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Sunday dinner – lemon & honey chicken drum sticks with greens 

It’s been three weeks that I haven’t had time to write my blog, was so busy with moving home. It’s never been easy with moving, packing, unpacking and we even have something that we need to build. We’ve moved to this new place for two weeks already, but there are still a lot of building work waiting for us to finish. One major part is my husband’s home studio, we just got some material ordered and hopefully to get that done soon. The other part is my private kitchen, basically is done but I just have to set it up nicely. Hopefully with that, it will be so much more easier for my food blog and for anything that I am going to cook, plus having guests to dine here. Can’t wait for getting everything done!

In order to make my Sunday a bit more easier, cooking something simple will be my target! Tonight, I am cooking this lemon and honey glazed chicken drum sticks, and served that with greens. It is a great dish to serve with rice or potatoes, you can have either one as your option, but I do prefer to have more greens.

The major ingredients of this dish is chicken drum sticks, you can also use the same cooking method for other part of the chicken. Besides that, we also need lemon, honey, garlic, ginger, rosemary, parsley, dark and light soy sauce. For the greens, I used three kinds of green, asparagus, green beans and zucchini. First of all, season the chicken drum sticks with some salt and pepper, and then get a pan ready and heat up with a touch of butter with some olive oil. Add in sliced garlic and sliced ginger when the pan is hot, then add all the chicken drum sticks in and fry them nicely until they start to turn brown. Then, add some dark and light soy sauce, some rosemary, slices of lemon and also squeeze some lemon juice in, cover the lid and let them cook for around 10 to 15 minutes. You can add some water if you feel the sauce is turning too dry, but try not to make it too watery. Add the honey few minutes before you think the drum sticks will be done, do not add the honey too early, otherwise the entire pan will become too sticky too early. When the chicken is done, add chopped parsley and mix them well, save a bit of parsley for the finish garnishing.

On the other hand, we need to get the greens ready, the best way is to start cooking the greens 5 minutes before you finish with the chicken. Heat up the pan with some butter and olive oil, then add in sliced garlic. Stir fry the green beans to start with, then add in asparagus and the chopped zucchini at last. Stir fry all greens until they are fully cooked and season them with some salt and pepper.

Serve the chicken drum sticks with some greens and garnish them with some chopped parsley.

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Healthy Sunday dinner – vegetarian pasta

2017 seems not to be on my side, after getting laid off, I just got another piece of information that our landlord would like us to move out. Why everything have to come at the same time? Well, we always should look into the bright side, but sometimes it’s a bit too much and hard to stay positive all the time. I will try but it’s a bit tough these days.

I was busy with flat hunting this weekend and do not have much time to think about what to cook. So, I just come up with something very simple and healthy, in order to fit into our healthy theme lately. A vegetarian pasta – tri-colour fussili with asparagus and mushroom. 

The ingredients are very simple and of course based on vegetable, asparagus, mushroom and onion are the key ingredients and of course the tri-colour fussili. Bring a pot of hot water to boil and ready for the pasta. Heat up the pan with a touch of olive oil, then add sliced garlic and chopped onion in the pan, fry until the onion start to turn brown. Then, add the chopped red chilli pepper and mushroom, fry them and squeeze some lemon juice in. When the mushroom turned soft, add some white wine and cook a bit. Finally, add the chopped asparagus in, cook them a bit and then add a bit of salt. The sauce is basically ready and you can just add the pasta when they are done, don’t forget to add some chopped parsley. Mix the fussili pasta well together with the sauce, and serve them with some roasted pine nuts on top to add a touch of nutty texture.

I found this pasta particularly light and healthy! You can also use this as a salad, chill them and then mix with some salad to eat as a pasta salad.

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The last day of CNY holiday – bake stuffed pumpkin with quinoa, minced pork & mushroom

Four days of CNY holiday is ending soon, tomorrow have to get back to work. What should I cook for tonight? I would like to do something with quinoa, quinoa is really healthy and we should eat more quinoa! Maybe with minced pork, mushroom, carrot…… How about stuff them in a pumpkin?

First of all, steam the pumpkins until they turn soft, leave them aside and let them cool down. Cook the quinoa with double portion of water, I like to use the rice cooker to cook it which it’s so much more easier, but you can also use a sauce pan to cook that. For the fillings, heat up the pan with a bit of butter and olive oil, fry the minced garlic, followed by roughly chopped onion and carrot. Then, we can start to add the minced pork, and then the roughly chopped mushroom. Cook until they are done, then switch off the heat and add in the quinoa, cheese ( I use mixed of 6 kinds of Italian cheese), finely chopped parsley, fresh thyme, and season it with salt and pepper. 

Now put the fillings inside the pumpkin, fill it up and add cheese again on the top and cover the entire top part. Place the pumpkins in the oven under 190C and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese is nice and brown.

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My version of spaghetti aglio e olio

There are few pasta dishes that are on my top list, linguine alle vongole, linguine al tonne piccante, spaghetti agile e olio, and etc. For spaghetti aglio e olio, usually I rely on my husband to make it, I actually have never been cooking this dish. The other day, I was missing this dish very much, why don’t I try to cook it by myself and see how does it taste.

