Thursday, 24 April 2014

Claypot Chicken Rice


Claypot Chicken Rice is one of Malaysia's favourite hawker dishes. It's cooked in little claypots over a roaring fire, and has a lovely crusty bottom with succulent tender chicken pieces that steam with the rice. Mouthwateringly delicious.

The recipe I picked for Jesse and I to cook is from The Food Canon. After the success I had with the Char Siew recipe from the website, it's the first place I looked for Claypot Chicken Rice.

We took our time cooking this dish, stopping in between the cooking process to have a cuppa and snack on pineapple. We were richly rewarded in the end with a fabulous dish that sated our hunger. We rounded-off the meal with our Portuguese Custard Tarts and more tea.


CLAYPOT CHICKEN RICE (for 2-3 pax)
Adapted from The Food Canon

Preparing the Meat
About half a Chicken (800g - 1kg)
2 tablespoons Light Soya Sauce
2 tablespoons Oyster Sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese Wine
1 teaspoon Sugar
200ml Water

Cut-off and set aside the back bone, feet and less desirable parts for the stock. Cut the Chicken into small pieces, bone-in and skin-on. In a bowl add the rest of the ingredients and leave the Chicken to marinate for an hour.

Preparing the chicken stock
Add the pieces for the stock into a small saucepan with about 3 cups of water. Leave to simmer for about an hour.

Cooking the Rice
2 cups of Thai Jasmine Fragrant Rice
2 cups of Chicken Stock, strained

Add the Rice into the claypot. Add an equal amount of Stock into the pot. Be careful to keep to the 1:1 rice:liquid ratio. Cover and cook the pot on low flame for 10 minutes or until the Rice is cooked, i.e. the liquid has been absorbed and the Rice is fluffy.

Cooking the Meat
2 pieces of Chinese Waxed Sausages, sliced thinly (optional)
A little Salted Fish (optional)

As the Rice is cooking, slice the Waxed Sausages. When the Rice is cooked, open the lid of the pot and put the marinated Chicken pieces on top of the Rice. Stick to one single layer to ensure even cooking. Add the sliced Sausages on top and little pieces of Salted Fish into the pot. Cover and cook for another 15 minutes.

Preparing the sauce and garnishing the pot
Spring Onions
2 Red Chillies (optional)
1 tablespoon Dark Soya Sauce

For the Sauce
1 teaspoon Sesame Oil
1 tablespoon Light Soya Sauce
1 tablespoon Oyster Sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese Wine
1 teaspoon Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
A little White Pepper Powder

Mix the sauce ingredients in a bowl. About 2 minutes before the pot of Rice is cooked, drizzle in the Sauce. Chop the Spring Onions and slice the Red Chillies. At the 25th minute mark, it should be done. Depending on the strength of fire and type of pot, the timing may vary, but it is easy to see to check whether the meat is cooked.

Just before you serve it at the dining table, drizzle in the Dark Soya Sauce, add the chopped Spring Onions and cut Red Chillies. When eating, give the Rice a stir first and scrape some of the crusted Rice at the bottom. Serve with with a dipping sauce of cut Chilies in Light Soya Sauce.





Portuguese Custard Tarts

So, the lovely Jesse visited and we had a lovely time cooking together. The menu of the night was Claypot Chicken Rice and Portuguese Custard Tarts. Both turned out absolutely scrumptious. Granted, there were times we weren't sure our dinner was going to turn out well, yet it did!

We had a delicious salty-sweet-savoury dinner, followed by these luscious golden tarts.


PORTUGUESE CUSTARD TARTS
Adapted from Simon Rimmer

Butter, for greasing
3 Egg Yolks
125g Caster Sugar
30g Cornflour
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
175ml Full Cream Milk
225ml Thickened Cream

Plain Flour and Icing Sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven at 150 Celsius. Grease the wells of a 12-hole large cupcake tray with Butter.

In a pan, heat the Egg Yolks, Caster Sugar and Cornflour over a low to medium heat, whisking continuously until thickened and well combined.

Add the Vanilla Extract, then add Full Cream Milk and Thickened Cream, in a thin stream, whisking continuously, until the mixture is thick, smooth and well combined.

Continue to stir the custard mixture until it comes to the boil, then remove from the heat and cover the surface with cling film to prevent a skin from forming.

