese, I love soups, all kinds of soup. I came up with this recipe after reading so many recipes online and not liking anything I’ve read. I decided to invent my own soup with whatever I have in my kitchen and it was perfect for a rainy Spring afternoon. Even the soup-hating husband loved it as a meal. And by the way, don’t trust my measurements, when I cook, I usually measure by instinct, not with cups and spoons unless I’m following a recipe.

Sausage and Rice

Posted: March 19, 2012 by lainey in My own creation, Rice

It’s been a long time since I posted anything.  Well, I had a baby. Then my mom came and stayed with us so I basically didn’t have to cook. Then now it’s just the husband, the son and I. And I have to cook again. And I am enjoying the process tremendously even though the key to getting the family fed these days is quick and nutritious cooking. I had a brainwave to make sausage and rice after I started yearning for some rice and something hearty. This recipe is made up of in my head based on my knowledge of Paella and the latin Chicken and Rice method.

halfway cooked.

The husband loved it.


1 onion – chopped
2 cloves of garlic – minced
1 green pepper – chopped
1 carrot – chopped
some celery – chopped
3/4 lbs of hot italian sausage (you can use any other type of sausage meat)
1/2 can of diced tomatoes (I had 1/3 jar of marinara sauce left and used that instead)
2 cups of brown rice (I mixed medium grain brown rice with basmati brown rice just because)
4 cups of chicken stock (I actually just used water because I ran out of chicken stock)
1 Bay leaf and italian seasoning (or whatever you have in your pantry)

Brown the sausage (remove the links) in olive oil. Drain and set aside.
Cook the garlic and onions in the drippings until onions are translucent.
Add in the rice and toast for a few minutes.
Add in the rest of the vegetables and let them cook for a few minutes.
Add in chicken stock, bay leaf, italian seasoning and stir well.
Add in diced tomatoes (or in my case, the marinara sauce)
Add salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil and cover and simmer until all the water is evaporated. This process takes about an hour. I super cheated and kept lifting the cover and the rice turned out fine, but I’m sure it would be FABULOUS had I not lifted the cover.

Serve with a side of salad.

Just bought a pizza stone at Whole Foods and decided to make a healthy lunch over the weekend using my go-to whole wheat pizza recipe from Smitten Kitchen and just topped the pizza with whatever we had left in the fridge.

Some stuff to note:

1) Don’t scrimp on olive oil when sautee-ing mushrooms.

2) If pizza stone manual says bake at 450 degrees, and pizza recipe says bake at highest oven temperature, FOLLOW the manual or the pizza base will burn :p

3) If pizza recipe says to wait 2 hours, do not be impatient and wait only an hour.

Rock Melon (or cantaloupe) Sago with Coconut Milk

Cantaloupe (Rockmelon) Sago  Recipe


  • 1 whole cantaloupe
  • 1/4 cup of sago (tapioca pearls)
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • Water


Cut cantaloupe into half, cut 1 half of the fruit into small cubes and chill in fridge.

Blend the other half into a puree and chill in fridge.

To prepare sugar syrup, bring to boil 1 bowls of water in a pot with the sugar. Stir until water has reduced to half Allow to cool to room temperature. Chill sugar syrup in the fridge.

To prepare sago, soak sago in cold water for 30 minutes before straining and boiling till sago turns translucent. Strain the sago and leave sago in strainer soaked in cold water and chill.

To serve, combine about cantaloupe cubes and cantaloupe puree and sago in a bowl. Stir in coconut milk and sugar syrup to your liking. Drizzle coconut milk on top of bowl before serving. I had a little jar of coconut milk on the side for my guests to add more if they like, and some do like more coconut milk than others.

Before I discovered (good) cakes and chocolate, this was my all-time favourite dessert. You can find it in Cantonese restaurants as a dessert course and I remember my mom making it when I was a child. It never dawned upon me to make it myself, or eat it even after I got older and fancy European desserts took over my tastebuds. But I thought it would be fun to make a healthy Chinese desserts at my dinner party last night and boy, was it a hit. I love it that it is healthy, vegan and so easy to make.

Oh, usually people use honeydew, but I never liked the sickly green colour and always preferred the sweeter cantaloupe.

