Category Archives: Recipe

RECIPE – Want Chinese Chicken?

Remember Nong’s Thai take on Hainan chicken in Portland?  The bird poached in fragrant stock. Rice steamed just perfect. Don’t forget the famous dark, gingery, just-tart sauce.

Here’s our version.

Ok Imma make this quick and dirty, because this is a meal I associate with late-dinners or Friday evenings when Dad didn’t want to cook, while I was growing up.  These are the best meals, and also ones I forget to share as I feel like most people already have their quick go-to’s.  It takes minimal prep, is extremely healthy, and if you’re lucky you might have leftovers for lunch.  I’m aware that the lack of colour on the skin may take some getting used to, but it’s clearly clean-eating!

There are many variations of this dish, from the Thai-take on it, to the Hainese (HOI LAM GUY FAN|海南雞飯).  Most Cantonese families will have it with steamed rice and boiled vegetables, making it is very low in added fat. Other variations of the recipe have fancy ice baths and salt scrubs to ensure the skin of the chicken looks as appealing as possible, but really now – ain’t nobody got time for that. 

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Right so let’s get started.

 

Pick up a whole chicken at the store make sure it’s super fresh.

Try to get a free-run chicken, because traditionally our aunties tell us that they have the ‘firmest’ meat not like that mushy stuff we get in North America.

 

NOTE: Please do not wash your chicken.  DO NOT wash your chicken with water in the sink, because you will more likely get ill than if you skip the wash step.  Washing with water effectively sprays campylobactor, a pathogen found in >60% of Irish chickens, up onto the counter and surrounding area.  This is not a food safety lesson, but it kind of is.  

 

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Gently lift the chicken out of the hot water bath using stiff utensils like serving spoon/fork or kitchen tongs.  The cavity of the bird will be filled with water so let that drain out and careful not to tear parts of the chicken.

Place it on a large plate to catch any juices

Pierce the drumstick with a chopstick (the real asian way), and if the liquid runs clear and not bloody, then your chicken is finished.

I would recommend using a temperature probe. Poke the probe into the thickest piece of meat without touching the bone. Your chicken is cooked at 160ºF or 71ºC.

While your chicken cooks (or bathes)…

Make it a nice sauce.


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This. Sauce. Is. DEADLY.

It’s quoted to be as addictive as crystal meth by some, but it’s simple – just a grated ginger and chopped scallion/green onion sauce.  It can be made into a vinaigrette, but let’s keep it simple.

Using these ingredients from the list:

2-inch nubbin’ of ginger

scallions,chopped finely

cooked or heated oil

1/2 tsp salt

Oyster sauce (optional)

 

Grate the ginger into a bowl, take care to keep the juice.

Add the chopped scallions

In a small sauce pan, bring the oil to smoke. Set aside to cool.

Add salt & oil the warm oil to the bowl and mix.

 

There we are, voila… poached chicken & deadly sauce.

Carve the chicken and serve.

If you need help carving look HERE (video) or HERE (pictures).  We personally loved the instructions from Thomas Keller’s ad hoc at Home book as well.

 

Few final notes:

Do you want to know how to make perfect rice, no measure, every time? We will share our secrets with you if you give us a shout-out below.

Reduce waste – the water that you used to cook the chicken can be saved and used in other dishes as a mellow broth.

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy Pancake Tuesday avec Donal Skehan & Happy Pear!

Here in Ireland, pancake Tuesday (aka Shrove tuesday) is done very BIG!

BIG and Festive; by festive, I mean we have crepe-like pancakes topped with lemon juice and dusted in icing sugar. I’ve never seen a place go so crazy over pancakes, but I won’t deny you the pancake-pleasure, I love them so much! You must, must, must top them with CANADIAN maple syrup 😉

So if you haven’t prepared your sourdough sponge overnight like I mentioned last week for sourdough pancakes don’t be frettin’.  Here is plan B, follow this alternative recipe by Donal Skehan & the guys at Happy Pear for Dairy-free, gluten-free, banana buckwheat pancakes! secret recipe: tahini.  These guys are so entertaining – yea, it’s Irish charm they’re all charming.

