Donut worry, be happy! Finally it’s friday!!!
Have a happy weekend everyone!
France and Britain, having engaged in rivaling relationship for centuries, have near-identical levels of national wealth, population, and historical swagger. But when it comes to food…. The French raised cuisine to a high art, while Britain- just across the channel, has had such a poor reputation for food until recently.
French cuisine may be my all-time favorite. But I always turn to British comfort food when I have a rough day at work… scotch eggs, bangers and mash, sticky toffee pudding and the list goes on. Heartwarming, filling and satisfying, they are always there ready to give me a cuddle when I need it most.
Stilton pork melts – a classic British delight, can also be made with any kind of blue cheese on top of pork chop with a spread of Apple sauce in between. Here I replaced the apple sauce with caramelized apples, using the leftover apples I had from making chicken Normandy. The blue cheese adds a mellow depth of tangy flavor and sophistication to the dish. It brings together the tender pork and the sweet, sticky apple pieces, fusing them to create an incredible depth of flavour.
Let’s not lose hope in Brit food… as once said by a handsome prime minister – Britain may be a small country but it’s a great one. The country of Shakespeare, Churchill, the Beatles, Sean Connery, Harry Potter. David Beckham’s right foot…
I always feel hesitated to make ribs at home as it is kind of intimidating to handle such a big chunk of meat. Plus most of the ribs I order in restaurant are overcooked and dry.
My worries ward off after trying this simple recipe, where the ribs were wrapped in foil and then slow- braised to contain heat and moisture, finished with a cooked-on glaze in the end. It only took a few ingredients but the result was… absolutely fall-off-the-bone tender!
Who said you had to slave away in the kitchen to be a domestic goddess?
Let the oven do all the dirty work and spend your time on something more important… (like online shopping!)
Ingredients (serving for 2):
Meeting boyfriend’s parents for the first time is surely a daunting experience, while meeting your boyfriend’s best buds can be as tricky. I have dated my husband long enough to have forgotten how the experience felt like and I’m blessed to have become friends with most of them over the years.
Somehow I can still remember vividly the first time meeting D, whom my husband often referred as multitalented- DJ, chef (who has worked in nearly all the top notched restaurants in town) and committed gourmet. When we first met 8 years ago, instead of the awkward silence for new acquaintances, he started his unapologetic talk on pasta and their different sauces… I knew we would be friends instantly!
Last night while I was patting my crab cakes in the kitchen and wondering how the two of us can finish a dozen of crab cakes, D called my husband. 1hr later he came to our rescue -with a 21 year old Japanese whisky in hand!
Moist and flavorful, crab cakes are perfect as appetizer, lunch, or light dinner! I can eat them on a sandwich, between crackers or just plain with my favorite sriracha mayo!
As Julia Child said, “It’s fun to get together and have something good to eat at least once a day. That’s what human life is all about — enjoying things.”
D left the whisky at our place afterwards, for that I’m sure we will be having him with us a lot more in the future!
Serving: 10-12 palm sized crab cakes
Most probably the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word Normandy is the D-Day landing and the beaches where thousands of soldiers lost their lives during the Second World War. You may even recall images of Tom Hanks rescuing Matt Daman if you happen to have seen the blockbuster Saving Private Ryan like me.
Normandy and Brittany of Northern France have always been on my travel bucket list- breathtaking views, beautiful villages, a great history… not to mention the great food…The lush green pastures of Normandy makes ideal grazing for dairy herds and cattle. No wonder it is often referred as the heartland of French dairy products; it is at the same time a major cider-producing region in France.
“Fier d’ être français, et puis fier de ma region” – proud to be French, and then proud of my region, is a common French saying.
That is also what I like about French food, each region bears its own distinctive cuisine, heavily influenced by the region’s history and culture, accomplished with pride using the finest local ingredients.
Poulet à la normande or Chicken Normandy is a dish you can never, ever go wrong with. Made with Normandy’s famous produce- apple, cider and free range chicken, it is truly hearty and flavorful.
As ordinary working class people, we don’t get to travel around the year. But “exotic” food always serves as solace to my wandering heart and helps me get through until my next vacation.
