Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Parmesan Chicken and Mustard Roasted Potatoes

I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) is cooking The Way To Jeffrey's Heart this week. Jeffrey is the husband of Ina Garten, and in IHCC words "Ina Garten knows the way to a man's heart is through his stomach and she has known The Way To Jeffrey's Heart for nearly 50 years! 

If you've watched Ina Garten on Food Network then you know that Jeffrey is really the star of the show. Ina is constantly spoiling Jeffrey with her cooking, whether she is making his Friday night chicken, packing them a picnic, or cooking French in their Parisian home. In fact, as proof, she has an entire cookbook dedicated to Cooking For Jeffrey!"

Well, I do not have Ina's latest cookbook Cooking For Jeffrey, but I would like to think that this Parmesan Chicken recipe of Ina's from one of her other cookbooks and Mustard-Roasted Potatoes are some of Jeffrey's favourite, as obviously he loves everything that Ina cooks! Lucky Jeffrey!

First, the Mustard-Roasted Potatoes, which takes an hour to bake. I've used Russet Potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks. Toss the potatoes with sliced onions, then mix with olive oil, whole grain mustard, salt and pepper in a baking tray. Bake for 50 minutes to one hour until the potatoes are tender and brown in some spots. Turn the potatoes every 15 minutes or so, so that they cook evenly. Serve with some chopped parsley, of which I have used fresh coriander.

For the Parmesan Chicken, Ina uses chicken breast but I have used boneless thigh instead, as that was what I had in my freezer. Pretty easy to make, the chicken is coated with seasoned flour (a mixture of flour, salt and pepper), then dipped in beaten egg, and drenched with a mixture of dry breadcrumbs and grated parmesan cheese. Heat two tablespoons of oil (Ina uses a mixture of butter and oil), fry on both sides until golden brown and cooked through. Serve with salad greens with some simple dressing. Ina's salad dressing is similar to the one I always make at home, the only difference is I've added some honey to taste. We love this simple dressing, and one that was often requested by my son and daughter when we have salad like this served alongside roasted meat or chicken. With the added honey, this dressing is especially good with bitter salad greens. I usually served a bowl of this dressing on the table, and let everyone help themselves to drizzle on their own greens, they prefer it that way too! And on the plus side, any leftover greens can be stored in the fridge clean and dry.

Both recipes can be found at these links :
Parmesan Chicken at barefootcontessa.com
Mustard-Roasted Potatoes at foodnetwork. com

I am linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week
The Way To Jeffrey's Heart

Monday, November 13, 2017

Pear Pandowdy

This week's theme at I Heart Cooking Club (IHCC) is, Monthly Featured Ingredient Challenge : Apples and Pears ! There's definitely no shortage in recipes when it comes to these two ingredients, especially apples! Could not decide which one to make as there are tons of recipes using apples or pears.  I've decided to use them both in Nigella Lawson's Pear Pandowdy, recipe from her cookbook Nigella Kitchen.

This is super easy to make, chunks of pears and apples are cooked in butter with some sugar and lemon zest for about ten minutes of so. I have used brown sugar instead of white. Then the pan is removed from the heat, keep aside while you make the pastry. Heat the oven to 200C.

The pastry is easy and quick to put together. There's butter and some vegetable shortening used, but I omitted the vegetable shortening and use all butter. Mix the flour and butter briefly, add some cold milk a little at a time until the dough binds. I did not use all of the milk, the dough needed only a quarter cup to bind together. Transfer the dough to a floured counter and roll out the dough until it is big enough to cover the top of the skillet over the cooked pears and apples. Make three slits on top, sprinkle some sugar and bake for 25 minutes. Nigella says it will turn to a pale golden crust. I prefer it to be darker, so I have baked an extra 5-7 minutes longer but the colour still remains pale. I then took it out of the oven, afraid that I'll end up over baking the crust.

