Monthly Archives: July 2011

Nigel Slater’s Chicken Stew & Mash

This winter I’ve been cooking quite a few recipes from Nigel Slater’s “The Kitchen Diaries.”  His food, stories and presentation are warm and homely. This is just one of the recipes which I adapted a little and enjoyed very much.
After cooking for two hours, the chicken will just fall apart at the touch of your fork.  The juices are sweet and tangy from the balsamic vinegar and orange peel.

Chicken & Borlotti Bean Stew with Mash

Ingredients:
-tinned borlotti or cannellini beans
-jointed chicken, or 2 chicken marylands
-4-5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
-4 cloves garlic (whole)
-1-2 teaspoons dried herbs (italian or herbes de Provence)
-the pared rind of an orange
-3 medium leeks, thickly sliced
-Olive Oil

-mash, to serve

Method:
Combine the chicken, half the balsamic vinegar, 4 tablespoons olive oil and garlic cloves in a large mixing bowl or dish.  Scatter over the herbs, the strips of pared orange peel and season with salt and pepper.  Cover, and let marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.
Preheat oven to 200c.  Heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a frying pan (don’t use the oil from the marinade — the liquid will cause it to spit!)  Add the chicken pieces, shaking or patting away the marinade with a paper towel, and fry them until they are golden on each side.  Remove the chicken to a casserole that has a lid. (If you don’t have one, use a baking dish and cover it with aluminium foil.)  Add the beans into the pot with the chicken.
Fry the leaks over low heat in the same oil until soft.  Do not allow them to brown — leeks can become bitter when browned.  Add the garlic from the marinade, let it soften, then add the rest of the marinade (including the orange peel) to the leeks and garlic.  Add in the rest of the balsamic vinegar and about 1 litre of water.  Bring this all to a boil, season with salt and pour over the chicken in the casserole dish.  Cover the dish and put it in the oven for 2 hours.  Check half way through cooking that the chicken is still submerged, and adjust liquid level with water accordingly.  Check the seasoning, it may need more salt, more black pepper, or more balsamic vinegar.  Add these slowly to taste, careful not to over-season, but being conscious that the seasoning will enhance all of the flavours as they meld together.
Serve the stew with mashed potatoes, allowing the juices to form pools in the mash.

As a drink with this meal, I had picked up a few Rekorderlig ciders, which I had seen in Masterchef magazine months ago.  This one was a Winter Cider, with tastes of apple, cinnamon and vanilla. Beautiful.

Blueberry Sour Cream Pie

Warm and laced with cinnamon, honey and nutmeg, this pie is a delicious treat hailing from North America.

I’m not much of a baker.

Maybe it’s the technical aspects, or just getting covered in flour, but I prefer cooking savoury over sweet or baking.  But sometimes I see something too delicious to resist — and this pie which featured in the July 4 edition of Gourmet Live on my iPad caught my eye instantly.

Blueberries?  Sour cream??  Yes please.

The crust is much fussier than my mom’s recipe I’ve always made — but I decided to have a go at making this recipe, and can I say? — it paid off.  The resting time and glazing of the crust took it to a dimension my old pies had never been.  I was so wary of pre-cooking the crust as well (at least for as long as the recipe said).  25 minutes of pre-cooking??  That had ended in disaster for me before.  But again, it turned out glazed, golden and flaky.

Ingredients

For the pie crust:
1 1/8 cups flour
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
6 1/2 tbsp cold butter, cut into bits
Ice-cold water

For the pie crust glaze:
1 egg white & 2 tsp sugar whisked together into a light foam

For the custard filling:
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
Pinch of nutmeg
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups blueberries

