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Jalisco style birria taco

Jalisco style birria taco

Tacos is probably one of my old time favorite because of its variety of filling. The Jalisco style birria taco is probably the ultimate one. Especially when topped with sour cream, spicy sauce, guacamole and salsa.

Jalisco style birria tacoTacos combines three stables that can be found in any Mexican family namely beef, tortillas and beer. This one does definitely ticks all boxes.

This style of tacos comes from the west of Mexico. To have it made in the proper way, it requires a real barbacoa style oven pit. Being in Hong Kong, good luck finding one. Thousands of different version of the Jalisco style birria taco can be found. Some are made with goat other with chicken or like mine with beef. Then pick up you chilies amongst the 1000 available. Try to find one spicy enough. Yes, you have enought options to play around and find what works best for you.

If you have any interest in tacos, check out Phaidon’s book Tacopedia

Have a shot of tequila and enjoy!!!

Jalisco style birria taco
Servings Prep Time
6 30minutes
Cook Time
2
Servings Prep Time
6 30minutes
Cook Time
2
Ingredients
Jalisco Style Birria
Guacamole
Salsa
Instructions
  1. Roast the chilies to release the aroma for a couple of minutes. Remove the stems and the seeds
  2. In a pan, roast together and on a low heat the garlic, cloves, sesame seeds, cinnamon and pepper till fragant
  3. Add to the pan, the roasted chilies, beer, bay leaves, oregano, thyme, salt and a couple of drops of vinegar. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes
  4. Remove from the heat and blend all ingredient together.
  5. Pour the marinade over the meat and refrigerate it over night
  6. The next day, preheat the oven to 160C. Put the meat into a large pot and cover with aluminum foil. Put the lid on the pot and seal it with more aluminum.
  7. Roast the meat between 1h30 and 2h. In case the meat is dry add a beer and simmer for 15 minutes
  8. Serve it with the guacamole and salsa (mix all ingredients together).
Roastbeef with arugula and parmesan salad

Roastbeef with arugula and parmesan salad

Who doesn’t like a nice roastbeef?

It is so easy to make and always a massive hit. With a recipe like this, the meat needs to shine by itself with very little other ingredients namely butter, garlic and some rosemary. I believe the best way to serve a roastbeef is with a little arugula and parmesan salad on the side rather as it makes it extremely light and refreshing.

Roastbeef with arugula and parmesan saladOne of the things, I like the most with this recipe is the fact you can prepare everything well in advance and serve it cold. Also, it works so well in a sandwich with a touch of mayonnaise the next day.

Roastbeef with arugula and parmesan salad
Servings Prep Time
4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
30minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
30minutes
Ingredients
Roastbeef
Arugula and parmasan salad
Instructions
  1. The first and essential step is to sear the meat. Searing the meat does two things. First, it seals the juice inside the meat making it a lot more tender. The second is that it enhance the natural flavour of the meat. In a very hot pan add some butter and olive oil, drop the meat and brown every side for just a couple of minutes.
  2. Place the pan containing the beef together with the rosemary, garlic and remaining butter inside the oven for +/- 20 minutes.
  3. After 20 minutes, take the pan out of the oven and let the meat rest. Don't trow the fat from the pan away but use it as your sauce.
  4. Cut the meat in fine slice and add some sea salt
  5. While the meat is cooking, make the salad mixing together the arugula and the shaved parmesan. Make a simple vinaigrette using lemon juice and olive oil.
Source: Phaidon

A review China: The Cookbook

I have received as a present the latest book from my favorite culinary publisher Phaidon. Phaidon came out with China: The Cookbook as part their bestsellers cuisine series including The Silver Spoon.

Source: Phaidon

Source: Phaidon

This culinary series is great in terms of content as it covers the entire culinary repertoire of a country with really great recipes. They are definitely my go to book when I need a classic recipe from a particular country or region. No other culinary book series beats them on that aspect. They are authoritative books when it comes down to showcase the culinary diversity of various regions and countries.

Although the book is very nice in terms of layout and pictures, they are still very dry. I do not believe this book is for everyone as you are not driven by a picture to try attempting a recipe. In fact, most recipes don’t have a picture as such you have to know what you are looking after or simply experiment.

