Monthly Archives: November 2011

Waste No Gravy!

Here’s help get every bit of gravy out of the pan whenever you make Melt-In-Your-Mouth Pork or Black Pepper Beef. You need to be doing two things: 1) Making Melt-In-Your-Mouth Pork or Black Pepper Beef. 2) Having it with steamed rice.

After you’re done with the meat dishes and have gotten them out of the pan, add in a couple of scoops of your steamed rice. Turn on the heat and toss everything about. Let the immaculate grains of fragrant starch slip into the bronze coats of savoury delight.

No gravy wasted, flavoured rice, and your pan’s now easier to wash.


Black Pepper Beef

You know how you step into a chinese restaurant or eating house and you order that thing on the menu that says: “Black Pepper Beef with Steamed Rice”? Well, it’s not difficult to make it yourself at home and the best part is, you can make as much as you want. Now, isn’t that one of the main perks of cooking at home?

The most important part of doing this right is getting the marination of the beef done properly and according to your taste buds. Doing it a couple of times helps you get the exact flavour you want, be it more savoury, or less sour, it’s all up to you.

Here’s a rough estimation to guide you:

(Everything’s in teaspoon-quantity for ease of measurement and guesstimation.)

  • 100g lean beef, thinly sliced, and marinated with:
    • 2 tsp corn flour
    • 2 tsp black/balsamic vinegar TIP! Vinegar helps soften beef.
    • 3 tsp light soy sauce
    • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
    • 1 tsp sesame oil
    • 2 tsp oyster sauce
    • 1 dash white pepper
    • 1 generous crack of black pepper, freshly ground
    • 2 tsp red wine
    • 3 tsp water
  • 3 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ mug water
  • (optional) ¼ small green pepper, thinly sliced
  • (optional) ¼ white onion, thinly sliced
•••
  1. With hot oil in a skillet, fry the garlic till fragrant.
  2. Toss in the green peppers and/or onions, if you’re having them in the dish.
  3. Once the veggies are almost cooked through, add in the marinated beef.
  4. Stir-fry the meat by adding water in small quantities, pouring a little each time whenever the pan gets rather dry. Do this until the meat is almost cooked, then add all the water at a go to make a gravy.
  5. As soon as the beef is done – the gravy should be about boiling as well – turn off the heat.
  6. Now, before serving, taste it! Adjust the seasoning with salt and black pepper accordingly.
  7. Finally, serve with hot steamed rice*.

*Thai jasmine or basmati would be nothing less than fragrant and fantastic.


Perfect Scrambled Eggs

I know I make a bold claim with the word ‘perfect’ right up there. But trust me, with this recipe, you can’t go very far off. Besides, it’s from Chef Ramsay himself.

Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Crack your two eggs straight into a pot, not a bowl. No whisking, no seasoning, no mucking about.
  2. Add in a generous knob of butter. And by ‘generous’, that’s at least a thumb-sized piece, we’re talking about.
  3. Get your pot onto the hob and turn on the heat. With a spatula, stir away. Like risotto, don’t stop stirring.
  4. The eggs will start to get all velvety and golden-looking, you’ll know now you’re doing it right.
  5. Before the eggs start getting lumpy, take the pot off the heat and continue stirring. Make sure you get all the rich goodness off the sides of the pot.
  6. Then put it back on the heat. Keep stirring.
  7. Repeat steps #5 and #6 a couple of times. Essentially, you wanna be slow-cooking the eggs.
  8. Finally when the eggs start to look right, keep working at it until they’re perfect.
  9. Now add the salt and pepper, and a teaspoonful of cream or crème fraîche, or if you have neither, two tablespoons of milk will do.
  10. Stir some more.
  11. If you’re awesome, add fresh chives, chopped.
  12. Stir and serve atop unbuttered toast.

Practice makes perfect.


Rosemary(ed) Pork Spaghetti

It’s been a busy busy week. Here’s one of the hasty but hefty meals I made during the course of the past seven days.

Stir-fried and real quick to make.

Almost Asian, use a fork to rake.