First of all, put the frozen shrimps in the pan and heat up the pan directly without adding any oil, let it cook until the shrimps turn slight pink. Do not overcook or fully cook them, just around 80% cook as we still have to cook them when the sauce is ready, just leave them aside at the moment. Try to get the spaghetti ready at the same time when the sauce is ready, that’s what you always have to look after, the pasta should be eaten at the moment when it’s ready, which is very important to Italian! Boil a big pot of hot water, season it with some salt and cook the spaghetti according to the cooking time on the package. For the sauce, heat up the pan with a good amount of butter and olive oil. I like to use some butter as everything taste better with butter! When the oil is hot, put minced garlic and finely chopped onion in the pan, fry until the onion turn a bit brown, then add a touch of white wine, and let it cook a bit. Make sure you have a good amount of oil, if you feel that you don’t, please  add more olive oil in the pan as the sauce will be only based on the amount of olive oil. When it’s amount ready, add the chopped red chilli pepper, you can skip this if you don’t like spicy, then add the prawn and let them cook until they are done, season the sauce with salt and pepper. Finish it up with some more red chilli pepper flakes and finely chopped parsley. At the same time, the spaghetti should be ready, so drain the water and mix them well with the sauce.

I think my version of spaghetti agilo e olio is better than my husband’s version, and he agreed with me 😉

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The first dinner for the year of the rooster, let’s go for chicken! 

Happy Year of the Rooster!!!! It’s the first day of the lunar new year, let’s have some chicken for our first dinner.

I start it off with making us cocktail. Yes! Again related to cock, just to fit into the theme. I’ve made the Old Fashion, nice to start to night with a cocktail. Place 1 teaspoon of brown sugar into the glass, then add few dashes of Angostura bitters and a splash of water, then crash the sugar with a wooden muddler. I like to add a touch of orange juice, and a slice of orange peel and orange. Then add around 2 oz of whiskey, place one big ice cube in the glass then fill up the rest of the glass with water. 

I actually didn’t plan to cook any appetiser, but the portion of the chicken cordon bleu turned out to be smaller than I expected. Moreover, I screwed up with one piece of the chicken, that’s why I have some chicken leftover, so why not have a bruschetta with some chicken and eggs? which fit perfectly to the theme! So, put butter on the slices of the baguette, then place them on the grill pan, put them aside when they are done on both side. Heat up the pan with butter, then fry the minced chicken, season it with some salt and pepper. Add one egg into the pan when the chicken is done, break up the egg and stir fry it when it’s done. Place the chicken and egg on top of the slices of baguette. Add some cheese on top and garnish it with a bit of spring onion or parley.

For the Chicken Cordon Bleu, get two big piece of chicken breast and slice them into two thin pieces. Add a touch of olive on the entire surface of the chicken breast, then place one piece in-between two pieces of cling film, use a meat mallet to bite the chicken breast until it becomes really thin and even, remember to use the flat side. Brush the chicken breast with dijon mustard, then lay a piece of sweet ham and a piece of Swiss cheese on top. Roll up the chicken breast and tighten it up with the cling wrap, place them in the fridge and let them sit there for 30 minutes. When they are ready, cover the chicken roll with plain flour, then soak it with egg wash and then finish it with breadcrumbs, breadcrumbs should be seasoned with salt and pepper. Heat up the pan with butter and some olive oil, fry all side of the chicken roll, and don’t forget the two ends. Sealed all side, and then place them in the oven and bake them under 180C for 20 minutes.

Let’s prepare the creamy sauce, heat up the pan with olive oil, add minced shaollot and garlic, fry them for 2 minutes, and then add a touch of flour. Add chicken stock, and a touch of white wine, let it simmer. Add cooking cream, bring it to boil, then let it simmer until it turns thicker. Season it with salt and pepper and add the chopped parsley in the end. 

I’ve also prepared the potatoes and zucchini as side dishes. Steam the potatoes for 20 minutes, let them cool down. Heat up the pan with olive oil and butter, fry the potatoes and then add the zucchini. Season them with salt and pepper when they are done and garnish with some parsley.

Cut the chicken cordon bleu in half and serve them with the creamy sauc, with the vegetable on the side. 

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Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner – must have lucky food

It’s Chinese New Year’s Eve today, we called it 團年飯, and traditionally you should have the dinner with your entire family, in order to end the year altogether. It is important for Chinese to gather the entire family together for important event like this one, but I think it’s important for everyone, like Christmas Eve for Western, Thanksgiving dinner for American, and etc.

One thing funny about what we used to eat for CNY’s Eve dinner, we should have something means lucky to us. Meat somehow is a must, as that means you are rich enough to have meat. Fish is also one of the choice, as fish 魚 Yu, sounds like 餘 Yu, meaning extra. Of course we would like to have extra money! Shrimp 蝦 Ha, sounds like 哈 Ha, the sound of laughing, so shrimp is also a popular dish for CNY.

So, I’ve made a Western style year-end dinner for us, with shrimp and salmon (fish).

Garlic, Chili and Lemon Shrimp. Heat up the pan with butter and a bit of olive oil, put minced garlic in, then put the lemon slices and chopped red chili pepper, fry a bit then put all shrimps with shell in the pan, cover with lid and cook until they all turned pinkish. Season the shrimps with salt, ground pripika and parsley flakes. 

Creamy Salmon Penne Pasta. Put one pot of water to boil, add a good amount of salt and cook the penne pasta according to the cooking time of the package. For the sauce, heat up the pan with butter and a bit of olive oil, put the minced garlic in, and then put the chopped asparagus and sliced mushroom. Fry them until they turn soft, add some lemon zest and squeeze in lemon juice, then pour in the cooking cream, let it simmer and then add some cheese. Could be a mix of Italian cheese, like parmesan, romano or pecorino cheese. Let it simmer a bit more, then season it with a bit of salt and ground pripika. Mix the sauce with the penne pasta, and serve it with a touch of black pepper.

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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.