Thursday, December 31, 2009

Cooking Lamb - some tips

Some of our readers have expressed their interest in learning more about cooking the lamb leg which I prepared for Christmas. So here's some information to help them create their own scrumptious lamb dish.

We bought the deboned lamb leg and lamb rack from Cold Storage. The meat sold there is really fresh and they have a service where you can get the butcher to slice the meat and marinate it for you, at no extra charge. There is a good selection of marinades that you can choose from. For special events like Christmas, it'd be good to order beforehand so they can get it prepared earlier for you.

I ordered the lamb leg a few days before Christmas and requested for them to help me get it cut into 6 slices, and marinate it with rosemary and mint.

After I brought the lamb leg and lamb rack home, I added more seasoning to enhance the flavour further. A bit of olive oil was added, followed by a sprinkle of salt and pepper and roast lamb seasoning (from the brand Masterfoods®). Before packing it up again and putting it into the chiller, I added fresh rosemary all round the slices of lamb for that nice aromatic herb flavour. It would be good to leave the marinade on for a few hours so that the flavours of the seasoning get really drawn into the meat.

Before placing the lamb onto the pan, make sure the pan is already hot. You can choose not to add any oil as the oil from the fats of the meat will be released as it cooks. I normally just add a little. When that's ready, place the lamb leg slices/lamb rack in the pan for searing. After putting them in the pan, just leave it and don't keep moving them around. After a couple of minutes, check to see if they can be picked up nicely to flip around. If they stick to the pan, you can give it another minute or so. Take note that the pieces of meat are of different sizes, so some could be ready sooner than the others.

When the lamb slices have been seared on both sides, place them on a pan to roast in a preheated oven. I normally preheat the oven when I start searing the meat so I can put them in the oven right after it's done. This time, I put the oven on 170°C for about 10 min as my mum prefers the meat well-cooked. If you prefer the meat to be still a little reddish on the inside, maybe about 7-8 min will do. This is all based on personal preference, so you can carry out trial and error with every attempt. :)

As the meat is cooking in the oven, you can take the time to prepare a delectable sauce with red wine. Pour a good amount of red wine (at least half a bottle for 4 servings) into the pan in which you seared the lamb. Do not waste those wonderful bits sticking to the bottom of the pan! As the red wine heats up, scrape the bottom of the pan. Those bits add delicious flavour to the sauce. Add some chopped garlic and continue cooking the red wine till it reduces a little more. After that, I added some chopped white button mushrooms and stirred in some cream. Let the sauce simmer till it thickens. After that, I added freshly chopped rosemary herbs and sprinkled some sugar into the sauce. The sugar is added to tone down the sourish taste of the wine. The you can just leave it till the meat is ready.

Once the lamb is cooked, arrange them nicely on the dishes and pour the sauce over the meat. I like to also add some vegetables to the dish to add some colour. It would be good to save some of the herbs too - they look great as garnish on the plate. When all that's done.....Voila!! Present your masterpiece! :)

Christmas celebrations Part 2

Part 2 of the Christmas Celebrations at Eugin's mom's place. We had roast beef, salad and log cake washed down with ginger ale.

(Above) Delicious roast beef

(Above) Chips and egg for appetizer

(Above) Family portrait

(Above) Mom and her Christmas presents

(Above)Eugin's brother - Robin with his Christmas presents

(Above)Us with our Christmas presents

(Above) Shayna enjoying her present - a doggy toy bone

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas celebrations 2009

Over Christmas Eve and Christmas day, we had our annual festive celebration with both sides of our family, with Gayle's family on the eve and Eugin's family on the day itself. Gayle cooked up a storm for Christmas eve dinner and we had a hearty lunch at Eugin's mom's place on Christmas Day. Everyone had their fill of good food, drinks, conversations and present exchanges. We also had a family friend - Chiou Lin join us for the festivities and we must thank her for her Christmas hamper which she specially handpicked the items and packed for us! It's been a wonderful and cozy Christmas. It's hard to believe that Christmas has just come and gone!

(Above)Christmas dinner starter - Poached scallop crowned with prawn presented on a bed of caviar.

(Above)We bought this tear drop shapped plate as our starter dish from Moderne at Temple Street.

(Above)Salad combo comprising of lettuce, celery, wild rocket, capsicum.

(Above) Main course of seared lamb leg and rack with red wine mushroom sauce with rosemary.

(Above) Everyone posing before starting on our sumptous Christmas dinner.

(Above)Chiou Lin receiving a Crabtree and Evelyn package gift from Gayle

(Above and Below) Dessert: Pretty looking and tasty rich cakes from Obolo Patisseries

(Above) Fay , Gayle's sister showing her diamond ear rings given by Mom

(Above) Gayle's father showing the Fossil watch given to him by Eugin

(Above) Not to be left out, the two doggies - Tisha and Shayna also had presents of doggie snacks from Gayle's mom. Gayle is telling the doggies to sit and receive their gift.

(Above) Eugin received a Blue Nike T shirt from Fay. So coincidental as he was just looking for a blue nike shirt the day before at Vivocity.

