Chinese Barbecue Pork (Char Siu Pork)

chinese barbecue pork char siu pork

A delicious and simple recipe for a Chinese-restaurant classic which you can make at home. One thing I miss about living in Australia is being able to visit the local Chinatown, whether it be for a traditional Dim Sum breakfast, a browse through the colourful aisles of the Vietnamese grocer, or a visit to the Chinese bakery for their light and fluffy cakes. Something I deeply miss are the restaurants where you can buy one of

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Chicken Katsu Curry

chicken katsu curry

There used to be a Wagamama’s restaurant in Zurich which we really enjoyed visiting, often to satisfy my cravings for ramen, but mostly because they had a great kids’ menu and a little play area for the children. It was one of the few places in Zurich where we could go and enjoy our meal without the fear of our noisy children disturbing everyone (because everyone else had also brought along their own

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Swedish Meatballs with Creamy Gravy

swedish meatballs creamy gravy

Like most busy mothers trying to get dinner on the table in a hurry, I’m always trying to find shortcuts wherever possible. For me, this has been one of the biggest adjustments since becoming a mother; I am someone who used to make absolutely everything from scratch – bread, noodles, pasta – and this cooking style was bound to go out the window once our children came on the scene.

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Thai Green Chicken Curry

thai green chicken curry

There comes a time during the week when I find myself with lots of bits of vegetables in the fridge, none which can be used on their own to make any meaningful meal, but it would be a shame and a waste to otherwise throw them away. Oddly enough, this fridge raid often occurs on a Monday evening, the night when I try to empty the fridge in readiness for my weekly trip to

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Chinese Tea Eggs

chinese tea eggs

Following on from my previous post where I shared my recipe for Chinese Turnip Cake, it seemed only fitting to also include my recipe for Chinese Tea Eggs. If you are planning a Chinese New Year lunch or dinner, or any Chinese-inspired feast, these Chinese Tea Eggs are great to include in the menu, not least because they can be made well ahead of time.

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Chinese Turnip Cake

chinese turnip cake

With Chinese New Year around the corner (on 28 January this year), I’m already thinking ahead to our lunch menu. Last year, we celebrated the event with some good friends at home, and my mum would have been proud of the spread which I created. The menu included spring rolls (which Americans call “egg rolls”), fried rice, Chinese tea eggs, as well as these Chinese Turnip Cakes, or Daikon Radish Cake. The latter is

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Celeriac and Chestnut Soup

celeriac chestnut soup

Christmas is often a time for indulgence, whether it be treating yourself or loved ones to a special gift (or three), or enjoying the festivities with an abundance of good food and maybe too much champagne. After feasting on Duck Confit Parmentier and multiple serves of our favourite Chestnut Cream Pavlova for Christmas lunch, my husband asked for a simple vegetable soup for dinner later that night.

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Swiss Macaroni and Cheese with Applesauce

swiss macaroni cheese älplermagronen

The ski season is upon us again and I can’t wait for our annual family retreat to the Swiss alps for some downtime in the snow. Our son is finally old enough to take skiing lessons with the other tiny tots, which means it will only be a matter of time before he will be zooming down the black slopes while I am still trying to master my snowplough.

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Vietnamese Spaghetti Bolognese

vietnamese spaghetti bolognese

Recently in the kitchen, I have been busy rustling up various Vietnamese dishes, including one of my favourite soups called Bun Rieu – a pork broth flavoured with crab and tomatoes, and served with vermicelli noodles and a pile of aromatic herbs. I love to make a big pot of this soup so that we can eat it over several days, even if the sun is sweltering outside and we sweat uncomfortably while enjoying the

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Lyonnaise Sausage Roll

One of the advantages of reading cookbooks like novels (I’m sure you have heard of many foodies using this phrase) is having a repository of recipes stored in the memory for those many moments when I find myself holding an ingredient and wondering how I can cook it.

