My Cantonese style Pork

My Best Chinese Recipes

 

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My best Chinese recipes – Why am I writing this post after a busy couple of family days and lots of Halloween baking? When I am not in a kitchen at work, I do quite a lot of administration sat at a computer, so you might ask why do I choose this as my downtime? I wish it was as easy to explain as some of the best food writers are able to make it. I want to share my joy and excitement when just a few ingredients come together to make something more as a whole dish. What’s more, you don’t have to a Michelin starred chef or culinary alchemist to experience this. And my best way to try to show you this with just a few basic staples and some herbs and aromatics is Chinese food.*

A table of Chinese Food

A table of Chinese Food

I’m such a fan of Chinese cooking I think it is the contrast in flavours to food styles and cuisines I learned at college and early in my training. There is the simplicity I am writing about to wok-fried dishes that are nutritious, quick to cook and great for an easy supper. At the other end of the scale, you can collate a series of dishes to create a multicourse awe-inspiring banquet. Chinese is not just one flavour but a series of distinct regional styles and use of ingredients. And what ingredients star anise, garlic, ginger, spring onions, soy sauce, seafood, pork and duck some of my all time favourites.

But what I really think about Chinese food is the wonderful mix of slightly sweet and salty soy, a little sour rice wine, some chilli and ginger bite, crisp vegetables tossed in delicious sauces and succulent melt in the mouth meats. I am a very lucky chef to be able to cook with some fantastic ingredients and too have learnt my trade from some inspiring mentors. I am a very lucky foodie to have eaten in some of the best restaurants in the world and tasted some incredible dishes. However, if I had to choose a final meal, I’m not sure in what circumstances, but my choice wouldn’t be some intense creation with numerous exotic ingredients but Crispy Duck Pancakes with sweet, sticky Hoisin Sauce, some Crispy Beef and some Steamed Scallops with Ginger and Spring Onions.

*Other cultures and cuisines have simple great tasting recipes I love dishes from across Asia, India, Italy and Mexico to name but a few, which are all made from just a few excellent ingredients.
Here is a selection of some of my Best Chinese Recipes

Beef in Black Bean Sauce

“I have done was an inspiring course in London with Ken Hom, equipped myself with numerous books, woks, steamers, and ingredients from quaint little Asian specialty suppliers and set to work as only a chef can and chopped, pounded, crushed, fried and ate my way through the Chinese canon. Cantonese, Shandong, Hunan and spicy Szechuan cuisine with noodles, rice, black beans, bok choi and lots of seasoning; garlic, chilli, cloves and ginger, and the wonderfully pungent star anise. Am I giving my little local take away a bit of a run for his money what do you think?”

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Lamb with Ginger

Slow Braised Lamb with Ginger and Spring Onions 

“In China lamb or mutton is eaten mostly in the north and north west and is especially favoured by the Muslim and Mongol populations but it is available everywhere. The most popular street food in China are Xinjiang lamb skewers with fiery and fragrant with chilli and Szechuan peppercorns, which you can find in every major city throughout China. Chinese recipes mostly call for mutton or substitute goat rather than lamb mainly because traditionally lamb was scarce, and the cooking times would be longer. ”

Shanghai Red Braised Pork

Red braised Pork

Shanghai Red-braised Pork Belly 

“In China red coloured meats are eaten for good luck as red is the colour of fire, a symbol of good fortune and joy. ‘Red cooking’ is a popular method of braising dishes in northern, eastern, and southeastern China. The name is derived from the dark red-brown colour of the cooked items and the sauce using both dark and light soy sauces, Chinese Rice Wine, and caramelized sugar flavoured with whole spices such as Star Anise and Cassia bark.

My Cantonese style Pork

Cantonese style Pork

My Cantonese style Pork

“Cantonese is revered in China as one of the most celebrated national styles of cooking. In the eighteenth century, the Qing Dynasty allowed the Guangdong region, home to Cantonese, to be opened to the first foreign traders and natives from the area were amongst the first immigrants to settle in the United Kingdom and America exporting their traditions and food.”

Perfectly Fluffy Rice

“I thought we need to look at how to cook the perfect bowl of light fluffy rice to eat with all the other dishes. If you follow the tips below you don’t need a rice steamer cluttering up your work surface and I know you won’t go wrong with the perfect accompaniment.”


