Friday, April 25, 2014

Best Breakfast Potatoes Ever (Pioneer Woman)

It was one of those afternoons that I really have no idea on what to prepare for lunch, and remembered that I have bookmarked a potato recipe  from The Pioneer Woman's website, which she called "Best Breakfast Potatoes Ever", recipe with such a name, makes me curious about the "best...ever"! Besides it looks really good on her website, but then her food always looks good!

So a short trip to the nearby supermarket to get some bell peppers and potatoes. The good thing about this dish is once everything is cut and sliced, it all went into the oven, easy peasy!

The recipe makes a huge amount, so I have made about half a recipe. I have used russet potatoes instead of red potatoes, and russet is a good choice, as they are perfect for roasting. For the bell peppers, I have used only two, one each of yellow and red. I have used 2 whole yellow onions, as we love onions and their sweet flavours really shines thru when roasted. And I have added in some garlic powder as well. Mix all ingredients together, seasoned with some salt and pepper. Place them on a baking sheet which I have lined with foil, for easier clean-up. Advisable to grease the foil with some olive oil, as the potatoes would stick.

Bake for 25 minutes at 425F, turning once, increase heat to 500F, and bake until brown and crisp, about 15 to 20 minutes more. I moved the tray up to a higher level, to brown them more.

Serve the potatoes while they are still hot. I served these potatoes with some sausages and Eggs Over Easy. Delicious lunch indeed, and these breakfast potatoes would make a great side dish. I would not call it the "best...ever", but it certainly is really delicious!

Best Breakfast Potatoes Ever 
(adapted from "")
1 bag (5 pounds) red potatoes, cut into chunks
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 whole onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 whole green bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
2 whole red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
some garlic powder (my addition)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
In a large bowl, toss together the potatoes, garlic, onion, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, olive oil, butter, seasoned salt, cayenne pepper and some kosher salt and pepper.
Pour potatoes onto two rimmed baking sheets. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, shaking the pan twice.
Raise the heat to 500 degrees and bake until crisp and brown, 15 to 20 minutes, shaking the pan twice.
Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper before serving.


I'm linking this post to Cook Like A Star, All-Stars Anniversary Party, hosted by Zoe of Bake For Happy KidsMich of Piece of Cake and Joyce of Kitchen Flavours.
(click on any of the hostess blog for further info and to link your posts)

All-Stars Anniversary Party featured chefs :  Ina Garten, Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, Curtis Stone, Ree Drummond, Bill Granger, Masterchefs, Martha Stewart, Delia Smith, Donna Hay

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Roast Chicken Wings with Lemon and Cracked Peppers

"What's In Your Picnic Basket?", is our theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), where we are currently cooking from Nigel Slater's recipes. 

I love picnics, do you? When I was looking thru his cookbooks, there are so many recipes that are great for picnics, after changing my mind a couple of times, I finally settled for Roast Chicken Wings with Lemon and Cracked Pepper. I have a dozen chicken wings in my freezer and always have a lemon or two around. Peppers and lemon are two of my favourite ingredients, and these chicken wings sounds perfect for a picnic.

These chicken wings are so easy to make. Firstly some black peppercorns are bashed in a mortar until cracked to small pieces, not ground. Then the cracked peppercorns are mixed with some olive oil, and toss with the chicken wings, with lemon juice and salt. Recipe actually calls for some salt flakes scattered over the chicken, but I have used fine sea salt, mixing it into the other ingredients. The lemon shell is then cut up and tuck them in between the chicken wings with some bay leaves.

The chicken wings are then roasted for 40-45 minutes, turning a couple of times in between until they are golden brown and cooked, though they are not as sticky as the recipe states.

Simple, and delicious! Love the cracked black peppers and lemon, yummy! My picnic basket is ready, with lots of wet napkins to wipe your hands after! And I'm looking forward to see what everyone else is bringing in their picnic basket.
Now, who wants to sit next to me, or rather, next to my basket, at the picnic table?  :o)

Roast Chicken Wings with Lemon and Cracked Pepper
(adapted from "The Kitchen Diaries", Nigel Slater)
12 large chicken wings
1 large, juicy lemon
5 bay leaves
1 heaped tablespoon black peppercorns
2 tbsps olive oil
2 teaspoons sea salt flakes

Set the oven at 200C/Gas 6. Check the chicken wings for stray feathers - they seem to be more prevalent on the wings than on any other part of the bird. Put the wings into a roasting dish, halve the lemon and squeeze it over them, then cut up the lemon shells and tuck them, together with the bay leaves, between the chicken pieces.
Put the peppercorns in a mortar and bash them so they crack into small pieces. They should still be knubbly, like small pieces of grit rather than finely ground.
Mix the peppercorns with the olive oil, then toss with the chicken and lemon. Scatter the salt flakes,without crushing them, over the chicken. Roast for 40-45 minutes, turning once. The chicken should be golden and sticky, the edges blackened here and there. Enough for 2.