Method

For the pie crust:
Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl, then blend in the cold butter bits (or work with your fingers) until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.  Add 3 or so tablespoons of ice-cold water, or enough to make the mixture come (gently) together into a dough.  Do not overwork it.  Shape it into a ball, wrap it in cling wrap or baking paper, and let it rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Roll the pasty dough out into a large circle on a lightly floured surface. Lift the dough circle carefully over a rolling pin and lay it into a 9 inch pie tin, draping excess over the sides.  Let the dough rest (do not yet press it into the pie tin) for 10 minutes.  Now you can press it firmly into the tin, and trim excess, leaving about an inch of overhang around the pie.  Crimp the overhanging dough to form a decorative rim and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Line the shell with baking paper then fill the bottom with uncooked rice or beans (to weight it down).  Bake the shell in the lower third of your oven at a high heat (around 200c — check your oven) for 10 minutes.  Remove the beans/rice and paper and brush the whole pastry with the egg/sugar glaze.  Reduce the heat to around 180c and bake the shell for a further 15 minutes until it is golden.

For the blueberry sour cream custard:
Toss together the sugar, salt, spices and blueberries in a large bowl.  In a small bowl beat together the eggs, sour cream, sugar and honey.  Add the custard mixture into the blueberries and fold until combined.  Pour the filling into the pie shell and bake in a slightly cooler oven (160c or so) for 1 hour (or until the centre is set– though it will be jiggly.)  Give the pie time to set and cool a little, then serve warm.

Gumshara Ramen, Haymarket

What? A ramen post on Everybody Loves Ramen??

Yes, yes you’re probably wondering whether I even love ramen.  But the truth is there’s not much good ramen around Parramatta (that I know of…if you got the scoop lemme know), and I don’t make it into the city as much as I would like.

So when the opportunity does show itself, the best place I can think of to eat a steamy bowl of ramen is Gumshara in the Eating World food court in Chinatown.
I won’t dive into to much detail — there are some great posts around.

Gumshara’s menu is pretty straightforward — pick your broth, pick some toppings if you want.  Grab your number, then some chopsticks and a spoon from the communal food-court cutlery buckets and wait. Anxiously.  For like 3-5 minutes.  After your order comes up you can add some condiments, which are complimentary and sitting on the end of the bench.  Some toasted sesame seeds and pickled ginger go nicely.

Miso Ramen 

The tonkotsu broth (which you can read about in other posts if you like) is thick with collagen — a product of boiling pork bones and marrow down for hours. Yes, I said hours.  It’s slurpy, salty and great for winter.  The noodles have a bit of bite to them (perfect) and will fatten in the hot broth if you eat it improperly (meaning if you don’t devour it in less than 10 minutes).

Tonkotsu Ramen w/ extra boiled eggs

The famous bowl I haven’t tried yet (stupid me) is the special pork spare rib ramen — they apparently make only 10 bowls a day but.

In addition — Gumshara is a cheap eat — around $10-12 a bowl (give or take for extras).  If Eating World is busy the place gets swarmed with international Uni students & Japanese hipsters.

Just for lolz — and coz it’s true.  Itadakimasssssu!!1!11!!1!!!!1!!

Gumshara Ramen
Eating World Harbour Plaza (across from Sydney Entertainment Centre)
Shop 209, 25-29 Dixon Street
Haymarket, NSW 2000

Gumshara Ramen on Urbanspoon

Wow! 95% like it on urbanspoon – dattebayo! 

Gong Bao Chicken

Well, Team Billy made it far, and we’re all so proud of just how far he made it.  So in honour of the “Dessert Queen” (LOL) I’ve decided this is a good time to post this recipe, which is a tweak of his posted recipe, and the version out of reigning Masterchef Adam Liaw’s book, Two Asian Kitchens (which I highly recommend you pick up if you love Japanese/Chinese/Malaysian foods).

I first made this recipe back some time last year, and as I said, I’ve tweaked it a little to suit my tastes.  You can do the same!  Be creative and flexible, cook what you like!  I seriously love this recipe and cook it at least a couple times per month.  Billy said it’s complicated, but I find it to be a very fast, inexpensive (I have most of the ingredients stocked in the pantry) 30 minute week-night meal.

