15 April 2018

After 6 years... Hallo from Berlin!

It has been quite a while since I last posted. No, I didn't stop cooking. I just stopped posting.

After six long years... so many things happened.  I'm here now in Berlin, finishing my Masters degree. I'm doing a lot of cooking and I figured I want to somehow record my cooking adventures, here in my new home, with my wife. 👫💖

I will be posting some of my cookings done within the past year(s), from simple eggs, to stews, to coffees, and much more.

Stay tuned! 😍

13 May 2012

Poached Fish Parmesan


After a long while, I finally managed to blog again! First some updates about me...

I enrolled myself in a short culinary class (Fundamentals of Culinary Arts) at First Gourmet Academy. It was fun! Learning new techniques, from knife skills, to plating, all in 8 days. If you want to learn how to properly cook, but can't afford those really expensive schools, inquire at FGA. ;) (btw, our chef instructor is Swedish ah)

And during those times I was busy in class, I also landed a job. So yay me!

Anyway, so I finally found time to cook and blog again. I wanted something cheesy, but with fish. I usually pair cheese with chicken (as you can see in my other blogs). I stumbled upon this recipe called Poached Fish Parmesan by the Dairy Farmers of Canada

My version. But since my photo is not really amazing, I'll post the photo from their website :)

photo credit link: Poached Fish Parmesan

This is a really fast, and simple dish to make. You need around 30 minutes or so, including prep time (providing you have good knife skills, and multi-tasking skill :D).This dish reminds me of carbonara, and at the same time, well... pizza. Maybe because of the green capsicum and cheese? It's tasty, and creamy; a blend of milk, cheese, and wine, but something is still  lacking in my opinion. As Grace mentioned it, all the ingredients blended together that it lacks something that will counter the texture. Maybe crispy bacon bits, or I guess the fish can be pan fried with breading. But then this won't be "Poached Fish" anymore.

Overall, I recommend this dish to those who want a simple pasta and cheese cravings. But you may want to cut back on the green capsicum if you're not a fan of it. I like this dish, but it just lacks something je ne sais quoi.

If you want to try this dish out, and maybe you have something in mind, let me know!

For 4-6 servings

500g white fish fillet (I used Dory)
2 cups milk
3tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh chives (or green onions)
1 red or green capsicum, thinly sliced
salt, pepper (to taste)

500 g fettucini cooked al dente

1. Cut the fillets into small portions (bite size)

2. In a large covered frying pan, poach the fish in milk for 5 to 10 minutes, until the fish are flaky.

3. Transfer the fish to a plate and keep warm. Reserve the milk.

4. On another sauce pan, melt butter. When the butter stops foaming, add the flour. Brown the flour for 2minutes. 

5. Carefully, and gradually add the warm milk, stirring constantly. Cook on low heat until thick.

6. Add the wine, cheese, chives, capsicum. Season to taste. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes.

7. Meanwhile, cook the fettucini in boiling salted water for 5-6 minutes, until al dente. Drain.

8. Pour the sauce into the pasta, and serve.

9. Buon appetito!

15 February 2012

Fricassée de Poulet À L'Ancienne

Old-fashioned Chicken Fricassee with Wine-flavoured Cream Sauce, Onions and Mushrooms

Another Julia Child's French classic cuisine: Chicken Fricassee. So what is Fricassee, you might ask. According to an online definition: "Fricassée is a traditional French stew made usually made with chicken" (source). It is similar to braising, but when you say fricassée, you do not brown the meat. Basically, it is a white stew.

There something to french cooking chicken dishes (that I made so far) that taste similar. I think that's because of the stock and white wine reduction. But for this dish, the heavy cream and egg gave a more creamy and smooth texture.

For me, the taste of this dish is good. Nothing very special, though I'm not saying this doesn't taste good. It is very tasty, but I think I'll just do this if I have left over heavy cream in the fridge.

But, if you're interested in making a fricassée, whether chicken, duck, rabbit, or any kind of meat, here are what you need:

for 4-6 pax

1-1.5 kg whole chicken, cut into parts
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
4 tbsp butter
salt and white pepper to taste (but don't make it too salty)
3 tbsp flour
3 cups boiling chicken stock/broth
1 cup dry white wine
herb bouquet garni (2 sprigs parsley, 1 bay leaf, 1/8 tsp thyme)
16-20 white braised onions*
250g fresh mushroom stewed in butter, lemon and water**
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy cream
lemon juice
pinch of nutmeg

*white braised onions*
16 - 20 pearl onions/shallots
1/2 cup white wine
salt and pepper
2 tbsp butter
1 bouquet garni
   Place everything in a sauce pan and simmer very slowly, rolling the onions from time to time for 40-50 minutes. If the liquid evaporates during cooking, add more by spoonfuls

**mushroom stew**
250g fresh mushroom
1/3 cup water
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp butter
1. Bring the everything to boil except for the mushroom.
2. Add the mushroom and toss.
3. Cover and boil moderately fast, tossing frequently for 5 minutes.