To see what everyone is bringing in their Picnic Basket, please visit IHCC.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

THB : Chocolate-Almond Souffle Cake

The Home Bakers (THB), bake no. 34 is Chocolate-Almond Souffle Cake, selected by Grace of Life Can Be Simple

The original recipe recommended to use premium bittersweet chocolate such as Guittard or Sharffen Berger, and I do not have either one. What I do have, is a pack of semi-sweet chocolate which I wanted to use initially, but changed my mind when I found a container of chocolate sprinkles in my pantry. I know, it is not the same as chopped chocolate, but I do not like the idea of processing the chocolate in the food processor in our hot weather, I just knew that they would melt in no time! So by using chocolate sprinkles, I need not use and wash my food processor. Lazy me! I think the author would disapprove in my using chocolate sprinkles!  Haha!

I've made half a recipe and made some changes. Firstly, as usual, I've reduced the brown sugar slightly, by using only scant loosely packed half cup. And instead of processing the almond until finely ground, I have used ground almond instead.

There are no oil or butter used in this cake, and I was keeping my fingers crossed that it would not turn out dry, as I hate dry cakes, nobody does! The eggs are separated and the whites are beaten until stiff and glossy.  I have forgotten to add in the sugar when beating the egg whites! Oops...! 

The yolks are beaten until pale and creamy. Sugar, vanilla and almond extract are added in and beaten until pale and thick. Stir in half of the flour-grated chocolate mixture, then a third of the egg whites, the rest of the flour mixture and the rest of the egg whites. Spread in a greased springform pan, for half a recipe, I've used a 7" pan. I sprinkled some chocolate sprinkles over the batter, and bake in a preheated oven at 350F for 35 minutes.

Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan.

Cut into slices to serve.

My notes : Cake is light with tender crumbs. Surprisingly it is not dry at all. It do not have a very moist texture like some cakes do, but it is not dry either. Really nice, seeing that this is a souffle cake and does not contain any butter or oil, so you don't have to feel guilty for the second slice. The chocolate sprinkles adds a nice chocolaty taste, though it would most certainly be better if grated good-quality chocolate is used. And the flavours of the cake actually improves overnight. This is just the kind of cake that is perfect with a cup of tea.

For the full recipe and instructions, please visit the host of this bake, Grace of Life Can Be Simple To view other members' bake, please visit The Home Bakers (THB).

Welcome to The Home Bakers

We are a group of home bakers who are currently baking from "Coffee Cakes" by Lou Seibert Pappas, until each recipe from this book has been baked. This is our bake no. 34 and we have 26 recipes more to go. If you are interested to be a member and join in our bakes, you may drop me an email at

Friday, April 18, 2014

Stir-Fry Long Beans with Roasted Pork in Black Pepper Sauce

This is one of those simple "everyday" dish, that is great with some Jasmine rice. Really easy, quick and delicious.

I made this dish a couple of weeks ago using frozen roasted pork. You may however used freshly bought roasted pork belly. Since mine was frozen, I thawed it overnight in the refrigerator, pan-fry the whole piece with a teaspoon of oil in a saucepan on both sides over low heat until the meat is heated thru and skin is crispy. Remove, drain, let cool and cut to thin slices.

Long beans which are cut into 2" sections, are first sauteed in a little oil until cooked but still crunchy, with some black marks appear in some pieces, about 4-5 minutes. They are removed to a plate and proceed with the cooking of the sauce, and toss everything together to combine together with the roasted pork.

The brand of black pepper sauce I used is Lee Kum Kee. Different brands may differ in terms of the spiciness and saltiness, adjust according to your taste.

A simple and tasty dish, great with rice.

