Paprika Chicken

    I was away from my blog for a long time, I been trying varies cooking and recipe. I’m currently down to Keto meals that going to make some different in my daily diet, to improve my health in general. This is the first keto meal I cooked, and I’m absolutely loving it, no other dietary will advise you to having fat like nobody business. It does look like Indian dish with that vividly red and creamy curry. The thickness of the sauce is the one to dive in, I even using spatula to clean the saucepan. as it was so delicious I eat it straight from the saucepan. Here is the recipe for your adventure.
  • 4 x 115g chicken breast, skin-on
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 118g chopped sweet onion
  • 120ml double cream
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 120g sour cream
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  1. Lightly season the chicken breast with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat up a large skillet over medium-high heat with the olive oil.
  3. Sear the chicken on both sides until almost cooked through, about 15 minutes in total. Remove the chicken breast to a plate to rest.
  4. In the same skillet, add the chopped onion and saute until tender, about 4 minutes.
  5. After the onion is tender, stir in the double cream and paprika and bring the liquid to a simmer.
  6. Return the chicken breasts and any accumulated juices from the plate into the skillet and simmer the chicken for 5 minutes until completely cooked.
  7. Finally stir in the sour cream and then remove the skillet from the heat, continue stir until the sour cream is fully incorporated.
  8. Serve topped with the freshly chopped parsley.

I hope you will not eating straight from the skillet.

Humble Mince Pie

P1160699AFestive pieces at this time of year – my humble mince pie before had snow falling on top. This is one of my favourite festive snacks at all time. If you have no time making the mincemeat you could buying it from the supermarket too. I just loved mince pie very much as it is very festive pie. If you couldn’t find suet for the mincemeat, you could substitute it with frozen butter and grating in.

The mince pie dates back to the Middle Ages when as the word mincemeat suggest, it was a savoury dish. It emerged not as a confection or dessert, but as a way of preserving meat as winter drew in. Because of shortages of fodder, surplus livestocks were slaughtered in the late autumn. The meat was chopped up and cooked with spices and dried fruits, then sealed in a ‘coffin’ – an airtight pastry case. The resulting pies – which were large, not the small, snack-sized things that we’re familiar with – could then be used to feed hosts of people. particulary at the festive season. The earliest type, known as a chewtte, contained chopped meat or liver mixed with diced hard-boiled egg and ginger. Gradually the filling became enriched with dried fruit until, as time went on, it predominated and the meat was replaced with suet. By the sixteenth century, ‘minced’ pies as they were known had become a Christmas speciality. So much so that when Oliver Cromwell was banning Christmas celebrations in 1644 he specially abolished mince pie too. That particular law has never been repealed, so it is technically still illegal to eat mince pie at Christmas – which is great excuse to bear in mind if you’re feeling too full to eat another thing but you don’r want to hurt your mum’s feeling after she spent half the morning making them. You can’t have Christmas without mince pie. Merry Christmas to all my reader.

  • 60ml ruby port
  • 75g soft dark brown sugar
  • 300g cranberries
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 75g currants
  • 75g raisins
  • 30g dried cranberries
  • Finely grated zest & juice of 1 clementine
  • 25ml brandy
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • few drops of almond extract
  • 2 tbsp honey
  1. In a large saucepan, dissolve the sugar in the ruby port over gentle heat.
  2. Add the cranberries to saucepan.
  3. Then add the cinnamon, ginger and cloves, with currants, raisins and dried cranberries and the zest and juice of the clementines.
  4. Simmer for 20 minutes or until everything looks pulpy and has absorbed most of the liquid in the pan. You may need to squish the cranberries a little with the back of the wooden spoon to incorporate them.
  5. Take off the heat and, when it has cooled a little, stir in the brandy, almond and vanilla extracts and honey and beat once more with your wooden spoon to encourage it to turn into berry-beaded paste.
  6. Spoon the mincemeat into sterilized jars.

