In the magical world of baking, Egg Yolk is a golden element, without which custards and mousses wouldn’t be the same. Not to undermine Egg White, I think I just like Egg Yolk better. In the savouries, Egg Yolk helps Mayonnaise and Hollandaise. But above all, Egg Yolk is simply best when runny, be it soft-boiled in an egg cup, or poached in simmering liquid.
Sausage, Egg & Spinach
No space for full description above.
Poached and pan-roasted leg of chicken, with a steamed spinach omelette, served with a red onion balsamic & honey jus, raw carrot and Jerusalem artichoke crisps.
- Poach for approximated eight minutes. TIP! Poke deep with a skewer of small knife, if juice runs clear and is not bloody, chicken is cooked.
- Drain well and pan-roast with a little knob of butter till golden.
- Remove and let the leg of chicken rest.
Red Onion Balsamic & Honey Jus
- In the skillet of remaining chicken juices and butter, toss in minced red onion and sweat it till almost transparent.
- Add a splash of balsamic vinegar and reduce it by half.
- Remove from heat and stir in a tablespoon of honey.
Steamed Spinach Omelette
- Fill a ramekin with finely chopped spinach leaves.
- Crack in an egg and using a fork, carefully move the spinach bits about to let the egg white flow in and around the greens. Do not break the yolk.
- Steam the egg in a steamer. Remove once egg is cooked, and yolk still runny. Timing is of the essence.
Serve with raw carrot cubes and a garnish of Jerusalem artichoke crisps.
Recently, I’ve been having this urge to learn to make pastry, so what better kind to start with than shortcrust pastry. Being a huge fan of the savoury, making a quiche therefore, was the desired result. The learning adventure called for a small bunch of research before embarking onward the unknown trail of crumbly crispy wonderment.
These were the proportions I used:
- 125g sifted plain flour
- 1 pinch salt
- 55g salted butter, cubed
- 2-3 tbsp cold water
- In a mixing bowl, put in the flour and salt, then add the cubes of butter.
- With your fingertips, integrate the butter into the flour-salt mixture by gently pressing the lumps in, pinching and lifting as you go along. Do this until you have a coarse sand-like mixture. Don’t take too long or everything’ll get greasy.
- Add 2 tbsp of the cold water first and combine the flour by pressing the mixture together. Note: You want to be pressing and not kneading. If necessary, add the third tbsp of water in small amount until the dough has combined nicely. (It should not be a sticky lump.)
- Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes before using.
- TIP! When ready to use, roll the dough out between two sheets of clingfilm. This makes the job easier and less messy.
- Line the oiled pie dish and blind-bake it till almost done before putting in the filling for more baking.
This time, I made a spinach and feta quiche. It tasted much better after it had time to set, but I was too greedy to wait.
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
- Get the sauce done first. With a little oil in the pan, in goes the garlic and ginger.
- When fragrant, get the shrimps, tomatoes and mushrooms in.
- Then, the vinegar, soy sauces, sugar and sesame oil.
- Add water to add more volume to sauce. Adjust with sea salt accordingly.
- 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.
- Once the fish is done, turn off the heat.
- Serve atop the baby spinach leaves.
No points for presentation there, but all smiles for the flavour.
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.
I wouldn’t call this a Mediterranean dish ‘cos it isn’t exactly one. But the combination of peppers and sage remind me of Greece. Anyway, here’s a simple recipe for a slight taste of the Great Middlelands.
Grilled Peppers & Sage Chicken Pasta
- 1 serving of long pasta
- 1 tsp of olive oil
- half a small white onion, minced
- 1 handful of sliced red peppers, inch-long
- 1 handful of sliced yellow peppers, inch-long
- 1 handful of sliced mushrooms
- 1 handful of chicken fillet, breast or drumstick meat, cubed bite-size
- half tsp of dried sage
- salt and pepper, for seasoning, to taste
- handful of spinach leaves, for colour
- Get your pasta cooking on the hob. (Remember: The Italians say the water used to cook pasta should be as salty as the Mediterranean
- Put a wok on the hob too. Turn the switch up to full whack and get the wok screaming hot. Add the oil in.
