Sunday, January 31, 2010

Red Cooked Pork Spare Ribs With Fresh Egg Noodles 紅燒排骨撈麵

My initial plan was to make ngau nam mien (braised beef brisket with egg noodles) but the brisket on offer at the butcher was not the best I have seen, pork ribs were used instead and the end result instantly brought me back to my childhood. There was this wonderful noodle shop in Cameron Highlands that served the best braised pork ribs I ever had, sadly the quality of the food declined after the business was passed down to the children. After years of research and many pots of braised pork ribs later, I can proudly say my version is pretty close to that and the secret is the addition of both cumin and coriander powder. Don't be alarmed - just think five spice powder or *Teochew lor duck! Cook a bigger batch as it will taste even better the next day, just like any other stew! My new blogger friend Mr. Noodles from London should be quiet happy with this I think. 
*Teochew lor duck is a braised duck dish using a soy based stock with a selection of spices.

serves 4
for the braised pork you'll need;
1kg of pork ribs, blanched and drained
4 tbs of rock sugar, bashed or white sugar can be used
2 start anise
2 tbs of cumin powder
2 tbs of coriander powder
a knob of ginger, bashed
3 cloves of garlic
2 spring onions
1/2 cup of soy
1/3 cup of dark soy
3 tbs of caramel sauce
3 cups of water or stock

you'll also need;
1 bunch of choysum, cut and blanched
1.5 fresh egg noddles /person
sesame oil
white pepper
* cook noodles in batches; first place the loosen noodles into a pot of boiling water and cook for 30 seconds, remove noodles and rinse in a big pot/bowl of cold water (very important stage) then return the noodles to the boiling water again. Cook for a further minute or til al dante, it should have quite a bite to it.

With a little oil fry rock sugar til you get a light caramel sauce then place ginger, garlic, spring onions and star anise together with the stock in a pot, bring it to a boil.

Add blanched pork pieces and seasonings, simmer for 2 hours. Skim impurities from time to time.

After 2 hours the pork pieces will be falling off the bones, check for seasonings and thicken with a little corn flour solution if the sauce is too thin.

Place cooked noodles in a bowl/plate, add some blanched choysum and ladle some pork ribs and sauce over. Have plenty of cut chilies and chili oil on the side of course!

This is the deluxe version I had the next day with some extra wontons :) The only thing missing is some pickled green chilies.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Zha Jiang Mian 炸醬麵 Noodles With Chinese Mince Sauce

Zha jiang mien (炸醬麵) meaning 'fried sauce noodle' in mandarin is a popular everyday noodle dish from Northern China. Chinese migrants brought them to Japan and Korean at the turn of the last century and you'll be able to get versions very different from the original one despite the name continues being used - for the Korean version jajangmyeun click here. This Chinese spaghetti Bolognese as one of my friend once described it, is the ultimate comfort food for me; the meaty sauce that is hot, salty and slightly sweet with the tingling sensation of added Sichuan peppercorn is something I can never get enough of. Make some jiaozi  to go with this and you'll have a very satisfying meal time and time again.

serves 4 generously
for the sauce you'll need;
1 kg of mince pork (rump), brown lightly (optional)
3 tbs of hot bean paste
2 tbs of sweet bean paste
4 tbs of light soy
2 tbs of dark soy
4 shallots, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
knob of ginger, minced
1 tsp of Sichuan pepper, toasted and crushed
1 cup of water

you'll also need;
2 packets of shanghai noodles 
3 lebanese cucumbers, removed seeds and sliced
300g of bean sprouts, blanched and refreshed
300g of spinach leaves, blanched and refresh

Fry shallots, garlic and ginger til fragrant, add in the minced pork and mix well.

Add seasonings and mix well.

Add water and simmer for 45 minutes; a film of red oil should appear by now, check for seasonings.

Cook noodles according to instructions on the packaging and drain well. Ladle some sauce over, add toppings and mix well.

