Cooking : Broccoli soup

Recipe link here

Didn’t use the cheese on top…and I used my own vegetable stock. It would be a lot tastier if I used packaged – simply because they have a more well-rounded flavor…and quite a bit more salt. The cumin brings out a nice aroma and is definitely needed in this recipe!

 

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Cooking : Steak Hash, using leftover steak

Recipe here

Instead of using garlic powder, I omitted this and used about 1 tbsp of worchestershire sauce, then added salt and pepper to taste…

I also omitted the cheese as Emily doesn’t like cheese…

Overall it tasted alright, for something I hashed together with leftover steak! (ha)

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Cooking : Vegetable stew (Lentils, Potato, carrots)

Recipe is here

Minus the Kale, red wine vinegar, celery, and I substituted the garlic powder with minced garlic (handful of cloves). The longer you simmer (it tasted a lot better after 2.5hrs than when we tasted after ~1hr) the more taste you get out of it, it seems. The ideal is 2hrs+ because everything just melts in your mouth by then :)

 

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Cooking: well-done steak in the oven!

Recipe here

The approach is to first sear both sides of the steak, and then cook the rest of the way in the oven in a low temp (150 degrees C). This has worked especially well for steaks with a lot of tendon and fat, as the long time-low temp approach really helps to render the fat from something barely edible, to something just short of amazing. I’ve never been able to properly render fat on a steak until now, and I think low-temp cooking post-searing is the way to go…

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Cooking: Potato soup

Recipe here and here

As Emily doesn’t like bacon and butter, as well as milk, they have been omitted from the recipe. I added rosemary, thyme, some parsley and some basil (all dried spices, roughly a shake to 1/2 tsp). Used a quick stock of the chopped veggies (carrots and onions) as part of the water to make the soup – usually turns out well!

One thing to watch out for is the fact that the potatoes soak up a lot of salt – so add a little more than you think you might need. Alternatively, taste and add as necessary.

 

 

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Cooking: Hot chilled tomato soup

Recipe link here

Turned out good I think… but Emily felt the addition of butter made the soup a bit too rich when the soup cooled a bit. I added about 25g worth of butter as I thought with the amount of tomato juice (almost 2.5L worth) would dilute this… but I guess I will need to lessen this even further, possibly by half. Your taste may vary of course!

 

 

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Baking Chicken (pieces) in the oven

 

Chicken wings and nibbles:

Temperature : 190 – 200 degrees @ 20 minutes for well-done (but still kind-of-juicy) chicken wings and nibbles.

 

Chicken drumsticks:

Follow the recipe here.

Crucial step is to wash and DRY the chicken drumsticks for the crispy skin!

Incredibly simple recipe and has not failed so far (5 times so far).

Temperature : 218 degrees @ 35 – 38 minutes for juicy and tender drumsticks! The crispy skin is a bonus…

 

Photos of baked chicken will go up when I remember to take some…

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2014 – Another year of cooking!

Goals of the new year:

 

Explore new types of ingredients and understanding how to use them!

(Eggplants, different herbs like parsley, dill, fennel, beetroot, ramen, different types of meat)

 

Get better on the existing dishes that I make frequently

(Tomato Pasta sauce, roast vegetables, vegetable soup, steak)

 

Expand my repertoire of dishes that I make / can make frequently

(Suggestions?)

 

Cook at least one new recipe from all the different cookbooks that I have – easy right!

(I think I have 5+…)

 

To a fruitful new year :)

 

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Cooking : Steamed salmon

Recipe link : http://www.spatulaspoonandsaturday.com/2009/10/02/steamed-salmon-with-soy-and-ginger/

I tried this with the left over half of salmon because:

a) The salmon fillet had been in the fridge / freezer for a few days as I seesawed between making sashimi and steaming it

b) I want to see whether I could replicate the steamed salmon taste that I had at chinese restaurants (I semi-failed here… there just seems to be something missing.)

 

Unfortunately no pictures… but the taste was decent. The sesame oil added fragrance to it, and the sweet, oily sauce made plain rice a pleasure to eat.

Modifications: we excluded the coriander (Wifey doesn’t like it), Oyster sauce (didn’t have it), chilli (didn’t have this either) as well as the shitake mushrooms (nope, don’t have this on hand).

I would probably add more sugar, a bit more sesame oil, include the oyster sauce and mix in the mushrooms for the next batch. I think these changes would definitely bring me closer to the taste I want!

 

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Cooking: Fresh salmon fillet!

Fresh Salmon fillet!

Managed to get my hands on a prime piece of salmon fillet thanks to friends (who got it from hawkes bay seafood)!

Seeing that our existing knives aren’t so flash, we went out and bought a new & sharp knife… there weren’t a lot of selection available. We saw a lot of generic brands priced between $15 (after discount) and $30 (the usual RRP for generic brand knives) to the more expensive ones ($200+). As the Easter sale is currently on and we don’t really have a good pair of knife, we (it was a democratic decision between wifey and I) decided to splurge on a Global knife as a quick search on amazon made them seem like a worthwhile investment (here). The problems the 1-star reviews raised about the blade snapping at the handle join is a bit of a worry though… hopefully they don’t happen with this pair!

Armed with a sharp knife, I took a quick google crash course on filleting a salmon…and decided to wing it as I was getting hungry. In hindsight, I should’ve really looked at the deboning video!

Post-processed sashimi!

I think I did an OK job given it was my first time! (shy)

Ahem. Apart from sashimi, the other way I thought we could enjoy fresh salmon was to bake it in foil (see recipe here). I didn’t use parsley as I didn’t have any on hand, and we decided to do a taste test by only adding salt and pepper to two tinfoil packets of salmon, basil leaves to three packets, olive oil and lemon slices to all packets, and one peeled clove of garlic to a random packet. The chunks of salmon that I cut off while trying to debone formed the fourth packet, while the skin removed from the sashimi portion of salmon went to another packet.

steamed salmon!

The packet with garlic tasted the best, while the packet with the skin tasted the worst / fishiest. I think the skin portions are best fried as we couldn’t really stomach eating them baked… maybe we haven’t acquired this taste yet? Do people usually eat the skin when baked / steamed?

The two other packets tasted just fine, totally what we expect from cooking fresh fish. I wonder if using spring onion and soy sauce might have been a better option though… and we just might test this theory on the other half of salmon left in the freezer. Stay tuned :)

Useful video for deboning a salmon fillet:

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