Archive for the Recipes Category

Going Back To My Roots

Posted in Asian Cooking, Recipes with tags , on May 18, 2010 by thepseudoepicurean

I’m currently a little obsessed about Asian cooking at the moment, partly because I miss local Singaporean / Malaysian fare, and the other part is intent on fulfilling my “good Asian wife” duty and feed the husband well. More often than not, the husband ends up cooking for me these days because of extremely gruelling days in the office culminating in a can’t-be-arsed-to-cook mood by the time I get home. And so on days when I actually leave the office feeling partly alive, I try to make up for the times when my domestication was absent.

I’ve tried my hand at a number of dishes, namely:

1. Wat dan hor (stir-fried rice noodles with egg gravy)
2. Tomato prawns, inspired by my aunt who makes a kick-ass version. I couldn’t remember the exact ingredients she used so I just followed my instincts and voila! Tasted pretty good!
3. Tofu-wrapped chicken nuggets

Wat Dan Hor (stir-fried rice noodles with egg gravy), recipe adapted from Lily’s Wai Sek Hong.

Wat Dan Hor (stir-fried rice noodles with egg gravy)

Ingredients

Noodles:

  1. 300g fresh rice noodles, preferably thick-cut
  2. 3-4T oil
  3. 1T light soy sauce (or more to taste)
  4. 1T dark soy sauce (or more to taste)

Gravy:

  1. 2 chicken thigh fillets, sliced into finger-sized pieces
  2. 100g prawns, shelled and deveined
  3. 1 small calamari, cut into rings
  4. 1 bunch choy sum, cut into 3 inch sticks
  5. 500ml chicken stock
  6. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  7. 2 T cornstarch mixed with 1/2 cup water
  8. Dash of light soy sauce, to taste
  9. 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  10. Dash of pepper, to taste
  11. Pickled green chilli (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a wok
  2. Add in noodles and both soy sauces and stir fry till slightly charred. Add more soy if you like. Set aside.
  3. Clean the wok.
  4. Heat more oil in the wok
  5. Fry the garlic till fragrant, then add the chicken and prawns and continue to toss until almost cooked.
  6. At this point, add in the calamari and stir fry for 30 seconds, then add the soy sauce and chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  7. Now add the choy sum and stir in half the corn starch mixture (note: you may not need all of the corn starch mixture) and bring to a boil again. If the mixture is not thick enough, add more of the corn starch mixture until the desired thickness is achieved.
  8. Turn off the heat and drizzle the lightly beaten eggs over the sauce. Let sit for a minute before stirring the egg mixture through the gravy.
  9. Dish up noodles into a wide-mouthed bowl and pour a generous amount of the gravy over the noodles.
  10. Serve with pickled green chilli for added effect!

Next up, the recipe for my 6th aunt’s tomato prawns. Mmm…

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I Feel Like Chicken Tonight

Posted in Recipes with tags , on November 16, 2009 by thepseudoepicurean

Made a roast buttermilk chicken tonight for dinner and it was absolutely divine. I’d thrown everything into a container, buttermilk, chicken, seasoning and spices and all the night before, left it to marinate overnight and stuck it into the oven for just 30 minutes when we got home from work.

The result was beautiful crisp and moist chicken drumsticks for our grumbling tums. Awesome!

The Pseudo Epicurean on Austerity Drive

Posted in Asian Cooking, Cooking, Recipes with tags , , on February 26, 2009 by thepseudoepicurean

The Jman and I are on austerity drive! Given the dismal economic situation, we’ve decided to tighten the belt and start eating home a lot more. This is good news for me because I have lots more reason to be in the kitchen, which I am totally enjoying. As you may have noticed the increased activity on this blog, I have been cooking a lot more, not just dinners but lunches as well (I generally avoid eating the same thing for lunch and dinner so I usually cook another different meal for lunch).

Chicken & Corn Cakes

I had some chicken breast sitting in the freezer and was wondering what to do with it. Stir-fry? Curry? Pasta? Salad? I was kind of bored of the usual renditions of chicken dishes and so I decided I’d try something more adventurous this time. I’d made chicken cakes before with some leftover minced chicken before, so I thought I’d make some with the chicken breast. Besides, I could store the uncooked patties in the freezer and save any leftovers for another meal.

The chicken cakes were easy as. It barely took me 30 minutes from start to finish to make them and they were so incredibly delicious (I couldn’t resist frying one up for myself – all in the name of “taste-testing” – before these gems went into the freezer). They are also very, very healthy, you wouldn’t believe it.

Putting it all together

Putting it all together

The final product - golden cakes full of chickeny goodness!

The final product - golden cakes full of chickeny goodness!