Note: If you want to revert to a more traditional, still suet-free, mincemeat, replace the fresh cranberries with a small grated cooking apple and take out the dried cranberries, adding 15g each of currants and raisins.

Make ahead tip: Make the mincemeat and spoon into sterilized jars. Seal with jam pot covers or lid and store in a very cool, dry place for up to 1 month. (an extra splash of brandy on top at this stage helps prevent the mincemeat from going mouldy.) If you are using cranberries juice in place of port, store the mincemeat in the fridge for up to 10 days.

 

Classic Sweet Pastry

  • 170g butter, softened
  • 85g sugar
  • 1 small egg
  • 4 drops vanilla extract
  • zest of half lemon
  • 260g plain flour
  1. In a large mixing bowl, lightly beat butter and sugar with a wooden spoon until a light creamy consistency.
  2. Add egg, vanilla and lemon zest and mix until combined.
  3. Add flour and mix to paste just until paste comes clean off the bowl. Be careful not to over mix or the pastry will become too elastic and doughy.
  4. Cover and wrap with cling film, refrigerate for 30 minutes or even better overnight.
  5. Before using, gently re-work pastry, taking care to ensure it remains cold and firm.
  6. Lightly floured work surface, roll out pastry into a sheet about 3mm thick.
  7. Using the round cutter whichever suit your tin, cut out 12 bases to line 1 muffin tin.
  8. Gently press pastry inside the muffin cups tp avoid any cracking around the bases.
  9. Using a star cutter to cut 12 lids.
  10. Fill the pastry about 2 teaspoons, (is tempting to fill in more mincemeat but never ever do that otherwise the pie is too heavy to turn out and the base might broken)
  11. Damp your finger with water or use pastry brush to damp the edge of the pastry, then you can place the star pastry on top filling, ensure the corner of the star is gently press down to glue with the edge of the pastry.
  12. Bake in preheat oven of 180ºC for 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Sprinkle with caster sugar, if wished while the pie still hot. Allow to cool little, then remove from the tray and store in air tight container.

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New arrival – History of English food

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I’m never sure how many people enjoy to read about the subject of food history, but I find it very interesting, although I can’t ever see myself making gelatine from a calf’s foot, there’s always an easier way these days! But I do like and enjoy researching and thinking about the history of cooking, and if if I can manage to find the ingredients, some of which are as old as the history itself now, I’ll attempt an to make the authentic recipe, but that can take a lot of research and effort sometimes. It’s often easier to buy a modern alternative from the supermarket.

So these two books were a new arrival to my obsessive book collection, now cookery books are occupying more than any other collection. Though I still use Mrs Beeton‘s books as my bible.

I don’t think I should say this, but I’m going to anyway. I think I have a similarity with  Jane Grigson. When she began to spend three months of each year in France, she became really interested in food. The first time I visited Paris, it stuck with me ever since. Both of us were inspired by French food. I would love to be a food writer as well, there is still a lot to do, but I intend to keep striving, and sharing my exploits with everyone that reads my blog. Jane also reveals the richness and surprising diversity of English culinary heritage, which is so useful for anyone wishing to learn about the wide history and heritage of British food, as modern British food has elements from many different countries and continents. After all, the most popular dish in the UK is now the ambiguous and untraceable Chicken Tikka Masala, an Indian inspired dish concocted by immigrant chefs to the UK, specifically for the UK palate.

Clarissa Dickson Wright… what a character! She’s a typical blue-blooded aristocratic English lady, though she’d probably hate to read that description. She’s famous in the U.K. but that’s not why I’m so interested in her. The thing I most admire about Clarissa is she brought the history back to our ears, as many people tend to forget about where our favourite dishes came from, or how it evolved to modern cookery, such as why we eat turkey during Christmas. I am very interested to know all of that, it’s even become a bit of an obsession of mine, but it’s a good subject to talk about. Beside that, it’s great to pass facts and history on to the next generation about food and it’s history. Most people just turn away when they hear the word of “history”. I am really thankful to Clarissa to lighten up the history of food. I just can’t wait to dig further into her book.

