Thursday, 15 December 2016

Salmon and Prawn Pie (adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Super Easy Fish Pie on Youtube)

Many apologies for being absent for so long. November have been a crazy busy month for the wife and myself.

The wife is a huge fan of oven baked pies. One day, while I was on my computer doing my own work, she showed me a video. It was Jamie Oliver’s Super Easy Fish Pie. As it’s name imply, its an relatively easy pie to make.

We got some fresh salmon and prawn thus we used them to substitute the fishes used in the original recipe. We also used a little more prawns because we like the texture of the prawns in the pie.

So here’s the breakdown of the recipe (pie for 2-3 person):

The Creamy Mash:
4 Large U.S. Potatoes
Salt and pepper to season
Smoked Paprika
4 tablespoons of salted butter

Tomato, Basil and Parsley Salad Filling:
200 g Cherry tomatoes
1 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
2 stalk of spring onions
2 paddy chilies (Seeds removed)
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
A handful of Basil leaves
A small handful of English Parleys
Salt and Pepper to season
5 tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Focaccia with Basil and Cherry Tomatoes (a recipe by Gennaro Contaldo featuring Donal Skehan)

Bread. A mix of flour, water and yeast, has become a staple in many parts of the world. Bread making has made its way throughout history, changing with times, revolutionizing the very basics of bread making.

Focaccia, a popular Italian flatbread is what we are looking at today. It is a yeasted flat bread, usually plain, but topped with olive oil and herbs or spices. Focaccia is believed to have originated with the Etruscans whose culture was also believed to be influenced by Ancient Greek. Thus, Focaccia is believed to have been around before the formation of the Roman Empire that assimilated Etruscan into the Roman Empire via the Roman-Etruscan war.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Sher Ping Pancakes (adapted from Jamie's America)

Growing up in a Chinese family in Malaysia, I can confidently say we eat a lot of biscuits and pancakes; different forms of them. We have the sweet and we also have a wide range or savoury ones as well.

Today I am going to write about this little gem that caught my eye when I was browsing through the Jamie's America, a recipe book I manage to get my hands on during the Big Bad Wolf Sales this year. I have not had this particular one when I was growing up, but I sure did have something very similar before.

Looking at the recipe just brings out the kid in me. The reminiscence of those savoury snacks my parents used to get for us after their morning run to the market.

So I told Joanna, I really have to try this recipe. We then headed out to the market to get some ingredients for the filling and had a go at the recipe. However, we decided to change the filling to give it a twist of our own; inspired by the taste that we grew up with.

400g of mince pork
1 stalk of leek
1 spring onion
2 tablespoon or ginger and garlic paste (pound equal lengths of ginger and garlic cloves together)
3-4 leaves of Chinese Leaves
salt and pepper (to taste)
2 shot of whiskey
3 tablespoons of Shao Hsing wine

Pancake Dough
500g of bread flour
a few tablespoons of olive oil
about 15g of salt and a pinch or two of black pepper
enough water to combine the dough

Asian Spicy Sauce
1.5 tablespoons of ginger and garlic paste
5 tablespoons of fish sauce
1.5 tablespoons of honey
1 paddy chili (finely cut)
half tablespoon of Tabasco sauce
3 tablespoons of lime juice
water to dilute

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Mushroom Risotto

Risotto is an Italian rice dish, usually cooked in broth to a creamy consistency. Rice was essentially introduced to Sicily, Italy and Spain by the Arabs during their rule around the Middle Ages.The flat and humid territories of Italy was found to have very favourable climate to grow these short-grain rice. Rice quickly become a staple all around Italy.

It is not very clear how did risotto came about, but a young apprentice by the name of Valerius is thought to be the creator of risotto and one that invented the famous Milan yellow risotto (Risotto alla Milanese). Valerius was supposedly tasked to work on the stained-glass windows of the Cathedral Duomo Di Milan in 1574. While he was working on the windows, the people at that time made fun of him and accredited the beautiful colours of the stained-glass to the saffron rather than Valerius himself. Valerius was furious. He devised comeback plan to play a trick on the people during his master’s wedding. He added excessive amount saffron into the rice dish during the wedding with the intention to ruin the dish and the festivities of the wedding. 

His act of retribution backed fire and everyone loved the risotto. There are also accounts that its actually Valerius team/apprentices that played a trick on him during his daughter's wedding. Whatever it is, we are glad someone played that trick. Risotto is indeed a lovely dish to have.

