The Trattoria Project and Spectaculars: August 2007

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Steak Tagliata "XXII"

I watched a couple of Jamie Oliver's podcasts and got almost immediately inspired to cook steak. I made Steak Tagliata, a mountain of sliced juicy tender steak over a bed of rockets and topped shavings of parmesan. Really tasty, really flavorful, really good. The best thing about the Tagliata is that it was surprisingly easy to make.

First you need to get your steak, a good steak. Um.. a sirloin, fillet or ribeye if your feelin wealthy. Now salt your steak all over and get a griddle pan or a charcoal grill really hot. Drip in a couple teaspoons of EVOO into the pan or smear around the steak if gonna BBQ. Now sizzle steak for about 1-2mins a side for rare, 2-4mins a side for medium, 4-6mins for well.

Take it out of the pan and slice them into 1cm thick pieces. Grab a plate, scatter the rockets, lay the steak, drizzle about 2 tsps of balsamico aceto, some evoo and pepper then shave some parmesan on top of it.

Have fun.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Bruschetta con insalata di pomodori "XXI"

I should have the recipe for this already at my fingertips. Yes i still have, but today i tried using some perfectly ripe organic cherry tomatoes. They were very sweet, juicy and absolutely in season, very very very. Sweet. Felt like eating a prune.

It was also a big mistake.

The sweetness owned the aceto balsamico, basil and garlic but my super EVOO stood strong. It was bad, i think.

Its all good, we learn something new everyday.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Spaghetti in Meat Ragu "XX"

I thought it was time to put everything i've learnt for the past months to good use. Today, i am creating my very own recipe and i have high hopes about it. I've always believed that the french method of simmering stocks and sauces will get the best out of them. Therefore, i will incorporate french and italian cooking techniques to the Ragu, which is a stew-like sauce that is produced by simmering a variety of sauteed vegetables and/or meat with stock, consomme, wine, tomatoes and/or anything else you would deem compatible, for a long period of time.

I simmered a mixture of root vegetables and fresh pork with lots of tomatoes and a broth i painstakingly made all day for 3 good hours.

At first when it had just started simmering, ragu tasted only average but after 3 hours it became unbelievable. It was fantastic especially without the help of cookbooks :) Great success!
After 2 hours

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Grilled Italian Sirloin Skewers with Roasted Potatoes "XIX"

Tzigonie con Patate Arrosto

TRUST me, this tastes nothing like a satay.

The dish is originated from a well known trattoria somewhere in Italy where the cows are fat and the herbs are fresh.

The flavours went BOOM BOOM BOOM for this one, some serious bovine lovin' you get. You have to use good quality sirloin though and good fresh rosemary.

And there is nothing better than roasted potatoes to accompany grilled meat. Especially if you cook your potatoes in duck fat and breadcrumbs.

Good shit.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The French Affair

Vol au Vent with Brown Chicken-Garlic Jus and Chicken Fricassee "F1"

Today's french class was an eye opener, i thought i had never tasted a sauce so simple but in-depth before.

It was far more interesting than what i've anticipated, especially when the instructor is a Master Chef and a GlobalChef award recipient.

This is Master Chef Christophe Megel, executive chef of Ritz Carlton, Singapore.

When most people look at a Vol au Vent they feel that the most tedious part is making that wall of mysterious-looking crust.

In actual fact, the puff pastry only takes 20-30mins to complete. And the sauce, a whopping 3 hours.

I was intrigued by the way Chef Megel was searing the chicken carcasses and garlic bulbs. They were over a large burning pan of smokin hot oil but strangely, it was taking its own sweet time to caramelize. 30 mins later he tactically added ladles of stock and butter and explains how the emulsion of the sauce was taking place. Clear to the human senses, the clear broth turned brown immediately and crazy aromas just filled the kitchen. Outta this world.
Shortly after, I began making a roux and then added some veggies and veggy-stock poached chicken dices in. Even without seasoning, it tasted marvelous and the aroma was unbelievable.
Everything took 4 solid hours to complete and then the Vol au Vent was served piping hot. Hell, it was worth every second of that prep time. All plates were licked clean and the class, deeply satisfied.

This was so good, it got me inspired to try a brown jus risotto, which i really just might.

Until next time, have a good Saturday.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Asparagus with poached eggs "XVIII"

Asparagi con Uova

This has got to be the "tricksiest" dish of the month.

The big problem was the rescue procedure- getting the eggs out of boiling water without turning the whole pot of water into a murky yellow swamp. It is a pain in the ass, especially changing and reboiling water each time the yolk breached the water.

It was kinda fun initially, but after 30 good mins, even with a slotted spoon and a load of TLC, it dosen't guarantee you a perfect poach.