Serves 1-2

2 salmon fillets

1 shallot, finely chopped
4 tbsp fish stock
5 tbsp single cream
1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 250 degrees

Place salmon fillets on an oiled baking tray. Season with salt and pepper and bake in the oven for 8 -10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter at medium heat and add the shallots. Cook until softened. Add the fish stock. Bring to the boil and continue boiling till reduced by half. Add the cream and chopped parsley. Continue boiling until reduced by half or to the desired consistency.

Place the salmon on a plate and spoon the parsley cream sauce over the fish.

This is a basic cream sauce that I have been using all my life (at least from the time I started cooking) for my fish dishes when I am too lazy to cook anything too complicated. It’s based on a French cream sauce but I modified it over the years. The trick for this sauce is: don’t add too much cream because you don’t want it to be watery. Just add a small amount for starts, and if you think it’s too thick, add a bit more. It’s a pain trying to reduce it when you’ve added too much cream. You can use fresh dill or sorrel as well with this sauce recipe; or any herbs that goes with your fish.

Spinach Whole Wheat Pizza

Posted: March 21, 2010 by lainey in My own creation, Vegetarian

Pizza before putting into the oven.

On Saturday, we made a trip to Russo’s and I bought a lovely bag of spinach. However, it was HUGE and I started thinking of ways to get rid of it. Spinach pizza came to mind since my whole wheat flour is still in abundance. Once again, I used Smitten Kitchen’s really simple homemade pizza crust. Then I just coated the pizza crust with olive oil before adding grated cheese, garlic powder, oregano and a bunch of spinach and some sliced mushrooms. Then, drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil before putting in oven to bake at 475 degrees for 15 minutes. Viola!

cooked pizza

See how much the spinach cooked down. I now know to trust my instincts more than my fears, because I did not put in all the spinach I intended to because I was scared it would weigh down too much on the crust.

The pizza was delicious and healthy. I can’t get enough of the whole wheat crust.

Sweet Potato Mash

Posted: December 21, 2009 by lainey in My own creation, Potatoes, Vegetarian

Sweet potato mash topped with chopped pecans

Well, I had some sweet potatoes that I needed to get rid off before we leave for our trip and I didn’t feel like eating our usual carbs for dinner last night. So I thought this would be a nice different dish. This is rather experimental. Basically, you boil the sweet potatoes till soft, remove the skin. Add a tbspoon of butter, 2 tablespoon of maple syrup, juice and zest from 1 orange, a dash of nutmeg, a dash of cinnamon, a splash of soy milk and mash with a masher. Add more soy milk according to the consistency you like (I guess you can add milk if you drink milk, but we don’t). Salt to taste.

Put chopped toasted pecans on top. Bake in oven for 20 min. Serve.

This is a great dish for snow days. Yummy!

Vegetarian dumplings

Posted: October 18, 2009 by lainey in Bean curd, Chinese, My own creation, Vegetarian


Inspired by vegetarian Tibetan Momos, I made some dumplings with tofu, chives and dried mushrooms.

Jeff wanted some soup as it was cold and rainy we poured some miso soup over the dumplings.

dumplings with soup


1) a block of tofu (well it actually depends on how big your block is right? sighs, just estimate – this recipe is all about estimation. I actually use half a block of trader joe’s tofu
2) 10 dried mushrooms (soaked overnight in water, chopped finely)
3) a bunch of chives (chopped finely)
4) sesame oil
5) finely ground white pepper
6) soy sauce (generous dose, because tofu is quite tasteless)
7) 1 egg
8) black vinegar for dipping
9) wanton skins (I was sad when there was more filling than skins)

1) mix tofu, mushrooms, chives together – mash the tofu till ground-up. You can do that with a fork
2) add sesame oil, pepper, soy sauce and egg, mix thoroughly
3) wrap tightly in wanton skins.
4) In the meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil. Add salt and a little oil.
5) When water boils, add the dumplings.
6) They are cooked when they float to the top.
7) Serve with vinegar as dipping sauce, or pour your choice of hot, clear soup over it. (We did it with Miso, which tasted really good, I reckon chicken broth would be nice too.)