* special thanks to my colleague… lemme just call her “cool mom A” here (simply love her personal style and all her shoes!) for helping me with the photo editing… she really worked wonders to my dishes and i just can’t thank her enough =)
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the bacon and cook for 3-4 minutes until brown.
3. Then add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes until softened, then set aside.
4. Use the remaining oil to brown the chicken. Turn regularly, pressing down on each side.
5. Put the onion and bacon in a dutch oven, then put the chicken on top.
6. Add the cider and stock. Cover with lid and bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
7. Add apples and cook uncovered for another 20 minutes
8. Stir in the cream and sprinkle over the parsley.
Drenched and tired, we finally decided to take shelter in a modest looking restaurant. There it was, I tasted one of the best conchiglie (shell pasta) in my life. The sauce made with prawn roe was so rich, silky and luscious, deeply infused with freshness…
Boeuf bourguignon is a comforting, rustic French dish that always holds a special place in my heart. It is one of those classic recipes that is constantly evolving, modernizing and being reinterpreted. I mean, how often do you find a dish that is cooked in Burgurndy farmhouse as well as served on the table of Michelin awarded restaurant?
Julia Child included a recipe of boeuf bourguignon in Mastering the Art of French Cooking- her famous cookbook. She described the wine-rich stew as “certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man”. She also pointed out that this is a dish that benefits from a day in the refrigerator. “Fortunately you can prepare it completely ahead, even a day in advance, and it only gains in flavor when reheated.” Making it a perfect choice of made-ahead food before party, and the flavors and taste do become richer and more mature with time.
Making boeuf bourguignon surely takes time and requires a lot of effort. But trust me, it is all worthwhile… imagine its meat shredding under the gentle pressure of your fork while its sauce a marriage of beefy aroma and wine. I wipe my plate clean with a piece of bread and lick my knife to capture the last drop of sauce every time I make this!
1. For the marinade: Combine the garlic, bay leaves, carrots, celery, onions and wine in a large bowl or container. Add the beef chunk and let sit in the refrigerator overnight. (try not to skip this steps as it makes a huge flavor difference)
2. Remove the beef from the marinade. Discard the veggies and reserve the marinade.
3. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
4. Sprinkle the beef with salt and toss with the flour; flour the beef right before when you are ready to brown it.
5. Add the flour-coated beef to the hot pan (many recipe suggests using dutch oven at this point, but I prefer using a non-stick pan for browning and leave the dutch oven to the next step) , may need to cook in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan.
6. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the bacon is lightly browned. Toss in the mushrooms, carrots, celery, garlic and onions, and season with salt.
7. Cook until the mixture starts to soften, about 10 minutes.
8. Then add the tomato paste and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
9. Add the 3 cups of marinade and deglaze the pan, stirring up any browned bits, and cook for 1 minute.
10. Add the beef. Stir to combine and cook until the wine has reduced by half, which takes another 1 to 2 minutes.
11. Add enough of the beef stock to just cover the surface of the beef.
12. Add in the bay leaves and thyme bundle. Cover the pan, bring the liquid to a boil and put in the oven.
13. Cook the beef for 2 hours.
14. Check the pot one hour later as you may need to add ~ 1 cup of beef stock/ marinade mixture to keep the surface of the beef covered.
15. Remove the pot from the oven and skim off any excess grease from the surface of the stew.
16. Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium heat until shimmering and almost smoking. Add potato slices and let fry for 4-5 minutes or until the edges turn brown. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
17. Garnish the dish with potato and chopped parsley on top.
As a girl who grew up watching sex and the city ( who wants to be Carrie but is a Charlotte at heart btw) and breakfast at tiffany’s, I always thought my kitchen would be used for shoe storage…
It all changed because of a built-in oven…
My husband took a lot of effort in fitting a professional oven into our teeny-tiny kitchen during our home renovation. I felt really indebted to him and from that point forward I cook a lot. Locking myself up in the kitchen doing all sorts of cooking experiments.
Women of the older generation always say the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach…
I’d say I love cooking for an audience.
Somehow everything tastes better with your favorite dining companion. And you know he will eat whatever you have prepared even your cooking experiments go awry.