Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Spaghetti with Crab and Tomatoes

Dinners for us are usually are a simple affair and any pasta dish will prove to be a hit with the family.

This dish came about when MrD accidentally opened a can of crab meat instead of the tuna I told him to open to make the Potato salad.
Anyhoo, it was a good mistake as the family thoroughly enjoyed this dish although Elsa had to overcome her initial aversion to crab meat.

Spaghetti with Crab and Tomatoes

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp chilli flakes
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
10 sun-dried cherry tomatoes in oil, diced
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
300g crab meat
2 tsp capers, drained
anchovies fillet in oil, drained
1 tbsp dried basil
salt and black pepper, to taste

In a large frying pan, heat a little oil and add anchovies, garlic, capers and chilli flakes.
Add the sun-dried tomatoes and cherry tomatoes and dried basil.
Cook on medium heat until the tomatoes start to break down a little.
Add the sherry vinegar.

In the meantime, boil the pasta in a large pan of salted water follwing the pack instructions.
Mix the pasta into the frying pan along with a ladle-ful of pasta water.
Stir in the crab but not too much or it will break up.
Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Strawberry and Sparkling Elderflower Pannacotta

Strawberry and Sparkling Elderflower Pannacotta

2 sachet gelatine powder
5 oz small strawberries
350 ml elderflower sparkling juice
3 oz sugar
300 ml double cream
vanilla extract
200 ml milk

Line a small loaf tin with clingfilm. Arrange strawberries in the base of tin.

Pour the sparkling juice into a medium pan and sprinkle a sachet of the gelatin into the cold liquid.
Stir until the gelatin dissolves. Heat gently until the liquid starts to boil. Turn off heat and pour into the base of prepared loaf tin. The liquid should just cover the strawberries.
Chill until set.

Meanwhile, rinse pan out and add cream, milk, vanilla, sugar and remaining gelatin.
Heat gently, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar and gelatin.
Once dissolve, take off heat and leave it to cool.

Take the loaf tin out of the fridge and carefully pour in the cooled cream mixture. Chill overnight until set.

To serve, invert the tin onto a serving plate. Lift off tin and peel off clingfilm.
Serve pannacotta in slices.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Chicken Quesadillas

Quesadillas are essentially the Central American toasted cheese sandwich.
They make perfect snacks or a quick lunch, or in our case, a perfect tv dinner!

Chicken Quesadillas

300g shredded cooked chicken
8 ready-made corn tortillas
300 g cheese - mixture of cheddar and Gruyere, grated
A handful of spring onions, trimmed and sliced
A bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
1 sweet red chili, chopped
2 tbsp pickled Jalapenos, chopped
1/2 cup canned sweetcorn, drained

In a large bowl, mix shredded chicken with red chillies, jalapenos, spring onions, coriander and sweetcorn. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Heat a griddle pan slightly. Place one tortilla in the pan and sprinkle with the grated cheese.
Then add the chicken mixture.
Cover with the other tortilla and press down with a spatula.
The cheese will have started melting by this stage and the tortilla at the bottom should be golden brown.
When it is, carefully turn it over and then cook the other side for another couple of minutes until it is also golden and all the cheese has melted. Remove from the pan and set aside to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining quesadillas.

Cut quesadillas into wedges and serve immediately on its own or with guacamole or sour cream.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Salmon and Dill Spaghetti

Hot smoked salmon
Salmon is often smoked by one of two methods: hot-smoking or cold-smoking. Hot-smoking effectively 'cooks' the fish, because it's smoked over heat of nearly 140C for six to 12 hours depending on the size of the fish.
This means the fish loses its delicate texture, moisture and it becomes firmer yet delicate with a creamy, almost mousse-like consistency.

Salmon and Dill Spaghetti

200g slab of boneless hot smoked salmon
150g frozen petits pois
a small bunch fresh dill
1/2 cup  crème fraîche
juice and grated rind from 1 lemon 
salt and pepper


Flake the salmon into mouthful-sized chunks in a bowl. Discard the skin, if any.
In a large pan, cook the pasta according to its pack. When the pasta is almost done, throw in the peas.
Remove any tough stalks from the dill, then chop the fronds fairly roughly.
Reserve about 4 tablespoons of the pasta water, then drain the pasta and peas and return them to the pan with the reserved water.
Set over a very low heat, then toss in the salmon, dill, crème fraîche, lemon juice and rind, salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
Toss everything together lightly and heat through briefly, then serve. 


Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Risotto with Porcini Mushroom and Scallop

MrD just love his risotto.
And recently, Elsa too has joined team risotto.

We simply love Italian cuisine.
Having stayed there and tasted the true and authentic Italian food thus avoiding those made-for-tourists ristorante, I've come to appreciate the simplicity of Italian food.
As with most "simple" food, they can be quite difficult to get right. 

Risotto with Porcini Mushroom and Scallop

2 cups arborio rice
2 cups homemade vegetable stock 
1 oz dried porcini mushrooms
2 cups boiling water (to reconstitute the dried porcini)
1 cup unsweetened apple juice
12  scallops
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 onions, finely minced
salt and freshly ground black
olive oil

Pour boiling water into small bowl and add porcinis to reconstitute. Leave for about 30 minutes. Drain well but do not discard the mushroom infused liquid.

