Potato Crisps

Potatoes crispsRecently, I had been  finding some homemade snack, as I do prefer homemade instead of shop brought crisps. I did it in the office on a Friday after working hour, thinly sliced potatoes with mandoline  slicer, I do not have a great knife skill to achieve the thin slices of the potatoes. If I could make it, so do you too.

This kind of snack are versatile for any occasion and suitable for any age group too. It is matching so well with a macho cold beer with bowl of this warm crisps, I had made a similar crisps as well but that is the Chinese version of wonton crisps.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/ 356ºF. To start of with slicing the potatoes into thin slices, (I used mandoline to do the work), Place them onto flat surface with kitchen paper underneath the potatoes slices and other sheet of kitchen paper on top of it. This process is to absorb the liquid starch from the potato.

In the lightly oiled baking tray, (I used garlic infused oil, you could use regular olive oil, not extra virgin as it burn much quickly than the regular olive oil.) place the sliced potatoes on the oiled tray, do not overlapping the potatoes slices in order to cook it evenly brown. Cook it about 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly in the middle and sides.

Once it is done, remove the tray from the oven and place the cooked crisps onto kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil, let it cool down. Transfer the crisps into a large bowl, then sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper (I adding little bit of chilies powder to give extra kick in the taste) serve immediately.

I bet everyone loves this. Make your own crisps is not difficult but joyful few mouthful of and cold beer, is so wonderful with this. I can’t wait to make another batch for the weekend treat!

Chinese Crisps – Wonton

IMG_2154A I haven’t though about using wonton skin to make a baked snack. I read it from a magazine years ago. So I though I give it a go for this snack, nothing is exact for the measurement. However, to make this crisps need a special tray instead using the baking sheet; you got to use rimmed baking sheet or Swiss roll tray, the reason is to stop the edge bend upward during baking. Here is the recipe: Usually wonton wrapper came in a packet with many sheet in it. Using 12 to 16 wonton wrapper about 3 inches square, about 1 tablespoon of olive oil or any flavour oil you prefer, I used basil infused oil, 1 teaspoon of coarse sea salt (I used Maldon sea salt flake simply because it looks like a freshly fallen snow flakes), half teaspoon of ground pepper (if you fancy a bit spicy you could use black pepper or add some chili flake)

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Arrange the wonton wrapper on a rimmed baking sheet, making space for space and make sure they don’t touch each other. Brush top with oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Bake until golden brown, about 7 to 9 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let it cool before serving.

This is a basic recipe, if you fancy other flavour, there are few opinion to feed your senses. Cheddar cheese to grate on top of the wonton, to replace salt you could use Parmesan cheese. For the sweet version instead of using oil brush the top of the wonton you could use melted unsalted butter to substituted then you can sprinkle sugar, chocolate chips. If you fancy festive season mood you can use ground cinnamon mix with caster sugar to sprinkle on top before baking. The smell of cinnamon will wafting your house and that is what I call the blessing scent of baking.

Spaghetti with olives & anchovies

IMG_0206AThe authenticity of this dish is about your elbow grease to make the sauce from pestle and mortar, it reminds me about my Mother using pestle and mortar for special sauce making, and takes hours to get the fine consistency, but now with machinery it had become easy. The thing that I love to use authentic method simply because you will see the wonderful transformation and the beautiful scent while you are working on it, I call this the good relationship between the cook and the ingredients.

This look alike pesto sauce for is very easy and it is no cooking involved, taste like I had been transport to coasts of Italy because it content anchovy. Anchovy has a delicate and tasty flesh, when fresh, its back is a lovely blue-green colour and its sides silvery grey, but when it is not so fresh its back turns deep blue or black. You can eat it raw when is really fresh. Mine I get it out from a can, all the flavour has locked in with olive oil and lemon juice.

