Saturday, October 11, 2014

Chicken chop & Rosti

Being a SAHM for couple of months, it can be quite bored at times. I didn't fill my day with activities other than preparing lunch, the occasional baking, fetching my boy from school and coaching on his school work. When I was working, I'd imagined that it would be super shiok to stay at home. Not that I'm complaining, it's indeed relaxing and definitely feel good to be away from the work and office stress.

The best part of course is the precious time I'm spending with my boy who is growing up by the day. I'm happy that I've made up for the lost time. I've also made some efforts to catch up with my friends and colleagues whom we had little time to chit chat in the past. The downside of not working is a super relaxed mind (almost inactive), and I do miss the times where the mind is constantly being challenged. Oh ya, on this note, I had a nightmare the other day where I suffered from dementia, imagine how scary it is!!

Anyway, here's another lunch - Chicken chop and Rosti - we had this week.

(serves 4-5 persons as sides)

Ingredients/ Method: 
4 potatoes, peeled
1/ 4 yellow onion, diced (optional)
1 tsp salt
2tbsp corn starch
  1. Grate the potatoes coarsely into a big bowl. 
  2. Squeeze out as much juice as possible from the potatoes. As an additional step, I use kitchen towels to squeeze out the juice the 2nd time. 
  3. Season the grated potatoes with salt. 
  4. Add corn starch and coat evenly. 
  5. Heat up pan with about 2 - 3 tbsp oil. Using hand to compact the grated potatoes into ball and flatten it. (There's still quite a lot of juice and I squeeze them out again before forming ball.)
  6. Place the flatten potatoes on the pan gently. Using spatula, lightly press down the potatoes rosti and pan fried until golden brown on both sides. 
  7. Serve immediately. 

Chicken chop 
(serves 3)

Ingredients/ Method: 
500g chicken thighs
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed with skin on
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp white pepper
  1. Mix all seasonings and marinate the chicken thighs overnight. 
  2. In a pan with about 1 tbsp oil on medium-high, slightly shake off the marinate from the chicken and pan fried on skin side first for about 1 min. Turn to the other side for another minute to lock the juices. (*Keep the marinate and garlic to prepare simple mushroom sauce.) 
  3. Continue cooking on medium-low heat until fully cooked.  
Mushroom sauce 
(serves 3)

Ingredients/ Method: 
3 tbsp minced shiitake mushroom stems
100g cooking cream
  1. Using 1 tbsp of the remaining oil from cooking the chicken and the marinate*, saute the garlic (also from the marinate) until fragrant. Remove the garlic. 
  2. Next, saute the mushroom till fragrant. Add cooking cream (add some water if dry up too fast) until mixture boils. 
  3. To serve, drizzle over the chicken chop. 
Note: The mushroom stems were left-over from my earlier cooking. You can use whole mushroom as well.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Chocolate fudge yellow cake

This was the Chocolate fudge yellow cake which we had for our Saturday dinner. But because we were so full after our dinner, my lil boy decided to skip it, and T and me shared a slice.
I had baked this cake only because there were some egg yolks left-over, and it's quite an eye-sore to see the egg yolks sitting in the fridge. It will be a waste to throw them away either. Yes, this is a pure egg yolk cake!
As my cake doomed quite a fair bit, I was eating the "scraps" after trimming the cake. Comparing, I actually like the cake better on its own, without the frosting. It tasted like good ol' butter cake! T likes the chocolate frostings, and wished I had slabbed more (and more)! Yumz

Yellow Butter Cake
(Recipe adapted from Joy of Baking, but size reduced to 6" round cake)

Ingredients/ Method: 
150g cake flour, sifted
1 3/4tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt (I omit)
85g unsalted butter, room temperature (I used salted butter)
132.5g granulated white sugar (I reduced to 120g)
55g egg yolks, about 3 large egg yolk
120ml milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

  1. In a bowl, sift or whisk flour with baking powder and salt.
  2. Using electric mixer, beat the butter until soft and creamy (about 1 -2 mins).
  3. Gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 3-5 mins).
  4. Add egg yolks in 2 batches, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as need.
  5. Add vanilla extract and beat until combined.
  6. With mixer on low speed, add 1/3 flour to batter, followed by 1/2 milk. Then 1/3 flour, remaining milk, and lastly remaining flour. Mix well with each addition.
  7. Transfer batter to lined cake pan.
  8. Bake in pre-heated oven at 180deg C for 35 - 40 mins, or until skewer inserted in centre of cake comes out clean.
  9. Place the cake on a wire rack to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Then invert the cakes onto a greased rack.
  10. Cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Frosting
(Recipe adapted from Kitchen Corner, quantity halved for 6" round cake)

