Sunday 30 October 2011

Hola! Paella with Chicken and Chorizo!!

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One of my absolutely fave place in London is Borough Market, where one can find loads of fresh , wonderful and sometimes unusual produce! I made a trip there recently and look at what I found....aren't they pretty? I also bought  big bowl of the sweetest plum tomatoes I ever tasted for only £1!
Pattypan and Carnival Squash
Brindisa, a Spanish food store in Borough Market is the place to go when you want to find any food related spanish stuff!! Jamon, chorizo, paprika, saffron, paella name it and they will have it! Stocked up on some chorizo, calasparra rice, paprika so of course i had to cook us some Paella when we got home! I still don't own a paella pan so I just used one of my heavy bottom cast iron pan which worked well too.
Adapted from Gordon Ramsay World Kitchen. Serves 4 to 6.
400g Bomba or Calasparra rice
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs, about 600g
sea salt and black pepper
200g chorizo sausage
3 tbsp olive oil
1 red pepper, cored deseeded and chopped
1 orange pepper, cored deseeded and chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 litre vegetable stock
pinch of saffron threads
3/4 tsp smoked paprika
100g peas, thawed if frozen
6 large tomatoes, skinned deseeded and chopped
handful of flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped
lemon wedges, to serve

1) Rinse the rice well, drain and set aside. Cut the chicken in to bitesize pieces and season with salt and pepper. Cut the chorizo sausage into thick slices.
2) Heat olive oil in a large pan and brown the chicken pieces all over. Remove to a plate and set aside.Add the chorizo slices to the pan and saute for 2 mins, then add the chopped peppers and garlic. Cook for 3-4 mins, stirring frequently until peppers start to soften.
3) Stir in the rice and cook, stirring, for a few mins to taste the grains. Add stock, saffron and paprika. Bring it to a boil, add chicken pieces and lower the heat. Simmer for 15 mins, untouched. What we want is for a crust to form at the bottom so we should minimise any stirring.
4) Add the peas and chopped tomatoes, giving it a gentle stir and continue cooking for a further 10-15 mins, untouched. When rice is cooked and retains a slight bite, remove the pan from the heat and leave to stand for a few mins.
5) Scatter chopped parsley over the paella then serve with lemon wedges.

Friday 28 October 2011

Panko crusted eggplant with Sesame Ponzu Sauce

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In addition to the Negi Miso Chicken I mentioned in my last post, i also made some Panko crusted aubergine/eggplant with Sesame Ponzu sauce to go with it. I actually combined 2 recipes(Eggplant with Sesame Ponzu Sauce and the Eggplant Parmesan with Meat Sauce) I came across on Nami's Just One Cookbook Blog for this dish so I think I may have bastardise her recipes. Hope you don't mind, Nami! 
I just made a trip to the Japan centre supermarket in London(it's not often that I shop there) and bought myself a pack of Panko breadcrumbs as well as a bottle of Ponzu. As always, I was excited to use these new ingredients so I thought why not combine both to create a somewhat new dish. It actually worked quite well as the eggplants were a little oily from being deep fried so it was balanced off by the sourness of the Ponzu sauce which cuts through the oil nicely.
Adapted from Just One Cookbook
1 medium eggplant/aubergine
1 spring onion, chopped
2 eggs,beaten
Oil for frying

2 tbsp Ponzu
1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
1 pinch of salt

1) In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for the dressing and set aside in the fridge until ready to serve.
2) Cut the eggplant into 1/3 inch thick rounds and soak in water for 10 mins. According to Nami, this will get rid of the tart taste and prevent the eggplant from changing colour.
3) Dry the eggplants with paper towels.
4) Dip eggplant in flour, shake off the excess, then dip it in egg, again, shaking off the excess. Finally dredge it in panko until evenly coated. Side this aside and continue with the rest of the slices.
5) In a large non stick frying pan, heat 1/4 inch of oil on high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, deep fry the eggplants until golden brown. When it's done, transfer them onto a plate with paper towels so that the excess oil can be soaked up.
6) Placed eggplants on the serving plate, sprinkle spring onions over it and either dip the eggplant into the sauce to eat or pour the dressing over the eggplants to serve.

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Negi Miso Chicken

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I absolutely love learning about new cooking techniques, new ingredients as well as the new method of cooking common ingredients. One of my favourite places to pick all of the above up is on the lovely Nami's Just One Cookbook Blog. I've learnt quite a bit about easy Japanese cooking from her and am looking forward to more interesting recipes.
One of the first recipe I've tried from her massive collection of recipes is the Negi Miso Chicken and yes it's simply delish! It's versatile too as according to Nami, it can be used as a dip, a marinade for fish or meat and to make yaki onigiri(grilled rice balls) too. I used leeks in place of the Tokyo Negi and I found this recipe really interesting as I won't usually think of using a vegetable to marinade chicken!
Adapted from Just One Cookbook.

