Chicken Wings ready to marinate
I’m not keen on chicken (see ‘About Me’ for reasons) but Chicken Wings with Oyster Sauce are a dish my family regularly pester me to make. If I must eat chicken myself this is perhaps the tastiest way, any meat from near to the bone always tastes better.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
1kg Chicken Wings
4 x Spring Onions
2 x Leeks
4 x Root Ginger slices
3tbs Soy Sauce
2tbs Sunflower Oil
5tbs Oyster Sauce
Cut the tips off the wings and discard, then cut the wings in two at the joint. Thinly slice the Spring Onions by cutting across them and shred the Root Ginger slices. Add these to the wings together with the Soy Sauce and leave to marinate for an hour or two.
Heat a wok, or deep frying pan, add the Sunflower Oil and Chicken Wings. Cook until the Chicken Wings are done, around 20 – 30 minutes with frequent stirring. Meanwhile slice the leeks diagonally into 5mm wide slices and when the wings are cooked add the leeks and Oyster Sauce to the wings. Stir together and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
Ham Croquettes are a great way to use up left-over ham. I like them so much we usually have a larger than needed piece of ham to bake or boil so that left-overs are guaranteed! They also freeze very well; the ones in the ‘photo have come out of the freezer. I like to eat Ham Croquettes with warm tomato salsa and crispy fried potatoes. The soft centred croquettes and the crisp potato are a nice contrast and the tomato salsa with chilli adds a bit of a kick.
Ready for the pan
For the Ham Croquettes:
350g Cooked ham
1 x Onion
2 x slices of bread made into breadcrumbs
1 x Garlic clove
1 x Egg
Small handfull chopped parsley
Flour for dusting
Get the food processor out. Briefly blitz the ham which you’ll have already cut into cubes, you don’t want big chunks left nor do you want it too fine. Put into a mixing bowl. Now blitz the peeled and chopped onion, the parsley and the clove of garlic all together. Again no big chunks but not a paste. Add this to the ham together with the egg, the mustard and the breadcrumbs and mix thoroughly. Wet your hands (help stops the mixture sticking to you) and form into patties. OK, ham croquettes are often cylindrical but I find the pattie shape easier with this mix. Dust with flour and either put in the freezer for another day or chill in the fridge so that they firm up before cooking from fresh. To cook simply fry until nicely browned on each side.
For the Tomato Salsa:
1 x tin of chopped tomatoes
1tbs Tomato puree
1/2 Celery stalk
1 or 2 green chillies
Sweat the finely chopped onion, chopped chillies and chopped celery in the olive oil with a pinch of salt for 3 or 4 minutes (the salt encourages the release of water from the onion and celery therefore reducing the risk of burning). Add the tomatoes and tomato puree and simmer until reduced to a nice consistency.
Singapore Rice Noodles, a quick and easy dinner. I just love ’em!
Here’s my recipe for Singapore Rice Noodles made using store cupboard and freezer ingredients. If you have cold leftover roast pork, or maybe boiled gammon, matchstick sized strips make a nice addition. The following recipe serves 2.
100g Dried Rice Noodles
2 x Eggs
100g Frozen Cooked Prawns (defrosted)
1 x Handful of Bean Sprouts
2 x Spring Onions
1/2 x Green, Red or Yellow Pepper
2tbs Sunflower Oil
1 x Garlic Clove
1tsp Grated Fresh Ginger
2tsp Madras Curry Powder
Soak the rice noodles in boiling water for a couple of minutes unless the packet says differently, drain and set aside. Beat the eggs lightly before pouring into a hot wok with one tablespoon of the oil. Roll the wok around so that the egg flows into a thin omelette about 15cm in diameter. Remove the egg and cut into matchstick size strips. Add another tablespoon of oil to the wok and stir fry the spring onion which has been cut into small cross slices, the sliced pepper, bean sprouts, chopped garlic clove and the root ginger. Cook for a few minutes over a high heat stirring constantly. Add the curry powder, give it a stir, and them add the rice noodles to the pan. Continue to stir to mix all the ingredients together, finally add the shredded egg and the prawns. Stir fry until everything is hot. It’s almost taken longer to write this than cook the dish!
Some recipes include a tablespoon of soy sauce to be added at the end. Personally, I don’t like it this way but you may wish to try it and make up your own mind.
My daughter lives in Milan and I visited her for a few days before Christmas. On the first night I took her to Ristorante Piazza Repubblica which I’ll write about later and for lunch on the day I was leaving she took me to Restaurant Cracco, a 2 Michelin star restaurant.
Russian Salad in a caramel coating!
Pasta with tomato, raw fish and a lemon sauce
Veal main course
The amuse bouche were amazing and included black bread with lardo, a tiny tiny olive bread with an intense cheese flavor and a piece of olive in it. Also there was a basket of incredibly crispy vegetable sheets including courgette flowers in a tempura so light it was almost non-existent. Then one of the most amazing things I’ve ever eaten – Russian Salad in a caramel coating! Weirdest sounding thing ever but divine.
We shared a starter (no problem at all when we requested this) of pasta with tomato, raw fish and a lemon sauce. Our main courses were a fish casserole which was out of this world and a Milanese veal dish. The latter being the only disappointment of the meal, my fault I chose badly.
We didn’t have desert but the coffee was served with the most fantastic petit fours. One plate contained three different petit fours each containing blackberry. Alongside, in a sort of toast rack, dried very thinly sliced fruits – apple, pear, kiwi, orange I remember well. Plus icing sugar dusted almonds and cocoa dusted hazelnuts.
Service was an equal match to the food and after the meal I was invited into the kitchen to meet the chef. Altogether a wonderful experience.