Monday, 24 May 2010

steak dinner

My friend, Hardian's favourite meal is a big piece of steak. I had him and two other friends over for dinner and I cooked Jamie's ultimate rib of beef with rosemary and garlic roast potatoes, and also roasted leeks with thyme. Oh, Yum!

I've made this rib of beef several times now and it just gets better every time. The big piece of meat was marinated in garlic, lemon zest, rosemary and olive oil for several hours before grilled and roasted in the oven until medium-rare which is our favourite. When done, squeeze over a little lemon juice and drizzle over a splash of olive oil and let the steak rest for few minutes to allow all the juices to move back into the meat. Nobody wants a dry piece of steak.

Food, Friends and Wine. Perfect.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010


I've been bringing treats for my friends at work the past couple of days.

Yesterday I made carrot cupcakes with orange and honey frosting, one of the easiest and quickest thing to make ever and so refreshing with the orange zests in the frosting. The most frustrating thing for me was to wait for the cupcakes to cool before frosting them, but I survived...

And earlier this week, my boss mentioned something about strawberry cheesecake and I thought, "hmmm... I haven't had strawberry cheesecake in a while. I like strawberry cheesecake. And how come I never made it before". And so this is what I brought to the office today:

My Strawberry, Lemon and White Chocolate Cheesecake

I made the cake the night before to let it set in the fridge. I had so much fun experimenting with the cake because I didn't actually follow any recipes. I just go with what I felt like.

Anyway, the cheesecake was delicious. It was demolished within seconds.

Whilst eating the cake, an ingredient occurred in my mind: basil. I had white chocolate bar with strawberries and basil from Finland before I thought basil will just add a different dimension to the cake. I've got to try it!

After a session in the gym to burn some of the calories from all the good things from the past days, I went home and I had another experiment by making parmesan and thyme crackers. They just came out from the oven, looking good and smelling absolutely gorgeous; and I'm waiting for them to cool down a little bit (*sigh).

Have a good night everyone.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Boeuf Bourguignon

strange thing happened yesterday, my French friend Tiffany asked me to teach her how to make boeuf bourguignon. Not that I am an expert in French cooking or boeuf bourguignon, but at least I've made it before. And once again I followed Julia Child's recipe.

If you never had boeuf bourguignon before, it's not just beef stew. It's beef stew cooked to perfection. When carefully done and perfectly flavoured, Julia described the dish, and I couldn't agree more, as one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man.

Julia's recipe is a pretty time-consuming one with lots of steps, but it's worth every minute. The stew required two and a half hours to cook in the oven to let the meat absorb all the flavours of the onion, carrots, thyme, bay leaf and red wine and herbes de Provence which is not in the original Julia Child's recipe. Tiffany's mom always adds a little sprinkle of this and I'm sure Julia wouldn't mind.

The French beef stew was utterly delicious and the meat was fork tender. In the words of Julia Child, I say bon appétit!

after dinner that felt like we were somewhere in the French countryside, for dessert we were back in Britain and I made rhubarb and custard, a recipe from Jamie's book. I love this quintessential British recipe for its silky quality and the combination of sweet custard and the tartness of the rhubarb.

the leftover custard was then chilled and turned into ice cream which I had earlier with some fresh raspberries. Yum.

Day 259, recipe 127

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Chocolate Cheesecake

My friends Merlyn and Leo recently finished their exams and assignments. To celebrate this, Merlyn requested a cheesecake and Leo wanted something chocolate-y (I think you know where I'm going with this). And so yesterday I made chocolate cheesecake.

Chocolate and cheesecake, I think it's the world's two best comfort food combined. They are both delicious and comforting; and luxurious and simple at the same time. And what better way to relax and catch up with friends other than a piece of rich and moist cheesecake.

Crumbly chocolate crust with a delicious, rich and creamy filling and then topped with chocolate ganache.

Oh and by the way, do you know that food historians believe that cheesecake was served to the athletes during the first Olympic Games held in 776 B.C? But I bet they didn't taste like this.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

other interests

It sometimes surprises people that I have other interests apart from cooking and eating; because I do! (I think cooking and eating are more like obsessions, really. not just interests). I like travelling, I enjoy reading, I sing in a local community choir, I like playing badminton and squash even though I'm not the best player, and I love going to concerts and listening to live music.

This evening I'm going to see Jamie Cullum and tomorrow night is Michael Buble. I like going to concerts because I think it's the exhilaration of seeing my favourite performers play live; and to hear and see my favourite songs being performed live on stage. I cannot wait!

Oh, and yesterday, a woman from a prime-time British cookery television programme called me and we had a lovely chat. I don't want to jinx anything, but please keep your fingers crossed so that I get a call back. I am very nervous.

poached salmon steak for dinner.

gotta go now. Have a great night.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

afternoon tea, etc

I invited my friends Rani and Tiffany this afternoon for a tea and I made Classic Victoria sponge with all the trimmings, a traditional cake often served for afternoon tea. I have lived in the UK for almost five years now and I must admit I have only had one afternoon tea at the Berkeley London Hotel a couple of years ago. The afternoon tea, Prêt-à-Portea, is inspired by clothings and accessories from various well-known designers; all served on fine-bone china by Paul Smith. And the menu changes every six months to follow the changing seasons in fashion. I'm not an expert in fashion of any kind (and of course, you don't have to be. It's all about the delicious cakes, and the tea and the champagne), and even though the tea wasn't very traditional but it was a pretty awesome experience. I look forward to go back this summer with some friends.

the inspirations

can you guess which one is which?

