Friday, January 29, 2010

Salmon Cake

My ability to think on my feet or simply to concentrate seem to have escaped me lately somehow and I ask myself what happened. All I can think of is to consume more OMEGA-3 to replenish the lost energy or nutrients lacked in me. Does it really work? I am not too sure but I think OMEGA-3 aka fatty acids is good for our body anyhow, right? What food contained large amount of OMEGA-3? Salmon! Well, let's do salmon then!

Recipe (2 servings)
  • 2 canned salmon chunks or flakes
  • 1 1/2 full cup of bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon worth of chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoon worth of chopped dill weed
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 20g butter or as much as you want
Step 1 - break the salmon into smaller chunks if not already. Remove any bones if any.

Step 2 - chop up the parsley and dill weed finely

Step 3 - Mix the bread crumbs (1 cup only), eggs, lemon juice, pepper and chopped parsley and dill weed into a large bowl. Mix well.

It should look something like this at the end.

Step 4 - Add in the salmon and mix well.

Step 5 - Forget what your mother or parents told you, it is time to play with your food with your hands and form some patties. Once formed to the size and shape you want, dip it into the remaining bread crumbs to cover the outer surfaces.

Hopefully it should look something like this and of similar size. You can try to have one HUGE patty but you have to figure out how to transfer to the pan, how to flip and how long to cook it.

Step 6 - Place patties on buttered pan at medium heat. Fry for about 4 minutes and flip.

After another 3 minutes or so, you can either hold the cake on its side and fry the side of it or use the edges of the pan to cook the side until golden brown.

Step 7 - Top with some parsley flakes and serve!

3 Tweets Recipe
1 can of canned salmon chunks, mix with 1 cup of bread crumbs, 2 eggs, 1 tsp lemon juice & pepper and 2 tbsp of chopped parsley & dill weed. Form into about 4 patties each 2.5cm thick and dip in 1/2 cup of bread crumbs. Fry in buttered pan on each side for 4 mins including the edge and serve. [293 characters]

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Chairman 大班樓

There were a lot of buzz about this restaurant named The Chairman 大班樓 since it opened late last year. Its name is pretty interesting especially how they translated it as The Chairman in English. To give this place a try, my friend and I opted to head over for lunch first. We arrived around noon and got a table on the upper floor. It felt like I was on top of the world!!! Just joking but I liked the setting especially that it was very spacious! There were only 4 tables in this little balcony area and it was not noisy at all like many Chinese restaurant during lunch time (or any time for that matter) Thumbs up on that part!

Being the lazy person that I am, I suggested to order the Executive Lunch sets. There were plenty of choices for Appetizers and Main Courses to my surprise. We were struggling between 3 or 4 courses or to be more exact, dessert or no dessert. Well, it wasn't much of a struggle to be honest, please welcome the desserts.

(1) Crisp Small Yellow Croaker serves with Balsamic Dressing 酥炸獅頭魚
Don't be fooled by the look of this dish, it was very well prepared! Very crisp, thin batter (or was there any batter at all??) and the meat was very tender and juicy for some odd reasons. I didn't dip into the dressing because it was good the way it was!

(2) Pan-fried Fresh Prawn Cake with Kaffier Lime Leaves 檸檬葉蝦餅
Flavors and textures were good, especially with the combination of bouncy texture of the cake and some crunchy diced up things in there. Only thing I wish it could have been different would be for the cakes to be more golden or brownish. Just a min more on the pan would be nice!

(3) Slow-cooked Vegetarian Assorted Beans Soup with Cordyceps root 十豆冬蟲草鬚湯 and Lodoicea Soup 海底椰湯

The Cordyceps root soup was rather light in flavors. Initially I was afraid I would bleed from my nose because of the Cordyceps and how it is a strong Chinese herb which supposedly help build a better body or something. Many people now get more than enough nutrition from their daily intake of food that these kinds of Chinese herbs might be that useful anymore IMHO. Anyhow, the Lodiucea Soup was way better because of the stronger and richer flavors which I liked very much.

(4) Wok-fried fresh Garoupa Fillet with Chinese Vegetables 時菜班球
The fillets were huge and very fresh indeed! Very tender as well! Many Chinese restaurants would either use frozen fillets or smaller pieces of fresh ones. I was surprised that they would give such many big pieces, for lunch sets and at this price range. Well done indeed!

(5) Steamed Pork Fillets with Shrimp Paste 蝦醬唐芹蘿蔔絲蒸豬上肉

The dish was more complicated than the English name suggested. The use of the shredded radish at the bottom balanced the naturally rich flavors of the shrimp paste to make every bite a delightful experience especially with rice. Another wonderful thing was the pork fillets themselves which contained a very thin layer of fat, not too much but just perfect to give you that ... mushy texture in a enjoyable way. You got to try it to truly understand what I mean. Thumbs up!

