2013 was a big year for me. Last night, as I flipped back the pages in my mind before the clock strikes twelve, some memories formed into paintings of joy and laughter while others displayed a sense of melancholy. It was the year where I decide to make a drastic change in my life with a precious opportunity which I am actually not quite prepared for.
Leaving home to work in a foreign country for the first time, the move to Hong Kong itself was already an experience. Besides getting to know the ways of living in this new city, my taste buds are also being challenged to recipes, flavors and textures that I am not accustomed to.
While the new may be interesting, it is often the familiar that kept me settled. I’m so glad that my tiny kitchen is now stocked with extra virgin olive oil, Italian canned tomatoes, balsamic and my favorite spices.
Here’s a simple recipe to share. Happy New Year my friends!
Drumsticks Baked with Balsamic Vinegar
Crushed black pepper
Dried rosemary (fresh ones are too costly over here)
Marinate drumsticks with all other ingredients overnight. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200C for 45 minutes or until it looks good to the eye. Squeeze a wedge of lemon juice over before serving with your favorite greens or baked vegetables.
This sweet and creamy dressing was created when Thai mangoes are in season. I thought it will work well with chicken.
Here are the ingredients for the dressing.
Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy. Feel free to adjust the amount of ingredients to your liking.
For this recipe, I am using:
rosemary (1 sprig)
Marinate chicken breast with salt and pepper. I am so used to steaming chicken and carrots with a sprig of rosemary that it has become my second nature. I love how the scent of the herb can infuse into the food like magic. The celery was kept raw to have a crunch in the overall texture of this dish. And the last step is to coat all ingredients evenly with the dressing and serve.
Oh yes, not forgetting a glass of white and perhaps some crusty bread plus more olive oil.
I hope you will like this recipe.
This is one of those moments where I know that I can take cooking as a hobby for life.
It is amazing to discover how a few simple ingredients can work together with temperature and time to create magic
and produce wonderful flavor and texture least expected.
This is an impromptu recipe when my mom came over to stay for an enjoyable two weeks
left me with some frozen chicken pieces in the fridge.
I am glad I have made it right.
Chicken pieces (fresh ones are even better)
Lots of paprika
Lots of fresh rosemary
Crushed black pepper
Season the chicken pieces with all ingredients except lemon.
Bake at a temperature of 200C for 45 minutes.
It works even when I start from a cold oven.
Squeeze over some lemon juice and serve while it is still hot and crispy.
Quite often, I like to steam all ingredients to make a complete dish to get a balance in my diet. This recipe is one of my all-time favorite. You can boil the vegetables but I prefer to cut them into bite size and steam it to retain their full flavor and they cook fast in this way.
One Shallot, finely chopped
A sprig of rosemary
Whole grain mustard
Season chicken breast with salt and white pepper and steam them whole with rosemary. Cut into bite size when cooked. Cut potatoes and carrots and steam till tender. For the dressing, combine shallots, mustard, mayonnaise, lemon juice, sea salt, black pepper and olive oil. Mix well then coat chicken, potatoes and carrots evenly. You can serve it immediately or leave it in the fridge for an hour.
I’ve always wanted to do a more daring pasta dish. Although this recipe works for me, it may not be for the fainthearted. And I think sesame oil is just the right ingredient to blend the flavors together.
Fresh duck liver, cut to bite size
Crushed black pepper
Sesame oil (must have)
Heat up olive oil in a pan and fry the minced garlic till it starts to brown. Put in duck liver follow by salt and pepper. Fry liver till almost tender and add a tablespoon of white wine follow by a glug of sesame oil. It is important not to overcook the liver or it will become hard.
Your favorite pasta
Cherry tomatoes (optional)
Crushed black pepper
Put pasta into a pot of boiling salt water and cook to al dente. While pasta is cooking, chop up shallots, garlic, chili and fry in olive oil over medium heat. Add tomatoes follow by salt and pepper. When garlic starts to brown, pour in a glug of white wine follow by some pasta water. Add chopped fresh basil. When pasta is ready, toss it directly in the pan to soak up the sauce.
Serve pasta with liver and grated parmigiano if desired.
This is a recipe that was missing in action for quite a while but never been forgotten. Last weekend, I decided to take a break from Italian cooking and prepare this dish for a friend who came over for lunch.
Wash chicken, pad dry and put into a plastic bag. Blend all other ingredients and mix it thoroughly with yogurt. Marinate chicken with mixture. Tie up plastic bag and leave overnight in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 428F/220C. Bake chicken for 25 minutes and turn to grill for another 10 minutes.
This meal goes well with plain stem rice and perhaps a glass of ice lemongrass drink.
There are not many happy moments in my life and that makes them too precious to be forgotten. Hence I decided to start a new category “happy moments” to collect them from now on and share my joy.
Today is Deepavali and it happens to be my first post for this category.
One of the best decisions I have made over the past two years is to move from my old apartment to this new home surrounded by lovely neighbors and nice scenery. Since I shifted in, Deepavali has been a happy moment each year when my Indian neighbor Mr. Raju will bring over mouthwatering lunch to celebrate the occasion.
Sunday afternoon. I remember there are prawns, squid, chicken, mussel meat and a quarter piece of Spanish chorizo in my freezer. When I open my spice cupboard, the red color of paprika and yellow turmeric stands out shining among the rest. Turned to my paper bag and saw onion smiling at me. Then an idea starts to form in my head. I found red pepper, garlic, shallots, cloves and rice. The ingredients are almost complete except I am missing a bay leaf. I thought fresh basil from my corridor may be a good substitute.
Tune radio to my favorite Class95 and poured myself a glass of Merlot from Australia.
Aware that I don’t have the right pan to make this dish, I changed the cooking method a little. Heat up some olive oil over medium fire and fry the chorizo for one minute on both sides. With the same oil, seal the chicken and put it aside. Continue to brown some chopped garlic and put in the rest of the seafood. Add sea salt and black pepper to taste and fry for three minutes before adding a gulp of white wine. Put seafood aside and save the sauce for later use. Heat up new olive oil and fry chopped onion, shallot, garlic and a few cloves. When you smell aroma fills the air, put in washed rice follow by paprika, turmeric powder and the seafood sauce. Stir fry for a while and add in red pepper. Add hot water or chicken stock to cover rice. Lay all other ingredients on top and cover the lid over small fire for 15 minutes. Squeeze a quarter of a lemon and throw in some chopped basil before stirring.
There are days when I would rather do minimum cooking and washing. This afternoon is one of them. I opened my fridge and found left over roast chicken, an avocado that was just ripe, pesto sauce that I’ve made and freeze and two big Portobello mushrooms. I knew I’ve found lunch!
I’m so glad to have explored making fresh pesto sauce (Click here for the recipe). Once you have it in your fridge, you can create any dish you can come up with. This time, I blend it with pan fried chicken fillet.
Chicken fillet, cut into bite size
Prepare pesto paste by adding extra virgin olive oil to create a smooth sauce.
Here’s a tip when using stainless steel pan for frying. After heating up pan with olive oil, sprinkle some salt before putting in chicken fillet. This will help to avoid meat sticking onto pan while frying. Fry fillet for three minutes on each side and add black pepper.
Off heat and stir in pesto sauce. Garnish with chopped cherry tomatoes and serve immediately.