My Great Shish Kebab Recipe for your Bank Holiday BBQ

It looks like we are going to get some sunny spells over the Bank holiday weekend and let’s face it if it rains who hasn’t grilled under an umbrella before. Now if you are tired of same old, same old burgers and sausages burnt to a crisp today’s post are not one but a host of recipes. In a restaurant one of your goals is consistency, you want a dish your customers can enjoy again and again and recommend to all their friends. This is one of the reasons we follow recipes. As someone interested in food, and you are reading this article, you will probably look at a recipe then like me tweak a little ingredient here, adjust an amount there. I am going to make a wish and hope you change the following recipe(s) for Shish Kebabs totally, utterly and completely. Just think of them as the loosest of culinary guidelines. There is an almost infinite opportunity to mix and match textures and flavours and experiment to your heart’s content.

Kebab

 

Shish kebab is an English version of the Turkish words for sword and roasted meat. A Shish Kebab is a grilled skewer of marinated meat, normally lamb but chicken, beef, veal, and even swordfish can be substituted. In Turkish cooking, the vegetables are normally cooked separately.

There are a couple of rules for Shish Kebabs, first please if you are using wooden skewers soak them in water overnight as they have a tendency to burn, especially over a barbecue or char-grill. The second is not so easy and requires a little experience. Cut up your ingredients so they will cook at the same time. What do I mean by this? A large wedge of onion will not cook as quick as a king prawn so separate out the layers. Courgettes, mushrooms and bell pepper all add colour and flavour but need to be quite large pieces if mixed with small pieces of chicken or steak as the denser texture of the meat takes longer to cook. If you want to make a seafood Shish Kebab try wrapping scallops in bacon to protect them from the searing heat of the grill and add more flavour. Finally, not a rule but a top tip, a good marinade will add a ton of flavour but be careful, sugary marinades can burn and are better brushed on the food in the latter stages of cooking.

shish-kebab

Chicken and Vegetable ( Shish ) Kebabs                                          makes 8 kebabs

2 large Chicken Breasts cut in two-centimetre chunks

1 large Courgette, washed and cut into slices

1 large Red Bell pepper, cut in chunks

1 large Red Onion, peeled, quartered, and parted in layers

16 large Button Mushrooms, wiped

Quality Olive Oil

Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

8 skewers

Thread the meat and vegetables on the skewers. Place on a baking tray, drizzle with oil and season generously. Cook on barbecue or under a medium to high grill turning regularly for around ten minutes until cooked. There that is it the easiest recipe I will probably ever post.

Now let your taste buds run wild, here are a few suggestions;

King Prawn and Rump Steak ( Surf’n’turf )

Monkfish, Prawns, and Scallops wrapped in Bacon

Chicken Tikka

Lamb with Garlic and Thyme

Mediterranean Vegetables

Cajun Tuna

Sweet and Sour Pork with Bell Pepper and Pineapple

skewer

Marinades 

Marinating your meat and fish for a couple of hours will add multiple layers of flavour and you can brush the Shish Kebabs with the marinade during cooking. Remember that if you use a sweetened marinade to lift the kebabs a little higher on the barbecue or turn the grill down a fraction as they will easily burn over a high heat.

Quick Southern Barbecue – 4 tablespoons Tomato Ketchup, 4 tablespoons Vegetable Oil, 1 tablespoon Sherry Vinegar, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce, 1 tablespoon Dark Brown Sugar, 2 Cloves Garlic, peeled and pureed, 1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika, ½ teaspoon Hot Pepper sauce, ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper

Greek Style – 4 tablespoons quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil, freshly squeezed juice of two Lemons, 2 tablespoons Honey, ½ teaspoon freshly chopped Oregano, ½ teaspoon freshly chopped Rosemary, ½ teaspoon freshly chopped Thyme, ¼ teaspoon Sea Salt, ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper

Asian – 4 tablespoons Vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons toasted Sesame Oil, 2 tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar, 2 tablespoons Light Soy Sauce, 2 cloves of Garlic, peeled and pureed, 1 large piece of preserved Ginger, finely grated, ¼ teaspoon Chinese 5 Spice, ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper

Sweet ‘n’ Sour – 4 tablespoons Tomato Ketchup, 4 tablespoons Pineapple Juice, 2 tablespoon Honey, 1 tablespoon Sherry Vinegar, 2 cloves of Garlic, peeled and pureed, ¼ teaspoon Sea Salt, ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper

Fiery – 8 tablespoons quality Olive Oil, 1 small hot Chilli, finely chopped, 2 cloves of Garlic, peeled and pureed, 1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika, ½ teaspoon Hot Pepper Sauce, ½ teaspoon Sea Salt, ½ teaspoon Black Pepper

Wine and Beer

What to Drink? Slightly smoky grilled chicken kebabs pair well with un-oaked refreshing New world Chardonnays and are complemented by the light hop and citrus flavours of IPA or Indian Pale Ales

Allergens in this recipe are;

Celery    Raw Fish     and Soya maybe present in your marinade please check the recipe.