I prefer to add extra chili oil and a drizzle of Chinese black vinegar.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Panang Hoy Maelang Phu แพนงหอยแมลงภู่ Panang Mussels Curry

While we were at the Lorne Pier fish shop; I also picked up 2 bags of beautiful mussels for AD$10, it was a steal!

Since I had packed enough Thai ingredients with our trip, making a Thai dinner away from home was possible this time around. A very delicious dish that takes no time to make but will sure to impress you guests next time you are having a dinner party.

P.S A sure crowd pleaser on it's own with some crusty bread and cold beer or as part of your next Thai meal.

serves 4 to 6 as part of a Thai meal
you'll need;
2 bags of mussels, beards removed and scrubbed
5 tbs of coconut cream (Ayam brand)
1 onion chopped
2 tbs of homemade or shop bought Panang curry paste 
1.5 tbs of palm sugar
2 red chillies, sliced
3 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
fish sauce to taste

In a large pan, cook the coconut cream til the oil starts to split (cracking the coconut)

Fry the paste with the cream/oil mixture for 2 minutes then add in the chopped onions, cook the onion til soften.

Add the mussels, palm sugar, half of the chilies and kaffir lime leaves and mix everything well. Cover and cook about 2 to 3 minutes til the mussels are open. By this time the mussels would have released some sweet juices to form the most delicious sauce, season with fish sauce.

Garnish with chillies, kaffir lime leaves and coriander leaves.

As part of our Thai dinner away from home.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Broccoli Pesto Linguini With Prosciutto Crisp

One of our meals at Anglesea was this simple pasta dish that takes no time at all to cook. My very good friend E made this for me when I was living in Singapore - this is my very first attempt and the result is very agreeable indeed. I had to use a blender for making the pesto but use a food processor instead as you'll be able to control the texture of the finished product a lot better. Omit the prosciutto for a vegetarian version but it certainly made a good dish fabulous in this case. A perfect midweek pasta dish when time is not on your side!

for the broccoli pesto you'll need;
2 heads of broccoli, blanched til al dante  and refreshed
8 tbs of parmesan cheese
8 tbs of pinenuts
10 to 12 tbs of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
In a food processor gradually add in 2/3 of the blanched broccoli, olive oil, parmesan cheese and pinenut. Blend til well incorporated, season with salt and pepper and set aside.

you'll also need;
8 pieces of prosciutto, fry til crispy
1.5 packets of linguini, cooked til al dante
olive oil
extra shaved parmesan cheese

Mix cooked pasta with broccoli pesto with the remaining broccoli, check for seasonings and served with crispy prosciutto, shaved parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.

I served it with a simple tomato and rocket salad.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Crispy Skin Barramundi With Fennel, Apple And Celery Heart Salad

There is always a ritual to go to the Lorne pier to get some seafood for our meals whenever we are down at Anglesea and this time there was no exception. It was a beautiful drive along the Great Ocean Road and the weather was simply perfect. I was left to decide on what to get for our lunch; it was an easy decision despite the many choices of seafood on display when I saw the very fresh pieces of baramundi fillets. After a drink at the landmark Lorne Hotel we made our way back and a beautiful lunch was served in less than half an hour.

serves 4
you'll need;
4 barramundi fillets
1 lemon
sprigs of rosemary
dash of white wine
salt and pepper to taste

for the salad you'll need;
1 head of fennel, sliced and fronts reserved
4 stalks of celery hearts, sliced
1 apple, sliced
a handful of walnut
goats cheese
red wine vinegar and walnut oil dressing

Drive to Lorne along the scenic Great Ocean Road

Arrived at the destination - the Lorne Pier with the view of the seafood restaurant right next to the seafood shop.

A freshly caught shark used as a draw card.

Fry fish skin side down for 2 minutes then place in a baking tray, drizzle with salt and pepper, rosemary and a dash of white wine. Bake in a preheated 180 degress C oven for 20 minutes.

