Wednesday, March 30, 2011

20110330 Stuffed Pepper

I saw these beautiful Italian red peppers at the supermarket last Saturday and thought I would stuff them with minced fish then fry/grill them. But I was simply too lazy on Wednesday and didn't even want to take out the mincer. So I stuffed them with ready-minced meat and threw some leftover coriander leaves in. The roasted peppers were so sweet and lovely looking, so you simply couldn't mess this dish up.

500g minced meat
2 eggs
4 rounded tablespoons of spiced breadcrumbs
1 garlic clove, crushed
handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
2 Italian red peppers, halved and deseeded

1. Heat oven to 200 degree C. In a mixing bowl, mix the first 5 ingreidents together. Season with salt and pepper. Staff the meat mixture into the halved peppers.
2. Lay the stuffed peppers on a baking dish, and cover with folk and cook in the oven for 25 minutes. Uncover and then cook for a further 20 minutes.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

20110329 Oven-baked Thai Chicken Rice

(SOURCE: GoodFood Magazine - Oven-baked Thai chicken rice)

I didn't feel weel this week so only made some very simple dishes that did not require too much preparation. I made this a day ahead so I only had to heat up the dish after a long day of work. This dish was so fragrant thanks to the coconut milk and roughly chopped coriander leaves (not shown in the picture), and it was simply delicious!

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
400g chicken tender
4 tbsp Thai red curry paste
250g basmati rice
1.5 red peppers, cut into wedges
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
400g coconut milk
handful coriander leaves

1. Heat oven to 180 degree C. Heat the oil in a shallow ovenproof casserole dish, then soften the onion for 5 minutes. Add the chicken and curry paste, then cook for 3 minutes, stirring to coat.
2. Tip in the rice and peppers, then stir in the lime zest and juice, coconut milk and 250ml boiling water. Bring to the boil, then pop the lid on and bake for 20 minutes until the rice is fluffy. Scatter with coriander before serving.

Monday, March 28, 2011

20110328 Chilli Chicken One-pot

(SOURCE: GoodFood Magazine - Chilli chicken one-pot)

As I left work a bit late and was starving when I got home, I completely forgot the last step - i.e. to serve with chopped coriander leaves, lime juice, and sliced avocado. But it still tasted very good. This dish should definitely be made at least a day ahead, so the sauce can become more intense overnight.

1 large onion, halved and sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
130g chorizo, thickly sliced
1.5 red peppers, cut into large chunks
400g can chopped tomato
1 chicken stock cube
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 tsp dried oregano
8 chicken drumsticks
200g can kidney beans, drained
fresh coriander, roughly chopped
1 avocado, skinned and sliced
good squeeze lime juice

1. Heat oven to 160 degree C. In a Dutch oven, fry the onions in the oil until they become soft and start to color. Add the chorizo and fry for a few minutes more. Stir in the peppers, then pour in the tomatoes, floowed by two-third can of water, the stock cube, chilli and oregano.
2. Arrange the chicken drumsticks on top of the sauce, pushing them under the liquid. Bring to a simmer, cover, then cook in the oven for 40 minutes. Add the beans, stir, then cook for 20 minutes more. Remove from heat and let it sit overnight.
3. To heat, bring it to a boil and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 to 30 minutes.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

20110327 Banana Bars

(SOURCE: - Banana Bars)

I'm not quite sure if I got them right because they rose quite a lot. The original recipe recommended using a greased jelly roll pan, so I thought the banana bars would be pretty flat. But anyways, the banana cake/bars tasted good...and with the finger-licking cream cheese frosting, who cares if the banana bars are of the right height?

115g softened butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
For the cream cheese frosting -
80g softened butter
190g cream cheese
2.5 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a big bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, bananas and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour into two 18cm springform (square) cake tins.
2. Bake at 175 degree C for 30 to 340minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
3. For frosting, cream butter and cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat well, and set aside.
4. After the banana bars are slightly cooled, spread the frosting all over them. Cut into 1-1/2 inch small squares.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

20110324 Lentil and Spinach Curry

(SOURCE: Tasty Kitchen Blog - Lentil and Spinach Curry)

This dish sure looks appetizing because of the beautiful colors. But it didn't taste as good and rich as the dahl. Next time I will half the lentils and cook them in 3 cups of vegetable stock instead, so they become a thick paste. This is the end of my craze for lentils...for March anyways.

