Coq au vin

Jun Tanaka is a celebrity chef over here in the UK, who makes fairly regular appearances on the food channel (which is also the most watched channel in my house). I met him at Taste of London this year, and it was very exciting! πŸ™‚ He’s Japanese, but lives in the UK, and owns a French restaurant, and I’ve always found that combination rather amusing. My friends who have been to Pearl (his restaurant) have enjoyed his food, and it’s definitely somewhere I hope to visit in the not so distant future.

He made this dish on Market Kitchen last week, and it looked really good – which is why we decided to try cooking it during the weekend. It’s more complicated than the average “throw everything together” dinner, but was definitely worth it! I’ve realised that I have a soft spot for anything that is slow cooked… especially when it’s rainy or cold. πŸ™‚

The chicken was tender and literally falling off the bone after being simmered for about an hour, just the way I like it. Jun serves it with boiled potatoes, but we served it with a baguette which we had at the time. It went pretty well together, and the bread was definitely handy to clean our plates! I do have to admit to taking many shortcuts when cooking this though.

Coq au vin
Adapted from Jun Tanaka’s Market Kitchen recipe

  • 500ml red wine
  • 4 chicken legs/thighs, skin on
  • 100g bacon lardons
  • 250g chesnut mushrooms
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 600ml chicken stock

1. Place the chicken legs and thighs in a large bowl, together with 50g of bacon lardons, carrots, onions, leeks, garlic, thyme and bay leaves. Pour the red wine over this, and marinate overnight.
2. The next day, remove the chicken from the marinade mix, and pat dry with kitchen paper.
3. Pour some olive oil into a pan, and brown the chicken for about 2-3 minutes on each side, till golden brown. Remove from pan.
4. Using the same pan, brown the bacon lardons till the oils are released. Add the chesnut mushrooms, and marinade (from before – including the vegetables) to the pan, and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half.
5. Pour in the chicken stock, and simmer for 30-40 minutes until the chicken is cooked.
6. Season with pepper (to taste), and serve with baguette slices.

Courgette, tomato & anchovy pappardelle

I’ve always wanted to own a grater that would enable me to julienne vegetables effortlessly.. but have never managed to find one – till two weeks ago! I bought a Japanese grater when I was back home for summer, hoping that I had finally found “the one”. And I wasn’t dissapointed, as I managed to julienne the courgettes for this pasta rather effortlessly! The best thing about this is that it not only juliennes, but can also thinly slice! All I have to do is to push the two little levers on each side to switch between both functions. I’m just hoping that it stays sharp! πŸ™‚

My new toy!

This pasta dish is very simple, and is perfect for a weekday dinner when there isn’t much time to cook. I put it together based on what I had in the fridge (taking into the account the fact that I wanted to try out my new grater, hehe) and can be adapted very easily. I’ve included a very approximate recipe here, which admittedly isn’t very well written, but I will hopefully get better at it over time.

Courgette, tomato & anchovy pappardelle
serves 3-4

  • 1 pack fresh lasagna sheets
  • 2 courgettes
  • 300g cherry tomatoes
  • 1 can (approx. 50g) of anchovies in garlic
  • 10-12 cream crackers, or 40-50g breadcrumbs
  • olive oil
  • pepper, to taste
  1. Cut the lasagna sheets into (approximately) 2cm strips, and boil them in salted water for 3-5 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, julienne the courgettes and halve the cherry tomatoes.
  3. Put a pan on medium heat, and heat the anchovies, followed by the cherry tomatoes and courgettes.
  4. Once everything is heated through, add the cut lasagna strips/pappardelle to the pan, and stir everything together.
  5. If using cream crackers, crush them finely to make breadcrumbs.
  6. Add the breadcrumbs to the pan, and quickly stir it through the pasta.
  7. Dish into plates, add pepper to taste, and eat!

Ham and tuna buns

Bread making is something I have attempted in the past, but the results always dissapointed me (which is why I have not attempted making bread/buns in a while!). However, I had the opportunity to visit Aunty Yochana when I was last in Singapore, who taught me how to make these buns – which turned out really well. This was of course, all done under her watchful eye. Attempting these on my own (6 months down the line) was rather scary, and I must admit to having the random bout of palpitations whilst wondering if things would turn out well.

Waiting for the scaled dough to double in size

All ready to be popped into the oven

All the waiting involved was certainly tedious, but it was worth it when the house was filled with the smell of freshly baked buns. I was happy with the texture of the buns, but I definitely need to work more on shaping the buns as no two buns looked the same! That said, I’m glad the buns turned out reasonably well, and I’ll be looking to improve on presentation next time!