Friday, 28 October 2011

Cha Han

I love Wagamama's, it's one of my favourite restaurants to eat at and I often have the Cha Han. It looks so easy to make, and so I thought I'd give it a try and it is really easy to make! There's lots of prep to start off with but the actual cooking is really quick and easy as with most Japanese food. The food is delicious, light and healthy and it doesn't make you feel overly full! I'd definitely recommend having it with pickles and miso soup. they go so well together.

Cha Han (from The Wagamama Cookbook)
(Serves 2)

200g boneless, skinless chicken thigh meat
2 tbsp yakitori sauce
2 tbsp vegetable oil
8 cooked, peeled prawns (shrimp)
2 tbsp canned sweetcorn, well drained
2 tbsp mangetout, finely sliced
4 button mushrooms, finely sliced
2 spring onions, trimmed and cut into 1 inch lengths
2 eggs, beaten
75g cooked Thai fragrant rice
salt as desired
2 tbsp light soy sauce

Yakitori Sauce
6 tbsp sake
6 oz light soy sauce
6 tbsp Mirin
1 tbsp sugar

Make the Yakitori Sauce. Combine all the ingredients in a small pan and gently heat to dissolve the sugar. Set aside to cool. It will keep indefinitely in the fridge.

Combine the chicken and the Yakitori sauce in a bowl. Work gently with your fingers for a few minutes, turning the meat in the sauce. Marinate for at least 30 mins (1 hour is even better). Remove the chicken, reserving the marinade, and cut the meat on the diagonal into thin slices.

Heat a wok over a medium heat for 1-2 mins or until completely hot and almost smoking and add the vegetable oil. Add the prawns, sweetcorn, mangetout, mushrooms and spring onions along with the chicken and stir-fry over a medium heat for about 5 mins until the vegetables just start to wilt and the chicken is cooked. Add the egg and continue to stir-fry until it is just scrambled.

Add the rice. Season with salt and soy sauce and continue stir frying until everything is mixed evenly and the rice heated through. Divide between 2 bowls and serve with miso soup and pickles.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Sausage and Lentil One Pot

Sausages are so difficult to photograph, I can never get them to look pretty! However, this is a lovely warming winter dish.

Sausage and Lentil One Pot (from Good Food Magazine April 2006)
(Serves 4)

1 tbsp olive oil
400g pack sausages
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 red pepper, sliced
250g puy lentils
150ml vegetable stock
125ml red wine or extra stock

Heat oil in a pan, cook the sausages until browned, then remove. Tip in remaining oil, onion, garlic and pepper, then cook, about 5 mins more until softened. Add lentils and sausages to the pan with the stock and wine, if using.

Bring up to the boil, then simmer for 20 mins until lentils have softened and sausages are cooked through. Serve with plenty of crusty bread.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Claypot Chicken and Rice

I love rice and I love being able to use my rice cooker, which I don't get to do often enough! This is a recipe that has been hanging about for ages with the Chinese sausage sitting in my freezer, so I finally thought I should try it out. Now, I decided that I don't really like the flavour of the Chinese sausage but the dish as a whole was really tasty. I'm not really sure what to do with the rest of my Chinese sausage that will disguise its flavour, so if anyone has any ideas please let me know!

Claypot Chicken and Rice (from Soy and Pepper)
(Serves 4)

4 portions cooked rice, cooled
4 chicken thighs, skinless and boneless, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 stalks spring onion, chopped and separate the white and green parts
6 dried shitake mushrooms, soaked in warm water for 15 mins and thinly sliced
1 Chinese sausage, sliced

Seasoning for chicken

1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp Chinese rice wine
1/2 tsp cornflour
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
Dash of white pepper

Seasoning for rice

2 tsp oil
3 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp chilli oil (optional)

Marinate the chicken pieces and set aside for 30 minutes.

Heat some oil in a large pan or wok and stir fry the white parts of the spring onions, chicken, Chinese sausage and mushrooms for a few minutes until the chicken turns white and is almost cooked. Set aside.

Add the cooked rice, chicken, mushrooms and Chinese sausage back to the wok and pour in the rice seasoning and green parts of the spring onions. Mix well over medium heat and then transfer to a rice cooker. Let the rice mixture sit on 'Keep Warm' or 'Low' setting for 15-20 minutes for the flavours to mix thoroughly. Garnish with chopped spring onions, coriander and serve.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Smoked Haddock Fish Cakes

I am on half term this week and next week and I'm enjoying the break from work! The kitchen is finally all in, I'm just waiting for the floor, which comes next week, the door and the painting. It looks really good, the tiling is beautiful and I have under cupboard lighting! I promise to post before and after pictures when it's all completely finished. I am so happy with the kitchen so far and my new oven is brilliant! I've used it everyday since the main building work was finished, its so nice to have the oven back after almost 7 months!

