Taking Ayam Brand Ready-To-Eat Sardines to another level!

This is an advertorial, I bought my sardines and had fun cooking and eating them

How many of you are familiar with sardines? Hah I know most of you would, from being younger with limited funds (read: college days) and canned sardines in tomato sauce are your affordable go-to for a hearty, satisfying meal. Open a can up, maybe spice it up a little with onions and chili served with a bowl of hot steaming white rice… hard to say no to that!

Ayam Brand Ready-To-Eat Sardines
No prizes for guessing where I went grocery shopping

Well your favourite canned sardines brand is stepping it up with new inviting flavours of Ayam Brand™ Ready-To-Eat Sardines! You have it in extra virgin olive oil, extra virgin olive oil + chili, chili oil and now two new flavours to tantalise your taste buds: in teriyaki sauce and in spring water!

Why are sardines good for you? Let’s see…

1) Nutritious! A single serving is a great source of protein and is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, iron and potassium with only 200 calories!

2) Versatile! Trawl the web and you’d fine 1001 ways to prepare sardines. Eat it straight from the can, add it as your side dish or feature it as a main dish, you can’t go wrong with sardines!

3) Portable! Gone fishing? Pack some canned sardines as back-up in case you’re… uh, not so well versed with the game ;) They are light, handy and Ayam Brand™ Ready-To-Eat Sardines, you don’t have to cook them; just flick it open, no need for can openers!

4) Sustainable & Safe! Sardines are way low on the food chain level, aren’t overfished and thus have plenty of chances to reproduce. And Ayam Brand™ Ready-To-Eat Sardines have no added MSG nor preservatives as the cans are tightly vacuumed and go through a controlled heating process. This kills the bacteria and preserves the food, thus no need for preservatives!

I had fun creating two sardine dishes over the weekend. One’s a sardine sandwich spread; a most familiar taste so I added twists in it. The other’s an experiment that turned out pretty good, just ask Joyce!

Suanie’s Super Easy Awesome Sardine Spread
Serves: How many people it takes to consume 12 pieces of sliced bread

Ayam Brand Ready-To-Eat Sardines - spread ingredients

Ingredients:
- Ayam Brand™ Ready-To-Eat Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Ayam Brand™ Ready-To-Eat Sardines Extra Virgin Olive Oil + Chili Oil
- ½ onion, chopped
- Roasted red bell pepper, sliced
- Handful of parsley and cilantro
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- Oil from canned sardines with the chili oil
- Salt to taste

Ayam Brand Ready-To-Eat Sardines - olive oil and chilli

Open up canned sardines. Depends on how you like it, remove the bones from flesh… or not. The bones are soft, edible and full of calcium but personally I prefer all meat. If you don’t know how to easily roast a bell pepper, you’re lucky that I did and blogged about it before ;)

Ayam Brand Ready-To-Eat Sardines - spread in blender

Toss everything into a food processor (preferred) or blender, mash to oblivion!

Ayam Brand Ready-To-Eat Sardines - sardine spread

Check out the lovely colours! The flavours came together beautifully too: sweet (from roasted bell pepper), sour (lemon) and slightly spicy (chili oil). If you’d keep it in the fridge for a few hours, it’d be even more delicious!

Ayam Brand Ready-To-Eat Sardines - sardine sandwich

Toast some bread, slap on butter (because life isn’t worth living without butter) and spread the sardine goodness! I really couldn’t get enough of it, think I’ll make it again this weekend! Might need to borrow a food processor though, using the blender wasn’t really great ;)

Suanie’s Experimental Pasta with Sardines in Teriyaki Sauce
Serves: 2

Ayam Brand Ready-To-Eat Sardines - teriyaki sardine pasta ingredients

Ingredients:
- Ayam Brand™ Ready-To-Eat Sardines in Teriyaki Sauce
- Pasta for 2, cook according to instructions on packet
- 1 carrot, julienned
- 1 red bell pepper, julienned
- 4 – 5 button mushrooms, sliced
- 4 – 5 cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ onion
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- Seasoned salt (optional: mine was lemon and pepper)
- 2 tsp sugar
- Salt + black pepper to taste
- Cooking oil

Cook pasta according to instructions on packet. Heat up cooking oil , cook carrots until soften about 4 mins. Throw in garlic + onion + bell pepper, cook for about 3 mins. Throw in button mushrooms + tomatoes, cook for 2 mins. Add lemon juice + seasoned salt + sugar + salt + black pepper, stir stir stir.

