Saturday, January 25, 2014

Lamb with Parsnip Puree

The recipe
Peel 800g of parsnips, cut them into large pieces and boil or steam for 15 minutes or until they are soft enough to mash. Put the cooked parsnips in the bowl of a food processor or mixer, add 50g of butter, a little salt and a generous grinding of black pepper, then process or mash to a smooth purée. Scrape into a mixing bowl and keep warm.
Warm a thick slice of butter or 2 tbsp of olive oil in a shallow pan. Season 4 lamb chump steaks, each weighing roughly 250g, and cook them in the butter or oil, over a high heat. When they are brown outside but still pink within, remove them to a warm plate and cover to keep warm.
Add 1 tsp of ground cumin and 2 tsp of curry powder (your own blend or favourite brand) to the pan and let it cook for a minute. Add the juice of a lemon to the pan, let it sizzle and foam with the butter or oil and spices. Chop a small handful of mint and stir it into the juices, check the seasoning. Stir the spiced pan juices lightly into the parsnip purée.
Divide the parsnip mash between four warm plates and place the rested lamb steaks on top. Serves 4.
The trick
Timing. You can start cooking the lamb just before you start to mash the parsnips. If want to get the mash made before you start cooking the lamb, then keep the mash warm by placing it in a covered bowl in a pan of hot water.
The twist
This spiced butter works well with mashed potatoes or swede. Use boneless pork steaks instead of lamb. This is a fast midweek supper, so I use a branded curry powder, but you could mix your own and keep it in a tightly stoppered jar out of sunlight.

Duck Casserole for the Pressure Cooker

A recipe handed down from the author's late mother, something she used to make for dinner parties. The idea came from Ess Gezunterhayt – Yiddsh for "eat in good health" – a charity booklet from the early 1960s.
Serves 4
medium duck 1.75–2.25kg
vegetable oil 2-3 tbsp
plain flour 2 tbsp
Cognac 3 tbsp
dry white wine 100ml
chicken or duck stock 250ml
bouquet garni or mixed herbs such as herbes de Provence
tomato purée 1 tsp
carrot 1
small white onions 12
small button mushrooms 12
Joint the duck, or have the butcher do it for you. Pour enough oil into the pressure cooker to coat the base. Season the duck with salt and ground black pepper and turn the heat to medium high. Brown a few pieces then remove to a plate. Pour out the excess oil, leaving in about 2 tbsp.
Return the pressure cooker to the heat and stir in the flour. When it is mixed into the fat, add the Cognac, wine, stock, herbs and tomato purée. Bring to the boil and put in the duck pieces and the carrot. Clamp on the lid. Bring to full pressure, turn the heat down to medium and cook for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and vent immediately.
While the duck is cooking, put the onions into a pan with water or stock to cover. Simmer for 15 minutes then drain. Put the onions and mushrooms into the pressure cooker, turn the heat down to medium and cook for 5 minutes more. Remove all the solid ingredients from the pressure cooker, setting the carrot aside. Put the carrot in a fine sieve and mash it back into the pressure cooker. Stir into the cooking liquid to blend. Taste the liquid. If it is too diluted, boil it down briskly. If there isn't enough of it, add stock or water. Serve with chopped parsley, rice or mashed potatoes.
To cook the duck without a pressure cooker, make in the traditional way in a large, heavy-based casserole. The cooking of the duck will take 50-60 minutes or when the meat comes easily away from the bones. You can skip cooking the onions separately, adding them to the pan at the same time as the duck pieces.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Sweet Pickled Onion and Watermelon Radish Salad

Makes 4 cups

1 large Watermelon radish, sliced into thin rounds
1 small white onion, sliced into thin rounds
1/3 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
splash of rice wine vinegar (optional – adds an extra layer of tart-sweetness)
1. Place radish and onion slices in a large mixing bowl.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and toss well.
3. Refrigerate overnight to chill and meld flavors before serving.

Watermelon and Daikon Radish, several awesome ideas!

Here’s an article reposted from bon appétit:
Consider the radish. We relegated the root to garnish status for years, learning nothing from the French, who had been marrying its subtle heat and satisfying crunch to butter and salt.
Thankfully, America has finally caught on to its charms. We’re not only shaving radishes raw to headline salads with bite, but also pickling, grilling, and–our favorite–roasting them to a mellow sweetness. And the spicy green tops, usually mere fodder for the compost pile, are a revelation in salads or soups.
Chefs today can’t use enough of them. “The textures you can get out of radishes are so cool,” says chef Ari Taymor of Alma in Los Angeles, who taps a handful of varieties to make a silky radish “tofu” dish. And did we mention there are literally dozens of varieties? At last, the little red root is getting its day in the sun.
Three Radishes, Three Ways
1. Empire State South, Atlanta
”Watermelon radishes look good shaved, but they rock when cooked,” says chef Hugh Acheson. He sautes cubes of the colorful radish in brown butter and tops with benne (sesame) seeds.
2. Nomad, New York
Chef Daniel Humm dips svelte,
spicy breakfast radishes in fleur de sel-spiked tempered butter and chills them until the butter sets. “It’s the ultimate simple-as-can-be bite,” he says.
3. Alma, Los Angeles
The giant, full-flavored white
daikon radish is a favorite of chef Ari Taymor, who steeps it in soy milk to make a silky radish “tofu.” Says Taymor, “It’s all about drawing out that flavor.”
Bring It Home: How to Roast the Root
Toss halved trimmed radishes on a baking sheet with olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper. Roast at 425° until crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Toss with fresh lemon juice, room-temperature butter, and chopped fresh herbs; season with flaky sea salt (such as Maldon).

