Cantonese Congee with Stir Fried Chicken ( 广东粥)

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Congee or Chook (粥) is a popular rice porridge in South East Asia which can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or even dinner. Although, widely available across many South East Asian countries, I much prefer the creamy and tasty Macau and Hong Kong version of this popular dish. In Macau and Hong Kong congee is often serve with either beef, chicken, pork, fish or Chinese sausage, along with an accompanying century egg or fried dough stick. Although, congee can be eaten plain by itself too.

Congee is served in many cha chaan teng or tea restaurants in Macau and in Hong Kong. It’s a popular, cheap and comforting dish and is the Chinese equivalent of the Jewish penicillin known as ‘Chicken soup for the soul’. Many Chinese doctor’s recommend this dish to those who are ill, my Mom use to make or buy this dish for me too every time I was ill. Even now in my adult life whenever I feel ill there is nothing else that I’d like to eat than a humble Congee to make me feel warm and better. This heart-warming dish, though simple, is actually not easy to find in Chinese or Asian restaurants in the U.K. or the U.S. and in those that do serves it I would say that the taste is bland. I’ve yet to find a restaurant in the U.K. and U.S. that serves really good Congee packed full of flavour.

The last time I was very ill, I had just got out of the hospital and I craved so badly for a congee so I went to London’s Chinatown and bought takeaway congee. My heart sank as it tasted so bland. Since then I have been on a mission to create a congee recipe that’s as creamy and as packed with flavour as the congee found in Macau and Hong Kong. I’ve come up with two basic chicken congee recipes and this is one of them. I hope you enjoy this recipe, which is my take on a Cantonese Congee. I hope that if you feel ill and have this it will give you strength and a warm comforting feeling and make you feel better. Bon appetite!

Serves: 6 bowls

Ingredients:

Chicken Marinade:
1. 1/2 inch of finely sliced ginger
2. 1 clove of garlic, crushed and minced
3. 1 tbsp. of light soy sauce
4. 1 tbsp. of dark soy sauce
5. 2 tbsp. Shaon Xing rice wine
6. 1 chicken breast, diced
7. pinches of corn flour
8. 2 tbsp. oil

For the Congee:
9. 1 litre of chicken stock
10. 1.5 litre of water
11. 1 cup of long grain rice (rinse two or three times, then drained)
12. 1/4 cup of glutinous rice
13. 1/2 tsp. salt
14. 1/2 tsp. ground white pepper

For the Garnish:
15. 1 clove of garlic, sliced and deep fried
16. 1 spring onion, finely chopped
17. 1 tbsp. of roasted peanut
18. a handful of chopped coriander leaves.
19. 1/2 inch of finely sliced ginger (omit if you prefer your congee with less heat)

Process:
Chicken:
1. Marinade the chicken for one hour with all the marinade ingredients listed above except for the oil.
2. After one hour, heat a wok over high heat, add 2tbsp. of oil. Once the oil starts to smoke, add your chicken with the marinade into the wok. Stir fry for a 5 minutes or so until the chicken is golden brown and cooked. Set aside.

For the Congee:
2. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan bring the chicken stock, water, rice and glutinous rice to a boil over low-medium heat. Cook at a lively simmer, stirring occasionally until the mixture is creamy, about 1.5 hour.

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For the Garnish:
3. Serve the congee in a bowl, add the stir fried chicken and garnish on top and serve.

Note: You can make the plain congee a few days in advance, stored in a container in the fridge.  Simply bring it to the boil and add your stir fry your chicken when you are ready to eat it.  You can also eat the porridge plain or add any toppings you like.

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Lasagne

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Lasagne for me is one of the ultimate comfort food. Lasagne is a labour of love on a plate, as it does takes time to cook and prepare, I hardly make this dish but the few times I have made a lasagne is to either show love or comfort to family or friends. It was one of my favourite dish as a young child and is also now my Mom’s favourite dish. When she came to visit me in England from Macau the first thing she asked me to do was cook lasagne for her soon as she lands and this recipe was created specially for her. I hope you enjoy this too!

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KITCHEN KIT:
A large casserole pan with a lid, a medium size sauce pan and an oven-proof dish.

Ingredients Serves 4:
For the Lasagne filling:
1. 1 tbsp. butter
2. 2 rashers of pancetta, finely chopped
3. 1/4 tsp. cinnamon powder
4. 3 tbsp. olive oil
5. 1 medium onion approximately 150g, finely chopped
6. 2 cloves garlic, crushed or grated
7. 1 carrot, finely chopped
8. 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
9. 1 butternut squash approximately 600g, deseeded and chopped into small cubes
10. 2 bay leaves
11. ¼ tsp. salt
12. ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
13. ¼ tsp. chilli flakes
14. 1 tsp. dried oregano
15. 1 tsp. dried basil leaves
16. 3 sprigs of thyme
17. 1 sprigs of rosemary
18. 3 Sprigs of sage
19. 400g. minced beef
20. 400g. tinned plum tomatoes
21. 2 tbsp. tomato paste
22. 1 tsp. sugar
23. 250ml. full bodied red wine
24. 300ml. beef stock

For the pasta:
25. 400g fresh lasagne sheets

For the Béchamel Sauce:
26. 30g butter
27. 30g flour
28. ½ pint of full fat milk
29. 80g grated mature cheddar cheese (if you are strict Italian feel free to substitute to parmesan)
30. Pinch of salt
31. Pinch of pepper
32. ¼ tsp. nutmeg
33. ½ tsp. fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
34. 120g mozzarella, sliced into small pieces

For the Lasagne filling: Preheat the oven to 200ºC
1. Fry the 1 tbsp of butter with pancetta and cinnamon in a large pan over medium heat, until golden.
2. Then add 3 tbsp. of olive oil, stir in the onion, garlic, celery, carrot, butternut squash, bay leaves, salt, pepper, chilli flakes and all the herbs, fry for 2-3 minutes.
3. Next, add the beef and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, wine and beef stock, bring to boil.
4. Once it starts to boil, lower the heat (lowest heat possible) and cover the pan with a lid. Allow cooking for 1½ hour, stirring occasionally to ensure that the meat and vegetables does not stick into the pan.

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For the Béchamel Sauce:
5. On a small sauce pan over low-medium heat, make your roux; melt butter and stir in the flour, constantly stirring until well combined. Slowly add milk and grated cheese stirring constantly. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and parsley. Stop adding milk and remove from heat once the béchamel sauce is thick and smooth.

For the layering of the lasagne:
6. After 1 ½ hour, pre-heat your oven to 200ºC.
7. Lay some sheets of lasagne at the bottom of your lasagne dish, then add a layer of meat, then another layer of lasagne sheet and again meat, repeat the layers, until you reach the top of your dish. Finish it with a layer of lasagne sheets covered with Béchamel sauce.
8. Finally grate some cheddar or Parmesan cheese and place the mozzarella pieces all over your Béchamel sauce. Cook in the preheated oven for 30–35 minutes until golden.

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Serve immediately with a lovely salad on the side and finish with a yummy Tiramisu.

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Jerk Chicken with Spicy Coconut Rice

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Although this recipe involves a long list of spices, please don’t be put off making this dish.  It is in fact a very easy dish to make. Measuring and mixing the spices all together is the most time consuming part for this dish.  What I have also recently done is have all the dry spices all measured up and stored in a few small containers. That way, whenever I fancy making this dish, it is a matter of simply adding the liquid ingredients into the spice mix, rub it all to the chicken pieces, leave to marinade for a couple of hours, grill and done. A super easy evening dinner or a weekend lunch!

KITCHEN KIT:
A grinder or pestle and mortar, 2 ovenproof dishes, a cling film, 2 sauce pans with a lid and a rubber glove.

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Ingredients:

For the Jerk Chicken:
1. 3 tbsp. olive oil
2. 4 chicken thighs, skin on
3. ½ tbsp. Allspice powder
4. ½ tbsp. ground black peppercorns
5. ½ tbsp. dried chilli flakes
6. ¼ tsp. salt
7. 1 tsp. muscovado sugar
8. 1 tbsp. runny honey
9. 25g.fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
10. 25g.fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
11. 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or grated
12. 1 tsp. ginger powder
13. 3 spring onions, finely chopped
14. 1 lime juice and zest
15. 1 scotch bonnet chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (traditionally this is added but if you are not keen on spicy food you can omit this)

For the Spicy Coconut Rice:
16. 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
17. 1/2 onion, finely chopped
18. 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
19. 410g. long-grain rice
20. ½ tsp. salt
21. 2 pinches of ground black pepper
22. ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
23. ½ tsp. ginger powder
24. 400 ml. chicken stock
25. 400 ml. coconut milk
26. 400g. or 1 tin of Kidney beans, rinsed and drained
27. 1 tsp. thyme leaves
28. 1 whole Scotch bonnet chilli (left whole)

For the Corn:
29. 2 cobs
30. 1 tbsp. lime
31. A pinch of salt
32. A pinch of ground black pepper
33. A pinch of chilli flakes
34. 3 tbsp. butter, melted

For the Jerk Chicken:
1. Spoon over 3 tbsp. of olive oil in an ovenproof dish, place the chicken thighs skin side down first.
2. Next, place the rest of the ingredients listed on the above ‘Jerk Chicken’ recipe in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar, ground or pound all the ingredients for 2-3 minutes until well combined. Then rub this all over the chicken, if you are using Scotch bonnet chili wear a rubber gloves to handle the chili.

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3. Cover the chicken with a cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
4. Next, pre-heat oven to 200°C. place the chicken and bake for 30 minutes, turning the chicken a few times to cook well on all sides. After 30 minutes turn the oven to ‘GRILL’ turn the chicken skin side up and finish them off to grill for 5 minutes to get the skin charred.

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For the Spicy Coconut Rice:
5. Place your sauce pan over a medium heat, add the onion, garlic and thyme, fry for 2 minutes, then add the rice and fry for 1 minute.

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6. Stir the rest of the ingredients listed on the above ‘Spicy Coconut Rice’ recipe. Cover the pan with a lid, reduce the heat to low and allow simmering for 25 minutes until the rice is cooked (check the rice occasionally).

For the Corn:
7. In a small bowl, combine the lime, salt, pepper, chili flakes and melted butter; then set aside your spiced butter mixture.
8. Place your saucepan over a medium heat, add 2 litres of water and bring it to the boil.
9. Once the water is boiling add the corncobs and boil for 10 minutes.
10. Place the corn cobs in an oven proof dish and finish cooking in the oven under the grill for 5 minutes, your corn and your chicken should be grilled in the oven to both finish cooking at the same time.
11. Removed the cooked corn from the oven and brush with the spiced butter mixture all over.

Serve immediately.

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Chorizo Pork Stew in Tomato Sauce

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The combination of pork, chorizo, thyme and bell peppers are heavenly. Although most casserole or stew type dishes are mainly eaten in the autumn or winter season. I find that this Spanish inspired stew is perfectly enjoyable anytime of the year. Serve this with a Cava or a refreshing  2008 Brandal Albariño, D.O. Rías Baixas, Spanish white wine.  Or simply a nice freshly made mint lemonade.

KITCHEN KIT:
An ovenproof casserole pan

Ingredients Serves 4:

1. 400g pork shoulder, chopped into chunks approx. 3cm
2. 3 tbsp. of Olive oil
3. 100g. picante chorizo, sliced
4. 8 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
5. 1 clove fo garlic, crushed or grated
6. 1 medium size onion, finely chopped
7. 2 bay leaves
8. 1/2 tsp. salt
9. 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
10. 1/2 tsp. paprika (I used picante for extra heat)
11. 1/4 tsp. saffron
12. 170ml. Spanish white wine
13. 1 1/2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
14. 400g.chopped tomatoes or passata
15. 150g. bell peppers, deseeded and chopped (alternatively you can also use roasted bell peppers adding smoky flavours to the dish)
16. 150g. green beans
17. 12 olives

The Chorizo Pork Stew:
1. Pre-heat oven to 150C.
2. Place your casserole pan on a high heat, add 3 tbsp. of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the chorizo, thyme, garlic, onion and bay leaves. Fry for 1- minutes.
3. Next add the pork and season with salt, pepper and paprika. Brown the pork on all sides for 4-5 minutes, then add the saffron, white wine, white wine vinegar and chopped tomatoes. Stir all the ingredients well, cover with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes.

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4. Now, place the casserole in the oven to cook for 1 1/2 hours. Stir frequently to prevent the meat from sticking into the bottom and sides of the pan. After 1 1/2 hour remove from the oven, stir in the bell peppers, green beans and olives. Return the casserole back into the oven to cook for another 15 minutes.

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Serve immediately with a nice crusty bread, saffron rice or cous cous.

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Cantonese Crispy Noodle Pork

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This dish is commonly eaten at ‘dim sum’ places. I love the crispiness of this noodle dish and this is definitely one of my favourite noodle dish that I always order whenever I go for dim sum. I used to have this dish for breakfast when I was growing up in Macau, it would have been the soft noodle version though, rather than the crispy one. When I was at primary school, there were small take away restaurants in Macau that only sells fried noodles. They sell fried noodles cooked simply with light soy sauce and beansprouts or fried noodles with strips of beef or sometimes pork. The dishes are cooked within seconds on high heat burner in char-coaled gigantic wok. Soon as the noodles are cooked, they are quickly thrown into paper, similar to the baking parchment paper you get in the UK. The noodle’s quickly place in a plastic bag with a complementary wooden chopsticks. I guess serving fried noodles in a paper is kind of similar to the English ‘deep fried chips’ you get from a ‘fish and chips’ take away places, that are also serve on a cone paper.  On paper on a, bowl or plate, for me it doesn’t matter where this dish is serve as I am sure I would still enjoy it and I hope you do too!

Ingredients Serves 6:
For the pork marinade:
1.  200g. lean pork, sliced finely into strips
2.  1 clove of garlic, chopped into quarters
3.  ½ tsp. of ginger powder
4.  ½ tsp. salt
5.  ½ tsp. ground white pepper
6.  1 tbsp. corn flour
7.  1 tbsp. Shiao Shing rice wine
8.  1 tbsp. Light Soy Sauce

For the shitake mushrooms:
9.  55g. of dried shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
10. 350 ml. hot water

For the egg noodles:
11. 200g. dried egg noodles
12. 350 ml. hot water

For the sauce:
13. 1 tbsp. corn flour
14. 1 tbsp. soy sauce
15. 1 tbsp. oyster sauce
16. ½ tsp. ground white pepper
17. ½ tsp. sugar

For frying:
18. 2 tbsp. sunflower oil
19. 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
20. 10g. fresh ginger, finely sliced into matchsticks
21. 100g. beansprouts

For the garnish:
22. 5g. chives, chopped

Crispy Noodle Pork:
1.  Marinade the pork with all the ingredients listed above under ‘pork marinade’.IMG_3691
2.  Soak the mushrooms in hot water for 10 minutes, drain the mushrooms and sliced them thinly. Keep the mushroom liquid aside.

