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Shakshuka – Spicy all day breakfast 

My husband was having a gig last night, djing at one of the event, and he was out until this morning. Usually, what he loves to eat after a night like this, will be something meaty, but I would like to have something vegetarian. I think maybe it’s good to cook something like a all-day breakfast for him. 

This dish is called Shakshuka, it’s a spicy dish with eggs poached in tomato sauce and pepper. I am not sure if I can handle something that spicy for breakfast, but I guess should be fine for night time “breakfast”. This is a very easy dish, you can quickly get it done in half an hour.

Heat up the pan with some butter and olive oil, add diced onio, minced garlic and sliced mushroom into the pan. Season them with a pinch of salt and black pepper, and fry them until they turn brown and dry out. Add diced red bell pepper, chopped green pepper / jalapenos, and minced red chilli pepper. Stir fry them, and then add ground paprika, ground ceyanne pepper, ground cumin and cumin seeds. Now add chopped tomatoes in the pan, add a touch of water or chicken broth, let it simmer a bit until the sauce is thicken up. Create 4 little holes in the pan, then drop the egg into each little hole. Lower the heat and cover the lid, poach the eggs for 5 to 6 minutes. Garnish with chopped spring onion and coriander. Serve the dish with some sliced baguette or toast. 

It’s quite spicy, spicer than I thought. Maybe it’s good to have it in the morning, it definitely can wake you up!

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Homemade Wonton 3 Ways – Deep Fried, Shanghainese spicy version and Cantonese style in noodle soup

I always want to make dumplings or wonton, but so far I haven’t done that. I finally made up my mind yesterday and thinking to cook wonton for dinner. My husband is not a big fan of wonton, he said he doesn’t like the fishy taste of it. I don’t know if that has to do with the shrimp, or what exactly is he talking about for the fishy part. Anyway, let’s give it a try and see if he is going to love my version.

In order to give myself a bit of challenge, I am going to make 3 different versions of wonton. But of course, to start with, let’s get them all nicely wrapped. We need to marinate the two major ingredients, minced pork and diced shrimp, before wrapping them. Marinate the mince pork with soy sauce, sugar, corn starch and pepper; and for the diced shrimps, marinate them with salt and pepper. Let both ingredients sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, then take them out and mix them together in a large bowl, add some chopped pak choy in, then mix everything well together. Now you get the filling of the wonton, and let’s start wrapping them! The traditional ones are just with pork and shrimp, but I would like to add some vegetables in it, as I like the texture with veggies plus I think that’s more healthy and balance. For the wrap, I just bought the ready made ones, I am not ready to make that on my own yet, maybe one day.

To wrap the wonton, get a small bowl of water ready next to you. Place the filling in the middle of the wrap, then dip some water around the filling and close the wrap nicely all around. The filling I have, managed to get around 40 pieces of wonton done. You can actually get a lot of them done and stored in the fridge, they should be able to last for few days, or you can place them in the freezer and they could last longer. Now, I am going to make 3 different versions of wonton.

The first one is the deep fried version, it’s pretty simple, all you need to do it’s to deep fry them! Make sure to control the temperature of the oil, watch out and make sure that you are not burning the wonton and the colour have to be golden brown, not dark brown. When they are done, garnish them with some chopped spring onion. I served them with the Remoulade sauce that I did the other day, I think mayonnaise could be a very good option as well.

The second one is Shanghainese spicy version 紅油抄手. I love to eat this in a Shanghainese restaurant, but it would be nice to make my own version as well. First of all, get the spicy sauce ready, so you can serve the wonton right away when they are done. To prepare the sauce, mix mince garlic, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, spicy chilli oil, Chinese wine, sugar and a bit of water. Then, cook the wonton in hot water for 4 to 5 minutes until they are cooked. Drain the water, serve the wonton with the sauce and garnish with some chopped spring onion. This version is very spicy, so adjust the level to fit your taste.

The last version is just the regular wonton noodle soup, I love flat rice noodle, so I am going for that instead of noodle. You can cook the wonton in hot water first before cooking anyway. Boil some water with chicken broth, then put some pak choy and let them boil for a minute or two, then add in the flat rice noodle, cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve the noodle with wonton add back to the bowl, garnish with some chopped spring onion.

This is the first time my husband likes wonton, I am happy that I could change his impression on wonton. He was so full that he could only finished the first two versions, and he was too full that he could not go for the third one. And I was so full that I weight 1kg more the following morning. I am very happy with the result, and I would definitely cook more wonton or dumplings in the future.

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Flammkuchen – German flatbread, German version of pizza

I was asking my hubby on Saturday night, what should I cook tomorrow, my usual Sunday cooking. He sent me few things which are the dishes he loves to eat back in Germany, and I choice this one, Flammkuchen, which it’s like pizza but a German version.

The thing about Flammkuchen, there are few things we have to look into. For example, it should be either in square or oval shape; whereas pizza is in round shape. The sauce for Flammkuchen is sour creme based, versus pizza is more tomato sauce based. Instead of coming up with my own ingredients or version, let’s start with a very typical one.

