Monthly Archives: June 2011

Express Chicken Dippers

I’ve been crazy busy with packing these past few days. It’s the summer and I’m moving, that’s why. So here’s how I’ve been satisfying my fried chicken cravings.

With a pack of battered chicken dippers that I got from Iceland, your friendly neighbourhood frozen food store, I managed to get these babies crispy without having to heat up an entire oven. I don’t even know why I didn’t wanna use the oven but here’s an alternative to the traditional stick-it-in-the-oven trick.

Express Chicken Dippers

  1. Straight from the freezer and into a wok on the hob, toss the dippers in frozen.
  2. Turn up the heat to full whack. Put a lid on. TIP! Doing this keeps the moisture in, steaming the dippers.
  3. After a couple of minutes, get them out and chop them into bite-size pieces. (There is no need to perform this step; I have an obsession with cutting my food into bite-size pieces.)
  4. Flip them about every couple of minutes.
  5. Get them out once they start to brown.
  6. Let them cool a little before chowing down, you don’t wanna burn your tongue, like me.
Or, you can always just use the oven.

Grilled Peppers & Sage Chicken Pasta

I wouldn’t call this a Mediterranean dish ‘cos it isn’t exactly one. But the combination of peppers and sage remind me of Greece. Anyway, here’s a simple recipe for a slight taste of the Great Middlelands.

Grilled Peppers & Sage Chicken Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 1 serving of long pasta
  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • half a small white onion, minced
  • 1 handful of sliced red peppers, inch-long
  • 1 handful of sliced yellow peppers, inch-long
  • 1 handful of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 handful of chicken fillet, breast or drumstick meat, cubed bite-size
  • half tsp of dried sage
  • salt and pepper, for seasoning, to taste
  • handful of spinach leaves, for colour
Cooking:
  1. Get your pasta cooking on the hob. (Remember: The Italians say the water used to cook pasta should be as salty as the Mediterranean
  2. Put a wok on the hob too. Turn the switch up to full whack and get the wok screaming hot. Add the oil in.
  3. Toss the minced white onion into the wok to flavour the oil.
  4. Before the onion turns brown, get the peppers to join the party. This time, let them sit still up to 2 minutes each time before tossing, until they show signs of slight charring. TIP! The trick here is that you don’t have the time to heat up an oven to specially grill your peppers. Pan-searing does the trick.
  5. Add mushrooms and toss.
  6. When the mushrooms are just about done, get everything out and put your chicken cubes in. You want to dry stir-fry them. This means you use the starchy water from the pasta, to stir-fry the meat. By adding the water in small quantities, stirring as you go along, you allow the meat to absorb all the liquid. Result: the chicken cubes are ‘dry’ yet juicy.
  7. Once the chicken is just done, add all the ingredients back in. And add salt, pepper and sage. Stir.
  8. The pasta should be just about done. Drain and add to the wok.
  9. Turn the heat off and add the lush green spinach leaves.
  10. Mix and serve.

Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Fillets

If you haven’t heard or seen this before, you must absolutely try it out sometime. Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Fillets will knock your socks off.

Depending on how many you’d like to make, this is what you’ll need for just a humble TWO pieces. But you know you’ll definitely want more.

Two ingredients, two simple steps, for two awesome chunks of meaty goodness.

  • 2 streaks of smoked bacon or pancetta.
  • 2 fillets of chicken, cut into pieces two inches long
  1. Put a piece of chicken on one end of a streak of bacon and roll it to the other end.
  2. Stick it into the top rack of the oven at 180°C for about 20 minutes, flipping it at midpoint.
TIP! If you wanna be a tad more adventurous, sprinkle a dash of thyme, rosemary or basil across each streak of bacon before rolling.
Also, this goes fantastic with a potato mash and gravy. More on that next time.

Simplest Salad Dressing

It was not till I got to London last year that I started appreciating salad, especially when it’s been tossed pretty in glistening dressing. Here are the guidelines to making the Simplest Salad Dressing.