Now, there are a variety of risotto recipes. Just a quick search on the Internet, you will find all kind of recipes. Going back to our recipe today, here is a breakdown of it:


450g Mix of Swiss Brown and White Mushrooms (sliced finely)
2 Shallots (chopped finely)
1 cup of Arborio Rice
1 cup of White Wine
5 cups of Chicken Stocks
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 tablespoon of Salted Butter
Salt and Black Pepper
Chives (chopped finely)
2 handfuls of grated Parmesan Cheese

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Beef Steak with Basil Vinegrette/Vinaigrette

Beef is another meat that I love working with. It has a very unique and intense flavour to it, Jo and I like to call it the "beefiness" taste. Growing up, my family do take beef, but it was always cooked traditionally into soups and occasional into stew. My parents, like most traditional Chinese parents, they prefer beef cooked thoroughly and into soups. When growing up, I always wondered how a proper steak tasted like. To be honest, I cannot recall when exactly I had my first steak. But it was not as pleasant I thought. Haha. I think it was a cafe or some sort in Malaysia during my college times.

Because of that, I was determine make myself a good piece of steak. Over the years, watched a lot of videos/cooking show on how different chefs prepare their steaks. Tried many times over the years, maybe I think I have finally made ourselves a proper steak. Coming from a Chinese family, it is not common for us to eat our beef rare. But I grow older (even Jo agrees with me), rare beef do taste rather amazing. Love the texture, the smell and the how well a good thin slice really just melts in your mouth.

Here is my take on a classic new york strip, also known as a striploin steak. Medium rare, served with a fresh basil vinegrette.

2 Grass-fed Striploin Steaks (got ours from Jaya Grocer, price is rather reasonable, vacuumed individually thus ensuring the freshness is maintained)
6 Cloves of garlic
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh thyme

Basil Vinegrette
50g Basil leaves
1 Lemon (Squeezed and seeds removed)
3 tablespoons of wholegrain mustard
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoon of Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Guinness Pulled Pork on Mash (adapted from Felicitas Pizarro's Recipe)

Pork is a common meat used in Chinese cooking. I think it is indeed safe to say Chinese love their pork dishes. Pork with Yam, Pork with Preserved Vegetables, Suckling Pork etc.

Well, not only the Chinese appreciate pork dishes. Pork is well appreciated and used widely in the West as well. When I was studying in the UK, came across this amazing pork sandwich, a pulled pork sandwich. Absolutely loved it. Even when Jo and I were in San Francisco a few years back, I remember having pulled pork on rice during one of our lunch stops as well. Just superb.

Pulled pork is a method of cooking pork (usually tougher cuts) slowly until they become tender and easily pulled away / easily broken from each other. Hence the term "pulled". Different regions in the world have they own way of making pulled pork.

Always wondered how to make this dish. Never really looked into it (being a little bit of a lazy bump), until one day I saw the recipe on my YouTube side bar as I was watching some other cooking related videos. It was a video by Felicitas Pizarro. An Argentinean chef and sommeliar. Do check her YouTube channel out here.

My initial reaction was "Wow". I didn't know pulled pork is so simple to make. Watched the video several times to familiarise with the ingredients and method of cooking and off to the kitchen I went. (Actually took me another 2 weeks to finally got myself together to getting the ingredients and trying this dish out. Haha.)

I tweeted the recipe a little, just a add a bit more "garlic-ky" flavour and spiciness to the pulled pork. Here the breakdown of the recipe below:

1 kg mixed cut of Pork (We used pork steak and pork shoulder)
6 cloves of garlic
1 large leek (cut into rings/circle)
1 onion (Diced finely)
2 carrots (cut into circles/cut across)
3 Padi Chilies (seeds removed)
Salt (to taste + marinade)
Pepper (to taste + marinade)
2 tablespoon of Honey
4 tablespoon of Soy Sauce
3 tablespoon of Wholegrain Mustard
1 tablespoon of Brown Sugar
1 600ml bottle of Guinness Stout
Olive Oil

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Good Taste Restaurant at Cheras Mahkota

Wantan Mee is great for breakfast. Ipoh has very good Wantan Mee. Wantan Mee in Ipoh is not only cheap, its tasty and very filling too. But when you are staying away from your hometown. What do you do when you crave for Wantan Mee? You try to find a good one around that serves them.

We found Good Taste Restaurant by accident. We were rushing that morning to a class Joanna was hosting and needed a place for a quick breakfast. So we headed to Cheras Mahkota to get some stuffs for the class and saw this restaurant just across the street. Well, what do you know? Its Wantan Mee.

I looked at Joanna and asked if she wanted to try, and she said, "Why not?". This restaurant is continuously packed with people. We were there at 7.30am and its filled with families. Got a table at the back of the restaurant and quickly sat down.

