Avocados

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Ingredients:

3 Avocados, mashed
1-2 shallots, finely chopped
Zest of a lemon
Juice of half a lemon, can be adjusted
Olive oil to adjust the consistency
Salt
Pepper
A tinge of cayenne pepper if you like it spicy
Coriander

*This recipe isn’t too difficult because ANYONE can do it. (Note: I said do, not try. Very Yoda-ish I know.)

1. So start off by opening up the avocados using a sharp knife. Insert the knife lengthwise and cut around the seed (you’ll find that your knife is unable to slice through the entire fruit because of the seed)

2. Scoop out the meat with a spoon into a mixing bowl. Add some freshly squeezed lemon juice to prevent it from turning brown.

3. Season with black pepper and salt to taste. Add the lemon zest and a tinge of cayenne pepper.

4. Add extra virgin olive oil and start mashing.

5. Finely chop some shallots and add it to the mix. Continue mashing.

6. Coriander, in my opinion, is a MUST-ADD as it seems to bring the dish to a higher level. Finely chop the stalks, but the leaves can be coarse. Or even better, snip it into the mix with scissors!

7. Spread the mash onto toasted bread. I only had wholemeal bread, but I would really recommend a good sourdough (toast it and drizzle a little olive oil).
P.S. To make it a salad, you can skip the mashing part and add chopped cherry tomatoes!

Tuna pasta in a jiffy

The photo’s not exactly a “food post worthy” photo but this IS home cooking.

This would probably be the easiest pasta recipe I’ve ever done because the ingredients are:

  1. A can of tuna (Ayam Brand Chilli Tuna – Singapore; Sainsbury’s Mackerel in Spicy Tomato Sauce – UK). I’m quoting Sainsbury’s because I’ve used that many times.
  2. An onion (white or red, it’s up to you). If 1 onion is too much, just use half an onion.
  3. A clove of garlic (this is optional)
  4. EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
  5. Salt and pepper to taste

The amazing thing is that most of these ingredients are pretty much found in every home and the recipe is very flexible. Not every home has tuna/mackerel in a can but it is not too difficult to get one.

Try it! 🙂

 

Kimchi Chigae

I was looking back at some of my recipes and I realized that this one deserves a better photo than the previous one! So here’s an update on my version of kimchi chigae a.k.a. kimchi stew, adapted from Maangchi.

Kimchi Stew is a warm, spicy and a bubbling pot of kimchi goodness. It comes with a great combination of meat and vegetables so you can guarantee that it’s pretty healthy, although I wouldn’t recommend it eating everyday! It is absolutely normal to perspire profusely while eating this dish because that’s how it is!

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As mentioned earlier, the recipe is an adaptation from Maangchi’s recipe and it is not at all difficult to follow.

*Just a word of caution, the ingredients might be a deviation from the ‘proper’ kimchi stew.

Ingredients:

  • 500-600g of pork belly
  • 4-5 stalks of spring onions
  • 2 medium-sized onions, roughly chopped
  • 4 heap tablespoons of kimchi
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon of hot pepper paste (gochujang)
  • 2 tablespoons, or more, hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)
  • 1 packet of enoki mushrooms

How?

  • Prepare and clean the ingredients beforehand, that includes the stock.
  • For my version of kimchi stew, I used a hotpot as it maintains the temperature.
  • Arrange the ingredients in the hotpot in ANY way you like – plus points if you make it look photogenic.
  • Pour the stock in and let it bubble away slowly.

Maangchi’s recipe calls for an anchovy stock to be made but I used a pork-based one, which is also very easy to make. It’s just 500g of pork ribs into a pot of boiling water and let it boil on high heat for about 10-15 minute before bringing it down to a simmer.

Like what Marco Pierre White said, “Cooking is a philosophy..” So do not be dictated by what the recipe says. If you want to make it spicier, add more red pepper powder. Cooking this dish in a hotpot makes it easier for everyone to share and it sort of becomes like a steamboat-style kimchi stew!

Roast Chicken

 Christmas was an awesome dinner made by a few of us – aspiring young chefs in the making! No I kid. We just love cooking!

Anyway I’ll put up the recipe for my version of stuffed roast chicken that you see here.

Many many thanks to http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/tools/roast-timer for saving my life. It’s a rough guide to how long you should cook your meat, be it beef, lamb, chicken, pork or turkey.

