miss ene cooks: Nobu’s Miso-Marinated Black Cod

Elliott spends a good part of the day being cared for at my in-laws. On most days except Wednesday, my MIL makes us dinner so that we all go home with full tummes. This means that on each Wednesday, we need to sort out our own dinner. Of course, we did the lazy way out and bought hawker food but after a while, I got quite tired of hor fun/char png/chicken rice.

Decided to google for fast and quick recipes and stumbled upon this one. It sounded easy enough and best of all, preparations can all be done beforehand, specifically 3 days before. Perfect for our schedule! The four-ingredient miso marinade is easy to prepare as well so last weekend, since we were coincidentally at Meidi-ya, land of all things Japanese, I picked up a tub of white miso as well as 2 slivers of black cod to try this recipe out for Wednesday’s dinner.

It turned out really easy and best of all, YUMMY! My only complaint was: The black cod we got was a a tad too tiny so note to self: BUY A BIGGER SLICE OF FISH NEXT TIME!

I am sorry that I do not have pictures of the dish because we gobbled it all up in record time. Just trust me that it is really easy, yummy and healthy (fish is healthy, right?). We ate it with Japanese rice and (frozen) vegetable croquettes, also from Meidi-ya. Ok, not the most healthy but definitely YUMS. I promise to pair my Miso black cod with real vegetables the next time I make it.

Here’s the receipe that I took wholesale from the kitchn. I cut everything by half because there are only 2 of us.

Ingredients for marinade
Serves 4; adapted from Nobu: The Cookbook

  • 1/4 cup sake
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 4 tablespoons white miso paste
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 black cod fillets, about 1/2 pound each

Two to 3 days beforehand, make the miso marinade and marinate the fish:

  • Bring the sake and mirin to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat.
  • Boil for 20 seconds to evaporate the alcohol.
  • Turn the heat down to low, add the miso paste, and whisk.
  • When the miso has dissolved completely, turn the heat up to high again and add the sugar, whisking constantly to ensure that the sugar doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan.
  • Remove from heat once the sugar is fully dissolved.
  • Cool to room temperature.

Preparing the fish

  • Pat the black cod fillets thoroughly dry with paper towels.
  • Slather the fish with the miso marinade and place in a non-reactive dish or bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.
  • Leave to marinate in the refrigerator (not freezer!) for 2 to 3 days.

 Method to cook the fish

  • Preheat oven to 400°F (I use 200 degrees celcius).
  • Heat an oven-proof skillet over high heat on the stovetop.
  • Lightly wipe off any excess miso clinging to the fillets, but don’t rinse it off.
  • Film the pan with a little oil, then place the fish skin-side-up on the pan and cook until the bottom of the fish browns and blackens in spots, about 3 minutes.
  • Flip and continue cooking until the other side is browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Transfer to the oven and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until fish is opaque and flakes easily.

It is seriously easy and like I always, if miss ene can cook, SO CAN YOU!

 

 

Virus attack – Episode #2

As expected, Elliott fell ill again. I am just thankful that he remained healthy throughout our 10-day holiday in Taiwan because honestly, falling ill here is better than falling ill in a foreign country.

18 April, Monday

Elliott went back to school on Monday. He was pretty happy and chirpy but I did notice that he was coughing slightly.

20 April, Wednesday

He was starting to cough badly in the middle of the night. We resorted to turning off the aircon because we thought that the cold air was irritating his throat. This also meant that the room was sweltering which did not make for good sleep.

 

21 April, Thursday

Decided to keep him out of school as by this time, his cough was bad and whenever he sneezed, yellow snot would be coming out of his nose (and sorry about the graphic description!). When I picked him after work, the MIL was concerned and said that perhaps we should take him to the doctor’s. Also, his voice was hoarse from all that coughing – poor chappy!

Took him to see our family doctor who gave him a slightly stronger medicine that helps open up the airways, as well as another bottle of liquid to get rid of the phlegm. He also advised us to continue with the kids Flumicil that we have been giving him. Before bedtime, I also used the nose spray and Snot Sucker.

