Wednesday homemade dinner – Thai beef green curry with 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.

Healthy vegetarian Sunday dinner – potatoes and cucumber salad in yogurt dressing

Lately, we really prefer to eat less meat, and more vegetable and plant food. After watching A Plastic Ocean, What the Health, Cowspiracy, who else has the appetite for meat or even seafood? The world is really sick, everything seem polluted and everywhere is having problems. I am not saying that I am turning to a vegetarian now, but I think eating less meat is a good act. 

Let’s go for a very healthy Sunday dinner with a potatoes salad. My husband is a big fan of potatoes salad, because of where he is from, Germany! And I know he loves this salad, as always remind him of his mother, that’s how she used to do potatoes salad.

First of all, we have to cook the potatoes. There are few ways to do it. You can chopped them in cubes first, then boil them in water or steam them, until they are cooked. You can also boil or steam the entire pototes and roughly cut them into cubes after they are cooked. Make sure you season them with some salt, and then let them cool down or even chill them in the fridge. Depends on how would you like to eat your potatoes, if you would like them a bit warm, no need to chill them too much. 

To prepare the rest of the ingredients, get a big salad bowl ready, and place everything inside. Thinly sliced cucumber, thinly sliced onion, diced celery and two hard boiled eggs cut in cubes. Mix all ingredients well, together with the potatoes as well. For the dressing, mix Greek yogurt, mustard, salt, garlic powder, half lemon juice, fresh finely chopped dill or dry one, finely chopped spring onion and finely chopped parsley well, then pour the dressing into the the salad. Mix the dressing with the salad and serve it with garlic bread. 

Addicted to sous vide cooking – salmon and carrot with salad

I don’t have to cook this weekend, as my husband is taking care of the Sunday night dinner. I asked him to cook us the real Chilli con Carne, as he said the one I cooked the other time was not that authentic. He still trying to find the best proportion of the ingredients, as he thought he’d put too much cumin into it. I will wait for his best recipe to share on my blog, and for the time being I would like to take care of writing this long lost Sunday night cooking, sous vide with salmon and carrot, before I totally forget what have I done.

For the salmon, season with salt, black pepper and some ground parsley. Put them in the vacuum bag, seal and cook under 56C in the hot bath for 40 minutes.

For the carrots, melt the butter and then add honey and ground cinnamon for seasoning. Dip the carrots into the mix and put them in the vacuum, seal and cook under 85C in the hot bath for 30 minutes.

Prepare the green salad as the base, mix with cherry tomatoes and some thin slices of cucumber. Season the salad with some salt and pepper and some balsamic vinegar. Sear the skin side of the salmon, and serve together with the carrots on top of the salad.

 

Trying to make traditional Sunday German Dinner to make my hubby feels like home – Rouladen with Kartoffeklöße

It’s Sunday again! My routine to cook Sunday dinner, but I just made a big dinner the night before for friends’ gathering, thinking what to cook again…… My husband was trying to help, and he was suggesting to make this Rouladen, which I have no clue what is he talking about. So he found me some online recipe on youtube, so I can watch and learn how to make it. He was also craving for this German potato dumplings, which usually serve with the Rouladen. I also have no idea how to make, but let’s learn it on youtube.

After checking out few videos about the Rouladen and the Kartoffeklöße, I think it’s not too difficult to make it, let’s try it out! Rouladen is a dish that the German used to do as a Sunday family dinner dish, and I guess most of the mother know how to do it. It is beef roll with something inside, the part of beef should be the thin slice of the round part and I can already see that as a problem to get that part of the beef in thin slice. There are few meat places here in the neighbourhood, let’s try to see if I can find this specific part of the beef. After running around to few stores, I could not find the beef that I was looking for, as I expected. The best that I could get was the sirloin thin slices, which is a bit small for this dish, and fat in-between is also not helping and make rolling the beef a bit difficult. Anyway, I ended up with doubling two slices to make one piece, it is not perfect but still fine.