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3.  Blanched the egg noodles in hot water for 1 minute, tossing the noodles to loosen the noodles and avoid them from sticking together. Drain the noodles and place on a plate to dry for 30 minutes. The noodles need to be dry, in order for it to crisp up.

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4.  Next, combine all the ‘sauce’ ingredients listed above in a small bowl.
5.  Place the wok on high heat burner, add approx. 600ml. When the oil is smoking hot, add a quarter of the noodles and deep fry until they are crispy, do not stir or move the noodles around the pan, just leave them to cook until crisp and golden. Do the same for the rest of the noodles cooking them in batches so they cook evenly and crisp up.

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6.  Once the noodles are cooked and crisp, place on a plate and set aside while you make the sauce.
7.  For the sauce, heat the wok over a high heat burner; add 2 tbsp. of sunflower oil into the wok. Once the wok is smoking hot add the garlic, ginger and mushrooms stir fry until fragrant.
8.  Add the pork and fry for 2 minutes. Next, add the rest of the ‘sauce’ ingredients along with the ‘mushroom liquid’ simmer for 2-3 minutes to reduce and thicken the sauce.
9.  Stir in the beansprouts and cook for 1 minute. Pour the sauce into the crispy noodles and garnish with some chopped chives.

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Serve immediately.

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Creamy Chicken Pie

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Comforting, tasty, filling and a definite English household favourite dish! It is probably the most famous savoury pie in the whole of England. Although steak and ale pie, steak and kidney pie are not too far off from the English’s favourite pie list! There are probably a hundred different chicken pie recipes out there, every family and chefs I know of have their own little secret spice or add their own little twist into this dish. This is my version which I would say is not suitable for those on a diet as in all my cooking, baking and making, I always use full fat butter, and to make such a delicious puffy pastry a lot of butter is simply pre-requisite! I take the attitude that we only live once so we may as well enjoy our days and eat loads of pies! Feel free to amend this recipe and add your own twist into this dish! Happy pie eating!  

KITCHEN KIT:
A deep pan, an oven proof dish, a pastry brush.

Ingredients Serves 6:
1.  1 tbsp. olive oil
2.  2 tbsp. butter
3.  2 chicken breast, sliced into big chunks
4.  4 good quality sausages ( I prefer to use sausage full of different types of herbs), sliced in halves
5.  1 clove of garlic, finely sliced
6.  A handful of fresh thyme leaves
7.  3 carrots, peeled and chopped
8.  3 celery sticks, chopped  
9.  2 leeks, chopped
10. 130g. chestnut mushrooms, chopped
11. 250 ml. good quality white wine
12. ½ tbsp. mustard
13. ½ tsp. salt
14. ½ tsp. pepper
15. ¼ tsp. nutmeg
16. 300 ml. double cream
17. 1 tbsp. corn flour
18. 1 pack ready rolled shop-bought puff pastry if you are in a hurry or just feeling lazy, otherwise you can also make your own pastry by following “All Butter Puff Pastry” instructions on the pastry section of this site.
19. 1 egg  lightly beaten, for glazing

 

For The Chicken Pie Filling:
1.  Place a deep pan over high heat, add the oil and butter. Once the butter has melted add the chicken pieces and sausages. Cook and brown for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to brown all sides of the meat.
2.  Next, add the garlic and thyme leaves into the meat, continue to cook for 1 minute, then add the rest of the vegetables and white wine. Allow to simmer for 4 minutes.
3.  Stir in the mustard, salt, pepper, nutmeg, double cream and corn flour. Thicken the sauce for 1 minute then transfer the chicken and vegetable fillings in an oven proof dish.

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For The Puff Pastry:
4.  Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.  On a flour dusted work surface, roll the puff pastry approx. 3mm in thickness, wide and long enough cover your oven proof dish.  
5.  Place the puff pastry on top of your chicken and vegetable fillings. Brush with beaten egg all over and prick with a fork. The egg glaze will give your pie a nice colouring once cooked and pricking the pastry will allow the steam to come out of your pie.
6.  Place your pie in the oven for 30 minutes or just when the pastry has risen up and is golden brown.
7.  After 30 minutes, remove the oven; allow the pie to cool down slightly for 2-3 minutes before serving.

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Extra Tip:
If you’d like your pie sauce to be a little bit more runny add a little bit of full fat milk and stir well into your sauce.
If you are not too keen on ‘All butter puff pastry’ you can always use short-crust pastry instead, infact there are many restaurants in UK that serves this pie with short-crust pastry instead.
You can also try and make your own short-crust pastry by following “The Savoury Short Crust Pastry” instructions on the pastry section of this site.

Freezing: I usually make small individual portions of the chicken pie fillings and freeze them. When I come home from work and haven’t got the time to cook. I heat the chicken filling in a microwave for 4-5 minutes or until its very hot, cover with a puff pastry and place in the oven to bake till the pastry is nice and puffy. Taste as good!

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Coq au Reisling (Alsatian Chicken cooked in Reisling wine)

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This is more of a continuation from my Alsatian blog yesterday. Another local speciality of Alsace, this dish is serve in many restaurants in the region and one of the local favourites too. A creamy sauce, with cute little Alsatian pasta, best eaten with a refreshing Reisling wine. Bon appétit!

KITCHEN KIT:
A pasta sauce pan and a large pan with a lid. 

Ingredients Serves 2:

 

For the chicken and reisling sauce:
1.  2 chicken legs
2.  70g. butter (40g from frying and 30g for the sauce)
3.  ½ tsp. salt
4.  ½ tsp. ground black pepper
5.  30g. shallots, finely chopped
6.  1 tbsp. of fresh thyme leaves
7.  50 ml. cognac or armagnac
8.  250 ml. Reisling (For this dish, I used Trimbach Riesling Frederic Emile, 2006 dry Reisling wine)
9.  150 g.  Paris mushroom
10.  200 ml. double cream

 
For the pasta:
11. 120g. dried corolles d’Alsace pasta (I used a pasta by Reflets de France)
12. 2 pinches of salt
13. 1 tbsp. oil
14. 1.5 litres of hot water

 

 

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For the garnish:
14. A handful of thyme leaves 

For the chicken and reisling sauce:
1. In a large sauce pan over a medium heat, melt 40g. of your butter. Add the chicken legs (cook the skin side first), fry and brown for approx. 5 minutes on each side.
2.  Once the chicken is brown and cooked, transfer into another clean pan, over medium heat. Add 30g.of butter,  ½ tsp of salt and ½ pepper, then add the shallots and cook for  2 minutes.
3. Add the cognac/armagnac and allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes.
4. Next, add the mushroom and the Reisling wine. Cover the pan with a lid and leave to simmer for 20 minutes.
5. After 20 minutes, remove chicken legs from the pan and set aside on a warm plate; turn the heat up and reduce the sauce by a third. Finally, stir in the double cream, season to taste with a couple of pinches of salt and pepper. Cook the sauce for 2 minutes before serving.

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For the pasta:
6.  Meanwhile, while your sauce simmers, prepare the pasta. Place the pasta pan over a high heat; add the hot water, salt and oil. Allow to boil then add the pasta in.
7.  Cook the pasta for 7 minutes and drain. (If you are using a different type of pasta or a different brand of pasta follow the pasta packet instructions for cooking time. as this varies.)

Plate the pasta into a plate and add the chicken and sauce. Garnish with some thyme leaves and serve immediately.

 

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Meatballs in rich tomato and red wine sauce

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The pasta and wine I used for this dish is from the Alsace region of France, which is located on the west bank of the river Rhine, between the Rhine and the Vosges mountains. To the north and east Alsace shares a border with Germany; to the south with German-speaking Switzerland and finally to the west with Lorraine and Franche Comté. Making Alsatian cuisine quite different from the rest of France, pasta is one of the typical dishes from this region. Dishes from Alsace are also known to be packed full of flavours, rich and hearty with German names. A definite place to visit for another gastronomic adventure! bon appétit!

KITCHEN KIT:
A large bowl, a pasta sauce pan and a large pan with a lid.

Ingredients Serves 2:

For the meatballs mixture:
1.  4 sausages (sausage meat removed from casting)
2.  150g extra lean minced beef
3.  ½ tsp. salt
4.  ½ tsp. pepper
5.  ½ tsp. dried chili flakes
6.  ½ tsp. herb de Provence

For cooking the meatballs:
7.  2 tbsp. olive oil

For the tomato and red wine sauce:
8.  1 tbsp. Butter
9.  2 rashers of bacon, sliced
10. 1 tbsp. herb de Provence
11. ¼ tsp. chili flakes
12. ½ tsp salt
13. ½ tsp. ground black pepper
14. 1 small onion, chopped
15. 2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
16. 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
17. 1 tbsp. tomato paste
18. 400g. or 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
19. 150ml. good quality red wine (for this recipe I used Domaine Barmès Buecher – Pinot Noir Vieilles Vignes 2006)
20. 300ml. beef stock

For the pasta:
21. 120g. dried Monschel pasta (I used a pasta by Reflets de France)
22. 2 pinches of salt
23. 1 tbsp. oil
24. 1.5 litres of hot water

For the garnish:
25. A handful of roughly chopped parsley

For the meatballs:
1.  In a bowl mix all the meatballs mixture, ingredients listed above. Then make this mixture into small round balls. Set aside on a plate.
2.  On a large pan over a high heat, add 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Add the meat balls and cook for 3-4 minutes until the meatballs are cooked and brown on all sides.
3.  Remove the meatballs from the pan once cooked and set aside on a clean plate.

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For the tomato and red wine sauce:
4.  To keep the flavors of the meat in your sauce, using the same large pan you cooked the meat balls in and add the butter and bacon. Over a high heat, cook the bacon for 2 minutes, then add the herb de provence, chili flakes, salt, pepper, onions, celery and carrots; cook further for 2 minutes.
5.  Finally add the tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, red wine and beef stock. Once the sauce starts to boil lower the heat, add the cooked meatballs into the sauce and gently simmer for 15 minutes.

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For the pasta:
6.  Meanwhile, while your sauce cooks, prepare the pasta. Place the pasta pan over a high heat; add the hot water, salt and oil. Allow to boil then add the pasta in.
7.  Cook the pasta for 7 minutes and drain. (If you are using a different type of pasta or a different brand of pasta follow the pasta packet instructions for cooking time. as this varies.)

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Plate the pasta into a plate and add the meatballs and sauce. Garnish with some chopped parsley and serve immediately.

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Note:
Ready-made meatballs are now available for purchased in many super markets in the UK. If you are in a rush, you can buy these ready-made meatballs instead. Though, if you have the time to make the meatballs adding your own herbs and spices into it will surely make a lovely difference and personal touch to the dish.

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Pot au feu (A very comforting meat stew)

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This is a very comforting dish that is quintessentially French.  A dish that is not just tasty but also very easy to prepare.  It is not a surprise that this dish is famous among French families.

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KITCHEN KIT:
A large casserole pan with a lid/cover and a medium size sauce pan with a lid

Ingredients Serves 6:
 
The Meat:
1.  330g ham hock (that has been soaked in cold water overnight in the fridge)
2.  150g flank of beef , sliced into 3
3.  100g smoked bacon rashers, sliced into approx.1 inch’ in length
4.  100g good quality sausage
5.  200g bone marrow
6.  1.5 litres of water
7.  2 pinches of salt

The Vegetables: 
8.  6 black peppercorns
9.  Bouquet garni ( 3 bay leaves, 5 parlsey, 3 sprigs of dried thyme all tied together)
10. 1 garlic clove, unpeeled
11. 1 medium size savoy cabbage, sliced into large chunks  3 wedges
12. 2 medium carrots, peeled and quartered
13. 2 celery stalks, cut into thirds
14. 1 large turnip, peeled and halved
15. 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
16. A bunch of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped  (for garnish)
     
The Meat:
1.  In a large casserole pan add all the meat ingredients except for the sausage and bone marrow.
2.  Pour 1.5 litres of cold water into the pan, add salt, cover with a lid and bring to a boil.
3.  Once it starts to boil, lower the heat and allow the simmering for 3 minutes whilst removing impurities that rise up into the surface. (best not to remove all the fat that comes out of the meat as it does add flavour to the dish)
4.  Next, add the bouquet garni, garlic and peppercorns. Cover the casserole pan with a lid leaving a small gap slightly open to allow the steam to come out.  Continue to cook gently over low heat for 1 and ½ hours.
5.  After 1 and ½ hours add the bone marrow and the sausage.

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The Vegetables: 
6.  Meanwhile in a separate medium size pan, bring water to a boil and blanch the savoy cabbages for 3 minutes.  Drain the cabbages and add these into the meat casserole pan.
7.  Add all the other vegetables listed above into the meat casserole pan. Continue to cook gently for 45 minutes.
8.  Finally add some chopped parsley, serve the meat and vegetables on a large plate and serve the consommé separately on individual bowls.

Serve with warm freshly baked bread, dijon mustard and cornichons.

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Mom’s Stir-Fry Beef with Bell Peppers

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My Mom being a busy entrepreneur, didn’t cook much when I was growing up, but the few dishes she did cook she cooked really well. And this is certainly one of her dishes which my sister and I really love.  It’s a very simple dish that reminds me of home. This is the kind of dish she would cook for us on a school night, when we got back from school.  My Mom never gave this dish a name, so every time my sister and I fancied this dish we would ask her to cook her ‘beef dish with bell peppers’ that’s just what we call it. To make things easier to catalog, I named the recipe “Stir-fry Beef with Bell Peppers”. Though no doubt in our household it will forever be called ‘Mom’s amazing beef dish with bell peppers’. Enjoy.  

KITCHEN KIT:
A dish for marinade and a work for stir fry.

For the Beef Marinade:
1.  Approx 220g beef sirloin, thinly sliced into strips
2.  1 clove of garlic, crushed of grated
3.  3 tbsp. light soy sauce
4.  1 tbsp. Worcester sauce
5.  ½ tsp. sunflower oil
6.  ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
7.  ¼ tsp. chilli flakes
8.  1 bay leaf, torn into small pieces
 
For the Stir Fry:
9.  2 tbsp. sunflower oil
10. 1 clove of garlic, crushed or grated
11. 1 small onion, finely chopped
12. 1 bay leaf
13. 2 bell pepper, slice into strips
14. 3 tbsp. light soy sauce
15. ½ tbsp. dark soy sauce
16. Pinch of salt
17. ¼ of ground black pepper
18. 2 sprigs of spring onions, finely chopped.
 

The Stir-Fry:
1.  Drain the beef off from the marinade.
2.  On a wok, heat 2 tbsp. of oil, when the oil is smoking hot, add the garlic, onion and bay leaf stir fry until onion turns translucent and soft. 
3.  Add beef and bell peppers, fry for 1-2 minutes. Then season with the soy sauce, salt and pepper, finally add in the spring onions.

