food for thought

by michelle

bingsoo / bingsu

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This Korean dessert of shaved ice was traditionally served with only a few ingredients such as red beans, condensed milk, fruit syrup and fresh fruit. Today Bingsoo is a popular dessert served in specialised restaurants with a myriad variety of ingredients. We enjoyed these two sophisticated versions in The Lounge at the Seoul Park Hyatt.

Honey Bingsoo with shaved milk ice, Warak Mountain honeycomb, chantilly cream, roasted apple puree and pecans.

Mango Bingsoo  with shaved mango milk ice, fresh mango, coconut jelly, cardamom crumble, yogurt ice cream and mango coulis.

Altogether too delicious!

 

Written by michelle picker

June 20, 2017 at 5:51 am

gimbap

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I like to travel with my tastebuds so while visiting Korea my food choices are local. Gimbap is Korea’s version of sushi. The toasted seaweed (gim) is sometimes brushed with sesame oil and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Instead of using vinegared rice as the Japanese do, steamed rice (bap) is mixed with sesame oil and seasoned or sweetened according to taste. Vegetable and meat ingredients are seasoned and stir-fried or pan-fried. Other fillings could include canned tuna, ham, cheese and luncheon meat.

We tried these spicy pork gimbap. Served with kimchi and pickled radish, of course.

Written by michelle picker

June 14, 2017 at 5:50 am

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korean bbq

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I’m making sure I try everything Korean while I’m visiting Seoul. Gogigui (Korean barbecue) refers to the method of cooking meat. The meal is prepared at the diner’s table on gas or charcoal grills. The most representative form is bulgogi which is made from thinly sliced marinated beef. Galbi (beef short ribs) are also popular.

We decided to try bulgogi and pork shoulder as well as a platter of vegetables.

The bulgogi was cooked with onions and a few sweet potato noodles on the copper dish behind the charcoal barbecue. After cooking it was served in the liquid around the edge. Like all Korean meals there were numerous side dishes including steamed egg, kimchi, pickled mushrooms, pickled shiso (parilla) leaf, lettuce salad with black sesame dressing, lettuce and shiso leaves, fresh garlic, chilli paste, fresh tofu and a spicy shredded leek salad.

Written by michelle picker

June 8, 2017 at 5:49 am

salty-sweet orange and tahini pretzels

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Another delight from Honey & Co The Baking Book by Sarit Packer & Itmar Srulovich and my first attempt at pretzels.

Mix together 200g (7 oz) of strong white flour, 150g (5⅓ oz) of plain flour, ½ a teaspoon of salt and 3 tablespoons of icing sugar. Warm 140ml (4¾ fl oz) of milk to blood temperature and add 4½ teaspoons of dry active yeast, the grated zest of 1 orange and 50g (1¾ oz) of date molasses or dark honey. Stir to dissolve then add this liquid to the dry ingredients and knead together to form a ball. Slowly incorporate 80g (2¾ oz) of tahini paste then 50g (1¾ oz) of unsalted butter (diced and at room temperature). Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rest for at least 1 hour. On an un-floured work surface, divide the dough into 8 equal parts. Roll each one into a long 40-45cm (16-17″) snake. Lie the snake in a semi-circle with the 2 ends facing you. Lift the ends only and twist them around each other then lower them towards the remaining half circle and press the ends down gently. Carefully flip the pretzel onto a prepared, paper-covered baking sheet so that the ends are underneath. Repeat the process until you have 8 pretzels, allowing a little space between each pretzel. Prove for a further 90 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200ºC (390ºF). Brush the pretzels with an egg yolk beaten with a pinch of sugar and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Bake for 10-12 minutes until they have a dark golden brown crust. Delicious at any time of day.

Written by michelle picker

June 2, 2017 at 5:30 am

beef short rib stew

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This Korean stew is deliciously sweet and salty. Cook it slowly or (if you’re short on time) in a pressure cooker.

