Chicken and Creamy Dijon Linguine

“Life is a combination of magic and pasta.” – Federico Fellini.

Very few women I know today lead simple lives. Most of us are juggling multiple roles with work, family and friends, let alone all the work-out regimes and beauty routines. Whenever I catch up with my girlfriends and ask how they’re doing, the most common response is not “Fine, thanks!” but “Busy, really busy.”

Life gets busy, but that doesn’t mean we need to compromise the taste of our meal as a result! This rich and decadent Dijon cream sauce is very easy to make and it pairs well with chicken, pork and even fish and can be used to create many other great dishes. Exactly what we need for a busy mid-week dinner!

Chicken and Cream Dijon pasta


Ingredients:

  • 200 gram linguine, cooked
  • 2 boneless chicken cutlets (sliced and seasoned with salt & pepper)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 small onion (sliced)
  • 1/2 cup of white wine
  • 1 cups whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp of chicken broth

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Directions:
1. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium low heat.
2. Add chicken and garlic; fry the chicken until completely cooked.
3. Remove chicken from pan.
4. Add onion to pan, salute until they turn transparent.
5. Add the white wine to the pan.
6. Simmer until the volume is reduced by half, then add the whipping cream, mustard and chicken broth.
7. Simmer until sauce thickens enough to coat a spoon.
8. Return Chicken to the sauce, and simmer for an additional 1 minutes.
9. Serve over cooked linguine.

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Banana Bread

Finally lay my hands on this new member of my cookbook collection. Published by my alma mater for fund raising- this ultimate cookbook features a selection of recipes gathered by the Maryknoll Sisters through their years of missionary work over the world.

When it comes to cookbooks, everyone has a different opinion regarding the perfect one, to me, it is the total package: delicious recipes that work, beautiful photography, and most importantly, writing that inspires and intrigues. Half a century ago, when most people rarely travel far from their hometown, our Sisters had this pioneering idea of compiling a cookbook made with a vast collection of international cuisine. These recipes collected from over 40 countries, given by families oversea, were the testament of love via sharing of food. Browsing through all the strange names of dishes, from Cazuela Chilena of Chile to Kachambali of Tanzania, some of them even unpronounceable, I felt like going on a culinary journey with the Maryknoll sisters. While I may not be able to accomplish something so great like them- cooking around the globe and spreading the word of God. I enjoy cooking for my loved ones and doing all sorts of food experiment in my tiny kitchen, that what keeps me grounded.

This banana bread is by far my favorite recipe from the book; it is a very basic and very forgiving recipe that takes all of 10 minutes to whisk together. An hour of waiting while your house fills with tempting aromas and then you’ll be able to enjoy your very own slide of warm, moist banana bread! Oh…I just can’t wait to try the rest of the recipes! After all the best cookbooks are the ones that gain its stains through frequent use, and later, passed down from generation to generation like a legacy.

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Ingredients (for a 10x20cm loaf):

  • 230 grams flour
  • 2.5 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 overripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 175 g sugar
  • 60g canola oil
  • 30g butter (melted)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 175∘C and adjust the oven rack to the center. Line a 10×20 cm loaf pan with parchment paper.
2. Mix all dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
3. Mash the bananas and mix in all the wet ingredients (eggs, sugar, canola oil, melted butter and vanilla) in another bowl. Fold the mixture into the dry ingredients to form a batter.
4. Pour batter to the lined pan and bake at 175∘C. Slit the center of batter after 15min for a better rise.
5. Continue to bake for another 35 min until a toothpick inserted to the center pulls out clean.


 

NYC Part III- Eleven Madison Park

It has been two months since my visit to Eleven Madison Park, one of the top 50 restaurants in the world. The visit was truly an amazing culinary experience that I will not forget for a while! When I think back to my memories of the restaurant, not only do I recall each specific bite of food, but I also remember the emotion of eating there, the unadulterated rapture of tasting great (not just good!) food…

The tasting menu which consists of 14 courses of creatively prepared dishes was a gastronomic experience like no other. The presentation, taste and service were top notch; the pacing was on point due to the attentiveness of the staff. Everything on the tasting menu was decadent and delicious. Highlights of the meal included a little egg filled with sturgeon caviar, sabayon and chives, a caviar and cauliflower take on Eggs Benedict and a custard dessert made with a ball that shattered to spill honey. The relatively mediocre dishes in the menu would suffice as good or great in any other restaurant, but deemed to be overshadowed by the remarkable dishes.

Overall a truly whimsical, innovative, daring and phenomenal food journey…I better let the photos speak for themselves!!


Savory cookies made with apple and cheddar in stylish B/W and Sturgeon sabayon presented in an egg shell that was perfectly cut on the top and emptied.

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Oyster: pie and velouté. The velouté was creamy, and the crust on the mini pie was crisp.