Ayam Brand Ready-To-Eat Sardines - teriyaki pasta ingredients in the pan

Add sardines including the teriyaki sauce it comes with. Break it up a little. Stir stir stir. Then add the cooked pasta!

Ayam Brand Ready-To-Eat Sardines - teriyaki sardine with pasta

Stir stir stir for a couple minutes then dinner is ready!

Serve with great gusto and wild rocket. If you don’t have wild rocket, BUY! The slight hint of crisp bitterness adds volumes to this slightly sweet dish.

Ayam Brand Ready-To-Eat Sardines - teriyaki sardine pasta

Almost culinary genius, me :D Now go make your own!

Super Awesome Tuna Melt

In a disguised bid to encourage local economic growth by demonstrating support for homegrown group-buying businesses, I splurged on a RM88 (after discount) 3-in-1 electric grill with detachable plates for for sandwich + waffle + BBQ. I’ll just call it the toastie maker. Why splurge? Come on, no one really needs a toastie maker.

Super Awesome Tuna Melt - toastie maker

Having received and inspected the product, I think I’d overpaid for the product. But never mind for now.

Anyway it’s still new thus I’m excited about it. So I made super awesome tuna melt for dinner.

You can’t make tuna melt without tuna. To say it’s a very important ingredient for this recipe is a gross understatement. So, buy tuna. Canned is easier. Canned tuna is possibly the second best thing since sliced bread. Then you put the two together, the combination is the best thing ever since sliced bread and canned tuna.

Super Awesome Tuna Melt - canned tuna in water

I bought TC Boy’s tuna in water because it contains only 2 ingredients:

Super Awesome Tuna Melt - canned tuna in water ingredients

Drain the water from tuna, a strainer comes in handy for this. Chop up the onion to your preferred level of chunkiness.

Super Awesome Tuna Melt - onions

Try to keep your thumb out of the way else it’d end up like this:

Super Awesome Tuna Melt - cut finger

Curse at nobody in particular. Clean yourself up. Clean knife, onion and chopping board. Proceed to chop up the rest of the onion.

Add a generous dollop of mayonnaise:

Super Awesome Tuna Melt - a dollop of mayonnaise

Add a generous squeeze of lemon juice, or obtain from real fresh lemons if you could be arsed:

Super Awesome Tuna Melt - lemon juice

Add salt and pepper:

Super Awesome Tuna Melt - salt and pepper

Add additional seasoning if you desire, especially something like this if you’d bought it at Ace Hardware on discount:

Super Awesome Tuna Melt - seasoning

Mix everything well. Resist eating the whole lot before toasting.

Super Awesome Tuna Melt - mixing things up

Layer up some tuna mix onto 2 pieces of bread. Then put cheese slices on top, non-processed cheddar if you are loaded. Then put some tomatoes on top. If you do not include tomatoes, you would not get super awesome tuna melt.

Super Awesome Tuna Melt - layering

Some people butter the bread but I couldn’t be bothered.

Spray a very small amount of cooking oil to the toastie plates. Almost like a dab, really.

Then top the bread slices with another piece of bread on top. Move to toastie maker.

Talk about the obvious? Noooooo…. Really??????

Super Awesome Tuna Melt - in toaster

Then close the lid and wait for the thing to grill. Melt. Heated. Toasted. Whatever. My toastie maker was supposed to come with a temperature control. Yeah right it did.

But I think 5 minutes should be a decent time for it to grill. Melt. Heated. Toasted. Whatever.

Remove toastie from toastie maker, cut into half, serve with salad (‘cos I did) and ta-dahhhhhhh!

Super Awesome Tuna Melt

Super awesome tuna melt. Super yummy. Super easy to make. Super Suanie.

Eating in, eating out – food updates

… because it’s the easiest thing to blog about when you’ve been MIA.

