Showing posts with label ginger. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ginger. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Red Wine Braised Veal & Honey Glazed Carrots

Twice cooked osso bucco, honey glazed baby carrots, parsley jelly and Pinot Noir jus, served with sweet carrot and ginger tea

1. Sear osso bucco (marrow removed) and caramelise diced carrot, celery and leek. Braise with beef stock, Pinot Noir (perfect for braising because of its deep and rich flavour), thyme and bay leaves for 3 hours on a medium simmer. The liquid should reduce by half. 
2. Pull veal off the bone, flake with a fork and combine with the raw marrow. Roll into a log with cling wrap and set in the fridge for a few hours (I was impatient so the log didn't hold too well, but it was still delicious). Fry the log in a pan with butter and olive oil until brown. Rest, slice and serve. Reduce braising liquid by half and add butter to make the jus.
3. Blanch a bunch of parsley leaves in salted water. Puree with a blender or whiz stick the parsley with about a quarter cup of the water. Push through a fine sieve and dissolve gelatine in the green liquid. Set in a shallow dish (I used a mini flan dish) lined with cling wrap. Cut into cubes.
4. Blanch baby carrots in water, sugar, star anise and cloves. Add ginger to the water and serve as a tea. Glaze carrots with a mixture of water, butter, honey and sugar. 

Saw a similar recipe on the food channel and loved that it used cheap and humble ingredients, treated with lots of love. I'm so glad it's getting cool enough to enjoy hearty, slow-braised meals. Not only does it warm up the house, it gives me an outlet for my OCD for hours at a time (is there anything more enjoyable than arranging small objects to make them pretty?). We enjoyed this with a great friend, a few glasses of wine (and when we ran out of red, we moved onto white) and a night of trashy movies.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Spicy Lamb Leg with Pumpkin & Couscous Salad

Lamb leg has everything I want in a piece of meat. It's tender, juicy, easy to cook, inexpensive and has an appropriate amount of fat. When you roast it, every part of it is delightful to eat. It's not fidgety like other cuts where you have to cook it in several pots and pans and you end up spending more time cleaning than eating. The fat renders off beautifully in the oven and it all melts in your mouth.

I love a roast with an intense spice rub. There's a lot of meat on that bone so you need a lot of flavour. This rub is so delicious and a great example of using spices for their flavour rather than heat. When it mixes in with the lamb juices, it's a marriage made in heaven.
A couscous salad is the perfect way to soak up those beautiful juices, not to mention it's dead simple to make. I also put in some roast pumpkin (tossed in those lovely spices) for colour and sweetness.

Spicy lamb leg

You'll need:

Lamb leg (mine was 1.5kg)
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
Birdseye chilis (to taste)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon salt

Combine turmeric, paprika, cumin, garlic, ginger, chili, olive oil and lemon juice in a mixing bowl.

Wash and pat dry lamb leg with paper towels.

Rub the spice mixture onto the lamb.

Marinade in fridge for at least an hour. The lemon juice tenderises the meat so the longer the better.

Preheat oven to 170°C.

Roast lamb on a wire rack for 1 hour 20 minutes for every 1.5kg. (I know my oven is pretty slow so I left it in for an extra 10 minutes.)

Rest for at least half an hour.

It should be beautifully pink medium-rare, so juicy and tender it will hardly hold onto your fork.

Pumpkin & couscous salad

You'll need:

500g pumpkin, diced
1 cup couscous
1 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of salt
Juice of one lemon
½ cup red onion, finely diced
½ cup raisins
Handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped

Toss the pumpkin in any left over marinade and roast with lamb for 1 hour on a baking tray in a single layer.

Combine couscous, olive oil, salt and water in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap for 10 minutes.

Separate couscous with a fork and mix in pumpkin, lemon juice, onion, raisins and mint.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sticky Spicy Prawns

When you don't have a lot of time, you need to find creative ways to cut corners. For me, I slash my television time in half by recording shows and watching them in bulk with the handy technology of the fast forward button. For example, with Jamie Oliver's "30 Minute Meals", if I skip the ads and the last 2 minutes of his family eating, and watch the rest on x2, I can watch a whole episode in 5 minutes. Sometimes I slow it down to listen to his voice, but the thing that instantly makes me press play is when he's cooking prawns.

