Wasabi Beef Cubes

wasabi beef cubes (1 of 1).jpgThe combination of steak, wasabi and garlic is too compelling of a concoction to miss.

I love Japanese-inspired dishes so and came up with this wasabi beef cube recipe using Wagyu beef from Japan (but feel free to use a rib-eye or sirloin cut too).

Don’t worry, the wasabi is not that overpowering. It just adds a little ‘kick’ factor to the beef. Then add a dollop of mustard and the rest of the ingredients – diced garlic, sesame oil and some light soy sauce – for an Asian marinade that complements beef very well.

P.S. Remember to take the steak 30 mins out of the refrigerator before cooking.

wasabi beef cubes (2 of 2)

Wasabi Beef Cubes

TIME: 20 mins | SERVES: 2

INGREDIENTS:

  • 380g wagyu beef cubes (can substitute with ribeye or sirloin)
  • ~8g of wasabi paste (3 small 2.5g packs)
  • 2 teaspoons of light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • canola oil
  • butter (optional, for frying)
  • spring onions, diced (for garnish)

METHOD:

  1. Wash and pat dry wagyu beef cubes. In a bowl, marinade beef cubes with wasabi, sesame oil, mustard, and soy sauce. Wasabi Beef Cubes (11 of 15)
  2. Make garlic chips (for garnish). Heat pan on medium heat, add a dollop of canola oil and take one clove of sliced garlic to pan-fry until golden brown. Set aside to cool for use later.Wasabi Beef Cubes (10 of 15)
  3.  While pan is still hot add a knob of butter and throw in rest of the sliced garlic. Add the beef cubes and fry until colour changes and cubes give off a golden brown hue (~5-6 minutes). Wasabi Beef Cubes (8 of 15)Wasabi Beef Cubes (7 of 15)
  4. Once cooked to your desired ‘wellness’ factor for beef, remove from the pan and transfer to serving dish. To serve, garnish with the garlic chips set aside and sprinkle the chopped spring onions.Wasabi Beef Cubes (5 of 15)Wasabi Beef Cubes (6 of 15)
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Roast Rosemary Rack of Lamb

Roast Rosemary and Garlic Rack of Lamb (4 of 13)

Hosting a dinner party for friends but can’t think of what to make in a short amount of time? In situations like these, a quick and easy solution would be to roast a rack of lamb. Roasting is the ideal way to cook a rack of lamb. The process can basically be broken down further into three distinct parts: preparation, roasting and resting.

First, the prep work. Prepare a combination of fresh or dried herbs and spices or create a paste by combining the herbs and spices with a little bit of olive oil and rubbing it over the lamb. For best results, use the following steps for preparation:

  1. Score the fat covering the meat using a crisscross pattern across the surface of the lamb.
  2. Season both sides of the rack with salt and pepper.
  3. Rub the lamb with single herbs, mixtures or herb paste.
  4. Allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.

What’s the best temperature to roast a lamb rack? Ideally, the best roasting temperatures are between 425 and 450 ° F (about 230°C ). Cooking lamb at high heat preserves the tender and juicy nature of the meat. The lamb rack should cook to a medium pinkish rare in about 12-18 minutes.

For me, I like to sear the lamb before roasting to get a nice brown finishing. This can simply be achieved by heating a salute pan with olive oil until the oil shimmers. Season the lamb generously with salt and pepper, and sear the meaty side for 3-4 minutes until a golden brown colour emerges. If you elect to pan sear before roasting, add herbs, crust or herb paste after searing and before roasting to ensure the lamb remains juicy and succulent.

