food for thought

by michelle

Archive for the ‘eggs’ Category

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

flan

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The history of flan begins with the ancient Romans who spread their culinary traditions throughout Europe. Originally a savoury dish, it became popular as a sweet dish of slowly cooked custard with caramelised sugar. Christopher Columbus’ discovery of America brought flan with it and nearly all of Central and South America loves flan in one form or another. It has become particularly associated with Mexico where it is an absolute classic. This rather more modern recipe comes from a Mexican family member.

flan

Blend 1 can of evaporated milk, 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract and 4 eggs. Allow this mixture to rest. In the pan in which you will cook the flan, put 8 tablespoons of sugar and heat carefully to make a caramel. Allow the caramel to cool then pour the milk mixture over it. Cover the pan with foil and place it in a large baking tray in the oven. Pour boiling water around the flan dish at least half-way up the sides and bake in a moderate oven until the custard is set. If you have a pressure cooker, place the covered flan on a trivet with some water below and cook at pressure for 20 minutes. Chill before turning out and serving.

Written by michelle picker

January 17, 2017 at 5:48 am

spanakopita

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A traditional Greek pastry, Spanakopita is made with filo, has a filling of spinach and feta cheese and is normally triangular in shape. Here’s a round version.

spanakopita

First you will need plenty of filo pastry. The bottom and sides should have at least 7 or 8 layers. Grease the bottom of your pie dish and as you lay the pastry sheets in, brush every second one with oil or, if you prefer, a mixture of oil and melted butter. For the filling, wash and dry a large bunch of English spinach. Chop into smaller pieces and cook with some garlic in a little olive oil until just wilted. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine 700g (25 oz) of fresh ricotta cheese with 200g (7 oz) of feta cheese, 2 or 3 eggs, some rigani (oregano) or other herbs of your choice and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Process, then mix with the cooked spinach, a finely chopped bunch of spring onions and some toasted pine nuts. Taste the filling for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Fill the prepared pastry then top with 7 or 8 crumpled sheets of filo pastry. The crumpling will allow more air around the pastry and make it crisper. Brush the top with oil (or oil and butter) and bake in a moderate oven until set and golden brown.

spanakopita-cut

Written by michelle picker

October 7, 2016 at 5:53 am

salade niçoise

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I’m enjoying a sojourn in Provence, in the south of France, where the local produce and hot weather make this salad a perfect choice for a meal. Of course, fresh tuna would be fantastic but this version is the kind you can make with ingredients you have to hand.

salade-Nicoise

First prepare some potatoes and place them in a saucepan of cold water. Bring to boil and simmer until the potatoes are just cooked. Remove them and allow them to cool. If you want to save on saucepans, you can carefully add some eggs to the same saucepan once the water has boiled. Cook them for 10 minutes, remove and shock them in an ice bath and set aside. Trim some green beans and steam them until just tender. Run them under some cold water to stop them cooking further. Slice some tomato into wedges and chop any soft fresh herbs you might have. Now you’re ready to assemble. Start with a bed of lettuce, roquette or any salad leaves you prefer. Place pieces of potato, green beans, sliced tomato and hard-boiled eggs around the plate and scatter with the fresh herbs. Drizzle with a vinaigrette dressing. Drain a tin of good quality tuna and place some in the middle of each salad, topped with a spoonful of good mayonnaise and some capers. A few anchovy fillets and some black olives are a good traditional addition if you have them.

Written by michelle picker

June 27, 2016 at 5:59 am

chicken and sweetcorn soup

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Every culture has it’s chicken soup and this classic Chinese one is my kind of comfort food.

chicken-and-sweetcorn-soup

First, make a good chicken stock from a boiling fowl or some chicken carcasses with a few slices of fresh ginger in it. When the stock is ready, strain it into a saucepan. If you have cooked a whole chicken then you may be able to use some of the shredded meat in your soup, but fresh chicken will taste better. Add a few skinless chicken thighs to the stock and gently poach them until just cooked. Remove them to a plate and set aside. Now add some corn kernels (either fresh or frozen) and cook for 5-10 minutes until soft. Now the soup will need a little processing, but not to a smooth purée. Thicken the soup with a slurry of cornflour and cold water – just enough to allow the corn to float throughout the soup. Shred the chicken and return it to the soup. Bring to a rolling boil and, while stirring, slowly pour in some beaten eggs. Finally, season with salt to taste, a generous amount of ground white pepper and a little sesame oil. Garnish with spring onions.

chicken-and-sweetcorn-soup-2

Written by michelle picker

May 10, 2016 at 6:01 am

prawn omelette with fresh herbs

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This thin omelette with prawn (shrimp) filling is an adaptation of a Vietnamese favourite.

Vietnamese-prawn-omelette

For the omelette whisk 4 eggs with some water, salt and a little rice flour. For the filling dice 225g (½ lb) of raw prawns and add a few cloves of finely diced garlic, a few sliced spring onions, some fish sauce and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Wash and pick some fresh mint, Vietnamese mint and coriander (cilantro). When you’re ready to cook heat some oil in a wok and fry the prawn mixture until it’s cooked and remove to a bowl. Clean the wok and once again heat some oil until very hot. Add the eggs, rolling the wok around over the flames to get an even amount of egg all over the wok. When the egg is almost cooked, remove from the heat and loosen with a spatula or cooking chopsticks. Fold the omlette so that you can lift it out of the wok onto a plate and unfold again. Spread the prawn mixture over half of the omelette, scatter the herbs over the prawn mixture and fold the omlette over the filling. Garnish with more fresh herbs (this one was garnished with coriander and calendula petals.

Written by michelle picker

April 16, 2016 at 5:38 am

shakshouka

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Shakshouka (or shakshuka), a baked egg dish which has gained popularity in many breakfast cafés here in Australia, is thought to have originated in Tunisia. According to Claudia Roden artichoke hearts, potatoes and broad beans were added to the original dish. It can be found in the cuisines of Libya, Algeria, Morocco and Egypt. In Israel, where it was introduced by Tunisian and Maghrebi Jews, it has been said to rival hummus and falafel as a national favourite, eaten either for breakfast or the evening meal. It is traditionally cooked and served in a cast iron skillet or tagine with plenty of bread to mop up the sauce. Here’s just one version.

shakshouka

Fry 1 diced onion, 1 diced red pepper and 2 finely diced red chillies in olive oil over low heat until wilted. Add 2 cloves of finely diced garlic, ½ a teaspoon of ground cumin, ½ a teaspoon of paprika, ¼ of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper, ¼ of a teaspoon of caraway seeds, ¼ of a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper and ¾ of a teaspoon of salt. Cook for a few minutes more before adding 1 can of chopped tomatoes. Simmer for 15 minutes adding a little water if necessary. Cut 50g (1¾ oz) of feta into cubes and press them into the sauce. With a spoon make 4 impressions into the sauce and break 4 large eggs into them. Cover and cook until the eggs are nearly cooked to your liking (they will continue to cook after you remove them from the stove). Garnish with chopped parsley.

Written by michelle picker

December 11, 2015 at 5:54 am