Osso buco and roast lamb

We are going through the last weeks of Winter, so I decided to take the opportunity to make some comfort food before it gets too warm. Osso buco is such an easy cut of veal to prepare as it involves searing off the meat before letting it simmer in a tomato based stew until the meat falls off the bone. Delicious!

I also rolled out some homemade pappardelle as the perfect accompaniment. I was apprehensive as many people suggest using Tipo 00, but plain flour works just as well. . A classic gremolata of parsley, garlic and lemon was a nice touch to offset the richness of the dish.

IMG_20160817_192421192

Lamb roast was something I haven’t made in a while. Sometimes the meat can be too gamey and dry, but this time it tasted alright. The addition of anchovies to the usual rosemary and garlic really does make a difference. I also tried making hasselback potatoes which crisped up nicely.

IMG_20160818_192556597.jpg

Advertisements

Attempt at garlic sauce aka toum

Hellooooo! So it’s been a while since I posted… not because I’ve been busy with other things, but because nothing exciting has really happened, food wise and life wise. I will share with you though my attempt at making lebanese garlic sauce. It was inspired after finally making a trip to El Jannah in Granville. I’ve heard people rave on and on for years about their chicken and garlic sauce. And I now understand why. The sauce is definitely an ingenious creation and I was soon having sauce with a side of chicken.

So since I have no understanding of how it is made, I had a look around online and tried a recipe from here. It was definitely quick and easy to do.  I think next time though, I will soak the garlic in water or leave it to air out a bit as the garlic I used was a little astringent. But here’s how it turned out. I loved the light airy texture and went well with some roast chicken/potatoes.

IMG-20141020-WA0002Lol looks like plaster.. but much better when paired with..

IMG-20141020-WA0001

Coq au vin (chicken braised in red wine)

Although the past couple of weeks have been unseasonably warm, it has finally felt like winter where coming out of the shower is like stepping into a fridge. These temperatures are ideal for stews and pots of comfort food. However, recently I’ve felt a bit unmotivated and short of cooking ideas. Thankfully, a very knowledgeable foodie at work suggested a coq au vin. I’ve made a beef bourguignon before and this dish is not that dissimilar with the beef replaced with chicken. However, it is definitely a weekend feat requiring several hours to simmer away until the slightly unctuous meat yields at the touch of a knife.

DSC_0408

Ingredients

  • 1 small chicken
  • 800 ml red wine
  • 2 celery stalks chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 carrot chopped into large chunks
  • Handful of plain flour
  • Oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 slice of pancetta or rasher bacon chopped into small pieces
  • Sprig rosemary
  • Couple sprigs of thyme and parsley stalks
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Slightly less than 1 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 1 brown onion quartered or 5 pearl onions if you could find them
  • handful of button mushrooms halved
  • Salt and pepper
  • A bit of chopped parsley for garnish.

Roux

  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1.5 tbs plain flour

Steps

  1. Chop up chicken into large pieces, leaving the meat on the bone. When you chop it up follow the joints for clean cuts. There’s another option of deboning the breast and using the carcass for stock.
  2. Bring red wine to simmer and then cool for a bit before placing in the chicken pieces, carrots and celery to marinate. Marinate at least over night then drain reserving the red wine.
  3. Take out the chicken and dry on paper towels before dusting it with flour.
  4. In a pan on medium-high heat, fry off chicken in a bit of oil until browned well.
  5. Deglaze the pan with a little bit of stock and reserve.
  6. In a medium sized pot, on medium-high heat fry off  carrots, celery, pancetta and garlic. Add in the herbs
  7. Place chicken back into pot then add in reserved wine and all the stock.
  8. Season with a bit of salt and pepper
  9. Cover lid and simmer for 2-3 hours.
  10. After finished simmering, take out chicken and continue simmering to reduce liquid.
  11. In a pan on medium-high heat, brown mushrooms and onion.
  12. Add mushrooms and onion to simmering gravy.
  13. In a clean pan, heat butter until foaming stops. Add in flour and mix together to form a paste and cook it through. Cook the roux until it changes to a nutty brown colour.
  14. Add the roux into the gravy and mix together making sure there are no lumps of flour. Keep simmering to let the gravy thicken up.
  15. Add chicken back in to warm up and turn off heat.
  16. Serve up with some mash or beans and garnish with chopped parsley.