Just as i was about to give up, a sudden surge of brilliance jolted the nerves in my failing taurine-defficiencied mind; went to my room, got on the keyboard and hit

Apparently, chefs add about a tablespoon of vinegar into the water when boiling to hold the shape of the egg. Sounds weird and i couldn't really think of a scientific reason for this, but it sure worked like a charm.

Yea and this dish is really good.

One afternoon..

I decided that it was time to have my very own web header.

So i snatched couple of my sister's colour pencils and immediately started doodling on a black recycled paper.

Hope y'all like it,
i think its not bad

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Melazane alla Griglia "XVII"

There is no set dinner today.

I have decided to leave cooking to the domestic maid.

My apologies for that, im just taking a small break for today.
A series of incidents in camp have left me exhausted. Jesus, whats new?

However, i did mange to squeeze in a little tasty dish, not bad at all i think.
Melazane alla Griglia, grilled aubergines.

It was easy, but it took some time before all the bitter juices were drained from the aubergine. I had a sprinkle a shit load of salt and squeeze them out one by one, hell it was worth it.

And for prove i did all the dishes and photography in the blog myself, heres what some of you very sad people want to see:

Totally unedited,
There, you just made me feel sillier.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Forecast of the week

Set dinner for 10 tomorrow, my shot at french on Saturday and step by step recipe follow through on Sunday :), until then, have a nice one

Monday, August 6, 2007

Teglia di patate con cipolle "XVI"

Oven baked potato and onion slices

was made for dinner to accompany some roast duck. My mom said it was nice; that means it was totally mediocre and to me it kinda meant that it sucks. Normally, nice dishes leave her speechless.

No, nothing went wrong in the cooking, the seasoning was perfect, potatoes creamy and the onions were sweet, so this can only be concluded that the recipe isn't working.

This will be my very first misjudgement of recipe; i've always expected alot from all of my recipes from the sous books, now i've learnt that potatoes and onions don't go very well alone in the oven.

That aside,

Getting to my camp from home would take about an hour if driving and an hour and a half if taking public transport.

I've been booked-out since Friday and will be shortly returning to back camp then i will book out on Thursday again for the nation's public holiday then book back in on the night itself. I will then book out again on Friday to g.... so on and forth.. i be going in and out of camp extremely often this week. Transport time and money gonna consume me like a paranoid girlfriend.

Sadly, I might just miss a dish or two for the week..

see you soon

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Tagliatelle con ragù di salsiccia "XV"

This is one champion crowd pleaser, firstly it looks like one and the aroma's just brilliant.

Very tasty and it can get much more flavourful if you put in some good sausages, namely the italian herbed ones or england cumberland.

I can't reveal the recipe, but just a few tips.

You can use any tomato base ragù and add sausages in, skinning and slicing them into appropriate sizes first, tossing it with some fresh tagliatelle.

If you can't get hold of tagliatelle try using other egg based pastas for this one, it will taste much better imho.

re: project trattoria

As you've known by now, i am putting advertisements and affiliations up on the page.
Yes. I needa generate some bling to buy my groceries, pay for my course... and er, get some booze.. but mainly groceries, cause' i am afterall earning a low military wage.

If you have also realized, i have recently revealed a couple of my recipes to share with everyone. But please do not be disheartened if i don't, for i will be setting up a trattoria in time to come and i do need to keep my recipes secret, it is just business. Thank you for your understanding and for the lovely emails you've all sent(thought it would be great if you'd put it up on comments instead).

Have a nice one, lotsa luv

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Fagiolini in umido "XIV"

There's nothing like starting off your weekend with a bright sunny day, after a rainy and dreadful week in camp.
Class was great and i managed to pay full attention throughout despite having a crazy ass tequila hangover.
And mom got a buncha accessories from some kitchen sale at Metro's with a discount ticket, they are pretty nifty i must say.

Feels like one of those pre-army days.

To further brighten the mood, the Ursala Ferrigno stew i made earlier on in the afternoon went really well and it gives you an unexplainable heart warming sensation. Jessica calls it, "the happy stew."

If you feel like making this tasty and hearty stew, here's how you do it:

serves 6
3 tbsp evoo
1 red onion, finely chopped(F.C)
3 garlic cloves, F.C
800g chopped tomatoes
600g french beans
small handful chopped parsley for garnishing
10 basil leaves, torn

Saute onions in evoo through low heat till golden.
Add garlic & tomatoes. Simmer for a few mins.
Add beans, basil and 500ml hot water.
Season with s&p.
Bring down the heat.
Cover and simmer for 1 - 1 1/2 hours, stirring from time to time, adding additional water to keep it from drying too much.
Rip over parsley and (optional)drizzle evoo. Serve