Tag Archives: cooking

duck day

Totally ducked out. Yup, I reckon I overdid the duck today, with duck soup and pan-fried duck breasts with an awesome sauce.

And I am exhausted. It is one of those days where..I am tired, lethargic, don’t feel so good, and I think my right eye is kinda bruising from one of the random many headbutts I received from Ollie whilst co-sleeping. And one of those days we run out of 五香卷 *gaaaasp!* So off it was to the market to grab some ingredients and breakfast before heading home to do the rolls.

It was one of those days where I felt I was constantly picking up toys after toys, books after books and foam alphabets..urggh. Didn’t help that I had family coming over tonight so I had to make sure the house was in some kind of decent condition. Can’t have family thinking I am a lazy bum at home, can I? Not that they do..but yeah.

Anyhoos..I leave you today with the soup of the day, 雪黎炖鸭汤 / Double-boiled Snow Pear with Duck Soup, and the duck dish, pan-fried duck breast.

雪黎炖鸭汤 / Double-boiled Snow Pear with Duck Soup (adapted from Xin Flavours, No.4, Mar-Apr 2011)

Ingredients

1/4 duck
1 snow pear
8g bei qi (I used about 4 pcs)
20g huai shan (Chinese yam)
8g wolfberries
1.2l water
salt to taste

1. Remove skin of duck and cut into chunks. Blanch and set aside. (As with the other soups I cook, I don’t blanch the meat and just throw everything in frozen. I also did not remove the skin of the duck, and got a slightly more oily soup).

2. Cut snow pear into 4 pieces. Set aside.

3. Add bei qi, huai shan and wolfberries in a double boil pot. Add duck meat, snow pear, water and seasoning. Cover and double boil for 2 hours.*

*Anyone would be hard pressed to find a pot that can fit into another pot to double boil. I did not double boil the soup and used a claypot. Worked fine. =)

Pan-fried Duck Breast (adapted from Food & Travel magazine, Feb 2010)

pan-fried duck breast

pan-fried duck breast

Ingredients

2 pcs duck breast fillets
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp oyster sauce
3 stalks fresh coriander leaves, chopped finely
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup water

1. In a non-stick pan, dry-fry the duck breasts for 5 minutes on each side. The meat will render out its own fat.

2. When most of the fat is rendered, remove duck breasts from the pan and set aside.

3. Remove half of the fat from the pan.

4. Add garlic and saute for 5 minutes. Then add oyster sauce, coriander leaves, dark soy sauce, honey and water.

5. Simmer for 3 minutes, then add black pepper.

6. Return duck breasts to the pan and cook for 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens and reduces by half.

7. To serve, slice duck and pour the remaining sauce over.

I have a love-hate relationship with dark soy sauce, because there are two kinds in Singapore: the syrupy kind and the fluid kind. And whenever a recipe calls for dark soy sauce, I am in a conundrum as to which kind I should use. For 三杯鸡, I discovered that using the syrupy kind worked really well and gave me the kind of consistency I wanted for the dish, meaning lesser water. So I am guessing, where the dish needs to have a thickened kind of sauce/gravy, the syrupy kind should be use to reduce the amount of liquid in the dish; where more liquid is required, then I should use the fluid kind. In this case, I should have used the syrupy dark sauce sauce so I would have lesser sauce in my dish.

Who would have thought soy sauce would be so complicated. *grumbles*

清润鱼翅瓜鸡汤 / Chicken Soup with Shark’s Fin Melon

Being absolutely Chinese, having a bowl of soup is pretty much close to being a staple in a meal with rice and meat or vegetable dishes. Being in Singapore meant that…there was probably only that much soup I know of, only when I drink it at family dinners. So when I feel like having soup, I am hardpressed to not repeat a soup that I just had last week. You know, the usual lotus root soup, ABC soup, shark’s fin melon soup, old cucumber soup. Pretty much that.