 

 

22 April, Friday

He woke up looking a lot more rested. Thanks to the meds, he managed to sleep better. In fact, he only coughed violently once at about 2.30am before falling back asleep after I turned off the aircon (it was set to 25 degrees). He was also coughing a lot lesser when I left for work so for that, I am glad.

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I hope you feel better soon, my little bubu-pants!

miss ene goes to Taiwan

We are back and I am proud to say that we survived 10 days of travelling around Taiwan with a cannot-keep-still, need-to-touch-everything-in-sight toddler. There are too many pictures to sort through, way too many laundry cycles to do, and the house look like a tornado blew threw it. There are piles of random stuff littered all around and honestly, I am a little daunted at packing away everything that we I bought.

I think we might have overdone the shopping just a tad. Between the 3 of us, we bought 12 pairs of shoes. The boy would like me to add that he only bought 2 pairs, the rest belonged to me and Elliott.

Let’s put it this way – we left with one luggage and on the way to the airport, our driver guide had to stop by a shop to let us buy a new luggage to fit everything in. Hur hur.

Speaking of luggage, our trip started rather eventfully. We had ONE luggage for the 3 of us and everything was in there, i.e. Elliott’s clothes, milk powder, diapers, stand-by medicine, etc. Some blur sotong took our luggage by mistake (!) so we ended up running around Taichung buying diapers, milk powder, change of clothes, etc. Amazingly, by some stroke of good luck, the guy who took our luggage was also coincidentally in Taichung (!!) so by the time we got back to the hotel (about 10pm), our luggage was waiting for us at the hotel reception. That night, I went to bed feeling absolutely thankful and relieved. And on that related note, please buy travel insurance whenever you travel because this is the first time such a situation has happened to me and if we had really lost our luggage, travel insurance would have covered the cost. Another important lesson: To carry onboard one day’s supply of Elliott’s stuff in a separate bag!

We had 4 adults to 1 kid (the in-laws came along) and it was more of an extended family holiday since the in-laws’ last trip to Taiwan was….for their honeymoon (!!). We did the following routine:

  • Taichung x 2 nights
  • Cinjing x 1 night
  • Miaoli’s Flying Cow Ranch x 2 nights
  • Yilan x 2 nights
  • Taipei x 2 nights

On hindsight, I might have been a little too ambitious in trying to do too many cities. If I were to plan it again, I would definitely keep it to a maximum of 3 cities over 10 days. Just to slow down the pace a little. I do feel like I need a lie-on-the-beach, do-nothing holiday now!

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Note to Elliott – 25

Dear Elliott,

I’d be honest upfront – I completely forgot that you turned 25 months yesterday. It wasn’t until pretty late in the evening when I suddenly said to Daddy: “Eh, I just realised that Bubu is 25 months today!” I guess time flies when you are having fun holds true. Well, either that or the fact that Mummy here has been busy on the workfront and when weekends come around, we hang out with you and before you know it, you’ve hit another month-stone.

Unlike your first year of birth, I don’t have any earth-shattering new milestones to record. The only key milestone to note is you starting school. You started off well but as we all know by now, the dreaded “childcare illness” hit and you were sick for what seemed like forever. In fact, you are still nursing a slight cough at this point and I am keeping my fingers tightly crossed that you don’t pick up another bout of virus.

I must say that I am pretty relieved that you have (kinda) stopped crying at school drop-offs in the mornings. It took you less than a month to wise up to the fact that this school-going business is here to stay. I say “kinda” because you still tear but they are little tears and not the big fat dramatic ones that you shed when we first started school. Mondays are hard because we have spent the entire weekend together and when we ask if you’d like to go to school on Sunday evenings, your answer is always a resounding “No“.

