Friday, December 19, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

I will be away from next week and will not be doing any new posting in my blog during this period.

Wishing all of you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Chicken Cacciatore


5 tbsp olive oil
4 chicken pieces
2 onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 button mushrooms, quartered
½ cup red wine
1¼ tbsp wine vinegar
1¼ tsp fresh chopped parsley
2½ tsp fresh chopped oregano
2½ tsp fresh chopped basil
1 bay leaf
1 tin canned tomatoes
½ cup chicken stock
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of sugar


In a large frying pan heat the oil and lay the chicken pieces, skin side down in one layer.

Brown for 3-4 minutes, then turn each piece over. Continue turning the chicken pieces until all surfaces are well-browned.

Remove the chicken pieces to a plate and keep warm.

Add the onions and garlic, to the oil and chicken juices in the frying pan. Cook lightly for 2-3 minutes or until they are just beginning to brown.

Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Pour the wine and vinegar into the pan and boil rapidly to reduce to about half the original quantity.

Add the herbs, bay leaf and tomatoes, stirring well to break up the tomatoes.

Stir in the chicken stock and season with pepper and sugar.

Return the chicken pieces to the tomato sauce and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Simmer for about 1 hour, or until the chicken is tender.

Serve with pasta.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ham and Green Pepper Omelet


3 eggs
2½ tbsp milk
Freshly ground black pepper
1¼ tbsp vegetable oil
½ cup chopped green pepper
2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
2 oz lean meat, cut into small dice


Break the eggs into the bowl and beat in the milk and pepper.

Heat the oil in a omelet pan and fry the green pepper until it is just soft.

Stir the tomatoes and the ham. Heat through for 1 minute.

Pour the egg mixture into the frying pan over the vegetables. Stir the mixture briskly with a wooden spoon until it begins to cook.

As the egg begins to set in, lift it slightly and tilt the pan to allow the uncooked egg underneath.

When the egg on top is still slightly creamy, fold the omelet in half and slip it onto a serving plate. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Stuffed Eggs

Stuffed eggs make an attractive and delicious party appetizer


18 small quail eggs
¼ cup unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup cooked, peeled shrimp, finely chopped
¾ tsp finely chopped fresh basil
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Cook the eggs in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and plunge them immediately into cold water.

Allow the eggs to cool completely, then remove the shells. Rinse and drain.

Cut each egg in half lengthwise and carefully remove the yolks.

Put the yolks into a large bowl and beat in the butter and garlic. Mix well.

Add the shrimp, basil and pepper to the creamed egg yolk mixture. Beat thoroughly until a soft consistency results.

Fill each egg white half with a little of the prepared mixture, piling it attractively into the cavity left by the egg yolk.

Refrigerate until required.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Japanese-Style Peanut Dipping Sauce

This beautiful sauce, which has chunky texture, is best served with fresh raw slices of salmon, some shredded carrot and shredded Japanese seaweed, making a dish that’s ideal as an appetizer.


1 tbsp chunky peanut butter
4 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp miso
2 tbsp sugar to taste
1 tsp finely chopped young ginger
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 tbsp finely chopped spring onions
1 tsp chopped cili padi


Put all ingredients into a small mixing bowl. Mix well until the sugar dissolves, the peanut butter is smooth and everything is well-blended. Pour into individual bowls for serving.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Fish and Vegetable Soup


1 medium whole fish (about 600 g) such as white or black pomfret or red snapper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 ginger, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium-sized carrot, sliced
1 rib celery, diced
3 larges tomatoes, skinned and diced
600 ml water
1 tbsp chopped parsley or spring onion
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste


Clean and gut fish, and cut into 1 cm thick slices. Cut head into two halves.

To make the fish stock, heat oil and fry the ginger and fish head until half-cooked and add water. When cooked, strain to leave only the liquid for the stock.

Heat oil in a roomy pan and “sweat” onion, garlic, carrots and celery until translucent, but not browned. Add tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes before adding fish stock.

Simmer soup over low heat for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Just before serving, rub a little salt and freshly grounded pepper on fish slices and slip them into the soup. Bring to the boil and cook for 5-6 minutes.

Ladle the soup into deep soup bowls and sprinkle liberally with chopped parsley or spring onion and serve immediately.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tips for Better Cooking

If you can’t find good ripe tomatoes for pasta sauce, buy a good Italian brand of plain canned tomatoes. Tomatoes are usually canned when at their very best, very ripe and full of flavours.

Buy dry spices whole and keep them in a dry and cool place – they’ll keep for years. Before using, roast them in a dry pan to release the flavours, then grind them down with a mortar and pestle.

Use fresh rather than dry herbs, but remember their flavours are very delicate and subtle. Most herbs will lose their aroma if cooked too long, so add your herbs at the end of the cooking. Some sturdier herbs such as rosemary, thyme, oregano and bay leaf can be cooked longer without losing their flavours.