2 cups red lentil
2 cups water
2 cups vegetable stock
2 tsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ginger root, grated
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp sugar
300g fresh spinach
1 can 400g chopped tomatoes
salt and pepper

1. In a saucepan, bring the water and stock to a boil and add lentils. Simmer covered for about 25 minutes until lentils are soft and liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Heat oil in a large non stick skillet. Saute onions and garlics until soft. Add spices and sugar and cook for another minute. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Add crushed tomatoes and cooked lentils, and heat through, and season wiht salt and pepper.

20110324 Dhal, v2

(SOURCE: - Delicious Pakistani Dhal)

I am not sure if it is politically correct to label this recipe "Indian" when the original recipe clearly said that this was a "Pakistani Dhal". But as many websites told me that Pakistani cuisine is a relatively small subset of Indian cuisine, I guess it is alright. I doubled the amount of chopped tomatoes by accident, and it made the dish a bit sweeter and it tasted good. I made this for a potluck party today, and my colleagues seemed to love it!

3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup dry red lentils
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
1.5 tbsp freshly grated ginger
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp red chili pepper
salt and pepper, to taste
400g can chopped tomatoes

1. In a saucepan, bring the vegetable stock to a boil. Add the lentils and boil for about a minute. Lower the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until it becomes a thick paste. Remove from heat, and set aside.
2. Heat oil in a frying pan. Add onion, ginger, and garlic, and fry until soft. Add the spices and saute for about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes and saute for another 5 minutes. Then add the cooked lentils, stir, and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

20110323 Lentil Soup with Paprika and Pancetta

(SOURCE: Tasty Kitchen Blog - Lentil Soup with Smoked Paprika and Pancetta)

I used to get dahl soup for lunch from a catering lady called Kat. But since Kat disappeared off the face of the earth and never answered our email order, I haven't had dahl soup for a long time. As I bought 2kg of red lentils from that little Asian supermarket last time, I thought I would make dahl soup myself. I added a little too much water by accident, but the soup was still very tasty - the pancetta gave it a very intense flavor.

90g pancetta slices, cut into small pieces
1 large onion, diced
4 small carrots, sliced
1 celery stalk, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp paprika
dash of chili pepper
1/2 cup white wine
2L chicken broth
450g lentils
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Cook pancetta in a large soup pan over medium high heat until fat renders and it starts to brown. Add onions, carrots, and celery, saute until softened. Add garlic, cumin, paprika, and saute until fragrant. Add wine, continue to cook another minute or so. Add broth and lentils and bring to a  boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until lentils are just tender, about 30 minutes. Add water if the soups becomes too thick. Puree the soup into a consistency you desire. Season with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

20110322 Salsa Chicken Pepper

(SOURCE: GoodFood Magazine - Salsa Chicken Pepper)

I used shredded chicken instead of chopped one, in order to fit more chicken into each bell pepper. It is amazing how sweet roasted peppers taste. Too bad I forgot to serve them with some freshly squeezed lime juice.

140g brown rice, cooked as per instructions
4 large bell peppers
oil, for brushing
300g hot salsa
200g cooked chicken, shredded
200g kidney beans, drained
60g grated cheese
20g coriander, chopped

1. Heat oven to 200 degree C. Slice the top off the peppers and cut out the seeds. Lightly oil then bake whole peppers in a roasting tin for 10 minutes.
2. In a medium bowl, mix rice with the salsa, chicken, beans, cheese, and coriander. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Take the peppers out of the oven, then fill with the rice mixture. Put on the lids, then bake for 10 minutes.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

20110320 Murg Shahjehani (Imperial Chicken)

(SOURCE: Indian: Cookbook by Pushpesh Pant - Murg Shahjehani)

This is from Delhi. I found this interesting site about the cuisines of Delhi - they said if you feed Delhi people well, they will give you anything you want! This is a lightly colored curry with a very fragrant taste, thanks to the onion/garlic/ginger paste. My husband really liked the gravy and even asked for more rice with gravy!

