Saturday, 1 March 2014

Becoming a Chef

I had always been reluctant to be called a chef. For me, I have always liked to be called a cook instead.  Since that´s what I consider myself to be.  Now that am more matured, I have realized that I cant be forever be a cook. But in my heart would always remain as such, but I need to up my game since here in Norway, I can´t get a job as chef without having the certification or what they would call a `fagbrev´.  Which means I can´t and won´t be able to receive the right salary appropriate for me as an experience cook or a chef. I have started my road to becoming a chef few years back. And this summer will be taking it to another level.  Just last December 2013, I got accepted to study at ACS-Ashburton Cookery School which won the Best Cookery School for the last 2 years in UK.  And this is my immediate goal: equipping myself with the knowledge and techniques of a professional kitchen. I worked on my own catering and coffee shop business. But shut down my business in the end of 2011, to give way for my other personal goals. To which afterwards, I ended working again with food in an institutional kitchen (canteen/cafeteria) for one of the biggest food service provider in the region.  I just need to prepare myself and save for the tuition and for the months that I will not be earning any salary before I can go to UK and pursue my further studies. For the mean time, will work on my certification here in Norway and hone my skills at my new position in a new canteen.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Day 22, Homemade Pancake with Eggs and Bacon

Easter Sunday and decided to prepare pancakes.  Unfortunately, don´t have pancake mix lying around in the house so I have to make it from scratch.  Normally serve my pancakes with bacon, eggs and maple syrup.
2  cups    all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
4  tbs       sugar
1  tbs       baking powder
1  tsp       salt
2  cups    milk or water (you may also use buttermilk)
4  tbs       unsalted butter, melted or vegetable oil
2  pcs      large eggs
2  pcs      egg whites, beaten until soft peaks
2  tbs       oil

Preheat oven to 175C and have a baking sheet ready to keep cooked pancakes warm in the oven.  In a small bowl, mix together dry ingredients together (flour, sugar, baking powder and salt) and set aside.
In another bowl, whisk 2 eggs and melted butter or oil. Add the dry ingredients slowly and whisk in the milk.  Whisk the pancake mixture until its mixed but try not to overmix, a few small lumps are fine.  Then you may fold in the egg white mixture to make the pancake fluffy.  
Heat a nonstick pan or cast iron over medium heat and brush the pan with oil.  For each pancake, spoon a ladle of batter onto the pan.  Once the pancake has bubbled and edges are dry(about 1-2 minutes).  Flip carefully with a spatula and cook until browned on one side.
Transfer to a baking sheet or platter, cover loosely with aluminum foil and keep warm in oven.  Continue with the rest of the pancake batter.
Serve warm with whipped butter, bacon, eggs and maple syrup.  Or you choice of jams and sidings.

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Sunday, 31 March 2013

Day 21, Black Pepper Prawns Stir-fry

oil for frying
flour mixed with salt and pepper
500     grams    prawns, peeled and deveined
steamed rice

For the black pepper sauce:

50     grams   butter
1       tsp        garlic,minced/paste
1       tbs        ginger,sliced thinly
2       pieces   onions, sliced
1       tbs        thai sweet chili sauce
2       tbs        cracked black peppercorns
1       tsp        oyster sauce
1       tsp        ketchup manis
3       tbs        chicken or beef stock
1       pc        red bell pepper, sliced
1       tbs        cornflour mixed with 3  tbs water


Heat the oil in a wok over high heat.  In a bowl, dredge the prawns in flour mix(flour,salt and pepper).  Quick fry half the dredge prawns quickly for about a minute.  Repeat the process with the remaining prawns.  They should be half cooked at this stage.

For the sauce: Wipe the wok clean and return to the heat.  Add the butter and melt until foaming.  Saute the garlic, ginger and onions until aromatic (about 2-3minutes).  Then add the sweet chili sauce and cracked black pepper and simmer for a minute.

Add the sauces and chicken stock,then bring to a boil until the sauce has reduced a bit.  Combine the corn flour and water to make a thin paste and whisk into the boiling sauce and thicken.  Then add the prawns and bell pepper to the sauce mixture.  Simmer for  about a minute.

Place in a serving platter and garnish with wedge lemon and chopped parsley. Serve with steamed rice or you can eat it with a sliced bread.

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Thursday, 28 March 2013

Day 20, Deo Inspired Adobo

Yesterday, went to one of the oldest butcher in town, Idsoe in Stavanger center and bought a few kilos of oxtail for a test kitchen with a partner on Monday. Got extra that I can cook for today´s meal.  wanted to do oxtail stew but I change my mind instead opt to try this recipe from a previous colleague at TGIF Ortigas.  Inspired with his Adobo recipe, and below is the final product.  Adobo is really good with a fatty pork but an oxtail is definite alternative since it is also fatty and when you cook it longer, it produces same gelatinous substance as a pork fat does. Which helps when you make adobo reduction.  According to Deo, the secret to his Adobo is loads of garlic, vinegar and fat.  Thank you to Deo for sharing his recipe in FB.  

