Oven-Roasted Drumsticks with Garlic and Rosemary

IMG_6228

If you’re hosting a dinner for say, 10 people, chicken drumsticks are pretty easy to work with. You save the trouble of roasting a whole chicken and also, you don’t get equal portions of meat per person. As mentioned on my Instagram post, here’s the recipe!

Ingredients (I have omitted the numbers. Adjust accordingly!)

  • Chicken drumsticks
  • Garlic cloves
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Lemon, sliced
  • Smoked paprika
  • Dried rosemary
  • Olive oil
  • White onions, chopped

Steps:

  1. Chicken should be at room temperature – easier to handle as it won’t be very stiff.
  2. Score the meat with a sharp knife – this allows the marinade to penetrate deeper.
  3. Marinate the chicken with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, garlic cloves, paprika and lemon slices. Keep the chickens in a large Ziploc bag if you have one, or a plastic container that is big enough. [I marinated mine for at least 3 hours.]
  4. 30 minutes before cooking, take the meat out and pre-heat your oven to “full whack”, or the maximum temperature. Place a deep glass dish into the oven to heat it up.
  5. Add oil into the glass dish, add the chopped onions, and place the chicken (skin side up) + everything else in the marinade, on top of the onions. Bring the temperature down to about 200°C and let it cook for about 30 – 40 minutes. Remember to always baste.
  6. Once the meat is almost cooked, bring the dish up towards the upper levels of your oven and allow the skin to crisp up.
  7. Serve and EAT immediately!

Note: If you have leftover gravy, toss some pasta (of your choice) in it. Or, mix some gravy with a little balsamic vinegar and drizzle it over some salad leaves e.g. rocket/arugula/radicchio etc.

 

Advertisements

Croissant [Bread] & Butter Pudding!

Yes it’s the festive season. Yes it’s nearing the end of 2017. Yes it’s Christmas!

(Well, 2 days ago it was)

I’ve always told my friends that baking wasn’t my thing, and that cooking is much more flexible as you can taste and season your food as you go along. I wasn’t a big fan of measuring ingredients e.g. 50g of butter, 200g of flour etc. Then I realized baking isn’t that tough after making this dish!

Bread and butter pudding is a pudding that is very popular in British cuisine. The concept is to layer slices of buttered bread, scattered with raisins, into an oven dish. A custard made by mixing eggs, cream, sugar and milk, normally seasoned with nutmeg as well as vanilla, is poured over the bread mixture. It is then baked and served with custard or cream.

IMG_5333

I’ve adapted my version from Nigella Lawson’s Bread & Butter Pudding Recipe. Instead of using bread, I’ve opted for croissants as these are packed with butter which will give me a crisp exterior. Oh! Serve with vanilla ice-cream!

Ingredients:
3 eggs
3 tbsp caster sugar
1 cup milk (do not use low fat)
1 cup cream
(1/2 – 1 tsp of vanilla extract)
(Nutmeg)
5 – 6 croissants
50g butter
A handful of raisins

Steps:

  1. Slice the croissants and toast them until slightly crisp. Once the croissant slices are done, tip them into a oven dish along with the raisins.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (356 F).
  3. Mix the eggs, milk, cream, sugar into a large bowl.
  4. Melt the butter over low heat and pour it into the milk mixture while whisking.
  5. Pour the mixture into the croissant-filled oven dish.
  6. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Some things to take note of:

  • Vanilla extract and ground nutmeg was not used as I did not have time to get it but these are the must-use ingredients as it really lifts the flavour of the entire pudding.
  • This recipe can be adjusted if you have more people coming for a party e.g. more croissants, eggs, cream etc.
  • Raisins can be soaked in Marsala (like what Nigella did) or rum!
  • Instead of raisins, you can use bananas.
  • Addictive

Penne Bolognese: In less than 30 minutes!

In less than 30 minutes? Pasta bolognese? Yes it’s possible! The most important step before cooking is to prepare all your ingredients – “Mise en place”, a French term – which means “everything in its place”. You won’t have to worry about not preparing your vegetables, or taking meat out of the fridge.

Yes, bolognese sauce can be done in less than 30 minutes. I would say it’s a little like Nigella Express. With the right ingredients and proper steps, you don’t have to slave over the stove for hours and hours. There are many variety of meat sauces but of course the authentic one comes straight from Italy. Italian chefs have shown the proper way and the original recipe for the bolognese sauce and I wouldn’t dare to offend them!

My recipe is catered for convenience and families that would want a quick but really delicious meal.

Ingredients:

  • 600 – 800g of minced beef
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • 2 large red onions (or yellow, whichever you prefer), finely chopped
  • 3 – 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 medium-sized carrots, grated
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin powder (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of chilli powder (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 – 3 pieces of anchovy fillets
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bottle of Prego® Traditional Pasta Sauce
  • 1 can of tinned tomatoes, reuse to add one can of freshly boiled water
  • Pasta of your choice (I used penne here. Traditionally, tagliatelle is used.)
  1. An important point to take note of when cooking minced beef, a tip I learnt from great chefs like Gordon Ramsay and Marco Pierre White, is to never put your mince in a cold pan. ALWAYS make sure your pan is really hot before adding your oil and adding the mince just before the oil starts to smoke. Also, try to use a deep-based pan for the mince.
  2. When you’ve done that, let the heat come back up and then start stirring the mince to break it up. Let all the water evaporate so that you can start searing/browning the meat.
  3. Once the meat is browned (take note of the crackling sound in the pan). Add the cumin powder, chilli powder and cayenne pepper. Season with salt and black pepper to taste and mix everything together.
  4. Add the finely chopped onions, crushed garlic, grated carrots, and continue mixing.
  5. Empty the bottle of tomato sauce as well as the tinned tomatoes, and also a can of freshly boiled water.
  6. After stirring for a couple of minutes, add the cherry tomatoes last. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
  7. By now, you should already have a pot of salted boiling water to prep your pasta. The cooking time should be approximately 2-3 minutes less than the instructions on the packet (I will explain later).
  8. Drain the pasta when done, not before saving a cup of pasta water, and pour it into the bolognese sauce. Mix well!
  9. When the pasta is cooked to your liking, al dente or more than that, serve it from the pan or in a glass dish.
  10. Garnish with sprigs of coriander leaves/cilantro and julienned chilli.

[Notes]

A deep-based pan is important as you will be handling a substantial amount of liquid as well. For this recipe I used a wok as it IS deep and quite big as well. It is important to get it really hot as you don’t want to boil the meat. You want to caramelize the meat – gives it extra flavour.

Pasta choice is entirely up to you. I chose penne because the meat sauce can get trapped inside the holes thus making every bite a pleasure!

When cooking the pasta, you must know that there will be additional cooking time in the bolognese sauce. If the instructions on the packet says 11 minutes, and you cook it for that long, your pasta will be overcooked and might turn soggy. That is why you cook it 2-3 minutes less than the original so the pasta will be just nice when the dish is completed.

It is also not a crime to use pre-made sauces from the supermarket. They add so much flavour within a short time. However, to balance it out, I add a can of tinned tomatoes, some water, and occasionally a teaspoon of sugar to make it gentler on the palate.

In this recipe, I have added 2-3 pieces of finely chopped anchovies as it gives the dish a greater depth. People might hate anchovies, but after chopping them and simmering, they just melt away, leaving no trace. At. All.

Give this a try, and I would really, really appreciate any comments! Comments about the recipes, food, or even ways to improve my blog!

 

Avocados

img_2154

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! 🙂