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Sushi seems to be my go-to cheap lunch for work days. Orrr non-work days really. hehehe.

Truth is, I used to hate sushi. I actually had a gag reflex whenever I tried it. BUT ENOUGH ABOUT THAT! 

Now, somehow, I love it, am possibly obsessed with it and spend too much money on it. Thus, came my desire to make my own! 😀

I watched lotsa youtube movies and read many recipes to come up with my own. It really is super easy and the options of fillings are endless. I opted for easy cucumber, avocado, capsicum this time; but tempura pumpkin is my favourite! Check out this blog post for sweet ideas!

Here goes:

500mL sushi rice* (2 cups)

600mL water

75mL rice vinegar

10mL sugar

5mL salt

nori sheets

vegies for the filling, thinly sliced

wasabi

soy sauce

sushi mat
sushi buddy
THE RICE: 

Rinse rice in a colander for a good five minutes until the water running off is entirely clear. Leave to drain for 1 hour.

In a heavy saucepan, place measured water and rice and bring to a boil.

Once boiled, turn down to lowest setting, place the lid on top and set the timer for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, turn off the heat but DO NOT OPEN THE LID! Let the rice steam for another 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix together your vinegar, sugar and salt and microwave for 30 seconds until all dissolved.

Now grab a big bowl (wooded is best, but I used glass), dump the rice in and spread it out with a wooden spoon/sushi paddle and get your sushi buddy ready with a fan (we used a placemat)! Carefully spoon the vinegar mixture all over the rice as your sushi buddy fans and you cut and move the rice around – being careful not to break up the grains or damage any of your hard work!

Continue to fan/move rice until it reaches room temperature – about 5 minutes (depending on how good your sushi-buddy’s fanning skills are).

LETS ROLL:

(mmm don’t use this much filling)

et voila!

Roughly divide your rice into four parts – this will make 4 large sushi rolls.


Get your nori sheet and lay it shiny side down on your sushi mat. Using wet hands place 1/4 of the rice on your sheet and spread it out evenly, pressing it down hard and leaving 5cms at the top for rolling/sealing.

Rub a tiny squeeze of wasabi across the middle of the rice for extra joy. Layer your vegies in the centre of the rice.

Wet the opposite end of the nori a little to help it to stick to the roll. Using the sushi mat, roll the nori over the filling and pull back to form a tight circle. Proceed to roll the nori all the way to the end and squeeze to seal.

Make sense?!

NOW:

Invite all of your friends over for a sushi party and as you place your sushi platter on the table scream

“I MADE THIS, GUYS, I MADE THIS!” ; )


Tipstips:

*The only thing I would change for next time would be to buy real Japanese brand sushi rice, as mine was expensive for how much I actually got in the end.

Also, mine tasted more like authentic sushi after a few hours in the fridge – the nori was still quite dry and crispy before that allowed time.

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It sure has been forever and a day.

I’ve been cooking – I promise!

I’ve even been photographing!

(just not posting anything.)

More importantly – I’ve been working and saving and WE BOOKED OUR FLIGHTS TO EUROPE!

Funnily enough, our mainly Europe trip has ended up consisting of:

  • 5 weeks in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam
  • 2 weeks in India and Nepal (my heart flutters for Nepal)
  • 2.5 MONTHS in Europe
  • 3 days in NYC (hehehe – this is solely for us to ice skate at Rockefeller Centre at Christmas time!)
  • and then back to Canada to live for a year or two or 5 million, who knows.
So throw any food/restaurant/cafe ideas my way for any of those extremely vague travel plans I have given you!
To keep your tummies rumbling, here’s a little of what I’ve been up to lately..
Moroccan Chick Pea and Vegetable Curry. Served with cous cous and yoghurt.

A sneak peak into my quest for the perfect flatbread! Tomato, Basil, Onion, Caper and Cheese Flatbread.