2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 large onions, sliced
2 tbsp garlic paste
1 tsp ginger paste
8 cloves
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp ground cardamom
1 tsp poppy seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp chilli powder
250ml plain yoghurt
1kg chicken drumsticks

1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat, add the onions and stir fry for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly, then place in a food processor to make a paste (add a little water if necessary). Set aside.
2. Lightly stir fry the cloves, black peppercorns, cinnamon, cardamom, poppy seeds, cumin seeds, coriander, and chilli powder in a dry frying pan for about a minute. Transfer to a blender, add salt and the yoghurt and process to make a paste. Transfer to a large bowl and add the chicken pieces. Mix well and marinate in the fridge for at least 45 minutes.
3. In a Dutch oven, add the onion/garlic/ginger paste and the drumsticks, and cook over low heat for about 40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

201103220 Raspberry Cheesecake

(SOURCE: Olive Magazine - Baked raspberry cheesecake)

I spent the last hours worrying as I forgot to bake the crust - lesson learned, never bake anything when you are still half asleep at 7 on a Sunday morning! This is the first time I bake cheesecake and it did not get off to a good start. I felt my heart sink when a big crack started to develop when the cheesecake was cooling down. But it tasted pretty good so that was a relief. Next time if I wanted to make cheesecake for company, I will need to find a way to make a crack-free cheesecake. Or I just need to make more sauce or a topping for the cheesecake to hide the crack.

8 digestive biscuits, bashed into crumbs
50g butter, melted
300g raspberries
icing sugar
600g cream cheese
2 tbsp plain flour
2 eggs + 1 yolk
175g caster sugar
few drops of vanilla extract
140ml sour cream

1. Heat oven to 160 degree C. Mix the melted butter and crumbs. Press into a 22cm springform tin. Bake for 5 minutes, then set aside to cool.
2. In a large bowl, beat the last 6 ingredients until light and fluffy. Stir in half the raspberries (dusted in some flour) and pour into the tin. Bake for about 40 minutes and then check, it should be set but slightly wobbly in the center. Leave in the tin to cool.
3. Keep a few raspberries for topping. Put the rest in a pan with 1 tbsp of icing sugar. Heat until juicy and then squash with a fork. Push through a sieve. Serve the cheesecake with raspberry sauce and raspberries.

Friday, March 18, 2011

20110318 Dhal

(SOURCE: Simply Bill by Bill Granger - my dahl)

I always wanted to cook dahl but couldn't find lentils anywhere. Last time I found some red lentil from a little Asian supermarket, so I decided to give Bill Granger's dahl a try. Its color looked quite dull, so I was doubtful about its taste. We ate this dahl with our fingers with the help of some naan bread. This was really good! Such a simple dish with a rich and exotic flavor.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely sliced
one-inch piece of ginger, grated
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 cup red lentils
1 tbsp lime juice
small handful freshy coriander leaves

1. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, ginger, garlic, chilli, salt and cumin and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft. Add the lentils and 750ml of hot water and cook.for 20 minutes until the lentils have dissolved.
2. Remove from heat and stir through the lime juice. Top with the coriander leaves and serve.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

20110317 Pan-fried Chicken in Mushroom Sauce

(SOURCE: GoodFood Magazine - Pan-fried chicken in mushroom sauce)

This was so good. My husband has never been a big fan of any sort of mushroom sauce, and he found this dish very delicious. Cooking the sauce over high heat to reduce it twice gave it a very intense and rich flavor. And the wild mushrooms smelled so delicious. I wish I had some simple mashed potatoes to soak up all the finger-licking sauce!

