This Hot and Sour Soup is a Chinese restaurant classic which takes only 30 minutes!
Chinese New Year
As a child, my mother went to great lengths each year to prepare a Chinese New Year feast which could feed our entire neighbourhood.
The menu always featured a sticky rice cake filled with mung beans and pork, a Chinese Turnip Cake, endless platters of spring rolls (egg rolls), roast pork with gorgeously seasoned crackling – all served with fresh vermicelli noodles, picked carrots and daikon, and an abundance of fresh salad and herbs.
A delicious and simple recipe with step-by-step photos for Chinese Barbecue Pork (Char Siu Pork) which you can make at home with everyday pantry ingredients in just 10 minutes!
Char Siu Pork
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.
This Grilled Thai Chicken is bursting with flavour with lots of lemongrass, coriander (cilantro), ginger and chillies in the marinade. You can roast, grill or barbecue the chicken for crispy and golden skin. Great to make on a weeknight or for entertaining.
I love marinated and grilled chicken and am always on the lookout for new recipes, though I think my mum makes the best version which I have tried endlessly to recreate and which comes close but, of course, it can’t quite compare.
Delicious Sticky Chinese Pork Ribs which are marinated overnight for maximum flavour.
Sticky Pork Ribs
I wish I could be more comfortable eating ribs in public but, the reality is, I enjoy eating them more in the comfort and privacy of my home; somewhere where I can gnaw at the bone like a messy cavewoman and lick my fingers with glee.
I think it is definitely a dish best eaten in the company of a few close friends (and certainly never on a first date), particularly since you can only make so much at one time anyway.
A deliciously tangy Keralan Fish Curry with Lemon Rice which is easy to make and takes only about 30 minutes to cook!
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 (re-titled as Nigella Fresh in the US).
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, 100 g of tomatoes, Nigel Slater’s recipes would instead ask for 3-4 medium-sized tomatoes, not only making it a bit easier to shop but also allowing the cook some flexibility.
I have been distracted in recent years by cookbooks from other authors, but this year hopefully marks a revisit of some old favourites. I was only reminded of Nigel Slater recently when hubby and I were browsing in the bookshop and Nigel Slater’s Tender Volume 1 & 2 were being sold together in a limited edition boxed set. Having lusted after these books for some time but trying to sensibly refrain from hoarding too many cookbooks in one year, I couldn’t resist a boxed set. And upon realising that Volume 1 was all about vegetables, and Volume 2 was dedicated to fruit, hubby generously offered the books to me as a gift, on the condition that they supported his New Year’s resolutions to eat more vegetarian and healthy food. Of course, honey …
With pumpkins in season, I was instantly taken by Nigel’s recipe for pumpkin laksa in Tender Volume 1. As a lover of all noodle soups, from the robust and herbal hit of a Vietnamese Pho to the equally comforting but milder-flavoured chicken noodle soup of the western palate, and not to mention the 2-minute noodles (or pot noodles) of my student days, I can rarely turn down a recipe for comfort in a bowl.