Chilli Soy Hokkien Stir Fry.
(I work near an Asian cafe’ and have been stealing stir-fry tips to get the smokey flavour!)

Pizza pizza maaaaan!

What you will need…

FOR THESE RAINBOW CUPCAKES!

Creating some artwork with food colouring and a handy-dandy toothpick!

Fresh outta the oven.

Rainbow Delights!
Both cupcake AND icing recipe are from JoyofBaking.com – I’m really enjoying this website, it’s so easy to find good basic recipes. Everything I have tested from it has turned out great!


CLICK HERE FOR RECIPE.

Nom Nom Nom Nom.

pssst, this is mah new do. Ya dig?!



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For an anniversary dinner you generally want somewhere romantic, right? Mood lighting? Ambience? A certain… je ne sais quoi.

Well Ying Chow is anything BUT any of those traits.

However, the food is effing delicious! So what’s your decision? Je ne sais quoi or the kind of deliciousness that makes you squeel when you think about the left overs that you have in that tiny container in the fridge for lunch tomorrow?!

– Oh you’d better believe we picked Ying Chow.

Noisy, cramped, usually lined up out the door, fast paced. As long as you know what you’re getting yourself into then it’s a blast.

 


Vegetarian Bean Curd Soup

 

BBC! An institution at Ying Chow. Everybody orders it. Literally every table will have a plate of this on it. Even a meat-obsessed Serbian at my work confessed to attempting to create this dish at home.

 

chinese green vegetables – completes every asian meal.

 

some ribby things for the carnivore boyfriend. Hey, i don’t discriminate 😀

and rice, of course. steamed, perfect, plain (in the nicest possible way) white rice.

Personally Muffin and I like the kind of service you get in Asian restaurants. It’s to the point. No chit-chatting, no time is wasted!

Have a seat. What do you want? Here’s your tea. Here’s your food. Here’s your bill. Thankyouhaveagoodnightbyeseeyoulater! < the owner really does talk like this! I heart it.

Speakin oh service.. it’s worth going just to witness the waiters carrying 5 plates on one arm. ON ONE ARM!!!!

(my only qualm was that half way through the meal I had a weirdly severely tingly tongue?! Did i burn it? Was it a weird MSG reaction? Too much soy sauce? I really have no idea… but that’s never happened the 82203746 times I’ve been there before, so perhaps i am just odd!!)

Also.. Happy anniversary to my lovely Muffin man ❤

 

Ying Chow.



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Yes, I was going for the fattest cold roll in the world record! And I think I got pretty close to winning 😉
I make these all the time, and no, I still don’t know how to make small ones! I get so carried away because they are delicious. I always serve them with two sauces;

the peanutty one is actually only 1/2 teaspoon of peanut butter to about 1/4 cup of coconut milk and a squirt of sriracha. SO SIMPLE!

The soy one is 1 chinese spoon sweet soy, 1 chinese spoon dark soy, 1 chinese spoon light soy, 1 chinese spoon rice wine vinegar, 1 chinese spoon water, 1/2 chinese spoon sriracha, 1 chinese spoon toasted sesame seeds. EAAASSSSYYY.

Tonight was bbq weather. I knew this because it was sunny, and not windy = perfect.

and now, with titles! (“ooooh”)


 

the grilled corn I just threw on the bbq til it blackened a little.


Guacamole was 2 avocado’s, mixed with a little spanish onion, lime, tomato, coriander, salt, pepper and chilli (and actually not very nice, the avo’s had no flavour!) sad face.


beet hummus had 2 tins of chick peas, 1 Tablespoon tahini, 1 Tablespoon lemon, 1/2 cup beet (i used tinned – fresh would be better), 1 teaspoon salt, 1 garlic clove, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika.

pesto was made with 2 cups rocket and about 1 cup of mixed nuts (such as walnuts, almonds, cashews), 1 clove garlic, good glug oil, salt and pepper! Blitz.


