23 August 2017

Vietnamese-style Honey Pork & Rice Noodle Salad

Collaboration with Sasha's Fine Food
Dish 1 - Honey mustard rosemary roasted chicken
Dish 2 - Asian chicken skewers with peanut sauce
Dish 3 & 4 - Teriyaki salmon, Chirashi Sushi


The third product I'm showcasing from Sasha's Fine Food is the Wicks Manor English Pork Stir Fry which comes in 250g per pack (frozen); this pack of stir-fry pork uses a lean cut of chump meat - where the leg meets the loin.

The pork is sourced from Wick Manor a small, family-run pig farm in Essex, England. The pigs are fed a natural diet of wheat and barley that is grown and milled on the farm itself. Vitamins, minerals, vegetable oil, soya and biscuit meal are also added to their diet. The natural and clean environment along with healthy diet and lifestyle helps the pork develop a beautiful depth of flavour whilst remaining lean.

For stir-fry pork, I usually cook home-style dishes like stir-fry pork with kailan, potato or sze chuan vegetables and golden mushroom.

This time, I decided to go for something different, a Vietnamese-style Honey Pork and Rice Noodle Salad, which is sweet, tangy, spicy and salty, perfect for this hot and humid weather! 


The Vietnamese call it Bún Thịt Nướng. Bún means noodles, Thịt nướng means baked or barbecued meat and the meat used is always pork. So basically the dish consists of grilled pork, rice vermicelli or noodle, pickles, vegetables, aromatic herbs, all displayed in a colourful arrangement, and finally served with a tangy, spicy, salty fish sauce dressing called nước chấm.


Vietnamese-style Honey Pork & Rice Noodle Salad
(reference from Hungry Huy and Danang Cuisine)

(serves 1-2)


Honey pork
  • 250g sliced/stir-fry pork
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 clove shallot
  • 1 stalk lemongrass
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp hua tiao cooking wine
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  •  1/4 tsp sesame oil
  1. Combine all the ingredients except pork into a food processor or electric chopper, blend into a paste.
  2. Marinate the pork slices using the paste at least 4hrs or overnight.
  3. Before cooking, remove from fridge and let the pork return to room temperature.
  4. Set a grill pan or frying pan over medium heat, add 2 tbsp of cooking oil and grill/pan-fry the marinated pork till fully cooked and slightly charred. Set aside.

Pickles
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 4 shallots, peeled
  • 1 chili padi, cut into 2-3 pieces
  • 1 cucumber, sliced thinly
  • 1 carrot, sliced thinly
  1. Combine water, sugar and vinegar in a small pot, bring to boil till sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add shallots and chilli padi into the pickling liquid and let the liquid cool completely.
  3. Add the sliced cucumber and carrot into the pickling liquid and store overnight in fridge.
Fish Sauce Dressing
  • 5 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 lime
  • 1/2pc chili padi, cut into tiny pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  1. Mix water, fish sauce and sugar, stir till sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add lime juice, chili padi and garlic, mix well.
Assemble
  • 200g rice noodle
  • Honey pork
  • Pickled cucumber, carrot and shallot
  • Lettuce, basil, parsley, mint leaves, chili padi
  1. Blanch rice noodle in boiling water for 30s. Drain thoroughly and arrange in serving bowl/plate.
  2. Arrange pickles, lettuce, basil, parsley, mint leaves and chili padi in serving bowl/plate.
  3. Add honey pork.
  4. Drizzle with some fish sauce dressing before serving.

This is definitely my kind of salad! Totally appetising and aromatic as well!

By just looking at the photo, I'm already salivating over the pretty colours and presentation, not to mention the various tastes and textures that come together. The highlight of this dish is certainly the pork which is sweet and succulent and tasted great with a tinge of smoky flavour from the charred bits.

This dish is certainly a keeper for me :)

Stay tune as I present the last dish using cod fillet from Sasha's Fine Food.

Sasha's Fine Food is an online F&B company that sourced ethically produced goods with preference to free-range, organic and/or fair trade food and drinks, and at the same time avoiding foods with unacceptable or unhealthy addictive. There's a wide variety of produce available in the webstore, from meat and fish to dry goods and groceries, dairy to beverages.

22 August 2017

Teriyaki Salmon Donburi and Chirashi Sushi

Collaboration with Sasha's Fine Food
Dish 1 - Honey mustard rosemary roasted chicken
Dish 2 - Asian chicken skewers with peanut sauce


The next product I'm showcasing from Sasha's Fine Food is their gorgeous Mt. Cook Alpine New Sealand Salmon Pieces which come in a pack of 250g. They are skinless and boneless  thus very convenient and easy to cook.

Sasha's salmon are imported from Mt. Cook Alphine, New Zealand where they are raised in pristine, fast-flowing fresh glacial waters making them fit, healthy and lean. In terms of taste and texture, the salmon is in fact sashimi-grade and has a firm, muscular texture with a clean, smooth flavour. And like the chicken which I have tried, the freshwater salmon is also free from hormones, antibiotics, vaccines and pesticides.


I cook salmon dishes at least once or twice a week as my son is crazy over salmon. One of his favourite dish is Teriyaki Salmon, so I decided to go for a Donburi using half of the portion.


I don't really have a specific recipe this time. Basically, sprinkle the salmon pieces with some salt and pepper, coat with corn starch and pan-fry till browned and crispy, set aside. I usually make my own teriyaki sauce to taste, using soy sauce, mirin, cooking sake and sugar. Bring the sauce to boil and slightly thickened, reserve half for the rice and toss the pan-fried salmon into the remaining sauce. In a bowl, add Japanese rice, drizzle with some teriyaki sauce, then top with the teriyaki salmon, ikura (salmon roe), tobiko (flying fish roe), chopped spring onion and seaweed.

Easy peasy and a meal that would make my son very happy!



For the other half portion of the salmon pieces, I chose to make Chirashi Sushi with them. Chirashi Sushi (ちらし寿司) is also called Gomoku Sushi (五目寿司), Gomoku Chirashi (五目ちらし), or Bara Sushi (ばら寿司) depending on the different regions in Japan.

Chirashi (散らし) means “scattered”, some finely chopped ingredients are mixed into sushi rice and then the rice is topped with more ingredients to make it look colourful. Usually cooked ingredients like unagi and shrimp are used (rather than raw fish), as well as some shredded egg, vegetables like snow peas, cucumber.

As a tradition in Japan, Chirashi Sushi is usually eaten on Hinamatsuri (雛祭り) or Doll’s Festival on March 3 every year. In addition, it's also a popular dish for parties, gatherings and celebrations.

The first time I ate it was during a homestay programme in Osaka where my host family made it for me, and the second time (also the last time) was a gathering for homestay participants at the end of the programme. I haven't eat this for a long time!


For detail ingredients and method of making Chirashi Sushi, my go-to reference is Just One Cookbook.

