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Ginger: fresh, naked, candied, and in cake

Friday, May 30, 2014

I am finally getting around to cooking with ingredients I got from Australia's Sunshine Coast where I was on assignment a couple of weeks ago. The day after I got home from the trip, it was straight back to work (which included working on the weekend), and so I have had to wait for my days off to get back into the kitchen.

I got some fresh ginger and naked ginger, among other things, from The Ginger Factory. Naked ginger is candied ginger coated with a very fine sugar. It is delicious eaten straight from the packet but I will be putting it into a confection I am planning to make.
The fresh ginger was young and tender. The guide at The Ginger Factory explained that this is the best type to make candy with. It still has a lot of zing though. I made a jam with it ~ although it's more like a relish, as can be seen in the picture right at the top of the post. It was 168g after peeling and I simply used 75% of that weight to measure out the sugar and water (126g each) for a simple syrup. The three ingredients, plus a pinch of salt ~ always! ~ were simmered for about 35 minutes until thick and jammy. I can imagine how good this would be stirred into ice cream or a bowl of muesli, but I have other plans for it...

The Guardian's sardine pasta with tweaks

Thursday, May 29, 2014

In Malaysian kitchens, tinned sardines in tomato sauce are a store-cupboard staple. Not in mine though, I'm not even a bit of a fan although I did grow up eating the stuff. My mother used to make sardine curry with peas and potatoes to eat with chappati, and would also fry it with rice. I guess my childhood taste for tinned sardines has waned. But fresh sardines? Gimme. And tinned sardines in oil. Oh yes. I saw this recipe on The Guardian website and made the dish with a few tweaks. The onions are sliced, not finely chopped; had run out of fennel seeds so used a spice mix from Turkey; and no pine nuts but never mind. I used craisins instead of sultanas because I had a huge bag of them from my US trip, but I don't think they added much to the dish.

Chilli tuna chappati taco

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A can of chilli tuna is fit for a meal. This dish is like a taco, only I used homemade chappati instead of tortilla for the wrap. One of the things my sister asked for from Malaysia when I visited her in the US recently was Ayam brand chilli tuna. This is the best of all the flavours in the range, we think. At first I got the full-fat variety but she wanted the one with 33% less fat, which meant it was down to me to use up the unwanted cans. Oh, how troublesome... Not! She likes to have her chilli tuna this way, so I followed her cue. This one has roasted red pepper sauce, fresh avocado, cucumber and basil leaves, and a squeeze of lime along with the tuna. Simple and delicious.

I'm looking forward to eating a lot more fish ~ the fresh variety ~ over the next few days. I'll be covering the Noosa Food Festival in Queensland, Australia, and will probably return home 5kg heavier!

Soba noodle soup with squid balls

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Some time ago, my colleague Ivy got a copy of Jamie's 15-Minute Meals to review. I decided to try my hand at one of the recipes too and chose the sticky squid balls, grilled prawns and noodle broth. It took me 19 minutes to make the dish, but I think it could have been within the time frame had I used two cooking pans as the recipe asks for. I didn't like the amount of washing up I had to do afterwards but that's another story. What I did particularly like about the dish were the squid balls ~ squid meat blitzed with chilli, ginger, coriander stalks, and salt and pepper, formed into balls and pan-fried ~ which were easy to make and delicious. When I made them again for the bowl of noodles here, I put all the ingredients together without even measuring and they were just as good.