bbq veg, I skewered and bbq’d until cooked. No marinade, just simple 😀

polenta flowers, cook polenta according to packet instructions and at the end add in 1/2 cup grated zucchini, 1 Tablespoon parmesan and salt and pepper. Pour mix into greased cake tin and leave to cool. Cut shapes out of solid mix and fry or bbq for a few minutes on each side until crisp! VERY YUM.


sweet potato rosti, literally just grated sweet potato thrown on the hot plate of the bbq. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

stuffed mushrooms, take large swiss mushrooms and scoop out the middle ‘gills’, place in a bowl with 2 Tablespoons bread crumbs (you could use nuts) a splash of oil and 2 Tablespoons of your pesto. Mix and refill the mushroom caps. Grill for about 5 minutes.

 

I also made fattoush:


1 cup mixed gourmet lettuce
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 cucumber, sliced
1/2 celery stick, sliced (this is not traditional!)
1/2 red capsicum, diced
1 handful marinated artichokes
1 handful black olives
1 handful mint
1 handful parsley

dressing:
5 Tablespoons oil
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
salt + pepper

 

1 spinach mountain bread
1 teaspoon cape malay seasoning (I got this from Oxfam. It’s a spice mix of coriander, salt, cumin, pepper, fennel, chilli, mustard seed, cinnamon and turmeric! If you can’t find it, just use a pinch of the first 5 spices.)

 


Lightly oil the mountain bread and sprinkle with cape malay seasoning. Grill until brown, leave to cool and break up into pieces.

Add the bread and dressing right before serving so nothing goes soggy!


WARNING: THIS SALAD IS SO FRESH AND DELICIOUS.

 


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What do you do when you wake up looking like the elephant woman? (For serious, I woke up with a lip the size of my nose!)

Well you obviously go to the doctor first and get a magical cream to fix your disfigured hideous face … AND THEN when you can’t go to work (for obvious reasons, such as scaring customers off of their food), you stay home and make about a billion salads. When you realise a billion is probably a little much to fit in your fridge, you settle on six. Just six. . . of the best salads of your life.

These are:

  • soy soba noodle salad
  • rosemary lemon potato salad
  • pesto pasta salad
  • balsamic bean salad
  • chargrilled vegetable salad
  • meditteranean cous cous salad

soy soba noodle salad:


this could easily be made super spicy, but I like to taste and enjoy the flavours of the noodles themselves. Also, hold back on over saucing the noodles as they will get sloppy < this is not good.

2 rounds soba noodles

2 T soy sauce

1 T sweet soy sauce

1 T vinegar

1 t sriracha

1 t sesame oil

1 t fresh ginger, grated

1 T toasted sesame seeds

Capsicum, 1/4 cup thinly sliced

Cabbage, 1/2 cup thinly slices

Cook soba noodles for a couple of minutes in boiling water, remove and dunk into cold water to give them their chewy slurpy texture and stop the cooking process.

Mix together all other ingredients to form the sauce. Toss noodles in sauce and leave the flavours to infuse for at least half an hour.

rosemary lemon potato salad:


this one would be delicious with something green like spring onions, but alas I had none. I feel like the extra roasting of potatoes at the end gives them a better texture than usual mooshy potato salad, which I dislike.

10 baby potatoes, cut into bite size pieces, par boiled

2 T olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 brown onion, thinly sliced

1 T fresh rosemary, finely diced

1 T lemon juice

1 t salt

1 t pepper

Par boil the potatoes until almost cooked through.

In a big frying pan add oil, garlic, onion and rosemary. Cook until onions are translucent. Add in potatoes, lemon juice, salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer to a baking tray and bake in a 180C oven for about 15 mins or until slightly golden. Remove. Cool in fridge. EAT!

pesto pasta salad:


I mean honestly, is anything bad with pesto? When basil is not in season you can use rocket and save on money – and probably the taste of bad out of season herbs!