But for ease of preparation, I bought this Gomoku premix from a Japanese supermarket. All I have to do, is to cook the Japanese rice and mix the premix (sweet vinegar sauce, bits of mushroom, carrot, bamboo shoots, dried gourd shavings) into the cooked rice to get a flavourful sweet and tangy sushi rice. Then just top the sushi rice with desired ingredients; I used pan-fried salmon, cooked shrimp, shredded omelette, cucumber, ikura, tobiko and sprinkle with seaweed and sesame seeds.

Chirashi Sushi is typically served in a special type of sushi bowl called Hangiri (or Sushi Oke) which is a big wooden tub, but I couldn't find it so I just used a normal Japanese lacquer serving plate.


This is certainly a hearty Japanese meal which made me miss Japan so much! Definitely gonna make this from time to time :)

Stay tune as I continue cooking dishes with the pork slices and cod fillet from Sasha's Fine Food.

Sasha's Fine Food is an online F&B company that sourced ethically produced goods with preference to free-range, organic and/or fair trade food and drinks, and at the same time avoiding foods with unacceptable or unhealthy addictive. There's a wide variety of produce available in the webstore, from meat and fish to dry goods and groceries, dairy to beverages.

15 August 2017

Salted Egg Yolk Crayfish Roll


I've been craving for lobster roll for the longest time! I've eaten it before, once in Osaka, once at Pasar Bella (Turf City Singapore) and even made it at home. The combination of toasted butter roll with spicy, creamy and succulent lobster salad is simply perfect match.

But today I've found a match to the lobster roll, that is the Salted Egg Yolk Crayfish Roll. Well, the crayfish meat can be substituted with lobster or even prawn, but the key here is Salted Egg Yolk!! I combined the ingredients for the lobster roll with a salted egg yolk sauce and wham, the result is pretty amazing I would say! 



The typical sauce ingredients for lobster roll are mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, pepper and hot pepper sauce/wasabi for those who wanted it spicy. What I did was to cook a salted egg yolk sauce using butter, curry leaves, chilli padi (optional), salted egg yolk powder, and add fresh milk, mayonnaise, lemon juice and sugar to make a thick creamy sauce, and finally toss in the crayfish meat along with some parsley and celery.
 
The sauce can also be used as a dip for fries (or anything you fancy), so I made extra batch for that :p

Why crayfish? Coz it's a cheaper alternative to lobster and I find the meat texture quite similar to that of lobster. Prawns can be used as well, but try to use larger prawns for the bouncy juicy crunch.


And oh, back to the salted egg yolk! I used to use whole salted eggs when I want to cook salted egg yolks dishes. I would basically steam the yolk and discard the egg white portion. I know it's kind of a waste. So I'm really glad that Knorr came up with this Golden Salted Egg Yolk Powder which is so convenient. It is made from real pasteurised egg yolks with no added MSG and preservatives as well! 




Salted Egg Yolk Crayfish Roll
(makes 2-3 rolls)

Ingredients
  • 5 pcs crayfish meat (about 800g with shell) *can be substituted with lobster or prawn
  • 20g salted butter
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 1 chilli padi, finely chopped (optional)
  • 4 tbsp Knorr golden salted egg powder
  • 2 tbsp fresh milk
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp finely diced celery
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped chives
  • 2-3 split-top hotdog buns (store-bought)
  • Salted butter
Steps
  1. Bring a pot of water to boil and add a pinch of salt. Add the crayfish meat, cook for about 5 mins. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a sauce pan over low heat, add salted butter. 
  3. Once butter melts, add curry leaves and fry till fragrant for 1 min.
  4. Add chopped chilli padi and fry for 1 min. 
  5. Add the salted egg powder, the mixture will turn dry as the powder soak up all the butter. Stir fry till fragrant.
  6. Add fresh milk, mayonnaise, lemon juice and sugar, mix well into a thick sauce. Let the sauce cool down slightly.
  7. Cut the crayfish into bite-size pieces. Toss the crayfish meat into the salted egg yolk sauce. Add parsley and celery and mix well.
  8. Split the top of the hotdog buns, butter the buns, toast in air-fryer or toaster for 3-4 mins till slightly browned.
  9. Stuff the salted egg yolk crayfish into the hotdog buns, sprinkle some chives.
  10. Best served warm.

*I made 2 rolls only as I overstuffed each roll. For smaller rolls, the ingredients are enough to fill 3 rolls.
*I made extra batch using same ingredients for fries dipping sauce.




Super super love this Salted Egg Yolk Crayfish Roll! The sauce is thick and creamy, slightly spicy and salty with the unique taste of salted egg yolk and really goes well with the bouncy and juicy crayfish meat, as well as toasted butter roll. Be sure to add the celery as it contributes a tiny sweet crunchy texture; as well as the aromatics (parsley and chives) to balance the otherwise heavy sauce.

Now that I can make this roll, not sure if I would go back to the regular lobster roll or not :p






I'm also submitting this recipe for Knorr's Most Egg-citing Cooking Contest organised by Singapore Home Cooks! Knorr is giving away attractive prizes for top recipes submitted – with goodie bags worth $100 + $20 Fairprice vouchers to be won! Selected recipes will even be featured on the Knorr Website!

Woohoo! Wish me luck!

#SaltedEggGoodnessSHC #SingaporeHomeCooks

11 August 2017

Asian Chicken Skewers with Peanut Sauce

Collaboration with Sasha's Fine Food
Dish 1 - Honey mustard rosemary roasted chicken


A few days ago, I used the chicken dark meat from the free-range, hormones-free chicken provided by Sasha's Fine Food to cook a casserole dish. My family enjoyed the dish very much as the texture of the chicken was succulent and the chicken flesh was sweet and juicy.

Now my family isn't really fond of chicken breast meat, since most of the time the texture of breast meat is coarse and dry; so usually I'm the one eating it. My usual method of cooking breast meat is either pan-frying or air-frying with salt, black pepper and some herbs and eat it with salad. Or boil, shred and make it into chicken mayo for sandwich or salad.

This time I decided to try something a little special so that I could entice the family to eat chicken breast meat; that is to make a simplified version of satay and eat it with a peanut sauce dip.

Satay or sate is skewered meats (whether chicken, pork, beef, mutton or even intestines) marinated with various spices and sauces and typically grilled over charcoal fire and enjoyed with a spicy peanut sauce with ketaput (rice dumpling), cucumbers and onions. It is a very popular dish here in Singapore, we can easily find at least one satay stall at local hawker centres. As true blue Singaporeans, it is also a must-have dish for our BBQ gatherings and we would order raw satay from hawker stalls or BBQ specialty shops and grill it ourselves. Sate is said to have originated from Indonesia, and these days we can find similar and varied renditions in most South East Asian countries.



