more cocktails, chicken & beer

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It was raining so I went to sis’ to use the threadmill there. Natually we ended up going out to eat. First stop was Stone Nullah Tavern for a quick cocktail. I had something called Hillsboro Mile which had bourbon, pimms, mint—I can’t find it on google. Sis had an earl grey martini that did have a nice tea flavour. We munched on fried artichokes and kale. Both were nice but portions were small and not value for money.

Dinner was at a Korean fried chicken place. Korean-styled fried chicken is superior to almost all fried chicken in that the batter is thin, super crunchy and the whole dish very addictive. This place we went to had yummy fried chicken. I think the plate was the whole chicken. Quite heavily seasoned and peppery-spicy with juicy meat. I’d go again. 

roasted spatchcock


When I was still working and living on my own, my staple was roast chicken. Usually thighs or legs. I’d roast a batch at the weekend and it’d be my lunch for 2-3 days. For some reason, parents don’t roast chicken a lot — questionable quality of chicken? Or they prefer lamb.

Well, I felt like roast chicken, so I dragged mum to the market and bought a fresh chicken and some vegetables. Spatchcocked and seasoned with lemon zest, italian seasoning and butter rubbed between the skin and the meat. 40mins at 180ºC roasted British style with carrots in the tray (we forgot potatoes).

I had par boiled the carrots before hand so the water together with pan juices made a simple gravy. I was well impressed, the breast was soft and juicy and not dry at all. I don’t eat chicken breast when I’m eating out because of dryness, this time I preferred the breast.

#56 new recipe: chicken ballotine


Tasks #49-58 of 101 in 1001 are to try 10 new recipes. This is #8, the third savoury and only the second meat recipe.

One of the classics in cooking history is Jacques Pepin deboning a whole chicken, stuffing it and making a galantine, a truly amazing demonstration of butchery and cooking skills. Nowadays I see chefs on masterchef and cookery competition programs making ballotine of chicken, duck, veal or another meat. There are many names, Pepin’s galantine, Americans favour roulade and ballotine seems to be used in the UK and commonwealth. It all comes down to the same concept: meat swiss roll with some stuffing (meat, vegetables or a combination) rolled up in an outer layer of meat.

This is a recipe I worked out myself, inspired by bonappetit. Serves 4 with sides, or 2 very hungry adults:

  1. pan fry 2 chicken thighs, season and dice to small bite-size pieces
  2. dice mushroom into small pieces, cook with chopped reconstituted dried porcini and sun-dried tomato, season
  3. combine thigh with mushroom mixture to make the filling and leave to cool
  4. butterfly 2 chicken breasts, cover with clingfilm and flatten slightly — not as flat as an escalope, around 1cm thick, season with s&p
  5. layer jamon, fresh basil, emmental slices on top of the chicken breast — jamon because the packet I bought was from spain, I was initially aiming for prosciutto; emmental because that’s what I found in the fridge, mozzarella or provolone will work just as well
  6. spoon on filling and roll carefully, secure with toothpick if necessary — it was difficult to roll so I used another slice of jamon on the outside
  7. sear in a pan until golden brown
  8. transfer to oven and bake at 180°C for 10mins
  9. rest for 5mins then slice


Served the ballotine with roast potatoes, mushroom and cherry tomato. I made some sauce by combining the mushroom cooking liquid with the water from the porcini and sun-dried tomato. It tasted really good, I only cooked the chicken breast for 10mins so it was still juicy.

poached chicken


This is a very simple, healthy, no oil recipe from elise. It keeps the juices intact so the meat doesn’t get dry, and even people who don’t like chicken breasts should like it.

Cut the chicken breast in half lengthwise, season with s&p, herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice. Wrap up tightly in cling film (American: plastic wrap), tie the ends in a double knot — using the type that is microwavable. Alternatively, wrap in parchment paper or foil then plastic for people who don’t like plastic touching their food.

Bring a pot of water to boil and turn the heat off. Place the wrapped chicken in the hot water, cover and allow to slowly cook for 20-30mins, depending on the thickness of the chicken. It’s just like sous-vide, only no need for expensive equipment. Remove and serve with a nice salad and sauce. I used an apple & chilli jam although pesto, gravy, even ketchup will be good.

#58(3) new dish — grilled balsamic chicken with limes


This is a Donna Hay recipe (though I don’t understand why she doesn’t take advantage of the internet and post some of her recipes on her website). Very simple and easy to make.

marinade chicken in balsamic vinegar, garlic, olive oil and pepper
place on grill
add limes to grill halfway through
serve on a bed of salad, i used a red salad of carrot, tomato, yellow pepper and sweetcorn

I had the leftovers cold today, as a grilled chicken salad and it was just as good.

#58(1) | day 5: mediterranean chicken with chickpeas


season 4 chicken portions with cumin, tumeric, salt & pepper (I used drumsticks this time)
brown in a casserole dish or deep pan with garlic
add a can of chick peas and a can of chopped tomatoes
simmer for 25-30mins until chicken is done and the sauce has reduced
throw in green peppers
serve over garlic mash — or cous cous for more mediterranean flavour

roast chicken

I made roast chicken today. Not sure why I’d do that, because it was a fairly large chicken and it’s enough for 6 meals at least. shrug

Being the complete and utter dork that I am, I took photos of the process.

Make the seasoning: mix garlic, shallots, lemon zest, italian seasoning, salt & pepper with olive oil.

rchicken001rub rchicken002rub

Butterfly the chicken by cutting off the backbone. Carefully ease the skin off the breast and fill the pocket with seasoning. Don’t take the skin off, just make sure the seasoning is between the skin and meat. Rub rest of seasoning on thighs and drumstick.

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Place over lemon slices and roast at 200°C/400°F for 20-30mins, then turn the heat down to 180°C/350°F. Strain off the cooking juices and baste often.


I parboiled some sweet potatoes and carrots then added to the roasting tray about halfway through. The whole dish is ready in about 1-1.5hrs. Let stand for 15-20mins before carving.


Made gravy from the cooking juices — added some chicken stock I had in the freezer. And here’s the finished product:


um I was playing around with iMovie and made a movie out of the pictures. Problem is the quality isn’t very good. Don’t know why.

in a world without chicken

we wouldn’t have to worry about dieting and overweight. What will happen if one day chicken comes off the menu? can we imagine such a day?

I’m a loon. I know that. Did I mention that my flight out of Singapore was at 6pm and I left the office after lunch and went to Carrefour and bought a whole roast chicken, a small bag of cherries and a large mango? The chicken I wrapped carefully and placed in my check-in luggage, the fruit I handcarried. I did my grocery shopping abroad? Yes. Loon.

Lunch today was chicken, wings and pieces from KFC. Dinner tonight probably chicken salad. Lunch tomorrow the same. I’ve got a whole one to get through before I fly off again on Wednesday. I’m making chicken stock right now.

It’s all about the humble chicken.