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Roast Chicken Soup


(serves 6)
This is a wholesome soup that I invented after much experimenting to capture the meaty goodness of roast chicken. It’s got chunks of roasted chicken and pancetta, croutons of baked carrots and mushrooms. Trust me, you won’t be able to think of anything else but roast chicken while the soup is swirling around in your mouth. Kobi’s hearty roast chicken soup is a meal in itself, perfect for those winter months.   

Ingredients (Roast Chicken)

  1. Chicken Legs with Thigh (4)
  2. Diced Pancetta (80g)
  3. Rosemary 
  4. Thyme

Ingredients (Soup)

  1. Onion (2)
  2. Carrot (1)
  3. Brown Mushrooms (100g)
  4. Butter (50g)
  5. Milk (1 cup)
  6. Flour
  7. Chicken Stock Cube (1)
  8. Brandy

Preparation 

  1. You have to first roast four chicken legs according to this recipe.
  2. While the chicken is in the oven, dice your onions into 1/2 inch pieces and then stir fry them in 50g of butter under very low heat until they caramelize. It should take about 25 minutes. Turn the heat off when the onions are, a deep shade of brown and leave the pan on the stove.
  3. When the chicken is cooked, place 3 legs into a pot with 4 cups of boiling water. Set to simmer and add a dissolved chicken stock cube. Set aside the fourth leg, you’ll be using it later. Pour the drippings (including the pancetta) into the frying pan with the onions.
  4. Degalze the baking tray with some of the boiling chicken stock, and after some light scraping, pour the mixture back into the chiken stock.  
  5. Dice your carrot into small cubes and then cut the mushrooms into pieces which are about 3x larger than the carrots (because they will shrink). Put the carrots and mushrooms into the baking tray and stir well with 2T olive oil. Bake this for 25 minutes in the oven at 175oC (350oF) .
  6. After the chiken has simmered for at least an hour, take the chicken legs out. Mash the meat of one leg with your hands till you get loose fibres of meat and put this back in the stock. Discard the other 2 boiled legs.
  7. Set the heat to medium for the frying pan with the onions. When the pan is hot, sprinkle in 2T of plain flour and reduce the heat to low. Stir fry for two minutes or so to cook the flour and then pour in 1 cup of milk 1/5 cup at a time, stirring all the time to prevent lumping. You should end up with a thick brown soup base.
  8. Stir in 2 ladles of the chick stock to the pan slowly to thin down the soup base even more. Pour the resulting mixture back into the soup pot. Boil for another 5 minutes.
  9. When its time to serve the soup, add 2T of brandy and a sprinkle of black pepper, and reboil. Shred the meat of the last chicken leg (the one that wasn’t boiled). Add the chicken meat only after you turn the heat off. Taste to see if you wish to add salt. Ladle the soup into serving dishes and sprinkle on the roasted carrots and mushrooms.  

Notes

  • For those of you interested in french cuisine terminology, flour fried in butter is called roux. If you add milk to roux, it becomes béchamel sauce. If you had added the chicken stock without the milk, it would have become a velouté sauce instead. Since we added both milk and chicken stock, I have no idea what that is called…cream soup I guess.
  • You can use leftover chicken, so make a double batch of roast chicken, that way you can eat your chicken and drink it too (at a later meal).
 
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Posted by on October 24, 2011 in A Kobi Original, English, Poultry, Recipe, Soups

 

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Herb Roasted Chicken Legs


(serves 2 for meal, 4 for snack)
This is a simple way of roasting really delicious chicken legs. If there is one meat you need to roast well, its chicken. Roast chicken is the intermediate ingredient for many other wonders of the kitchen, like chicken sandwiches and chicken salads. Some herbs in the marinate and pancetta, a type of Italian bacon, is all you really need to bring out the best flavours in your roast chicken. Best of all, this recipe is easy, good for those times you can’t afford to expend too much effort preparing food.   

