Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

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These cherry tomatoes are roasted in my humble toaster oven.  For small serving recipes that don’t require much precision in the temperature, my toaster oven is more than adequate to do the job.   It takes a shorter time to heat up, and if it gets too hot before the timer goes off, I simply be my own “manual temperature control” and turn off the main switch to cool things down a bit.

But for ingredients as juicy as these tomatoes, there’s really no need to worry about them getting burnt even when I turn the timer dial to 20 minutes at one go.

Usually I will use these roasted tomatoes for my pasta dishes.  On this particular day, I made bruschetta to clear out some old bread.

- 1 small bag of cherry tomatoes
- olive oil
- salt
- black pepper
- 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
- 4 cloves of garlic, bruised with skin intact
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced


01. Toss all the ingredients in an oven-proof dish or toaster pan.
02. Spread the tomatoes out on the dish.
03. Pop the dish into the toaster oven
04. Set the timer dial to 20 minutes, or cook until the tomatoes turn soft.

Drizzle just enough olive oil to coat the tomatoes.
The small amount of garlic + herb infused olive oil that settles at the bottom of the dish after cooking is great for drizzling on single serve salads or pasta too.

Mushroom Bulgogi

mushroom bulgogi

These oyster mushrooms make a very satisfying meatless version of Dak (Chicken) Bulgogi.  The sauce recipe is a keeper, use it to team with firm tofu, or use it to stir fry an assortment of mushrooms like shitake, enoki etc.

Unlike the chicken, the fresh king oyster mushrooms will soak up the sauce like sponges when they are still uncooked.  So I skipped the marinating step, and stir fried the mushrooms with the sauce instead.

Adapted from HERE
- 1 packet of big oyster mushrooms, sliced
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon rice wine or mirin
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- dash of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds


01. Combine all the items except the mushroom together in a medium bowl, whisk till brown sugar dissolves.

02. Preheat skillet over medium heat.

03. Add a tablespoon of cooking oil, and mushrooms into the skillet.  Stir the mushrooms around the skillet to cook them till fragrant.

04. When the mushrooms are cooked, pour in the sauce in step 1, and stir quickly around to coat them with the sauce.  Add 1 -2 tablespoons of hot water if it is too dry.

05.  Garnish with more sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

Dak Bulgogi (Korean BBQ Chicken)

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Meat dishes that are on the sweet side are always a hit with the kids.   Here’s something fast and easy to make, Korean Dak Bulgogi, (BBQ chicken).

- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast/thigh, sliced
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon rice wine or mirin
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- dash of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds


01. Combine all the items except the chicken slices together in a medium bowl, whisk till brown sugar dissolves.

02. Add chicken slices, making sure they are well coated with the sauce, marinate for about 30 minutes.

03. When ready to cook, preheat skillet over medium heat.

04. Add chicken into the skillet, save the marinating sauce aside.

05. When the chicken meat turns white/opaque and cooks through, pour in the reserved sauce, and stir quickly around to coat the meat with the sauce.

06.  Serve immediately.

Homemade Pandan Extract

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Method adapted from here.

Items needed : pandan leaves, some water, a food processor, and a fine mesh filter or a cheese cloth.


01. Discard the dried and dark green outer layer leaves, use only the softer, bright green leaves inside.
02. Trim off the roots and cut up the leaves into small pieces (the smaller the better, pandan leaves are very fibrous and are impossible to blend without cutting them up first), and place them in a food processor.
03. Depending on how much leaves you use, add water bit by bit as you blend, just to make the blending easier.  Adding too much water will dilute and make the extraction of the pandan paste difficult, see my notes below.
04. Filter the blended leaves through a wire mesh/cheese cloth.  Squeeze to the very last drop, even if using your bare hands if necessary!
05. Let filtered pandan juice sits in the fridge for a few days till the pandan extract sink to the bottom of the container.
06.  Remove excess liquid on top and store the pandan extract in a covered container in the fridge, use up within 2 weeks.