2 cups mix of rocket, basil and spinach

2 garlic cloves

1/2 red chilli

1/2 cup cashews

good glug of olive oil

squeeze lemon juice

salt

Blitz!

1 tomato, finely diced

1 avocado, finely diced

Cook 2 cups spiral pasta until al dente. Drain and while still hot add about 2 Tablespoons of the pesto, extra salt and pepper. When slightly cooled add the tomato and avocado and mix through. Serve cool.

    balsamic bean salad:

    This salad will bring you great joy and make you as strong as Popeye! Even though there is no spinach in it… It’s simple and full of things that you can just throw in from your pantry. Excellent!

    1 tin mixed beans

    1 T olive oil

    1 T balsamic vinegar

    1 garlic clove, finely minced

    1/2 t horseradish

    salt

    pepper

    5 marinated artichoke hearts, chopped

    cucumber, 1/4 cup finely diced

    Add oil, balsamic, garlic, horseradish, salt and pepper in a bowl. Rinse beans and mix through, add in artichoke and cucumber. Let flavours combine for at least half an hour.

    chargrilled vegetable salad:


    THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST SALADS EVER. Fo real. It sounds really strange with the sweet marinade, but it brings out the earthy flavours in the mushroom and eggplant. The Asian flavours don’t come through in a strong way in the end, just the flavour of ohmagoodnessdeliciousness.

    10 swiss mushrooms, small and roughly the same size

    eggplant, 1 cup, diced roughly the same size as mushrooms

    pumpkin, 2 cups, diced roughly the same size as mushrooms and eggplant! (see a theme?)

    1 T sweet soy sauce

    1 T sweet chilli sauce

    1/2 t sriracha

    1 t water

    7 marinated green and black olives

    1 cup rocket, chopped

    Roast mushrooms and eggplant at 180C on a tray for about 10-15 minutes or until cooked and soft.

    Roast pumpkin on a separate tray at 180C for about half an hour or until cooked and browned.

    In a bowl whisk together sweet soy, sweet chilli, sriracha and water. When mushrooms and eggplant are still hot, add to this mix and coat well. Leave them soaking in this until the pumpkin is out of the oven. In a big bowl add the rocket, olives, pumpkin, mushroom and eggplant mix. (there was some sauce left over in mine and i opted to save it to dress the salad later if it needed it.)

    meditteranean cous cous salad:


    Yum yum yum! The flavours in this dish are delightfully balanced and Moroccan. I love me some Moroccan flavours. You can use any dried fruit, but I tested a couple and found apricots to be the best. It really does round off the flavours nicely, and therefore I banish you from removing it!

    1 cup cous cous

    1 cup water

    glug olive oil

    1 t smoked paprika

    1/2 t za’atar

    1 t ground cumin

    1/2 t ground coriander

    1 t dried chilli flakes

    1 t salt

    1/2 cup grated carrot

    1 handful roasted, unsalted mixed nuts

    5 olives, quartered

    1 T dried apricots, very finely diced

    Oil for extra body

    In a saucepan bring 1 cup of water, olive oil, smoked paprika, za’atar, cumin, coriander, chilli flakes and salt to a boil. Add in cous cous, stir quickly with a fork, cover and leave for 5 minutes until cooked. Pour into a big bowl and fluff with a fork. Add in carrot, nuts, olives, apricots and extra oil if the consistency is too dry.
    ———–

    This seems like a crazy amount of salad (it does make a LOT), alas, it only took me about an hour and a half to create. Stick some funky tunes on and get chopping. The crazy thing about all of these flavours is that they all work together! Nothing really overpowers anything else and it is a nice harmonious mix in the belly 😀

    * T = Tablespoon
    t = teaspoon.
    Just incase…

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    Today is a day of new things! Our power was shut off from 8am-3pm today so I tried my best to stay in bed until at LEAST 1pm.. alas, the plan didn’t work. It was nice to be woken up by the postie bringing me my copy of Veganomicon though! I accidentally ordered this on Amazon when I was trying to figure out how much postage would be! A pleasant accident. I stayed in bed all warm flipping through the pages and making mental notes of what I will cook first. Where do I even begin?!


