As the year ends, it’s the perfect time to reflect on what you have accomplished and look ahead to your new goals.
Cooking, hoarding recipes, photographing food and, of course, eating, have been my lifelong passions. Two years ago, I started the page << Miss Amateur Chef >>, this has changed my life and taken my obsession with food to a whole new level. The kitchen has always been my place of solace; working in the kitchen, testing recipes bring not only joy but beautiful memories. This little project of mine allowed me to properly document my favorite recipes- which I believe can now live on forever =)
Let’s start the new year with a scrumptious breakfast! This French toast is a real crowd pleaser, it comes out best when you work with thick slices of loaf bread and allow them to soak in the mixture overnight. “Preparation is the key to success”- this applies to cooking and everything else in life. May all our preparation in 2017 make us FIERCE and UNSTOPPABLE in 2018!!!
4 thick slices Brioche
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
Beat together egg, milk, salt, cinnamon and vanilla.
Soak slices of bread in mixture overnight, until saturated.
Heat a lightly oiled skillet over medium-high heat, cook bread slices on both sides until golden.
We all have a holiday tradition or recipe that we hold so dear and near to our hearts, don’t we? One that we keep making the same way for years and never get bored with. Boeuf bourguignon is one of such dishes for me. Hearty and so packed full of flavour. It is a must in our house in the winter months.
This Christmas I am trying to make an elevated version of beef stew based on Gordon Ramsay’s recipe with a few modifications: cutting down the amount of red wine and adding in extra tomatoes cause I like a little more acidity in the sauce. The vegetables are sautéed instead of adding to the stew at the very beginning so to avoid a soggy texture.
p.s. This is my first time working with pearl onions and they are truly god-sent!
Olive oil, for frying
3 thick-cut meaty beef short ribs
2 tbsp tomato purée
250ml bottle red wine
1 cup beef stock
100g pancetta lardons
6-8 small chestnut mushrooms, trimmed and halved
6-8 pearl onions
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tomatoes cut in wedges
Preheat the oven to 170°C.
Season the short ribs thoroughly, then panfry in the dutch oven for 10–15 minutes to brown well on all sides.
Add the minced garlic, pushing it to the bottom of the pan. Add the tomato purée and heat for a minute or two to cook it out. Pour in the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up the bits at the bottom. Put in tomato wedges.
Bring everything to the boil and cook for 10–15 minutes until the liquid is reduced by half, then add stock to nearly cover the ribs. Bring to the boil again, basting the ribs with the juices.
Put the dutch oven in the preheated oven for 3–4 hours, until the meat is tender and falling away from the bone.
About 10 minutes before the short ribs are ready to come out, peel the pearl onions and boil them for 5 minutes.
At the same time, panfry the pancetta for 2–3 minutes until crisp and golden. Add the mushrooms and carrots, cook for 4–5 minutes until tender. Drain off any excess fat.
When the short ribs are ready, remove from the oven and transfer to a serving dish. Spoon off any excess fat from the beef cooking liquid.
Serve the short ribs topped with the hot pancetta and mushrooms and the sauce poured around.
Soft in the centers, crisp on the edges, perfectly spiced =) No holiday cookie platter would be complete without our beloved gingerbread men!
Ingredients (yield 12 pcs):
1.5 cups flour
1 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in large bowl. Set aside.
Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add golden syrup, egg and vanilla; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed.
Press dough into a thick flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness on lightly floured work surface. Cut into gingerbread men shapes. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of cookies are set and just begin to brown. Cool on baking sheets 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Decorate cooled cookies as desired.
Vigorously whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice together in a stainless steel bowl until the mixture is thickened and doubled in volume.
Place the bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl.
Continue to whisk rapidly. Be careful not to let the eggs get too hot or they will scramble. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened and doubled in volume.
Remove from heat, whisk in salt paper and sriracha, taste and add more sriracha if desired for more heat.
Cover and place in a warm spot until ready to use for the eggs benedict. If the sauce gets too thick, whisk in a few drops of warm water before serving.
Summer is almost at an end. Almost, but not quite yet. With the daytime temperature still reaching over 30 degrees, I have been craving for a dish that is light yet comforting…
That’s when Ochazuke (お茶漬け) comes in handy: a simple rice dish which combines green tea (ocha), steamed rice, and an assortment of savory ingredients (zuke means “submerged”). In Japanese homes, ochazuke is often regarded as a comfort food. It is typically enjoyed as a filler snack, any time of the day, but it is especially loved as a midnight snack (or as a hangover remedy)!
Try this really simple recipe and enjoy a hearty snack like your favorite manga character!
(You can use cold rice and cold dashi or tea in summer time to enjoy a more refreshing version of Ochazuke.)
1 cup cooked, steamed Japanese rice
1/2 to 2/3 cup hot brewed Japanese tea (I swear by the Gyokuro stems teabag from Nakamura Tokichi Honten!) , just enough to cover the rice
1/2 tbsp of soya sauce (optional)
Pinch of white sesame seeds (toasted)
Pinch of shredded seaweed
1/4 cup mirin
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
Set frying pan to medium-high heat.
Pat oysters dry. Add to the pan and cook for a 1-2 minutes on each side until nicely brown.
Remove oysters and reduce the heat to medium. Mix mirin, brown sugar and soy sauce, add to the pan.
