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Lemon salmon on oregano spaghetti with boiled carrots, blanched chicory and beansprouts, with beetroot and Brie.
- Set the pasta to boil and drain when done. Season with sea-salt. Then toss with a good lug of extra virgin olive oil and dried oregano leaves.
- Sear the fillet of salmon with a generous squeeze of lemon juice, till lovely and browned.
- Boil the carrots and blanch chicory and beansprouts briefly. (Note: chicory is bitter so a small quantity will suffice.)
- Serve with beetroot cubes and pinches of Brie.
- Garnish with carrot leaves.
Don’t those carrots look lovely?
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.
In this case, I made a couple of ballotines of pork shoulder and turkey breast, served on a bed of crushed peas and lemon-seasoned chopped peppers.
It’s a great thing that there’s still Christmas turkey left in the fridge, having it with a small bit of cranberry sauce is exquisite. The flavour of the bird having a friendly tug-o-war with the earthy aroma of pork is simply lovely. Not forgetting the fresh crunch of carrot ribbon rolls and subtle sweetness of the vegetables.
It’s amusing, I made a serving of couscous to go along with this; I need my carbs.
Even though I think the best way to have Bolognese is with spaghetti, sometimes penne is a pretty good change. Served in a deep bowl, all you need is a fork to stab and shove.
- 2 pork sausages
- 1 small handful of frozen peas
- 2 inches of a medium carrot, diced finely
- a quarter of an onion, diced finely
- 1 small small knob of butter
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- chilli, minced (optional)
- 2 tsp of double concentrate tomato puree
- a pinch of dried basil
- sea salt, freshly ground
- black pepper, freshly ground
- freshly grated Parmesan,
- a couple of fresh basil leaves
- 2 handfuls of quick cook penne
- Get your pasta boiling in a pot.
- In a hot wok, toss the peas in.
- Once they’ve defrosted for a bit, dump the carrots in, together with the small small wad of butter. Toss.
- Then add the garlic and onions. Let them fry away happily, tossing occasionally.
- If you want it slightly spicy, add in the chilli now.
- Peel of the skin of the sausages and throw them into the wok. Cut them erratically with a spatula whilst stirring everything together.
- Scoop out some of the starchy pasta cooking water and pour into the wok.
- Stir in the tomato puree and add more pasta cooking water accordingly.
- When you’ve got the consistency you want, and the sausages cooked, pinch in the dried basil, salt and pepper. Stir and turn off the heat.
- Drain pasta.
- Serve with bolognese. Garnish with Parmesan and fresh basil leaves.
15-minute meal for the famished soul.
Dear Samuel, it’s your birthday today, so this one’s for you.
This is how a Five-Hour Pork Shoulder Slow Roast would look like.
Especially after being completely macerated with a pair of tongs and a cerated knife.
Okay, I screwed up the crackling on this one big time. But the meat was just perfect. It better be after five hours of baking in the oven.
- Get a hunk of pork shoulder (about 800g to 1kg) from the supermarket or butcher. If you can get it with the bone in, even better.
- I can’t comment much on how to do the crackling right. But in theory, here’s how it goes: Score the skin half a centimetre deep, and about a centimetre apart. Rub salt into the crevices.
- Season everywhere else with freshly ground sea salt and black pepper.
- Get the whole hunk of meat on a roasting dish and stick it in the oven for 30 minutes, at 220ªC. This should make a crackling happen.
- When the crackling looks right, wrap the whole dish snugly with a double layer of foil and stick it back into the oven for 4 hours, at 180*C. Go out and have a beer with the lads, or have a nap.
- Prepare some stuff to accompany the pork shoulder – carrot slices, diced onions, smashed garlic (a whole bulb, skin on) and a couple of rosemary sprigs.
- After four hours, remove the foil and set in the carrots, onions, garlic and rosemary. Baste everything in the fat rendered at the base of the dish.
- Stick it back into the oven for another half hour before serving.
It sounds like a lot of work to do, but it’s so simple for something so amazing. Tender tender goodness.
- 200g pork belly, thinly sliced,
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 dash white pepper powder
- half a bulb garlic, minced
- 2 inches of a large carrot, cut into small inch-long pieces
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 300ml water
- a pinch of fresh coriander leaves, chopped
Preparation and Cooking
- Marinade the pork belly and prepare the carrot and garlic.
- In a hot wok with the vegetable oil, fry the garlic till fragrant.
- Toss in the carrot and fry till almost done.
- Put in the marinaded pork belly and stir about, adding water in small quantities, adding each time the wok gets dry.
- When the meat is about done, add all the remaining water at a go to form a gravy.
- Add dark soy sauce, and salt to taste.
- When it starts to boil, turn down the heat to a simmer for approximately 15 minutes, longer if you want the pork to be even more tender, and if your stomach can wait.
- Serve with fresh coriander.
You can have this with steamed rice or Mini Yorkshire Puddings. Delish.
