The Filipino-ish Chicken Macaroni Salad

When Awesome Jaime officially launched her business, there was a little food partayyy where Tim’s mom prepared a traditional Filipino dish, the chicken macaroni salad. I thought it was possibly one of the nicest things I ate that week.

So I did what anyone would do in my situation: badger Tim’s mom for the recipe until she finally told me, yay!

A chicken macaroni salad? What’s so special about that, you ask? At the heart of it, it’s chicken + macaroni + mayonnaise. I suppose it’s always nice to revisit the basics and appreciate the absolute simplicity of ingredients. Again I’m just trying to fill out virtual white space; come on, everything tastes great with mayonnaise! :D

Of course by the time I got down to making it, I’d forgotten most of what Tim’s mom told me. Even the exact taste of it was a blur to me. Well soldier on regardless as I’d already bought the main ingredients. As we say in Malaysia, lantaklah…

So here was what I did: boil chicken breasts for about 20mins then shred them to pieces. Shredding chicken meat is really a thankless job and I don’t look forward to doing it again anytime soon. It really isn’t easy if you’re a slight OCD case like moi…

Cook macaroni according to instructions. After it’s cooked, remove the water then slip in a couple pieces of cheap cheddar slices. ‘Cos I’m too cheap to buy the ridiculously priced good ones.

Filipino-ish Chicken Macaroni Salad - shredded chicken breast Filipino-ish Chicken Macaroni Salad - cooked macaroni with cheese
Getting the chicken and macaroni in a chicken macaroni salad done

Next, add the shredded chicken and raisins together with the macaroni. Normally I hate raisins and would never deign to eat nor use them, but I’ll make an exception for this one.

Filipino-ish Chicken Macaroni Salad - mixing ingredients
Putting ingredients together require a full photo

Add salad cream and mayonnaise to the mix. Get a cousin to put in salt + black pepper + sprinkle of whatever dried herbs. If you’re unfortunate enough not to have a cousin like mine who would do these things for you, I suppose you could bloody well do it yourself then! :D

Filipino-ish Chicken Macaroni Salad - magic Filipino-ish Chicken Macaroni Salad - adding herbs
Adding sunshine and happiness

Mix everything together, mix well. Let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.

Filipino-ish Chicken Macaroni Salad

Eat, nom nom nom nom! Someone’s maid who is Filipino told me that it’s exactly how they do it back home but I feel something was missing. Perhaps it was the lack of onions (Ryan don’t eat raw onions yet) and I went slightly overboard with the salad cream. If you want to give it a go, you should get the proper recipe and methods from This Little Piggy.

Suanie made Jamie Oliver’s Roast Potatoes, yay!

I got some nice potatoes last week, wanted to make fries but decided otherwise. Thought of making boulangère but I couldn’t be arsed to slice the potatoes. Then I got to talking with Ee-Lyn and she told me to try Jamie Oliver’s roast potatoes recipe. All hail YouTube!

I followed the recipe quite closely, used the butter version. Just cut the potatoes really small because I like the crispy parts more than the fluffy ones. Added dried mixed Italian herbs and a slight shake of cayenne with black pepper and salt. Friggin’ yum, I want to eat this forever!

Suanie's roast potatoes

In case my Mom thinks I’m not eating good (‘cos moms always think that when you don’t live with them), here’s a photo of my lunch a while back. Salad of coral, butterhead, rocket, cherry tomatoes, grilled mushrooms and capsicum tossed in a slight drizzle of Italian dressing, healthy has never been this delicious!

Suanie's awesome salad

Need to think of what new things to cook, I’ve been quite out of it for a bit. Hmm…

Chilli Lime Chicken

Chilli Lime Chicken I got this Chilli-Lime Kabobs recipe from All Recipes. As I don’t have a BBQ grill readily available, I thought I’d substitute with the next best thing, as you’d see later.

I made the skewered version twice, then in other times just used the recipe and pan-grilled it. I quite like this recipe as I think it gives the chicken an extra kick. For the pan-grill version, I always eat it without any sauces because the chicken is tender and moist enough to be eaten on its own. I’d imagine a mango puree sauce of some kind would go rather well with this.
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How to roast bell peppers on your gas stove

Bell peppers, better known as capsicums here is really yummy. There is no room for doubts of its superiority because Chairman Kaga himself chose to bite into one at the opening scenes of Iron Chef. Then he smiled and began to laugh manically but that’s another story.

I roasted bell peppers on my gas stove the other day. It was great. Here’s how I did it:

Roast bell pepper on gas stove

1 – Have bell pepper. I chose red as it’s sweeter. Yellow works too. Green may be slightly bitter. Have gas stove. If your pan stand is not long enough to hold the fruit, then use a steel mesh like me.

Turn the fire to medium high, place bell pepper on top of pan stand/ steel mesh. Let the open flames char the fruit until it’s blackened. Use tongs to turn it to the other side, until all sides are blackened. Should be done between 7 and 10 mins.

2 – Remove the fruit into a clear plastic bag, close it and leave to steam inside for 15 mins.

3 – Use the plastic to help slide off most of the charred skin. Remove the rest of the charred skin using paper towels and/or knife. Use creativity.

4 – Slice the fruit open, remove the seeds. At this point, it’s still damn hot inside so be careful. At no point should you attempt to give up and wash the fruit with water to remove the seeds + black bits, as it will severely affect the taste (speaking from experience here!).

When you’re satisfied with the cleaning process, cut the fruit to slices. Eat it just like that, or use it as a side dish, or add it to your sandwich or wrap. The world is your roasted bell pepper!

The sure-fire crowd pleaser baked fish

Yes it’s a syiok sendiri title. I had this for dinner as part of my healthier eating for the Marie France Bodyline challenge. I let my Mom and Ryan have a taste. They really liked it. Three’s a crowd mah.

