Tag Archives: cook

Baked chicken breast with aglio olio

6 Sep

I took two days off this week because it is the September holidays for our schools here so S and I can spend some time together doing things that we rarely have the chance to on weekday afternoons. He still had a bit of work to finish up though so we came back early *grumble grumble* and I decided to utilise the time I had to whip something up in the kitchen for dinner! I guess it was a good thing we left early because I was going on what you might call a shopping spree, oohing and ahhing at everything in H&M. I walked away with a couple of items and am very happy that they cost less than $18 each! 😀

Okay I’m sidetracking.

I remembered I still had some chicken breast in the freezer compartment waiting to be used, and some lemon + thyme so I did a quick search on foodgawker for chicken breast recipes and I found this! I really should get down to taking photographs with the dslr I have but I am just so lazy and my iPhone is usually within reach already anyway 😛 What do you think? Are the instagram photos I have been using good enough?

I was very tempted to just throw in some baked asparagus with cheese but I knew it wouldn’t be enough for S’ hearty appetite, and also the asparagus I had smelled a little funny … so I had to throw it out. The next best thing was pasta so I threw together a simple aglio olio, using noobcook’s trusty recipe here. I didn’t have fresh parsley or chili flakes at hand so I just stuck to lots of garlic and a little butter cube – which was surprisingly tasty enough – though S felt that it needed a little kick (read: chili).

So that meant that I needed a lot of garlic – a total of 13 cloves! And being the noob I am in the kitchen, I took about 15-20 minutes struggling to slice/chop them … I know. I really need more practice!

I realise that meat is actually really easy to cook. All you have to do is make sure you have a good marinate and time! I threw this marinate together and S actually said that it made the chicken really tasty! (:

After marinating, I left it aside for about 25 minutes and started to boil the water to cook the pasta.

I allowed the spaghetti to boil for about 10 minutes before taking it out and throwing it into the beautiful Happycall wok that my friends D&LJ bought for me with garlic, pasta water, and a cube of butter.

S rated this entire dinner at 70% and he finished it all up so quickly; I was only halfway through my (smaller) portion! Now maybe if I had some dried chili flakes …

Serves two
It took me about an hour to prepare everything :/ if you are very comfortable in the kitchen I suppose it will be faster for you for sure!

Equipment you need
Heavy-bottomed saucepan
Wok / Frying pan
Roasting grill tray
Chopping board
Knife

Chicken breast

Ingredients you need
3 garlic cloves, chopped
half a lemon juice
fresh thyme leaves (dried is also fine)
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsps olive oil

Steps
1 Ensure that the chicken breasts are fully thawed and washed.
2 Preheat the oven to 190 degree celsius.
3 Mix the garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice, thyme leaves and other herbs you have that you want to throw in. (I used lemon pepper, garlic herb and italian herb powder as well)
4 Let it sit for about 30 minutes.
5 Lay the chicken on the roasting grill tray and put in the oven to bake for about another 30 minutes.

Aglio olio pasta

Ingredients you need
10 garlic cloves, sliced
150g of spaghetti (or any kind of pasta of your choice)
a cube of butter
1.5 tbsp olive oil
(optional) dried chili flakes + fresh parsley

Steps
1 Cook pasta according to package instructions. The package I used told me to boil it for about 13 minutes but I only did 11 because I was still going to fry it later and I didn’t want the pasta to be overcooked. Additionally, I added about 1.5 tbsps of sea salt to the water as I needed the pasta to be really tasty since I didn’t have chili/parsley at hand. Do not use oil – it will prevent the pasta from absorbing the salt.
2 Drain and set the pasta aside. Reserve a cup of the pasta water.
3 Heat olive oil in the wok/frying pan. Make sure that the oil is hot enough that the garlic slices will sizzle gently in the pan. You can also throw in the chili flakes at this point.
4 Once the garlic slices turn a nice light golden brown, turn the fire down immediately. Let the garlic slices continue to cook in the hot oil until it turns a beautiful golden brown.
5 Add cooked pasta, 2 to 3 tbsps of the reserved pasta water, chopped parsley and butter to the garlic and oil mixture. Stir and ensure all ingredients are evenly mixed.
6 Serve with baked chicken and season with black pepper, to taste. Enjoy! (((:

Roast chicken and vegetables for our housewarming

3 Sep

I spent the last week planning our housewarming – well, basically trying to figure out the menu and whether we should have decorations, or not. C shot the latter idea out of my head; she said people are going to come to our place to see it as it is, instead of wanting to see balloons and ribbons and colourful strings dangling from the ceiling. Shucks.

Anyway, I had a whole chicken waiting to be used in the fridge from The Butcher’s giveaway that I blogged about here so I decided to roast it and serve it for the housewarming tea party, instead of baking something!

