Chicken Wings with Butternut Squash and Salad

I am not sure what happened to me, but I just found out that I haven’t been writing my blog for few months already! I’ve been so busy with many things for the last few months, and our helper just left us 2 weeks ago, that is definitely not helping! I still keep taking pictures of what I’ve cooked, and posted it on instagram. I just did not manage to write it down here! Tonight I’ve cooked a very nice dish, so I remind myself to write it down before I forgot.

Tonight I cooked some chicken wings with butternut squash to go with salad, I really love the combination and the taste, really would love to share this with all of you! First of all, we need to marinate the chicken wings for at least 30 minutes. For marination, put olive oil, mustard, salt, black pepper, thyme, lemon peel, sesame seeds and some lemon juice in a bowl, mix them well and then put all chicken wings inside and let them sit there.

Now, we can work on the butternut squash, remove the skin and seeds, then cut into medium cubes. Heat up the pan with some butter, fry the butternut squash until they turn soft and slightly brown, season them with some salt and pepper. Set them aside for later use.

For the chicken wings, you can put them in the oven, but I decided to fry them. Heat up the pan with some oil, put some minced garlic, then fry the chicken wings until they turn golden brown with crispy skin.

Served with a layer of mixed salad as a base, season the salad with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pinch of salt and pepper. Then add a layer of butternut squash on top, and finished it with chicken wings on top. Add a splash of fresh lemon juice, more sesame seeds, some black pepper and chopped spring onion. I was planning to have some quinoa to go with it, but then I found out that the quinoa I have is already expired…… Next time, I am going to try it with quinoa 😉

Boxing Day dinner – red and green salad & pork and mash gratin

It was Boxing Day, OMG, so long time ago! I am also forgetting what did I cook or how I made it??? I will try my very best to remember!

We were having home party at one of my friend’s home, each of us had to cook or bring one dish. So, I decided to cook a salad and a main course with meat for the two of us to bring over there.

I would like to make a salad which is more Christmassy, so I am playing with the red and green colours and using pomegranate as a touch of gem. The ingredients for the salad are, baby spinach, red apple and green apple that cut in cubes, toasted pecan and mixed nuts and the final touch with pomegranate. For the apples, either you can cut them with ceramic knife to keep them nicely in their colour, or you can spill them with a splash of lemon juice, in order to keep them out of rust. For the dressing, mix olive oil, mustard, honey, lemon juice, black sesame seeds, touch of sesame oil, pinch of salt and black pepper, in a glass bottle and shake them well, mix the dressing with the salad right before serving.

For the pork, go to get a nice piece of pork fillet tenderloin. I get this recipe from Jamie Oliver, it is super simple with 5 ingredients, but I twisted it a bit. First of all, we need to get those potatoes ready, peel them and then boil them in hot water for about 15 to 20 minutes until they turned soft. Meanwhile, we can work on the pork tenderloin, season it with some salt and pepper, and then heat up the pan with some olive oil, and sear the porkloin for about 3 minutes, or until the entire surface is brown. Switch off the fire, remove the pork and quickly fry some rosemary, remove and set aside. Now, we can work on the potatoes, smash them and season with salt and pepper, add a touch of olive oil, a touch of water, and some parmesan cheese. Mix them well and then place the mashed potato in a baking tray, now place the piece of porkloin in the middle and pour the pork juice on top. Add some grated cheese on top of the potatoes, not on the pork. Place that in oven and grill for around 10 minutes under 230C. For the last touch, add some prosciutto around the porkloin by tucking them in-between the pork and the potato. Add the rosemary around, on top of the potato. Put the tray back in the oven for the last few minutes, cut the pork in slices and serve with mash potatoes.

Wednesday night homemade dinner – red wine braised beef brisket

Looking at all the pending blog posts that I have on my draft folder, I just realised that I haven’t worked on the writing since long time. I have so much to catch up! I will try my best today, and finish as many as I can.

Usually I cook every Sunday, but this one that I did was on Wednesday. Instead of cooking beef brisket in Chinese style with turnip, let’s try to do the beef brisket in Western style, of course one important ingredient is red wine.