This is another of my summer dishes, beautiful fishcakes. They were lovely with a nice fresh salad from the garden. The original recipe does not include sweetcorn but I had a craving for them so added some in and it added a really nice element to the dish.

Smoked Haddock Fish Cakes (adapted from Good Food Magazine January 2003)
(Serves 4)

100g white breadcrumbs
2 eggs
450g potatoes, peeled
450g smoked haddock
1 small tin sweetcorn
1 lemon, grated zest
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
flour, for dusting
3 tbsp vegetable oil, for frying

Preheat the oven to 150C. Spread the crumbs over a baking sheet and dry in the oven for 10-15 minutes until pale golden, stirring halfway.

At the same time, hard-boil one of the eggs. Cut the potatoes into chunks. Cook in boiling salted water for 10-15 minutes until tender. Drain well and mash with a fork.

While the egg and potatoes are cooking, put the fish in a frying pan with just enough water to cover. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes until just cooked. Remove the fish with a palette knife and put on a plate. When it is cool enough to handle, carefully remove the skin and any bones. Flake the fish.

Shell the egg and chop it. Carefully mix with the potato, fish, sweetcorn, lemon zest, parsley, ½ tsp salt and a some black pepper. With floured hands, shape into 4 round cakes.

Coat each cake in the egg, then the dried breadcrumbs. Reshape if necessary.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the cakes over a medium heat for 5 minutes on each side, turning once, until golden on both sides. Serve

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Smoked Salmon, Orzo, Cucumber and Dill Salad

Another of my summer dishes. This was a delicious salmon, cucumber and dill pasta salad, lovely and cooling on a hot summer day.

Smoked Salmon, Orzo, Cucumber and Dill Salad (adapted from Good Food Magazine April 2011)
(Serves 2)

4 pieces smoked salmon
5 spring onions, 3 whole, 2 finely sliced
1 small bunch dill , ½ chopped
1 lemon, ½ juiced, ½ sliced
125g orzo pasta
extra-virgin olive oil
1 heaped tsp mayonnaise
½ cucumber, peeled and diced

Cook the orzo following packet instructions, before rinsing in cold water and thoroughly draining.

Slice the smoked salmon into smallish pieces.

Whisk 2 tsp lemon juice with 1 tbsp olive oil, the mayonnaise and seasoning.

Put the smoked salmon, cooked orzo, sliced spring onions, cucumber, chopped dill and dressing in a bowl. Give everything a stir and serve.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Daring Cooks October 2011: Moo Shu and Pancakes

The October Daring Cooks' Challenge was hosted by Shelley of C Mom Cook and her sister Ruth of The Crafts of Mommyhood. They challenged us to bring a taste of the East into our home kitchens by making our own Moo Shu, including thin pancakes, stir fry and sauce.

I loved this challenge, I love Chinese food anyway so this was so exciting! It's the first one that I've managed to complete for a little while and I was so pleased that I actually got it made as well as it being delicious. The three components together work deliciously. My hoisin sauce didn't turn out as expected, it was a bit too runny but it still tasted right!

Thin Pancakes:
Makes 24-30 pancakes
Preparation time: about 10 minutes plus 30 minutes' standing time
Cooking time: 45-50 minutes

4 cups (960 ml) (560 gm) (19¾ oz) all purpose flour
About 1½ cup (300ml) (10 fl oz) boiling water
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vegetable oil
Dry flour for dusting


Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Gently pour in the water, stirring as you pour, then stir in the oil. Knead the mixture into a soft but firm dough. If your dough is dry, add more water, one tablespoon at a time, to reach the right consistency. Cover with a damp towel and let stand for about 30 minutes.

Lightly dust the surface of a worktop with dry flour. Knead the dough for 6-8 minutes or until smooth, then divide into 3 equal portions. Roll out each portion into a long sausage and cut each sausage into 8-10 pieces. Keep the dough that you are not actively working with covered with a lightly damp dish cloth to keep it from drying out.

Roll each piece into a ball, then, using the palm of your hand, press each piece into a flat pancake. Dust the worktop with more dry flour. Flatten each pancake into a 6 to 8 inch (15 cm to 20 cm) circle with a rolling pin, rolling gently on both sides.

Place an un-greased frying pan over high heat. Once the pan is hot, lower the heat to low and place the pancakes, one at a time, in the pan. Remove when little light-brown spots appear on the underside. Cover with a damp cloth until ready to serve.