(Above) Gayle received a ball point Sheaffer pen from her father.

Above) Gayle's mom - Irene received a orange handbag from Choiu Lin.

More photos to come on the Christmas Lunch at Eugin's mom's place.....

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

To all our family, friends and visitors to our blog, Wishing you a warm and wonderful festive Christmas with your loved ones with plenty of cheer, love and
happiness to spread around for 2010. Merrrieee Chrrisstmass!

Monday, December 21, 2009

A nice dinner by my dardar

Over the weekend, Gayle cooked a nice lamb and sausage combo dish for the both of us for dinner. It's really nice to seat down for some fine good tasty home cooked food!
We bought the lamb loins from Cold Storage where the butchers helped us to marinate the meat with rosemary and mint seasoning which is a free service. We then went to the Brazillian butchery next door to get the English and Italian sausages. Gayle further seasoned the lamb loin at home with rosemary leaves, salt , herbs seasoning. This was drenched with home cooked sauce(below) comprising of white wine, garlic, rosemary herb, sugar, cream which made for a delicious complementary sauce to the meat.

Gayle also prepared a side dish of salad with Thousand Islands salad dressing(above). Enjoy the pictures! Looks good , don't they?

Oh yes, we bought the 'cool' drink glass(above) from Sia Huat located along Temple Street, Chinatown. If you are looking for kitchen stuff, do drop by a visit there.

Gift for my dardar

(Above) Gayle posing with her new Coach spectacle frames

Gayle has been a wonderful wife these two years of marriage and I always remind myself to love her more and share more good things with her. She has always wanted to get a new pair of spectacles and so, we went down to Toa Payoh central,which is one of the good places in Singapore to shop for frames, over the weekend to buy her a pair of spectacles. We were deciding between a Dior model and this Coach model. Gayle finally settled on the frame by Coach which is quite unique as the side arms of the spectacles looks holographic with 3D images of the Coach logo. Apparently this is a new model called Clarissa. It was also a different look from her previous frames since this was dark brown with thicker frames. It cost $380 inclusive of GST.

Reupholstery of car seats @ Jackspeed

In Singapore, all of us work very hard so it's always nice to be able to pamper ourselves and our loved ones as a reward for the year's work. For myself, as a car buff, what else could I give myself ,besides a nice car, was to reupholster my car seats with genuine leather. As the original seat upholstery given by Mercedes was a combination of light grey leather fabric, this was hard to maintain with frequent usage, our weather and fabric not being very hardy.

Also, it looked a bit dull so to spice things up, I went to Jackspeed Leather to reupholster the interior into fiery red leather with white stitching to contrast. Jackspeed is not exactly the cheapest but they do give you good quality leather and workmanship. More importantly. Jackspeed is the only upholstery company in Singapore that is certified by TUV of Germany to reupholster over car airbags.This ensures that the new stitching of the reupholstered airbag covers allows the airbags to fully deploy properly where required.

The price quoted is often based on the area , level of difficulty in stitching and the make of the car and also whether there is an existing mould of the car seats. I was quoted a high price of $2300 which is expected since they will expect you to bargain and i bargained it to $1550 inclusive of GST. Upholstery took only half a day at Jackspeed's worshop in Loyang. If you are interested, you can look for the lady sales executive there by the name of Chris.

After I collected the car, Gayle and myself felt that the seats were far more comfortable and softer than previously and they really are a boon for seating. Also, it's far more easier to maintain than fabric.

(Above) Front seat

(Above)Rear seats

(Above) Airbag Panel on door and armrest

(Above) Rear seat side panel and armrest

(Above) Rear of headrest.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas season once again

(Above) Our Christmas Tree Star Topper bought form Borders bookstore.

With Christmas coming around the corner again, we took out our Christmas tree to set it up and decoarate it. We are having Gayle's parents and sister over for Christmas this year during Christmas Eve and going over to Eugin's mom's place for Christmas Lunch. Setting up Christmas tree is always a sign that it's the holidays and a good break from work and also a good meal and present exchanges. Gayle is preparing to cook a good lamb dinner for that Christmas Eve.Our tree is based on a white christmas theme with a white leaf tree. Decor in line with white is blue and silver trimmings.
We had fun putting up the tree and of course, the little girl Shayna was curious and kept running around to fuss about the tree. She's gotten used to our Kissing Mickey and Minnie which we put at the base of the tree with a overhanging mistletoe and stopped trying to get a bite at them.

(Above) Shayna joining in the pose with Mickey and Minnie

Most of the decor, we got from Carrefour and IKEA which stock value for money and wide variety of stuff.

(Above) Unpacking the Christmas tree and decor

(Above) Setting up a blue cloth to soften the area around the tree's stand plus the first layer up.

(Above) Putting the blue chain around the tree. From IKEA.

(Above) 2nd layer up.

(Above) Gayle decorating the tree

(Above) Gayle telling Shayna that this is a Christmas tree

(Above)Our Christmas tree complete

(Above) Our Christmas tree light up