Monthly Archives: December 2011

Ciabatta Wannabe

Using this Fresh Bread recipe, I made a bunch of wannabe ciabattas by adding bits of minced chilli and pulverised arugula. Then of course, I proceeded to overbake it.

Nope, we don’t have a panini press at home, so I sliced it in half and toasted it. Then filled it with butter, pan-seared pork shoulder, arugula, cheddar and pepper, and smashed it flat with the palm of my hand.

There it is, a ciabatta wannabe, nothing more.

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Ballotine of Pork & Shrimps

I confess, I am currently obsessed with the ballotine. Rolling meat into a tight bundle and then cooking it makes me happy. It doesn’t help that there is such a sense of excitement when the time is nigh to slice it.

Alright, so maybe pork isn’t so appetising in a ballotine. In any case, a drizzle of sesame oil elevates its flavour immensely. Served with ultra-thin rice noodles, carrot mash and seared lettuce, I am definitely playing with my food.

French-style cooking and Asian flavours, at its best.


Tomato & Mushroom Compote

Alright, so it seems I’ve been having lotsa time to have breakfast in the mornings these days. Well, truth is, I’ve been waking late so brunch has become somewhat routine now. In any case, what I’d like to share here is a savoury tomato and mushroom compote. So easy to do, and so good with toast.

Toss everything into a skillet and mix till ready.

  • 1 plum tomato, diced into 1cm cubes
  • 1 large brown mushroom, diced into 1cm cubes
  • 1 small knob of butter
  • 1 pinch of dried basil
  • 1 small bunch of arugula, finely chopped
  • freshly ground black pepper and sea salt

Have it with egg, ham, and toast. Lush.


Ballotine of Chicken & Mixed Fruits

A ballotine, which means ‘bundle’, is a French dish made of deboned meat fish or poultry (sometimes the whole animal) filled with stuffing and then rolled and tied into a bundle. It is roasted, poached or braised, and can be served hot or cold.

Overwhelmed by curiosity, I tried my hand at it. After removing the bone from a chicken thigh, I packed some wine-soaked dried fruits in it, and proceeded to roll it into tight bundle. I poached it for eight minutes before pan-roasting it in a mixture of foaming butter and dry white wine. Once done, cutting it into thick slices to expose its beauty became much of a moment of truth.

The fruits in the center were a little too sweet for the bird but nonetheless, was well-balanced with arugula and chilli. I should make a sauce next time. Preferably something slightly spicy and definitely something rich.

Endless possibility beckons.


Vinegar Braised Haddock

I got tired of having fish and potatoes every Friday, so I made a little asian fish stew last night. Mummy used to make it for dinner some Fridays, before we succumbed to the convenience of dining out on the night before the weekend. It’s pleasantly bold, yet ever-so-slightly sour. Braised slowly but surely, in a mildly sweet garlicky dark sauce, the fish sings beautifully with the shrimps. The tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach leaves tosses up a party of textures. Chowed down with extra hot finger chilli and freshly steamed basmati.

  • 1 fillet haddock, defrosted completely, cut into large chunks
  • 1 tomato, cut into wedges
  • 1 brown mushroom, sliced
  • 1 white mushroom, sliced
  • 1 handful shrimps
  • 2 slices ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoon black vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2  mug water
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 1 handful baby spinach leaves

 •••

  1. Get the sauce done first. With a little oil in the pan, in goes the garlic and ginger.
  2. When fragrant, get the shrimps, tomatoes and mushrooms in.
  3. Then, the vinegar, soy sauces, sugar and sesame oil.
  4. Add water to add more volume to sauce. Adjust with sea salt accordingly.
  5. Finally, when the sauce has reduced slightly, turn the heat down to s simmer and sit the fish pieces gently inside. Baste it well, and flip carefully when it’s half cooked.
  6. Once the fish is done, turn off the heat.
  7. Serve atop the baby spinach leaves.

No points for presentation there, but all smiles for the flavour.


Poached Egg Breakfast

Two mornings ago, I woke up from a dream; one about breakfast.

This is what I dreamt about:

 

Poached egg on pan-seared honey baked ham and toast, sitting on a mash of garden peas. With butter glazed mushrooms and basil tomatoes.

Perfect way to start the day.

Photography: Sarah Lee