  • Ingredients for Negi Miso
  • 1 cup (packed) Leeks (1 green top part)
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • <Seasonings>
  • 2 ½ Tbsp. miso
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. mirin
  • 1/2 tsp. soy sauce

  • Ingredients for Negi Miso Chicken
  • Negi Miso
  • 5 Chicken thighs/breasts
  • Oil

Method for Negi Miso:
  1. Chop green part of the leeks into fine rounds.
  2. In a large frying pan, heat sesame oil on high heat and stir fry leeks until wilted.
  3. Add seasoning and keep stirring. Miso burns easily so keep stirring while you cook. Once  dehydrated, turn off the heat and set aside to cool down.

Method for Negi Miso Chicken:
  1. Wash chicken and pat dry with paper towel. In a bowl or Ziploc bag, combine the chicken with Negi Miso and marinate for at least 3 hours.
  2. Instead of pan frying the chicken, i roasted the chicken at 200 deg C for 30 mins and it was delicious too!!

Sunday 23 October 2011

Apple Blog Hop: Apple and Gingerbread Pecan loaf cake

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October is the month to show some #applelove, a month when bloggers from all around the world gather to share all our yummy apple recipes so here's mine! 
It comes a little late in the month but I haven't been able to find a nice apple recipe until now and guess where i saw this recipe??! In the delicious magazine I read when I was getting a haircut, of all places!! haha I reduced the amount of sugar and golden syrup, used olive oil instead of butter but it still came out really moist so I'm pretty happy about it.
Here's the original recipe taken from delicious magazine.
150g unsalted butter, plus extra to grease
150g soft dark brown sugar
150g golden syrup
200ml milk
250g plain flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1.5 tsp baking powder
2 large free rage eggs, beaten
75g pecans, roughly chopped
3 pieces stem ginger, chopped
2 crisp eating apples, such as braeburn, peeled, cored and chopped into chunks (245g peeled and cored)

1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C. Grease and line a 2 litre loaf tin. Melt butter, sugar and syrup in a small saucepan. Once melted, stir through the milk and set aside to cool.
2. Sift the flour with the dry spices and baking powder into the bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the cool syrup mixture. With a wooden spoon, slowly incorporate the flour mixture using a circular motion. Fold through the beaten eggs, pecans, stem ginger and apples.
3. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and bake in the oven for 50 mins or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes away clean. Cool for 5 mins in the tin, then remove to a wire rack.

Thursday 20 October 2011

Bincho Yakitori, London

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Where the magic happens!
Bincho Yakitori is a gem of a place right smacked into middle of Soho, London. Casual japanese dining at its finest, it's the perfect place to go for a supper after catching a performance in the West End or any other time when you feel like having well cooked charcoal grilled yakitori (japanese skewers). Every dish we had were fresh, tasty, juicy and succulent. Service was quick and friendly so we'll definitely be back soon!

Minced Chicken Balls and Duck breast
Beef Ribs and Unagi (Eel)
Chicken Oysters
King Oyster Mushrooms
Chicken and Mushroom Fried Rice
Japanese Aubergine with Sweet Miso
Soymilk Donuts - Quite a dense one

Bincho Yakitori
16 Old Compton Street

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Ayam Pongteh (Nyonya Chicken Stew)

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Peranakan or Nyonya cooking is a marriage of Chinese and Malay ingredients as well as techniques. So who are the Peranakans? Well, they are descendants of Chinese Migrants who inter-married with local Malays in mainly Penang, Malacca, Indonesia and Singapore.  Malacca is a haven for Nyonya cooking so be sure pay this town a visit when you are in Malaysia! 

Ayam(Chicken) Pongteh or Babi(Pork) Pongteh is a famous Nyoyna dish, one that's always cooked during festive occasions such as Chinese New Year, Birthdays etc. It's always a good idea to cook a big batch of this as the flavours developed even more after being kept overnight.