Source: Phaidon

Source: Phaidon

China: The Cookbook features over 600 regional recipes from China. Many amongst us European believe that Chinese food is unified and Chinese eat pretty much the same thing. This idea is completely wrong and comes from what see and taste in Chinese Restaurant back home. As I have learned over years living in Hong Kong, Chinese food is extremely diversified given how the landscape, climate, terrains and local specifies shape Chinese food. Each of China main region got a distinct flavor for example spicy in Sichuan or salty in the North as well as noodles in the north while in the south we have rice.

Source: Phaidon

Source: Phaidon

What this books do is to bring all of these recipes from these various regions available to the reader as well as selected recipes from chef from around the world. Examples of recipes includes Dim Sum, a local HK speciality, Jiangsu’s drunken chicken, beef in Sha Cha Sauce form Chaozhou. Furthermore, this books features sections on Chinese cooking techniques, history and equipment.

I have already tried out some of their recipes and although still struggling a bit with some of techniques, it was a clear it.

China: The Cookbook enjoys stellar reviews including Ken Hom calling it a “valuable reference for many years to come” or the South China Morning Post naming it as “the definitive Chinese recipe book”. In my opinion, this will be on my shelf for many years to come as it is truly the book of reference when it comes to Chinese food.

http://uk.phaidon.com/store/food-cook/china-the-cookbook-9780714872247/

 

Christmas Gift

My Xmas gifts

Having spend so time back home for Christmas, I am now back in Hong Kong. Apart for the spending time and catching up with the family and eating till you drop, it was a nice occasion to exchange Xmas gifts with everyone.

All I can say, my family knows me well and I could more thrilled with the various gift I received as they are all food related. Big thanks to all for pampering me with all these great goodies.

Kai Shun Classic Knives

I am so much going to enjoy these knifes. Not only they are beautiful but the craftsmanship behind is first class. Composed with 32 layers of stainless steel and extremely resistant. Definitely the kind of knives that I will keep for years.

Kai Shun Classic Knives

Kai Shun Classic Knives

http://kai-europe.com/kitchen/shunclassic.php?lang=en

Turon from El Almendro

El Almendro is on of Spain most classic turon brands. This crunchy almond one is made by blending together almonds and caramel (honey and sugar) and incorporating egg white. A true classic.

Turron Duro

http://elalmendro.es/en/

Sardines and tuna cans from Portugal

This is worth a post by itself. I received a couple of Portuguese cans of sardines and tuna and they are just fantastic. Simply open a bottle of wine, get some nice bread and you will have the most amazing healthy lunch. Let’s discuss it more in another post as it deserves one by itself.

Atum Can Sardine Can

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.conserveiradelisboa.pt/

China: The Cookbook

Phaidon’s latest bible of recipe, this time covering China: The Cookbook. A great gift as I love this collection even if I often find it difficult to get inspired due to the lack of picture. It still remains the mother book written for people who love to cook. Name your favorite Chinese dish and you will find it. More on this in a later post.

Chin: The Cookbook

http://uk.phaidon.com/store/food-cook/china-the-cookbook-9780714872247/

Cantinho Do Avillez: Cookbook

Not sure if you are familiar with this little genius, Jose Avillez, who single handedly managed to put back Portuguese food on the global map. This book features easy recipes from one of his restaurant. Nothing real difficult here but nice and easy dish for your day to day diner.

cantinho-do-avillez

http://www.joseavillez.pt/en/

Cozinha Tradicional Portuguesa

The mother book of all Portuguese traditional recipes. Definitely old fashion but absolutely brilliant. If you want to know anything about Portuguese food, this is the book. Check out the dessert!!!

cozinha-tradicional-portuguesa

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10210387-cozinha-tradicional-portuguesa

Chef at work coat and apron

I love this gift with my own name and chef’s logo. This will keep me going for I hope some time.

https://www.chefworks.com.hk/

Aguardente XO DOC Lourinha

Aguardente is pretty much the Portuguese equivalent to Cognac or Armagnac. Made from distilled wine and aged in  Portuguese or French Oak, Aquardente is fantastic drink with hints of vanilla, wood and coffee. Very soft on the palate with a touch of smokiness.

aguardente-doc-lourinha

 http://flavourgourmet.pt/index.phproute=product/product&product_id=37#.WG8LHqJ95Bw

Praline Paste

Praline Paste

Praline Paste

Breakfast keeps me going all day at least until lunch. Being a bit tired of the usual stuff like nutella or jam, I started making my own praline paste packed with hazelnuts as I could not find any here in Hong Kong. It is one of these recipe that I cannot live without it.

