Sunday, July 31, 2011

Seared Pork & Ginger Dumplings with Mapo Sauce

So for a while now I've been toying around with making some chilli oil dumplings. I love that peppery warmth that comes from chilli oil that coats your tongue in a delicious heat. But i also wanted to try something a little bit new, not the stock standard chilli oil dumplings. How to take it up a notch? Add Mapo!

I was surprised how well this dish worked; i would make a very impressive plate at a one of those trendy new small plate bars. The freshness inside the dumpling (with the ginger and water chestnuts) does not get tainted by the mapo and there are two distinct flavours happening here.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Eye Fillet with Creamy Sauteed Leeks & Butter Beans

Okay, so by now, I've had a complete Jamie turnaround. At first I could not stand Jamie Oliver. The dishes i saw him cook on the television always seemed to be excessive. Things utilizing whole blobs of cheese per person and the like. It wasn't the unhealthy aspect of the food so much as, sure it looked presentable, but who would eat all that??

Since then, i've been converted. I've tried a couple of his dishes which have been fantastic, and i've revisted his early shows and built up an appreciation for his style of cooking. Though i still don't know about serving salads on chopping boards...

This beef is just to-die-for. What more can i say? Easily in the top 5 dishes i've ever cooked. If i got this in a chefs hat restaurant i would not bat an eye. It's that good, and so so so simple, so long as you understand the basics of cooking a steak:
  • resting is king. Rest your meat for 1/2 the time you took to cook it
  • Oil the meat, not the pan. If you oil the pan, it will just smoke everywhere. 
  • Season! 
  • If the steak is more than 2 inches thick, don't try to get it to medium on a griddle. Put that hunk in the oven! 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bun Thit Nuong - Grilled Pork Neck & Noodle Salad

I think if i went to Vietnam it would be hard to bring me back. The country looks so beautiful, the people are always nice, and the food is one of the most beautiful i've had. And yet, i rarely go to Vietnamese restaurants! In fact, i think i've only been to three or so Vietnamese restaurants in my life. And yet when i cook Vietnamese food, my family obsesses over it.

This dish is very similar to a beef salad i've done in past, with tweaks to the sauce and obviously the meat. I'm definitely in a pork neck craze at the moment; i can't believe i haven't used this cut of meat before! So tender and succulent yet full of pork flavour. It seems to work well for both a quick sear and a long stewing too.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Bake

Call me crass, call me unsophisticated, but don't you ever, ever say i'm not tasty! Nom.

I came across this recipe originally from a great blog with great photography, How Sweet It Is and tweaked it to suit my own tastes, and have also included a buffalo chicken sauce recipe!This pasta bake is the sinfully unholy amalgamation of macaroni cheese and buffalo wings!

There would be only one improvement to this dish and i feel almost as though i should not say it in the interest of public safety! But... if you actually made buffalo wings, plucked the meat from the bones and used THAT instead of the poached chicken i used... you may be in United States-Hyrbrid Heaven.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Chicken, Tofu & Shiitake Mushrooms with Ginger Sauce, garnished with water chestnut and macadamia

I've always been a fan of dishes like Hainanese chicken which contain the most simple, mild flavours but allow the devourer to tweak to their tastes with a variety of garnishes.

I've also been a fan of dishes which focus on creating a variety of textures and flavours.

And in this dish, i am attempting to accomplish both! This dish is all about subtle ingredients, from the whisper of ginger in the mild sauce, to the hint of garlicky heat in the stems. The chicken is mild and succulent and the mushrooms provide a hint of earthiness. But when you add the chilli sauce, or soy, it brings the flavours to an even higher level.

This dish is not so much about cooking expertise as combining lots of ingredients i love into one dish

Although i'm not normally an advocate of heating things in cling film due to possible chemical leeching, the method did work as the chicken was both succulent and flavorful. 

Beef & Pearl Barley Soup

So here i am, completing the holy trinity of pearl barley soups! I've done the chicken and the lamb shank, and now, i present, the beef and pearl barley soup!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pecan Caramel Sticky Buns

The title says it all doesn't it! Yum! Well a colleague at work demanded that i bring in a treat as she was yet to try my cooking. So after perusing ideas on the internet i thought that these sticky buns would be an easy solution, also because my mother (yes, i currently like with my parents. yikes) picked up 12 little pie tins, perfect for sticky bun making!

Little did i know the work that goes into sticky buns. If anyone has made puff pastry, croissants or similar puffy pastries before, they will know the angst involved, particularly if you're a first timer like me. But the satisfaction i felt as i pulled the amazingly puffed and soft pastries from the oven was all worth it!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Apologies for the Hiatus

Sorry for the lack of posting here in the last few months! No excuses really, just the amalgamation of a rushed work life, leaving my camara at work at the rapid depletion of natural lighting (so much for no excuses!)

Here's a photolist of what i've been up to whilst i've been in hiberation :)

Lamb Fesenjan - Persian Lamb Stew with Pomegranate & Walnuts

Pomegranate molasses. It's certainly having a little dance across the culinary world at the moment isn't it? Amongst a raft of other vinegars and preserves which seem to be de rigeur at the moment. And i'm a sucker for some fads, and pomegranate molasses is one of them!

But rather than go out and spend $20 on a pretty slender jar of the stuff, it's unbelievably easy to make at home. Pomegranate juice, lemon juice, sugar. Boil to a syrup. The end!

But then you're left over with some. And you scratch your head as to what on earth to do with it beyond a delicious salad dressing. Well! That's where the crafty Persians come into the mix. Bring on the Fesenjan!

This beautiful stew is like no other i've ever eaten. The slight acidity of the molasses reminds me of the tartness of tamarind in a thai curry, or of vinegar in a vindaloo. But it's much more delicate than either, and the bitter nuttiness of the walnuts adds another level of dimension.


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