You’ll need a clear jar; something like this:

With this, you can see how much liquid you’re pouring in. Also, you’ll be able to tell what it is without having to open the jar.

Next, componentsOlive oil, sour acid, salt and pepper.

The key is noting the ratio of olive oil to sour acid = 3 : 1.  That is, 3 parts oil to 1 part sour acid, which can take any form, from balsamic vinegar to lemon or lime juice. Experiment with different kinds to discover which goes best with your salad. Don’t forget that pinch of salt and pepper for added flavour.

And remember, salads don’t have to be boring.


Honey Baked Chicken Thighs

I am a complete sucker for chicken. Using hands and getting dirty somehow adds to the flavour of the food. Fried chicken is what usually gets me going, but oven baked ones are awesome too. For this, it’s best you marinade it overnight, in a bag, in the fridge.

This is for 6 pieces of Honey Baked Chicken Thigh.

Marinade:

  • 1 generous lug of white wine
  • 1 tsp of dried rosemary
  • 1 tbsp of honey, or 2 if you want
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp of dark soy sauce, for colour
  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 pinch of pepper
Preparation:
  1. Get your chicken into a ziplock bag.
  2. It doesn’t matter if the chicken portions are frozen or not, just make sure they’re not stuck to each other.
  3. Get all that stuff of marinade into the bag with the chicken.
  4. Take care to get every bit of meat covered in the marinade.
  5. Stick it in the fridge overnight.
Cooking:
  1. The chicken should have thawed through beautifully and at the same time, have absorbed all that sweet goodness of your marinade. Get your chicken on a tray, skin side up and cover with foil.
  2. In a pre-heated oven of 220°C, stick the tray in for 45 minutes.
  3. After the buzzer goes, remove the foil and turn the temperature down to 180°C. Leave the tray in there for another 15 minutes or so, or until the skin turns golden.
  4. TIP! Not sure if it’s cooked through? Poke in with a fork. If it’s cooked, the juices will run clear, not red.
  5. Let it rest for a couple of minutes.
  6. Serve, without cutlery.

Circular Eggs

Circular Microwaved Eggs

Most people probably already know this but here’s for those who don’t.

The microwave is awesome, especially when you wanna have an egg ready-to-eat in 30 seconds. It’s super round, and cooked hassle-free with a mix of hard-cooked and soft-runny texture.

What you’ll need:

  • A small microwave-safe dish (above)
  • An egg
  • A microwave
What to do:
  1. Crack the egg into the dish.
  2. Stick it into the microwave.
  3. Press ’30 seconds’ and ‘Start’.
  4. When it’s done, use a spoon to get it out in one swift circular motion.
  5. If you want, add salt, or soy sauce, and pepper.
TIP! If you don’t have a small dish, use a mug! Or maybe try out it with a square dish!

Clean Water Brunch

Last week, I suffered heart palpitations irregularly over a period of 24 hours. It worried me BIG time, and I knew I had to turn to ‘clean’ food.

Marmite Pasta with Boiled Pork and Peas

  • 1 serving of pasta
  • 50g of lean pork
  • 1 handful of peas
  • 1 tsp of Marmite
  • 1 egg

Basically, I cooked everything with water: boiled the pasta, pork and peas, and steamed the egg. I also added a bit of the pasta-cooking water to the Marmite, and drizzled generously over the dish before eating.

Clean, and very healthy. If not for me, for my heart.

(Ironic previous post: Deep-Fried Batter.)


Deep-Fried Batter

If deep-fried food was not sinful, if it contained no cholesterol nor calories, would you eat it every day? I know I would. Anyway, here’s an amazingly easy recipe for Deep-Frying Batter. I won’t give exact amounts ‘cos what you want to know is the consistency of the batter; that way, you’ll be able to make whatever amount you need.

These are the things you need:

  • Mixing bowl
  • Self-Raising Flour
  • Beer
  • Salt
  1. Get some flour into that mixing bowl and add beer in small amounts little by little.
  2. Whisk as you go along, until you eventually get a creamy texture.
  3. Then, add salt at your own discretion.
  4. There, your batter is done!

