Poached chicken breast with beetroot and nectarine puree

poached chicken nectarine puree

This is the best dish I’ve cooked to date! The chicken breast is really *poached* i.e. it’s cooked in ambient hot water with no direct heat for 20 minutes. I learned this technique in a MasterClass and it’s an exact replication of that dish.

poach chicken

The protein in this dish comes from the crown of chicken breast without the wishbone, which I cut from a whole chicken.

beetroot food processor

You will need:

  • Two chicken breasts
  • 1 large beetroot
  • 1 nectarine
  • Raw goat milk
  • Nuts
  • Rosemary
  • Garlic scapes

poaching chicken

It’s quite a simple dish but the trick to cooking it is the perfect poaching of the chicken. The way to do it is to season a pot of water with garlic scapes, rosemary and salt and let it boil.

garlic scapes

I used garlic scapes (also known as garlic flower) to flavor the broth coz it tastes milder than garlic. It costs a lot more though at RM 19.90 / kg.

indirect heat cooking

When the water has started boiling, take the pot off the flame/electric hob/heating element and slide in the crown of chicken breast. Set a timer for 20 minutes and put the lid back on. You do not need direct heat to cook this – just the residual heat from the boiled stock.

goat milk puree

Meanwhile, I exchanged the vegetable puree that was in the original dish with a beetroot and nectarine puree. I also used raw goat milk while processing the puree. I felt that the colors look nice, and more importantly, it tasted awesome!

beetroot nectarine puree

The sweetness of the nectarine balances out the beetroot and you get a nice red puree for plating.

poached chicken

The crown of chicken breast should be taken out right at the 20 minute point, skin removed, and sliced into the two breast meat that it contains. I further made three cuts to each chicken breast be faithful to the dish replication.

chicken breast crown

The last step is to grind up some nuts or cereal and scatter it on the top of the plated chicken. It looks beautiful (if I can say so myself) and best of all, it tastes great!

grinder nuts

I’ve never tried indirect heat cooking and got it right at the first try. The beetroot and nectarine puree is smothered over the plate before the chicken breast is plated for the dish to pop (yes, you can roll your eyes right about now smirk) but the sweet puree was so good we ate it in other dishes too, like the king grouper in fish pastry shells.

poached chicken beetroot puree

My dear better half finished her dish and it was good to be able to do a restaurant quality dish from just watching a show. Haha! I’m putting this into Best of sixthseal.com – a category which I put very few of my posts into. :D

Coca-Cola Chicken a.k.a. ho lok kai

coke chicken

I remember Coke Chicken from the early 90’s when my sister watched her TVB drama series. The characters would go to a tai pai tong (an informal hawker stall, totally different from a cha chang teng) and ask for it. It was the first time I’ve heard of chicken being cooked with Coca-Cola and wondered if it actually *tastes like Coke*.

I have not been to Hong Kong at that point so I was intrigued by the sudden explosion in the popularity of Coke Chicken since then. It’s not so popular now (can’t find it in HK) but it’s a very fast and delicious way to make chicken.

ho lok kai

This is my better half’s recipe, it’s what we cooked for dinner last night:

  • 1 can Coca-Cola
  • 2 tablespoons cooking caramel (dark soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 300 grams chicken wings and drumsticks

coke chicken recipe

I wanted the drumsticks but Coke Chicken usually refers to wings, or so the TVB series would lead me to believe.

cooking with coke

There have been claims that this does not work with Diet Coke due to the (loads) of sugar required to *caramelize* the chicken. I’ve also heard that the addition of Coca-Cola is for the bicarbonate of soda, which is an *alkaline solution* that can actually change the fibers in chicken meat. The other camp says that Coke is acidic so it’s ideal as a *marinating agent* to tenderize protein.

coke chicken reduction

I don’t know which of the above it true, or none at all. I have found no research to quantify it, just the same words passed on without references. However, this dish is a quick and delicious meal. You just heat up the Coke while the marinated chicken is fried till golden brown. The chicken is then put into the Coca-Cola until it reduces to a thick sauce.

coca cola chicken

I like the idea of it though and I’ll try it with other beverages (Bundaberg Ginger Beer, Fanta Grape, different lagers and ales etc) and see how it goes! :)

Buttered King Grouper with White Wine Reduction in Bouchees Poissons

fish inside fish

This is a dish that I made for my better half during our anniversary. It’s basically fish inside a fish pastry case! :) Bouchee is a small flaky pastry shell and the word poissons means “fish” in French. There’s apparently only one manufacturer who makes bouchees poissons from a Google Image search.

