Eggs-quisite! Egg Recipes

28 03 2013

5730-Chicken_Or_The_Egg

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Apparently, they’ve finally cracked it (ha!): it’s the egg.

But that’s beside the point.

For me, eggs beat chickens, most of the time – in the culinary sense, anyway. They’re easy to whip up. Cheap. Versatile. Nutritious. And did I mention delicious?

In one humble little egg, you will find: a lot of high quality protein, all 9 essential amino acids, choline to keep your brain happy, lutein and zeaxanthin for healthy eyes and selenium, which is to prevent cancer, though the jury is still out on that one.

Eggs really are a smart fuel, as Mark over at Mark’s Daily Apple explains.

Microwave poached egg on toast.

Microwave poached egg on toast.

 

Here are some of my favourite egg recipes. What are yours? Please do share!

Super Easy 1 Minute Poached Egg (Crack an egg into a bowl. Add 1/3 cup of water. Microwave on HIGH for 60-70 seconds. Done.)

Egg-in-a-Hole (Cut a hole out of your slice of bread. Lightly butter it. Slap it buttered-side down on the skillet. Place a little butter in the hole. Wait for it to sizzle. Crack in egg. Cook for about 60-90 seconds. Flip. Wait. Dig in!)

Chinese Style Steamed Eggs

Chinese Steamed Egg Pudding

Lunch on a recent day: pasta with fried eggs.

Lunch on a recent day: pasta with fried eggs.

Spaghetti with Fried Eggs (a.k.a. poor man’s spaghetti)

Egg and Tomato Stir-Fry

Egg and Bitter Gourd Stir-Fry

The super versatile poached egg makes its appearance everywhere! Here, eggplant and tomato sauce pasta, topped with the almighty microwave poached egg.

Egg and Char Siu Pork Stir-Fry (Slice up char siu. Cut up some scallions. Beat up some eggs. Heat up oil in skillet. Tip in scallions and cook for a while. Then tip in char siu. Now pour in your eggs. Swirl. Serve!)

Bacon and Egg Stuffed Eggplant

Super Easy Microwave Oats Muffin 

 

Bonus: How to Scramble Eggs Inside Their Shell 

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The Story of a Rooftop Farm

7 10 2012

I’ve been working as an editorial intern at the International Herald Tribune, the global edition of the New York Times. Here’s my article on rooftop farming in Hong Kong, published on the the IHT and NYT on 4th October 2012 — coincidentally, the IHT’s 125th anniversary! 

Osbert Lam, owner of the rooftop operation City Farm, on his daily watering round.

In Organic-Hungry Hong Kong, Corn as High as an Elevator’s Climb

HONG KONG — Kimbo Chan knows all about the food scandals in China: the formaldehyde that is sometimes sprayed on Chinese cabbages, the melamine in the milk and the imitation soy sauce made from hair clippings. That is why he is growing vegetables on a rooftop high above the crowded streets of Hong Kong.

“Some mainland Chinese farms even buy industrial chemicals to use on their crops,” Mr. Chan said. “Chemicals not meant for agricultural uses at all.”

As millions of Hong Kong consumers grow increasingly worried about the purity and safety of the fruits, vegetables, meats and processed foods coming in from mainland China, more of them are striking out on their own by tending tiny plots on rooftops, on balconies and in far-flung, untouched corners of highly urbanized Hong Kong.

Continue reading here.

Also related to this article is my IHT Rendezvous blog post:

Up on the Roof, a Real-Life Farmville

HONG KONG — Imagine yourself on a sidewalk in the center of a crowded city. It’s summer, the afternoon rush hour, you’re surrounded by buses, cars and delivery trucks, and they’re blasting you with waves of hot, nasty exhaust fumes.

Now imagine stepping away from that chaotic scene, ducking into an elevator and riding up a few dozen floors where you emerge to find a green oasis of vegetables and flowers — a rooftop farm.

You can continue reading here.

The rooftop farm at night. In the background hang colourful lanterns for the Mid-Autumn Festival.





This Is Why I Like Food

22 06 2012

Homemade wholewheat naan with a chickpea burger patty and some mixed salad.

If my Instagram feed feed can tell you anything about myself, it’s probably this: I like food, and I sure have photos (lots of them) to prove it!

I’ve never paid much attention to food until recently. It used to be just something to fill me up, to fuel me up for the day. Now, though, food is increasingly growing in importance, meaning and significance. Why?

FOOD AS A BASIC NEED

Most obviously, we need food – it’s essential for survival. And as an athlete, I need to make sure that I’m eating enough of the right foods to ensure optimum performance. But at the same time, food is so much more than a provider of life and energy.

Study snack: apples!

FOOD AS A CELEBRATION

Food, more than just a physiological necessity, is an art, an enjoyment, a celebration and a way of life. Behind every bite lies thousands and thousands of years of history: conflict and friendship, leisure and toil, creation and destruction.

