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.
After making pumpkin-rice-with-coconut-milk, I have longed to turn it into a risotto.
Pumpkin, cut into cubes
Onions, finely chopped
Finely chop onions and fry half of it in olive oil till the air in your kitchen is filled with fragrance.
Put in pumpkin cubes and cook till tender. Add salt and pepper.
Keep one third of it and blend the rest into puree.
Fry rest of the onions in olive oil and add rice.
Pour in half a cup of white wine and let the rice soak in it for three minutes.
Cover rice with pumpkin puree and chicken stock and cook till al dente.
Add in butter and coconut milk.
Follow by salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with pumpkin cubes.
This recipe is too common and simple for most but it is my first time making it.
I would have to agree that these two ingredients are a match-made in heaven
after broiling them together with some olive oil and basic seasoning.
Your favorite chili sauce (optional)
A wedge of lemon juice
Wrap asparagus evenly with bacon from bottom to top. Brush bacon with chili sauce.
Grease a baking pan with olive oil to prevent sticking.
Place asparagus evenly on pan and season with crushed black pepper.
Broil till bacon turns crispy.
Squeeze a wedge of lemon juice over it before serving with a glass of chardonnay.
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 happen to be at Savour Singapore last Friday just in time to join a free baking class. I was overjoyed when I know that we are making lemon tarts. This is my first tart with the flavor I love. Honestly, I was quite afraid of the amount of egg yolks, butter, sugar and cream that goes into it. I will probably cut down on the sugar if I make it again.
It was a 90 minutes session which leave us with not enough time to do a proper knead and rest the dough. Bain Marie was done in a rush and the finish product was unable to set in the fridge long enough to be ready for garnish.
I did an untidy job in pressing the dough to the cups which turns out ugly but it was still a great experience and I am not afraid to start making desserts now.
I love making ciabatta bread the most because it is easier than baguettes and the ingredients are as simple. And I can still get crispy crust with good crumb. But once in a while, I would miss the texture of a fluffy white loaf and tasty French toast that can be made from it.
This recipe is almost the same as ciabatta (click here for recipe) except with the replacement of water with warm milk and the addition of 1 teaspoon of sugar and an egg for the main dough. The overnight starter stays the same.
For the final proofing, shape dough into a loaf and let it rise in a baking tin for a good 2 hours before baking in a 425F pre-heated oven for 35 minutes.
I have always wanted to make this soup using big fresh sweet juicy tomatoes only to realize it is not going to happen. Such tomatoes don’t exist here. They are all sour. So I tried using Italian canned tomatoes which turn out great!
Italian canned tomatoes
Loads of fresh basil
The hottest chili you can find, chopped
One onion, chopped
Fresh milk (use cream if preferred)
Freshly crushed black pepper
In a pot, fry onions and chili in olive oil till onions starts to brown. Pour in tomatoes and simmer for 15 minutes. Add in all the basil, pepper and salt. Simmer for another 15 minutes. Blend everything in a food processor till smooth. Return to pot and add milk. Bring to boil and serve immediately with crusty bread.
This is what happens when we do not have our own produce. Thai mangoes are in season and I love it with prawns. There are many recipes to pair up these two beautiful ingredients but I picked the easy way out due to my busy schedule at work.
Mangoes from Thailand
Prawns from Indonesia
Cherry Tomatoes from Cameron Highlands, West Malaysia
Avocado from Australia
Lemon from Turky
Olive Oil from Italy
Black Pepper Corns from Sarawak, East Malaysia, Borneo
Sea Salt from France
Dried herbs from Australia
Bring a pot of water to boil and squeeze in a wedge of lemon juice. Cook prawns with shell on. Transfer prawns into ice water. Remove shell and vein then slice into half. Cut mango, tomatoes and avocado into bite size.
In a small bowl, mix olive oil, pepper, salt, lemon juice and herbs. Pour over the above and mix well.
I survived three weeks of hectic schedule at work and finally had a chance to return to my kitchen and play with a 70% hydration ciabatta dough. It turns out alright with the crumb I wanted. This time I used a poolish (overnight starter) to give the unique flavor a bread should have.
This recipe makes one loaf.
150g warm water
150g bread flour or all purpose flour with 10%-12% protein
1/8 teaspoon dried yeast
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Cover well with plastic sheet and leave it for 12 hours. I always prepare it the night before.
150g warm water
1/2 + 1/8 teaspoon dried yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
green olives (optional)
Mix all ingredients (including poolish) and work the dough for 10-15 minutes. It is a sticky dough but avoid adding more flour while working on it.
Let it rest in a covered bowl for 45 mins.
Stretch and fold the dough from 4 sides and let it rest in a covered bowl for 45 mins.
Sprinkle enough flour on a baking tray and shape the dough into a ciabatta. Cover with plastic bag and let it rest for a good 2 hours.
Add sliced olives on top. (optional)
Preheat oven to 425F and bake for 30 minutes.
This bread can stay soft on the inside for 3 days before it starts to become stale.
It’s been a busy week at work. Today I decide to take a breather and left office before the stars starts to glitter. Not that I can admire them through the gaps between those skyscrapers.
Returning to my kitchen always makes me happy. With music and a sip of chardonnay, I made this Spanish tapas to go with homemade crusty bread (click here for recipe) which is now always available on the dining table.
Your favorite mushrooms
Chopped red chili
Freshly crushed black pepper
Fry mushrooms in olive oil over medium heat till they start to shrink. Put in garlic, paprika, pepper, salt and fry till fully cooked. Sprinkle a good amount of Tobasco sauce over and top it up with chili. Serve immediately.
The best part comes after you have finished the mushrooms and use crusty bread to wipe up all the garlicky chili oil.
You might want to get ready a large glass of lemonade.