Cooking Wednesday dinner – garlic and lemon prawns with quinoa and baby spinach

I’ve cooked this shrimp dish the other night when my friends were over for home party. I am thinking to redo this dish with salad and quinoa, so I recreated it for a weekday dinner.

First of all, get some fresh prawns at the wet market, if you are not ready to cook them right away, you can just keep them in the fridge until you are ready to cook. Before cooking the prawns, which is going to take only 10 minutes, you better start with cooking the quinoa. I would like to use some chicken broth this time instead of water, to cook the quinoa with the rice cooker which make everything so much easier. If you don’t have rice cooker, you can just use a sauce pan. Put 1 portion of quinoa and 2 portions of chicken broth in the rice cooker, then cook until it’s done. You better let them cool down before serving, so by the time you get the prawns done, the quinoa should be already cool down.

Get the prawns out from the fridge, clean them and cut the antenna, and maybe also trim the pieopods (legs) a bit. Heat up the sauce pan with some butter and a touch of olive oil, add minced garlic, some red chili pepper if you like spicy. Then, add the prawns and some lemon slices , fry them until they turn pink, finally add finely chopped parsley and season with salt. Serve the prawns on top of  first layer of spinach salad with second layer of quinoa. You can also serve the prawns without shells, as that will be a bit more easier to eat. Use the remaining oil from the prawns as salad dressing.

Vegetarian Sunday Dinner – baked zucchini with ricotta, spinach and tomato sauce

I was trying to apply this rule to our diet, mainly vegetarian with only 2 to 3 meaty night in a week. Last week, we had already enough dinner with meat, so I was thinking to cook something vegetarian on Sunday. I found this recipe online, and would love to make my own version out of it. The result is very good, and it tastes great, especially if you love cheese.

First all of, get the cheese filling, the pesto sauce and the tomato sauce ready. I used a can of plum tomato, cook it with some minced garlic, and season with a touch of salt and pepper, set them aside for later use. Then, work on the pesto sauce, put basil, olive oil, garlic, pinch of salt and pine nuts in the food processors and blend them together. For the cheese filling, put chopped spinach, ricotta cheese, one egg and black pepper in a bowl and mix them together. Preheat the oven to 170C, now get a tray ready. Cut the zucchini in thin slices, remember to get the big zucchini, as big as possible for easy wrapping. Place two pieces of zucchini slices in a cross, and put the cheese filling on top of the cross section, then add some pesto sauce on top, close and wrap up the zucchini. Repeat this process until you finished up with all zucchini slices. Put a layer of tomato sauce in the tray, then lay all zucchini wraps nicely in the tray. Place the tomato sauce on top of each zucchini wrap, as well as some pesto sauce as topping. Lastly, fill the entire tray with grated parmesan cheese, as much as you like. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Green Sunday dinner to leverage with my juicing husband…. quinoa with green salad and nuts

My husband watched this TV show by Joe Cross, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. He is really amazed by this Reboot programme and the amount of information he got, only to do it with juicing and how much nutrition your body can get and how to balance your diet with raw food and processed food. So, he decided to start juicing and reboot his body on Saturday, he would like to have someone doing this with him, but I would not be able to do it as I think I will feel hungry all the time….. He got his brother in Germany, who is going to kick off the reboot programme with him at the same time, which it’s great to have someone doing this together.

As I would not be able to do juice fasting together with him, but I would like to have a nice juice to start off my day. First of all, we managed to get a second-hand juicer, the powerful Breville juice fountain elite. It is very important to have a good juicer, as you are going to live your days with only juicing. There are lots of varieties of juice you can find online and Joe Cross also got a good amount of juice recipes, that can get either from the app or on the website. I was testing the juicer with my first attempt, to juice with apples, carrots, celery, cucumber and ginger. The juicer is really amazing and speedy, you get a jar of good juice in 30 seconds! Tasting fresh and feeling healthy! My husband was trying to follow the recipe from Joe Cross, and he started off with the Mean Green Juice with cucumber, green apples, celery, kale, lemon and ginger. It tastes good and very green, I love the taste! Compare to the super green powder that I used to drink, I guess this one should be better because it is so fresh! Now whatever I see, I see them in juice……!

For Saturday and Sunday dinner, I also try to leverage with my juicing husband. I try to have a raw diet, or more raw food instead of processed food. I had a salad for dinner with 100% raw food, and for Sunday dinner, I did a dish with quinoa and salad. Even it is not a 100% raw diet meal, it is at least over 51% with raw food. For the quinoa, boil it with a double portion of water in a sauce pan, and I add the leftover sauce we had the other night from the steam mussels. The sauce was full of mussel flavour, and it tastes so good with the quinoa, with still a bit of vegetable leftover in it. I served this quinoa with a mixed green salad, chopped tomato, sliced mushroom and some mixed nuts. Season the salad with a touch of salt and add the quinoa directly on it, eat that like a warm salad.

