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March 2008

13 March 2008

Mexico Bound


Tomorrow we head off to the 'land of seven moles'. And no, we won't be burrowing with little blind mammals, we are actually making our way to Oaxaca in Mexico. For those, like me, who are new to a 'mole' (pronouced Moh-lay) it is a rich, complex sauce with up to thirty different ingredients. The Oaxaca region is famous for its moles.

Before the veritable Oaxacan feast, we will spend a couple of days kayaking around the Sea of Cortez in Baja, Mexico. I'm sorry; I don't mean to rub it in, but after surviving another rainy winter in Vancouver my Australian blood needs some serious warming.

So 'hasta pronto' and see you in two weeks! 

09 March 2008

Wild Salmon Kedgeree


There is something very special about Canadian Wild Sockeye Salmon and I try to use it as much as I can. It also goes particularly well in Kedgeree.

Kedgeree is a rice-based dish that consists of curry power, flaked fish (traditionally smoked Haddock)and boiled eggs. It has its roots in a traditional Indian dish called Khichdi. The dish varies from region to region but is usually made up of rice, lentils and topped with fried onions.

Khichidi was adapted and made popular as a breakfast dish amongst British Colonialist in India, who later brought it back to the British Isles. Kedgeree has since remained a comfort food favourite, although perhaps not for breakfast.

Wild Salmon Kedgeree is certainly one of my favourite dishes as it is simple to make, healthy and delicious. I add coriander and parsley to my recipe and a Thai twist with some Nam Pla Prik (fish sauce with chili). I also serve a side of natural yoghurt mixed with a little grated garlic, parsley and lemon juice.

A tip for the rice: it is best to cook it the day before and refrigerate it so it's cold and hard when you fry it. If the rice is too fresh, it will get soggy and break easily. It is also a good idea to cook the Kedgeree over a flame in a wok. This just speeds up the cooking and, like most fried rice dishes, their success depends on quick cooking.   

Continue reading "Wild Salmon Kedgeree" »

04 March 2008

Chocolate Banana Springrolls: fit for a King


If Elvis was still alive, I think that chocolate banana spring rolls would be his midnight snack of choice. They're sweet, extremely delicious and deep-fried (all prerequisites for Elvis' snacks ).

These ones were perhaps a little petite for The King: he'd have probably stuffed a bunch of bananas and a block of chocolate into entire sheets of the poor, bulging spring roll skins. He likely would have also tried to squeeze in a jar of peanut butter for good measure.  I, on the other hand, feeling guilty for my 4 o'clock deep-fried dessert, was a little more restrained.

You need not feel too guilty, though. Despite the deep-frying, these crunchy little treats aren't at all oily . The trick to this is to use sunflower oil at a really high temperature so that they're in and out in a less than a minute. Sunflower oil is also excellent when frying at high temperatures as it doesn't burn easily.


The snap-frying gives the rolls just enough time to melt the chocolate and warm the banana. The result is a wonderful combination of textures: little crispy cases of warm, soft 'banocolate' (my new word for banana & chocolate).

Continue reading "Chocolate Banana Springrolls: fit for a King" »

01 March 2008

A Spicy Thai Salad: Yum Woon Sen Gai


Yum Woon Sen, is a Thai bean thread noodle salad that is often served with either prawns or ground chicken. The 'dressing' is made up of the usual Thai ingredients, naam pla (fish sauce), lime juice and lemon grass. I also added lots of coriander (cilantro) and mint to my recipe. The salad can be eaten warm or cold.

The noodles are made of mung bean or potato starch and are also known as 'cellophane' noodles because of their clear appearance. They only need about a minute in boiling water and they're done.

I also used mushrooms which I call 'mouse ears' but are actually known as 'Cloud Ears'.  My mum used to call them 'mouse ears' when, during my childhood, we lived in Bangkok.

The black fungus is commonly used in Chinese cooking. They look exactly like large, crinkly mouse ears and have a lovely, rubbery sort of crunch to them. While they don't have much flavour themselves, 'Cloud Ears' absorb whatever flavours they are exposed to; so in this case it was a mixture of salty, sour and spicy.

Anyway, I didn't realise they weren't called 'mouse ears' until the other day when I sent Nic out to buy them. When he arrived at the Asian grocer, and was greeted with nervous looks from the shopkeeper, he called me, suggesting that perhaps 'Cloud Ears' was what I was looking for. An internet search confirmed that he was right and I had fallen victim to another of my mother's deceptions. It's a deception, however, which I intend to perpetuate.

Continue reading "A Spicy Thai Salad: Yum Woon Sen Gai" »

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