- Toss the minced white onion into the wok to flavour the oil.
- Before the onion turns brown, get the peppers to join the party. This time, let them sit still up to 2 minutes each time before tossing, until they show signs of slight charring. TIP! The trick here is that you don’t have the time to heat up an oven to specially grill your peppers. Pan-searing does the trick.
- Add mushrooms and toss.
- When the mushrooms are just about done, get everything out and put your chicken cubes in. You want to dry stir-fry them. This means you use the starchy water from the pasta, to stir-fry the meat. By adding the water in small quantities, stirring as you go along, you allow the meat to absorb all the liquid. Result: the chicken cubes are ‘dry’ yet juicy.
- Once the chicken is just done, add all the ingredients back in. And add salt, pepper and sage. Stir.
- The pasta should be just about done. Drain and add to the wok.
- Turn the heat off and add the lush green spinach leaves.
- Mix and serve.
Strangely enough, after coming back from Oslo, I found myself reminiscing Greece. One of the things unique to Greek cuisine is the Spanakitiropita, or more commonly known as Spanakopita, which is a spinach and feta cheese pie. There are proper better recipes out there but here’s how I did mine, as little tarts.
Stuff you’ll need:
- 3 eggs
- 200g of feta
- 75g of cheddar
- a bag of prewashed spinach leaves
- zest of half a lemon
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- olive oil
- a box of filo pastry
- a 12-hole shallow muffin tray
- First things first, get everything ready. Preheat the oven to 200°C, boil about 2 pints of water, get a pot on the hob on low heat.
- Next, into the mixing bowl, crack the eggs and dump in the cheeses. Add the lemon zest and dried oregano as well. Pepper goes in as well. Stir about and stop before it’s all smooth. In this case, chunky is pretty good.
- When the water has boiled, empty the bag of spinach into the pot on the hob, then pour the boiling water in, just enough to wilt all the spinach leaves. Add a sprinkle of salt and toss about. The leaves should wilt in about 40 seconds or less. Once wilted, turn off the hob and drain the spinach leaves. Add them to the mixing bowl and mix everything about.
- Get your muffin tray ready. Then, on a board, lay out a layer of filo pastry from the box. Half it lengthways and sideways so you get four individual pieces. Drizzle olive oil and pat each of them so they are coated evenly. Sprinkle paprika over the pieces. Layer each of them atop each other. Don’t worry if they’re broken here and there. Once done, lay it in a well of your muffin tray. Repeat for all 12 holes; you should only need 12 layers of filo pastry then.
- Fill the wells of filo with the spinach and cheese filling, or with spanakitiro. Pardon my urge to speak Greek. Wrap the little tarts up erratically.
- Pop them into the bottom rack of the oven. Welcome the Aroma Fairies into your kitchen.
- Take those babies out when they’re golden brown and let them rest for about 10 minutes or so, while you salivate.
- Wait some more if you want. If not, DIG IN.
Baked dishes are a breeze; simply shoving the tray into the oven and waiting for a lush treat is not difficult to do at all. Best part is, you’ll get a crispy layer on top, and succulent parts below. You can bake just about anything – from rice to pasta, vegetable to poultry. But here’s what I did last night:
Dump whatever tickles your fancy into a tray, with the parboiled pasta dumplings. For this, I had a base layer of fresh wild rocket leaves, then a bunch of mushrooms and a couple of white onions, all sliced up. The tortellini of choice was bacon-filled, but if you’re vegetarian, spinach-filled ones works too! After adding the tortellini, I grated a hunk of cheese to cover the top, making sure every inch of that pasta goodness was sitting under a snug blanket of mature cheddar. Drizzled with nuts and chopped rocket, the tray goes into the oven, baked till golden and precious.
Welcome the Aroma Fairies to your kitchen.
Before devouring, more rocket is laid atop, together with a sprinkle of paprika for colour.