Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Honey And Rosemary Marinated Veal Cutlet With Sauteed Spinach

Day 8 of our carbless diet - I was walking around Carlton aimlessly having not planned the menu for our dinner but when I saw these beautiful veal cutlets at the butcher dinner was sorted. I simply pan fried the cutlets marinated in honey and rosemary and served them with some sauteed spinach (since I was unable to find any cavolo nero anywhere). We were both very happy with the finished dish. So this is yet another satisfied meal without carb and with that a self-applause.
P.S We are now into the 3rd week of our carbless diet and both have lost a few pounds. I am pleased to announce I am now able to fit into my favourite pair of shorts which was destined for the Salvo's bin not that long ago.

recipe from the tummies' kitchen
pre-heated oven at 180 C
you'll need;
2 veal cutlets
2 sprigs of rosemary, picked
3 cloves of garlic, bashed
zest of a lemon
juice of a lemon
1 tbs of honey
1/4 cup of stock
1/4 cup of white wine
a knob of butter
1 bunch of spinach, washed and cut away the stems
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Trim off the excess fat (leaving some behind) and lightly score the fat.

Flatten the cutlets on both sides with a kitchen mallet.

Marinate cutlets for at least 20 minutes with rosemary, honey, garlic, lemon zest , half the lemon juice, olive oil and season well.

Pan fry the cutlets with a little olive oil (2 minutes/side) then transfer to a pre-heated oven and cook for a further 6 to 8 minutes. Rest for at least 5 minutes at a warm place.

Deglaze the same cooking pan with wine and stock, let it simmer for 2 minutes and add the butter. Simmer for another minute or until the sauce is slightly thicken. Add the remaining lemon juice and check for seasonings.

For the sauteed spinach - heat a little olive oil in a pan, add the sliced garlic and fry til slightly golden. Add spinach and cook til spinach is wilted (about 2 minutes), season well.

Place cutlet over a bed of sauteed spinach and spoon some of the sauce over.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Char Kway Teow With Cockles 鮮蚶炒粿條 - "Malaysian Monday 19"

I love the weekends as I am able to take a break from my diet and cook whatever I feel like eating. It is a bit strange cooking Asian dishes after preparing all the carbless meals that have very few ingredients involved. This is quite similar to the Teochew version I posted a while back except there are cockles and and lard being used for the cooking. This is also the most widely available version in both Malaysia and Singapore. I made this once for my Muslim friends replacing the lard and Chinese sausage with chicken fat and halal chicken sausage respectively and the result was an equally delicious one. I did a round trip to Victoria Street on my bike for the ingredients so I was able to eat this very naughty dish without any guilt :)
P.S The 5th round up of Muhibbah Malaysian Monday is up next week so please send all you entries to my friend Shaz at its.sharon@gmail.com before that.

serves 2
you'll need;
500 g of fresh flat rice noodles
1 Chinese sausage, sliced, fried briefly and drained
6 prawns, peeled with tails intact and deveined 
20 cockles (鮮蚶), scalded and flesh picked
1 small bunch of Chinese chives (韭菜), cut into lengths to match the bean sprouts
1 large handful of bean sprouts
pork lard for cooking
pork scratchings (by product of lard making) (豬油楂)
3 tbs of chicken stock or water
3 tbs of dark soy
2 tbs of dark sweet soy
dash of fish sauce
1 tbs of sambal belacan (recipe below)
white pepper to taste

sambal belacan;
3 red chilies
3 to 5 bird chilies
1 tbs of toasted belacan* (shrimp paste)
1 tsp of salt
2 tsp of sugar
juice of one lime
Blend everything in a blender and check for seasonings.
*to toast the shrimp paste - wrap shrimp paste in foil and place in a pre-heated oven for 10 minutes

I prepared some pork lard  just for the dish. Pork fat is available at any Asian butcher (200 g is will yield one cup)

Pick the flesh off the cockles - scald the cockles with hot water and they can be opened very easily after that.

