PAN-SEARED SCALLOPS WITH FLAVOURED BUTTER & GREENS

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Hello everyone! As the feasting season embarks, what can be effortless, enticing, and succulent to serve for sharing? For me, it will be some golden seared scallops, with crispy corners laid on a bed of steamy greens with flavoured wine butter.

Today’s recipe is inspired by Donna Hay’s variations of flavoured butter from last year’s Christmas issue. What is flavoured butter? Basically, it’s an assemble of herbs, dried fruits, and nuts of your choice, mixed together with soft grass fed butter, and rolled into a huge Tootsie Roll to freeze. Then, cut a few slices and let them liquefy on your lightly seasoned roasts, blanched foods just before serving. Convenient and easy!

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For my version, I've chopped up dried cranberries, pistachios and fresh dill for the Christmas colours, grated a substantial amount of orange zest and finished with a splash of Sauvignon Blanc from TTG wines for the bonus citrus flavour.

As for scallops, gosh, they are so meaty and luxuriously tender, yet easy to overcook for the first time.

Before we start cooking, there are two types of scallops, wet and dry scallops.

Wet scallops aka “soaked” scallops are generally whiter in colour. They are soaked in a bath of phosphate to gain water-weight after absorption. What you purchased are “swelled” scallops. Once they are cooked, the absorbed water evaporates and they shrivel. Also, bear in mind that they take longer to caramelise and less sweet than their dry counterparts. However, if you’re a little price conscious and not too concern about the size of the scallops, wet scallops still works fine! Fyi, I am using wet scallops in this recipe simply because it is for sharing, and flavoured butter improves the taste to be naturally balanced.

Dry scallops are off white, leaning towards “vanilla” shade, as they are not soaked in phosphate. In fact, they are the natural, and superior scallops that caramelises gorgeously. Of course, they are slightly on the pricey end.

The key to treat scallops right is to pat them dry on kitchen towel, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and use kitchen tongs to lay them swiftly on a pool of shimmering olive oil. Don’t get too excited and hasty to flip them. Leave them untouched to sear, swivel a little for even browning then gently flip them only once. Cook the other side about half the time required on the first side to preserve their tenderness.

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While searing the scallops, blanch french beans and peas concurrently. Just before both are ready to remove from heat, unwrap flavoured butter, chop a desired amount first and store the rest. Drain and plate the greens on a platter, and stack the crispy, browned scallops and flavoured butter alongside.

You’ve got to be quick for this final step for the liquid gold moment to happen!

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Finally pair this delicious, buttery seafood main course with the aforementioned white wine. It’s herbaceous taste profile melded with exotic fruit notes is surprisingly soothing to wash down the richness in one mouthful.

An absolute woman’s pleaser I must say!

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Additional notes:

  • Before flavoured butter at least 2 hours ahead of cooking, I prefer to prepare them a night before.

  • Store and freeze flavoured butter for up to 2 weeks

  • Once scallops are thawed, pour thawed water and use scallops immediately. Do not leave them out in room temperature.

Leave your comments down below if you have any questions regarding the recipe!

PAN-SEARED SCALLOPS WITH FLAVOURED BUTTER & GREENS

(Serves 3)

Preparation time: 5 min

Time: 10 min

INGREDIENTS

(FLAVOURED BUTTER)

  • 1 tbsp Sauvignon Blanc (Walnut Block, TTG wines)

  • 227g unsalted grass fed butter (Kerrygold)

  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries, roughly chopped

  • 2 tbsp pistachios, roughly chopped

  • ½ tsp orange zest

  • 2 tsp fresh dill, roughly chopped

  • Pinch of Himalayan pink sea salt, to taste


(SCALLOPS AND GREENS)

  • 10 frozen Canadian sea scallops, thawed

  • ½ cup frozen garden peas, thawed

  • 250g French beans

  • 3 fresh pink radishes, sliced

  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tbsp pistachios, roughly chopped

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

KITCHEN ACCESSORIES

  • 15cm x 25cm aluminium foil

  • 4 pcs kitchen towel

  • Kitchen tongs

DIRECTIONS

  1. Leave out unsalted butter in a mixing bowl for 5 minutes till it softens. Add all flavoured butter ingredients into the bowl, and mix thoroughly till they are combined. Taste, and sprinkle more salt till desired. 

  2. Lay butter mixture on the edge of the aluminium foil sheet closest to you. Gently pull away the edge of the sheet from work surface and roll over the filling. Tuck the filling tight, twist both ends to secure it. Put in the freezer at least 2 hours before slicing the amount you need every time. 