There's something beautiful in the way Jamie Oliver takes a few prawns, rubs herbs and spices on them and throws them under the grill. Not only does it save time, which is what I'm all about these days, it makes for the most tantalising snack or entree. The best part is, no peeling of the prawn! You can eat every part of the prawn - the head's the best part because you get the gooey brain liquids (mmmm).

I tweaked his recipe based on what I had at home, and even though in my head it tastes better with paprika, this is one tasty little crunchy-shelled delight: sticky and sweet with a kick of chili.

You'll need:
8 king green prawns, raw
Zest of one lemon
Juice of half a lemon
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
½ tablespoon olive oil
½ tablespoon honey
½ tablespoon chili flakes
Handful of parsley, roughly chopped
1 spring onion, finely chopped

Preheat grill to 200°C.

Combine all of the ingredients in a baking pan. Whack it under the grill until the shells are orange and there's some browning happening on the heads and tails.

Garnish with fresh parsley.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Homemade Jam: Fig, Strawberry & Ginger

Jam is one of those things you have to keep in the house. When you think of good foods like turkey sandwiches, scones, toast, trifle, spongecakes, jam really ought to be a food group in itself. This year, I decided to make a few batches of jam and give them to family as gifts. Unlike with biscuits or cake (foods that don't make it past Christmas day), every time your loved ones stick a knife in your homemade jam, they'll think of you.

Jam is surprisingly dead easy to make. If you find good quality fruits that are more or less unripened, you really only need 3 ingredients: fruit, sugar and lemon juice. You can add spices or infuse your jam with things like citrus zest or ginger. You can even play around with consistency by putting in some ripened fruit or simmering for shorter or longer.

I decided to make two batches: fig jam, and strawberry and ginger jam. You need unripened fruit because they contain a higher level of pectin, a natural setting agent. Figs are really ripe this time of year so I used the firmest ones I could find. Somehow they made a nice, thick jam. Both jams were delicious and all up took around a day to make.

Fig jam

You'll need:
1kg figs
500g castor sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
Glass jars

Preheat the oven to 110̊C.

Place jars in the oven to sterilise. Place the lids in too if they're oven-safe. Otherwise, put them in boiling water while you make the jam.

Quarter the figs and coat well with caster sugar in a large bowl. Keeping the excess sugar, cover and place in fridge until the juices come out (at least 6 hours).

Transfer to a deep pot and place on a medium heat.

Once the sugar is melted, remove the fruit and simmer the syrup for 10-15 minutes.

Return the fruit to the pot and simmer for about half an hour, stirring occasionally.

When it is thick and jammy, take your jar out of the oven and spoon the jam in while the jar is hot. Put the lid on immediately and leave it to cool. Once cool, store in fridge.

Makes around 1 litre.

Strawberry and ginger jam

You'll need:
1kg strawberries
1kg sugar
2 tablespoons ginger, sliced lengthways
Juice of 1½ lemons
Glass jars

Preheat the oven to 110̊C.

Place jars in the oven to sterilise. Place the lids in too if they're oven-safe. Otherwise, put them in boiling water while you make the jam.

Halve or quarter them and place in a deep pot.

Place sugar and ginger in the pot.

Place the pot on a medium heat and stir until the sugar is melted.

Once melted, bring to the boil and gently simmer for about half an hour, stirring occasionally. During this time, taste it regularly and take out the ginger when it's infused to your liking.

Add lemon juice.

When it is thick and jammy, take your jar out of the oven and spoon the jam in while the jar is hot. Put the lid on immediately and leave it to cool. Once cool, store in fridge.

Makes around 2 litres.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day Vegetarian Banquet

Cooking up a feast for my mother is no usual challenge. You see, she is vegetarian and doesn't eat onion or garlic. This year, I didn't want to just bake a cake or make something bland tasting. So I took a leaf from the MasterChef book (so to speak) and looked back to my childhood.

Growing up, my mum often served tofu, eggplant and lotus root at dinner. It's funny how foods I used to take for granted I now find really interesting and fun to cook. The best part of the banquet was that I got to teach my mum new flavours for vegetarian cooking as well as it being an homage to the food of my childhood.

