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Archive for June, 2008

I made this to go with some braised chicken wings the other night. I have been making my ribs this way for years ever since Spain when I learnt how our local Chinese restaurant made theirs. I had made ribs many times but it was pretty hit and miss with recipes, sometimes they were tender other times really tough. I was throwing a large party for about 30-40 people and decided to make ribs as one of the many dishes on the menu that day. I went and asked my Chinese restaurant could I buy some meat from them as I assumed they must just get great cuts of ribs. Anyway the husband said yes but because of the quantity I was after could I come back in 15 Min’s while he prepared them. When I returned it was his wife that gave them to me so I decided to ask was it just your meat or is there some trick, that is when she told me she cooked them in seasoned water for 90 Min’s on a low heat in until you could pull the meat from the bone, drained them and fried quickly in a little oil. Well she never told me what she seasoned them with so I came up with a concoction and every time they come out wonderfully tender, just serve with your favourite dipping. If you want to see the recipe for the chicken wings click here.
If you have been keeping up with the progress of my beautiful handcrafted camphor laurel chopping, cheese boards and Mezzaluna Boards. My official site is finally finished and live so to see my full collection please click here.

Ingredients

5 Large ribs, chopped in half to make 10 (I get my butcher to do this.)
11/2 Litres water
1 Generous teaspoon beef stock granules
1/2 Teaspoon five spice powder
2-3 Tablespoons peanut oil

Dipping Sauce

2 Tablespoons light soy sauce
50ml water
100ml hoisin sauce (I use blue dragon brand)
1 Teaspoon sugar
1 Teaspoon fresh ginger grated
2 Tablespoons dry sherry

Method

1. Bring water, stock and five spice to the boil, add ribs and turn heat down to low and cook for about 90 Min’s until pork can be pulled from the bone.

2. Drain pork, heat oil in a fry pan and fry pork on all sides to brown, serve immediately.

Sauce

1. Combine all the ingredients in a pan and bring to the boil, serve ribs with sauce on the side.

I served my ribs with this sauce and sweet chili sauce so serve with whatever you enjoy.

All photos taken by me unless otherwise stated.

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I made 2 dishes last night these and also tender ribs which I will be posting shortly they were both great. I just served them with a nice side salad as it had been such a hot day and it was nice and cooling to have these served with salad. I was only cooking for 3 so I did 10 wings cut in half and 5 large ribs chopped in half to make 10 and this perfect for us, so just adjust for how many you are serving. If you wanted to make these for 4 and were not making ribs as well I would allow for 3 wings per person, so a total of 12 chopped in half and I would make some stir fried rice to accompany. The sauce ingredients I have listed below would be plenty for the extra chicken. If serving with other Asian dishes 12 wings would be about right for 6 people and this would also be the case if serving as a stater with no rice. It really just depends in appetites so adjust accordingly. If you want to see my tender pork spare ribs recipe click here.
If you have been keeping up with the progress of my beautiful handcrafted camphor laurel chopping, cheese boards and Mezzaluna Boards. My official site is finally finished and live so to see my full collection please click here.

Ingredients

12 Chicken wings, cut in half, tips removed if not already
5 Whole dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in water to soften
2 Tablespoons peanut oil
2 Green onions, finely chopped
2 Teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons dry sherry
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 Teaspoon five spice powder
1 Cup water
2 Teaspoons cornflour
250 Bean sprouts (optional to serve chicken over)

Method

1. Drain mushrooms, squeeze out excess water, discard stems and slice caps.

2. Heat oil in a wok until it just reaches smoking point, add chicken, onions and ginger. Stir fry until chicken just changes colour, add soy sauce, sherry, sugar, five spice powder and water.

3. Turn down the heat and cook gently about 15-20 Min’s until chicken is cooked through, add mushrooms, stir fry a few minutes more.

4. While chicken is cooking, if making bean sprouts heat a small amount of oil in another pan, cook, turning and stirring occasionally until sprouts are just soft.

5. Remove chicken from wok and keep warm, mix a little water with corn flour add to sauce and stir until mixture boils and thickens.