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Serve immediately with jasmine rice.

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Boeuf Bourguignon

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This truly is a heart-warming; comforting dish that originally came from Burgundy (Bourgogne). This dish certainly is one of the very best of French peasant dishes that has been transformed into a magnificent haute cuisine over time. A French house-hold favourite, serve in many bistros in Paris, Lyon and Burgundy and now serve in many Michelin star restaurants. This dish requires the very best of full bodied red wine from Burgundy to give this dish justice. This is a dish where patience really does pays off, no short cuts for dish I’m afraid but trust me it is worth waiting for. The longer the cooking time the better this dish taste! You haven’t tasted beef until you’ve had Boeuf bourguignon! The meat in this dish just falls apart with a gentle touch of a fork, and it melts in your mouth like no other. The flavour of a full bodied red wine form Burgundy penetrates into the meat and the vegetables making it not just a food to enjoy for an evening meal but definitely a dish to remember by. I hope you enjoy this dish too! bon appétit!

KITCHEN KIT
Deep casserole dish with a lid

Ingredients Serves 6:

For the Marinade:
1.  900g  beef brisket, cut into large cube ( or shin of beef also works with this dish)
2.  4 thyme sprigs
3.  4 garlic cloves, crushed
4.  2 tbsp Armagnac  (alternatives: cognac, brandy)
5.  1 ½ bottle of full-bodied red wine- preferably from burgundy

For the First Stage Cooking Process:
6.  2 tbsp olive oil
7.  1 tbsp butter
8.  ½ tsp of salt
9.  ½ tsp of ground black pepper
10. 4 tbsp plain flour

For the Second Stage Cooking Process:
11. 1 tbsp. olive oil
12. 150g diced bacon
13. 8 small silver onions peeled kept whole
14. 1 tbsp. butter
15. 200g  chestnut mushrooms, chopped
16. 3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
17. 1 stick celery, cut into chunks
18. 3 Bay leaf
 
For the Third Stage Cooking Process:
19. 1 tbsp tomato puree
20. 600 ml beef stock (if you haven’t got the time to make the stock, I recommend using a shop bought good quality stock as it does makes a big difference with this dish, however if you decide to use a boullion I recommend using 2 small beef boullion pots the concentrated jelly ones rather than the powdered ones mix with 600 ml hot water.)
21. ½ bottle of good quality red wine (I used Roc Des Chevaliers 2010 from Bordeaux)
22. 1 Bouquet garni (made with 2 parsley sprigs, 2 thyme sprigs and 1 bay leaf)
23. Pinch of salt
24. Pinch of ground black pepper.

For the Garnish:
25.  A handful of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

 

The Marinade:
1.  In a deep dish, marinade beef, wine, 2 sprigs of thyme, garlic and armagnac overnight or for at least 3 hours.

For the First Stage Cooking Process:
2.  Preheat the oven to 200°C.
3.  In a bowl combine the marinated meat with the flour, salt and pepper. Shake off excess flour.    
4.  Place a casserole dish over medium heat; add 2 tbsp of oil and 1 tbsp of butter, brown the meat on all sides. Do this in batches, adding more oil as necessary to avoid the meat from sticking into the pan. Once cook remove meat from heat and set aside.

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For the Second Stage Cooking Process:
5.  Add another 1 tbsp of oil on the pan, add diced bacon cook for 2 minutes; then add the onions, 1 tbsp butter, followed by the mushrooms, carrots, celery and bay leaf. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the cooked meat into this.

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For the Third Stage Cooking Process:
6.  Add the beef stock, red wine, 1 tbsp of tomato puree and bouquet garni into the cooked meat and vegetables bring it to a boil.

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7.  Remove any impurities from the surface, and then simmer for 1 hour.
8.  After one hour,lower oven temperature to 180°C, cover the casserole dish and place in the oven. Leave to cook for 1 hour stirring occasionally. Season to taste and finally sprinkle over some roughly chopped flat leaf parsley.

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Serve with either roast potatoes, creamy mash potatoes or a nice baguette.

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Easy Fried Rice with Cured Chinese Sausages (Chinese Chorizo)

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KITCHEN KIT:
A wok

Ingredients Serves 4:

For the Fried rice:
1.  4 tbsp. groundnut oil
2.  5 cured Chinese sausages, slice thinly ( alternatively use honey glazed ham or chorizo)
3.  2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4.  15g ginger, crushed or grated
5.  2 medium eggs,  lightly beaten
6.  3 cups cooked jasmine rice, cold and preferably a day old
7.  ½ cup Chinese barbecued pork also known as Char Siu, chopped into small pieces
8.  ½ cup green peas
9.  3 stalks of green onions, finely chopped

For the seasoning:
10. 1 tbsp. light soy sauce
11. ¼ tsp. caster sugar
12. ¼ tsp. ground white pepper
13. ¼ tsp. sesame oil
14. Pinch of fine salt
15. 1 tbsp. water
For the Fried Rice:
1.  Place the wok over a very high heat, add 1 tbsp. of oil, followed by the sausage slices. Fry the sausages for 2 minutes. Remove from the wok and set the sausages aside.  
2.  Return the wok to very high heat, add 3 tbsp. of oil, garlic and ginger, fry for 1 minute or until fragrant.
3.  Stir in the eggs and just when the eggs are about to set, add the rice, peas and green onions. Stir Fry for 2 minutes.
4.  Finally season with some light soy sauce, sugar, pepper, sesame oil, salt and water. Stir in the cooked sausages.

Serve immediately.

 

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Eggs in pots (oeufs en cocotte)

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I love having this for brunch on a late Sunday morning over a freshly baked home made bread and a nice cup of coffee.  I sometimes have this with honey glazed ham and wilted spinach rather than chorizo and once I had this at a cafe in Paris with slamon, so feel free to experiment and hope you enjoy this too! : ) bon appétit!

KITCHEN KIT:
2 ovenproof ramekins or clay pots and a deep baking tray

Ingredients Serves 2:
1.  8 tbsp. single cream or crème fraiche ( 4 in each ramekins or pots)
2.  2 pinches of salt  (a pinch on each ramekins/pots)
3.  2 pinches of ground black pepper (a pinch on each ramekins/pots)
4.  2 pinches of smoked sweet paprika (a pinch on each ramekins/pots)
5.  12 Picante Chorizo slices (6 in each ramekins or pots)
6.  2 sprigs of thyme, leaves only (1 sprig in each ramekins/pots)
7.  2 eggs

Eggs in pots (oeufs en cocotte)
1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C.
2. Place 2 tbsp of single cream or crème fraiche in each ramekins or pots.
3. Sprinkle over some salt, pepper and smoked sweet paprika on the cream/crème fraiche.
4. Add 6 chorizo slices on top, then sprinkle over some thyme leaves.

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5. Next, add 1 egg in each ramekins/pots. Spoon over 2 more tablespoon full of cream/crème fraiche on each pots.

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6. Place the ramekins/pots in a deep baking tray, pour enough lukewarm water into the dish to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins/pots.

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7. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the eggs has set. 

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Serve immediately with a warm crusty bread.

 

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Spaghetti Meatballs

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KITCHEN KIT:
Pasta pan or large sauce pan and a frying pan

Ingredients Serves 2:

For the Meatballs:
1.  450g minced beef
2.  ½ tsp. salt
3.  ½ tsp. ground black pepper
4.  ½ tsp. chili flakes
5.  ½ tsp. dried oregano
6.  ½ tsp. dried parsley
7.  2 tbsp. olive oil (for frying)
 

For the Sauce:
8.  2 tbsp. olive oil
9.  1 tbsp. butter
10. 1 garlic clove, crushed or grated
11. 1 onion, finely chopped
12. 150g chesnut mushroom, finely chopped  
13. 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
14. 1 tbsp. tomato paste
15. 200g of small fresh vine tomatoes, finely chopped
16. 100 ml. good quality full bodied red wine
17. 300ml beef stock
18. ¼ tsp. chili flakes
19. ½ tsp. sugar
20. ½ tsp. salt
21. ½ tsp. ground black pepper

 

For the Pasta:
22. 1.5 ltr. Boiling water
23. Pinch of salt
24. 1 tsp. olive oil
25. 150g spaghetti (preferably fresh pasta)

For Garnish:
26. A handful of basil leaves

 
For the Meatballs:
1.  In a bowl, mix all the ‘meatballs’ ingredients listed above until well combined. Make small little balls from this mixture of a approx. ½ inch in size.
2.  Place your frying pan over high heat, add the oil and when it is smoking hot add the meatballs.
3.  Cook the meatballs for 3 minutes on all sides stirring gently to prevent the balls from falling apart. Once cooked, remove and set aside on a plate.

For the Sauce:
4.  Using the same pan to cook the meatballs, add 2 tbsp. of olive oil and butter. When smoking hot, add garlic, onion, chestnut mushroom and celery. Cook for 2 minutes.
5.  Next add the tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, wine, beef stock, allow it to boil.
6.  Once it starts to boil add the meatballs back into the pan, lower the heat, cover the pan with a lid and simmer for 25 minutes.
7.  Season with chilli flakes, sugar, salt and pepper.
For the Pasta:
8.  Bring salted water with oil to a boil. Once it is boiling add your pasta and cook until aldente. If using dried pasta follow the packet instructions as cooking time varies.
9.  Drain cook pasta, add into the sauce and coat evenly with the sauce. Sprinkle over some torn basil leaves.
Serve Immediately.

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Roast Pork Belly

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KITCHEN KIT:
Oven proof dish

Ingredients Serves 2:
1.  400g boneless pork belly strips, skin scored
2.  1 tsp fennel seeds
3.  1 tsp black pepper corns
4.  1 tsp sea salt
5.  4 tbsp. olive oil

The Pork:
1.  Preheat the oven to 180°C. Pat dry the pork with kitchen paper. Rub the oil, fennel seeds, ground black pepper and sea salt all over the pork meat and skin.

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2.  Place the pork belly on a roasting tin, skin-side up, and roast for 1 hour. Remove pork, then, increase the temperature to 220°C and roast again for a further 30 minutes, until crisp
3.  After 1 ½ hour of roasting remove from the oven and rest for 10 minutes before serving with broccoli and cauliflower gratin.

Serve warm.

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Chicken Tikka Masala with Spiced Vegetable Rice

Chicken Tikka Masala:
KITCHEN KIT:
A shallow dish for marinade and an oven proof dish.

Ingredients Serves 2:

For the Chicken Marinade:
1.  250g chicken breast, skin removed
2.  120g natural yoghurt
3.  ½ tsp. ginger crushed or grated
4.  ½ tsp. garlic crushed or grated
5.  ¼ tsp. Paprika Powder
6.  ¼ tsp. Cumin Powder
7.  ¼ tsp. Coriander Powder
8.  ¼ tsp. Chilli Powder
9.  ¼ tsp. Garam Masala Powder
10. A pinch of ground black pepper
11. 2 cloves,
12. 2 cardamom pods
13. 1 cassia bark  2inches in length
14. 1 tbsp. vegetable oil

For Roasting:
15. 2 tbsp. butter

Day 1
For the Marinade:
1.  On a shallow dish combine all the marinade ingredients listed above with the chicken, ensuring that the chicken is completely coated all over. Leave to marinade in the fridge for 24 hours.

Day 2
For Roasting:
2. Pre-heat oven to 200°C. Separate chicken pieces from the marinated liquid. Set marinated liquid aside.
3. In an oven proof dish, combine marinated chicken pieces with 2 tbsp. of butter. Place in the oven to roast for 30 minutes. Basting the chicken with the marinade throughout the roasting time.
4. Remove the chicken from the oven after 30 minutes. Then set the oven to grill at the highest temperature. Return the chicken in the oven to grill for 3-5 minutes. To check if the chicken pieces are cook, insert a knife into the thickest part of the chicken, if the juice that comes out from the chicken is clear, your chicken is cooked.

Serve immediately with naan bread or spiced vegetable rice.
For the Spiced Vegetable Fried Rice: 
KITCHEN KIT:
2 sauce pans and a frying pan.

Ingredients Serves 2:

1.  2 cups of basmati or pilau rice
2.  250 g Cauliflower
3.  100 g snake beans/french beans
4.  2 tbsp. sunflower oil
5.  1 onion, finely chopped

The Spices, sultanas and cashew:
6.  1 tsp. cumin seeds, crushed/pounded
7.  ½ tsp.mustard seeds, crushed/pounded
8.  ½ tsp turmeric powder
9.  1 cinnamon stick
10. 5 cardamom pods
16. 15g sultanas
17. 25g cashew nuts
18. Pinch of salt
19. Pinch of pepper
20. A handful of Coriander leaves, finely chopped

Spiced Vegetable Fried Rice:
1.  Steam rice and set aside. On a separate sauce pan bring salted water to a boil add the cauliflower and cook for 10 minutes, add the snake beans/French beans into the same pan and cook for a further 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2.  On a frying pan over very high heat, add 2 tbsp. of oil. When the oil is very hot add your onions and fry for 2 minutes. Add all the spices above with the sultana and cashew and fry all together for 2 minutes. Add the cooked rice and vegetables into the pan and cook further for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper and finally garnish some chopped coriander leaves.


Serve immediately.

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Cantonese Chicken Cashew Stir-Fry

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This is such a quick and easy dish to cook. This is the type of dish you will find in local cafes and traditional Cantonese restaurants in Macau and Hong Kong. A simple yet very tasty stir-fry dish with meat and vegetables serve with warm jasmine rice. If you fancy something Chinese on work night or school night, I recommend this easy and simple to cook dish. Enjoy!

KITCHEN KIT:
A wok

Ingredients Serves 2:

For the Marinade:
1.  500g chicken breast, slice into strips and skin removed
2.  1 tbsp. Shaoxing rice wine
3.  1 tbsp. Dark soy sauce
4.  ¼ tsp. ginger powder
5.  2 tbsp. corn flour, for dusting

For the Chicken stir-fry:
6.  1 tbsp. groundnut oil
7.  50g cashew

For the Vegetable stir-fry:
8.  1 tbsp. ground nut oil
9.  15g ginger, grated
10. 1 tbsp. hoisin sauce
11. 1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
12. 100g of snake beans/French beans, slice into approx. 1 inch lengths
13. 1 tbsp. plum sauce
14. 1 tbsp. light soy sauce
15. ½ tsp. sesame oil
16. 1 spring onion, finely chopped (for garnish)
17. ½ tsp. chilli flakes (for garnish)

For the Marinade:
1.  On a bowl combine the sliced chicken with all the marinade ingredients listed above; marinade for 10 minutes.

For the Chicken Stir-Fry:
2.  Drain the chicken of the marinade liquid and dust lightly with corn flour.
3.  On a wok over a very high heat, add 1 tbsp. of groundnut oil, once it is smoking hot add your chicken and fry for 3 minutes. Add the cashew and stir fry for another 1 minute.
4.  Plate the chicken and cashew and set aside.