2 tbsp sunflower oil
3 chicken legs, halved at the joint
600ml chicken stock
1 medium onion, finely diced
200g mixed wild mushrooms
200ml dry white wine
180ml creme fraiche

1. Heat the oil in a large pan. Fry the thighs for 8 minutes, skin side only. Transfer to a Dutch oven. Fry the drumsticks for about 5 minutes each side and transfer to the Dutch oven too.
2. Pour enough stock to just cover the chicken legs in the Dutch oven. Bring stock to the boil and cover, leaving lid slightly ajar. Cook at just below simmering point for about 35 minutes until chicken is cooked.
3. While chicken is simmering, heat the remaining fat from the chicken in the Dutch oven again. Sweat onion for 5 minutes until soft. Turn up the heat, add the mushrooms, then fry for 3 minutes until they soften and start to smell wonderful. Pour over the white wine, raise the heat to maximum and boil rapidly for about 6 minutes until reduced by two-thirds. Turn off the heat and leave until chicken has cooked.
4. Once chicken legs are cooked, strain stock into pan with the onion mixture, bring back to the boil and reduce again by two-thirds until it is thick. Pour in double cream, bring it to the boil, season if you want, then pour it over the chicken. Heat chicken through in the sauce for about 3 minutes then turn off the heat and leave for a few minutes before serving.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

20110316 Spiny Lobster Fried Rice

Because of their beautiful color, I always thought spiny lobsters were very sweet and yummy. But I was quite disappointed as they were not as tasty as prawns, and yet they were more expensive. So this would definitely be the first and last time I had spiny lobsters.

1 cup rice
chicken stock
1 tbsp vegetable oil
100g spiny lobster
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1/2 onion, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup frozen peas

1. Cook the rice in chicken stock. Drain well, then set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a wok, and fry the garlic, ginger, and onion for about 3 minutes. Add rice and fry for 5 minutes. Add the frozen peas and fry for another 5 minutes. Lastly add the spiny lobster and egg, and heat through.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

20110313 Butter Chicken, v2

(SOURCE: Tasty Kitchen - Butter Chicken by lillieknits)

My second attempt at butter chicken. This was creamy and mild like the butter chicken from the Indian take away. We served this with garlic bread, naan, and plain white rice - anything you can use to absorb all the yummy sauce!

1kg boneless chicken, cubed
8 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp tandoori masala spices
2 tsp salt
1 lime, juiced
2 medium onions, diced
1/4 cup butter
400g passata
400g chopped tomatoes
2 tsp dried coriander
450ml whipping cream, at room temperature
chopped coriander, for garnish

1. Combine first 4 ingredients and marinate overnight.
2. Saute the onions in the butter until soft. Add the marinated chicken and cook for 10 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Simmer for 30 minutes with the lid on. Add the whipping cream and coriander just before serving over basmati rice.

20110313 Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Cookies

(SOURCE: Simply Daily Recipes - Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Cookies)

This dough seemed a bit dryer than the cookie dough I usually had, so I was a bit worried that I measured wrong or something. But the cookies looked fine and definitely tasted good. My husband was keen to try these cookies before they cooled completely - oh, big mistake! Be patient and let them cool completely so you can enjoy them in their freshest and gooeyest form!

1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 X 100g milk chocolate bars, broken

1. In a large bowl, beat the first five ingredients together with an electric mixer. Then stir in the last four ingredients.
2. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons about 2 inches apart onto slightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until just beginning to brown. Let them cool for about 2 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack for complete cooling.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

20110312 Steak and Mushroom Goulash

(SOURCE: BBC GoodFood 101 One-pot dishes - Steak and Mushroom Goulash)

This dish was so easy to make and so yummy with some fresh, crunchy garlic bread. Next time I may add one finely chopped onion too to make the sauce even richer.