++ Notes 001 // I am going to try this extraction method using a coffee filter next time round.   Letting the pandan juice sits a few nights in the fridge works very well for the pandan extract to settle at the bottom of the juice.  However, it was difficult to scoop out the clearer liquid on top without mixing it up with the separated dark green pandan extract below.  The extract is so fine and light; any slight movement, such as the lowering down of the spoon, would inevitably mix up the solution again, though the sediments now take a faster time to sink.  I had no choice but to accept that a little of the top liquid (actually pandan flavored water) will be going into my pandan cake.

Homemade Chocolate Brownies

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This recipe from Alice Medrich (via The Amateur Gourmet) makes brownies that are crusty on the surface and chewy inside.

// Shopping List :

  • 10 tablespoons (140 grams) unsalted butter,
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (65 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, cold
  • 1/2 cup (65 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup (75 grams) walnut or pecan pieces (optional)
  • 8 x 8 inch  baking pan
  • Parchment paper

// Instructions : The Amateur Gourmet

6 “Instant” Sauce Recipes Always On My Mind

DIY Instant Sauce Recipes // mono+co

Making an effort to memorize these 6 recipes:

  • Sweet And Sour // via
    2 tablespoons Tomato Ketchup
    1 teaspoon Plum Sauce
    1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce (Lea & Perrins preferred)
    1 teaspoon Oyster Sauce
    1 teaspoon Sugar
    4 tablespoons Water
    Great with : diced chicken meat, pan fried firm tofu, capsicum, lettuce, cashew nuts
  • ‘Jing Du’ 京都 // via
    1 1/2 tablespoons Tomato Ketchup
    1/2 tablespoon Plum Sauce
    1/2 tablespoon Chili Sauce
    1/4 teaspoon Oyster
    1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
    1 1/2 tablespoons Black Vinegar
    1 1/2 tablespoons Sugar
    2 tablespoons Water
    Great with : fried pork tenderloin, fried pork spare ribs
  • Honey // via
    1 tablespoon Light Soy Sauce
    1 clove Garlic, chopped
    1 teaspoon Sugar
    2 tablespoons Honey
    1 tablespoon Water
    1/2 tablespoon Tomato Ketchup
    Great with : fried/baked chicken wings
  • Dark Soy // via
    1 tablespoon Dark Soy Caramel Sauce
    2 tablespoons Light Soy Sauce
    3 tablespoons Sugar
    5 tablespoons of Water
    Great with : pork spare ribs, pork belly, chicken thigh
  • Teriyaki // via
    2 tablespoons Mirin
    1 tablespoon Sugar
    2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
    Great with : diced chicken breast meat, grilled chicken chop
  • Yakitori // via
    5 tablespoons soy sauce
    1 tablespoon mirin
    1 tablespoon sugar
    1/2 teaspoon corn starch blended with 1 teaspoon water
    Great with : grilled chicken meat, grilled chicken balls

Spicy Dried Shrimp (Hei Bee Hiam/蝦米香) without Belachan

spicydriedshrimp // mono+co spicydriedshrimp // mono+co spicydriedshrimp // mono+co spicydriedshrimp // mono+co spicydriedshrimp // mono+co
The original recipe is titled Dried Shrimp Sambal.
I noticed that belechan was not used, so I better stated it on mine, just in case I make another version with belachan in the future.

Adapted from Indochine Kitchen
- 150 g dried shrimp
- 50 g red chilies
- 8 shallots
- 3 cloves garlic
- 4 tbsp sugar
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil


01. Wash dried shrimps under running tap briefly, pat dry with clean cloth.
02. Finely ground the dried shrimps.  I had no mortar and pestle, so I chopped up the 150g dried shrimps (in 3 batches)  in a food processor.
03. Next, the chili + shallots + garlic cloves + lime juice + sugar  goes into the blender.
04. I added about 1 tablespoon of water to make the blending easier.
05. Next, heat the oil in a wok.
06. Add the blended spice mix in and fry it till it turns darker and thicker in consistency.
07. Add grounded dried shrimps, and continue frying, till the shrimp absorbs the spice sauce mix, around 5 minutes.
08. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

If a less spicy dish is preferred, use normal red chili, instead of bird’s eye chili/chili padi
Hei Bee Hiam can be kept in the fridge, up to 1 week.