  3. Divide and lay thawed scallops on two kitchen towels, take another two pieces to pat dry completely. Season lightly with salt and black pepper on both sides.

  4. Heat olive oil on a large skillet over medium high (induction hob heat 7) until it shimmers. Lay scallops, flat side down with spaces in between quickly. Avoid overcrowding, work in two batches if necessary. Without flipping, Swivel and move around scallops for even browning. in pan Cook scallops for 4 minutes until a golden brown crust forms on the bottom. Flip over and cook for another 2 minutes until flesh turns faintly solid white, and forms white strips. Transfer scallops to a plate. 

  5. While pan-searing scallops, boil 1 litre water in a medium sauce pot over medium high. Blanch garden peas and French beans for 3-4 minutes till they turn bright green. Drain and plate them on a platter. 

  6. Cut two slices of flavoured butter, about 1.5cm wide and lay them on the greens. Stack pan-seared scallops and radishes over greens. Sprinkle pistachios, serve and pair with a bottle of Walnut Block Sauvignon Blanc.

Enjoy!Xx

-Ally

THAI RED CURRY BARRAMUNDI SOBA

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It’s a day before the time of the month, no fun at all. My body was roasting hot in the day even when the ceiling fan was on full blast. 😥This is because of the production of progesterone and manifestation of ordinary mood swings in hormonal levels.

Concurrently, my mind was bombarded with flashing thoughts, hypothetical scenarios, and complex emotions began to surface… Before I sank deeper into a rabbit of hole of uncertainties, I distracted myself by doing these 3 things:

1) Meditate for 10 minutes with my Headspace app

2) Listen to “Get well soon” by Ariana Grande from her sweetener album

3) Make a soulful Thai curry I learnt from my recent retreat in Phuket

Doing something slow, and therapeutic releases the tension, and the cramps. Of course, nothing is more comforting than making something tangible, warm and nourishing for myself to feel better!

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What do I eat before and during period?

Iron intake level up

  • Double up my iron intake first to compensate the amount blood I’ll be losing. Brace myself! The most absorbable sources of iron for me is fish (barramundi and salmon). On days I choose to go meatless, I incorporate leafy greens (spinach, kale, bak choy), legumes and soy (tofu and soy protein, soy milk). To boost the absorption rate, add Vitamin C. I pair my meals with a cup of water with a Vitamin C effervescent tablet or snack on citrus fruits!

    More vitamin B-12

  • Take one vitamin B-12 supplement a day to support the functioning in energy metabolism, DNA and red blood cells development. Vitamin B-12 is a vital nutrient that our body requires for essential functioning. Taking this supplement is key for vegetarians or vegans. Our bodies do not make vitamin B-12, we absorb it from animal foods (clams, tuna, eggs, yogurt, trout) or foods fortified with B-12 (fortified cereals, fortified nutritional yeast, fortified non-dairy milk). Similarly, on days I decide to opt for less meat, I drink soy milk with a high fat coffee every morning to meet the daily requirement.

    Choose better carbs (not the white ones)

  • It is impossible for me to live a day without carbs. Especially white rice and noodles that lead me to a dreadful food coma. During period, I stock up soba (buckwheat noodles), quinoa, green bean noodles as substitutes. Going for low GI products can still make us replete with its nutritional benefits.

    Use natural seasoning (no salt please)

  • I am practically a bloated balloon every morning, no matter how I try to suck it in 😭. Having salt-laden food like chips, fries, take-outs will only cause water retention and aggravate the already moody self. So I prepare my own meals, empower myself by putting food with less sodium into the system, and drink more water. Instead of a dash of salt, go for a teaspoon of miso or fresh herbs to flavour up!

With all the tips above, I have refined the Thai curry recipe I learnt and developed this “Thai Red Curry Barramundi Soba”.

The gentle, mild taste of Cone Bay Barramundi was very pleasant to cook for a low-maintenance curry. Very much similar to freshly caught wild fish, it lent saltwater sweetness to the curry, and remained incredibly firm even if you overcooked a little. Even though it did not exude a strong odour, I always sprinkle a dash of pink sea salt, and splash of sesame oil on raw fillets before cooking. Also, the fish is low in mercury levels, rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and healthy fats, thus being my second choice of fish after salmon.

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Every time I decide to make a spiced Asian meal and end up with tons of unused ingredients, I will be in a real quandary about whether to cook it again. But for this recipe, I was thrilled to purchase a Tom Yam Ingredient Set! Most of the essential ingredients for the curry are similar to Tom Yam, and the portion fits right for 2-4 servings, it really helps avoid food waste!