350g rump steak, cut into thin strips
1 tbsp vegetable oil
100g mushrooms, quartered
1 tbsp paprika
450g potatoes, cut into small cubes
250g passata
425ml beef stock
natural yoghurt, at room temperature
handful of parsley leaves, roughly chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Season the steak with salt and pepper. Heat half the oil in a pan and brown the steak for about 2 minutes. Remove the steak to a plate.
2. Tip the mushrooms into the pan, lower the heat and fry until the mushrooms begin to color. Sprinkle in the paparika and stir fry briefly, then tip in the potatoes and passata and enough stock to cover the potatoes. Stir well, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.
3. Return the meat to the pan with its juices, stir well and simmer for about 3 minutes. Serve topped with yoghurt and parsley.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

20110310 Sweet and Sour Spicy Pork

(SOURCE: EasyCook Magazine - Sweet and sour spicy pork)

The sauce reminded me of this Cantonese dish, Koe lo yuk (咕嚕肉), but a less tasty version. I was not that crazy about this dish, and my husband said "it tastes like Hawaii pizza". What more can I say?

1 tbsp sunflower oil
one 500g pork fillets, cut into thick slices
1 large onions, cut into chunks
225g can pineapple chunks in syrup, drained and syrup reserved
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
200g can chopped tomatoes
150ml chicken stock
1/2 cinnamon stick
cornflour mixed with a little cold water

1. Heat half the oil in a large frying pan and fry the pork for 5 minutes, until golden, but not cooked through. Remove the meat and set aside.
2. Heat the remaining oil in the pan, add the onions and fry until soft. Tip in the pineapple, 3 tbsp of the syrup, the ketchup, tomatoes, stock and cinnamon stick. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes, until the sauce has thickened slightly. Add the pork to the sauce and simmer for about 4 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick.
3. Add the cornflour water to the pan and stir over a medium heat, until thickened.

20110309 Spiced Chicken and Cauliflower Pilaf

(SOURCE: EasyCook Magazine - Spiced chicken and cauliflower pilaf)

The recipe suggested to simmer the dish for only 10 minutes, but no way the chicken and rice could be cooked that quickly! I used a total of 700ml chicken stock and simmered the dish for about 35 minutes instead. I had a bite of a lemon slice and it was yuck. Next time I will remove the lemon slices afterward, and maybe just top the dish with a lemon slice for garnish.

5 chicken drumsticks
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp curry powder (preferably one with turmeric in it)
200g basmati rice
500 to 800ml chicken stock
200g cauliflower florets
200g frozen green beans
1 lemon, sliced and each slice cut in half
small bunch of coriander, leaves and stalks separated and roughly chopped

1. Slash the chicken drumsticks so they cook faster.
2. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven and brown the chicken drumsticks for about 5 minutes. Tip in the curry powder and rice, fry for a minute, then stir in the chicken stock.
3. Add the cauliflower, beans, lemon, and coriander stalks to the pan. Stir and mix well. Bring to the boil, then simmer with the lid on for 20 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender. If the dish got a bit too dry or the rice remained hard, add more chicken stock about 50ml at a time. Sprinkle over the coriander leaves and serve.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

110306 Bean and Beef Taco

(SOURCE: - Bean and Beef Taco Dinner)

Most taco recipes recommend spooning ingredients into a warm taco shell and then serve it immediately. I prefer this recipe from Jill at where you spoon ingredients into a taco shell first and then bake the finished taco in the oven. This way the cheese is melted and the entire taco is lovely and warm. This is best served with some sour cream, salsa, and shredded lettuce on the side. And of course, don't forget a chilled Corona beer served with a lemon wedge (I didn't have lime tonight, so lemon would do too)!

300g ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper
1 box of taco shells
400g can of kidney beans, drained (reserve liquid)
2 cups grated cheese
sour cream

1. Heat oven to the degree C required as instructed on the taco box.
2. Brown the beef in a pan over medium heat until fully cooked, stir occasionally. Add onions, chilli, cumin, salt and pepper, and about 1/4 cup of water. Cook until onions are translucent. Remove from heat and set aside (but keep it warm).
3. While the beef is cooking, blend kidney beans until semi smooth. Stir in the reserved bean liquid one tablespoon at a time to get the desired consistency. Transfer the blended beans to a microwaveable bowl and heat for about 2 minutes until hot.
4. Build each taco by spooning beans, meat, salsa, and sour cream into the warm shell, then sprinkle some cheese over the top. Lay the tacos on a cookie sheet, and bake for 15 minutes.

