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.
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
- With hot oil in a skillet, fry the garlic till fragrant.
- Toss in the green peppers and/or onions, if you’re having them in the dish.
- Once the veggies are almost cooked through, add in the marinated beef.
- 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.
- As soon as the beef is done – the gravy should be about boiling as well – turn off the heat.
- Now, before serving, taste it! Adjust the seasoning with salt and black pepper accordingly.
- Finally, serve with hot steamed rice*.
*Thai jasmine or basmati would be nothing less than fragrant and fantastic.
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:
- Crack your two eggs straight into a pot, not a bowl. No whisking, no seasoning, no mucking about.
- Add in a generous knob of butter. And by ‘generous’, that’s at least a thumb-sized piece, we’re talking about.
- Get your pot onto the hob and turn on the heat. With a spatula, stir away. Like risotto, don’t stop stirring.
- The eggs will start to get all velvety and golden-looking, you’ll know now you’re doing it right.
- 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.
- Then put it back on the heat. Keep stirring.
- Repeat steps #5 and #6 a couple of times. Essentially, you wanna be slow-cooking the eggs.
- Finally when the eggs start to look right, keep working at it until they’re perfect.
- 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.
- Stir some more.
- If you’re awesome, add fresh chives, chopped.
- Stir and serve atop unbuttered toast.
Practice makes perfect.
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
- As always, set your pasta away in a pot of boiling water. Carrots go in there as well.
- 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.
- Just before the rosemary starts getting too happy in there, toss in the garlic and fry till fragrant.
- Then add in the pork. Stir about and add water from the pasta pot in small quantities, to aid to cooking of the meat.
- The pasta should be done soon. So toss in the mushrooms to the wok now.
- Drain the pasta when al dente and add to the wok. Turn off the heat.
- Spinach goes in as well. Mix well.
- Season accordingly with sea salt and black pepper.
- Once spinach has wilted, serve.
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!
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
All eaten with steamed basmati and belachan chilli. Happy days, forever.
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
- As always, first get your spaghetti into a pot of boiling water.
- 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.
- Then, in goes the garlic, fried till golden.
- Toss in the peppers and asparagus.
- 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.)
- Your spaghetti should be about done now, if not already done. Drain and add to the wok.
- Mix everything together thoroughly.
- Dish it out onto a pretty plate, with a generous pinch of arugula atop.
- Using a speed peeler, strip a more than a couple of slices of Parmesan on.
- Drizzle a round of olive oil and serve. To yourself, of course.
“Was your dad a baker? ‘Cos you’ve got hot buns!”
Well, baking bread is not only about them hot buns (even though it really is). It’s actually pretty fun and extremely rewarding. When that batch of freshly baked bread rolls come out of your oven, you’d be smiling from ear to ear.
I made some bread with Sarah that day and we got our recipe from Jamie Oliver’s The Return of the Naked Chef.
- 30g/1oz fresh yeast or 3 x 7g sachets dried yeast
- 30g/1oz honey (or sugar)
- 625ml/just over 1 pint tepid water
- 1kg/just over 2lb strong bread flour
- 30g/1oz salt
- some extra flour for dusting
- Dissolve the yeast and honey (or sugar) in half the tepid water
- On a clean surface, make a mountain of the flour. Then make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture. Use a fork to introduce and mix the flour into the mixture, until all the yeast mixture is soaked up. Then pour the remaining tepid water in and mix everything together gradually in the same way. You want to do this until you have a moist dough. (Some flours may require more water than others, so don’t be a afraid to adjust the quantities.)
- Knead away! Whack, smack, punch and work at the dough to activate the gluten. Do this for about 5 minutes. Great way to relieve any pent up frustrations. Hah. If any of the dough sticks to your hands, rub them together with a little extra flour.
- When you’re done kneading, make the dough into a roundish shape and flour the top of it. Deeply score the dough with a knife, allowing it to relax and rise with ease (and with yeast). Then, flour a deep mixing bowl as well and place the dough in. Cover with clingflim and let it rise till it doubles in size. Jamie says, “Ideally you want a warm, moist, draught-free place for the quickest prove.” This should take about 40 minutes.
- When the dough has grown twice its size, get it out and bash it about for about a minute or so before shaping it to whatever form you want. Then let it sit and rise again for other 40 minutes or so. This second proving is extremely crucial as it’s the time your bread becomes delicately soft and lovely.
- Preheat your oven to 180ºC.
- Cooking the bread now requires tender handling and patience. No more hard bashes and violent grabbing. You want the air in the bread to stay inside, so gently place the bread into the preheated oven, without slamming the door.
- Monitor the baking, take it out when the bread’s beautifully bronzed and hollow-sounding when tapped. Leave them on a rack to cool.
Here’s what we made with this batch of dough:
Get your hands into some flour and yeast, and knead away today.
- 2 eggs, cracked in a bowl, unbeaten
- ¼ mug of milk
- small knob of butter
- small handful of finely grated cheddar
- pinch of dried oregano
- freshly ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- Everybody’s got their own method of scrambling eggs but here’s how I like mine done:
- A small knob of butter goes in on a skillet, on high heat.
- Once the butter melts, put in the eggs and turn down the heat to low.
- Using a spatula, break the yolks and scramble the eggs erratically.
- Add the milk, cheese and oregano. Stir about till done.
- Season with salt and pepper accordingly.
I like my scrambled eggs with chunks of white and yellow, as opposed to having everything mixed thoroughly into a single colour. Then again, do it any way you like.
The scramble for scrambled eggs ends here. Hah.
This is a great lazy cheat for awesome slurpy food when you’ve got some soup leftovers. (Note: This only works for clear soups, mostly the Asian sort. And of course, minestrone soup.)
I know I’ve sorta made a post about this before but hey, this is specifically for Coucous in Chinese Chicken Soup. You might say it’s a level up from Couscous, Stocked.
- Get your chicken soup leftover into a bowl and chuck it into the microwave for 2 minutes.
- Yes, that’s TWO minutes on high heat; you want it piping hot.
- And then in goes the couscous, right into the blistering hot bowl of soup. TIP! The ratio for this a little tricky. But basically, you need enough liquid to cover the coucous. Since you’re doing the reverse i.e. adding couscous to liquid, add the grains just so that there’s still enough water to cover the coucous. In this case, it’s okay to put less than more. (When the couscous is done, the grains would have been completely swollen with tasty goodness.)
- Cover with a plate or lid for 5-7 minutes.
- Have it hot, like you would with chunky soup.
Photography: Sarah Lee