Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pork and Dumpling Noodle Soup

There is nothing that warms me more on a cold rainy day than soup! Today I was feeling slightly under the weather with the sniffles, so I was craving something with a bit of punch to warm me up and clear the nose/throat. This is the perfect meal for that purpose, and of course it is enjoyable when feeling well also! Its also a really easy meal to make, and super healthy.

Ingredients (serves two)

Fillet of Char Sui Pork (I make my own with a lean pork fillet and a jar of char sui paste from the Asian section in the supermarket. Marinate overnight, then roast in 180 degree oven for about half an hour. It tastes just like from the Chinese shop yum yum!)
Thin hokkien noodles
Chicken consomme (I use the Campbells brand)
Pork dumplings x 6 (I use frozen ones from my local dumpling house, Maney's Dumplings in Bundoora. You can also get them from Asian grocery stores. If desperate, mini dim sims would probably do the trick!)
Minced ginger (teaspoon)
Minced garlic (teaspoon)
Chilli flakes (pinch)
Lime juice (splash)
Fish sauce (splash)
Brown Sugar (teaspoon)
Sweet soy sauce (large splash)
Coriander (I use minced from a tube, about a teaspoon)
Spring Onion (3 stems)
One bunch bok choy
One carrot

Prepare your noodle bowls. Soak hokkien noodles in boiling water for three minutes, then arrange in the bottom of two large noodle bowls. Slice pork fillets and divide between two bowls, arranging on top of noodles. Place some chopped bok choy on top of noodles, next to pork.

Prepare soup. In a medium saucepan combine consomme, two cups of water, ginger, garlic, chilli, coriander, soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, lime juice. Bring to the boil. Taste and add more sweetness or saltiness as needed- if there's one thing I learnt from watching Masterchef it is to always taste your broth!

Add dumplings to broth. These need to simmer for about ten minutes. After five minutes, add carrot and spring onion to blanch. When dumplings have floated to the surface, use tongs to arrange them on the top of your soup bowl. Then, ladle the yummy broth over the soup bowl.

Enjoy... (hopefully with someone special! I know I did!)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Nice to meet you...

Hi guys,

Welcome to my blog. This will be the place where I document my passionate love affair with food, cooking and restaurants. Hopefully through following it you can discover something about me, and feed or ignite your own passion for cooking and food.

I don't know when I began to love food so much. When I was about thirteen I started reading cookbooks and my parents allowed me to cook for my whole family (uncles, aunties and all!) I just loved the planning and preparation that went into cooking for the people that I loved. I don't think what I cooked was very memorable (although my Dad did ask the the chicken and mushroom crepes years later!) It was the beginning of what would begin as a talent, develop into a hobby and grow into a passion- a passion that sometimes annoys the hell out of the people around me when I constantly insist on reading restaurant reviews, cookbooks and menu's!

Why do I leave this as just a hobby and not a career? Many people ask me this. I think the main reason is that I want it to stay a passion, I don't want to feel like cooking is a chore. I have worked in restaurants before and I have seen how quickly passion can turn to frustration. At least this way, I get to make sure I actually like the people I spend time cooking for! Plus, I really enjoy my day job of teaching... and every now and then I get to bring my passion into morning tea for the staff...

Some quick facts about my love of cooking/food-
Favourite Cuisine: I don't think I can choose between Vietnamese and Thai. I love to eat and cook both!
Best food experience I have had: Many of the Vietnamese restaurants I ate at in Vietnam... Longrain in Melbourne... The 'feed me' option at Chin Chin. Maha.
Favourite Ingredients: Chili, Lime, Coriander, Garlic, Ginger- these are the bases of most of my recipes!
Meal I cook most often: Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Soup... with cumin. This is amazing. I love the way the scent fills up the house. I leave mine nice and thick! Or, any kind of Asian noodle soup- be it pho, laksa, pork, dumpling... whatever!
Favourite kind of eating experience: a long dinner with good company, good wine and three courses... I am almost immune to ever skipping dessert!
Food Idols: Shane Delia, Neil Perry, Jamie Oliver, Marian Grasby, Matt Moran... many many more!

I'm sure you will discover all the above facts and more through reading this blog... I hope to amuse and inspire!