Creamy Pumpkin & Cauliflower Soup Recipe

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

½ Butternut pumpkin

1 Head cauliflower

1L Chicken stock (reduced salt)

250ml Thickened cream

Parmesan cheese (optional)

Crusty bread to serve

Directions:

Step 1: Chop pumpkin into small cubes, and remove florets from cauliflower.

Step 2: Bring chicken stock to a boil and add pumpkin and cauliflower to pot, cook for 15 mins.

Step 3: Using the back of a wooden spoon, mash pumpkin and    cauliflower.  Then remove pot off the heat and use a stick blender to puree the remaining chunks of pumpkin and cauliflower.

Step 4: Replace pot on the stove, and add cream to pot, stirring and allowing to cook for another 5 mins.

Step 5: Ladle out among 4 bowls, serve with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese for added flavour. Serve with crusty bread.

Comments:

For your safety: When using the stick blender, make sure you don’t hover the blade at the surface of the soup as the boiling liquid will spit when you depress the trigger. Make sure the stick blender blade is submerged completely into the soup before giving it power- as you don’t want to be howling in pain like the fallen wine press lady.

Black Glutinous Rice Congee with Chicken and Preserved Duck Egg Recipe

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

4 Chicken drumsticks

2 Preserved duck eggs

500ml Reduced salt chicken stock

500ml water

2 Cup black glutinous rice

Apparatus:

Thermal cooker

 Directions:

Step 1: Prepare black glutinous rice, by rinsing in water several times before adding to the thermal cooker pot. Add in 2 cups water (500ml) and 500ml chicken stock to cook the rice.

Step 2: Bring liquid to a rolling boil and allow to boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure the rice does not stick to the bottom. After 10 minutes, add chicken drumsticks to the pot and allow to boil for a further 5 mins.

Step 3: Remove from heat, and place in thermal shell and allow to sit for 6 hours.

Step 4: 30 minutes before serving, remove drumsticks from pot and remove flesh from the bone. Prepare preserved duck eggs by peeling and dicing into chunks, adding it to the congee and re-heating the pot for 10 minutes. In the final 5 minutes replace shredded chicken back into the congee.  Then serve.

Comments:

This black congee is bold in its appearance, and retains an interesting texture from the glutinous rice which makes for a nice change-up from your regular congee. Enjoy!

Slow Cooked Massaman Pork Belly Curry Recipe

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

500g Pork belly

2 potatoes (you can choose between a waxy or floury potato) 

1 Brown onion

1 Tin Maesri Massaman curry paste

400ml Coconut milk

¼ Cup water

2 Cups brown rice     

Sprigs of coriander to serve

Slices of lime to serve

Apparatus:

Thermal cooker

Directions:

Step 1: Prepare your ingredients, first slice onion into thin strips and place at the bottom of the thermal cooker pot. Then add the Massaman curry paste, fill the emptied curry tin with water (swirl to remove all remaining paste) then pour this ¼ cup of water into the thermal cooker. Then proceed to slice peeled potatoes into rough cubes, and same again for the pork belly and place potatoes and pork into the thermal pot.

Step 2: Place thermal pot onto the stove and cook, allowing the curry paste and water to come to a bubble, before adding the coconut milk to the pot. Bring to a rolling boil and allow to cook for 10 mins.

Step 3: Remove pot from heat, and place into the thermal shell. Let sit for at least 5 hours to slow cook.

Step 4: Half hour before serving, cook brown rice, and when rice is done and resting- remove pot from thermal shell and place on stove. Bring the curry back to a boil for 5 minutes.

Step 4: Ladle the Massaman pork belly curry onto brown rice, serve with sprigs of coriander and squeeze of lime juice.

Comment:

I’m thinking in the late 90s there was a fad where all the housewives in Hong Kong bought themselves a Thermal cooker, enticed by the promise of coming home to perfectly cooked flavoursome slow cooked soup every-night. But 15 years on……. each time an Asian kid moved out of home, inevitably mum gives son or daughter the hardly-used Thermal cooker, insisting that they cook soup for themselves to ward off ‘hot air’. So we like millions of other Asian kids before us, we too left home with a Thermal cooker under the arm not really knowing what to do with it.

This series of recipes is to explore what we can make with our rarely used (and taking up precious storage space) Thermal cooker, and how conventional recipes need to be tweaked just a little to take into account that evaporation does not occur during thermal cooking, thus avoiding the end outcome of watery and tasting watered down food.

Hopefully these recipes will inspire you to dig out your own Thermal cooker from the deepest back-corner of your lowest and hardest to get to kitchen cupboard, and together we can explore what tasty dishes we can create together, while saving ourselves time, effort and electricity!

