Thai Eggplant and Chicken Stir Fry with Nam Prik Pao and Basil

I’ve only recently discovered this dish, and absolutely love it. It has great depth of flavor. If you have already made the Nam Phrik Phao, then most of the work is in pan frying (or oven roasting) the eggplant. We … Continue reading Thai Eggplant and Chicken Stir Fry with Nam Prik Pao and Basil

Wholewheat Fusilli with Pumpkin and Gorgonzola (Fusilli Integrali alla Zucca e Gorgonzola)

After making yesterday’s butternut squash risotto, I still had half of the pumpkin puree left. I opened my refrigerator and pondered what to do with the leftover puree. Then I noticed a nice piece of gorgonzola, and I quickly made up … Continue reading Wholewheat Fusilli with Pumpkin and Gorgonzola (Fusilli Integrali alla Zucca e Gorgonzola)

Sous-Vide Pork Belly Asian Style with Garlicky Broccoli

One of the things you can only do sous-vide is making tough meats tender while keeping them juicy and without cooking them ‘well done’. As I am a great fan of medium rare meat rather than well done, this is one of the reasons why so far, I’ve almost exclusively cooked sous-vide meats that way. The only exceptions have been duck leg confit sous-vide and pulled pork sous-vide. This means cooking meat sous-vide at temperatures between 55ºC/131ºF and 65ºC/149ºF, sometimes as long as 72 hours to allow the meat to become tender at such a relatively low cooking temperature.

Lately I’ve started to wonder about cooking meat sous-vide at higher temperatures. The meat will surely become well done and flaky, but I’m curious whether it is still better than a traditional braise on the stove top and in the oven. There is only one way to find out, and that is to try. The first experiment in this series is pork belly. Usually I cook pork belly sous-vide for 36 to 72 hours at 60ºC/140ºF, but in this case I tried it for 10 hours at 77ºC/170ºF. After that it was briefly crisped under the broiler. The inspiration for the recipe came from a post on Serious Eats. I thought it would be nice with broccoli stir-fried with garlic (inspired by and some rice, and that did indeed work well. Continue reading “Sous-Vide Pork Belly Asian Style with Garlicky Broccoli”

Spicy Sweet & Sour Pork Belly and Cauliflower

Whoa! The more experience I have with cooking, the more I dare to experiment and try new things without using recipes. In this case I made up a recipe from scratch, and I am truly amazed how delicious it turned out to be. From Paul’s That Other Cooking Blog I got the inspiration to deep fry pork belly in cubes rather than as a roulade. And from blogging about Dutch nasi with atjar I got to think about Indonesian cooking. Now this recipe is not Indonesian and not authentic, but it is certainly inspired by Indonesian cooking and uses Indonesian ingredients. Don’t worry though if you can’t get Indonesian ingredients, as I’m sure that it will be just as delicious with substitute ingredients that I will provide.

This dish is bursting with flavor. It starts with pork belly cubes cooked sous-vide for 36 hours at 60C/140F with 5-spice. (You can also prepare this without a sous-vide cooker, though.) (I have since then discovered that pork belly is even better when cooked sous-vide for 36-48 hours at 57C/135F instead.) The pork is then deep fried briefly to crisp it up. The juices from the pork belly are used to create a darkly flavored sweet & sour sauce that is bursting with flavor from sambal oelek, fresh ginger, and caramelized onions. This sauce pairs well with the juicy tender pork belly. As a contrast to the deep dark flavors of the sauce, I prepared atjar-inspired spicy sweet & sour cauliflower that is equally bursting with flavor, but in a different fresher way. Served with some rice, this was one great meal! I will definitely make this again, and I won’t change a thing. Continue reading “Spicy Sweet & Sour Pork Belly and Cauliflower”

Duck Leg a l’Orange Sous-Vide

Sous-vide confit of duck leg is great, but I thought it should also be possible to do a more juicy less flaky texture. Some experimenting with times and temperatures showed me right: 24 hours at 64.5C/148F yielded tender juicy duck legs. Duck with orange is a classic combination from French cuisine, known as Canard à l’Orange. And so a very simple but very stylish and tasty dish was born. Ingredients? Duck legs, an orange, salt and pepper, and a teaspoon of honey. That’s it! The duck is cooked in its own fat. Perfect simplicity or simple perfection? Continue reading “Duck Leg a l’Orange Sous-Vide”

