Dining in 01

I enjoy cooking and eating. As do my friends, so here’s to a night in with copious amounts of food.

On the menu:
Strawberries
Fish nuggets/goujons
Indonesian corn pancakes (didn’t end up making this)

Slow-cooker beef stew
Lamb in 2 variations: grilled, and panfry with bokchoy
Chilli broccoli and okra
Fried chicken
Pork and prawn wontons: 2 variations
Potato gratin

Brunetti’s coffee cream mousse cake
Green tea jelly with lemon-flavoured coconut jelly and pineapple-stuffed rambutan
Apple tart tatin
Bavarian cheesecake (didn’t have any survivors from food coma for another dessert.)

STRAWBERRIES
Strawberries are delicious. Even in the middle of winter. Good with yoghurt too.

Accessory fruit/ Not a real fruit or berry/ Strawberries are strange

FISH NUGGETS
This is essentially fresh fish cut into chunks, floured, egged and breaded, then fried until golden brown. Add salt and pepper in your flour for seasoning.
A firm white fish should be used. Firm, so it doesn’t fall apart when fried and flipped in a pan. I think ‘white fish’ is unnecessary, as all fish is good when fried. We used rockling, but any fish should be okay. Ask your fishmonger.

Tip: When making nuggets with rockling, ask your fishmonger to remove the skin. Or buy a fillet that’s deboned and de-skinned. This’ll make your life easier.

Suggestion: Use panko breadcrumbs  instead of the regular breadcrumbs. So crispy. So  good.

Hey fishy, fishy/ Wriggle to my chopping board/ Then swim in fryer

Into the flour/ Then into the beaten eggs/ Crumb generously

Hey fishy fishy/ Sizzling in my hellish pan/ You look so damn fine

Blot excess oil/ This will give you cooling time/ So you don't burn mouth#

CORN PANCAKES
We didn’t actually make this. We didn’t have a grater on hand. Or we used a peeler to peel little bits off, and that was…. unsuccessful. On the up side, we made an adorable turnip-shaped carrot. I added a face.

CARROT FACE
D’awwh. Look at the eyebrows.

Meet the carrotdude/ Turnip-shaped, broccoli brow/ Good sense of humour#

LAMB IN TWO VARIATIONS
Due to a communication failure, we had 2 sets of lamb. Can you say ‘cumminication’? That’s right. I made a bad pun. But cummin and lamb is delicious.

Panfry lamb with bokchoy

Tip: Don’t overcrowd the pan when frying. As we discovered later on, marinated lamb chunks just boil in their own broth when the pan is overcrowded.

Sizzle those onions/ Add marinated lamb chunks/ For easy dinner

Add some leaf greens/ Throw onto a plate and serve/ The one-plate wonder

Roasted lamb
We were very much aware that there would be plenty of leftovers tonight, but we roasted some lamb chunks nonetheless. (What else do you do with another kilogram of lamb?) Roasted lamb leftovers are wonderful in a stew for the days after.

Garlic and cumin/ Basic flavourings for lamb/ Then add other things

FRIED CHICKEN
Gotta love fried chicken.

Equipment needed: / Deep fryer just for chicken/ Or use KFC's

PORK AND PRAWN WONTONS

Variation 1: boiled in chicken broth, with chopped spring onions.

Ode to the wonton/ Served in delicious hot broth/ A winter comfort*

Variation 2: Deep fried

Wokful of hot oil/ Keep turning for even fry/ Golden brown wontons*

CHILI OKRA AND BROCCOLI
Okra is a fruit, and broccoli is a flower, but we still call them vegetables for culinary purposes.

After golden brown/ Rest your eyes on verdant lush/ Cut vegetables#

Broccoli in first/ Okra only needs short time/ Season and plate up

Limited clean plates/ A bowl or two will suffice/ Eat your vegetables

I haven’t had okra before, and I have heard all sorts of culinary nightmares about it. Its tale begins with a dark and stormy night, with the windows open and its curtains flapping to the breeze…. Suddenly, an okra! A green finger curls over the wooden framework of the door, and splits itself in half releasing its little seeds and covers your door with vaguely green mucinous secretions. You grab it, slice it diagonally, fry it with some chilli and garlic, voila, delicious meal. Too bad about your imaginary door.
There is slime when you cut a 500g worth of okra into slices. But when cooked properly, it is crunchy with a soft centre. It has a texture similar to green beans that have been fried and then braised.
Everybody knows what broccoli is like, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious. You need to try this dish, it is delicious.

POTATO GRATIN
Who doesn’t love potato gratin?

Waxy potato/ Baked with creamy cheesy sauce/ Yum, starchy goodness#

SLOW-COOKER BEEF STEW
I will include a recipe with step-by-step photos in a separate post.

APPLE TART TATIN (THE CHEATING WAY)
Apple tart… did not turn out the way we expected it too. The apples were cut too thin, and caramelised too well in the pan. It’s probably the ugliest cheat’s apple tart tatin you will ever lay eyes on, but by the gods, the caramel is good. It’s very dark, apple flavoured caramel with a bit of tartness that the granny smith apples offer.

Tip: Cut apples into 1/8s, and core them. Chunks of apple is the way to go. Also, creme fraise is the way to go for apple tart tatin.

Prod them apples good/ Thin slices already done/ Need thicker slices

Ugly apple tart/ Dress it in crenelled creme fraise/ There is no problem*

GREEN TEA JELLY (with coconut gel and rambutan)
Okay. So what? Green tea jelly. I ate jelly as a kid, but as an adult, I’ve outgrown jelly? Wrong. I love jelly and all its gelatiney-sugary-food colouring goodness.
Green tea jelly was homemade with real green tea (steeped from loose leaf green tea with rose petals), with a bit of honey, and set with agar. It’s served chilled, and a very welcome relief from cream and buttery pastry. It’s still astrigent from the tea tannins, only mildly sweet from honey and the brittle texture of agar refreshes the palate for more dessert. In other words, it’s a great amuse-bouche in between courses.
The coconut gel has a jelly-like gel-like fibrous sort of texture. It’s weird, but fun to eat. The pineapple-stuffed rambutan (the only rambutan we could find) add more texture and some sweetness to those who want a fragrant fruit to go with tea jelly.

BRUNETTI’S JAFFA COFFEE MOUSSE CAKE
It’s cake time! There is always room for dessert. My apologies for not having a photo of the cut cake, it disappeared too quickly before it occured to me I should take a photo. From top to bottom, the cake layers are: white chocolate curls, coffee cream, chocolate-orange cake, coffee liquor frozen mousse and chocolate-orange cake. The cake, cream and mousse are great, but the white chocolate is a let-down. It tastes entirely of sugar and stuff to hold it together instead of ‘white chocolate’. But the coffee cream is very very good. It gets an 9/10.  (Minus one point for the white chocolate.)

A matching white queen/ To go with the chocolate prince/ Equally creamy*

*: Photos marked with an asterisk are photos taken by a friend. You probably noticed that these photos are markedly better than the others, and that is because I mostly use a digital camera, and these photos are taken with a real camera.

#: Also taken with a SLR camera, but I get to claim these.

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