Seafood Night – Fish, Prawn and Crab

This Sunday dinner, I am thinking to work on seafood. I’ve been thinking to do a dinner with Fish, Prawn / Shrimp and Crab (魚蝦蟹). I was thinking to work on my presentation, and do something closer to a fine dining approach. But then, I lost my enthusiasm totally, because I did not manage to defrost the pastry. By the time I need to work on the pastry, I have to come up with a solution quickly, so I decided to use the bread instead. Forget about fine dining presentation…

I started it off with the Prawn Rolled Toast, as I said, my original idea was to wrap them with pastry and bake it. I might try it out again later on, but let’s make it with bread for the time being. The pack of frozen prawn is with 9 pieces of prawn, let’s cook them first in a pan with a bit of water. Remove them from the pan when they are 80% done, and we will cook them through in the oven later on. Remove the shell but keep the tail part on,  devein the prawn and sit them aside and let them cool down. To use the bread to wrap, we have to use a roller to flatten the bread. Use half of a sandwich bread, and coat both side with butter. Lay Swiss cheese, cucumber strips and a piece of prawn on top of the bread, add some wasabi mayonnaise or just mayonnaise, and then roll up the bread and close it tight. Add a layer of egg wash on the surface, and place them in the oven to grill under 200C for 10 minutes.

I’ve used only 4 pieces of prawn for the toast, so I use the rest of them to add into the Crabmeat Salad. Chop the prawn into small dices and get a large salad bowl ready, chop the rest of the ingredients into dices and add them in the bowl. I am using cucumber, tomato, onion, avocado and crabmeat, mix everything well in the salad bowl. Then, add lemon juice, a touch of salt and plain yogurt into it, mix them well and adjust the taste. Keep them cold in the fringe to serve later with the tuna, or you can have them separately as long as they are cold enough to serve.

For the Seared Tuna, let’s work on the dressing first. Mix sesame oil, soy sauce, grated ginger, minced garlic, red chilli and lemon juice, taste it and adjust. I did not manage to get a thick piece of tuna steak here, what I’ve got is only 2 cm thick, but ideally we should work with something around 3 to 4 cm thick. For what I have, I could not have the tuna cooked in a way like cooked on the surface but still raw in the middle. What I’ve got was the entire tuna steak is cooked, because it is too thin. Cut the tuna steak into rectangle shape, coat the entire surface with sesame seeds. Heat up the pan with a mix of sesame oil and olive oil, fry some sliced garlic until golden brown and set them aside for later use. Fry the tuna each side around 15 seconds, you can see how much it’s been cooking on the section, and you can decide on how much you want that to be cooked. When the fish is done, slice them into thick pieces and serve with some mixed green salad together with the crabmeat salad.

Having snacks as appetiser for our home party

Last night we have some friends coming over for dinner, they are my uni friends, 5 adults and 3 teenagers, totally 10 of us. Originally we are thinking to have dinner outside, but I don’t want to break my Sunday cooking routine. That’s how we ended up with eating at at our place, so they can also have a taste of my cooking.

In order not to drive myself crazy, I planned to cook something that I’ve been cooking before, except one new dish from me and my husband also helps to cook this chicken wings. So, we ended up with 6 dishes, 2-way chicken wings, chicken sous vide Thai salad, prawn & avocado on toast, Thai pork ribs, grilled potatoes, and jalepanos with bacon wrap. I’m glad that they love everything, and here is the highlight of the two new dishes.

2-Way Chicken Wings, my husband did 2 version of chicken wings because some like it hot and some cannot eat spicy. For the spicy version, mix the breadcrumbs, plain flour, sesame seeds, a bit of salt and a lot of ceyanne pepper in a bowl. Dip the chicken wings in the egg wash, then dip them in the mix until the entire chicken wing is fully covered with the breadcrumbs mix. For the non-spicy version, mix soy sauce and honey in a bowl, marinate the chicken wings in the sauce. Place all chicken wings in the baking tray, and drizzle with olive oil. Grill the wings under 180C for 30 to 40 minutes, then brush honey on the honey version and sprinkle them with sesame seeds. Grill under 210C for 10 more minutes, and they will be ready for serving. 

Prawn and avocado on toast, I guess this should be good to replace prawn with tuna fish, crab meat or similar seafood as well. Cook the prawns on a pan with a bit of water, let them cool down. Cut the prawn in small cubes, place them in a bowl. Add cubed avocado, diced tomato, finely chopped spring onion, lemon juice, some mayonnaise and season it with ground paprika, salt and pepper. Mix everything well together, then serve them on a small toast. Add some ground paprika and parsley flakes as topping when you serve. 