Anyways, I shouldn't call my version Satay as I'm not using the typical spices and sauces, rather it's a cheat version using the available sauces I have at home. Likewise, the peanut sauce is also a shortcut one using what I have in my pantry. So I would just call it Asian Chicken Skewers since the ingredients used to marinate the chicken breast are commonly found in Asian markets.

The chicken breast meat is first cut into bite-size pieces, marinated with the various sauces preferable overnight and then grill over a grill pan till golden brown and slightly charred. For the peanut sauce dip, simply combine all the sauces and cook till well-blended. That's it.

I served the dish with some Indonesian fried rice and quick cucumber and carrot pickles to make it a complete meal.


Asian Chicken Skewers
(makes 8 skewers)

  • 200g chicken breast meat (extracted from one chicken)
  • 2 tsp kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • 1.5 tsp sriracha hot sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 8 pieces bamboo skewers, pre-soaked

  1. Cut the chicken breast meat into bite-size pieces.
  2. Combine all the sauces, ginger and garlic and mix till well-blended.
  3. Add the chicken pieces and marinate overnight.
  4. The next day, thread the chicken pieces onto the bamboo skewers.
  5. Heat up a grill pan, brush the pan with oil and grill the skewered chickens on both sides till golden brown and slightly charred. 
  6. Best served hot with peanut sauce.

Peanut sauce
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp gula melaka (coconut palm sugar)
  • 2 tsp coconut milk
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sriracha sauce
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 3 tbsp raw peanut, toasted and finely chopped

  1. In a small cooking pot, combine all the ingredients except lime juice and peanut. 
  2. Bring the mixture to boil and cook till gula melaka is melted.
  3. Add lime juice and adjust taste accordingly (add more sriracha sauce for spiciness).
  4. Stir in the fine chopped peanut and mix till blended.
  5. Sauce is ready to be enjoyed with the chicken skewers.


I love how the chicken skewers turned out! The chicken breast meat itself has a mild sweet, salty and spicy taste due to the marinate, it's actually yummy to eat on its own. But with the peanut sauce, it's even better! Love the cheatone peanut sauce, it's creamy, sweet, savoury with a tad of spiciness and tang, goes perfectly with the chicken skewers.

This dish is a keeper, and I think I'm going to try concocting the marinate and dip sauce with other similar ones next time!

For recipes for the fried rice and pickles, please go to: http://dreamersloft.blogspot.sg/2014/03/nasi-goreng-with-achar-indonesian-fried.html

Stay tune as I continue cooking dishes with the pork slices, salmon pieces and cod fillet from Sasha's Fine Food.

Sasha's Fine Food is an online F&B company that sourced ethically produced goods with preference to free-range, organic and/or fair trade food and drinks, and at the same time avoiding foods with unacceptable or unhealthy addictive. There's a wide variety of produce available in the webstore, from meat and fish to dry goods and groceries, dairy to beverages.

09 August 2017

Bake Pandan Coconut Cheese Tart

Happy 52nd Birthday Singapore!

Last Saturday, I was invited to attend a Drool Potluck Tea Party organised by Drool Cook Club in collaboration with Singapore Home Cooks. It was an eye-opening networking event as some 30 home-cooks gathered to present 30 different variety of savoury and sweet canapes! I was in awe and really impressed by the canapes showcased, both in terms of taste and presentation. But most importantly, finally got to meet "new" friends whom I've been chatting with at SHC FB group and of course happy to catch up with the old" friends whom I've not met for a while =D

My contribution is mini version of Bake Pandan Coconut Cheese Tart, a twist to my Bake Cheese Tart infused with local flavours of pandan and coconut milk, created in celebration of Singapore's National Day 2017! Initially I was thinking of sticking to the original Bake Cheese Tart, but since I've already tried a Thai Milk Tea version, I might as well challenge myself to come up with a local flavour :) And surprisingly, pandan and coconut work quite well with cheese!


Since I've already made hundreds and hundreds of tarts by now, making them is not difficult, the only challenge is balancing the 3 flavours of pandan, coconut and cheese so that each stands out on its own yet complement each other.

Had to prepare a few days in advance before attempting the tart itself as I prefer making my own pandan extract instead of purchasing commercial ones.

The tart pastry is pretty straightforward, simply add pandan extract instead of fresh milk and vanilla extract, so I get this lovely aroma of pandan in the tart pastry itself. Maybe next time I should add a bit of coconut milk too. *KIV for next time.

As for the cheese filling, initially tested 2 small batches, 1 using only pandan extract and 1 using pandan extract with coconut milk. For the cheese, cream cheese is a must and I added mascarpone cheese since it has a creamy texture and yet very light. After seeking opinions from my home-tasters aka the HB and kiddo, the conclusion is the version with coconut milk stands out more in terms of overall taste.

However, the HB commented that the pandan taste seemed to be overpowered by the coconut and cheese. Had wanted to do another test-bake before the actual day but I was simply too busy and hence did the best I could on the morning itself.

So when I was cooking the custard, I had to add the pandan extract teaspoon by teaspoon to make sure that the flavour is distinct enough. In the end added quite a lot, probably because homemade extract is milder as compared to commercial paste.

Anyways, I love how these little gems turned out; the petite size makes it look cute and easy to eat and the colour is a lovely shade of green.

During the event itself, there's actually a voting contest by all the participants for their favourite canapes, and I was over the moon to be one of the top 6 winners and won myself a cutlery set sponsored by De Dietrich (who is the venue sponsor as well)! Woohoo! Also elated to hear positive feedback about this new flavour =D When I was going around soliciting for feedback, dear friend Alan of Travelling Foodies mentioned that the aftertaste of cheese was a little sharp and suggested that I cut down on the cream cheese further.
 
So I made another batch, adjusting the proportion of cream cheese and mascarpone cheese, and the overall flavour turned out slightly smoother. But those who like the cheese taste may think otherwise. Anyways, I have made a note in my recipe below, feel free to adjust the proportions according to your liking.

I have also put together 4 short video clips of the process (trimmed so that they are not too draggy). This is my first time taking videos so pardon me if they are not well filmed and cut :p

video 
Video 1 - Making the tart pastry and rolling it out.

  video

Video 2 - Stamping the pastry and moulding the pastry into the tart case.

video

Video 3 - Cooking the pandan coconut cheese custard, sifting and filling into piping bag.

video

Video 4 - Piping the custard into the tart pastry (already baked once), smoothen with spatula and brush with egg wash.