OK it’s time to put my feet up and pour a glass of wine, and one of these books will be open and ready. I hope you can find a copy of either of these books. Happy reading!

Walnut Bread

P1150484AThis bread is a must on any cheeseboard. Many people suggested serving it with a ripe Stilton or failing that, try it with any other strong flavour cheese and a glass of red wine. Often in UK restaurants serve this bread before entree. If you have any leftover of this bread you could pop it into microwave about 5 to 8 second, then spread with butter and you can enjoy it on its own. Here is how I do the bread, I think if you could do it by hand is even better as I feel the food and I get exciting for it when is baked.

  1. Put all the ingredients except the walnuts into a large bowl, (make sure yeast at one side of the bowl and salt at the another side) then mix well with your hands for about 4 minutes.
  2. When all the flour has been incorporated, tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and, using your fingers and the heel of your palm, knead for 5 minutes. Put the dough back in the bowl and leave to rise for 1 hour.
  3. Line a baking tray. Incorporate the walnuts into the dough, shape into a ball and dust with white flour. Place on the baking tray and leave to rise for 1 hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Using a sharp knife, cut a cross into the top of the dough, then bake the bread for 30 minutes until golden. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

I promised this is the bread you should have to try to make at least once, since most of the restaurant is making this bread as a starter, maybe it can be great for your dinner party as well.

Peanut Butter Ice Cream Tart

Joint

I’m not sure is this seductive enough for you to dig into the ice cream tart. I particularly love this way of making ice cream, as you don’t need an ice cream maker and can make ice cream in 5 minutes. This kind of tip came in handy when you need pleasure and indulgence. This 24cm tart can be easily make dessert center piece.

Tart Base

Home made Ice Cream

Whipped cream topping

  • 200ml Double cream
  1. Process the biscuit and butter to sandy rubble and press into the sides and bottom of a deep-sided fluted tart tin. (save some the mixture up for sprinkle later) Place in the freezer (or fridge if that is not possible) for about 10-15 minutes.
  2. To make ice cream, simply pour cream, sugar, cooled peanut butter into small freezer bag, give it a good shake in the bag. In another larger freezer bag half filled it with crushed ice, coarse salt. Quickly put the cream freezer bag into the larger bag. Then give a shake for about 5 to minutes. Make sure the crushed ice is coated the small freezer bag.
  3. Once is done, you can scoop the ice cream onto the tart and leave it in the freezer for a while; while that’s happen, whipping the cream until thick enough to spread over the top of the tart.
  4. Spread the whipped cream onto tart and place the tart in the fridge, preferably overnight, though for at least 4 hours. If you like serving it cold return the tart into a freezer for 10-20 minutes, then sprinkle the remaining biscuit mix on top of the tart.

This is one of the easy tart I had ever made, very comforting. I particular love the vanilla ice cream, is one of the classic ice cream that goes well with mostly everything. This is one of the very versatile tart it can be lemon, vanilla, strawberry… Wonderful!

Cleaning the Grout

tile_grout_before_after_sml1Cleaning is one of those tired but very rewarding after you had done it. The clean surface of the floor and had return to its shine. Remember those old day without any modern technology and chemical products, Grandma used to do it regularly with my little hands to help her to ease her job. Now I passing her recipe to everyone for their household, although is hard work yet is satisfied and it is safe without any chemical ingredients.

  1. Pour the dry ingredients into the spray bottle, then fill with water, lemon juice and vinegar. Give it a shake before you apply.
  2. Spray it on the floor, let it sit for a minute or two then you can start scrub.

Now my feet up with a cup of tea and looking at the clean floor I had done, it is return to shine again. Thanks Grandma!

Stale baguette

stale banguette1

Don’t throw away your stale baguette, bread. You can freshen it up by brush water on the crust and stick it into a slow middle oven for not more than 10 minutes. It come out like you just brought from the boulangerie, I loved the sounds when the bread knife cut into bread like walking on snow, the crust is superb!