Deveined prawns, picked cockles and lightly fried Chinese sausage.

Chinese chives and bean sprouts.

Place 1.5 tbs of lard in a hot wok and fry the noodles and bean sprouts for 30 seconds. Add stock and dark soy and cook for another 30 seconds. Push the noodles to one side of the wok; add 1/2 tbs of lard and scramble the eggs, mix well with the noodles and fry for another 30 seconds.

Next add prawns and Chinese sausage follow by sambal belacan, mix well and fry til the prawns are half cooked.

Add chives and the rest of the seasonings and continue to stir til the chives are wilted, add cockles and mix well. Check for seasonings.

Scatter some pork scratchings over  and serve immediately with extra sambal belacan on the side. I must say I am very happy with the result so give it a try too!

My friend Shaz from Test With A Skewer is hosting the November event, please send all entries to its.sharon.gmail.com . To find out more please click HERE.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Taiwanese Salted Crispy Chicken 鹽酥雞

My dear friends came over for dinner last week and I made this popular Taiwanese dish from one the cookbooks they brought back for me from Taiwan. This is an extremely easy dish to prepare but you do have to have some coarse sweet potato flour (地瓜粉)* on hand. You may serve this as part of a Chinese meal or as a snack to go with drinks. I especially love the fried Thai basil and the salt and pepper that accompanied these crunchy morsels. There are more delicious dishes from those cookbooks that I plan to cook in the near future so stay tuned.
* Sweet potato flour is available from good Asian grocers.

recipe adapted from 正宗126道台灣小吃 (126 Authentic Taiwanese Snacks)
serves 4 as part of a Chinese meal or as a snack with drinks
you'll need;
500 g of chicken thighs, cut into 2 ~ 3 cm pieces
1tbs Chinese cooking wine
3 tbs of soy
2 tsp of castor sugar
1 tsp of five spice powder
1 spring onion (white part only), minced
2 pieces of ginger, minced
1 tsp of sesame oil
a bunch of Thai basil, picked
coarse sweet potato flour for coating
peanut oil for frying

for the salt and pepper dip;
1 tbs of salt
1 tbs of white pepper
mix salt and pepper well and set aside

Marinate chicken pieces for at least half an hour with Chinese cooking wine, soy, sugar, five spice powder, ginger, spring onion and sesame oil.

Coat marinated chicken with sweet potato flour.

Picked Thai basil leaves.

Fry chicken in hot oil in batches til light golden (50 ~ 70% cooked) and drain well.

Fry chicken a second time til golden and crispy. Drain well.

Fry Thai basil leaves 10 ~ 15 seconds and drain well on absorbent paper.

Scatter fried basil around the chicken pieces and serve immediately with the salt and pepper dip.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bunless Lamb Burger

Day 7 of our carbless diet - I have been seeing things associated with burgers everywhere; burger ads, people eating burgers on the tram (very bad!), flyer from the local burger joint in the letter box and more burger ads. "Well.... if you can't beat them, join them!" I said to myself so for our dinner we had these beautiful lamb burger sans bun and chips but with  rather big patties instead. Check out our burger with chips if this sounds too silly to you :)

serves 2
you'll need;
500 g of lamb mince or mince of your choice
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tsp of smoked paprika
1 tsp of cumin powder
1/4 cup of bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
1 small head of cos lettuce
2 vine ripen tomatoes, sliced
1 large beetroot, roasted, sliced and marinated*
1/2 a cucumber, sliced
1/2 a red onion, cut into thin rings
tzatziki to serve
gherkin to serve
lemon wedges to serve
*marinate sliced beetroot with salt, pepper, olive oil and dash of balsamic vinegar.

Mix mince with beaten egg, red onion, spices, bread crumbs and season well.

With wet hands, divide meat mixture into 2 portions and mould into patties. (4 if you are making normal burgers)

Grill meat patties on a hot griddle or on the bbq.

Prepare the tzatziki.

Marinated beetroot.

My choice of fillings.

Assemble the bunless burger as you would with a normal burger and drizzle a generous amount of tzatziki atop the lamb patties. I also served it with a wedge of lemon and some gherkins.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pan Roasted Chicken Breast With Braised Lentils And Spinach

Day 6 of our carbless diet - It is a bit of a struggle for me to come up with something exciting and delicious that will enable us to go on with the difficult business of diet. Apart from looking up the hundreds of cookbooks and magazines we have on the shelves, other blogs are also a good source of inspirations. This is a dish I remembered having a few years back at a restaurant in Sydney, it could also be in Brisbane? I am of course missing Asian food that comes with rice or noodles but I think I am doing fine without starch so far. 

serves 2
pre-heated oven at 180 C 
you'll need;
2 free range chicken breasts (I bought a whole chicken and filleted it myself)
a few sprigs of thyme
3 cloves of garlic, bashed
juice of half a lemon
a drizzle of olive oil
grated rind of one lemon
2 knobs of butter
250 g of puy lentil*
2 shallots, chopped
a large handful of baby spinach
100 ml of chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
* Rinse the lentil a few times to get rid of any stones or impurities. Place lentil in a pot, cover with water and simmer til tender (about 20 minutes). Drain well and set aside.

I filleted the chicken breasts myself, saving the other bits for later use. I also left the little wing bones attached to the breasts (supreme cut) for the "restaurant" look.

Marinate the chicken breasts for at least 20 minutes with garlic, lemon rind, lemon juice, olive oil, thyme and season well.

Pan fry the chicken breasts skin side down for 2 minutes and turn over and cook for a further 2 minutes. Place some butter over the chicken and sprinkle with extra thyme, finish in the pre-heated oven for 8 to 10 minutes depending on the size of the breasts. 

Rest the chicken breasts in a warm place while preparing the lentil and spinach.

Saute chopped shallots in the same pan and scrap off as much sticky bits as you can. Cook til shallots are  translucent.

Add lentil and mix well and when the lentils are hot enough add in the baby spinach and chicken stock. Cook til the greens are wilted. Season well with salt and pepper.

Serve the chicken breast with some of the lentils and spinach.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Baked Eggplant And Bocconcini In Tomato Sauce

Day 5 of our carbless diet - We were ready to get back to our diet on Sunday night after eating whatever we wanted on Saturday. Since we spent the afternoon on Lygon Street we decided on an Italian dish and a meatless one too. With the prize of buffalo mozzarella at $75/kg I went for the cheaper cousin bocconcini which works equally well here. The third tummy who has since moved out joined us for dinner and took some home for his next day's lunch. Not very often I feel satisfied after a meatless meal but I certainly didn't miss meat then.

serves 6 with a side salad
you'll need;
3 large eggplants, cut into 1 cm discs
250 g of bocconcini or mozzarella, sliced
a handful of basil leaves
1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

for the sugo (tomato sauce);
8oo g can of crushed tomatoes
olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
a dash of chili flakes (optional)

Cut the eggplants into 1 cm discs.

Brush eggplant slices with olive oil and grill on a hot griddle til golden and tender.

To prepare the sugo - saute onion and garlic with plenty of olive oil. When onion is soft and translucent add in the crushed tomatoes and continue to simmer for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

To assemble - Rub an oven proof dish with olive oil and ladle a little sugo at the bottom of the dish. Arrange a layer of eggplants over.

Ladle more sugo over the eggplant sliced before adding a layer of bocconcini slices, a sprinkle of grated parmesan, basil.

Repeat the process until all ingredients are used up.

Bake in a pre-heated oven til golden and bubbly (about 20 minutes).

We served it with some dressed rocket.

This is a very satisfying vegetarian dish, even for carnivores like us.

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melbourne, victoria, Australia