Thursday, January 26, 2012

20120126 Scrambled Eggs

I love scrambled eggs but could never get them right. They either are too runny or have a rubbery texture. This morning I gave scrambled eggs another go and was half satisfied with the result. The eggs tasted good, but I think I overcooked them just a little too long - again! Next time I may add a bit more milk, or simply replace milk with cream. Oh well, that's the fun of cooking - try and try again until you get it right!

2 large eggs
2 tbsp milk
dash of dill
freshly grounded 4-season pepper
25g butter
2 buttered toasts

1. Whisk the first 5 ingredients in a bowl until all they are well combined.
2. Heat the butter in a non-sticking pan over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, pour in the egg mixture and let it sit. When the eggs begin to solidify, use a wooden spoon to scrap the eggs from the sides of the pan and fold them over into the middle. Repeat this until eggs are slightly runny and softly set. Remove from the heat and leave it for a bit to continue cooking.
3. Once the runny bits have disappeared, transfer the eggs onto two sliced of buttered toasts.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

20120125 Butter Chicken, v3

(SOURCE: TastyKitchen - Butter Chicken)

I craved something rich and flavorful, so decided to make butter chicken again. As my last attempt to modify the butter chicken recipe was a success, I decided to tweak the recipe a little more again to give the chicken more flavor and a little bit of a kick. Oh the butter chicken had such an intense flavor and it was just so good!

500g boneless chicken, cubed
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp tandoori masala spices
1 tsp salt
a dash of chilli powder
2 small onions, diced
30g butter
300g passata
300g chopped tomatoes (canned)
2 tsp dried coriander leaves
250ml cream, at room temperature

1. Combine the first 5 ingredients and marinate for at least 2 hours.
2. Heat the butter in a pan and saute the onions until soft. Add the marinated chicken and cook for 10 minutes. Add the passata, chopped tomatoes, and dried coriander. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes with the lid on. Lastly, add the cream just before serving.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

20120124 Sesame Oil Chicken

(SOURCE: - Seasame Oil Chicken)

I loved how the entire kitchen was filled with the aroma of sesame oil when I heated the oil in the wok, so I expected a very intense and flavorful dish. But unfortunately, I didn't smell or taste any sesame oil in the chicken - how disappointing! I wonder if it was because the sesame oil I used was not good enough, as the original recipe recommended a "toasted/dark sesame oil" which has a more intense flavor. Next time I will look for the toasted sesame oil at the Chinese supermarket and give this dish another go.

500g little chicken drumsticks
2-inch piece of root ginger, cut into thin strips
1.5 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp dry sherry
2 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 cup water
3 dashes white pepper

1. Heat the sesame oil in a wok over high heat. Add the ginger and stir fry until fragrant. Add the chicken and fry a little before adding the soy sauce, oyster sauce, sherry, and white pepper. Continue to stir-fry until the chicken is about 70% cooked.
2. Add water and do a few quick stirs. Cover the wok with a lid and turn the heat to medium to low heat, and let the chicken cook until the sauce thickens and the meat becomes tender. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes. Add more water if the sauce dries up. .

Sunday, January 22, 2012

20120122 Chinese-style braised beef, v2

(SOURCE: BBC GoodFood - Chinese-style braised beef one-pot)

I made this dish a couple of months ago and loved its vibrant flavors. This time I moderated the amount of ingredients a little in a hope to make the dish a little less sweet. The key is the dark soy sauce! I got the dark soy sauce from a Chinese supermarket this time - it tastes more intense and less sweet than the soy sauce I got from the local supermarket. The meat was so tender and rich in flavor - thumbs up!

3 tbsp olive oil
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1.5-inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and shredded
1 bunch spring onions, sliced
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
1kg braising beef, cut into large chunks
1 tbsp plain flour
2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
3 tbsp dry sherry
3 tbsp dark soy sauce (from a Chinese supermarket)
500ml beef stock

1. Heat the oven to 150 degree C. Toss the beef in the flour. Heat the oil in a dutch oven and brown the beef in batches. Remove beef from pan and set aside.
2. Add the garlic, ginger, onions and chilli to the pan, and fry until fragrant. Then add the five-spice and fry for another minute. Then add the beef and stir until combined. Splash in the sherry, scraping up any meaty bits.
3. Pour in the soy sauce and stock, bring to a simmer, then tightly cover, transfer to the oven and cook for 3 hours. Stir the meat halfway through.

