Meat, Snack, Western

Shepherd’s Pie

About two weeks ago I went to the butcher and got two packets of minced lamb. I didn’t realise how expensive it was! So I kept in the freezer and waited for the time when I would make good use of this expensive purchase!

Well, the time came yesterday. My Maris Piper UK potatoes got delivered and so it was the perfect time to make shepherd’s pie.

Maris Piper potatoes are wonderful! Unlike russet potatoes (the potatoes easily available here), they’re fluffier and more rounded in taste. After boiling and ricing them fine, I seasoned with salt, black pepper, butter and cream.

For the minced lamb, it was simply ensuring they cooked slow and well. I added only some oyster mushrooms chopped small and seasoned with a beef cube, a heaped tablespoon of tomato paste and salt pepper.

Meat

Steak Platter

It has not stopped raining since morning. Here’s hoping to the death of the virus with all this rain!

And since it’s raining and everybody’s at home feeling quite gloomy, I thought I’d just treat the family with a simple steak platter. I went out to buy two pieces of dry aged sirloin. Came home and started to fry haloumi cheese in olive oil first, then the steaks. I had some Australian baby kumato and a small piece of smoked duck. And that’s it! A happy family chomping down on good meat and cheese with toast.

That’s all you need to make a good steak on the stove!
I love thyme!
Meat

Lamb Shank with Creamy Mashed Potatoes

I love my new toy. This Philips pressure cooker is really idiot proof and makes my WFH (Work From Home) time easier.

There really is no recipe to this. All I did was sautéed garlic and sliced white onions. And then brown the lamb shanks. Add carrots. And pressure cook for 40minutes. Prior to adding the lamb shanks into the pot, I had seasoned them generously with salt and black pepper mixture (my favourite Korean herb spice mixture which contains lots of black pepper, salt and some other minuscule herbs). Add a cup of water, stir in a cube of beef stock, a tablespoon of tomato purée and that’s it. Of course I wish I had fresh herbs but I really can’t afford lots of supermarket runs (the curve is not flattening!)

After the time is done, vent the steam, open the lid and voila! Fall off the bone tender lamb shanks! All in 40 minutes! As for the sauce that’s still in the pot, thicken it with a flour slurry.

Plate with creamy butter homemade mashed potatoes. Divine!

Asian Dishes, Malay, Meat

Rawon

When I first started this food blog ten years ago in 2010, it was to have a space to store all my recipes with pictures so my daughter and son could cook some of my favourite and eventually I’m hoping their favourite dishes too.

But work has always kept me from doing this up properly. Being a working mom is no joke. But the kids are now teens (or one of them is a tween) and I’m now officially under lockdown or over here it’s called a Circut Breaker (CB) (and for Westerners who can’t understand all the snickering and inside jokes whenever you see or hear CB uttered by us, go find out why 😂) I can finally cook more and record my recipes.

Today, I finally finally learned how to cook this classic Indonesian specialty that is much loved by Singapore Malays too. I don’t see this dish in Malaysia often. I wonder why. Maybe we Singaporeans are nearer to Indonesia? Anyway, I grew up eating this dish. And so did my husband’s family. Last weekend the mother in law cooked it and today, I saw my mom cook it.

Rawon is made using this poisonous black Nut called keluak. It is sold raw which the Peranakans cook whole in their dishes such as Ayam Buah Keluak (chicken in Keluak nut) it Babi Buah Keluak (pork in Keluak nut). The Malays/Javanese do not cook it whole.

Rawon is made from blending the processed safe to eat Keluak fruit with onions, ground dried chillies, garlic, and ginger. A thick paste is formed.

It is then sautéed and then beef brisket is boiled in the sautéed mixture. My mom used a pressure cooker for this. It’s fast and convenient.

The Keluak nut in a blender with onions. Later, we added the ground chilli paste, garlic and ginger slices.

Recipe (all approximations as with Malay/Asian cooking):

For the blended ingredients:

  • 2-3 medium sized 🧅
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 4 huge tablespoons of blended dried chillies (they sell ready made ones here but you can blend them yourself. Dried red chillies boiled full soft. Remove seeds. Blend till fine)
  • About an inch of fresh ginger
  • A packet of food ready made buah Keluak (this I am very sure you cannot get outside our region. For sure. But it’s something new to learn if you’ve never heard of it before!)

Method

  • Fry the blended ingredients in oil till fragrant and some oil separates from the mixtyre
  • Add 2 pieces of crushed lemon grass and 3 slices of galangal
  • Add the cubes beef brisket
  • if using the pressure cooker, then cover and pressure cook for 30 min
  • If not, add water to the beef and sautéed blended ingredients and boil till meat is tender
  • Once meat is tender, season with salt
  • Add two pieces of Assam gelugur (tamarind pieces) and one tablespoon of tamarind paste
  • Add fresh kaffir lime leaves and Bay leaves
  • If you’re using pressure cooker, there’ll be plenty of liquid. See if it’s sufficient for your liking.
  • Season again with salt
  • Some people add slices of Long beans and tomato wedges (like my mom). My MIL does not.
  • Add more water if you like more gravy and a thinner consistency

How to serve

Rawon here is served with other important accompaniments. They include:

  • Bergedil (fried potato patties)
  • Paru (marinated fried beef lungs)
  • Tempeh (fried tempeh)
  • Sambal belacan (fermented fish paste chilli)
  • Tahu (fried tofu)

Here is a plate of Rawon from when I visited my MIL. Her version and my mom’s are not far off at all. Both are tasty and delicious!

This is my plate from Mom’s version. I like it with loads of gravy. There’s the fried beef lung on the TOP left, the bergedil (potato patty) and tempeh. And a dolly of sambal belacan (fermented shrimp chilli ‘sauce’)

I’m keeping this recipe here so I can make it myself in future. The important thing is to buy the Keluak from a reliable seller who knows how to process this fruit well so it’s not that bitter but must importantly not poisonous!

Meat, Middle Eastern/Turkish

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!