We had this with ice cream, and both the son and daughter like it very much. I thought this was Ok, but if I do make this again, I would make a couple of changes. For the filling, I thought that it needed something to bring out the flavours of  the pear and apples. I would add some spice, cinnamon or nutmeg maybe a touch of ginger too, and just a teaspoon or so of lemon juice, just to bring the flavours together. I might throw in some dried cranberries or raisins to be cooked together with the apples and pears, would add some delicious flavours that sometimes dried fruits are good at!  As for the crust, to get the lovely golden brown on the crust, I would brush the pastry with some egg wash before baking. But overall, this is quite lovely with a generous scoop of ice cream!

Pear Pandowdy
(Nigella Kitchen by Nigella Lawson)
serves 6
4 Bartlett pears
2 Golden Delicious apples
3 tablespoons soft unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar, plus 1/2 teaspoon for sprinkling
finely grated zest of 1 lemon

for the pastry :
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
pinch salt
5 tablespoons very cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening (I've replaced with butter)
1/2 cup cold whole milk (I only need 1/4 cup)
heavy cream, to serve (optional)

1 x cast iron skillet or ovenproof frying pan, 9 or 10 inches diameter

Preheat the oven to 400F.
Peel the pears and apples, then quarter them, slice out the cores, and cut the pears into 3/4 inch pieces and the apples into 1/2 inch pieces, dropping them into a bowl as you go.
Using a skillet or frying pan that can go into the oven later, melt the 3 tablespoons soft butter over a medium heat, then add the diced fruit, sugar, and lemon zest, and cook over a lowish heat, stirring occasionally,  for 10 minutes, by which time some of the fruit will have begun to caramelize gently. Take off the heat while you get on with the pastry.
Put the flour and salt into the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with the flat paddle, add the very cold cubed butter and, using a teaspoon, drop in little lumps of cold shortening, then slowly mix to cut the fat into the flour, or just do this by hand.
Still with the motor running, and the paddle turning slowly, add the milk a little at a time, just so that the dough binds, then remove from the bowl, squish it together with your hands, and drop it onto a lightly floured surface ready to roll out.
Bring the pan of cooked fruit nearby (but not so near as to warm the dough), and roll out the dough until you have a rough circle about the diameter of the skillet. Drop the dough circle on top of the fruit, tucking in the edges a bit, and remember that the ramshackle look of this is the whole point. Make 3 slashes with the tip of a sharp knife, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, and put in the oven for 25 minutes, by which time the white dough will have turned into a pale golden brown.
Remember that the handle will be searingly hot, so transfer carefully to the table, and preferably cover the handle. Serve with heavy cream.


Other apples and pears recipes which I've made before from IHCC past featured chefs :

very refreshing and fun to eat!


We really enjoyed this!

Chocolate and pear, this is delicious! 

It's an Ottolenghi recipe, so it must be good!

Different textures and flavours, lovely combination!

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week
Monthly Featured Ingredient Challenge : Apples and Pears !


I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #23 hosted by 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Silken Tofu with Pickled Mustard Greens

This is really a simple soup, with two ingredients, silken tofu and pickled mustard greens. Make sure to use good quality chicken stock, that is what makes this soup. I've used my own homemade chicken stock which I kept a few containers in the freezer, very handy for recipes such as this.

For the pickled mustard greens, I have used pickled mustard tubers, sold in packs, sliced and ready to eat. It is one of my favourite pickles to use in cooking and especially good as a condiment to a bowl of plain congee, as it can be eaten as it is. To make this soup, heat some oil, and stir-fry the mustard greens/tubers till fragrant, add the stock and bring to a boil. Add some salt and pepper to taste, the mustard tubers will be salty, so go easy on the salt, you might not need the salt if the stock is already salty. Once the soup is boiling, scoop the tofu in large pieces using a spoon, into the soup. Let the tofu warm gently and absorb the flavours. Dissolve a teaspoon or so of potato flour into cold water, stir to combine and add to the soup to thicken it slightly. Stir gently so as not to break up the tofu pieces, ladle into serving bowl and garnish with chopped spring onion, serve immediately.

I have made this soup twice, once with the added potato flour and this time without. I like both versions. If you love a luscious smooth soup then go ahead with the potato flour. For a more soupy soup, omit the potato flour. We really like this soup, yum!

The recipe can be found here.
Or from this fabulous book Every Grain Of Rice, by Fuchsia Dunlop

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #23 hosted by 


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