Cooking with healthy Quinoa – roasted with broccoli and chicken

I always try to eat healthy and explore something new. I’ve never cook quinoa, but I’ve heard a lot of good thing about it.  It is very nutritious, good for blood sugar control, gluten free, very high in fiber, protein, important mineral and antioxidants. It sounds like all you can get!!! Why not trying it out?

Find out what is good about quinoa

I grew up with rice and noodle, quinoa is definitely something new to me. I know there is a trend in the Western world to cook with quinoa, but I have no idea how should I cook them. Therefore, I have to look into some recipes, to get the idea and some inspiration. I found this recipe to roast it with broccoli and chicken, looking quite delicious. So, I am going to try my first quinoa dish with this.

Roasted broccoli chicken and cheddar quinoa bake

Of course, I always improvise the recipe a bit, to make it my own style. To add something on top, or to change the ingredients that I don’t like. But I like almost everything of this recipe, the only thing I feel missing is a bit of garlic, and to mix with some parmesan cheese, instead of having only cheddar cheese.

First of all, I would like to do the chicken with sous vide cooking. So, I’ve spent one hour to  cook the chicken breast with 60C in the hot bath, get them out and let them cool down. To cook the quinoa, more or less like cooking the rice or risotto. I am following this recipe to use 1 3/4 cup of chicken stock to cook 1 cup of quinoa. But I guess you can also cook with regular water, and I might try to cook them in the rice cooker next time and see if that works. When the quinoa absorb all the stock, switch off the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, I am getting the vegetable ready, I prefer to fry them with a pan instead of grilling them in the oven. Hit the pan and drizzle with some olive oil, put some minced garlic, and then put the chopped red onion and broccoli. Fry them with medium heat until they are half way cooked, do not oven cook them as they will still be cooked in the oven for another 25 minutes later on. Season them with some salt and red chilli flakes.

Now, let’s work on the quinoa. Mix the chopped tomato and shredded chicken in, and then add the cheddar cheese mix with parmesan cheese. Mix them well, and then also adding the broccoli mix, mix everything together in a large pan and season it with a bit of salt and pepper. Finish it by adding more cheese as a top layer, and some breadcrumbs to make it more crunchy. Roast it in the oven for 20-25 minutes under 200C.

I feel very satisfied with my first quinoa cooking and I like the texture of it, for sure will try out new dishes with it in the future.

Japanese homemade dinner – sous vide miso pork tenderlion 

I don’t know how I ended up with cooking Japanese tonight, but I was all prepared with recipes in my head and planned to cook sous vide rack of lamb with greens as side dish. I went down for grocery shopping and I walked in this Japanese grocery store, I just could not help it and completely changed my mind and starting to re-generate new recipes in my head already.

So, I got edamame, clams, pork tenderlion from Kagoshima, and some udon. I also want to make this Japanese cheese cake since few weeks, maybe I should also get that done tonight as dessert. 

Steamed edamame is easy, just get them steam and then put salt as seasoning. That’s it! Could it be more simple? And that already making you feel like at the Japanese Restaurant.

Sake steamed clam, boil 1 cup of water with 1 cup of sake. Add clams into the pan when it’s boiling, cover the lit and cook until the clams are open. Add a bit of salt and some butter into the pan, and mix them well. Add some chopped leek for garnish.

For the sous vide pork tenderlion, of course it takes more time and procedure to cook. Mix 3 to 4 teaspoon of miso paste into some sake, add some grated ginger and brown sugar into it and make them well together. Use the mix and put them all over the pork tenderlion, and then place it in the vacuum bag. Cook with the sous vide machine with 61C for 2 hours, if your tenderlion is thick, the temperature has to adjust to 62C. When the pork is done, remove it from the hot bath and set it aside. 

To cook the udon, have to work on the broth first. Boil the chicken broth and add carrot slices into the broth, and then add mushroom or any other ingredients that you like. When all the ingredients are cooked, now it’s time to put the miso paste. I like a very strong miso taste, so I put more miso paste into the soup. Bring a bit of broth and dilute the miso paste in a bowl, then add everything into the pot. Now, can add the udon, cook until they are done. Serve the udon soup with pork tenderlion, some fried tofu and chopped leek. If you like spicy, can add some red pepper flakes.

Dessert is the Japanese cheese cake, the one that is so easy to make with 3 ingredients only, 120g white chocolate, 120g cream cheese and 3 eggs. This recipe is so popular on Internet and everyone is cooking this. It is so simple and I think everyone can do it, you can also give it a try!

I really love the miso flavour and my husband is also very happy, and he said the miso tastes so different than what he used to have at the Japanese Restaurant, which is usually very fishy.

Cooking like a Michelin Star Chef? See how this new toy can help – Sous Vide slow cook circulator

I’ve been seeing this sous vide machine in the market for quite some time, and was thinking to get one. Anova launched this product since 2013, but back then I was not that aware of the benefit of slow cooking. These day here in Hong Kong, German Pool, this local brand is promoting their Sous Vide Pro. The price is really good and even including the vacuum machine and extra vacuum bags, plus the department store was running a promotion. So, I decided to get this one instead of the Anova one.

German Pool Sous Vide

To keep the food moist and juicy, full of it’s natural flavour and nutrition, it totally makes sense to cook with this method. It requires certain technique to cook a piece of steak at the right temperature and time, but it will be hard to go wrong with this sous vide machine. You just need to follow the guide, to set the right time and right temperature, to season the steak then place it inside of the vacuum bag, and dip it into the water and just let it cook. You would not have problem if the steak is too rare or too cooked, the steak will be so moist and not chewy. I was referencing the provided recipe to do this steak, following it to make the sauce and I’ve also cooked some asparagus and potato chips on the side.