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Caramelized Beetroot Tarte Tatin

Most Australians will have some memory of soggy lunchtime sandwiches. When I think of the sandwiches of my childhood, they were most often sliced multigrain bread filled with lettuce, grated carrots, tinned beetroot and a slice of plastic cheese. The beetroot always left a red stain on the bread, on my hands, on my school uniforms. And they almost always made the sandwiches soggy, something which made me vow never to eat sandwiches again the moment

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Steamed Tofu with Soy, Chillies & Sichuan Pepper

You don’t have to be a vegetarian to love tofu. In fact, I think I like it more than meat … Salt & Pepper Tofu is one of my favourite dishes ever, especially when it is fresh and piping hot. At other times, you will often find me adding tofu to most Asian soups and stir-fries. Recently, I started experimenting with recipes for steamed tofu and I love how it can be such a simple,

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Bun Cha – Vietnamese Pork Meatballs with Vermicelli Noodle Salad

My latest contribution to Discovery, the in-flight magazine for Cathay Pacific, is currently out now on all Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights. This month’s foodie feature is the classic Vietnamese dish called bun cha, consisting of grilled pork meatballs served with an abundance of fresh herbs on a bed of vermicelli noodles. A Vietnamese dipping sauce, called nouc cham, is essential to this dish to dress the noodles and to add a

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Hot & Sour Soup with Chicken & Mushrooms

This year, Chinese New Year is celebrated on 8 February 2016 to mark the Year of the Monkey. The equivalent Vietnamese celebration is called Tet, one of the most important events in my family’s calendar. As a child, my mother went to great lengths each year to prepare a feast which could feed our entire neighbourhood. The menu always featured a sticky rice cake filled with mung beans and pork, a turnip cake, endless

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Sticky Chicken with Malaysian Salad

I know all too well that planning meals ahead of time, doing the grocery shopping in bulk, and even cooking in advance, are the easiest paths to a stress-free suppertime, but being organised often takes time and time is a scarce commodity when there is a toddler and newborn in the equation. And so I often find myself at the supermarket without a clue as to what to cook for dinner, except that

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Scotch Eggs with Herb Mayonnaise

If there is one thing that is getting me through the middle-of-the night feeds with the baby at the moment, it’s TV. It happens to be the only time that I get to watch TV, uninterrupted, and something which is not Peppa Pig. Lately, I have been slowly making my way through some old episodes of a few popular reality cooking shows from Australia, such as MasterChef and My Kitchen Rules. I’m loving

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Cream of Tomato Soup with Crunchy Lemon Chickpeas

As a mother of an 8-week old baby and a 2 year old toddler, there is very little time for cooking at the moment. Actually, between the feeding, back-to-back nappy changes and pukey laundry, there is very little time to do anything else. To date, we’ve been unapologetically living off take-away most evenings, interspersed with some simple home-cooked pasta dishes here and there to break the monotony.  Online shopping has been a godsend,

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Merry Christmas! My Christmas Feast for 2014

Merry Christmas everyone! It is a rare occasion for us to celebrate Christmas in Zurich, a rather welcome change as it has given me the opportunity to cook on Christmas Day, something which might prompt fear and dread in most people but has instead filled me with glee as the Christmas season started to approach.

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Potato, Smoked Salmon & Dill Tart

Smoked salmon is, admittedly, not an everyday ingredient, but I do love to keep some in the fridge for a quick lunch with some lightly buttered white toast, thinly sliced onions, a scattering of salty capers and a good squeeze of lemon. But when I’m wanting to incorporate smoked salmon into a more substantial meal, this Potato, Smoked Salmon & Dill Tart is a lovely option.

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Crispy Chicken Wings with Fish Sauce

My mother used to cook a lot with chicken wings when I was younger. I’m not sure if it was just because they were cheap, or if she merely enjoyed cooking them. I certainly enjoyed eating them. She would sometimes make soups and broths using just chicken wings, but often she would marinate them in lemongrass, chilli and garlic before grilling them until they were bronzed and crispy. Just how I would like

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Chicken Pho

A fragrant and soul-soothing beef pho is often what I crave when only a steaming bowl of noodle soup will do. But when time is sparse and I don’t have 3 hours to potter about in the kitchen, a chicken pho is a rather wonderful alternative.

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Spaghetti with Tuna, Chilli, Rocket & Lemon plus Donna Hay Giveaway

I have been a long-time admirer and follower of Donna Hay’s cookbooks, even as early back when she was the food editor of the Marie Claire cookbooks in Australia. Her clean and refined approach to food styling is what normally attracts the attention of readers in the first instance; food which looks so stunningly beautiful on the page, yet deceptively simple in composition, that each photo could pass as a piece of artwork.

