In my kitchen… April 2014

I had a little bit of a setback this last month. I finished a work contract and in the early hours of the following Monday morning I woke up with pain under my ribs. It got so bad I took myself to hospital and spent half the day there being poked and prodded and dosed with morphine and they COULDN’T FIND ANYTHING WRONG! I spent the rest of the week on the lounge running a fever and aching. Once the fever broke at the end of the week, I felt absolutely fine. And I lost four kilos! But I wouldn’t recommend it as a way to lose weight.

Anyway, on with the post.

In my kitchen…

are adventures in bread making. I’m not doing sourdough at the moment, so used the basic recipe from Dan Lepard’s Short and Sweet. It came out fairly flat each time I made it so moved on to the next recipe for the White Farmhouse Loaf. This was pretty good. You make a sponge and leave it overnight, then continue on the next day. And it’s as light as a feather!

In my kitchen…

well, not exactly my kitchen, but directly across the road from my house – a kangaroo and joey. In all the time I’ve lived in the Blue Mountains, I have never seen kangaroos up here, so was thrilled when these two appeared one Sunday afternoon for a feed.

In my kitchen…

is pasta with broccoli and anchovies. I was uming and ahing about what to have one night when Jason from Don’t Boil the Sauce came to my rescue. It was quick, easy and very tasty!

In my kitchen…

is French Toast. I decided the make something more than the usual bacon and eggs for breakfast one Sunday morning, so asked Mr Boyfriend to pop into BreadTop before he came up one weekend and get me some of the white thick sliced bread they do. Needless to say, I’ll be doing this again.

In my kitchen…

are the doings for poaching a whole chicken. All the veggies and herbs (herbs from my garden) were put into a large pot along with the chicken and about 3.5 litres of water. I brought the whole thing to a boil and then simmered the chook for a good hour and a half. When it was done, I pulled all the flesh from the chicken and put the bones back into the broth with another litre of water and simmered it for a couple of hours. 6 litres of chicken stock AND a beautifully cooked chicken – too easy.

In my kitchen…

is mushroom lasagna made with a kilo of mushies. Another recipe from another male food blogger. It was just what I needed as a bit of comfort food after being sick.

Thanks to Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hosting the monthly In My Kitchen, check out the other kitchens.

Okinawan Slow-cooked Pork

I’ve been asked a few times for the recipe for this, so I thought I’d share.

Ingredients:
2tsp vegetable oil
1kg boneless pork belly cut into 5cm cubes
100g fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thick slices<
500ml dashi stock – you can get dashi granules from Asian supermarkets. 1 4g or 7g pack per 500ml water)
⅔ cup sake
¼ cup mirin
⅓ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
½ cup shoyu (Japanese soy sauce)

Method:
Heat the oil in a large frypan over a high head. Add the pork in batches and cooked for 5 mins or until browned all over.

Rinse the pork under hot water to remove excess oil. Put a large pot on the stove and add pork. Add enough cold water to cover well. Add the ginger slices and bring to the boil over a high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 2 hours. Top up the water if needed. Strain, discarding the liquid and ginger. Set the pork aside.

Put the dashi, sake, mirin, sugar and shoyu in a clean heavy-based saucepan (Le Creuset casserole is ideal) and stir over high heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the pork and return to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, turning occasionally, for 1 hour, or until the pork is very tender. Remove from the heat and leave the pork to rest in the liquid for 20 minutes. Place the pork in a serving dish, cover and keep warm while you reduce the sauce.

Sit the saucepan over a high heat, bring the liquid to the boil and cook for 5 mins, or until the sauce has reduced to a syrupy glaze. Retune the pork to the sauce and stir to combine before arranging on a serving dish. Pour over any remaining sauce and serve immediately.

Serve with rice and Asian greens.

In my kitchen… March 2014

Birthday edition!

It was my birthday during February, so I ate out a bit – for Valentines (Hallmark) Day – Billy Kwong, the Chinese Eating House by Kylie Kwong, was probably one of the best meals I’ve had in my life. And not just because I know Kylie, but the food, wine and staff were exceptional. For my actual birthday I was taken to Gowings Bar & Grill at QT Sydney in the old Gowings building. I was a tad disappointed is all I’ll say. Anyway, onwards!

In my kitchen…

…is my bento stash. I make bento for lunch each day as it’s a great meal, very varied and lots of it can be done in advance. Rice, meats, etc can be frozen into portions and then just defrosted in a couple minutes in the morning with the addition of some of the things below.

This is kinpira – a Japanese technique of “sauté and simmer”. You can make kinpira from lots of different vegetables, this one is red and green peppers (capsicum).

