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.

Cooking with healthy Quinoa – roasted with broccoli and chicken

I always try to eat healthy and explore something new. I’ve never cook quinoa, but I’ve heard a lot of good thing about it.  It is very nutritious, good for blood sugar control, gluten free, very high in fiber, protein, important mineral and antioxidants. It sounds like all you can get!!! Why not trying it out?

Find out what is good about quinoa

I grew up with rice and noodle, quinoa is definitely something new to me. I know there is a trend in the Western world to cook with quinoa, but I have no idea how should I cook them. Therefore, I have to look into some recipes, to get the idea and some inspiration. I found this recipe to roast it with broccoli and chicken, looking quite delicious. So, I am going to try my first quinoa dish with this.

Roasted broccoli chicken and cheddar quinoa bake

Of course, I always improvise the recipe a bit, to make it my own style. To add something on top, or to change the ingredients that I don’t like. But I like almost everything of this recipe, the only thing I feel missing is a bit of garlic, and to mix with some parmesan cheese, instead of having only cheddar cheese.

First of all, I would like to do the chicken with sous vide cooking. So, I’ve spent one hour to  cook the chicken breast with 60C in the hot bath, get them out and let them cool down. To cook the quinoa, more or less like cooking the rice or risotto. I am following this recipe to use 1 3/4 cup of chicken stock to cook 1 cup of quinoa. But I guess you can also cook with regular water, and I might try to cook them in the rice cooker next time and see if that works. When the quinoa absorb all the stock, switch off the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, I am getting the vegetable ready, I prefer to fry them with a pan instead of grilling them in the oven. Hit the pan and drizzle with some olive oil, put some minced garlic, and then put the chopped red onion and broccoli. Fry them with medium heat until they are half way cooked, do not oven cook them as they will still be cooked in the oven for another 25 minutes later on. Season them with some salt and red chilli flakes.

Now, let’s work on the quinoa. Mix the chopped tomato and shredded chicken in, and then add the cheddar cheese mix with parmesan cheese. Mix them well, and then also adding the broccoli mix, mix everything together in a large pan and season it with a bit of salt and pepper. Finish it by adding more cheese as a top layer, and some breadcrumbs to make it more crunchy. Roast it in the oven for 20-25 minutes under 200C.

I feel very satisfied with my first quinoa cooking and I like the texture of it, for sure will try out new dishes with it in the future.

No Cheese with Seafood!!! Calamari night – stuffed calamari and calamari pasta with cheese

I went to bed very late on Saturday night, it so happened that I caught this TV show about David Rocco. I like to watch his show, as the way he cook is very simple, simple Italian food, just like home cooking. As he always says that he is an Italian, not a chef. All the dishes he made are very down to earth, and simply just about food.

That episode of this show is about seafood, and he would like to break the rule of putting cheese in the seafood dish. I still remember back then, I used to work with Italian crew in New York. When we go out for dinner, I ordered a seafood dish and asking the waiter for some cheese, they all looked at me like, WHAAAAAATTTTT? “You NEVER put cheese with seafood, you will be killing the dish!!!!!” And I remember there is a poster on the wall at Da Silvano Restaurant in NYC, with a big bubble saying “WHAT??? Cheese with Seafood???” something like that. So, I became very careful on putting cheese with seafood since then.

David Rocco in the show was cooking two dishes with calamari and pecorino cheese, he said why not putting them together, as they taste good! I know seafood and cheese together is not tasting bad, but it’s more about what the Italian said somehow. Hearing that from an Italian, and said that they do that quite a lot especially around the South, I am happy to try it out.

Stuffed Calamari –

The stuffed calamari is actually very rich, make sure you have few people to share, otherwise will be tough to finish it by yourself. For the stuffing, mix breadcrumbs, chopped parsley, spicy salami cubes, pecorino cheese, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in a large bowl, then add one egg to bind them together. Get a calamari tube ready, and stuff everything inside the tube, close both ends with a toothpick. Heat up the pan, put some olive oil, fry the garlic and parsley for a minute and then place the stuffed calamari in the pan. Fry each side for few minutes until it’s done, do not overcook the calamari, otherwise will become too chewy.

Calamari and Pepperoni Alfredo Spaghetti –

I used spaghetti for this dish and boil a pot of water for getting the spaghetti ready. On the other hand, get a sauce pan and heat it up, add olive oil, garlic and parsley in the pan and fry for a minute. You can add some red chili flakes if you like spicy, then add the calamari strips. Now add some salt, white wine or procescco in the pan, let it boil a bit, make sure there is enough sauce or otherwise might need to add olive oil. Meantime, crack two eggs in a bowl, add some black pepper, beat the egg and then add pecorino into the egg. When the pasta is ready, drain the water and then pour all the spaghetti into the sauce, and add the eggs into the pasta and the sauce, mix them well and ready to serve. Add some pasta water if you feel it’s too dry.
 

Pair it up with pears – two pear dishes


Fruit is part of the healthy diet, and it’s good to do some simple dishes with fruit, especially canapés or salad. Today, I am going to talk about two dishes with pear.

The first one is a simple canapés that you can simple get it done in 10 minutes. All you need is pears, lemon, arugula, prosciutto and cheese, choose the kind of cheese you like, as cheese sometimes could be very personal. Some people like to go with the blue cheese, but some might think it’s a bit too strong. I like parmesan cheese most of the time, so it’s up to you, and I feel the pear can kind of go nicely with any kind of cheese. So, just cut the pear in wedges, and splash a bit of lemon juice on them to add the flavour. Then, simply just use a piece of prosciutto to wrap the pear with some arugula and a bit of the cheese that you like. Isn’t it so simple?

If this one is simple, the next one will be even more easy! This one I ate in Italy one time and I just love it, love the simplicity of it, but yet so tasty. Just simply cut the pear into slides and top it with parmesan cheese in thin slides, and finish it with a bit of basil on top. Season it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. That’s it! How simple but lovely!