Yelly Eats

A slow (cooking) kind of weekend

I love being able to just put a rub together and putting it on a joint of meat and then just leaving it to cook in the oven low and v-e-r-y slow.

I wanted to do something TexMex inspired and I think I might have hit on something amazing. I saw a carnitas recipe that I tried to replicate. I think it just needs less salt and more of all the spices and a heck of a lot more sugar!

My next thing to do is to write down the recipe!

Is anyone up for another wet rub recipe?

Advertisements
Yelly Eats

A hidden gem a stone’s throw from The Secret Annex

Originally posted on my TripAdvisor Account

With so many things to see and do in Amsterdam, one can be forgiven for opting to settle for the familiar internationally known fast food brand names. But as with every trip we do, we like to eat “where the locals eat”.

Sefa BBQ and Grill restaurant hasn’t actually come up in any of the searches we did while we prepared for the trip and researched food places to try. But, as luck would have it, most of the places we wanted to go to weren’t evening meal-type places. When we searched for cheap eats in Amsterdam, this came up. We loved a good mixed grill and the reviews were good. It was a a stone’s throw away from Anne Frank’s house, and this was a plus as we wanted to get our bearings because we were going to visit the Secret Annex the following day.

We got off the tram and only had to cross the street to get to Sefa. We were greeted with smiles and were seated right away. We looked at the menu. We chose our dishes from the grill section and chose the Kip Sis (chicken) Schotel and Isgara Kofte (minced lamb meat koftas) Schotel. The dish comes with bread and rice or chips (you can also choose to have half chips and half rice, or all rice or all chips), and a serving of salad.

When the dishes came out, we couldn’t believe how generous the portions were. There was a large amount of rice, a large serving of salad and a VERY generous portion of the grilled meats. We ordered fresh mint tea as our drinks (you’ll find that most restaurants in Amsterdam will have this on the menu).

The meats were beautifully cooked and seasoned well and not at all dry. It would be very easy to over cook the meats but the lamb patties were soft and juicy and the chicken pieces were grilled perfectly and succulent.

The service was quick and efficient and the food came out piping hot! Everyone was so kind and friendly. I loved that they automatically left containers of chilli and garlic sauce on the table. We didn’t have to ask for them!

The meal was excellent value for money. We paid just under €40 for our meal (including the 2 teas). They were generous with the meats and the sides, and what is most important is that the food was most certainly delicious! We are definitely going back and we will be telling our friends about Sefa!

If you see it, know that the unassuming and “usual kebab shop” front is deceiving. Go in and have something from the grill menu. You won’t regret it!

Yelly Eats

Going the full monty

Sometimes, nothing else hits the spot like a full English breakfast.

This is my idea of a full english: rashers of bacon, hash browns, sausages, eggs over easy (or sunny side up), mushrooms, grilled tomatoes and black pudding. It’s a huge breakfast but it does fortify you for the day. Don’t get me wrong, it’s yummy and it’s a massive meal, but it’s not something I’d have every single day. It’s one of those things that you get when you’re on holiday or treating yourself to a lie-in.

Everything in moderation folks!

Yelly Eats

Yamagoya ramen

We visited Yamagoya several weeks ago, and as is always the case, real life gets in the way of my writing entries in my blog (yes, excuses, excuses! I know!).

 Yamagoya has 2 branches in London that I know of, in Southwark, just across from the station, and In Shaftesbury Avenue near Chinatown. We went to the Southwark branch because we thought it would better to visit the Southwark branch because it would be less busy than the Shaftesbury Avenue one. Yamagoya had a special edition cherry blossom rainbow cake.

But we thought, since we were there, we may as well try the ramen.

It felt like we stepped into a homey mom & pop ramen-ya, or at least it was how I’d always imagined it would look like. We went to the counter and ordered the gyozas, the chicken karaage and the signature Yamagoya ramen.

It was out-of-this-world-delicious! We took forever to photograph our food (this is what happens when a group of foodie instagrammers together!) but we managed to stop and actually enjoy this hug in a bowl!

