5. Others

Meals for the homeless – summer ice tea, and John’s first night as a rough sleeper

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I met John at the homeless feed.  He was a regular volunteer at the weekly street buffet. Newly settled in social housing, John cooks delicious desserts for his street friends. A warm and witty man,  John was a lawyer at a major bank before he became a rough sleeper. 

‘I was a lawyer at a major bank before I became homeless,’ John pointed to a corner next to a shop front, ‘that was my sleeping spot“.

‘My first night on the street,’ he smiled, ‘Hunter gave me her bedding. She slept on the concrete floor that night.

‘The guys here accepted me unconditionally.’ He said, ‘Guys here, so many of them are willing to pull their shirts off their backs and offer it to you.’ 

‘Many think homeless people are drug addicts, alcoholics or have mental illnesses. I don’t smoke or drink. A car accident and circumstances put me on the streets among these guys.’ J said humbly. I was a corporate lawyer before that’

‘And I love your ice tea’, he said.

Ah, I made delicious ice tea to bring smiles and cheerfulness. Perfect for the hot summer days – chilled English Breakfast tea, with lychee, pineapple, sliced oranges, lime, honey and mint. 

I wish for a simple world of kindness and acceptance for all souls.

Summer ice tea, with chilled lychee flavored Chinese tea, lychee fruit, pineapple, cranberry, orange, lime, honey and mint
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Meals for the homeless – chicken and apricot terrine, with ham fat, raisin, strawberry jam, thyme and bay leaf

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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.

Chicken and apricot terrine, with ham fat, raisin, strawberry jam, thyme and bay leaf

 

Chicken and apricot terrine, with ham fat, raisin, strawberry jam, thyme and bay leaf

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Aromatic cinnamon, lemon and ginger tea (low FODMAP)

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A few days ago, my neighbor’s girl dropped by in the late afternoon. We made some simple noodles together. Her mum had been unwell for a few weeks.  So it was nice for the keen 11 year old to learn to cook a meal for the family.

When she popped over again today, she brought me a few lemons from their trees.  So I made this simple, gentle and aromatic tea with the lemons – perfect to enjoy on a rainy autumn afternoon.

Aromatic cinnamon, lemon and ginger tea (low FODMAP)

Method is as follows:

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One pot meal – spicy lamb shank soup with vegetables and quinoa (low FODMAP, gluten free)

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Winter is (nearly) coming to Sydney and it is getting cold for some Sydneysiders. Don’t laugh – today is 12-16 degree Celsius and many of us were shivering.

So I made a tummy friendly lamb shank soup with potato, carrot and quinoa.  To spice it up a little, I added clove, bay leaves, cumin, paprika, chili flake and black pepper.  I cooked it in a pressure cooker so it was an easy one-pot meal.

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Recipe is as follows:

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One pot meal – lamb shanks and rice, with wine, tomato and olive (FODMAP friendly)

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With weather turning cool, some lamb shanks seemed a good idea for an easy weekend evening meal. Feeling lazy after a day’s painting (my little boy requesting his room to be painted purple and black, from previously blue), I made a simple one pot meal with lamb shanks, rice, white wine, can tomato, olive and a few herbs from the garden.

The rice was soft, juice, and slightly crispy bottom. The shanks were just falling off the bones.  Easy and delicious.

One pot meal - lamb shanks and rice, with wine, tomato and olive (FODMAP friendly)

Recipe is as follows:

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Blasting of a cattleman’s roast (FODMAP friendly, gluten free)

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On the weekend a few friends dropped by for lunch.  I cooked a simple roast cattleman’s beef using the blasting method.

I learnt the blasting method by accident. A few years ago I picked up a round beef roast from the supermarket. I then realized that the meat was so lean, it was one of the most difficult roast to cook.  Reportedly the only way to cook it was to blast it in a at 240°C/ 460°F in an oven, then turned off the heat and cooked it with the remaining heat for a few hours.  I fell in love with the blasting – the smoke, the aroma and the juicy and tender meat we enjoyed.

For lunch I bought a 2kg cattleman’s cut from our local butcher. I rubbed the meat with oil, salt, 2 tsp of cumin and 2 tsp of turmeric. I then laid the meat on a rack over a drip tray. I preheated the oven for 30 minutes at 240°C/ 460°F, then cooked the meat for 15 minutes before turning off the oven. The roast was cooked for further 2 hours with the remaining heat. The smell was unbelievable and it made me so hungry!

I served the beef with some roast vegetables which I first cooked in microwave to 90%, then finished cooking under a grill with some oil, salt and rosemary. For FODMAPers, carrots, Japanese pumpkins and potatoes are good options for roasting as it contains no FODMAP.

Simple roast cattleman's beef, blasting method (FODMAP friendly, gluten free)

Simple home smoked salmon (FODMAP friendly, gluten free)

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I can’t say I am an expert of smoking – I only learned about it a year ago from ‘A Food Blog by a Old Fat Guy’. I love this blog from the far away land – as I read, I could smell the forest from the mountains in Canada.

Dreaming of the forests, l bough the closest thing I could find – apple wood chips from Tasmania. I have only a small bag, but it lasted a while. I did 4 lots of smoking with this  – rainbow trout fillets, American ribs, salmon and pork belly.  OMG, so very delicious!

I don’t have a smoker, but I have a super heavy duty 16-quart stainless steel stock pot that can cook ‘waterless’.  It has a adjustable small hole in the lid which is perfect for checking out how much smoke has built up in the pot. I only used a small amount of wood chips which is sufficient for the size of the pot. Fish fillets can be cooked in about 20-30 minutes; meat requires further cooking after 30-40 minutes of smoking, which can be finished off on the BBQ.

I am quite time poor so I don’t use brine. For fish, I rubbed a little sea salt, a little sugar and some oil prior to cooking. For meat, I rubbed my favorite spices, salt and oil.

I like smoked salmon the best – rich, smoky and satisfying, with deliciousness lingering in your month for many hours after the meal.

I served  the smoked salmon with a fennel, carrot and rocket salad, drizzle over a dressing with lemon juice, strawberry jam and sesame oil. I will post the recipe shortly.

Simple home smoked salmon (FODMAP friendly, gluten free)

Here is a quick write up of the very simple process:

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Gnocchi with baby spinach (low FODMAP, gluten free)

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Simple lunch at home with a big bowl of gnocchi, great for an autumn lazy afternoon.

Gnocchi with baby spinach (low FODMAP, gluten free)

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

Easy pulled pork with mustard and strawberry jam

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Oven bag is fantastic to make pulled pork – it keeps the pork really moist and juicy. Fruits are often used in Korean cooking – fruits provide natural sweetness and tenderize the meat.

My pulled pork shoulder (1.25kg) this week has mustard (1tbs), strawberry jam (2tbs), soy sauce (1tbs), port wine (2tbs) and salt to taste. I put all ingredients in a oven bag, baked in a preheat oven for 30 minutes at 180c, then reduced temperature to 160c for 30 minutes; followed by 100c for 1 hour.

For dinner, I served the pulled pork with cabbage and rice; for lunch the next day, I served the pulled pork in a tortilla with mozzarella cheese, really nice.

Pulled pork with mustard and strawberry jam

Pulled pork tortilla
Pulled pork tortilla

 

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

Beef and rice rissoles (FODMAP friendly, gluten free)

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Sometime we crave for a tasty meal that is also gentle on our tummies. Rissoles are simple to make, satisfying and may offer many varieties. My rissoles today has beef, rice, potato, carrot, egg and cheddar cheese – just ‘glue’ everything together, dust with rice flour and pan fry, no recipe required 🙂

Beef rissoles with potato, rice and cheese, fodmap friendly, gluten free, IBS

Parmesan eggplant with cayenne pepper and panko

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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.

Parmesan eggplant with cayenne pepper and panko

 

 

Morrocan spiced lamb and pumpkin puffs

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Here is another pie/pastry filling I made this week. I used the spiced lamb with pumpkin in mini pies, puff triangles and round puffs. The mini pies and puff triangles looked immaculate (and hence uninteresting). The round puffs, however, was bursting with the beautiful lamb and pumpkin, looked so delicious and tasty so good.