Served with some salad and a wedge of lemon

A summery lunch, served alfresco style with plenty of white wine :)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Just A Little Prettiness 6

It is always wonderful to get out into the bush every so often for city dwellers like us, so when our dear friend R invited us to spend the weekend with her at her retreat at Anglesea we jumped at the opportunity. Just a mere hour and a half from Melbourne, gum trees, grass trees and other unknown stunted native plants have replaced all European plants so widely planted in every garden and park. Colourful parrots and other natives birds are all we can see and hear rather than Indian minors, pigeons and sparrows. It is a beauty so strange and foreign for a first time visitor to the bush; for me this is what Australian country side is all about, it is strange, mysterious and very beautiful indeed. Here are a few of the photos I took randomly around the property that I would like to share with everyone here.

Flowering gum trees

A majestic grass tree

The native vegetation behind the property where we stayed

A cockatoo among the many other native visitors to the garden

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Curried Lamb And Vegetable Soup

Soup diet day 6 - This will be my last posting of soup recipes for a while or else I will have to change the blog to "3 hungry tummies' soup kitchen". However, there are still a few delicious Asian soups that I'd like to share in the very near future so keep an eye out for that. I made this recipe up about 2 years ago and it has since been a stayer at the tummies' kitchen; it is a soup, stew and curry all in one, you can decide what you want to call it but my friend once described it as a 'curried stew like soup'.
Use whatever vegetables you fancy and use a variety of lentils and it will still be very tasty! The soup diet has been a success and we will certainly do it again soon.
P.S the result - I loss 2 kg! :)

serves 8
you'll need;
500 to 750g of diced lamb, marinated with madras curry powder for at least an hour
1 onion, diced finely
2 stalks of celery, diced finely
2 carrots, diced finely
olive oil
2 bay leaves
3 tbs of madras curry powder or any meat curry powder
3 l of chicken stock
500g of soup mix (it contains barley, both green and yellow split peas and red lentil) soaked for an hour and drained.
salt and pepper to taste

you'll also need;
1 head of broccoli, cut into small pieces
3 stalks of celery, cut into pieces
3 carrots, cut into chunks
2 potatoes, cut into chunks
2 tomatoes, cut into chunks
350g of green beans, topped and tailed and halved
handful of baby spinach
salt and pepper to taste
chopped parsley
chopped chilies
200 ml of coconut milk

Saute the finely diced vegetables with some olive oil til sof then add in the marinated lamb and cook til lamb pieces are no longer pink.

Add stock and bay leaves and simmer for 1 hour then add in the soaked soup mix and cook for a further 30 to 45 minutes.

Gradually add in the vegetables, I like to add the beans and broccoli a few minutes before serving in order to control the crispness and to retain the bright green colour. Add the coconut milk just before serving.

Place some baby spinach in a bowl, ladle some soup over and garnish with chopped parsley, chilies and a drizzle of coconut milk. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Potato And Leek Soup From The Tummies' Kitchen

Soup diet day 5 - There are known known potato and leek soups. These are potato and leek soups that we already know. There are known unknown potato and leek soups.... hold on a minute!  sorry I was watching a documentary about Donald Rumsfeld and his famous and hilarious quotes just won't leave me alone. I have to admit I have never eaten potato and leek soup before and since one of the tummies has requested it I thought I'd give it a crack. Here I am trying to make something new but also trying to tramp this old lady up a little, in a way it can be called the unknown unknown potato and leek soup haha!
P.S I hope my readers are not tired of seeing yet another soup post! :)

serves 4 generously
you'll need;
2 leeks - white part only, cleaned and thinly sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, bruised
2 bay leaves
2 l of vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
3 tbs of light sour cream
olive oil

you'll also need;
1 leek - white part only, sliced into thin rounds, saute with olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper
2 potatoes, peeled, cubed and roasted til golden
8 slices of prociutto, fry til crisp
feta cheese
walnut (for vegetarian version)

Saute onion and garlic with olive oil til translucent then add in the sliced leeks and continue to cook til leeks are wilted.

Add stock and bay leaves, simmer for an hour.

Remove bay leaves and blend til smooth. Check for seasonings.

Meanwhile, prepare the toppings.

Ladle some soup into a bowl and top with the delicious toppings!

Bon appetit!

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3 hungry tummies

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melbourne, victoria, Australia