To Serve: Place sprouts on a serving platter top with chicken and pour sauce over, serve immediately. Garnish with extra green onions if so desired.

All photos taken by me unless otherwise stated.

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Here is another quick and easy recipe that is reasonably priced to cook, as mussels are not expensive and it tastes wonderful as well as being nutritious. I cooked my mussels separately in water then added them to the wok to toss in sauce and heat through. My mussels were very dirty with thick beards so I removed and cleaned them as best I could and cooked them separately so I did not end up with any grit in my stir fry. That and there is not much liquid to cook them in the sauce, if using smaller mussels you could add these to the wok and cover with a lid and they will open. I had very large mussels from Spain as that was all that was available. but I have to say were delicious compared with the usual ones I buy.

If you have been keeping up with the progress of my beautiful handcrafted camphor laurel chopping, cheese boards and Mezzaluna Boards. My official site is finally finished and live so to see my full collection please click here.

Ingredients

1.4kg Mussels
1 Tablespoon peanut oil
2 Teaspoons fresh grated ginger
4 Cloves garlic, crushed
6 Green onions
2 Red chilies, chopped finely (add as many or few seeds as you like.)
50ml Black bean sauce
2 Tablespoons fish sauce
100ml Water
2 Teaspoons sugar
1/2 Cup fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped

1. Scrub mussels under cold water, remove beards. Add to boiling pot of water cover and cook 5 Min’s or until mussels open, drain, discard any that don’t open, cover and set to one side.

2. Heat oil in a wok, add ginger, garlic, onions and chilies, stir fry until fragrant, add sauces, water and sugar stir to combine, add mussels cover stir occasionally to heat through, stir in coriander, serve immediately.

I served mine with a nice side salad.

All photos taken by me unless otherwise stated.

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You can make this with snapper or bream and it works equally as well, I have made with both, last night I made it with bream. Banana leaves a great way to cook fish especially if cooking the fish on the BBQ, I cooked it in the oven last night. I served this with Asian style vegetables and I cooked 2 fish,of about 750g a piece to serve 4 or if your fish are smaller you can cook 4 individual fillets. Cooking times are based on my oven temperature, not a BBQ and you will have to adjust if doing them on the BBQ, mine gets very hot and cooks about 5-10 Min’s quicker on the BBQ, if cooking on the BBQ, cook with a covered BBQ, using indirect heat.

Banana leaves are available at most Asian grocery stores, I find they sell them in quite large packets, just as a note banana leaves can be frozen as long as intended use is for frying or cooking fish like this and not to use for display purposes. Please feel free to play with veg ingredients a lot of what I added was just what I had to use up. The weights are just a rough guess, taking total weight and judging what I thought was left I don’t think they would be too far off, really just to let you know you can use whatever you have on hand or your favourite.

If you have been keeping up with the progress of my beautiful handcrafted camphor laurel chopping, cheese boards and Mezzaluna Boards. My official site is finally finished and live so to see my full collection please click here.

Ingredients

2 Large banana leaves (big enough to completely enclose fish.)
2 Whole bream or Snapper (750g a piece.)
11/2-2 Teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 Stick lemon grass, sliced thinly
2 Cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tablespoon lime juice
2 Tablespoons light soy sauce
60ml Sweet chili sauce
1 Teaspoon sesame oil

Vegetables

1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Cloves garlic, crushed
2 Teaspoons fresh grated ginger
1 Teaspoon sesame oil
1 Medium red pepper, sliced thinly
1 Carrot, cut into sticks
3-4 Tablespoons of reserved sauce
150g Asian cabbage
80g Snow peas
80g Red Cabbage
200g Bean sprouts
4 Green onions, sliced thinly

Optional extra sauce

2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
2 Teaspoons light soy sauce
2 Teaspoons lime juice

Method

1. Using tongs dip each banana leaf one by one into boiling water, remove immediately, rinse under cold water, dry thoroughly, leaves should be soft and pliable.