Poach lotus root. Crunchy and a little sweet from the poaching liquid. You can buy lotus root already cooked, sliced and frozen from Asian supermarkets.

Chicken Kijiyaki – it’s basically a chicken teriyaki, but the chicken is cooked to ensure the skin is crispy and then sprinkled with spicy shichimi pepper.

In my kitchen…

…is Okinawan Slow-cooked Pork. It takes about four hours for the pork dish and it’s absolutely divine. I MAY share the recipe ;)

In my kitchen…

…is a treacle sponge. I wanted something a bit stodgy for pudding one weekend, so I made a steamed treacle sponge. So good I made it again the following weekend. To cut through the sweetness, it’s great served with crème fraîche or plain yoghurt.

In my kitchen…

…is pork soboro. Another Japanese bento item, soboro is finely chopped or ground meat, fish, egg or vegetables, seasoned and served mixed in or sprinkled on rice. I make a batch and freeze it in portions and then defrost for about a minute in the microwave in the morning when I make my lunch.

In my kitchen…

…are cookbooks for my birthday. This year I sent a suggestion to Mr Boyfriend, my son (via his Mum) and The Mothership™ with a link to The Book Depository of a different book each suggesting that this is what I would like for my birthday. Lo and behold, they each did the ‘right’ thing and made good on my suggestion. Maybe I should do that more often?

Thanks to Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hosting the monthly In My Kitchen, check out the other kitchens.

In my kitchen… February 2014

In my kitchen…

…is Osechi-ryōri, the traditional Japanese New Years Day meal . As Mr Boyfriend is Japanese, this is what we have each New Years Day morning along with some sake. Well, he has sake, I don’t as it’s not to my taste. That may change when I go to Japan.

In my kitchen…

…is 12 litres of turkey stock made from the carcass of the Christmas turkey.

In my kitchen…

…is Warrigal greens, or native spinach. I have one plant in my garden and it’s prolific. You cook it the same as English spinach and it should be cooked, not eaten raw. With this lot I made a Warrigal greens lasagne.

In my kitchen…

…are mangoes. Summer in Australia means mangoes. Enough said.

In my kitchen…

…is an African Violet. This was grown from a cutting of one of my Grans many African Violets, so it’s another little piece of her with me.

In my kitchen…

…are apricots. Summer also means stone fruit, so I buy lots of fruit and make jam.

In my kitchen…

…are mini chicken burgers for my bento boxes. Really easy to make with the secret being to cook them with a lid on the pan which keeps them moist. One they’re cooked, they’re frozen in threes and defrosted in the microwave for one minute in the morning while I pack the bento.

In my kitchen…

…are homemade pizzas. The only thing my bread maker is used for now is making pizza dough. Everything else is done by hand. One potato & rosemary and one passata, ham, sundried tomato & mozzarella.

In my kitchen…

…is roast lamb. If it’s Australia Day, you have to have lamb – it’s the law! ;) this was simple with garlic and rosemary.

In my kitchen…

…is a Milo Cheesecake with Chocolate Crackle Crust. Mix two quintessential Australian things – Milo and chocolate crackles – and make an insanely rich dessert. I’ll post the recipe soon.

In my kitchen…

…is plum jam. I make a lot of jam in Summer and give it to friends and family as gifts, as well as keeping some for the rest of the year.

Thanks to Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hosting the monthly In My Kitchen, check out the other kitchens.

In My Kitchen… January 2014

Happy New Year!

This is my first In My Kitchen, so it’ll be basically what happened in December as I took lots of photos and did lots of cooking.

In my kitchen…

…are two of the six Christmas Cakes I made this year. Five were presents to producers at Eveleigh Market, along with other baked goodies and one for the family. I also make the Christmas pudding, but forgot to take a photo.

In my kitchen…

…is two kilos of butter from Pepe Saya, that I used to bake the goodies with. Not enough butter I think!

In my kitchen…

…are homemade mince pies, gingerbread men and shortbread biscuits. I always bake a lot more at Christmas than any other time of the year, thought that is going to change this year. I never buy any baked goods from the supermarket or bakers – I’d rather go without to be honest.

In my kitchen…

…is my Christmas Tree (though in my lounge room). Though I’m no longer a Christian, I still put up a tree and am quite reserved with it. Very simple suits me best. I also follow the European tradition of putting my tree up on Christmas Eve and taking it down on 12th night.