Roast Rosemary and Garlic Rack of Lamb (10 of 13)

Roast Rosemary Rack of Lamb

Total time: 25 minutes | Serves: 6 (roughly 3 chops each)

INGREDIENTS:

  • Two baby back lamb ribs
  • Few sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • Few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil, to rub
  • Salt and black pepper, to season

Roast Rosemary and Garlic Rack of Lamb (2 of 13)

METHOD:

  1. Season the lamb racks first by generously rubbing them all over with olive oil, black pepper, garlic, thyme, and rosemary. Leave to marinade for a few hours, or overnight if desired.Roast Rosemary and Garlic Rack of Lamb (5 of 13)
  2. Preheat oven to 230 degrees celsius and line roasting tray with parchment paper.
  3. Heat sauce pan on medium high. Pour some olive oil to coat and once oil starts shimmering, throw the lamb racks in and brown evenly on both side (roughly 2-3 minutes each side).Roast Rosemary and Garlic Rack of Lamb (7 of 13)Roast Rosemary and Garlic Rack of Lamb (3 of 13)
  4. Transfer browned racks to the preheated oven and roast for 12-15 minutes depending on how “rare” you like your lamb.Roast Rosemary and Garlic Rack of Lamb (8 of 13)
  5. Let the rack sit for a few minutes (can cover with an aluminium tent foil) to let the juices run so that the lamb chops will be tender upon serving.Roast Rosemary and Garlic Rack of Lamb (12 of 13)
    Roast Rosemary and Garlic Rack of Lamb (1 of 13)

Baked Scallops with White Wine and Pancetta

Baked Scallops with Pancetta and White Wine (1 of 1)

SCALLOP-MANIA | Large sea scallops are kept in their shell and dosed with a mixture of garlic, pancetta and white wine before being baked to perfection.

Hankering for a quick and easy dinner but also concerned about sustainability? Scallops make a smart seafood choice. Not only are they convenient and cook in less than 5 minutes, they pair beautifully with other dinner staples such as pasta, quinoa, or couscous.

Besides pan-frying scallops, another quick and succulent way to cook scallops are to drizzle them with a mixture of white wine, olive oil, diced garlic, and strips of pancetta, and then let them bake in the oven. This has got to be the easiest “hands-free” way to cook scallops. Delicious.

Oven-roasted Scallops with Pancetta and Garlic (3 of 6)

Baked Scallops with White Wine and Pancetta

PREP TIME: 5 minutes | BAKE TIME: 10 minutes | TOTAL TIME: 15 minutes | SERVES: 6

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 strips of pancetta, diced
  • 3 tablespoons of a dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons of freshly minced garlic
  • Chopped freshly coriander, to garnish

METHOD:

  1. Keeping the shells intact, gently wash the scallops and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Lay scallops on a roasting tray lined with parchment paper. Spoon half a tablespoon of olive oil onto each scallop, and top with ~1/2 slice of diced pancetta. Top with another 1/2 tablespoon of dry white wine and cover with 1/2 tablespoon of minced garlic.Proscuitto Baked Scallops with Garlic and White Wine (2 of 10)
    Oven-roasted Scallops with Pancetta and Garlic (1 of 6)
  3. Repeat process for the other scallops. Once done, stick the roasting tray into a preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. Serve by garnishing each scallop with some chopped coriander.
    Proscuitto Baked Scallops with Garlic and White Wine (9 of 10)

 

 

Roast Cauliflower with Dates in Lemon-Tahini Sauce

Roast Cauliflower in Lemon-Tahini Sauce (1 of 14)

A peach was once a bitter almond; a cauliflower is nothing but a cabbage with a college education.” ~ Mark Twain.

Cauliflower, which literally means “cabbage flower”, is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, often overshadowed by it green cousin broccoli. The cauliflower originally came from Cyprus, and was introduced to France from Italy in the middle of the 16th century. Though it tastes rather bland on its own, this white cabbage flower is extremely nutritious and can be considered as a superfood.

First, this white cabbage contains sulforaphane, a sulfur compound that has also been shown to kill cancer stem cells, thereby slowing tumour growth. Moreover, sulforaphane has been found to significantly improve blood pressure and kidney function. Cauliflower also contains a wealth of anti-inflammatory nutrients to help keep inflammation in check (too much inflammation is linked to cancer and other diseases).

