Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is coming (7 Feb) and I'm looking forward to it because I plan to celebrate in the only way I know how - making and eating a load of food. I'm going to use it as an excuse to try out some new recipes I've not made before - I'm sure that there are plenty of traditional foods (like mochi is for New Year in Japan), but I haven't researched at all yet. I do know Jiaozi dumplings are a traditional food, so maybe they'll be on the cards - they're always popular round here!

There are plenty of great recipes in Fushia Dunlop's two books - Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook and Sichuan Cookery - so I'm going to have a flick through them at the weekend if I get a chance.

I absolutely love dim sum, but of course, you can't cook that at home. The latest dish I had was from Oriental City's food court - a real foodie heaven if you're into Asian cuisine. I have no idea what the dish is called, but it was a delicious, slippery noodle-like sheet, wrapped around fried dough, with Hoisin sauce as a dip. I loved it, although my friends really didn't like the slippery texture of the outer layer.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Store cupboard ramen

This was my lunch today - lovely store cupboard ramen. The soup stock was from a packet, but with all the other toppings it doesn't make a lot of difference. (Who makes their own stock every time anyway?) At the top is preserved bamboo shoots, then to the right is pickled ginger, under that is dried spring onions, then under that is simmered konbu tsukudani style (with mirin, sugar and soy sauce), then sliced boiled egg, and in the middle is some wakame. I always have dried spring onions and wakame around anyway because I add it to miso soup sometimes, but the tsukidani and the other pickles are new ingredients I was sent by Japan Centre for a feature in the magazine. I absolutely love the tsukudani - you can make it yourself at home. The package calls it konbu and kelp, but I actually think it's hijiki - which is worrying considering that the FSA has advised against eating it due to the presence of inorganic arsenic. I eat very little so I'm not too worried! But eating large quantities daily is probably a pretty bad idea...

The Beginning

I decided to create this blog in order to chronicle my kitchen based exploits, which are admittedly slapdash, hodgepodge, but never half hearted! I enjoy Asian cooking, particularly Japanese, and have another website with a blog at, where I write about the Japanese lunch boxes I have made, shared recipes and try to act as a resource for UK bento fans. Obviously though I eat more than lunch, and I don't just cook Japanese food, so I thought I'd give this a whirl and see where it goes...