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Fresh vegetarian dish for Summer – tri-colour vegetable pasta in pesto sauce

Tonight I really want to cook something light and vegetarian. Well, actually I have tried to eat less meat and would love to go for more vegetable dishes, not saying that I am turning into a vegetarian or even vegan, but I don’t mind to do that one day. No matter I am going to be a vegetarian or not, for sure I think I would love to cut down the amount of meat that I am going to consume. Maybe it’s good to have meat once or twice a week, the rest of the time is just vegetarian. Therefore, instead of Green Monday, I should do Meat Monday 😉

Today I decided to cook a pasta dish, and I am thinking to make again our own pesto. I did it in the past, but it is really good if we just stop buying those ready made from the bottle and just doing our own ones. More fresh and healthy for sure! Well, definitely taste much better!!! To make our own pesto, you need a lot of green herbs, you can come up with your own combination, as long as you love the taste. If you would like to follow my version, here you go! I was using basil, two kind of parsley, the continental one and the curly one, coriander and garlic, I love spicy, so I would like to add red chilies, and I also love to add some parmesan cheese.  You can omit the chili and cheese if you prefer not spicy, but I think the cheese touch is great. Then, add around 100ml olive oil and season with some salt and pepper, and some fresh squeezed lemon juice. That touch is more like a chimicurrri sauce, but I love the touch of acidity to keep it really fresh! Place everything in a food processor and blend everything together. Now you have your own pesto ready, you can store them in the fridge for a week if you could not finish it in one go.

For the pasta, this time I bought something organic, from this Italian brand Tarall’Oro. It is Torchietti, but you can also cook with fussili or penne. Cook the pasta with the cooking time according to the package, on the other hand, get the vegetable ready. Heat up the pan with olive oil, and then put the sliced garlic and chopped onion into the pan. Sauté them until they start to turn soft, then add the chopped zucchini and yellow pepper into the pan, fry them until they turn brown. Place the halved cherry tomatoes into the pan one minute before the dish is done, fry quickly with the tomatoes, season with salt and switch off the fire I also love to add more chili but this is totally optional. You can choose other vegetable, but I think it is very nice to have three bright colours in the dish, and these three ingredients go well together.

When the pasta is ready, drain the water with the strainer and mix them well into the vegetables. Then add few tablespoons of pesto sauce into the pasta and keep mixing until you feel it’s enough. You can serve the pasta with some extra shredded cheese, and a touch more pesto. Garnish it with some parsley or basil.

I think this is really yummy and fresh for Summer time!

 

 

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It’s French tonight – Coq Au Vin

I am thinking to cook something French tonight, it’s because I am going to have this dinner party / house warming for our new home soon. These friends would like to have something Western, French or Italian. As I haven’t done many dishes that are really French, let’s search and give it a try. Talking about French cuisine, of course everyone would think of Julia Child, the American woman living in France. I found this dish Coq Au Vin, and there are lots of recipes inspired by Julia Child that you can find food blogger  and home cooks have been trying to make this dish and learned from Julia. It sounds delicious to me, why not give a try.

Coq Au Vin is about cooking chicken in red wine, I was a bit skeptical in the beginning. Really? Chicken with red wine? not white? Red wine for me is more for red meat, like beef. After cooking, the chicken will turned into dark colour, to me is not looking that good, but I guess as long as it tastes good should be fine. According to the recipe, Julia Child also cooked the pearl onion and mushroom as side dishes, and people said the pearl onions are really really good, so I am going to follow the side dishes, plus making some potatoes on top as well.