Typically, I prefer to pound the red curry ingredients for freshness, and the free therapy! Alternatively, I recommend buying a store-bought Thai red curry paste for the convenience. For the distinctive citrus fragrance, cut the crushed kaffir lime leaves in very thin strips so you can taste its lingering astringent flavour with the curry without having to throw them away!

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THAI RED CURRY BARRAMUNDI SOBA (serves 2)

GLUTEN-FREE | DAIRY-FREE

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 200g Cone Bay Barramundi Fillet, Themeatclub

  • 2 large asparagus, sliced diagonally 

  • 50g enoki mushroom, cut off base

  • 50g brown shimeji mushroom, cut off base

  • 3 sweet baby corn, halved 

  • 4 lemongrass, chop away green part, use only the white base and pound them slightly using a pestle till the out layer splits open.

  • 4 fresh kaffir lime leaves, crushed, remove stem, cut thinly

  • 200ml UHT natural coconut cream

  • 160g Soba

  • A handful of chopped Thai coriander, for garnish 

Seasonings

  • 15g palm sugar, jaggery

  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil

  • 1 heaping tsp red miso, to taste

  • Pink sea salt

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Red Curry Paste (optional) 

  • 2 large dried chilli

  • 2 bird’s eye red chilli

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 2 thumbs fresh turmeric root

  • 1 medium shallot

  • 1 thumb galangal

*The Tom Yam Ingredient Set comes with: lemongrass, shallots, galangal, bird’s eye chills, kaffir lime leaves, and lime 

*Alternatively, you can use 1 tbsp store-bought Thai red curry paste, available in Cold Storage and FairPrice Xtra

Directions

  • Remove skin from Barramundi Fillet, and slice in large chunks (about 7 pieces). Season it with a pinch of salt and toasted sesame oil to eliminate the even the slightest fish smell. 

  • For all the curry ingredients, remove skin and cut them into small chunks except for the chillies. Use scissors to cut the chillies in small pieces. Avoid contact with the chilli seeds. Pound all the ingredients using the mortar and pestle till it forms a moist, bright orange paste. 

  • Boil 3 cups water in a small pot to blanch mushrooms, corn and asparagus for 1 minute. Drain water, and set the ingredients aside. 

  • Using the same pot, boil 1.5 litres water, cook soba for 3-4 minutes, it should be slightly undercooked. Drain and cool soba in a bowl of cold water. 

  • Pour oil into a pre-heated stock pot over medium heat, add 1 tbsp of curry paste and cook for 3 minutes till fragrant. Add another ½ tbsp of curry paste for extra spiciness.

  • Pour coconut cream and stir in with the paste continuously for 4 minutes. Add palm sugar, lemongrass and ½ portion of kaffir lime leaves, continue to stir for 3 minutes.

  • Turn the heat up, add 1 litre hot water and red miso paste into the mixture. Stir for 1 minute. When it is rolling boil, add barramundi chunks and cook for 3-5 minutes, till they turned opaque white. Taste, and add extra red miso till your desired taste.

  • Assemble soba, mushrooms, corn and asparagus in two deep plates. Ladle hot red curry and barramundi over. Garnish with remaining lime leaves and chopped coriander. 

Enjoy!Xx

-Ally


SUPER BASIC SEAFOOD PLATTER WITH EGGLESS MAYONNAISE

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Every time I reminisce about winter holidays, the first thing that came to my mind was the most basic, simple and fresh seafood platter at The Sign Of The Black Faced Sheep restaurant. What made it more indelible was having a girls day out with Teresa, my mum-to-be in two months time! We love the simplicity about the restaurant’s interpretation towards their seafood platter, using the natural sweetness of the freshly caught seafood by preparing them in less refined ways. We were regaled with excellent chilled, and smoked seafood on a bed of garden greens, a mayonnaise dip and a homemade bun to go with. Dishes that were artfully crafted this way leaves a deep impression anytime!

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Today I am going to share with you this “Super Basic Seafood Platter with Eggless Mayonnaise”. The King Salmon from Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand was delivered by the lovely folks from The Meat Club actually got me excited to recreate this platter I missed . fondly. This rustic meal comprises some of the biggest names of the “High-Fat Foods” family that may ring a bell with you! They are salmon, coconut oil, pine nuts and cashew nuts. With this harmony of good fats, they are incredibly nutritious for your hair, skin and nails.