Sear 1.5kg (3 lbs) of beef short ribs in some vegetable oil over high heat then remove to a plate. Lower the heat and add 1 finely diced onion. Cook until soft before adding 4 large finely diced cloves of garlic and an equal amount of finely diced ginger. Cook for a minute more then deglaze the pan with 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar. When the vinegar has cooked away add ¼ of a cup of apple juice, ¼ of a cup of orange juice, ½ a cup of mirin (sweet cooking sake), ¾ of a cup of soy sauce, 12-15 dried whole shiitake mushrooms and 3 cups of water (or 1½ if you are using a pressure cooker). Simmer for 2 hours (35 minutes in a pressure cooker) then add 2-3 diced carrots and a diced turnip or swede and cook for a further 20-30 minutes (5 minutes in a pressure cooker) until the vegetables are soft. Add 1 drained can of sliced water chestnuts and cook for a few minutes more. Add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and a small bunch of sliced spring onions and check for seasoning. Thicken with cornflour if desired and serve with steamed rice and kimchi.

Written by michelle picker

May 27, 2017 at 6:02 am

kimchi

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Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish (banchan) made from salted and fermented vegetables.There are hundreds of varieties of kimchi but it is most commonly made with napa cabbage and Korean white radish (mu) and a variety of seasonings including Korean chilli flakes (gochugaru), garlic, ginger and often dried seafood. Traditionally kimchi was stored underground in jars but today most people in Korea have dedicated kimchi fridges. Mary and I finally got around to making some.

For a large jar of kimchi, cut 1 large Napa cabbage into chunks. Dissolve ⅛ of a cup of salt in warm water and immerse the cabbage for 30 minutes. Meanwhile process 4 cloves of garlic, an equal amount of ginger, 1 tablespoon of unrefined sugar, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 tablespoon of fish sauce to make a smooth paste. Add 1 cup of Korean chilli flakes. Cut 350g each of carrots and white radish into julienne and cut a bunch of spring onions into similar lengths. Drain the cabbage and without rinsing pat it dry. Combine everything in a large bowl and pound or knead the mixture to get the vegetables to release their juices. When there is a reasonable amount of liquid in the mixture transfer it to a large jar and weigh it down so that the vegetables are all submerged (a smaller jar full of water makes a good weight). Stand the jar in a tub (liquid will escape) and allow it to ferment for 1 week at room temperature. If you prefer a sourer flavour you can leave it for longer. When you’re happy with the flavour and texture transfer it to the fridge. It will keep for some months.

As well as being eaten as a side dish, kimchi is often used in cooking. Here’s a delicious noodle stir-fry.

First cook 150g (5½ oz) of cellophane (bean-thread) noodles and set aside. Chop 1 onion, 4 large mushrooms, 2 rashers of bacon and some spring onions. In a bowl combine 2 finely diced cloves of garlic, 2 teaspoons of Korean chilli paste (gochujang), 3 teaspoons of soy sauce, 3 teaspoons of honey, 3 teaspoons of raw sugar, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar and ½ a cup of hot water. Heat a wok over medium heat and fry the bacon then the onion and the mushrooms. Add 1 cup of kimchi, the sauce and the noodles. Cook until everything is hot and well combined. Remove to a plate and sprinkle with the chopped spring onions. Turn the heat up and add more oil to the wok. Fry 3 lightly salted eggs until they are cooked and then place them over the noodle stir-fry. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and toasted seaweed (kim in Korean or kankoku nori in Japanese).

Written by michelle picker

May 21, 2017 at 6:01 am

flourless apple almond cake

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Here’s a simple variant on that popular orange and almond cake. Just as moist as the original this one uses apple sauce instead of puréed oranges.

Preheat your oven to 160ºC (325ºF). Oil and line a 23cm (9″) cake tin. In a bowl combine a jar of apple sauce, ½ a cup of sugar, 6 eggs, 340g (12 oz) of almond meal, the grated zest of one lemon and 1 teaspoon of baking powder. Mix well, pour into prepared tin and bake until the cake is set (approximately 1 hour). Allow to cool in the tin before removing to a plate. Serve with cream or sour cream if desired.

Written by michelle picker

May 15, 2017 at 5:40 am

Posted in recipe