Recipe taken from Secrets of Nyonya Cooking by Florence Tan but I made a few changes such using a food processor to chop up the shallots and garlic as I was lazy. I would have probably taken a while day if i tried pounding them! I also drastically reduced the amount of oil required as 180ml just sounds very scary! haha The amount of light soy sauce was halved too. The following recipe is the exact one found in the cookbook, for those who are daring enough to use that much oil. :)
180ml cooking oil
30 Shallots, peeled and finely pounded 
15 cloves garlic,peeled and finely pounded
150grams soy bean paste (tau cheong)
1kg chicken,cut into bite-size pieces
10 dried chinese mushrooms, soaked in water and stemmed
1litre water
3 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons thick soy sauce
50g sugar
1 sprig coriander leaves

1) Heat cooking oil and fry pounded shallots and garlic until fragrant. Add preserved soy bean paste and saute until oil surfaces.
2) Add the chicken and mushrooms. Stir-fry until well mixed. Add water.
3) Bring to a boil and add potatoes. Season with the 2 soy sauces and sugar. Lower the heat and simmer for 25 mins until potatoes and chicken are cooked.
4) Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.

Sunday 16 October 2011

A Foggy Morning

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The fog may cause loads of problems but it can also be a pretty sight sometimes when we are in the right place at the right time. Went out for an early morning walk today and this was what greeted us. :) It was a good walk but it gave me very frozen toes so I was very glad to get back home to enjoy a hot mug of tea!

Thursday 13 October 2011

Elliot's Cafe & St James's Park

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It's not often that we go out for breakfast. Firstly, there are no nice cafes around where we live and by the time we get to London, I'm starved! haha It so happened that we woke up quite early on Sat so we thought why not, let's check out this newish cafe near Borough Market, one that I've been reading about recently. 
We got there at around 9.45am and it was pretty crowded. A good sign, in my opinion and as luck may have it, there were 2 tables still available so yes! we didn't have to wait for a table!! Woohoo!! The menu consists of some standard breakfast items and we decided on the Eggs Benedict, a chocolate bun and of course the all important coffee boost we need in the morning!!
The coffee from Square Mile was a bit too sharp for my taste as I still prefer a more rounded flavour but having said that, i had an americano so I believe it would have taste much better in a flat white.

The chocolate bun was good. However, the star of the show was the Eggs Benedict! Just look at that egg yolk!! Perfection I say!!! Every ingredient brought together by the creamy and tangy hollandaise sauce, tasted absolutely wonderful! 

After breakfast, we had a quick walk through Borough Market before heading to St James's Park for a nice post breakfast walk. :) What a nice way to spend the morning!

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Lamb Keema (Lamb Mince Curry)

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This recipe taken from The New Malaysian Cookbook, borrowed from my friend recently,  was originally called Kambing Keema(goat keema). Keema means minced and since I decided to use lamb, it would be more appropriate to call it a Lamb Keema. :) 
Keema is a traditional Indian meat curry dish that usually consists of minced meat, peas and potatoes. A mild curry with not much heat and the whole curry is well rounded off with the addition of coconut milk.
It's my first time cooking from this cookbook and we loved it!! I can see myself cooking a lot more from here...until I have to return it, that is...... :P
225g minced lamb
3 tablespoons curry powder
salt to taste
5 tablespoons oil
2 large onions(diced small)
4 cardamoms (bruised)
5 cloved
1 star anise
2cm cinnamon stick
1cm ginger (pounded)
2 cloved garlic (pounded)
500ml thin coconut milk
2 potatoes (diced 2cm)
2 tomatoes (diced 2cm)
60g green peas
10 curry leaves
2 sprigs coriander leaves (chopped)
sugar to taste

1) Combine minced mutton, curry powder and salt. Set aside for 10 mins.
2) Heat oil. Saute diced onions until fragrant.
3) Add cardamoms, cloved, star anise, cinnamon stick, ginger, garlic, curry leaves and lamb. Stir till mixture is dry.
4) Gradually pour in 125 ml coconut milk. Bring to boil and simmer for 5 mins.
5) Put in diced potatoes and the remaining coconut milk. Continue stirring till the potatoes are soft. Put in diced tomatoes and peas.
6) Adjust seasoning to taste.
7) Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Sunday 9 October 2011

Mango and Banana Yogurt Gelato and an award

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You must be thinking that I'm must be little mad to post up a Gelato recipe when just a few posts ago, I mentioned that autumn was officially here and it was getting chilly. Well, the crazy weather in the UK decided that it wanted to feel like summer for just a few more days so we had lovely sunshine last weekend and it was hot! high of 27 deg hot! Hence I took the opportunity to quickly make a 3 ingredient gelato I saw in one of Donny Hay's cooking show. Didn't really believe that it was possible but it was! Healthy, light and refreshing, perfect for summer!