The key is the chicken, so you can use the whole chicken and chop it into pieces, or you can buy chicken pieces so you don’t need to worry on the chopping part and you can choose the part of chicken you like. I bought a whole chicken and chopped into 6 pieces, 2 chicken breast, 2 chicken thighs, and 2 chicken wings. I decided to get rid of the chicken skin, so the dish is less fat. First of all, cut the bacon into pieces and boil them into hot water to wash down the taste a bit. Or, you can just skip this step and jump right into the next step. Use a Dutch oven or skillet, and heat it up with some butter and olive oil. Place the bacon in and let them fry until they started to turn brown, remove them and let them set aside. Now, use the same oil to fry the chicken, season them with salt and black pepper, brown every single piece and make sure they are brown on both side. Then, add back the bacon, and cover it with lid and cook them for 10 minutes under low heat, turn the chicken once in-between. After 10 minutes, add a bit of cognac and light the dish with fire, let the flavour cook. Then, put the red wine and chicken broth in, make sure it covers the chicken. Now, you can add some minced garlic, tomato paste, thyme and bay leaves. Bring it to boil, then cover the lid and let it simmer for around 30 minutes under low heat. Or, you can put it in the oven under low heat for the same time.

When the chicken is cooking, you can prepare the potatoes, onion and the mushroom.

For the potatoes, I cut them in big pieces. Heat up the pan with butter and a bit of olive oil, then add in the potatoes, season them with salt, pepper, thyme and oregano when they started to turn soft. Pour in some chicken stock and let it simmer with the lid on, they should be done after 20 minutes until all the chicken stock dry out. You can cook this even in advance and re-heat it when you serve it.

For the onion, it said the best is to get the pearl onions. I could only managed to find the small ones, but not exactly the pearl onions, it’s still fine. Heat up the pan with butter and a touch of olive oil, add the onions, and fry them around 10 minutes. Remember to roll them around, so you would not burn them. Lower the heat, then add red wine and some chicken stock, as well as some herbs, thyme, bay leaves and parsley. Cover the lid and let them simmer under low heat for 30 minutes, season them with salt and pepper to taste.

For the mushroom, you can cut into half or serve them in a whole. Heat up the pan with butter and a touch of olive oil, add the minced shallots and then brown the mushroom and let them cook for around 5 minutes or until they are done. Season them with salt and pepper to taste.

Now we can go back to the chicken, remove all chicken from the Dutch oven, raise the heat and then let the liquid boil until it goes down to around half of the original, should be around 2 cups. Now you can taste it and make some adjustment of the taste. Remove the liquid to another bowl, then heat up the Dutch oven again with some butter and some white plain flour, blend them and whip them with the wire whip, then add back the liquid in but use the sift to get the smooth liquid out of it. Let it cook and keep stirring until the sauce is thicken.

Serve the chicken with potatoes, mushroom and onions with sauce on top, garnish it with some chopped parsley. The onions taste really good, and the chicken of course so yummy~~~

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Thai homemade dinner – the best for hot Summer

Long time no Thai! Miss that! It is very hot these days here in Hong Kong, so I am thinking to cook Thai cuisine for tonight. As the dishes are quite simple and easy, I decided to cook few dishes, in order to have more varieties for us. Once again, I’ve based everything with this Thai recipes that I bought a while ago, and modify the dishes a little bit to my version.

I’ve made 4 dishes tonight, but everything more or less are based on those ingredients. You know Thai food, you cannot get away with ingredients like, garlic, chillies, lime, coriander, lemongrass, and something like that. So it is good to get everything chopped up at the same time, minced garlic, finely chopped red chillies, chopped ginger, chopped spring onion, finely chopped coriander, roughly chopped kaffir lime leaves, sliced galangal, and I guess that’s it.

The four dishes are: steamed scallops, tom yam kung, fried prawns with sesame seeds and steamed spare ribs with black bean.

First of all, let’s get the spare ribs marinated for a while before cooking. Mix black bean sauce, salt, sugar, a bit of light soy sauce, corn flour, and some mince garlic and chillies in a bowl, mix them well. Then, add all spare ribs into it and make sure all of them are coated with the mixture, let them sit in the fridge for at least half an hour before steaming. When you are ready, just put them nicely on a plate and steam around 20 minutes and serve with some chopped coriander and spring onion as garnish. I served this dish at last, as this is kind of a main dish for me, but somehow I feel that is kind of Chinese to me, not so Thai. Maybe the black bean sauce in Thailand is different than the black bean sauce here.

