Live Cooking Demo @ AEON STYLE

It was definitely fun times last Saturday at Kornhill AEON STYLE store doing a live cooking demo there. DayDayCook has recently launched 3 new Southeast Asian sauces and they were doing a special promotion at Aeon stores for a week.

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Maybe because I am starting to get used to talking and cooking in front of people, I really enjoyed myself this time. I was relaxed and was surprised that I was quite engaged with all the people who were there watching me cook and tasting the food.

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I hope there will be more of these events to come. Sure it is a lot of prep work before the event but I love the instant feedback I get from people. I get to know right away what they liked about the products and what they did not like and learn how I can improve next time.

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Thai Style Tom Yum Fried Rice

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Stir-fried Sambal Prawns

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Singaporean Chili Crab

Hope I’ll get to see some of you next time!

Follow me on my Facebook page for more cooking tips, recipes and kitchen ideas: http://www.facebook.com/Charmainecooks

Truffle on!

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Homemade Linguine with Sage Butter, Manchego and Shaved White Truffles                             by Moving Concepts

 

 

I love visiting bookstores (surprise, surprise). And one of my favourite store to visit whenever I go back to Vancouver is Barbara-jo’s Books To Cooks on West 2nd Avenue. As the name of the store suggests, the place is filled with a wide range of cook books, chefs’ memoirs, biographies as well as travelling books on gastronomical cities such as Paris,  Tuscany and much more. Barbara-jo’s hosts dinner gatherings at her shop, inviting renowned chefs from all over the world to come and cook for food and book lovers. I think this is such a great concept! A night where we can be surrounded by great books, exceptional food and wines and lovely conversations.

She sends out a weekly email with recipes contributed by various home cooks. But today I got a pleasant surprise in my inbox with a mouth-watering poem by Barbara-jo that I just have to share.

Emotional Truffle

I am
A fruity fungus
Subtle
Mysterious
light
& Loud.
I am white, Italian, Tartufu of Alba
Come to me in Autumn
SHAVE Mia!
all over
Pasta-Risotto-Seafood & the Vegetable Roots.
EGGS find me weak with desire.
AMORE.
Leave me,
As Winter sets in.
Travel to Perigod, where my French, Black cousin – Truffe – waits for you.
SHAVE Moi!
Boldly.
Caress
Red meat-Game birds-Creamy Leeks.
EGGS are the love of my life.
ADORE.
I promise,
To leave you wanting-
Passionate for more-
of my earthy morsel.
 
~ Barbara-jo, Owner of Barbara-jo’s Books to Cooks, Vancouver, Canada.

The Pantry Pasta

There are days when I get these inexplicable urges to cook something simple and satisfying for myself. This usually happens when I haven’t looked after myself ‘properly’, meaning I have been too busy to have any real alone time in the kitchen and cook something for myself.

Happy to say that I am one of those who always try to keep my pantry well-stocked with dried goods in case of any emergency food cravings. Here are a few things that I feel are essential to have in your pantry AT ALL TIMES:

– good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil

– a few vinegars that you like for salads (ex. Red/white wine vinegar, balsamic, etc)

– Dijon mustard

– any type of dried chilli flakes

– dried pasta and rice

– jars of anchovies, olives, capers and gherkins

– garlic, shallots, onions and lemons (these can be left at room temperature)

Sometimes a girl just needs to have a “carb-kind-of-day” … to have something of substance and starchy. My go-to has always been a comforting pasta dish. Rummaging through my fridge and pantry, I’ll usually find all of the above; and if I am lucky, I’ll have a  pack of frozen prawns stashed in the freezer.

Here’s the my “Pantry Pasta” recipe.

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Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 100 – 120g dried spaghetti
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small shallots, finely sliced
  • 1-2 anchovies
  • pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • Good Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • optional: frozen prawns, spoonful of pesto, leftover tomatoes which you can dice up, handful of fresh herbs such as parsley and basil

Directions:

  1. Bring a big pot of water to boil. Add 2 big spoonful of salt and cook the spaghetti for 8 – 10 minutes, or until al dente.
  2. Heat a big glug of extra virgin olive oil in a medium pan (by big glug, I’d say around 60ml. Sounds like a lot but this is the sauce for your pasta) over medium low heat.
  3. Add in anchovies, garlic and shallots and gently cook them in the olive oil for 5 -6 minutes. Make sure the heat is medium low to prevent the garlic from burning.
  4. Add in chilli flakes, salt and black pepper to taste. At this point, you can also add finely chopped up parsley stems to the mixture. This will give your dish a subtle herb-y taste.
  5. If you have prawns and/or tomatoes, now is the time to put them into the olive oil mixture. Cook for 1 – 2 minutes.
  6. Check if spaghetti is done. if they are still a bit chewy, is ok, as you will be tossing them in the pan with the garlicky oil for at least another 3 -4 minutes.
  7. Transfer pasta directly to the pan using tongs. Turn up the heat to medium and toss the pasta with the olive oil mixture.
  8. Add a ladle of the pasta water to the spaghetti to moisten it up. The pasta water will also help to thicken the sauce.
  9. Season with salt and black pepper. Turn off heat stir int chopped fresh herbs. Plate up and drizzle a bit more extra virgin olive oil on top. Add a spoonful of pesto if you wish.

 

 

Deceptively Simple and Simply Wonderful

Making a quick and simple dinner after work does not mean it has to be boring. There are so many sauces and spices you can make use of to turn something mundane into something wonderfully delicious. This is one such recipe, using regular ground minced pork, but giving it that wow factor with spicy Korean chili paste, Gochujang.  Definitely easy and stress-free cooking for a weeknight dinner after work. I usually just grab the ingredients en route back home from a supermarket as you can find everything there – is a one-stop, no-brainer thing (which is what you need after a long day at work plus a glass of wine or two).  I also realized, while I was writing this recipe that this dish is one of those healthy, yet packed full of flavour kind of dish. Double win.

For entertaining/dinner parties: Set up a DIY station where guests can build there own lettuce wraps. But with this idea, make sure you also prepare a few different topper options, such as mung bean sprouts, pickled daikon, carrots and/or cucumber, crunchy seaweed, sesame seeds, etc.

 

korean minced pork wrap

Korean Style Minced Pork Lettuce Wrap

SERVES: 3 – 4

Ingredients:

600g minced pork
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 leek (white part only), finely sliced
2 shallots, finely diced
1 small piece ginger, finely grated
2 – 3 tbsp Korean Hot Chili Paste (Gochujang)
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp of sugar
1 tbsp of honey
splash of cooking sake or chicken broth
Green Onions, sliced for garnish
10 – 12 leaves of Lettuce
Kimichi for garnish
salt and black pepper, to taste

Optional: For extra crunch, you can add mung bean sprouts as toppers.

Directions:

  1. Marinate the minced pork with 2 cloves of minced garlic, grated ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce sugar and honey. Let it marinate for 10 – 15 minutes.
  2. Chop up leeks, rest of garlic and shallots and saute them in a hot pan with some oil. Cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add in the minced pork and stir fry until slightly browned. Add in Korean Hot Chili Paste and cook for another 2 minutes or until cooked. (Cooking tip: The amount of chili paste you add depends on your own personal taste and also the brand you buy. Have a little taste of the Gochujang first before you cook with it so you know how much to add. Is always best to add a little bit at a time and adjust as you go. You can always add, but you cannot take it back out.)
  4. Deglaze the pan with the sake or the chicken broth. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and more sugar if necessary.
  5. Plate up and sprinkle some chopped green onions on top. Serve with lettuce leaves and kimchi.

minced pork