Watermelon Radish and Purple Kale tossed in lemon juice and butter!

watermelon radish, half-trimmed
olive oil
salt and pepper
purple kale
lemon juice
fresh herbs
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
  1. Toss the watermelon radish in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in a roasting pan and roast for about 10 minutes.
  2. Blanche the purple kale in some stock for 5 minutes.
  3. Combine the watermelon radish and kale in a large bowl. Toss with lemon juice, room-temperature butter, fresh herbs, and some salt and pepper.

Gammon with Roasted Pumpkin

This is a recipe adapted from the BBC and other places, and definitely modified according to what I had at home. Thus, here are the links to the actual recipes I found:
And here is my modified version:
1 piece gammon, big enough to be roasted for 1 1/2 hours
4-5 sage leaves
4 cups juice (I used nettle cordial + water to cover the gammon)
10 peppercorns
1 star anise
1/2 pumpkin
salt and pepper
3 TBS maple syrup
1 ladleful cooking liquid (from simmering)
1/4 tsp chili powder
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
  1. Place the gammon in a pot. Cover with the juice (cordial + water), add sage, peppercorns and star anise, and bring to boil. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
  2. Cut the pumpkin into quarters. Brush with oil, and place on the roasting pan, skin side down. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add a piece of butter on the top of each quarter. Bake for 45 minutes.
  3. When the gammon has cooked, place onto the roasting pan. Brush with the maple syrup glaze and bake at 200C/400F/Gas 6 for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Carve the gammon, and serve with scoops of pumpkin.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Kohlrabi, Apple and Shitake Salad

Inspired by Girl and the Goat in Chicago, where Markus and I had dinner on Sunday 5 Jan, 2013 ... I am recreating this from the memory lingering on my tastebuds!


1 kohlrabi, sliced thinly
red apple, sliced thinly
toasted almond slices
shitake mushrooms (fresh), blanched
salad greens

1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 TBS mayonnaise
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp pure maple syrup
2 TBS minced shallot
2 TBS minced peeled ginger
1 TBS white / light vinegar
1/4 cup grapeseed oil or other light oil
salt & pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the almonds on a pie plate and toast for about 7 minutes, until golden. Let cool.
  2. In a food processor or blender, combine the ginger, shallot, vinegar, mayonnaise, mustard, soy sauce and maple syrup and puree. With the blender on, add the grapeseed oil in a thin stream and blend until creamy. Season the dressing with salt and pepper.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the kohlrabi with the apple, shitake, toasted almonds and dressing. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Add the salad greens and toss gently. Serve right away.
Kohlrabi, Fennel and Blueberry Salad
  • 1 bulb kohlrabi, peeled and very thinly sliced on a mandoline
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced on a mandoline
  • 2 ounces semifirm goat cheese, shaved or sliced thin (1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons torn mint leaves

Monday, January 6, 2014

Sake-Braised Crispy Pork Belly

A mélange of several recipes, but with a decidedly Japanese base flavor. The inspiration comes from Hiroko’s American Kitchen, Gordon Ramsay’s Crispy Pork Belly (available here:, and this associated recipe for (Japanese?) Crispy Pork Belly, which seems inspired by twice-cooked meats (

Also, this seems to be the traditional recipe for Japanese braised pork belly:


1 pork belly
soy sauce
Worchestershire sauce
red pepper flakes

green onion
vegetable oil

kelp or vegetable stock

Swiss chard or kale, chopped
other vegetables (such as turnip, brussels sprouts)

rice vinegar

  1. In a large bowl, combine 6 TBS soy sauce, 5 TBS honey, 3 TBS Worchestershire sauce, and 1 TBS red pepper flakes. Marinade the pork belly in the fridge for 2 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325 Fahrenheit (gas mark 3). Take out the pork belly and pat dry, reserving the marinade. Heat a pan with vegetable oil and fry the pork belly, fat side up at first, till all sides are browned. Put the pork belly in a medium pot of water and bring to boil with a slice of ginger and some green onion. Lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  3. Drain, cool with cold water, and pat dry the pork belly in a colander.
  4. Bring 1 cup of sake, 2 cups of stock, and 1/2 cup of mirin to boil in a pot. Pour into the container that will go into the oven. Add 2 TBS sugar, and then the pork belly, in a single layer, fat side up. Cover and cook in the oven for 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Meanwhile, blanche the Swiss chard and any other vegetables and set aside.
  6. Take out the pork belly from the oven. Add the reserved marinade, onion, and any other hard vegetable to the tray. Return to oven and cook for another 1/2 hour.
  7. Remove the pork belly from the oven and place in an airtight container along with the vegetables. Add 1 TBS soy sauce if desired to the cooking liquid. Return the cooking liquid to the pot and add 1 TBS rice vinegar. Cook over medium heat until reduced by 1/3. Separate the fat if necessary.
  8. When ready to prepare for serving, heat the vegetables and pork belly in the gravy for about 5 minutes, adding the Swiss chard.
  9. Heat the oven to 500 Fahrenheit (gas mark 9+). Cut the pork belly into squares and crisp the skin by roasting in the oven for 15-20 minutes with a drizzle of oil, fat side up ... or on the stove.
  10. Serve on rice or similar grain!