November 18, 2009

Entertaining Myself

This past weekend was pretty quiet. I took a look at the bad weather and decided it was probably a better idea to stay home than venture out. But I did pop downstairs to the farmer's market to get some produce and flowers when I thought it cleared up for a bit (bad idea cos it started raining the moment I stepped outside I swear). Btw, the roses I got were the most amazing scented roses. They were pretty small when I got them but by Sunday they had bloomed into huge roses and smelt great!

I was also still nursing the flu and cough so I decided to entertain at home with some nice food and flowers, except that it wasnt a dinner party but just a quiet lunch with me myself and I.

I had a chicken thigh that was already sitting in the fridge so I decided I would make some sort of Roast Chicken. Flipped through various recipe books but didn't find a satisfactory recipe so in the end I kinda just combined the stuff I had randomly for what turned out to be Honey Soy Glazed Rosemary Roast Chicken with Butternut Squash and French Beans as pictured below. I really wanted to make oeufs en cocotte (eggs in cocotte) from the cocottes recipe book I brought back from Paris. And since I was already cocotting, why not do a potato gratin as well!

09 London Homemade Food4

The great thing about oeufs en cocotte is that you basically can add anything you want in the base - be it cream based or tomato based or whatever other sauce, just saute the ingredients in some butter/olive oil and then add the liquid and simmer a little. I chose to do a cream based one with leeks and pancetta bits (since that was what I had in my stash) and that was also what I used as my base for the potato gratin, but topped it off with jarlsberg cheese (a type of holey cheese like emmental). They turned out pretty well, except that I overcookied the egg a little as I'd have liked it more runny. Will start a habit of sharing recipes so that I can remember them as well.

Honey Soy Glazed Rosemary Roast Chicken
with Butternut Squash and French Beans

(this is for a single portion so just multiply for more)

1 chicken thigh
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp light soy sauce
dash of lemon juice
1 tsp olive oil
1 sprig of rosemary
pepper and salt to taste

1 small half of butternut squash, chopped into cubes
handful of french beans
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 220C.
Marinate chicken with all the seasoning and ideally let it rest in the fridge for 1 hr for the flavours to soak in (I didn't rest mine but it turned out ok). Place chicken (skin side up) on well-oiled baking or roasting tray (I prefer to line with foil as well so that cleaning up is easier). Roast for 15min at 220C and lower temperature to 180C for another 20 min more. If you're cooking larger cuts of chicken or more chicken you probably would have to cook for longer.

For the vegetables, toss them in olive oil and seasoning, making sure everything is well-coated. Spread out the vegetables onto another baking tray and make sure they're well spread out and roast at 180C for 30 minutes. You can combine the cooking of both the chicken and vegetables when the oven temperature is down to 180C.

Oeufs En Cocotte Base Recipe
serves 2
2 eggs (or 4!)
80ml cream
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 180C.

Butter the insides of 2 cocottes or ramekins. Spoon half of cream into each cocotte. Gently crack an egg (or 2 if you're feeling decadent) into each cocotte. Spoon remaining cream over the eggs (I like to make sure the yolks aren't covered). Top it with a knob of butter (I like to sprinkle it with truffle oil instead! Yum!)

Set the cocottes in a roasting pan or ovenproof glass dish. Fill the pan with hot water until it comes up halfway of the cocottes. Bake in oven for 15 min if you like it runny, or 18-20 if you want it more set.

You can create any flavours you want really, depending on what's available in your fridge or pantry at the time. I had leeks and pancetta (like bacon) so I decided to saute them in some butter, and then add the cream to it. You probably can do the same with garlic, mushrooms, bacon, asparagus, cheese etc. I then spooned half the cream mixture as the base, cracked my egg on top of it, and spooned the remaining over the eggs and added a few drops of truffle oil.

Potato Gratin
serves 2
1 potato
1 clove of garlic, chopped
olive oil/butter
150ml cream
2 slices of jarlsberg cheese in small pieces(most other hard cheeses will work as well)

Preheat oven to 180C.

Slice potato into thin round slices. Saute the chopped garlic in olive oil or butter on medium heat. Add cream to the pan and let it simmer a little, taking care not to boil the cream. Remove pan from heat.

Butter the inside of each cocotte or ramekin. Arrange slices of potatoes in overlapping layers. After a couple of layers, spoon some of the cream into each cocotte and add a layer of cheese. Continue alternating until about 3/4 full (you'll probably get to 3 rounds) making sure you end with cheese. Bake in oven for 30 min.


Cristie said...

Your food is beautiful, and to think you made it just for yourself- I am so impressed. I've got to pick up the pace. Beautiful blog.

EL said...

thanks cristie! i'm sure you can do even better :)

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