Anyway, back to the cake. In case if you're wondering, Victoria sponge cake is named after Queen Victoria. She hosted tea parties, at which later-to-be-known as Victoria sponge cake was served and then the cake became fashionable throughout the Victorian era and until today.

A traditional Victoria sponge consists of jam sandwiched between two sponge cakes and the top of the cake isn't iced or decorated.

Jamie's recipe for the cake is pretty easy with butter, sugar, self-raising flour, eggs and lemon zest. After baked in the oven and cooled completely, the first cake was placed on the cake stand and then smeared with a mixture of strawberry jam and sliced fresh strawberries; before topping it with lemony vanilla whipped cream and the second cake. The last thing to do was to dust the cake with plenty of icing sugar. Delicious.

I think Queen Victoria would be proud.

And for dinner tonight I made pasta with rocket pesto, a recipe from one delicious food blog: cooking easy by Annalisa. I read about this recipe yesterday and I just got to try it. Rocket or Arugula is one of my favourite salad leaves and I can't believe I haven't thought about using them in pesto. It was delicious. Dare I say, better than basil pesto. Annalisa, a massive thank you for this recipe. It's a triumph!

and Annalisa, I hope I've done you proud... :)

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

lasagne with roasted squash

still on fresh pasta I'm afraid and today I made open stained-glass lasagne with roasted squash. It looks unusual and stunning at the same time and it tastes absolutely delicious.

I roasted the butternut squash last night to save time (clever, eh?). The squash was roasted in the oven until soft with this fragrant blend of spices, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, cinnamon, chilli and olive oil before mashing it until it looks like chunky baby food.

Making the lasagne sheet also couldn't be easier. It's just like making regular fresh lasagne sheet. Roll the dough until it's thin and them sprinkle half of the sheet with a handful of fresh herbs (I use flat-leaf parsley, chives and fennel tops). Fold the sheet over, sandwiching the herbs between the pasta and then roll again in the pasta machine.

After the pasta is cooked, carefully toss with butter and parmesan (I can actually eat them just like that) and then it was time to assemble the lasagne on a plate and eat!


Thank you Jamie.

Monday, 3 May 2010

easy caramelle and oozy ravioli

earlier this afternoon my friend Leo and I practised our pasta making skill. I enjoy making fresh pasta. The process can be lengthy but I think its fun and rewarding.

I started by placing some tipo 00 flour on a board. Made a well in the centre and cracked some eggs into it. With a fork, I beat the eggs whilst incorporating the flour a little at a time until everything was combined. Alternatively this process can also be done in a food processor, but hey, where's the fun ?

The dough was then knead until soft and wrapped tightly in cling in the fridge for at least half an hour to firm up, ready for rolling and shaping.

First we made some caramelle which, in Italian, means sweetie. This candy shaped pasta was stuffed with ricotta cheese, basil, black olives, a little nutmeg, parmesan and olive oil. The stuffed pasta was then dressed in a tomato and garlic sauce. In the middle of cooking the sauce, Leo suggested to add some chilli and so I did (I'm sure Jamie wouldn't mind. He loves chilli) and it was a great idea. Well done Leo!

next was oozy egg ravioli. This very delicate ravioli was stuffed with ricotta and an egg yolk. There was tension not to break the yolk and the picture below was the perfect one, out of the three that we made.

"aahs..." - moment
When cooked, the ravioli was simply dressed with butter sauce and freshly ground black pepper. And when cut into it, the yolk was still runny and it was amazing.

Have a good night everyone or morning if you're reading this from different parts of the world.

Seafood Sunday

yesterday morning when I got up, I was so happy to still be alive after the meal I had on Saturday...

In the afternoon I made the nicest clam chowder, Essex girl style for supper. I've been looking forward to make this recipe and I was so excited when I found some fresh clams from the fishmonger. And it was out of this world.

And then it was time to prepare some scallops. I love scallops. They're meaty, sweet and delicious (however, they can be a little pricey). I could have asked my fishmonger to prepare them for me but I was feeling adventurous, so I decided to prepare them myself. And it wasn't difficult but you do need some power to open their shells.

Once cleaned the scallops were then shell-roasted in three different sauces: the old-school French way, with sweet tomato and basil and with ginger, soy and coriander.


They were all delicious but if I had to choose one, my favourite was the old-school French way with garlic, lemon zest, parsley and butter; and then the one with ginger, soy and coriander; and the basil, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and pancetta. I think my friends Merlyn and Leo would agree.


To accompany the scallops I also made tagliatelle with basil and almond pesto.

And then we had some leftover brownies and the banana cake. I hope all of yous had a great weekend.

Day 245 , Recipe 116


On Saturday, I had some friends over for dinner and I made foods that can only be described as total indulgence. I made a special macaroni and cheese with pancetta, chicken and sauce that's made of milk, cream, cream cheese, parmesan and cheddar cheese. YUM! and my friend Adam (the one who doesn't like poultry) ate it and even had a second serving!

I also made chocolate brownies with peanut butter swirl. That was basically fifteen chocolate brownies recipe with added peanut butter on top. It was delish and I love how it looked, like an abstract painting that you can eat.

We also had sticky banana bread with butterscotch sauce. The stickiness came from the fudge sauce that's already in the cake. I also made butterscotch sauce to go with it which was easy to make. In a sauce pan, heat up some butter, brown sugar, caster sugar and golden syrup (I used the banoffee flavoured one) and let it bubble for five minutes and then add some double cream. Oh so so good but so sinful. By this time I'm sure we have surpassed the daily calories and fat intake for normal adults for the next week.

And that's not it. I also made blueberry eton mess with lemon cream.

enough with this post I think.