Cooking like a Michelin Star Chef? See how this new toy can help – Sous Vide slow cook circulator

I’ve been seeing this sous vide machine in the market for quite some time, and was thinking to get one. Anova launched this product since 2013, but back then I was not that aware of the benefit of slow cooking. These day here in Hong Kong, German Pool, this local brand is promoting their Sous Vide Pro. The price is really good and even including the vacuum machine and extra vacuum bags, plus the department store was running a promotion. So, I decided to get this one instead of the Anova one.

German Pool Sous Vide

To keep the food moist and juicy, full of it’s natural flavour and nutrition, it totally makes sense to cook with this method. It requires certain technique to cook a piece of steak at the right temperature and time, but it will be hard to go wrong with this sous vide machine. You just need to follow the guide, to set the right time and right temperature, to season the steak then place it inside of the vacuum bag, and dip it into the water and just let it cook. You would not have problem if the steak is too rare or too cooked, the steak will be so moist and not chewy. I was referencing the provided recipe to do this steak, following it to make the sauce and I’ve also cooked some asparagus and potato chips on the side.

To cook the steak medium, temperature set as 58C and cook for 2 hours. If you set at 59C for 2 hours, the steak will be well done, just wondering the difference of 1C is huge! So, watch out and make sure you set it right. Once the steak start cooking, you are free to do other things, it is very convenient and you don’t have to worry if the water will spill over or if it will be overcooked. You really do not need to worry about anything! To make the sauce or any side dishes, you just have to calculate the time that you need, and then start cooking by  counting down the time. I’ve planned to cook some potato chips in the oven, and pan fry some asparagus. The sauce is with red onion, mushroom, red wine, beef stock and touch of rosemary. When the steak is done with the sous vide cooking, remove them from the plastic bag and sear them quickly with a hot pan and some butter. Then serve it with the side dish and the gravy on top. You can see the steak is medium cook and it is so tender, soft and juicy.

So, I could not hold myself, I cook another sous vide dish the following night. Well, actually I’ve done two in a night, some chicken for lunch on the following day to go with salad, as I bring my lunch to work, and a fish dish for dinner. I was trying to follow the recipe provided to make the same sauce, and I’ve add some salad and fried zucchini to make a dinner dish. The sauce is made by garlic, onion, yellow pepper and chicken stock. To sous vide cooking the cod fish is kind of quick, I mean quicker than cooking meat. It takes only 18 minutes, instead of 2 hours! But I feel the result is more significant on meat than on fish, as I feel the cod tastes more like a steam one. Anyway, still taste good and tender! I have to say, the chicken tastes really really nice!!! The chicken salad I’ve made for lunch was really soft, tender and juicy, I really love it!!!!

The day after, I did a sous vide pork chop for dinner. The pork chop is also very nice! So, the sous vide cooking seems working very well and show great result for meat especially. It is tough to cook meat, as it requires a good technique to have a good result for the level of tenderness and juiciness. With this cooking method, you just can’t go wrong! Everyone can cook just like a Star Chef, but of course you need to have a good sense on how to season it and how to put together the rest of the dish.

CNY brunch – Golden Baked Eggs

Happy Chinese New Year, today is the New Year’s Day, Kung Hei Fat Choy. We don’t have to go visit any relatives, so good to sleep in. Woke up a bit late, and let’s do a nice brunch for the two of us, something nice looking to start the Year of the Monkey.

I always want to bake eggs with the muffin tray, because they will look so nice and cute.  First of all, brush butter all around the tray inside, make sure nothing is going to get stuck there later on. Toast 2 pieces of bread, cut into 4 pieces and stuck each piece into the tray as a base, and brush some butter on each toast. Chop some ham into small pieces, place them on top of the toast, and put any kind of dip or sauce you like, for example mayonnaise, and I am using the avocado dip I’ve done last night. Then, cut the cherry tomatoes into four pieces, and place them into the tray. Finish it with an egg on top, nicely fill up the entire tray, and season each of them with salt and pepper.

Place the tray in the pre-heat oven under 180C for around 15 minutes, add some parmesan cheese on top 5 minutes prior done. When they are done, remove them slowly from the tray, and serve them on the plate or board. Garnish them with some arugula or spring onion and parmesan cheese, season them with some black pepper as well.