Rosemary-flavoured nuts

I’m a nutty person, not in the sense of being crazy but that I adore nuts. I love munching them and sometimes without my knowing, I would finish the whole pack by myself which resulted in a plump young lady years ago.

But I learnt my lesson of eating everything in moderation and managed to scale down my weight. I still love nuts though and today,I intended to personalise my peanuts, thanks to the recipe in Dorie Greenspan’s Around my French Table. Did I mention that during yesterday’s dinner at Journeyman, there was this couple who was seated next to us and the lady resembled Dorie? I took a few glances to determine if I was sitting next to this famous cookbook writer; I couldn’t be sure. Checking her tweets, I realised she couldn’t have been in Boston. =(

Anyway, I have missed last Friday’s FFWD and decided to make up for it today. The recipe on her cookbook was sweet and spicy cocktail nuts but I decided to go with rosemary-flavoured peanuts.

 

My main ingredients are 1 cup of peanuts and 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary.

   

1. Mix sugar, salt and finely chopped rosemary in a small bowl and add the beaten egg white.
2. Toss the peanuts into the mixture and make sure that the nuts are evenly coated.
3. Lift the nuts one by one from the bowl, letting the excess egg white drip back into the bowl and transfer them to the baking sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 300F or until the nuts are browned and the coating is dry. Cool for 5 minutes, then transfer nuts to cutting board to cool completely.

They were CRISPY. Nice to go with everything from beer to Champagne. Obviously, something’s missing here – nice company and cool jazzy music.

Recipe above is adapted from Dorie’s cookbook. If you can, grab her book. Her recipes are easy to follow and the food delish. I never knew that French cooking can be so fuss-free. Love it!

Arghh

A common question posed to me was, “So what do you do when Ken is in school?” or “What do you do in Boston?”

I wish I could say that I am doing something decent like attending classes or having a job as my mom suggested. But having worked for 7 years, it is a good break and definitely a useful period to learn a skill.

So, my answer to them was, “I cook and bake.”

Sometimes, I find what I am doing really trivial but when I think deeper, it really involves a lot of work. For example, I spent the whole of this morning reading up and thinking of what to cook for the week. I could well make my life easier by just simply cooking what I am used to, aka Chinese cuisine. But I wanted to learn more and pairing ingredients is a skill! I need to check through the ingredients used by each dish and to maximise the use of them, think of more dishes that incorporate similar kind of ingredients.

I felt like I was back to my beginning year of teaching when I spent almost the whole day (normally a Sunday) drawing up my lesson plans for the week and developing the relevant teaching materials.

So, here goes. I spent half a day thinking through what I could cook/bake and I could only come up with half of them.

– Spiced butter-glazed carrots
– Leek and potato soup
– Herb-flavoured nuts
– Cinnamon crunch chicken
– Chocolate Crinkle cookies
– Mocha Roulade
– Chocolate cupcakes with ganache circle & buttercream frosting with tuile hearts
– Royal-iced chocolate cookies
– Cardamon crumb cake
– Speculoos

An Atas Experience

“So, this is professional kitchen for you. What do you think?”

Sze Wei asked me after we have completed our 3-course meal (which expanded into a 6-8 course meal, courtesy of this friend of Ken).

We were at Journeyman, a restaurant opened by Ken’s friend and his wife. It was a much-anticipated visit as Sze Wei has corresponded with Ken before our move here. It was he who advised me (through Ken) that I would not really need a culinary education to cook well; I can learn the ropes myself. Besides, I could definitely go to his restaurant to take a look and have a go at it, just for the experience. 

Journeyman finally opened their doors for business about three months ago. It was delayed due to some operations issues but we were glad that we made it yesterday.

We were seated at the serving counter, in full view of what the chefs were doing (a trio of Tse Wei, his wife and another chef). It was a nice concept since I could see the chefs in action and what went into the creation of my food. Contrary to what I saw from TV, these chefs here did not shout at one another. They were whispering and politeness was in the air (obviously since you have diners looking at you cook).

Sze Wei and the other chef were in charge of the main course while the wife, Diana, dealt with savoury dishes and desserts.

Ken and I selected the three-course meal at US$40/pax but the server soon came up to us and said, “I must warn you that the kitchen has intended to ignore your order and will serve you with copius amount of food. Sze Wei has plans for you.”

And yes, we had tastings of several savoury dishes before the entree was served. By that time, I was already full, not forgetting the dessert. It was an ‘atas’ (collquial term for high-class)/fine-dining experience nonetheless.

    

Stressful was my answer to Sze Wei but as he explained, that night was really quite smooth since the kitchen had only made one mistake compared to the other nights. It was not filled to the maximum capacity (3/4 full) too so it was generally all right.

  

He went on to explain that he starts work at around 10am every day (depending on what time he can wake up) and go back home at 2am in the morning. The first order starts at 6.30pm and last order of the day is 9.30pm and as we had experienced, dinner takes about 3 hours to complete and by the time the restaurant closes for the day, it would be 12.30am. Cleaning up needs to be done and thereafter a short staff meeting will be in place and the cycle goes on.

He hopes to have a day of rest eventually since right now he could only afford an evening. Business has been good and they are enjoying themselves (obviously, there are also a lot of stress and challenges).

“You can come in anytime and play.”

PLAY? I had better not. Meanwhile, I would use my time to hone my skills and learn as much as possible. Hopefully, when I’m confident enough, I could try out at his kitchen…FOR A DAY.