Because we were in a rush, we did not order a lot from the menu. Here are the some items from the menu we ordered.

We ordered the BBQ Pork Wantan Mee (Char Siew Wantan Mee). The mee is good, good texture to it, the vegetables (bak choy) that comes with the plate is also cooked nicely. And Wantan was packed nicely with pork and had great flavours to it. Won't we all agree that the one thing that defines a Wantan Mee is the gravy? The gravy is indeed nice, not too oily, great sweet and savoury flavour. However, the gravy can be a bit salty. And you do get a little thirsty after having that plate of Wantan Mee. Yes, maybe it's because of the MSG, but hey, the food is good. I don't mind drinking more water after that.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Scotch Eggs

Scotch egg is essentially an egg encapsulated in meat/sausages in the shape of a bigger egg. Scotch eggs are usually served in local pubs in the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, when I was studying in the U.K, I did not get a chance to try it there. My usual order at the pub at the time was a curry and a pint. I should have been more attentive and thorough going through the menu. Haha.

It is unclear what is the actual origin story of the Scotch Egg. London department store, Fortnum & Mason claimed they invented it for rich couch travelers in 1738. There are also accounts that Scotch eggs evolved from an Indian dish, the Nargisi Kofta. Another theory mentioned that Scotch Eggs are essentially a “poor” man’s lunch as it is made from egg and leftover meats and easy to carry around.

Regardless it’s origin, Scotch Eggs has been around for a long time. And food that has been around for so long must be something good, so good that it was enjoyed and passed down over the past few centuries. What else does this picnic/pub food remind me about? It reminds me of breakfast, because it has egg, sausages and elements of bread in it.

It can be prepared by baking it in the oven or frying them in the fryer. Some prefer their egg to be hard-boiled in their Scotch Egg, but Joanna and I prefer our Scotch eggs still a little runny, like a soft boiled egg. Believe me, had spend a lot of time of this one, just to get the egg right. Had a number of failed attempt, so had to increase my protein on those days to ingest the eggs from failed attempts. Thankfully, we have a furkid at home to help me with some of my failed eggs. This dish is definitely fits in as a starter or picnic food during an outing with family or friends. It is truly, delicious food in one bite. 

Here is a breakdown of the recipe:

Ingredients (to make 3 Scotch Eggs)

5                                 Large Eggs
350g                           Minced pork
4 slices                        Streaky Bacon
1 handful                     Sage leaves
2 teaspoons                 BBQ Powder
2 tablespoons               Mixture of equal amount of bread and milk
1 teaspoon                   Paprika Powder
1 bowl                         Ice-cold water bath
To taste                       Salt and pepper
2cups                          Breadcrumbs
1 cup                           Flour

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Peranakan Food at Baba Low's 486

Malaysia is definitely culturally diverse . Our families are all influenced by the different traditions set by our ancestors. Depending on where our families were, I believe it is also safe to say that the environment we lived in helped shape our culture and traditions as well.

Food is one of the things that are greatly influenced by our traditions. Joanna grew up eating Peranakan food because both her grandparents had Baba and Nyonya influence. Joanna definitely loves Nyonya food. She loves them so much, every time we passed a Nyonya food place, she will stop for a moment to look at the menu.

So one day we had to head to Bangsar for some work-related matters. We had a bit of time before that, so I decided to look up for a place to eat around the area. Found this wonderful place online, Baba Low 486. We frequented that area a few times in the past couple of month but never realized that the restaurant was there. We have definitely heard of it before but never really realized it was so near the place we frequented.

The food was indeed amazing. Here are some pictures for you guys to check out:
Nyonya Laksa - RM 7.00. 
You can have your Nyonya Laksa with 2 different types of noodles. The Yellow Noddle (Mee), Rice Noodle (MeeHoon), or a mix of both (MeeHoon-Mee). I had the MeeHoon-Mee while Joanna had the MeeHoon Nyonya Laksa. Tasted great. Good level of spiciness, with some tofu puffs (taufu pok), cockles, halved eggs and fresh prawn. Not only it has a great curry flavour, the taste from the coconut milk is not overpowering and you have a hint of freshness from the Kaffir Lime Leaves. I guess you can say that it is what Malaysian Comfort Food taste like.

Otak-Otak - RM 7.00
Pai Tee - RM 5.50

The Otak-Otak tasted very different from the usual Johorian-style otak-otak. Its slightly dry, with a strong turmeric and coconut taste. The fish used to make the Otak was also very fresh. However, its not really suitable for younger kids as it has a lot of tiny bones. We need to be very careful during each bite to make sure we were not consuming any fish bones.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Fat Americano - Coffee with a "Twist"

Jo and I love coffee. The both of us growing up in Ipoh had exposed us to coffee at a very young age. I was not a fan of coffee growing up, but as I entered my teenage years, the love for coffee slowly grew.

