Friday, November 29, 2013

Spicy Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp

Great simple dish to do at home. Nice savoury flavours with the corriander cutting through. Light and fresh tasting. This meal for 2 can be done in 30-40 minutes. Adding lime juice at the end can help lift up the dish, make it fresher tasting.
Spicy Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp

Ingredients for 2
180 grams Angel Hair Pasta
200 grams grey/tiger prawns - shelled and de-viened (reserve the heads)
4 cloves garlic - chopped/sliced
2 large chillies - sliced
2 stalks spring onion - sliced
handful of corriander - roughly chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
Juice of 1 lime (optional)
cooking oil
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a small sauce pan over medium-high heat, place the prawn heads with 1 tablespoon of butter and cook until the prawn heads turn fully pink. Then add the chicken stock and allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes over low heat and reduced by about 1/2. Strain and reserve the liquid. (You can cook the pasta or prep the herbs/chillies during this time)

2. Cook pasta according to package instructions in salted water. Angel hair usually takes about 2-3 minutes. Strain and set aside. Add a little olive oil to prevent from sticking together. 

3. In a large saute pan, heat some cooking oil over medium heat. When oil is heated, add in the spring onion, chillies and garlic. Fry for 2 mins.

4. Add in the prawns and stir-fry for another 2-3 minutes. Until prawns are almost cooked fully. Add in the stock and white wine. Allow to simmer for 1 minute and add 1 tablespoon of butter. Mix well and allow the butter to thicken the liquid to form a sauce. Then add in the pasta mix well with all the stuff in the pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Turn off the heat, toss with corriander and lime juice (if using). Dish on to 2 dinner plates or deep sided pasta dishes and serve immediately.

Hope you like this one. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Gnocchi with Zucchini and Sweetcorn

Got inspired to make gnocchi recently. This is the first of two gnocchi dishes that I did from the same batch of gnocchi.

Gnocchi with Zucchini and Sweetcorn
A vegetarian dish that the wife really likes. Its light with delicate flavours. Browning the gnocchi gives it another dimension of flavour and texture, giving a crisp exterior and fluffy interior. The gnocchi's texture is then accompanied with the crunch from the corn and zucchini. Really enjoyable. Wife especially likes that the sweetness from the corn comes through the dish.

Serves 2
Ingredients the gnocchi:
2 large baked russet potatoes (or 3 smaller ones)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup plain flour - plus extra for dusting
salt and pepper
1 egg - beaten
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

Rest of the stuff:
3 cloves garlic - finely chopped
1/2 purple onion - diced1/3 cup diced zucchini
1/3 cup sweet corn kernels
1/4 cup dry white wine (Or cooking white wine)
1/4 cup vegetable stock (If non-vegetarian, chicken stock works better!)
1 tablespoon butter
handful of pea shoots for garnish (optional)
2-4 tablespoons grated Parmesan for garnish

1. Cut the baked potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh from the potatoes. Set the flesh aside in the bowl, discard the skins. Pass the potato flesh through a ricer or mash them.

2. In a large mixing bowl, add in the egg, thyme leaves, Parmesan and about 3/4 of the cup of flour. Season with salt and pepper. Mix everything well with your hands. Add in more flour from the remaining 1/4 cup, if the mixture remains very wet. When the mixture begins to come together, transfer to the well floured board and knead gently for about 4-5 minutes until the ball of dough is relatively dry to the touch.

3. Roll into a ball and cut into 2 halves. Roll each half into a long cigar. Then cut of individual pieces from the cigar. About 2-3 cm for each piece. Using a floured finger, make a small indentation in each gnocchi.

4. Place the gnocchi gently into a pot of boiling water. When the gnocchi start to float, take them all out of the water and drain.

5. In a saute pan, heat some cooking oil over medium-high heat. When oil is heated, add in the gnocchi and saute them about 2-4 minutes per side. (depending on how brown you want them). Remove and set aside on a dish lined with paper towels.

6. With the same saute pan, heat some cooking oil over medium heat. When oil is heated, add in the garlic and onion. Fry for about 2 minutes. Then add in the zucchini and corn. Fry for another 3-5 minutes, until the vegetables start to brown slightly. De-glaze the pan with the white wine and stock. Cook for another 2 minutes then add butter cook for another minute. When the butter starts to thicken the sauce, add in the gnocchi and saute for another minute or so.

7. Dish onto 2 dinner plate and garnish with pea shoots (if using), a generous shaving of Parmesan cheese and a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Hope you'll enjoy this as much as we did!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

This is one of those dishes that you'll get "oohs" and "ahhs" when you bring it out at a dinner gathering. And the fragrance that fills your kitchen when the bacon is cooking in the oven is just awesome.
Wrapping the tenderloin can be a little bit tricky the first time, but you'll get the hang of it. Especially if you are one of those who do Swiss-rolls a lot.

