Family Leave

Dear Readers,

After over a year of working night & day, I have finally found a break in the action and decided to grab some much needed time with my girls.

I will be taking my soul mate Beatrice and our 2 lovely daughters Alycia and Jessica to the UK for 2 weeks.

There may or may not be any posts during this time depending on me being able to get online in the middle of the Yorkshire Dales 🙂 so let me apologize for any inconvenience caused.

In the meantime I hope to see you all again real soon.

Warm regards,

Mike and the Chef’s Tales team.

Resting meats after cooking

When cooking meats, the heat from the cooking process penetrates the meat and makes the juices in the center swirl around. After retrieving the meat from the said cooking process it is far better to let the meat “rest”, this will allow the juices to settle and stop moving. When the meat is sliced straight from the cooking process, the swirling juices will pour out on to the cutting board making the meat dry, if the meat is rested the juices will stop moving and the meat when carved will stay nice and juicy. The average time to rest the meat should be between 15-20 minutes and 30 minutes for a larger cut of beef. When resting meat, the easiest way to do it is to sit the meat next to your oven at kitchen temperature for the desired time and then you are good to go.

Strawberry Mille-Feuille

Strawberry Mille-Feuille

Ingredients:

  • 100gm Puff pastry- thawed
  • 500gm Strawberry- sliced
  • 500ml Fresh cream
  • 100gm Icing sugar
  • 1-2 drop Vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons of Redcurrant jelly
  • 1ltr Milk
  • 375 Custard powder
  • 200ml Fresh cream

Method:

  1. Pre-heat an oven to 200°C.
  2. Roll out the pastry to thin rectangles (2-3cm) and cut into 3 even sections.
  3. Place rectangles onto a baking sheet and prick all over with a fork. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Cool on a wire rack.
  4. Whip the cream until its stiff and stir through the sugar and vanilla drops.
  5. Bring the milk, custard powder and cream to a simmer and not to a boil! After its come to a simmer, let it cool then mix both cream and custard together.
  6. Place the pastry slices and spread the custard cream on top & in turn arrange the strawberries on top of the cream.
  7. Lay another slice of the pastry on top and repeat the process as per the first slice.
  8. Place the 3rd slice on top. Place the redcurrant jelly and 2 tablespoons of water in a small pan, heat gently until the jelly becomes a liquid.
  9. Brush on top of the pastry slice and arrange the balance of strawberries on top.
  10. Brush the strawberries with the remaining jelly.

Notes:

Chef Bob our Executive Chef of E&O Restaurants has created a lovely classic here for us to enjoy with a cup of afternoon tea. The strawberries can be changed to blueberries for a different twist if that is preferred.

Happy Baking!

Grilled fish in Asian spices

Grilled fish in Asian spices

Ingredients:

  • 180gr Sea bass fillet or Stingray fillet
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 4pc Shallots
  • 6 tblesp Chili paste
  • ÂĽ tsp Turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp Toasted Shrimp paste
  • 2 no’s Lemon grass
  • 1 ½ tsp Ginger
  • 30gr Galangal
  • 2 no’s Kaffir lime leave
  • 1/4 tsp Sugar
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 4 tblesp Oil
  • 1 tblesp Lime juice
  • 50ml Tamarind Juice
  • Banana Leaves

Asian Tamarind Sauce:

  • 3pcs Red chilies –thinly sliced
  • 2pcs Bird’s eye chilies –thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp Toasted shrimp paste
  • 2pcs Shallots- thinly sliced
  • 1 tblesp Sugar
  • 150ml Tamarind Juice
  • 50ml Water
  • 1 tsp Salt

Method:

  1. Blend all the spices until they become a puree.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium pan, fry the chili paste until cooked, then pour in the blended spice mixture & stir until it’s cooked through again.
  3. Put in toasted prawn paste, kaffir lime leaves, tamarind juice and lime juice.
  4. Cook for a few minutes, season with sugar, salt, a pinch of black pepper and let it cool for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Clean the fish and pat dry with a kitchen towel, coat the fish evenly with the spice mixture.
  6. Wrap the whole fish with banana leaves and using toothpicks to secure it tightly.
  7. Put the parcel in a fridge and let it marinade over night.
  8. Grill the fish parcel for about 5-10 minutes on each side.
  9. Serve with the tamarind sauce (mix all of the ingredients in a bowl & season with salt and sugar.

Notes:

If the tamarind sauce when tasted is too spicy, the heat can be overcome and balanced by adding a little more sugar. When cooking the spice mixture one must cook it very slowly to ensure that the mixture does not burn, the burned taste will stay throughout the whole life of the sauce and can not be removed. Again Chef Bob from E&O restaurants has made a lovely, very simple and famous Asian dish from this end of the world. Locally this dish is called Ikan Bakar and is widely enjoyed by all.

Happy Cooking!

The Sultan of Pahang visits the E&O Hotel

The Sultan of Pahang and Michael Saxon

Many famous people, royalty, celebrities and politicians visit the Eastern & Oriental hotel and it was indeed a pleasure when we had the honor of His Majesty the Sultan of Pahang visiting us. It always amazes me that people of such standing, power and class behave so gracelessly and his majesty was no different. We are always honored to have royalty staying with us and on this occasion the pleasure was all ours as I can assure you that he was absolutely lovely.

Apple Tatin

Apple Tatin

Ingredients:

  • 1 green apple
  • 120gm sugar
  • 40gm puff pastry dough (thawed)
  • 5’x 5’ parchment paper
  • Bowl or soup cup

Method:

  1. Peel the green apple and core out the middle part & take out the seeds
  2. Heat a pan and caramelize the sugar until golden color
  3. Take the parchment paper and fit inside the bowl
  4. Pour in the caramelized sugar, then place the apple in the middle of the bowl
  5. Cover the apple with the puff pastry dough that has been cut in a round shape to fit the bowl
  6. Bake the apple in an oven for about 25 minutes at 200°C
  7. Best served with vanilla ice cream and any fresh in season berries

Notes:

Chef Bob our Chef De Cuisine for E&O Restaurants has created a dish here so easy to prepare at home, all you need to make it successfully is a pot and an oven. It’s made with ingredients that are very easy to get hold of and are not too expensive either.

Happy Cooking!

Vir Sanghvi visits The E&O Hotel

Vir Sanghvi visited the Eastern & Oriental Hotel whilst filming an episode of “The grand old ladies of Indochina” for Discovery Travel and Living and what a lovely chap he is. He was funny, very pleasant and most intelligent to say the least and never failed to charm the ladies during his entire stay. His film crew were very professional and conducted themselves in a more than honorable manner whilst taking occupying the public areas during the filming. I was impressed with the way he came across as being a very down to earth man, even though he has millions of adoring fans all around the world. I have taken the liberty to extract some info below about Vir Sanghvi from Wikipedia and would like to credit them for the attached informative study concerning his up to date life and times.

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Vir Sanghvi is among India’s leading print and TV journalists.

Currently, he is Editorial Director of the Hindustan Times.

Sanghvi was brought up in Bombay (now Mumbai) and London and educated at Mayo College, Ajmer, and Mill Hill School, London. He won an open scholarship to read politics, philosophy and economics at Brasenose College, Oxford.

His journalistic career began in his gap year before Oxford when he started contributing to India Today. He continued writing for the magazine during his vacations and in 1978, the publishers of India Today asked him to start Bombay, India’s first city magazine. At that stage, Sanghvi was 22, making him the youngest editor in the history of Indian journalism.

The first issue of Bombay appeared in 1979 and though the magazine was an instant success, heralding the start of India’s magazine boom, Sanghvi left it in 1981 to live in London for a year. Awarded a travelling fellowship by the Inlaks Foundation, he visited newspapers in the US and the UK for a project on how the western media looked at India.

In 1982, he returned to India as editorial director of Business Press, India’s largest publisher of trade magazines. While at Business Press, he revamped and reformatted Imprint, one of India’s oldest magazines and turned it into a leading features magazine of the 1980s.

In 1986, he was appointed editor of Sunday, a newsmagazine brought out by the ABP group. By 1989, Sunday had become India’s largest-selling weekly newsmagazine.

In 1994, Sanghvi became consulting editor of the ABP group, whose portfolio included—other than magazines like Sunday and Businessworld—the two largest papers in eastern India, The Telegraph in English and Ananda Bazar Patrika in Bengali.

In 1999, he became editor of the Hindustan Times, the largest-selling English newspaper in Delhi and, over the next two years, launched new editions in Chandigarh, Calcutta, Ranchi, Bhopal and other north Indian cities.