Mummy was out at work today so I had to make lunch for the family. Here’s a great one-dish meal to have with fresh bread or rice.
Red Wine & Oregano Beef Stew
- 250g minced beef, prepared with:
- 1 tbsp of corn flour
- 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 knob of butter
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 potato, peeled and diced
- half a green pepper, chopped
- 1 red chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
- half mug of beef or vegetable stock
- quarter mug of red wine
- 2 tbsp of dark soy sauce
- a pinch of dried oregano
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- a pinch of fresh coriander leaves
- Put the oil and knob of butter into a hot wok. TIP! This is to prevent the butter from burning to brown.
- Add the onion and green pepper, and fry till they start to shrivel a little.
- Toss in the carrot and potato.
- Together with the garlic and chilli, wine and stock, get the minced beef in.
- Add the dark soy sauce too.
- Season generously with freshly ground black pepper, and just a little salt, according to taste.
- Don’t forget the pinch of dried oregano.
- Bring to a boil, place a lid on top and lower the heat to a simmer.
- Let it stay on the stove for 15 minutes, checking every 5 minutes or so that it doesn’t dry up. If it’s too dry for your liking, add water in small quantities till you get the consistency you want. Be sure to add salt if necessary.
- Serve with fresh coriander leaves on top.
It’s past ten at night and I’m hungry. But too lazy to make an elaborate meal. The bottle of Bovril catches my attention when I open the cupboard door in the kitchen.
Oh yes, Bovril Pasta.
Remember, Marmite Power? This is a brilliant alternative.
- 1 portion of pasta
- 1 thumb-sized knob of butter
- 2 shallots, sliced finely
- 2 inches of carrot, sliced into small inch-long pieces
- 1 small pinch of dried basil
- 1 small pinch of ground coriander
- 1 dash of black pepper
- half tbsp of Bovril
- While the pasta is cooking away in a pot of water, melt the butter in a saucepan.
- Toss in the carrots and shallots, and cook till they’re done.
- Add in the basil, ground coriander and black pepper.
- Steal a ladle full of the water from the pasta pot and add to the saucepan.
- Stir in the Bovril and lower the heat. Let it simmer.
- Once the pasta is cooked till al dente, drain briefly and add to the sauce. Mix thoroughly and serve.
- If you’re greedy like me, have it with a slice of honey baked ham. Happy nights.
To all those overseas who crave the good ol’ Tze Char Noodles, I’d like to share this recipe with you. It’s not exactly the same as what you’d get for cheap in the neighbourhood restaurant you frequent weekly back in Singapore, but it’ll serve to satisfy your cravings.
What you’ll need:
- prepared ingredients for Melt-In-Your-Mouth Pork
- 1 serving of quick-cook spaghetti
- 1 generous handful of spinach leaves
- 2 inches of a medium sized carrot, sliced into small inch-long pieces
- half a red onion, sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- a couple of fresh mushrooms, quartered (optional)
- 1 tsp of vegetable oil
- 2-3 tbsp of oyster sauce
How to do it:
- Get the pasta cooking in a pot. And place a wok on another hob, turned up to full whack.
- Add the garlic and onion into the wok to flavour the oil.
- Welcome the Aroma Fairies.
- Carrots go in ‘cos they take longer to cook through.
- Toss the pork in and add water from the pasta bit by bit, stir-frying till just done.
- If you’re having mushrooms with this, dump them in now.
- Add the oyster sauce and grab some pasta water to pour into the wok, till ingredients are almost completely submerged. Mix and watch your gravy form.
- Turn off the heat and drain your pasta. Get them in, together with the spinach leaves. Toss about till the spaghetti is coated with all the gravy goodness, and till the vegetable leaves have wilted just a little.
- Serve hot, with Pickled Green Chilli. More on that soon.
Ignore the Very Succulent Braised Chicken Portions. What I’d like to turn your attention to, is the bland-looking mishmash of a pasta.
Lesson for the Day:
Butter, mushrooms, garlic and oregano are a fantastic combination, a crowd-pleaser. But if what you wanna achieve out-of-this-world fireworks that will knock your loved ones out of their seats, add finely grated cheddar and chopped rocket before you take the pasta out of the pan. The nutty flavour of rocket will complement earthy oregano and mushrooms beautifully. The cheese sticks everything together, and adds the coveted stringy trail in every bite.
If you’re still looking at that juicy chicken thigh, I’m sorry the pasta doesn’t look as good. More on the Very Succulent Braised Chicken Portions here.
I remember the first time I ordered Aglio Olio. I was a young student then and pocket money was well, just pocket money. So pompous Bolognese and obnoxious Carbonara sitting on the menu had to take the back seat. Since then, I’d always thought of Aglio Olio as the humble, poor man’s pasta.
Most definitely, things change when you’ve got money. But hey, things also change when you can make your own food. Aglio Olio isn’t the same anymore; look who’s come out to play with the big boys now.