Ingredients

  1. Chicken Legs with Thigh (4)
  2. Diced Pancetta (80g)
  3. Rosemary 
  4. Thyme

Preparation 

  1. Trim off the loose flaps of skin on the chicken if any and pad with paper towels to dry them. If you have time, leave the chicken in the fridge uncovered for a few hours to dry it out, but this is an optional step you can skip if you don’t have time.
  2. Dissolve 1t of salt in 3T of olive oil and then add 1.5t rosemary, 1.5t thyme and 0.5t pepper. Mix well.
  3. Marinate the chicken and then leave the legs in a baking pan for an hour for the flavor to set in. The herbs like to stick to the parts of the chicken with no skin, so make sure the herbs cover the chicken evenly.
  4. Sprinkle the diced pancetta on and around the chicken (see the photo below).
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes in the oven preheated to 175oC (350oF) depending on the size of the legs. Increase the temperature to 200oC for the last 10 minutes if you like your chicken browned to a bronze shade.
  6. That’s basically it, but there are a few options you can pick from for the chicken drippings (including the pancetta bits).
    1. Meal – Boil two potatoes ahead of time and roughly mash the potatoes in the drippings and 1/4 cup milk.
    2. Snack – Mix 1 t dijon mustard into the drippings to make a nice mustard gravy.
    3. Sandwich – If you are going to make roast chicken sandwiches, just shred the chicken meat and then drench the meat with the drippings (plus 2T mayonnaise if you want it creamy).

Notes

  • Pancetta can be bought pre-diced at the right supermarket/deli. There are usually two flavours, savoury and sweet. Make sure you don’t buy the sweet type (labled dolce) by accident.
  • In case you were wondering. Pancetta is salt cured, seasoned with spices like nutmeg and fennel, and matured over a period of at least 3 months. It may look similar to but its not the same as bacon.
  • Can you use chicken breasts instead? Yes. But you should brine them first, and the recipe won’t be simple anymore. Also, its crucial to get the cooking time exact for breasts. When you breasts begin to shrink a bit, that’s when they are ready.
 
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Posted by on October 16, 2011 in English, Main Courses, Poultry, Recipe

 

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Bread and Butter Pudding


(serves 10)
One of my absolute favourites, buttered bread soaked and then baked in custard. In a contest between Bread and Butter Pudding and French Toast, we see one of the rare instances where British cuisine triumphs. A great dessert made from simple ingredients, that can be made before hand, that can be made in large quantities with little effort, that can be eaten hot or cold; What more could anyone ask for?      

Ingredients

  1. Milk (800ml)
  2. Eggs (6)
  3. Butter (80g)
  4. Bread (1 loaf)
  5. Raisins (1/2 cup)
  6. Sugar (1/2 cup)
  7. Nutmeg
  8. Cinnamon
  9. Rum

Pre-preparation 

  1. A day before, slice your loaf into 3/4 inch slices. You can’t use pre-sliced bread as the slices are too thin.
  2. Next we do the ‘test fit’. Pick a shallow pyrex dish than can hold at least 10 cups. Arrange the slices once in the bakeware so you know exactly how many slices you’ll be needing. Overlap the slices like a stack of fallen dominoes and use a left right arrangement, as shown in the photo below. 
  3. Leave the bread in the fridge to dry out the bread, with or without the dish.
  4. Soak 1/2 cup of raisins in 3T of rum.

Preparation

  1. Its now one day later; spread butter on one side of each slice of bread. Use salted butter as a bit savoury taste is essential. Sprinkle nutmeg and cinnamon on the buttered side of the bread. Be generous with the butter, nutmeg and cinnamon as they are what gives flavour to the pudding.
  2. Arrange the buttered bread in the pyrex, the same way as before. Scatter 3/4 of the raisins between the slices of bread.
  3. Lightly beat 4 eggs and 2 egg yolks with half a cup of sugar in a mixing bowl. Stir in 800ml of milk and any of the rum not soaked up by the raisins. Put the whole mixture through a fine strainer to remove strands of albumin.
  4. Pour the strained mixture into the pyrex. The bread will float even when its wet (ever feed swans in a pond?) but their arrangement will make sure only a small amount of each piece sticks out. If you ignored me and arranged them like a brick wall, some pieces will be completely free floating now. If you ignored me and used a deep baking dish, all the bread will gather at the top now.
  5. Let the bread soak for half an hour. You will need to gently push the bread (with your palm) down once in a while so they become totally submerged. Even though they float, the idea is to make sure the portions above the custard are soaked as well. If you ignored me and used thin pre-sliced bread, the bread will begin to fall apart now.
  6. Preheat your oven to 150oC (300oF).
  7. After the soaking is done, sprinkle the remaining raisins and 1T of sugar on the surface. Place uncovered into the oven and bake for about 40 minutes.
  8. The bread will eventually be seen to puff up and this is a sign the pudding is close to being done. Wait a while more and the bread should begin to brown nicely, that is when the pudding can come out. Allow the pudding to stand for a few hours before serving.