20110305 Fudge Brownies

(SOURCE: - Shhh. I am eating the perfect fudge brownie)

For some reasons, I always thought brownies were difficult to make and hence never made them. I saw this  recipe from Jill at There are detailed step by step instructions which made the recipe not that intimidating, so I decided to give it a go. The fudge brownies were not difficult to make, but they sure were difficult to cut, especially when they were still a bit warm - that's why the picture was not that pretty. But oh my goodness, one little, creamy square stopped any craving I had for chocolate today. This would be what Jill described as a "butt-widening delight"!

For the brownies - 
113g butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
For the chocolate frosting -
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
40g butter
2 tbsp milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1. Heat oven to 175 degree C. Lightly butter a 18cmX18cm square baking pan.
2. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla with a fork in a large bowl. Add eggs and beat in well. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; gradually add to sugary-egg batter, beating until well blended. Stir in the chopped pecans. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, just until the brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Note that the brownies will look wet and the center may have a little jiggle to it. Just let them cool.
4. While the brownies are cooling, but not completely cooled, prepare the chocolate frosting.
5. Mix the powdered sugar and cocoa in a small bowl, set aside. Heat butter and milk in a small saucepan over low heat until butter is melted. Gradually mix in cocoa mixture, beating until smooth. Stir in vanilla. If the frosting seems thick, add a little more milk until it is spreadable.
6. Spread warm frosting over the warm brownies. Be careful, the center will be gooey and may move when you try to spread on the frosting. That's why it is good to have a smooth, easy spreading frosting.
7. Let these brownies chill overnight, or at least for 2 to 3 hours.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

20110305 Butter Chicken

(SOURCE: WikiBooks - Cookbook: Butter Chicken)

We were expecting this dish to have a smooth and sweet flavor like the restaurant-style butter chicken. This was yummy but had a sharp flavor instead. I used only 1 teapoon of chilli powder instead of 3 recommended at the original recipe, but the dish was still very spicy. I wish I saved some creme fraiche or had some fresh cream for garnish, and the dairy products may help to lessen the hot flavor.

30g butter
1 large onion, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli powder
500g skinless, boneless chicken, cut into small cubes
200g tomato paste
100g creme fraiche
For marinade -
50g tandoori masala spices
1/2 cup plain yoghurt
juice of 1 small lemon

1. In a Ziploc blag, make the marinade and mix well. Add the chicken and massage this well so all the chicken is evenly coated with the marinade. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
2. Heat the butter in a frying pan. Brown the onions, and stir in the garlic and ginger. Then add the turmeric, chilli, and coriander, and fry over a medium heat.
3. Add the chicken and stir constantly until chicken has turned color - this should take about 5 minutes.
4. Add the tomato paste, and mix well. Add the creme fraiche and heat through. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and tandoori masala spices.

20110305 Tandoori Chicken Drumsticks

I got a big bag of tandoori masala spices from my husband's boss last week as I asked him where to find all the fragrant Indian spices. He said TRS is a good brand for Indian spices - I guess the Brits know their Indian food. I was eager to give the lovely spices a try all week, but was not sure what to make as I don't have any recipes that gives me specific instructions on how to substitute certain spices with the tandoori masala spices. I know tandoori masala is often used for barbecue and grill, and I have some chicken drumsticks in my fridge. So I looked up several recipes of tandoori chicken, and came up with the following. I am not really confident in creating recipes myself and was anxious to find out how the chicken taste. They were really tasty! I can't wait for summer to come so I could use the tandoori masala spices for barbecue - chicken tikka, tandoori chicken, tandoori fish...!