Stir-Fry Long Beans with Roasted Pork In Black Pepper Sauce
(recipe by kitchen flavours)
300gm long beans (cut to 2" sections)
300gm roasted pork (cut to thin slices)
2 cloves garlic, minced finely
2 red chillies (discard seeds and sliced thinly)
2 tbsp cooking oil

The sauce : mix together in a bowl
2-1/2 tbsps black pepper sauce
1/2 tsp sugar, to taste
pinch of salt, to taste
1/4 cup water
  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in wok. Stir-fry long beans over high heat for 4-5 minutes until cooked but still crunchy, some black spots may appear in some pieces. Remove to a plate.
  2. Add the remaining 1 tbsp oil in wok. When oil is hot, add in the minced garlic and saute until light brown and fragrant. Pour in the sauce mixture, letting it come to a boil for a minute or two until sauce has reduced to about 3/4.
  3. Add in the long beans and chillies, stir for half a minute and lastly, add in the roasted pork slices. Stir for half a minute more and dish out to a serving plate. Serve hot with rice.

I'm sharing this post with :
Full Plate Thursday @ Miz. Helen's Country Cottage

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spaghetti Bolognese

It's "Potluck Week" at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). It's our third week of cooking with Nigel Slater. For Potluck Week, we have the option of cooking from any of our previous featured chefs recipes, but I've decided to use one of his recipes for this week's Potluck.

I've made "A Really Good Spaghetti Bolognese" a couple of weekends ago, for dinner, when the family requested for pasta. This recipe can be found from his book "The Kitchen Diaries", page 21, entered on January 17. 

What drawn me to his recipe is that he uses full-cream milk or cream for his Bolognese. And I was wondering the taste of cream in a Bolognese recipe, as the traditional recipe do not use any cream or milk. That led me to google for info on "Traditional Bolognese Recipe", and found an interesting article here.

I have made some minor changes to the ingredients, using what I have, which are really just minor changes. The changes I've made are, to replace the pancetta with bacon, ground pork instead of lamb or beef. The sauce is cooked as per the recipe instructions below and simmered for about 1-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, and checking the liquid level so that the sauce do not dry out. Then the milk or cream is poured in a bit at a time, and continue to cook for another 20 minutes.

My notes : Before I added in the cooking cream, I tasted a spoonful of the sauce, it tastes really nice. I then added in about a quarter of the cream, and tasted again, it is nice. Then another quarter of the cream goes in, tasted again, I like it better with lesser cream and better still with no cream! So I stopped at only 100ml of the cream. Overall, this is a very tasty bolognese, though to me, it is not "A Really Good Spaghetti Bolognese" as the name of the recipe. (My favourite is still Jamie Oliver's, which I have posted here). That being said, the family did enjoy this pasta meal, I would not mind cooking this again, and would probably omit the cream.

A Really Good Spaghetti Bolognese
(adapted from "The Kitchen Diaries", Nigel Slater)
50gm butter
70gm cubed pancetta
1 medium onion
2 fat cloves garlic
1 carrot
2 stalks celery
2 large flat mushrooms, about 100gm
2 bay leaves
400gm minced beef or lamb
200ml crushed tomatoes or passata
200ml red wine
200ml stock
1 nutmeg
200ml full cream milk or cream

To serve :
Spaghetti or tagliatelle for 4
grated Parmesan

Melt the butter in a heavy-based pan. I use a cast-iron one about 24cm in diameter - then stir in the pancetta and let it cook for five minutes or so, without colouring much. Meanwhile peel and finely chop the onion and garlic and stir them into the pancetta. Scrub and finely chop the carrot and celery and stir them in, too. Lastly, finely chop the mushrooms and add to the pan, then tuck in the bay leaves and leave to cook for ten minutes over a moderate heat, stirring frequently.
Turn up the heat and tip in the meat, breaking it up well with a fork.
Now leave to cook without stirring for a good three or four minutes then, as the meat on the bottom is starting to brown, stir again, breaking up the meat where necessary, and leave to colour.
Mix in the tomatoes, red wine, stock, a grating of nutmeg and some salt and black pepper, letting it come to the boil. Turn the heat down so that everything barely bubbles. There should be movement, but one that is gentle, not quite a simmer. Partially cover the pan with a lid and leave to putter away for an hour to an hour and a half, stirring from time to time and checking the liquid levels. You don't want it to be dry.
Pour in the milk or cream a bit at a time, stir and continue cooking for twenty minutes. Check the seasoning, then serve with the pasta and grated Parmesan.
Enough for 4.

To view what everyone is bringing for this week's Potluck, please visit IHCC.

and I'm linking this post with :

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