Sunday, August 29, 2010

Buttered Ribeye with Pesto Pasta

Pauline is an extreme beef lover, so apart from the mirepoix beef stew, I came up with another relatively simple beef dish to appease her.

I personally prefer to make fresh pesto instead of using pre-made ones. In fact, making pesto is quite simple. In a blender, blitz a bunch of chopped basil leaves, pine nuts (or almonds if you have trouble getting pine nuts) and sunflower seeds and add enough olive oil as you blitz to make it a smooth sauce like texture. Set aside.

Cook some pasta of your choice.

Dining Out in the Lion City

Singapore Food Court
Again, I thought I'd take a break from the usual food stuff by just reflecting on some food thoughts, this time on dining out in Singapore.

Eating in Singapore is not so much different from other countries and cities, and yes, we have a multi-cultural food repertoire, and yes, we have a very cosmopolitan food scene that's most vibrant and happening.

And certainly, we have local dishes that has a unique place on the global food map. Talk about Chili crabs and chicken rice and even foreigners have no problem understanding, and very likely have tasted those dishes before.

Coq Au Vin

Coq au vin is a very classic French dish where chicken drumsticks are literally bathed in hours in a rich wine stock and is absolutely gorgeous. It is just as absolutely tedious to prepare and make!

I typically use the largest chicken drumsticks that I can find for this particular dish. Season them well and lightly coat them with a layer of flour and seal it in a pan until they are lightly golden brown in color. Set aside.

For this dish, you can actually use your own combination of vegetables and ingredients to make up the delicious broth, but typically I would start to fry some chopped bacon (without oil as bacon will ooze oil as you cook).

Whiskey Salmon Linguine

Locally, we have this interesting dish called XO Bee Hoon, or sometimes another variation is Fish Head Bee Hoon. It's basically a milk based fish broth with sliced fish, or fish head pieces served with rice noodles and in the XO variant, a dash of brandy is added to give it an aromatic and sweet enhancement.

I decided to come up with a pasta variant over the weekend using salmon instead, among other minor changes.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Anyone can cook ...

Anyone can and should learn to cook
Anyone can cook ... but not everyone should!

This line was most recently quoted from the Pixar film Ratatouille, which of course, combined my love for films and food in a most imaginative and fully appetizing way. I am taking a deviant from the usual food and recipe blogs to just muse on a few things.

After all, I have intended this to be a journey and adventure for myself through the culinary zone, and in the midst of all this cooking and creating, I think it's also good to reflect on what food can mean to us at different times and at different places.

Laksa Risotto

Once you have learned to cook a basic risotto, it's amazing how many other variations one can come up with in a short amount of time. One of my favs is Laksa Risotto.

The secret is actually replacing the chicken broth with Laksa broth, which you can make either out of laksa paste and coconut milk. For those who want an easy way out, you can buy a laksa prepack in the supermarket, preferably from Prima.

Once you have the laksa broth, cooking the risotto is essentially the same as classic risotto, just control the amount of laksa broth for the spice levels in case there are those who prefer a milder taste, then add in water instead of the laksa broths at different junctures.

Cooking Risotto

Pauline absolutely loves risotto, from plain risotto to wild mushroom risotto to even more wild variations, including my own Laksa risotto which I will blog separately.

For now, I am focusing on cooking a straightforward risotto and from there, anyone can create variations from it. Risotto rice can usually only be bought at the finer supermarkets here in Singapore, so you can forget about going to NTUC to look for it. Usually, I go for Arborio rice but you can choose other variations as well.

Herb Crusted Lamb with Bacon and Leek Mash

The herb crusted lamb is mainly from Gordon Ramsay's recipe, but I decided to do a tasting portion with alternative take on classic potato mash.

Season the lamb with salt and pepper and seal it in a pan on all sides. Bake the lamb in an oven to about 180 deg C for about 6-7 mins.

To prepare the crust, put in a blender, crushed herbs (basil, thyme, parsley), grated Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs and some olive oil to smoothen the mixture. Blitz it until you get an aromatic herb crust.

Mushroom Cappuccino

I first had this delightful concoction in a Les Amis outlet here called The Canteen, which has since been rebranded as La Strada. Just had to try this for myself at home and came up with my own version of it.

I use a mix of mushrooms (button, shitake etc) and dice them. Slice some onions and garlic and sautee all of them in a pan until the flavors are brought out. Splash just a dash of white wine and let the alcohol burn up. Add in lots of chicken stock/broth for the soup base.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin in a Pepper Hollandaise and Wine Infused Pear Compote

Cooking pork can be quite tricky, as with beef. I thought of this as I was looking for some protein to go with my Hollandaise (refer to previous blog). Prepare the Hollandaise and add in some extra black pepper for a bit of heat.

As for the pork, season with salt, pepper and some thyme leaves and seal it in a pan on all sides until the color changes. Preheat the oven to 200 deg C and put it the entire pan with the pork tenderloin and roast for 8 mins.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mirepoix Beef Stew

Pauline, my wife has always have a fondness of all things beef, and I been trying to find the perfect beef dish for awhile, and this plate kinda finally found a place, and yeah, satisfied her!

Mirepoix is a french culinary term to mean a base of onions, celery and carrots. This mirepoix can be used to make soup bases, sauces and in this case, a wonderfully aromatic stew base.

To begin, create the mirepoix by sauteing some onions, carrots and celery first. Drizzle just a whisker of white wine and let it cook for a few minutes until the aroma is ever present.

Spoonful of Salmon Ceviche Amuse Bouche

I thought what better way to start off this food journey than with a simple to goodness salmon ceviche amuse bouche.

For those not in the know, amuse bouche refers to a bite sized appetizer, usually to excite the palette (hence, mouth amuser!) before the actual meal.

My salmon taster is simple salmon sashimi, chopped into fine slices, drizzled with lemon juice, just a touch of finely diced fresh tomatoes, caviar, slice of chive and another thinly sliced ginger.

Introducing the Silver Chef

The Silver Chef in Queenstown, NZ
My name is Ian Low and I hail from the island of Singapore, a food mecca of sorts where the east has already met the west and is now moving on to new ground.

It is this new ground that my humble self, a self-taught chef in the age of the Internet has dubbed myself the Silver Chef.

Why silver? Well, my hair has grown progressively from black to grey .... and now it seems to be silverish, so heck, the Silver Chef is thus born!

Hopefully this will be the first of many Singapore food blogs that I will contribute and hopefully, many will enjoy reading this and perhaps, even attempt at some of the dishes that will be featured on this blog.