I am going to make one with onion and bacon to start with. First of all, we have to work on the dough, mix 250g plain flour with 125ml of warm water, some olive oil and a pinch of salt. I didn’t add any yeast, which should be fine with the flatbread. Roll the dough out into rectangular shape, then add mixed double cream and cream fraiche, you can also try with mixed sour cream and Greek yoghurt, on top of the flatbread. If you have ever made pizza before, that’s just like how you add the tomato sauce on your pizza base. Then season with some salt and pepper, and add the toppings, onion strips and diced bacon. Place that in the preheated oven under 250C and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Add some finely chopped spring onion or chives on top for better look and better taste. 

I made the same one again by adding some halved cherry tomatoes, taste delicious!

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Steamed Crabs with Eggs and Garlic Sautéed Broccoli

I have never cook fresh crab in my entire life, I’ve only cooked hairy crabs in the past, but never manage to open and clean a fresh crab. The major reason is, I’ve never seen my grandma cooking crab, as I was learning how to cook by assisting her when I was a kid. I love crab, so do my husband, let’s try to cook it!

I am thinking to make this dish since long time, steamed crab with eggs. I’ve tried this in Chinese restaurant and I love it, always thinking to cook it one day! But one thing kind of bothering me is, if I have to kill the crab…. I am still not prepared to open the shell of a crab when it’s still alive. I’ve been straggling a bit at the wet market, and I decided to get those are already dead. That makes me feel a bit better, as I’m not the one killing them….

To keep the crabs in good condition, better leave them in the freezer until you want to clean and cook them. Open the shell of the crab and clean them up with toothbrush, make sure you get rid of the heart and the lung. Place the crabs in the middle of the dish, better use a flat dish in order to get the egg evenly distributed. Whisk 4 eggs, add chicken soup and some water into the eggs and whisk them together. Pour the egg mixture into the dish together with the crabs, and cover the dish with cling film which is going to prevent the water dripping in the dish. Now, steam it for 15 to 20 mins with high heat. When it’s done, pour in soy sauce and garnish with chopped spring onion. Heat up some oil and pour it evenly on the dish.

For the Garlic Sautéed Broccoli, start to cook it around 8 minutes before the crabs are done, so you have both dishes ready almost at the same time. Heat up the pan with some butter and a touch of olive oil, add minced garlic, then broccoli. Fry until the broccoli turn soft, can add a touch of water if they are getting brown too quick. When they are almost done, add minced chilli (optional), salt and a touch of sugar to bring out the flavour. 

You can serve these typically with rice. My husband loves the broccoli, as well as the crabs so much! Maybe he is too hungry, lol. Next time, I will try to do the fried crabs with peppercorn! 

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Homemade typical Cantonese roasted style – roasted pork belly & char siu 

Usually, I cook Western food and put it on my blog. The other day, one of my best friend was asking me, why don’t I cook more Chinese food. The reason is, I used to cook Chinese food since I was a kid, and I feel Western food is more challenging for me. My friends then said that, actually there are a lot of challenging Chinese food and I should cook more on my Sunday cooking and for my blog. OK! Here you go!

I always want to make this sous vide version of char siu 叉燒, and my husband loves to eat roasted pork belly 燒肉. Let’s do both, the top selling meat at those Cantonese roasted restaurants. 

I have to get everything ready 5 hours before dinner time. First of all, it takes 4 hours to cook the sous vide pork collar butt.  For the roasted pork, it takes 1.5 hours. So, let’s get everything going right after lunch. I bought all the ingredients, back home and start getting things ready. 

I started to marinate the pork belly, make sure there is no hair on the skin. Wash it and dry it, then you have to score the skin. Use a sharp knife to score the skin diagonally, or you can use the tip of the knife to stab it. Keep stabbing and make sure it go through the entire skin. Mix some Shaoxing wine and Rose Wine, wipe them evenly all over the pork belly. Then season it with salt, pepper and five-spice powder. Let it sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours, of course the longer the better. 

Now, I go to work on the sous vide char siu. Same thing like the pork belly, mix some Shaoxing wine and Rose Wine, wipe them evenly all over the pork belly. But then season it with salt, brown sugar and five-spice powder. Place them into the vacuum bag and seal, then bathe them in the hot water under 70C for 4 hours with the sous vide slow cooker. 

1.5 hours before the pork collar butt will be done, we can start to prepare the pork belly. Place the meat on a foil with skin up, wrap the foil around the meat by leaving just the skin open. Clean the skin and wipe with some white vinegar, then cover the entire skin with kosher salt. Place the meat with foil on a tray and grill it under 210C for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Then, remove it from the oven and clear up all the salt on the skin. Stab the skin once more time, and remove the foil. Place the piece of pork belly directly on the rack in the oven under 250C for 30 minutes. When it’s done, remove it from the oven and let it sit for a while to cool down, that also help to maintain the juice inside the meat.

Now, when the pork collar butt is done with the sous vide cooking after four long hours. Coat them with a layer of char siu sauce, then a layer of honey and place them in the oven under 250C to grill for 5 to 10 minutes,  turn over the meat in-between to make sure both sides are nicely grilled.

I served them with some lettuce, as I always love the idea of Korean BBQ, eat the roasted meat with vegetables. Lovely!

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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.