Friday, 30 January 2015

Beef with Porcini Broth

When ill, my Chinese mother would make me congee (rice porridge) and my father would make me plain pasta tossed with olive oil and parmesan.  Soup was never a sick food for me, but you know what, in my current cold-stricken state, a soup sounds delightful.  In fact, I would love to have some of this broth right now.  I consider myself quite independent, but there are times like now where I wish I just had someone to make me soup and deliver it to my bed.  I ought to just make a big batch of soup someday and keep it in the freezer for emergencies.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Best Eats This Week - Sugar Cured Prawn Omelette with Chilli Sambal

Going out for breakfast is always a treat because it is hard to justify.  Lunch and dinner are proper meals where you can claim to be short on time, a bad cook and/or lazy, but breakfast -- breakfast is where cereal, oats and toast are sufficient.  In addition, personally I'm one who wakes up hungry and needs food immediately, thus waiting a minimum of one hour and a half to get dressed, commute to a restaurant and place an order before eating anything is an unappealing prospect to me.  However, despite it all, last Sunday morning I patiently joined the steady queue outside The Modern Pantry and it was worth it all.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Roasted Sprouts & Mung Bean Salad

Equal quantities of miso paste and honey is the easiest dressing and marinade.  It's the perfect thing to perk up the boring old veg and to make your 5-a-day as good as your lasagna -- ok I may be stretching it a bit far there, but it really does make broccoli, root veg and sprouts taste fantastic. That's right, you too can love sprouts and eat it willingly. 
And if this doesn't convert you sprout-haters, Brian Turner has them battered, deep-fried and served with a "tomato tartare".  The "tartare" is passata and mayonnaise, cheeky man trying to make it sound healthier.  I mean the recipe probably reduces the nutritional value of sprouts.  It probably just gives you negative nutritional points and you're better off not eating sprouts altogether, but hey, baby steps to liking a vegetable you've always hated, right? 

Sunday, 25 January 2015

American Cornbread

In my pre-university days, my kitchen experiences were limited to Betty Crocker cupcakes and Jiffy cornbread.  You can't even call that cooking.  You pour the dry contents from the box into a bowl, mix with some eggs, water and/or milk.  Pour that into a tin and magically something edible comes out in half an hour.  I remember in middle school I had a friend who always brought her mother's brownies to school -- they were divine, just lusciously rich and moist and decadent and everything I wanted a brownie to be.  Soon afterwards, maybe like a year or two, I discovered something horrible -- that they were Betty Crocker brownies.  I felt cheated, hrribly cheated.  "My mother's brownies".  No, no, that's got to be copyright infringement, they were Betty Crocker brownies.  Then I was like ok, I can make them too.  So I started buying all these boxed mixes and soon I discovered Jiffy and the delights of American cornbread. 

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Sea Bass with Saffron Sauce and Cauliflower

Cooking at home is very different from cooking at culinary school.  At home I try to practice the art of one-pot single dimension cooking à la minute, aka stir-fries à la Maria.  Here's a confession:  I'm a lazy cook and so 4 out of 5 meals I cook for myself at home are just plain dull.  I take whatever I have, roughly chop and put it in a frying pan, season, and voila in ten minutes.  It's shameful meager student cooking.  I may add some different spices or condiments each time but that's as exciting and diverse as it gets.  Especially now that I'm in culinary school.  The only difference is that now I'm trying to eat more steamed foods instead of stir-fried because French culinary school's just a b*tch to the waistline.  Sometimes I just want to smack the butter out of the chef's hands and be like stop, look at what you're doing to me.  I feel like the school alone is sustaining a whole dairy farm with the sheer amount of butter and cream we use. 

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Best Eats This Week - The Cornish Grill/The Three Crowns (London)

Blessed are the people that have made humble and honest food trendy again.  British food is exactly that, humble and honest, and in the age of foams and edible flowers, these run-of-the-mill dishes had become rather drab in a city like London.  The Brits were never known for their cuisine, and yes, unfortunately it is still very easy to stumble upon inedible British food, but here's a compliment from an Italian -- you have excellent produce and so when your food is made well, it's sublime.

That's what The Cornwall Project is about.  It's about Matt, who's passionate about all the amazing fish, seafood, meat, and vegetables from Cornwall, and giving them to people who can cook.  Him and chef Michael Harrison have just set up residency at The 3 Crowns, showcasing the finest of Cornish products, and I had some amazing things there (you're going to have to excuse me for the photos because with the dim lighting and my iPhone and my poor photography skills, they just don't do the food justice).

Cauliflower tempura with turmeric mayonnaise
It wasn't a traditional light tempura crust -- there was barely a crust at all as it was so thin yet it was so incredibly crisp and crunchy that it was as if it were the just the naked cauliflowers themselves.  And it came with the loveliest of mayos - light and earthy from the turmeric.  It was a simple dish done well with a creative flair.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Chocolate-Covered Almonds

You know when you leave a restaurant hungry?  Yea, it doesn't happen to me very often, yet here I am, right after lunch, eating these almonds, which unfortunately, as good as they are, aren't very filling.  What I need is a sandwich, but I can't quite justify that right after spending £25 on lunch.  See, the problem is it wasn't one of those posh restaurants with tiny beautiful plates of exquisite food.  I usually am mentally and physically prepared for those meals where I know I will be fed very little.  But I went to a Vietnamese place.  I expected big sharing plates of generous curries and salads -- I wasn't mentally prepared for stingy baby-sized curries.  I just wasn't prepared and I hate being disappointed. All was delicious and fresh and spicy but... here I am, filling up on almonds.  I should probably stop eating these and opt for a piece of wholegrain toast but they're very addictive.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Rosemary Tahini Oat Cookies

Some days are reserved for easy baking.  The no-hassle, roughly-measured, mix-everything-together-and-in-the-oven baking that  almost definitely results in an edible product.  Sunday was one of those days, and out came these rosemary tahini oat cookies.
 It's all wholegrain, with just a bit of butter as most of the fat comes from the tahini so they're pretty healthy (so they can fit into your January diet).  I've been meaning to try this tahini-rosemary combination for awhile.   I saw it in a cake recipe and once I did make the cake but it all went horribly wrong -- I somehow put too much baking powder in and the whole thing tasted metallic and so I fed it to the seagulls.  Don't worry - it was still safe for them to eat, no harm was done.  Unfortunately.  I really hated those damn seagulls.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Parmesan Oatcakes

I hate dating.  I honestly just need a boyfriend to split rent with.  And to watch a movie with on weeknights.  But mainly the former.  I have an incredible immune system and I managed to avoid the flu all winter -- that was until my date two days ago.  A two-hour date that was so dry that halfway through my body went on auto-shutdown and I just started getting all these flu symptoms.  My throat was getting sore, my chest was stuffy, my head was hurting -- that's how bad the date was. 

But it's okay, with the help of some meds, I managed to pull through after two days.  I don't know how I keep ending up on these mind-numbingly numb dates.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Sun-Dried Tomato and Carrot Bread

 I cooked for my parents' New Year's Eve party, and it was an odd night that lasted forever.  It's funny how time works.  In a year where all those dinners and moments and relationships flew by, its last hours lingered on.  People had left early and it was just a couple of us in the living room, with a perceptible air of impatience, all of us chatted about ancient civilizations, checking our watches and waiting for the hands to meet at 12 o'clock.  I hate wasting time and there is nothing worse than just sitting there waiting for time to pass. 
© Design by Neat Design Corner