Bake Pandan Coconut Cheese Tart
(makes 20 petite size tarts, using 5cm round cutter/2.5cm base tart case)

Ingredients

(A) Tart pastry
  • 120g plain flour
  • 10g caster sugar
  • 60g salted butter, cut into cubes, cold
  • 4-6 tsp homemade pandan extract (note 1)

(B) Pandan coconut cheese custard
  • 75g coconut milk
  • 75g fresh milk
  • 25g cream cheese (note 2)
  • 45g mascarpone cheese (note 2)
  • 40g salted butter
  • 30g caster sugar 
  • 10g corn starch
  • 1 egg (about 50-55g nett weight)
  • 40-50ml homemade pandan extract (note 3)
  • Egg wash for brushing sides of tart pastry 
Steps

(A) Tart pastry
  1. Sift plain flour into a large bowl, add caster sugar and mix well.
  2. Add cold salted butter cubes. Using finger tips, break the butter and rub the butter into the flour mixture, until it resembles bread crumbs.
  3. Add 4-6 tsp of pandan extract to the mixture, use a scrapper to help with the mixing.
  4. The mixture will come together and thereafter, use hands to form the mixture into a dough.
  5. Knead the dough gently into a ball. Place the dough between 2 pieces of plastic sheet.
  6. Roll the dough to about 3mm thickness and place in fridge to rest for about 1 hour.

(B) Pandan coconut cheese custard
  1. Add coconut milk, fresh milk, cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, salted butter and caster sugar into a small pot.
  2. Place the pot into a large, shallow pan/pot with barely simmering water. This is the bain marie method, to create a gentle and uniform heat for cooking custard. Keep stirring the mixture till everything is melted.
  3. Add pandan extract teaspoon by teaspoon (to personal taste and preference) and mix till well blended.
  4. Add sifted corn starch. Mix till well-blended, the mixture will thicken slowly.
  5. Add the egg and keep stirring till well-blended, the mixture will further thicken into custard. Stop cooking once the desired thickness of custard is reached (shorter cooking time - runny texture, longer cooking time - gooey texture)
  6. Sift the custard for a smoother texture (as they may be some fine lumps and grainy bits in the custard).
  7. At this point, may add additional pandan extract if taste is not strong enough or custard is too thick.
  8. Cover the custard with a clingwrap on the surface and let the custard cool down completely. 
  9. Fill the custard into a piping bag. Set aside.

(C) Assembly
  1. Remove the dough from fridge. Dust a baking mat (and rolling pin) with flour, use the round cutter to stamp the dough.
  2. Use a metal scrapper (dust with flour) to lift up the cut dough.
  3. Place the cut dough over the tart case and gently press it downwards.
  4. Using finger tips, gently press and mold the dough into the tart case. Use a fork to poke holes at the base of the tart pastry.
  5. Bake the tarts at 180C, fan mode for 10mins. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool.
  6. After the tart cases are cooled slightly, remove them from the tins and let cool completely before use.
  7. Preheat oven to 235C conventional mode. 
  8. Pipe the pandan coconut cheese custard into the tart pastry, shape slightly domed. Use a spatula to smoothen the top if necessary. Brush the sides of the tart pastry evenly with egg wash.
  9. Bake the tarts at 235C conventional mode, for 6-7 mins.
  10. Once baked, remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool. Best eaten warm, freshly baked.

Note 1: homemade pandan extract may taste milder than commercial pastes, pls adjust according to taste.
Note 2: for those who prefer a strong cheese taste, use equal proportion of cream cheese and mascarpone cheese i.e. 35g each
Note 3: homemade pandan extract may taste milder than commercial pastes, pls adjust according to taste.


Like I mentioned earlier, super love these petite little gems, I can easily pop one whole piece into the mouth or ok, maybe 2 bites.

The tart crust is crunchy and not too sweet (have reduced sugar for this version so that the custard can stand out more). The custard has this lovely aroma of pandan along with the lemak coconut, and texture-wise  creamy and gooey. In terms of taste, the pandan comes first, follow by coconut and finally a cheesy after taste.

Dedicating this Pandan Coconut Cheese Tart to Singapore!

06 August 2017

Honey mustard rosemary roasted chicken

I'm pleased to be collaborating with Sasha's Fine Food to come up with some home cooked dishes using the meat and fish that they have kindly provided me!

Sasha's Fine Food is an online F&B company that sourced ethically produced goods with preference to free-range, organic and/or fair trade food and drinks, and at the same time avoiding foods with unacceptable or unhealthy addictive. There's a wide variety of produce available in the webstore, from meat and fish to dry goods and groceries, dairy to beverages.

Will be presenting a variety of dishes over the next few weeks using these lovely produce :)


First up, will be using the local whole chicken to prepare two dishes. I'm very particular about raw chicken, and would only buy hormones and antibiotics free raw chicken from trusted sources. Very glad to know that their  chicken (free-roaming) is sourced from Southern Malaysia, raised in natural, clean and healthy environment with no growth hormones or antibiotics used.

My family is small, only 2 adults and 1 kiddo so usually I don't cook a whole chicken since we can't finish it in a meal. Separated and cooked the chicken over 2 meals instead, first meal using the wings, drumsticks and thigh, and second using the chicken breasts.The carcass is used to make chicken stock #nowaste


So using the chicken dark meat, I cooked this really simple casserole oven roasted chicken which I saw in an old Donna Hay magazine few years ago. The chicken parts are marinated in olive oil, honey, wholegrain mustard, salt and pepper for an hour, add rosemary, onion and garlic, roast in oven for 15 mins on one side, add asparagus and cherry tomatoes, turn the chicken over and roast for another 10 mins.

And in a bid to make my hb and kiddo eat healthier and more vegetables, I served the chicken with creamy mashed cauliflower instead of potato ;p

Honey mustard rosemary roasted chicken
(serves 2-3)
  • 2 chicken thigh 
  • 2 chicken drumstick 
  • 2 chicken wings 
  • 2 tbsp honey 
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper 
  • 4 sprig rosemary 
  • 1/4 red onion, cut into wedges 
  • 4 cloves garlic, leave skin intact and smash 
  • 9-10 cherry tomato 
  • A bunch of asparagus 
  1. Marinate chicken with honey, wholegrain mustard, olive oil, salt and black pepper for an hour.
  2. Preheat oven using roast/grill mode at 200 degree celsius.
  3. Place the marinated chicken, rosemary, smashed garlic and onion wedges into a casserole dish. 
  4. Roast at 200 degree celsius for 15 mins on one side. 
  5. Turn the chicken over. Add asparagus and cherry tomatoes. 
  6. Roast for another 10 mins and ready to serve.

Creamy mashed potato
  • 300g cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 10g butter 
  • 20g cooking cream 
  • 20g fresh milk 
  • 15g grated parmesan 
  • Salt & pepper, to taste 
  • Thyme (optional)
  1. Steam the cauliflower for 10-15 mins until fork tender. Remove from heat and cool for 5 mins.
  2. Add the steamed cauliflower florets into a food processor/chopper, add butter, cooking cream, fresh milk, parmesan and blended till creamy.
  3. Add salt, pepper to taste, sprinkle with some thyme for additional aroma.


