Tuesday, February 27, 2007

4-course Italian dinner

Made this dinner for my tech guy with his wife who is back from Germany for Chinese New Year holidays . He gave me a set of J.A. HENCKELS INTERNATIONAL knives and a knife sharpener for my birthday this year, so I promised him that I would cook a proper meal for him with his knives. The menu: Starter - Mango avocado crab cake served with citrus salad dressed with toasted almond flakes; Main dishes - Pesto linguine with pan-fried bacon wrapped king prawns; roasted baby potatoes, pumpkin, baby swiss brown mushrooms and white onions in fresh Rosemary, Thyme, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and olive oil; Dessert - Jamie Oliver's Baked chocolate pudding.

Starter - Mango avocado crab cake served with citrus salad dressed with toasted almond flakes

Assembling the mango avocado crab cake

Pesto linguine with pan-fried bacon wrapped king prawns. Unfortunately the pesto did not have enough salt so it turned out quite bland.

Roasted baby potatoes, pumpkin, baby swiss brown mushrooms and white onions in fresh Rosemary, Thyme, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and olive oil

Jamie Oliver's Baked chocolate pudding. Forgot to put the caster sugar in and didn't turn out the way it should be, but oh well, there's always room for improvement.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Hainanese Chicken Rice (cooked with free-range chicken fed on organic grass land)

Cooked this for lunch yesterday (February 25, 2007). Served with ginger garlic chili sauce. Recipe follows next time! Laptop running out of battery and have to cook a 4-course Italian dinner tonight for my translator and his wife who is back from Germany for holidays, using the knives he gave me as birthday present!

(Updated on Feb 28, 2007) Okay, here's the "rough" recipe for the poached chicken and the rice. Not quite sure how the "genuine" hainanese chicken rice is prepared, but this is my version of the recipe! :P

Poached chicken

1. 1 whole free range chicken (some people call it kampung chicken or village chicken), preferably between 1.5 to 2 kgs in weight, then it tastes more flavourful as the chicken is more developed.
2. Enough water to poach the chicken
3. 2 tbsp of sea salt
4. 1 cucumber, skin peeled
5. Shredded spring onions and coriander for garnishing

1. Clean the inside of the chicken under running water, rub the inside with about 1 tbsp of sea salt, leave for about 5 mins.
2. Boil water in a big pot, enough to cover the chicken. When the water is boiling, put in the chicken and the remaining sea salt.
3. Poach for about 20 minutes then turn the chicken to its other side, reduce the flame. Continue poaching the other side for about 10 minutes or until a chopstick can poke through the chicken - an indication that the chicken is cooked.
4. Remove the chicken from the pot and leave aside to cool before chopping chicken into smaller pieces. Collect the juices dripped from the chicken on the plate, which will be used to make the garlic and coriander soy sauce later.
5. Cut the cucumber into half lengthwise. Slice thinly in 45 degrees slanting, about 3 - 4 mm thick. Put the cucumber slices on an oval plate and transfer the chopped chicken onto the plate. The shredded spring onions and coriander is sprinkled on the chicken just before serving.
5. In the meantime, prepare the rice for cooking. The stock is then used to cook the rice and the remaining served as soup (add a bit more salt and some white pepper powder for more flavour) together with the chicken and rice later.

Ingredients for cooking rice
1. 2 cups of basmati rice, rinsed 2 times with water
2. 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3. 3 tbsp of cooking oil (best to use blended oil containing groundnuts)
4. 1 tbsp of butter (optional, but tastes better with it, can be fattenning ;))
5. 1 tbsp of salt
6. approximately 3 cups of chicken stock (from the poached chicken in the pot), depending on how soft you want the rice to be.

Procedure for cooking rice
1. Heat up the cooking oil (and butter) in the wok (or pan), put in the garlic and fry for about 30 seconds before putting in the salt and the rice.
2. Continue frying for about 3 minutes or until the rice blends well with the oil, butter, salt and garlic. The pleasant savoury smell is a good indication that the rice is ready to be cooked in the rice cooker now.
3. Remove the rice from the wok and transfer into the rice cooker.
4. Pour in the stock from poaching the chicken into the rice cooker, when the rice is almost cooked, stir it so that it is evenly cooked.