Jo on the other hand, is a coffee junkie. I was told that, even at a very young age, Jo was never hindered by the bitter taste of coffee. Apparently, her parents tried to make her stop sucking on the pacifier once by putting a little coffee powder on the pacifier, but to their surprise, she loved it.

We are deeply blessed to be able to try different types of coffee each time we travel to a different country. The Blue Bottle Coffee from San Francisco and the Market Lane Coffee in Victoria Market, Melbourne still stands at the top of our list. Nevertheless, there are still tons of coffees we would love to try in the future.

A few months back while having coffee with some friends, the coffee bar offered our table a cup of chilled coffee, the Fat Americano, something they have been playing around or tinkering with. So what is a Fat Americano? A Fat Americano is like a regular Americano, but the water is replaced with soda, in this case, Coke, hence the "Fat" in front of the Americano.

Coffee with Coke, sounds like a bad idea? To my surprise the Fat Americano was actually quite good. The barista was kind enough to explain to us how they engineered that surprisingly interesting cup of coffee. Iced cold coke with a shot or two of espresso she said. So where is this coffee place you might ask? It is Butter and Beans, a rustic coffee place in Taman OUG. Do check them out, a great place for coffee, tea and to satisfy your cravings for desserts. Definitely a place worth dropping by especially on those lazy weekends where you just want to sit down and enjoy a good cuppa.

The Fat Americano has since became a constant craving for me, especially on a hot day (it's hot almost every day here in Malaysia, but some days, the humidity can really get to you). So one weekend, I decided to give the Fat Americano a try.

What do we need?
1 or 2 shots of espresso.
1 can of Coca Cola.
1 tall glass, filled with ice cubes.

Making the "espresso" at home
We do not have an espresso machine, but thanks to Jo, we do have a French coffee press in the kitchen. It is definitely not an true cup of espresso, but it is close enough to satisfy my craving for a Fat Americano.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Chickpea and Prawn Burger

When we were younger, McDonalds used to serve this vegetarian burger. I am not sure how many of you in Malaysia remember this but the burger was known as the “Vege” Burger. If I remember correctly, that burger was priced at RM 2.50 per burger. It was on the board from only a short period of time, between the year 2001-2003.

Needless to say, when they introduced that burger, it instantly became my favourite burger at McDonalds. As I was only in secondary school at the time, the price was also much more affordable as compared to the other burgers, my allowance allowed me to have this burger once every 2 months. The patty tasted a like a mix of potato and chickpea with a bit of spicy herbs, like cumin and coriander and a little bit of corn bits.

What do you know? When I met Joanna a few years later and we were talking about our childhood and the things we enjoyed having, this burger came into the discussion. Jo too remembered the burger as it was also her most loved burger at McDonalds at that time.

For many years, we have been talking about that burger and at times, wishing that McDonalds would bring it back some how, until one day, out of the blue, I told Joanna, why not we try making that burger at home. With our own twist. Just get some chickpeas and we can try it at home. Hence, I came out with this Chickpea and Prawn burger.

Please do note that, this patty that we are about to share is not the same as the Vege Burger at McDonalds many years back. In fact, it contains prawns, hence it is not a Vege burger at all. But it is a patty made from our experiences as kids, something nostalgic, fusing it together with something we also enjoy now as adults, prawns. Haha.

Here is a breakdown of the recipe:

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Beer Battered Anchovies with Spicy Mayo Dip

I’ve always loved eating seafood growing up. Joanna and I was walking around Village Grocer in 1MontKiara one day and came across fresh anchovies.

I’ve not worked with fresh anchovies before. But have seen a lot of cooking shows using them to prepare appetizers. Since the wife was also keen on trying, we decided to get a pack to try. I think each pack has at least 20 anchovies, and they were only less that RM3. After that, we went around to grab other essentials and headed home.

I’ve always wanted to try making fried anchovies with a spicy dip. Since we have some KewPie Japanese Mayo, Sriracha and beer left in the fridge, decided to make a beer batter for the anchovies and frying them lightly.

Here’s a breakdown of how I did it:

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Fragrant Chinese Sausage (Lap Cheong) Rice

Chinese Sausages or locally known as "Lap Cheong" are sausages the Chinese community, particularly those in Malaysia have during the festive seasons, especially during Chinese New Year.