This is my interpretation of Bouchee a la Reine – a French pastry dish but without the bechamel.

bouchees poissons

I bought a 250 gram piece of King Grouper at RM 80 / kg. It cost me slightly over RM 20 and I like this fish due to the relative lack of bones. You will need:

  • Fillet of grouper
  • Dry white wine
  • Fish pastry shells
  • Lemons
  • Arugula
  • Applemint
  • Butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

king grouper

I pan fried the King Grouper with lots of butter to produce a nice sear before removing it from the pan.

dry white wine

The next thing I did was to break down the fillet of King Grouper into smaller pieces so it’ll fit into the fish pastry shells.

arugula puree

I decided to play with my food processor and make an arugula and applemint puree. I had read up on it and blanched the arugula in hot water quickly before removing it and adding lemon juice so it retains that *bright green* color.

blancing arugula

However, the arugula and applemint puree turned out to be a bit of a disaster. There was just too little of the wild rocket leaves. 80 grams got processed into barely two tablespoons of watery “puree”. It did taste good though – the acidity from the lemons and the addition of applemint really makes it pop.

Sorry if that oft-repeated pretentious term made you cringe. It made me laugh while typing it too. smirk

arugula applemint puree

I had the impromptu idea of removing the insides of the bouchees poissons to the white wine reduction sauce and small pieces of King Grouper so there’s pieces of flaky pastry to soak up the liquid.

white wine reduction

This has the added benefit of heating up the fish before serving.

bouchee a la reine

I also plucked a bit of basil from our herb garden and added it to the fish pastry shells stuffed with buttered King Grouper. It was so good we finished all four (4) of the bouchees poissons – which has a net weight of 120 grams in addition to the fish! :)

Ramen burger + short mention

ramen burger

This is a homemade ramen burger that my better half made for me during our anniversary. It’s not burger in ramen but the other way round – the bun in the burger is substituted with ramen noodles! Thus, the patty is encased in ramen noodles instead of a regular burger bun.

ramen

I hear it’s all the rage and she managed to do it on her first attempt. You need to cook the ramen noodles, add a bit of the seasoning, and mix an egg inside (once the noodles have cooled) before sealing it in Glad wrap in the fridge overnight for it to set.

ramen burger bun

The ramen burger is delicious! You have to fry the ramen burger after it’s formed and set before using it as a bun replacement. It stayed intact throughout the eating process so I’m very impressed – the “ramen bun” didn’t fall apart. I’ll love to pick her brains and do this again myself during the weekend!

Just writing about it got me hankering for burgers!

Short mention:

It’s difficult to explain. Words just doesn’t do it justice. You’ll be better off watching the video above of two grown men talking in a totally heterosexual manner (one on the porcelain throne, the other submerged in the tub) in an attempt to describe the awesomeness that is the KFC Crazy Crunch. It features Reuben Kang so expect his classic humor to shine through!

There’s a parody out on Facebook by Shaheizy Sam (not sure who this dude is) and I personally don’t think it’s funny but it has gotten a quite a few Likes so maybe different people have a different sense of humor. I apologize in advance for wasting 16 seconds of your time that you’re not going to ever get back (watch the first Germani Network video instead) but it just goes to show – is the KFC Crazy Crunch really that hard to describe?