My husband always prefer lean meat, he doesn’t like to see the fat in-between the beef brisket, which Chinese always love to have a bit of fat in-between. So, I got a big piece of beef brisket with less fat for this dish, and chop it into big cubes. Heat up the Dutch oven with some butter and a touch of olive oil, put some minced garlic and diced onion, brown them a bit and then put chopped carrot into it, cook them for a minute or two. Then put the beef brisket in, brown them until all surfaces are cooked. Now, pour in some red wine, and let it simmer for few minutes. Then, put some tomato puree, dry oregano and bay leaves, and fill up the pot with beef stock. Cover the lid, and let it simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours. You can also cook it inside the oven with 200C for an hour or 1.5 hours. This dish always taste better overnight, you can cook a big pot and save it for the next two days. It goes well with bread, potatoes or even rice.

Wednesday homemade dinner – Thai beef green curry with rice

I have this recipe with me for few years already, I kind of figure it out my own way by imagining how this should be. Of course, after learning some Thai recipes, I’ve adjusted it a little bit, but more or less it stays the same. The good thing about curry is you can have it with different kind of meat, seafood or even vegetable. Tonight I am doing this with beef, but as I said, you can do it with many other ingredients.

Of course the key ingredients are kaffir lime leaves, shallots, lemongrass, galangal, and red chilli pepper, you can get this as a tom yam pack in some super markets. Heat up the pan with some oil, then fry these ingredients with a medium heat, add cabbage, mini corns, mushrooms, Thai eggplant and okra in the pan and stir fry them. You have to look into the kind of vegetable you have and the combination with the meat, calculate the cooking time of each of them, and try to put them in the pan by sequence of the cooking time needed. I really don’t want to over cook the beef, of course depends on the cut of the beef, try to watch out the time and keep that in control. Put Thai green curry paste into the pan, then add coconut milk. Stir them well and let it simmer for around 10 minutes or until it’s done. Taste and season with salt as you like.

You can serve the curry with rice or bread, garnish them with some fresh coriander and squeeze of fresh lime juice.

Grilled Pork Knuckle with Dark Beer

My husband is a German, and I always get asked if I cook German meal for him? As people reckon pork knuckle is one of the well-known dish in Germany, people would love to try the pork knuckle that I cook to see how authentic is it. To be honest, I’ve never cook pork knuckle and I’ve never seen my in-laws cooking pork knuckle back in Germany neither. My husband is not a big fan of pork knuckle and neither am I. He said this dish is more from Munich and the south area, it is not that popular at the region where he is from. Anyway, let’s try it out, as I always want to try and see.

So I’ve looked into few recipes online, one from the German which is super simple, just with salt and pepper and some garlic paste, and here you go. I think I would like to go for something a bit more complicated, then I was kind of following this recipe with the dark beer, which sounds more German to me at least….. 😉

The first challenge I am encountering is, could not find pork knuckle at the two meat shops nearby! That’s so weird to me, as I think pork knuckle is a popular dish, maybe it’s not. I finally found it at Park’n Shop, but those are frozen from Canada with Chinese package, and look so Chinese to me. They look more for soup or Chinese way of cooking, I am a bit skeptical. It seems no other options than taking those, it’s a take it or leave it situation, unless I think of something else to cook, or go somewhere else to search for pork knuckles. I decided to get those, and let’s see.

To cook this dish, is going to take 3 hours, so please plan ahead and see when do you want to have dinner and work back the start cooking time. And defrost also take some time, or you use the oven to help you to do so. Let’s start preparing! Get a big tray, and chop 3 onions in the tray as the base, season the pork knuckles with salt and pepper, and some mixed spices, just pick those that you like. Then, put the garlic paste all over the pork knuckles, and finally add some fennel seeds on top. Pour half bottle of Erdinger dark beer in the tray, then put it in the oven under 220C for 30 minutes. Then, prepare your potatoes and green apple, chop them in big chuck and place at the bottom. Pour more beer in and place the tray in the oven under 160C for 1 hour, don’t forget to pour the beer on top of the pork knuckle from time to time, that will help the skin to be crunchy. Add more beer and cook for another hour under 160C, then keep adding more beer, switch the oven back to 220C and roast it for the last 30 minutes.