Chinese Sausages or "Lap Cheong" are mainly made from pork and they are usually sweeten or smoked. Growing up, I did not really fancy these Chinese sausages, but now that I'm older, I particular like the one made from duck liver, or as the locals call it, "Yun Cheong". It has a rich "livery" taste to it, a perfect compliment to plain rice.

This fragrant sausage rice is something my dad used to prepare at home for my family. We know he will be making this soon whenever we have an excess of Chinese sausages lying in our freezer. Nevertheless, this dish looks complicated but is actually very easy to prepare.

Here is a breakdown of the recipe, something I have adapted after years of observing how my dad prepared his.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Flamed Salmon Slices with Spicy Mayo

Salmon, one of those fishes that you can just enjoy it as it is. Yes, raw salmon slices are good, but just with a little bit of effort and a flame gun, you can turn those raw salmon into a great appetizer. I promise that these salmon slices will melt in your mouth and will leave you wanting more.

This recipe is very similar to how to prepare Salmon Poke, but instead of eating them raw, we topped the slices with a spicy mayo sauce and with a bit of flaming effort. This is why, my mother-in-law,  ElinLuv calls it Salmon Brûlée.

Most importantly, it is very easy to prepare.

1 salmon fillet
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
1 tablespoon of light soy sauce
Chopped spring onions
Black pepper
2 tablespoons of KewPie Japanese Mayo
1.5 tablespoons of Sriracha Sauce

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Meat Ragu Pasta

I just love a hearty plate of stew. A meat ragu is a mixture of meat and sausage cooked slowly with red wine and tomato sauce. A slow cooked stew means we need a little more time compared to those recipes shared here earlier. However, this can be prepared a night before if you are planning to have it for dinner the next day. Believe me, this is a definitely must try recipe.

This stew is absolutely amazing with served with pasta or just eaten on its own with some homemade bread.

Since we did not have any meat sausage in the fridge to break into our ragu, I am also going to share how we prepared our own sausage filling for the ragu.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Garlic and Lemon Chicken in White Wine Broth

Tired of eating out? Ever wished that you could cook up a meal for a party of 2 quickly after a long day at work? This might just be the dish for you.

Chicken breasts, one of the easiest protein to work with. Its lean, its filling and cooked the right way, it's actually very very tasty.

Joanna and I just love garlic in our dishes. Soon, you will realized that most of our dishes have garlic in them.

This dish is a simple and wholesome meal that is quick to whip up and delicious. It is a dish that have most of our favourite ingredients all on one plate. The gravy is there not only to infuse into the chicken breasts, making them tender and juicy, but it is so flavourful on its own, you could finish a whole loaf of bread with it.

Here's the recipe below.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Fresh Salmon Poke

Jo and I stumbled upon Salmon Poke (pronounce as Poh-Kay) during our trip in San Francisco a few years ago. We had it at Basa Seafood Express, a compact seafood market/restaurant. We tried 3 different servings of poke there. The original salmon poke, the tuna spoke and the spicy salmon poke.

They were amazing and we were completely blown away. It's definitely not any fancy restaurant but the poke served in a small plastic tray just hit the right note. This is one of the many examples that food does not need to be overly complex at times, simple is good enough.

We got out hands on some sashimi grade salmon via a closed group buy in the neighbourhood. According to the group, the salmon can only be keep taken raw within the first 3 days after bringing them home. We prepared a few days prior to receiving the fish.

A breakdown of the recipes is as described below:

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Egg, Mussels and Scallop on Cashew Pesto Pizza

It's dinner time and you are looking for something quick. Go check in your refrigerator. Do you have some tortillas in the fridge and some seafood frozen in the freezer? If you do, bring them out now, because you will be having a pizza today.

This is quick pizza recipe is for those lazy evenings when you just want something fast and delicious. Everything will be ready in a flash, so you can just sit back and relax to enjoy the rest of your evenings.


Hello and welcome to Pharma's Kitchen.

The idea of starting a food blog came a few years back when I discovered the joy of cooking during my university days. After uni, work has been taking up a big part of my time and I have been pushing it aside for far too long.

I have decided that 2016 is the year for Pharma's Kitchen to make an appearance. I am a pharmacist with a passion for food. Food and cooking has played big part in my life. Being able to prepare food and having people to enjoy them with me has always bring joy to me.

This blog is where I would love to share simple recipes that my wife, calligrapher Quirky by Design and I experiment on in our humble little kitchen. Recipes with simple and easy to source ingredients, fast and quick to prepare meals (to accommodate the busy lifestyles of the average working adult) and hopefully enough to ignite the chef in each and every one of us. Apart from that, it will also feature our occasional dining out experiences and travel destinations.

So welcome again to Pharma's Kitchen.
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