2. Cut each fish 3 times, place each fish on a leaf, top each fish with lemon grass and garlic.

3. Combine garlic, juice, sauces and oil, drizzle a little sauce over each fish reserving about 3-4 tablespoons for the vegetables.

4. Fold leaves over fish and secure with kitchen string. Place parcels in a pre-heated oven of 180 degrees Celsius and cook for 25-30 Min’s or until cooked through.

5. Alternatively which I love banana leaves for, cook on the BBQ, covered, using indirect heat for about 20-25 Min’s. (I find it takes me 30 Min’s in my oven and about 20 Min’s on the BBQ, but I do have an extremely hot BBQ, I do not know how 4 smaller fish fillets affects the time as I have only cooked 2 larger fish.)

The banana leaves will get quite crispy and may even burn in places, they will stay quite moist underneath as the juices run from fish and sauce. For presentation purposes I keep 2 banana leaves to use as the base to serve fish on after.

Vegetables

1. Heat olive oil in a wok or large pan, add garlic and ginger and stir fry until fragrant.

2. Add pepper, carrot and sesame oil, stir fry 2-3 Minutes, add both cabbages, peas, sprouts and reserved sauce. Stir fry until vegetables are just tender serve immediately with fish.

Extra sauce

Just an optional extra if you prefer to have a little more sauce to drizzle over fish once served.

1. Combine the 3 ingredients in a small microwave safe bowl and microwave 30-45 seconds to just warm through.

To Serve: I place a banana leaf on a serving platter top with whole fish, I pour remaining juice and sauce from the banana leaf fish was cooked in over fish, and arrange the vegetables around the fish, garnish with sliced onions.

All photos taken by me unless otherwise stated.

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Here is another wok recipe I like stir fry’s as they are quick, easy and reasonably priced to prepare and they are a great way to use up your left over vegetables in a nutritious meal. I served as is but it would go well with steamed rice, as I said yesterday we are watching our carb intake at the moment. This again would serve 3 good portions 4 smaller ones as is, or 4 good portions if served with rice.

Note: Char Siu Sauce also know as Chinese BBQ sauce. It is a paste like ingredient that is dark-red-brown in colour and has a sweet and spicy flavour. Made from fermented soy beans, honey and various spices.

If you have been keeping up with the progress of my beautiful handcrafted camphor laurel chopping, cheese boards and Mezzaluna Boards. My official site is finally finished and live so to see my full collection please click here.

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons peanut oil
600g Pork fillets, sliced thinly
2 Cloves garlic, crushed
2 Red chili’s, chopped finely (add as many or as few seeds as you want.)
1 Onion, sliced thinly
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
2 Teaspoons lime juice
1 Carrot, cut into matchsticks
120g Baby corn, halved
300g Baby bok choy, chopped coarsely
50g Snow peas, trimmed
120g Bean sprouts
4 Tablespoons char siu sauce

Method

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok and cook pork until browned all over, remove, set to one side.

2. Heat remaining oil in same wok add onion, garlic and chili stir fry a couple of Min’s until onion softens, add soy, lime juice and carrot stir fry 1 minute.

3. Return pork to pan, stir fry 1 minute more, add bok choy, corn and char siu sauce, stir fry a couple of minutes, add peas and sprouts, stir fry until vegetables are just tender and heated through.

To Serve: Serve as is for a low carb meal or over rice.

All photos taken by me unless otherwise stated.

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As you will have seen from my previous post I am trying to throw in a few quick easy and budget friendly recipes into the mix. I cook a lot of Asian meals so I always have certain spices and sauces on hand if you are not big on that then these would not be cheaper for you to prepare as you would have to buy all the sauces.

I served this as is, it is enough for 3 generous portions or 4 smaller ones, if you want to make it a definite hearty meal for 4 just add about 300-400g noodles, my hubby and I are watching our carb intake at the moment so I do not serve a lot of meals with rice or noodles. It also makes it harder for me to cook super cheap as the most economical cooking is good old fashioned pasta’s, not only are these quick and easy to prepare, but cost so much less and are very satisfying. I have to think of alternative ideas that still give you a satisfying, filling meal without loads of carbs and not very expensive.

