Monthly Archives: October 2012

Sausages.

I don’t know how people feel about sausages in particular but I do know having a piece done well is never a bad thing. Sausages should be browned with a nice tan, but not burned; when you sink your teeth into a one, it should be toasty but not shrivelled, succulent and not dry. This morning, I’ve just discovered the best way to cook sausages, so that you get that crispy exterior enveloping juicy mince. Here’s how I did it:

  1. Place your sausages into a pot with a small drizzle of oil.
  2. Turn up the heat to medium and put the lid on, keeping any steam released within the pot.
  3. Let the sausages fry about by rolling them about in the pot with the lid still on. Check occasionally.
  4. Once the sausages are nicely browned, turn down the heat to the lowest setting and let them steam slowly for a couple of brief minutes before serving.

Remember, crispy yet juicy.


Heart-y Breakfast

They always say, ‘Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.’ I’ve never actually taken that to heart, until recently when I realised that having a good breakfast in the morning is not only a healthy thing to do, it also and almost always will set you up well for the day’s challenges and tasks.

Yes, we’re all really busy people and sometimes breakfasts are the last thing you’d wanna think about when the sun comes up. It’s always either rushing to head out to work or school, or plain just paying off those sleep debts, hitting the snooze button, again and again, and again.

In any case, when you do get time, please do sit down and have a hearty breakfast, because it’s good for your heart, in more ways than one.

Perfect scrambled eggs recipe here.


Soy Sauce Braised Chicken

The key to cooking chicken is to do it very slowly and gently. That way, the juices will all stay within and not lose itself to being a dry papery hunk of meat. Especially so here, the chicken has to be braised tenderly, so that as it cooks, it absorbs as much flavour from the broth as it possibly can, giving you an exquisitely fork-tender and succulent mouthful of poultry goodness.

This depends on how much chicken you’re making, but for about two people, here’s what to do:

  1. Into a good pot, toss two cloves of garlic, skinned on and smashed once, three cloves, two bits of star anise, a modest stick of cinnamon, a good dash of white pepper, a small pinch of whole black peppercorns, and a crack of sea salt.
  2. Also, add a teaspoon of pure sesame oil, two tablespoons of light soy sauce and one tablespoon of dark soy sauce.
  3. Place your chicken parts in and fill the pot with water, so that the poultry is just about half submerged. Turn the hob on to the lowest heat setting. Put the lid on leaving a small gap and let it simmer away gently for about an hour, or slightly longer.
  4. Toss in carrot batons and mushrooms in the last 5 minutes if you want, and adjust seasoning of broth with sea salt accordingly. If having with hot steamed rice, make sure it’s saltier than usual.

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Try this with pork belly.

 


Pasta BLT

BLT, or Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato, commonly refers to a sandwich. This week, I made a BLT, but with spaghetti instead of bread.

  1. Get your spaghetti or other kinda of pasta cooking in a pot of well-salted boiling water. Save a bit of the pasta water, and drain when al dente.
  2. Slow-cook chunky slices of tomatoes with some butter on a skillet, letting them soften to a pulp. Pinch out and discard the skin at the end.
  3. Soak a couple of rashers in water for a couple of minutes; this is so that the dish will not be overwhelmed by the flavour of bacon. Fry the rashers till cooked but not shrivelled. It can be tempting to blaze them to a crisp. Resist.
  4. Meanwhile, wash and cut your lettuce to fork-full pieces.
  5. When the tomatoes are done, toss in the drained spaghetti, and splash a bit of that pasta water you saved earlier. Season lightly with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and a small dollop of mayonnaise.
  6. Turn off the heat and mix in the lettuce briefly, and serve, with the rashers of bacon, sliced.

Lush brunches, forever.


Breakfast Tomatoes

There’s word of this fifth basic taste going round, a taste alongside salty, sweet, sour or bitter; it’s called umami. According to Wikipedia, it means ‘pleasant savoury taste’ in Japanese. It’s the taste most common in Japanese food, which makes it so well-loved. ‘The human tongue has receptors for L-glutamate, which is the source of umami flavour. As such, scientists consider umami to be distinct from saltiness.’ So you ask? How and where do you get umami from? Tomatoes.

I believe having tomatoes at breakfast is a great way to start your day, awakening your belly with wholesome savoury goodness, not just salty ham or bacon.

Have them with your sausages today.


Instant Mee Pok

(deep breath)

It’s been a long long hiatus that I’ve taken. I blame Instagram. Grainy photos behind retro-esque filters and uninspired dishes. In any case, I’m hoping this entry won’t be like the last one – the last one for a long while.

So I guess from now, I’ll be using more than a couple of Instagramasised photograph. Fingers crossed that’ll work out well.

Alas! The first of the list is Instant Mee Pok! Mee Pok (translated from Chinese dialect as ‘thin noodles’) is a flat egg noodle used a lot in Singapore to make Fishball Noodles and Mushroom Minced Pork Noodles. They say the first creators of pasta were actually the Chinese; Italians apparently discovered it much later. In any case, Mee Pok is usually cooked fresh and unless you buy them fresh from the market or make them yourself, you won’t get a chance to have them this far from East Asia. But, but, BUT! I stumbled upon a pack of dried instant Mee Pok at Chinatown last week. Well, it isn’t quite exactly the same thing as its fresh counterpart, but I’d say it comes pretty damned close.

I am a happy boy.

(Follow me on Instagram @skinnynigel or #skinnynigel)