Friday, January 28, 2011

Lunches on the road

Simple and fast meals on the run – Part 3
24th January 2011

Finally we are home! Rotorua was our last stop; we left Rotorua this morning and didn't plan for any packed lunches as hubby purposely planned to rush back to Auckland for a late lunch. After 24 days on road trip, all of us were dying for a warm and decent meal at a restaurant. Especially hubby who wanted to bring Auntie Ah Lan to enjoy great restaurant food in Auckland before she ended her 3 months holiday in New Zealand and returned to Malaysia this Thursday.

We had a wonderful Roast Duck lunch at "Love a duck", Northcote North Shore Auckland.

Our yummy lunch - roast duck and claypot tofu
During our long road trip, we did have a few fast foods eat out at big M mainly to please Ming Ray at their playgrounds. Other than chain fast foods, one couldn't avoid not to try out Kiwi famous takeaways Fish and Chips.

Our first fish n chips takeaways in the car due to bad raining day at Palmerston North
Majority of our lunches on the road were packed lunches we prepared in the morning before checking out from the motels we stayed. Shown below were some of the packed lunches we had.

Packed lunches at Mt Cook
Fried noodles

Of all packed lunches we had, the number one pick of lunches rated by Ming Ray was Claypot chicken rice!

Rice cooker - Claypot chicken rice

Monday, January 24, 2011

Clay Pot Chicken Rice 瓦煲鸡饭(电饭煲版)

Rice cooker - Clay Pot Chicken Rice?

Clay pot chicken rice is one of the well known hawker delights in Malaysia. We never expected to have this dish in the menu of our packed lunches during our Great Kiwi Road trip. However, with Auntie Ah Lan traveling with us, anything is possible. Among the packed lunches we had on the road were clay pot chicken rice, sandwiches, noodles and fried rice. Ming Ray commented this clay pot chicken rice was the best packed lunch he had on the road. He even requested me to add in to his school lunch box menu when school reopened!

You might wonder how to do that while we were traveling on the road with limited utensils? I did mention that I packed a few cooking utensils with us on this road trip, but clay pot? No, of course not!
The clay pot chicken rice we shared below is a modified version using our magic rice cooker again. That being the case, the title above was a bit misleading then. But do rest assured that the taste of the chicken rice does not differ much from the clay pot version. J

This dish is easy and convenient to prepare. It is a great meal when you are lazy to cook but still yearn for a decent meal. You can even skip the stir fried part and just dump everything raw into rice cooker and cook everything in one pot. I used to cook this way to save the hassle of cleaning extra pots and pans. But this method is not recommended by Auntie Ah Lan as she claimed the rice would be tastier and more aromatic following the stir frying preparation.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Magic of Rice Cooker

Simple and fast meals on the run – Part 2

Hi from Dunedin, we finally managed to secure a free internet motel in Dunedin. In the past, we were trying to book similar motels with free internet access but many fully booked out due to peak season (summer school holiday) we traveled in now. It was really a bonus having to access free internet as and when we have spare time after our sightseeing hours. Else, accessing internet time per hour over in touristy places like Queenstown, Te Anau, Kaikoura and Lake Tekapo was not cheap at all ranging from as expensive as $ 3 per hour to $6 per hour. For that reason, we only bought internet time for important email checking and trip planning surf time only.

Today is the 15th day of our journey which also marked more than half way of our planned trip. We are scheduled to return to Auckland by 26th January 2011. We had traveled more than 2700km so far since we started off from Auckland on 1st January 2011. All these days, we were blessed by sunny spells but our luck seemed to change since yesterday night at Te Anau. Strong Southerlies hit in and this morning when we traveled from Te Anau to Dunedin, it was drizzling for the entire 4 hours journey.

I just checked the weather forecast and the coming days weather does not look promising too with wet day lining up to next Thursday. I suppose, this is great timing to have internet access at motel, as we expect we will be cuddling in warm and comfy motel sofa rather than wondering around outside in cold and wet weather.

Back to food, so far we only had been eating out for few meals. When we were in Wellington, Lucia, my more than 35 years old schoolmate since kindergarten had treated us a sumptuous Chinese dinner – Peking Duck. This was the first time Ming Ray tasted roast duck with rice wrapper and he loved it very much.

Sumptious dinner treated by Lucia at Wellington

In Wellington, we were able to locate many Asian eateries especially Malaysian food. We even tasted Penang Loh Mee, fried Koay Teow for lunch. Other than Wellington, the next big city to enjoy decent Chinese meals was in Christchurch. We managed to locate a Malaysian restaurant near our motel around Canterbury University.

With Auntie Ah Lan traveling with us serving as our personal chef, even we were on the road, we still pretty much fed on home cooked lunches and dinners. J Most of our trip, we planned to end our sightseeing before evening and headed for groceries shopping for our dinner back at motel. The motels we checked in were mostly self contained units with full kitchen facilities.