The best kind of pasta to go with this is spaghetti and made from spelt, the reason to use spelt spaghetti is the earthiness texture is perfect with the pungency of the olive-sharp anchovies. In fact, it has a smoky, subtle strength that doesn’t overwhelm less feisty sauces, indeed it is ancient wheat, either. Some regular wholegrain pastas work well, I had run out mine so I stick with regular spaghetti, it got to be spaghetti I insist because the sauce will cling to every strand of spaghetti.

You can easily serves two greedy people in this recipe here is what you need

  • 200g Spelt spaghetti or wholegrain pasta
  • salt for pasta water, to taste
  • 10 pitted green olives
  • 10 anchovy fillet (from can or jar), drained
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • small bunch of parsley
  • zest and juice of ½ unwaxed lemon
  • 60ml olive oil
  • pepper (only if you like some extra heat)
  1. Put a pan of water onto boil for the pasta. When the pan comes to the boil, salt the water generously, or to taste, and add the pasta and cook until al denta.
  2. Make the sauce put the olives, anchovies, garlic, pine nut, parsley, lemon zest and juice and olive oil in a small bowl and blitz with the stick blender (mini food processor). Don’t worry about the odd unmashed pine nut or olive, they rather beautiful and appealing.
  3. After the pasta had been in their hot bath, just before you drain the pasta remove a cupful of the starchy cooking water and immediately add two tablespoons of it to the bowl of the sauce, then give it another brief blitz to combine those last ingredients.
  4. Tip the drained pasta back into its pan, then pour and scrape the sauce on top and toss to mix, adding more of the cooking liquid if you feel need the sauce to be loosen.
  5. Season to taste you may want pepper or more lemon juice, but I can’t see salt being necessary then toss again and turn out into a warm serving dish or divide between two plates or bowls.

I just adored the green of the parsley that gives fresh grassy taste, the lemon has contras with the anchovies otherwise it might be too salty. It looks healthy instantly! Why not give it a go!

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Egg in sunset

IMG_0003AInspired from Nigella‘s recipe of Eggs in Purgatory, I should probably have to rename it. I think is a bit sad to say the sun is in hell. The egg in the middle is burning from the fiery red of the tomatoes.

It reminds me about the sun set at home when I was on holiday. The scene has the velvet red with golden yellow sun that smear out to the redness. Wonderful sunset I had seen. Just like this dish exactly the same colour obviously in different approach. My sun in this dish was not show is simply because it had dive into the gorgeously red tomato.

The key ingredient is egg and tomato, first, heat up some garlic oil in small pan (or you could use olive oil and grating a clove of garlic into it) then add a bit of chili flakes if you like some heat as I do; or you could just add some herbs such as a spring rosemary anything you like. Don’t let the garlic and herbs burn, what you need is to infused the flavour into the oil.

Now here is the sunset you about going to create it on your own. Open a can of chopped tomato and pour it in then let it cook and reduce the liquid a bit (you don’t want it too runny) about 2-3 minutes. I added some freshly grated Parmesan about 2 tablespoon, What the Parmesan did is simply replacing the salt and adding more flavour to the tomato. Here comes the sun crack one egg in the middle of the pan, don’t let the egg yolk sunk into the sauce (that is the reason you need to reduce the liquid), clam on the lid and let the egg pouch until the egg white is just cooked, yolk is still bit runny. Then remove it from the heat. Et voilà!

The moment of truth, you can choose to diving in with bread, it will helps you to wipe and clean the pan, definitely good choice to save up your elbow grease later for the washing up. There are something about this dish, it is truly satisfied, rewarding when you feeling like hell!

 

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Big sandwich

P1170050ASandwich can be in any form you prefer. I had mine with rye bread, I think I got the bread wrong for this recipe or the boulangerie had made this since morning and gone a bit stale when I got it in the afternoon. So I treated it as old bread, I using it up for sandwich on the next day lunch even dinner too.

As you could see the interesting layers of colour is lovely filling of my choice, you could easily have your own filling whichever suits your mood. Eating is all about yourself, as you feeling like what you wanting to eat on the next day.

