Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Recipe #4: Butter-fried chicken breast fillet on creamy garlic mushroom pasta with Pinot Noir

Before today, most of my favourite home-cooked meals were either very spicy or incredibly rich. Never had I imagined that plain chicken breast fillets could be so tasty and delectable.

Also, I usually prefer my pasta simple (such as in olive oil), sans creamy carbonara-type sauces.

Then I discovered that if you add red wine *and* cream, you get a wonderfully subtle yet complex sauce. Not to mention sublimely aromatic!

So here it is, one of my favourite home-cooked meals to date:

  • Chicken breast fillet
  • Unsalted butter
  • Garlic
  • Fresh mushrooms
  • White onions
  • Pinot Noir
  • Fresh cream
  • Pasta
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Parsley

Bring to boil water in a pot, add pasta, salt and olive oil. Allow to simmer until pasta is cooked.

Creamy Garlic Mushroom Pinot Noir Sauce
Melt a generous chunk of butter in a fry-pan and add chopped white onions and garlic. Allow to simmer slowly until garlic and onions become soft and start to brown. Sprinkle some salt to slow cooking.
Place chicken breast fillet in pan, while moving garlic and onions aside. Cook chicken in simmering butter, tilting pan slightly to allow butter to soak into chicken (especially if it is a thick chunky piece). Keep heat low, as butter will over-brown quickly if too hot. Gradually, chicken fillet will begin to turn golden brown. Turn it over to brown evenly.
Clear a space and add fresh mushrooms. Spread evenly in a single layer over fry-pan and cook until they brown.
As butter sauce thickens and becomes brown, almost dry even, add a dash of Pinot Noir. Be careful not to pour too much wine at once. Again, allow to simmer and turn over chicken so that it absorbs the wine.
When the wine sauce thickens, add another dash of Pinot Noir. Tilt pan to allow wine to soak chicken.
Now, you're ready to add some fresh cream. Stir the sauce, adding salt and pepper to taste.

To Serve
Toss in cooked pasta into fry-pan with creamy wine sauce and turn heat to high. Quickly mix garlic and onions in sauce, then turn down heat while continuously stirring. By now, everything should be golden brown and the aromas will tell you it's ready to serve! Toss in some chopped parsley for contrast.

This time, I had Louis Latour La Chanfleure Chablis (2008), which complemented the meal perfectly. *Sigh*

Next> Recipe #5: Fried lemon butter snapper on pasta with Viogner sauce

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Recipe #3: Baked fresh Tasmanian salmon on pasta topped with onions, mushrooms & a delicate home-made sauce

Today, I made something quite extraordinary. Yes, I am still in my fish phase, so salmon it is except that it comes with a twist. The sauce, I must say, is inspired by Hollandaise sauce with a very personal touch. I still had mushrooms and asparagus so made good use of them. The result: something quite interesting indeed...

  • Fresh skinless and boneless Tasmanian fillet
  • Fresh mushrooms
  • Asparagus
  • Red Onions
  • Creamy butter
  • Eggs
  • Chili flakes
  • Black pepper powder
  • Muscat or tawny port
  • Chermoula sauce (I bought this from a local Oxfam shop)
  • Salt

Baked Salmon Fillets
Line baking tray with aluminium foil. Spread a layer of chili flakes where fillets of salmon are to be placed. Gently rub olive oil and salt onto salmon, then allow chili flakes to soak in excess oil underneath the fillets. Then place tray into heated oven and allow salmon to bake.

We won't need much of this, so just an egg, or two, will suffice. Vigorously whisk eggs while pouring hot melted butter. The longer you whisk, the better. Splash a dash of muscat or port while whisking the mixture. Then pour mixture into warm (not hot) saucepan which was used to melt butter. Keep stirring continuously while adding salt and black pepper to taste. Then pour some Chermoula sauce (this gives it a tangy complexity with garlic overtones). Stir mixture with pot over a very low heat then allow to settle. Do *not* allow to come close to boiling.

Boil water in a pot, add pasta, olive oil, and salt. Turn down heat and allow pasta to simmer until cooked.

Toss chopped red onions and fresh mushrooms into fry-pan with olive oil. (Chopped garlic would also be good.) Stir-fry until mushrooms brown, then add asparagus and cook gently over a low heat. Sprinkle salt to taste.

To Serve
Drain pasta and put into serving dish. Then gently place baked salmon on top. Decorate with mushrooms and onions, then pour sauce over them, allowing it to soak into pasta beneath. Be careful *not* to add *too much* sauce. Finally, serve with asparagus.

I found a 2006 bottle of Rully, which absolutely made this meal sublime. Highly recommended!