Chilli tomato gnocchi

Goodbye long weekends 😦 This was the first full week back at work for me after two 3 day weekends in a row….I had a look ahead for those of us working in Australia, and the next one is on June the 9th… that’s like a whole month away. And it really doesn’t help waking up when its getting so cold in the mornings.  But with colder weather comes more opportunities to simmer away some delicious warming comfort food.

Italians especially, are masters at flavour packing comfort food with their pastas and rustic stews. As I posted previously, I was inspired to try making my own tagliatelle the other day, and because I had some 00 flour left over, I decided to have a go rolling out some gnocchi. My previous attempts have been a hit and miss. I once ended up with a whole batch of rubber bullets… mmm. I think it was because I used too much plain flour and forgot to take out the egg white.

This time I trusted my touch a bit more and didn’t really follow a recipe. I ended up using:

  • ~400g sebago potatoes (I cut mine into quarters)
  • 00 flour
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Salt and pepper to season
  1. I started by peeling and steaming the potatoes until they were soft. Then I let them cool.
  2. I didn’t have a potato ricer which would have been ideal, so instead I pressed the potatoes through a seive into a large bowl.
  3. I then mixed in the egg yolk. Roughly but gently. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t thoroughly mixed in. Season.
  4. Next, I add one big spoon of sifted flour into the potato mixture. This is the part where I used my hands and started folding the flour through the potatoes.
  5. Little by little, I added the flour and started kneading gently. Keep adding flour and kneading until the ball of gnocchi dough feels like its sitting on the border between wet and dry.
  6. I then tipped it out onto a floured wooden chopping board and divided the dough up into four sections.
  7. Taking one of the sections, I rolled it out until its diameter was sausage size and then cut it up into 2-3 cm chunks. Place in a single layer on a floured tray
  8. You can do that fancy thing where you roll the gnocchi on a fork but it’s fine if you don’t.
  9. Boil a big pot of water, salt, then drop in gnocchi
  10. When they float, boil for another 10 seconds and scoop out, drain a little and place into sauce.

For the sauce, I went with a simple one with tomatoes, chilli and garlic

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 3 tomatoes chopped roughly. Best if they are still trussed
  • 3 cloves of garlic chopped roughly
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 2 chillis chopped finely. Seeds removed.
  • Handful of torn up fresh basil leaves if you have them
  • Fresh oregano if you have it.
  • Salt and pepper
  • Half a ladle of water
  • Parmesan to garnish
  1. Heat oil in pan on medium-high heat. Add chopped garlic and chilli. Stir a bit and make sure you don’t burn it.
  2. Add in tomato paste and fry for a bit until you see the oil turning orange in colour.
  3. Add in tomatoes. Mix for a bit and let the juices come out. Add in the water and season
  4. Add in the herbs. Cover and let simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. In the mean time boil the water for gnocchi
  5. Open lid and taste sauce. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Let it keep simmering away and let the sauce reduce for another 5-10 minutes. Keep tasting. I wouldn’t mind making the sauce a little bit saltier than preferred as the moisture from the gnocchi would mellow the sauce out when you put them in.
  6. You can probably boil the gnocchi and once they’re ready, drain and place into sauce.
  7. Gently, use a spatula to fold the sauce through the gnocchi. If you’re skillful (I tried and failed) you can use your wrist  motion to toss the gnocchi with the sauce and let them mix together.
  8. Dish out and garnish with parmesan.