In addition of being a great spread on your croissant, baguette or anything bread like, it works fantastically well as a ingredient for your all your deserts as it add texture, sweetness and flavor to anything.

Try it out, especially as it is so easy to make.

Praline Paste
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 200c
  2. Spread out the hazelnuts on a baking tray and toast them in the oven for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool down
  3. Put the sugar and water into a heavy pan over medium heat. Leave it to caramelize around the edges of the pan and before starting to stir it with a wooden spoon.
  4. Wait till the sugar is fully caramelize and get this great amber color.
  5. Add the hazelnuts into the caramel and toss till well coated
  6. Arrange the caramel-coated dry fruits on a silicon mat (or parchment paper) spread out as much as possible in a single layer. Let cool down at room temperature
  7. Place the caramel coated hazelnuts (only when cold) into a blender and mix till you get a tick but spreadable paste. Add a bit of water if needed
Courtesy of Cinco Jotas

 Jamon de bellota 100% iberico or the best ham in the world

Listen, I am a massive fan of jamon de bellota. No question asked, they are by far the best out there. People might ask but what about Parma ham, yes it is good but honestly nowhere near its Spanish counterpart. For the Italians reading me, my brother likes it better.

To be considered jamon iberico, the ham should be made out of black Iberian pigs or cross-bred pig as long as they are 50% iberico. In Spain, the pigs are found in the province of Salamanca, Ciuadad Real and, Sevilla Huelva. Those coming from the towns of Guijuelo and Jabugo have their own label of origin and are the most prized ones. our types of ham currently exist based according to the Spanish Government but my favorite goes to to Jamon de bellota 100% iberico but won’t say no to any other kind of jamon.

Courtesy of Cinco Jotas

Courtesy of Cinco Jotas

Jamon de Bellota 100% iberico is the purest form of ham as they descend from a 100% Iberico mother and father and comprises less than 5% of the Iberian pig livestock. Crossbred Iberian pig comes from an Iberian mother and European father and do differs in terms of aromas and flavors.

Courtesy of Cinco Jotas

Courtesy of Cinco Jotas

Being a pure or cross breed is not enough. The pigs must a free range pig roaming oak forest along the border of Spain and Portugal mostly eating acorns all day long to give this particular flavor that can only be found with this type. The pigs travel up to 14 km daily to find acorns their main food responsible for their flavor. Their daily walk helps the pork fat infiltrate their muscles creating this beautiful marble texture.

Courtesy of Cinco Jotas

Courtesy of Cinco Jotas

The ham is then cured and dried for 36 months minimum with just the right amount of salt to preserve the quality of the ham. In addition, you need to find the right balance of temperature and moisture during the drying phase.

Courtesy of Cinco Jotas

Courtesy of Cinco Jotas

Let’s put in another way, making ham is like making a good wine. Tons of attention is required over months and years to ensure the quality of the product. This process is not easy and takes years to master but the result is stunning as is the price.

Courtesy of Cinco Jotas

Courtesy of Cinco Jotas

The carving process is also very strict and needs to follow rules to get the best out of it.

Jamon de Bellota 100% iberico is, in my humble opinion, the most exquisite ham available with a unique nutty and silky flavor, beautiful marbling and golden brown texture. The craft involved towards making this amazing products also reflect its hefty price tag.

For those not able to jet off to Spain, Bellota ham from Cinco Jotas, one of the best ham producer from Jabugo, is available at any Citysuper in Hong Kong. For a cheaper option, try out the lomo.

Mercado de San Miguel

Mercado de San Miguel

To any foodies out there, Mercado de San Miguel is one of thing you must try out in Madrid.  Originally built as a covered market off Plaza Mayor feeding the madrilenos, the place was converted after several years of renovation into a Madrid’s culinary spot.

