Saturday, September 03, 2005

Decadent Afternoon

Grilled Chicken...
Baked Risotto...
Tossed Salad...
Vodka cocktails at 3pm...
Decadent Mid-day Dining...

Skrat came over to cook lunch and we ended up dishing and drinking till 5! There's something so deliciously naughty about imbibing in the afternoon and pairing that up with lots of nibbling.
Whilst snacking on ice-cream cake from Island Creamery, we talked, chopped, diced, seared, tossed and baked through most of the day.

On the menu:

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Baby Spinach Salad tossed with a dressing made from tomato & olive pesto, red (chilli) pesto, sesame seed oil, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and cracked black pepper. Throw in adorable little honey tomatoes for sweetness and cheese for bite. I used Muenster cheese here, but it didn't work so well. We agreed Parmesean or a hard, sharp cheese of the like would do much better.
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These tasty little treasures can be found at Tanglin Market Place at Tanglin Mall.

Next, a little something I dreamed up last night: Tapenade-Stuffed Chicken Rolls. Except I took more than a little culinary license with the tapenade. Instead of the usual anchovies, I decided to use veggies instead.
Sweat 1 chopped onion, 4 cloves garlic in olive oil, add chopped brown button mushrooms, 1 small tin chopped black olives, 1 jar drained capers and 1 head chopped spinach over medium heat in a saucepan till aromatic and wilted. A quick whizz in the blender yields plenty (enough for 10 chicken breasts, I'm sure!). Behold!
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No one wants to see yucky slimey raw prep pics, so we'll just gloss over them, shall we?
Grab a chicken breast (skin attached), pound it flat, spread the tapenade over the skinless side, crumble feta cheese over, roll chicken breast tightly (skin side out)and secure with wooden skewer. Repeat with as many chicken breasts for as many people as you need.
Sear in hot, hot pan to seal in juices, then place in baking dish and cover with foil that has been perforated.
Place under grill set to highest setting for 15 minutes, then remove foil and grill till skin is nicely crisped.
Grill cherry tomatoes in the pan with the chicken if you like (makes a nice tarty-sweet balance to the salty, savoury yum of the chicken).
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Serve with salad and Skrat's Baked Prawn Risotto with fresh prawns, real prawn stock and mozarella cheese crust.
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Hey Deetour chick, we had some fun indeed! I need your mum's lovely prawn stock recipe too!


I love Italian food! What do i like about it......gee where do i start. Perhaps its my innate love for carbohydrates (despite what it does to my waistline), combined with my weakness for cheese and salty food....it is a cuisine i cannot see myself ever disliking.

Since University days, i have cooked pasta to death. To me, pasta is my definition of "fast-food", simple, easy and wholesome, an "All-in-one meal". The strangest thing is, i have never tried cooking a Risotto. As i was explaining to my buddy Deetour chick, it is probably because of how the italians cook their risotto, to me its usually too rich and creamy for me to finish the entire plate, thus, i avoid risotto in general. But it does not stop me from attempting a risotto of my own. I adapted my recipe from Delia Smith. I was salivating when i first read that recipe and told myself i HAD to give it a shot!

Tiger Prawns Risotto with Prawn Stock

Ingredients:

6 tiger prawns; peeled leaving tail, de-veined
175g Arborio Rice
780g lobster bisque (i couldnt find lobster bisque, i chanced upon a jewel in Deetour chick's fridge; Home-made Prawn Stock!)
40g butter
75ml sherry
50g Gruyere cheese; i didnt have that, i substitued it with good-old Parmesan cheese, shredded
2 tbsp whipping cream
sea salt & black pepper

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees C; place baking dish in oven to warm
in a medium-sized saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, saute onions for 7-8min until soft.
Stir in rice into the buttery juices so that it gets a good coating then pour in the prawn stock and sherry and bring it to simmering point. Season with 1 tsp sea salt and ground black pepper.
Pour in whole lot into the baking dish that has been warming in the oven and return to the oven uncovered for 35min.
After 35mins, remove dish from oven and change settings to grill on the highest setting.
Taste the risotto to check on seasoning then drizzle cream over, place prawns on top and sprinkle shredded cheese over.
Place the dish under the grill for 2 mins or until cheese is brown and bubbling.
Serve immediately.

Risotto: Fresh out of the oven!!


I served it with Deetour chick's wondefully yummy Baby Spinach Salad with Tomato & Olive Pesto and Red Pesto.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Inaugural Session: Skrat's Humble Creations

As Deetour Chick puts it, at last Sunday's Dias Deliciosos's inaugural party, we had a total overflow of food contributed by about 12 people in total. The menu was extensive. As for me, I decided to endeavour at cooking a duck which I have never cooked on my own apart from observing how my mother used to prepare it. And a simple Mushroom Soup.

