Cuisines

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Mozzarella stuffed spicy meatballs with romesco sauce
Meatballs!

So after visiting the Scorsese Exhibition at ACMI I simply could not get the meatballs that his mom Kathy made out of my head! (And wanting to watch all his movies as well, this guy is a cine-genius!)

I knew I didn't want big fist-sized meatballs because I just find them too dry, eating this massive chunk of mince meat did not appeal to me, but little ping-pong ball size ones filled with gooey mozzarella cheese....ooooh yeah baby! Get in mah belly!

We had pasta at a really cute Italian restaurant in the city after the exhibition, called Il Solito Posto, it was quite cozy and the food there was lovely, will definitely be going back there again. Though then made me crave something less traditional to go with my meatballs, so I decided to go Tapas/Spanish style with Romesco sauce, if you haven't tried it before, it is amazing! My Romesco sauce is made with roasted char-grilled red capsicums, so their flavours really intensify and brings out the sweetness and slightly smokiness, there's almond flakes, breadcrumbs to give the sauce body and other spices like smokey paprika to up the pepper and smokey flavour. It went really well with the meatballs. Here's what you'll need to make this simple but yummy dish.

Romesco sauce ingredients:

  • 2 large capsicums, grilled whole in the oven on high heat for 30 mins
  • breadcrumbs
  • almond flakes
  • tomato
  • garlic
  • smokey paprika
  • chili flakes
  • red wine vinegar/balsamic vinegar
  • salt & pepper
  • basil
  • leek/onion
  • olive oil
Directions
  • Remove grilled capsicums from oven and place in ziplock bags, careful not to lose any of it's juices, this is vital part of the sauce!
  • Let the capsicums cool in bag and remove the skins and the seeds
  • In a blender thingy add all the ingredients except the basil and leek/onion and blitz til smooth
  • In a saucepan, add olive oil and brown/sweat the onion/leek
  • Add in the sauce, it is now ready for the meatballs to be be simmered in.
So let's get right into them.

Meatballs ingredients:
  • 500 g of half pork half beef mince, you can incorporate other mince if you like
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • breadcrumbs
  • mozzarella/bocconcini quartered
  • mixed dried italian herbs
  • chilli powder/flake
  • paprika
  • salt & pepper
  • kasundi

Directions

  • Add all the ingredients except the cheese together, mix well
  • Take a spoonful of the mince mixture and flatted it a bit and add the piece of cheese in the centre, then wrap mince around and roll it up into a ping pong ball size
  • Add them to a fry pan with butter/olive oil to brown on all size, doesn't need to be cooked through.
  • Do this in batches until all the meatballs have been browned, then add them all to the Romesco sauce for simmering for 15-20 minutes until they're cooked through and the sauce thicken up a bit.
  • Serve with some chopped basil and you may top it up with shaved Parmesan cheese if you like.
Yuuummm :D

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Cantonese–style Wonton Noodle Soup

Giant Cantonese–style wonton noodle soup
I was really really craving wonton noodle soup. This is a comfort food for me when I was very young growing up in HK and it has been ages since I've had homemade ones. Frozen wontons are available in supermaket and Asian stores but I find them incomparable to the homemade ones.

T-Rex helped me wrapped these and some of them are pretty ginormous. heheheh.

I confess, it's been awhile since I wrapped any dumplings and I was never very proficient at it. So I watched a few youtube videos on how to fold them. We experimented on a variety of ways to wrap them. It's really up to you, as long as the filling stay inside, it's all good!

Speaking of filling, it definitely needs to have prawns, chunky bits of prawns, so there's some texture to it and not just dry and meatbally.