To keep green vegetables bright green after cooking, blanch them in hot salted water for a few minutes. Immediately plunge them into a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking process and to fix the chlorophyll. Overcooked vegetables lose their crunch and most of their vitamins.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Garlic Fried Rice


500 gm cooked rice
2-3 eggs
10 cloves garlic, chopped
10 shallots, sliced
100 gm barbecued pork or ham chopped
100 gm bacon, chopped
100 gm prawns, shelled
2 tbsp sesame oil
8 tbsp oil
1 tbsp thick soy sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
5-6 pieces lettuce leaves
4 tbsp green peas (optional)
4 tbsp carrot cubes (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Red chilli slices, fried shallots and chopped parsley for garnishing


Heat the two types of oil and fry shallots and garlic to a light golden brown. Add meats and stir fry till prawns are half-cooked. Add rice and all the rest of ingredients. Stir fry till all the meats are cooked and the seasoning well mixed.

Arrange lettuce leaves on a big plate and put rice in the centre.

Decorate with the garnishings and a fried egg sunny side up.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Storage Tips for Vegetables and Fruits

Do your vegetables and fruit spoil before you get around to eating them? Here’s now to prevent that.

To increase the life of salad in bags, rinse leaves, drain and put into a shallow container. Drape a piece of damp kitchen paper over, cover and chill.

Remove herbs from packaging and roll tightly in damp kitchen paper and then cling film.

Don’t use foil to wrap acidic foods such as sliced tomato, citrus fruit or cabbage. The aluminum will affect the taste.

Mangoes, avocados and bananas are some of the fruits that do not benefit from being refrigerated.

Fruits such as apples, bananas, peaches and pears give a natural gas that causes other fruits and vegetables to ripen more quickly. Carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and lettuce are affected so they should be stored separately.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Crab Cakes with Chilli Dipping Sauce


250 g fresh crab meat
250 g cod steak or fillet, skin and bones removed, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium red chilli, deseeded and chopped
1 stalk lemongrass, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander, plus extra to garnish
1 egg white
Salt and black pepper (to taste)
Oil for frying

For Chilli Dipping Sauce:

8 large red chillies, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp unrefined caster sugar
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp Thai fish sauce
1 tbsp olive oil or groundnut oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 small red chilli, chopped, to garnish


Place the crab meat, cod, garlic, chilli, lemongrass, ginger, coriander, egg white and seasoning in a blender or food processor and pulse until fairly smooth. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.

Heat a little oil in a non-stick frying pan and place heaped tablespoons of the crab mixture into the pan, flattening with a spatula. Fry for 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden. Cook in batches and keep warm.

Make the chilli dipping sauce. Put all the ingredients except the soy sauce in a saucepan. Bring to boil, then cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. Return the sauce to the pan and add the soy sauce. Heat for 2 minutes.

Serve the crab cakes with fresh coriander, chopped chilli and the chilli sauce.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Essential Kitchen Utensils for Better Cooking (1)

Long Chopsticks

For deep-frying foods, use long chopsticks to avoid being scalded by the cooking oil. The long chopsticks are particularly good for flipping and retrieving the fried foods from the oil. You can use the chopsticks to check the oil, when little bubbles rise along the chopsticks, the oil is hot enough for frying. Buy the bamboo types which are heat resistant and durable. They are also inexpensive, so if they get burned, or marred in any way, you can always get another pair. The bamboo chopsticks can be used on non-stick surfaces.

Kitchen Tongs

Use a pair of kitchen tongs for stir-frying vegetables and frying meats in a pan. It is also good for tossing noodles so that the sauce is thoroughly mixed with the noodles. You can also use it to serve salads, pasta or noodles. It is a must have utensil for use with barbeque or when you are grilling food on a hot plate. Buy the type made of plastic so that it won’t scratch your non-stick pan.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Fried Chicken With Lemon Sauce


1 chicken (about 1 kg) jointed
2 egg whites, beaten
20 gm cornflour ) mix together
50 gm plain flour ) well
2 big onions, cut in rings
Salt, pepper and mustard to taste
Oil for deep frying
3 red chillies, chopped
20 gm cornflour
4 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ litre water

Lemon Sauce:

Juice of 3 big lemons
Salt and sugar to taste
Dash of mustard and pepper


Season chicken. Dip in beaten egg white and coat well with the two thoroughly mixed flours. Deep fry in hot oil over medium heat till golden brown and chicken is cooked.

Strain oil into another clean wok and let it heat up again.

Season onion rings with salt, pepper and mustard and dredge them in the remaining flours. Deep fry till golden.

Spoon three tablespoons of the oil into a saucepan. Fry garlic till light brown. Mix cornflour with water and pour over the garlic. Bring to boil. Add sugar and seasonings. Stir well.

Turn off heat and stir in the lemon sauce. Serve with the chicken pieces.