1. Home cooked tau yu bak (braised pork belly)

Home cooked tau yew bak

This is a childhood favourite. It’s called something else in Johor but I can’t remember it now. Braised pork belly in soy sauce with tofu and egg, mmm who can resist?? So I tried making it using NoobCook’s recipe. Not bad except that it could have been slightly saltier… and less dark soy sauce. I think the next time I make it, it would be better.

I rock.

2. Quinoa with sides

Quinoa with duck, vegetables

In a pseudo attempt to eat healthier, I bought a packet of red quinoa to replace white rice (because I was lost at the selection of brown rice). So I cooked it according to instructions on the packet, it turned out great. Subsequent attempts didn’t work as well until I used the rice cooker but that’s another story. I steamed some vegetables, pan grilled mushrooms and heated up leftover duck. Think I might be bored of quinoa soon.

3. Nasi campur @ Restoran A.J. , Damansara Utama

Restoran AJ - nasi campur

Marcky introduced me to Restoran A.J. in Uptown, end lot in the same row as TM. We had late breakfast and stayed long enough for lunch nasi campur delights to come out. Great accidental decision! The 2 owners are Johorean and Japanese, and the asam pedas is VERY FRESH, recipe decidedly from the south region. Excellent for weekend lunch! They will have Ramadhan buffet soon, don’t recall the exact price but I remember it being most reasonable. Go check it out.

4. Hyderabadi Dhum Biryani @ Fierce Curry House, Bangsar

Fierce Curry House Bangsar - Hyderabadi Dhum Biryani

Finally had the chance to try this as I’ve been reading lots of good things about it. I’ve not shut up telling everyone about it either. The rice, spices and meat are cooked overnight in a metal pot, sealed with a layer of dough to keep the moisture in. Really good, even my housemate Kerol who’s a discerning diner (and can be terribly unforgiving in her judgment of food – most Penangnites are like that) admitted that it was pretty good. So there. It’s near the Bangsar LRT station, google for its exact location just like I did.

5. Pig’s intestine soup @ Ming Tien, Taman Megah

Ming Tien Taman Megah - pig intestine soup

After a late night messing about with my hair, my hairdresser took me to Ming Tien for the most delicious supper of pig’s intestine soup. They have a selection of porky goodies, just take what you want (and of course pay for it later in more ways than one). Pork belly, soft ribs, big and small intestines, liver, stomach, skin, assorted pork balls, vegetables etc. They boil it all up and serve to you in a peppery soup with bits of bittergourd.

O.M.G.. porky heaven! It’s the stall at the same row as the one selling Italian pizza/pasta. Can’t miss.

Udon + bolognese sauce = happiness

Suanie's udon bolognese

A dish of udon with bolognese is possibly an atrocity to Italians. They’ll just have to live with it as the end result is delicious and deceptively healthier than pasta. But this is just one meal so we shall not think too much of it. Bleachted noodles, what?

I had made bolognese sauce using NoobCook’s recipe. That means it’s a very rich, tasty sauce involving beef, pork, bacon, root vegetables, wine, milk, tomatoes and herbs. You should try it sometime and you’ll never go back to ready-made tomato sauce.

Except that this recipe will take you about 1.5 hours (if you’re fast and efficient in prepping ingredients) so maybe the ready-made sauces are good if you don’t have the luxury of time.

Then you eat it and you freeze the rest of it in single packs for the single person.

Why udon? Because I have a fresh packet that I had curry plans for. That didn’t happen and neither did a lot of other things in life. So we make do with what we have, what we can.

Familiar tastes

Green bean and barley soup

I’d never appreciated the combination of green bean and barley soup until a couple of years ago when I was served a bowl at my uncle’s funeral. As the norm for Chinese funerals, a caterer is hired and she would cook simple food items for mourners and guests. A Chinese dessert – tong sui is usually included. It can be anything from green or red bean soup to fu chuk yee mai (barley with beancurd skin); could be that something soupy, warm and sweet would take away the pain. Or that food is the solution to everything under the sky.

Now I love it and it’s the only tong sui I’d make. Ok well it’s the only tong sui I know how to make… for now. Some pearl barley, green beans, pandan leaves and rock sugar boiled and simmered in harmony. Simple comforts to help go through all uncertainties in life.