I’m not sure about you guys, but I’ve had many a moments when I was trying out some dish at a restaurant or diner and immediately told myself, “Man, I’ve gotta cook for myself a pot of that!” This classic oxtail stew is basically one of the very many “recipe cracking” episodes I have of late. Thankfully, this is very simple and rustic food to begin with and thus, very forgiving. The ingredients are also fairly straightforward , all clearly “observable” against the rather clear soup base. The latter I thought, was interesting as most of the oxtail stews I’d had, some of which I’d featured on my blog here and here are more richly coloured. Everything is conveniently cooked in one pot, my trusty Le Creuset round casserole, most of the time in the oven. No fuss at all!
I don’t usually celebrate Thanksgiving. Was chatting with a good friend, Catherine on Tuesday about pineapples (yes, not the kinda thing you taught to your good friends about I know) and we went on talking about Thanksgiving two days later (which is today by the way!). Wanting to feel a bit more festive, I decide to deck out some of my Le Creuset dutch ovens for a simple Asian-themed Thanksgiving lunch!
Food is such a wondrous thing. Not only does it fuel our body keeping us energised at hours’ ends, it also fills us with much euphoria and a profound sense of contentment, often after a hearty meal and not without the ceremonious burp and customary rubbing of the tummy. More importantly, food brings friends and family together, seated at the same table to have a meal.. be it to celebrate and rejoice, to pour out one’s sorrows and share one’s grief, or simply to catch up and reminiscent the “good o’ days”. What is even more amazing I thought, was how through food, strangers could become acquaintances, and acquaintances become friends…
We love Taiwan and visit the country almost every year. Beautifully scenery, 24-hour bookstores, refined patisseries, local delights…need I say more? And these are just some of the reasons which make us go back all the time. I love browsing at Eslite Bookstore in Taipei, especially the outlets at Dunhua South Road and the flagship store at Xinyi District. The former is a 24-hour bookstore which means that no matter how late it was and as long as we are up for it, we could always visit for some late night book shopping. And it is during one of these bookstore visits where I learnt how to make authentic Taiwanese Braised Beef Shank 台式滷牛腱, not from one of the books off the shelves, but through a Taiwanese “obasan” whom I only got to know as 李媽媽. So here is my story of 李媽媽72h台式滷牛腱 Mrs Li’s 72h Taiwanese Braised Beef Shank…
Woke up real late yesterday and missed the marketing hours of our local morning bazaar which is colloquialised as “pasar”. Not wanting to “succumb” to instant noodles, I prepared “instant” beef noodles with the beef brisket I braised couple of days back and some ingredients I had at home. Simple fanfare with a few ingredients for that extra touch! The gratification was instant as well oh yeah!
柱侯萝卜焖牛腩 Braised Beef Brisket with Daikon in Chu Hou Sauce is one of my favorite dishes from the 粤菜系 Cantonese cuisine. It is a must-order for me whenever I visit chinese restaurants, be it Hong Kong cafes, or traditional Cantonese restaurants. Succulent beef brisket, beef tendon and daikon braised to perfection, drawing in all the flavours from the condiments and spices added, making it a rare treat for me. And the sauce is simply out of this world, especially when left to mature overnight for the flavours to fully develop! Give me a bowl of the sauce and I could polish off 3 bowls of rice with it! Unfortunately not every Cantonese restaurant offers this, owing to the long cooking time required, and for those which do have it on their menu, not all of them do it well. Yes, it is a time-consuming dish to prepare but reassure that it is well worth the effort! Braise a huge pot of it, which is usually what I do, and it would keep me happy for days at ends!
This is going to be a long post given the long ingredients list and cooking method. So please bear with me as the details cannot be spared!
Tarte Bourdaloue aux poires is a classic french pear and almond tart whose origins seem to be in question. Some say it was created by Coquelin of La Pâtisserie Bourdaloue in 1909 and subsequently named it after the famous Parisienne street which the pastry shop still stands. 河田勝彦, the renowned Japanese patissier wrote in his book “Sélection de patisseries françaises anciennes et modernes” wrote that the first written record of this confection was in “Larousse Gastronomique” written by Proper Montagne which noted that it was created by Fasquelle, a patissier along rue Bourdaloue in the middle of the 19th century who named it after Louis Bourdaloue, a famous french jesuit from late 17th century [sic.]. Whatever the case, this is a very rustic tart and the recipe can be tweaked to suit one’s own likes. The recipe is made up of 3 simple parts, i.e. Pâte Sucrée, Crème d’amandes and Poires pochées. Here’s the version I’ve adapted from several recipes I’ve come across.