Ingredients: (serves 2-4)
1 whole uncut pork tenderloin, about 300 - 350 grams  - cleaned and trimmed
About 300 grams streaky bacon (should get about 12 slices or so)
3 sprigs of fresh thyme - leaves only
4-5 sage leaves - finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic - minced
Salt and back pepper
Cooking oil for frying
Maple Syrup (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Cover the prep surface with plastic wrap before starting this recipe to make it easier to wrap the pork in bacon and for an easier cleanup. I recommend at least 2 layers of cling wrap as this makes the cling wrap easier to handle.

2. Rub the thyme, sage and garlic all over the tenderloin. A little salt and generous amount of pepper. Place the tenderloin horizontally on the end plastic wrap that is closer to you.

3. Then in front of the tenderloin, on the plastic wrap, place the bacon vertically. Slightly overlap each slice until you cover the length of the tenderloin. Forming like a bacon blanket in front of the tenderloin.

4. Roll the tenderloin over the bacon, using the plastic wrap guide the tenderloin over the bacon first. Once you get a tight firm roll, discard the plastic wrap.

5. Heat a large sauté pan over high heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. When the oil gets really hot, place the bacon-wrapped tenderloin, seam-side down, in the pan and sear until the bacon is browned, about 2 minutes per side. You should probably have to brown 4 sides.

6. Transfer the bacon-wrapped tenderloin to a roasting tray. Brush generously with maple syrup (if using) and cook the tenderloin in the oven until the internal temp reads about 62 degrees C. Probably about 10 minutes or so. Then let is rest outside the oven for about 5-10 mins before cutting.

Serve with mash and side salad.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Pan seared Shrimp and Scallops with shrimp bisque

This is an amped up version of another dish I posted on this site. Tried to spruce it up a little since it was for our anniversary. The sauce was rich and flavourful. Not overcooking the seafood is key. The truffles took the flavours and aroma to another level. We really enjoyed this one, hope you will too!
Shrimp, scallops and breaded slipper lobster in a shrimp bisque and black summer truffles
Ingredients for 2
6 king tiger prawns - shelled and deveined (reserve the shells and heads)
6 scallops - with shells removed

For the sauce
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 yellow onion - roughly chopped
1 carrot - roughly chopped
1 stalk of celery - roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic - sliced/roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
Pinch of cyanne pepper
2 sprigs of thyme
2 sprigs Italian parsley
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup cognac
1/4 cup single/whipping cream
2 cups chicken or fish stock

For garnish
Few stalks of chives for garnish
Few slices of black summer truffles (optional)
Drizzle of black truffle oil (optional)

To make the sauce:
1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the prawn shells and heads with the butter. Stirring occasionally. Cook until all the shells and heads turn pink and give off a nice fragrance. Then deglaze the sauce pan with the white wine and cognac.

2. Allow the liquids to simmer for 2-3 minutes and then add all other sauce ingredients in the list except the cream. Allow the liquids to simmer over a low heat until reduced by half. About 20 mins.

3. Strain the mixture and discard all the solids and reserve the liquid. This will form the sauce. In a small saucepan, continue simmer the sauce and add the cream. Mix well and allow to gently simmer for another 3-5 minutes then turn off the heat.

Cooking the Seafood:
1. Season the scallops and shrimp with salt and pepper. In a heavy based sauté pan over high heat heat some cooking oil. When oil is almost smoking, cook the shrimp and scallops. Sear them about 1-2 minutes per side then remove from the pan and set aside. Leave the pan on the stove, turn down the heat to medium low.

2. Deglaze the pan with the sauce. About 1 cup worth. Simmer for 1-2 minutes. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, scrape off all the lovely brown bits from the base of the pan. Maxing imp them into the sauce.

3. Arrange the seafood in 2 shallow soup bowls or deep sided dinner plates however you prefer. Ladle half the simmered sauce over each plate of seafood. Garnish with chives and sliced truffles(if using). Serve immediately.

Note: The picture you see above has a slipper lobster (aka bug). To prep that, remove the tail flesh from the shell, clean it. Season with salt and pepper then coat it with flour and pan fry for about 2-4 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and set aside on paper towels.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pumpkin Salad with Crackling Pork Belly

Made this for our anniversary dinner. The plating style is not something I'm used to but I decided to try something fancy since it was a special occasion. The wife likes it, so I must be doing something right.
Pumpkin Salad with Crackling Pork Belly

Pumpkin and macadamia were born to be best friends. They go together superbly. The pumpkin discs went well with the pork. The slight bitterness of the rocket with salty pork was awesome. Asparagus was great with the macadamias and puree.
Did I mention there was Pork belly with crackling, I mean do we really need anything else other than that?

