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.
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.
I cook a lot these days, I don’t know if part of the reason is because of this blog or not. But I love to cook, and Sunday is usually my cooking day. Cooking for brunch then dinner. In the past, I don’t like to look into the recipe so much. I just cook whatever I feel or learned in the past. Nowadays, I try to learn tricks or recipe with cooking show on TV or search for recipe online. But what I do is, I prefer to digest and feel the recipe before cooking, instead of reading line by line, or following exactly each single steps. I like to do my own version, to improvise. My husband is happy that what I cook is more versatile now, he said I only know one dish in the past, spciy tuna pasta. I think that’s not true, but anyway, should take it as a good comment 😉
So, I’ve put together the assorted bruschetta for breakfast. Cut the baguette into half, then put butter and garlic sauce. Feel free to put different things, I put slices of cucumber, and then chopped tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, then put some chopped ham. With a final touch of Parmesan cheese and dry parsley. Another one, I want to do with egg. Place some slices of tomato, and then put the raw egg in the middle of those slices, same thing season it with salt, pepper, dry parsley and Parmesan cheese. Put them in oven under 180C for 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle with some chopped spring onion to serve.
For dinner, I’m thinking to do a chicken dish, but then I ended up with cooking beef. Just because I found this Gordan Ramsay recipe and would like to do it! Slow cook beef short ribs, seems more yummy than chicken! It’s a bit hard to get the fresh beef short ribs, I just found them at this Meat Master shop and they sell all kinds of meat. This one is frozen, so it took me some time to defrost.
Season the beef short ribs with salt and pepper, then fry them with olive oil, make sure all sides are nicely fried. Cut a whole garlic into half and fry it together with the ribs, then put some tomato purée in the pan and cook a bit. Then pour one full bottle of red wine into the pan and let it cook for 15 minutes, until most of the wine are gone. Pour 1 litre of beef stock into the pan, bring it to boil, then wrap the pan with foil and place the pan into the oven. Cook for 3 hours under 170C.
Before serving the ribs, get the side dish ready. I am adding some spinach to this dish, as I feel is lack of vegetable. Heat the pan with butter, then put some finely chopped garlic, and then fry the spinach until they turn soft. Season them with salt and a touch of sugar, place them on the plate as side dish. Now, get the pancetta fried in a pan with olive oil, when they turn golden brown, add the brown button mushroom which cut in half. Fry them until they are done.
Get the pan of ribs out of the oven, place the ribs one by one in the plate. Use the sieve and pass the garlic through and pour the sauce through the sieve as well. If the sauce is too thin, need to cook it for a while and make it thicker. Pour some sauce on the ribs, then put the pancetta and mushroom on top, and garnish it with the finely chopped parsley. The longer you cook, softer the meat.
Why not having some comfort food for Sunday dinner, meatloaf spaghetti maybe one of the best idea! My husband likes meatloaf, we saw this on Jamie Oliver’s show, so let’s try it out.
Cut three carrots, slides them in quarter and place them in a pan with some olive oil, salt and thyme. Put that in oven under 200C for 10 minutes.
While cooking the carrots, let’s get the meatloaf prepared. You can use just minced beef or pork, but it’s good to mix the pork and beef somehow to get a better texture. Season the minced beef and pork with salt, pepper and oregano. Mixed them together, then add an egg, some feta cheese and some bread crumbs. Mix them well and put them in the middle of the pan with the carrots and place it in the oven for 25 minutes.
Let’s get the sauce done. In a hot pan with olive oil, put the red chilli without the seeds, get the flavour then remove the chilli. Fry some garlic, then add the onion, fry them until golden brown, then add the tomato purée and cook for 10 minutes, and season it with salt and a bit of oregano. Meantime, boil a pot of hot water and get the spaghetti ready. I like to use the number 3 here, the thicker one which go better with meat.
When the sauce is done, take out the pan from the oven, pour the sauce into the pan and sit together with the meatloaf. Put some more feta cheese and add some Parmesan cheese on the meatloaf, then add some rosemary and the fried chilli as well. Place the pan back to the oven, and cook for another few more minutes.
When the spaghetti is ready, serve it together with the sauce and the meatloaf. Perfect comfort food that you can have!
It is hard to organise a trip with your girl friends BFF many years after school, as each of us is having our own agenda. Some married, some with kids, some busy with work, some living in other countries, and etc. But the 4 of us somehow still managed to go for our second girlie trip last year, and to make it more fun, we tried to line up with fun thing to do. Four of us ended up with an agreement to go for a cooking class, our destination is Phuket in Thailand, and we found this nice place called Blue Elephant, it is a well known restaurant, and they also do cooking class.
Arrived to this beautiful building, and actually the entire building with old Chinese-colonial style is the Blue Elephant Restaurant, with a huge lawn and very old trees. I heard that it was a government building, and the owner bought the whole building and keep the look for the restaurant, it is nicely decorated and I love the style! The restaurant itself is quite well-known, with brunches all over the world in different countries, for example London, Paris, Brussels, Dubai, and etc.
The first thing we need to do is a tour to the wet market nearby, not really doing shopping, but in order to understand the ingredients of Thai food or how do they look like, the best place to go is the market. It’s actually quite interesting to go around the market, and having someone can speak with the locals with you is great. I’ve learned different kind of vegetables and herbs that are originated in Thailand. It was definitely a nice experience.
So, let’s start cooking! Basically, they prepared all ingredients for you, you just need to cook. Our class is to learn 4 dishes, the first one is Keang Ka-Ree Koong Subparod (Yellow Curry with Prawns and Pineapple). The most important thing to learn is how to make the curry paste, everything is about grinding with the mortar. So, you need to work out your muscle in order to grind the curry paste. Basically, the red curry paste is the base, and to make the yellow curry paste is using the red curry paste to add yellow curry powder and turmeric powder. The ingredients are garlic, coriander root, yellow curry powder, turmeric powder, red curry paste, vegetable oil, coconut milk, prawns, pineapple in thinly sliced, cherry tomato cut in half, sweet pepper and onion. This dish is not difficult, most of the work is about making the red curry paste.
The second dish is Hor Mok Poo Tod (Fried Crab Soufflé), for this one you need to whisk a lot, another way to build muscle. For this dish, we have to mix the ingredients in a big bowl, first to mix the paste, egg yolk and coconut milk, then have to mix the minced chicken, minced prawn, steamed crab meat, kaffir lime leaf, sweet basil leaves, then add fish sauce and sugar. Place the mixture into crab shells or containers, and steam that for 15 minutes. Dip with beaten egg, then coat with breadcrumbs, and deep fry.
The teacher said that this Phad Ka-praow Nua (Stir-fried beef with holy basil) is one of the most popular, cheap and cheerful dish in Thailand. Basically is to fry the sliced beef with holy basil, with the garlic and chili paste, kaffir lime leaf, green peppercorn, sliced of red and yellow chilies, chicken stock, young baby corns and long bean. Season it with light soya sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and sweet dark soya sauce.
The last dish is the Yam Som O (Pomelo Salad), always love to eat this one, let’s see how to make it. The salad ingredients are pomelo, cooked prawns, chicken, ground dried shrimps, roasted peanuts and desiccated coconut. Mixed the ingredients together and add the dressing, chilli paste, tamarind juice, palm sugar, fish sauce and lime juice mixed well together. Garnish it with deep fried shallot, deep fried dried red chili and boiled quail’s eggs.
Some Thai ingredients that I learned and it’s quite new to me, holy basic leaves, kaffir lime leaf, galangal, tamarind, coriander root (don’t know you can cook with the root). Each of us got a certificate and some gifts home, few ingredients to bring with us, such as fish sauce, curry paste and kaffir lime leaves. We also got to sit down and have lunch together and enjoyed what we cooked.