 

The Mean Green Juice
My first trail

Healthy weekend – trying super food and making enzyme fruit juice


This weekend is definitely a very health conscious weekend. I always want to try to make this enzyme fruit juice, but I heard that is a tough job to make, but my friend is willing to teach us finally. Friday night, we went out for a drink and this friend was giving us a lecture on how to make it and which area we need to watch out. She is not an expert, but she was making this for few times, when her husband was fighting for cancer. I am amazed by what this drink can do with our body, so I really want to try. I don’t mind to buy, but seems like it’s hard to buy and the one you buy is not really guarantee that is truely authentic. So, why not trying to learn and make my own one!

It’s funny, a friend also brought another friend with her, she is a nutritionist and she is running her own business with super food. Of course the night turned into a very health conscious night, and all we talked about was healthy diet.

On Saturday, I tried to go around and get all 10 kinds of fruit, other ingredients and the utensils to see if I can make the enzyme on Sunday. To get all the fruits could be difficult, so let’s start searching and see.

What I need are:

Pineapple x 1, Green Papaya x 1, Dragon friut (red one is better) x 2, Guava x 2, Red apple x 2, Pear x 2, Red tomato x 2, beetroot x 2, Kiwi x 3, dark grapes must be with seed (all seedless grapes are genetic modified) x 60 pcs.
Pure honey x 1 kg, dark cane sugar x 1.5 kg, good water (like spring water or filtered water) around 5 litre.

New chopping board (either wood or plastic), ceramic knief, few plastic buckles for fruits washing, long wooden spoon for stiring, big glass jar 14 litre with plastic buckle and towel, cling flim, thick elastic bands x 6, new scrub-sponge, fruit scrubber, plastic funnel and plastic strainer.

For fruits, better to choose the unripe ones, which is better for making enzyme. The greener and the harder, the better! Of course, anything organic is also good, and I would not choose anything that are from China, try to look for better quality. For kitchen utensils, should not use anything in stainless steel or metal, as try to avoid any kind of chemical reaction.

I was trying hard to get everything around home, but it is hard to get grapes with seeds, as all I can found are all seedless! For beetroot, it’s impossible to get it here in Happy Valley as well, so I decided to make a trip to Causeway Bay, I think I can get those missing ingredients in Citysuper! Before heading to Citysuper!, I tried to take a look at the wet market, and I bought the green papaya there. But all the grapes I asked for are without seeds. Found some grapes in Citysuper!, but not sure if they are with seeds or not, so I decided to eat one and find out. Grab one pack, hide somewhere and try one out… Yeah! with seeds!!!! It’s so difficult to find grapes with seeds nowadays! I also found beetroot there! I am so happy I can finished my shopping, but overall took me 3 to 4 hours to get everything.


So today is Sunday, I will be working on my enzyme fruit juice after getting all ingredients that I need! Let’s start the day healthily, have this super green powder that my friend gave me on Friday night, should help to alkalise and detox my body! She is having her brand and this super food diet by Super Food Lab seems very powerful! I am thinking to get this super green and super red powder to have this everyday.


Let’s start making the enzyme, to get all the fruit washed is my first task! Before that, I have to get all the utensils washed and rinsed with hot filtered water. I have two to three containers with filtered water filled, and I’m ready for washing all fruits. I also have to make sure I washed my hands with hot filtered water, I hope I get all procedure right and not screwing up the juice! All the fruits need to be brushed and scrubbed to clean, and get rid of all kinds of chemical. Make sure to wash the fruit with good water, not just the tap water. When you are done with washing, place them on kitchen towel and let them dry. The toughest one is to clean the 60 grapes, either cut the stem with ceramic scissors or pick by hand, but you must keep that little piece of stem on, as you don’t want any water get inside of the grape. You can also use warm water to wash the grapes, as that should help on getting rid of the chemical.


When you are done with all the cleaning and washing, place all the fruits nicely on the kitchen towel and cover them with kitchen towel as well. To speed up the drying process, can switch on the dehumidifier to help.


One problem that I am dealing with, it’s one of the guava starts to get ripen at one point, as I could not see that part which is hidden under the packaging. I tried to get another pack, which turned out to be the same for the other two! It is bad, as the fruit is getting all soft and wet, and it will not get dry at all! Luckily one of them is better, so I can just use that one among the three ripen ones. So, it is very important to get the unriped fruits, especially after such cleaning and washing.

I thought these 2 blackies will be nosy about what I do, but obviously they prefered to chill instead.