(6) Homemade Ginger ice cream
Whoa, even for someone who loves ginger, the gingery flavor was strong in this ice cream. Well done!

(7) Almond Soup with Egg White 蛋白杏仁茶
Rich in almond flavors but not enough egg white for my personal liking. A bit thicker would be nice too but it was a delightful way to end the meal with for sure.

  • Crisp Small Yellow Croaker serves with Balsamic Dressing 酥炸獅頭魚 - wonderfully deep fried with very tender and juicy meat.
  • Steamed Pork Fillets with Shrimp Paste 蝦醬唐芹蘿蔔絲蒸豬上肉 - two thumbs up! the use of the radish balanced the flavors very well and the pork used was of high quality.
  • Slow-cooked Vegetarian Assorted Beans Soup with Cordyceps root 十豆冬蟲草鬚湯 - not strong enough in terms of flavors, perhaps it was the roots instead of the body of the Cordyceps
Avg Spending: HKD 150 - 200 per person

The Chairman 大班樓
G/F, 18 Kau U Fong, Central
Tel: +852 2555 2202

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Monday, January 25, 2010

CACIO E PEPE - Spaghetti with Pecorino Romano and Black Pepper

I first learn about this classic Roman dish from my Posto Pubblico experience. I had no idea what it was and it turns out to be a simple yet classic dish involving only 3 ingredients!!! Thanks to Jodi and her collection of recipes from Gourmet Magazine, I am lucky enough to get hold of the recipe (photocopied) from Gourmet - March 2003 print edition, YES March 2003!! It is not a typo, it was the 2003 print edition, page 164 if you have know. Thanks Jodi!!! This recipe of mine is therefore based on the one from Gourmet.

The key ingredients of Cacio e Pepe is the Pecorino Romano cheese. If you are unable to find this cheese, perhaps Parmigiano-Reggiano would do the trick as well.

Recipe (single serving)
  • 1 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 1/4 lb spaghetti (or more if you are hungry)
  • finely grated Percorino Romano (as much as you want, like butter, never too much!)
Step 1 - cook spaghetti in a pot of boiling water salted water. Let it boil for a bit and work on other things.

Step 2 - toast the peppercorns (coarsely grind would be fine) in a dry skillet. Set aside when you start to smell the peppercorns fragrant.

Step 3 - Grate the cheese finely to your liking. Set aside. (please control yourself from eating all the cheese at this stage)

Step 4 - fill a large bowl with hot water to warm to bowl.

Step 5 - test spaghetti. al dente??

Step 5 - Just before the spaghetti is ready, drain the bowl but do not dry it. (Note: When draining the spaghetti, reserve 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water). Now drain the spaghetti in a colander and put into the warmed bowl.

Step 6 - Sprinkle most of the cheese onto spaghetti

Step 7 - Add 1 tablespoons of pasta cooking water evenly and toss. Add more pasta cooking water if too dry. [Note: why pasta cooking water? It is because the pasta water is seasoned with salt and contained a bit of starch from the pasta cooking process. By mixing it with the cheese, it would thicken the slightly melted cheese and turn into a very light sauce for final serving.]

Step 8 - Serve and sprinkle rest of the cheese and the toasted peppercorns on top. Enjoy! :)

3 tweets version of recipes:
Boil pasta, toast 1 tbsp coarsely grind peppercorns, grate Pecorino Romano cheese and warm bowl with hot H2O. Drain bowl, drain pasta (reserve some pasta cooking H2O), toss pasta in warm bowl with cheese and 1 tbsp of cooking H2O (more if too dry). Serve and top with cheese and peppercorns. [291 characters]

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Luk Yu Tea House 陸羽茶室

Luk Yuu Tea House 陸羽茶室 has to be one of my favorite Chinese restaurants in town mainly because of its consistency in food quality. Do not expect top notch service from the senior waitstaff who perhaps worked here for more than 2 decades, but their service has its own charm simialr to that of Tai Ping Koon. I actually quite enjoyed the unique charming attitude from staff, perhaps unpretentious is not the perfect word to describe it but it was their down-to-earth behavior that made it very ... homely.

The interior is of course one of the key attractions of this famous establishment and I am pretty sure it looked just like this 3 or even 4 decades ago.

The meal started with my favorite soup! Almond and Pig Lungs soup 杏汁白肺湯! It reckon that it is a hate it or love it soup because of the use of pig lungs. I love it! Very rich almond flavors and together with the smooth, mushy pig lungs, it was wonderful! (FYI - it is a very tough soup to make at home because the cleaning of the pig lungs requires time and great patience!)

Next came the stir-fried bean sprout, eggs and crystal noodles 桂花炒魚肚. The ingredients used were very simple but not an easy dish to cook because it must be dry and "mixed" very well so every bite has all the ingredients. There are many variations of this dish so pick your own favorite.

Another one of my favorite dishes from here was the Stir-fried Pigeon meat with preserved ham 雲腿鴿片. Tender meat with the right salty flavors form the preserved ham, a wonderful marriage of flavors and textures.