It was actually surprisingly easy; and I guess it really helped that The Butcher thoughtfully removed the innards so I didn’t have to! It also definitely helped that there were very many awesome roast chicken recipes out there in the Internet and I found these two (http://www.fromaway.com/cooking/how-to-roast-a-chicken & http://www.kayotic.nl/blog/roasted-chicken-vegetables) that really came in very useful with the step-by-step photographs, for a kitchen-noob like me.

That’s the seasoned bird below, all ready to be popped into the oven!

Roast chicken is never complete without root vegetables so I threw some in as well, to my friends’ delight! They all raved about the potatoes, for some reason.

Equipment you need
Roasting grill tray
Chopping board
Knife
Grater
Kitchen twine/string

Ingredients you need
one whole chicken
bunch of rosemary
4 garlic cloves
1/2 a lemon
2 tbsps olive oil
2 to 3 2cm square thin slab of unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste

3 russet potatoes
3 carrots
2 red onions
thyme sprigs
3 tbsps olive oil

Steps
1 Preheat the oven to 200 degree celsius.
2 Peel and chop the carrots into 1.5 to 2 inch chunks
3 Quarter the onions by first slicing them into halves, then peeling the skin off (you don’t have to do this) and then quartering them.
4 Peel, wash and chop the potatoes into chunks as the carrots. You can also throw in some garlic cloves (4 to 5) if you like.
5 Pour about 3 tbsps of olive oil over the vegetables and season with a pinch of salt, pepper and some thyme springs and leaves. Set aside.
6 Slice garlic cloves and base rosemary to release the oils.
7 Take the chicken and remove the innards if they haven’t already been removed by your grocer/butcher. Rinse the bird in cold water, inside out. Pat dry really really well with paper towels to prevent the chicken from steaming.
8 Sprinkle the cavity with salt and pepper. Stuff it with garlic and rosemary and the half lemon.
9 Tuck pieces of butter under the skin, and rub some all over the chicken’s outside. I used some olive oil here too.
10 Use kitchen twine to tie the legs in a knot so that it cooks evenly and retains its juices.
11 Rain coarse black pepper all over the bird. I actually didn’t use salt here and my butter was unsalted for a healthier choice.
12 Place the chicken on the roasting grill tray on top of the vegetables.
13 Put in oven for 45 minutes.
14 Remove the tray from oven, flip the vegetables over and spoon some of the juices at the bottom over the chicken.
15 Place the roasting tray back in the oven for another 30 to 45 minutes, until the chicken and vegetables are thoroughly cooked!

French toast with caramel banana topping

21 Aug

I have a soft spot for french toast. I especially love it when it is served piping hot, with maple syrup, for breakfast. I have always known that it is easy to make but I never really tried it myself, until Monday morning. It is a public holiday (Selamat Hari Raya to all our Muslim readers!) so we decided to stay in (which means sleeping late the night before to watch a DVD and sleeping in the next morning). We chose to rewatch Serenity by Joss Whedon – it’s one of my all-time favourite shows and I still am sad that they never continued the Firefly series; I can only wonder just who Shepherd Book actually is!

Anyway, I chanced upon this recipe from http://tidymom.net/2012/caramel-banana-french-toast/ and it looked so delightfully delicious that I was practically drooling all over my computer! I knew there and then that I had to try it out!

This was also the perfect recipe for my Happycall pan – I didn’t have to painstakingly flip the bread one by one, but I could just close the pan and flip the entire thing 😀

The best part is that this recipe is really easy to make and it took me about 25 to 30 minutes to whip this up, and I was taking my time, I tell you! S loved it so much he asked for more and rated 80% for the french toast and 85% for the caramel banana topping. That man is hard to please! But I am glad because he finished it all!

Serves two

Equipment you need
Happycall / Heavy-bottomed frying pan
Mixing bowl
Chopping board
Knife

French toast

Ingredients you need
4 slices of bread (the thicker the better)
4 eggs
4 tbsp milk (i used leftover dairy whipping cream)
2 tbsp orange juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp sugar
pinch of sea salt
2 tsp unsalted butter

Steps
1 In a large, shallow mixing bowl, mix the eggs, milk/cream, sugar, salt, orange juice and vanilla.
2 Add bread to the egg mixture and flip gently to coat evenly. Let it soak in the egg mixture for about one minute.
3 Heat up the frying pan / Happycall over medium-high heat. Add the butter to melt.
4 Remove the bread from the egg mixture and let it drip over the egg mixture before transferring it to the hot pan.
5 Cook until the bottom is golden brown then flip it over to cook the other side.

Caramel banana topping

Ingredients you need
2 ripe but firm bananas, sliced thickly
2 tbsp unsalted butter
4 tbsp brown sugar, packed
sprinkle of cinnamon

Steps
1 Peel and slice the bananas thickly
2 Add butter and brown sugar to frying pan / Happycall on medium-high heat.
3 Use a wooden spoon to combine the butter and sugar together, then add the sliced bananas.
4 Allow the bananas to bubble a bit, then flip them over one at a time. I did not flip my Happycall pan over this time. Cook until bananas are light brown.
5 Serve piping hot with the french toast!