 

For the Vegetable Stir-fry:
5. Return your wok to high heat and add 1 tbsp. of groundnut oil. Once the oil is smoking hot add your ginger, stir until fragrant.
6.  Then add hoisin sauce, chopped celery and snake beans, stir fry for 2-3 minutes until the vegetables are slightly tender.
7.  Finally stir in your soy sauce, plum sauce, and sesame oil. Return the chicken and cashew back into the pan, garnish with some chopped spring onions and chilli flakes.

Serve immediately with jasmine rice.

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Cantonese Stir Fried Beef Ho Fun (Quick and Easy Cantonese Dried Beef Ho Fun 干炒牛河)

This is genuine Cantonese dish. The recipe I have written below contains nothing but the authentic Cantonese ingredients used to create this simple, quick and tasty dish. Cooking this dish is not complicated and yet the end result is superb! This is certainly a favourite noodle dish among Macanese and Hong Kongers at Yum Cha time,  otherwise also known as Dim-Sum Eating time! Although the word ‘Yum Cha’ means “to drink tea”. When Macanese and Hong Kongers says that they are going for ‘Yum Cha’ this doesn’t literally mean that they will go out solely to drink tea, but rather to eat dim sum, ordering varieties of little dishes to be shared with family and friends. Dim sum translate to “touch one’s heart”, and originated in Guangdong. Legends says that it started as just a simple snack, rather than as a main meal of the day, hence it was called ‘Little hearts’. Whether it is true or not I recommend dim-sum or going for yum cha to anyone visiting Macau, Hong Kong or Guangdong, as these little treasures will certainly touch your heart and satisfy your belly! If you want a genuine Cantonese experience, a dim sum trip is a must. I hope that you will try it as I am sure you will enjoy it!

NB: In other parts of China, Beef Ho Fun dish contains a blackbean ingredient. Although it is also good, the Cantonese version with the simple recipe below is still my preference as this is the dish I grew up eating with my Mom and sister. Feel free to try both recipes though and see which version you prefer.

 

Ingredients Serves 4:

For the Marinade:
1.  150g sirloin beef, thinly slice into strips
2.  20g ginger, grated or crushed
3.  1 tbsp. Shaoxing rice wine
4.  1 tbsp. light soy sauce
5.  1 tbsp. dark soy sauce
6.  1 tbsp. oyster sauce
7.  1 tsp. sesame oil
8.  1 tsp. cornstarch
9.  ½ tsp.  ground black pepper

 

For the Stir Frying Noodles:
10. 2 tbsp. ground nut oil
11. 200g fresh thick Ho fun (rice noodles),  (if using dried noodles, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes until soft, then drained)
12. 1 tbsp. dark soy sauce

 

For Stir Frying Beef:
13. 3 tbsp. ground nut oil
14. 1 tsp. sesame oil
15. 1 tbsp. light soy sauce
16. 110g of bean sprouts
17. 4 spring onion sprigs, sliced into approx. 1 inch’ in length
18. A pinch of ground white pepper

 

Day 1
The Marinade:
1.  On a bowl combine all the marinade ingredients above with the beef slices. Cover with a cling film and place in the fridge to marinade for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

Day 2
The Stir Fry:
2.  Drain the beef slices from the marinade. Set the beef aside.
3.  Meanwhile, on a wok over a very high heat add 2 tbsp. of oil. When the oil is smoking hot, stir-fry the noodles with the dark soy sauce between 1-2 minutes or until slightly coloured. Remove noodles from wok and set aside.


4.  Wipe the wok clean with a kitchen paper. Return the wok to a very high heat; add 3 tbsp. of oil. When the oil is smoking  hot quickly stir-fry your beef for 2-3 minutes. Add noodles to the wok, fry the beef and noodles together for 1 minute. Tossing the noodles vigorously to prevent it from sticking onto the wok.


5.  Stir in your beansprouts and spring onions, season with 1 tbsp. light soy sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil, a pinch of ground white pepper and cook further for 1 minute.


Serve Immediately.

 

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Grilled Lemon Chicken with Lavander and Apricot Jam

KITCHEN KIT:
An oven proof dish, a sauce pan and a frying pan
Ingredients Serves 2:
For the Chicken:
1.  4 chicken legs, scored twice on the leg
2.  1 tsp. cooking Lavander, pounded on a pestel and morter
3.  2 sprigs of thyme leaves
4.  1 lemon zest and juice
5.  3 tbsp. Olive oil
6.  2 ½  tbsp. Apricot jam
7.  ¼ tsp. of salt
8.  ¼ tsp. ground black of pepper

 

For the Buttered Green Beans:
9.  300g green beans, trimmed
10. 1 litre of water
11. 1 small shallot, finely slice
12. 25g of butter, softened
13. 25g of slivered almonds
14. Pinch of salt
15. Pinch of ground black pepper
For the Grilled Lemon Chicken with Lavander and Apricot Jam:
1.  On a bowl combine all the ingredients listed above and rub these all over the chicken. Cover the bowl with a cling film and leave to marinade in the fridge for 1 hour or preferably overnight.
2.  Pre-heat oven to 200°C. Transfer chicken and marinade on an oven proof dish. Cook for at least 40 minutes.
3.  Remove the chicken out of the oven and change the oven setting to grill at 220°C heat. Return the chicken and marinade for 3-4 minutes.

 

For the Buttered Green Beans:
4.  On a sauce pan over a medium heat, bring salted water to a boil. Once it starts to boil blanched your green beans for 5 minutes or until the green beans has slightly softened but still have their crunch.
5.  Drain them after 5 minutes, pat dry with kitchen paper.
6.  On a frying pan over a medium heat add your green beans and shallots cook them for 3 minutes.
7.  Add butter and almonds into the pan. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve immediately.

 

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Spaghetti alla Bolognese

KITCHEN KIT:
A large frying pan with a lid and a medium sauce pan.

Ingredients Serves 4:
1.  300g spaghetti
2.  2 tbsp. Olive oil
3.  120g smoked pancetta, diced
4.  ¼ tsp. cinnamon powder
5.  ½ tsp. chilli flakes
6.  2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
7.  2 small shallots, finely chopped
8.  1 carrot, chopped into small cubes
9.  2 sticks celery, finely chopped
10. 500g lean minced beef
11. 2 bay leaves
12. 1 thyme sprig
13. 1 rosemary sprig
14. 200 ml, good quality red wine (full bodied)
15. 140g tomato purée
16. 600 ml, beef stock
17. Pinch of Salt
18. Pinch of sugar
19. Pinch of ground black pepper
20. Fresh basil leaves (for garnish)
21. 30g parmeggiano cheese, grated (for garnish)

 

For the Bolognese:
1.  On a large frying pan over a medium heat add 1 tbsp. of oil. When the oil is smoking hot add the pancetta and cinnamon powder then fry for 2-3 minutes until crisp.
2.  Stir in the chilli flakes, garlic, shallots, carrot and celery. Cover with a lid for 7-8 minutes.
3.  Add your minced beef in, brown slightly for 2 minutes then add in your bay leaves, thyme, rosemary and wine. Burnt off the alcohol for 2-3 minutes.
4.  Next, stir in your tomato puree, then add the beef stock, pinch of sugar, salt and pepper. Cover the pan with a lid and let it simmer for 2 hours stirring occasionally to prevent the meat from sticking to the pan. Sprinkle the basil over.

For Spaghetti:
5.  On a medium size sauce pan, over a medium heat, boil some water with a pinch of salt and some oil. Once the water starts boiling add your spaghetti. (Follow your spaghetti packet instructions) as some spaghetti takes longer cooking time.) Once cooked, drain and set aside.

Serve Immediately with some fresh basil and grated parmeggiano cheese.

 

 

 

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Cambodian Beef Steak Baguette (Loc Lac)

Steak Baguette

I learnt to cook this dish in Battambang, a town in western Cambodia. Since coming back to the UK, I’ve cooked this dish many times. It always reminds me of Battambang and of the smiley, wonderful children I met at Cambodian’s Childrens Trust. Loc Lac is considered as one of Cambodia’s national dishes, second only to ‘Fish Amok’. Loc Lac or marinated beef is usually served with steamed rice and a fried egg, on a bed of lettuce, slice tomatoes and onions. This recipe is my take on the famous Cambodian Loc Lac, which I have adapted to suit my taste buds. I am also pairing this dish up with a baguette rather than the usual steamed rice. One of the things that surprised me whilst travelling around Cambodia is that the Cambodians really love their baguettes. In all the towns and provinces I visited across Cambodia there were always baguettes for sale. Although the French are long gone, the French influence on Khmer cuisine and diet is still strong today. I noticed that the baguettes in Cambodia are sweeter than the baguettes you find in France, the soft bread inside the crispy crust has a slightly cake like texture. I have seen Cambodians eating baguettes all across Cambodia, from the busy city centres of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, to the provinces of Kampong Chhnang and Kampot to the remote border towns of Pailin and Phsa Prum, there are always baguettes for sale. So I thought pairing up Loc Lac with a wonderful baguette would be as nice as eating it with steamed rice. I hope you enjoy it too!

 

KITCHEN KIT:
A wok, a medium size bowl and a small bowl.

Ingredients Serves 2:

For the Marinade:
1.  Approx. 215g beef sirloin, slice thinly into strips
2.  3 cloves of garlic, crushed or grated
3.  30g ginger, crushed or grated
4.  ¼ tsp. chilli flakes
5.  1 tsp. ground Kompot pepper (or  just ground black pepper)
6.  1 tbsp. palm sugar
7.  ½ lime juice
8.  1 tsp.  vegetable oil
9.  2 tbsps. light soy sauce
10. 1 tbsp. dark soy sauce
11. 1 tbsp. tomato ketchup
12. 1 tbsp. fish sauce

For the Lime and Pepper Sauce:
13. 1 small lime juice
14. 1 tsp.  ground Kompot pepper (or  just ground black pepper)
16. ¼ tsp. sugar
17. Pinch of salt

For the Stir Fry and Garnish:
18. 3 tbsp. vegetable oil, for frying
19. 2 baguettes
20. 1 iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced
21. 2 medium size tomatoes, deseeded and thinly sliced
22. 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
23. A handful of finely chopped coriander leaves
For the Marinade:
1.  On a bowl mix all the beef with the marinade ingredients listed above.  Cover with a cling film and leave to marinade in the fridge over night or for at least 1 hour.

 

For the Lime and Pepper Sauce:
2.  On a small bowl, combine all the ‘Lime and Pepper Sauce’ ingredients listed above.  Set aside for later use.

 

For the Stir Fry and Garnish:
3.  Slice your baguettes into halves, stuff your baguettes with the lettuce, tomatoes, shallots, and coriander leaves then set aside.
4.  Meanwhile, on a wok over very high heat, add 3 tbsp. of oil. When the oil is smoking hot, add your beef (do not add the marinade just the beef). Cook the beef in batches.  Remove from heat and set aside to rest the beef for a couple of minutes.
5.  Add the beef in your baguette, drizzle with some ‘Lime and Pepper’ sauce on top.

Serve Immediately.

 

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Moroccan Chicken Tagine

KITCHEN KIT:
Deep dish, Casserole pan with a lid and Tagine dish/ovenproof dish.
Ingredients Serves 2:
The Marinade:
1. 2 tbsp. Olive oil
2. 3 Garlic cloves grated or crushed
3. 1 tsp Harrisa paste
4. ¼ tsp Ginger powder
5. ¼ tsp Paprika powder
6. ¼ tsp Cumin seeds, pounded
7. ¼ tsp Turmeric powder
8. Pinch of cinnamon
9. Pinch of salt
10. Pinch of ground white pepper

For Chicken Tagine:
11. 2 Large chicken legs on the bone and skin on
12. 4 tbsp Olive oil
13. 1 Onion, chopped
14. 1 Carrot, peeled and chopped into chunks (½ inch thick)
15. 1 Courgette, peeled and chopped into chunks (½ inch thick)
16. ½ Litre of chicken stock
17. A few saffron strands
18. 4 Small preserved lemons
19. 90g Green pitted olives
20. A handful of coriander, chopped

The Marinade:
1. In a deep dish, combine all the marinade ingredients together. Cover the chicken with the marinade and leave to marinade for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.

For the Chicken Tagine:
2. In a casserole pan over high heat, add 4 tbsp. of olive oil. Once the oil is smoking hot, add the chicken legs. Cook and brown the chicken on all sides for 3-4 minutes.


3.  Add onions and sauté for 2 minutes or until onions turn translucent. Add the carrots, ½ litre of chicken stock, saffron strands, a pinch of salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and simmer for 10-15 minutes.


4.  Add the courgettes, preserved lemons and olives and cook for a further 8 minutes. Finally garnish with some coriander leaves.

Serve immediately with warm Couscous.




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Vladimira’s Bulgarian Stuffed Peppers

This is a traditional recipe for Bulgarian Stuffed peppers. The recipe for this dish can vary, sometimes it is cooked with minced veal, sometimes with a mix of veal and pork and sometimes it is cooked with just vegetables. This recipe however, is certainly an authentic version of the famous Bulgarian national dish as it was cooked by my lovely Bulgarian friend Vladimira, who was kind enough to teach me how to cook this dish and share her family’s secret recipe. A wonderful evening meal to have with family and friends! Bon appetit or as they would say in Bulgarian dobar apetit!

KITCHEN KIT:
A deep sauce pan and an oven proof dish

Ingredients Serves 4:
1.  8 large red bell peppers, stalks removed and deseeded
2.  2 tbsp of sunflower oil
3.  3 cloves garlic, grated or crushed
4.  1 onion, finely chopped
5.  1 large carrot, peeled and diced in small cubes
6.  A handful of chopped parsley
7.  500g minced meat (500g minced veal or a mix of 250g minced veal and 250g of minced pork)
8.  1 cup of long grain rice, rinsed on cold water a few times
9.  2 medium size tomatoes chopped into small pieces
10. 2 cubes of chicken stock or 500ml chicken stock
11. A pinch of ground black pepper
12. 2 tbsp of plain flour
13. 1 cup of Greek yoghurt
14. 2 egg yolks, beaten


The Stuffed Peppers:
1.  Preheat oven to 200°C.
2.  Meanwhile, on a large sauce pan over high heat with the oil in, add the chicken stock and stir it until it dissolves in the oil, add your garlic, onions, carrots and parsley; sauté for 2-3 minutes then add your minced beef. Brown the meat for 5 minutes.


3.  Stir in your rice and let it cook for 1-2 minutes, and then add your tomatoes. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the water is absorbed by the rice.


4.  Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and set aside.
5.  Stuff the peppers with your rice, vegetable and meat mixture. Dust with some flour to seal them and finally place them on an oven proof dish. Pour over the chicken stock of 500 ml.