Due to our busy lifestyles, most of us lack the vital nutrients in our bodies needed to keep it performing at an optimal level. This is where incorporating cauliflower into your diet comes in handy. One serving of cauliflower contains 77 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. It’s also a good source of vitamin K, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, and manganese.

Cauliflower really doesn’t have much flavour on its own. However, this white superfood absorbs flavours and spices extremely well. It really doesn’t take too much effort to transform plain old cauliflower into something quite scrumptious.

I find that dressing cauliflower with a tahini-lemon garlicky sauce complements the white flower harmoniously while roasting it adds a certain ‘crunch’ to it and gives it a nice golden colour. Throwing in some dates adds a pleasant sweetness to the dish while pine nuts offer an extra dimension to jazz up the simplicity of this healthy side dish.

Roast Cauliflower in Lemon-Tahini Sauce (11 of 14)

INGREDIENTS:

(Serves 4 as a side)

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets (about 1 ½ lb.)
  • 4 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoon)
  • 2 tablespoon of tahini
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon of pine nuts, roasted

METHOD:

1) Preheat oven to 220 degrees celsius.

2) Toss cauliflower with 2 teaspoon of olive oil, season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Throw in the dates and layer both evenly on a roasting tray. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden.
Roast Cauliflower in Lemon-Tahini Sauce (8 of 14)

Roast Cauliflower in Lemon-Tahini Sauce (5 of 14)

3) Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Saute garlic in olive oil for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add tahini, lemon juice, 5 tablespoon of water, and salt. Simmer over low heat for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Roast Cauliflower in Lemon-Tahini Sauce (6 of 14)

4) Transfer cauliflower florets into a mixing bowl. Whisk the sauce and pour over the cauliflower and toss till the florets are thoroughly coated. Sprinkle with the roasted pine nuts and chopped parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Roast Cauliflower in Lemon-Tahini Sauce (14 of 14)

Ottolenghi’s Aubergine with Black Garlic

Aubergines with Black Garlic Sauce (3 of 25)

Talk about unwavering devotion – my obsession with aubergines and Ottolenghi’s style of cooking has not ceased ever since I got back from London. Tonight, I experimented with his Aubergine with Black Garlic recipe set out in his vegetarian cookbook “Plenty More”.

Many of you may be asking “what exactly is black garlic?”. To save you the trouble from wikipedia-ing it, black garlic is the latest “it” ingredient, a new superfood. No, it is not a new strain of garlic nor a mutated garlic derivative. It is simply a type of caramelised garlic made by heating whole bulbs of garlic over the course of several weeks, a process that results in black cloves. The taste is sweet and syrupy with hints of balsamic vinegar or tamarind. It gives an unexpected depth of flavour to dishes. It is mellow enough not to dominate. As an added bonus, it supposedly has twice the antioxidants as regular garlic.

As for black garlics origins, it was first used as a food ingredient in Asian cuisine. Nowadays, its popularity has spread to the United States as it has become a sought-after ingredient used in high-end cuisine. Thanks to its recent appearance on Top Chef and Iron Chef, these two television shows have created newfound fame for this otherwise frightful thing. Trust me, if you found this on your kitchen counter and didn’t know that it was supposed to be black, you would mistaken it for being rotten.

Aubergines with Black Garlic Sauce (22 of 25)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 medium aubergines, sliced widthways into 1.5cm rounds
  • 200 ml olive oil
  • 8 large or 16 small black garlic cloves
  • 200g Greek yoghurt
  • 1.5 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 7 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 red chillies, sliced on the diagonal into 3mm rounds
  • 5g dill leaves
  • 5g basil leaves
  • 5g tarragon leaves (though I had to do without tarragon as this is not easily found in Hong Kong)

METHOD:

1) Preheat oven to 250 degrees celsius.

