Tuesday, October 9, 2012
After 4 long years, I finally made my favourite port wine chicken dish again. To celebrate with me, the sky poured down soothing rain when it was being served.
I really missed eating this dish. It was another winter favourite and I know when I first made it, I was just starting on the cooking journey so to me at the time, this was a "hard" dish. It involved ingredients I wasn't sure of (like port wine) and flavours new to me. Prior to this, my repertoire was mainly chinese stir frys and easy grills.
When I made it again last night, I was surprised by how easy it was.
A couple of notes:
You can't really find cremini mushrooms in Singapore (in fact I never found them in Melbourne either although the farmer's markets might have had them). Swiss brown mushrooms are the best in this dish. The normal white button mushrooms just don't add as much flavour.
I use chicken thigh meat instead of breast. It helps with the sauce - just because it is oilier. Plus, this dish serves four so I always had leftovers and I find that thigh meat reheats better.
In general, marinating the meat for a couple of hours in salt, pepper and a bit of olive oil ups the overall tastiness of the dish.
Also, use the very best tomatoes you can find. I loved using really good plum tomatoes to make this dish but all I could find were insipid cherry tomatoes at the supermarket so I had to go with that :(
Recipes to try
Double battered apple doughnuts (I KNOW RIGHT?)
Banana bread with bourbon (!) and chocolate
Blueberry boy bait
Almond olive oil cake
Finally, this is the prettiest food blog I've ever seen - My Food Diary - with a recipe for latkes that I may try in the future.
I bought the brown sandwich bread from Simply Bread yesterday and there is only half a loaf left in the kitchen today. Mr Grey and I ate slice after slice while listening to an awesome YoYo Ma bluegrass album and just couldn't stop. It is really the perfect everyday bread and covered with sesame seeds so when you toast it, the fragrance is just indescribably lovely.
I am now planning a weekend wherein I buy that bread and eat it with this strawberry jam :)
Thursday, October 4, 2012
I've cooked this really awesome pork chop recipe for Mr Grey twice so far and I had to blog it; it's that much of a winner.
I was a law student when I first started learning to cook and especially in the beginning, my criteria for a winning recipe were: a) cheap; b) easy (i.e. no more than 3-4 steps) ; c) effective.
(Here, effective obviously means it has to taste good.)
This pork chop recipe is all of that BUT.... my caveat on it is that for the recipe to really work, you have to get good quality pork. I've tried it twice and what it does is that it brings out the natural flavour of the pork but the lemon juice cuts the richness enough so that it goes down really easily. With good quality pork, this is a fantastic dish but with low quality frozen pork, it's not so great. Still good but less delicious.
I love my meals with Mr Grey and I love standing in our kitchen manning the stove with him.
Does anyone ever feel overwhelmed with guilt whenever they cook a certain dish?
One winter in Melbourne, the boy I was dating was homesick for his mother's roasted chicken wings and called home to ask her for the marinade recipe. She duly emailed it over and I'll never forget how happy he was when I made it for him.
I still have the recipe - I pretty much memorised it after the second or third time I made it. It's now my go to marinade for barbequed / roasted chicken wings and it's crowd favourite every time. But every time I stand over the bowl of raw chicken wings pouring in the sauces, I feel enormously guilty - as though making it is somehow a betrayal of those happy winter nights eating chicken.
Still I make it. It's a really good recipe and I try to make it for the people I love. But well, I guess the price I have to pay are the sides of guilt and salt tinged memories that go with it.
At the same time, I wonder what recipes will one day call up these lovely early days of being married to Mr Grey. I wonder if one day, maybe 30 years hence, I'll make pork chops for people and tell them about how Mr Grey and I experimented in the kitchen all those years ago, adding truffle oil and balsamic vinegar bought on our Italian honeymoon and going crazy over the resulting flavours.
Then we can sit together and marvel at how simple dishes can be made and eaten with so much joy and thanksgiving.
Monday, October 1, 2012
It's been ten years and I still miss the celebrations we used to have at my grandad's place.
No whining though! I had a weekend of lovely dinners - first with the church family then with mum, dad, my sister, Mr Grey and my two funny roly poly little cousins. Well ok, my cousins were once little and once roly poly but now they're two strapping teenagers who play tennis weekly.