6.  Bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes or until the peppers have slight blackened. (as per the picture below)

7.  When the peppers are cooked and slightly blackened, removed the peppers from the oven. Drain the excess liquid off in a frying pan and put over medium heat, stir in your egg yolks and yoghurt, stir and cook for 2-3 minutes until sauce has slightly thickened. Remove from heat and pour the sauce back into the peppers.

Serve immediately with a bowl of yogurt.

 

 

 

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Aromatic Grilled Chicken

 

I love Asian street food and my obsession for Asian street food is my sole motivation for taking long haul flights. I would be willing to travel for days on roads, planes, cars, boats or even bamboo boats accross South East Asia just to try an amazing street food dish that I have seen on Rick Stein, Floyd or Luke Nguyen’s Cookery and Travel shows. ”There’s a famous saying that travels broadens the mind” in my case it is certainly more like “Travel broadens my belly”. Here’s my take on a Thai/Cambodian inspired grilled or best barbecued chicken. ’Inspired’ as I unfortunately do not have the original recipe from Thailand or Cambodia for a charcoaled barbecued chicken. Enjoy!

KITCHEN KIT:
Oven proof dish and a deep dish.

Ingredients Serves 2:
1.  2 Chicken legs, scored with bone in and skin on
2.  4 Cloves of garlic, grated or crushed
3.  2 tsp. Coriander powder
4.  3 tbsp. Fish sauce
5.  ½ Lime, juice
6.  1 tbsp. Palm sugar
7.  20g, Finely sliced galangal
8.  3 Kaffir lime leaves, slice into matchsticks
9.  2 tsp. Ginger powder

 

The Marinade:
1.  In a deep dish, mix all the ingredients listed above. Rub the marinade all over the chicken, inserting the garlic slices and lime leaf in the chicken, cover with a cling film and marinade overnight.

The Grilling:
2.  Pre-heat the oven to grill at 200°C. Place the chicken with the marinade in the oven to grill between 25-30 minutes, turning them twice to grill both sides of the chicken. Before removing the chicken from the oven, insert a sharp knife through the chicken, if the juices from the chicken runs clear, the chicken is ready and cooked, if the juice is slightly pinkish or bloody cook in the oven for 5-10 minutes longer.

Serve immediately with coconut rice and lime wedges.

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Cantonese Braised Beef Brisket (Ngau Lam, 牛腩飯)

KITCHEN KIT:
Large frying pan/wok, a large casserole pan with a lid and a slow cooker (if you do not have a slow cooker you can just use a large sauce pan).

Ingredients:
1.  4 tbsp. ground nut oil
2.  500g beef brisket, chopped into chunks approx. 1nch thick
3.  150g beef tendons, chopped into chunks approx. 1nch thick
4.  40g ginger, peeled and slice
5.  3 cloves of garlic, grated or crushed
6.  1 ½ litre of water
7.  ½ cup shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
8.  2 ½ tbsp. Chu Hou Sauce
9.  1 star anise
10. 1 cinnamon bark equivalent of approx. 4 inches long/ 2 inch thick.
11. ½ tbsp. brown sugar
12. 2 large daikon radishes, peeled and chopped into chunks approx. ½ inch thick
13. 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks approx. ½ inch thick
14. 5 tbsp. light soy sauce
15. 2 tbsp. dark soy sauce
16. Pinch of salt
17. Pinch of ground white pepper

The Beef Brisket and Tendons:
1.  On a large frying pan over a high heat, add 2 tbsp. of oil, when the oil is very hot, add and fry the beef brisket chunks and tendons for 3-4 minutes until brown on all sides. Then set aside.
2.  Reheat the same pan/wok adding another 2 tbsp of oil, sauté garlic and ginger for 1-2 minutes.
3.  Transfer cooked garlic, ginger, beef brisket and beef tendon into a large sauce pan. Add 1 ½ litre of water, Shaoxing rice wine, Chu Hou sauce, star anise, cinnamon bark and sugar. Cover sauce pan with a lid and bring to boil.
4.  Then add the daikon radishes and carrots;lower the heat and simmer for 6-10 hours with the lid on; until the beef brisket are soft and tender and beef tendon turns into a jelly-like consistency, soft and almost falling apart.(use a slow cooker instead if you have one)
5.  Stir frequently throughout the whole time to ensure that the ingredients are all well incorporated and the beef doesn’t get stuck at the bottom of the pan. There should be enough liquid to cover all the ingredients both before and after cooking this dish for hours. So do add some more water little ½ a cup at a time, if you find that your sauce starts to dry out during the cooking process.
6.  Season with some salt, pepper and sugar.

Serve warm with jasmine rice or with egg noodle soup.

 

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Macanese Baked Pork Chop Rice

Macanese Baked Porkchop Rice

This is one of the locals favourite dish, which can be eaten in many restaurants and cafes in Macau as well as Hong Kong. This is another great example of a genuine fusion dish. Baked pork chop with cheese, tumeric and coconut milk are cooking methods and ingredients that came from the Portuguese and their ex-colonies such as Goa.  And the fried rice which came from canton (Macau, HKG, China).  There are different recipes for a “Baked pork chop rice dish”, one recipe includes tomato paste , tomato chops and ketchup which is known in both Hong Kong and Macau as the “Baked Pork chop rice dish in red sauce” red being the tomato sauce.  The other alternative recipe is known as the “Baked Pork chop rice dish in cheese and white sauce” that is cooked with cheddar cheese and bechamel sauce. Finally the last alternative recipe is called the “Portuguese Baked Pork Chop rice” which is the version I have made here, with a coconut milk  and tumeric powder. The recipes for the red, white and coconut tumeric sauces varies greatly from restaurants to cafes to families that cooks the dish. I have tried all sorts of different versions in my life time and I must say that so far I have been lucky enough to have only had delicious ones so far.

 

KITCHEN KIT:
Ovenproof dish and 2 frying pan/wok.

Ingredients Serves 4:

For the pork marinade:
1.  2 pork chops or pork loin steaks
2.  2 tbsp light soy sauce
3.  ½ teaspoon sugar
4.  ½ teaspoon corn flour
5.  1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine or sherry
6.  ½ tsp ginger powder
7.  ½ tsp  of sesame oil
8.  Pinch of ground white pepper

 

For the breaded pork chop:
9.  ¼ salt
10. ¼ ground white pepper
11. 2 tbsp flour
12. 1 egg, lightly beaten
13. 30g dried breadcrumbs
14. 4 tbsp of ground nut oil

 

For the Fried Rice:
15. 2 tbsp ground nut oil
16. 1 egg, lightly beaten
17. 3 cups of cooked rice
18. 1 shallot, finely chopped
19. ½ clove of garlic, crushed
20. 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
21. 2 medium tomatoes, deseeded and finely chopped
22. 1 tsp sesame oil
23. 1 tbsp light soy sauce
For the Sauce:
24. 1 tbsp ground nut oil
25. 1 bay leaf
26. 1 shallot, finely chopped
27. 1 small potato peeled and chopped
28. 1 carrot, peeled and slice
29. 1 tsp turmeric powder
30. 150 ml coconut milk
31. 150 ml full fat milk
32. Pinch of salt
33. Pinch of coarse black pepper
34. Pinch of sugar
35. 30g Cheddar cheese, grated
36. 15g of desecrated coconut

 

Day 1

For the Marinade:
1.  On a bowl combine all the pork marinade listed above, marinade the pork overnight or for at least 1 hour.
2.  Cook your rice and set to chill overnight.

Day 2

For the breaded pork chops:
3.  Preheat oven to 200ºC
4.  On a plate, rub the pork with flour, salt and pepper, then dip into the beaten egg and finally into the breadcrumbs.
5.  On a frying pan heat 4tbsp of oil over a medium heat, when the oil is very hot add your pork and cook until golden brown and crisp. Set your pork aside on a kitchen towel to drain the excess oil.


For the Fried Rice:
7.  On a separate pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil over a high heat, add your egg and just when it starts to set stir in your rice. Add 1 tbsp soy sauce and 1 tsp of sesame oil cook for 2 minutes. Set your egg fried rice aside.


8.  Re heat your frying pan over high heat, add 1 tbsp of oil, when the oil is smoking hot add your garlic, shallot and bell pepper cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly until the bell pepper has slightly softened.
9.  Return the egg fried rice back into the pan, stir incorporating all the ingredients together, cook for 2 minutes and set aside.


For the Sauce:
10. Parboil your chopped potatoes (approx 5 min) and carrots (approx 3 min) until slightly softened, then drain.


11. On a frying pan over a very high heat, add oil and when it is smoking hot; add your shallots,bay leaf,carrots and potatoes;cook for 2 minutes.
12. Next,stir in your turmeric powder, coconut milk, full fat milk; season with salt, pepper and sugar, leave to simmer for 10-15 minutes until the sauce has thickened.

For the Baking process:
13. On an oven proof dish, add your fried rice and half of the sauce, then add the pork chops with the leftover sauce. Sprinkle over some grated cheddar cheese and desecrated coconut. Bake for 25 minutes until cheese has melted.

 

 

Serve Warm.

 

 

 

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Rib-Eyed Steak with Bernaise Sauce and triple cooked chips

Steak with Bernaise Sauce

KITCHEN KIT:

Griddle pan, pastry brush, electric whisk, deep fat fryer or a deep pan.

Ingredients:

For the Rib-Eyed Steak:
1. 240g rib-eyed steak  (2x)
2. pinch of salt
3. pinch of ground black pepper
4. vegetable oil

For the Bernaise Sauce:
5.  1 shallot, finely chopped
6.  3 tbsp fresh tarragon leaves, finely chopped
7.  4 tbsp dry white wine or vermouth
8.  4 tbsp water
9.  2 tbsp white wine vinegar
10.  175g unsalted butter
11.  3 egg yolks
12.  Pinch of salt
13.  Pinch of ground white pepper
14.    Pinch of sugar

For the triple-cooked chips:
15.  2 medium size Maris Piper or King Edward potatoes
16.  1 litre groundnut oil, for frying
17.  Pinch of Rock sea salt
18.  Pinch of ground black pepper

The Steak:
1.  Using a pastry brush the steak on both sides with vegetable oil, rub some salt and pepper on the steak.
2.  Heat a Griddle over a high heat until it is smoking hot. (Do not oil the pan and do not add the steak until it is smoking hot.)
3.  Add the steak and cook 2½ minutes on each side for a medium steak.
4. Once cooked set the steak aside on a plate to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

The Bernaise Sauce:
1.  On a small pan boil for 3 minutes the shallot, 1 tbsp tarragon, 4 tbsp water, 4 tbsp dry white wine/vermouth and 2 tbsp white wine vinegar. Reduce liquid by a third and strained liquid. Once strained, you should have approx 3- 4 tbsp of liquid. Set aside to cool.
2.  On a small pan over a low heat melt 175g of butter, bring to boil, skim foam off the butter and discard. Leave the butter to cool at room temperature.
3.  Meanwhile whiz the egg yolks, liquid reduction and 2 tbsp chopped tarragon. Then, slowly add the butter in a steady stream while whisking (it is important to do this slowly to ensure the butter don’t split from the mixture). Season with salt, ground white pepper and sugar.

The Chips:
1.  Peel and cut potatoes into ½ inch thick, rinse and soaked in cold water for 15 minutes changing water 2 or 3 times to remove the starch.
2.  Over a medium heat simmer your chips for approx 30 minutes, until they are almost falling apart.
3.  Gently drain your chips; leave them to cool and dry out. If you have time place on the freezer for 1 hour to continue to dry it out.
4.  Heat 1 litre of oil in a deep-fat fryer or a deep pan. Fry the chips in batches for approx 5 minutes in small batches until a light crust forms; then drain them on a kitchen paper for 5 minutes.
5.  Transfer chips on a wire rack, leave to rest for another 5 minutes and place them again in the freezer for 1 hour.
6.  Final stage, heat the oil again in the deep-fat fryer or deep pan to 180ºC and fry the chips until golden approx 6-8 minutes. Drain and season with salt and pepper.

Serve warm with triple cooked chips and bernaise sauce.

Steak with Bernaise Sauce

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Toulouse Cassoulet

Toulouse cassoulet

KITCHEN KIT:
Flameproof casserole pan, frying pan, and ovenproof dish

Ingredients Serves 6:
1.  300g haricot beans (I use canned beans for this dish)
2.  1 clove
3.  1 medium onion, peeled only; left whole
4.  1 medium size onion peeled and chopped in big chunks
5.  4 garlic cloves finely slice
6.  approx 120ml red wine
7.  approx 800 ml of water
8.  A bouquet of garni made of 1 thyme sprig, 1 parsley sprig and 1 bay leaf tied together with a kitchen string.
9.  2 sprigs of thyme leaves only
10. 3 carrots peeled and chopped into big chunks
11. 400g Toulouse sausages alternatively use good quality Lincolnshire or Cumberland sausages.
12. 200g pork rind
13. 300g skinned off belly pork
14. 400g pork collar
15. 4 tbsp of duck fat
16. 4 tbsp tomato puree
17. Pinch of salt
18. Pinch of pepper
19. Pinch of chilli flakes
20. 75g dried bread crumbs

The Cassoulet:

Stage1
1.  Insert the clove on the whole onion, drain your beans and set aside.
2.  Place casserole over a medium heat; add clove-onion, pork rind, pork belly, garlic and 800ml of water, if you have a large pan add more water (the water needs to just about cover all of your ingredients). Partially cover casserole and bring to boil.
3.  Once it starts to boil, season with salt and pepper, reduce heat to low and simmer for 4-6 hours, adding water occasionally until the pork rind has softened (almost dissolved). Then stir in your drained beans. Remove heat uncovered and set aside.
4.  Take half of the liquid from your casserole dish and set aside.

Stage 2
5.  Place frying pan over a medium heat, add your duck fat and pork collar for 8-10 minutes until golden brown and cooked, then add the bouquet garni, onions and carrots stir for 2 minutes.
6.  Next add the tomato puree and red wine let it simmer for 5-8 minutes until the alcohol has burned off.
7.  Pour half of the liquid from your casserole dish onto your frying pan, covering the pork collar, bouquet garni, onions and carrots, if the liquid is not enough to cover all the ingredients add some more water. Cover the frying pan and simmer over medium heat for 2 hours.
8.  Add the Toulouse sausages and cook for another 30 minutes.
9.  Meanwhile, pre-heat oven to 180°C.

Stage 3
10.  Once sausages are cooked, transfer all the ingredients from your frying pan onto an ovenproof dish, starting with the sausages, discarding only the bouquet garni. Add the cooked bean mixture from your casserole dish onto this dish as well.
11.  Place in the oven to cook for 4 hours. Remove from the oven then sprinkle over some breadcrumbs. Cook for a further 30 minutes or until the breadcrumbs has turned golden brown.

Toulouse cassoulet Toulouse cassoulet

Serve warm with freshly baked Pain De Campagne.