To make the Rouladen, lay the slice of beef out flat and season them with salt and pepper. Don’t over seasoning them, as the other ingredients are also with flavour. Then put a thin layer of mustard on the beef, the best would be German mustard to make it more authentic. Now start to put all the ingredients on it, one piece of bacon, strips of onion and  a slice of pickled cucumber, then roll them up and use a toothpick to close it. After you get all the rolling done, searing them in a hot pan to seal in the juice. To be honest, the beef I got is so thin and I think this is not really necessary for my thin slice sirloin. When the beef are all brown, remove them from the pan. Now we start to work on the stock, fry some garlic, onion, carrot and celery in the pan, when they turn brown, put some tomato puree in, and then add some red wine, let it simmer for few minutes. Add a good amount of beef stock and bring it to boil, then place all Rouladen into the stock, and they should be around 2/3 covering with stock. Place the pan inside the oven under 175C to cook for 1 to 1.5 hours. You can also just boil it with a lower heat as an option.

For the Kartoffeklöße, potato dumplings, first of all, to cook the peeled potatoes in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes until they all turned soft and smash them into mashed potatoes. Add two eggs, flour, ground nutmeg, salt and pepper, and mix them well with the mashed potatoes, add more flour until it is not sticky any more. Separate them and make them into ball shape, and boil them in hot water for around 15 to 20 minutes.

Traditionally, this dish is served with red cabbage, and a lot of sauce. To make the sauce, remove the Rouladen from the pan, and bring the stock to boil until it thicken up. If you think there is not enough sauce, maybe you can add more beef stock . Press the sauce through the sieve to get even the taste from the vegetable. This is my first trial and it is tough to cook something that I’ve never had, as you just cannot imagine how exactly that should taste. My husband told me the Rouladen actually taste very good, but I guess it will be better if I can find the right part of meat to wrap. On the other hand, he said the Kartoffeklöße taste good but totally not the German kind. I need to eat an authentic one to see how to make them right next time, room to improve!

 

 

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.

Instead of salad, how about a pasta dish with Salmon and Avocado? Try this salmon fusilli pasta with avocado pesto

I was not meant to cook this for dinner last Sunday, but I found one pack of smoked salmon is going to be expired the next day, and the avocado is almost overripe. Let’s think of something to cook for the night with salmon and avocado. So, besides making a salad with salmon and avocado, what else can I do? How about making a pasta dish…… Why not?

The thing about avocado is, it will turn into brown colour after exposing to air. So, try to use the right amount for this dish and finish it up in one go. If you have leftover, you will ended up eating a brown colour pasta the next day. You would not get sick, it’s just not looking pretty. I’ve heard that if you put a cut onion next to an avocado, will help the avocado to keep green. Not sure if that works if I include onion as part of the ingredients, maybe I will try it out next time.

The Best Way to Keep Cut Avocado Fresh

It doesn’t take too long to prepare the pesto, it is better to get the water boiling for the pasta to start with. Now, you can start preparing the pesto and put everything into a food processor and let it do the chop work. Put some parmesan cheese, parsley, basil, garlic, avocado, half lemon juice, good amount of olive oil, salt and pepper into the food processor and blend them into a pesto sauce. Super quick and easy!

When the hot water is ready, add a pinch of salt and cook the pasta according to the cooking time on the package. When the pasta is ready, drain them but save a bit of pasta water in case you need it later. Mix the pesto with the pasta and add some pasta water if you feel it’s too dry, then cut the smoked salmon into strips and mix them together with the pasta. Add the other half of lemon juice, and you can garnish it with some extra parsley and parmesan cheese on top.

 

Sunday simple dinner – Chicken and Asparagus Penne

I was planning to cook this simple pasta on Saturday night, and was thinking to cook something more complicated on Sunday night. But then, I ended up with something else on Saturday night, so I have to save the ingredients for Sunday dinner. Not bad, so I get more time to do other things, like shower my two dogs.

What we need for this dish is chicken fillet, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, garlic, red chili if you prefer spicy, parsley and penne pasta. I do prefer to get the bigger version of asparagus, but I could not find it and I have to go for the smaller / thinner version.

Boil a pot of hot water for cooking the pasta, get a sauce pan ready on the other hand by heating it up with some olive oil. Start it off with the mined garlic, and then add the asparagus, cook them for a while until they started to turn soft. Add the chicken into the pan, let them fry a bit to get the surface cooked first. Then, stir fry them and add red chili, season them with salt, pepper, rosemary and ground paprika. Cook until the chicken is done, add the cherry tomatoes and more olive oil for the pasta later on.

When the penne pasta is done, drain the water and mix the pasta into the sauce pan. Add parmesan cheese and chopped parsley, then mix everything well together. You can serve the pasta with some more parmesan cheese and parsley on top as garnish and extra flavour.