In a small pan, simmer the vegetable stock. Add the mushroom liquid to the vegetable stock. Leave it to simmer slowly in the back burner while you're doing the risotto.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy based saucepan and add the onion and garlic. Fry over a gentle heat for 2-3 minutes, until softened.
Stir in the rice and coat in the oil.
Pour in the apple juice and simmer, stirring, until the liquid has been absorbed.
Add a ladleful of the hot  stock and simmer, stirring again, until the liquid has been absorbed. Continue adding the stock in this way, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is plump and tender.

Meanwhile, using a small pan, heat olive oil and fry the plumped up porcini with a little salt and black pepper. Set aside.
Using the same pan, sear scallops for about 1 minute on each side and set aside.

When the risotto is cooked, fold in the butter and drizzle with a little more olive oil.
Top the risotto with fried porcini and scallops.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Deep-Fried Beancurd with Prawn

During our last Cooking Club, I've prepared these tempting bites as one of my offerings for the Dim Sum menu.

Deep-Fried Beancurd with Prawn

10 pcs beancurd puff (Taufoo Pok)

200g fresh prawn, peeled and deveined
a large handful spring onionns, chopped
2 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped

2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp sesame oil

Vegetable oil for deep-frying

Using a sharp knife or a pair of scissors, cut a cross over the top of one side of the beancurd.
Very carefully, turn the inside of the beancurd out and scrape the white fleshy beancurd and set aside.

Put the prawn, sesame oil, soy sauce, fish sauce and the fleshy white bit of the beancurd in a food processor.
Whiz to make a smooth paste.
Mix in the chopped chillies and spring onions into the paste and mix well.

Spoon the mixture into the awaiting beancurd receptacles. then flatten each with a damp finger.

Gently drop each piece into hot oil, allowing the skin to crisp and turn golden brown in color, about 2 minutes. Remove from the oil and transfer to a paper towel lined plate.

Serve immediately.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Masak Lemak Telur Itik

 Duck eggs are pretty much easy to come by these days.
Though, they're still not widely available, you can find them in farm shops, delis, farmer's market and the like.

Masak Lemak Telur Itik
Duck Eggs in Coconut Gravy
Recipe adapted from Dapur Tanpa Sempadan (CikMat Gebu)

6 duck eggs
500 ml coconut milk
200 ml thick coconut cream

2 turmeric leaves
2 lemongrass, bruised
3 pc dried asam gelugor
1 small knob fresh turmeric
10 thai red chillies ( more if you're feeling lucky)
4 shallots
2 garlic cloves

In a blender, processed fresh turmeric, red chillies, shallots and garlic until fine.

In a deep saucepan, combine the blended ingredients, turmeriic leaves, coconut milk, lemon grass and asam gelugor and bring to boil.
Reduce heat until it is no longer boiling.
Working with the the eggs one by one, gently crack the egg into the gravy. With a spoon, nudge the egg whites closer to the yolk.
Once the eggs are fully cooked, add in the coconut cream and season to taste.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Langoustine in Garlic and Parsley Butter

Langoustines are closely related to lobsters and are often mistaken as scampi and Dublin Bay prawns. 
They were originally found off the coast of Norway, which is how they acquired their other name, Norway lobster.

Langoustines in Garlic and Parsley Butter 

500g langoustines
100g butter
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
Heat a large non-stick frying pan and add the oil.
Place the langoustines in the pan, then season with salt and pepper and cook in the oven for four to five minutes. Once cooked, remove and rest in the pan for two to three minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter and add the garlic and flat-leaf parsley to the butter.

To serve
Place the langoustines in a serving dish and pour the garlic butter over. Serve with fresh rustic bread and garlic mayonnaise, with a finger bowl of lemon and water on the side.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Wild Alaskan Salmon with Mango Avocado Salsa

While out buying groceries, I could not resist but to get a slab of this vivid orange variety of salmon.
When fresh, they are pretty hard to come by; only available for a few short months a year.
I do prefer them over the local farmed salmon you find in abundance here; I find the farmed salmon less firm and much more fatty and not as flavoursome.

To prepare the salmon, brush lightly with vegetable oil and season the fillet with salt, pepper and a large pinch of cayenne pepper on all sides.
Preheat grill to medium-high.
Grill the salmon for 5 - 7 minutes, depending on your desired doneness.
Serve with the Mango Avocado salsa.

Mango Avocado Salsa

1 ripe mango, cut into small cubes
1 avocado, cubed
8 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 tbsp chopped red chilles
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
juice from 1 lemon
salt, to taste

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients and set aside.
Toss before serving.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Badak Berendam

... and I'm not talking about me, thank you very much!

Badak Berendam which literally translate Wallowing Hippo, is a traditional Malay tea-time treats made from glutinous rice flour filled with palm sugar-sweetened shredded coconut steamed in thick coconut cream.

To make the dough, you'll need glutinous rice flour. I'm using the dark variety.
Mix it with water, a little at a time, until you achieve a soft dough.

For the filling; melt palm sugar (if available, if not you may use dark muscovado sugar) in a small pot.
Once melted add freshly shredded coconut flesh and pandan leaves.
Cook over low flame until mixture thickened and becomes very stiff.
Leave it to cool before using.

Pinch off a small amount of dough and flatten it in the middle of your palm.
Spoon in about a teaspoon of the coconut filling.
Fold over the open end and pinch to seal.

Pour a mixture of thick coconut cream and a little rice flour and salt over the prepared dough balls and steam away.