The bone broth was SO good! It was so tasty! One sip and I felt like I was enfolded in a massive hug! Every element of the ramen bowl was meant to offer you comfort. The noodles were light enough for me to finish all of them but substantial enough to make you feel like you’ve had a meal; the marinated eggs were so flavourful — I can’t put into words how pleasurable it was when that runny yolk coated my mouth; but my absolute favourite was the chashu pork! I would love to order a few extra slices and have just that and rice!

If you’re near either the Shaftesbury Avenue or the Southwark branch, do go! It is an experience not to be missed!

Yelly Eats

How to make: Chicken Karaage

I’ve been unwell and when I’m unwell my body craves comfort food.  Unfortunately, this means I have to cook said comfort food.  Not that I mind so much, because I do love to putter about in the kitchen.  It’s just that this weekend, I’ve been left with so little energy that I, almost, couldn’t be bothered.

I’ve had chicken karaage from a few places and I must say that this is probably one of my favourite versions of fried chicken (closely rivalled by Korean fried chicken — soy ginger please!).

I’ve tweaked my version of chicken karaage, and this time, I’m using mirin, instead of using Shaoxing rice wine, in the original recipe I posted, funnily enough, almost 4 years ago.  Chicken karaage uses sake, which I have never had the pleasure of tasting.  I’ve switched to using Japanese mirin to inch closer to finding out what home cooked karaage tastes like.

I do love it though and I hope you will too!  As always, if you try any of my recipes, I would love to hear from you and your cooking experience.

Ingredients:

  • 500g chicken thigh fillets, cut into large-ish bite-sized chunks
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 4 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 100g plain flour
  • 100g cornflour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • vegetable oil for deep-frying

Directions:

  1. In a ziplock bag, combine chicken, ginger, garlic and soy. Carefully massage the chicken through the bag and marinade for at least 1 hour (better if you let the chicken marinade overnight though).
  2. In a bowl, mix the cornflour, flour and salt, and coat the chicken pieces with the cornflour-flour mixture until the pieces are dry to the touch.
  3. In a frying pan, heat up the vegetable oil.  When the oil is hot enough, carefully drop chicken pieces and fry until golden brown (should take about 3-4 minutes).
  4. Serve with a slice of lemon or a teriyaki sauce, on its own or over a bed of fluffy steamed rice!  Speaking of rice, I wrote a post on how to cook rice perfectly (I’ve been cooking rice since I was 11 so I like to think I know what I’m talking about – way before there were non-stick pans!).

Here’s a little recipe on sticky sauce that goes well with the karaage.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 200ml water

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly.  Once boiling turn the heat right down and allow to reduce until there is only half of the liquid, making sure that you stir occasionally so that none of the sugar burns.  This is brilliant as a little sauce to be sprinkled (sparingly) on steamed rice if you’re having friend chicken or fish.

Yelly Eats

Bank holiday shenanigans

We’re not exactly party animals, Alan and I.  What did we do the entire bank holiday?  Stay at home, cook our meals, sleep in, rest, get over our individual viral infections (it sounds a lot worse than it really is) and suffer hay fever in silence.

But when I have the time (and the inclination), I try recipes I’ve been wanting to try for absolutely ages.  I’ve been looking for an easy Chinese steamed sponge cake recipe for ages.  Ever since I impulse bought a slice of steamed sponge cake from Kowloon Bakery in London Chinatown.

By absolute chance, because there was nothing on telly last Wednesday (nothing we wanted to watch anyway), we turned the telly to the Food Network and saw an episode of Poh and Co, Poh Ling Yeow’s cooking (and lifestyle?) show that’s produced for Australian TV.  But you do get weird and wonderful shows on the Food Network so because it sort of reminded us of Chinese cooking, we just left the telly on the Food Network.  As luck would have it, Poh Ling made her version of Chinese steamed sponge cake and it looked so easy I had to try it.