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Pork Ribs Braised in Young Coconut Juice

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but my blog seems to feature very few Vietnamese recipes, despite the fact that I cook Vietnamese at home every second day or so. So in an attempt to rectify the situation and to bring some more balance to this blog, I hope to feature more Vietnamese recipes which are quick, easy and delicious to make at home.

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General Tso’s Chicken

There’s Chinese food, and there’s American-Chinese food. I wasn’t even aware of the latter until we were posted in Chicago for a few years where lunch with colleagues was often at P.F. Chang’s or Big Bowl, two popular Chinese restaurant chains in the US. There, the menu often featured the likes of Sweet & Sour Chicken, Honey-Glazed Chicken, and Mongolian Beef; Chinese food which is rarely eaten by the Chinese themselves but which

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Vietnamese Pho Beef Noodle Soup

Pho could perhaps be described as the national dish of Vietnam. But what many people don’t know is that it is predominantly a breakfast dish in Vietnam. In some parts of the world, breakfast might be a bowl of cold cereal to some. In Vietnam, however, they like to kick-start their day with an aromatic noodle broth, full of flavour and texture to awaken the senses.

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Vietnamese Beef & Carrot Stew

With all of the French recipes I have been posting lately on this blog, I thought it was time to change the tune a little and post one of my favourite Vietnamese recipes. But as I set about preparing this post, I realised that this particular dish is actually a Vietnamese version of a French classic. Or is it?

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Duck Confit

Confit de Canard is a classic dish found in many Parisian bistros, and it is a dish which my mother-in-law likes to serve whenever we visit. After one of our trips to France late last year, I felt compelled to recreate this dish at home, primarily because I didn’t want to wait so long before eating it again.

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Ham & Vegetable Pastry Puffs

My mother is someone who can effortlessly create a delicious three-course meal from a simple fridge raid, with an uncanny ability to never let anything go to waste. Sadly, I didn’t inherit this talent, nor did I inherit the palate to eat leftovers. There have been periods of frugality where I would re-serve and reinvent leftovers, but these moments have often been brief, especially once I would inevitably arrive at a point where

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Spaghetti Bolognese

In Switzerland, the Pasta Plausch is a favourite menu item for many. In my last job, Thursdays in the canteen was (and still is) known simply as Pasta Plausch, a day where the lunchtime menu would feature a large pasta buffet to the delight of the employees. On offer were usually a few different types of pasta with a selection of sauces including bolognese, carbonara, Napolitana and pesto.

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A Weekend in Kandersteg & Pearl Barley Soup

A trip to the Swiss mountains usually guarantees good, hearty, winter fare. After a day of heavy duty winter sports, the body is likely to crave something substantial, something loaded with calories. On a recent weekend away in the picturesque Swiss village of Kandersteg, my husband and I found it difficult to hold back when it came to mealtimes, despite the fact that neither of us had engaged in any strenuous outdoor activity

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Chicken Dumpling Soup

A little while back, I had posted quite a few reviews on recipes from Rachel Khoo’s delightful French cookbook, The Little Paris Kitchen. For a short time, it looked like I was cooking my way through the book, and indeed I was – just a lot of the recipes haven’t made it to my blog for various reasons. Having been distracted by some events in recent months, I’m hoping to do a little

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Chargrilled Lemongrass Beef with Hoisin Dipping Sauce

From looking at the recent entries on my blog, you wouldn’t think that I cook a lot of Vietnamese food at home. The fact is, I probably cook Vietnamese food about 4 to 5 times a week! Of course, the frequency varies, but hardly a week goes by when I haven’t made something at least Vietnamese-inspired. After my mother, Luke Nguyen would have to be my greatest source of inspiration when it comes

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Cardamom-Scented Chicken Curry and Lentil Dhal

The weather has been blisteringly hot in Zurich lately, which should be a welcome change given the torrential rain which we’ve had in the preceeding months. But after a few days of soaking up the sun and several impromptu lakeside evening picnics, the lack of air-conditioning has become quite evident and I find myself quietly (and guiltily) yearning for the cooler weather to return. This is especially since I have discovered that our

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Spinach & Tomato Lasagne

I love a good lasagne and it’s a satisfying dish to make when you have time to potter about in the kitchen. With spring having finally arrived in Zurich and warmer weather slowly creeping into the forecast, I wanted to make a baked pasta dish, but nothing too rich and heavy. This vegetarian lasagne is super easy to make, requiring only a simple tomato sauce and a béchamel sauce and, if you like, a

