I had this really nice lunch at La Cicala with my son Wen Yu when he was back from UK for vacation in summer 2012. They have a S$25++pax lunch set that offers choice of 2 tapas+1main course+1 dessert – really great value. I had the Basque seafood stew as 1 tapas & the Spanish beef rib as the main, and enjoyed the lunch & companion of my son thoroughly. 🙂
I then googled and found this Spanish beef ribs recipe among others. I use Spanish chorizo that gives it a very nice flavour that for me enhances the beefy taste but also added Chinese sausage which for me added to the sweetness (some may not like this addition). The carrots, celery & yellow onions provide a very sweet vegetable broth as a counterpoint for the beefy dish, & the red peppers & tumeric (saffron is too expensive & troublesome to get for me) add to the vibrancy of the colours.
I bought chuck ribs from Giant usually during sales at S$1.49 per 100g (on one occasion just S$0.99 per 100g). A 1.2kg packet with 6 ribs costs around S$20 and serves 6 – in my case as I do many course and tapas items, it can serve 8).
My son, though he likes my beef ribs, still prefers the La Cicala version which has beef broth instead of vegetable broth as the sauce base. I am happy with this vegetable broth version to balance the strong beefiness.
I had this for the 6.10.2012 dinner which by design coincided with Jeanette’s birthday celebration & the photo above was taken by Jeanette who loved the dish. I did this again for the “Best Of” dinner and all my friends (even Cheng Poon who generally avoided beef) loved it!
- 1.2kg chuck ribs
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 carrot, peeled & diced
- 1 celery, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Spaish chorizo + 1 Chinese sausage, cut into 1 cm pieces
- 1 red pepper, cut into 2cm pieces
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 cup white wine
- 3 cups chicken stock
- sea salt & coarse black pepper to taste
- Season chuck ribs with sea salt & coarse black pepper.
- Place in a baking tray & put in the oven preheated to 210degC (I use the grill function) 12 minutes on each side to brown.
- fry onion, carrot & celery in olive oil over high heat in a large wok until the vegetables softened.
- Add minced garlic & Spanish chorizo & Chinese sausage and cooked until they are nicely browned, around 5 minutes. Add the red peppers & flour and cooked for a few minutes.
- Add the white wine & reduced the liquid by 1/2. Add the chuck ribs. Turn to low heat and braised the ribs for 2hrs until the ribs are tender & falling off the bones. Season with sea salt to taste, portion the ribs & serve.
Chocolate Lava Cake with Strawberries
as it turned out, i subsequently made very good tofu cheese cake, tiramisu, banoffee cake & pumpkin cheese cake, so i have not made the lava cake for a while. i also tried a jam crumb cake which was pretty ok too.
I am generally NOT a dessert person. When dining out with family or friends, I will take the lower cost 2-course option (for set meals) & pick an appetizer & main, ostensibly also to avoid too much calories.
I also have NOT baked in my entire life before this, and in any case I only started any form of serious exploring of cooking from Mar2012 when I had my first 5-course home cooked dinner for friends.
It was in August 2012 after a very nice smoked meat dinner at a friend’s place, where some friends brought along a very nice tiramisu cake, that I started then to google for some dessert I can make. Well I found one which I now do rather well – the oozing chocolate lava cake. But I must say that I am both NOT motivated and luckless in finding another “worthwhile” dessert to make (worthwhile being that there is a “wow” factor in producing it & it is nearly as good or better than what you can grab from a good bakery stall). I can make a passable apple pie now but does not quite meet my “worthwhile” criteria. I had been looking at soufle recipes for a while and hopefully that would be the subject of my post in the not too distant future.
Back to the oozing chocolate lava cake. I was successful in my 3rd attempt, and thanks to Facebook for being such a faithful repository of memories, that was on 22.8.2012!
Well, now I can make an awesome chocolate lava cake 99% of the time successful. It is NOT really as good as some very good ones in restaurants here but still equal or better than many.
The keys to a good chocolate lava cake are (1) taste & (2) lava; otherwise it will be just a good tasting brownie! I find the 70% cocoa chocolate makes the lava cake flavour really mesmerising. I have tried Cadbury Old Gold Dark Chocolate but w/o the cocoa the taste experience is several notch down, so if you do you will need to experiment with adding cocoa to get to the right taste. For the lava, the size of the muffin tray (I still do not have ramekins!), temperature & timing are CRITICAL; and because in this recipe the time is only 3mins 30secs, any variation & you will have to trial & error to get the correct combination. For example, I have to use the grill function at 210degC in order that the top hardens while inside is still molten & let the bottom harden further while resting for few minutes!
- Cadbury Old Gold chocolate 70% cocoa 100g (1/2 bar)
- unsalted butter 100g (0.4x250g bar)
- sugar 1 tbsp flat
- normal flour a tbsp flat & sifted
- 3 eggs + 2 eggyolk
- beat egg & sugar
- add in flour & beat (steps 1 & 2 can do together)
- melt butter & chocolate (on top) in microwave 70-80seconds & beat
- then add slowly to egg mixture (so egg won’t be cooked as chocolate slightly warm) & beat
- use butter cube to grease thoroughly each cup of 6 cup small muffin tray & fill up 70% with the chocolate mix
- preheat oven to 210degC and put to grill/broil function
- place muffin tray in preheated oven – use phone to time 3mins 15secs & remove immediately
- leave muffin tray for few minutes for bottom (top when inverted) to harden
- invert & serve the chocolate lava cake with a nice ice-cream or strawberries