  • 1 portion quick cook spaghetti
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 80g lean pork, or pork shoulder, thinly sliced
  • 2 inches carrot, cut into small 1-inch slices
  • 1 brown mushroom, sliced
  • 1 handful young spinach leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • sea salt and black pepper, freshly ground

•••

  1. As always, set your pasta away in a pot of boiling water. Carrots go in there as well.
  2. In a hot wok, heat up the oil. Dip the sprigs of rosemary into the pasta pot for 5 seconds, before tossing into the wok. TIP! This exposure to hot water for such a short time make a world of a difference; the herb begins to release its fragrant oils.
  3. Just before the rosemary starts getting too happy in there, toss in the garlic and fry till fragrant.
  4. Then add in the pork. Stir about and add water from the pasta pot in small quantities, to aid to cooking of the meat.
  5. The pasta should be done soon. So toss in the mushrooms to the wok now.
  6. Drain the pasta when al dente and add to the wok. Turn off the heat.
  7. Spinach goes in as well. Mix well.
  8. Season accordingly with sea salt and black pepper.
  9. Once spinach has wilted, serve.

Sunday Breakfast

Sunday Breakfasts are a luxury, as much as sleeping-in is as well. But if you’re up bright and early on Sunday morning, sunny or not, put the kettle on and make a cuppa tea. But don’t stop there. Put a pan on, make an egg (or two) sunny-side-up. Toast some bread, and spread some butter. Why not toss in some cheese, some ham and peas even. Finally, don’t forget a bit of your 5-a-day: lettuce. Have a hearty breakfast, not only ‘cos it’s ‘the most important meal of the day’, but because you can afford the time to.

Have a good week, everybody!


New Cookware Addition!

This evening, on the way to the supermarket, I walked into TK Maxx, hoping perhaps to find a wool pullover of some sort. I did see a couple. £16.99. £15. £18.99. £49.

Ultimately, I left the store with this:

Hard-Adonised Skillet – £8.99

I couldn’t resist; been coveting an anodised pan for too long now. Well, needless to say, I made dinner with this tonight. Bear with me while I gush about the new skillet: It heats up on the gas stove in practically 10 seconds, and the heat is distributed incredibly evenly. Because of this then, cooking meat is a breeze: every bit that’s in contact with the pan receives the same treatment – temperature-wise – so the food comes out evenly cooked! Not to mention, its non-stick quality is fantastic, making washing up easy. To top it off, it’s oven-proof, up to 200ºC!

In any case, here was dinner! CHINESE!

Black Pepper Beef

 •

Pan-seared Mushrooms and Onions

Stir-fried Cabbage

All eaten with steamed basmati and belachan chilli. Happy days, forever.


Pork Sausage & Asparagus Spaghetti

There’s something about asparagus and pork that’s very pleasant; remember how it’s lovely with bacon? (King’s Asparagus, Asparagus & Bacon Penne)

Inspired by Aglio Olio and the lovely pork and asparagus combination, here’s a quick spaghetti dish to whip up that’s sure to satisfy your craving for that saltish non-slurpy pasta.

  • 1 portion quick cook spaghetti
  • 2 pork sausages, skinned
  • 6 stalks asparagus
  • 1/4 yellow pepper, sliced
  • 1 chilli, finely sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 handful fresh arugula
  • 1 pinch dried basil
  • 1 pinch dried oregano
  • sea salt, freshly ground
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  • olive oil
  • fresh Parmesan
•••
  1. As always, first get your spaghetti into a pot of boiling water.
  2. Drizzle the wok with a little bit of olive oil, and toss in the sausages. Make sure the skin’s removed. Let it sizzle for a bit, so the fat gets rendered out.
  3. Then, in goes the garlic, fried till golden.
  4. Toss in the peppers and asparagus.
  5. Add the herbs and seasoning now, then stir about till the veggies are done. (Personally, I like my peppers and asparagus is little overdone, if you can get them be slightly charred, even better. The minute tang of bitterness will go a long way.)
  6. Your spaghetti should be about done now, if not already done. Drain and add to the wok.
  7. Mix everything together thoroughly.
  8. Dish it out onto a pretty plate, with a generous pinch of arugula atop.
  9. Using a speed peeler, strip a more than a couple of slices of Parmesan on.
  10. Drizzle a round of olive oil and serve. To yourself, of course.