However, before I move on to the recipe, i would like extend my heartfelt thanks to MJ of MJ's kitchen and Shannon of Just as delish for passing on to me the Versatile Blogger award! My very first award!!! As I'm still quite new to the world of blogging, I'm happy to know that there are others out there who enjoy my blog so thank you very much for thinking of me! :)
Be sure to pay these lovely ladies a visit on their blog for loads of very interesting recipes!
To receive this award, I'm to share 7 things about myself and to pass on this award to 15 other new bloggers. So here I go!
1) I'm a software engineer by profession. Not the most exciting of jobs but not only has it allowed me to work in Singapore, I've also had the chance to work in Shanghai, Beijing and now UK so for that I'm thankful.
2) I've always loved watching cooking shows since I was quite young but it's only since I moved to the UK that I've started to enjoy cooking/baking.
3) I think that i'm quite adventurous when it comes to food and even when someone tells me that something tastes bad, I'll still have to try it and decide for myself whether I like it or not. Of course, I draw a line for certain stuff like eating dogs etc. That's a big no no!!!
4) I'm always try to look out for a funny side to things especially when I'm in a 'not so nice' kinda  situation. Good to make the most of a situation isn't it?
5) My motto is 'Don't worry, be happy!!' :)
6) I use to drink up to 4 cups of coffee a day but now, I'm done to 1 or 2 cups a week! so for those who are trying to cut down..... believe me It can be done!
7) Once we've decided on a holiday destination, the very 1st thing I'll do is to do research on restaurants to visit before moving on to the attractions of the place. :P

I haven't yet found 15 new bloggers to pass the award to but the following are pretty new I hope and are some of the blogs I love visiting. Please pay them a visit too!
1) Jenelle of One Apron
2) Chandler of Sweet Cupcaker
3) Shannon of Just as delish (Shannon was already on my list before I received the award from her so I shall still include her)
4) Ha Nguyen of No Butter
5) Kelly of Inspired Edibles
6) Lavieenfribourg
7) Amanda of Scattered Cook
8) Suzi of Cooking's good
9) Ruth of Bread and Milk and Blackberries

So without further ado, here's the recipe. :)
Taken from Donna Hay: Fast, fresh and simple
2 bananas, peeled and chopped
3 mangos, peeled and chopped
280g thick natural or vanilla yogurt

1) Place banana and mango in a sealed container. Freeze for 4-5 hours or until frozen.
2) Place frozen fruit and yogurt in a blender or fruit processor and blend until smooth.
3) Serve immediately or place in a sealed container and freeze. After freezing, allow to soften for 5 mins before serving.

Thursday 6 October 2011

Quinoa Stir-fry with kale, chilli and nuts

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Here's me on my quinoa kick again! :) Absolutely love it after cooking it for the 1st time so I was on a lookout for more delicious combination of ingredients. This time, it's one that's quite like a Chinese Fried Rice. I may just replace the rice aspect of a fried rice with quinoa from now on. ;)
Oh yes! I just found quinoa flour in one of my local shops so I hope to do some baking with quinoa soon!! 

Adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's recipe
Ingredients (Serves 3)
100g flaked almonds
200g quinoa 
3 tbsp olive oil 
2 onions, peeled, chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped 
1 small red chilli, seeds and membrane removed, finely sliced 
2.5cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced 
140g kale, stems removed and shredded 
150ml vegetable stock 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
Soy sauce, optional

Heat the oven to 180C. Place the almonds on a baking sheet and bake until slightly golden and fragrant, stirring once, about six to eight minutes. Leave to cool.

Cook the quinoa according to the instructions on the packet. While it's cooking, warm olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, then add the onions and fry until softened and beginning to turn golden. Add the garlic, chilli and ginger, and sauté for a couple of minutes. Throw in the kale and stir-fry for a couple of minutes. Add the stock and simmer until the kale is tender and most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the quinoa, stir to combine. Finally add the nuts, season to taste and serve hot or cold, with a splash of soy sauce, if you like.

Wednesday 5 October 2011

Day out at Kew Gardens

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Temperate House
Kew Gardens, located in 10 miles from Central London, makes for a great day out when the sun is shining and the clouds are floating. 
Visit a rainforest in the Palm house or visit the Temperate house, the largest Victorian glasshouse in the world. There's also the Princess of Wales Conservatory where 10 climatic zones are recreated. Wanna have a bird's eye view of the gardens? Climb up the Treetop walkway. In addition to these, there are also many other themed gardens and features dotted around Kew so you'll definitely won't get bored. 
In all of these attractions, one can find lots of unique, beautiful, interesting and some unusual flora and fauna. 
Love in the Mist
Love in the Mist
Kew gardens spreads across a massive 300 acres of land so be sure to bring along your walking shoes when visiting and here are some pics I took when I last visited! :)

Princess of Wales Conservatory

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