Friday, January 20, 2012

20120120 Chocolate Chip Cookies

(SOURCE: A friend)

I am feeling a bit restless today and have trouble sitting still. So I looked into my cupboard to see if I can whip something yummy up. I see I still have a bag of chocolate chips and cranberries from Christmas, so why not bake some chocolate chip cookies? My friend gave me this recipe several years ago, and it is perfect because I have all the ingredients listed! And the cookies are nice and chewy - perfect for a mellow Friday evening.

1 cup plus 2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
110g butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mix of chocolate chips and dried cranberries

1. Heat the oven to 175 degree C. Grease a baking sheet.
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until the mixture if smooth and creamy. Gradually add the flour, baking soda, and salt into the bowl and beat until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and cranberries.
3. Drop the dough by very rounded tablespoonfuls onto the greased baking sheet, spacing the mounds about 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes, or until nicely browned.
4. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let it cool for about 3 minutes. Then transfer the cookies to a rack and let them cool completely. Makes about 18 cookies.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

20120117 Sookhe Masale ka Murg (Dry Masala Chicken)

(SOURCE: Indian Cookbook by Pushpesh Pant - Sookhe Masale ka Murg)

I chose this recipe as it requires only a handful of ingredients, and it has an interesting way to cook the chicken - you have to parboil the chicken before frying. This article explained that parboiling chicken before frying will help to reduce the amount of oil used for frying and to cook the chicken faster. The original recipe still used 1 cup of ghee to fry the chicken, so I am not sure the author chose to parboil the chicken to use less oil for frying...But anyways, I have modified the recipe quite a bit by reducing the amount of chilli powder and oil used. The little drumsticks were finger-licking and super garlicky! I think they will be great for barbecue too. So next time I will just parboil the chicken and then pop them onto the barbecue for about 5 to 10 minutes.

1/4 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric powder
6 garlic cloves, crushed
6 black peppercorns, crushed
600g little chicken drumsticks
1 tbsp olive oil

1. Marinate the chicken with the first 5 ingredients, then set aside in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
2. Pour 1 cup of water into a large heavy-based pan and add 1 tsp of salt. Add the marinated chicken and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the water has evaporated and the chicken is cooked through. Remove the drumsticks from the water and place them on a kitchen tissue to dry a bit.
3. Heat the oil in another pan over low heat, add the chicken and fry for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Monday, January 16, 2012

20120116 Madeira Cake

(SOURCE: Nigella Lawson - My Mother-in-law's Madeira Cake)

I woke up this morning feeling not so great because of awfully swollen fingers and feet (I know I should be grateful already as my face/hands/feet have only started swelling since last week when I hit 38-week pregnancy). The frosty and sunny morning lifted my mood a little, but I needed another dose of mood booster to kick start this week. I thought a warm slice of pound cake would do the job and was keeping my fingers crossed that I had all the ingredients I need in the cupboard. I found this Madeira cake recipe online and it looks like a pound cake, so it would do! I love it when the house is filled with the smell of baked goods. This is my first Madeira cake - it tastes just like a simple pound cake but with a twist of lemon flavor. And this cake, especially its crispy topping, really made my day!

240g softened unsalted butter
200g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 large eggs
210g self-raising flour
90g plain flour

1. Heat the oven to 170 degree C, and grease a loaf tin.
2. Cream the butter and sugar, and add the lemon zest.
3. Add the eggs one at a time with a tablespoon of flour for each.
4. Gently mix in the rest of the flour and, finally, the lemon juice.
5. Sprinkle with caster sugar (about 2 tablespoons) as it goes into the oven, and bake for 1 hour or until a cake-tester comes out clean.
6. Remove to a wire rack, and let cool in the tin before turning out.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

20120115 Thyme Chicken Legs

I wanted to make roasted chicken but was not really up for the carving bit, so I got some chicken legs instead. I was debating at the supermarket whether to make roasted chicken legs with rosemary or thyme. Then the problem solved itself as there was no fresh rosemary, so thyme it is! From experience, I know that thyme and lemon are always great with chicken. To give the chicken a little kick, I added some crushed garlic and cayenne pepper too as an experiment - who knows, it was really good! The chicken legs were so flavorful and juicy, so I simply served them with some steamed carrots and cauliflowers - I tossed the steamed vegetables in the meat juice, and then sprinkle them with some freshly grounded four seasons pepper.