I must say that the texture of the chicken is really good and succulent, very much like the kampung chicken that I always buy. The marinate of dijon mustard and honey complements the chicken well, the roasting method retains the natural juices of the chicken well, and the rosemary adds such a nice aroma to the dish . The creamy mashed potato is also well-received by the hb and kiddo (told a white lie that it's potato and only told them it's cauliflower after the meal :p), although they did suspect it's not potato but since it's yummy they ate up everything.

Simply love how simple and effortless it takes to prepare this roast chicken, perfect for days when I'm pressed for time. I can marinate the chicken in advance and roast it just before mealtime. Definitely gonna make this dish during my busy days!

Once again, thank you to Sasha's Fine Food and stay tuned for the next dish using chicken breast meat!

28 July 2017

Chai Spice Cupcake with Chai Latte Buttercream Frosting using Gingen Ginger Tea

I'm a big tea lover (I don't drink coffee) and I have a whole shelf full of tea! One of my favourite tea is Chai Latte, I find that it has this calming and soothing effect on the mind and body, especially when I drink it on a rainy cold day.

There are several spices used in Chai Latte, but for me, the key spices are ginger and cinnamon. As for the tea, any black tea like Assam, Darjeeling or Ceylon is fine. Brewing Chai Latte is actually very easy, I just heat up fresh milk, add the spices and tea bags, let it simmer for a few minutes, sweeten with maple syrup, honey or sugar, that's it.

Anyways, I was once again very blessed to participate in a collaboration by Singapore Home Cooks and Gingen Ginger Tea. #GingenGingerTea #singaporehomecooks
While I make Chai Latte occasionally, it's been a long while since I bake any cakes incorporating tea and spices.  The first thing that came to my mind was a Chai Spice Cupcake with Chai Latte Buttercream frosting using Gingen Ginger Tea.


I already have ground cinnamon and ground allspice powder at home. Usually if I want to bake, I would buy ground ginger located at the spice racks of supermarkets, but I hardly buy it as I don't use it often (when I cook, I use fresh ginger).

Gingen Ginger Tea is definitely a more viable and convenient choice, since it's in powder form and I can drink it as tea or use it in my baking! I'm also pleased to learn that Gingen Ginger Tea is made from pure ginger; 10kg of fresh ginger is used to make 1kg of ginger extract! In addition, it contains no preservatives or artificial colourings. That said, Ginger Tea is also a must-drink tea for me during that time of the month. I usually brew red date with fresh ginger and red sugar. Now that there's Gingen Ginger Tea, I don't have to go into the trouble anymore! And I'm definitely gonna use this for my baking as well, no need to grate fresh ginger anymore! I digress :p

When I was mulling over the baking method, I couldn't decide between an infused butter method or infused milk butter to incorporate the tea and spices. In the end, I did both. LOL!

 As for the buttercream, I wanted to practise the Italian-Korean buttercream again since this method uses less sugar, is more stable and easier to pipe and gives a slight glossy finish.

During the baking, the whole house was filled with the soothing aroma of the spices and I find myself in such a calming and happy mood :)


Chai Spice Cupcake (Recipe I - tea & spice infused butter)
(makes 6-8 cupcakes)

Tea & Spice Infused Butter
  • 65g unsalted butter
  • 1 teabag (I use Ceylon, open up tea bag for the tea powder)
  • 1/4 tsp Gingen ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice
Chai spice cupcake

  • 60g all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 large egg (I use 65-68g egg with shell)
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 25g whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 65g tea & spice infused butter
Steps
  1. Tea & Spice Infused Butter: Melt unsalted butter in a pot, add tea powder, ginger powder, ground cinnamon and ground allspice. Stir till well-mixed and let the mixture infused and cool down completely before using.
  2. Preheat oven to 180 degree celsius, fan mode. Line muffin pan with cupcake cases.
  3. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl, set aside.
  4. In a mixing bowl set in an electric mixer, add egg and caster sugar, beat the mixture till pale and fluffy, about 4-5 mins.
  5. Add cream and vanilla, beat till well-mixed.
  6. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, each time scrapping sides of bowl and beat till just mixed.
  7. Shift the mixing speed to lowest and add the infused butter drip by drip into the batter, make sure to scrap in the residue spice and tea powder as well. After incorporating the butter, shift to medium speed and beat for 1-2 mins.
  8. Using an ice-cream scoop or spoon, scoop the batter into the prepared cupcake cases, filling to slightly less than 2/3 full. Gently tap the pan on the countertop before sending the pan into the oven.
  9. Bake at 180 degree celsius, fan mode for about 15-16 mins. To test doneness, insert a toothpick into the centre of the cupcake, the toothpick should emerge clean.
  10. Cool the cupcakes on a wire rack completely before frosting. 
  11. Trim the top of the cupcake (for a flat surface) and frost with buttercream.


Chai Spice cupcake (Recipe II - tea & spice infused milk)
(makes about 10-11 cupcakes)


Tea & Spice Infused Milk
  • 250g fresh milk
  • 2 tea bags (I use Ceylon)
  • 2 tsp Gingen ginger powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
 Chai spice cupcake

  • 75g cake flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg (I use 65-68g egg with shell)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 65g tea & spice infused milk
Steps
  1. Tea & Spice Infused Milk: In a pot, add fresh milk, tea bags, ginger powder, ground cinnamon and ground allspice, bring the mixture to a simmer. Stir till well-mixed and let the mixture infused and cool down completely before using. Measure 65g of infused milk and set aside. Keep the remaining for Chai Latte Buttercream Frosting.
  2. Preheat oven to 180 degree celsius, fan mode. Line muffin pan with cupcake cases.
  3. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl, set aside.
  4. In a mixing bowl set in an electric mixer, add caster sugar and unsalted butter, beat the mixture till pale and fluffy, about 4-5 mins.
  5. Add egg and vanilla, beat till well-mixed.
  6. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the infused milk in 2 additions, each time scrapping sides of bowl and beat till just mixed.
  7. Using an ice-cream scoop or spoon, scoop the batter into the prepared cupcake cases, filling to slightly less than 2/3 full. Gently tap the pan on the countertop before sending the pan into the oven.
  8. Bake at 180 degree celsius, fan mode for about 15-16 mins. To test doneness, insert a toothpick into the centre of the cupcake, the toothpick should emerge clean.
  9. Cool the cupcakes on a wire rack completely before frosting.
  10. Trim the top of the cupcake (for a flat surface) and frost with buttercream.

