Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Beef Stroganoff

Since I married an European man, I decided to try making more European dishes. And its all turning out quite well. Also, I bought a lot of beef this week.

Ingredients: Lean beef
1 tbs flour (seasoned with salt and pepper)
1 red onion (sliced)
1 clove garlic (chopped)
1 cup sour cream
1 tbs tomato paste
salt and pepper

1. Cut beef in thin strips. Coat with seasoned flour. Heat oil and fry the beef. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in pan and fry onions and garlic until softened.
3. Add 1/2 cup water, sour cream and tomato paste.
4. Cook for 5 minutes, and then add beef.
5. Season to taste. The sauce would have thickened and then set aside.

Verdict: I thought this dish was really very good. The sourness of the cream complemented the tomato paste quite well. The recipe calls for button mushrooms to be added but I didnt have any in the house. All, in all this was a successful first try at beef stroganoff.

Spring Rolls

My friend Edel, made really good spring rolls at the International gathering in my home. I am going to get her to teach me the technique of rolling them properly. The ones I made in the past kept opening up in the deep fat fryer.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Beef Goulash

This is a nice slow cooking dish, ideal for the weekend when you have time on your hands.

Ingredients: lean beef (chopped in pieces)
4 tomatoes (chopped)
1 white onion (sliced)
1 clove garlic (chopped)
2 stalks celery (sliced)
2 carrots (sliced)
red wine or balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp red paprika
1 tsp cornflour (mixed with water)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oil and cook onions and garlic until translucent and soft.
2. Add beef and cook thoroughly until the meat is browned.
3. Add 2 cups of water and add carrots and celery.
4. Allow to simmer for 45 mins.
5. Add tomatoes.
6. Allow to simmer for another 30 mins.
7. When vegetables are softened, add either wine or balsamic vinegar to taste. Season with paprika, salt and pepper.
8. Add cornflour paste to thicken the soup before serving.

Verdict: I started out with a dash of wine in the soup and it tasted quite good. But afterwards, I reheated the dish with balsamic vinegar and it had a much more sharp, tarty taste. This dish would go well with chopped red bell peppers, which I didnt have in the fridge. Also, the inclusion of bay leaves would have been good for the sauce. Overall, it was extremely tasty although I could have cooked the beef much longer and it would have been more tender. I would recommend that the goulash is left to simmer for 2-3 hours so that the meat becomes extremely tender.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Sweet and Sour Chicken

I was in the mood for Asian fare, so I made sweet and sour chicken. This version follows the Malaysian version where the meat is not deep fried before hand. The Chinese version usually calls for the meat to be deep fried in breadcrumbs before the sauce is placed on it.

Ingredients: chicken breast (diced)
3 pineapple rings (sliced)
1 white onion (sliced)
1/2 red pepper (cubed)
3 tbs tomato sauce
1 tbs chilli sauce
1 tsp soya sauce
1 tsp of cornflour (make into a paste with water)
salt and pepper

1. Heat oil in work and fry the onions. When onions are softened, add the red pepper. Add 5 tbs of water and allow vegetables to cook.
2. Add chicken breast and allow to simmer for 10 mins.
3. When water is drying up, add tomato sauce, chilli sauce, soya sauce and salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
4. Add a bit of water if the sauce is too thick.
5. Add pineapple.
6. Use cornflour paste to thicken the sauce before turning off heat.

Verdict: The version I made was a little too sweet because I added some pineapple syrup to the sauce. Usually, the recipe calls for a bit of vinegar which I didnt have with me. Overall, I could have done a better job of it.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Oatmeal and Raisin Cookies

I was in a baking mood so I whipped up some lovely cookies.

Ingredients: 12 tablespoons (175g) unsalted butter,
3/4 cup (160g) firmly packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup (130g) white sugar
1 large egg1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (170g) rolled oats
1 1/4 cup (160g) plain flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (200g) raisins

1. Preheat oven to 375F/190C/Gas Mark 5.

2. Cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla extract; beat until well combined.

3.In a separate bowl combine oats, flour, soda, baking powder and salt. Mix into butter mixture until just combined. Stir in raisins.

4. Drop the dough by heaped tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets, leaving a 2" gap between each mound.

5.Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Cool on sheet for at least a minute before transferring to a rack.

Verdict: The cookies came out really large so do leave a lot of space between each set. It was crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle. I added some cinnamon powder as an afterthought before placing the cookies in the oven, and it made it smell heavenly.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Chinese Spinach Chicken

Me and Thomas are going to be very healthy in the year 2007. And what better way to do that than to eat our greens!

Ingredients: chicken breast (chopped)
chinese spinach (sliced)
1 red onion (sliced)
1 red chilli (sliced)
1 tbs oyster sauce
1 tsp soya sauce
salt to taste
1/2 tsp cornflour

1. Marinade chopped chicken breast with oyster sauce and soya sauce.
2. Heat oil and fry onions until soft. Add chilli and chicken. Cook on high heat. Then add a little water and allow to simmer.
3. Add spinach. Allow to cook for 15 mins.
4. Add seasonings. Make a paste with cornflour and water and add to the mixture. This will thicken marinade into a sauce. Remove from heat after 5 mins. Serve with rice.

Verdict: The food was delicious- the spinach was warm and thick and complemented the chicken very well.

Spring Roll Filling

I made around 80 spring rolls for the New Year. I did not end up taking a picture of the final product but here is the recipe for the filling.

Ingredients: 1/2 large cabbage (shredded)
minced pork
3 carrots (finely chopped)
2 white onions (finely chopped)
1 cup peas
1 cup corn
2 red chillis (sliced)
2 tbs soya sauce
2 tbs oyster sauce
1 tbs sesame oil
salt and pepper

1. Marinade pork with 1/2 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp soya sauce and 1 tsp oyster sauce. Cook over low heat in saucepan until the pork is cooked well. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat oil and fry onions until soft. Add cabbage, chilli and carrots. Put in 1/2 cup of water and let vegetables simmer. When water dries up, add corn and peas. Add sesame oil, oyster sauce and soya sauce.
3. Pour the meat into the mixture and give it a final stir. Season to taste.
4. The filling should be cooled for 1/2 a day before being used for spring rolls.

Verdict: The filling tasted good and complemented the spring roll wrappers. Spring rolls go very well with sweet chilli sauce.