At the end of 2003, Sanghvi was appointed editorial director of HT Media Limited, the holding company of Hindustan Times, and it was in this capacity that he launched the paper’s stunningly successful Bombay edition in July 2005.

His column, Counterpoint, which he began in Sunday, now appears in the Sunday Hindustan Times, and is possibly the most influential political column in the country. He also writes Pursuits—a column that appears in the weekend section of Mint, the business paper brought out by HT Media.

These apart, Sanghvi is a foodie, writing the inimitable—and hugely popular—Rude Food column in Brunch, Hindustan Times’ Sunday magazine. A collection of these columns was published by Penguin in 2004 (Rude Food). The book won the international food world’s equivalent of the Oscar—the Cointreau Award for Best Food Literature Book in the world the following year. Alongside, Sanghvi also won the Best Food Critic award from the Indian Culinary Foundation. He did a television version of Rude Food for the Discovery Travel & Living channel called A Matter of Taste which was a huge ratings success in India and South East Asia.

Sanghvi’s TV career began in 1994 on Doordarshan, the state-owned broadcaster. Starting 1996, he hosted a number of programmes for the STAR Network. Among his successes are shows like A Question of Answers, Cover Story and Star Talk. In 2006-07, he anchored two shows for NDTV, India’s leading English news channel—Face the Music and One on One. He has won innumerable TV awards for his presenting skills at many national and international forums including the Asian Television Awards in Singapore.

In 1993, Sanghvi was named a Global Leader of Tomorrow at the World Economic Forum in Davos and he is a member of several important advisory bodies attached to the Indian government, including the prestigious National Integration Council. In 2008, he also received the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Journalism Award, at a nationally televised ceremony.

His published books include Rude Food, India – Then and Now and Men of Steel (a collection of profiles of India’s leading businessmen) which has been translated into 10 other languages and is a huge best-seller. Penguin will publish his biography of Madhavrao Scindia this winter.

Mango Pudding

Mango pudding

Ingredients part 1:

  • 750 gm Mango puree
  • 225 ml Water
  • 400 ml Milk

In a pot boil the ingredients, then place aside.

Ingredients part 2:

  • 300 gm Sugar, castor
  • 200 gm Egg yolks

In a bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until all the sugar had dissolved.

Ingredients part 3:

  • 35 gm Gelatin powder or 2 pcs of gelatin sheet
  • 175 ml Water
  • 660 ml Cream

In a small pot, melt the gelatin and water and add the cream and strain.

Preparation

Mix all of the (3) ingredients together, ensure they are mixed well and pour the mixture in a mould or ramekin, let it chill at least 24 hours before serving.

Notes:

Chef Bob of Kanpei has made a dish today that looks and tastes great which is made with limited fuss. I have to say that I have never seen a mango pudding that is so simply made and a recipe which is so easy to follow.

Great job Chef Bob, we will now allow you to stay on for at least another week Smile

H. E. Lee Kuan Yew visits the E&O Hotel

Lee Kuan Yew and Michael Saxon

We had the honor of a visit by His Excellency Lee Kuan Yew to The Eastern & Oriental Hotel and what a pleasure it was.

This gentleman oozes class and carefully selects each and every word he uses to articulate himself thereby making you feel very much at ease in his presence.

I had the wonderful experience of having a couple of private minutes with him where he gave me a little advice on the best way to educate my children for which I will cherish for a very long time.

It was an absolute pleasure to have this man stay with us, he was extremely polite, complimentary to our hotel and my colleagues and always willing to show faith in his people around him.

His calm and polite demeanor helped ensure that everyone around him were also able to stay calm and stress was definitely not the order of the day during his stay.

Your Excellency, we sincerely hope that you are able to come back to visit us as soon as possible so that we can have the pleasure of your presence again around our beloved Eastern & Oriental Hotel.

Chefs on Fire in Gastro-laboratory at Carousel

 

Singapore, 31 May 2010 – The award-winning chefs behind Carousel, Singapore’s Best Buffet Restaurant, lead the way in launching a theatrical Avant-garde section, an intriguing addition to its seven exciting satellite open kitchens. This innovative move showcases the latest form of culinary art inspired by Ferran Adria, the world’s most influential chef.

The well-lit “live” studio laboratory is impossible to miss when one steps into the restaurant. Nifty culinary gadgets come to life in the hands of five chefs, helmed by Executive Culinary Chef, Abraham Tan, who are behind the creation and execution of another ingenious repertoire at Carousel.