Chai Latte Buttercream Frosting
(makes slightly more than enough buttercream to frost all the cupcakes)
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 20g water
  • 75g egg whites (about 2 egg whites)
  • 200g unsalted butter, cubed and store in fridge
  • 3 tbsp tea & spice infused milk (see recipe above)
  1. Add sugar and water into a heavy bottom pot, bring to boil to 118 degree celsius (measure using a candy thermometer).
  2. When the sugar mixture reaches 100 degree celsius, start whipping the egg whites on medium high speed. *if the egg whites already reaches soft peak and sugar mixture has not reached 118 degree celsius, shift the speed to low and let it continue whipping)
  3. Once the sugar mixture reaches 118 degree celsius, bring the pot to the mixer, add the sugar syrup very slowly into the egg white. Switch mixer to high speed and whip the mixture till it cools down completely.
  4. Place the entire mixing bowl into the fridge for a few hours (till temperature reaches less than 10 degree celsius).
  5. Place the mixing bowl back to the electric mixer, add the cold cubed butter piece by piece and beat at medium high speed, till mixture turns into buttercream and no more liquid.
  6. Add infused milk into the buttercream and whisk till well-incorporated.
  7. Buttercream frosting is ready to be used. Fit piping bag with star nozzle (I use Wilton 1M), fill buttercream into bag and pipe onto the cupcakes.
Love love love how the cupcakes turned out!! They were soooooo scrumptious, the aroma was so alluring and I find myself eating one after another. Overall, the cupcakes were not too sweet with just the right balance of spices.

So what's the difference between infused butter and infused milk methods? I find the cupcakes with infused butter slightly denser with tighter crumbs, with more buttery undertone. For the infused milk method, the cupcakes turned out slightly more tender, a tad sweeter and creamier undertone. Well actually both are very very similar to one another.

Most surprisingly, my kiddo actually liked the cupcake! He's a picky one who claims that he hates spices like ginger and cinnamon but surprise surprise he says this cupcake is very yummy and he ate one immediately after lunch and another for tea break!

These recipes are certainly a keeper for me and I'll indulge in them whenever I need something uplifting!

24 July 2017

Meg's Pastry Studio - 2017 2nd Q orders

I just realised that it's nearly the end of July already and I've not even updated 2nd Q orders for Meg's Pastry Studio! Oops!

No, I'm not closed down, yet. Just that I've slowed down in terms of order takings as there were many events, collaborations (and family commitments) past few months and I've been busy with those. I would prefer not to over-tax myself by taking on too many assignments because after all, I bake as a hobby and not as a living.

So pardon me if I couldn't take up orders (especially last minute) because I don't want to stress myself up with too many things on the plate. Some days, I literally spent the whole day in the kitchen, prepping, baking/cooking, photography, washing and clearing up (and I don't have a helper, so gotta do everything myself).

I digress. 

So here's looking at the few orders I took up.


A watermelon cake that I baked for my University/Hall senior, for her grandmother's birthday celebration. This is an absolutely light and refreshing cake, using my favourite genoise sponge which is super soft and not too sweet, with watermelon and almond crumble filling and no-sugar chantilly cream frosting, finally topped with watermelon, rockmelon, pistachio, mint leaves and rose petals.


My teddy bear cookies have become very popular recently, I guess it's because they look so adorable and make great party flavour or gift.



I rarely bake chocolate cake for my family as we are not big eaters of chocolate pastries. One of my very supportive customer ordered a chocolate cake for her daughter's birthday, so I jumped at the opportunity to create this naked chocolate cake. Love how it turned out, doesn't it look visually appealing?

Last but not last, my biggest batch of teddy bear cookies to-date, 120 of them all! It's challenging but so fun to do :) These were requested by a dear friend and yep, will do it only for my dear friends!

Hopefully I would have time to squeeze in some cake orders soon because second half of the year is expected to be busier than the first :p

20 July 2017

Banana/Blueberry/Cherry Chocolate Chip Muffins

I haven't baked anything new or test any new recipes recently. Seemed to be in a rut with no mojo at all. My mind is constantly brimming over with ideas and sometimes I even picture how the final product could be like, yet the body simply refuses to get going, and so my to-bake list just gets longer and longer...

Times like this, I guess I have to go back to basics, perhaps kick-start with something small, something easy, something that doesn't require much effort.

Fruit and chocolate chip muffin. Yep, this is as basic as it can get (aside from baking from a premix). Dry ingredients, wet ingredients, combine, add in the chopped fruits and chocolate chip, bake and that's it, no complicated methods, no mixer.


The truth is, I have a large bag of chocolate chips to use up, as well as lots of blueberries, bananas and cherries leftover in the fridge. So I thought to combine them into a simple muffin. Besides, these yummy treats make good breakfast and recess time snacks for the kiddo. I can bake a whole batch, freeze and reheat as and when I need it.


Banana/Blueberry/Cherry Chocolate Chip Muffins
(makes 20 muffins)
  • 250g cake flour
  • 120g light muscovado sugar
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp sea salt
  • 250g fresh milk
  • 1 large egg (65g egg with shell)
  • 60g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 120g chocolate chip
  • 50g banana, cubed
  • 50g blueberry
  • 50g cherry, cubed
  1. Preheat oven 175 degree celsius, fan mode. Line muffin pans with paper cases.
  2. Sift cake flour, sugar, baking powder and sea salt together. Set aside.
  3. Mix fresh milk, egg, unsalted butter and vanilla until well-blended.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and fold till just mixed.
  5. Add chocolate chip and fold gently till just mixed.
  6. Divide batter into 3 portions (about 280g per portion).
  7. Add the fruits into each portion of batter, fold gently till just mixed.
  8. Scoop the batter into prepared muffin cases till about 3/4 filled.
  9. Bake at 175 degree celsius, fan mode for 20-25 mins.
  10. Cool on wire rack before storing in airtight container or freezer bag (for storage in freezer).
  11. To re-heat, steam the muffins for 5 mins.
Love these fruity and chocolatey muffins, light on the palate and not too sweet with each bite bursting with juicy fruit and addictive chocolate. The kiddo's favourite is blueberry follow by banana. As for me, I like all of them. I guess it's kind of a healthy treat, with fruit and chocolate combined into one :d

Will be baking these whenever I have lots of leftover fruits, meanwhile I guess this current batch can last a few weeks.

15 July 2017

Laksa Seafood Tofu, Chicken Potato Croquette & Chicken Nugget using Dancing Chef Paste

Although I'm an avid home cook, I don't always make pastes or sauces from scratch for the dishes I cook. There are days when I'm pressed for time or lazy, that's where instant or ready-made pastes come in handy!

I was offered by Dancing Chef™ and Singapore Home Cooks to try two of their Singapore Heritage pastes, the Laksa Paste and Hainanese Chicken Rice Paste. Dancing Chef™ pastes are made from natural ingredients and hence contain no MSG, preservatives or artificial colouring. Pleased to know that I'm getting the real ingredients sans hard work of cutting, pounding and blending in a convenient pack!


Other than using these pastes to make Laksa and Chicken Rice only, these pastes are very versatile and can be used to make many other dishes. It's really up to your imagination :)

And hence, I came up with the idea of making finger food with them. Instead of going into the trouble of gathering different ingredients and condiments to season the finger foods, just add the pastes and you'll get quick and easy flavouring!

