For breakfast I had a tuna pancake from Mr. Bean. Didn’t eat a lot because today was the day my group and I were gonna cook together! Ying Qi’s brother is studying a culinary course in TP and so he was enlisted to teach and help us!
The group met at 11am at Eastpoint Simei to shop for stuff at NTUC. There was an excitement in the air as YQ’s brother described what we could make; he was saying a lot of words that we had no idea what it was but it did sound delicious! We bought a lot of stuff, but it came up to only S$29.15. We bought tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, chicken breast meat, butter, corn, whipping cream, basil.. and i cant remember what. Haha.
We returned to YQ’s house at 12nn, and believe it or not, the entire food preparation process took us THREE POINT FIVE (3.5) HOURS. I swear we he took this tutorial a little too seriously. Lol.
The menu for the day was:
Chicken Saltimbocca with Tomato Coolis and Passion Fruit Sauce
Cream of Corn
Baked mashed potato
Sin Yee (SY) and I started making the soup while Yee Ning (YN) and Yee Chuan (YC) made the chicken. Ying Qi (YQ) was shaving potatoes and the brother started de-skinning and de-seeding the tomatoes.
The soup was NOT easy. I wouldn’t use the word difficult, I’d use the word tedious. We first shaved the corn of its kernels and diced celery and onions.
We had to cook down the corn over low heat, with constant sitrring. That took us about 1 hr! Then we had to make roux, which is a thickener made of flour and oil. Following which, we cooked down the onions and celery, which took half an hour. Then added the roux, and stirred somemore.
On the other side, YN and YC had finished preparing the chicken and it was in the fridge. They moved on to cooking the potatoes and mashing it onto a fine pulp, which took about half an hour of continuous mashing. Along the way, the tomato coolis was also simmering in a pot. It also required a hell lot of stirring over low heat. (Hungry people have no patience *_* ) After mashing of the potato was done, YQ’s brother seasoned the mash and added milk to make it easier to pipe out. The piped mash was going into the oven to bake so that it’ll have a nice crusty skin. The mash also gets warmed up in the process.
Back to the soup. So after the roux and vegetables were done, water was added. We had to wait for the water to boil (over low heat, again) before adding the corn in. Along the way, YQ’s bro seasoned with salt and pepper and also added corn flour with water.
Once ready, we had to blend the concoction. Thereafter, the blended soup had to be sieved through a wire mesh to remove the solids, leaving behind a creamy soup. A dash of white wine later, the soup was finally done. x_x
Two and a half hours into making the dish (2.30pm), the chicken wasnt even ready. YQ’s brother heated up the pan and seared the chicken to give it a nice brown colour. Thereafter, the chicken was put into the oven to finish cooking it. This method ensures that the chicken breast meat remained juicy and tender. The initial sear on the pan was simply to give it colour and to make it look more appetizing. While the chicken baked, the carrots, already chopped in the beginning, were placed into the pan to cook till it was soft.
SO FINALLY 3.30PM CAME AND THE FOOD WAS READY!! Yq’s brother prepared us a presentation plate for us to take photo; the rest were just placed onto a big plate for communal eating.
Eating took A LOT less time than preparing. In less than half an hour, we had polished the food that took us 3.5 hours to cook. The sad thing was, the soup that we had spent so much time on was over-seasoned. After one mouthful I didn’t touch it anymore because it was simply too salty for me. :(
The chicken was well done though! and so were the carrots. I LOVED THE CARROTS. Soft and sweet. I think it helped to contrast the saltiness of everything else, so my palate made particular attention to the carrots. Haha. I always thought of chicken breast to be tough, but the correct cooking method makes it a better choice than chicken thigh apparently. The bacon wrapping around it also helps the chicken to remain juicy.
While I was full from the meal, I knew very well that I would be hungry at night, due to the lack of rice/noodles.
True enough, at 9pm, I found myself hunting for food in the kitchen. Had a small plate of fried rice that my parents brought home from an event the night before.
I did learn a lot from this cooking experience today. Cooking techniques and more knowledge of certain foods. :)