I had chicken fillet, fresh basil, red and yellow pepper, fresh mozzarella cut into slices, basil pesto. (I always have it in my store cupboard, you could buy one from supermarket) To start off with I give the chicken fillet a bit of garlic oil massage with bit of cinnamon powder, black pepper, salt, thyme. Give it a good coating of the spice scrub, then leave aside to relax.

Slide the top of the bread off about 1/3 of the bread, scoop the bread and you end up with a bread bowl. Put the scooped bread into a large bowl then crumble them and let it stale a little.

Cut the pepper lengthways and remove the seed. pop into the hot oven for about 10 minutes or until it brown at the edge. Then on the medium heat for a frying pan tip the chicken fillet into the pan and fry it about 10 to 15 minutes depending the size of the fillet, until is brown on the outside cook through. Set aside.Come back to the bread crumbs, mix in the cooked pepper into the bowl to mix with bread crumbs, add some olive oil, sherry vinegar about a tablespoon each.
Now layering the bread, start at the bottom, spread the basil pesto then layering the pepper, mozzarella, chicken fillet, more pepper then fresh basil leave on top layer. Finally pop the bread lid on, use cling film to wrap it round tightly and put it in the fridge.  You could serve as it is. I think the best bread for this is Bloomer. Simply because the colour, the crust. You can refer to the recipe for the bread if you are keen on making bread. Honestly I couldn’t find bloomer in any local boulangerie, maybe not French bread but the British should have it in their bakery. It will be better if you could make your own bread. That is a lot of non sense about making bread must using machine, think again those year before machinery every household making their bread by hand, why shouldn’t embrace it, the joyfulness of making bread by hand. The is the wonderful relationship between you and the food. I hope you will having a good time with bread and make use of the whole bread as well.

Croûton

P1160607ACroûton, choice of my snack. although my croûton not evenly brown on the side. I do like a bit of white but normally you will have all side brown. I used up some leftover stale bread about 4 days old. I like it less salt and more herbs. Is worth a moment to rustle up this and it is useful to have it in kitchen whenever you feel like having a salad and you have some croûton to garnish.

First, cut off the crusts of 4 slices of stale white bread, then cut into crouton sized cubes. Next, they need coating in the oil mixture, and I find this easiest to do with a freezer bag. Pour into the bag 4 table spoons of sunflower or olive oil, half a teaspoon of sea salt, a dried herbs of your choice, I used two chopped sprigs of rosemary. Then tip in the cubed bread, seal the bag and give it a good shake around to make sure all of the bread is well coated with oil.

Place a non-stick saute pan in medium heat. When is hot tip in bread, strring, until golden all over. When is place it on a baking tray to cool before storing into air tight jar.

Believe me, once you done it once you may keep topping up all the time. Then you will have handy croûton whenever youu need one.

Garlic infused oil

P1160368ANo fuss garlic oil, one of my favourite cooking oil the reason is sometime I can be a bit lazy to chop garlic or mince the garlic with garlic press. I rather have this on my kitchen table and can use it at when I feel like to have some garlic flavour in meals.

I am making this 500ml of ordinary garlic oil with 1 whole garlic bulb separated into cloves, no need to peel the skin, just rub off any loose pieces of the skin. Make sure the bottle of olive oil got some room for the garlic cloves, give it a shake every now and then; leave it to infuse for at least one month before using them.

Creole prawns

P1160200AAAs I know this dish are from America’s Louisiana. Obviously I am not been introduced to Louisiana’s food, but Creole‘s food is combination of French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese. What I know in my dish is the tomatoey of Italian, Spanish pepper, French wine and Portuguese Chili.

P1160209AAAI have a confession to make here, I haven’t got energy for shopping, I decided to cheat a bit of the ingredients by using a convenient way of supermarket – canned tomatoes, and puree. I always find these stocking in my pantry cupboard, for it is well stock it up, just in case you need something quick and easy that is the convenient products from supermarket. I know is not very antithetic but it is kitchen shortcut, If I would prepare everything from scratch it will take hours to get it done. Not in the mood of grandmother’s method. Here is how I start.

