4. Fusion / modern
I was helping out at Salvation Army’s community kitchen earlier this week. The kitchen uses OZ Harvest, a food rescue service that collects excess food products and provides the food to charities for free. The lady who runs the kitchen, Monica, a wonderful and cheerful woman, explained that she was not able to buy any other ingredients other than what was donated.
On the lunch menu it was Vietnamese San Choy Bao. I volunteered to cook the meal as I was comfortable with cooking large amount of food. After all I had ran an Asian food stall at our school fetes over the past three years. The good news was that, we had pork mince and lots of vegetables. The bad news was that, there was no fish sauce, soy sauce, lemon or lime. I found two small bottles of BBQ sauce. I cooked the meal with the BBQ sauce, a little sugar, salt and some turmeric. Although not really Vietnamese, the dish tasted pretty good. The meal was sold at $2 per serve. After that, there was no fresh meat left. So I prepared 2 trays of zucchini slices for next day’s free community lunch. For the vegetarian option, I stir fried some diced potato, carrot, leek, capsicum, scallion and coriander with curry powder, turmeric and veggie spices. Thank goodness for all the other volunteers who chopped, diced, graded, washed and helped.
When I got home that day, I decided to learn a little more about cooking with simple ingredients. I started with the humble carrots and some left over pure maple syrup.
I diced 2 carrots, tossed the pieces with some rice flour, maple syrup, a little oil and a pinch of salt. Then I pan fried the carrots with a little oil, tossed in some sesame seeds, turmeric and coriander.
It was the best carrot I have ever had.
Recipe is a follow:
A good friend is on a self diagnosed gluten free diet. She is addicted to vegetables and all things fashionably healthy. You will laugh if you see her feeding her kids with healthy food the good old Chinese way – with great persistence.
We were over at their house for lunch last weekend. I made some tasty vegetable dips which was very appreciated. I served the dips with some plain rice crackers.
Winter is finally fading away in Sydney. Sun is shining and warm. The golden cane plants are back to life and the garden is looking fantastic. This beautiful morning I made my tropicana waffles for breakfast and enjoyed them by the pool.
My tropicana waffles are some of my best waffles – super crispy on the outside, beautifully moist on the inside, and full of the goodness of banana, pineapple and coconut milk. A little icing sugar on top makes it super handsome. Who would think vegan waffles could be so yummy..
Recipe is as follow:
One of my friends and her 2 gorgeous children came over for lunch today. She has really good taste with food and wine, previously ran an restaurant in Italy while she was married to an Italian young fellow who cooked beautifully. Now a single mum, things are not as easy, and she is also having a difficult time at work. So I decided to cook her a heart warming meal to cheer her up – a dish with chicken, salmon, prawns, mussels, baby octopus sounded just like the perfect dish. To make it a bit more special, I gave the paella an Asian twist with miso, wasabi and Korean pepper.
Recipe is as follow:
My husband likes most food except for tomatoes and eggplants. So I was determined to try out a few more eggplant dishes – may be he will change his mind?
This following eggplant dish was moderately successful as the eggplant was firm, crunchy and full of flavor. It is really simple to make – diced eggplant coated with olive oil, Parmesan cheese and cayenne pepper; add a lightly beaten egg and coat the pieces well; then coat the pieces with panko and season with salt and pepper; grill under a hot grill for 10-15 minutes, turn over a few times.
My hubby ate only a few pieces which was fantastic – it means more for me. I really enjoyed it.
I have loved leather jacket fish since I was a little girl, such beautiful white flesh and it is not too fishy, really good for steaming. This week I walked passed a fish shop and found some really fresh leather jacket fish, but too big to fit into my steamer. So I made a seafood chowder using leather jacket for stock. Really yummy…
Recipe is as follows: Read the rest of this entry »
I can hear you asking – what has vegemite to do with Chinese Luna New Year?
My little boy’s school is running a food festival next month. I am baking some vegemite twists for the Australian food stall.
The shape of this twist is borrowed from a Cantonese fried sweet pastry called ‘DanSan’ (蛋散). DanSan is a humble homemade pastry with flour, eggs and sugar, and deep fried in hot oil. Dan San is often made just before a Luna New Year, together with ‘YouJiao‘ (油角), a deep fried pastry with a filling of peanut, coconut and white sugar. My memory was that my second uncle always rolled out the pastry, we all helped making the DanSan & YouJiao, and my grandmother deep fried the pastry in a wok of hot oil over a coal stove. Because it was Chinese New Year, my grandmother allowed me access to the brown urn where the cooked pastries are kept under the stairs, I was in heaven!
I still remember that, during the first 10 days of a Luna New Year, families would visit their relatives to ‘BaiNian’ (拜年), or wishing them a happy new year. They would bring a bag of the pastry and some fruits as gifts. Their hosts would return the bags with their own homemade pastry and a few of the fruits. This is called ‘HuiLi’ (回礼), or the return of gifts. During these visits, children would get red envelopes from older relatives with money in them. The envelope is called LiShi (利是), meaning good luck. As a little girl I always looked forward to such visits, where I could stock up on the hard-to-get pocket money.
And once a year, the family gathered together for a rare group photo.
Here is my version of Australian ‘DanSan’ look-alike made with puff pastry & Vegemite, and I hope these little yummy treats can bring you good luck for 2016.
Recipe is as follows: