Sunday, April 24, 2016

Beef Stew Recipe

Been a little scared of cooking beef as it might turn out tough & dry. Until we did some research and found out this interesting article by Serious Eats, they mentioned that the best part of the beef to make beef stew is chuck. It has lot of connective tissue and fats. Also, it's affordable and preforms the best. Click here to read more.

Ingredients A
4 tablespoons Vegetable oil
400g Beef Chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes
100g Oxtail
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For searing, heat a large Dutch Oven or a Soup Pot with a tight-fitting lid with Vegetable Oil. Season the beef chunks and oxtail generously with salt and pepper, and add to the pan. Saute (uncovered) for about 8 minutes stirring occasionally, ensure all sides are well-browned. Transfer the beef to a plate and set aside. Rinse the Dutch Oven or a Soup Pot, wipe out the pan and return the pot to the stove.

Ingredients B
2 tablespoons Butter / Olive Oil
1 medium Brown Onions
3 cloves Garlic, crushed
1/2 cup Tomato Paste
1 tablespoon All-Purpose Flour (optional)
1 cup Water
1 cup Beef or Chicken Broth
1/2 cup Red Wine
2 sprigs Fresh Parsley / 1 teaspoon of Dry Parsley
2 sprigs Fresh Thyme / 1 teaspoon of Dry Thyme
2 sprigs Fresh Rosemary / 1 teaspoon of Dry Rosemary (optional)
2 Bay Leaves
200g medium Potatoes, quartered
2 medium Carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 Celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste

If using the oven to cook for 1.5 hours, preheat the oven to 165°C.

Heat the large Dutch Oven or the Soup Pot with butter or Olive Oil. Add in Onion and cook for about 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute or until lightly browned. Add the seared beef chunks and oxtail. If you're adding flour mix it into the water, we omitted as we prefer our stew to be soupy base, however, if you like slightly thick soup you may add. Add Water, Broth, Red Wine and bring to a simmer. Place the Parsley, Thyme, Rosemary, and Bay Leaves in a soup-bag and add the bundle to the pot. Cover and transfer to the oven to cook for approximately 1.5 hours where the meat will be just tender. This can also be done on the stove at a low simmer, it will take approximately 1 hour.

Remove pot from the oven or stove, with a ladle skim as much fat off as possible. Add the Potatoes, Carrots, Celery and bring to a simmer on top of the stove for another 1 hour until the liquid slightly thickens and the vegetables are tender, not forgetting to stir occasionally. Remove and discard the herb soup bag. Stir in the vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Dish into bowls and serve hot with rice or mash potatoes.

Click here for our blog page Cooking Classes for more recipes. Hope you will be inspired~

Thursday, April 21, 2016

All you can eat Yakiniku (焼肉) Brunch Buffet @ Tajimaya, Vivocity!

Yakiniku (焼肉) is one of our favorite comfort foods. There's something remarkably therapeutic about grilling (and wolfing down) slices of different meats and parts over red hot charcoal. Unfortunately, a great Yakiniku dinner (lots of super marbled, various different cuts from an A5 wagyu cow) is expensive, and sometimes we just want to burn some cow without breaking the bank.

Tajimaya Yakiniku Buffet Vivocity

Enter Tajimaya's all-you-can-eat Yakiniku Brunch Buffet! It's only available on weekends, and frankly the variety isn't all that great (only three cuts of beef available), but s$49.90/person is pretty reasonable for free flow meat.

Tajimaya Yakiniku Buffet Vivocity

First up though, some sashimi. Salmon was pretty good, fresh with a nice amount of fat, whereas the Tuna was par for the course for non-specialist Japanese restaurants (that is to say, a little rough in texture and not all that good tasting).

Tajimaya Yakiniku Buffet Vivocity

After appeasing our guilt with the "healthy" raw fish, it's on to the meats! We tried all three types of beef, the kurobuta pork belly, the lamb, an assortment of mushrooms and sweet corn. Oh, free flow of Pepsi and 7-Up is included in the buffet price.