As I love Crispy Seafood Tofu sold at Zi Char stalls; to get a more spicy kick, I tried adding the Dancing Chef™ laksa paste. It's a bit like eating otah otah but less spicy and more depth of flavour, love the contrast in textures, crispy outside and soft inside.

The kiddo loves croquette and I've been making salmon potato croquette and beef potato croquette, and this time, I used minced chicken and potato with the Dancing Chef™ chicken rice paste as flavour, it was yummy and even the HB liked it.

As I have some extra chicken rice paste and chicken, I also tried making chicken nuggets using the paste, once again well received too.


Laksa Seafood Tofu
(makes one 5.5" square tray)
  • 50g Laksa paste
  • 300g egg tofu (2 tubes)
  • 100g cuttlefish paste
  • 100g fish paste
  • 10pcs praw, peel and devein
  • Potato starch
  1. Add all the ingredients into a food processor or electric chopper, blend till a smooth paste forms.
  2. Line an aluminum tray with cooking paper, pour the paste into the tray.
  3. Place the tray into a steamer (medium high heat) and steam for 10 to 12 mins.
  4. Remove the tray from steamer and let the Laksa Seafood Tofu cool down completely before chilling in the fridge to set.
  5. Cut the Laksa Seafood Tofu into desired pieces, coat with potato starch and pan-fry or deep-fry till golden and crispy. 
  6. Best eaten hot, on its own or with mayonnaise.
*More ingredients can be added to the paste, such as chopped coriander, water chestnut or carrot etc.
*The Laksa Seafood Tofu can be prepared in advance, freeze for up to a month or chill in fridge for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before frying.


Chicken Potato Croquette
(makes 9 big pieces)
  • 50g chicken rice paste
  • 150g chicken fillet, minced
  • 300g russet potato (2 pieces)
  • 1/2 pc carrot
  • 2 tbsp onion, minced
  • Corn starch, egg, bread crumb (panko)
  1. Peel and cut potato and carrot into slices and steam for 15-18 mins till softened. Mash the potato and carrot till smooth, set aside.
  2. In a frying pan, add minced onion and chicken rice paste and sautee till fragrant, add minced chicken and mixed with the onion and paste, break up the minced chicken into small bits and fry till cooked.
  3. Add the cooked minced chicken into the mashed potato and carrot and stir till well-mixed.
  4. Form the potato mixture into a ball (about golf ball size), flatten, coat with corn starch, follow by egg and then bread crumb. Repeat till all the potato mixture is used up. *At this point, the croquette can be kept in an air-tight box and store in freezer for up to a month or in fridge for up to 3 days.
  5. Pan-fry the croquette till golden brown and crispy on both sides.
  6. Best serve hot, on its own, with mayonnaise or tonkatsu sauce. 
Chicken nugget
(makes 15 pieces)
  • 50g chicken rice paste
  • 250g chicken fillet, chopped
  • 2 tbsp carrot, grated, discard juice
  • 2 tbsp onion, grated, discard juice
  • Crispy powder, water
  1. Mix all the ingredients together till well-blended. Marinate for 30-60 mins.
  2. Mix crispy powder with water to form a batter.
  3. Shape the chicken mixture into desired shape, coat with batter and deep-fry till golden and crispy.
  4. Best served hot, on its own or with ketchup, mayonnaise or curry sauce.

A shout-out for Dancing Chef™ Promotion
From 1 July to 31 August 2017, purchase three packets of Dancing Chef™ pastes at just S$7.45 (UP: S$2.85/packet). Exclusively available at NTUC Fair Price supermarkets.

#DancingChefSG #singaporehomecooks

08 July 2017

Grilled Pure South Lamb Chop with Caramelised Balsamic Vinegar

I've shared the goodness of Pure South's French Lamb Rack in the previous post, featuring an Asian-style Lemongrass Lambchop served with Lemongrass-Pandan-Ginger-infused Jasmine rice and Lemongrass-infused Pickled Veggies.

As mentioned, I was sponsored 1 pack of French Lamb Rack from Pure South Asia, and each pack actually consists of 2 racks i.e. 14 ribs. Since there are only 3 of us, I cooked the racks on 2 days. Basically defrost the whole pack (both racks are packed together), cooked a rack on day 1 and the remaining on day 2. The meat remained fresh the next day, so no worries about it!

This time, I went back to my Western-style grill pan and seasoned the lamb chops with sea salt and black pepper just before grilling. But I glazed the lamb chops with caramelised balsamic vinegar for some mellow sweetness and tangy flavouring.

I'm a big fan of Caramelised Balsamic Vinegar, tried it at a vineyard in Australia and fell in love with the mellow tangy and sweet taste so bought a bottle back. Used it as salad dressing, as glaze for meats, as sauce... It's actually very easy to make at home, it's essentially a reduction of balsamic vinegar with dark brown sugar and some water. Balsamic vinegar itself may smell and taste quite sharp, but after reduction and addition of dark brown sugar, it has this deep mellow flavour which is so tantalising.


Grilled Pure South Lamb Chop with Caramelised Balsamic Vinegar

Ingredients
  • 1 Pure South lamb rack (about 450g)
  • Sea salt, Black pepper
  • Caramelised balsamic vinegar (store-bought or homemade)
Steps
  1. Cut rack of lamb into individual lamb chops (7 pieces).
  2. Sprinkle both sides of lamb chops with sea salt and black pepper.
  3. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to grill pan (brush till pan is evenly coated), heat the pan till smoking hot, and pan fry the lamb chops for 40 - 45s on each side (depends on desired doneness), until the chops get a slight char. Brush both sides of lamb chops generously with caramelized balsamic vinegar.
  4. Serve directly on grill pan, or transfer to serving plate.
  5. Best eaten hot, on its own or with more caramelized balsamic vinegar.

Caramelised balsamic vinegar

Ingredients
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 95g dark brown sugar/muscovado sugar
Steps
  1. Add balsamic vinegar and water to a small pot, bring to boil on low heat.
  2. Reduce heat to very low and simmer liquid till reduced by half, about 8-10 mins.
  3. Add dark brown sugar and cook till all sugar is melted, about 5-8 mins.
  4. Let the caramelized balsamic vinegar cool down completely and store in glass bottle.
  5. Use as glaze or salad dressing.

Once again, I must rave about the quality of the lamb chops, they were so so so good, super tender and juicy. Can't decide whether I love the lemongrass flavour or this caramelised balsamic vinegar one better :) Talking about it makes me crave for some now!


This time, served the lamb chops with buttered corn kernels, creamy spinach, mashed potato and mango pomegranate salsa and cherry tomato. My goodness, what a spread! Wish I could eat like this everyday!


