Friday, 18 December 2009

Quick Fix Meals - Simple and yet Delicious

There are not many eating places within close proximity to this apartment that we are staying here in Beijing. Even though there are a couple of local fast food joints in the neighbourhood, we rather stay indoor than to walk in the cold just to get our daily meals settled. So I ended up having to prepare home cook meals every single weekday even though I'm suppose to be on vacation.

Since we would only be here for a few weeks, I could not bring myself to stock up too many ingredients. Hence, fixing 2 meals a day proofs to be quite a challenging task especially for someone who is not a good cook to start with.

With a rather empty pantry, I could only prepare very simple meals using minimal ingredients, seasonings and utensils. There is no wok in the kitchen, so I can't even cook fried rice as the frying pan that's available is too small and shallow for any serious stir frying!

Thank goodness my kids don't mind having porridge for their lunch here. Back at home, they would definitely prefer having their favourite takeaway food from the hawker centre than to eat the usual porridge I prepare for them. Only barely two weeks, they already miss their laksa, nasi lemak, chicken rice, fried carrot cake, char kway teow and roti prata!

This bowl of porridge is cooked with short-grain rice or what the locals refer to as "大米". Unlike long grains, it is quite sticky and I had to keep adding water to the pot of bubbling porridge. Yet, I still ended up with very thick and gooey porridge, very much like the baby food which I used to prepare for my kids when they were still toddlers.

To make a simple minced beef porridge more appealing visually, I threw in some frozen vegetables to an otherwise plain, mono-tone meal. There were not a single word of complains when I served the porridge with lots of pork floss as toppings ^_^'

It turns up to be a good thing that I have to work within some constraints, otherwise I would never discover that I could actually make roast chicken with just salt, pepper and some butter! These delicious drumsticks were seasoned with a generous sprinkling of salt and black pepper. When the oven was preheated to 200 degC, I rubbed some butter all over and under the skin before popping them into the oven. Less than half an hour, I was rewarded with a tray of roast chicken drumsticks...with crispy skin and tender juicy meat. The trick to getting crispy skin? Just make sure that after cleaning the chicken, pat dry with paper towels...make sure it is very very dry before seasoning with salt and pepper as you do not want to create any steam in the oven.

Now, I am all set and ready to roast a chicken for our Christmas eve dinner ;)


Blessed Homemaker said...

Good to see your blog being updated despite being away from home :)

Stella said...

The chicken looks really good. I have roasted chicken with only one other ingredient - salt. Really delicious and healthier to boot.

Pei-Lin said...

Mmm ... I almost felt like licking the screen! LOL! And, great tip on getting oven-baked crispy chicken!


anneseetho said...

Dear HHB

I have been following your blog for quite a while and I must really comment that your blog is really down to earth. Nothing fancy and yet sometimes very inspiring and fresh.

Please keep it up and hope you have a gr8 vacation in Beijing.

Small Small Baker said...

The roast chicken looks really delicious! I must make that some day. I love every post of your vacation in Beijing. Thanks for sharing with us! :)

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

You are really good, cooking even you are on vacation. Dont think I can do this way.

tracieMoo said...

I wouldn't mind having this porridge too. They look mouth watering with that generous amount of pork floss! The roast chicken look really delicious too :) You're such a great cook!

Elin Chia said...

I agree with you...simple and yet delicious. I don't mind having this porridge for lunch. Looks yummy with the meat floss on it :)

Can see you are having a great time in Beijing . Have fun :))

derrick said...

hi, been following your blog for awhile. I used to stay in Beijing for 8 months. since i never cook at home so i know few good eatery in beijing. If you have time, u should explore the jap/korea food there. Cos usually they are quite good compare to sg. Should go to this hakka restaurant in 后海。they serve very good dishes. can try this western restuarant behind 太平洋白货。。or this 黑暗餐厅in 建外 your food in pitch dark...have fun!!!

Anonymous said...


Have you eaten the famed Peking duck yet? Let us know how it went if you do with pics if you can?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Derrick, thanks for the info! There are so many good restaurants in Beijing city, and I have only tried a few as we only ventured out further during the weekends. I have been to Hou Hai, but we had roast duck instead.

Hi Anonymous, I have tried the Peking ducks. However, I didn't take any pictures and I am really bad at writing food reviews :')