Kitchen Emotions

My profession in identifying and creating core emotions for tv promotion enables me to also connect up all the different emotions that leads me into cooking and baking.

It all begins when I often walk out from a restaurant feeling dissatisfied along with ANGER for paying high bills for lousy food and bad service in this city. And most of the time, what disappoints me is the way good ingredients are being treated poorly.

That is when the temptation and CURIOSITY of wondering if I can cook better food arouse my desire to take up the challenge and re-look at the function of my kitchen with a whole new perspective.

After numerous failures that eventually leads to a few good attempts with some recipes, the feeling of SUCCESS encourage me to create more to share with friends and neighbours which increases HUMAN CONNECTIONS without even noticing it. The reward is enormous.

Here’s a really simple recipe that makes me happy.

marinara w scallops

Pasta Marinara with Canadian Scallops

Canadian scallops

Sea salt

Black pepper

All-purpose flour

Olive oil

Heat up olive oil in a pan. Season scallops with salt, pepper and coat lightly with flour. Fry scallops for 2 minutes on one side and another minute on the other side.

For the sauce:

Fresh basil

Half an onion, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic

1 can of Italian tomato

Black pepper

Salt

Olive oil

Heat up olive oil in a pot with onions and garlic. The fragrance from the onion and garlic will infuse into the oil when heated up together. Add salt to avoid onions from burning. Sautee till onion turns translucent. Add black pepper, tomatoes and basil. Simmer for 30 mins.

Serve with your favourite pasta and top it up with the gorgeous scallops.

hk loaf 4

Now comes to baking. My FEAR of sending something into the oven and hoping it will come out good stays with me for many years ever since I failed terribly trying to bake a basic sponge cake.

It was until early this year when Anto from relaxingcooking encouraged me to bake my first bread. It is a big emotion of DARING to take up the challenge to start a bumpy journey which I am glad I did and to discover the many secrets of baking along the way.

hk loaf 2

I got to admit I am quite obsessed with bread baking for now and I just can’t wait to log this recipe in that uses ‘tangzhong’ mentioned to me by Jean from bentodays. This method creates a super soft loaf with a long lost flavor which brings me all the way back to my childhood days. Yum!

Soft white bread using ‘Tangzhong’

TangZhong:

50g bread flour

250g water

Cook on low heat and keep stirring continuously until it becomes sticky.

Main dough:

270g bread flour

30g sugar

4g salt

1 egg

90g tangzhong

60g milk

5g yeast

30g butter (soften)hk loaf 3

Mix all ingredients except butter. Put in butter when rest of ingredients is well mixed.

Knead the dough till it passes the window pane test. Form it into a ball and put it into a greased bowl.

Sprinkle some water on dough and cover. Let it proof for 45mins to an hour.

Pre-shape dough into three round loaves and let it sit for 15mins.

For the final shaping, roll the dough to resemble soft rolls and put them side by side in a loaf tin.

Sprinkle some water on top and proof for 45mins to an hour.

Brush with egg wash and bake at 170C in a pre-heated oven for 30mins.

hk loaf 5

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MIXED PAELLA

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. 

BAKED SALMON @ 200 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT / 93 DEGREES CELSIUS

I have been trying to avoid posting my own food photos because they are not well taken. After some tips from my friends, I took the courage to post this first one.

This is a brilliant recipe I found from the internet. There is no mistake; 200 degrees Fahrenheit or 93 degrees Celsius is the temperature to bake the fish. Like other reviews, I also had a lot of doubt about the low heat at first. I tried it twice and it turns out perfect both times. Low heat is the magic to bake salmon into this moist and firm texture.

One thing to take note is to find out the actual temperature of your oven. The scale of the temperature knob may not be the actual heat if it’s not calibrated. I am using an oven that is almost ten years old. I got to turn the knob till it reaches the 125 degrees point to get it right.

Ingredients

Salmon fillets or steaks

Olive oil

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Dill, marjoram or parsley (dried herbs works fine for me too)

Fun begins

–          Preheat your oven.

–          In an oven proof dish, pour some olive oil, add sea salt, pepper and herbs.

–          If you are using salmon fillets, place the skin side down.

–          Do the same seasoning for the top side.

–          Put it in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.

I like to squeeze a quarter lemon to go with it. It’s that easy! Try and let me know how it goes!