2) Place aubergine rounds into a large bowl and mix with 60ml of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper.Aubergines with Black Garlic Sauce (24 of 25)

3) Lay out on roasting tin lined with parchment paper. Roast until golden-brown and completely soft – about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Aubergines with Black Garlic Sauce (10 of 25)

4) While aubergines are roasting, make the sauce. Place the black garlic cloves in a small food processor with 1/3 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons of oil, 2 tablespoons of yoghurt and the lemon juice. Blitz for a minute to form a rough paste and then transfer to a medium bowl. Mix through the rest of the yogurt and keep in the fridge until needed.

Aubergines with Black Garlic Sauce (17 of 25)

Aubergines with Black Garlic Sauce (12 of 25)

5) Heat the remaining oil in a small saucepan on high heat. Add the garlic and chilli slices, reduce the heat to medium and fry for about 5 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the garlic is golden-brown and the chilli is crispy. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic and chilli on to a kitchen paper-lined plate.

Aubergines with Black Garlic Sauce (9 of 25)

6) Arrange the aubergine slices, overlapping, on a platter. Spoon the yoghurt sauce on top, sprinkle over the chilli and garlic and finish with the herbs.

Aubergines with Black Garlic Sauce (1 of 25)

Ottolenghi’s Chargrilled Broccoli with Fried Chilli and Garlic

Ottolenghi's Chargrilled Broccoli with Chile, Garlic, and Lemon (2 of 2)

My second attempt at Ottolenghi’s signature chargrilled broccoli dish. For those who aren’t aware, Yotam Ottolenghi, originally from Jerusalem, is a British-based chef, cookery writer and restaurant owner. He actually studied at Tel Aviv University before completing a master’s degree in comparative literature. It was not until in 1997, when he moved to the UK to plan to start his PhD, that he enrolled himself to train at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in London for six months. Following LCB, he waved goodbye to his PhD ambitions and worked as a pastry chef at The Capital, the Michelin-starred restaurant in Knightsbridge. From there he moved to work in the pastry section of the Kensington Place restaurant and that of the sister restaurant, Launceston Place, for a year, under the chef Rowley Leigh. He eventually became head pastry chef at Baker and Spice in Chelsea, London, where he met Sami Tamimi – co-founder of their delicatessens and restaurants and co-author of the Ottolenghi and Jerusalem cookery books – in 1999.

I personally love middle eastern food so am a fan of Ottolenghi’s cooking style. The smorgasbord of delicate spices and concoction of rich flavours; think hummus, dates, sumac, honey, pitas, chickpeas, mint and parsley.

Ottolenghi’s cooking style is rooted in, but not confined to, his Middle Eastern upbringing: “a distinctive mix of Middle Eastern flavours – Syrian, Turkish, Lebanese, Iranian, Israeli and Armenian – with a western twist”. His “particular skill is in marrying the food of his native Israel with a wider range of incredible textures and flavours from the Mediterranean, Middle East and Asia.

Chargrilled broccoli with fried chilli and garlic is one of Ottolenghi’s signature dishes. This recipe calls for a ridged grill pan to create those lovely char marks on the broccoli. I personally like adding a few slices of lemon as a garnish and for an instant colour boost to liven up the green dish.

Recipe below from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottaoelnghi & Sami Tamimi, copyright 2013.

INGREDIENTS: (serves 2 as a side)

  • 1 heads broccoli (about 1/2 lb/500 g)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 mild red chiles, thinly sliced
  • coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • toasted almonds or 1 lemon sliced into thin slices, for garnish (optional)

METHOD:

1. Prepare the broccoli by separating it into florets (can leave on the florets’ individual stems but I personally don’t fancy stems too much so chopped them off here). Fill a large saucepan with plenty of water and bring to a boil. Throw in the broccoli and blanch for 2 minutes only. Don’t be tempted to cook it any longer!