-Final note: notice the fancy wok used to make the pancakes

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RECIPE – Sourdough Pancakes

Not to worry, I know that I’m about 2 to 3 years late to the game of sourdough and all the cool kids are already done with this, but hey better late and really passionate than never –  I think.
So, after a little scare last week where I thought I killed my sourdough mother, I revived it.  These were a bit tart/sour, hence, sourdough.
I think it just takes a bit of getting used to, but still delicious and even better as a savoury crepe.  I took a departure off the path of the recipe because after attending the Real Bread Ireland meeting, I was convinced to try things made exclusively with the sourdough as a rising agent (sans bicarbonate). Personally I do not have any aversion to it, as it is in the ‘generally regarded as safe’ (GRAS) food additives – it’s fine, nothing will happen to you if you eat bicarb.  seriously.
I’ve now made two recipes with the sourdough, and one thing that one must get accustomed to is the wait time.  You mix the starter to make a so-called ‘sponge’ first and then let it do it’s work!  Loads more wait time involved, but this is well worth it.
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RECIPE- theVESPER – the only way to kiss 2014 goodbye.

Kiss 2014 goodbye with my new favourite classic, the Vesper.  Can we really go wrong with James Bond’s drink choice in Casino Royale?

‘Shaken, not stirred’

 

I love cocktail parties with my mum, after all, she is a pro.  I take every opportunity to glean skills and drinks from her.  I truly believe that cocktails are a craft; they take time, attention to detail, and proper technique.
She generously shared her recipe with me, and let me just say this is a perfect proportion.  The sweetness and aroma of the Lillet, just make me smile.

[Hints]

Please make sure you cool the classes with ice and water prior to making the cocktails.

Strain the ice off the shaker into cooled glasses, sans ice!

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-Goodluck!

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RECIPE-Tonight means mass, carols or just mulled wine

A few years ago, we took an enchanting Christmas market tour starting in Budapest, down the Danube River through the different cities of Bratislava, Vienna, Linz, Salzburg, and Passau.  If you ever want to be enchanted by a white and chilly Christmas filled with snow and warmed by Glühwein (mulled wine), stuff your belly with more WURST than you can handle, and enjoy some classic gingerbread, linzer torte, opera cake, the list goes on…. I’d suggest a christmas tour.
Well anyhow, I tell you this because that was my introduction to mulled wine.  Essentially, it spells Christmas in a cup! It seems like it’s much more prevalent in Europe than North America, but I could be wrong.
It’s Christmas eve and there is absolutely nothing better to enjoy than this. So I think I’ll share our joy with you and your family.  It comes highly recommended!
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This season we made quite a few batches and it really helped me get in to the hospitable festive season! Hopefully you can have some friends and family over to enjoy this heart-warming treat.  You can also bottle it up in heat-proof glass jars and keep in the fridge for the occasional sneaky glass.
(good to go)
– Good Luck!
hints: try a bit of grapefruit for a sweet zingy acidity
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Pumpkin Spice cake

Earlier in the autumn, I was craving pumpkin pie and asked the local grocer if they carried pumpkin purée.  The clerk looked at me like I had ten eyes! Well, I guess I would have to search a bit harder to find this ‘speciality’ item. Instead, I bought a pumpkin … because how hard could it be to make pumpkin purée?

“Well, here’s how:”

Preheat the oven to 175ºC. Cut and deseed the pumpkin, toss with oil and place on a pan.  Bake until soft, then remove from the oven and srape the flesh off the skin.  Put in a pan and purée with a hand blender. Once finely mashed, pass through a sieve.

Voilà!

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After all that, I topped the cake with chopped pecans and crystallised ginger. Dust it with cinnamon to finish.

-Goodluck!

Don’t forget to enter the Knorr Giveaway!! Just leave a comment or RT the tweet.

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Friday Giveaway! Win: One Of 5 Knorr Flavour Pot Hampers

Recently, I posted a recipe for Easy Stir-fry Curry Noodles here.   The Knorr flavour pots are a handy thing to have around to add a bit of zip to your dish. If you’re used to using stock cubes, you’ll be great with these!

I thought I might share one more recipe with you, to give you some variety. The recipe is below!

[Contest Details]

I’m giving away 5 Knorr Flavour Pot hampers, Happy Christmas!  Want to win? It’s easy!

To enter, comment below with your favourite Knorr flavour OR retweet the contest link on twitter.  Hint: there are 5 flavours 😉

5 winners will be chosen at random.  Contest closes at 5PM GMT, 19th of December.

Don’t forget to follow my instagram and twitter!

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Disclaimer: information is based on personal experience and pots were provided by Knorr.

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Flavor Flave – Easy Curry Fried Noodle Recipe

Knorr Flavour Pots

I certainly thought that when I started sharing recipes from home, I would tell people to cook a meal with the most number of processed cheats possible. -Untrue

Knorr has launched a seasoning paste that claims no artificial flavour enhancers, colours, or preservatives.  All you do is pop it in to your dish or sauce and you have a perfectly Knorr-flavoured dish.

