Soupy Weekend

chicken and mushroom soup

Autumn is here, so soon! A bowl of warm soup is just what I needed to warm up in a chilly evening. I made this classical Chinese chicken and mushroom soup. It is super easy to make. You can basically throw in chicken with any of type mushroom in a pot and let it simmer for about a hour. Dried mushrooms generally give more intense flavour. Knowing me, how can I use only one type of mushroom. I had mushrooms of all types, dried, fresh, long and short until my pot was overflowing. Flavour wise, there is no need for complicated spices. All you need is a massive piece of ginger, salt and pepper. Then just sit back and relax. You know it is ready when the house is filled with beautiful aroma.


chicken pieces with bones (0.5 kg), oyster mushroom, dried tee tree mushroom, shiitake mushroom, pearl mushroom, enoki mushroom, button mushroom, water, fresh ginger (200 g), white pepper and salt.

What to do:

  • Place chicken pieces and cold water (enough to cover the meat) in a pot, and bring to boil. Let it boil for 2 minutes, then transfer the meat into a clay pot, tip the water into the sink.
  • Top up the clay pot with some fresh boiling water (enough to cover the meat).
  • Add mushrooms, fresh ginger.
  • Season with white pepper and salt to taste.
  • Turn the heat down to low, let it simmer for a hour.
  • Serve with rice or noodles.


Dumplings in Chilli Oil

dumplings in chilli oil

I have been a little home sick lately. It has been two years I haven’t been back to home. Now I just started a new job. A trip to home doesn’t look like is going to happen anytime soon. I am trying to convince my parents to come and visit me. They are still thinking about it. So fingers crossed.

When me and my sisters were little, weekend usually means the whole family spend time together and cook some good food. Food my parents normally don’t have time to cook during week days and need a lot of effort to do it properly. We were so happy to get involved. Even most of the time we were just making a mess. Those are the good times. Although I am so far from home now, I find it is more relaxing if I cook something nice during the weekend.


Dumplings: pork mince (500 g), egg (1), sesame oil (1 tablespoon), ginger (about 1 and 1/2 tablespoons, minced), spring onion (4, finely chopped), Chinese leek (a bunch, about 200 g, chopped), soy sauce (1/2 tablespoon), salt and white pepper, dumpling wrappings (500 g).

Chilli oil sauce: chilli oil (3 table spoons), Sichuan pepper oil (a dash), vinegar (1 table spoon), peanut butter (2 table spoon), soy sauce (1 table spoon), water (1 table spoon), minced garlic (1 clove).

What to do:

  1. Place pork mince in a mixing bowl, add egg, sesame oil,  soy sauce and minced ginger, spring onion, mix in one direction (note: this is to help the mince stuck together).
  2. Add chopped Chinese leek and mix clockwise until well combined.
  3. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.
  4. Now you can start folding dumplings. Make sure all edges are well sealed.
  5. To make the chilli oil sauce, add all the ingredients together in a jar and give it a good shake until the peanut butter is well combined with everything else.
  6. In a large pot, boil dumplings in salted water.
  7. Serve with the above chilli oil sauce and enjoy!

Sautéed Lemon Garlic Clams

lemon garlic clams

We recently moved to Melbourne. A new city and new life. My priority is to find a good fresh food market as soon as we have unpacked. From the map I found a giant mall 5 minutes drive away from our house. We are lucky. The selection of fresh produce, deli and seafoods made me very happy. Now it is time to take our first step toward settling down with some tasty food.


Clams (1 kg), olive oil (3 tablespoons), garlic (3 cloves, minced), ginger (about 1 tablespoon, minced), fresh red chilli (1, chopped), juice and rind of 1 lemon, beer (1 bottle), baby parsley, salt and pepper.

What to do:

  1. Clean clams and leave it in container with tap water overnight to get rid of any sand.
  2. Add olive oil in a medium size pot over high heat. Add garlic, ginger, lemon rind and chilli, cook until fragrant.
  3. Add lemon juice and beer, bring to boil. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add clams to simmer, cover and cook until the shells just opened (discard any that do not open). It seems not all the clams open at the same time. You may need to remove the opened clams and transfer to a bowl and wait for others to open.
  5. Reduce to cooking juice to about 1and 1/2 cups, put the clams back in the pot and toss to combine.
  6. Sprinkle with some baby parsley for garnish and serve with toasted bread.