Hmm…

Sunday breakfast: Japanese square persimmons and a smoked Virginia ham sandwich

japan square persimmons

Look at this! It’s square persimmons from Japan! I’ve seen square Japanese watermelons before (apparently, they’re easier to pack) and with their penchant of all things square, the humble persimmon has not been spared this treatment.

square persimmons

I bought two of this last night. It’s RM 25 for two – each square persimmon costs RM 12.50! I got it on promo though so it was 50% off. It felt just the right amount of squishy so I thought it’ll be alright. It’s not cheap though – one bite will cost you RM 6.

japanese persimmons

We had it for breakfast this morning after chilling it in the fridge – the square persimmons are really sweet and juicy! We both loved it! The skin is very thin and not tough at all so you can eat it if you want but the epitome of decadence is to just eat the flesh inside. A delicious start to the day!

virginia ham gouda cheese

I also made us sandwiches for breakfast. You will need:

  • Smoked Virginia ham
  • Crab pate
  • Arugula (rocket leaves)
  • Gouda cheese slices
  • Thick sliced bread
  • Eggs

scrambled egg

I made a sunny side up egg for myself and a “scrambled egg” over easy with milk, pepper and salt for my dear. She also wanted a open face sandwich while I opted for tradition as we had a really thick sliced milk loaf. I also omitted the crab pate and Gouda for hers but it’s essentially the same sandwich…just more work for me since we like our eggs different.

Kidding, dear! smirk

kewpie sandwich sauce

I fried the thick milk bread with butter for the additional crisp. Her version is a single slice with the over easy scrambled egg, one slice of smoked Virginia ham and rocket leaves, served up as is. She added some of that dreadful Kewpie sandwich sauce she likes on top.

I don’t use salt, pepper or any other condiments for mine coz I reckon the ham, crab pate and Gouda cheese has more than enough flavor! (and the fragrant butter to fry the bread too)

gouda cheese

I spread a bit of crab pate on one slice of the bread and added two (2) slices of Hormel smoked Virginia ham. It was on special – I asked for 150 grams and got 148 grams (6 thin slices) for RM 10.35. It’s less than RM 2 per slice! I fried the other side with butter and put the Gouda cheese on top so it’ll melt and slid my sunny side up egg and some arugula in.

I love sunny side up eggs coz the yolk just oozes out when you slice the sandwich!

virginia ham sandwich

Sunday breakfasts is something we both look forward to – we get groceries before and see if there’s anything new. The square Japanese persimmons gets two huge thumbs up from us! I’ll wake up early and make a sandwich (or sometimes it’ll be her who cooks). I have amassed quite a lot of sandwich recipes!

open face sandwich

It’s not crappy store-bought commercial bread with unusual ingredients for experimentation and a laugh either. I think my cooking has improved a lot and my sandwiches now are more, dare I say it, artisanal (even sounds anally-retentive from the last two syllables ;)). I should put up a Top 10 lists of the best sandwiches I’ve made, a new list with artisan bread and ingredients like prosciutto. smirk

The Ultimate Hershey’s Cocoa Oreo Milkshake with Cardhu single malt Scotch whisky

cocoa oreo milkshake

This is an *adults-only milkshake* that I just made as a trial tomorrow and it’s perfect for a Friday night – excessive amounts of cocoa powder and single malt Scotch whisky are two of the main ingredients. I used Hershey’s Natural Unsweetened Cocoa which is a 100% cocoa powder.

oreos

The choice of Scotch is up to which area (Highlands, Islay, etc) you’re partial to but I used a Speyside 12 year old single malt Scotch whisky for mine since I like the taste of Cardhu (and it comes in a decanter like bottle with a huge stopper).

You will need:

  • 1 glass cold milk
  • 4 heaped tablespoons of Hershey’s Natural Unsweetened Cocoa
  • 3 scoops of vanilla ice cream
  • 4 Oreo cookies
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of cream
  • Single malt Scotch whisky to taste

cold milk

There is no reason to weigh the cold milk – my better half just brought over a scale and I wanted to try it out. Haha!

hersheys cocoa

I added 4 heaped tablespoons of Hershey’s Natural Unsweetened Cocoa into the blender – this is a very heavy and strong tasting cocoa powder (100% cocoa) so you don’t need to put in a lot unlike chocolate/malt drinks like Milo and Ovaltine and the pricing reflects that.

add oreos

I put in 3 Oreo cookies (plain) into the mix and discovered it wasn’t enough so added another via the drop-in hatch on top

cream milkshake

Next, put in the heavy cream

scotch milkshake

…and add the single malt Scotch whisky to taste. I poured in quite a lot of Cardhu 12 year old Scotch. I think I put nearly 3-4 shots inside. I still maintain it was a slip of the hand. smirk

You just need to blend this all up and pour to serve! It’ll fit into a single glass with a little to spare.

cocoa scotch milkshake

The cocoa and Oreo milkshake tastes good! The cocoa was a bit too intense so I’ll cut it down tomorrow. There’s also too much Scotch, my dear took a sip and nearly threw up, but it tastes alright to me. However, we noticed that it wasn’t as cold as we imagined and that’s coz…

We forgot the ice cream! -_-

Growing your own spring onions (and eating them)

cooking spring onions

This started out as a gift from my better half. We have a huge garden with a magnificent total of two (2) spring onions! :)

growing spring onions

It went from the picture above to:

planting spring onions

This.

…in just 25 days. It grows about 1/2 an inch a day!

harvesting spring onions

One day, we decided to harvest and eat it. I’ve nurtured it with tender loving care, watering and letting it have some sun for quite a while and it seems that the spring onions have peaked due to the depth of and amount of soil.

spring onions omelet

Thus, I just fried two sunny side up eggs and threw in the chopped up spring onions.

I didn’t put any salt or pepper and it tasted great!

chopping spring onions

I’m sure part of it is due to the fact that we grew it ourselves.

Try it out yourself! Having a small garden we can harvest and eat is fun (and healthy) since you have full control and spring onions are perfect since it’s something that grows extremly fast and you can use it in a variety of dishes.

grow spring onions

I have seen monsters at the wet market (we managed to get to half the length of commercial spring onions) and a particularly long and huge one during dinner over the weekend.

It gave me a minor case of pen…I mean, *spring onion* envy. smirk

Unagi with Kansas City BBQ sauce and single malt Scotch whisky

cooking unagi

This is my attempt to cook the classic unagi Japanese eel dish – with a decidedly Western influence. I managed to get my hands on some really fresh belut (freshwater eel) from the wet market. The lady also sells frogs and venison meat, the latter of which I made into a venison steak tartare.

belut eel

The large eels go for RM 10 while the smaller ones go for RM 5 each. I decided to get two of the smaller freshwater eels. It has been nicely dressed by the exotic meat (that’s what I like to call her) vendor to reveal the flesh with the head and bone hanging out.

You will need:

  • 2 freshwater eels
  • Kansas City BBQ sauce (sweeter than Texas style, and thicker)
  • Single malt Scotch whisky
  • Sugar and salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil

freshwater eel

I sliced the freshwater eel into something resembling unagi as usually seen in the various Japanese restaurants around town. smirk They all seem to have a similar size and serving style, most of the commercial ones anyway.

scotch bbq sauce

I also added in a healthy slug of Jura 16 year old single malt Scotch whisky into the mix of KC BBQ sauce, sugar and salt. I am particularly fond of this one as it goes well with coffee i.e. Irish Coffee. I’ve been known to enjoy a cuppa on days starting with an S with a shot of good Scotch and nothing beats the 16 year old Diurach’s Own from the Isle of Jura.

basting unagi

I’ve tried lightly peated Islay malts like Bowmore Enigma, common tipples like Glenfiddich’s 14 year old Rick Oak, and even *Irish* single malt whiskey – the Bushmill 10 Year Old but nothing beats the barely legal Jura. It just goes well with coffee. I digress. I went off on this tangent coz I was hoping it’ll go well with eel too!

caramelized unagi

I grilled/sauteed the eel with EVOO over a very low heat fire and kept on basting it with the BBQ sauce and Scotch mixture. I must have flipped, added more sauce, and flipped the small pieces of freshwater eel again at least 30 times. I kid you not. I think that was the secret to the taste. It got a thumbs up from my better half at least! :)

scotch unagi

The basting process caramelized the BBQ sauce and Scotch mixture around the eel and with the constant flips, the reduction stuck to the unagi and it tasted really, really delicious! I wouldn’t call it a traditional Japanese unagi but I made my own sauce and it tastes like how a rather inept American home cook would render it, I imagine.

Not the correct technique, but very tasty!

