Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Mushroom Risotto

Risotto is an Italian rice dish, usually cooked in broth to a creamy consistency. Rice was essentially introduced to Sicily, Italy and Spain by the Arabs during their rule around the Middle Ages.The flat and humid territories of Italy was found to have very favourable climate to grow these short-grain rice. Rice quickly become a staple all around Italy.

It is not very clear how did risotto came about, but a young apprentice by the name of Valerius is thought to be the creator of risotto and one that invented the famous Milan yellow risotto (Risotto alla Milanese). Valerius was supposedly tasked to work on the stained-glass windows of the Cathedral Duomo Di Milan in 1574. While he was working on the windows, the people at that time made fun of him and accredited the beautiful colours of the stained-glass to the saffron rather than Valerius himself. Valerius was furious. He devised comeback plan to play a trick on the people during his master’s wedding. He added excessive amount saffron into the rice dish during the wedding with the intention to ruin the dish and the festivities of the wedding. 

His act of retribution backed fire and everyone loved the risotto. There are also accounts that its actually Valerius team/apprentices that played a trick on him during his daughter's wedding. Whatever it is, we are glad someone played that trick. Risotto is indeed a lovely dish to have.

Now, there are a variety of risotto recipes. Just a quick search on the Internet, you will find all kind of recipes. Going back to our recipe today, here is a breakdown of it:


450g Mix of Swiss Brown and White Mushrooms (sliced finely)
2 Shallots (chopped finely)
1 cup of Arborio Rice
1 cup of White Wine
5 cups of Chicken Stocks
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 tablespoon of Salted Butter
Salt and Black Pepper
Chives (chopped finely)
2 handfuls of grated Parmesan Cheese

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Beef Steak with Basil Vinegrette/Vinaigrette

Beef is another meat that I love working with. It has a very unique and intense flavour to it, Jo and I like to call it the "beefiness" taste. Growing up, my family do take beef, but it was always cooked traditionally into soups and occasional into stew. My parents, like most traditional Chinese parents, they prefer beef cooked thoroughly and into soups. When growing up, I always wondered how a proper steak tasted like. To be honest, I cannot recall when exactly I had my first steak. But it was not as pleasant I thought. Haha. I think it was a cafe or some sort in Malaysia during my college times.

Because of that, I was determine make myself a good piece of steak. Over the years, watched a lot of videos/cooking show on how different chefs prepare their steaks. Tried many times over the years, maybe I think I have finally made ourselves a proper steak. Coming from a Chinese family, it is not common for us to eat our beef rare. But I grow older (even Jo agrees with me), rare beef do taste rather amazing. Love the texture, the smell and the how well a good thin slice really just melts in your mouth.

Here is my take on a classic new york strip, also known as a striploin steak. Medium rare, served with a fresh basil vinegrette.

2 Grass-fed Striploin Steaks (got ours from Jaya Grocer, price is rather reasonable, vacuumed individually thus ensuring the freshness is maintained)
6 Cloves of garlic
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh thyme

Basil Vinegrette
50g Basil leaves
1 Lemon (Squeezed and seeds removed)
3 tablespoons of wholegrain mustard
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoon of Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Guinness Pulled Pork on Mash (adapted from Felicitas Pizarro's Recipe)

Pork is a common meat used in Chinese cooking. I think it is indeed safe to say Chinese love their pork dishes. Pork with Yam, Pork with Preserved Vegetables, Suckling Pork etc.

Well, not only the Chinese appreciate pork dishes. Pork is well appreciated and used widely in the West as well. When I was studying in the UK, came across this amazing pork sandwich, a pulled pork sandwich. Absolutely loved it. Even when Jo and I were in San Francisco a few years back, I remember having pulled pork on rice during one of our lunch stops as well. Just superb.

Pulled pork is a method of cooking pork (usually tougher cuts) slowly until they become tender and easily pulled away / easily broken from each other. Hence the term "pulled". Different regions in the world have they own way of making pulled pork.

Always wondered how to make this dish. Never really looked into it (being a little bit of a lazy bump), until one day I saw the recipe on my YouTube side bar as I was watching some other cooking related videos. It was a video by Felicitas Pizarro. An Argentinean chef and sommeliar. Do check her YouTube channel out here.

My initial reaction was "Wow". I didn't know pulled pork is so simple to make. Watched the video several times to familiarise with the ingredients and method of cooking and off to the kitchen I went. (Actually took me another 2 weeks to finally got myself together to getting the ingredients and trying this dish out. Haha.)

I tweeted the recipe a little, just a add a bit more "garlic-ky" flavour and spiciness to the pulled pork. Here the breakdown of the recipe below:

1 kg mixed cut of Pork (We used pork steak and pork shoulder)
6 cloves of garlic
1 large leek (cut into rings/circle)
1 onion (Diced finely)
2 carrots (cut into circles/cut across)
3 Padi Chilies (seeds removed)
Salt (to taste + marinade)
Pepper (to taste + marinade)
2 tablespoon of Honey
4 tablespoon of Soy Sauce
3 tablespoon of Wholegrain Mustard
1 tablespoon of Brown Sugar
1 600ml bottle of Guinness Stout
Olive Oil

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