Next> Recipe #4: Butter-fried chicken breast fillet on creamy garlic mushroom pasta with Pinot Noir

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Recipe #2: Weirder Welsh rarebit with smoked salmon surprise

When I was just a little kid, my father used to make Welsh rarebit as a snack, which was, needless to say, quite atypical for Malaysian Chinese families. Since then, I have learned that *many* recipes for Welsh rarebits exist. Basically though, it is baked/grilled cheese on bread, from which many permutations of its preparation are derived.

I decided to take this further, first by making things simple: cheddar cheese and English muffins. Then I thought: what if there was a little surprise underneath that golden brown baked cheese?

Thus this weirder recipe was born...

  • Sliced cheddar cheese (tasty or vintage)
  • Smoked salmon (Tasmanian is ideal)
  • English muffins
  • Creamy butter
  • Red onions
  • Cottage cheese (optional)
  • Fresh mushrooms
  • Asparagus
  • Sea salt

Warm oven and line baking tray with aluminium foil.
Slice English muffins into horizontal halves and place into warm fry-pan with melted butter. Allow muffins to soak the butter and brown slightly. Then turn them over, place a few layers of thinly sliced smoked salmon. Add a dollop of cottage cheese and finely chopped red onions. Finally, place two slices of cheddar cheese, the top one arranged at a 45-degree angle over the one beneath so that the edges of the cheese stick out over the round muffins.
When oven is hot, place cheese-topped muffins on tray and bake for around 15 minutes (less if fan-forced) until cheese turns golden brown.

Add more butter into fry-pan and stir-fry remaining chopped red onions.
Then add mushrooms, arranged in a single layer, allowing them to simmer in the butter until they brown. Sprinkle some sea salt to taste.
Finally, place the asparagus in the simmering butter and lightly cook them.

To Serve
Gently remove muffins from tray (this could be tricky as the cheese would have just melted in total submission, flowing onto the foil, before turning golden brown and crisp around the edges) then place them over vegetables.

Complement with an aromatic white, such as a Condrieu or, if you prefer, Gerwuztraminer.

Next> Recipe #3: Baked fresh Tasmanian salmon on pasta topped with onions, mushrooms & a delicate home-made sauce

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Recipe #1: Barramundi pan-fried in butter topped with garlic chili mushroom sauce over a bed of pasta

  • Fillet of barramundi, skinless
  • Creamy Tasmanian butter (unsalted or salt-reduced)
  • Fresh mushrooms
  • Chili (large red chili for color; hotter ones if preferred)
  • Garlic (whole)
  • Parsley
  • Olive oil (extra virgin)
  • Salt (table salt will do although sea salt is preferable)
  • Pasta

Bring to boil water in a pot, then toss in pasta and a generous dash of olive oil and salt. Turn down heat and allow to simmer slowly.

Garlic Chili Mushroom Sauce
Chop a whole garlic coarsely and slice chili at 45-degree angle. If sliced cross-sectionally, chili looks too round & small.
Toss into warm fry-pan before slowly adding olive oil and bring to a gentle simmer until garlic is soft and chili turns orangey red.
Then toss thinly sliced mushrooms and allow juice from mushrooms to simmer with olive oil, in very *low* heat.
Slowly turn up heat, while spreading mushrooms in a single layer on pan, so they will brown nicely.
Then add a generous chunk of butter. Briefly turn heat up before allowing it to simmer again.

Barramundi fillet
Move garlic chili mushrooms to edge of pan, leaving enough space to place fillet of barramundi and allow to simmer in butter.
Be careful *not* to overheat butter or it will brown excessively & fish will stick to pan.
Barramundi should slowly brown as bottom layer begins to crisp a little.
Carefully turn over fillet to brown other side of fish.

To serve
Drain excess water from pasta and toss onto plate.
Then gently place barramundi fillet over it and top with garlic chili mushroom sauce.
Sprinkle finely chopped parsley.
Allow excess butter sauce to gently bathe pasta beneath.

Complement with a White Burgundy, subtly oaked, with matching complexity. A Chablis Premier Cru makes an excellent match.

Next> Recipe #2: Weirder Welsh rarebit with smoked salmon surprise

A Hundred Quick & Easy Gourmet Recipes

I love food. And I love to eat.

But I am not a professional cook, have had no training in cooking, and rarely consult recipe books. So it is kind of ironic for me to be writing this.

I do love to experiment. Which is exactly what this blog is about: my experiments in making home-cooked "gourmet" meals which are simple enough for anyone to cook with little preparation.

Ingredients will mostly be very basic (some may be a little "exotic" depending on where you live) and easy to prepare; all you'll need is a basic stove/oven, a few pots/fry-pans, and simple utensils.

My goal: A hundred recipes.

Next> Recipe #1: Barramundi pan-fried in butter topped with garlic chili mushroom sauce over a bed of pasta