Ingredients/ Method: 
37.5g cocoa powder
93.5ml water
150ml evaporated milk (I used whipping cream)
75g sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 egg yolks
45g corn flour
3/4 tsp instant coffee
45g butter

  1. Mix everything in a double boiler except butter and keep on stirring with a hand whisk until the mixture thickens.
  2. Lastly add in the butter until a smooth  and spreadable consistency.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Our Saturday dinner

It's has been ages that I've prepared a full course dinner as we would usually dine out on Saturdays. The feeling of eating at home, just the 3 of us, home-cooked meal, is really warm and good. If you have not been dining together with your family at home, I urge you to go ahead and do it (immediately)!

Actually just before getting the dinner ready, I was quite pissed with the boys as they seem to take ages (couple of hours) to help me get a loaf of french loaf and orange juice. By the time they got back home, it was almost half-past-7 and the mood of cooking dinner was gone. Anyway I still proceed grudgingly. Thankfully I did it, when we sat down for dinner, my fumes were gone and was feeling satisfied with the dinner, and feeling good to dine together as a family.

Our 4-course dinner includes garlic bread, creamy pumpkin soup, pan fried salmon with caramelized apples, chocolate fudge yellow cake (recipe to be posted later), and of course accompanying sparkling moscato and orange juice (for the lil boy).
Garlic Bread
(serve 4 slices)

Ingredients/ Method:
French loaf or baguette (store-bought)
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
40g salted butter
2 tsp dried parsley

  1. Mix finely minced garlic and dried parsley to butter. 
  2. Slice french loaf and spread garlic-butter generously. 
  3. Bake in pre-heated oven at 150 deg C for 7-10 mins, or until golden brown. 

Creamy Pumpkin Soup
(for 3 servings)

Ingredients/ Method:
200g pumpkin puree
20g yellow onion, chopped
white salt n pepper to taste
1/4 cup cream
1/4 cup chicken stock + 1/3 cup water
some black pepper and dried parsley, to garnish

  1. In a small pot, add olive oil and saute yellow onion till translucent. 
  2. Add in pumpkin puree and continue stirring till mixture starts to boil. Sprinkle salt and white pepper to taste. Stir to mix well.
  3. Add in cream, chicken stock and water and continuing stirring till mixture boil. Remove from heat. 
  4. Using a handheld blender, blend the pumpkin soup till smooth. 
  5. Sprinkle some black pepper and parsley before serving. 

Pan Fried Salmon with Caramelised Apples
(for 3 servings)

Ingredients/ Method: 
300g salmon, sliced into 6 portions (length-wise)
salt and black pepper, to taste
1/2 tbsp butter

1 apple, peeled and cored, thinly sliced (about 3mm)
10g raisins, soaked and drained
slightly less than 1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup orange juice

  1. In a pan, add butter and pan fried salmon on medium-high heat. Sprinkle some salt and black pepper to taste. Continue pan-fried till golden brown and and looks crispy. Set aside. 
  2. In the same pan with remaining oil, cook apple and raisins till slightly soft. Stir occasionally. 
  3. Add nutmeg and toss apple and raisins evenly. Continue to cook for another 2-3 mins. 
  4. Add orange juice and let it simmer on low heat until juice reduced to slightly less than 3 tbsp. Occasionally stir to avoid apple & raisins getting burnt. 
  5. To assemble, scoop caramelised apple-raisins into 3 equal portions on serving plate. Followed by salmon. Drizzle remaining caramelised sauce over the salmon. 
  6. Ready to serve. 

This post is linked to the event Little Thumbs Up (Oct 2014 Event: PUMPKIN) organised by Zoe (Bake for Happy Kids) and Mui Mui (My Little Favourite DIY) and hosted by Eileen (Eileen's Diary).