Braised Five-Spiced Duck served in 2 ways
a. Braised Duck served on a bed of shredded omelette and spring onion
b. Braised Duck Sushi with Unagi Sauce

Ingredients:

300g French Duck Breast
Chinese Five Spice Powder
Dark Soy
1 Cinnamon Stick
2 Star Anise
2tsp Sugar
olive oil
3 eggs; pan-fry as thin as possible and cut into strips
Spring onions; sliced very thinly and soak in water to curl the stripes
5tbsp Unagi Sauce
2 cups Sushi Rice
Sushi Rice Powder Mix

Method:

To Prepare Duck
Marinate duck breast with 2-3tbsp of Dark Soy then sprinkle some Five Spice Powder on both sides. Do not sprinkle too much five spice powder as it will become too bitter. Cling wrap and leave it in fridge overnight.
In a heated wok, add in 2-3tbsp olive oil and followed by 2 tsp of sugar.
When the sugar has melted, add in cinnamon stick and star anise and stir till its fragrant.
Add in the dark soy. Make sure you have the lid over the wok as it is going to sizzle big time.
Stir gently then add in about half a cup of water. We do not want too much sauce so that only half the duck is simmering in the sauce.
Make sure that the sugar is evenly mixed before adding the duck breast in. (meat side down)
Turn the flame right down, simmer the duck breast and slowly baste the top of the duck (the skin) so that it slowly absorbs the dark sauce and cooking the top of the meat.
There is no need to flip the duck for this recipe, the idea is to slowly baste the duck to give it a nice pink center when its being sliced.
Simmer and baste for a total of 15min on low flame.
Allow to cool before slicing duck.

To Prepare Sushi rice:
In a rice cooker, add in 2 cups of Japanese Sushi rice with 2 1/2 cups water.
When rice is ready, allow it to stand for about 10min before adding in sushi rice powder. The amount of sushi powder is up to your preference of taste. I took my mother's advice of using the Sushi Rice powder instead of liquid vinegar. It was indeed much better as its sweet and slightly sour as well.





To serve Version a:
In a small saucer, line bottom of saucer with shredded omelette. Place 2 slices of duck over shredded omelette and top it off with some sprigs of pre-soaked spring onion. Drizzle some of the sauce on the duck just before serving.




To serve Version b:
Roll Sushi rice after the rice is slightly cool.
Dip sliced duck into Unagi sauce and place it over the rolled rice.
Serve immediately.




Simplest Mushroom Soup

Ingredients:

650g mushrooms (I combined Portobello, Swiss Browns & Fresh White Button)
1 tbsp olive oil
90g butter
1 onion, chopped
3-4 bulbs of garlic
1 sprig parsley, chopped
2 tbsp Bulla cream
1/2 bottle of white wine
400ml Chicken Stock

Method:

I decided to be slightly adventurous....i grilled my Portobello mushrooms with some sea salt, pepper, olive oil till its starting to brown and sizzle. Cut into quarters.
For the rest of the mushrooms, cut into halves or quarters.
Heat a saucepan and add in olive oil.
Throw in the chopped onions and on low heat, allow onions to sweat a little. Add butter in and continue sweating the onions. Throw in the garlic and continue stirring.
Add in all the mushrooms, stir for about 5min. Season with sea salt and ground pepper. Throw in chopped parsley.
Add the wine and chicken stock.
On low fire, simmer the soup and reduce it to almost half the mixture. If you like your soup to be more "watery", then reduce your simmer time.
Using a blender, pour in entire mixtue in saucepan into blender and blend till all the mushrooms are finely blended. Soup is almost ready.
Pour soup back into saucepan. On low fire, stir in the cream. My preference is not for the soup to be too creamy or thick.
Serve in a small coffee cup or soup bowl. Add in a drop of cream on top and garnish with a sprig of parsley.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Inaugural Gastronomical Gathering!

menu du jour

whiz go the fungi

mushroom capuccino with red & green pesto-smeared lavoche

five-spice duck breast served on a bed of shredded omelet

five-spice duck sushi with unagi sauce

french-fusion chicken stew

localised version of the burrito - instead of a flour tortilla, use prata!

chefs of the previous 2 dishes

chicken bake

broiled spare ribs and garlic butter french beans

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

This Meeting is Called to Order!

This is just an appetiser to Dias Deliciosos (Delicious Days en Espanol), chopped, diced, prepped, mixed, stir-fried and served @ a Pot Luck Party hosted today the Colombian, hence our spanish name. More to come soon, when we have our first official gastronomical gathering this sunday.
Here's wishing your days always be as delicious, as ours today was!

Dias Delicioso - amuse bouche


Dias Delicioso - roast chicken & red wine


Dias Delicioso - lamb carving


Dias Delicioso - toss the salad


Dias Delicioso - salad service


Dias Delicioso - laptop salad



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