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To begin, I sprinkled a wee bit of Himalayan pink sea salt on this orange, richly marbled wood roasted salmon and pan seared it with coconut oil over medium heat. Achieving a golden, crispy texture on the outside with an orange-pink undertone requires attention and patience- you need to keep a eye on the salmon and cook the corners evenly.

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Don’t waste any drop of the fragrant, orange oil. Once you’ve plated the salmon, pour the remaining oil into a dish for bread dipping!

Finally, THE EGGLESS MAYONNAISE! Using cashew nuts to replace eggs in this veggieboy-approved dressing recipe, both enriches it with extra fat and and a desired smooth consistency. Even the most straight forward, thrown-together dressing makes this seafood platter feel a lot more manageable to prepare for healthy quick meals.

There you go, a belly-filling, super basic seafood platter that pairs really well with a glass of sparkling lime water!

Tip

To test doneness of the salmon (even if they are golden on the exterior) use a toothpick and slide in gently. Touch it with your lips or your finger tips. If its warm, the salmon is almost done. If it’s still cool, give it another 4 minutes. You can also check the colour at both ends of the salmon for the doneness. 

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SUPER BASIC SEAFOOD PLATTER WITH EGGLESS MAYONNAISE (serves 1)

GLUTEN-FREE | DAIRY-FREE

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 17 minutes

Ingredients

  • 200g King Salmon, Natural, Wood Smoked (The Meat Club)

  • 5 fresh grey prawns, deshell & devein

  • 50g salad greens 

  • 2 tbsp organic raw virgin coconut oil (Ceres Organics), also available in Cold Storage supermarket

  • 2 slices multiseed gluten-free bread (Swissbake) also available in Cold Storage supermarket

  • 1 tsp pine nuts (NuVitality)

  • 4 Spanish pitted queen green olives

  • Pinch of Himalayan pink sea salt

  • Pinch of cracked black pepper

  • ½ lemon, sliced

Dressing

  • 50g cashew kernels (Ceres Organics)

  • 3 tsp lemon juice

  • ½ tsp organic Dijon mustard

  • Pinch of cracked black pepper

  • 40ml water

Directions

  • Boil 3 cups water in a saucepan over medium high heat, gently lay prawns in and cook for 1 minute 30 seconds, till they turn bright red. Transfer to a bowl with a handful of ice cubes to chill. 

  • Heat a non-stick fry pan over medium high heat. Season salmon with a pinch of sea salt on both sides.

  • Add coconut oil on the pan, gently lay salmon skin side down. Cook for 3 minutes, until skin is crispy. Flip over to other side, turn down to medium heat, cook it for 8-10 minutes until fish is opaque all the way up. 

  • Transfer salmon to a plate and let it cool slightly. Pour remaining coconut oil into a small dish for bread dipping.

  • Add all dressing ingredients into a blender and blend till smooth and creamy. For a thinner consistency, add 1 tbsp each time and blend again till desired. 

  • Pour water away from the bowl of chilled prawns, season them with a pinch of black pepper.

  • Assemble salad greens, pan-seared salmon, chilled prawns, bread slices, dipping oil, lemon slices and olives, on a plate. Drizzle dressing over salmon and sprinkle pine nuts over. Squeeze lemon over chilled prawns and enjoy! 

With loads of love Xx

Ally

DRUNKEN PRAWNS JAPCHAE

Holaaa~ I've got two adorable and lovely guests from Oh!eaf over the poutandchow's crib two Saturdays back for our first collaboration: Lunch For One. 

So how do this collaboration come to flourish? I simply believe that it's all about fate (缘分). This anecdote goes all the way back in May, when I attended an event called "Green Is The New Black". I was strolling along the marketplace filled with independent designer brands and spotted a row of minimalistic, intricate and fine pieces of ceramic wares at a booth. I approached these two young designers and chatted quite a fair bit about how I love their creations and matches the imageries of my food styling direction. For all you know, the ceramic spoons I used in the last few posts were all their visions. 

Later on, we met again and chatted over coffee, and guess what... jeng jeng jeng...

WE ARE NEIGHBOURS! 

They just moved into the opposite block where my parents live. That's pure coincidence. Through our long coffee talks at Starbucks, I was inspired by their humble devotion to learning, practicing, and adventuring to collaborate with like-minded young makers stationed in ceramic towns so as to preserve this beautiful art in a contemporary approach. 

As I very much love to keep things pretty, functional and crafty in my daily life, Oh!eaf is very kind and keen to sponsor their handmade pieces for a series of single serving meals that I will sharing in the upcoming months!