Asian Stir Fry Veg with Hokkien Noodles and Parmesan Recipe

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

500g Fresh Hokkien egg noodles

2 Bunches bok choy 

1 Medium sized carrot

1 Tin baby corn spears

150g Oyster mushrooms

150g Tinned bamboo shoots

20g Black fungus

Parmesan cheese (powdered)

Directions:

Step 1: Prepare fresh veg by washing and separating bok choy from the stalk; peeling and cutting carrots into matchsticks; washing and slicing oyster mushrooms into thin slices; and soaking fungus and slicing into smaller pieces.

Step 2: Prepare tinned veg by draining baby corn spears and cutting them in half (lengthwise); while removing bamboo shoots from tin but reserving the liquid.

Step 3: Stir-fry veg by first adding carrot matchsticks to a hot wok and fry for approx. 5 mins before adding all other veg (mushrooms, bok choy, corn kernels, fungus, and bamboo shoots with the tinned liquid). Stir-fry for another 5 mins.

Step 4: Prepare noodles to package directions, and add to the wok with vegetables. Stir fry for another 2-3 mins.

Step 5: Serve up immediately, and top off each bowl with a light dusting of Parmesan cheese.

Comments:

The aim of this dish was to cut down on the amount of salt and sauces required to give a dish flavour. We’ve seen other recipes that ask for ¼ cup Soya sauce or the inclusion of other seasoning and spices to give a dish flavour. We’ve tried the dish both with and without the Parmesan, and without the Parmesan the dish was already flavourful enough, but with the Parmesan it added a different/unique flavour profile to an otherwise very Chinese-y dish.

Enjoy this simple and healthy stir fry!

Chicken & Vegemite Pasta Recipe

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

500g Chicken breast fillets

500g Bow tie pasta

1 Brown onion

½ Cup frozen peas

250ml Thicken cream

2 Tablespoons Vegemite

¼ Cup shredded Tasty cheese

Directions:

Step 1: Cook pasta according to packet directions, then drain and set aside.

Step 2: Meanwhile, prepare chicken and onion by dicing chicken into bite sized pieces and onions into small squares.

Step 3: Heat cooking oil in saucepan before stir-frying onions for 3-4 minutes until softened. Then add chicken and stir-fry for an additional 7-8 minutes until the chicken is no longer pink. Then add frozen peas and continue cooking for a further 3-4 minutes.

Step 4: Add cream to chicken and onion mixture and bring to a bubbling simmer, before adding the 2 tablespoons of Vegemite. Cook, stirring until Vegemite has blended itself into the cream. Then add drained pasta to the pan. Stir to combine.

Step 5: Remove from heat, adding the shredded cheese to the pasta . Then serve, dividing among 4 bowls.

Comments:

The first time we tried this dish, it was on Australia Day (quite fitting, don’t you think?). We cooked this recipe several times until we got the quantities just about right. Two tablespoons of Vegemite  is the right amount if you want to taste the Vegemite flavour, without being too overpowering.

Please feel free to add more or less of the Vegemite to suit your taste! Enjoy!

Hot Sweet & Sour Chicken & Peach Bowl Recipe

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

500g Mince chicken

2 Ripe peaches (or 350ml tin of peaches)

1 Red onion

150g Bag baby spinach leaves

2 ½ Cups brown rice

For Marinade:

¼ Cup apple vinegar

½ Lime

1 Birdseye chilli

3 Cloves garlic

1 Tablespoon fish sauce

1 Teaspoon brown sugar

   Salt & Pepper

For sauce:

¼ Cup apple vinegar

½ Lime

1 Birdseye chilli

3 Cloves garlic

1 Tablespoon fish sauce

1 Teaspoon brown sugar

   Salt & Pepper

Directions:

Step 1: Prepare marinade by adding diced chillies and garlic to a small bowl of vinegar, fish sauce, and sugar. Squeeze lime juice and mix well. Allow sit for 10 minutes.

Step 2: Dice up red onion into small squares, and in a medium sized bowl mix onion into chicken mince. Add marinade to chicken mixture and allow to sit covered in the refrigerator for 20 mins.

Step 3: Prepare fresh peaches by removing stones and slicing flesh (with skin) into thin wedges.

Step 4: Prepare sauce by following the same steps as outlined in Step 1.

Step 5: Meanwhile, cook brown rice using your preferred method.

Step 6: Pre heat wok and remove chicken mince from refrigerator. When cooking oil starts to steam, add chicken mince and stir fry for 5 mins, breaking clumps of mince using the back of your spoon. After 5 mins add peaches to the wok, and cook for a further 5 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

Step 7: To serve, divide up brown rice among 4 bowls, then place spinach leaves on top of rice before dividing up chicken and peach mixture among bowls. Finally, drizzle sweet & sour sauce over your Hot Sweet & Sour Peach Bowls.

Comments:

This recipe was inspired by the in-season peaches! However if peaches aren’t in season where you’re at, tinned peaches also work quite nicely.

If you’re using tinned peaches, after removing the peaches from the syrup, retain the peach syrup and add a bottle of beer (Lager or other dark beer) to the syrup for a refreshing beverage. Enjoy!