Ingredients (makes approximately 8 mini cakes)

  • 1 large chicken breast – diced and put into a processor to mince
  • 1 stalk spring onion – sliced thinly (or chunky if you prefer)
  • 10 French beans – diced
  • 3 teaspoons of frozen or tinned corn (not the creamed type)
  • 1 large pinch of Maldon salt flakes
  • A good dose of dried chilli flakes (depending on how spicy you like your food)
  • A swig of Thai fish sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • Chopped coriander (I didn’t have this so I omitted it but I think this would really give the chicken cakes an edge)

Method

  1. Mix everything together with a fork.
  2. Shape into mini discs and fry for about 3-4 minutes on each side until golden.
  3. You could also shape them into little balls and put them in soup (chicken or vegetable broth – they make for fabulous warmers!)
  4. Serve with Linghams sweet chilli sauce

No oil was used in making the cakes, and since I used a non-stick pan with only a spritz of oil spray, there was very, very, very little oil in these babies making them INCREDIBLY low-cal.

Beef Curry

The other thing I made last night was beef curry. There was a packet of organic beef stir-fry on offer at Safeway last night going at half price, and anyone who knows me would also know that I am a sucker for organic meats. So into my shopping basket it went and beef curry was in order!

Beef curry

Beef curry

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 300g beef, cut into strips
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1 sprig curry leaves (not necessary but it makes your curry wonderfully fragrant)
  • 2 tablespoons curry paste (I used Patak’s vindaloo – the Jman’s mom, a fantastic cook whom I look up to, swears by Vindaloo. So if it’s good enough for her, it’s good enough for me!)
  • 1/2 red capsicum, julienned
  • 1/2 small aubergine, julienned
  • 1 ripe tomato, cut into wedges
  • Coriander to garnish (again I didn’t have coriander so I left it out but it was still very tasty!)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water

Method

  1. (This step is not necessary but I did it anyway because I like my aubergines extra soft and extra mushy) – Grill the aubergines in a pan until browned. Set aside on a plate until ready for use in the curry
  2. Heat oil in a pan. Saute the onions until fragrant. Add the curry leaves and continue to stir-fry for another minute.
  3. Add in the curry paste, then fry for another minute or until the paste has dried up a little, then add in the capsicums and the beef, and after a while, the aubergines.
  4. Keep tossing the ingredients about in the pan so that they cook evenly.
  5. Add in the water and tomatoes after a minute and allow the curry to simmer for another minute or so.
  6. Voila! Beef curry!

Mean Mexican Minestrone

Posted in Cooking, Recipes with tags , on February 22, 2009 by thepseudoepicurean

That’s just a fancy way of saying “minestrone with paprika”.

After all that greasy food I had yesterday (Maccas for breakfast; Smith’s sweet chilli thins for lunch; awesome Chinese food at Springvale), I was craving some clean, wholesome meals today. So off I went to the supermarket and picked up a basket full of vegetables. I didn’t really know what I was going to cook; all I knew was that I wanted something very tasty, and vegetable soup seemed to fit the bill.

I got a tin of organic beans, organic corn, carrots, a yellow capsicum (I was attracted to the colour more than anything else). I had some leftover celery, mushrooms and onions. I also picked up a tin of tomato paste.

In went everything into the pot, blink your eyes, and you get some loooovely minestrone. At the last minute, I sprinkled a dash of lovely smoked paprika into the brew and boy, did that add a whole new dimension to the soup! It was tangy, sour, salty, smokey…mmm. I don’t think the Italians would be very happy with me though.

Mean Mexican Minestrone (serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 a 400g can of organic beans (I used a 4-bean mix)
  • 100g organic corn
  • 1/2 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stick, diced
  • 1/2 medium-sized red onion, diced
  • 2 large portobello mushroom, diced
  • 1 baby zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 yellow capsicum, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, bruised
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 a small tin of tomato paste (or to taste)
  • Salt + black pepper to taste
  • A dash of red wine vinegar (to taste, if you don’t find it tangy enough – I like my really tangy)
  • A dash of Spanish smoked paprika

Method

  1. Heat oil in a pot.
  2. Toss in the onions and garlic, fry till onion is slightly browned and fragrant.
  3. Add in the celery and carrots, fry for 1 minute.
  4. Then add in mushrooms and capsicum, fry for another minute.
  5. Add the tomato paste and stir until all the vegetables are evenly coated.
  6. Add in 3L of water and bring to a boil.
  7. At this stage, add in the zucchini and corn.
  8. Season to taste.

Bon appétit

Beef & Burgundy

Posted in Cooking, Dinner Parties, Recipes with tags , on February 18, 2009 by thepseudoepicurean

Wow, it’s been a good 2 months since I last posted an entry. Life has been hectic to say the least, and somewhere in between wedding errands and housekeeping, there’s this thing called work.

