First cooking in 2017, let’s make it big! Even for our dogs……

 

French Onion Soup

 

This is my first cooking in 2017, I was thinking to have a great start in 2017, kick it off freshly with some nice cooking in order to celebrate my one year anniversary of this blog, which ended up with a lot of my posts are based on my cooking.

This was the Sunday cooking on 8th January, the first Sunday at home after we got back from our Christmas and New Year holiday in Germany. Unfortunately, I got laid off last Monday, the day after this Sunday cooking. It took me a week to get over the entire thing and put myself back on track, and finally I felt a lot better and want to write this down before I forget what I’ve cooked.

So, I was trying to make it big for my first Sunday cooking! I was thinking to do a main dish and an onion soup, I love onion soup especially during Winter time. I would love to learn how to make it, so I started to search some recipes online the night before, and I found two recipes that I would like to base on. First of all, we definitely need A LOT of onions, that recipe on youtube is using a lot of onions. But I guess I’ve been using maybe a bit too much, and the soup ended up full of onion but not much soup. I guess I should have a better control of the proportion between soup and onion to start with. I was using 4 big onions to go with 1 litre of beef stock, I guess I can cut down 1 big onion next time and see if that will be better. So, heat up the Dutch oven with some butter and a touch of olive oil, pour all the chopped onion into the Dutch oven, season them with some salt and fry them until they are all caramelised. Add some dry white wine or apple cider vinegar, followed by some flour, then mix them well with the onions. Stir in the beef stock, and add a handful of herbs, bay leave, rosemary and thyme. Let it simmer for around 15 to 20 minutes, season with salt and a touch of brandy, adjust the taste until you think it’s good. I also add some sugar, as I also see people adding sugar in the other recipe, that’s why you really have to taste it and adjust it according to your taste buds. Then, transfer the soup in a bowl and place the toasted bread slice with butter and garlic on top of the soup. Add some parmesan cheese on the bread, and then cover the entire bowl with Gruyère cheese. Place that in the oven with maximum heat and bake for few minutes until the cheese start to turn brown. Save the rest of the soup and you can still have it a day later by repeating the last step in oven.

For the main dish, I would like to cook a meat dish. I was searching the recipe from Gordon Ramsay, and I found this roasted pork loin with lemon and sage, looks easy and delicious. You just need to score the skin of the pork loin, and that cut it on the section and open it up. Season it with salt, pepper, garlic, lemon zest, sage, parsley, and some olive oil, then roll it up and close it with cotton. Season the outside with salt, pepper, olive oil and sprinkle with a touch of thyme. Place it in hot oven around 210C for 45 minutes, and there you go, so quick and easy!

I’ve cooked this Fondant Potatoes to go with the pork loin, which it turned out so tasty! Try to get potatoes with similar size, and chop them into a truck shape. For the cut out of the potatoes, I’ve cooked them for my dogs, not a waste. This is also very simple, but very delicious. Heat up the pan with butter, fry the potatoes until both side with a touch of brown and season them with a touch of salt. Pour in chicken stock, cover around 1/3 of the potatoes, add in some fresh thyme. Place the pan into the oven under 220C and bake it for 25 to 30 minutes. Monitor the chicken stock, and add some water if the stock becomes too less. Serve them with the slices of pork loin.

Roasted Pork Loin and Fondant Potatoes

I also cooked something for our two labradors. I am thinking to get rid of the kibbles and canned food by just feeding them home made dog food starting from 2017, which is one of my new year resolution! I started to do a bit of research to see what to cook for them and what is suitable. Before completely getting rid of the kibbles and canned food, which I still have few KGs left. I am buying time to explore the kind of dog food should prepare for them. Of course there are different strategies out there, but I do believe the base is pretty much based on a balance between meat (protein), vegetable and starch (carbs). One of our doggie is food allergy, she should avoid eating carrot, rice, pasta and etc. Therefore, I have to be extra careful to see what to feed her. With the balance between the three key ingredients, I decided to cook with minced beef, potatoes, green beans, hard boiled eggs with egg shell. Boil the potatoes in hot water, then add minced beef. For the green beans, I steam them and then chop them into smaller pieces, which should be easier for them to digest. I just learn that is good to feed your dogs with egg shell, as there is good amount of calcium that you can get from the shell. This is my first attempt, other than the regular dinner I cooked for them every Sunday with just potatoes and salmon. They just loving it and finish the bowl so quickly that I almost have to slow them down! For the leftover, store in the fringe and that’s enough to feed them for 2 more days.

Dog Meal

 

CNY’s Eve dinner, good to go for fish – Salmon and Scallop with Avocado Dips


Tonight is Chinese New Year’s Eve, I am thinking to cook a salmon dinner for the two of us. For the 團年飯 (Tuen Lin Fan), dinner for the whole family to get together, it’s an important dinner  during the year. Traditionally, we need to make sure we are having certain dishes for dinner, such as fish, shrimp and meat. Fish (魚 pronounce as yu), that represent good fortune and money, shrimp (蝦 pronounce as ha), that represent a lot of laughter and happiness. So, I guess for just the two of us, salmon is a good choice.

I would say, this dish is all about the avocado dip. That is not like guacamole, because that will be too strong for salmon, the trick for this one is with Greek yogurt. So, this dish is salmon and scallop with zucchini and cauliflower, served with avocado dip.

To get everything prepared before starting to cook. Cut the cauliflower in pieces and steam them until almost done, I will finish them later pan fry with butter and seasoning. Cut the zucchini in slices. Cut two avocados in half, and smash them into a large bowl. Then, add minced garlic, some Greek yogurt and a bit of lemon juice into it, and mix them well together. Season it with the amount of salt and pepper that you like. Now, heat the oven in 190C, place a foil and then salmon on the tray, season the salmon will salt and pepper, a bit of lemon juice and put some dill directly on the salmon. Drizzle some olive oil on the salmon and the tray, and put it in the oven and grill for 15 minutes. Turn the salmon upside down when it’s half way done, that helps to cook it more evenly. Sometimes I do prefer to grill the salmon with fully wrap of foil, in order to keep it moist. But today, I guess it’s fine to grill it just like that.

When the salmon is in the oven, we can get the grill pan to fry the zucchini with olive oil. On the other hand, we can heat up another pan with butter, and fry the cauliflower, and season them with salt and pepper. Then, we heat the pan with butter, and fry the scallops. Please remember, do not overcook them, otherwise they will become too dry and chewy. Don’t forget to turn your salmon once in the middle. When the salmon is done, take them out and serve it with the scallop, some zucchini and cauliflower, of course with the avocado dip. The avocado dip tastes better if you have chance to let it chill in the fringe a little bit.

Just to make the entire family happy, I’ve also made some salmon with potatoes for our two doggies. Salmon is always good for dogs, this is actually what our vet asked is to feed one of our dog when she was having allergy. Good for skin and joint as well.

Happy Chinese New Year everyone! Kung Hei Fat Choy! 恭喜發財!年年有餘!