Ottolenghi's Chargrilled Broccoli with Chile, Garlic, and Lemon (18 of 18)

2. Using a large slotted spoon, quickly transfer the broccoli to a bowl full of ice-cold water. You need to stop the cooking at once. Drain in a colander and allow to dry completely. I found wrapping it in a tea towel and giving it a good massage, followed by a rigorous spin in the salad spinner, helps immensely. It is important that the broccoli isn’t wet at all. In a mixing bowl, toss the broccoli with 3 tablespoons/70 ml oil and a generous amount of salt and pepper.

Ottolenghi's Chargrilled Broccoli with Chile, Garlic, and Lemon (14 of 18)

Ottolenghi's Chargrilled Broccoli with Chile, Garlic, and Lemon (12 of 18)

3. Place a ridged grill pan over high heat and leave it there for least 5 minutes, until it is extremely hot. Depending on the size of your pan, grill the broccoli in several batches. The florets mustn’t be cramped. Turn them around as they grill so they get char marks all over. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and continue with another batch.

Ottolenghi's Chargrilled Broccoli with Chile, Garlic, and Lemon (9 of 18)

4. While grilling the broccoli, place the remaining scant 5 tablespoons/70 ml oil in a small saucepan with garlic and chiles. Cook them over medium heat until the garlic just begins to turn golden brown. Be careful not to let the garlic and chile burn–remember, they will keep on cooking even when off the heat. In the meantime, slice the lemon into thin half slices.

Ottolenghi's Chargrilled Broccoli with Chile, Garlic, and Lemon (8 of 18)

5. Pour the oil, garlic, and chile over the hot broccoli and toss together well. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Garnish with the lemon slices or toasted almonds (if preferred). Serve warm or at room temperature.

Ottolenghi's Chargrilled Broccoli with Chile, Garlic, and Lemon (1 of 2)

Ottolenghi's Chargrilled Broccoli with Chile, Garlic, and Lemon (7 of 18)


Grilled Squid With Lemon, Garlic, and Cumin

Grilled squid with cumin, garlic, and lemon (9 of 10)

Squid Attack! Last week after catching up over brunch with some friends at Cupping Room in Wan Chai (one of the more casual and decent brunch places in HK with coffee on par with Sydney standards) I walked pass the wet markets and saw some fresh squid eyeing me back. Picked two of these up and subjected them to the grill.

These slimy creatures are capable of providing the body with 90% of copper, a trace mineral which plays a role in the absorption, storage and metabolism of iron and the formation of red blood cells (nb: copper deficiency may show in the form of anemia). What’s more, squid is good for those of us who are stressed out as it is rich in magnesium, which is able to relax nerves and muscles. Squid is also a good source of protein, helping us maintain healthy hair, skin, muscles, and nails.

Squid is a sustainable seafood that is easy to cook in seconds. Here is a simple recipe that I adapted.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 squids, cleaned
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • Pinch of cumin
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 garlic clove, diced finely
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 diced chilli (optional)

METHOD:

1) Instead of slicing the squid into rings, aim for a concertina effect with the squid sliced, but still holding together. To achieve this with ease, simply push a large knife inside the ‘tube’ of the squid and and leave it inside flat on its side. With a sharp knife, slice the squid as if you were going to chop it into rings. The knife that is lying inside the body of the squid will prevent you from slicing right through.

Grilled squid with cumin, garlic, and lemon (1 of 8)

2) Mix the olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, cumin and sea salt in a bowl and rub it all over the squid. Throw in a diced chilli if you like some heat. Marinade for 1-2 hours.

Grilled squid with cumin, garlic, and lemon (3 of 8)

3) Heat a griddled grill pan till it gets smoking hot. Remove squid from marinade and lay them flat on the grill. Flip after 2 minutes each side to get those lovely charred marks.

Grilled squid with cumin, garlic, and lemon (2 of 10)

4) Serve squid on a warmed plate with a sprinkling of sea salt and a wedge of lemon.

Grilled squid with cumin, garlic, and lemon (8 of 10)