Mercado de San Miguel

You will find pretty much anything to make your mouth melt with dozens of tapas stalls, and wine kioks scattered all around the mercado. Love this idea where you just stroll through the market and buy whatever tapas you feel like having from fresh oysters to bellota ham, bocadillo, and much more. I had no idea where to start as everything looked so appetising. Truly, an amazing place for some delicious food.

Tapas at Mercado de San Miguel

Mercado de San Miguel

Mercado de San Miguel

The atmosphere, itself, is worth it. People are flocking the Mercado over lunch time during office break. Others are meeting up after a days of works to share a few drinks before heading home.

Mercado de San Miguel

Mercado de San Miguel

However, don’t expect to come here for groceries but do come here it is a fantastic gourmet food center that will excited any foodies. Definitely a must see when in Madrid and come on a empty stomach.

Mercado de San Miguel

Mercado de San Miguel

8

Mercado de San Miguel

Plaza de San Miguel, Madrid

Website: http://www.mercadodesanmiguel.es/

CASA BOTIN

CASA BOTIN

It’s not everyday that you will step in the world oldest restaurant. Coming to Madrid, I had to check this place out. Set up in the early 17th century by a French cook, Jean Botin, the restaurant has never closed despite changing hands a few times.

Casa Botin

The current family, the Gonzalez, purchase Botin in the early 20th century, turned it into what is today while keeping the original appearance. Okay, it might be a bit touristy but nevertheless it was full of locals.

Casa Botin

Gosh, where should I start!!!! The place is spectacular. It does feel like stepping back in time and where thing have not changed an inch. You literally feel the history as soon as you step in from the old wooden panels, the truly old bar, the original wood fire stove where the pigs are roasted. Waiters still wear white gloves and are impeccably groomed.

Ok, the atmosphere is great but what about the food? Don’t expect fancy or sophisticated food. You will get true Castilian cuisine from the classic jamon, morcilla, and huevos, but the must try is the absolutely delicious suckling pig or roast lamb. Botin receives its pigs three to four times from Segovia and are roasted in the original wood-fired oven made of iron cast.

Suckling Pig at BotinSuckling Pig at Botin

I had a few suckling pigs in the past but this one definitely beats any other one hands down. The skin was wonderfully crispy while the meat was so moist and tender.

Suckling Pig at Botin

Suckling Pig at Botin

In addition, I have ordered the morcilla which was also very good. Morcilla is the Spanish version of blood sausage who’s filled with rice and slightly fried. Delicious.

Morcilla

The food was good classic food. It is one of these places where you know that you will eat well. It is a truly unique experience where one should come for the food and atmosphere.

Casa Botin

Calle de Cuchilleros, 17 Madrid

Tel: 91 366 42 17 | Website: www.botin.es

 

Food hunting in madrid

FOOD HUNTING IN MADRID

I have never been to Madrid and was not sure really what to expect. Sure, I thought the city must be nice and food must be good, but I was not expecting such a beautiful city and amazing food. I truly loved every second from walking to the Retiro park to visiting the impressive Palacio Real and eating fantastic food everywhere.

el Retiro

It is one of these cities which is best appreciated by simply walking and strolling in the various district from up scale Salamanca with its stately mansions and luxury retail shopping to Malasana the epicenter of the Movida so well described by Almodovar. Get your nose out of your guide book and you will appreciate this stunning architecture, feel the power of history at Plaza Mayor and its side streets, spend time in the Museum like the Prado for its collections of Goya and Velazquez or Reina Sofia for the impressive Guernica by Picasso and don’t forget the Thyssen museum.

Prado Museum

Since this is a food blog, lets talk about it. Let’s put this is very simple terms, I never had a bad meal in a week from the oldest restaurant in the world Casa Botin to local food market and restaurants. Don’t even get me started on their cold cuts, try out some of the lomo or even better the absolutely divine Spanish iberico Bellota ham.

