Monthly Archives: February 2015
Normally when I’ve been out socialising and I’ve had a bit too much to drink, a little pit stop is normally called for, to help soak up some of the liquid happiness and fortunately in the city I’m in, there’s a Chinatown, that normally caters for my need for a decent feed.
My “Go to” dish is normally the Malaysian/Singaporean favourite dish of, Char kway teow. This rice noodly, seafood laden, chilli infused, dish of goodness has special regenerative powers for me, consisting of flat rice noodles (ho fun), seafood, scrambled eggs and chilli sauce. In Malaysia and Singapore it’s commonly found amongst street hawkers, originating as cheap and cheerful food for labourers. While in the photo’s I’m using a deep pan, I’d recommend if you have one, a well seasoned wok, to impart some of that smokey flavour you get from cooking with it.
Sharing is caring they say, and what better to share than a meal with friends? I wanted to prepare something to share with some friends of mine last week and thought, well everybody like chicken and every one loves pie, why not make a chicken pie? So in keeping with last weeks theme, I decided to bake a chicken and mushroom pie.
This time the base of the filling, is on one of the other classic mother sauces from French cuisine, the velouté sauce, which is basically a roux with clear stock, in this case the chicken stock made from the poached chicken that we’re going to use for the filling as well.
The great advantage of poaching a whole chicken, is the amount of stock that you make is more than enough, once you’re done with the chicken, strain the stock so that it’s clear than pout it into a ice cube tray and you’ve got a fantastic stock you can use later on, which in my opinion is so much tastier than something from the supermarket. Cook, eat and enjoy.
At the moment in the northern hemisphere, a cold snap has swept across the country, brining with it a bit of snow and less than ideal views. Being indoor bound in periods like this, comfort food is normally the order of the day. Some people prefer cake, other’s a pizza pie, what I prefer is a good old fashion pie, with crust and all.
Having grown up in the South Pacific, seafood was always readily available and while it doesn’t get quite as cold back home as where I live now, I still consider any time is still a good time to eat a pie. In this case a seafood pie.
I could of made the pastry from scratch, but let’s face it, comfort food is also about convenience. So apart from the pastry, how would I make this seafood pie, you ask?
In this case I’d start off with a béchamel sauce, which itself is based on a roux or a flour and fatty substance based paste. Flesh it out a little bit with some milk, an you have the basis of what forms one of the three classical French sauces. It’s also commonly refereed to as a white sauce, it’s one of the more useful bases you can make.
Once you’ve made the béchamel sauce, you’re virtually done, just drop in your filling, roll out your pastry, cover, baste and heat. In 30 minutes you can treat yourself, to a steaming hot slice of pie.
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This dish is influenced by a sister of mine, who was trained formally in the kitchen and first introduced this dish to me almost 20 years ago. While I don’t necessarily have her technique, I was fortunate enough growing up to observe my mother cooking, who used to run a catering company and as a teenager, and having spent some time working in a local bakery, I like to think I have some inkling, of which end of the knife to hold in the kitchen.
What reminded me of this dish was a panini I saw in a local cafe recently, that used similar ingredients of bacon, brie and cranberries, which you may substitute out, if apricots aren’t your thing. Any this dish reminds me of my sister and of course a little touch of home, which is now half a world away.
In this instance I’ve decided to pair the cordon bleu with blanched vegetables, sautéed mushrooms and garlic mashed potatoes. Prep, cook and enjoy my little homage to family.
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