Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Dum Mutton Biryani in a Tagine

The haze and my eldest girl's coming PSLE are curbing our activities outdoor and keeping us homebound. That provides me more time to think of new recipes and what to cook for the family especially what to cook with the new tagine I received from the good people of Le Creuset.

The tagine was originally a heavy, unglazed clay pot with a round, shallow-sided base and a conical lid with a knob on the top that acts as a handle. Modern tagines, like the Le Creuset, are often crafted from cast iron for durability and better heat retention and distribution.

Tagine's conical shape creates a uniquely moist and hot cooking environment. The base is wide and shallow, and the tall lid fits nicely inside. As the food cooks, steam rises into the cone, condenses, and then flows down the sides back into the dish.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Peppercorn Steak with Creamy Brandy Sauce

I was pretty impressed with this caramelised 200-days grain-fed Black Angus Ribeye steak with white peppercorn and brandy sauce when I first had it at Chef Patrick Heuberger's new F&B venture at Casse-Croûte.

The thick 600-gram cut was perfectly seared by Chef Patrick with lots of butter without burning the peppercorn and finished it off with brandy and thick cream. I picked up some tips from Patrick and decided to make this at home.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Butter Sage Minced Pork Capellini

During our trip to Piedmont Italy last year, we had this simple and yet flavourful tajarin (tie-yah-REEN) or ravioli with sage and butter sauce almost everyday. (Tajarin is the egg-yolk-rich pasta from the Piedmont region and classic toppings include butter and sage sauce, pork and veal sugo or porcini mushroom sauce.)

Friday, July 10, 2015

Home-Baked Sesame Seed Artisan Bread

Mrs Chef and Sommelier loves to bake and the family is fortunate to have freshly baked bread and pastry for our daily breakfasts and sometimes for dinner starters.  Over the years, after much research and experiments, she had adapted recipes that made use of cast iron Dutch ovens or casseroles to bake her artisan breads to great success.

Artisan breads baked by professional bakers have features like great crumb, airiness, unbelievable flavour and a desirable crackling crust. To get that kind of a crust, professionals use powerful steam-injected ovens which are too pricey an investment for regular home bakers. But the good news for amateur home bakers is, you too can achieve such shatteringly crunchy and delicious crust using cast iron casseroles or heavy ceramic pots.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Sambal Brinjal with Dried Shrimp and Minced Pork

Many people dislike brinjal (eggplant or aubergine), but if cooked well, it can be absolutely delicious. Besides taste, the low-calorie and low-fat vegetable has a string of healthy properties that might be reason enough to get you to eat it.

Last Sunday, my foodie group decided to come together for a pot-luck curry rice party. Each of us either cooked or bought a dish or two for the gathering at my place. I contributed pork belly char siew and this Sambal Hae Bee (Dried shrimp) and minced pork Brinjal dish. 

I had no plan to post this initially as I felt this was quite a common household dish in this part of the world but the beloved wife of our Durian Professor Prickly Sensations adored this dish and requested for the recipe. 

So Mrs Lim, here you go...

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Scallops with Sweetcorn Puree and Ikura

This is a simplified version of the starter recipe - Scallops with Sweetcorn Puree and Quail's Eggs which I posted a couple of years ago. The magic of this recipe lies in the rich sweetcorn puree. 

Searing scallops on high heat brings out their fresh briny flavor and the sweetcorn puree brings out the sweetness of the scallops. Combine these with the bursting of the ikura orbs in your mouth, Oh my... I can literally hear the song playing through my head.... And I think to myself, what a wonderful world! :)

You can prepare the puree days ahead, keep in the fridge and heat up when needed. On the actual day, it will take you just minutes to serve this impressive dish.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Sous Vide Coq-Au-Vin with Potato Puree

Few years ago, when I first had my Sous Vide machine, I made this Coq-Au-Vin dish using a recipe I found on the web. It was a nice recipe but I felt the sous vide time of 8 hours was too long. Two Sundays ago, I bought some Chicken Maryland for our weekend dinner but I did not have that much time so I decided to experiment with a 4-hour sous vide window. It was a huge success.

I panfried the Maryland skin down to crisp the skin (like a duck leg confit) before cooking them again (skin up) in their own juice from the sous vide process with garlic, mushroom and cherry tomatoes. This makes the meat tender, juicy and it gets nice and crisp for the kids (and me!!) who like the skin.

Try this for your next weekend dinner!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Grilled Seafood with Mushroom Gnocchi, Brussel Sprouts and White Sauce

Wife loves gnocchi but not the kids. They prefer their pasta in noodle form.

So when Mrs C&S requested gnocchi for dinner last weekend, I had to think of a creative way to make the dish appealing to the kids too. I did not want to end up eating their share, I had enough of carbo last week.

Seafood is a safe bet with the kids so I came out with this dish for our Saturday dinner. The creamy white sauce dressed up the seafood very well. The spoonful of oyster sauce I added to the mushroom gnocchi gave the pasta an umami flavour that I thought would change their opinion about gnocchi and it did wonders.

    "Dad, somehow I like your gnocchi today. What did you add?" said Ashley as she finished her plate. I smiled.

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