Vegetarian Sunday Dinner – baked zucchini with ricotta, spinach and tomato sauce

I was trying to apply this rule to our diet, mainly vegetarian with only 2 to 3 meaty night in a week. Last week, we had already enough dinner with meat, so I was thinking to cook something vegetarian on Sunday. I found this recipe online, and would love to make my own version out of it. The result is very good, and it tastes great, especially if you love cheese.

First all of, get the cheese filling, the pesto sauce and the tomato sauce ready. I used a can of plum tomato, cook it with some minced garlic, and season with a touch of salt and pepper, set them aside for later use. Then, work on the pesto sauce, put basil, olive oil, garlic, pinch of salt and pine nuts in the food processors and blend them together. For the cheese filling, put chopped spinach, ricotta cheese, one egg and black pepper in a bowl and mix them together. Preheat the oven to 170C, now get a tray ready. Cut the zucchini in thin slices, remember to get the big zucchini, as big as possible for easy wrapping. Place two pieces of zucchini slices in a cross, and put the cheese filling on top of the cross section, then add some pesto sauce on top, close and wrap up the zucchini. Repeat this process until you finished up with all zucchini slices. Put a layer of tomato sauce in the tray, then lay all zucchini wraps nicely in the tray. Place the tomato sauce on top of each zucchini wrap, as well as some pesto sauce as topping. Lastly, fill the entire tray with grated parmesan cheese, as much as you like. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

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. 

Fresh vegetarian dish for Summer – tri-colour vegetable pasta in pesto sauce

Tonight I really want to cook something light and vegetarian. Well, actually I have tried to eat less meat and would love to go for more vegetable dishes, not saying that I am turning into a vegetarian or even vegan, but I don’t mind to do that one day. No matter I am going to be a vegetarian or not, for sure I think I would love to cut down the amount of meat that I am going to consume. Maybe it’s good to have meat once or twice a week, the rest of the time is just vegetarian. Therefore, instead of Green Monday, I should do Meat Monday ūüėČ

Today I decided to cook a pasta dish, and I am thinking to make again our own pesto. I did it in the past, but it is really good if we just stop buying those ready made from the bottle and just doing our own ones. More fresh and healthy for sure! Well, definitely taste much better!!! To make our own pesto, you need a lot of green herbs, you can come up with your own combination, as long as you love the taste. If you would like to follow my version, here you go! I was using basil, two kind of parsley, the continental one and the curly one, coriander and garlic, I love spicy, so I would like to add red chilies, and I also love to add some parmesan cheese.  You can omit the chili and cheese if you prefer not spicy, but I think the cheese touch is great. Then, add around 100ml olive oil and season with some salt and pepper, and some fresh squeezed lemon juice. That touch is more like a chimicurrri sauce, but I love the touch of acidity to keep it really fresh! Place everything in a food processor and blend everything together. Now you have your own pesto ready, you can store them in the fridge for a week if you could not finish it in one go.

For the pasta, this time I bought something organic, from this Italian brand Tarall’Oro. It is Torchietti, but you can also cook with fussili or penne. Cook the pasta with the cooking time according to the package, on the other hand, get the vegetable ready. Heat up the pan with olive oil, and then put the sliced garlic and chopped onion into the pan. Saut√© them until they start to turn soft, then add the chopped zucchini and yellow pepper into the pan, fry them until they turn brown. Place the halved cherry tomatoes into the pan one minute before the dish is done, fry quickly with the tomatoes, season with salt and switch off the fire I also love to add more chili but this is totally optional. You can choose other vegetable, but I think it is very nice to have three bright colours in the dish, and these three ingredients go well together.

When the pasta is ready, drain the water with the strainer and mix them well into the vegetables. Then add few tablespoons of pesto sauce into the pasta and keep mixing until you feel it’s enough. You can serve the pasta with some extra shredded cheese, and a touch more pesto. Garnish it with some parsley or basil.

I think this is really yummy and fresh for Summer time!

 

 

Sunday dinner Рlemon & 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.

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. 

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.

Salmon Patties with Vegetable Tempura and Mixed Salad

Sunday as usual is the day for cooking. Starting off the day with my husband cooking for brunch, he made us crabmeat and egg on toast, which tasted very good. Why not stay with seafood for dinner! I always wanted to make this fish cake, so let’s do it today.

Thinking between salmon or tuna, I finally stick with salmon for tonight’s dinner. I bought two cans of good quality salmon, 150 grams for each can, should be good enough to make around 6-8 patties, of course depends on how big are the patties. Getting also the rest of the ingredients ready, mixed¬†salad, potatoes, carrots, eggs, flours, parsley, cucumber or zucchini, then we can start cooking.

First of all, we should work on the potatoes and carrots for the patties. Boil a pot of hot water, and put the potatoes cubes and carrot cubes inside the pot, season with a pinch of salt. Boil them until they are done, separate them from water and let them cool down. Meanwhile, we can work on the other stuff, like chop the potatoes, carrot and cucumber or zucchini into strips, then place them in a large bowl and mix them together. Buy this Japanese tempura powder (deep fry), and mix them with water until you reach certain consistency. Some of them need to add egg and some do not, please see the package for instruction. When the cooked potatoes and carrots are finally cool down, smash them with the masher, then we can work on the salmon patties. Grab a large bowl for mixing or you can use a food processor to mix, but I do prefer to do it manually, as I do prefer a bit of texture instead of too refine. Place the salmon chucks inside the bowl, break them up by using a fork. Then, add the finely chopped parsley, and now add the mashed potatoes and carrots into the bowl, then add egg, flour, some lemon zest into the bowl, and season it with some black pepper. You really need to to see how much flour and how many eggs to add, and work out your optimum amount and portion. Make sure the patties are not too soft and too watery, make sure you add enough flour to have the right consistency. Mix them well and here you go to work on the patties, use your hand to make them nicely into a round patties around 1cm thick. Sit them on a tray with some flour for the time being, and now work on the vegetables.

Pour some tempura flour into the chopped vegetable mix, and mix them with the flour, let each single piece stick with that. Now, heat up the pan with a good amount of olive oil, grab a bunch of vegetable strips and further dip them into the tempura flour, then place them into the pan for deep fry, or pan fry could work. Fry them on both side until they turn golden brown or the way you like. Repeat this until you finish with all vegetable strips. Then, you can start to fry the salmon patties, try not to rush and keep turning them, otherwise you will mess them up by keep flipping. When everything is done, serve the salmon patties and the vegetable tempura with the salad. The dressing I did with some mustard, mayonnaise, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and white vinegar, this work for the entire dish, not just for the salad. I guess next time I will try to grill the patties in the oven and see what will be the difference, I found the patties a bit too soft and I will try to perfect them next time, but the taste was good, at least….