Tajimaya Yakiniku Buffet Vivocity

Obviously the Wagyu (probably from Australia or some other non-Japanese country) short plate was the most marbled - nice fatty streaks - but short plate is really one of the cheaper cuts of the cow. It comes from the belly, outside the ribs, and tends to be a little tougher and chewier than other muscles that do less work. Nice beefy flavour though!

Tajimaya Yakiniku Buffet Vivocity

Of special note (to avoid) is the lamb - we don't know what cut it came from but it was tough, dry, and altogether forgettable. The pork belly, on the other hand: juicy, oily, fatty, and crispy in the corners thanks to the heat from the charcoal.

Tajimaya Yakiniku Buffet Vivocity

Speaking of charcoal, we're big believers of the charcoal BBQ. For starters, the radiant heat is higher than gas or electricity, allowing you to get a better sear / crust. But most importantly, there's a subtle smoke from grilling over charcoal that you don't get from the other two methods. Not from the charcoal itself, mind you, but from the fats and juices that drip off the meat, hit the coals, and combust in a flash of flames and smoke, flavouring the meat. Yummy.

Tajimaya Yakiniku Buffet Vivocity

Of course, while we would have preferred some additional variety - like beef tongue, or beef tripe - you can't have a buffet and have tons of variety and keep the price down. Also, there's a published time limit of 100 minutes, but we sat at our table for considerably longer and weren't chased away.

Tajimaya's Brunch Buffet is served from 11.30am-4.00pm on weekends and public holidays. We don't know how long the promotion will run for, so do head down there and take advantage of the offer while it lasts!

Tajimaya Yakiniku is at #01-102/103, Vivocity, Singapore. Non-Halal.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Keisuke's Lobster King Ramen at Clarke Quay.

Keisuke Takeda is without a doubt the King of Singapore's Ramen scene. Within the last couple of years he's opened close to ten Ramen outlets around town - plus a couple of other experiments like Gyoza King and Ginza Tendon Itsuki. What we really like about his Ramen empire, though, is that each restaurant is a little different - Tonkotsu King concentrates on pork bone broth; Tori King dumps a whole broiled chicken drumstick/thigh on top of your noodles. Which brings us to Lobster King at Clarke Quay which, as you might expect, specializes in noodles in lobster broth.

At first glance, Lobster King's dining area seems uncharacteristically posh - to better fit in with the more upmarket Clarke Quay location, perhaps. One constant remains, though - the free flow of bean sprouts and (unflavoured) hard boiled eggs.

Ramen Keisuke Lobster King Clarke Quay

Lobster King presents a choice of four broths - Lobster (clear), Lobster (rich, pictured below), Miso Lobster and Spicy Miso Lobster. Prices vary slightly depending on which broth you choose, and vary quite a bit depending on how many accompaniments you order.

Ramen Keisuke Lobster King Clarke Quay

Speaking of accompaniments: Ordering the "special" gives you all toppings - ajitsuke tamago, seaweed, bamboo shoot, prawn wanton, deep fried prawn ball, and extra slices of pork and chicken chashu. It's a hearty bowl of food, and could be quite challenging if you've got a below average appetite. These toppings are generally pretty par for the course for Keisuke's standards, with the exception of the prawn wanton which we didn't quite like on account of there being way too much wanton skin.

Ramen Keisuke Miso Lobster King Clarke Quay

Where Lobster King really stamps its mark, though, is with the broth. It's safe to say that this is an extremely unique bowl of noodles - the soup's flavour profile is pretty similar to angmoh lobster bisque. This isn't a delicate broth. It's salty, it's strong, and it tries to hit your tastebuds hard and fast. In Spicy Miso Lobster rendition, it's perhaps on the verge of being too tasty, and not to mention surprisingly spicy.

Ramen Keisuke Lobster King Clarke Quay

Lobster King prices its Ramen slightly higher than normal - $21.90 for the all toppings "special" version. We've no idea whether this is due to the ingredients used for the broth, or due to higher rentals at the Clarke Quay location, though. If you're a fan of Ramen or if you're a fan of crustaceans you should most definitely try a bowl!

Lobster King is at The Cannery block of Clarke Quay. First come first served (no reservations allowed); Non-halal.