If sauce is nicely reduced and thickened, turn off heat. If not, continue to cook over medium heat until desired consistency is reached.
Add in oysters and stir-fry for 1 minute, or until they are well-coated with the sauce.
Pour the tea until it covers half of the rice and top with oysters. Add soy sauce if you like.
Sprinkle sesame seeds and shredded seaweed on top for extra flavor.
Caution: The following recipe is not for the faint of heart!!
Okay, just think of it as Chinese Bolognese meat sauce! Although pork belly is the cut where bacon originates, and is known to be heavy in fat, you’ll find that the Lu Ro, despite flaunting thick layers of fat, is surprisingly not as greasy as you might have imagined. In fact, since the pork is cooked under low heat for an extended amount of time, the amount of fat is somewhat mitigated.
Braising has always been one of my favorite ways to cook meat; it is the best sort of kitchen alchemy- transforming tough cuts of meat into something completely flavorful and tender, and you know what… braised meat tastes even better the next day!
1 lb skin-on pork belly, cut into 1/2” pieces
2 teaspoons oil
1 piece of medium size rock sugar
a couple of shallots, finely chopped
4 dried shiitake mushrooms, cut into 1/2” pieces
1/4 cup rice wine
1/2 cup light soy sauce
1/2 cup dark soy sauce
1 cups water
2 hardboiled eggs, peeled (optional)
For the spices (wrap everything in the spice packet):
3 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns
2 slices fresh ginger
Preheat oven to 160 degree C.
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over low heat, add in the sugar. Add the minced shallots when the sugar starts to melt. Turn up the heat to medium high and stir-fry the shallots for a minute.
Add the mushroom pieces and chopped pork belly; stir-fry for another 2-3 minutes.
Pour in the blanched pork, rice wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and water. Stir and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, add the spices (which should be wrapped in cloth), along with the peeled hardboiled eggs.
Transfer everything to the oven and cook for around 1½ hours.
Once the meat is fall-apart tender, remove the spice packet. Transfer Dutch oven to the stove, cook under medium high heat to thicken the sauce, stir occasionally, for about 5-minutes. The sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon. Serve over steamed white rice!
As much as I love pizza, tell me any pizza recipe that requires a rolling pin and I’ll probably respond with an eye roll. Tell me I have to let the dough rise for an hour after a long day of work and I’ll probably say, “Nope, not happening.” The truth is… an amateur chef with a full-time job can’t afford spending two hours on making her dinner!
Are you looking for yummy and instant pizza recipes just like me? If yes, you have come to the right place. This recipe needs no kneading or rising time. You can make this pizza in less than the amount of time it would take for pizza delivery. Voilà, dinner is ready!
1 sheet store-bought puff pastry, thawed
1 cup chicken (diced and seasoned with salt and pepper)
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon finely chopped spring onions
1 Tablespoon sake
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons water
Preheat oven to 210 degrees Celsius. Place defrosted sheet of puff pastry onto the parchment.
Sauté chicken slightly, for 2min, under medium heat.
Combine Teriyaki sauce ingredients in a bowl. Add the teriyaki sauce to the chicken, cook until the sauce is thickened and glossy, stirring occasionally, for around another 3 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the sauce.
Spread the teriyaki sauce onto the puff pastry, leaving a ½ ” border around the edges.
Distribute chicken evenly over teriyaki sauce then top with shredded mozzarella.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and just beginning to brown and the pastry crust is golden brown.
Remove from oven and let cool for 2 minutes before sprinkling with chopped spring onions.
Still trying to process the shock, disgust, horror and anger I get from reading the news, both local and international.
As some of you may have noticed, I haven’t updated my blog/ Facebook for some time. I was, in the past few months, taking some major moves in my career. And I have been working my butt off to adjust to the transitions. In difficult times like this, I am particularly grateful for all the men in my life, who treat women with respect. I grew up getting all the education I needed; my father often reassures me that it is okay for a girl to be smart and ambitious. When I was too tired to cook after work, my husband would just get us takeaways, without the slightest complaint. I have never felt duty-bound to complete all the household chores, I needn’t be the domestic goddess of the house or the new Martha Stewart – I can just be myself!
Cooking has always been a meditating process for me; I feel a sense of tranquility and peace whenever I cook. Tonight, I felt something more – while I cooked, I thought of all the strong women in my life, starting with my mother, all my girlfriends… colleagues… Susan B Anthony… Claudette Colvin… Instead of feeling confined in a box, like many women before my time did, kitchen is a place where my dreams flourish. To me, food is the key to different cultures… Through all the kitchen experiments, I learn to be a person with an open mind.
So, I feel it really personally when I see how women are being demeaned, devalued and degraded publicly, how some leaders rule by intimidation, how they stifle opposing voices and diminish the potential of their citizens… it is just saddening to see how the world is moving backward…
I guess we all need a hearty truffle pasta like this to heal our souls.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoons minced garlic
8 ounces fresh fettucine
1/2 to 1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons truffle paste
1 tablespoon of salt and 2 tablespoon of olive oil
Add salt and olive oil to water, bring to a boil.
Meanwhile cook garlic in butter over low heat.
Add heavy cream and simmer until thickened.
Cook pasta until al dente and add to cream; toss to coat.
Whisk in truffle paste into pasta and remove from heat.
Season with salt and serve with truffle shavings or fresh truffle.