Month: July 2015

Rice and pumpkin cake with broccoli, roasted capsicum and basil (low FODMAP, gluten free, vegan)

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I had some spare time in the late afternoon so I decided to work on a  FODMAP dish. I had some vegetables that are low FODMAP and some rice flour. And here it became…

Rice-pumpkin cake with broccolli, roasted capsicum & basil (low FODMAP & gluten free)

Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »

Pie tees with jicama, carrot, pork and dried shrimps

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A traditional Nonya (Malay-Chinese) food, these cute & crispy little cups got me wondering… hmm.. what goodies can I fill them up with?

In Singapore the pie tee cups are available in sealed plastic jars from supermarkets – but we don’t have such luxury in Australia. So I bought a brass pie tee mould online from the U.K. and made my own pastry. For the filling, I stirred fry some graded jicama & carrot, minced pork and oyster sauce. Then I topped the pastry cups with fried shrimps and shallot. It was really tasty.

Pie tees with jicama, carrot and pork
Pie tees with jicama, carrot and pork

Recipe is as follow:  Read the rest of this entry »

Mapo tofu (麻婆豆腐), and my father’s story of two spoonful of oil

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Mapo tofu (麻婆豆腐) for a traveler’s soul

The province of Sichuan in China is famous for its taste bud killing pepper corn & spicy food.  One of their most famous dishes is the ‘mapo tofu’, sometimes translated as the ‘pockmarked grandma’s bean curd’.

When my father was a young lad, he attended a university far away from home. Ever since then, he developed a strong desire for traveling. After graduation, he worked for a state-owned factory with a starting salary of 51 yuan a month. He did not have the money to travel other than travelling for work.

One year, he was fortunate enough to be sent to Sichuan for a research project. He asked my grandmother for an oil coupon.  Those days most essentials were scarce and required coupons. When he arrived, he took the coupon to a well-known local restaurant and ordered a big bowl of mapo tofu. ‘The tofu was so good,’ he said to me, still with great enthusiasm, ‘ it had two spoonfuls of oil in it.”

A young traveler, somewhere in the Nortern China
A young traveler, somewhere in the Northern China

I have had many mapo tofu dishes over the years – they all seemed to be overly oily. But I liked them just like that  – I soaked up the oil with boiled rice. I could feel  my father’s joy and excitement as a far-away-from-home young traveler.

Recipe is as follows:   Read the rest of this entry »

Peach and coconut margarita

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Ahhhh, the wonderful life of parenting…

I love putting on dinner parties. Dinner parties are always more enjoyable starting with a few cocktails – the guests are so relax they could not hear the kids yelling in the playroom where they supposedly watching a movie.  To compliment an Asian themed dinner, I made these peach & coconut margarita.

So simple & delicious – no recipe required; just a blender half filled with ice, a large tin of peaches, a dash of coconut milk, a generous pour of tequila, a generous pour of triple sec. Enjoy!

Peach & coconut margarita

Steamed blue eye cod 蒸鱼 and the market across the ‘Yayan Lane’ 雅言里 (low FODMAP, gluten free)

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How I love steamed fish!

Steamed blue eye cod with shallot & soy (low FODMAP & gluten free)

Growing up in Guangzhou in the early 1970s, we lived in a rundown 5-bedroom terrace house on a little lane way called the ‘Yayan Lane’ 雅言里  , translated as the ‘elegant words lane’. The house was bought by my grandfather in early 1950s for $1,200 yuan from a tea merchant. At the time there was a ‘movement’ to crack down tax evasion. Like some other small businesses, the tea merchant had to sell his house to pay his tax bill.  It was said that most houses on the market were going cheap over that period.

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My grandfather at the old terrace house, Yayan lane, guangzhou

There were many family members lived at the terrace house at various intervals – my great grandmother, my grandparents, my family, 3 uncles & 1 aunt and their families. My grandma cooked dinners for all the families. Food & basic essentials such as rice, oil, meat, fish, coal & fabric were on rations, and we had books of colorful coupons.

There was a state-ran market across the road from our lane way. The market sold all sort of food – meat & vegetables, seafood, Chinese sausages & BBQ meat, tofu, preserves, oil & soy sauce. When very small fish were caught from large schools, sometime coupons were not required.  The neighbors always kept a look out for such rare occasions, and we would hear a shout across the lane way.  Grandmother and I would grab a bamboo basket as fast as we could, rushed over to join the crowd.  There were no such things as lining up – layers of people cramped in front of the concrete table where the fish piled up among large blocks of ice, pushing each other, yelling to attract attention. The fish was always fresh and undeniably small,  not longer than my little hand.  My grandmother steamed the fish with soy sauce for dinner. Our skinny house cats would fight over the bones & left-over sauce mixed with some rice – a rare treat for them.

Riding a bike at Yayan Lane, GuangZhou, China in 1970s
Riding a bike at the Yayan lane in 1970s

Today, we are so very lucky in Australia with all the wonderful seafood, spices & herbs. My favorite method of cooking fish is steaming. From time to time, when I enjoy a good steamed fish, I could still smell the sea at the crowded market place across the road from the Yayan Lane.

Here is my version of steamed fish – fresh & simple.  I used Blue Eye Cod on this occasion. You can use most sort of white flesh fish. My favorite fish for steaming is perch.

 Recipe is as follows: Read the rest of this entry »

Chocolate, coconut, sesame and dates balls (gluten free, vegan)

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As a part time working mum dashing between workplace and school drop offs & pick ups, some days I don’t time for breakfast or lunch. This is a tasty treat that can really enhance energy level.

So simple – you can add your other favorite dried fruits; and make a large batch and freeze them.

Chocolate & dates balls (gluten free)

Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »

Rice paper roll with chicken, quinoa, pumpkin, carrot, capsicum and lettuce (low FODMAP, gluten free)

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A friend has recently moved to a low FODMAP diet. When we have dinner parties, I try to accommodate his diet with the simplest, freshest ingredients with low FODMAP. It is fun and challenging working with limited ingredients.

Here is a super easy recipe & well balanced – the pan fried capsicums & pumpkins add lots of sweetness to this dish, lettuce add  crunchiness, quinoa adds texture, chicken for protein.

Ricepaper roll with chicken, quinoa, pumpkin, carrot, capsicum & lettuce (low FODMAP, FODMAP friendly, gluten free)

Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »