Recently, I reconnected with my high school mates on WeChat via a group chat. The high school, named the GuangDong Guangya Middle School, was one of the most prestige selective schools in the GuangZhou city. We all grew up to be proud and competitive individuals. Then we went on our separate paths to distinctively different lives. I selected a simple but busy life in Sydney – a job in the finance industry, a small family, a house with picket fences, a lovely garden, and a double garage full of beautiful crockery and cooking equipment.
Bo, a school mate from Singapore had been posting his dinners every night in the group chat. He often has 5 dishes for his family of 4. The dishes are home style, plain and simple. A typical meal consists of a gorgeous seafood dish, an overcooked meat dish and 3 seasonal vegetable dishes bursting with freshness. Sometimes we could tell how many were dining at home by counting the jumbo prawns. I was puzzled by Bo’s persistence and efforts posting his 6 meals a week, and occasionally meals from the restaurants when they ate out on Sundays. And a few days ago, he posted this story…
‘I live a simple and unexciting life, often with repetitive routines. There were seldom any exceptional events. However, the memory of this single incident at GuangYa Middle School I will always treasure.
It was a very hot afternoon. We were attending a physical exercise class in front of the physic building. That day we had a basketball game. I was pushed over by a big fellow student. I fell and my left hand landed on the ground first. I could see my wrist was twisted, followed by sharp pains. I realized I had broken my wrist.
I was surrounded by teachers and students. The PE teacher asked who would accompany me to the local hospital which was within walking distance from the school. Hong pushed through the crowd and took my arm. Hong was a quiet student, often with a few words and rarely smiled. I hardly spoke with him in the past. I was pleasantly surprised by him volunteering to help.
One thing was overlooked by the PE teacher – he didn’t ask if we had any money for the hospital. Those days most families were not well off and kids didn’t get much pocket money. I didn’t have any money on me that day. Luckily Hung had some money and he managed to pay for the treatment. There was no x-ray machine at the local hospital. The wrist was bandaged and that was that.
The next day after the math class, our math teacher, Feng, came over to my desk with a bowl of soup and a gentle smile . Feng was one of the strictest teachers and rarely showed her emotions. ‘This is a seaweed and egg soup’, she said, ‘you have it now while it is warm. It helps with your calcium intake and good for your bones.’
I was speechless. Even my mum never cooked me a soup before (she didn’t really learn how to cook until she was retired). I looked at Feng, who had returned to the teacher’s podium, I felt warmth all over.
Despite her tough appearance, teacher Feng had a kind and caring heart. Many years later I connected with her via a video chat. She asked why I was still so skinny and said I should look after myself better.
Next time I am in GuangZhou, I will visit Teacher Feng and cook her a big bowl of hot seaweed and egg soup.’
Ah, I can understand why Bo has been posting his dinners each night. Somehow he found deep connection with his food.
The traditional egg soups are often made of ‘egg flowers’, means scrambling the eggs in hot water. I found scrambling eggs with seaweed was too messy.
So here is my version of a ‘neat’ seaweed and egg soup.
I was sick all week with a sore tummy and headache after eating a large bowl of cherry tomatoes from my veggie patch, followed by 2 McDonald’s bacon & egg muffins. What could be more tummy warming than a big bowl of congee?
One of my favorite congee is with century eggs. If you had not tried a ‘century egg’ before, they are probably the most fascinating eggs you would ever experience. After a period of preservation, the egg yolks are magically layered with green and gray, and the egg white are translucently red-brown and beautifully shiny. The congee is traditionally made with century eggs and salted pork. I often use smoked hams which is much more tastier.
I use a 10-cup rice cooker with a ‘congee’ setting. I cook the congee on the ‘congee’ setting 3 times, first time with a cup of medium grain rice and water half way up in the cooker, then I add 2 century eggs (sliced to 4-8 pieces) and diced smoked ham, cook it 1-2 more settings or until the rice is creamy. Feel free to add more water to achieve the right consistency to your own liking.
Really yum if you are game enough to try it.
Recipe is as follow:
I lived in Melbourne some years ago for work, far away from friends and family. One of my favorite pass time was going to Daimaru Japanese department store. At the lower ground floor of the store there were fast food outlets. There was this particular one that sold Japanese cabbage omelettes and I was really fond of it. The omelettes were served with a thick oyster sauce and mayonnaise.
Here is a tummy friendly version of a cabbage omelette – served with a lighter sauce.
Recipe is as follow:
Winter is approaching and there are a few flu and coughs going around in Sydney. Instead of using the good old cough syrups, why not try a Chinese remedy that works on the core of the illness?
My grandmother used to make me this egg and ginger soup when I had ‘cool’ coughs – referred to as dry coughs at night when the air is chill. A few bowls of this soup over a few days work like magic.
Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »
Have you ever been to a suburban Chinese restaurant that serves a prawn omelette that is dry and uninteresting? Try this simple, tasty and moist scramble eggs with garlic chive and prawns and I bet you will never look back.
Recipe is as follows: Read the rest of this entry »
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 🙂