Or you can make a croutons from your stale bread. Cut them into cube size (if you like to spread with butter, olive oil etc) and then dry it out in the slow middle oven for less than 15 mintues depending on the size and the fat that you applied on it. Keep them in air tight container. You can serve on caesar salad, or eat it like snack! Very tasty!

Image resource: http://www.flickr.com/photos/evefox/7007166115/

Dory fish with celery, peas & beurre blanc

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I should really tell you the meal I had this evening is very much pleasing with the beurre blanc sauce over the fish. Albert Jack’s book said the beurre blanc sauce was discovered after a mistake from a chef. Here is the story.

“One of famous sauce, beurre blanc (white butter) apparently evolved from a mistake made by French chef Madame Clémence Lefeuvre towards the end of the nineteenth century while she was working in the kitchens of the marquis de Goulaine. On one occasion, the story goes, intending to make Béarnaise sauce for a pike dish, Lefeuvre ran out of eggs at the crucial moment and had to quickly improvise, using wine and lemon juice instead. Legend has it that her new sauce became so popular she opened her own restaurant, La Bubette de la Marine, on the banks of the Loire River near Nantes, on the strength of it with beurre blanc as her signature sauce”.

Here is my recipe for you to try it at home. It’s important that you have all of the ingredients for the sauce ready prepared before you start to cook the fish, or the fish will become dry and cold while you’re making the sauce.

Marinate for the fish

Vegetable side

  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 50g sweet peas
  • pinch of salt

Beurre Blanc Sauce

  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 6 tablespoons of dry white wine
  • 4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons double cream
  • 100g butter, cubed
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Herb of your choice: mint, parsley, basil or tarragon
  1. Marinate the fish by putting all marinate ingredient into freezer bag and put the fish into the bag and give it a mix with the fish and set aside so that the flavours can infuse the fish. The fish can marinate in the bag for 1 hour in the fridge, or less if you’re in a hurry.
  2. Cut celery into bite size then set aside. Bring a pot of water to boil then add pinch of salt into boiling water, reduce the heat to medium and then add in the celery and let it boil for about 3 minutes and add in the pea to finish up to 5 minutes. After that drain it off, put on a lid and set aside somewhere warm.
  3. Heat up a frying pan to medium heat, place the marinated fish in the heated pan and pan fry until golden colour at the edge and is not pale in colour. Put the cooked fish on a warmed serving plate with the vegetable, and set aside somewhere warm.
  4. Simmer the shallot, wine and vinegar in a pan until reduced to 1 tablespoon, remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the cream followed by 1 cube of the butter at a time. Make sure to whisk energetically. If the butter isn’t melting, put the pan back on a very low heat. Once all the butter is incorporated, season with salt and little cayenne. Serve immediately by spoon it over the cooked fish. Chopped herbs, such as mint, parsely, basil or tarragon, make a nice addition.

Beurre blanc should taste creamy, frothy, light and tangy. This simple yet classic French sauce is probably the quickest way to add extra flavour to fish, meat, poultry and vegetable. It’s quite quick to make, apart from melting a little butter. Remember, this is for one portion, if you have a guest, you’ll need to double the ingredients., Bon appetit.

Lemon Salmon & Cherry Tomatos Cous Cous

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This is my speedy meal, Lemonny Salmon and Cherry Tomato Cous Cous. You won’t believe this can be ready in 15 minutes.

What’s in it? Obviously Salmon with smered of lemon zest, paprika powder, grated ginger, garlic oil. My lazy cous cous is has coarse sea salt, paprika powde. Then I had small finely chop onion, halved cherry tomatos and lemon juice. Simply seal the both side of salmon, when the salmon is ready to lay on plate. I just mix the cous cous and onion together and served on the same plate with salmon.

The lemon actually take off the acrid burn of the onion, it go well with cherry tomatos, cous cous. It is very satisfying meal.