Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Penne with Shrimps in Tomato Cream Sauce

I stood at awe of this unbeatable combination of shrimps, garlic, onion, tomato sauce, white wine, cream and parsley. I adapted this recipe from the Pioneer Woman website, but as usual, I didn't really follow the suggested measurements. I rely on my own intuition and of course, I always taste my dishes before serving them. I like it that way.

To keep my station clean and neat, I decided to adopt the practice "mise en place", which means "put in place" in English. I first realized its beauty and importance half a year ago when I cut my finger with a can while struggling in a very messy station (my sister always warned me about it). This practice is a must-do in professional kitchens. Before the cooking is done, all the ingredients are to be cut, prepared and separately placed in small plates and bowls, with all the necessary utensils placed at the stove.

I first fried the shrimp in olive oil and butter, cut them into small chunks and later drowned them in the gorgeous orange sauce. We were all so satisfied after this meal. This is comfort food. :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Simple Stir-fried Spaghetti with Broccoli

Ran out of ingredients but still wanted to cook and eat well. So I stir fried the spaghetti with garlic, chilli, white wine and lemon juice. Sharp and pungent, it cannot go wrong. Oh and of course, I gave it a generous splash of extra-virgin olive oil before conquering it. 

I have found that the garlic tastes particularly nice when perfectly sautéed and browned. And another very random but useful tip, for those who wear contact lens, wear your contact lens before making this dish, the chilli hotness wouldn't leave my fingertips until now, i.e. 6 hours after the cooking.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Grilled Mackerel & Homemade Lemon Linguine

I love making my own pasta! I don't have a pasta machine, so I had to knead knead knead and roll roll roll. It takes a bit of effort but it's all worth it! The pasta you make yourself is healthy, with no preservatives, and  most importantly, it's very very al dente! 

I followed this recipe for making the pasta: 2 and 1/4 cups of plain flour, 3 eggs, and a pinch of salt. You may also add in different ingredients, say, minced garlic, chopped herbs or tomato paste to create a pretty flavored pasta!

Now am placing my little pasta nests under the sun to dry them up.

I roughly followed Jamie Oliver's lemon linguine recipe, drizzled some lemon juice and olive oil on top of my cooked linguine, seasoned it with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and mixed in a bunch of basil leaves and lemon zest. 

The mackerel (recipe adapted from Donal Skehan) was really easy and took me only 8 minutes to cook. I rubbed in olive oil, minced garlic and chilli, sea salt and ground pepper, lemon juice and zest on both sides of the fillet and let it cook on my lovely grill pan. So light, so tasty and healthy, I will have it for lunch very often from now on. :)

I will end this post with a cute little poem for all pasta-lovers. I found this poem from the Pioneer Woman website. Enjoy!

I love pasta in the morning.
I love pasta at night.

I love pasta when I’m happy
And when I’m filled with fright.
Pasta makes me happy.
Pasta makes me free.
I like to eat pasta
When I’m tuning into Glee.

Love, the Poet Laureate of County Road 4223

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hot & Sweet Drumsticks

My mom said we all need to diet and asked me to stop making so many snacks and desserts until my sister's big day is over. But I refuse to leave my kitchen, my home, so I am going to do more main-course dishes instead for now. 

I was in the mood for something nice and hot so I made this Hot & Sweet Drumsticks. It feeds my crave for strong flavors and the sweetness of the apricot preserves leaves a smile on my face.

Apricot preserves, soy sauce, ketchup, Tabasco and minced garlic is everything you need to make the sauce. Once the sauce is cooked and thick, pour it over the drumsticks, set aside and let it marinate itself. Shove it in the oven, and viola! No pain, no sweat. 

The recipe is adapted from the Tasty Kitchen. Instead of baking the chicken immediately after pouring the sauce over it, I let it marinate for an hour so the thick flesh will carry the strong flavor as well. Another thing I would do next time, in addition to the recipe, is to hold a bit of the sauce cooked and pour it only after baking. That should give the chicken a much darker and strikingly attractive look.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Brioche Wannabe

I have heard great things about freshly baked bread. People say any bread, even the plain ones made out of only flour, water and yeast, can taste heavenly when they come straight out from the oven.

So I tried to make a brioche this morning for breakfast, following the recipe a good friend gave me. 
Brioche is a French pastry, quoting from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume II, "the wonderfully buttery, light, and thoroughly delectable texture of fresh brioches may persuade you they are manna from another planet."

Yes, my brioche is buttery, it looks and smells extremely luscious while baking in the oven. But it is not quite airy. The texture is half-scone, half-bread. Oh well, since the purpose of this blog is to keep a record of the things I made, successful or not, I will still post them up. :p I'm calling mine the Brioche Wannabe. I served it hot with butter and liver pâté, they go really well together.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Garlic Mushroom and Cheese Bruschetta

Bruschetta is the one of the very few Italian words I recognized. Spaghetti, marcaroni, gnocchi, pizza, tiramisu, calamaretti, gelato, that's the best I could do. 

I remember one evening in New York, my mother and I were really hungry and had no idea what to eat. We randomly hit an Italian restaurant, got a nice little candle-lit table and struggled with the menu under the very dim light. Certo! Bruschetta was the first word I managed to spot so I ordered one topped with finely diced tomatoes, onions, drizzle of olive oil and a slash of balsamic vinaigrette. Loved it. I still remember the taste of it.

Now I am making my own bruschetta for dad's breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day so it is worth the effort! One of our professors once told us a joke that justice depends on what the judge ate for breakfast!

Like most Italian food, bruschetta is nice and simple. You just have to toast the bread, rub in it some garlic, drizzle some extra-virgin olive oil and season it with salt and freshly ground pepper. 

I topped it with my favorite ingredients, white button mushrooms, garlic and cheese! Sprinkled some rosemary too. I have to admit that I was being very lazy (and hey! it's early in the morning!), instead of grating the cheese, I used processed cheese slice instead! ;p It still tastes great but I would recommend those who try this recipe to use freshly grated cheese instead, the aroma is different.

Recipe inspired by that in Donal Skehan's Mushroom Bruschetta. Feel free to top the bruschetta with your favorite ingredients, that will make your day!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Honey Chilli Prawn Skewers

This is a crowd-pleaser. Perfect as a late night snack and it cannot be any simpler to make!

So many flavours bursting in your mouth at the same time. The sweetness of honey, the sharpness of lime, the hotness of chillies and the pungency of garlic (i love garlic!!). Perfect ensemble.

Great suggestion from sis. Would taste even better if I let the sauce cook longer and caramelize a bit. Hm. 

Recipe adapted from Donal Skehan. I find his recipes very easy to follow, perfect for people with very little time but still want to cook!
I didn't really follow the measurements as I was too lazy to measure everything. Plus, it's fun to rely on your intuition and imagine yourself as a chef sprinkling this and that. hehe

Crêpes flambées façon Suzette

I am very excited, this is my first post!
I am opening this blog to keep a record of the things I made and share with you my culinary experience. Thank you W for encouraging me to do this. 
I made some Crêpes flambées façon Suzette yesterday afternoon. It was very fun but a tad complicated. Love how the flames were set. It is one of my best childhood memories to witness the flaming Baked Alaska with my family at Jimmy's Kitchen.

Recipe adapted from Marmiton (french). But I modified it a bit by adding less milk and and some orange zest for both the flavour and the colour. Let me know if you have other great recipes to try out! :)