Cooking Food To Temperature

Cooking chicken thighs to perfection with a temperature probe

During the first year of this blog, I picked up many valuable culinary tips, tricks and techniques from a plethora sources, both digital and real world. This led to significant improvements in our approach to home cooking.

The change that had the biggest positive impact was to cook food to temperature (rather than elapsed, fixed time). This has drastically transformed the quality of our entire home dining experience, as well as being a new avenue of “food adventure” to immerse myself in.
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Sous Vide Chicken Breast with Pickled Celeriac

Sous vide chicken breast with pasta, vegetables and pickled celeriac

Take one Sous Vide Supreme. Mix in a Big Green Egg. Sprinkle with other kitchen equipment. Combine with tender chicken breast, vine ripened tomatoes, crisp asparagus tips, fresh basil and papardelle pasta.

The result was a meal truly greater than the sum of its parts. And the ingredient that bought it all together? Pickled celeriac.
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Green Eggs and Ham Crumpets

Green eggs and ham crumpet with vine tomatoes

Whilst on holiday, we discovered The Crumpet Shop in Seattle. A charming little breakfast joint, it backs onto the famous Pike Place Market, serving up a cornucopia of crumpets (sweet and savoury) to kick-start the day. We tried a few, the stand out being green eggs and ham, a clear nod to the classic Dr. Seuss book.

On returning home, we gave this a go … it’s now one of our go to breakfast dishes.
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Maxing Out a Minimax Big Green Egg

The raised grid in the Minimax with a cooking basket underneath

“Roast chicken in the Egg is great, but I miss having gravy” said my wife. This was indeed the case … spatchcock chicken cooked in our smaller Big Green Egg makes for a great dinner, however fresh gravy wasn’t feasible. Anther challenge was cooking something big on the lower level.

After pondering this, I came up with a simple solution, a Minimax 2.0 rig if you will. I just needed to cannibalise three of my wife’s meat skewers.
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Ancho Chili and Hoisin Chicken

Ancho chili and hoisin chicken

I saw a recipe for Hoisin Sriracha Chicken and thought “this looks lovely, I’ll make it tonight”. Sadly we were out of Sriracha sauce but did have ancho chili paste. So I used that instead.

And thus Ancho Chili and Hoisin Chicken was born. The spicy and vibrant ancho chili paste paired perfectly with hoisin flavours. The dish was completed with a tasty side of peppers stir fried in toasted sesame oil with a little pineapple juice.

Enjoy a delicious evening meal at home with this simple recipe.

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Bone Marrow Glazed Steak

Bone marrow glazed steak with potatoes and asparagus

I confess, there are a few steak posts in this blog … but heck, my wife and I enjoy a good rib-eye, it’s one of our favourite meals. How to improve on it, though? We recently found a way to enhance the flavour by several notches … twice searing with a bone marrow glaze.

Step up your own home cooked steaks with this really simple recipe.

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Sautéed Potatoes with Red Pepper and Chorizo

Sautéed potatoes with red pepper and chorizo, asparagus and steak

In an effort to make side dishes more interesting, and inspired by seeing a chef sautéing potatoes to go with pork chops, we came up with sautéed potatoes with red pepper and chorizo. A simple, effective and very tasty side that works well with a variety of mains … and breakfast.
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Vietnamese Roast Duck and Pineapple

Vietnamese roast duck and pineapple with seared pak choi and asparagus

I made the classic dish of Vietnamese braised duck and pineapple a while ago. It was good, however my wife suggested roasting the duck to bring out more flavour. I agreed.

Discussions with a friend in Saigon revealed that Vietnamese roast duck and pineapple isn’t a traditional meal in his country. He also liked the roasting idea. So I created a recipe and named the dish Vịt Nướng Thơm (a literal translation). My wife approved.

Make my take on Vietnamese roast duck and pineapple at home with this step-by-step guide.

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Umami Smash Burgers

Umami smash burger served with fresh asparagus and chips

Burgers cooking on the BBQ are ubiquitous with warm, sunny summer days. Yet they can quickly become repetitive and ordinary. How to make them … well, less ordinary?

Through chance experiment we discovered that chestnut mushrooms, Dizzy Pig Red Eye Express rub and a little butter combine to exhibit an umami-like taste. Very left field and unexpected. So we used those ingredients in crafting some truly outstanding smash burgers.

Make these distinctive, delicious and very different burgers yourself with this simple recipe.

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Sweet ‘n’ Spicy Baked Pineapple

Sweet 'n' spicy baked pineapple served with vanilla ice cream

We recently cooked some Vietnamese roast duck and pineapple for dinner. The baked pineapple rings were a harmonious blend of spice and sweet, and held its own in terms of texture and flavour.

My wife thought the pineapple (suitably paired with vanilla ice cream) would be a great dessert. She was right … as usual. And thus sweet ‘n’ spicy baked pineapple came to be.

Try a different, delicious and refreshing dessert at home with this easy recipe.

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Wild Garlic Leaf Pesto Sauce

Wild garlic leaf pesto sauce with some of the ingredients

Wild garlic is in season at the moment, and I’m fortunate enough to have parents-in-law with this wonderful herb growing in their back garden. My wife picked some and used it to make a tasty, fresh wild garlic leaf pesto sauce.

We had this with some pappardelle pasta, which was served with smoked chicken and asparagus. Utterly delicious. It can also be used for vegetables, or as a dip.

Discover how to make wild garlic leaf pesto sauce yourself with this easy recipe.

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Happy Birthday To The Cook’s Digest

A chocolate cake made by my wife

This month marks a year of The Cook’s Digest. It’s been a lot of fun, and an interesting learning experience. In this post I share some of the  important events and aspects of the year.

And also eat some chocolate cake to celebrate. 🙂
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