Monday, August 29, 2016

Roast lemongrass and turmeric chicken

When I first found out that Diana Henry is going to have a new cookbook "A Bird in the Hand" and it will be all on chicken, I was delighted!!


½-inch piece fresh turmeric I used 2 tsp turmeric powder 
lemongrass stalks
red chillies, chopped
3  ounces  galangal or ginger root, peeled and chopped I prefer galangal for the flavour
1  teaspoon  salt
¼  cup  rice vinegar I used about 2-3 tbsp rice vinegar
2  tbsp  vegetable oil
1½  tsp  cracked black peppercorns
limes, halved
small bunch of thai basil (or mint)
½  cup  chicken stock (optional) Of this portion, 3/4 I used chicken stock and 1/4 I used water.

The day before, peel the turmeric and coarsely chop it (best to wear disposable gloves; that yellow color stains everything). Remove the coarse outer layers of the lemongrass and trim the top and base. Chop the rest—the softer part of the lemongrass—as finely as you can. Combine the turmeric and lemongrass with the chiles, the galangal, and salt. Blend in a food processor or blender with the vinegar and oil and add the cracked pepper.

Wash the chicken to remove all the innards, pat dry the chicken. If for some reason you feel the chicken needs not be washed, by all means. 

Make slashes in the chicken on its breasts and legs with a small sharp knife. Wearing gloves, rub the paste all over the chicken, pushing it into the slashes and inside the bird, too. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and marinate the chicken overnight in the fridge.

Bring it to room temperature before cooking. Truss the bird, if you like, since it does make it look neat.

The next day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Stuff the cavity with 3 lime halves and the Thai basil (or mint), squeezing the remaining lime half over the bird. Roast in the oven for 1¼ hours. Three-quarters of the way through the cooking time, add the stock or the same amount of water to the pan, scraping the sediment off the bottom to mix in with the liquid.

Serve the chicken with the juices from the pan.

If you want to know our take on this, Mr G gave it a 9/10 and that he will definitely eat this again anytime. For me, I will definitely eat this again too. The flavours gel very well together as a whole. It makes you want to eat the chicken with your fingers for that rustic feel. We also had this chicken with roasted cauliflower from Yotam Ottolenghi. See below :)

I'm linking this post up with Cookbook Countdown #8 organized by Joyce of kitchenflavours and Emily of Emilycookingforay.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Cider-Dijon Pork Chops with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples

It has been a while since I last cooked with Curtis Stone. And I'm trying to get rid of the stuff in the fridge/freezer to make way for new/fresh food. I found out that I had a packet of pork chops and it seems like it is pretty easy to make for dinner. So I googled and turns out that Curtis has this nice recipe with pork chops. Bingo!! I'll make that then.
I went to the local market to get some sweet potatoes and apples. Guess what? They have the purple sweet potatoes. They don't have this all the time so I decided to buy them though a lot of people usually steam them to just eat it but to me, yucks! I prefer my food with flavours :)
See my modifications in blue.
4 boneless pork loin chops (each about 7 ounces and 1 inch thick) I used about 6 pork chops
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup apple cider or apple juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces
1 pound red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and cut lengthwise in half, then cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
2 Pink Lady or Fuji apples, cored and cut lengthwise into eighths I cut them into cubes too
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and cut lengthwise into eighths I used 1 tbsp. dried fennel
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, cut into 1-inch pieces I used 1 tbsp. dried rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Remove the pork chops from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature while the oven preheats. Preheat the oven to 450°F 180 degrees celsius. Place a large rimmed baking sheet in the oven and heat until very hot.
  2. To cook the vegetables and apples: In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes, apples, fennel, and rosemary with the olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven and spread the vegetables and apples on it. Roast, turning the ingredients over halfway through, for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are nicely browned and tender.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pork: Season the pork with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. Add the olive oil, then add the chops to the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes per side, or until golden brown and barely pink when pierced in the center with the tip of a small sharp knife.
  6. Transfer to a platter (reserving the oil in the skillet) and let stand for 5 minutes.
  7. Pour off all but 1 teaspoon of the oil from the skillet, leaving the brown bits in the pan. Return the pan to medium-low heat, add the apple cider, and bring to a simmer, scraping up the brown bits with a wooden spoon. Whisk in the mustard and simmer for about 2 minutes to reduce the liquid slightly. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter to lightly thicken the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Divide the sweet potato mixture among four dinner plates. Place a pork chop alongside the vegetables on each plate. Drizzle with the pan sauce and serve.
Check out the nicely browned pork chops above and the root vegetables. I would say that I rarely cooked these root vegetables so they made a good variation. They were pretty tasty with the seasonings. Further, the pork chops were not too dry with the sauce. But I must say that the sauce is a bit tart. Perhaps in future, I wouldn't use all of the indicated apple cider vinegar?
I'm submitting this post to I Heart Cooking Clubs - Local & Seasonal.
I'm also submitting this post to Cooking with Herbs June 2016 organized by Karen of Lavender and Lovage.
Tea Time Treats Lavender and Lovage

Sunday, May 29, 2016

3 step basic banana loaf

Would you believe me if I say that you don't even need to have a mixer for this? I hope you do because I only used a big bowl and a whisk. That is basically all for the equipment. And it was all I could do after so many happenings going on in my life. Life is just beginning to settle down once again. I'm trying to get the hang of it.
Ok, are you rolling your eyes at this because I've baked too many of the banana breads or banana cakes thingy? Hahaha!! I love to bake them because they are just too easy peasy :P
Anyway let's get down to this easy peasy banana loaf.
225g buckwheat flour (I used 100g spelt flour and 125g rye flour)
220g coconut sugar (I used 150g brown sugar)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 cup mashed bananas (I used about 4 medium size bananas)
1 egg
140g plain yoghurt (don't use flavoured ones!)
60ml grapeseed oil (I used canola oil)
80ml maple syrup (I used agave syrup)
2 tsp vanilla paste
1 banana, extra, halved
  1. Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F).
  2. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon in a large bowl and mix to combine.
  3. Add the banana, egg, yoghurt, oil, maple syrup and vanilla and mix to combine. 
  4. Pour into a lightly greased 21cm x 10m x 7cm (1.75-litre-capacity) loaf tin lined with non-stick baking paper I used baking spray and spread it all over the tin and top with the banana halves. 
  5. Cook for 1 hour–1 hour 10 minutes and then tent it with a foil over the bread for about 10 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
  6. Brush with extra maple syrup to serve. Serves 6–8.
Check out the picture above. It may look unappealing but trust me, before I could even get a decent picture of how the bread looks like inside. It was almost all gone. I probably need to bake one more loaf.
I'm submitting this post to I Heart Cooking Clubs - May Potluck.