For the steamed scallop, I would like to add vermicelli. So, we need to cook the vermicelli first, just boil them in hot water quickly until they turn soft. Dry them and let them sit aside to cool down, if they start sticking together, just use some warm or cold water to rinse them a bit. To steam the scollop, place them in a steam basket, and place the vermicelli, chopped chillies, minced garlic and a touch of chopped ginger on each scollop, and steam for around 10 minutes or until they are cooked. Try not to overcook them, because they will become chewy. Garnish them with some chopped coriander and spring onion to serve, and a touch of lime juice that help to bring up the freshness. For the sauce, mix light soy sauce and fish sauce with sugar, chillies, ginger and lime juice. Add some sauce directly on the scollop to serve.

For the fried prawns, we need to mix the batter first. Use plain flour, and add egg, touch of salt, sesame oil, and a lot of sesame as you like. Add warm water into the flour and keep mixing them until it turns into a creamy batter. Then, remove the shell from the prawn but keep the tail part, devein them and dip them into the batter. When the oil is ready, deep fry the prawns until they are done. Serve them with some lime juice and the same sauce as the steamed scallop. Don’t forget to garnish them with chopped coriander.

And for the tom yum kung soup, the most iconic soup / dish in Thailand. Heat up the pot with some oil, then fry the minced garlic, sliced galangal, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass and chopped red chillies quickly. Add the kind of meat that you like, I was using chicken and some button mushroom. Then, add chicken broth into the pot, and bring it to boil. You can also add the chilli paste to increase the flavour, and when it’s almost done, add the prawns, fish sauce, light soy sauce, sugar and lime juice and let it simmer for few minutes until the prawns are cooked. Serve the soup with chopped coriander.

4 courses, not too difficult, and doesn’t take too long. As the cooking time for each dish is not too long.

 

 

 

 

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Sunday homemade dinner is back!!! Slow cooked beef brisket with salad and grilled corn

It’s been a while…… I was too busy after moving to this new home, we’ve spent few days to build some furnitures in the dining room as our second kitchen, because I need an oven to cook some of the dishes. There is no space in the kitchen to place the oven, so we have to create an area in the dining room for me to cook, we call it The Western Kitchen. Moreover, I always fancy to have a large fridge, with the space we have in the dining area, we can afford to put that. See the Western Kitchen vs the Chinese Kitchen.



That’s not the major reason to keep me busy, actually the big project was building the home music recording studio at the second bedroom with my husband. Our living room and dining room were literally filled with stuffs for the last 3 weeks. Full of building and construction materials, and we finally cleaned up the entire area when the studio was nearly done few days ago. Finally, I can go back to Sunday cooking, or more cooking!

Since I’ve got the oven running, I would like to cook something with the oven. I decided to do a slow cook dish, my husband likes beef brisket, so instead of the Chinese style, I would like to make the western style for him.

First of all, we need to get some good beef brisket, and I don’t want to get them at the wet market because they are always warm. I get some good organic one from New Zealand, around 2 pounds, which should be good enough to serve 4 people.

To cook the beef brisket, let’s get them clean and season them with salt, pepper, oregano and thyme. Heat up a pan with some butter and olive oil, then fry all the brisket until they turn brown. On the other hand, heat up a dutch oven with some butter and olive oil, then put 2 chopped onions in it and fry until they start to cameralise. Then add all the beef brisket and one entire garlic cut in half, now add some red wine and zimmer for few minutes until the wine is absorbed by the beef. Then add 2 cups of beef broth, some Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce, few bay leaves, bring it to boil then cover the lid and place the dutch oven into the oven and cook for 2.5 hours under 160C. If you found it with a lot of broth after 2.5 hours, you can cook with the stove and thicken the sauce a bit.