Bellota ham

The reality is that Spanish food in Spain just taste so much better. Although it is very simple form of cuisine, it’s god damn good because the ingredients are just so good and they are always the star of the dish.  Take any tapas or pinchos, they are not overly sophisticated with no more than three to four ingredient but gosh they simply melt in your mouth.  One tip: wait for lunch time till 2 pm and dinner till 10pm otherwise you will feel very lonely.

Mercado de San Miguel

Let me share with you some of my favorite spots.

Casa Botin

The world oldest restaurant which makes one of hell of a great suckling pig.

Calle de Cuchilleros, 17 Madrid

Tel: 91 366 42 17 | website: www.botin.es

Casa Lucio

Classic Madrilenos restaurant with killer huevos where royalties and head of state go for dinner.

Calle de la Cava Baja, 35 Madrid

Tel: 91 365 82 17 | website: Casa Lucio

El Brillante

Down to earth local institution where you must go for its Bocadillos de Calameres (fried squid sandwich)

Plaza del Emperador Carlos , 66 Madrid

Tel: 91 528 69 | website: http://www.barelbrillante.es

Café Lateral

Stunning pinchos to eat on a terrace.

Pº de La Castellana, 89 Madrid

Tel: 91 561 33 37 | website: http://www.lateral.com

Mercado de San Miguel

Food market with great atmosphere and food stands by Plaza Mayor

Plaza de San Miguel, Madrid

Website: http://www.mercadodesanmiguel.es

Estay

Calle Hermosilla, 46 Madrid

Tel: 91 578 04 70 | website: http://www.estayrestaurante.com 

Barrutia y El 9

Calle Santa Teresa, 9 Madrid

Tel: 913 19 29 46 | website: Barrutia y el 9

 

Ho Lee Fook's Short Ribs

Ho Lee Fook’s short ribs

Ho Lee Fook's Short Ribs

I have been a big fan of Ho Lee Fook for many years and always loved its short ribs. A couple of weeks ago, I bought the Anova Precision Cooker and knew that the recipe was available in one of the Monocle issue. I must say the result was pretty good. Okay, I must say that it’s not 100% similar but close enough (check the picture below). If you got the tools, try out the recipe and let me know.

Ho Lee Fook Short Rib Original

Source: http://candidcuisine.net/ho-lee-fook-hong-kong/

Source: http://candidcuisine.net/ho-lee-fook-hong-kong/

For those not familiar with Ho Lee Fook which means “Good fortune for your mouth”, it is a Black Sheep restaurant that offers contemporary, funky yet unpretentious Chinese food where all plates are shared. Favorites include “Mom’s mostly cabbage, pork dumplings, great cantonese Char Siu and the signature short rib. I seriously encourage you to sample a number of their dish.

Ho Lee Fook Char Siu

Check out the menu below:

Ho Lee Fook Recipe

The atmosphere and decor is great. Before getting down to the dining area, you need to pass by this open kitchen at the restaurant’s entrance where you can see the cooks in action. On the side, you have a wall of fortune golden cats waving us while we make our way down into the low lit dining room.

Be ready to wait for some time before getting a table. To jump the queue, book a table for 5 and more and dreams come true. In my opinion, it is a great place to have diner. Food is great even if some dishes miss the cut in my opinion like the shredded chicken salad, the desserts, and the make your own steamed rice (fun but not great taste). But clearly above most of Hong Kong’s restaurants.

Ho Lee Fook

G/F No. 1-5 Elgin Street, Central, Hong Kong

Tel: +852 2810 0860 | Website: http://holeefookhk.tumblr.com/

Ho Lee Fook's short ribs
Ingredients
Short Ribs
Kimchi Paste
Instructions
  1. Drop the short rib with soy sauce and wine into a vacuum bag (ziploc makes the trick) and sous vide the bag. Alternatively, suck the air out
  2. Cook at 62 degrees for 22 hours in a immersion circulator. I use the anova which works brilliantly.
  3. Wait 22 hours
  4. On a very hot grill, char the Jalapenos and onion until blackened, toast the garlic till soft. Add everything into a blender and puree with olive oil
  5. Blend all kimchi ingredient together until smooth
  6. Rost the short ribs in a 200 degree oven until the crust is browned. Toss shallots with the kimchi paste, add the puree and serve