1. Cook the vegetables slowly in butter for 5 minutes or until tender, but not browned. Push to one side, then raise heat to medium high.

2. Add the chicken, and turn it every 3-4 minutes, without coloring to more than golden yellow.

3. Lower heat to medium and cover for 10 minutes, turning the chicken once.

4. Sprinkle salt and white pepper to taste (but not too salty). Add the flour to the chicken until it coats all side. Roll it in the cooking butter. Cover and continue to cook slowly for 4 minutes, turning once.

5. Add boiling chicken stock, white wine and bouquet garni. Bring to simmer. Taste for seasoning. Simmer for 25-30 minutes. It is done when juice from drumstick when pricked with fork run clear.

6. Remove chicken to a side dish. Add the juice from the onion and mushroom to the cooking liquid. Simmer for another 2-3 minutes, removing the fat. Boil rapidly stirring frequently to thicken the sauce, enough to coat a spoon nicely. Correct seasoning.

7. In a mixing bowl, whisk in egg yolks and heavy cream. Add the hot liquid by small tablespoonfuls while whisking. Pour the sauce in a thin stream while whisking. After whisking, return the liquid to the casserole. Bring to a boil for 1 minute.

8. Correct seasoning, add drops of lemon juice and pinch of nutmeg.

9. Arrange the chicken, onion and mushroom in the casserole. Pour the sauce over it. Serve.

There you go! Bon appétit! :D

12 February 2012

Mignon de Porc à L'Ail

Pork medallion with garlic, topped with wine-reduced caramelized shallots.

Last Saturday, I prepared a small dinner for my friend who is going to Germany next Tuesday. I invited him over to lend him some of my winter clothes. One of my friend, Jonathan, wanted to be my sous chef in cooking French cuisine, specifically a pork dish. I decided to try this recipe I stumbled upon a few weeks ago on the net. Apparently, it is one of the most popular dish in Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook.

Basically, this dish is baked pork tenderloin, wrapped in bacon. topped off with caramelized shallots, reduced in wine and dark chicken stock. Yuuum! I'm not much of a pork person, but I tell you, I really like this dish. Even my greatest food critique liked it! Although I think I made it a little dry (not very) and that's because I was unsure if the meat is cooked or not. I kept on removing and placing back the meat in the oven to check. I think the topping really made a difference. The sweetness of the caramelized shallots, infused it with reduction of the wine, and my semi-homemade dark chicken stock gave this dish a wonderful, wonderful flavour. Fantastico!

In order for you to make this, you need: (2-4 pax, depending on cut and appetite)

500 g pork tenderloin
4-5 bacon (enough to wrap the meat)
1 whole head of garlic, unpeeled cloves
salt and pepper
3 tbsp butter
olive oil
4 shallots
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup dark chicken stock* see below

1. Preheat oven to 350F

2. Season the unpeeled garlic cloves with salt, pepper and thyme. Wrap the in an aluminum foil and roast for 30 minutes.

3. After 30 minutes, mash half of the garlic with fork and rub it on the pork tenderloin. Reserve the other half for later. Leave the oven on.

4. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Wrap with bacon strips and tie it with kitchen string.

5. On a hot pan (high heat), add oil and 1.5 tbsp butter. When the butter stops foaming, brown the meat on every side. When the meat is browned all over, place in a roasting dish and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the inside temperature reaches 160F. Discard the fat from the pan.

6. Remove the meat when done, and wrap in an aluminum foil to allow it to rest for 15-20 minutes.

7. Slice the shallots into a "boat", quartered and separate thin layers. Add the rest of the butter in a hot pan and caramelize the shallot, about 5-7 minutes. Add wine and deglaze the pan. Reduce until the mixture is dry (with glaze consistency). Lower the heat and add stock. Simmer until it reduces to half. Whisk in the remaining garlic and add a few more splashes of wine. Season to taste.

8. Cut the tenderloin into 0.5" - 1" slices, and pour over the topping.

9. Serve.

*To make dark chicken stock: (1cup)

bones of chicken, gizzard, chicken scraps
mirepoix (1 celery, 1 carrot, 1 onion)
2 cups water (or if you like, chicken broth)
aromatics (1 bay leaf, 1/8 tsp thyme, 2 parsley sprigs)

1. Brown the chicken and the vegetables in hot pan.

2. Discard the fat, and pour in water, mirepoix and aromatics, and simmer for 1-2 hrs or more. Strain, degrease, and the stock is ready for use)

Please do try this. Very yummy! Even my critiques like it! :D

Enjoy! Bon Appétit!

2 February 2012

Poulet Poêlé à L'estragon

Casserole-Roasted Tarragon Chicken

I bought a new French cookbook the other day entitled French: Easy Recipes, Techniques, Ingredients (Food for Friends). While browsing with Grace, we saw this recipe, and it looks very simple and very easy. I remembered Julia Child also has this recipe, so I checked it out. It looked more complicated and requires more ingredients than the former book. And from the ingredient lists, I think that both recipes taste very differently. The first one is creamy, while Julia's is savory. Given that I don't have one of the main ingredient for the first book (heavy cream), I went with Julia Child's version.

So yes, this is Julia Child's version. I'm sorry for the poor aesthetics of the photo. I also forgot to place the vegetables around the chicken. Anyway, the chicken came out very tender and very flavourful. Once you open the casserole from the oven (actually, even before you open), you can smell the buttery aromatics, and especially tarragon. The flavour and the aroma of tarragon really locked in the moist and tender meat. To be honest, this reminds me of Hainanese Chicken, although it differs in taste because of the herb and butter.  The sauce beside the chicken is the (brown) tarragon sauce. It gave the chicken another doze of malinamnam tarragon kick. It's supposed to be brown. The recipe requires a brown chicken stock, but I only have chicken stock from broth.

I think this dish is great for those who are living healthy(-ish). However for me, I still like my Poulet Bonne Femme (coming soon) better.

What you need: (4-6 pax)

1.2kg whole roasting chicken
3/4 tsp salt
pinch of pepper
4-8 tbsp butter*
3-4 sprigs of fresh tarragon or 1/2 tsp dried
cooking oil
1/2 cup sliced onions
1/4 cup sliced carrots
aluminum foil

for the Brown Tarragon Sauce

2 cups brown chicken stock
1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with
2 tbsp Madeira (I used dry white wine. BUT THIS IS NOT A CORRECT SUBSTITUTE)
2 tbsp fresh tarragon
1 tbsp softened butter

1. Pre-heat oven to 325F

2. Season the cavity of the chicken with salt, pepper and 1tbsp butter. Insert the tarragon leaves. Truss the chicken, closing the cavity. (I don't know how to truss(tie) a chicken, I improvised)

3. Set casserole over moderately high heat with butter and oil. Once the butter foam subsides, place the chicken breast side down. Brown the chicken on all side for 2-3minutes per side. Be careful not to break the skin. Add oil and butter if necessary.

4. After all sides have browned, remove the chicken. Pour out the fat if it has burned. *Add 3 tbsp butter

5. Cook the carrots and onions slowly for 5 minutes without them browning. Add the 1/4 tsp salt and tarragon.

6. Salt the chicken on all sides well. Place it on the bed of vegetables in the casserole, breast side up. Baste it with butter in the casserole. Lay a piece of aluminum over the chicken and cover the casserole. Reheat the casserole on the stove until you hear little crackling or sizzling sound (around 2-3 minutes).

7. Place the casserole in the middle rack of the oven. Roast for 1 hour and 10-20 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken. Baste once or twice with the butter and juice.

8. The chicken is done when juice from its vent is clear yellow. Remove the chicken to a serving platter.

For the sauce,

1. Add the stock to the casserole and simmer for 2 minutes, scraping the coagulated juice. Skim of all but a tablespoon of fat.

2. Blend in the cornstarch mixture and simmer, then bring to boil until lightly thickened.

3. Stir in the herbs and enrich with 1 tbsp butter. Pour into a sauceboat. Serve.

There you go! You now have a Poulet Poêlé à L'estragon à la Julia Child. :) I recommend using fresh tarragon than dried for this dish.

25 January 2012

Lemon Chicken

Last Monday, the world (or maybe just the Chinese?) celebrated the Chinese New Year. Kung Hei Fat Choi 恭喜發財 for Cantonese speaking people. :)

Anyway, since it is the new year, Grace suggested I try a Chinese dish. So I made Lemon Chicken and fried rice.

I tried doing Asian cuisine for the first time, and to be honest, I suck (I haven't even tried doing Adobo). Or maybe I just don't have the right recipe for this dish to taste a little more Chinese-y. It lacks that unique Chinese flavour. Maybe MSG? I don't know. Well, for me, the dish is so-so. I added sugar and honey to make it a little sweeter for my taste (typical Filipino taste) while retaining the citrusy taste of this dish. I added a little fresh parsley I have in the fridge. Although it tastes good, not good enough to make it in the Chinese restaurant. Grace said she wanted it to be more sour. I think the sourness is just enough. I don't like too much sourness in my dish. Something Chinese-y is lacking. Spice?

I just copied this recipe somewhere (sorry, I forgot where), but here's what I did.

1 whole chicken (recipe requires 8 chicken breasts)
4 tbsp soy sauce
salt and pepper
a dash of paprika*
100mL lemon juice
3 slices of lemon
1.5 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp cornstarch
a dash of garlic powder*
sugar and honey* (optional, to taste)

*not in the original recipe

1. Season the chicken with salt, pepper and soy sauce. Leave it for 30 minutes.

2. Pat dry the chicken and dredge it with flour and paprika. Fry the chicken in oil until golden brown. (If you opt to skip the flour and paprika, fry the chicken breasts in butter). When done, leave it on a plate.

3. Combine the chicken stock, lemon, cornstarch, garlic powder and lemon slices (optional: sugar/honey, to taste) in a sauce pan. Boil until thick. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve.

Maybe you have a better version of Lemon Chicken. Now, what did I miss? Hmmm

23 January 2012

Broiled Herb-Crusted Salmon

A few days ago, Chef John of Food Wishes posted a recipe for salmon. I got so excited because it is very easy! I remember I had a conversation with a very good friend of mine who said cooking seafood is very hard. Well, I still don't know. I guess I will probably figure that one myself. However, what I can say is that cooking salmon is really easy! (Plus, it is very healthy, with those fatty acids, omega3+).

Yes, I know that salmon is expensive. A kilo of salmon costs about P774 and that is really expensive for me. My first time cooking with it, I was so nervous. I was like, "I must not screw this up. I must not screw this up. I must not screw this up.... Must not undercook. Must not undercook. Must not undercook. Must not undercook....  Must not overcook. Must not overcook. Must not overcook...." repeat 1000x during the whole cooking process! At the back of my mind, I can hear Chef Gordon Ramsey yelling at me "IT'S RAAAAAWWWWWW!!!!"(especially when I tried cooking the infamous scallops. coming in the near future). But hey, conquer your fear and learn! Buy 1/4 kilo of that and you're good to go for 3-4 people. It only takes 10-15 minutes to cook salmon.

(From http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1192181/Why-does-British-TV-make-heroes-nasty-bullies-Alan-Sugar-Gordon-Ramsay.html)
So anyway, back to the recipe. I really enjoy watching the video recipes of Chef John because it is so informative, and witty. When I saw this recipe, I immediately said to myself, "Well, that's easy. I can do that.", and indeed I did. Voilà! Broiled Herb-Crusted Salmon.

Right from the oven. Mmm, I can still smell the aroma from the herbs

He is right, the salmon came out perfectly! Very moist salmon, topped with super simple, but flavourful crust, cooked in 10 minutes! Amazing! You gotta try this one! Don't be afraid of salmon, it won't bite. Oh by the way, you can do this too with other fish (with the same thickness) if salmon is really expensive, or even chicken!

What you need (For 4-5 people)
(I made a little variation with the ratio. To check the original, see Chef John's blog)

500g salmon, with skin
salt and pepper to taste
2 small garlic clove, sliced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1.5 tbsp chopped tarragon
1.5 tbsp chopped Italian parsley
1.5 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp cream cheese*
pinch of cayenne
1-1.5 tsp fresh lemon juice, or to taste

*not in the original recipe

1. Using a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic, kosher salt, and the herbs, into a paste for about a minute or two. You can use a blender though, but it is really recommended to use mortar and pestle.

2. Add the Dijon mustard, mayonnaise and cream cheese (optional), and continue to mash it for about another minute.

3. Using a wooden spoon (don't use metal), mix in the mixture a pinch of cayenne and the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste (or not).

4. Place a foil on a baking pan. Lightly oil. Place the salmon, and season with salt and pepper (depending on how you seasoned the crust mixture).

5. Turn the broiler (top layer of gas inside the oven) to high for a while. While waiting, place the baking pan on top of the stove burner (high) for about 1 minute. You just want to give the bottom of the fish a "head start" since we are baking the fish using the broiler. When you hear crackling sounds, that's about done. Place the baking pan about 8 inches from the top/broiler.

6. Do not leave the fish. Wait for about 5minutes or so until the top is well browned (to your own liking).

7. When the crust has already browned, turn off the broiler and turn on your oven (bottom) to 350F and leave the fish for another 5 minutes or so. Cooking time varies with thickness of the fish.

8. After 5 minutes, serve.

That's it! Very easy, right? Now, tell me, how hard was that? I bet you can do that as well! C'mon, pick up a salmon and try this recipe. You won't regret it! :D