So I had Becks over two Saturdays ago for a potluck of sorts – we made Kenji’s Easy broiled miso cod, her signature honey mustard chicken, and some focaccia for brunch. Everything was delicious! I remember having her honey mustard chicken a good 5 years ago before we both left for uni and were having a potluck with our then bible study leader, Nancy. This time I learnt how to make it.
5 chicken thighs, skinned.
Salt and white pepper
5 tbsp of honey
5 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tsp mustard seeds
black pepper and salt
Trim excess fat from the chicken thighs
Sprinkle salt and white pepper liberally on the chicken thighs, massage in.
Wash the salt and pepper off.
Mix together the mustard, honey, and mustard seeds.
Grind black pepper over the thighs and massage in the mustard mixture for 0.5 – 1 hr. Becks is big on massaging chicken – she says it’s therapeutic.
Put the chicken in the oven at 220 degC for about 25 – 30 mins, test for doneness with a fork – the juices should run clear and the meat should separate from the bone.
Here is a pic of her well massaged chicken thighs. They were mad tender.
I made a rosemary, parmesan, and prosciutto focaccia in the morning – I still haven’t found a foolproof recipe for this, and I’m an intermediate-advanced baker with a breadmaker.
Here are the snipped up herbs from my balcony garden. Actually I think it’s just rosemary. I randomly put the ramekin on the piano to get it out of the way and it made such a pretty picture with the lace. Actually I really hate the lace that is draped over my piano – but it’s my parents’ home and I don’t really get much say over how weird “English-countryside” looks like in an apartment. I think pianos look best unadorned, at the most, a bust of your favorite composer and a mechanic metronome could be classy but everything else, just no.
Here the dough (mostly risen) before it goes into the oven…
And out of the oven! I grated a good amount of parmesan on top. It was pretty dense I felt – a good focaccia should be sponge cake soft and delicately oily without additional dipping. Heaven forbid it be white too – it should be almost yellowy inside, like a challah.
I like them cut in diamonds.
I thought the crowning glory of the afternoon was the cod. Whoo. It was an amazing cod! The miso marinate was really good, particularly because I used saikyomiso – white miso from saikyo. Cheap sake and expiring mirin otherwise :P Saikyo miso is especially smooth, and the go-to standard for Japanese fusion chefs everywhere in Singapore when grilling cod (gindara saikyoyaki) and probably in Nobu.
Here’s a close up. The cod was sourced from L’s mum’s fishmonger, myself not having mastered the skill of marketing yet. I wonder if my company would allow me to work 4 day weeks so I could spend one weekday going to the market. Actually technically going to the market is probably something that occurs at 7am or something so shouldn’t be a big deal if I am to go to work after. Besides, LZ’s grandma lives in the next block in Telok Blangah and I’m sure she can introduce me to her fishmonger, or her maid can. Teochews are experts in fish (according to LZ’s mum, and given how good she is at steaming fish I am inclined to agree). I also found two new neighbors already, one being xm, who applied to exactly the same BTO estate as us, and the other is kb, who is in my lab at work! I don’t think he’ll be staying up playing 80 points with us though because he’s pretty old :P Still there will be a guest bedroom (or two) for fellow card players :P
-The meal was nicely rounded off with my “instant” blueberry crumble –
I tend to keep bags of pate sucree in the fridge for a rainy day when I just need that sweet tart crust instantly – so I defrosted one of the bags yesterday in the fridge and rolled it out for a pie crust, blind baked it, mixed together some crumble (judicious amounts of cold butter, flour, soft brown sugar, and instant oats) in like 5 minutes, and cracked open a can of blueberries in light syrup. I usually extract a few tbsp of the syrup from the blueberries, mix it with a good amt of cornstarch, and then add it back to the blueberries over the stove on medium heat, just enough to turn it into a beautifully viscous goop.
She’s flying off tmr morning :( I love Decembers – that’s when all my friends come back for the holidays – Becks in particular comes back only once per year, since that’s when her company has a Christmas break. She works as a lawyer in London and consolidates all her leave to come back to Sg to see the family etc. (and me!) at the end of the year. I have no idea when I’ll next see her too, what with grad sch being so undecided and all :S
E invited me to meet up with her on New Years’ Eve (I couldn’t make it, was having another board game meeting slpover :P) which effectively turned into an unsolicited “How to hook a good Christian man” advice session, which I was/am tremendously tickled by. So E effectively told her this: Rebecca, in order to meet a good Christian man, you must go and wait at the watering well! (i.e. go to church events more regularly) lol! Talk about taking biblical names literally. I don’t think Becks will have any problems meeting any sort of man, Christian or not, being so cute when she gets riled up haha. They used to call her chili padi in JC too.
In the same measure of liking Decembers, I hate Januaries. Bleargh. Everyone has flown back to their little nests to resume their lives with me completely out of the loop. I never really cared about being “out of the loop” so to speak, with the crowd anywhere. I was never “in the loop” in Risley, or with the Sg society at Cornell, and I never cared less. I would never have found out who was together or who was gay etc. etc. if not for my trusty housemate :P But I suppose I’ve grown to care more about certain people – always a good thing, in my book. However about 50% of the people I care about no longer actually live in Singapore :S so it’s pretty tough. Thankfully there’s still the cards gang, which is based in Singapore. They are my instant friends :P And it’s not like I don’t have a history with those girls in the klatsch, we were all from the same schools and a coupla them, in fact three of them were in the same CCAs as I was, and I even went to Beijing with C in Sec 3. I think it’s really easy to not give a shit about people when you are the one flying away; I really enjoyed my freedom (from family/friend engagements) when I was overseas. You can sit on fb messages as long as you like and ignore emails pretty much guilt-free. And I never skyped my parents, nor did they worry about me. It was the optimal time to live like Paul Simon’s metaphorical rock. I suppose we did get pretty insular and much less tolerant of socially unacceptable people. I don’t mean socially inept; i.e. when the person in question can’t quite help it. I mean socially unacceptable, where the person is a fully sentient being with no mental disorders etc. and who is fully responsible for his actions, but who persists in behaving like a douche. And there are so many of them here! I suppose that’s why mingling around would be good for me, so my general expectations of humanity will be severely reduced.