The elaborate cooking methods incorporate scientific techniques to create exquisite gastronomic fare that pushes the limits of culinary art. A new sensory language of food unravels by creating extraordinary flavors and textures. The techniques involve restructuring the DNA of food to achieve characteristics that were once impossible to attain, yet retaining the original taste of the dish.

Sous-vide, a slow cooking process conducted at a consistent low temperature to retain protein, infuse flavors and obtain an exceptional tenderness of the product. Spherification, a phenomenal process turns liquid into caviar or ravioli, by forming an instant membrane. These are just some of the intricate cooking methods which guests can look forward to.

The bigger mean machines and smaller sophisticated apparatus are kept in the chefs’ private gastro-laboratory where research, experiments, and explosions of flavors take place.

Culinary Executive Chef, Abraham Tan, links the new form of cuisine back to the roots of gastronomic art. “We must first get the fundamentals right to be able to embark on this part of the journey. Despite changing the food presentation visually, food preparation involves skilled selection, handling and scientific processing of ingredients.”

Avant-garde cuisine may not be familiar to many. The introduction of this new culinary art at Carousel makes it more accessible, as the dining team shares on the insights upclose at the buffet counter.

General Manager, Patrick Fiat, said, “This is a continued journey from the success of Carousel by far, as we advance with the trends and evolvement of culinary art. Guests are invited to enjoy, discover, and grow with us as they are exposed to a distinct top-notch cuisine that was once thought to be expensive and exclusive to fine dining restaurants.”

Carousel has maintained its cutting edge in the dining scene with the philosophy of sharing the passion with serious food lovers. Once again, it raises the bar in Singapore and elevates taste to another level. Endless possibilities as far as the imagination takes!

Roasted Chinese spiced duck

Roasted Chinese spiced duck

Ingredients:

  • 1 pc Duck Breast
  • 10gm Chinese 5 Spices
  • 5gm Cinnamon Stick
  • 5gm Star Anise
  • 5gm Cloves
  • 5gm Cardamon Seed
  • 100ml Orange Juice
  • 30gm Sugar
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Sauce:

  • 50gm Duck Bone and Fat
  • 1 Onion
  • 3pc Garlic Clove
  • 20gm Butter
  • 2tbspn Cooking Oil

The Sauce

  1. Slice the onion and garlic & fry them until golden brown with the butter and oil.
  2. Add the duck bones and fat & fry them until all the mixture becomes golden brown.
  3. Pour in the duck stock and reduce by half.
  4. Strain and reduce again until the sauce becomes thick.
  5. Season with salt and pepper, ready to use.

Method

  1. In a pot, pour in the orange juice, sugar, cinnamon stick, cardamom seed, star anise and cloves. Let the mixture simmer and reduce until it very thick and sticks to the spices.
  2. Season the duck breast with the salt, pepper and 5 spices.
  3. Sear the duck fat part down on a very hot plate for about 2 minutes until golden brown.
  4. Then finish the duck in an oven heated at 200c for 8min (medium well)
  5. Then take it out let it rest for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Cut the duck into square pieces and arrange it nicely on your plate with the caramelized spices and drizzle some sauce on top.
  7. Garnish with spring onions and a fresh garden tossed salad.

Notes:

Chef Bob, out Executive Chef at Kanpei Restaurant & Bar has outdone himself here today by making this wonderful and very easy to make dish. You can cut the duck breast into whatever shapes you like if you do not like squares and make the dish look completely your own. When you sear the duck breast skin side down, it’s very important to have the pan as hot as possible to dissolve as much fat as you can. When “resting” the duck breast after cooking, you must let it sit and “rest” for at least 5-10 minutes to allow the juices inside to stop moving. Allowing it to rest, when you slice the duck, the juices will stay inside the meat and not run out on to the board thereby making the breast dry.

Happy Cooking!

Presentation of Chef’s Tales Book to Kitchen Trainees

29 trainees from Institute Technology Perak received a copy of the Chef’s Tales Book in recognition for their hard work and commitment while completing their training in the Kitchen Department at the E&O Hotel recently. 

Mr Michael Saxon was indeed proud to share his book with the hope that these young and upcoming chefs can benefit from it.