Chestnut Flour Pancakes


Happy New Year! May your 2017 is a sweet one!

I was very curious about the chestnut flour when I found it in a quite corner of my local grocery shop. I love roasted chestnuts. I wonder what is its flour taste like. What can I do with it? After an extensive research, it seems making pancakes is my best option. It can’t go wrong. It is going to be marvellous. I served them with maple syrup, fresh figs and berries. Perfect!


chestnut flour (1 cup), baking powder (1 and 1/2 teaspoons), caster sugar (1/4 cup), 2 eggs, milk (1 cup), maple syrup, figs, black berries, blue berries.


What to do:

  1. Mix the flour, baking powder and sugar in a mixing bowl, add eggs and milk, whisk until smooth.
  2. In a large none stick frying pan, add pancake mixture to form about 3 inch circle. Cook each pancake under low heat until it starts to bubble on the top and looks set, then flip it over and cook the other side for about 20 second, or until cooked through. Repeat the process until all of the pancake mixture has been used up.
  3. Serve with maple syrup, figs, black berries and blue berries.

Spicy Seafood Soup


Christmas is only one week away. Lots of people at work have already left for holidays. Life is at a very slow pace right now. I am finally not too tired to cook anymore. A demanding boss can really take a lot of energy out of you. It was sticky hot when I went to the market today. Seafoods are definite the popular choice of protein in summer days. I saw some beautiful clams, muscles and prawns in the local seafood store. It reminded me the good old blogging days. I love how today’s photo came out after playing around with the remote flash. Of course Ian was helping with the setup. Lucky me!


Clams (2 dozens), muscles (a dozen), tiger prawn (half dozen), olive oil (3 tablespoons) ripe tomatoes (4), brown onion (1), button mushrooms (6) dried chilli (4), garlic (2 cloves), salt and pepper.

What to do:

  1. Clean clams and muscles.
  2. Peal the tiger prawns, reserve the prawn heads for later.
  3. Chop the tomatoes and brown onion.
  4. Slice the button mushrooms.
  5. Heat olive oil in a medium size pot over medium heat. Add prawn head and dried chilli, cook for 5 minutes. Add brown mushroom and onion, cook until soften.
  6. Add wine and tomato, cook until tomato turn into a nice sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Add mussels and clams simmer, cover for 5 minutes or until the shell fishes just opened (discard any that do not open). Remove clams and mussels and transfer to a bowl.
  8. Add prawns to the pot and simmer until cooked through.
  9. Sprinkle with crushed chilli flakes and serve with toasted bread.

Beef Noodle Soup

beef noodle soup

It was rather cold last week. Winter is well truely here. I didn’t expect Sydney to be this cold. Cold weather like this, a bowl of hot beef noodle soup is the best thing to keep warm. I used gravy beef to make the broth and it was simmering for hours. The house is filled with  the beautiful aroma. Noodle is freshly made using my noodle machine. Can life get any better than this?


gravy beef (about 1.5 kg), water, soy sauce (4 tablespoons), dried ginger powder (2 teaspoons), white pepper corn (1 tablespoon), sichuan pepper corn (1 tablespoon), dried chilli (4), bay leaf (3), star anise (2), cinnamon sticks (2),  nutmeg (1), salt, coriander and fresh red chilli for garnish.

What to do:

  1. Place gravy beef in cold water (enough to cover the meat) in a pot, and bring to boil. Let it boil for 2 minutes, then transfer the meat into a clay pot, and tip the water into the sink.
  2. Top up the clay pot with some fresh boiling water (enough to cover the meat). Bring it to boil and the turn the heat down to low, let it simmer. Add soy sauce, ried ginger powder, white pepper corn, sichuan pepper corn, dried chilli, bay leaf, star anise, cinnamon sticks,  nutmeg. Season with salt to taste and simmer until the meat is falling apart. (Note: use a metal mesh spice container to hold pepper corns and sichuan pepper corns together, so it is not everywhere in the broth)
  3. When soup is ready, cook some fresh ramen. Serve with the above beef broth. Garnish with chopped coriander and fresh red chilli.