Har har har.

Village Grocer sells beautiful lemon sole (ikan sebelah) fillet. They look absolutely gorgeous and I couldn’t help but to buy a 200g pack that costs about RM7+. The next pretty fish available was the cod fillet, triple the price of my lemon sole.

What I’m using here is half of the entire fillet. The other half was cooked in a white wine sauce that didn’t make it and I don’t want to talk about it.

First, pre-heat your oven to 180°C for about 10 mins. While that is being done, clean your fish fillet using running water, then pat dry with paper towels.

Do you have some herbs and spices? Yes = Good. No = Bad. For this mixture, I used some:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Paprika Powder, Garlic Powder, Mixed Italian herbs, Salt + Black Pepper

I feel that you can basically use whatever you have in your kitchen. If the combination doesn’t turn out well, at least you learned something new, right? :)

Easy Baked Fish - ingredients

Mix the mixture well, then add it to your fish fillet and coat thoroughly. You can add carrots to your baking dish as well to let them cook together. Saves time and electricity!

Bake for about 20 minutes. If you have a thicker cut of fish, then bake slightly longer lor.

Easy Baked Fish - preparing to bake

Serve with aforementioned carrots and cherry tomatoes. Or whatever sides you wish to serve it with. I’m the one who has to eat healthier, you don’t.

Easy Baked Fish

Absolutely delicious! At least three people thought so! :)

The Ryan-approved Spanish-style Baked Shrimps

Spanish-style Baked Shrimps I made this twice. First time was overcooked but edible. I have a tendency to overcook, something about fear of poisoning myself and others around me just because the ingredients are raw-er than they should be. Food poisoning doesn’t sound like a dignified way to go, if you get what I mean.

The second time, I separated it into two bowls. One with chilli for me and one without for Ryan the Nephew. I’m a great aunt like that. You should be so lucky to have an aunt like me.

This is a real easy and simple way to enjoy your shrimps. By the way, do you know the difference between shrimps and prawns without googling? I don’t, they’re the same to me. I’d always thought that shrimps are smaller and prawns are bigger. According to this article, they are biologically different. Shrimps have large front pincers and shorter legs. Prawns have longer legs and their second pincers are big. Interesting eh? There, you learned something new today. With the following recipe, you’d learn two new things! La vida es maravillosa!

Here’s what you need for the Ryan-approved Spanish-style Baked Shrimps:

Spanish-style Baked Shrimps - ingredients

Ingredients:
- 400g Shrimp meat, de-shelled with tail intact, deveined
- 8 garlic cloves. More if you like, less if you like
- 1/3 cup / 80ml olive oil. I use extra virgin
- 1 tsp Salt
- Chilli Powder or Flakes for Adults (optional)
- 1 tsp Lemon Juice for Kids (optional)
- Fresh Italian parsley or cilantro/ coriander

First step: clean the shrimps. Village Grocer sells shrimp meat sans shells with tails intact, less work for me yay! But you still have to devein the darn things. Deveining prawns is a thankless job, and you only do it for the people whom you really love. It’s really so.not.fun.

Spanish-style Baked Shrimps - cleaning shrimp

Take a sharp knife and run it through the back part of the prawn. See the yucky black line thingy in the photo above? Toss. Do the same for the opposite part of the prawn, there would be a small, yucky clear line thingy. Toss. Rinse and repeat for all prawns.

At some point, you should pre-heat your oven to the highest setting for about 15 mins. Mine goes up to 250 degree Celcius.

Next: Lay the shrimps on a single layer on an oven-friendly baking dish. Or two dishes, if you are making an adult version (chilli) and a kids version (lemon juice). Feel free to arrange them like how I did. It earns you brownie points too, ‘cos your nephew would be praising you to high heavens for being so clever to make two prawns stick together like that.

Spanish-style Baked Shrimps - arranging

Your garlic cloves should have been peeled and cut to thin slices. I love garlic and I go way liberal with them. You can add or reduce the amount of garlic, but I’m telling you that they taste absolutely yummy.

Sprinkle the salt all over the prawns. Add however much chilli powder of chilli flakes your taste buds can take. The amount of chilli powder that I added in the photo below wasn’t enough for me :( I think chilli flakes give more kick.

For the kids version, you can opt to add the lemon juice. Or not. It makes some difference but not world-changing.

Lay out the garlic slices all over, then pour the olive oil on them.

Spanish-style Baked Shrimps - final preparation

Dump them into the pre-heated oven for about 8 to 10 minutes. They’ll come out looking like this:

Spanish-style Baked Shrimps - out from the oven

Add some chopped parsley/ coriander if you want to. Serve to appreciative nephew.

Spanish-style Baked Shrimps - end

Bask in the following adoring praises:
“Xiao Yi, this is the best prawn ever!”
“Xiao Yi, next time you should only cook this kind of prawn ok.”
“Xiao Yi, you are so clever!!”
“Xiao Yi, I love them so much! They are so delicious.”
“Xiao Yi, I don’t want to eat any other prawn but this prawn ok!”

Okay.

Homemade French Fries with a bottle of mayonnaise

Homemade Fries I love fries, especially if the French cut. Even more so if they are done crispy outside and squishy inside, O Fry Heaven!

I also love mayonnaise with my fries. Unfortunately not every establishment that I used to frequent understand this. Their stinginess with their mayonnaise sometimes leave me so frustrated that I have to think twice when ordering fries.

Why make things so complicated? Will giving me additional mayo bring loss to your earnings, or bring forth the end of the world? Charge me extra for it, I don’t care (much), but lying about the availability of mayo in your kitchen will make me flip.
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