Ingredients: serves 2
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced or thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
10 dried chillis (soak in warm water for a few minutes, then thoroughly dry)
1 tsp Szechuan peppercorn (can ommit, if you MUST)
1/2 onion (I usually use brown, accidentally bought red this time! But it adds nice colour…)
3 spring onions/scallions/green onions, cut in 2 inch pieces (optional)
A handful of roasted cashews, quickly toasted in a dry wok or fry-pan

For the marinade:
3 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
Flour (to coat chicken before frying)

For the sauce:
4 tbsp raw sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
4 tbsp Shaoxing cooking wine (or dry sherry)
1 tbsp corn starch in warm water (to use at very end)

Method:
-Coat the chicken in the marinade and pop in the fridge, covered, for at least 1 hour (if in a time crunch, forgo this time — just pop it in as long as you can.)
-Now is a good time to prepare your “mise en place” (everything in it’s place) — this means get all your ingredients chopped or prepared and set in bowls or cups ready to add.  This is crucial when stir-frying as you must move very quickly.  The whole ‘cooking’ process will only take a matter of minutes.
-Make a little chilli oil to fry the lot in by heating a few tablespoons of vegetable oil in a wok until almost smoking.  Add the chillis and peppercorns and stir-fry until the oil is fragrant — don’t allow the chillis to burn!  Remove the chillis into a bowl and set aside.
-Toss sliced garlic into the oil and stir-fry briefly.
-Toss your chicken through the flour to coat it all, then add to the hot oil and garlic.  Stir fry until crispy, using tongs or chopsticks to separate the pieces and keep them from sticking.
-When it is golden, add your sauce.  It will sizzle and de-glaze (getting all the sticky yummy bits off the wok.)
-Now add the onions, green onions & chillis and stir-fry around a little.
-Pour in a little of the cornstarch mixture just until the sauce thickens into a nice glaze.  Add it reasonably!  You don’t want the sauce to be gloppy.
-Add your toasted roasted cashews and toss through evenly.
-Remove from heat and serve with steamed rice.

BIG NOTE: be sure not to overcook a stir-fry!  Your veggies should have crunch to them still, and the dish should taste overall fresh.  The whole cooking process in the wok should take around 10 minutes (hence why you gotta be organized!)

Whole Sambal Fish w/ Lime & Spring Onions

This post is completely inspired by Eating Asia.

I have spent hours, and I mean hours, ogling at and through Robyn Eckhardt & David Hagerman’s beautiful blog, Eating Asia.  If you haven’t read it, it’s a must if you are a person who loves or in any way remotely loves food, likes or eats food for any purpose.  Their dream life in Asia has inspired and excited me so much — as I’m sure it has many others.

Just as they were moving, so was I, and when this simple, simple recipe popped up on their blog, I dove in for it the same day.  My trip to the fish monger’s is much less interesting than their’s, and I didn’t make the sambal fresh — but this fish turned out beautiful, tender and flavoursome, with all the juice of lime, fish and sambal pooled beneath the bed of greens as Robyn described.

Simple, healthy, delicious — the perfect mid week-night meal.

Ingredients: (serves 2)
Whole Fish (snapper, or whatever you like), scaled & cleaned (you can ask the monger to do this for you)
1 bunch fresh coriander
3-4 fresh spring onions
3 cloves garlic, sliced
Malaysian Sambal
2 limes, quartered

Choy Sum
1 clove garlic
Oyster Sauce

Method:
Rub the fish, inside and out, with the sambal paste, scatter over the garlic (stuff some inside too!), and squeeze the limes all over.  Stuff the lime quarters inside the fish.  Make a bed of spring onion stalks and coriander on some aluminium foil.  Place the sambal fish on the bed and wrap the foil around it, sealing it, but allowing room for it to puff with steam.

Place it in the oven, at around 160c for 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven and the size of the fish.

Briskly stir fry the garlic and choy sum in a little hot oil in a wok.  Pour in some oyster sauce to taste, and remove from the heat & on to a serving dish.

Serve fish & greens with some steamed rice.