Garlic and coriander soy sauce (to be served on the chicken before eating)

1. 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2. 3 stalks of coriander, finely shredded

3. 3 tbsp of light sweet soy sauce (just add a little sugar to light soy sauce)
4. Approximately half a cup of cooking oil

1. Heat the oil in the wok, fry garlic till golden.
2. Turn off the heat and put in the coriander.
3. Dish out from the wok into a bowl, add in the dripped juices from the chicken collected in the plate and add the soy sauce just before serving.

Ginger and garlic chili sauce

1. 4 red chilis
2. 2 small fiery hot chilis
3. 3 cloves of garlic
4. 2 cm square of younger ginger
5. 1 tsp of sea salt
6. 1 tbsp of sugar (in my case, I used organic cane sugar)
7. 2 tbsp of vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
8. juice of 3 kalamansi lime juice (limau kasturi)
9. 1/4 cup of water

1. Put all the ingredients (except for vinegar, sugar, sea salt and lime juice) in the blender and blend till finely chopped.
2. Pour the blended mixture into a pan over low heat, add sugar, salt, vinegar and the lime juice. It is advisable not to put in all the salt and sugar at once, taste first before you decide if you want more or less of the sugar and salt.

3. Heat for another 1 minute and turn off the heat, leave to cool.

Serving the chicken with the rice

1. Sprinkle with the shredded spring onions and coriander. Pour the garlic coriander soy sauce over the chopped chicken just before serving.
2. Serve with the rice, ginger and garlic chili sauce, and soup. You can sprinkle some chopped spring onions into the soup if you like.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Chinese New Year dinner cooked for a friend - yes, chicken wings again!

Here's the improved image and flavour of the grilled chicken wings...and this time marinated with chives as well. Brushed a layer of honey over the wings 5 minutes before it was done...tasted sweeter and more flavourful this time cuz I marinated with more lemon juice, garlic and sea salt haha. Also made a radish-romaine lettuce-tangerine-roasted cashew nuts-tomato salad and CY's style seafood marinara pasta (linguine).

The seafood marinara pasta was made from canned whole plum tomatoes, chili flakes, giant prawns, mussels, squids, chopped garlic, onion, bay leaves, thyme, ground black pepper, sea salt and organic cane sugar; and topped with shredded parmesan cheese and italian parsley.

Dinner was finished off with a cup of coffee (instant 3-in-1 coffee unfortunately, don't have a coffee making machine!) with coffee macadamia chocolate chip cookies (made for Chinese New Year).

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Kerabu mango (spicy mango salad); grilled chicken wings; poached broccolini with fried garlic slices

Cooked this for Sunday lunch on February 11, 2007. The grilled chicken wings turned out to be not salty enough, from the point of view of general laymen. I myself prefer it that way, so that I can savour the true taste of the chicken wings. I have not had internet connection for ages...so that's why I have not been updating my blog...oh well...
Recipe for the poached broccolini and grilled chicken wings will hopefully follow later!
Okay, here's the recipe for the grilled chicken wings. Am now writing from below the leaning tower in Teluk Intan, Perak. Unbelievable...the town council has installed a wifi router for free internet access!

Grilled chicken wings marinated with fresh rosemary, lemon zest and juice, crushed raw garlic, honey, freshly ground black pepper, and salt

3 springs of rosemary leaves, finely chopped.
1 tbsp of honey
2 tbsp of lemon juice
1 tsp of lemon zest
2 tsp of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves of finely crushed garlic
10 pieces of large chicken wings
1. Marinate chicken wings for about 2 hours with all the other ingredients.
2. Preheat oven at 180 C for about 30 minutes.
3. Grill for about 20 minutes or until chicken wings turn golden brown.
4. Serve with sweet chili sauce if desired.

Sweet chili sauce

3 red chilis
2 small fiery hot red chilis
3 cloves of garlic
3 shallots
1 tsp of corn flour
1 tbsp flat of organic raw cane sugar
salt to taste
juice of 3 kalamansi lime (kasturi)
1/2 cup of water
1. Put red chilis, small hot chilis, garlic and shallots into food processor and chop till fine.
2. Heat up wok, put in 3/4 of the water into the pan and pour the chopped ingredients into the pan, heat till boiling.
3. Mix sugar, salt, kalamansi lime juice and remaining water with the corn flour, and pour into the pan.
4. Stir till mixture gets thick and reduced.
5. Leave to cool and serve with the grilled chicken wings.