Ingredients:
  • A package of wonton wrappers
  • A dozen frozen prawns
  • 500g mince pork
  • Minced ginger
  • Spring onion
  • Coriander
  • White pepper
  • Chinese cooking wine
  • Sesame oil
  • Light soya sauce
  • Dry thin egg noodles
  • Choy Sum or any green veggie
  • Wonton soup mix (yeah I know! Being super lazy, but this mix powder gives me the exactly flavour of the soup of my childhood memory)
Directions
  • Defrost the frozen prawns and soak them in cold water and then chop each prawn into 3.
  • Mix prawns with pork mince, herbs and the other seasoning, keep stirring until the mixture seems gooey (at least 5 mins).
  • Now you're ready to wrap, I generally use about 1 tablespoon of filling per wrapper. Fold it up whichever way you prefer. I liked folding them in half in triangles and then folding the ends behind and pressing it in so they look kinda like tortellinis - which I've always thought of as Italian wontons.
  • Get your water boiling in a pot and add the wontons, cook until they float - at least 10 minutes.
  • At around the 5 minute mark, add in the noodle, veggie and soup mix.
  • There you have it, yummy homemade wonton soup. I think I'll add some shitake mushrooms to my filling next time.

Vietnamese Summer Rolls

Yummy vegetarian summer rolls
It was a particularly hot day here in M-town and I really didn't feel like cooking anything after work, or rather turning on the oven and making the apartment even hotter. So I figured some summer rolls would be a great idea, plus T-Rex can also help roll them.

I made vegetarian version for Meat-free Monday and had an addictive spicy peanuty dipping sauce to go with it. I think I crave the sauce more than the rolls.

Here's what you will need.

Ingredients:

  • Rice paper
  • Vermicelli
  • Carrots
  • Cucumber
  • Mint
  • Basil
  • Spinach/Lettuce
  • Hard tofu
  • Peanut butter
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Fresh chilies
Directions:
  • Start by julienne the carrots, cucumber and tofu
  • Cook the vermicelli according to the direction on the package (soak in hot water) and then drain
  • Get a big bowl and fill it with cold/room temperature water for the rice paper, if you use hot water the rice paper becomes too soft and tears very easily.
  • Lay out the damp (but still "rigid") rice paper on a plate/board and add a handful of the noodles to the lower third of the paper, top up with the other fillings and herbs, be careful not to overload, else it's very difficult to wrap it up.
  • By this time, the paper would have soften enough, fold the bottom up, then the two sides and then just roll it up. TaDa!
  • For the sauce, I usually use a ratio of 2 spoons of peanut butter to 1 spoon of hoisin sauce, top with hot water to your desired sauce consistency and add fresh chopped chili to your spice level, I added about 4 chilies.
  • Enjoy! You can try other cooked fillings as well, maybe smoked salmon, prawns, chicken slices. Be creative :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Jamaican Dinner

Yummy Jamaican Brown strewed chicken with red beans and rice
This was the night after the Attica Degustation dinner. And what do you eat after a delicate 5 course dinner?
A hearty, spicy, full of flavour Jamaican meal of course!

This one is a handy, foul-free treat.

Brown stewed chicken with red beans and rice. I also had some left over pumpkin from the previous week's Sunday roast dinner. So here's how you go about getting this easy dinner on the table.

Ingredients

  • Chicken pieces
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Chili
  • Red capsicum
  • Green capsicum
  • Soya sauce
  • Pickapepper sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Thyme
  • Sugar
Directions


  • Season the chicken with salt, pepper, chili
  • Heat up the olive oil in a dutch pot, add the chicken pieces to brown
  • Remove the chicken when they look 70% done
  • Top up a little more oil if you need and then add the aromatics: onion, garlic and ginger
  • Add the capsicums
  • Add the seasonings: soya sauce, ketchup, pickapepper and top up with some hot water
  • Bring to boil and reduce heat to simmer, add back the chicken and the juices, cover lid
  • Add the sugar, vinegar, hot sauce, thyme to taste and reduce the sauce til it's nice and thick and just coating the chicken.
I basically cook all my rice in a rice cooker, never learned to do it any other way.
So I added a drained and rinsed tin of red kidney beans to my washed rice, along with a tin of lite coconut milk (I find the coconut cream too sweet). Long grain rice is best to get that individual grain result. season with a little bit of salt and allspice/mixed spice.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Thai Chicken Larb Salad

Spicy, Salty, Sweet and Sour. It packs a punch of flavours!
I just adore Thai food. The spicy, salty, sweet, sour and fresh flavours are tantalizing to your tastebuds. Though some people might not be fans of fish sauce, but it's ok in moderation.