And try it I did.  The recipe is fairly straightforward and easy.  It consisted of 5 ingredients that any baker would have in their larder – just flour, baking powder, eggs, and vanilla extract.  I think I benefitted from watching Poh make the cake so I knew exactly what I was doing.  But I was so pleased at how it’s come out: so soft and pillowy and so very light!  It’s so deceptively light that Alan and I managed to consume more than half of one of the two cakes that I made!

I’m making it again and tweaking it to add my little twists to the recipe.  I am over the moon as this is an absolutely amazing recipe!  Thank you Poh for sharing this!❤

Yelly Eats

How To Make Chinese Almond Cookies

Almond cookies are a staple both in Chinese bakers and in Chinese kids’ childhood memories.  Everyone has an almond cookie experience that makes them smile (or at least that’s what I have been told).  Alan’s recipe is very similar to mine and this recipe was posted on our Pan-Asian Kitchen blog and I am sharing this with you on Yellywelly.  Text, photos and food fluffing all by Alan.

 

I always remember eating almond cookies in one form or another since I was young and even though I did like them, none of them were memorable until about 16 years ago when I got the opportunity to go over to Canada for 6 weeks (around the Christmas and New Year holidays) to spend some time visiting my aunts and uncles whom I had not seen since I was very young. A small issue I had was that I had started a new job a few weeks before the trip and had to explain to my boss (James) about the trip that was planned. As well as letting me go on the trip, he lent me a suitcase and gave me a lift to the airport on the day I flew out. Amongst the gifts that I brought back, I purchased several boxes of Chinese Almond Cookies from the Market Village Chinese Mall to say thank you to James for his help. I kept a box back for myself so that I could try the cookies and found that they were the most delicious almond cookies that I had tasted. Looking around Chinatown in London, I could not find almond cookies that looked like the ones I got from Canada. I even tried the ones from the Chinese bakeries but they did not look or taste the same as how I remembered them.

Several years had passed and I was teaching myself to bake new things and remembered back to the almond cookies that I purchased from Market Village. I had a look around for recipes for almond cookies and they all seem to have the same quantities of butter, flour and sugar but the almond flavour didn’t come through enough so have doubled the amount of ground almonds and added almond extract to give them an almondy boost. So after a few attempts of perfecting the recipe, here is my take on the Chinese Almond Cookie. This cookie is great for a treat or to give as a present to friends or family.

Chinese Almond Cookies
Ingredients (makes approx 24 cookies)

125g unsalted butter (softened)
170g caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp almond extract (or 1 tbsp of amaretto)
1 egg

200g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
150g ground almonds

24 blanched almonds or 24 pieces of sliced almonds
1 egg (beaten)

Instructions:

1. In a bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and salt.

2. Add the egg and almond extract and mix together.

3. Slowly add the flour, the baking powder and ground almonds into the mixture.

To do this, add a few dessert spoons of the dry ingredients at a time and combine together. Repeat the process until it is all mixed well.

4. Preheat the oven to 180°C/360°F (170°C/340°F if using a fan oven). Line a couple of baking trays with baking paper and then divide the mixture into 24 equal sized balls which are roughly walnut sized. To help potion off the mixture evenly, I used a sized 40 ice cream scoop and levelled it off with a spatula but you can do it by eye if you do not have a scoop.

5. Put the cookies dough balls on the baking trays (leave a 1” gap between the cookies as they do spread out slightly, you may need to bake in several batches if you use smaller baking trays) and use a round measuring spoon to press an indentation in the middle of the ball (in this case, I used a 1 tsp measuring spoon as the blanched almonds just about fit inside). By using the measuring spoon to press the indentation into the ball, it will also flatten the ball into a cookie shape. If you do not have a round measuring spoon, flatten the ball with your hand and make the indentation with your thumb. Put a blanched almond or a slice of almond into the indentation of each cookie.

6. Brush each cookie with the beaten egg.

7. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes or until the cookies are a lightly golden colour. Allow cookies to cool down for roughly 10 minutes. Reduce the oven to 160°C/320°F (150°C/300°F if using a fan oven).

8. Brush the cookies with more beaten egg and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until they turn golden brown.

Allow to cool down completely before storing in an airtight container.