The chicken I used here can be bought from Sainsburys (Large chicken) and it’s about 2kg (~4.4lbs)

  1. You start off by letting the chicken come to room temperature so that you don’t put a cold chicken into the oven. There’s always a danger of your chicken being undercooked in the middle if you put a cold chicken in.
  2. Once it is at room temperature, pour some olive oil and massage the chicken. Ensure the WHOLE chicken is covered with a light coating of olive oil (you do not need to empty the whole bottle).
  3. Sprinkle salt and pepper and rub it all over the chicken.
  4. Put it into a large roasting tray (preferably a deep one) and add some water until it covers the bottom of the tray. You add herbs if you want but that’s optional.
  5. For a 2kg bird, 200C/fan 180c/gas 6 for first 20 mins. Then 180C/fan 160C/gas 4 for next 1 hour 20 mins – taken from the website mentioned earlier. I tweaked the two temperatures by going slightly higher than stated.
  6. Baste the bird every 10-15 minutes to prevent it from drying out.
  7. When nearing the end, make sure the juices that run out are clear and not bloody or anything other than clear.
  8. Let the bird rest for about 5-10 minutes, but if you want to serve it hot just bring it straight to the table.

Stuffing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrpR1qH3NN4

I used the recipe from Gordon Ramsay’s Stuffed Roast Chicken with Chorizo and Beans!

The beans I used are the same as the recipe’s – cannellini beans

You can use chorizo, pancetta or you can experiment with anything else!

Baked Pasta? Mac & Cheese?

Many, if not all, recipes for Mac & Cheese include starting off with a roux which is essentially flour and butter and it is aimed at cooking off the flour to make a paste after which milk is added, followed by cheese of your choice (forgive me if I’m wrong, as this is typed on whatever I can remember). 

So this is my way of making Mac & Cheese, without having bechamel sauce or starting off with a roux. 

  
It is a flexible recipe as you can adjust different components (or even add!) to suit your liking.

I started off by frying some onions with chillis and garlic over a medium heat, until the onions are almost transparent. There are a variety of powders I added at this point: cumin, cayenne pepper, chilli and smoked paprika. At the same time, cook the pasta of your choice in salted boiling water.

Next I added diced chicken thighs along with a little salt and pepper after about 2-3 minutes (or until the chicken is cooked). The aim of seasoning here is to build it up in layers so as to avoid dumping sizable amount of salt or pepper to ruin the whole dish. 

Your pasta should be almost cooked at this point and it is where you take out about a cup of pasta water and leave it on the side. Drain the pasta, add it to the chicken and fry it for 2-3 minutes until the pasta is al dente.

Add the pasta water (it will dilute the pasta and chicken so season accordingly) and cook it for a while till you see a mild reduction in the sauce. 

Pour it into a small tray like the one I used or you could use a bigger tray if you have more pasta. 

This is where the fun part starts. Slice up two mozzarella balls and layer it on top of the pasta and grate some Parmesan cheese over it. And finally, bake it at about 200 degrees for about 10-15 minutes or until the surface turns golden-brown. 

Like I mentioned earlier, this recipe can be altered to your liking! If you like pancetta or chorizo, add it at the start to release the oils. I used fusilli here but you can use any other kinds of pasta. Change the cheese if you like to a stronger or a milder one! Have fun! 

Salsa!

I made my own salsa finally! After procrastinating, watching countless videos and eating good ones, I’ve made my own.

I don’t have a picture of the salsa in its entirety, but this will do. My midnight snack: Edam cheese, pepperoni slices, salsa, rocket leaves and ketchup added later.

The salsa I made is very easy and I trust that there are many excellent salsa recipes out there! I made it in bulk and put it in the fridge so that the flavors are allowed to develop.

6 tomatoes, diced
1 red onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, pureed (use salt and grind it against the chopping board with a knife)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Lemon
1 Chilli
Fresh Coriander, finely chopped

Optional: Tabasco

All the ingredients go into a mixing bowl, liquids next and just mix! Transfer it into a plastic container of your choice and put it in the fridge and allow the flavours to develop!

The ingredients can be varied depending on how you like it. After all, cooking is a philosophy! If 1 onion is too much, use half or even a quarter. You can use jalapeño peppers in place of chilli, lime juice in place of lemon (or different acids if you wish to experiment!)