You can deep-fry practically anything, fish sticks, small chicken fillets, shrimps, or clams. What’s REALLY so very incredibly good with this batter is Green Beans. The dance of bouncy bean flavour and crunchy light batter is phenomenal.

N.B. Make sure your oil is hot enough before you deep fry. I usually just drip a tiny drop of batter in as a test. If it sizzles itself crazy, then the oil is ready.

Cheers, to deep-fried food!


Tom Yum Spaghetti

Before I begin, I’d like to highlight that Tom Yum Spaghetti is my mother’s brainchild. If you’ve heard it from anywhere else, it’s probably travelled via word-of-mouth all the way to you. My knees crumbled the first time she did this for dinner, so I begged her to make it again for my 20th birthday gathering.

 

This really takes Asian-Western fusion to the next level. Know what Tom Yum Soup is? Well, take that, minus all the water, and fry with spaghetti. In essence, it’s a fried spaghetti dish much like Aglio Olio, just that instead of basil, oregano and olive oil, it’s Tom Yum Paste. No idea what that is?

It looks a little something like this:

BAM!

This is done best with seafood i.e. prawns, mussels and fishcake. But it can be done vegetarian as well, with mushrooms, eggs and chives. If you want an extra crunch, use red or yellow peppers, or carrots. Don’t forget the slice of ginger and minced garlic!

Happy days.

P.S. This works with fusilli too:


Bolognese Brilliance

Bolognese Brilliance: no serious slurping, no mess, just awesome food.

Building on from Springy Bolognese, I’ve decided to list some numbers and ingredients for this massively easy pasta dish. Its hearty and satisfying; perfect for that one time when you’re feeling incredibly hungry. Hurhur.

The brilliant thing about bolognese is that there’s no hard and fast rule about what goes inside. To me, it’s like Chinese Fried Rice; you add whatever tickles your fancy. Personally, I aim for ‘colourful’.

So here’s what I had in mine this time. Extremely extravagant. 

  • 1 third of pasta from a standard size quick cook spaghetti pack
  • 1 handful of chopped red pepper
  • 1 handful of chopped yellow pepper
  • 1 handful of peas, frozen works the same
  • 1 handful of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 white onions, minced
  • 1 third of a finger chilli, minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 thumb-sized knob of butter
  • 50g of double concentrate tomato puree
  • half tbsp of dried basil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 handful of finely grated cheddar (if you have parmesan, even better)
  • 1 handful of fresh rocket (optional)
  • 1 handful of beef minced (omit this is you’re vegetarian)

With all the ingredients ready, what you’re going for now is efficiency and speed. No mucking about. You’re hungry, and if you’re not about getting angry yet, your stomach is. A hungry man is an angry man. Whatever.

This is how to roll:

  1. Since we’re going for speed, quick-cook pasta is the key choice here. Get that in a pot of boiling water and let it work its magic. If you believe in the Italian saying that ”the water for pasta cooking should be as salty as the Mediterranean”, then go right ahead and salt that water.
  2. While that’s happening, get another pot/wok on the hob too. If your peas are frozen, get them straight in, together with that knob of butter. If not, get everything you want in your bolognese e.g. onions, mushrooms, peppers, carrots, etc. and dump them in. Let them fry about while you wash up your chopping board and knife, and welcome the Aroma Fairies.
  3. When they (the ingredients, not fairies) are just about done, in goes the minced beef. Toss.
  4. Then, tomato puree goes in too. Here’s a tip. Instead of using plain water to dilute your sauce, get some of that starchy pasta water, about half a cup full and pour it into the sauce. Happy days.
  5. Mix about before adding the dried basil. Mix some more and taste. Season with salt and pepper your liking. Turn the heat off.
  6. Your pasta should be done, so drain the water out and get it straight into your superb bolognese sauce. Toss about, coating every strand of that spaghetti in red goodness. Move all to a serving dish.
  7. Top with fresh rocket leaves. Then, grate your cheese straight onto everything.