When I wrote Chef’s Tales, I hoped that by sharing my autobiography of the last 30 years in the hotel industry I could help young students considering a career in the hospitality business better prepare themselves before entry.

Chef’s Tales explains the real deal when it comes to the hospitality business, through real life and personal experiences it explains clearly the life style they are about to encounter.

It helps them prepare for the culture shock that will hit them like a ton of bricks the second they walk through the back door of the hotel.

It gives cross border experiences based on culture, religion, different foods, it even touches on how to behave and what to do & what not to do’s.

Chef’s Tales is not going to win a Nobel Peace Prize for literature, but if young people want to learn a thing or two about life, the hospitality industry in general or would just like to have a good read and a laugh then this is the book for them.

I donate many copies of the personally owned paperback version to students that have not started work yet and whom are short on funds, with the hope that my life’s experiences can help them in a positive manner.

Sharing is caring and I hope to continue to give away the paperbacks to needy youngsters.

Please help me wherever you can by purchasing the hardback from http://bit.ly/7dLFmN so that I can carry on with this much needed service.

Ratatouille Provencale

Ratatouille Provencale

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 2 onions Slivered
  • 3 bell peppers Cut into one inch squares(try different colors)
  • 1 eggplant
  • 2 zucchini Cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 4 cloves garlic Minced or crushed
  • 2 pounds tomatoes Chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Minced fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup Chopped fresh basil

Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy soup pot on a medium heat. Cut the onions and add to the oil.
  2. While the onions are cooking, chop the bell peppers and add them to the pot, stirring well.
  3. Cut the zucchini into cubes and stir it in.
  4. Chop the garlic and add to the vegetables, stirring well.
  5. Chop the tomatoes and add them.
  6. Mince the thyme and add it along with salt and pepper to taste. Stir well and cook for two minutes.
  7. Cut the eggplant lengthwise, season with salt pepper and olive oil.
  8. Put inside an oven; roast for 10-15 minute depending on the size until they are cooked but not too soft.
  9. Scoop out the eggplant and leave the skin. Cut the eggplant into ½ inch cubes and add to the cooking mixture in the pot.
  10. Turn down the heat and cover the pot. Simmer until everything is soft and well blended – about 40 minutes.
  11. Stir in the basil and remove from the heat.
  12. Then spoon the ratatouille into the eggplant sprinkle with parmesan and baby buffalo mozzarella.
  13. Ready to serve.

Notes

Chef Bob from Kanpei has made a lovely dish for our vegetarian lovers that can be very easily made at home by anyone and everyone. It is fresh, healthy and looks just great. Care has to be taken when making this dish as all the different kinds of vegetables take different times to cook. For example the eggplant takes the least time so it should be added at the very last moment to avoid it overcooking.

Happy cooking!

Ricotta & pumpkin ravioli

Ricotta dumpling

  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2pc Eggs (beaten)
  • 2pc Egg Yolks
  • 1 no Roasted pumpkin – medium size
  • 1 Cup Ricotta cheese
  • 2 Teaspoons Fresh Chives (chopped)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • 1pc Egg (beaten)

Method to make the pasta:

  1. Place the flour in a mound on a smooth top work area.
  2. Create a well in the centre of the flour.
  3. Pour the 2 beaten eggs and 2 egg yolks into the well.
  4. Slowly pull the flour into the eggs until it is all incorporated.
  5. Finish kneading by hand, adding more flour if needed for a smooth consistency.
  6. Divide the pasta in half and roll out each half or feed through a pasta roller until thin, use the number 6 setting on the machine.
  7. Roll out as many sheets of pasta as possible with the mixture.

Method to make the pumpkin mousse:

  1. Cut the pumpkin with the skin on, season with olive oil, salt and freshly crushed black pepper, roast in an oven for 15 minutes until soft, remove the skin then using a fork or mashed potato press, puree the pumpkin.
  2. Slowly add the ricotta cheese, chopped chives, and pepper.
  3. Mix thoroughly.
  4. To assemble the raviolis, prepare a smooth, floured surface.
  5. Lay out the pasta.
  6. Divide the pumpkin mousse into 24 equal-sized portions and place these portions two inches apart on one sheet of pasta.
  7. Brush the beaten egg on the pasta between the mounds of pumpkin mousse.
  8. Cover with the other sheet of pasta.
  9. Cut raviolis apart.
  10. Refrigerate or freeze until they are ready to use.
  11. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a steady simmer, add the raviolis, and cook for about 6 minutes.
  12. Drain well with a colander.
  13. Serve the stuffed raviolis on a warm plate, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

Note:

Executive Chef Kasdi has made a lovely dish today that can be served with any grilled meat, but also as a good vegetarian option. He has served his ravioli with simple grilled lamb chops and garnished them with sprigs of fresh rosemary.