After 3 hours in the oven, take them out and remove the pork knuckles and potatoes from the tray, and cook the reminding until it becomes thicken and use it as the gravy. You can serve the pork knuckles with some sauerkraut, to make it like a real German dish. But I serve it with some green salad, which is not bad at all. I still feel it is too rich and I am still not sure if I like pork knuckle much, same for my husband. Well, at least I did try, and the result is not bad.

Orange Pork Rib with Orange Salad

We’ve done a small party at home on Saturday night, and I was cooking for 8 of us. Nothing new, just trying to re-cook some dishes, as some of my friends would love to try my cooking. I was planning to cook two different salad as starter, but I ended up with making only one. Having the ingredients ready at home, it’s good to cook something that can go with this salad. Since the salad is with oranges as one of the key ingredient, I am thinking to cook something with orange as well. How about pork ribs with orange? I think taste wise should go very well together, so let’s do it!

First of all, season the pork ribs with salt and pepper, let them sit for a while. Put some butter in a hot pan, then fry the chopped onion until they turned brown. Place the pork ribs in the pan and fry each side of the ribs, then cut one entire garlic in half and let it sit on the pan. You can switch off the fire now and start preparing all ingredients for the grilling part, of course you also need to preheat your oven with 210C. Place ginger slices and orange slices in the pan, get them evenly distributed nicely in the pan. Then, put the sauce in, make sure the sauce is on every single rib. The sauce is a mix of light soy sauce, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon juice. Place the pan in the oven and grill for 30-40 minutes under 210C, or until the pork ribs turn golden brown. You might need the turn the ribs in the middle of the way.

For the salad, it’s super easy! Just place arugula in a big salad bowl, then cut the fennel bulb into thin strips, and the orange in slices without skin. Mix them well and serve with the salad dressing with olive oil, mustard, honey, balsamic vinegar and fresh lemon juice.

The taste of the salad and the pork ribs go really well together, as they are both with orange flavour and the sauce for pork ribs vs the salad dressing are very similar. I’ve also tried the orange from the pork ribs, also taste very good with the ginger flavour with the rich taste from the marinated sauce.

Slow Cooked Lamb Shank with Potato and Green Bean Salad

I remembered one Italian dish that those Italian love to eat so much, it’s the veal knuckle, Osso Buco.  I was thinking to look for a recipe of that online, but then I ended up with this lamb shank instead. Looks yummy and would love to try, as I love slow cooking that seems more healthy. So I found this recipe of Gordon Ramsay, let’s try it out.

Since this is a slow cook dish, that means it will take long time for cooking, so I better get the grocery shopping done as early as possible. Back home and try to get the lamb shanks marinated first, as least let that sit there for half an hour. Marinate the lamb shanks with salt, pepper, dry oregano, cumin seed, paprika, garlic, red and green chilli, cinnamon sticks and a bit of olive oil. Let them sit there for at least half an hour, meanwhile we can work on getting the onion and carrots chopped and ready.

Heat up the sauce pan with olive oil, fry the lamb shanks, make sure to fry the entire surface. Then, add the chopped onion and carrots and some bay leaves in the pan. Pour half to a full bottle of red wine, bring it to boil and it cook for 15 minutes. Then, add the beef stock and move the pot into the oven and cook for 2.5 to 3 hours under  160C. Gordon suggested not to put the lid, and I found the top part of the lamb shanks a bit burnt and dry, so make sure you turn the lamb shanks every 30 to 45 minutes.

For the salad, boil the potatoes and cut them in pieces when they are done, let them cool down. Steam the green beans, and let them cool down too. Put the potatoes and green beans in a large bowl when they are cooled down, season them with a bit of salt and pepper, then add the arugula and mix everything well together.

To serve the dish, place the salad on the plate, then serve with one lamb shank on top. Use the stock in the pot as sauce for both the lamb shank and the salad, and add some mint on the lamb shank as a final touch.