3     tablespoons    olive oil
2     bulbs              chinese garlic, minced
750  grams            oxtail
2     teaspoon         ground pepper
1      cup                vinegar 
1/2   cup                soy sauce
1      teaspoon        sugar
1      cup                chopped broccoli
1/2   cup                mushroom

Slow cook the oxtail in water for a few hours or until its fork tender.  If you have pressure cooker, you may cook the oxtail for about 30-45 minutes.

Once the oxtail is tender.  Take it out of the broth and set aside.  Saute garlic in olive oil until slightly golden brown.  Then add the oxtail and sear for a few minutes.  Pour in the vinegar in until about half of the meat is covered.  Add a generous amount of freshly grounded pepper.  Cover pan and simmer slowly under low heat.  Make sure not to stir the meat while vinegar is cooking.  In the process, the vinegar will simmer and reduce, once reduced to a quarter of its original volume.  Stir the meat and add soy sauce (amount depends on you, but as a guide, pour enough until vinegar and soy sauce mixture is brown in color).  Cover pan and increase the heat to medium and simmer until the adobo sauce has reduced or caramelized.  Added a few tablespoons of the broth from earlier to the mixture to lighten the saltiness from the soy sauce.  Also added sugar to balance the taste.  

Serve with steamed rice and garnish with blanch broccoli and mushrooms.

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Sunday, 24 March 2013

Day 19,Simple Caesar Salad w/ lobster

Needing a light dinner.  Here´s what you can make in a jiffy.  Easy to make and fast.  All you need is listed below.

3     pieces    eggs
1-2  cloves   garlic,chopped
3     pieces    anchovy filets
2     cups      olive oil or rapeseed oil
salt and pepper to taste
1     teaspoon  lemon juice
1     piece/bundle  romaine lettuce,chopped
1     pack     cherry tomatoes, sliced in 2 
1     piece whole cooked lobster, split in 2

Combine the eggs, garlic,anchovy filets and olive oil in a blender.  Blend it on slow or minimum cycle.
Continue to blend until the mixture has the consistency of a light mayonnaise.  If it is too thin, add a bit more oil slowly into the mixture while blending.  Once the dressing is in the right consistency, you may add lemon juice and season to taste. Blend for a second and put it on a container.  You may use the rest of the dressing for later use.

In a bowl, have the chopped lettuce, cherry tomatoes and pour about 2-3 tablespoons of the dressing.  Mix lightly until the dressing covers the lettuce.  You may season with salt and pepper according to your preference.  Serve it in a plate, you may add croutons and grated parmesan on top.  Serve the salad with the half lobster.  Optional items to serve with this salad is, grilled chicken fillet, prawns or just eat by itself.


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Saturday, 23 March 2013

Day 18, Rice Noodles with Prawns in oyster sauce


Was looking for something that is quick to make without too much fuss for a light dinner.And ended up with prawns in oyster sauce and wok vegetables.  Or you can use sauce or noodles that is in available your cupboard. Then you can start wokin'.

2  tablespoon oil
2  cloves garlic, minced
1  piece medium size onion, sliced
250 grams prawns,shelled and deveined
1/2 cup broccoli, sliced
1/4 cup cooked water chestnuts,sliced
slices of lotus flower(optional)
1/4 cup red bell pepper, sliced
1/8 cup oyster sauce
salt (optional)
ground pepper
300 grams flat rice noodles,blanched in boiled water until noodles are al dente)

Heat the oil in a wok, then saute the minced garlic and onions. Then add the prawns and cook it until the prawns turn pink. Try not to overcook the prawns. Pour over the oyster sauce and add the rest of ingredients except for the noodles. Simmer for a minute or two. You may add a bit of water if the sauce is too thick. Then add the flat rice noodles and mix. Or you may put the warm flat rice noodles in a bowl then top with the prawns in oyster sauce.

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Sunday, 17 March 2013

Day 17, Catfish with Tortellini pasta in Clam Sauce

250     grams     tortellini filled with paprika and cream cheese
300-400  grams     catfish filet or any white firm fish filet
6         pieces     bacon slices
1         tablespoon  olive oil
100     grams     broccoli florets, blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes
50       grams     carrots, sliced in sticks, blanch in boiling water for a minute
salt and pepper to taste
slice of lemon to garnish

3   tablespoon     butter
2   tablespoon     flour
1/4  cup              heavy cream
1/2  cup              chicken broth or water
1/4  cup              mussels or clams
2     tablespoon   chopped parsley
1     tablespoon   chopped dill
salt and pepper to taste

Boil water in a small casserole to blanch the vegetables and cook the tortellini pasta.  Slice the fish filet into 2 serving pieces of about 150-200 grams each.  Then wrap 3 slices of bacon on each fish. Pepper to taste the fish. Heat a griddle pan and baste the pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Once the pan is hot, grill the fish until its cook and tender.
In a sauce pan, melt the butter and add the flour.  Stir until the flour and butter are well mixed.  Add the broth or water, heavy cream, mussels, parsley and dill.  Simmer in low medium heat until the sauce thickens.  Season to taste.  Get a hand held mixer and blitz the sauce until smooth.  Reduce to a low heat and set aside while you plate up.
To plate: layer the pasta, vegetables and the fish.  Spoon about 3-4 tablespoon of the white mussel or clam sauce over the pasta and fish.  Garnish with a slice lemon on top.


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