Notes

  • Glazing the pudding is a nice extra touch and a chance to add an extra layer of flavour. When the bread puffs, this is the signal for you to brush on a layer of golden syrup, mapel syrup, marmalade etc. Place back into the oven after brushing on the glazing of course.
  • The best bread to use is supposedly brioche, i.e. a bread with a high egg and milk content. If you are unsure, this just means any bread that is yellow. Any bread that is tough or is made from whole grain will not work.
  • If you wish to serve the pudding warm, you still need to allow it to cool before you reheat it. I would normally serve warm B&B pudding with a vanilla custard sauce (made easily from custard powder). 
  • Some people swear that panettone, left over from christmas, is the best bread to use but i have never tried this. It helps of course that panettone conveniently has soaked raisins embedded in it to start with.
 
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Posted by on September 18, 2011 in Desserts, English, Recipe

 

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Pumpkin Soup with Thyme


(serves 6-8)
This is a relatively healthy recipe for those times you want to make a creamy soup without using any cream, milk or flour. Mine is a very basic recipe and there are none of the typical extra ingredients like cheese or onions. Pumpkin and Thyme are already the perfect pairing. Pumpkin is naturally sweet and is perfect for resetting the palete between courses. Thyme on the other hand will give a savoury identity to your soup, and do away with the impression of a mis-timed dessert. This soup can be served hot or cold.

Ingredients 

  1. Pumpkin (1/2 of a small one)
  2. Chicken Leg with Thigh (1)
  3. Bacon (4 slices)
  4. Whole Grain Bread (2 slices)
  5. Cumin
  6. Thyme
  7. Chicken Cubes (2)
  8. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preparation (the night before, or in any case as early as possible)

  1. Cut your bread into large cubes and leave uncovered in the fridge overnight to dry them into croutons.
  2. Heat 4T of olive oil with 3t of thyme in a small pan. About one minute of heat after the oil gets hot should do. Allow this to cool and over several hours, the flavour of thyme will get infused into the oil while the thyme itself softens.
  3. The secret to pumpkin soup is a good quality stock. Put 4 cups of water to boil in a pot and then add the chicken leg (or an equivalent amount from another part of the chicken) and the 4 bacon slices. Simmer for at least an hour and leave covered to cool for several more.

Preparation (just before the meal)

  1. Your half pumpkin should be about the size of half a soccer ball. Slice it like a watermelon and then remove the pulp, seeds and skin. The skin is somewhat thick and hard to work with, so make your life easier by being generous when cutting the skin off. Make sure there is no tinge of green left when you are done because that part imparts a bitterness you want to avoid. Cut into large chunks. Some ladies might prefer to steam the pumpkin so the flesh of the pumpkin can be scooped out easily, but I find the direct approach more convenient.
  2. Discard the meat from your stock and put the pot to boil again. Stir in 2t of cumin. Add two chicken stock cubes followed by the pumpkin pieces once the stock cubes have melted. Add water such that the pumpkin is just covered and simmer for about forty-five minutes.
  3. When the pumpkin pieces are soft (see photo below), puree them in the pot using a hand-held blender with a puree attachment. If you don’t have a handheld blender, use a regular blender (and then buy a hand-held).
  4. Reheat, sprinkle in a few pinches of pepper and check for taste. Add salt if needed (not likely) or add water if the soup is too thick.
  5. Spoon your soup onto their serving plates, topping off with a few croutons each. Finally, drizzle on the thyme infused olive oil (including the thyme) and serve. Instruct your guests to stir before consumption.

Notes

What the pumpkin looks like when it is ready for puree. Water level should just cover the pumpkin.

  • If you wish to go the extra mile, make a bit more of the thyme flavoured oil. Use the extra oil (lightly salted) to flavour your bread on both sides before cubing it.
  • Cumin is the defacto spice for ‘sweet’ soups like pumpkin and carrot but if you don’t like a curry overtone, try nutmeg instead.
  • A more meaty option is to cut the bacon into small bits and then pan fry them to melt the lard off. Add the bacon bits to the soup after the pumpkin is pureed and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. I prefer not to do this as the soup is more interesting if the diners do not know that bacon has been used to flavour your ‘vegetarian’ soup.  
  • If you really wish to impress – and this requires redundant hard work, you can serve a mixture of two puree soups in the same dish. I find that chestnut soup is a good match in terms of colour and texture. Its made in pretty much the same way and you can use the same stock for both batches. Add one soup to the soup dish first and then spoon the second carefully into the center to form a circle. Use the end of a fork or spoon to make interesting radiating patterns.
 
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Posted by on April 25, 2011 in Appetizers, English, Recipe, Soups

 

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Baked Rice Pudding


(serves 1, scalable to many)
Rice Pudding is a surprisingly popular dish around the globe, even in places which don’t eat rice as a staple. This particular recipe is of the English variety and is a dessert. Besides being absolutely scrumptous, my recipe is a quick and convenient one. As each portion is made individually, it is totally scalable. It only takes about forty minutes to complete, including baking time.
 