Ingredients for 2
About 300 grams pork belly with skin on
About 1/2 of whole butternut squash
10 stalks of asparagus - bases trimmed
1 cup of rocket leaves - washed
1/2 cup of macadamia nuts
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Vinaigrette dressing
1/2 cup Italian Parsley
1 shallot
1 clove of garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 a lemon

Prepare the pumpkin/squash
1. Peel the pumpkin and cut them into slices about 1.5 cm thick. (just estmate, does not have to be exact). An average sized squash should give you about 6 slices from the fleshy part of the fruit. (The upper part without the seeds)

2. Using a small cookie cutter, cut out discs from the slices. Set these discs aside.

3. Roughly cut up the rest of the pumpkin. Wrap them all in a large piece of foil and bake in a pre-heated oven at 160 degress for about 45 mins.

4. Place the baked pumkin pieces in a food processor and puree until smooth. Scoop out and set aside. You can pass the puree trough a find mesh seive for a even smoother puree. Mix in the butter and season with a pinch of salt. Reserve and set aside

5. In a saute pan, heat some cooking oil over a medium heat. When oil is heated, cook the pumpkin discs till they brown on the outside and soft in the middle. About 6 minutes per-side. (depending on the thickness) Set aside when done.

Roasting the pork
1. With a very sharp knife, score the skin of the pork with parallel lines about 1/2 a centimeter apart. (A stanley knife works great for this). The cuts you make should also get into some of the fat under the skin, but do not cut all the way to the lean meat under the skin. Salt the skin generously, making sure to rub the salt in the cuts. Pepper the sides as well.

2. Place pork on a baking dish and cook in the oven set to "grill" mode for 45 minutes. Until the skin
"crackles" fully. When done remove from heat. Cut into 2 and set aside.

While the pork is in the oven, prepare the rest of the stuff
1. To make the Vinaigrette, put all Vinaigrette ingredients in a food processor and blitz till smooth. Add a small splash of water if its too dry or too hard to blend. season with salt and pepper to taste. Reserve and set aside

2. Toast the macadamias in a pan over medium heat until they brown. No oil needed. Reserve and set aside

3. Blanch the aspargus for 1 minute in salted boiling water. Then shock them in cold water. dress lightly with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.

To plate, if you wanna try your hand and fancy plating, you can try "pulling" the puree across the plate. Dress the plate how ever you like. I found that plating in this general order helps.

Pumpkin Puree, Pork, Pumpkin discs, macadamias, asparagus, rocket and lastly the vinaigrette.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Chocolate and Vanilla Panna Cotta with Raspberry Coulis

My second dessert post finally. Had our anniversary dinner at home recently and wifey insisted to make at least one dish. I urged her to make dessert since she's the one with the sweet tooth.
Chocolate and Vanilla Panna Cotta with Raspberry Coulis topped with Vanilla Ice Cream
Resulting dessert is what you see here. Creamy and rich Panna Cotta, with the acidity of the coulis to cut through the richness. The crushed almonds give a nice crunch and nutty flavour. Topped with Ice Cream, need I say more?

This is a great dessert to serve at house parties. Can be made up to 2 days in advance. 

Here are the ingredients for 2-3 (depending on the size of your remekins)
Chocloate Panna Cotta
125ml - Whipping cream
125ml - full cream milk
20 grams sugar
5 grams cocoa powder
20 grams dark chocolate
1.5 teaspoon gelatine powder
1/2 cup roasted almonds  - (blitzed in a food processor to desired consistency)
Some store bought good quality vanilla ice-cream

Vanilla Panna Cotta
125ml - Whipping cream
125ml - full cream milk
20 grams sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1.5 teaspoon gelatine powder

Raspberry Coulis
1 cup fresh raspberries (frozen will do fine, just thaw them first)
juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon sugar

1. Place milk, cream, cocoa powder, dark chocolate and sugar into a small pot and bring to a gentle simmer. Heat until the all the chocolate has melted. Stir gently, mixing well.
Add gelatine powder in a small cup or bowl with 2-3 tablespoons of milk(room temperature) and mix well. The gelatine will probably not dissolve but stir to prevent the powder from forming clumps.

2. Add the gelatine mixture into the pot. Remove from heat and stir until the gelatine is fully dissolved.

3. Divide the mixture among ramekins and leave to cool. Pouring the mixture into a small pitcher first will help make the distribution a lot easier. (Much easier than pouring straight from the pot)

4. Place the chocolate panna cotta into the fridge for a 2 hours at least, until set before starting on the vanilla panna cotta.

Moving on to Vanilla Panna Cotta

Follow the exact same steps as the chocolate panna cotta above but replacing cocoa powder and dark chocolate with the vanilla extract. Wait until the vanilla panna cotta has cooled. (Pouring the hot vanilla mixture will melt your chocolate panna cotta) Pour the vanilla mixture into the ramekins,  covering the chocolate panna cotta. Place into the fridge for a 2-3 hours at least, for them set.