Here's a pretty quick salad that's something different. I combined a few different recipes and added my own twist to it.

Even my new housemate who hasn't had much appetite of late had 2 servings of this yummy salad.

Ingredients:
  • Chicken Mince
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Coriander (including the roots)
  • Cucumber
  • Green beans
  • Basil
  • Mint
  • Kaffir lime leaves
  • Dried chilli flakes
  • Fresh chilli
  • Bean sprouts
  • Fish sauce
  • Lime/lemon juice
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Peanut oil
Directions:
  • Heat oil in wok, add the minced garlic, ginger and coriander roots
  • Add chicken mince brown and break into little bits with dried chilli
  • Add fish sauce and sugar 
  • Add the chopped up green beans and stir until heat through, this is all the cooking done.
  • Remove from heat and toss in all the remaining ingredients, all chopped up except the beans sprouts
  • You can top it off with some crushed peanuts for the extra crunch but I ran out of peanuts.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Random Spicy Sausage and Potato Stew

I went to the markets over the weekend and got a bit over enthusiastic with the vegetables. Now my fridge is completely packed so I had a few friends over for dinner every night.
 
Last night, I initially wanted to cook vegetarian but then I got distracted when I saw these sausages on special at my local supermarket. Plus I wasn't sure if the Persian lentils and vegetable casserole along with the rice pilaf would be enough to feed us all. Better to have more than less right?

Spicy!
I didn't really have a concept in mind when I bought the sausages, but it turned out really well.

Ingredients
  • Beef sausages cut into chunks
  • Potatoes
  • 1 can of tomato
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Red capsicum
  • Parsley
  • Chilli
  • Sugar
  • Thyme
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive oil
Easy Peasy Instructions
  • Heat some olive oil in a hot pan, brown the sausages, onion and garlic
  • Add the potatoes and tomato and a bit of water
  • Season with chilli, thyme, sugar, salt and pepper,
  • Cook covered til potatoes soften and the sauce thickens.
  • Add the capsicum and cook for another 5 mins
  • Top with parsley and serve

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Winter Favourite - Red Wine Lamb Shanks


 Winter is the best time month to leave stuff bubbling away in your slow cooker, I usually do it overnight so my apartment smells amazing in the morning and then I can't wait for lunch.

But this time I managed to wait and save it for dinner, O lamb shanks, o lamb shanks, why did I wait so long to try you out again? Years ago, living in Sydney, I had attempted to make lamb shanks but unfortunately, the meat just stayed stuck to the bone, and I never really got over that disappointment.


Lamb Shank with Sweet Potato Mash & Pomegranate Salad
I finally decided to conquer my failure and try it again. I saw these pomegranates at the market and just couldn't resist them. Just the thought of their little sweet juicy gems can bring a smile to my face.
 
And you can't make a stew without something to sop up the sauce, initially I was going for cauliflower mashed, but it was twice the normal price at the moment so I settled for some sweet potato, which is just as good.

Ingredients for the Lamb Shank:

Onion                  Salt/Pepper
Garlic                  Tomato Paste
Carrot                  Can of Tomato
Lamb Shanks       Worcestershire
Red Wine             Sugar
Stock                   Flour Mixed Spice        Bay leaf               

Directions
  • Dust the lamb shanks in flour that's seasoned with salt and pepper and brown it in a pan
  • Meanwhile, add the paste, can of tomato, seasoning, sauce, bay leaf to the slow cooker
  • Add the lamb in slow cooker
  • Brown the onion, garlic and carrot, then to slow cooker
  • Top up with red wine and stock up to 7/8 of the shank.
  • Cook it on low for 8 hrs (I did this and went to bed or in the morning before going to work)

After consuming the meat-falling-off-don't-even-need-knife-from-bone, there was still quite a  bit of sauce left and since I didn't want to waste it, I dumped some mystery meat I had frozen in my freezer and set my slow cooker to work again, Ta-Da 2 meals in one!