I had some lamb chops as well and fried them off to make it a meal. Yumm

DSC_0346

 

Tasmania travel

So this post isn’t really cooking related but I wanted to share my trip to Tasmania with you anyway.It is hard to sum up Tasmania in one word so here’s a brief list:

  • Charming historical sandstone buildings
  • Seaside towns
  • Boutique and artisan products
  • Unique and underrated
  • White sandy beaches
  • English like countryside and sometimes English like weather

Here’s some pictures to match that list of words. The fact that these were captured on a crappy camera phone is really testament to the beauty of the landscape.

Image

View of Hobart from Mt Wellington

Image

Penguin Rookery on Bruny Island

Image

View of Hazard mountains in Freycinet National Park

Image

Wineglass bay in Freycinet National Park

Image

Bicheno blowhole

And this one just looks like a painting

Image

And of course you can’t miss the famed Salamanca markets every Saturday morning in Hobart. Lots of veges/fruit, ornaments and souvenirs you may actually value.

Image

The Taste of Tasmania was also on when we went and we tried the recurrently posted  tempura mushrooms.

Image

We also headed to places near Launceston, and whilst I wasn’t especially eager to visit the Bridestowe Lavender estate in Nabowla, you can’t deny the beautiful sight of endless Lavender fields. I didn’t know at first but found out that there’s currently this craze in China over a Lavender and wheat filled teddy bear called Bobbie sold at the estate. Apparently a Chinese celeb posted a pic of herself with the bear on a social media website and it exploded in popularity.

Image

Bruny Island

I enjoyed Bruny island in particular not just because of the scenery but also for its delicious produce on offer. A full day is needed to visit most of the different farms and outlets. The highlight for me was definitely the oysters from Get Shucked. Plucked from the ocean that morning they were plump and deliciously briny.

Image

We also got some fudge from the Bruny Island chocolate factory and enjoyed a berry tart from the berry farm. Yum

Image

Image

We also stopped by the Bruny Island cheese Company which offered complimentary tastings of a range of cheeses available (forgot to take pictures).

There were a lot more things on offer on Bruny Island and Tasmania in general and it really is a place to go and discover yourself. 

Cooking when traveling

Recently I went away with my family to Tasmania, and although we did taste and enjoy a lot of the produce on offer we also cooked a lot of our meals. While the ‘kitchen’ facilities were bare minimum, I did not want to resort to instant noodles, so I set out to cook delicious and efficient meals with minimal wastage.

I found that it was better to stick to around 3 ‘base’ ingredients like couscous, rice, pasta etc.. things that can be easily microwaved/boiled and lend itself to different flavours. Certain ‘star’ ingredients were then bought to accompany each dinner.. local fresh produce of course.

With rice I made

DSC_0218salmon sushi

SAM_3829

prawn risotto

DSC_0272

massaman curry

And with couscous I served it with some trevally and prawns

DSC_0265DSC_0275

As expected, Tasmania’s seafood is incredibly fresh and if you know where to go, cheap as well ($7/kilo mussels and $19/kilo trevally). These mussels were tender and their juices combined with a bit of cream provided a mop worthy sauce.

DSC_0261

Although there are seafood outlets in the touristy Hobart wharf areas, the Island Markets in the northern suburb of Moonah offered fresh veges and seafood at a low price.

I think we saved a lot by cooking in our accomodation and were able to spend on other experiences/things. It is definitely an option and I don’t feel like we sacrificed for taste. I think I’ll do the next post on our travels and some of delicious food on offer on Bruny island.

Lamb chops and an unconventional risotto

Finally, I have a post that is not about seafood.
I had these lovely lamb chops today and was thinking of what to serve it with. I usually have plain boiled rice with everything, which is like oxygen for Asians like me…. but I wanted to have something a bit special. Even though it is summer in Australia and the temperature is like 30 degrees, I decided to make a pumpkin risotto! I didn’t have any arborio  rice either, but who cares.. I used some thai long grain rice instead… talk about a multicultural dish lol. For the lamb chops I went for a moroccan style spice rub, which actually translates to a whole lot of paprika, cumin and coriander powder.