In my kitchen…

…is my Christmas lunch. Just Mum, my stepfather and Mr Boyfriend. We had a small family gathering (we’re a small family of just Mum and her brother, his wife and two kids, their partners, my two nieces and my step-brother – my identical twin lives in Ohio) on Christmas Eve and then the four of us drove back up to the Mountains to have a Christmas Day at my place – that’s what we’ve done since my Grandmother passed away in 2001 and I enjoy doing all the cooking. Turkey, pork, ham, roast pumpkin, potatoes & sweet potato, carrots, peas and gravy. Followed by pudding and custard!

In my kitchen…

…is my Mum. She doesn’t lift a finger on Christmas Day – I won’t let her. She still likes to potter though. We were fooling around when this was taken and I really rather like it.

In my kitchen…

…is my Mum again. The apron was a present from my brother’s MIL. Smuckers is a manufacturer of fruit spreads, ice cream toppings, beverages, shortening, natural peanut butter, and other products. They’re in Orrville, OH and they take Mum there when she visits. And the spelling on her apron was correct!

In my kitchen…

…is turkey curry. It wouldn’t be Christmas without making curry from the leftover turkey. I use Herbie’s Saturday Night Curry recipe.

In my kitchen…

…is the Margaret Fulton Christmas Cookbook from Mum and Dad. Mum wrote inside that it’s for all the fabulous Christmas lunches I’ve done over the years. I’ll take that compliment.

In my kitchen…

…is The Little Paris Kitchen Cookbook from Mr Boyfriend. We watched the series together and I loved it. And I love Rachel Khoo. I want to cook live in Paris!

In my kitchen…

…is a new Sunbeam hand mixer from Mum and Dad. My old Beatermix started to cark it, so Mum and Dad surprised me with this. It will be very handy. Now, you think someone can get me a KitchenAid for my birthday next month?

Thanks to Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hosting the monthly In My Kitchen, check out the other kitchens.

Homity Pie

Homity Pie is an old English country recipe and the thing I ordered most when I went to Cranks in the UK.

Ingredients

300g shortcrust pastry
400g potatoes
450g onions
3 tbsp olive oil
25g butter
1 tbsp chopped parsley
100g grated cheese
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Salt & pepper to taste

Method

Roll out the pastry and used to line six 10cm individual tins or one 20cm flan. Boil or steam the potatoes until tender. Dice the onion and sauté in the oil until really soft. Combine the potatoes and onions, add the butter, parsley, 50g cheese, garlic and season well to taste. Cool, then use to fill the pastry cases. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake in the oven at 220°C (425°F) for 20 minutes, until golden.

If making as one flan, bake for 30-35 minutes.

Shortcrust pastry

Ingredients

200g plain flour
2 tsp backing powder
100g butter
3 tbsp water

Method

Place all ingredients into a food processor and combine until a ball forms. Put onto floured board/bench and roll out to required size.

Bento for 14 November, 2011

I tried something new today: Nigiri Zushi. The tofu skins come in a foil pack ready for use and the sushi rice I made myself.

Along with this is seaweed salad, grape tomatoes and some of last nights’ bread and butter pudding.

The tofu skins take a little bit to open and it takes a bit of time so that you don’t tear them, but I’m excited to try these and making more.

Bento for October 26, 2011

Today’s bento making got me catching a slightly later train this morning because I had my first go at making tamagoyaki and I think I did okay.

I might have to start getting up a bit earlier (I already get up at 5.00am) if I’m going to give this a really good go.

In the box: ham, cream cheese & vegetable rolls; tamagoyaki (soooo good!), salad leaves & cherry tomatoes; and rice with vegetables.

My first real Bento

I ordered a Bento box from Bento & Co a while ago and it arrived last week, so this morning I put together my first proper bento box for lunch. It’s the medium black Shikiri Bento.

In keeping with tradition, I wrapped the bento with a purple bandana to make a carrying handle.

The box itself has a black outer lid that snap locks into place on either side.

There’s an inner lid with a seal to stop any leaks as well as a place to keep chopsticks.

And now the most important bit: what’s inside.

From left to right I have rice with furikake, baked chicken nuggets, sprouts with Bulldog sauce,  two-colour namasu (diakon and carrot) and apple for dessert.

The recipe for the baked chicken nuggets and namasu can be found at Just Bento.

It was a very nice lunch and actually quite filling. I have no idea what sort of calorie count it was, but it should have been quite low and I’m looking forward to making more and getting creative.

Discovering Bento

Bento lunch

I usually take my lunch to work and have done all of the usual salads and sandwiches over the years. Now I love Japanese food (and men, don’t you know, but don’t tell Scott) and have been visiting JustBento for a while and thought I’d give it a go.

Off I went to the Sydney branch of Kinokuniya and bought the Just Bento Cookbook and made my first bento for today: rice, mini-hamburgers, steamed asparagus and red peppers. Yum!