Ingredients
  1. Rice (2T)
  2. Cream (3T)
  3. Custard Powder (0.5t)
  4. Sugar (1t)
  5. Raisins (1T)
  6. Pine Nuts (1T)
  7. Butter
  8. Nutmeg
  9. Golden Syrup

Preparation

  1. The recipe assumes you are using mini-ramekins. Any kind of small baking container which holds half a cup of water will do.
  2. I’ve found that using Japanese Rice for rice pudding is best. It is a short grain which remains wetter when cooked, but at the same time has a very nice chewy texture. Start by placing 2T of raw rice in your ramekin. Fill the container with cold water and give it a good stir to rinse the rice, then pour away the water.
  3. Marinate your raisins in 1T of dark rum. This step is optional in case you are adverse to liquor.
  4. In a bowl, mix 0.5t custard powder and 1t sugar with a spot of hot water, stirring it till you get a smooth consistency. Next, stir in 3T cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Add the whole mixture to the rice.
  5. Add boiling water (about 4T) to the ramekin till you almost reach the rim, followed by a small knob of (salted) butter. Cover the ramekin with aluminium foil, just use one foil even if you have multiple ramekins.
  6. The baking is simple, just remember : 15+10+5 for the toaster oven. Have the toaster oven on for 3 minutes to preheat it and then bake the ramekin for fifteen minutes. If you are making more than one portion at a time (you can do up to 4 in a standard toaster oven), add 1 minute to the initial 15 minutes for every extra ramekin.
  7. After 15 minutes, lift off the foil and add 1T raisins and 1T pine nuts. Stir the rice to get all of it off the ramekin bottom, this makes for a fluffier pudding. Recover with the same foil and bake for a further 10 minutes.
  8. After 10 minutes remove the foil, drizzle on a flat t of golden syrup per portion and then bake uncovered for a final five minutes. This will dry up the pudding and give it a nice crust.

Notes

  • You can use cinnamon instead if you don’t like the spicy taste of nutmeg.
  • If you can’t find golden syrup or don’t know what it is, use maple syrup or honey.
  • If you use a regular oven it will take longer as the heat is less direct. If you use 1-cup ramekins instead of mini ramekins, it will take longer too because of the greater volume.  I can’t list all the baking times for various combinations, just remember that the rice-custard must have been boiling for a few minutes before the part where you add the raisins and pine nuts. You can also do the initial stages of the baking by boiling in a pot to saved time.
  • In case you were wondering, 12T= 0.5 cups.
 
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Posted by on February 6, 2011 in Desserts, English, Recipe

 

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Caramel Custard


(serves 8 -10)
Caramel custard is a perrenial english favourite at the dining table, undeservedly supplanted by its french cousin creme brulee in recent years. The creamy custard soaked in a bath of caramel is a delectable combination. And the beauty of it… because sugar is melted twice, the resulting caramel syrup maintains its consistency at all temperatures, so you can serve caramel custard either hot or chilled.

 

Ingredients

  1. Eggs (6)
  2. Milk (900 ml)
  3. Sugar (1 cup)
  4. Vanilla essence (2t) 

Preparation

  1. You can make caramel custard in individual portions or in one large pyrex / corningware container but the first step is always to assemble ovenware of the right volume (for the purposes of this recipe, I’ll be assuming you are using individual ramekins). As the caramel sets very quickly, there will be no time to deal with this math along the way. As a guide, your ovenware should be able to hold 1 litre of water. 
  2. Put one cup of plain sugar in a pan and under slow heat, stir until the sugar caramelizes. At first, the sugar will yellow a bit and start clumping together, and after about fifteen minutes, you’ll get a deep golden brown molasses. I wouldn’t use a non-stick pan as the sugar gets really hot.
  3. At the point where most of the sugar has turned into molasses (the remainder will caramelize by itself), drizzle it with a large spoon to layer the bottom of your ramekins. You have to work fast as a bitter taste will set in if you continue to heat the molasses too long but if you turn off the fire, the molasses will quickly thicken to the point where you won’t be able to work it. The molasses will harden immediately as it touches your cold bakeware so don’t harbour any thoughts about adjusting it later. Control the distribution as the caramel leaves the spoon. 
  4. There will be some caramel left in the pan at the end and you might wonder how you are going to clean it. Don’t worry, its basically still sugar and melts in plain water after cooling.
  5. Allow the caramel to cool in the ramekins and preheat your oven to 150oC (300oF).
  6. Now for the custard, this is comparatively easy. Heat 900ml of milk in the microwave or in a saucepan. In a mixing bowl, beat 4 whole eggs, 2 egg yolks with 3T of sugar and then stir in the milk slowly. Add 2t of vanilla essence. Put the whole mixture through a strainer to remove the strands of albumin from the egg white.
  7. Break off and dispose of any of the hardened caramel on the sides of the ramekins and pour in your custard. Skim off any bubbles.
  8. Bake for 22 minutes or until the custard has just a slight tinge of brown, and then leave in the oven with the heat off for a further 15 minutes (without opening the oven door).
  9. Serve your caramel custard anytime thereafter.

