Salads and Vegetables, Snack, Western

Poutine

I’ve a cool game I am playing with the children now. Though they are older now, it doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun, especially in this trying pandemic era.

In the last post I shared that the game involves being blindfolded and picking a country at random. Whichever country the finger lands at, I will learn more about the country and cook dishes relevant or popular to that place.

Last week after picking Mali the previous week, the Boy’s finger landed smack on Victoria Island, Canada. Now, that’s like almost Arctic territory and I scoured the Net but there’s very limited information about Victoria Island. I even borrowed a book online on Canadian cuisine but nothing on Victoria Island. Disappointed, I decided then to make Canada’s national dish of sorts – poutine!

What is there not to like about fried potatoes! But what’s even better is that it’s served with homemade gravy! And what can make it even better? Adding cheese. Goodness. Loaded with all the good stuff, but yes, not a diet friendly dish at all!

The first thing I did was make the gravy. Authentic ones use a combination of beef and chicken stock but I never have ready made home-made beef stock so I used all chicken. It’s so simple to make. Make a roux of butter and plain flour and make sure the mixture darkens to a dark brown. Add black pepper here at this stage. This adds to the fragrance of the gravy. Once it’s a dark brown, slowly add chicken stock and stir furiously. After that, thicken with 1-2 tsp of cornflour that had been mixed with some water. And that’s it! You may choose to season with salt but for me, that’s just too much sodium because I used boxed chicken stock.

For the potatoes, I used Idaho russet potatoes. They were huge, and the perfect length. Twice fry the potatoes. The first at a lower temperature to cook the insides, and the second at a higher temperature to crisp them up.

I don’t have cheese curds. We don’t have a wide range of cheeses here so I read that the best substitute is mozzarella. Use the block kind and tear it up into chunks.

And that’s it. Poutine is delicious but must be eaten hot. I’m glad I am playing this game because seriously, sometimes I run out of ideas on what to make next for the family. This is spontaneous and educational. Travelling vicariously through food and books now since it’s been 1.5 years since we travelled out of our island. 😦

African / African American, Meat

Tiguadege Na (Meat in Peanut Sauce)

So I have a new game with my kids. Every week, I blindfold one of them, spin the child around and they’ll point randomly at a place on my world map.

And the Boy two weeks ago pointed at Mali! I know nothing about Mali so when researching about this country, I found out that a popular and perhaps the National dish of Mali is meat in peanut sauce. It uses peanut butter! Loving the idea already!

So last week was the day I had to cook a dish from the country picked. I chose to make this dish using lamb cubes. The outcome was amazing! It almost tasted like Malay-style peanut sauce that we usually eat with our satay or ketupat (rice cakes) except there’s no spice or chilli at all here.

The first step is browning the lamb cubes. And once browned remove.
Then sauté chopped onions and garlic in oil. Add black pepper and some salt. Let the onions soften.
Add chicken stock or beef broth, a can of tomato diced, and Italian seasoning. The recipe I followed called for herbs de provence but I didn’t have any so Italian seasoning works the same too. Just a pinch will do.
Now this is the fascinating part! Add peanut butter! Mix and let it simmer till meat is done, adding potatoes and carrots.
I added the root vegetables
when I guessed the lamb cubes were halfway done.
And then voila! Serve with hot rice.
It was a good lunch. Learning and trying something new.

Malay, Sauces and Sambals

Sambal Ijo (Green Sambal)

I’ve been having crazy hectic weeks at work and am missing eating good food! So after work just now I decided to make this Indonesian sambal – chilli jam or chutney of sorts. It’s so versatile! Over hot rice, fried chicken (which is popular), grilled prawns… it’s really good on everything, though I’ve never really tried it with vegetables. Caution though that this is not meant as a chilli finishing oil in soupy dishes.

The ingredients are simple. I used about 15 cloves of fresh garlic, 3 Bombay onions, about 16 fresh green chillies and about 15 green bird’s eye chillies,
Wash and chop onions roughly and proceed to fry them till soft in about 6 tablespoons or so of vegetable oil. I used sunflower oil.
When the onion and garlic are soft, add the green chillies.
Fry for about 10 more minutes till everything is quite soft.
Then place all in a blender, including the oil. Blend but not too finely.
Fry the blended paste in a bit more oil. Add toasted ground belacan or fermented shrimp paste. If you don’t have this then you can simply omit this step.
Fry till the oil rises from the mixture. Season with salt, sugar and a tablespoon of distilled white vinegar. And that’s it!
Store in a jar with the oil and you can keep this in the fridge for a week. I had mine with hot plain jasmine rice and a leftover fried Jollibee chicken for my dinner.

food, Meat, Western

Cowboy Steaks using GR’s Texan Rub

One day while watching YouTube, I saw an episode of Gordon Ramsay in Texas I think. He was making a breakfast steak.

And then one day as I was browsing through the website of a meat supplier, I saw that this particular one was selling the same type of beef cut. So I bought one and made Gordon’s recipe.

And yesterday as we had a movie lunch day with my sister’s family, I decided to make a full blown Texan inspired meal.

I must say the outcome was amazing!

The menu yesterday was:

Cowboy steak, coleslaw, baked potatoes, air fried corn, Texan rice, chimichurri sauce, baked chicken wings

Let’s start with his rub recipe. I took a picture of the recipe from someone who posted

it on his website.

But let’s see what I had to substitute and remove. There was no way I could get ancho chilli here nor Aleppo so I used Kashmiri powder and removed the ancho powder. The result was still amazing.

I had the best coffee blend and so the smell from this rub was super amazing.
So The Man saw me massaging the steaks lovingly and couldn’t resist snapping a picture and teasing me about it.
Resting these ginormous steak cuts
They were perfectly cooked.
The entire lunch spread.

Ah, ‘‘twas a good meal. Thanks Mr Ramsay for this recipe idea. It really is an amazing rub.

Desserts, Japanese/Korean
Pretty isn’t it?

So my friends are K-Drama fans and apparently there’s this Korean strawberry milk that’s very popular because of a Korean drama series. I didn’t watch that series but was intrigued by the milk! 🤣

So this is how it’s made. Firstly, make the strawberry purée of sorts. But up 8-10 strawberries and add that to a pot with 1 cup of sugar and let it reduce.

Then in a glass pour some of this strawberry mixture, then full cream fresh milk (the best you can find), add ice and then top it up with fresh strawberry slices.

Making the ‘ jam’.
I topped mine with a sprig of fresh mint too.

Something different to enjoy on a hot hot hot day!