Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Attempt #39: Asian pinch salad

Prawns or shrimps… while I don’t really know the difference, I know that they taste great on absolutely anything and everything! J

This is one recipe that is definitely a keeper. Would definitely  make this again for future dinner parties as it is extremely easy and most ingredients are easily accessible.

The result:
I omitted chilies and rice noodles as I made this to go with rice. I am not a big fan of coriander either hence I didn’t add that into the dish. Even then, it tastes great! Simple, healthy and yummy.
Jamie's rendition below:



  • 24 frozen raw peeled jumbo king prawns, from sustainable sources, ask your fishmonger, defrosted
  • 1 pinch Chinese five spice
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • sesame oil
  • 50 g fine rice noodles
  • 1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 25 g sesame seeds, lightly toasted
  • 1 small bunch fresh coriander, leaves picked
  • 2 round lettuces, outer leaves removed and discarded, inner leaves reserved


In a bowl, mix the raw prawns with the five-spice, ginger, lime zest and a splash of sesame oil, then leave to marinate.

Meanwhile, cook your rice noodles following pack instructions. Drain and toss in a little sesame oil. Allow them to cool then add the lime juice, chilli, sesame seeds and coriander leaves. Mix well.

Heat a frying pan or wok until really hot and stir-fry the marinated prawns for 2 or 3 minutes until cooked. Set aside.

To assemble your pinch salad, take a nice, cupped lettuce leaf and pile on a little of the noodle salad. Top with a couple of cooked prawns. Repeat until you have 12 little lettuce cups. To eat, pinch each cup together with your fingers and enjoy!

Attempt #38: Omelet

Eggs have two advantages over all other foods. First, they are procurable nearly everywhere; second, the most dainty person is sure when eating eggs that they have not been handled.”
extracted from - ‘
A Book for A Cook’, The Pillsbury Co. (1905)

Eggs are truly a miracle ingredient. To me eggs are like talented actors – they can play the lead role or the supporting role. And when they do play the supporting role, they are actually the ones who pull the entire show (or dish in this case) together.

This recipe was a hit among my kids. EGGS + CHEESE = HIT WITH KIDS! And it only took 5 minutes prep time! J

2 large free-range eggs
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small knob butter
  • 1 small handful Cheddar cheese, grated, optional


Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper. Beat well with a fork.

Put a small frying pan on a low heat and let it get hot. Add a small knob of butter. When the butter has melted and is bubbling, add your eggs and move the pan around to spread them out evenly. When the omelette begins to cook and firm up, but still has a little raw egg on top, sprinkle over the cheese, if using (I sometimes grate mine directly on to the omelette).

Using a spatula, ease around the edges of the omelette, then fold it over in half. When it starts to turn golden brown underneath, remove the pan from the heat and slide the omelette on to a plate.

Attempt #37: Perfect roast chicken

Tried this recipe again and this time, the lemon fits nicely into the chicken’s behind! J

The result :
And after numerous attempts at baking chicken, I have learnt that the temperature of the oven is important. The way Jamie suggested to heat up the oven to 240C and then to bring it down to 200C when you pop the chicken in works! You get a cripsy skin on the outside and moist tender meat in the inside.


  • 1.6 kg higher-welfare chicken
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 small bunch fresh thyme, rosemary, bay or sage, or a mixture


To prepare your chicken
Take your chicken out of the fridge 30 minutes before it goes into the oven. Preheat your oven to 240°C/475°F/gas 9. There's no need to peel the vegetables – just give them a wash and roughly chop them. Break the garlic bulb into cloves, leaving them unpeeled.

Pile all the veg and garlic into the middle of a large roasting tray and drizzle with olive oil. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper, rubbing it all over the bird. Carefully prick the lemon all over, using the tip of a sharp knife (if you have a microwave, you could pop the lemon in these for 40 seconds at this point as this will really bring out the flavour). Put the lemon inside the chicken's cavity, with the bunch of herbs.

To cook your chicken
Place the chicken on top of the vegetables in the roasting tray and put it into the preheated oven. Turn the heat down immediately to 200°C/400°F/gas 6 and cook the chicken for 1 hour and 20 minutes. If you're doing roast potatoes and veggies, this is the time to crack on with them – get them into the oven for the last 45 minutes of cooking.

Baste the chicken halfway through cooking and if the veg look dry, add a splash of water to the tray to stop them burning. When cooked, take the tray out of the oven and transfer the chicken to a board to rest for 15 minutes or so. Cover it with a layer of tinfoil and a tea towel and put aside. Now is the time to make your gravy.

To carve your chicken
Remove any string from the chicken and take off the wings (break them up and add to your gravy for mega flavour). Carefully cut down between the leg and the breast. Cut through the joint and pull the leg off.

Repeat on the other side, then cut each leg between the thigh and the drumstick so you end up with four portions of dark meat. Place these on a serving platter. You should now have a clear space to carve the rest of your chicken. Angle the knife along the breastbone and carve one side off, then the other.

When you get down to the fussy bits, just use your fingers to pull all the meat off, and turn the chicken over to get all the tasty, juicy bits from underneath. You should be left with a stripped carcass, and a platter full of lovely meat that you can serve with your piping hot gravy and gorgeous roast veg.

Attempt #36: Stewed fruit

Strangely my 2 kids do not like apples much. Give them bananas, cherries, pears, mangoes or watermelon and they will chomp them down - but they simply don’t fancy apples. Hence, when I came across this recipe from Jamie’s website on stewing fruits, it gave me an alternative method to prepare apples to see if the kids will like them.

The result:

I burnt my pot while stewing the apples!

Little did I know, sugar laden water burns easily over a stove hence don’t let that pot out of your sight should you wish to try this recipe out. Good thing was that my daughter likes the apples being cooked this way (probably from the castor sugar) but it still wasn’t a hit with my son.

Cooking tips from Jamie’s website when cooking this recipe:
The really important thing to remember when you are stewing fruit is that it's best to decide for yourself how much sugar to add. For example, if your fruit is really ripe and sweet, you'll need less than. Just have a taste as you go along and add more if you think you need to.

500 g seasonal fruit, such as rhubarb, plums, apricots, strawberries or pears
2.5 cm piece fresh ginger, optional, for if using rhubarb
caster sugar, to taste

Chop up all the fruit, discarding any stones.

Place the fruit in a pan. If using rhubarb, peel the ginger and finely grate it into the pan. Add the sugar – I usually add 3 heaped teaspoons to rhubarb and 2 heaped teaspoons to any other fruit, but just taste as you go along and add more if you think it needs it (please be careful when tasting as it gets really hot). Add 2 tablespoons of water and cook on a medium heat with the lid on.

Once the fruit has softened, remove the lid and let the liquid reduce – you want to end up with a fairly thick consistency.

Serve over cereal, yoghurt, pancakes, granola, muesli or even with roast pork!