Boxing Day dinner – red and green salad & pork and mash gratin

It was Boxing Day, OMG, so long time ago! I am also forgetting what did I cook or how I made it??? I will try my very best to remember!

We were having home party at one of my friend’s home, each of us had to cook or bring one dish. So, I decided to cook a salad and a main course with meat for the two of us to bring over there.

I would like to make a salad which is more Christmassy, so I am playing with the red and green colours and using pomegranate as a touch of gem. The ingredients for the salad are, baby spinach, red apple and green apple that cut in cubes, toasted pecan and mixed nuts and the final touch with pomegranate. For the apples, either you can cut them with ceramic knife to keep them nicely in their colour, or you can spill them with a splash of lemon juice, in order to keep them out of rust. For the dressing, mix olive oil, mustard, honey, lemon juice, black sesame seeds, touch of sesame oil, pinch of salt and black pepper, in a glass bottle and shake them well, mix the dressing with the salad right before serving.

For the pork, go to get a nice piece of pork fillet tenderloin. I get this recipe from Jamie Oliver, it is super simple with 5 ingredients, but I twisted it a bit. First of all, we need to get those potatoes ready, peel them and then boil them in hot water for about 15 to 20 minutes until they turned soft. Meanwhile, we can work on the pork tenderloin, season it with some salt and pepper, and then heat up the pan with some olive oil, and sear the porkloin for about 3 minutes, or until the entire surface is brown. Switch off the fire, remove the pork and quickly fry some rosemary, remove and set aside. Now, we can work on the potatoes, smash them and season with salt and pepper, add a touch of olive oil, a touch of water, and some parmesan cheese. Mix them well and then place the mashed potato in a baking tray, now place the piece of porkloin in the middle and pour the pork juice on top. Add some grated cheese on top of the potatoes, not on the pork. Place that in oven and grill for around 10 minutes under 230C. For the last touch, add some prosciutto around the porkloin by tucking them in-between the pork and the potato. Add the rosemary around, on top of the potato. Put the tray back in the oven for the last few minutes, cut the pork in slices and serve with mash potatoes.

Sunday dinner – Danish National dish Stegt flæsk, roasted pork belly with creamy parsley sauce, served with mashed potatoes

Again! One week past and I did not get my last Sunday recipe written and posted, so bad! Was too busy last week, now business networking going on and running around with different events. So, when I have a new post this week, of course I remembered that I better get the one from last week done.

So, here I go! The one from last week was a National dish from Denmark, it is a pork belly dish and usually they serve this with boiled potatoes, I would like to go for mashed potatoes instead.

So, the first thing you should do is to get the potatoes steamed in a pot of hot water. On the other hand, you can get the pork belly ready. I would say, by the time that your steamed potatoes are half-way through, you can start to work on the pork belly. Preheat the oven under 180C, season the pork belly with some salt and pepper, then coat a nice layer of olive oil or melted butter on the pork belly. Then place them nicely in the oven and grill them for 20 to 25 minutes, flip it over in the middle, and make sure they are all browned and nicely grilled.

We are using some bacon or pancetta to create more texture for the mashed potatoes. Fry the bacon or pancetta in a hot pan until they turn crispy, chop them in small dices. Set the bacon aside for later used. For the mashed potaoes, use the masher to make mashed potatoes, let them sit in a large bowl. Now boil the cream in a pot, on the other hand, we pour in the oil from the bacon into the mashed potatoes, mix them well together. When the cream is done, pour them slowly into the mashed potatoes, mix them well together, add some  grated cheese if you are a cheese lover. Then add in diced bacons, spring onion, and taste to add salt and pepper. Leave them in a bowl with cling film under the heat of some hot water. Keep it nice and warm until you are ready to serve with the pork belly.

Now, we have to get the creamy sauce ready. Melt some butter in the hot pan, then stir in some plain flour, keep stirring and let it cook a bit. Then, pour in heavy cream, and let them zimmer until it turns thick. Add in a lot of chopped parsley for the flavour. When the pork bellies are ready, get them out from the oven and serve them with some creamy sauce on top, and the mashed potatoes aside.

The best is to finish all pork belly in one go, they don’t taste good overnight, so try not to leave any leftover.

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!

 

 

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.

 

Sticky Pork Ribs with Mashed Potatoes and String Beans

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I really feel to have pork ribs tonight, I don’t know why, but really craving for pork ribs. Weather is super cold today, 4C is really cold in a place like Hong Kong. It’s good to have something grill and maybe with mashed potatoes as well. Let’s go for grocery shopping!

So, go and get everything I need for this dish, olive oil and butter, just run out of them. Ginger, garlic, potatoes and string beans, for the rest of the ingredients, I have them at home. The most important thing is pork ribs, I don’t know what happened, but 2 stores both sold out of pork ribs. Maybe because weather is too cold, everyone prefer to stay home for dinner, and also think of cooking pork ribs? Luckily, I got them in another super market, but they are not the kind of pork ribs I am looking for, they are too small and lean. I am looking for the big piece, with a bit of fat mixed with lean meat. But it’s still OK, better than nothing.

First of all, boil a pot of hot water and put the potatoes into the pot and boil them. The trick is, to slightly cut a cross mark on the potato skin, so you will get the skin out easier when you peel them. On the other hand, get the pork ribs prepared and season them with salt and pepper. Use a tray or pan to cook the pork rib which can transfer that directly to the oven later on. Heat the tray or pan with olive oil, fry the pork ribs on both sides until they turned golden brown. Put the chopped onion, ginger slides and garlic into the tray, fry them a bit. Then, put dry pepper flakes, some pink peppercorns, and some star anise in it. Now, it’s time to put a good amount of honey, followed by soy sauce, vinegar, lemon juice and some rice wine. Give a good stir, and then finally add some pork bone broth. Here I would like to use pork bone broth than chicken broth, as I think the taste should go better together since this is a pork dish. Place the tray or pan into the oven and grill it under 180C for 25 to 30 minutes, and then flip the ribs and grill for another 25 to 30 minutes.

While waiting for the ribs to grill, we can work on the mashed potatoes. By this time, the potatoes should be ready, if you are not sure, use a chopstick or something like that to see if you can get it all the way down to the entire potato easily. If you can, that means it’s done. If not, or even if you can but seems hard, that means you need to boil it longer. Peel all the potato skin, and place the potatoes into a large bowl. Cut them into small pieces, or you can use one of those potato mashing tool. I only use a fork to do it, which is simple and easy, as long as your potatoes are fully cooked, then should not be a problem. Cut few slides of butter into the potatoes, and season them with some salt and pepper, and I like to add some ground paprika as well. Then you can start to smash them and mix them, until they look like a good mashed potatoes. Actually, this is my own way to make the mashed potatoes, as there are many other ways, with milk or with cream. But I kind of like it without, just find the right type of potatoes and they will do the work even without adding cream or milk, I just feel adding butter is good enough. Now we need to prepare the string beans, heat the pan with butter, then fry the string beans and season them with salt and pepper until they are done.

When the pork ribs are done, take them out and fry them when all the juice becomes really thick. If it is already thick enough when you take them out from the oven, no need to do so. Serve the pork ribs together with a bit of mashed potatoes and string beans. Enjoy~~~

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