4 chicken legs
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, plus several sprigs of thyme
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly grounded black pepper
some cayenne pepper

1. In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, thyme leaves, lemon juice, olive oil, and some salt and pepper. Set aside.
2. Pat dry the chicken legs and slit them. Rub the thyme mixture into the chicken - be sure to rub some herbs into the slits. Let them marinate for at least an hour.
3. Heat the oven to 200 degree C.
4. Throw the sprigs of thyme into the casserole dish, and then lay the chicken legs on them. Sprinkle the chicken legs with some cayenne pepper. Bake in the oven for about 50 to 60 minutes, or until golden brown.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

20120112 Sweetcorn Chowder with Toasted Tortilla Chips

(SOURCE: Nigella Lawson - Sweetcorn Chowder with Toasted Tortillas)

Today is Heather's 32nd birthday, and she is coming over for chats and lunch. As she has been craving Mexican food lately, we decided to make this Mexican-inspired soup for lunch today. It is very simple to make, so I was able to chat with Heather while preparing and cooking the soup. The soup tasted pretty strong, so it was really nice to dip the toasted tortilla chips in. But next time I may use less garlic and only the green parts of the spring onions.

500g canned sweetcorn, drained
1.5 spring onions, debearded and cut into small chunks (some cut into rings for garnishing)
1 small garlic clove, peeled
15g flour
750ml hot vegetable stock
200g lightly salted tortilla chips
100g grated cheese

1. Heat the oven to 200 degree C.
2. In a food processor, blitz the sweetcorn, spring onions, garlic, and flour into a mush. Tip the mixture into a saucepan, add the stock and bring to the boil. Then turn down the heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
3. In the meantime, spread the tortilla chips out on a baking sheet and sprinkle the cheese over. Warm in the oven until the cheese melts over the chips.
4. Ladle the soup into bowls. Scatter over the soup some chips and spring onion rings.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

20120111 Sliced Bananas with Chocolate Sprinkles

I wanted something sweet after my toasts this morning, so I made myself a simple treat - sliced bananas with chocolate sprinkles! This is one of the most common snacks for kids, but my Dutch husband finds it an odd snack. Cultural difference?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

20120110 Fish Curry

I went to the supermarket with a list of ingredients required to make stuffed bell peppers. But as I saw some really nice white fish filets that were on sale, I decided to make a fish curry instead. As I was too lazy to look up fish curry recipes on my mobile, I simply made up the recipe myself and grabbed what I thought I would need from the supermarket. The result was good but I have to admit that it would have been better if I had added about 1/4 cup of creme fraiche to soften the curry flavor and make the sauce more creamy. Oh well, another time!

700g white fish, cut into large chunks
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tomato, skinned and chopped
3 tbsp curry paste
1 cup vegetable stock
2 tbsp sunflower oil
salt and pepper

1. Heat 1 tbsp of sunflower oil in a large non-sticking pan, and brown the fish in batches - about 1 to 2 minutes each side. Set aside.
2. Heat the remaining oil in the pan over medium heat, and brown the garlic and onions for about 5 minutes. Add the curry paste and cook until fragrant. Then add the tomato and stock, and simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes.
3. Add the fish at last and heat through. Season with sugar and salt and pepper, and serve with naan bread.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

20120103 Meatloaf

I have been craving meatloaf this week, but could not find the onion soup packet at the nearby supermarket and could not be bothered to drive to another supermarket for it. So I just used what I could find in the kitchen for this meatloaf dish. My husband is usually not a meatloaf fan, but he said this meatloaf tasted pretty good - so I consider this a success! Oh and I made some onion gravy to pour over the boiled potatoes and vegetables. The perfect dish to beat the rainy and super windy weather.

For the meatloaf -
250g ground beef
250g ground pork
1 small onion, finely diced
1 large egg
1/4 cup ketchup, plus more for topping
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
handful of roughly chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
salt and fresh ground black pepper
For the onion gravy -
1 tbsp sunflower oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp flour
400ml beef stock
salt and fresh ground black pepper

1. Heat the oven to 175 degree C.
2. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Transfer the mixture into a small loaf tin, then cover the top with a thick layer of ketchup.
3. Cook in the oven for about 1 hour. Drain off the fat before serving.
4. To make the onion gravy, heat the oil in a small pan and fry the onions for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Add the brown sugar and cook for 5 minutes - keep stirring. Then add the flour and coat the onions evenly. Finally add the stock and let it bubble for about 5 minutes, until the gravy is nice and thick. Season well with salt and pepper.