The Occasional Cook

~Pottering about in my Pink Kitchen

Lamb Tagine with Salty and Sweet Dried Prunes — November 24, 2019

Lamb Tagine with Salty and Sweet Dried Prunes

I made lamb tagine in a sauce pan pot after reading a lot of websites and watching YouTube videos. This I reckon is a good tagine because the seasoning is mild but fragrant. I learnt using one important spice that made a lot of difference from watching this lady Chef from a hotel make it on YouTube. The secret ingredient is…ground cinnamon!

Tagine is so simple to make (compared to Malay, Indian or Peranakan cooking you know) and so I’ll be making this quite often since the family loves it so much. But of course, different variations. Lamb is costly here in Singapore 😦

Here in my bowl, I have 1.8 kg of good quality lamb cubes. Marinade with 1 tbsp of ground cumin, 1 tbsp of ground coriander, 1/2 tbsp of sweet smoked paprika and 1 tbsp of ground cinnamon. Of course, add salt to taste before this.

Sauté two large white onions which have been quite finely chopped. Add ginger and garlic paste. Sauté till onions are soft and wilted.

Add marinated lamb cubes. Stir and brown lamb cubes. Then add 250 ml of chicken stock (I used the packet ones) and salt. Add some saffron threads, about half a teaspoon. Close lid and mimic tagine cooking. (I’m so buying a tagine soon).

While the meat is stewing away, in another saucepan, add some of the stewing liquid from the lamb and salted sweet prunes. By right, you should use sweet prunes. But…well when I went to the Chinese grocer, he had only these so I got them. But because these are saltier than normal prunes, I had to add more honey. So I added 3 tbsp of honey, 2 tsp of ground cinnamon and some water till the prunes are soft and have expanded somewhat.

Stir the prune mixture once the lamb is cooked and tender. Before that, I had added some carrots too. Don’t add too early or the carrots will be too mushy.

And I had some very sweet and delicious boiled Australian white potatoes. I pan fried the boiled cubes of potatoes in some butter and added them in too.

Lastly, stir in fresh coriander and then serve with the easy flatbread from Jamie Oliver’s wonderful recipe.

Before serving, sprinkle some dried fruits and nuts which you can easily purchase now in the snack section.

My lunch spread yesterday. Tagine with flatbread and roasted bone marrow and garlic baked chicken wings. I love the holiday season. More cooking coming up!

Macaroni Goreng(Fried Macaroni) — November 21, 2019

Macaroni Goreng(Fried Macaroni)

This is my ultimate comfort food. And it’s so easy to make…now. I think I posted this many years ago when I started this food blog for my daughter but now that I’ve grown older and wiser, I’ve discovered shortcuts.

The chilli paste in many Malay home cooking is a blend of dried chillies, onions and garlic. But I’ve discovered bottled ground chillies. It doesn’t have the onions but it doesn’t matter anyway.

This is how I cooked my delicious comforting lunch. It’s spicy and tangy, and that’s how I love it.

In plenty of oil (I used olive oil) cook till the oil separates one heaped teaspoon of chopped garlic, and 1-2 tbsp of ground chilli from the bottle. If you don’t have this, then it won’t taste as good but you can substitute with a bit more of ground chilli flakes. Here, I added a packed of chilli flakes so that I could have more colour.

Then add minced beef. Here, I have 300g of minced beef.

Make sure the meat is well cooked. Then add a packet of chopped tomatoes. I like these form Sainbury’s. Add one heaped tablespoon of ground cumin, 2 Teaspoons of sugar and salt to taste.

Let the mixture simmer nicely till the oil is really bright red and everything looks soft and unctuous.

Then add cooked macaroni.

Mix macaroni well with the sauce. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Sprinkle with spring onions cut to fairly large pieces.

Then serve with a sprinkling of fried shallots. Yummy!

Gimbap — October 19, 2019

Gimbap

Today’s light lunch of Korean gimbap. Easy to make and easy to eat!

First, prepare short grain Japanese rice. Pickled daikon strips, carrot strips and fried beef slices that had been marinated with soy sauce.

Place seaweed onto a rolling bamboo mat with rice and all the other ingredients. Then roll tight.

Once rolled, brush with a light layer of sesame oil.

With a sharp knife, cut into slices and enjoy! This was really good on a hot weekend. I’ll be making this for work lunches soon!

Ramly…of Sorts Burger — May 28, 2019

Ramly…of Sorts Burger

For those living in this region, the Ramly burger is like the epitome of street food burgers. Beef patties are grilled and encased in a thin layer of omelette. The sauce…that’s their secret. Lots and lots of brown sauce, mayonnaise, chilli sauce…. the perfect night stack in Malaysia.

The burger Ramly is banned in Singapore, but there are many stalls during bazaars selling these burgers under the Ramly banner. They used other patties but because the original patties are banned, I guess the manner how these burgers are made allowed the Singaporean vendors to use the Ramly name.

At home, I decided to make my own version. Well, for this one that The May made them. I used expensive Angus beef patties instead of the cheap unhealthy frozen kinds because I wanted the kids to eat healthily. But we followed the Ramly style, with an omelette encasing the juicy patties. And for The Son, a slice of cheese on the beef patties before it got wrapped in the golden eggy blanket.

It was a hit for dinner that night. Will definitely make it again!

Shakshuka with Meat — May 4, 2019

Shakshuka with Meat

This time yet another variation of shakshuka. This time with ground beef at the bottom.

I seasoned the ground beef with this fragrant spice mix for madhi rice I bought in Kuala Lumpur by Chef Ammar. And then season with salt and pepper. It consists of coriander, cardamom, cumin amongst other spices.