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You are still a very curious and active child who would climb anything and everything. You can also play quietly on your own with your collection of cars, trucks, planes, etc. You love to shout “Fire! Fire!“, then take your firetruck and put out an imaginary fire at a random corner of the house. It is really cute to watch. Sometimes, you need some help with extracting a random toy that has gone under the sofa, and will say “Mummy/Daddy help!“.

You also enjoy cutting up your wooden fruits and would offer them to us to “eat”. Sometimes, Moon get a portion of your “cut fruits” as well. You also like to self-feed (“bubu eat“) and will get upset if we attempt to feed you.

You have discovered that stickers are fun but enjoy peeling them apart more than actually admiring them. These days, I find random stickers stuck all over the house. You also appreciate that stickers and stamps on your hands mean that you have done something well and look forward to having them.

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The other day, I peeked in on you when it was a little too quiet. I was pleasantly surprised to see that you were sitting on the floor, “reading” a book quietly. I sat observing you from a distance and noticed that you were flipping each page in order until you reached the end of the book. It made my heart swell that you enjoy reading (I hope!) as much as your parents do.

You can also answer questions like “What is your name?” (Elliott!) and “How old are you?(2 years old!). You used to say “Ok” to everything because you couldn’t pronounce the “s” word but these days, you’ve wised up to saying “Yes” instead of “Ok“.

Me: Did you go to the playground today?
You: Yes!
Me: Did you go on the slide?
You: Yes! Slide go down!
Me: Did you play with your friends?
You: Yes!

I want to also put on record here that Mummy is still your #1. I cannot use the toilet without you looking for me. If I walk away from you, the fat tears will fall, along with dramatic cries of “Mummyyyyyy“. I wonder if you’d still look for Mummy when you’re 18 years old:)

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You are still co-sleeping with us and I am not sure how long you will remain in our bed but I love it when you snuggle against me and we all drift off to sleep together. I guess we will move you to your own bed when you are ready but for now, I love that you are close to us physically. You probably will not remember this but when you stir, you automatically reach out to hold onto my arm gently, as if being comforted by the fact that I am close to you.

Your bedtime routine hasn’t changed – you take a shower, change into pyjamas, play with your toys for a bit before saying good night to all of them (“goo-nigh choo-choo-train, goo-nigh truck, goo-nigh cars…”). We’d then lie in bed together for bedtime stories. Your current favourite is titled “On the Construction Site” and if we dare try and read another book, you get upset. Pfffft. You still like “The Gruffalo” and “The Gruffalo’s Child”. I am always in awe at your ability to memorise the storyline. I love leaving out the last word from each sentence so that you can say it out loud. Reading bedtime stories with you nuzzled against my shoulder is a memory I will never ever want to forget.

I recently taught you how to “rub noses” and I love that you ask for it over and over again (“again?“, you’d say). I want to remember these little moments because one day, you will decide that rubbing noses with Mummy is not cool anymore.

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Happy 25 months, my dear Elliott. We love you very much!

Forever,
Mummy xoxo

No-tears dropoff

This is a quick blog entry to remind me that there were no tears or sobs of “Mummyyyyy!” at school drop-off this morning.

Altogether now: Hip hip HOORAY!

So my child decided to do a big poop on the way to school this morning so I had to walk him to the school’s bathroom to wash him up. He happily showed me where he washes his hands (part of the morning routine) and after I dressed him, I was half expecting the tears to flow but instead, he marched happily towards the breakfast area on his own, leaving me slightly gobsmacked.

There was a bit of whining at the start but no tears. He also insisted to take his trucks along with him to school and I have learnt to let him be. Better than a crying fest/meltdown, I say. Besides, it was easy to hide the toys once he was suitably distracted (the school does not recommend bringing their own toys).

I wanted to do a little victory dance on the spot but instead, I smiled at his teacher and took my leave quickly. I have to admit that I peeked in at him from the outside and saw that he was taking a cautious bite into what looked like a piece of kueh.

And for the first time, I walked out of the school feeling joy in my heart.

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