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Coq au Vin Skewers

It was never really my intention to cook my way through Rachel Khoo’s The Little Paris Kitchen, but so rarely has a cookbook resonated with me so much that I have found myself trying a new recipe from this book every few days since I first purchased it. If only I had this level of enthusiasm for all of my cookbooks! With the weather warming up recently in Zurich, I was curious to

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Cream of Tomato & Potato Soup

In case you were wondering what the soup is which is photographed with the Rustic Bacon & Cheddar Bread, it is the Cream of Tomato & Potato Soup from French Provincial Cooking by Elizabeth David. Long before cooking became a passionate hobby and was more of a matter of survival for me, I heavily relied on cookbooks to put together really basic and simple meals like … vegetable soups. Yes, for something which

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Rustic Bacon & Cheddar Bread

I love savoury cakes and this particular recipe is a firm favourite of mine. Given my New Year’s resolution to cook more vegetarian food, this has frequently been in the form of vegetable soups. After several days of eating rich food like Meatballs in Red Wine Sauce or Boeuf Bourguignon with Baguette Dumplings, a simple and soothing bowl of soup is a great way to restore the body’s balance. But those who know

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Boeuf Bourguignon with Baguette Dumplings

If you love beef stews, you will love this French classic, boeuf bourguignon. With the weather in Zurich being its typical and formidable grey in April, beef stew has been on the menu a few times in recent weeks, but having cooked my way partly through Rachel Khoo’s wonderful new cookbook, The Little Paris Kitchen, I was drawn to her recipe for boeuf bourguignon because of her pairing with baguette dumplings. I instantly loved the

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Meatballs in Red Wine Sauce

I have been cooking quite a bit lately from Rachel Khoo’s The Little Paris Kitchen and am loving everything I have tried so far. This is a bit of a revelation for me considering that I am quite familiar with French food, having grown up eating this cuisine as a child and now married to a French husband. Sure, I have always enjoyed eating French food but, for so long, everything I had

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Pot-au-feu and Pho

Pot-au-feu literally translates into English as “pot on the fire”. It is a classic French beef stew, a peasant dish at heart. Traditionally made from beef bones and stewing beef, the broth is typically served as a clear soup, preceding the main dish of sliced beef with vegetables which have been cooked in the broth. It is honest and hearty French fare. Although the dish may take several hours to cook, you are

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Waffles with Gruyère & Thyme

Faced with some bits and pieces of cheese in the fridge, I thought I would try my hand at a savoury waffle for lunch today, and these waffles with Gruyère and fresh thyme were absolutely scrumptious! The cheese adds lovely savouriness to the waffles and pairs wonderfully with a simple green salad on the side, dressed lightly with a mustard vinaigrette.

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Keralan Fish Curry

With spring just around the corner, my thoughts have been turning to more light and fresh meals. A cookbook which I frequently turn to during the warmer months is Nigella Lawson’s Forever Summer (curiously re-titled as Nigella Fresh in the US). Not that it is necessarily a book which should only be opened once the weather starts to warm up  – I often cook from this book in winter, too – but I like

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Chilli, Cheese & Rosemary Polenta with Tomato Sauce

Due to hubby’s request to eat more vegetarian meals this year, I saw no reason to not buy the latest book from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of the River Cottage fame, Veg Everyday. The book is dedicated to eating vegetarian meals, though it is not written by a vegetarian – an important distinction in my mind because it means there are no spooky and holistic ingredients which would otherwise make vegetarian cooking too much of

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Pumpkin Laksa

I have long been a fan of Nigel Slater, his books having been instrumental in my initial forays into the kitchen, along with Nigella Lawson and, dare I say it, the Australian Women’s Weekly. One of my favourite cookbooks would have to be Appetite, a hefty book filled with amazingly delicious recipes but provided in a manner that encourages the cook to develop some intuition in the kitchen. Rather than call for, say,

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Chestnut Soup with Bacon & Parsley

As soon as the street vendors start setting up their chestnut-roasting stations in Zurich, I know that Christmas is around the corner. I adore these roasted beauties, their sweet and fluffy interior making for the perfect street snack when you need something warm and filling. Sometimes when the air is bitingly cold, a little bag of roasted chestnuts is the perfect excuse to warm your hands while you are waiting for your tram.

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