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Vegetarian Sunday dinner – portabello mushroom burger with hash brown and zucchini

This sunday, I decided to stay with vegetarian food again, I am thinking to do a veggie burger. Instead of veggie patties, I am thinking to go for portabello mushroom. For the side dish, instead of salad, I am thinking to have some hash brown. 

For the burger, I am not able to find mini burger bread, so I am going to use the small panini. First of all, I am getting the hash brown ready because it takes more time to cook that. Grate the potatoes and some onion, get rid of the excess water and mix them in a large bowl. Season them with a touch of salt and pepper, fry them later on in a pan with oil and some butter, add some grated cheese few minutes before they are done. 

For the burger, fry some onion until they are cameralised, set them aside for later use. Now fry the sliced zucchini with olive oil on a grill pan, and season them with a touch of salt. Then, fry the portabello mushroom and place the cheddar cheese on top of each mushroom until they start to melt. Grill the panini with some butter on the grill pan. When all are ready, place the bottom of the panini, then place all the ingredients carefully one by one on top of each other. The zucchini, sliced tomato, some mustard, ketchup or mayonnaise, onion, the portabello mushroom with the cheddar cheese, then finish up with the top of the panini. Serve the burger with the hash brown and the rest of the pan fried zucchini. 

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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. 

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Tonight dinner – mustard and honey spare ribs with potatoes and salad

My husband loves ribs, it’s been a while that I cook ribs for him, maybe it’s about time. This time I am thinking to cook the ribs with mustard and honey flavour. 

I’m going to cook a lot of ribs to make sure we have some leftover for Monday lunch as well, so I cooked 3 packs of ribs. Let’s work on the sauce, mix mustard, balsamic vinegar, honey, salt and pepper, with some olive oil, taste and adjust. Then, marinate the spare ribs with the sauce for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Place ribs in a large tray, then put also striped onion and some potatoes to mix them well together, and add some fresh oregano in the tray for flavour. Place the tray inside the oven under 210C and bake them for 75 minutes, flip them every 15 minutes to avoid burning. 

When the spare ribs are done, serve them with some salad and the potatoes. 

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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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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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First cooking in 2017, let’s make it big! Even for our dogs……

 

French Onion Soup

 

This is my first cooking in 2017, I was thinking to have a great start in 2017, kick it off freshly with some nice cooking in order to celebrate my one year anniversary of this blog, which ended up with a lot of my posts are based on my cooking.

This was the Sunday cooking on 8th January, the first Sunday at home after we got back from our Christmas and New Year holiday in Germany. Unfortunately, I got laid off last Monday, the day after this Sunday cooking. It took me a week to get over the entire thing and put myself back on track, and finally I felt a lot better and want to write this down before I forget what I’ve cooked.

So, I was trying to make it big for my first Sunday cooking! I was thinking to do a main dish and an onion soup, I love onion soup especially during Winter time. I would love to learn how to make it, so I started to search some recipes online the night before, and I found two recipes that I would like to base on. First of all, we definitely need A LOT of onions, that recipe on youtube is using a lot of onions. But I guess I’ve been using maybe a bit too much, and the soup ended up full of onion but not much soup. I guess I should have a better control of the proportion between soup and onion to start with. I was using 4 big onions to go with 1 litre of beef stock, I guess I can cut down 1 big onion next time and see if that will be better. So, heat up the Dutch oven with some butter and a touch of olive oil, pour all the chopped onion into the Dutch oven, season them with some salt and fry them until they are all caramelised. Add some dry white wine or apple cider vinegar, followed by some flour, then mix them well with the onions. Stir in the beef stock, and add a handful of herbs, bay leave, rosemary and thyme. Let it simmer for around 15 to 20 minutes, season with salt and a touch of brandy, adjust the taste until you think it’s good. I also add some sugar, as I also see people adding sugar in the other recipe, that’s why you really have to taste it and adjust it according to your taste buds. Then, transfer the soup in a bowl and place the toasted bread slice with butter and garlic on top of the soup. Add some parmesan cheese on the bread, and then cover the entire bowl with Gruyère cheese. Place that in the oven with maximum heat and bake for few minutes until the cheese start to turn brown. Save the rest of the soup and you can still have it a day later by repeating the last step in oven.

For the main dish, I would like to cook a meat dish. I was searching the recipe from Gordon Ramsay, and I found this roasted pork loin with lemon and sage, looks easy and delicious. You just need to score the skin of the pork loin, and that cut it on the section and open it up. Season it with salt, pepper, garlic, lemon zest, sage, parsley, and some olive oil, then roll it up and close it with cotton. Season the outside with salt, pepper, olive oil and sprinkle with a touch of thyme. Place it in hot oven around 210C for 45 minutes, and there you go, so quick and easy!

I’ve cooked this Fondant Potatoes to go with the pork loin, which it turned out so tasty! Try to get potatoes with similar size, and chop them into a truck shape. For the cut out of the potatoes, I’ve cooked them for my dogs, not a waste. This is also very simple, but very delicious. Heat up the pan with butter, fry the potatoes until both side with a touch of brown and season them with a touch of salt. Pour in chicken stock, cover around 1/3 of the potatoes, add in some fresh thyme. Place the pan into the oven under 220C and bake it for 25 to 30 minutes. Monitor the chicken stock, and add some water if the stock becomes too less. Serve them with the slices of pork loin.

Roasted Pork Loin and Fondant Potatoes

I also cooked something for our two labradors. I am thinking to get rid of the kibbles and canned food by just feeding them home made dog food starting from 2017, which is one of my new year resolution! I started to do a bit of research to see what to cook for them and what is suitable. Before completely getting rid of the kibbles and canned food, which I still have few KGs left. I am buying time to explore the kind of dog food should prepare for them. Of course there are different strategies out there, but I do believe the base is pretty much based on a balance between meat (protein), vegetable and starch (carbs). One of our doggie is food allergy, she should avoid eating carrot, rice, pasta and etc. Therefore, I have to be extra careful to see what to feed her. With the balance between the three key ingredients, I decided to cook with minced beef, potatoes, green beans, hard boiled eggs with egg shell. Boil the potatoes in hot water, then add minced beef. For the green beans, I steam them and then chop them into smaller pieces, which should be easier for them to digest. I just learn that is good to feed your dogs with egg shell, as there is good amount of calcium that you can get from the shell. This is my first attempt, other than the regular dinner I cooked for them every Sunday with just potatoes and salmon. They just loving it and finish the bowl so quickly that I almost have to slow them down! For the leftover, store in the fringe and that’s enough to feed them for 2 more days.

Dog Meal

 

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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!