Notes

  • If you want to go the extra mile, bake your ramekins in a baking tray of water and leave the heat on for the last fifteen minutes where its supposed to be off according to the recipe. This is more troublesome but it’s the classic way of doing it and it will get you the perfect ‘pudding’ look that you see in some cookbooks. I find the ‘baked’ look from direct baking gives your custard more character, so its the way I do it.
  • My experience is hot milk serves little purpose unless you are making a liquid custard but I heat the milk anyway as cold milk would affect the cooking time.   
  • I will usually make my caramel custard ahead of time and serve it chilled.  This also makes for a more condensed texture and gives the syrup time to work its way into the custard. 
  • You may also serve your caramel custard immediately as a hot dessert, although this is less common. It will have a lighter texture this way, if that’s what you are aiming for.
  • You also the option of serving the custard inverted on a plate, or in the bakeware itself, as pictured here.

 

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2009 in Desserts, English, Recipe

 

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Braised Beef Ribs, in Guinness


(serves 3-4)
Stout is a good braising beverage because of its rich nutty taste and all the nourishing grains that goes into each pint of it. I experimented with all kinds of flavours to partner stout before I settled on dark soya sauce. I don’t know if its because both are dark, but they match well, resulting in a
East-meets-West braised rib recipe, with hints of Korean cuisine and Pub food.
 
nb. No reason why you can’t use pork ribs instead of beef ribs if you so desire.

Ingredients

  1. Beef Ribs (1000g)
  2. Guinness Stout (1 can)
  3. Leek (1.5 cups)
  4. Carrot (1 large)
  5. Garlic (15 cloves)
  6. Oxo cube (1)
  7. Flour
  8. Honey 
  9. Dark Soya Sauce
  10. Cardamon
  11. Tarragon

Preparation

  1. Start by cutting your carrots into thick discs and diagonally slicing your leek into rings.
  2. There is no need for marination. Just trim off any large chunks of fat and then dredge your raw ribs through some flour.  
  3. Using a frying pan, sear your ribs in a few T of oil until they are brown on all sides. You should do them a few at a time, without crowding the pan. Arrange the seared beef in a pyrex or casserole dish as shown below.
  4. In the same pan, without washing it, fry your leek in a few T of oil. When the the leek starts to soften, turn up the heat and add your can of stout. Make some beef stock using half a cup of hot water and an Oxo cube, and add that in as well.
  5. Continue to simmer until the volume of your braising sauce is reduced by a third. Turn off the heat and finish off the sauce by mixing in 5T of Dark soya sauce, 2t (heaping) of honey, 1t of cardamon, 1T of tarragon.
  6. Arrange the carrots and garlic over the ribs and pour your sauce over the ribs making sure the ribs are fully covered. It’s ok if some of the vegetables stick out. If you don’t have a coverm seal the top of your baking vessel with aluminium foil, securing it around the handles.
  7. At 160oC (320oF), bake for 2 hours. When it is done, there will be a film of oil on the suface. Skim as much of it off as you can by tilting your baking dish to one corner. 
  8. Sprinkle on some black pepper before serving. The ribs can be served with a healthy dose of soft staple food. Rice, rosti or mashed potatoes and polenta are the ones I usually serve with these ribs.

Notes

  • There is dark soya sauce and light soya sauce. This recipe requires the DARK variety which is normally used for marination and you can’t substitue the light variety which is normally used for seasoning and dipping.
  • The height and size of the baking dish is important and you should pick one which is tall enough to prevent liquid from boiling over. It must also be big enough to accomodate the ribs snugly without stacking.
  • Don’t skip the flour. It makes its easier to seal the meat when you are browning it and it also adds some body to your final sauce.
  • Sesame oil is ideal for the frying parts of this recipe but if you don’t have any, any kind of vegetable oil other than olive oil will be fine.
  • If you don’t have cardamon, try using nutmeg.
 
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Posted by on November 17, 2009 in A Kobi Original, English, Main Courses, Recipe

 

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