Happy Cooking!

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay

Gordon Ramsey

Gordon Ramsey 2

Gordon recently visited the Eastern & Oriental Hotel and I have to tell you, I prepared myself for the barrage of insults that I perceived would be very soon forth coming. On his arrival he was very tired as he had just landed from a very long journey, but he still found the time to smile and shake my hand as if he really meant it. I offered to carry one of his 2 bags which he refused until I insisted, thereby almost taking it from his hand by force.

He is very down to earth, a simple person who just wants to be treated like everyone else and loves to be low key and private.

During his stay this man has managed to dispel all negative thoughts I may have had previously after watching his television persona, to be quite honest and to put it simply, he is a complete gentleman.

He constantly praised our hotel & my colleagues and on his departure told me that he would have loved to stay far longer if he were able.

As he stood by the door, I asked him “Would it be out of line Gordon if I requested us to take a photo together” , he looked at me confused and replied, “Of course not, don’t be silly, I would have been disappointed if you had not asked.”

Mr. Gordon Ramsay, I take my hat of to you, having you in our hotel was a complete pleasure and I wish everyone could only see what I saw, this wonderful person that you are.

Southern Fried Chicken

 Southern Fried Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1pc Whole chicken cut into 8 pieces
  • A Lemon
  • 3 Tablespoon Cajun Spices
  • 2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 80ml Cooking oil for fry
  • An Egg
  • 2 Onions, sliced
  • 200ml Chicken Stock
  • 100ml Brown stock
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Flour for dusting

Method

  1. Cut & clean the chicken and mix with the Cajun spices, salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice and the lemon skin.
  2. Marinade over night in a fridge.
  3. The next day, take out the chicken from the fridge.
  4. Heat the cooking oil.
  5. Crack the egg and mix well, dip the chicken into the egg then dust with flour.
  6. Slowly drop the chicken into the hot oil, fry until golden brown on sides or until its cooked.
  7. Make sure that the oil is not too hot.
  8. Take out the cooked chicken and fry the sliced onions in the same cooking oil.
  9. Fry until golden brown and add around 1 tablespoon of flour.
  10. Cook the flour until golden brown and pour in both the stocks and stir.
  11. Let it simmer until the sauce is thick.
  12. Pour on top of the chicken.
  13. Best served with Mashed Potato and crispy fried onion rings.

Notes

Chef Bob has made some very easy soul comfort food for you to enjoy, however when deep frying there are some very important points to take note of. Please ensure that when you are frying anything in hot oil you are very careful to ensure you fry in a safe environment. The oil should be hot and clean, if not the food will absorb too much oil making it an unhealthy dish. If the oil is too hot, the chicken will brown too quickly on the outside and still be raw in the middle. After the chicken is taken out of the oil it should be placed directly on to a thick paper kitchen towel to absorb any unwanted oil.

Happy Cooking!

Celebrity Chef: Emmanuel Stroobant

chefinblack1

We recently had the pleasure to have “Chef in Black” Emmanuel Stroobant visit the Eastern & Oriental Hotel and we had a great time.

He came on behalf of US Potato association where he cooked a few dishes in our ballroom in front of a live audience thereby entertaining them.

I must say that he had all the ladies chasing after him with his good looks & his pleasant manners, not to mention the French accent that left them speechless and gagging for more.

He proved to be a very pleasant man, a great chef and a pleasure to be around.

Well done Chef in Black!

Braised Lamb Shanks

Braised Lamb shank

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tablespoons Olive oil
  • 200 gm Onions, sliced
  • 150 gm Carrot, sliced
  • 150 gm Celery sliced
  • 5 large Shallots, sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons Chopped fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried
  • 4 no’s Lamb shanks
  • 30gm All purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups Dry red wine
  • 2 1/2 cups Beef broth
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2pcs Bay leaves

Method:

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy large roasting pan over a medium-high heat. Add the sliced onions, carrot, celery, shallots and sauté until brown, about 20 minutes. Mix in the 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary and remove from the heat.
  2. Sprinkle the lamb shanks with salt and pepper and coat lamb with flour. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Working in batches, fry the lamb shanks in a skillet and cook until brown on both sides, about 10 minutes per batch.
  3. Using tongs, transfer the lamb shanks to a plate. Add 1 cup dry red wine to same skillet and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Pour into the roasting pan with the onion mixture. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups red wine, beef broth, tomato paste and 2 bay leaves to the roasting pan. Bring to boil, stirring until tomato paste dissolves. Add the lamb shanks, turning to coat with liquid.
  4. Bring mixture to slow simmer, cover, put inside oven and cooked until lamb is tender, turning lamb shanks occasionally, about 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Take out from oven, transfer the lamb into plate and while the liquid continue simmer on a pan till it’s reduced to sauce consistency, about 30 minutes. Season it with salt and pepper. Strain the liquid and serve with the lamb shanks.

Notes:

Chef Bob has yet again delivered a lovely and easy to make dish that will keep you all warm during a chilly spring evening. He has garnished it with mashed potatoes, grilled vegetable s and fresh rosemary.

You can find a step by step method to make fantastic mashed potatoes under the cooking techniques section of our blog.

Happy Cooking!

Celebrity Chef Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Food Odyssey, November 2008

Rick Stein

Rick Stein came to visit us for a few days whilst he was filming one of the episodes from the “Far East Food Odyssey”, he was a kind gentleman for whom I have nothing but praise.

He spoke to people as a well mannered chap who continuously flew the English flag with pride during his entire visit.

We had a couple of nights in the hotel bar listening to live entertainment over a few cold ones and I have to say that I enjoyed his company.

I have nothing but praise for him and truly believe that he is offering an honorable service for others less gifted at preparing meals for their loved ones.

Well done to Mr. Rick Stein who is continuously showing the world how to cook food better.

Are we the “Daddy” our daughter’s deserve?

I received a letter about 6 months ago that brought to my attention a possibility that never occurred to me for a second as something that may be true. The letter made compliments to my autobiography Chef’s Tales, they wrote to tell me how they had enjoyed the book and lamented on how it had made an impact on their life giving them the courage to pursue their dreams. 

 I was feeling rather happy with myself and felt extremely proud that I had managed to make an impact on a persons feelings enough for them to chase their dreams. Then, right at the end of the lovely note, the author of the letter made a statement followed by a simple question, “I think you were very brave to just simply pack up and leave home whilst you were just 18 and travel the world on your own, congratulations to you, however I have one question if I may please. Children living in a normal, loving and caring family would be broken hearted to leave their home and family as you did, how did you cope with this loss at such an early age?” 

Over the years many people have asked me how I was so brave, but until it was brought to my attention, I never reflected for a second why I felt the urge to leave so early in the first place. The standard answer was that I loved travelling, therefore the romance and glamour of being a globe trotter took the better of me and off I went strolling towards a beautiful setting sunset never to be seen again for many years to come. 

A lot of soul searching pursued and I have come to the following conclusion, somehow I must have been unhappy about something or felt a void that needed to be filled. I really believe that I had a lovely child hood; however my father was a very conservative man who constantly told me that whilst I was living in his house, I had to do as I was told until I was 18 years of age. The constant feeling of being controlled and told not to leave the house over the years, especially when I was young may have affected me subconsciously. He went on to teach me that on reaching 18 years of age, I was then old enough to make my own decisions and so I did, not only leaving the house, not only the country but leaving the continent too! 

A few days ago I was telling a girl friend of mine about how I whisper every night in my two daughters ears that I love them before they go to sleep. She told me that daughters were very lucky and wished her father had done so with her. She then mentioned that she had made up for the lack of love from her father by finding other men to love her instead. 

She went on to tell me that when she was young, going to school was very unpleasant, as her friends were being hugged at the gate she would already be half way to her class and her father half way down the road in the car before other parents would be willing to break the bear hug on their children. The last heart wrenching sentence to me was that watching her friends enjoying the attention from affectionate and loving parents whilst she was unable to purchase a hug if she had the money to do so would always tear her heart out. 

My conclusion to this lesson in life is that as a daddy, I should continue to hug my daughters every day and tell them I love them, for without this, I fear they may rush all too quickly and find another “daddy” to fill this void and whom may not have the same intentions as I do.