Raspberry Coulis:
Put all the ingredients in a food processor and puree. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, pushing down on the solids. Discard the seeds. Taste and add more sugar or lemon juice if needed. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To serve:
1. Turn out the panna cotta in a shallow bowl. Placing the ramekins in the warm water bath for 10-20 seconds can make turning out the panna cotta a little easier.

2. Pour the coulis around the panna cotta and place some fresh raspberries around. Top it off with crushed almonds and vanilla ice-cream. Serve immediately.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Eggplant Sitrfry with Corriander and Chillies

Eggplant Sitrfry with Corriander and Chillies
Got inspired to do this dish while watching masterchef Australia one evening. Think it was Kylie Kwong during a masterclass episode. Can't remember the exact recipe so I went with what felt right. Results were awesome.

Great savoury dish to go with any Asian Meal. Especially if you like corriander and garlic. Its dish with bold flavours and it packs a punch too. As a meat lover, I'd say this is a great way to get your veg intake.

Ingredients to serve 2-4:
1 large egg plant
1 handful corriander - roughly chopped (I usually just use the whole pack from NTUC or Cold Storage)
2 stalks spring onion - sliced
2-3 large chillies - sliced
5-7 cloves garlic - finely chopped/minced
1 knob of ginger - finely chopped/minced
soya sauce
sesame oil

1. Cut the eggplant lengthwise in to 2. The slice each half into 1cm pieces.
(Optional step:- lightly salt all the eggplant pieces and leave on the tray/dish for about 1 hour. The salt will draw out the moisture from the eggplant. After, drain the liquid and rinse the eggplant pieces thoroughly and dry with paper towels just before step 2)

2. In a wok or large saute pan, heat about 3-4 tablespoons of cooking oil over medium-high heat. When oil is really hot, add in the cut eggplant and stirfry until they are lightly browned on all sides. Remove and set aside on a dish with paper towels to soak up some of the oil from frying.

3. With the same wok, there should be a little oil. If not, add about 1 tablespoon. Lower heat to medium and add in garlic, ginger and chillies. Fry for about 3-4 minutes but do not let the garlic burn. Drizzle the with a couple of teaspoons of sesame oil.

4. Add in the eggplant and stir fry for another 2 minutes or so. Drizzle with soya sauce to taste. Turn off the heat and add the corriander and spring onions. Mix well in the wok and dish onto a serving plate. Serve immediately. Best served with steamed rice.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Spicy Thai Style Chicken Salad

Thai style grilled chicken salad
Was looking to make something spicy for dinner on day and we had chicken thighs in the fridge. So I went out got some lemongrass and corriander and lettuce.

Tangy, savoury, sweet and spicy at the same time. A very refreshing dish to have on its own but this salad goes great with any south East Asian themed meal as well. Ingredients are relatively low cost but the dish still delivers a great meal. Definitely punches above its weight.

Serves 2 (As a meal) or 4-6 as a side dish.

For grilled chicken
2 boneless chicken thighs (I get them all the time at Cold Storage, 2 for S$4.79)
2 tablespoons grated fresh lemongrass
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons Thai sweet chilli sauce
3 cloves garlic - grated/finely minced
Juice of half a large lime

Salad Dressing
2 tablespoons Thai sweet chilli sauce.
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
Juice of half a large lime
2 chilli padi - sliced
1 clove of garlic - minced/grated

Rest of the stuff
1/2 purple onion - sliced
2-3 cups lettuce - roughly chopped
1/2 cucumber - sliced
1 bunch of corriander - roughly chopped
3 stalks spring onion - chopped to 1-2 cm lengths.
1 tomato - sliced into strips
100 grams rice vermicelli

1. To prepare marinade for the Thai style grilled chicken, mix all the ingredients (except the chicken) in a large bowl. Place the chicken thighs one at a time in the bowl. Ensure the chicken is well coated/covered with the marinade. Place the chicken in a resealable bag, pour the remaining marinade into the bag. Seal and let it rest in the fridge for at least an hour.

2. To cook the chicken, grill (skin side up) in a preheated oven at 200 degrees celsius for about 35 minutes.

3. While the chicken is cooking, you can prepare the dressing and veg. Mix all salad dressing ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

4. Cook the vermicelli according to package instructions. Then allow it to cool. (you can place it in the fridge or use some ice cubes.

5. In a large salad bowl, mix all the vegetables with the vermicelli thoroughly. Then pour in the dressing, tasting as you go. Mix everything well.

6. Serve the chicken in cut pieces on top of the veg. Drizzle the chicken with juices from the roasting pan and serve.

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