It was a rather cold night so we ordered the Lamb Stew in Hot Clay Pot 羊腩煲. To my knowledge, the traditional way to prepare the lamb is to include the skin! There were plenty of lamb but not enough meat with skin! :( The stew flavor was rich and creamy, perfect to go with some rice as well!

Together with the pickled tofu dip (腐乳), it keeps you warm all night long!!!

I did mention it was a cold night right? The lamb stew was not enough to keep us warm so we ordered hot clay hot rice as well, Preserved pork and duck hot clay pot rice! Yes they were all sodium rich, extremely rich as a matter of fact, but the chewiness of the meat and the salty flavors were a good combination with the rice!

The drippings from the preserved duck and pork went into the rice, absorbed the flavors and made the rice very moist as well as flavor-able of course.

How can I meal go with vegetables! It was a simple vegetables (pea shoot 豆苗) dish with mushroom. Simple yet delicious.

Walnut Sweet Soup 合桃糊
was rather disappointing. It was a bit watery. Usually it was very thick and creamy but tonight was just not very good.

  • Almond and Pig Lungs soup 杏汁白肺湯 - reminds my favorite soup to date!
  • Stir-fried Pigeon meat with preserved ham 雲腿鴿片 - tender meat with a great combination of flavors from the preserved ham and meat itself
  • Lamb skin attached in the each pieces :) ... the correct way to do it :)
  • Walnut Sweet Soup 合桃糊 - rather watery
Luk Yu Tea House 陸羽茶室
G/F, 24 Stanley Street, Central
Tel: +852 2523 5464

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Salon de Ning (Revisited II)

I felt like I have neglected this place for a while, not only the place, the music but also the drinks as well. After a tough day of work, sometimes I just need to chill for a bit over few glasses of single malt whisky, wines or cocktails. Well, sometimes desserts would do the trick as well. Their cocktail list is not the most extensive in Hong Kong and not the most outstanding in my humble opinion; but I do find a few that I personally enjoyed very much. One of them was the tomato juice based Sexy Doll cocktail I tried on my previous visit.

In addition to my usual favorite "Sexy Doll" cocktail, I also enjoy the element of surprised from their daily cocktail special named Ning's Mind. The delightful surprise tonight was a pineapple juice based drink with vodka if I am correct. It was very nice an refreshing indeed! Not sure if they have it every night but I would definite ask them for it to make it if possible!!!!

I mentioned many times that I enjoy the music from this place very much but I found them rather loud in volume. Even after many feedback to their management, the volume of the music seems to remain the same. Perhaps it was the environment / decor (low ceiling) that amplified the music. In any case, the place remains to be one of my favorite chill out places. (perhaps the Lobsters Bar @ the Island Shangri-la is a close second because of its band and not their drinks or services! - to be reviewed soon)

  • excellent services!
  • the element of surprise from their daily cocktail
  • the music volume remains to be loud through the night ...
Salon de Ning
UG, The Peninsula Hong Kong,
19-21 Salisbury Road, TST
Tel: 2315 3355

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Honey Dijon Glazed Salmon

This evening's cooking venture was inspired (and recipe provided) by @josie_tao. Josie's Honey Dijon Glazed Salmon recipe can be summarized in 420 characters (or 3 tweets from Twitter). Yes it is that simple according to her and was it? Well ... yes I do think so and I might do it again very soon! Simple yet delicious! Since baked salmon alone would not be enough for me so I added an extra side dish, buttery mashed potatoes! My recipe is a little bit longer than a few tweets or text messages. :)

  • 2 salmon fillets (with or without skin depends on your preference)
  • Dijon Mustard - 2 tablespoon
  • Olive Oil - 1 tablespoon
  • Honey - 1 tablespoon
  • Lemon Juice - 1/2 tablespoon
  • Potatoes (a few)
  • Butter
  • Salt and Pepper
Step 1 - peel potatoes and chop into pieces. Bring water to boil and put potatoes in for about 10 mins. Use this time to work on the rest of the items. Pre-heat oven to 160C.

Step 2 - mix the Dijon Mustard, Olive Oil and Honey together. Should get something like the following.

Step 3 - Rub or apply the mixture all over the salmon.

Step 4 - Place on oven tray and let it bake for 10 mins at 160C for medium cooked salmon.

Step 5 - Drain the potatoes and put into a deep bowl

Step 6 - Time to (s)mash the potatoes!!! Mash it to the desired smoothness / texture.

Step 7 - Add in butter (there is no such thing as too much better right?) and some salt and pepper. Mix well and TRY NOT TO EAT ALL OF THEM while mixing! TRY your best.

Step 8 - add more salt and pepper if need

Step 9 - the baked salmon should be done.

Step 10 - plating (the mashed potatoes are pretty hard to plate in my opinion) and garnish with some parsley flakes if you want. Enjoy!!!!

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