A shout-out to visit Pure South Asia's website for online ordering. From now till 31 July, use promo code FARMFRESH2U to get 10% off your first purchase!
Website: https://puresouth.asia/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PureSouthAsia/

Thank you Singapore Home Cooks and Pure South and looking forward to more collaborations =D

#puresouth #newzealand #grassfed #freerange #singaporehomecooks

07 July 2017

Pan-fried Lemongrass Pure South Lamb Chop

I used to prefer beef over lamb, but recent years started to take a liking to lamb after eating an unforgettable spit roast lamb in a Farmer's Market in Australia as well as some home-grilled lamb cutlets.

That said, my knowledge of lamb is still very little and I only eat lamb at home once in a blue moon. And times when I do cook it, I'll get lamb cutlets with just salt and pepper on grill pan and eaten with mint sauce.

When I was approached by Singapore Home Cooks to participate in the Pure South Campaign to come up with a dish for their lamb rack, I was hesitant because I'm unsure of how to handle a whole lamb rack. I'm so glad that I accepted the challenge, otherwise I might never have the courage to buy a lamb rack on my own and lose the opportunity to taste such excellent quality lamb!

So I learnt that Pure South lamb is from New Zealand, 100% grass-fed and free range, hence leaner and juicier. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B6 and beta-carotene and as little as 140 calories per serving. Woohoo, bring on more lamb please!

The lamb rack is the most tender part of the lamb and Pure South's lamb rack is already frenched meaning the meat at the rib part is removed exposing the rib bones. Personally I feel that this makes it easier to cut and cook, and definitely more presentable (yep, I'm kind of intimated by a whole rack of lamb if it weren't frenched).


Since I've always done Western-style lamb chops on grill, decided to go for Asian-style this time using one of my favourite ingredient, lemongrass to create a marinate paste along with garlic, shallot and seasonings like Gula Melaka, fish sauce, light soy sauce and sesame oil.

As for cooking method, I opted for a simple method which is quick and easy for home cooks, that is to cut the lamb rack into individual lamb chops, marinate and then pan-fried.


Each pack of Pure South Frenched Lamb Rack comes frozen and in twos, weighing between 800g-1.1kg, meaning each rack is about 400-550g.

To maintain the quality of the meat, it's highly recommended to thaw the frozen meat in the fridge. After thawing the meat (overnight for me), I cut the rack into 7 lamb chops using a sharp knife. It's 8 portions actually, the last rib was too thick so I sliced off a small portion and used it to do "test-cook" before pan-frying the rest :p Thereafter, just marinate the lamb chops with the blended marinate paste for 2-3hrs, then pan-fry for less than a minute each side :)





Pan-fried Lemongrass Lamb Chop

Ingredients
  • 1 Pure South lamb rack (about 450g)
  • 4 stalks lemongrass, chopped (bottom 1/3 of the stalk, remove root and outer 2-3 layers)
  • 5 tbsp Gula Melaka
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 5 cloves shallot
Steps
  1. Cut rack of lamb into individual lamb chops (7 pieces).
  2. Place chopped lemongrass, gula melaka, fish sauce, light soy sauce, sesame oil, water, salt, garlic and shallot into a food processor or electric chopper and blend the ingredients into a wet paste.
  3. Marinate the lamb chops with the lemongrass paste for 2-3 hrs.
  4. Scrap off most of the lemongrass paste from the lamb chops, reserve the paste.
  5. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to frying pan, heat the pan till smoking hot, and pan fry the lamb chops for 45s to 1 min each side (depends on desired doneness), until the chops get a slight char.
  6. Transfer the chops to a plate and let them sit for about 5 mins.
  7. Using the same frying pan, add the lemongrass paste and any meat juice from the lamb chops and bring the sauce to boil.
  8. Transfer lamb chops to serving plate and drizzle with some lemongrass sauce. Enjoy!



Typically lamb chops are served with salads or grilled vegetables and baked or mashed potato.

But to echo the Asian-flavours, I served the dish with lemongrass-pandan-ginger infused jasmine rice and lemongrass-infused pickled vegetables.




Lemongrass-Pandan-Ginger-infused Rice

Ingredients
  • ¾ cup Jasmine white rice
  • ¼ cup Jasmine brown rice
  • 300ml bone broth/chicken stock
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, smashed (bottom 1/3 of the stalk, remove root and outer 2-3 layers)
  • 1 thumb young ginger, grated
  • 2 small pandan leaves, knotted (trim bottom whitish part)
Steps
  1. In a pot, add broth, lemongrass and grated ginger (with juice). Bring the broth to boil.
  2. Let the mixture cool down and sieve. Reserve the lemongrass. (Not necessary to sieve if wish to have stronger ginger taste).
  3. Rinse and drain the rice. Add rice, broth, lemongrass and pandan leaves to rice cooker.
  4. After rice is cooked, let it sit for 5 mins, remove lemongrass and pandan leaves and fluff up the rice.
  5. Best serve hot.


Lemongrass-infused Pickled Vegetables

Ingredients
  • 500ml water
  • 5 tbsp honey
  • 4 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 stalks lemongrass, smashed (remaining 2/3 from the lamb chops and rice, remove root and outer 2-3 layers)
  • 3 shallots
  • 2 chili padi
  • 1 carrot, cubed and julienned
  • 1 cucumber, cubed and julienned
Steps
  1. In a pot, add water, honey, vinegar and salt. Bring to boil till honey is fully melted.
  2. Add lemongrass, shallots and chili padi and let the liquid cool down completely.
  3. Add the carrot and cucumber to the pickling liquid and let the vegetables infuse for at least 1 hour.
  4. Transfer to glass jar and store the pickles in fridge, for up to 1 week.


I love love love how the lamb chops turned out! Thanks to the superb quality of Pure South's lamb, the meat was so juicy and tender! This was by far the most tender lamb meat I've ever eaten; and there wasn't even any gamey smell at all (unlike the lamb I've eaten in the past). Oh, what have I been missing out!
 
The lemongrass sauce went really well with the tender, juicy meat. Besides the amazing aroma, I can taste the part citrus, part minty, part gingery flavours, along with sweetness from gula melaka, as well as the umami savoury hint from fish sauce.

The jasmine rice which was cooked with a lemongrass-pandan-ginger infusion together with bone broth tasted so fragrant and yummy too! Perfect with the lamb chops as well as the lemongrass sauce!

The lemongrass-infused pickled vegetables provided a tinge of sweet, salty, sourish, spiciness as well as crunchy texture, and helped to refresh the palate, definitely an essential accompaniment to the dish! 


Once again, I felt so blessed to be able to enjoy such great quality lamb from Pure South. Really appreciate Singapore Home Cooks and Pure South for the opportunity.

Pure South Asia has recently launched their website and open for orders. From now till 31 July, use promo code FARMFRESH2U to get 10% off your first purchase!

Website: https://puresouth.asia/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PureSouthAsia/

I've already bought more lamb racks to share with friends. Go try too!

#puresouth #newzealand #grassfed #freerange #singaporehomecooks