Thursday, September 18, 2008


Came across this lovely Spanish dish as I was watching an episode of Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. It looked pretty simple, and the ingredients were pretty easy to come by so I remembered it all(I hope) and tried to cook it by recalling what I've seen on TV. It might differ slighty but this will have to do.

Cut up some spicy chorizos into small pieces. They are pretty hard compared to normal sausages so they do hold themselves pretty well.

Slice up a piece of chicken thigh into bite sized chunks.

Cut up some onions, squid, and chillies.

Prepare some saffron, which can be seen at the lower right hand corner. This may be slightly harder to come by.

Oil a big flat pan(I used a wok as my pans were too small) and chuck in the chorizos and onion. Fry until fragrant and colored.

Chuck in the chicken and chillies.

Add some arborio rice to the pan then slowly add some chicken stock while stirring it like how you would cook risotto.

Cut up some tomatoes.

When the rice is nearly done, add in some saffron, the tomatoes, and the squid.

Paella, served.

Pan-fried and Oven-baked Salmon with Garlic Mushroom Sauce

Slice up some salmon and marinate them with ground black pepper and salt. They measure around 12x6cm each.

Wrap two of them up with some pancetta and drizzle some olive oil over them. Place it in the oven for around 15-20 minutes(can't recall) at 180 degrees.

Oil up the pan.

Place the salmon skin side down to prevent it from burning the flesh first. Leave it until the fish is cooked around half way up.

Then flip it over and cook the other half. Sear them on the sides as well until they are nicely colored.

At the same time, skin and boil some potatoes, then mash them and add some cream, salt, and pepper.

Continue mashing it around until it looks like this.

Remove the salmon from the oven and pan.

Dish it up and serve. The sauce was made by pan-frying some mushrooms, chucking them into a food processor, adding some salt, pepper, cream and a clove of garlic, then blend away. In this instance i ran out of cream so it looks chunky still.

Cream of Chicken Soup and Garlic Bread

Everyone loves a nicely done slice of garlic bread, and no one would deny that it is even nicer to have a beautiful bowl of creamy chicken soup to dip it in. It was a pretty chilly winter afternoon when I decided that 'damn, I want some chicken soup for dinner tonight!', so i decided to look up so recipes. Googling chicken soup will net you thousands of results, which is why i went through a few looking at their common ingredients used across different recipes and decided to have a go at it myself without really following. It involves quite a bit of work but it was all worth it in the end, trust me!

The most important part of chicken soup is the chicken stock that makes it, so we'll start with my version of chicken stock made specifically to prepare the soup. Usually only chicken carcasses will be used, but since the soup needed some chicken meat, I used drumsticks. First, clean about a kilo of drumsticks and marinate it with some lea&perrins sauce, soy sauce, and white pepper.

After leaving the drumsticks alone for 10-15 minutes, pan fry them to give them colour on all sides. The flesh need not be cooked as the boiling will take care of it, so remove the chicken as soon as they smell fragrant and there is sufficient color on the skin and flesh. Place them in a big pot.

Chop up around 3-4 carrots depending on size.

Then chop up a 3-4 sticks of celery.

Cut up two large brown onions. I used smaller ones because I ran out of onions.

Smash 5-6 cloves of garlic up.

Chuck all the carrots, celery, onions and garlic into the same pot as the drumsticks.

Fill the pot up with water and bring it to a boil and leave it for around 50mins to an hour with the cover on before switching the fire off.

After letting the stock cool down, removed the drumsticks and set them aside in a bowl. Remove all the others.

Let the drumsticks cool and peel them into small pieces which we will use later.

Slice some button mushrooms out. I used around 5-600grams.

The pan that was used to fry the chicken. Don't clean the residue off as it will add some flavor to the mushrooms.

Fry the mushrooms and set them aside.

Melt a big chunk of non-salted butter/spread on a non-stick pan. I used around 40% of a standard sized margarine-type container.

After the spread has melted and starts to bubble, slowly pour some flour in and stir the mixture around. The flour added should be around 80% of the spread used. Continue stirring it until it reaches the consistency as shown in the picture.

Add around 200-250ml of cream into the mixture and continue stirring.

Continue stirring until it reaches this consistency.

Pour the mixture into the pot with the stock. My mistake was not bringing the stock to a boil first as it has cooled down over time, which is why the following happened.

The whole thing kind of coagulated. Took slightly longer to melt everything down again.

Chuck the peeled meat and the fried mushrooms into the pot and continue boiling it for around 15-20 minutes while constantly stirring it.

It should look like this after a while.

Cut up some garlic and put it in the blender.

Add a healthy sprinkle of italian herbs. I ran out of fresh ones so bottled ones will have to do.

Add in some cut blocks of butter.

The ratio should be like this.

Blend it good!

Spread the butter over some bread and oven toast it for 5 minutes.

Dip it in the creamy soup and munch away.

Leftovers can be kept in containers and left in the fridge or be frozen for another day. I like to separate them into portions for convenience sake.

Chicken Rice

There are plenty of variations for steamed chicken rice out there, and for overseas students on a shoestring budget, it is a godsend as the the ingredient list is short and the items on it are dirt cheap. It also doesn't take that long a time or involve that many steps, which is just great.

Depending on how strong you want the taste to be, prepare some thinly sliced ginger and crush a few cloves of garlic. Also, slice a few chillies in preparation for the sauce later.

A full chicken, gutted and cleaned.

Fill a pot with water, and bring it to a boil. Place the chicken in gently and chuck in a handful of ginger and a handful of garlic. Sprinkle some salt in, maybe around one and a half tablespoon's worth.

Switch the fire off after around 20-25 minutes depending on how big the chicken is. This is a good time to place a handful of chili, a few slices of ginger, a clove of garlic or two, some lime juice, and some chicken fat/oil from the pot into a mortar and mash it all up. Alternatively a blender can be used but it will be too finely done. To cook the rice, use the amount of rice that is desired and fill the ricecooker with the stock that resulted from cooking the chicken. Chuck some slices of ginger and a few smashed cloves of garlic in as well.

While waiting for the rice, chop the chicken up into bite-sized pieces.

Voila! Steamed chicken, Stir-fried Vegetables, and some chili sauce. Only the rice is missing.