Toulouse cassoulet

Extra Tip: I usually make this dish with the ingredients listed above, though today I had some left over confit de canard and I added this onto the cassoulet as well, if you do have some left over duck legs add it on the cassoulet it would taste just as nice. If a lot of oil comes out of your cassoulet you may want to drain some of it off though this would be more of a personal preference.

 

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Winter Comfort Chicken Noodle Soup (Vietnamese Inspired)

Chicken Noodle Soup

KITCHEN KIT:
Large Sauce Pan, Ladle

Ingredients Serves 3:
1.  150 egg noodles
2.  200g chicken breast
3.  1.5 litre chicken stock (best to make your own chicken stock or buy a very good quality ready made chicken stock from Waitrose, rather than use chicken stock cubes; as a very good stock makes this dish)
4.  1 star anise
5.  1 cinnamon bark
6.  3 garlic cloves finely chopped
7.  approx 20g ginger finely slice into match sticks
8.  2 celery finely chopped
9.  1 medium size carrot finely chopped
10. a handful of spring onions (chop off white bottom at approx 1.5 inches and the rest chopped finely)
11. a handful of coriander leaves finely chopped
12. a handful of Thai sweet holy basil (a type of basil commonly used in Thailand and South East Asian cuisine with a distinct sweet aroma and taste)
13. 1 lime, slice in half
14. 1 chilli finely chopped (deseeded as well if you prefer your soup mild than not spicy)
15. 4 tbsp fish sauce
16. 2 tsp palm sugar
17. Some Kompot Black peppercorns

The Chicken Noodle Soup:
1.  In a saucepan simmer the chicken breast, chicken stock, 3cm spring onion slices, ginger, star anise, cinnamon bark, fish sauce, sugar and some peppercorns. Cover the sauce pan with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes.
2.  After 10 minutes, remove the star anise, cooked chicken and cinnamon bark. Flake the chicken with 2 forks and set aside. Discard the star anise and cinnamon bark.
2.  Add carrots and celery to the stock and cook for 10 minutes.
3.  Add egg noodles and cook for 3 minutes.


4.  Transfer noodles and soup to a bowl, add flaked chicken on top.

Serve with fresh chopped Thai sweet holy basil, chillies, coriander leaves and rest of the chopped spring onions.

Chicken Noodle Soup

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Pork Tarragon in White Wine and Cream

Pork Chop in Tarragon and White Wine Cream Sauce

Ingredients Serves 2:
1.  1 pesandor shallot finely chopped
2.  200g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
3.  2 garlic cloves, crushed
4.  1 tbsp of tarragon leaves only chopped
5.  30g butter
6.  1 tbsp of olive oil
7.  100ml white wine
8.  200ml cream
9.  2 tsp whole grain Dijon Mustard
10. Pinch of Salt
11. Pinch of ground black pepper
12. ¼ tsp of nutmeg
13. A handful of flat leaf parsley finely chopped for garnish

The Pork:
1.  Rub the pork with olive oil pinch of salt and pepper.
2.  On a medium heat fry the pork 4 minutes on each side.  Once cooked remove from heat set aside.

The Sauce:
3.  Using the same pan you used to fry the pork, add butter over medium heat. Add garlic, shallot fry for 1 minute then your mushroom, fry for 2 minutes then add your tarragon leaves; cook for a further 3 minutes.
4.  Add wine and let is simmer for 2 minutes. Then add your cream and Dijon mustard. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
5.  Add your pork again to heat for 1-2 minutes.  Sprinkle with parsley.

Serve with mash potato or pasta.

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Moroccan Kefta Tagine (Kefta Mkaouara)

Moroccan Kefta Tagine

KITCHEN KIT:
Tagine dish/ovenproof dish, sauce pan and a frying pan.

Ingredients Serves 2:

For the Meatballs:
1.  500g minced beef (alternatives: 250g minced beef and 250g minced lamb) although pork is never used for this dish or any Moroccan cuisine, for Cantonese who loves pork you can use 250g mince beef and 250g minced pork, I have tried this dish with both beef and lamb and beef and pork, I found both versions are equally nice.
2.  1 onion, finely chopped in very small pieces
3.  3 cloves of garlic, crushed
4.  1 tsp cinnamon powder
5.  1 tsp cumin
6.  1 tsp paprika
7.  Pinch of salt
8.  Pinch of white pepper
9.  A handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
10. 1 egg beaten
11. 10g dried bread crumbs

For the Sauce:
12. 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
13. 1 medium size onion, finely chopped
14. 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
15. 1 tsp tomato paste
16. ¼ tsp harissa paste
17. ¼ tsp cumin
18. ¼ cayenne pepper
19. ¼ paprika
20. 1 tin of peeled tomatoes in tomato juice approx xxxx ml
21. Pinch of salt
22. Pinch of white pepper
23. A handful of flat leaf parsley chopped
24. 2 eggs

For the Vegetables:
25. 3 tbsp extra virgin Olive oil
26. 1 carrot, quartered into big chunks
27. 1 turnip, quartered into big chunks
28. 3 bell peppers, slice into big chunks
29. a handful of raisins, prunes and dates chopped
30. ½  tsp harissa paste
31. ¼ tsp tumeric powder
32. 800ml chicken stock
33. Pinch of salt
34. Pinch of pepper

For the Meatballs:
1.  On a bowl mix all the “Meatballs” ingredients listed above, if your mixture is too wet add more breadcrumbs.
2.  Make small round balls out of the meatball mixture and set aside.

For the Sauce:
3.  Pre-heat oven to 200ºC
4.  On a frying pan over a medium heat add 2 tbsp of olive oil, when the oil is very hot add your meatballs in and cook until lightly brown, remove meatballs from the pan and set aside. (the oil needs to be very hot before meatballs are added this seals the flavours of the meat, keeps the balls in tact and does not falls apart into pieces)

Moroccan Kefta TagineMoroccan Kefta Tagine
5.  Return the same pan to a medium heat, add another 2 tbsp of olive oil, add the onions and garlic and cook for 1 minute.
6.  Add tomato paste, harissa paste, cumin, cayenne pepper, paprika and tin tomatoes; simmer for 10 minutes.
7.  When the sauce has thickened, return your meatballs onto the pan, season with some salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes; sprinkle over some chopped parsley.
8.  Transfer meatballs with sauce on a tagine dish; crack 2 eggs on top and place in the oven for 5 minutes or until the eggs has set.

Moroccan Kefta TagineMoroccan Kefta Tagine

For the Vegetables:
9.  On a saucepan boil chicken stock, carrots and parsnips. Vegetables should be slightly undercook and not too soft and mushy. Drain cooked vegetables and set aside.
10.  On a frying pan over a medium heat, add 3tbsp of olive oil, harrisa paste, tumeric powder and bell peppers soften for 3 minutes, then add your carrots, parsnips, raisins, prunes and dates. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve warm with couscous.

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Confit De Canard

Confit De Canard

KITCHEN KIT:
Deep casserole pan, 2 frying pan and a baking tray

Ingredients Serves 2:
For the confit duck leg:
1.  2 large duck legs
2.  30g rock salt
3.  1 tbsp black peppercorns, crushed
4.  4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
5.  4 bay leaves, torn into pieces
6.  4 sprigs of thyme leaves
7.  400g duck fat, melted on a deep casserole pan

For the flageolet beans:
8.  2 tbsp olive oil
9.  1 tsp butter
10. 50g streaky smoked bacon sliced
11. 150g flageolet beans (I used canned beans, drained)
12. 150ml chicken stock
13. ½ medium size onion finely sliced
14. 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
15. 2 bay leaves
16. 3 sprigs of thyme leaves
17. ½ tsp ground black pepper
18. Pinch of salt
19. Pinch of cayenne pepper
20. A handful of roughly chopped parsley (for garnish)

Day 1
For the confit duck leg:
1.  Place duck legs on a dry tray, rub the salt, pepper, garlic, bay leaves and thyme leaves all over the duck legs. Cover the duck legs with a cling film and marinade overnight.

Confit De Canard
Day 2:
2.  Pre-heat oven to 140ºC
3.  Wash off the marinade and pat dry the duck legs with kitchen cloth.
4.  On a deep casserole pan melt duck fat, add the duck legs skin side down and bring the temperature up to 85ºC, when there is no bubbles on the surface of the fat. Then place in the oven for 3 hours to gently simmer. (Meanwhile prepare the flageolet beans)
5.  After 3 hours, remove duck legs from the duck fat and set aside for a few minutes. (you may notice on the picture below that the duck fat has set, this is because I left the duck in it’s fat for a day after cooking it in the oven to enrich its flavour more, you can keep duck in its’ fat on an air tight container for a few days or months before you cook it.)
6.  On a dry frying pan over medium heat, fry your duck legs skin side down first. 5-7 minutes.

Confit De CanardConfit De Canard

Day 2:
For the flageolet beans:

7.  On a frying pan add olive oil on a medium heat; gently fry your bacon until golden brown and crisp, before adding the rest of the ingredients listed “For the flageolet beans” above; simmer for 5-10 minutes until liquid has reduce by a third, adjust seasoning  and remove bay leaves before serving.

Serve duck warm on a bed of flageolet beans.
Confit De Canard

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Chicken Liver Parfait

New Chicken Liver Parfait

Usually serve with brioche slices and chutney or prune jam or figue jam. But I personally prefer this with macaroons and black cherries balsamic vinegar reduction.

(For recipe on Chicken Liver Parfait with Macaroon in Black Cherries Balsamic Vinegar Reduction please visit my blog posted on 11th of December 2012)

When I haven’t got the time to make the macaroons I have this instead with a lightly toasted brioche with either plum or apricot jam. I love the sweetness of the plum or apricot with the chicken liver parfait.

IMG_3610

KITCHEN KIT:
A food processor, a sauce pan and a Terrine Mould of approx 12½ inches long. I used to use a 12½ inch mould but as I recently got a lovely ‘Terrine Mould’ present that is approx 10 inches long, I used this now instead, using same recipe below and just pour the excess mixture on a small ramekin/oven proof dish.

Ingredients Serves 8:

For the parfait marinade:
1.  400g fresh chicken livers (remove the sinews and gall bladders or it will be bitter) It is also important to get fresh and not frozen chicken liver.
2.  500ml of milk
3.  2 tsp of salt

For the parfait:
4.  100ml Madeira
5.  100ml ruby port
6.  60g of shallots, finely chopped
7.  2 sprigs of thyme leaves only
8.  1 garlic clove, finely chopped or grated.
9.  50ml Armagnac (alternatively you can also use cognac)
10. 3 pinches of salt
11. 3 pinches of ground black pepper
12. 400g of melted, unsalted butter
13. 5 large eggs or 4 medium ones

For a butter base glazing:
14. 120g softened butter.
15. 3 bay leaves
16. a handful of pink peppercorns
For a jelly base glazing:
14. 150 ml. port
15. 30 ml. water
16. 1 tsp. sugar
17. A pinch of salt
18. A pinch of ground black pepper
19. 5g. of gelatine
20. 3 Bay leaves

For the parfait marinade:
Day 1:
1.  On a bowl, add the milk, 2 tsp of salt and chicken liver. Soak overnight or for at least an hour.

Chicken Liver

For the parfait:
Day 2:
2.  Drain chicken livers and discard the liquid marinade.
3.  Preheat the oven at 120°C and grease your terrine mould with butter.


4.  On a sauce pan bring to boil the Madeira, Port, shallots, thyme, garlic, Armagnac, pinches of salt and pepper until liquid has reduced by one-third and then remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool.


5.  Once the liquid has cooled down add on a food processor with the drained chicken livers and process, slowly add the eggs one at a time. Process until all the ingredients are incorporated and smooth.
6.  Next, add the butter slowly into the parfait mixture, as the parfait may split if the butter is added all at once too quickly. Process all ingredients well.


7.  Press parfait mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl; then add the mixture into the terrine mould. Cover the terrine mould with a greased foil or with a terrine mould cover.


8.  Place the terrine in a deep baking tray; pour in boiling water until it reaches two-thirds of the way up the sides of the terrine. Cook for 45 minutes or until just set. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

For the butter base glazing:
9.  Once the parfait has cooled down at room temperature, remove the foil and any discolouration from the top. Pour over melted butter on top of the parfait, decorate with pink peppercorns and or bay leaves.
10. Cover with a cling film. Chill on the fridge overnight, though ideally it would be best to give it 2
days to chill.

 

For a jelly base glazing:
9.  On a small sauce pan, warm the port, water, 1 tsp of sugar, pinch of salt and ground black pepper. Add and melt the gelatine.
10. Once the gelatine has fully melted, pour the mixture on top of the parfait, decorate with bay leaves. Cover with a cling film. Chill on the fridge overnight, though ideally it would be best to give it 2
days to chill.

IMG_3539

IMG_3540

IMG_3541

IMG_3542

IMG_3544

Removing The Chicken Liver Parfait from the mould:

Day 3:
11. Dip a palette knife/knife into hot water, run through the sides of the terrine to detach the mixture from the terrine mould.

Transfer onto a plate and serve or spread over the macaroon shells and sandwich the macaroons together or spread on a toasted brioche with apricot/plum jam.

Chicken Liver Parfait

Chicken Liver Parfait

Extra Tip: Leftover Chicken liver parfait can be eaten for up to 3 days, if covered with a tight cling film on the fridge. The cling film needs to be air tight to prevent the parfait from oxidising and discolouring. The addition of the double cream, nutmeg/all spice and thyme gives the parfait a creamier texture and more delicate flavour. If you prefer your parfait to be firmer, with a stronger chicken liver and Armagnac flavour omit the double cream, nutmeg/allspice and thyme from your ingredients. I have tried both recipes and enjoyed both equally.

Chicken Liver Parfait

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Cantonese Pork Spare Ribs

Cantonese Pork Ribs

KITCHEN KIT:
Oven Proof dish and a pestel and morter

Ingredients Serves 2:
For the Marinade:
1.  420g pork spare ribs
2.  1 star anise crushed/pounded
3.  1 tsp fennel seeds pounded
4.  1 tsp 5 spice powder or all spice
5.  ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
6.  Pinch of salt
7.  Pinch of ground white pepper
8.  1 tbsp Shao Sing rice wine (or sherry)
9.  2 tbsp light soy sauce

For the Sauce:
10. 100ml light soy sauce
11. 1 tbsp of Shao Sing rice wine (or sherry)
12. 5 tbsp of honey
13. 2 cloves crushed garlic
15. 1 tsp of 5 spice powder or all spice
16. zest of 1 orange
17. chopped coriander leaves for garnish

 

Day 1
The Marinade:
1.  Combine all marinade ingredients together and rub all over the pork ribs. Leave to marinade over night on a deep oven proof dish.

Cantonese Pork Ribs

Day 2
The Sauce:
2.  Pre-heat oven to 200°C.
3.  Place marinated pork in the oven for 45 minutes, and then remove from the oven.
4.  Combine all the sauce ingredients on a bowl; pour over the pork ribs marinade, rubbing the sauce all over the ribs.