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken is a dish I’ve discovered only recently because it is not on menus of Chinese restaurants or take-out places in the Netherlands. ‘Chinese’ restaurants in this country are in fact Chinese-Indonesian, the chefs are mostly trained in the Netherlands at the same school, and the menus of those restaurants are mostly all the same and have been like that for thirty years. I’ve never been to China and am certainly not a connaisseur of Chinese food, but I do know that this is healthy, very tasty, and quite fast and easy to make. Kung Pao Chicken is a stir-fry dish that originated in Szechuan cuisine, containing chicken, peanuts (or cashews), vegetables, (dried) chile peppers, and Sichuan peppercorns. The latter are not actual peppercorns but the husk around the seeds of a type of prickley ash. Continue reading “Kung Pao Chicken”

Simple Peking Duck

I love Peking Duck, but I always thought it was very difficult to make at home. I could hardly believe it when I saw the very simple recipe described by Stéphane on his blog My French Heaven. He just boils the whole duck with some honey and soy sauce, allows it to dry in the refrigerator and then roasts it for 1.5 hours at 250C/480F. I tried this and the result was quite good! Thanks Stéphane! Peking Duck is one of my favorite Chinese dishes. You eat pieces of crispy skin with some cucumber and scallions with a sauce, rolled … Continue reading Simple Peking Duck

Easy Chicken Yakitori from the BBQ

One of the first Japanese foods I fell in love with was teriyaki and yakitori. Yakitori actually just means grilled chicken in Japanese (yaki = broil or grill, tori = chicken), whereas Teriyaki means grilled & glazed (teri = gloss or luster, yaki = broil or grill). Teriyaki can be used for different types of meat or seafood, where yakitori is obviously always chicken. The sauces used to make them are very similar, with Japanese soy sauce, mirin (sweet sake), sake, and sugar as the main ingredients. The main difference between chicken teriyaki and yakitori is that yakitori is grilled … Continue reading Easy Chicken Yakitori from the BBQ

Japanese Chicken loaf with Eggplant and Ginger

My favorite Japanese cookbook is “Japanese cooking: a simple art” by Shizuo Tsuji. Since some ingredients are hard to come by outside of Japan and because I don’t have a very good reference (unlike Italian food, in many cases I don’t have a clue what it is supposed to taste like) I haven’t cooked as much out of this book as I would like to. One of my favorite recipes from the book that I have cooked many times before is the chicken loaf. Here I’ve served it with roasted eggplant, a ginger-soy dipping sauce and Japanese rice. This recipe … Continue reading Japanese Chicken loaf with Eggplant and Ginger

Pairing wine and cheese, revisited

Four weeks ago I had organized the first cheese & wine tasting event for friends at my house. Last night was the second evening with mostly the same wines and cheese, but some differences and better pictures. For the full story, please check out my post about the first evening. Soft cheese with light white wine With a caprese salad this time we had an Arneis instead of a Gavi. Both are good matches, but if memory serves me right this was slightly better because this specific Arneis was a bit ’rounder’ and therefore a slightly better match for the … Continue reading Pairing wine and cheese, revisited

Pairing Wine and Cheese

Wine and cheese are a great match. But not just any wine with any cheese. Restaurants still offer a mix of very different cheeses with a glass of port. However in cases that different styles of cheeses are served together, they should be paired with different styles of wine as well. Last night we tasted 12 different wines with 12 different cheeses with a group of friends. We combined 7 types of cheese with 7 types of wine and tasted which combinations worked best. We had the cheese and wine for dinner, augmented with home-baked Italian bread and vegetable antipasti (sautéed mushrooms, roasted peppers, … Continue reading Pairing Wine and Cheese

Turbot sous-vide Asian style

The inspiration for this preparation came from having steamed turbot at a Chinese restaurant. The fish was steamed with fresh ginger, spring onions and chilli pepper and I liked it a lot. I tried to make something similar sous-vide and it came out even better! The texture of sous-vide turbot is amazing, and the Asian seasonings paired well with the fish without overpowering it. Ingredients For two servings Fillets of 1 turbot, skin on (around 900 grams or 2 pounds) 2-3 cm (1 inch) of fresh ginger root green of 2 spring onions 1/2 fresh chilli pepper salt soy sauce … Continue reading Turbot sous-vide Asian style