Hence I cook a lot stir fry’s as these are quick and easy to make and I have most of the ingredients on hand. This is a yummy stir fry of chicken with plum and chili sauces, if you want to make this even quicker you could just buy a big bag of mixed asain stir fry veg to add, I had vegetables I needed to use up, I think that is the beauty of a stir fry they are so versatile and you can add any veg you like.

If you have been keeping up with the progress of my beautiful handcrafted camphor laurel chopping, cheese boards and Mezzaluna Boards. My official site is finally finished and live so to see my full collection please click here.

Ingredients

Olive oil
700g Chicken breasts, sliced thinly
1 Onion, sliced thinly
3 Cloves garlic, crushed
2 Teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
2 Red chilis, chopped finely or sliced thinly (add as many or few seeds as you want.)
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
200g Green cabbage, shredded (I used and Asian cabbage.)
2 Small carrots, cut into matchsticks
5 Broccoli florets, chopped
50g Snow peas, trimmed
120g Bean sprouts
8 Dried whole shiitake mushrooms, soaked, sliced thinly
3 Tablespoons sweet chili sauce
3 Tablespoons plum sauce
2 Green onions, sliced thinly

Method

1. Heat some oil in a wok stir fry chicken in batches until browned all over, adding oil as needed, set to one side, wipe wok clean.

2. Add about 1 tablespoon more of oil add onion, garlic, ginger and chili to wok stir fry until onion softens, add soy sauce, stir fry 1 minute.

3. Add broccoli and return chicken to pan, stir fry 2 minutes, add both sauces, cabbage, carrots and mushrooms, stir fry a few minutes more.

4. Finally add snow peas and sprouts, stir fry until vegetables are tender and chicken is cooked through.

To Serve: Place in bowls or on plates and garnish with green onions.

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What with such huge increases in food prices it does become more difficult to cook something better than a prepared meal such as pizza or pasta. I do not know what it is like in other countries but here in Switzerland it seems like everytime I go to the store something else has gone up in price. Also due to so much rain in April, May and June here it has affected the farmers produce drastically, so where we would be enjoying lots of the seasonal fruits right now, they are far more expensive as crop yields have been much lower.

I have decided to post some recipes over the next few weeks, not everyday, but frequently that are not only quick and easy meals to prepare when you get in from work but are cost effective too. I am posting this chicken wing recipe as the first recipe, chicken wings tend to be cheap anyway but they are also on offer here at the moment adding to the appeal. Chicken at the moment here is still the cheapest meat on par with mince meat, but I do try to buy meats when they are on special, like lamb here at the moment is 10 francs off a kilo making for a good buy and it means my family don’t turn into chickens with the amount of it I have cooked recently.

If you have been keeping up with the progress of my beautiful handcrafted camphor laurel chopping, cheese boards and Mezzaluna Boards. My official site is finally finished and live so to see my full collection please click here.

Ingredients

12 Large chicken wings, cut in half at the joint (remove wing tips if still attatched.)
3 Cloves garlic, crushed
2 Teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
1 Tablespoon peanut oil
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
100ml Honey
50ml Sweet chili sauce
1 Teaspoon chili garlic sauce
2 Green onions, sliced thinly

Method

1. Combine chicken with garlic and ginger in a large bowl.

2. Heat oil in a wok, add chicken in batches and cook until browned all over, remove chicken, wipe wok clean, place wok on side, add sauces and honey, stir until well combined.

3. Return chicken to wok and place back on a medium low heat, cover wok and cook, 10-15 Min’s, stirring occasionally or until chicken is cooked through.

To Serve: Place wings in a bowl and top with sliced green onion. I served mine with a nice big salad of greens, egg, avocado, cucumber, bacon, red onion, parmesan cheese and topped with alf alfa sprouts.

A yummy light summer meal that was budget friendly, well I suppose it is, if like me you do a lot of Asian cooking as I had everything in my cupboard except chicken and onions.

All photos taken by me unless otherwise stated.

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