Weekend Meal-Homemade Dumplings

homemade dumplings 1

homemade dumplings

I bought a pasta/noodle machine recently, which costed me a fortune. But I really like it. All you need to do is add flour (up to 500g), then it will tell you how much water it needs. Push the start button, pasta comes out from the other end after 3 minutes mixing. It is gorgeous!  The pasta came out the machine doesn’t stick together, which was my primary worry. It can make 7 different kind of pastas. So far we like the penne the most. Today I am trying the dumpling/ravioli wrapping. It came out as a long sheet and you can cut into squares or circles afterwards. Oh! I am in heaven!


Pork mince (500 g), prawn (a dozen, coarsely chopped), egg (1), canola oil (1 tablespoons), sesame oil (1 tablespoon), ginger (about 1 tablespoon, minced), shallot (3), shiitake mushroom (4, coarsely chopped), cabbage (200g, coarsely chopped), Chinese cooking wine (1 table spoon), water (1/2 cup), soy sauce (1/2 tablespoon), salt and white pepper, dumpling wrappings (500 g).

What to do:

  1. Place pork mince and chopped prawn in a mixing bowl, add egg, canola oil, sesame oil, Chinese cooking wine and soy sauce, mix in one direction (I do clockwise, this is to help mince stuck together).
  2. Place ginger, shallot and water in a blender, and blend to yield ginger & shallot water.
  3. Add 1/3 of the above ginger & shallot water into pork mince and mix clockwise, then do the same 2 more times until the ginger & shallot water used up. This step to make sure water is well combined with pork mince and won’t split. At this stage the pork mince should be very easy to stir as it absorbed all that moisture.
  4. Add chopped shiitake mushrooms and cabbage, and mix clockwise until well combined.
  5. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.
  6. Now you can start folding dumplings. Because they the square wrapping, start from folding it in half to have a rectangle shape then fold two of the bottom corner together to have the shape in the picture.
  7. In a large pot, boil dumplings in salted water.
  8. Serve with Chinese vinegar and chilli oil.

Turkey Salad

Turkey Salad

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you are having a good one.

I am normally not a salad person. But last week Ian ordered something from a salad bar which was really tasty! So good that made me want to jump up and make something just like that. The key was the zesty dressing, after long search online, this tasted close enough.


Roasted Turkey (chopped into big chunks), mixed salad greens, parsley leaves, tomato (chopped), kalamata olives, sundried tomato (cut into strips)

Dressing: olive oil (1/2 cup), red wine vinegar (1/4 cup), sugar (2 teaspoon, add 1 teaspoon first, then adjust to your taste), dried oregano (1 teaspoon), dried basil (1 teaspoon), garlic (1 clove, minced), dijon mustard (1 tablespoon), salt and pepper.

What to do:

  1. Toss all the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Mix all the dressing ingredient in another small bowl, whisk with a spoon until well combined. Adjust all seasoning to suit taste, including the sugar, salt and pepper.
  3. Pour the dressing all over the salad, toss to combine.

Smoky BBQ Wings

smoky BBQ wings

It was tasty and tender! The wings don’t take long to cook. Perfect for weekdays.


chicken wings (1.5 kg), smoky paprika (1 tablespoon), hot paprika (1/2 teaspoon), cumin powder (1 tablespoon), black pepper (1 1/2 teaspoon), ginger powder (1 tablespoon), garlic (2 cloves, minced) salt (1 1/2 teaspoon) and smoky BBQ sauce.

What to do:

  1. Marinate chicken wings with smoky paprika, hot paprika, cumin powder, black pepper, ginger powder, minced garlic and salt for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven (fan forced) to 230 degrees Celsius.
  3. Bake the wings for 30 minutes or until just cooked.
  4. Drizzle smoky BBQ sauce all over and serve while hot.

Pork Roast

roast pork 1

roast pork

This is my first time trying to make a pork crackling. Thank god it was successful!


Pork rack (1.5 kg), olive oil, sea salt, sage leaves (a handful)

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 240 degrees Celsius.
  2. Score the pork rind at 2 cm intervals, then rub with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and lay some sage leaves on the meat.
  3. Place in a roasting pan and roast for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 200 degrees Celsius, and cook for another 1 hour or until skin is crisp and pork is cook through.
  4. Serve with apple sauce or gravy.