Moo Shu Pork:

Serves 4
Preparation time: 25-30 minutes
Cooking time: 6-8 minutes

2/3 cup (1 oz) (30 gm) Dried black fungus ('wood ears')
½ lb (450 gm) pork loin or butt
¾ cup (3½ oz) (100 gm) bamboo shoots, thinly cut
3 cups (6 oz) (170 gm) Chinese cabbage (Napa cabbage), thinly cut
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
4 tablespoons (60 ml) vegetable oil
2 scallions
1 tablespoon (15 ml) light soy sauce
2 teaspoons (10 ml) rice wine
A few drops sesame oil
12 thin pancakes to serve

Soak the fungus in warm water for 10-15 minutes, rinse and drain. Discard any hard stalks, then thinly shred.
Thinly cut the pork, bamboo shoots and Chinese cabbage into matchstick-sized shreds.
Lightly beat the eggs with a pinch of salt.

Heat about 1 tablespoon (15 ml) oil in a preheated wok and scramble the eggs until set, but not too hard. Remove and keep to one side.

Heat the remaining oil. Stir-fry the shredded pork for about 1 minute or until the color changes. Add the fungus, bamboo shoots, Chinese cabbage and scallions. Stir-fry for about 2-3 minutes, then add the remaining salt, soy sauce and wine. Blend well and continue stirring for another 2 minutes. Add the scrambled eggs, stirring to break them into small bits. Add the sesame oil and blend well.

Hoisin Sauce:

4 tablespoons (60 ml) soy sauce
2 tablespoons (30 ml) peanut butter OR black bean paste
1 tablespoon (15 ml) honey OR molasses
2 teaspoons (10 ml) white vinegar
1/8 teaspoon (⅔ ml) garlic powder
2 teaspoons (10 ml) sesame seed oil
20 drops (¼ teaspoon) Chinese style hot sauce (optional, depending on how hot you want your hoisin sauce)
1/8 teaspoon (⅔ ml) black pepper

Simply mix all of the ingredients together by hand using a sturdy spoon.

At first it does not appear like it will mix, but keep at it just a bit longer and your sauce will come together

Final Preparation and Serving:

Each of the three components that comprise the complete Moo Shu dish are served separately, and the diner prepares each serving on his or her own plate. Most restaurants provide four pancakes, a serving of Moo-Shu and a small dish of hoisin sauce as a single serving. To prepare each pancake for eating, the following is the most common process: a small amount of hoisin sauce is spread onto the pancake, on top of which a spoonful of the stir-fry is placed. In order to prevent (or, realistically, minimize) the filling from spilling out while eating, the bottom of the pancake is folded up, then the pancake is rolled, similarly to a soft taco. Once rolled, the prepared pancake is eaten immediately.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Potato Salad with Eggs, Capers and Anchovies

I made some lovely summery dishes over the summer and never had time to post them. So now that I'd like a reminder of summer with all the cold weather we've been having I thought I'd make a start on posting them! This is a delicious potato salad that I saw on TV and knew I had to make. I love Valentine Warner, but some of his recipes are a little complicated but this is dead simple and very tasty. I made a lot of potato salads over the summer with my own home grown potatoes and they were all delicious.

The work on my kitchen starts tomorrow and as you can imagine I'm currently living in a bit of a mess! The units were delivered last week so my living room is full of boxes and the worktops and appliances are arriving tomorrow. I am really looking forward to it being finished but am not sure about the mess! I shall take some pictures and show you the transformation when it's done!

Potato Salad with Eggs, Capers and Anchovies (adapted from What to Eat Now: Spring and Summer - Valentine Warner)
(Serves 6)

750g small waxy potatoes
6 eggs
1/2 small red onion
small handful of chives
3 sprigs fresh tarragon
handful flat parsley leaves
salt and pepper

6 tbsp mayonnaise
juice 1 small lemon
5 salted anchovy fillets in oil, drained
2 tbsp baby capers

Put the potatoes in a large pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over a high heat and cook for 15-20 mins or until tender. Drain in a colander under cold running water.

Add the eggs to another pan of cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 10 mins. Drain under cold running water.

For the mayonnaise, put the mayonnaise into a bowl. Roughly chop the anchovy fillets and stir into the mayonnaise with the capers.

Slice the potatoes and tip them into a serving bowl. Peel the eggs, chop them up into small pieces and add to the potatoes. Peel and finely chop the red onion and scatter over. Strip the whole tarragon leaves from the stems, chop them and the other herbs and add to the salad.

Spoon the mayonnaise over the top of the salad and turn with two large spoons until all is mixed and evenly coated. Season with a little salt and pepper. Serve.