How to make venison steak tartare

venison steak tartare

I used the word make instead of cook coz this dish requires no cooking at all. Steak tartare is basically pieces of raw meat. The meat you use needs to be ultra fresh though or else a trip to the toilet (or worse, hospital) would be eminent. smirk

venison meat

I used venison meat sourced from a produce market. The strip of venison cost me RM 10 and comes in 250 gram pieces. She also sells frogs and eel meat, all of which we have cooked. But first, the venison steak tartare!

fresh venison meat

You will need:

  • Fresh venison meat
  • Raw egg
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

cutting steak tartare

Ideally, the venison meat should be sliced into small chunks and then arranged nicely on a plate but I wanted to see if I could speed things up with a food processor. You can but you have to use the Pulse setting. Don’t go to the 1 or 2 spins, that would *destroy* your meat, pulsing it is the way to go.

balsamic vinegar

I had pre-cut the meat into four (4) manageable slices and added in salt, pepper and most importantly, balsamic vinegar. Use the good stuff for this – I have a bottle of balsamic vinegar from Modena, made entirely in Italy (watch out for the “Sourced from EU” labels – that means it’s not made entirely in one place with ingredients from that place). It’s not the best, but it’s authentic, tastes good and a single bottle won’t bankrupt me.

steak tartare pulse

The next thing is to get an egg yolk and put it on top of the venison steak tartare. This is the traditional condiment that goes with it. Get a turkey egg if you have a good source for it coz it tastes fantastic but any regular egg would do as long as it’s fresh. See previous warning about raw food and salmonella etc. ;)

seperating egg yolk

I added a dash of pepper to brighten up the plating and it’s good to go! I loved the venison steak tartare – the meat is fresh, so it tastes good. There is an organ-y and slight mineral taste to it though, but it’s not overpowering. I would do this again but slice it myself the next time.

steak tartare

I love steak tartare coz of the raw meat with the raw egg yolk on top. My better half doesn’t like it so much, but it’s good to be able to do this coz not many places serves proper steak tartare due to the need for extremely fresh produce, considering the entire dish is raw.

Homemade Creamy Broccoli Pesto with Pasta

homemade creamy broccoli pesto

My better half wanted to make pesto – in particular, a creamy pesto with broccoli. I told her pesto needs to have pine nuts, Parmesan cheese and basil leaves for it to be properly called pesto but she showed me a recipe and talked me out of using the nuts. I won out on the cheese and basil though – we actually have a nice herb garden with basil leaves.

broccoli florets

…so that’s what we did over the weekend. I must say it’s quite a success, although this isn’t a traditional pesto with pine nuts but more like a creamy broccoli sauce.

This is actually from a recipe that we adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

steamed broccoli heads

There’s a head of broccoli that’s starting to turn yellow so we steamed that for about 10 minutes and cut the crown into florets. I chopped the stem almost down to the head. I *did not* use the stems at all, some recipes call for that, I only use the broccoli florets.

ingredients broccoli pesto

This is what we put into the food processor:

  • 1 small broccoli
  • 2 cloves raw garlic
  • 50 ml heavy thickened cream
  • 3 heaped tablespoons of Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Basil leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

I would say the most important thing in that creamy broccoli pesto sauce is the garlic. It’s no good without the garlic! I almost forgot to put it in.

adding fresh basil

Our herb garden is just starting to flower so we just picked a few fresh basil leaves to throw inside the food processor. I pulsed everything and processed it for about 30 seconds until all the ingredients were meshed well together.

cooking linguine

This is our first attempt in doing this so we just cooked some linguine and tossed it with our home-made creamy broccoli pesto.

The linguine was mixed with a huge chunk of butter. I reckon that since there’s olive oil in the pesto sauce, the pasta would taste better with butter. It did! We also had a simple poached egg with the pasta dish.

creamy broccoli pesto

It tasted really good! The heavy cream combined with the Greek yogurt makes a very nice base for the interesting textural experience of having millions of tiny broccoli florets rubbing against your tongue with every bite. The creamy pesto paste isn’t too heavy and rich either – we were surprised to find out it’s actually very light.

creamy broccoli pesto pasta

It’s not a traditional pesto but I’m keen to do one next time with our own basil leaves and some toasted pine nuts. As for this creamy broccoli pesto, it’s simple and delicious, a wonderful alternative to the heavier pasta sauces we’ve been using lately!

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