 

After few hours of drying the fruits, it’s time to cut them and place them into the jar! Of course, please make sure the jar is washed and also rinsed it with hot filtered water. My friend suggested me to place the jar into a bucket and with a towel to protect it, as we need to turn the bottle around everyday afterwards, it’s better to get it well protected. First of all, put the sugar and honey in the jar, then add 1/3 of water and stir them nicely, let the sugar and honey melt and sit nicely in the jar.

Better to start chopping the biggest fruit, pineapple, everything should keep the skin, but you can cut off a bit of the skin of the pineapple, especially the spiky parts. Place the pineapple slices at the bottom of the jar. For the rest, it’s up to you about the order. Just cut all the fruits in slices, and place them in the jar layer by layer. For the green papaya, have to remove all the seeds, otherwise the drink will turn bitter.  For the grapes, you need to remove the stem and slightly cut open the skin, and keep the seed for the grapes. After cutting and putting all the fruits into the jar nicely, fill up the jar with good water to covering all fruits.


You are almost done, hang in there! The last step is the closing, get the cling film and get the size that can cover the mouth of the jar, put around 16 layers and place them on the mouth of the jar. Leave enough space for the fermentation later on, then close it by putting 5 to 6 elastic bands at the mouth. I also use tape and plastic straps to add on top and make sure it is tight enough.


After 3 hours of washing and 2 hours of cutting, finally done! Let’s see if my first attempt going to be successful… I will update this on my blog everyday.

After the third day,the enzyme fruit juice was already popping up! This is a very good sign, as the fermentation must be in progress! Each day, I have to turn it 30 rounds, in order to let the bubbling works. As the weather is kind of hot here in Hong Kong, the fermentation process could be faster. Hope this could be done in one more week!

Day 3 already start to pop up

 

I was told by my friend, it only takes around 5 weeks in Summer time to get this enzyme fruit juice done. It is still around 28C to 32C here in Hong Kong from August to October, so we expected that will be done in 4 to 5 weeks. I don’t why it takes so long for my jar, it just keep bubbling, meaning still working on the fermentation, so we have to wait until the day there is no more bubbling go on inside the jar. After 10 weeks, finally the bubbling stopped! I just can’t wait to open the bottle and see the result of my first jar of enzyme fruit juice. I’ve prepared 10 empty red wine bottles for the storage of the juice, at the same time, we need to also get a sieve, a funnel and a ladle ready. Avoid to use metal utensil, and stay with plastic or silicone, as enzyme can catalyse a reaction by the use of metals. In order to have the juice evenly distributed, we have to pour the juice in all bottles one by one. Therefore, we should not finish one full bottle then go for the next one, we have do it by rounds in sequence from bottle number 1 to 10. You really have to empty your fridge in order to get enough space for the storage of all these bottles. Do not store them horizontal like how we do with bottle of wine or water, as they might be still active and have a chance to spill. Put them vertically inside the fridge and do not close the cap tightly, leave some space in case it has to breath. Try to finish them in 1.5 months by drinking around 100ml per day. Heard that this formula of enzyme juice can really cure cancer, it’s not that I am having one right now, but it is always good to detox and remove radiation from our body. As most of us keep absorbing a lot of radiation everyday, from computer, mobile phone, TV, microwave, and etc.

The next day, I started with my second jar of enzyme fruit juice! To reuse some of the fermented fruits into the new jar should help to speed up the fermentation, hope the second jar could be done quicker. Let’s keep it rolling and running!

After 10 weeks, this is finally done!!! It takes longer than I thought.

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.

 

Grilled Chicken with Salad

Special requested by my husband and his would like to start this salad for dinner diet, I don’t think that is difficult to try making different salad every night. With what I’ve cooked the night before, we have some romaine lettuce and cucumber leftover. Let’s come up with a different salad. Chicken maybe an easy and simple choice other than fish. So, I just got a pack of chicken fillet home, and we have all the rest of the ingredients at home.

To grill the chicken fillet, place them in a tray, season them with salt and pepper. I would like to make them with a stronger flavour this time, so I also put a bit of different herbs, ground cumin, oregano, thyme, cayenne pepper, and some garlic. Drizzle with a good amount of olive oil, and put them in the oven with 210C for around 35 mins, turn them over in the middle of the way.

For the salad, I am doing the exacted combination of the night before, thin slices of onion and cucumber, and romaine lettuce in chucks. But I am serving it with a different dressing tonight, instead of the greek yogurt dressing, I am doing a honey and mustard dressing which should go better with the flavour of the chicken. The dressing is simple, just a mix of mustard, honey, olive oil and vinegar. Serve the chicken together with the salad and few slices of toasted baguette.

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!