Ingredient

  • 250g frozen raw tiger or king prawns
  • 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 fat clove of garlic, peeled
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can of plum tomato about 350g
  • 1Tbsp of tomato purée
  • 1 red pepper, cut into strips.
  • 2 red chillies, de-seed and roughly cut into small pieces
  • 150ml dry white wine, I used sauvignon blanc
  • 2 spring onion, including the green parts, finely chopped
  • Handful of Parsley, roughly chopped
  • Cooked rice, pasta, noodles or couscous whichever you prefer to serve with. I used rice.
  1. To start of by cooking 250g washed rice into pan covered with water, and drizzle with some olive oil, let it boil with a lid off, once is boil about 1 minute, turn the heat lowest heat and let it cook further about 5 minutes or until the rice cook through. Once its cooked removed from the heat, give it a good stir and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in pan then tip in the chopped onion, garlic, pepper, chillies; and moving them around, give them 5 minutes to begin to soften and colour.
  3. After that, add the frozen prawns and stir them around for about 5 minutes, until they start to turn pink on both sides. Now Pour the canned tomatoes, use the white wine to rinse out the can, then add that too to the pan. Stir in the tomato purée, along with some seasoning. Bring to the boil, give a good stir, then turn the heat down to its lowest setting and let it simmer gently for 5 minutes. At this stage sauce will pop and mass up the kitchen.
  4. Scatter with the spring onion and serve with rice. and snip some parsley on top.

Voilà. Bon appétit!

Pasta with Sherry white sauce

P1150844AAPasta is one of those versatile ingredient you could ever think of. I used up the leftover sauce from my previous post of Chicken with morel & sherry wine sauce to make this delicious golden creamy pasta for my dinner of one.

I don’t need to tell you how to cook the pasta, you can have fresh pasta or dried pasta from supermarket, for the cooking timing you should refer to the packet.

After remove the cold sherry sauce from the fridge leave it to the room temperature before you adding other ingredient.

Ingredient

  1. Cook the pasta into salted boiling water.
  2. Pour the sauce into saucepan and then bring it to simmer.
  3. In a clean bowl put in the egg yolks, olive oil, salt, black pepper, then use fork to whisk it together.
  4. When the sauce is smoking a little bit, and simmer at side of the pan you could pour the egg mixture into this sauce, use a whisk to lightly whisk it to avoid any lump of the egg yolks.
  5. When all mix up, remove it from the heat, then tip in the cooked pasta into the sauce, give it a good stir to coat the pasta. Serve.

If you like any herbs to go on top just simply cut some fresh herb on top or you can enjoy as it is. Why this leftover so great, that is because the rich juices from the chicken, butter, mushroom, and other ingredient from my previous post (Chicken with morel & sherry wine sauce) had flavoured the sauce, so nothing much you need for that. This is what I love about leftover.

Flatbread Lunch

P1150322AA

Flatbread dated back to Ancient Egypt and Sumer. In Ancient Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) the Sumerians discovered that edible grains could be mashed into a paste and then baked/hardened into a flatbread.

Don’t worry about I going write about the whole history of flatbread. As its a Ancient recipe of course is going to be easy to make, simply because during Ancient City, food is essential and with simple ingredient, tools and method to produce fabulous bread like this.

My easy quick snack lunch inspired from the Ancient recipe of flatbread and leftover, I had enough sauce from the leftover of Italian Red Penne, then I quickly make some flatbread and wrap it with, boiled chicken fillet, leftover sauce, fresh lettuce. Even making the flatbread is very simple and easy.

  1. To make flatbread, mix the dry ingredients together and add water until firm dough had formed.
  2. Divide the dough into six and roll out the flatbreads thinly.
  3. Cook in a very hot, dry, non-stick pan for one minute on each side or until brown spots appear on both sides.

For the filling simply click the link of Italian red penner and omitted the cooking for pasta. You can add whatever you like, it is very versatile, yet simple to make. One of my store cupboard dish as well.