Here’s a picture of the dish.. I am yet to make the pictures look profesh and good… and I know that the liquid pooling at the bottom of the dish looks kind of yuck and insipid, but I promise that it is delicious, its actually the meat juices from the lamb.  Let’s just focus our eyes on that charring instead mmmm

Image

Recipe

Ingredients

NOTE: start your risotto off first then when its about done, start on your lamb. A degree of multi-tasking is needed

Lamb

  • 6 lamb cutlets
  • 3/4 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1tsp coriander powder
  • 0.5 tsp chilli powder
  • 0.5 tbsp sugar
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • pepper
  • Drizzle of oil and more for frying
  • A wedge of lemon to use later
  1. Combine everything except the lemon, and rub into the lamb. Let it sit and marinate for at least an hour.
  2. Heat a pan on medium to high heat and pour in some oil and wait until the pan is hot
  3. Carefully place in cutlets one at a time and evenly spaced around pan. If there’s not enough space, don’t force it, you may have to wait and fry off some of the others first.
  4. After frying for around 3 minutes, turn over.. You may have to judge for yourself. I prefer medium-rare (but leaning towards medium). Fry for another 3-4 minutes.
  5. Once its about to be done, squeeze in some lemon juice, covering all the lamb cutlets and take out of pan.

Risotto

  • 1-2 cups of rice (really depends on how much you want, 1 cup should feed 2 people fine). I used long grain but if you have arborio, go ahead and use that
  • half an onion chopped finely
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped finely
  • 150-200 gram pumpkin (cubed into really small pieces, around 1.5 cm cubed)
  • Sprinkle of sage
  • salt and pepper
  • sugar
  • Oil
  • A sprinkle of mixed herbs such as thyme, rosemary
  • Chicken stock (buy around 2 litres just incase your rice takes a while to cook)
  • Splosh of white wine (optional)
  • half a cup of cooked corn kernels (I just cut some off a cob and boiled it for around 1 minute)
  1. First you need to cook your pumpkin. Heat oil on medium heat on pan/pot (with a lid) and place in pumpkin cubes. Let cook for around 2 minutes.
  2. Add in some salt and pepper and a sprinkle of sage. Mix it abit and turn the heat to low-medium and cover with lid. This will allow the pumpkin to cook faster and steam in their own liquid. Cook for around 8-10 minutes until it is soft and mashable
  3. Mash up the pumpkin and set aside in a bowl
  4. Heat oil on medium heat in a clean pan
  5. Add in onion and garlic and fry for a bit until translucent, then add in a sprinkle of mixed herbs. Mix for a bit and then add the rice.
  6. Stir the rice and let it fry off for a while (~1 min), then add in the white wine and let the alcohol cook off a bit.
  7. Add in a ladle of chicken stock (evenly) and stir the rice a bit. Now is the point of time where you are stuck at the stove until the risotto is done.
  8. When the rice has absorbed the chicken stock, then add in another ladle. When you stir, you are massaging the rice and helping it release a bit of the starch to make it creamy. Don’t mix too vigorously but gently and making sure the rice from the sides are being pushed to the middle and to the bottom where the heat is.
  9. Keep ladling in chicken stock and letting it get absorbed into the rice until done. You will have to try a bit of the risotto to see whether it is to the texture you want. Ideally, you want the rice to just be cooked without any hard or chalky white bit in the centre.
  10. At this step, you want to season lightly with salt and pepper and remember to taste! 
  11. After it is to your desired taste, add in the mashed pumpkin and corn kernels. Stir and make sure the pumpkin has dispersed fully throughout the rice. You want to have that orange tinge. Taste again
  12. Dish out and serve with your lamb. Enjoy!

It begins…and hopefully lasts

So I’ve decided to create a food blog that documents all sorts of recipes I like and dishes I’ve made. Usually the food I make are dishes I want to replicate… things I’ve seen done in restaurants but would like to make at home. Most of the time, I want to make it as authentic as possible.. however, delicious food is the ultimate aim! Hopefully you enjoy looking through the posts and find recipes you want to try as well 🙂