3 tbsp plain yoghurt
2 tbsp tandoori masala spices
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
2 tsp grated ginger
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 chicken drumsticks

1. Use a sharp knife, make shallow slashes in the chicken drumsticks to help the marinade to get inside the chicken.
2. In a ziploc bag, mix together the yoghurt, tandoori masala, turmeric, grated ginger, crushed garlic, lemon juice, and salt. Add the chicken to the ziploc bag and massage them to coat. Refrigerate for 4 hours.
3. Heat oven to 230 degree C. Remove the chicken drumsticks from the marinade, leave only a thin layer of marinade on them. Roast the chicken drumsticks on an oiled baking sheet for 20 to 30 minutes, turning once halfway through. Transfer the chicken drumsticks to plates, and serve with lemon wedges.

Friday, March 4, 2011

20110304 French Cassoulet

(SOURCE: Albert Heijn Recepten - Franse cassoulet)

I wanted to cook something but didn't feel very inspired. So I simply looked up what was on sale at the local supermarket and found their related recipes on the supermarket's website. This dish was so simple and filling. I made this a day ahead, and the overnight rest let the flavor bloom! And I learned something new today, Wikipedia told me that cassoulet is a slow-cooked bean stew but is also applied to any hearty bean-based casserole in the States.

225g chipolatas, each cut into two
300g chicken drumsticks, dabbed dry and seasoned with salt and pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
3 big onions, cut in rings
3 tsp dried Provençal herbs
400g can tomato blocks
2 cans of 425g broad beans
200ml red wine
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat oil in a pan over high heat, and brown the drumsticks and sausages for about 5 minutes. Remove the meat from pan. Add the onions into the greasy pan and cook for about 8 minutes over low heat. Add the meat back into the pan, then add the herbs, tomatoes, beans, and wine. Simmer for about 15 minutes.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

20110303 Spinach and Minced Beef Lasagne

(SOURCE: Albert Heijn Recepten - Cannelloni met spinazie en gehakt)

I planned to make cannelloni, but unfortunately, the lasagne sheets were a bit dry and all stuck together. I tried to Google ways to rehydrate lasagne sheets to make them softer and easier to separate/roll, but couldn't find any. My husband tried to help out but got increasingly frustrated when every single sheet was broken. So I took his advise and turned this dish into a lasagne instead. The result was not bad at all!

3 tbsp olive oil
300g minced beef
2 garlic cloves, minced
750g frozen finely chopped spinach
250g fresh lasagne sheets
175g grated cheese
2 tsp dried oregano
125ml cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the oven to 200 degree C. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pan and brown the minced beef for about 8 minutes. Stir occasionally.
2. In another pan, heat the remaining oil and brown the garlic for about a minute. Add the frozen spinach and heat over low heat. Season with salt and pepper. Drain the spinach well. Mix the spinach with the minced beef.
3. Spread a layer of spinach-meat mix in a greased casserole dish, followed by a layer of lasagne sheets, another layer of spinach-meat mix, and then another layer of lasagne sheets. Top the lasagne with the grated cheese. Cover the dish with foil and cook it in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for another 10 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

20110302 Spinach and Cheese Oven Casserole

(SOURCE: Albert Heijn Recepten - Ovenpasta met kaas en spinazie)

I made enough so my husband could have some leftover for lunch tomorrow. But when I suggested that, he frowned and said it was dangerous to reheat spinach - a Dutch taboo I learned tonight. There are a lot of discussions in various forums about this myth, and this article my husband found explains it all. The Dutch taboo won't stop me from reheating spinach for sure, but I will try to avoid keeping spinach in the fridge for longer than 2 days. Better be safe than sorry, right?

300g big macaroni, cooked and drained
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 onion, finely chopped
300g minced beef
2 tsp dried Italian herbs
400g can peeled tomatoes
300g spinach, washed and roughly chopped
125g mozzarella cheese, in blocks
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the oven to 200 degree C. Heat the oil in a pan over high heat, and brown the garlic and onion for about a minute. Add the minced beef and brown for about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cut them into small pieces with a wooden spatula. Add the spinach and cook for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Add the cooked macaroni and mozzarella cheese to the pan. Mix well, and remove from heat. Pour the content from the pan to a casserole dish. Cook in the oven for about 20 minutes.