    My brother moved out a few weeks ago and took his blender with him. I know, the shock, the horror. I have been smoothie-less since! Today I went and bought a blender. It it glass and super lovely and brand new and shiny and will make me full of smoothies again! Woop woop.

    Muffin made me dinner the other night (this is a rare occasion) and it was delish! A miso soup base with carrots, mushrooms, tofu and quinoa. Very tasty indeed.

    This food week isn’t the most inspired.. dont say you weren’t warned. I have a cold now and am trying my best to be inspired but all i want to do is be warm and not spend time writing recipes!

    One night we had spuds. I LOVE A GOOD SPUD. I love baking spuds in the oven and then looking whats in the fridge and throwing it all on top. It’s even better when it tastes good (!) I fried mushrooms with zucchini, onion and garlic and made a spicy yoghurt to go on top, in place of sour cream. I flavoured it with cumin, chilli, coriander, garlic, lemon and salt+pepper and we ate it with a nice salad.


    Another night we had a simple stirfry and muffin plated up.. notice a chef difference?!

    Right now I am eating freshly baked cookies from the freezer from this recipe.


    and soon I will eat a vegetarian snossage in bread with sauce and curl up along side the heater/tissue box. LOVELY!

    Also, i’m reading Cravatalicious! I highly disliked watching Matt Preston on Masterchef. Mostly because I don’t like watching people eat but mainly because he always made creepy faces and creepy eye movements that made me feel uneasy. WITH THAT SAID, his book is actually hilarious and I have a new found respect for him as a food journalist.

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    Salt and Pepper tofu! I. Love. It. Almost everyone in my family loves it too! My brother is a deep-frying connoisseur, hence we have tried many different variations of this recipe. First of all you have to decide what tofu consistency you like best. I like the silken firm and muffin likes the firm. The most simple and light coating to use is corn flour. With that said, the most fatty and oily (but still devilishly delicious!) coating is a beer batter! MAN IT IS GOOD. It’s like a vegetarian fish and chips – but with tofu. So very tasty.

    You’ll need to heat the vegetable (or peanut) oil to around 200C, roll the cubes of tofu in the corn flour and drop them in the oil. If you’re using silken firm, the easiest way to flip them is with a fork – so you don’t break them, if not just use tongs. They take about 5 – 10 minutes, depending on how hot your oil is etc. Drain them slightly and place in a bowl with freshly crushed sea salt and black + white pepper. Garnish with finely sliced red chilli and spring onion. YUM YUM YUM. This is so simple – but really amazingly delicious. The crispy outside with the soft tofu inside is heaaaavvvennnnnnn.

    If you use firm tofu it can also benefit from a light soy sauce marinade before the flour too. It is best eaten with steamed rice and asian greens in garlic sauce. My opinion. But I am very correct. hahaha.

    Cold Rolls are a delight. I make them often, that’s possibly because I like to play with my food! I use rice vermicelli noodles and then a mixture of finely sliced vegetables. Whatever is laying around in the fridge really. The only one vegetable that MUST be in there (says I) is cucumber, oh and mint. Obviously mint. These ones have noodles, mint, cucumber, carrot, capsicum, mushroom, toasted sesame seeds and crispy fried shallots.

    I serve mine with 2 sauces.

    A creamy peanut sauce: Mix 1 Tablespoon peanut butter with 1 Tablespoon coconut milk and a squirt of sriracha.

    Also a soy dipping sauce: Mix 1 Tablespoon light soy, 1 Tablespoon dark soy, 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon sriracha, 1/2 teaspoon sugar and 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds. If you prefer a thicker sauce then you can thicken it with a teaspoon corn flour.

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