I am a real purist when it comes to food, our goal in the household is to keep ingredient lists down to raw ingredients, and if it’s processed (crackers, breads, or sauces & noodles), then try to keep the ingredient list from 5-10 ingredients.  There are few instances that I would agree with a product like this.

But we are talking about a big change in behaviour among some of the population that habitually don’t have time, skill, or desire to cook. Sometimes all three are lacking and this can be discouraging.

So here, I am proposing the 4 instances I think would be ok to have assistance:

1) Time poor: there’s a trend of financially-rich, but time-poor people, who feel the resource of time is scarce for so many in our populations.
2) Knowledge & skill: ability to cook and work with flavours takes time to learn
3) Replicability: all things constant, (we aren’t talking economics here) you like your dish to taste as identical as possible, kind of in a wholesome but awesome manufactured-homey way. Same every time!
4) You would like to build a repertoire of exotic ingredients, like curries and black pepper sauces.

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I came back late from yoga last night, S was studying and I had an idea for curry sauce noodles.  We do have all the spices one would need for curry (garam masala, madras curry powder, turmeric, etc) but “who’s got time for that?” I thought.  I need an idea that will be surefire winner.  It’s 7:30 and I need no trials or mistakes for the curry.

Here is what I came up with.
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Pros: Allows beginner cooks to worry about all the chopping and other ingredients while building up to the flavouring bit.

Cons: There are already items on the market that are identical to this, take for example the Glico curry cubes used for Japanese curry.  I would find it difficult for consumers to build a new habit of using flavour pots but maybe if you’re inclined to learn and you’re tired of failing.

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If you don’t cook or don’t know how, you must be convinced to start somewhere.
Just don’t be afraid to fail.

Disclaimer: information here is based on personal experience and pots were provided by Knorr.

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5 great reads if you like Food or Coffee!

foodbooks

 

[1] Food & Travel Summer edition

Great visuals and inspiring recipes.  I have been reading it all summer and thumb through it occasionally for more inspiration.  I don’t buy a lot of magazines but this has been a game changer for me.  You’ll see some of the recipes here.

 

[2] My Berlin Kitchen (Weiss) 

I picked this up at the Food Bloggers Conference in London.  It’s a story of how Luisa, blogger the Wednesday Chef, leaves her life in New York to forge a new life in Berlin.  It’s a personal chronical interspersed with a collection of recipes.  Touted the “new Julie & Julia”.

 

[3] The Virtues of the Table (Baggini) 

Catherine Cleary lead a panel discussion with Catherine Fulvio & Julian Baggini during the Dublin Literary Festival, where I learned of the book. Julian is a philosopher focused on food.  It challenges our understanding of labels on food.  Do ethical labels even mean anything?

In the book he talks about the ‘holy trinity’ of of food right now S/O/L – the idea of seasonal, organic, and local.  The meaning behind the terms and why we all strive to eat this way.  We touched on the idea of food commodities and supply chains, and how they loosely resemble old-times slavery.

Is local definitely better? Is it more sustainable, less impact on the earth? Does it necessarily taste better? Trust me, we can’t grow coffee here in Ireland, not well. But the book is has poignant descriptors of food, almost every other sentence is a quote, it’s a book of quotes.

 

[4] The Coffee Paradox (Daviron & Ponte)

is an in-depth and well-researched analysis of coffee from farm to consumer. If you are looking for a book to engage you in a critical analysis of that brown stuff that 2.25 billion cups are filled with each day (as per 1999).  It will give you an understanding of global value chains that you never wanted, but also will explain the inequalities in the coffee industry and challenge you to question what it is you are consuming.  Also, touches on the ever-elusive quality topic.  I will be sharing a few things I have understood through my reading and expert ‘coffee-drinking’, while working in speciality coffee.

 

[5] Swindled – a book on the history of food adulteration (Wilson) 

It talks about history of food fraud and labelling, including roasting fake beans for coffee and manufacturing fake tea with elder and sloe leaves. The book traces fraud back to the rapid urbanisation of Britain, creating distance between food producers and consumers.  Essentially, what we know as lengthening the supply chain.

“Adulteration thrives when trade operates in large and impersonal chains. In a rural setting, swindling is a risky business. If you are the village milkman, the chain between you and your customers is very short: you know them all by name because they are your neighbours.  If you start watering down your milk, the chances are the word will soon get out and you will be ostracised” 

 

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Butter beans Reinvented – Recipe

butterbeans reinvented

 

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