Since summer is here, I want my lunch to be vibrant, colourful, and light to match the vibes. Japchae (Korean red potato noodles) is quite a recent addition to the noodles aisle in the supermarket, and I decided this fry it up with some thick, shiny, fresh grey prawns. 

Japchae or chap chae, is Korean sweet potato glass noodle, it is a signature Korean stir-fry dish that is commonly paired with vegetables in strips, sometimes with beef or squid added. The glossy appearance of Japchae has its unique chewy and slippery texture which makes it the distant relative of thick rice noodles (粗米粉)due to their similarity in thickness, and they slip off really easily if your chopsticks skill is not at an expert level. 

To enhance its nutritious value of being low in calorie and fat count, I've added two superfood powerhouses; leek and turmeric. Leek is an underrated health food which also has very much to offer like how its allium vegetables (garlic, onion) counterparts contain notable benefits fighting against diseases including cancer. Allicin provides an abundance of important attributes to the body, such as anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal activities, and reducing cholesterol by impeding harmful enzymes in liver cells. What I love about leek is when it softens over low heat in stews or soups, it becomes a natural sweetener. Why do we even need sugar now?

On the other hand, turmeric is already an uprising star. It's a great herbal remedy for healing wounds with its anti-inflammatory, antioxidants properties. You can mostly spot them in curries and sauces in North Indian cuisines.

By the way, just give you a heads up; protect your finger tips with a disposable glove or cloth while handling turmeric. As you can see my yellow fingers in the photos, I did not paint my nails yellow for summer, it was my negligence for not wearing gloves and I totally underestimated how rebellious turmeric stain can be.

PS. It took me a week to remove this stains😣

When both superb ingredients are combined, this Drunken Prawn Japchae becomes a simple, nutritious meal to bring to work/ or to end the work day with a light dinner. At the first bite, you may find that the noodles tastes a little bland, but hold on to your salt/soya sauce! Don't add them in straight away. It takes a few more slurps for the flavours to release and heighten. Just like for Chinese soups, we say 越喝越有味道 (the more mouthfuls we take, the more flavourful it gets) you'll never get enough of the quiet, mild taste that sits in your mouth. 

Lastly, if you have any shellfish allergies, feel free to replace it with pumpkin, bell peppers or mushrooms🍃

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Time: 30 minutes (including preparation)

Ingredient (serves 1)

  • 70g dry Korean sweet potato noodles
  • 5 grey prawns
  • ½ cup leek, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 stalk bok choy
  • 1 tbsp turmeric root, julienne
  • 1 tbsp goji berries
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon Chinese shaoxing wine
  • 1½ tbsp fish sauce/ soya sauce
  • White Pepper
  • 1 sprig spring onion (optional)

Preparation

  • Pour boiling water over dry Korean sweet potato noodles in a bowl until it is fully submerged. Leave it to soften for 12- 15 minutes.
  • Trim off prawn's antennae, rostrum, walking legs and cut open the back of the prawn to devein. Do not de-shell yet. 
  • Wear a plastic disposable glove and peel turmeric skin using a vegetable peeler. Cut turmeric root in fine julienne. 

Note: The flesh of turmeric root leaves a harsh yellow stain on your finger tips, knife and chopping board, wash them immediately after handling turmeric. Keep turmeric dry. 

  • Cut away roots of the leek, start slicing from the bottom white section diagonally. Dice spring onions and set aside for garnish.
  • Chop garlic in fine chunks. Cut bok choy, separate stem and leaves. 

Cooking

  • Heat up frying pan over medium heat, add olive oil, and garlic. Fry it for 20 seconds. Add prawns and fry each side of prawns for 1 minute or until it turns red. Once both sides are red, add goji berries and shaoxing wine. Lower to medium low heat, fry for 10 seconds and scoop the prawns up only to set aside, leave the red garlic sauce behind. 
  • Add leek and turmeric into the frying pan, cook for 8-10 minutes till leek has softened and coated in turmeric gold. Meanwhile, de-shell cooked prawns, and set aside. 
  • Pour in bok choy stems and fry with the mixture for 20 seconds. Then add bak choy leaves, cooked sweet potato noodles, prawns and fish sauce into frying pan. Add ½ cup of water (if you like it to be more saucy). Toss the mixture evenly using long wooden chopsticks for 3 minutes and season with white pepper to taste.
  • Sprinkle spring onions and serve. 

 

Ceramic wares in this post:

  • Mini Vase- Pastel Blue
  • Ceramic Display Tray
  • Nordic Matte Vase (Oval), Blue
  • Nordic Matte Vase (Short Cylinder), Pink

Enjoy!

-Ally