I came across this series of magazines, 新之味 (Xin Flavours) when I was walking around one of those food fairs held at the Singapore Expo. Firstly, the food magazines featured a lot of Chinese food that I could associate with; secondly, which is a winner in my opinion, the magazine has bilingual recipes. Yay!! I no longer have to guess what the ingredient is or second guess what kind of ingredient they are referring to! (Sometimes the ingredients I know are in their colloquial terms whereas they are stated in their proper terms in some recipes). I selected a few and have been really glad to introduce some new soups to our dinner table.

This soup has had the stamp of approval by the hubby, and we just had it for dinner tonight. Yuuums. This recipe is adapted from the Xin Flavours magazine, Mar – Apr 2011 edition.

Ingredients (ingredients were halved and adjusted to my liking)

400g chicken breast (I used 3 chicken breast carcass & 2 boneless chicken breasts)
0.5kg shark’s fin melon
15g dried scallops, soaked (I soaked it in cold water till it somewhat fell apart)
5 pcs seedless red dates
2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1.5l water
salt to taste (I did not add salt)

1. Blanch chicken breast and bones in hot water and set aside. ( Which lazy me did not do; I threw them frozen into boiling water)

2. Chunk shark’s fin melon. Steam for 10 mins and remove. When cool, remove the skin and seeds. (I omitted this step and threw it into the pot, seeds and all. I did peel the melon though)

3. Bring water to a boil in a pot. Add ingredients and simmer over low heat for 3 hrs. Add salt to taste.

I enjoyed cooking soup in a clay pot. Somehow, I find that soups cooked in a clay pot just seemed richer and more flavourful. More moisture is retained and the pot is not too harsh on the ingredients, if that even makes sense to you. I recently acquired a 2.4l Tanyu clay pot. Looks like I need to be looking at a bigger pot soon.

Cauliflower Mornay

ooo cheesy cauliflower mornay

ooo cheesy cauliflower mornay

I had been craving for a cheesy cauliflower dish for awhile, ever since I had it at the Greenhouse at Ritz Carlton. But the idea of having to do the bechamel sauce always kinda put me off. Well..the washing bit anyways, you know..crusted flour, milk & butter batter.

Having put it off long enough, I finally got down to doing it today. Decided that I had to stop throwing cauliflower away cos they always turned bad when I decided that I wanted to cook it. Yes, they last long enough in the fridge and that is how long I procastinate. =P

Anyways, this is the recipe I used for the cauliflower mornay, taken from the BBC Australian Good Food magazine, October 2011:

Ingredients

800g cauliflower, cut into florets
50g unsalted butter, chopped
1/4 cup (35g) plain flour
2 cups (500ml) low-fat milk (1 used full cream milk)
1.25 cups (300g) light sour cream
3/4 cup (90g) grated reduced-fat tasty cheese (I used full fat tasty cheese)
1 cup (70g) fresh breadcrumbs
pinch of smoked paprika

1. Preheat oven to 200C or 180C fan. Cook the cauliflower in a saucepan of boiling water for 5 mins, until just tender. Drain. Transfer to a shallow 6 cup capacity ovenproof dish/

2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Stir in flour and cook for 1 min, until bubbling. Gradually add milk, stirring until smooth. Bring to boil, simmer for 3 mins, until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in sour cream and half of the cheese. Season. (I added some coarse grinded black pepper)

3. Pour cream sauce over cauliflower. Scatter top with breadcrumbs and remaining cheese. Bake mornay for 15-20 mins, until golden and bubbly. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with paprika and serve.

4. Self-note: there is never too much cheese. There should have been more cheese and I added some grated parmesan on top as well to up the cheesiness. =D

Note: all ingredients are easily found in local supermarkets.

I have decided to start blogging about the food that I cook, as a form of record for me because I keep forgetting to write down where I got the recipes from and end up having to dig up mountain of magazines to find that one recipe. Dammit. But hey, have fun trying the recipes out. =)

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