I decided to make an entrée of agedashi tofu with a red papaya salad, a platter of lotus root, eggplant and cucumber salad, and a soy and sweet ginger soup for dessert.

Agedashi tofu with red papaya, chili and sweet spicy Asian dressing

This was so amazing. The tofu had a light crispy outside and an almost silkened inside. The freshness of the papaya perfectly set off the sweet, spicy and salty dressing. I would've been happy if this was the only thing I'd made!

1 packet momen tofu
½ cup potato starch
Vegetable oil for frying
½ red papaya
½ carrot
1 long red chili
1 long green chili
Luke Nguyen's Vietnamese dressing (I took out the garlic)

Heat oil in a deep-fryer or a deep wok to roughly 170°C.

Cut tofu into 16 pieces and coat with potato starch (try to pack on as much as possible for extra crispiness).

Drop each piece gently into the oil down the side. Fry until lightly brown. Drain on paper towel.

Thinly slice papaya and chilis and julienne the carrot. (I julienned mine very roughly!)

Arrange tofu and salad on plate and drizzle the dressing over.

From top to bottom: caramelised lotus root, eggplant salad and cucumber salad (recipes courtesy of Kylie Kwong)

An interesting ingredient used in the first two recipes was the shao xing wine. I had never heard of it but when I smelt it, I recognised it from my grandparents' cooking. It's a very pungent rice vinegar wine, used in dishes affixed with the word "drunken". When cooked, it has a very unique sour flavour that goes incredibly well with vegetables. I did have a bit of trouble finding this in the Asian grocery store though. The bottle doesn't actually have "shao xing" written on it - it's all in Chinese! I would suggest either looking on the little shelf tags in the vinegar section or asking someone.

Eggplant is great for such intense flavours because it soaks it all up. I stir-fried my eggplant (instead of steaming) and I added chili and coriander. The end result was a piece of eggplant that was so delicious and firm enough for it to feel a bit meaty.

Caramelised lotus root

I'm not too sure how readily available fresh lotus root is in Sydney. Kylie Kwong recommends Randwick Oriental Supermarket in Kingsford for fresh Chinese ingredients, and they do stock lotus root. I remember that my mum sometimes used pre-sliced and frozen lotus root, so that's what I got from my local Asian grocery store.

Lotus root has the most interesting texture. I would liken it to water chestnut, but less smooth. The strange and robust texture goes really well with the sweetness. Because it's cooked on high heat for about 10 minutes, it creates this brown, sticky and caramelised sauce.

Cucumber salad

I love how simple and refreshing this is after sweet, sour and spicy. Even though the dressing is hot and sour, the juicy cucumber cuts through it all and balances out the flavours.

For dessert I wanted to make a tofu pudding (dao fu fa). I used to love it at yum cha. It's meant to be a really wobbly pudding (wobblier than panna cotta) in a sweet and warm ginger soup. However, my pudding didn't set in time so I served it as a rich soy milk soup with the ginger syrup swirled through. It was still really cute (especially in my new pink Marie Claire ice cream bowls!) and YUM, so I wasn't too bummed about it not being perfect. But not to worry, I'll try it again and share the recipe next time.

I hope everyone enjoyed Mother's Day!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Smoked Salmon Salad

Smoked salmon with avocado, baby spinach, red onion, feta and fresh mint, dressed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and lime juice. Garnished with fried ginger strips. I foodgasmed. Twice.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Pan-Fried Salmon

As much as I love poached salmon in restaurants with fancy creamy sauces, my favourite way to eat salmon is with fresh herbs and crispy skin. Don't be afraid to buy salmon with the skin on, even if it means having to scale it yourself. After that messy affair, you've truly earned that delicious fillet of fish.

You'll need:

Salmon, preferably tail portion
Spring onion
1 small chili
Bok choy
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
Juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger

Make deep scores along the salmon. Rub spring onion, chili and half a teaspoon each of garlic and ginger on the fillet and into the scores.

Marinate in soy sauce, fish sauce and a squeeze of lemon juice in the fridge for half an hour.

Pan-fry for about 5 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.

I like to serve this with some gently smoked bok choy and a wedge of lemon. The crunchiness and freshness of the bok choy goes beautifully with the tender and salty flakes of the salmon.