Over twenty years ago I lived and worked in Tasmania. I fell in love with the stunning landscape and its beautiful bays. Recently we took our little boy to the east coast of Tasmania. The highlight of the trip was the walk at the Bay of Fire, jumping and running among the colorful rocks. I took many photos. Here are two of my favorite:
I was so fascinated by the ‘kiwi fruit’ on the rock, I decided to make a dish. I sauteed some finely chopped cauliflower and Spanish onion with a little cooking oil, spiced with some turmeric, cumin, garam masala, a little fresh chili and sea salt. The veggies were served with lightly grilled kiwi fruit slices – the ingredients complemented each other very well, sweet, sour and spicy.
So simple, no recipe required.
Last Saturday my 10 year old boy bought a ham for the homeless feed out of his own pocket money. He and his dad sliced up the ham and left a pile of ham fat behind.
This Saturday was the Christmas dinner for our homeless friends. So I made this colorful chicken terrine with left over ham fat. I also added apricot, raisin, saute onion, corn kennel, cumin powder, cinnamon powder, thyme, bay leaf, strawberry jam, salt and black pepper.
Looks and tasted great, and so easy and cheap to make.
Cooking something nice in bulk and with a budget is not an easy task, often involving extra preparation time to trim and slice a cheaper cut of meat. Pork shoulder is one of the easier meat to prepare and cook in bulk. It is also so tasty and nutritious.
Last week I bought 2 large pork shoulders, about 5kg in weight. I trimmed off the skin and most of the fat, then thinly sliced the meat. I marinated the meat with BBQ sauce, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, maple flavor syrup, sherry, sesame oil, sesame seed and some potato starch. I left the meat in the fridge to settle for 2 days in a tight sealed container.
On Saturday for the homeless feed, I simply pan fried the sliced pork with some oil, onion and capsicum The meal looked and tasted delicious. At the street banquet, the dish was very popular and it disappeared quickly.
The simple method is as follows:
The cactus flowered again this year, yielding 2 single strikingly beautiful flowers, with pink and pearl like colors.
Last harvest I made a soup with the flowers. This year I fried them with some egg and corn flour, flavored with Chinese five-spice and green shallot.
Method is as follows:
Monash University updates their FODMAP diet app from time to time. I recently noticed that oyster mushroom has been added to the ‘green’ traffic light list at 86g per serve. Bok Choy is now restricted to 85g per serve due to moderate amount of polyolsorbitol.
So here is a simple oyster mushroom dish for our friends on low FODMAP diet.
Method is as follows:
I have been cooking for the homeless feed on some Saturdays. Trying to cope with work and the endless chores around the house, I was only able to cook simple meals for our homeless friends.
This week I made a simple Asian flavored pulled pork with plum sauce and Char Siu sauce. I used 5kg of pork shoulder. I first removed the skin and most of the fat under the skin; then I rub the meat with a jar of plum sauce, 1/2 jar of Char Siu sauce, 2 teaspoon of cumin powder and a few generous dashes of dark soy sauce; I marinated the meat in the fridge overnight.
The next morning, I placed pork in a pre-heated 180c (360f) oven for 30 minutes, tightly covered with foil; after 30 minutes, I reduced the temperature to 160c (320f), cooked the meat for further 30 minutes; then I turned the heat to 140c (280f) for further 2 hours. After that I left the meat in the oven for another 1 hour to settle, before I pulled the meat with 2 forks.
For the sauce, I mixed some corn flour with water; transferred half of the meat juice to a sauce pan, added the corn flour mixture, brought to a slow boil and stirred briefly as the sauce thicken. I poured the sauce on top of the meat.
We had some for dinner too, with boiled rice – tasted great.
I run an Asian food stall at the school fete each year to raise money for the school. It was load of work – a whole month of preparation rolling thousands of dumplings; the 2-hour sleep the night before the fete; and the stress about food quality and logistics.
But I loved it. I loved the families who helped to cook and served. I loved the families who enjoyed our food and left great comments on the social media. It is somehow all worthwhile.
Here is a quick video clip to share – families gathered at our house to wrap 1,000 dumplings a week before the fete. We then freeze the dumplings, boiled and then pan fried them on site at the school fete.