5.  Place the pork ribs in the oven to cook for another 20 minutes. Once cooked remove from the oven and garnish with some chopped coriander leaves.

Cantonese Pork Spare RibsCantonese Pork RibsCantonese Pork Spare Ribs
Serve warm.

 

 

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Galinha Cafreal à Africana (Macanese African Chicken)

Galinha Cafreal à Africana (Macanese African chicken)

Certainly one of Macanese’s favourite dish. This is my take on the famous Macanese Galinha Cafreal à Africana.

KITCHEN KIT:

Ovenproof dish and pastry brush

 

Ingredients Serves 4:

1. 1 small spatchcock chicken approx 1.4kg

2. 150g melted butter

3. 10 cloves of garlic, grated or crushed

4. 1 tsp of salt

5. 1 ½ tsp of coarsely ground black pepper

6. 3 bay leaves torn in a few pieces

7. 3 lime leaves finely slice into thin strips

8. 1 red dried chilli finely chopped

9. 1 can of coconut milk or 400 ml

10. 10g desecrated coconut

11. 200ml chicken stock

12. 1 tsp of corn flour

 

Day 1

The Marinade:

1. On a deep dish add 100g butter, 10 cloves of grated garlic,  ½ tsp of salt, ½ tsp pepper, bay leaves, lime leaves and chillies, mix all the ingredients together.

2. Rub the marinade all over the spatchcock chicken. Cover the dish with a cling film, refrigerate overnight to marinade.


Day 2

The Coconut Basting Sauce:

3. On a bowl mix remaining 50g butter, 5 cloves of garlic, salt, black pepper and coconut milk.

 

The Marinated Chicken:

4. Pre-heat oven to 200°C.

5. On a bowl stir 200ml of hot chicken stock and 1 tsp of corn flour then set aside.

6. On an ovenproof dish, add the marinated chicken; then using a pastry brush baste the chicken with some coconut basting sauce. Cover the chicken with a foil.

Galinha Cafreal à Africana (Macanese African chicken)

7. Place chicken in the oven to bake for 45 minutes, basting regularly with the coconut basting sauce. Add 3 tbsp at a time of the chicken stock with corn flour to thicken the sauce, add more if necessary.

8. After 45 minutes, put the oven into grill, remove the foil covering on the chicken. Baste the chicken once again with the coconut basting sauce, return chicken in the oven to grill on one side for 25 minutes, then turn the chicken over and grill the other side for another 25 minutes.

Galinha Cafreal à Africana (Macanese African chicken)Galinha Cafreal à Africana (Macanese African chicken)Galinha Cafreal à Africana (Macanese African chicken)

9. When the chicken is cooked and the skin is blackened sprinkle over some desecrated coconut return to the oven for 2 minutes.

Galinha Cafreal à Africana (Macanese African chicken)

Galinha Cafreal à Africana (Macanese African chicken)

Serve warm with jasmine rice or chips.

Galinha Cafreal à Africana (Macanese African chicken)

Extra Tip: Do not be alarmed that the chicken is blackened it is not burnt it is meant to be black and it does add flavour to the dish, although the exterior of the chicken looks black the insides of the chicken remains succulent and juicy.

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Macanese Almôndegas

almôndegas

These miniature pork patties are so easy to make and are so delicious. I used to have these as an afternoon snack after coming home from school and they are so comforting and absolutely moorish. Nowadays, I serve these as canapé when friends come over for tea. Like many other Macanese dishes the recipe for this dish also varies from family to family, some add chopped green olives. Usually these patties are not dipped in flour. Thyme leaves and chilli powder are not used in this dish as well. I personally prefer a bit of chilli powder and thyme leaves to enhance the flavour, but feel free to omit these if you would like to try the simpler version.

KITCHEN KIT:
Deep frying pan and a colander

Ingredients Makes 25 pcs:
1.  250g minced pork
2.  65g grated mature cheddar cheese
3.  1 egg lightly beaten
4.  1 sprig of thyme leaves only
5.  45g of breadcrumbs
6.  45g of flour
7.  600ml oil (for a 10inch size pan that’s 3 inches deep)
8.  Pinch of salt
9.  Pinch of ground white pepper
10. Pinch of chilli powder

The Patties:
1.  Mix pork, some thyme leaves and grated cheese; season with a pinch of  salt, pepper and chilli powder. Knead until mixture is smooth.
2.  Make small round balls out of the mixture, approx 1 inch in size. Flatten each ball.
3.  Dip each ball on a flour, then beaten egg and finally dip into the breadcrumbs, coating all over evenly.
4.  Heat oil on a deep pan (the oil needs to be very hot).  You can either deep fry or shallow fry your almôndegas in batches for approx.3 minutes on each size. Once cooked and golden brown, drain the cooked almôndegas on a colander sitting on a bowl or kitchen towel to drain excess oil.

almôndegas

Serve warm with an ice cold Macau style milk tea.

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Croque Monsieur

Croque Monsieur

KITCHEN KIT:
Sauce pan, pastry brush and a cookie cutter size 3 inches.

Ingredients Makes 6:

1. 20g butter (for buttering the slice bread)

2. 50g butter (for the béchamel sauce)

3. 50g flour

4. 200ml milk

5. ¼ tsp grated nutmeg

6. 1 tsp Dijon mustard

7. Pinch of ground white pepper

8. Some thyme leaves

9. 55g grated Gruyère cheese

10. 18 slices of good quality white bread (crusts removed, I use a cookie cutter instead to remove and shape the white bread)

11. 12 slices of good quality ham

The Bread:
1.  Preheat oven to 180°C.

Preparing the 3 slices of bread:
This process if for one portion only, (repeat this process 6x to make 6 portions):

2.  For the 2 slices of bread, butter only one side, cut using a cookie cutter. Grill in the oven, butter side up for 3 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside.
3.  For the 3rd slice of bread however, butter, cut and grill both sides of the bread.

The Bechamel:
4.  Heat your sauce pan over low heat, melt your butter and then add your flour to make a roux, slowly add your milk whisking continuously until your béchamel has thicken and is smooth. Add mustard, pinch of pepper and 45g of grated Gruyère cheese, stir until the cheese has melted and all the ingredients are incorporated together. Remove from heat once béchamel mixture is smooth.

The Croque Monsieur:
5.  Spread mustard over the un-grilled sides of the bread; add ham, béchamel sauce, then again another ham on top.
6.  Top the ham with the slice bread that has been grilled on both sides, add ham on top and another layer of béchamel sauce.
7.  Finally, add the last slice of bread with mustard spread all over the un-grilled side of the bread (the grilled side of the bread should be facing upwards) spread a thin layer of béchamel sauce on top of the grilled side of the bread, add the rest of the 10g grated gruyere cheese and thyme on top.
8.  Grill for 5 minutes or until golden brown.

 

Croque Monsieur

Croque Monsieur

Serve warm fresh from the oven.

Extra Tip: This is my take on a classic French croque monsieur. I like to used a round cookie cutter to remove the edges of the white bread as per the picture below, it does not only remove the crust but it makes the croque monsieur looks pretty to serve over lunch. I also like to grill both sides of the middle ‘sliced bread’ as it does add a crunchy texture to the croque monsieur, keeping the other 2 slices with only one side of them grilled makes the bread soft on the inside and crispy on the outer layers, giving different textures to this dish. Decorate with a walnut and some thyme leaves on top.

 

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Devils on Horseback in Armagnac

Devils on Horseback in Armagnac

This is a fantastic canapé to serve for any occasion, it’s incredibly tasty as well as quick and easy to prepare.

KITCHEN KIT:
Just some toothpick, baking paper

 

Ingredients Serves 8:

1. 16 soft, deseeded Prunes

2. 8 bacon rashers, slice in half horizontally

3. 100 ml Armagnac

4. A few strands of saffron

5. Pinch of salt

6. Pinch of muscavado sugar

The Prunes:

1. On a bowl, add prunes, pinch of salt, pinch of sugar, Armagnac and strands of saffron. Ensure that the prunes are completely emerged in Armagnac. Cover the bowl with a cling film. Soak the prunes over night.

 

The Prunes and Bacon Rashers:

2. Pre-heat oven to 180°C.

3. Lay all the sliced bacon rashers on a flat surface.

4. Lightly squeeze prunes to make sure that there aren’t too much liquid on them. Add prunes on top of the slice bacon rashers.

5. Roll bacon rashers and insert a toothpick to secure the bacon rolls.

6. Place on a baking paper and tray. Cook in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the bacon turns crisps.

Devils on Horseback in Armagnac

Serve Warm.

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Macanese Minchi (Stir-fried minced beef with potatoes and fried eggs)

Macanese Minchi

This is a local favourite and an equivalent of a national dish in Macau. It’s a household family favourite but can also be ordered at many Macanese and Portuguese restaurants all over Macau. If you want an authentic Minchi visit Wai Kei, in Macau one of the locals favourite restaurant in Macau.  It is said that the word minchi came from the British who lived in nearby Hong Kong. The word “minced” was pronounce by the local Cantonese as Minchi and hence the dish became known as Minchi. Macau and Hong Kong only 70km apart and the two cities influence each others cuisine. Macau was under Portuguese administration from the mid 16th century up until 1999 when, like Hong Kong in 1997, it became one a Special Administrative Region of China. Macau has a much longer colonial history than Hong Kong and still has strong ties with Portugal. Macau, as an ex-trading port for Portugal, benefitted greatly from the spices the Portuguese ships brought from their trading routes. Hence Macanese cuisine today contains a lot of spices not seen in Cantonese cuisine and strong influences from Portugal and it’s colonies’ cuisines. Spices, salted fish and cured meat, such as chorizo and presunto, came not just from Portugal but also from Africa, Brazil, East Timor and India on ships as they passed through Macau. Macanese food is thus more than just a mix of Cantonese and Portuguese cuisines it is also heavily influenced by many of Portugal’s former colonies cuisines; making it the original fusion cuisine, full of flavour, history and memories from the past.

KITCHEN KIT:

Wok or a none stick pan, colander

 

Ingredients Serves 4:

The Marinade:

1. 2 cloves of bashed garlic.

2. 1 tbsp of light soy sauce

3. 1 tbsp dark soy sauce

4. 2 bay leaves

5. ½ tsp of cayenne pepper.

 

The Beef Minchi and Potatoes:

6. 550g lean minced beef (alternatively use 275g minced pork and 275g minced beef)

7. 1 medium potato of approx 225g, peeled and cubed in small pieces

8. 1 medium onion, finely chopped

9. 1 small shallot, finely chopped

10. 3 cloves of crushed and chopped

11. 2 bay leaves

12. 2 tbsp light soya sauce

13. 1 tbsp of dark soy sauce

14. 1 tbsp Worcester sauce

15. ¼ tsp brown sugar

16. ¼ tsp salt

17. ¼ tsp cayenne pepper

18. ¼ tsp ground white pepper

19. 700ml sunflower oil

20. 2 tbsp olive oil

21. 4 eggs

 

The Marinade:

1. Marinade beef on a bowl for 30 minutes with 2 cloves of bashed garlic (large enough to take them off), bay leaves, cayenne pepper, light and dark soy sauce.

Minchi Marinade

The Potatoes:

2. On a high heat, heat the wok with 700ml of sunflower oil, deep fry cubed potatoes, gently stir to make sure they are not stuck together. Once crisp and golden brown, remove the potatoes from the wok and leave the potatoes to drain on a colander over a bowl. (The oil needs to be very hot before the potatoes are added, to check that the oil is hot enough place a wooden chopstick on the oil, if the oil bubbles up, your oil is hot enough for the potatoes to be added in, if you have a deep fat fryer you can use that instead to deep fry your potatoes.)

3. Remove oil from the wok.

The Beef:

4. Reheat your wok again over a high heat, add 2 tbsp of olive oil, add the garlic, onions, shallots and bay leaves stir continuously for 1 minute.

5. Add only your marinated beef (discard: bashed garlic chunks), cook the beef and just when the beef starts to turn brown add your light soya sauce, Worcester sauce, sugar and season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper.

Light and Dark Soy SauceMacanese Minchi

The Egg:

6. Heat some oil in a wok until it is smoking hot. Crack the egg into the pan, with a very hot pan the egg should crisp up around the edges immediately. Move the egg from side to side, bathing the entire egg with the hot oil. This will make the egg crispy, finally turn over the egg so its semi-side up and then serve. The yolk should still be runny.

Serve Warm with jasmine rice.

Macanese Minchi

Extra Tip: There are many variations to this dish. Most Macanese do no marinade the beef before cooking it, but I personally prefer to marinade the beef with the herbs and spices as for me it intensifies the flavours even more. You can choose to omit this section. It is also fine to only use light soy sauce and omit the cayenne. I know many families in Macau that prefer to only use light or dark soy sauce and others who prefer to combined them as I have done in this recipe.

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Chicken Liver Parfait with Macaroon in Black Cherries Balsamic Vinegar Reduction

Macaroons

Chicken Liver Parfait
Usually serve with brioche slices and chutney. But I personally prefer this with macaroons and black cherries balsamic vinegar reduction (as per the picture above).  I got this idea from a foie gras macaroon I had in Lyon, it was heavenly and I have since made the macaroon with either foie gras or chicken liver parfait filling which are both equally tasty. When I haven’t got the time to make the macaroons I have this instead with a lightly toasted brioche with either plum or apricot jam. I love the sweetness of the plum or apricot with the chicken liver parfait.

KITCHEN KIT:
Food processor and a Terrine Mould of approx 12½ inches long. I used to use a 12½ inch mould but as I recently got a lovely ‘Terrine Mould’ present that is approx 10 inches long, I used this now instead, using same recipe below and just pour the excess mixture on a small ramekin/oven proof dish.

 

Ingredients Serves 8:

For the parfait:
1.  400g fresh chicken livers (remove the sinews and gall bladders or it will be bitter) It is also important to get fresh and not frozen chicken liver.
2.  500ml of milk
3.  4 tsp of salt
4.  100ml Madeira
5.  100ml ruby port
6.  60g of shallots, finely chopped
7.  2 sprigs of thyme leaves only
8.  1 garlic clove, finely chopped or grated.
9. 50ml Cognac or Armagnac
10. Optional- 2 tbsp of double cream
11. Optional- ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg or all spice
12. 5 eggs
13. 400g of melted, unsalted butter
14. A pinch of ground black pepper
15. Optional- Whole pink peppercorns and bay leaf

For the glazing:
16. 60g softened butter
17. 60g softened lard (you can replace lard with another 75g of softened butter)

The Parfait:
Day 1:
1.  On a bowl, add the milk, 2 tsp of salt and chicken liver. Soak overnight or for at least an hour.