In fact, the world was for a long time divided into three major empires based on the three main staple foods, wheat, rice and maize. What separated people even more was the sauce or spice they added: olive oil in the Mediterranean, soya in China, chilli in Mexico, butter in northern Europe, a whole range of aromas in India. Different cultures cook food differently, but culinary all progress has been dependent on the assimilation of foreign food and condiments. (Source: An Intimate History of Humanity by Theordore Zeldin)

Food at once distinguishes but also unites.

Image courtesy of Kevin Van Aelst.

Food is so important in so many different senses, and that is why I want to take control over what, how, when and where I eat. This is what attracts me to cooking. I don’t like eating out in restaurants because when I do, I give up control over what I eat. It is a loss of freedom in the culinary sense.

Party time!

FOOD AS THE SELF

Food is also an expression of identity. More often than not, we eat to satisfy hunger. But as Theodore Zeldin points out in An Intimate History of Humanity, hunger is often satisfied without full awareness for what it is one is hungry for. Making sense of why we eat what we eat can tell us more than just about our taste in food. It also reveals how far we are interested by new sorts of pleasure, or innovation and creativity, or whether we are willing risk takers.

Gastronomy, Zeldin notes, is not just self-indulgence nor self-exploration, but also the exploration of the whole of nature.

Fork and spoons have probably done more to reconcile people who cannot agree than guns and bombs ever did.” – Theodore Zeldin

Chicken meatballs and tomato sauce…total improvisation!

FOOD AS MORALITY

Every bite I take is also an ethical choice. Should I eat meat? Organic, free range, factory farmed or I-don’t-care? Genetically modified, imported, homegrown? In season or out of season? Behind all culinary decisions is a complex web of principles, values and ethics. Whether we pay attention to this web is of course another matter.

I’ve decided that it is worth thinking about, and that’s why I’ve been reading more about food. At first the reading was merely taking infinite pleasure out of various food blogs: mouth watering photos (otherwise known as food porn), attractive recipes, interesting debates about different diets etc. Now, though, I also want to know more about the food industry, and what my food means for the world. On the reading list now:

  • Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer finished reading
  • In Defence of Food by Michael Pollan
  • The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter by Peter Singer and Jim Mason
  • Meat: A Benign Extravagance by Simon Fairlie

The food I eat is part of who I am. I want to make sure that my food decisions are made properly, that I make a decision for the right reasons.

Couscous salad

SO THAT’S WHY I LIKE FOOD.

Food as a basic need. Food as a celebration. Food as the self. Food as morality.

And as I keep moving, as I continue on my culinary journey, I’m sure I’ll find ever more reasons to like this thing we call ‘food’.

Do you like food? Why, or why not?

Fluffy scrambled eggs as a pre-workout snack.





If they can run, so can I.

25 04 2012

What an experience.

Eye-opening, hugely motivational and quite simply, amazing – such was the All China Junior Athletics Championships 2012. Now as I try to adjust back to study-leave life at school, my mind is not on my upcoming exams, but rather the track that I raced on, the elite runners whom I saw, the 11 minutes and 55 seconds that I ran.

My event was the 3000m steeplechase, and this was my second timer ever to run it. I had first run the steeplechase only a few weeks back, clocking a time of 12:12. Coming to the All China Junior Athletics Championships, my mindset had been to run my own race, against myself. Realistically, there was no way that I would be able to compete with the mainland Chinese athletes – they simply much more experience. My goal, therefore, was to break the 12 minute mark. And I did!

The Changzhou Olympic Sports Stadium. Pretty fancy.

My water hurdles were atrocious, my pacing fluctuated wildly (fastest lap was 87 seconds, slowest lap was 99.99), I was quite nearly lapped by the winner, and I finished 11th out of the 12 runners. Nevertheless I was thrilled with my result – I had slashed 17 seconds off my previous time and set a new Hong Kong Junior Record.

What was also very exciting was seeing the elite Chinese athletes in action. Prior to this race, mainland Chinese athletes to me had always just been an abstract blur in the distance – a standard too high to even consider trying to reach. Not any more. Actually seeing them run and racing together with them has eliminated that psychological barrier, and has served as a reminder that they too are young female Chinese runners like me.

And if they can run that fast, so can I.

That, I think, is what I’m taking away from this race. If those girls can run a 3000m steeplechase in 10:19, there’s nothing to stop me from doing the same. All I have to do is train hard and train smart. I’ve completed the challenge of representing HK and running my first ever national-level race. The next challenge now is running the steeplechase in 11:30…and who knows, maybe even 11:00!

Some of my fellow HK teammates, along with the super-cool Coach Paul.

Doing a bit of history revision in my hotel room.

A bit of exploring

In between training and racing, I went out exploring the streets of Changzhou. Armed with my iPhone (I had been too lazy to lug my DSLR to China), I finally gave iPhoneography a proper try. Here are some of my favourites shots.

Woof!! As I bent down to snap a photo of this little puppy, he flinched and barked at me!

This lady was just casually knitting on the street.

Who's da boss?

Mmm...street food. This was a kind of crepe/pancake, with an egg cracked over it and garnished with pickles, spring onions, parsley, gravy and a small fried cracker.

Close up of the crepe/pancake in the making.

Sesame oven baked puff pastries. Yum.