I am a scientist who loves to cook because there are many similarities between working in a lab and cooking in a kitchen. I love to share my cooking experience with you and to inspire others to cook.

Friday, September 16, 2016


Can't believe it took me this long to make a lasagna. I made beef ragu/bolognese a few times for regular pasta and never for lasagna. 

The recipe that I followed came from The Food Lab with my usual modifications, of which I will only mention a few. 

Kenjis' recipe calls for three sets of ingredients - ragu, ricotta mixture, and besciamella. 

Kenji's recipe for the ragu is long and usual reader of my blog knows that I like to keep things to a minimal whenever possible. His audience is different from mine. I didn't use lamb (can't find ground lamb), chicken livers, celery (not a fan of celery), sage, red white (too expensive), fish sauce (don't feel like getting another bottle of condiment), and heavy cream. 

I didn't make the ricotta mixture because ricotta cheese are expensive.

If I a chance, I would like to ask Kenji or any chef friends "what's the point of besciamella?" I am sure their answer is "flavor" but does it make a whole lot of difference?   

I know the besciamella has a nutty flavor so I went ahead and made some but not with all the ingredients that Kenji used. Instead, mine consist of butter and flour, nothing more. 

The pasta looks a bit rigid in this picture, doesn't it? Well, you would be right thinking so. I used this lasagna pasta brand and the instruction asked me to use the pasta straight out from the box into the lasagna pan (did I read it wrongly?). I was sceptical about the non-cook step so I cooked the pasta anyway but I didn't cook it long enough.

I do not have a cheese grater or a microplane so my cheese came out in chunks!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Crispy Skin Pan Seared Chicken

I learned a trick from The Food Lab of Seriouseats.com on how to make crispy-skinned chicken. The author of The Food Lab, Kenji, says "Once that's done (put the chicken skin side down on the pan), don't touch it, and I mean it! Don't try to lift that chicken until it's good and ready to be lifted".

I didn't bother transferring the chicken to the oven because I am not a fan of cooking one dish with two separate methods unless absolutely necessary (lasagna, I am looking at you).

I bought the freshest chicken I can buy to ensure excellent taste and kept the seasoning to minimum  - salt and pepper. Some baby cherry tomatoes completes this dish.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Miso Soup

I am a fan of easy-to-make soup and none easier than miso soup. All you need is to source the ingredients and the rest will take care of itself.

You need to buy seaweed/kelp and a tub of miso paste.

Wash the kelp thoroughly to get ride of the fine sand. Remember, dried kelp will expand 5-6 times the size after it is rehydrated. I went overboard and ended up with a big bowl of kelp.  Kelp snack, anyone?

Cook the kelp in a pot of water for 2-3 minutes and remove the kelp. Next, take 2-3 spoonful of miso paste and dissolve it in a few tablespoons of water. Then add the dissolved miso paste into the pot of kelp-stock. Feel free to add as much miso paste to your own taste.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Crostini (Toasted Bread)

I remember vividly the day I placed a piece of double cream Gouda cheese on a piece of crostini and then put it in my mouth. It was at a Christmas party and it was one of those special "food-moment" that I will always remember it. I could never imagine a piece of toasted bread can taste like this. Since then, Gouda cheese and crostini would be the staples at every party or gathering that I was invited to, whether it was picnic at the park or a house warming party.

It has been a long long time since I had crostini so I decided to give it a try and I was surprised by how easy it was to make crostini. All you need is a loaf of baguette and olive oil. I repeat baguette and olive oil and you create magic with these two items.

Pop the thing into an oven and toast it for 10 minutes and you will get these golden brown crostini.

I have since made a few batches and I learned that the quality of the baguette makes a lot of difference. Go for quality baguette and you will not regret it. You will be popping this by the mouthful and before you know it, you will be making another batch.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Fried Rice with Chinese Sausage and Quail Eggs

With a big pot of leftover rice, I wasted no time in making fried rice. It has been a long time since I made fried rice and it brought back delightful memories of the past. With some chinese sausages in the freezer, what I need was something "different" and I chose quail eggs to be the difference maker.

I love the spots on the quail eggs. Each egg is like a piece of modern art. Pollock anyone?

It was my first time frying quail eggs so it took me a while to figure out how to crack and cook quail eggs properly. In this case, 50% failure, or 50% success, depending on how you see it. The biggest lesson I learned from cracking quail eggs is that the shell membrane is very thick so it takes more force than you would use to crack a chicken egg to break through that membrane. I was worried that the force may damage the yolk but fear not, quail egg yolk is quite "sturdy", which explains the very "yolky" consistency of quail egg, which also explains why some people really enjoy eating quail eggs. The money is in the yolk

Monday, November 9, 2015

Pork Rib Soup with Peanuts

I made this soup not too long ago. The ingredients were simple to get, the steps were easy and the result was delicious with a D.

In order to develop a deep flavor in the soup, I did two things that you normally don't see in traditional chinese soup cooking instruction - I browned the pork ribs and roasted the peanuts separately before mixing them both together with water. A few slices of "old" ginger, a few pinches of salt and a few splashes of soy sauce sealed the deal in a nice package of intensely flavored soup that warmed the heart and the stomach.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Tri-tip Steak

I bought a cast iron pan a year ago and I have been using it once a while to cook steak, lamb chop, and chicken chop. As many people have said, cast iron pan is perhaps the best thing one can use to cook a piece of steak. I bought a piece of tri-tip steak from a local grocery store. Not the best cut but it is at least affordable. 

My preparation is very simple. Marinade the steak with Worcestershire sauce, dry thyme and dry parsley. 

Did someone say BUTTER???

Deglaze the pan with some left over wine. Season the glaze with salt and pepper

Rest the meat for 10 minutes


This steak was cooked to medium-well because my family prefers it that way. If it was entirely up to me, I will take the steak out 3 minutes earlier at the medium-rare stage.