Friday, August 31, 2012

Vegetarians

Yesterday was interesting. A wine came in to drop off some information. At the same time, another wine supplier came in and dropped off some information. Interestingly, both were my wine suppliers! And both were vegetarians. Both have done excellent advice on wine and food pairings. Now the challenge for me is to create a vegetarian meal for them using what I had at hand.

I came up with Chinese wine eggs with marinated mushrooms served with a Lo Mein. Of course, I couldn't make a vegetarian broth in time and so I asked if their wines would go with the foods!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Mussels

I saw some fresh mussels at the market yesterday. Very interesting as you do not see them locally. Usually, I need to order from speciality stores. I asked and the monger said they were bred locally and very affordable.

I bought a catty. Cleaned them amd removed the beards. I sautéed some shallots, garlic and Spanish ham and then put the mussels in. A bit of Sauvignon Blanc and broth and it was reach in 5 mins. Unfortunately, local mussels lack the flavour and to be frank, the beard is not removed completely no matter how hard I try. I'll pass and thumbs down for this seafood. I'd rather pay more for an imported one.

Wine pairing with food

It was fun yesterday. A wine supplier brought a couple samples of white to the shop. Since my knowledge of wine is limited, I requested the wine expert to give me some opinions on wine pairing.

The fun part was that the wine expert was a vegetarian. So I let her taste all my vegetarian side dishes and the following pairing was done.



Goes well with an Italian Shiraz
Goes will with a Proseco


Pinot Grigio works fine too with my mushrooms

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Scallops

I like scallops.  During our vacation in Toronto, we came across these frozen scallops at the supermarket.  Compared to what we get in Hong Kong, they were gigantic.  Normally, the only ones available in this size are the Japanese scallops and they are usually used for sashimi.  What amazed me was that these Japanese scallops are only good as sashimi.

These US scallops were extremely tasty and sautéed to perfection - just a minute on each side. And because we were on holiday, we could only spare time for these as breakfast items !


Crumbs

I've been thinking of another tasting menu for the shop. It's harder than I think. With each dish, I wanted to create different flavours and textures and it needs to be unique from my last tasting menu. But the crunch factor needs to be incorporated into the dishes for such.

Instead of deep frying the food for crunch, I decided to add the crunch factor on the side. I borrowed the idea from my sister's apple crumble. And so the first crunch on the side will be for a dessert.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Soft boiled eggs

Soft boiled eggs seem hard to make.  In fact they aren't.  My mom has been making them since I was a kid and makes them perfect each time.  She uses the smallest pot in the house, takes an egg or two out from the fridge and puts cold water to cover the eggs and brings the water to a boil.  Then she turns off the heat and lets the egg sit in the pot for another two minutes.  Perfect soft boiled eggs.  She times the whole process and it usually takes 6 minutes.  The secret for homemade soft boiled eggs is you should have your own secret recipe and stick to it.  As a rule of thumb, soft boiled eggs take around 6 minutes to make, depending on the size of the egg and whether they are straight from the fridge or at room temperature.

At the restaurant, we rely on equipment for our soft boiled eggs as we make at least a couple dozen of eggs each time.  The eggs are weighed and the temperature to boil the eggs are set.  We cook our eggs at 96 degrees celsius to ensure the eggs do not crack easily.  Based on the weight of the eggs, we cook the eggs for at least 6 minutes and then the eggs are cooled down and peeled.   It is important the eggs are cooked according to their weight and time.  A 10 second deviation can lead to yolks  either too runny or hard boiled..