Roll out the Puff Pastry onto a clean work surface and lightly dust with Plain Flour and Icing Sugar. Cut the Puff Pastry in half and place one sheet on top of the other. Roll the Puff Pastry sheets up like a Swiss Roll and cut the roll into twelve slices.

Lay each of the rolled pastry slices flat onto the work surface and roll out into 10am discs using a rolling pin.

Press a pastry disc into each of the wells of the prepared cupcake tray. Divide the cooled custard equally among the pastry cases.

Transfer the tray to the oven and bake tarts for 18 - 20 minutes, or until the custard has set and is pale golden-brown in colour and the pastry is crisp and golden-brown. Allow to cool in the tray before removing for storage.


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

The Wind in the Willows

Photo from guardian.com

One of my favourite books of all time is Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows. I've read the story countless times, and yet have not tired of it. The book in the  picture above is the copy I have at home. Printed on luxuriously thick paper with gorgeous colour illustrations inside, this cloth-bound beauty is my treasure. 

Here is my favourite verse from it. Yes, it has to all tie in with food isn't it?

'When the girl returned, some hours later, she carried a tray, with a cup of fragrant tea steaming on it; and a plate piled up with very hot buttered toast, cut thick, very brown on both sides, with the butter running through the holes in it in great golden drops, like honey from the honeycomb. The smell of that buttered toast simply talked to Toad, and with no uncertain voice; talked of warm kitchens, of breakfasts on bright frosty mornings, of cosy parlour firesides on winter evenings, when one's ramble was over and slippered feet were propped on the fender; of the purring of contented cats, and the twitter of sleepy canaries. Toad sat up on end once more, dried his eyes, sipped his tea and munched his toast, and soon began talking freely about himself, and the house he lived in, and his doings there, and how important he was, and what a lot his friends thought of him.'
Chapter 8: Toad's Adventures
The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame

The first book I came across as a little girl was a Penguin edition with a beautifully illustrated cover with several black and white drawings scattered throughout. I can remember the drawing of Pan very well It was a fine specimen of Pan indeed! As it was a library copy, it went back to the library, and I eventually bought another version of this classic.

About two years ago, while searching for a vintage 1940s copy of the book (which I found!), I also discovered a second-hand copy of the book illustrated by Charles van Sandwyck for The Folio Society. Both were well-worth the price, so I got both! One for me, and one to give away.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Cheat's Fried Rice


There are days and there are days. It's Monday and it's one of those days. You know what I mean. The alarm rings shrilly at 5.30am, you open your eyes and think 'God, it's Monday again!' So you drag yourself out of bed and into work fervently looking forward to the end of the day.

Well, it's the end of the work day for me and while rummaging through the fridge for the makings of dinner, I discovered some french beans, tomatoes, carrots and leftover brown rice. With that I made some screaming hot (well, for me anyway) Fried Rice in a jiffy.

CHEAT'S FRIED RICE

1 small bowl Rice, cooked
8 French Beans, chopped
Half a Carrot, chopped
1 Egg
1 small Tomato, chopped
Oil
Salt
Black Pepper

Break Egg into a small bowl, add Salt and Black Pepper to taste. Set aside.

In a wok or pan, heat a little Oil. When hot, add in the Egg and scramble quickly.

Add in the French Beans and Carrot. Saute for a few seconds.

Add in the Rice and Seri Aji Kampung Fried Rice Mix. Stir until well combined and cooked through.

Remove to a plate, add chopped Tomatoes and serve piping hot.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Easter Egg Salad on Toast


Lent seems to have run through very quickly this year. It's Easter today. We woke at the crack of dawn to get to church for 6.30am while it was still dark out.

This year I am completely unprepared where goodies are concerned. Oh yes, I have baked, but nothing fancy and certainly no Hot Cross Buns. I did make some lovely Hot Cross Cookies though, but that's for another post.

We were given some Easter Eggs to take home at church today. So all I have today is a super simple recipe (or non-recipe) for Easter Egg Salad on Toast.

EASTER EGG SALAD ON TOAST

What you need: 4 boiled Eggs (peeled and roughly mashed); Salt and Pepper to taste; a teaspoon each of chopped Dill and Chives; and a tablespoon of Mayonnaise.

What you need to do: In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients above. Toast a slice of bread, spread some butter on the hot toast and arrange Egg Salad on top. Garnish with a little sprig of Dill.




He is risen


Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die."

John 11:25-26