Moroccan and cumin lamb and pumkin puffs

Recipe is as follows:

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Simple chicken dijon with bacon, leek and onion

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I mentioned some weeks ago that I had been experimenting pies for the school food festival.  This chicken Dijon dish was great as a light lunch or dinner, and it was fantastic as a pie filling.

Chicken dijon with bacon, leek and onion

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

Vegemite twists and Chinese Luna New Year

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Vegemite twists and Chinese Luna New Year

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.

My family in the 70s #1
My family in the 70s, in front of grandfather’s terrace house

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:

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Asian inspired Christmas stuffing

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I saw some lovely quails at the butcher the day before Christmas. I could smell the aroma of quails baking in my oven with an Asian fusion stuffing of sultana, warm apple, leek, sliced almond, herbs (parsley, oregano, thyme, ginger, garlic, thinly sliced kaffir lime leafs), spices (cinnamon, smoked paprika, Chinese five-spice), hoisin sauce, macadamias oil, sesame oil and panko crumbs  –  great to share with a few friends over a few wines on Christmas eve !

The stuffing I made was so yum, simple & versatile. The hoisin sauce harmonized the ingredients beautifully. You can use this stuffing for roast pork, turkey, chicken, and of course, quails.  For stuffing the quails, I also pan fried the quails’ livers & hearts with butter, roughly chopped and added to the stuffing.

Asian inspired Christmas stuffing

 

 

Simple lunch – quinoa with roasted pumpkin and herbs (FODMAP friendly, vegan, gluten free)

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Some days I just crave for a very simple meal that is refreshing and tasty. After holidaying with kid at Fiji with buffet breakfasts and buffet dinners for 7 days, I am ready for one of these days.  A cup of quinoa soaked and cooked per instruction + roasted Jap pumpkin + from the garden some parsley, sage, rosemary and mint + a dash of lemon juice and sesame oil + pinch of salt..  hmmm…..yum.

Simple lunch - quinoa with roasted pumpkin and herbs (FODMAP friendly, vegan, gluten free)

 

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Spiced potato and spinach

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A long day at the office, tired, hungry & craving for a quick meal. The local food store had a few packs of chicken sausages, and I made potatoes and spinach as a side dish – tasty & satisfying! The star of the dish was, of course, the potatoes with cumin & turmeric.

Spiced potato and spinach

No recipe required for this dish, here are a few simple steps:

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Chocolate meringue biscuits (low FODMAP, gluten free)

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These little biscuits are so good and moreish.

Just received confirmation from Monash that amount of cocoa powder used in this recipe (5g, or 2tsp) is low FODMAP, so I am sharing this recipe as a Low FODMAP. If you on a low FODMAP diet, please take care not to have too many in one go – Monash recommends sugar intake 1 serve = 16g. Enjoy.

Chocolate meringue biscuits (low FODMAP, gluten free)

 

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

Eggplant ‘lasagna’ with lamb, roasted capsicum and a homemade tomato sauce (FODMAP friendly, gluten free)

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Bored with low FODMAP & gluten free diet? Try this awesome ‘lasagne’ layered with sliced eggplant, roast capsicum, carrot, green bean and lamb cooked in home made tomato paste. Hope it will put some sparkles in your spirit.

Eggplant 'lasagna' with lamb, roasted capsicum and a homemade tomato sauce (FODMAP friendly, gluten free)

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

Peach and coconut margarita

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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 and coconut margarita

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

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

Cucumber rolls with lamb, capsicum and eggs (FODMAP friendly, gluten free)

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These gorgeous little rolls are so easy to make – scramble a egg with a pinch of salt; pan fry some lamb and red capsicum with a dash of gluten free soy sauce and sesame oil; boil  some rice and cool; slice some cucumber lengthwise (use a peeler);  roll some rice with the egg, lamb and capsicum in the middle very tightly with cling wrap then cut into portion with a sharp knife; wrap a piece of sliced cucumber around the rice roll – and there it goes, pretty and tasty.

Cucumber rolls with lamb, capsicum and eggs (FODMAP friendly, gluten free)