To cook the steak medium, temperature set as 58C and cook for 2 hours. If you set at 59C for 2 hours, the steak will be well done, just wondering the difference of 1C is huge! So, watch out and make sure you set it right. Once the steak start cooking, you are free to do other things, it is very convenient and you don’t have to worry if the water will spill over or if it will be overcooked. You really do not need to worry about anything! To make the sauce or any side dishes, you just have to calculate the time that you need, and then start cooking by  counting down the time. I’ve planned to cook some potato chips in the oven, and pan fry some asparagus. The sauce is with red onion, mushroom, red wine, beef stock and touch of rosemary. When the steak is done with the sous vide cooking, remove them from the plastic bag and sear them quickly with a hot pan and some butter. Then serve it with the side dish and the gravy on top. You can see the steak is medium cook and it is so tender, soft and juicy.

So, I could not hold myself, I cook another sous vide dish the following night. Well, actually I’ve done two in a night, some chicken for lunch on the following day to go with salad, as I bring my lunch to work, and a fish dish for dinner. I was trying to follow the recipe provided to make the same sauce, and I’ve add some salad and fried zucchini to make a dinner dish. The sauce is made by garlic, onion, yellow pepper and chicken stock. To sous vide cooking the cod fish is kind of quick, I mean quicker than cooking meat. It takes only 18 minutes, instead of 2 hours! But I feel the result is more significant on meat than on fish, as I feel the cod tastes more like a steam one. Anyway, still taste good and tender! I have to say, the chicken tastes really really nice!!! The chicken salad I’ve made for lunch was really soft, tender and juicy, I really love it!!!!

The day after, I did a sous vide pork chop for dinner. The pork chop is also very nice! So, the sous vide cooking seems working very well and show great result for meat especially. It is tough to cook meat, as it requires a good technique to have a good result for the level of tenderness and juiciness. With this cooking method, you just can’t go wrong! Everyone can cook just like a Star Chef, but of course you need to have a good sense on how to season it and how to put together the rest of the dish.

Making Swedish meatballs without breadcrumb

I watched a TV show the other day, it’s about working and travelling in Sweden. One of the famous dish in Sweden, I guess everyone would say meatball, as that’s what you can eat and get in Ikea even if you’ve never been to Sweden. In that show, the actress was learning how to make meatball from one of the local at home. The Swedish woman learned from her mother, and her mother learned from her grandma, a recipe that pass on from generation to generation. My husband was also watching the show, and when they talked about putting mashed potatoes into the minced meat, my husband said that is very traditional. I thought everyone is putting breadcrumb for meatball, but then my husband said can use both, either potatoes or breadcrumb. Then, he started to talk about the meatballs that him or his mother used to make back in Germany, sounds so nice, and yes maybe we should do meatballs dinner on the coming Sunday.

So, as planned, this Sunday dinner will be – Swedish Meatballs! After cooking the Sunday brunch, frisee aux Lardons with some cold cuts. I started to search for recipes, just would like to have some more background or reference of the Swedish Meatballs, even I kind of have an idea how to make them, by watching the show the other night and talking with my husband. It is still good to explore a bit more on different recipes before cooking. I’ve been reading about 10 to 20 recipes, but they are all using breadcrumb instead of potatoes. In order to make it a bit different than the others, I am trying to make this with potatoes.

The first thing to do is to cook all those potatoes, put all the potatoes into a big pot and cover them with water, boil them for around 20 to 30 mins. When you are cooking the potatoes, you can work on the onion, finely chop them with the food processor, and then fry them with some butter in the pan. Leave them to cool down for later use. When the potatoes are done, remove the skin, put them in a big bowl and smash them with masher. Before adding anything, put aside some mashed potatoes that you are going to use for the meatballs. For the rest, add butter, salt, pepper, plus the kind of spice that you want, could be dill and thyme for example, then keep mixing until it’s done. Now, we can start working with the meatballs, use a bowl that is big enough for mixing. Put minced pork and minced beef all in the bowl, the best is 50/50, but of course it’s up to you to make the kind of combination you like. Then, add those cooked onion, salt, pepper, ground nutmeg, ground allspice, now here, I guess you can add anything that you like to make your meatball tasty, I guess it’s not a bad idea to add minced garlic and red chili, as I also add them later as a filling for some of the meatballs. Moreover, add 2 eggs, some heavy cream and the mashed potatoes, and now you can start mixing. My husband said I should not mix too match, and should not use cream or potatoes, as he prefers more texture than those recipes I read, that you should make the meatballs very smooth. Well, different preference, as long as they are tasty!

When the mixing of meat is done, now we can start to put them into shape! My husband requested to have a filling, so I put some Emmanuelle cheese cube, and some of them with minced garlic and red chili. Now, to fry them, you have to make sure to keep the ball shape, you can use two spoon to roll them around when the entire surface is not cooked yet. When all the meatballs are done, now we can start to cook the sauce. Place some butter in the saucepan, put some flour in, then pour in some chicken stock and season it with salt and pepper, then add the heavy cream and some black currant jam. Let it cook until it gets thicker, then put all the meatballs in and cook together. Serve the meatballs with mashed potatoes and some green beans and garnish them with some chopped parsley. A lot of recipes are talking about serving the meatballs with lingonberry jam, but I just could not find it here in Hong Kong, so I’ve used cranberry jam instead. I actually love those spicy meatballs, next time I guess I will put garlic and red chili for sure into the mixing. And actually they do taste better after one day, my husband loves to eat them cold with mustard as well.