Friday, July 27, 2012

20120727 Olivier Salad

I am not sure if this is the "real" Olivier Salad (if there is one) as I didn't look up any recipes. I had Olivier Salad before, so I just threw in whatever ingredients I could remember. It's not bad for this hot and stuffy Friday! But something seems to be missing. Now thinking about it, I think there may be apples and eggs in the salad too. I can't believe I always put off making this salad because the potatoes always break/mush after cooking - even when I got the waxy ones. So today I steamed the potatoes instead of cooking them in boiling water. And it works! I bet this may be a well known trick that I was not aware of, but am still very proud of myself for figuring this out.

1 X 400g can mixed peas/carrots/corns
500g potatoes, steamed and finely diced
100g ham, cut into little cubes
12 small pickles, finely diced
1 small onion, finely diced
4 tbsp mayonnaise
3 tbsp full cream
freshly grounded black pepper

1. Throw everything into a big salad bowl and mix well. Season with black pepper, and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

20120721 Stuffed Red Peppers

As there was a buy one get two deal for minced beef at the supermarket, I bought a little too much minced beef. I wanted to make meatloaf but my husband pulled a dirty face at the sound of it. So I just made this simple dish instead.

300g minced beef
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 egg
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 tbsp dried thyme
salt and freshly grounded black pepper
a dash of Leicestershire sauce
2 red bell peppers, halved and seeded

1. Heat the oven to 200 degree C. Grease a casserole dish.
2. In a mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients (except the red pepper of course) together with hands.
3. Fill the peppers with the meat mixture, then lay them into the casserole dish. Cover with foil and cook in the oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and cook for a further 20 minutes.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

20120718 Boursin Pasta

This is a really simple dish that can be ready within 30 minutes - okay, it took me about an hour as I have to entertain a 5-month-old in the meantime. If I would have cooked the broccoli and pasta in advance, the cooking time will be even less (and the oven does most of the work anyways). I thought of making a simple sauce with Boursin cream cheese, creme fraiche, and milk. But I discovered this wonderful Boursin Cuisine Garlic & Herbs at the supermarket - it is perfect and is actually cheaper than making the sauce with the Boursin cream cheese myself! An easy and flavorful dish that I would strongly recommend.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 broccoli, cut into florets, steamed
300g minced beef
300g pasta, cooked and drained
1 Boursin Cuisine Garlic & Herbs
grated cheese
salt and freshly grounded black pepper

1. Heat the oven to 160 degree C.
2. Heat the olive oil in a pan and brown the beef. Add the onion and fry until fragrant. Then add the broccoli and pasta, and season with salt and pepper. Finally add the Boursin Cuisine. Turn the heat down and let it cook for about 5 minutes until heat through.
3. Remove the pan from heat, and transfer the pasta mixture into a casserole dish. Generously sprinkle grated cheese all over the pasta. Leave the casserole in the oven for about 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

20120715 Beef Stew with Carrots and Onions

It has been a long time since I last cooked something new. I used to cook to relax, but haven't been able to do so with a baby to care for. Even though Olivia is not a fussy baby, she needs attention from time to time. I like spending an hour or two preparing food in the kitchen without any thoughts in my mind, so am still learning how to enjoy cooking while there are interruptions here and there. As my husband was home today, I was able to spend an hour in the kitchen to prepare this stew. Okay, it didn't need an hour but I took my time. Oh how much I miss cooking! This stew tasted good. I took a risk and used rosemary and thyme together. The result was good as the stew was so fragrant. And the crunchy fresh French bread certainly went well with the stew. I've got to plan ahead and cook more again from now on.

3 tbsp olive oil
900g stew beef, cut into 5cm cubes
400g carrots, cut into tiny cubes
5 small onions, finely diced
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thime
1 bay leaf
salt and freshly grounded black pepper
1 tbsp tomato puree
400g can of peeled tomatoes
3/4 cups red wine
1 cup beef stock

1. Heat the oven to 150C. Season beef with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a Dutch oven and brown the beef.
2. Add garlic and dried herbs to the beef, and fry until fragrant. Add wine and bring it to the boil. Then add the carrs, onions, tomato puree, and tomatoes. Use a wooden spoon to break the tomatoes, and top off the stew with beef stock.
3. Bring tge stew to tge boil, cover tightly with a lid, andcook in te oven for about 3 hours. Stir the stew halfway through cooking. Serve with boiled potatoes or crunchy french bread.