Baked Chicken drums @ Queenstown, Christchurch motel. 
Left: Stir fried cabbage with canned vegetarian duck, Right: Steamed Eggs with pork mince

We were even offered to self pluck home grown vegetables of broccoli and lettuces at one of the motel, Sierra Motel at Omarama (1.2 hours from Mt Cook). With those, we had stir fried broccoli with pork mince and oyster sauce lettuces.

Fresh veggie plucked from Sierra Motel, Omarama

The only accommodation we checked in without any kitchen facilities was in Lake Tekapo, we did not managed to book a motel and ended up with a hotel. However, this did not stop us to come out with a decent dinner. J With our magic rice cooker we brought, we managed to come with a meal of delicious chicken rice dinner! This small rice cooker we brought so far had made us wonderful meals. Other than white rice, we cooked congee, vegetables soup, dessert and baked chicken with it!

Rice cooker Veggie soup, chicken rice @ Lake Tekapo

What's for dinner tonight at Dunedin? After days of chicken, bacon, sausages and pork, we were desperately longing for seafood. At smaller towns especially touristy places the seafood was very expensive and we couldn't seem to get fresh supply at the supermarket. But today in Dunedin, we got whole of Red Cod fish and fish balls to come out with another yummy dinner on the road.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Dinners on the road - Part 1

Simple and fast dinners on the run

We celebrated 2011 with our grand finale tour to New Zealand South Island on 1st Jan 2011. Together with auntie Ah Lan, we hit the road with our first stop at Lake Taupo. This was a 3 weeks long vacation so you could imagine how many things we packed in our car boot to go along with us.

Other than clothes, one of the important items that we had packed in was our rice cooker! Yes, you read me right, it was rice cooker. Hubby was a typical Chinese who couldn't do away with a meal of rice at all. But, in actual fact rice cooker was very useful to us on the road as traveling in New Zealand it was wise to do your own cooking, as you wouldn't want to eat fast food or fish and chips all the time especially in smaller towns where there were not many options of Asian food.

Below were some of the meals which we had for the first few nights at Lake Taupo and KaiKoura.
Home cooked dinner @ Birchland Taupo Motel
Assam Snapper Curry

Fried Udon using electric pan @ Comfort Inn Kaikoura

Fried Udon with Chorizo n Prawns

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Home Grown Dwarf French Beans

Garden to table - Dwarf French Beans

This spring, my landlord decided to redo the backyard landscape which affected my little garden that I had cultivated since last year. I was forced to do dig out all my old plants and started off a new garden. Now, I was so pleased to see my new garden growing so well again. All the vegetables lettuces, herbs and beans seeds that I sowed in spring have grown healthily.

The various dwarf French beans seeds we got free from Ambury Farm, finally flowered and fruited. Other than yellow beans, this time there are two new types of beans that successfully grown in my garden, one of them is dark purple bean (Dwarf Bean – Amethyst) and also flat green reddish beans (Shell Cranberry bean 'Lingua di Fuoco' (Tongue of Fire).
Shell Cranberry bean 'Lingua di Fuoco' (Tongue of Fire)

Yesterday, I harvested some of them. I knew they were still young to pluck but since we are going for a long vacation to South Island, so I couldn't wait to try them thinking they might be too old for us to eat when we return. Regardless their original beans color once they were cooked they all turned into green color, nonetheless they were really crunchy and tasty to eat.

Since only a small bunch of beans being harvested which not enough to make into one dish, I mixed them with broccoli and carrots and came out with this simple fast stir fried mix vegetables dish for our dinner.

Stir fry Shell Cranberry beans n broccoli
Stir fry Shell Cranberry beans & broccoli
1 head of Broccoli -Discard broccoli stalks; thinly slice florets vertically
Shell Cranberry beans - slice into 1/3 length
1/4 Carrots - sliced
1 tbsp chopped garlic
6-9 pc prawns cutlets
100ml stock/plain water
3 tbsp Cooking/Vegetable oil
Cornstarch mixture (about ½ tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water)
1 tsp salt (to your taste)
½ tsp sugar (to your taste)
Chicken stock powder (optional)

  1. Give prawns a rinse, then brine (just enough to cover) 5 minutes before cook, drain.
  2. Wash broccoli, carrots, beans and sliced.
  3. Heat oil on high and sauté garlic till fragrant, add in broccoli, toss a while then followed by Shell Cranberry beans and carrots. Stir to coat all with oil.
  4. Stir fry for 2 minutes until beans turn vibrant green; add in seasoning then stock/plain water.
  5. Toss in prawn, give a few quick stir about another 2 minutes or until prawns turn pink.
  6. Taste test before thicken with corn starch and serve


Related Posts with Thumbnails