Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Oren's Hummus Shop (Palo Alto)

We went to Oren's Hummus for dinner, and it was great! Reminded me of that time I went to Israel..
We had mushroom hummus, beef+lamb kebab with sweet potato fries and hummus, and falafels. My boyfriend ordered me a non-alcoholic beer, which had a nice malt taste, slightly sweet and easy on the palate. Exactly like what I liked to drink in Israel! The hummus was very good, and the mushrooms had a nice springy texture. The kebabs were flavourful but not too heavy on the senses, and the sweet potato fries were crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, perfect! (you know how some fries can make you choke? not these) The falafels were bite-sized and went very well with the hummus and free-flow pita bread =) Yummy!
plus, you know a place is authentic when the service staff and most of the cliente are from the same place the restaurant claims it hails from..

261 University Ave
Palo AltoCA 94301
Find their menu here:

Chinese Minestrone soup

Being Cantonese we do like drinking soup with our meals. Soup can concentrate the nutrients stored inside the ingredients, which can sometimes help detoxify the body, or increase blood circulation.
Chinese Minestrone soup is really simple and can be whipped up with less than 20 min of preparation time. It is nutritious and helps you hydrate yourself after a long day.

1 onion
1-2 tomato(es)
1 potato(es)
1-2 sticks of celery
1 carrot
As much pork as you like
some salt for seasoning

Even though I wrote down the quantities for most ingredients, this is really all just for reference. Just add more of whatever you like to eat, but just to note that :
     1. The onions, tomatoes, carrot and celery help to make the soup sweeter
     2. The pork helps to add flavour to the soup
     3. Good-tasting soup is a balance of the above contrasting elements. Some salt is required (but not too much) to bring out the flavour of the soup, if not it will end up bland.

1. When choosing pork, get the cut that has a bit of fat, so that the meat will be more tender after boiling. I personally like pork shoulder strips and find pork loin chops too tough. If possible, the presence of some bone will enhance the meaty flavour. 
    Fresh pork is usually red like blood (but don't choose extremely bloody meat, it means it's been badly handled). Dark red and yellowish-brown means it's starting to turn bad.
2. Cut the pork into medium sized pieces (around 5-10 cm long)
3. Chop the celery and carrot into small-sized pieces (around 2-3 cm), the tomato into 6 parts, and potato into chunks. I like to have my onion pieces big, so 2 cuts (1 along each axis), ie. into 4 parts, should do it.
4. Put everything into boiling water and simmer for 30-60 min, or until the pork is cooked, and the vegetables are soft to your liking.
   It might be a good idea to skim off the light-brown foam that floats atop the water, to remove the slight meat stench.
5. Add salt to season, and serve.

If you need more flavour while eating the meat, you can dip it in dark soy sauce and diced garlic or chili.

Pear crumble pie

Had the inspiration to make pear crumble pie two days ago, and it was a success!
I adapted the recipes from and

I used Bosc pears, after consulting with a baker friend. These pears are apparently more crunchy than other brands, if you like your pie to have a crunchy filling.

  • Pastry: 
  • 1 frozen pastry shell (from major supermarkets such as Safeway and Whole Foods)

  • Filling:
  • slightly less than 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 dash ground nutmeg
  • 6 cups peeled pear chunks (equivalent to approx. 6 pears)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • Crumble Topping:
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup cold butter 

1. Toss and combine filling ingredients; spoon into the crust, avoiding adding the excess liquid . 
2. Bake at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes. 
3. Meanwhile, make the crumble topping. First combine the flour and brown sugar and then cut in butter until crumbly. (cutting in butter means you chop up the block of butter while coating it with flour/sugar. Good for relieving stress and venting frustration till satisfied) 
4. Sprinkle crumble topping over filling and bake for another 40 minutes. Cover edges with foil during the last 15 minutes to prevent overbrowning if necessary.

Result: A tasty snack with a crunchy, tart filling that is complemented by the crumbly crust that doesn't require too much mastication. 
My only concern was the slightly soggy pastry bottom (pears have a lot of water after all), which falls apart if you try to serve it right after removing from the oven. However, according to the 2nd link I posted, you can get around that by adding almond meal (and I think oatmeal too) to the pastry bottom before adding the filling, to help soak up some of the juices that would leak out during the baking process. The sogginess disappears if you let it sit for 20 min though, if you have patience enough to wait so long.. 
In any case, the pie tastes great whether hot or cold. Enjoy!

p.s. this recipe can be adapted to make apple pie. Just use 8 cups of tart Granny Smith apples. Some recipes ask for more flour, but I believe this just determines how thick the filling ends up.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Welcome to my food adventure!

Starting this blog to write about yummy food, review restaurants that we've been to, and to amass good recipes to share!

This blog will hopefully cover food from all over the world, and eating places from the bay area in California, Hong Kong, Singapore etc.
No doubt this blog is just a reflection of my own tastes, that have been influenced by my family background in Hong Kong and Singapore, and spending much time in London and California. I am self-admittedly a very picky eater, and find it hard to digest food that tastes bad.

To me, food is just like art. Wonders can erupt from the complementation of opposites, and flavours don't have to be too intense; subtleties have their charms too! And good food doesn't have to be expensive. Street-side stalls can sometimes trump star-rated restaurants at their game.

Hope you enjoy hitching a ride on my food adventure!


"because I'll rather die full than hungry"