Please see the Allergens Page


Devilled Kidneys and Toast

Devilled Lambs Kidneys on toasted English Breakfast Muffin

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It is often said that the Devil has all the good tunes, Rock ‘n’ Roll was denounced as the Devils music and even a whole genre ( heavy metal ) is believed to be almost utterly devoted to his Satanic majesty. Think of ‘ Devil Inside ‘, ‘ Sympathy for the Devil ‘ and ‘ Devil with the Blue dress on ‘. * Now there are obviously some great tub-thumping hymns devoted to the singing the praises for other side, and I love belting out a good hymn, but my money is with the big bad red guy as far as music goes. But this has set my mind racing what about food? What meals sustain the heavenly host and what fuels the fires of the ole devil and which is best? Americans are rightly proud of their Angel Cakes and almost every party must have a tray of Devilled eggs but what other ethereal recipes are there?

* INXS, The Rolling Stones and Van Halen

The Charlie Daniels Band and surely the devils greatest tune

In the grand tradition of Edwardian English dinning before even I was a trainee, a savoury course ended formal dinner party menus and quite often this comprised of Angels and Devils on Horseback. The former are oysters wrapped in bacon and the latter pitted dates stuffed with mango chutney similarly enclosed, both are grilled or baked and served on hot buttered toast garnished with watercress. I am exceedingly partial to both Angels and Devils so the result of this contest is a draw. But I am glad to say I do have a winner, one of my favourite all-time dishes Devilled Lambs Kidneys.

Devilled Kidneys and Toast

Devilled Lambs Kidneys

Like the ubiquitous eggs, the spicy ham of the same name and countless other dishes a devilled dish like Devilled Lambs Kidneys has a piquant, spicy flavour usually from the addition of Cayenne pepper and / or strong mustard. In a biography published in 1791, Samuel Johnson’s biographer James Boswell referred to partaking of a dish of “devilled bones” for supper. The bones were generally those of cold poultry, game or beef. The pieces of meat were covered with what was then called devil sauces. This is probably the earliest published use of the word “devil” as a cooking term meaning “to cook something with hot spices or condiments. Most Food historians believe that the term was adopted because of the connection between the devil and the excessive heat in Hell.

Devilled Lambs Kidneys on Toasted English Breakfast Muffin             serves 4

Of all the offal available with the possible exception of Sweetbreads, kidneys are my personal favourite, from a delicious calves’ kidney roasted in a blanket of its own fat to sweet lambs kidneys pan-fried on toast. Kidneys are best flash fried very quickly over a high heat or braised nice and slowly. As offal kidneys are best consumed within 24 hours of purchase. Devilled Lambs Kidneys are a delicious starter, suitable for a light supper or an indulgent breakfast dish.

8 English Breakfast Muffins

12 Lambs Kidneys ( ask your butcher to trim them )

A little milk

2 small Shallots, peeled and very finely diced,

2 cloves of Garlic, peeled and crushed

A small glass of Brandy

100 ml very thick Double Cream

50 gr Butter

A good glug of quality Olive Oil

1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard

3 – 4 tablespoons Plain Flour

½ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper ( more if you wish )

A generous shake of Worcestershire Sauce

Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

First, prepare your kidneys by cutting them in half and removing the veins with a small sharp knife or sharp scissors. If your butcher will do this for you even better, just ask him for 8 halved and trimmed kidneys. Place the prepared kidneys in a small plastic container and cover with milk to soak out any remaining bitterness. Cover and place in refrigerator.

Cut your muffins in half and heat a glug of olive oil and half the butter in a large, thick-bottomed, sauté pan. Sauté the muffins on both sides until golden brown, remove drain on kitchen paper and keep warm. Drain the kidneys and pat dry with more kitchen paper. Mix the flour, Cayenne and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper together and thoroughly dredge the prepared kidneys.