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Salmon, pumpkin & cheese mini pies

Since I've been cooking lunches during most of the weekdays, my pathetic knowledge of cooking is really being put to test. Without letting my boy getting bored with my home-cooked lunches, and myself cooking the same old thing, I will try to prepare different dishes for the little one. Luckily, there are many generous bloggers sharing their interesting recipes, so it is not a very difficult feat. The only tough part is choosing which one to cook/ prepare first.
Before bake
Here's another salmon recipe, and using mini-pies recipe which I bookmarked from Domestic Goddess Wannabe. I've also added some pumpkin puree as I like to incorporate vegetables to make our meal more wholesome and healthier. It turned out really easy and delicious. We had it for our lunch, and the next day, the boys re-heated them as their breakfast!
I'm copying the recipe here, with some modifications, for ready reference.

Salmon, Egg and Cheese Mini-Pies
(makes 4 ramekins)
(Recipe from Domestic Goddess Wannabe, with modifications)

Ingredients/ Method:
150g salmon
1/4 yellow onion, diced
3 tbsp pumpkin puree
1 egg, boiled and chopped
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar/mozzarella
Salt and pepper to taste
Black pepper to sprinkle
  1. Pan-fried salmon. Roughly mash them using fork. Set aside.
  2. In a pan, saute onions for 2-3 minutes in extra-virgin olive oil.
  3. Add salmon, salt and pepper. Stir to mix.
  4. Add pumpkin puree, stir to mix. Transfer into a bowl to cool.
  5. Greased ramekins with vegetable oil.
  6. Add a scant tablespoonful of batter, followed by 2 tablespoons of filling and 1-2 tablespoons of Cheddar/mozzarella. Top with another tablespoon of batter.
  7. Sprinkle with black pepper.
  8. Bake at 180C for 30 minutes, or until the tops of the pies have turned golden brown.
  9. Cool completely before removing from muffin pan and storing in fridge (2-3 days) or freezer (up to 3 months).
For the Batter using Ready-Made Bisquick Mix:
1/4 cup Bisquick mix* (pls refer below for homemade bisquick mix)
1/4 cup milk - this can be whole milk or low-fat milk
1 egg
  1. Whisk Bisquick mix, milk and eggs in a bowl until combined.
Homemade Bisquick Mix:
3 cups plain flour, sifted
1/2 tablespoons baking powder, sifted
56.7g cold butter or shortening
  1. Place flour, baking powder and butter in a mixing bowl. 
  2. Use a pastry cutter (or food processor) to cut in the cold butter until evenly incorporated. (I used rubbing-in method.) 
  3. Keep in refrigerator for up to 4 months.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Salmon with mushroom ragout

I like to cook salmon because it's the easiest fish that I know how to prepare, and one of the fishes where there are not many bones. I also like them to be fatty & oily, the goodness of salmon, as these gives us the vitamins A and D, and they are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
To buy salmon in small pieces is actually very expensive, I was paying more than $16 for about 200g salmon the other day. So when I saw the supermarket having promotion for whole salmon, I almost grab it immediately. Imagine I paid about $35 but I have the whole fish, and I get to share with my aunt and feed the brood. My aunt agreed that we will buy and share whole salmon the next time!

So, here's one of few salmon dishes that I'm going to prepare.

Salmon with mushroom ragout 
(serves 3)

A) 3 pieces of salmon
salt and black pepper to taste

B) 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp mayonaise
dash of black pepper
dash of dried parsley

C) 15 shiitake mushrooms, chopped into big chunks (diced the mushroom stems - very small cubes)
white beech mushrooms

D) 1 yellow onion, sliced in rings

  1. In a pot of boiling water with salt, boil potatoes for about 5-10 mins or till potatoes is soft. Drained potatoes and in a bowl, mash them using fork. 
  2. Add mayonnaise, black pepper and dried parsley to mashed potatoes. Stir to mix evenly. Set aside. 
  3. In a pan, add 2 tsp olive oil and fry broccoli. Add salt to taste. Add 2 tbsp water and let it simmer till almost reduced. Set aside. 
  4. Saute yellow onion till become translucent. Set aside. 
  5. In a pan with 1 tbsp olive oil, medium-low heat, fry the diced mushroom stems for about 2 mins before adding the big chunks mushrooms, followed by beech mushrooms. Fry till fragrant, add salt and black pepper to taste, about 5-7 mins. Add 1 tbsp water and let it simmer for about 1-2 mins. Set aside. 
  6. In a non-stick pan with 2 tbsp olive oil, pan fried salmon and sprinkle salt and black pepper to taste. 
  7. To serve, scoop dollop of mashed potatoes on plate, add mushrooms, followed by salmon. Put broccoli and onions at the side. Sprinkle some black pepper and dried parsley on the salmon.