Kitchen activity hasn’t ceased though. Just two days ago, we invited some friends to our humble abode for a good, hearty beef and burgundy stew. I’d found some cheap cuts at Safeway and decided to make a stew. And since stew always calls for company, we had the usual suspects over at our place for dinner again and we had a good time.

Here’s my recipe (unfortunately no photos were taken):

Beef & Burgundy (serves approximately 8 hungry people)

Ingredients:

  • 1.5kg of beef (I used a mixture of osso bucco and gravy beef)
  • 2 onions – cut into 8
  • 1 whole bulb of garlic + 2 cloves bruised
  • 3 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 stalks of celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 5 portobellos, quartered
  • 1 bottle of cheap red wine (I used CabSauv, $5 from Safeway)
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs of dried rosemary (you can use fresh)

Method

  1. Saute onions and the 2 bruised cloves of garlic with some olive oil.
  2. Add in carrots and celery, toss for a while and then add in the portobellos
  3. Layer the meat on top of the vegetables.
  4. Add in the whole bottle of red wine.
  5. Add the herbs.
  6. Bring to a rolling boil for 15 minutes, then turn down the heat and let it simmer for 2 hours or until tender.
  7. Add salt and freshly-cracked black pepper to taste.
  8. You can thicken the stew with a roux or have it thin and soupy.
  9. Enjoy with a bottle of wine or a beer!

Truffle Love

Posted in Chocolate, Recipes with tags , , on November 19, 2008 by thepseudoepicurean

We realised it was B’s birthday 2 days ago, thanks to my wonderful Facebook reminder. After cracking our heads as to what present to get her (and she pretty much has everything; what she wants and doesn’t have, we probably can’t afford!), we decided to make her some lovely home-made chocolate truffles.

We flipped a couple of recipe books (Gordon Ramsay, Vue de Monde, etc) but found the Alton Brown recipe from Food Network the simplest and least fussy of all.

We heated some double cream, melted some butter, and poured the boiling fat over a bowl of Monsieur Truffe’s 70% cocoa chips. Stirred and cooled it over a bowl of ice, and there we had our ganache! It was absolutely easy peasy and such a delight to make!

A whole bowl of ooooozey chocolatey goodness!

Ganache

Ganache

We also had 3 types of coatings – the classic Belgian (couverture chocolate coating dusted with cocoa powder), blitzed pistachios, and lastly some more Monsieur Truffe cocoa chips that we massacred in the blender. My favourite was the classic Belgian truffle, although I enjoyed all 3.

Pistachio Truffles

Pistachio Truffles

Classic Belgian truffles

Classic Belgian truffles

Packed the gems in a spanking new Decor container, tied it up with a ribbon, and voila!

Birthday Box

Happy Birthday B!

And now let’s just hope she enjoys the truffles. They were made with love!

How To Be A Domestic Birthday Baby

Posted in Cooking, Life, Recipes with tags , , , , on September 1, 2008 by thepseudoepicurean

It’s not entirely by choice, really, that I received 3 cookbooks (2 of which were Nigella’s, chosen by me – 1 from the Jman and another from my mother – and the other a Bill Granger one) for my birthday this year, as well as a lovely stark white pestle and mortar from Maxwell & Williams.

I’m not complaning though. I’ve been going through a cookbook frenzy at the moment, poring over every recipe when deciding what to cook for dinner. Thanks to Sarah, I was introduced to a whole new world of Nigella and have been fascinated by her recipe books ever since I picked up a copy to browse at Borders some months before. Can’t say I love her videos though – it’s a little too sultry for a cooking show.

So far, I’d made orange breakfast muffins and granola. I’m a little crazy about granola/muesli at the moment. I suspect it’s got something to do with the weather lightening up these days. Imagine waking up to glorious sunshine on a weekend – it makes me want to do away with warm breakfasts and start the day with something refreshing, and nothing beats cold milk on crunchy granola and fresh strawberries instead.

I made the granola last night, in part an attempt to finish off the oats that have been sitting in my cupboard untouched the last 5 months. Just like how you make lemonade when life throws you lemons, you make granola when you’ve got an oversupply of oats awaiting their expiry date. Nigella’s “Andy’s Fairfield Granola” recipe was perfect. I bought some almonds and sunflower seeds, then made do with whatever ingredients I had in the pantry. I didn’t have brown sugar so I substituted it with raw caster sugar; I didn’t have rice malt syrup so I used maple instead. I also cut down the sugar and omitted the oil in a bid to shed some unwanted pounds. After all, they say it goes downhill once you’ve crossed your mid-twenties mark, and that’s exactly where I’ll be after today.

It’s been a lovely birthday week so far. I’ve got my cookbooks for company, and a tonne of recipes to keep myself busy for the next year! It’s a pretty good start I must say. As for now, let’s bring on the par-tay!