Heat the remaining oil and butter together in a second large, sauté pan and cook the shallot without colouring until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and fry for a couple more minutes stirring occasionally then add the kidneys and cook quickly until the kidneys change colour and start to brown.  Flip the kidneys over and add the brandy and flame off the alcohol then add the mustard. Stir continuously and pour in the cream and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer for two minutes to cook out and slightly thicken the sauce then remove from the heat. Check and correct the seasoning and add a little more cayenne if you like a bigger kick.

Place a toasted muffin on each plate to with the devilled kidneys and sauce on top, garnish with chopped parsley and serve.

Pol Roger Champagne

What to Drink? The Devilled Kidneys served at the renowned chef Fergus Henderson’s London restaurant St. Johns are paired with Pol Roger Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill Champagne 2004, which is perhaps a little expensive so I will settle for their other suggestion a glass of Black Velvet.

Allergens in this recipe are;

  Flour   Milk  Mustard

Please see the Allergens Page


Shepherds Pie

British Pie Week – Shepherd’s Pie

 

Pie Week

It is British Pie Week that quintessential staple of a good pub menu, and who doesn’t like pie ( apologies if you don’t dear reader ). I want you to think of tender braised beef in a rich gravy wrapped in short crust pastry, lightly poached seafood in an indulgent creamy sauce and topped with a cheesy mash, a rich lamb, plum, celery and port pie with golden flaky puff pastry, the choices are almost infinite even before we get to desserts and a deep filled apple pie with lashings of custard.

 

Beef Pie

Beef Pie

 

So whatever takes your fancy and makes you Ap-Pie, did you see what I did there, you should go out and get baking a delicious pie for your dinner and while the weather is still cold and blustery here in the Channel Islands I am going to share one of my favourite pie recipes. Traditionally Shepherd’s Pie is a réchauffé dish made from reheating leftover minced lamb and vegetables in gravy and serving with a mashed potato top. My recipe uses one of my favourite cuts of lamb, the shoulder, which is full of flavour and delicious when slow cooked. If you want to try something a little different you could try topping the pie with sweet potato mash. The Shepherd’s Pie can be made in advance and frozen then defrosted and baked as required.

Shepherds Pie

Shepherds Pie with slow-cooked Lamb Shoulder

Shepherd’s Pie with slow-cooked Lamb Shoulder

2kg diced Lamb Shoulder, cut into 2cm cubes

( Ask your butcher to cut this up for you and to give you the bone )

1 large Onion, peeled and very finely sliced

2 large Carrots, peeled and sliced

2 sticks of Celery, washed, peeled and finely sliced

1 x 400 gr can of chopped Tomatoes

500 ml of quality Veal stock

200 ml good White Wine

100 gr Plain Four

60 gr Butter

6 tablespoons Olive Oil

2 tablespoons Tomato Puree

Large handful of Curly Parsley washed and finely chopped

2 Bay leaves

2 generous sprigs of Thyme

Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

For the topping

1 kg Mashed Potato

60 gr grated Cheddar Cheese

20 gr finely grated Parmesan

 Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed frying pan and sauté the diced lamb in three batches until the all of the pieces are browned all over. Remove the browned lamb with a slotted spoon and place into a large heavy-bottomed pan or casserole. Add the onion, carrot, bay leaves and thyme to the frying pan and gently sauté for fifteen to twenty minutes until the onion has started to soften.

Add the plain flour and tomato paste to the cooking vegetables and stir in and cook for two minutes. Add the diced tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme and veal stock and bring to a simmer stirring regularly. Return the lamb to the pan, reduce the heat and cook for an hour and a half or until lamb is tender and the sauce is reduced. Remove from the heat, remove the thyme and bay leaves and season. Allow to cool and stir in the parsley.

 Preheat your oven to 375 F / 190 C / Gas Mark 5. Place the lamb mixture into an ovenproof dish and cover with the mash. Sprinkle with the Cheddar and Parmesan and place in the oven. Bake for fifty minutes until the cheese is browned at the edges and bubbling and the Shepherd’s Pie is heated right through.

Wine and Beer

What to Drink? Shepherd’s Pie pairs fantastically with classic English Ales such as Greene King’s Abbots Ale or Timothy Taylors Landlord. If you want to drink wine Rioja is a classic partner for lamb if you want something lighter try a fruity Pinot Noir.

Allergens in this recipe are;

Celery  Flour   Milk

Please see the Allergens Page