For the tomato sauce, I used capsicum and mushrooms.

And then all it took was simply putting the minced beef at the bottom followed by sauce and then cracking the eggs in. I served with Greek honey yogurt and lots of chopped coriander. I also had four good quality fried sausages so I just placed them around the dish.

And that was my May Day brunch for the family. 🙂

Tomato based Beef Stew — March 16, 2019

Tomato based Beef Stew

Lately, I’ve been pretty much obsessed with tomatoes. So one weekend, I decided to make beef stew, but wanted it to be with a tomato-based. So instead of just regular water, I poured it lots and lots of tomatoes. Jar, packet, tin…you name it, I’ve got ’em all in whate’er packaging it can come in. It’s really idiot proof, really, and the photos will show exactly how it’s done. Just a matter of browning the meat, and then putting it back inside and adding in all the veggies and tomatoes. Leave it to simmer till beef is tender. And voila! A meal for the entire family. The only thing was I forgot to brown the onions, so I did it separately in another pan. Don’t forget to season. I just used sea salt, black pepper and a pinch of Italian dried herbs.

 

 

 

Stir Fried Japanese Sweet Sauce Beef — August 26, 2018

Stir Fried Japanese Sweet Sauce Beef

This is so simple to make especially if using the bottled Japanese sweet sauce. I think it’s almost like a teriyaki sauce?

I think this will be great served with Japanese white rice but since the Hubster doesn’t like Jap white rice and for his lunch it’s usually wraps, I wrapped these beef with romain lettuce and raw crisp juicy sweet yellow peppers.

1. Heat oil in pan and add garlic.

2. Add beef which has been marinated with the sweet sauce overnight.

3. Add sesame seeds.

4. Make a cornstarch slurry using half a tablespoon of cornflour and two tablespoons of the liquid in the pan from the beef.

5. Make wraps or serve with rice.

Plain sirloin steak — July 30, 2018

Plain sirloin steak

There’s a small nondescript halal butchery run by this Italian man in my MIL very heartland neighbourhood. He sells good but expensive meat. The Boy went in and immediately asked for steak and fries for his dinner. So I bought four pieces.

But when we were on the way to the in laws I thought why not just cook all so everyone can enjoy some good steak.

And with good steak there’s really nothing much to it. Salt and black pepper. Some olive oil to a hot pan and because the in laws don’t use butter, some margarine then into the pan.

The result we like. Looks like Mr Italian butcher guy will have a repeat customer!

Lamb Shank without a Recipe — June 23, 2018

Lamb Shank without a Recipe

I have learned that in cooking there is no need for exact measurements and recipes because this is unlike baking, which is a science. Yes, I have turned into my mother. And all Malay or Asian mothers. My daughter is so going to hate me when she wants to learn how to cook.

Lamb shanks. I had three beautiful pieces. Pasatta. I had a big jar of about 700 g glass pasatta from my favourite pasatta brand a Cirio. Nando’s hot marinade. I had a bottle of this too. And very important for depth of flavour – caramelised onions bought from a cheese gift shop.

The steps:

1. Use a very heavy bottom Dutch oven.

2. Add oil and a sprig of rosemary. Brown lamb shanks.

3. Remove browned lamb shanks and set aside. Add garlic and the 700g jar of pasatta.

4. Add 3/4 bottle of the Nando’s hot marinade.

5. Add a cup of water, salt and black pepper with three sprigs of rosemary.

6. Place all three lamb shanks into the liquid and cover the pot to simmer and cook lamb shanks till fork tender and meltingly good. It took 2.5 -3 hours of slow simmering for today. Add cut potatoes at the 2 hour mark.

7. Add a small bottle of caramelised onions for depth of flavour because without this step, the sauce is just too insipid and sourish.

8. Simmer and taste. Adjust seasoning. I added one teaspoon of sugar and one more teaspoon of salt and ground more black pepper.

9. Serve.

10. Optional. I added boiled colourful carrots to serve.

Disclaimer: 3 lamb shanks is not enough when you have guests. Buy a bigger Dutch oven to fit 6 lamb shanks. 😁

Roti John — June 2, 2018

Roti John

Essentially a minced beef french toast on a batard. Who invented this nobody really knows but definitely in Singapore/Malaysia during Colonial rule.

Buy baguette or batard or what we locals simply call the French Loaf (Roti Perancis). Cut in half and then slice open but don’t cut all the way through.

Prepare seasoning ingredients. Curry powder, ground chillies, chopped coriander, minced beef. Crack five small eggs and whisk till smooth.

Pour two to three tablespoons of oil, and then add a teaspoon of ground chilli paste. Fry till chilli is cooked then add minced beef. Mine is already precooked but it’s ok to use raw ones too, just cook longer till beef is thoroughly cooked through. Add 1/8 teaspoon of curry powder and salt and black pepper. Add one teaspoon of chopped coriander.

Now this is the tricky bit. Form and spread meat mixture in the hot pan to roughly cover the area of the bread. Quickly pour just enough whisked egg to cover the meat mixture and the spread the bread on top of it. Use your fingers to manipulate and get all the egg and meat mixture into the bread. Press down and cook till browned. Flip over and cook the other side so both sides are crispy.

Above is the non-chilli version. Suitable for kids and those who don’t like it too spicy.

To serve, fold the bread and then slice into roughly one inch portions. Make a mixture of ketchup, chilli sauce, water and lime juice to dip the bread with.

Try it! It’s a hawker favourite, especially back in the 80s.