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Scallops marinated with black truffle and leeks

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My absolute favorite! An upscale reinvention of classic Eggs Benedict made with caviar, cauliflower and ham, totally showcased the creativity of the Chef. The house made English muffins was a lovely accompaniment.

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House made rolls along with butters and sea salt.

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An interesting take on “surf and turf” made with perfectly seared foie gras with Brussels sprouts and smoked eel.

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Waldorf salad. The original recipe was invented in 1896 by Oscar Tschirky who was the head waiter at the luxurious Waldorf Astoria hotel at the time (which was later demolished in 1929 to make way for the building of the Empire State Building). The salad was prepared in front of you, combining multiple ingredients, such as celery root, walnuts, grapes and apple. The salad was served in a giant bowl which had two compartments, in the bottom there was a cold soup made of the same dressing as the salad.

The duck was roasted with honey and lavender; it was perfectly cooked and packed with flavors!

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The cheese course totally exceeded my expectation. It was a beautifully melted Cato Corner cheese fondue sitting in a squash, you simply have to dip the homemade pretzel bread in to enjoy it. And guess what: it was divine!

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Pre-dessert- Botrytis with Ice Cream, Bitter Almond, and Ginger Crumble. Inspired by the flavor of grapes lucky enough to have been infected with the fungus, also known as noble rot.

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Milk and Honey Custard with Bee Pollen Ice Cream. Shattered the honeycomb shell and you’d be thrilled to discover the honey inside!

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Dishes are playful and interactive from start to finish, the dessert ‘Name That Milk’- which came in an ornate wooden box containing four bars of specially commissioned Mast Brothers chocolate together with pencils and a card with four animal drawings totally blew my mind. Diners must taste each bar to determine which chocolate belongs to which animal: cow’s milk, sheep’s, goat’s or buffalo’s.

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Eleven Madison Park (elevenmadisonpark.com)

11 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010

NYC Part I- The Breakfast-loving Carnivore

I once heard someone says, “You live more life in one day in New York City than you do somewhere else in a year.” Coming home with a terrible jet lag, I do feel 10 years older after my recent trip to the Big Apple. Sitting in front of the computer at 4am in the morning, I can’t help recalling every single detail of my favourite trip ever. Perhaps that’s a big claim, but I can say without a doubt that NYC is my favourite city and I don’t think there is anything that will ever beat.

What makes New York unique is its history, tradition, architecture, culture and people, there is such vibrancy to the city that you don’t find anywhere else in America or even in the world. With tens of thousands of restaurants and even more kiosks, delis and roadside stands where you can take a quick bite whenever you feel like – NYC dining scene just does better than anywhere else!

I could spend ten more years eating and drinking in the city without conquering all of its restaurants or bars. So this list wasn’t meant to be exhaustive, just to share with you some of my personal favourites in several categories.

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Breakfast

Ever since Breakfast at Tiffany’s, breakfast and the city were inseparable. I might not have eaten my bagel while window-shopping on the 5th avenue but I was more than happy to have started my daily adventures with a full stomach.

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1.Best Bagel and Coffee

225 W 35th St, New York, NY 10018, Midtown West

Some say it’s the water that makes the city’s bagels so delicious. Some say it’s the special way the Polish Jews immigrants prepared the dough. I don’t care. I just want one. Now!

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2. Fairway Cafe

2127 Broadway 2nd Fl, New York, NY 10023, Upper West Side

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A traditional american diner with huge windows overlooking Broadway. Love their silver dollar pancakes!

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3. Sarabeth’s

423 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024, b/t 80th St & 81st St Upper West Side

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The crab cake eggs benedict is fantastic!

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Steak– A trip to the states is not complete without some serious red meat consumption.

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1.St. Anselm

355 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211, 

b/t 4th St & Havemeyer St Williamsburg – North Side

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Unlike the old-school chophouses which feature dark wood and clubby atmospheres, this contemporary steakhouse in Brooklyn offers very solid char-grilled steak. The hanger steak is excellent and don’t forget to order their thick-cut bacon for sides!

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2. Costata

206 Spring St, New York, NY 10012, b/t Sullivan St & Avenue Of The Americas, South Village

Meaning rib-eye in Italian, Costata is a upscale restaurant in SOHO owned by the famous pasta chef Michael White. Their dry aged steak is a must, take the menu’s advice and order pasta as a side dish with steak. You won’t regret it!

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3. Lincoln Sqaure Steak

208 W 70th St, New York, NY 10023, b/t Amsterdam Ave & End Ave 
Upper West Side

 

Walking into this steakhouse with red walls, suede sofa booth and murals on the walls, feels like stepping into the best era of the 40s. Highly recommend the cream spinach as side for the steak, which is exceptional in its own right!

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