My little boy asked me last night: ” what was the kindest thing your mommy did to you?” Somehow, I have been asking myself the same question since my mother passed away a few years ago.
“One time, she let me put my cold feet between her legs to warm up.” I said.
“That wasn’t much at all,” said the little boy. He expected every mother to be kind, loving, caring and demonstrates extraordinary devotion to their children.
“One time, I fell down the stairs, and she cooked me a soup with field mice. The soup was said to have calming effect on children after experiencing trauma. There was a wandering vendor balancing a few long bamboo sticks on his shoulder. He put a cotton bag at one end of a stick, opened the lid, and shook out two field mice. He then smashed the bag on the pebbly ground. I was force fed the soup that afternoon.”
“Oh’, said the little boy. “That doesn’t count.”
“Another time, I was very sick, and I couldn’t eat any normal food. My mum cooked me fish and lettuce congee.” I said.
“What happened to you?” The little boy asked.
“I was eight, second grade in a local primary school. After a basketball game, we ran back to the classroom. A boy fell over me, and we fell on a concrete step. My lips were split, and some of my front teeth collapsed. The school principal took me to the hospital at the back of his push bike. I had an operation and could not eat solid food for days.”
I continued, “my mother tried to claim $10 for medical expenses from that boy’s family. But then she found out the boy’s parents were divorced, and the boy lived with his grandmother. They had no income and could barely come up with a few dollars. My mother told them not to worry about the money after that.”
“That was kind,” my little boy was finally satisfied. “What was the boy’s name?”
“Li Hai 李海, means ocean”. I answered. “He had very bright eyes.”
This afternoon, I cooked coogee for lunch. Rather than breaking up the fish and cooking it in the congee like a stew, I pan fried a few small pieces of barramundi and served them on top of the congee – tasted lovely.
Recipe is as follows. A FODMAPs check list is also attached. Read the rest of this entry »
Friends who live in an inner west suburb of Sydney have a few mango trees. Every year I admired their trees and promised to make them some green mango salad. But I was never there when the mangoes were green.
This year they brought over 2 green mangoes to our house. Reportedly the husband was injured trying to catch the second mango – the mango fell off the tree, bounced off his hands and hit him in the “privates”.
I had to make a mango salad as compensation.
The dish is very simple, mango, carrot and prawns pickled in a fish sauce, apple cider vinegar and sugar, mixed with coriander, green shallot and sesame oil and sesame seeds.
Recipe is as follows:
One of my best friend’s late mother, whom I dearly called Auntie Wong, was an exceptional cook. A Chinese woman migrated from Malaysia, she could make beautiful meat-bone soups, aromatic curries and many different type of chili pastes. During Chinese New Year, she made ‘yee sang’, an elaborate salad with sashimi salmon and a plum sauce. We made wishes as we mixed the salad with our chopsticks, shared a few giggles and enjoyed the delicious feast.
In Chinese, ‘yee’ means fish, a symbol of plenty. ‘Sang’ shares the same pronunciation of 升, means uplifting. With a name like that, no wonder ‘yee sang’ is one of the most popular dish for Chinese New Year around Singapore and Malaysia.
My father and sister were travelling in China and only arrived yesterday, which was the Chinese New Year’s Day. To welcome them home,, I made my own version of ‘yee sang’ with tuna, salmon, fennel, carrot, capsicum, cucumber and a strawberry salad dressing.
I didn’t make any wishes as I mixed the salad – I already have everything I could have wished for. Although life is busy and demanding, I have a lovely family, good friends, a home with a double garage full of cooking equipment. I am happy.
Recipe is as follows:
I have been planning for a fish cake dish for a while, however could not decide on what type of fish cakes to make – Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Malaysian… there are so many options. Today, with some fresh rainbow trouts in the fridge, I decided to cook a tummy friendly fish cake with potato, spinach and coriander, served with a juicy Asian coleslaw.
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:
The local fish shop had some beautifully fresh rainbow trout fillets. I cooked them on the BBQ with a a-maze-n smoke tube filled with apple wood pellets.
I first lighted the a-maze-n tube of pellets and let it burn for 10 minutes before I placed it inside the BBQ.
While the pellets was burning, I rubbed the fish fillets with some sesame oil and a little sea salt. I don’t brine my fish – it is just too salty for my taste. I put the fish fillets on a rack, over a tray, on the BBQ with the lowest setting. I then closed the lid and let the smoke and the BBQ do their jobs. The fish was ready in about 25 minutes.
I served the smoked fish fillets at room temperature, with a sauce of sour cream, dill and lemon juice.
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.
Here is a quick write up of the very simple process: