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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mother Goose

Sin Ming Cookhouse / Bakery / Whatever

It’s not every day one gets to have in their possession whole raw/uncooked foie gras.  I was lucky enough to be given some from one of the chaps who I play tennis with (thanks again Francis).  I was on my way home from picking up the foie gras, I kept looking in the bag and my stomach keep crying to eat so after much deliberation when I got home I decided to give cooking it a try.

It’s been almost 6 years since I last cooked it at home and during that time I was under the tutelage of Chef Bansani it’s all well and good having a master chef besides you telling you what to do, when no one is there to hold you hand it all of sudden becomes a whole different ball game.

I opted to cook the foie gras using two different methods; one with it dusted in flour, salt and pepper, the other without the flour.  Also new to the game was my Le Creuset skillet, perfect tool for searing the foie gras!

Foie Gras – Prepared 2 ways

Ingredients

  • 2 pieces of Foie Gras cut into 2cm thick slices
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Corn flour

Directions

  1. Place foie gras in freezer for 10-15 minutes, you want these babies cold, you’ll be searing straight after dusting/salting!
  2. In a dusting tray add 2 tablespoons of corn flour, salt and pepper
  3. Place 1 piece of foie gras into the tin and dust liberally

  1. Take the second piece of foie gras add salt and pepper to both sides

  1. Ensure your skillet is hot, place one piece of foie gras into the pan.  If you do not hear the foie gras sizzle take it off immediately.  The key here is to sear the outside of the foie gras to get it nice and crunchy while the inside is “medium-rare”
  1. Cook the foie gras for 1 minute each side.  There is no need to oil the pan, you’ll get yourself lots of lovely goose fat from the foie gras.  Ensure you apply a little extra salt to the foie gras
  2. Remove from the pan and leave it to rest for 2-3 minutes

Balsamic Reduction

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 2-3 tablespoons of sugar

Directions

  1. Heat balsamic vinegar in pot until it starts to simmer
  2. Add sugar one spoonful at a time and stir until liquid reduces to a point where it sticks to the back of a spoon

To plate, add the foie gras to the plate and drizzle the balsamic sauce over the foie gras, I ate mine with some oven baked ciabatta.. yum!

Oh and for the record, I prefer having the foie gras unfloured!

Bon Appétit – Sidney

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Philadelphia in Singapore?

Sin Ming Bakery / Cookhouse / Whatever

The date was set for an evening picnic under the stars watching Macbeth; sadly the menu for the evenings festivities only really finalized 2-3 days before, but when we did finally settle on a Philly Cheesesteak sandwich I was oh so happy!

Apparently the Philly Cheesesteak sandwich did in fact originate in Philadelphia in the United States.  The two real essential components to the sandwich are: thinly sliced pieces of steak/beef and Provolone cheese sauce.

Philly Cheesesteak.. I want my Philly Cheesesteak

The recipe we used was based on once from chef Bobby Flay with a few adaptations/additions from yours truly.

Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich

Beef / Roll Ingredients

  • Pre-sliced shabu shabu beef
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Ciabatta bead rolls

Directions

  1. Oil skillet with olive oil
  2. Season beef with salt and back pepper
  3. Lightly sear beef and remove to let beef rest

Provolone Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk, heated
  • 1 cup grated provolone cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat
  2. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute
  3. Slowly whisk in the warm milk, and cook, whisking constantly until thickened, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the mixture from the heat and whisk in the provolone and Parmesan until combined; season with the salt and pepper

Ingredients Sauteed Mushrooms

  • Olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 packet of white button mushrooms chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Heat oil and butter in a large saute pan over high heat
  2. Add the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are golden brown adding salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients Caramelized Onions

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 large Spanish onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Honey

Directions

  1. Heat butter and oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper
  3. Add a tablespoon of honey and cook slowly until golden brown and caramelized

Assembly

  1. Split the ciabatta and oven toast it with butter.  If you have garlic butter on hand use that
  2. Place a generous amount of arugula lettuce at the base
  3. Add sliced beef
  4. Add a generous helping of provolone sauce
  5. Add caramelized onions
  6. Enjoy! ! !

Bon Appétit – Sidney

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tools of the Trade

Sin Ming Cook House / Bakery / Whatever

They always say it’s an end user problem.  To some degree I tend to agree, but nothing beats having some fantastic kitchen equipment on hand to give your dishes a leg up!

Le Creuset

Recently I’ve been on a small spending spree in the kitchen, I made purchase of three items of the Le Creuset cast iron range and I have to say I love them to bits!  Undoubtedly most of you out there would be wondering: “Is it justifiable spending so much money on a pot/skillet/fry pan?” to the common masses I would have to say yes.. for the price of one of these puppies you can buy yourself a “decent” 5 piece pot set.  For those of you who are looking to take your cooking to the next level though (meaning you’ve already got yourself the basics and are willing to upgrade), then cast iron is the way to go.

The advantages of cast iron are these:

  1. They retain and distribute heat superbly – generally after you throw something into the pot/pan the temperate drops resulting in an uneven cook, not these little beauties.. they retain their heat to ensure a nice even cook!
  2. They’re oven safe – you can sear your meat then whack the pot/pan into the oven/grill to finish off the cooking

Okay I admit they cost a small fortune to buy; which is why I generally wait for them to go on sale.  I managed to get the skillet for SGD139, the pan for SGD109 and the Dutch Oven for SGD338 which was half price for all.. quite a steal I must.

I still use my old Tefals for general cooking duties, but when I want to do something a little bit special, it’s got to be Le Creuset!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

What an Ass!

Sin Ming Cookhouse / Bakery / Whatever

What’s a boy to do when he is stuck at home with a large chicken and a can of beer?  Why not try cooking beer can chicken!  I heard of this concept many a time but I’d never tried cooking it due to a perception that it was too difficult to do.. how mistaken I was.

After doing some research I managed to find a few recipes online and I kinda took a hybrid of 3, so without further adieu here’s the recipe for beer can chicken:

Ingredients

  • 1 Can of Malted Beer (more malty the better the flavor)
  • 1 Medium to Large Chicken
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions

  1. Thoroughly clean the chicken
  2. Wash and pat dry (inside and out)
  3. Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius
  4. Season the inside cavity with salt and pepper
  5. Empty 1/4 of the can of beer into a glass
  6. Add 1/2 a table spoon of salt and 1/2 a tablespoon of pepper to the open beer can
  7. With the beer can upright insert it to the cavity of the chicken and ensure the chicken and beer can remain upright ( If you need to help prop up the chicken insert soaked skewers)
  8. Place in baking tray and season the outside of the chicken with salt and pepper then coat with olive oil
  9. Roast in the oven at 160 degrees Celsius for 90 minutes continually basting chicken with olive oil and remaining beer

I took the drippings and remaining beer to make gravy.  Simply add the remaining 1/4 can of beer to roasting tray drippings to a small pan and stir, to thicken add flour.

I also cooked some simple backed potato scallops in cream and garlic; basically thinly slice potatoes, cook up some cream with salt, pepper and chopped garlic.  Add the cooked sauce to the potatoes and bake for 20 minutes!

Bon Appétit – Sidney

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