For the grilled corn, cut the whole corn in half, place them ina tray with foil or cooking paper. Season the corn with salt and paprika, then coat the corn with olive oil and add some butter on top. Place the corn in the oven under 210C for 20 minutes or until they are nicely cooked the way you like. Serve the beef brisket with some green salad and together with the grilled corn. I like to use the beef broth as salad dressing, but my husband like to use the Thai salad dressing for the salad. 

He loves the brisket 😉

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Simple and light dinner – baked salmon with asparagus

It’s Easter holiday, but we are very busy. We have to move, so I have to pack. My husband is also very busy on setting up his new studio, so I would like to cook something very simple and light for our last Easter night.

Tonight I would like to cook salmon, it’s very healthy and rich in omega-3 fatty acid and vitamin B and D. I also got some asparagus to go with it, it is going to be a very simple and easy to manage dinner cooking.

To heat up the oven to 210C, season the salmon with salt and black pepper. Place a batch of dill and rosemary underneath the salmon, and then place sliced of lemon on top of the salmon and top it with another batch of dill and rosemary. I did not put any oil, as salmon itself got some oil, and it’s totally fine to bake them without adding oil. Close it up with foil and place it in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, that’s it! When the salmon is almost done, start to cook the asparagus. Heat up the pan with a bit of butter, then pan fry the asparagus and season them with salt and black pepper. Serve the salmon with the asparagus, you can remove all the dill and rosemary, but keep the lemon on the salmon for decoration. Nice and light!

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Sunday dinner – cod fish and chorizo in tomato sauce and mixed brown rice

It’s been few weeks that I was focusing on cooking healthy food, this is the first week after a while that I try to cook something different, not saying that I am cooking some unhealthy food….. lol….. I will try to stay with healthy, but not vegetarian or vegan for this week.

I am thinking to cook a fish dish, instead of always cooking salmon, maybe cod fish is an option for tonight. I am going to do a tomato sauce with chorizo, onion and celery, then to serve it with mixed long grain brown rice. Still sounds healthy, right?

So, heat up the pan with some butter, and then put the minced garlic and diced onion into it, fry them until they start to caramelise. Then, add the chopped red chili pepper, chopped celery and diced chorizo, fry them a bit, and then add the diced tomatoes with some tomato puree as well if you want to have a stronger taste. Add some water and bring it to boil, season it with salt, pepper and some pripika. On the other hand, also season the cod fish with salt and pepper, then add the cod fish in and cover the lid, let it simmer for around 10-15 minutes and remember to flip the fish over in the middle of the way.  On the other hand, you should have get your rice ready, I am using rice cooker, so it’s easy and quick.

When the cod fishes are ready, serve them with rice and garnish it with some parsley.

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Sunday dinner – chicken and avocado wrap


Tonight’s dinner definitely would love to stick with the theme of healthy, but would like to add meat into it. My husband was doing a lot of juicing and cut down the amount of meat by eating almost only plant based raw food. Tonight maybe good to go with chicken, but not beef, as we would really like to minimise having beef in our diet.

So I decided to cook something with chicken and avocado, they are a good mix in terms of pairing. Just thinking what should I make with the two, and I decided to make burittos with them. Instead of tortilla, I got this healthy oat wraps at the supermarket and they are super light which should be a better choice than tortilla.

To heat up the pan with a bit of olive oil, add minced garlic and diced onion into the pan, then add diced chicken into the pan when the onion started to turn brown. Stir fry everything until the chicken is done, set them aside and let them cool down a bit. Get the rest of the ingredients ready, halved the avocado, remove the stone and cut them in dices. I just found out the other day that you can keep the avocado with the seed in order to avoid it turning black. That’s a really good trick, instead of putting lemon juice in it, just simply let the seed stay with the avocado. 

Now, get the oat wraps out, you can use tortilla if you prefer to keep it original. Lay the chicken, diced avocado, diced mozzarella, a bit of sour cream and some chopped coriander carefully on the wrap. Then wrap it and roll it nicely, and place it on the grill pan to pan fry until it turned crispy. 

You can serve it just like that or with some salad, freshy and healthy!