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.

Ingredients:

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.

Ingredients:

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.

Ingredients:

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

chestnut-flour-pancake

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!

Ingredients:

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

spicy-sea-food-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!

Ingredients:

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?

Ingredients:

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.

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.

Ingredients:

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.

Stir Fried Rice Noodle & Prawn

stir fried rice noodle

 

I like my rice noodle straight spicy. If you like the popular sweet and spicy taste, add some sweet chilli. The key for all stir fry is to cook in small batches, otherwise you end up with a stew.

To cook rice noodle, either store bought fresh one or the dry ones, you don’t boil them, you soak them in hot water.

Ingredients: (serves 2)

Fresh rice noodle (250 g), canola oil (3 table spoons), prawn cutlet (10), bean sprout (1 cup), oyster mushrooms (70 g), Spanish onion (half), baby bok choy (8), spring onion (1), garlic (2 cloves), ginger (a size same as 2 cloves of garlic), fresh chilli (half), coriander (for garnish), soy sauce (2 tablespoon) and pepper.

What to do:

  1. In a medium size pot, add water and bring to boil.Turn off the heat, add rice noodle and soak for 10 minutes or until rice noodle is soft and chewy. Drain and run through with cold water.
  2. Slice garlic, ginger, spring onion, baby bok choy, Spanish onion and fresh chilli. Break oyster mushroom into small pieces.
  3. Divide all the ingredients into two portions. Stir fry them separately.
  4. To stir fry, into a frying pan heat canola oil over high heat. Add garlic, ginger and spring onion, stir fry until aroma comes out. Add prawn cutlet, Spanish onion and oyster mushroom, stir fry to 1-2 minutes, then add baby bok choy, bean sprout, rice noodle, soy sauce and pepper, stir fry for another 1-2 minutes.
  5. Garnish with spring onion and coriander, serve while warm.

Note:

  • You can add more or less chilli according to your own taste.
  • Soy sauce contains a lot of salt, so don’t need to add extra salt. However, every brand of soy sauce is different, you readjust the saltiness with some salt according to your own taste. Or some water if it is too salty.

Little Radish Salad

radish salad

I love the fresh taste of radish. This radish salad is what my mother used to make when we were kids. We had a little veggie garden. Whenever we harvested some radish from our garden. She would always make this salad.

Ingredients:

a bunch of radish, sesame oil (2 teaspoon), minced garlic (1 clove), vinegar (1 table spoon), sugar (a pinch), salt and pepper.

What to do:

  1. Cut the radishes in rough chunks, and use the green part of the radish as well.
  2. In a small pot, add about 3 cup of water, bring to boil. Add green part of the radish, simmer for 1-2 minutes. As soon as the leaves change into darker green colour, take them off the heat, drain and run it through with some cold water.
  3. To make a dressing: in a wok at medium heat, add sesame oil and minced garlic and cook until garlicky aroma comes out. Then add vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Simmer for half minutes and then take it off from heat.
  4. Cut the radish leaves into 1 inch length and toss them with radish chunks and salad dressing.
  5. Ready to serve.

Note: This is a typical Chinese salad dressing. Sometimes, people add minced ginger, shallot and chilli together with garlic to cook in sesame oil first, then add vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.

Lamb Skewers

lamb skewer 1 lamb skewer 2

 

It is a BBQ recipe and a crowd pleaser. Every time I organize a BBQ, the lamb skewers never last long. The secret is in my spice mixture.

Ingredients:

Diced lamb (200 g)

Spice mixture: cumin powder : chilli powder : salt (3 : 1 : 1). (You can add more chilli powder, if you like it spicy.)

salad: diced tomato, olives, feta cheese, artichoke, char grilled capsicum strips, sundried tomato strips, lettuce, parsley, basil

Salad dressing: olive oil (1 teaspoon), caramelized balsamic vinegar (2 table spoon), salt and pepper.

What to do:

  1. Prepare spice mixture, salad and salad dressing, set aside. Put the dressing on before serving.
  2. Put diced lamb on skewers
  3. On a hot grill (or a barbecue), cook the lamb skewers until all of them changed color and take them off from heat immediately. (I diced the lamb into small cubes, so it doesn’t take long to cook. If the meat is in bigger cubes, they might need a bit longer to cook. Try not to over cook the lamb.)
  4. Once the skewers are cooked, season with the prepared spice mixture. Serve with salad.

Note: Meat from lamb leg is best for this recipe.