Lamb chop marinate

17 Aug

I know I said that I will upload the recipe after trying the food to see if it was good and worth sharing but I guess I couldn’t wait! Also, I sort of have short-term memory so if I don’t write it out, I will forget what I threw into the marinate!

S and I went grocery shopping last night and we combed two supermarkets high and low but we couldn’t find any fresh rosemary – which would go so well with lamb. I found a substitute however: fresh thyme, and modified my recipe a little to accommodate the change.

We raced home to dump everything in the fridge and quickly left for a meeting in church so I could only work on the marinate after we returned from the meeting. S was dead tired by then but he accompanied me in the kitchen when I was doing this and even helped with thawing the lamb chops out a bit (:

It’s actually really very easy to put the things together – all you need is thyme, olive oil, garlic, lemon, black coarse pepper and salt! Then you mix it together and liberally apply it all over the lamb, and put it back in the refrigerator for well, some people say an hour will do. Others say 6 hours is ideal, and others say overnight. I chose the option that was most practical (overnight) because I’m working all day today and won’t have time tonight to leave the meat to absorb the marinate before cooking. S will probably be a red-eyed hungry monster if I did that, haha.

Equipment you need
A big bowl
Spoons
Sharp knife
Chopping board

Ingredients you need
3 tbsps olive oil
Juice from half a lemon
5 sprigs of thyme finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
Black pepper and salt (to taste)

Steps
1 Remove thyme leaves from the stalk and chop the leaves. Put into bowl.
2 Chop the garlic and slice a lemon and squeeze the juice out. Put into bowl too.
3 Throw in the rest of the ingredients into the bowl and mix.
4 Liberally apply marinate all over the lamb chops and refrigerate for a minimum of one hour.

Happy meat chef in the making!

16 Aug

I am so thrilled by the fact that I have over $100 of meat sitting happily in my freezer because of a fantastic giveaway! I just love freebies, don’t you? 😀

It all started with a subscription to Honeycombers’ mailing list (you should subscribe; it is really quite interesting sometimes) and I received an email from them Tuesday, with the subject header [$1000 The Butcher Giveaway]. I excitedly opened the email and was wondering at the back of my mind what I needed to do – if it involved writing, taking a photo, etc etc … but no! All I  had to do was to be one of the first five to drop by any of their outlets and mention “Honeycombers” and I will be the proud owner of a Family Meat Pack valued over $100!

I immediately poked S who was beside me at that time, and told him that we had to leave soon (we were at his parents’ place for dinner) and try our luck – and 20 minutes later we were in the car zooming down to the outlet nearer us, hoping and praying that we could make it. It was already three hours since the email was sent out  but something told me to give it a try.

We walked in The Butcher together and I went up to the man sitting by the computer and said, “Um … Is there any chance that we … ?” and before I could complete my sentence, he smiled and informed me that I made it and I was the third! I practically squealed in delight. The Butcher is a place I have wandered into occasionally because I am always so fascinated by the wide selection of gourmet meat they have got but I always walk away empty handed. So you can imagine the smiles on our faces when we walked out this time, with one great big bag with our favourite meats: beef, pork, chicken and lamb!

That’s him packing up our meats! And that’s just one corner of the entire meat selection available!

We went home and I threw everything in the freezer, showered and immediately switched on my iMac to browse recipes for lamb chops and whole roast chicken. I managed to find something do-able for a noob cook such that I am and promised S that he can start looking forward to an elegant lamb dinner Friday evening!

Am off now to buy groceries now for tomorrow’s yummy dinner! I will upload the recipe(s) I used if it turned out well (: stay tuned!

The Butcher 

44 Jalan Merah Saga #01-50 S278116
80 Marine Parade Road #B1-83B S449269
http://www.thebutcher.com.sg/

My inspiration

13 Aug

I married my best friend S last Nov and we moved into a little HDB flat in Singapore. It’s been a really exciting journey; especially now that I finally have a kitchen I can call my own!

These are some websites I prowl on a weekly basis and are my sources of inspiration. It’s always bookmarking mania whenever I visit them! I just wish I have more time to try out all the recipes I have favourited – I realise this is a grouse many share!

http://foodgawker.com/ (my absolute favourite)
http://www.noobcook.com/

Okay, I know that isn’t much, but foodgawker is practically a hobbyist chef’s heaven, in my opinion.

Truth be told, my ultimate inspiration is my husband’s approval and delight as he tucks into each dish I prepare and whip up for him (((:

Now, what I’d like to know – what is your inspiration and where do you go for tried and trusted recipes? Do share; I’d love to hear from you!

Jessica Sinclair

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