Chicken Liver

Day 2:
2.  Drain chicken livers and discard the liquid marinade.
3.  Preheat the oven at 120°C. Grease your terrine mould with butter.
4.  On a sauce pan bring to boil the Madeira, port, shallots, thyme, garlic and Armagnac, until liquid has reduced by one-third and then remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool.
5.  Once the liquid has cooled down add on a food processor with drained chicken livers and process, slowly add the eggs one at a time. Process until all the ingredients are incorporated and smooth.
6.  Add the butter slowly onto the parfait mixture, as the parfait may split if the butter is added all at once too quickly, season with 2 tsp of salt and a pinch of ground black pepper. Process all ingredients.  (Optional: add 2tbsp of double cream and ½ tsp of grated nutmeg or all spice)
7.  Press parfait mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl; add into the terrine mould, then cover the terrine mould with grease foil/terrine mold cover.
8.  Place the terrine in a deep baking tray; pour in boiling water until it reaches two-thirds of the way up the sides of the terrine. Cook for 45 minutes or until just set. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

The glazing:
9.  Once the parfait has cooled at room temperature, remove the foil and any discolouration on the top. Mix softened butter and lard together, add on top of the terrine, decorate with pink peppercorns or bay leaf.
10. Cover terrine with a cling film. Chill on the fridge overnight, though would be best to give it 2 days to chill.

Day 3:
11. Dip a palette knife/knife into hot water, run through the sides of the terrine to detach the mixture from the terrine mould.

Chicken Liver

Transfer onto a plate and serve or spread over the macaroon shells and sandwich the macaroons together.

For The Macaroon

KITCHEN KIT:
Macaroon mould, piping bag, electric whisk or food mixer

Ingredients:

The Macaroon:
1. 130g icing sugar
2. 140g ground almonds
3. 100g egg whites only
4. Pinch of salt
5. 2tbsp water
6. 95g  caster sugar
8. ½ tsp of food colouring (I prefer to use the food colouring paste as the colour is more intense compared to the food colouring liquid)
The Macaroon:
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C.
2. On a large bowl mix the icing sugar, ground almonds and food colouring. This almond mixture will turn into a paste like texture.
3. On a separate clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they hold a medium-stiff peak.
4. On a small pan gently melt sugar with the water, boil until the sugar dissolves into thick syrup.
5. Gently pour your sugar syrup onto your egg whites, whisk again until the mixture becomes stiff and shiny. Add this mixture onto your almond paste mixture. Gently mix together until the mixture becomes stiff again.
6. Pour the mixture into a piping bag. Pipe the mixture onto a macaroon mould or into a lined baking sheet.
7. If you would like to add hazelnut pieces or peal sugars as decoration add it at this stage.
8. Leave the macaroons out to form a dry shell between 30 minutes to an hour, then bake in the oven for 10–12. Remove from the oven, leave to cool at room temperature before spreading over the chicken liver parfait over the macaroon shells.
Leave to rest for 30 minutes before serving.

MacaroonsMacaroons

For the black cherries balsamic vinegar reduction:

KITCHEN KIT:
Small pan

Ingredients:
1. Black cherries in syrup (available in waitrose, picture below)
2. 4 tbsp of Balsamic vinegar
3. Pinch of sugar

Black cherries balsamic vinegar reduction:
1. On a small pan, heat the balsamic vinegar with the black cherries with it’s syrup and a pinch of sugar.Simmer until liquid has reduced by one-third, then remove the pan from the heat and set aside. Serve on the side of chicken liver parfait macaroon (as per the picture above).

Black Cherries in Balsamic Vinegar

Extra Tip: Leftover Chicken liver parfait can be eaten for up to 3 days, if covered with a tight cling film on the fridge. The cling film needs to be air tight to prevent the parfait from oxidising and discolouring. The addition of the double cream, nutmeg/all spice and thyme gives the parfait a creamier texture and more delicate flavour. If you prefer your parfait to be firmer, with a stronger chicken liver and Armagnac flavour omit the double cream, nutmeg/allspice and thyme from your ingredients. I have tried both recipes and enjoyed both equally.

 

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Sausage Rolls

Sausage Rolls

KITCHEN KIT:
Pastry brush and rolling pin.

Ingredients Serves 6:
1. 454g Waitrose Lincolnshire pork sausages (if you can substitute pork with beef or chicken sausage)
2. 320g /1 pack ready rolled shop-bought puff pastry if you are in a hurry or just feeling lazy. Otherwise you can also make your own pastry by following the “All Butter Puff Pastry” instruction on the Pastry section of this site.
3. 1 small egg for glazing of the pastry
4. Pinch of Salt
5. Pinch of Pepper
6. 1 Gala Red Apple peeled and finely chopped into small pieces.
7. 3 Sprigs of Thyme Leaves Only

The Sausage:
1. Preheat oven at 180°C.
2. Squeeze all sausages out its casing and place sausage meat on a bowl (as per the picture below). Add a pinch of salt, pepper, thyme leaves and finely chopped apples. Mix all the ingredients together. Set aside.
3. On a separate bowl, lightly beat 1 egg. Set aside.
4. Roll the pastry on a flour dusted surface at approx. 3mm in thickness. Cut in half, (as per picture below.)
5. Add sausage meat on the centre of the pastry, with a pastry brush- egg wash one side of the pastry, fold the pastry over on top of each other and finally use the back of a fork to seal the pastry. (picture instructions below)
6. Slice the sausage rolls in small squares approx. 1 inch thick, with a pastry brush- egg wash top of the pastry.
7. To decorate the rolls score the top with a sharp knife, (as per the picture below).
8. Place the sausage rolls on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until crisp and golden brown.

Sausage RollsSausage Rolls

Sausage Rolls

Sausage Rolls

Alternative way of rolling the sausage rolls pastry:
1. Roll the pastry on a flour dusted surface, cut pastry into small rectangles.
2. Add sausage meat on the centre of the pastry, with a pastry brush- egg wash one side of the pastry roll the pastry over (as per the picture instruction below), try not to get any egg washes over the edges otherwise the pastry will not puff up well.
3. To decorate the rolls score the top with a sharp knife, (as per the picture below).
9. Place the sausage rolls on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until crisp and golden brown.

Sausage Rolls

Serve warm, fresh from the oven.

 

 

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Stir Fry Minced Beef with Sweet Holy Basil “Pad Kra Pao Neua”

Pad Kra Pao

This is certainly one of my favourite Thai street food. Simple to cook and yet so tasty. I love having this as a main course with a Tom Kha Kai for a starter and dessert as Sticky Mango with coconut rice.

KITCHEN KIT:
· Wok

Ingredients Serves 4:
1.  2 tsp of vegetable oil
2.  4 cloves of garlic
3.  4 bird’s eye chilies
4.  200g minced beef
5.  3 ½ tsp of oyster sauce (I recommend the Thai oyster sauce for this dish, as per the picture below)
6.  4 tsp of beef stock
7.  1 tsp of sugar
8.  2 tsp of fish sauce
9.  2 kaffir lime leaves (on sale in Waitrose, though it is best to get this fresh or frozen from an oriental supermarket)
10. 2 handfuls of sweet holy basil (on sale in Waitrose- labelled as Thai basil). Note that you would need the ‘sweet’ holy basil not just a holy basil, sweet holy basil has a distinct sweet aroma and enhances the flavours of the dish.
11. A handful of fried garlic (you can either fry fresh finely chopped garlic or buy this from an oriental super market, as per the picture below)
12. A handful of coriander leaves for garnish

Oyster Sauce

Thai Oyster Sauce (picture above)

Fried Garlic (picture above)

Sweet Holy Basil

Sweet Holy Basil (picture above)

The Beef:
1. The key to this dish is a smoking hot wok and preparing all the ingredients before you begin cooking. Heat the oil in the wok until it is very, very hot. Fry the garlic and chilli for 30 seconds to a minute. Just as the garlic is browning tip in the minced beef.

2. Fry the minced beef for a minute or two until it browns. Add the beef stock, oyster sauce, fish sauce, sugar, kaffir lime leaves and sweat holy basil. There should not be too much liquid, just enough for a little sauce. Do not add too much liquid or fry the beef for too long as the beef will toughen up and it will not taste as nice.

The Egg:
For a genuine Thai style fried egg. Heat some oil in a frying pan until it is smoking hot. Crack the egg into the pan, because the pan is so hot the egg should crisp up around the edges. Move the egg from side to side, bathing the entire egg with the hot oil, as per the pictures below. This will make the egg crispy, finally turn over the egg so its semi-side up and then serve. The yolk should still be runny.

Serve with rice and a fried egg.

EggEgg

Egg

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Tom Kha Kai ต้มข่าไก

Tom Kha Kai

This is such a comforting dish, similar to the Thais national dish “Tom Yum Gung” but a creamier version. This recipe is for my lovely friend Vladimira who adores this soup and calls it her ‘Top Soup”.

KITCHEN KIT:
· Sieve, Muslin Cloth, 2 Large Sauce Pans, Blender or Food Processor.

Ingredients Serves 4:
1.    300g Chicken Breast (skinned)
2.    40 grams of peeled Galangal
3.    6x Sticks of Lemongrass
4.    1 Bunch of Thai Coriander
5.    8 Kaffir Lime Leaves
6.    5 Red Thai Chillies (reduce or add to your preferred level of heat)
7.    5 Thai shallots (crushed)
8.    1x 1 litre carton of Coconut Milk (do not use the reduced fat  coconut milk).
9.   The juice of two limes
10.  7.5x Teaspoons of Fish Sauce
11.  6x straw or oyster mushrooms
12.  4x tomatoes
13.  ¾  tsp of salt
14.  Fresh coriander
15.  4x spring onions
16.  40 grams of garlic
17.  75 grams of ginger
18.  1x tsp black pepper corns
19.  1x star anise
20.  3x tsp sugar

The Stock:
1. Create the Asian style chicken stock. Ideally create the chicken stock by boiling two chicken carcasses in 1.6 litre of water. Skim the scum off the top of the stock leaving you with a clear broth. Alternatively buy Waitrose’s fresh chicken stock or create the chicken stock using Korrs’ chicken stockpot, 2 stockpots will create 1.5 litres of stock. (personally, I would recommend using the fresh stock as the taste does make a big difference.)
2. Add on the boiling stock, four bruised spring onions, 40g of bruised whole garlics cloves (do not slice), 75g of peeled ginger, a teaspoon of whole black peppercorns and up to one whole star anise depending on your taste.

The Tom Kha Paste:
1. Whilst the stock is simmering create the Tom Kha paste. Finely chop 75g of shallots, 40g of garlic, 40g of galangal (you can use ginger if you cannot find galangal in the shops), and six lemongrass stalks. I always chop these ingredients as finely as possible because unless you have an industrial grade food processor/blender if the ingredients are not chopped as finely as possible you will break the blender – as I have already done twice! Put the finely chopped ingredients in the blender with a few tablespoons of coconut milk and blend until smooth.
2. Add the paste to the simmering stock and continue to simmer for three to five minutes.
3. Take the stock off the heat and pass through a sieve to remove the larger ingredients no longer needed such as the spring onions and ginger. For a smoother soup pass the liquid through a muslin cloth, as per the picture below. (This removes any of the ingredients the blender might not have blended completely smooth.)
4. Add the kaffir lime leaves, salt, chicken, mushrooms, tomatoes and coconut milk. Bring back to the boil until the chicken is cooked, season with fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and chillies to taste.

Serve with a sprinkling of chopped fresh coriander leaves. It should taste both sour and creamy.

Tom Kha Kai 2

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Quiche Lorraine Part 1:

Quiche Lorraine

I first had a Quiche Lorraine when I was at a primary school in Macau, my Mom took me to Lord’s Stows cafe in Macau where I discovered Quiche Lorraine. I love it since but only learnt to bake it when I moved to England.

20 different recipes, 20 failed attempts in creating the prefect light quiche, one came out of the oven looking more like a dome and when cooled collapsed on a baking tin, I still remember my relatives when they saw my dome like quiche, not quite French nor it is English, it’s just an eggy dome like, bloated thingy, they ate the 20th quiche I’ve baked as they laughed their heads off. After 20 failed attempts, I finally got there in the end. Thank goodness my family no longer have to endure another dome like bloated quiche.

Tips: Lessons from a bloated dome like quiche:
Baked the pastry forgetting to add the baking paper and baking beans meant that my pastry came out of the oven dome like.
Baked the pastry with the baking beans but forgotten to line the pastry with a baking paper meant when the pastry cooked all the baked beans were stuck on the pastry.
Baked the pastry and mixture at the same time for a longer cooking period than required- the quiche came out bloated and dome like. Lessons learnt; pastry must be baked first lined with baking paper and with baked beans to make sure the pastry doesn’t rise up, mixture then needs to be added and baked again, bake for no longer than 40 minutes.

KITCHEN KIT
23cm fluted flan dish or tin about 3.5cm deep

Ingredients Serves 6:
1. 1 pack ready rolled shop-bought short crust pastry if you are in a hurry or just feeling lazy, otherwise you can also make your own pastry by following “ Savoury Shortcrust Pastry” instructions on the pastry section of this site.
2. 2 tbsp olive oil
3. 1 medium onion
4. 175g diced bacon rashers
5. 450g crème fraîche
6. 4 eggs
7. Pinch of ground black pepper
8. 15g grated Gruyère or Mature Cheddar cheese
9. Pinch of Nutmeg or parsley

The pastry:
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Roll out pastry into a greased tin. Line it with baking paper so that the baking beans don’t get stuck onto the pastry.
3. Fill the lined pastry with the baking beans- ‘blind bake’ in the oven for 20 minutes, until the edges are light brown and dry. Remove the baking beans and baking paper, set the cooked pastry aside.

Quiche Lorraine-Bake Blind

The filling:
While the pastry is baking, prepare the fillings as follow:
1. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, add diced bacon. Once cooked remove bacon and set aside.
2. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add diced onion until soft and translucent. Remove onion and set aside.
3. Whisk 4 eggs and crème fraîche on a bowl, add cooked onions and 10g of grated gruyere cheese, season with pepper and nutmeg or parsley (if using), and add some of the cooked bacon onto the mixture. Leave some of the cooked bacon aside for later.

4. Pour the mixture into the pastry, bake in the oven for 20 minutes, (optional-take the quiche out and add the remaining bacon and cook the quiche for another 20 minutes or until the filling has firmed up.) If you do not want to sprinkle the remaining bacon, just cook the quiche throughout for 40 minutes or until the filing has firmed up.

Quiche Lorraine

5. This bit is optional- Take the quiche out, sprinkle remaining 5g of grated gruyere cheese on top, put the quiche back in the oven on grill for 2 minutes.

Extra Tip: use a cake tester or a knife insert onto the quiche, if it comes out clean without cream mixture stuck to it, then your quiche is ready. I like to make mine look golden on the top, so I usually add a bit of grated Gruyère cheese on top just before the quiche finished cooking it adds a nice golden brown colour on the quiche. Yum!!

Quiche Lorraine

 

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