Monday, December 31, 2007

Coffee Art

The borders of food and art grow ever fuzzier with this recent revelation in the form of a coffee. Baristas make fascinating shapes and painterly images in many different ways- they jiggle the milk as they pour into the hot espresso, or use stencils for the powdered chocolate atop your mochachino. Other methods are a mystery. I like the evil one down the bottom. At 7am it would be like staring at my reflection.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

niangao (年糕) with X.O sauce


1 bag of fresh or frozen sliced nian gao
4 tbsp XO sauce
3 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp soya sauce
4 tbsp Xiaoxing wine
1 large red chilli
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 cabbage, shredded
1 lemon, juice only
1 cup of black fungus, hydrated and diced
2 cups pork leg strips


1. Thinly shred the pork into longish strips. mince the garlic and shred the cabbage and fungus.

2. Heat some oil in a pan, and drop in the pork and cabbage. Stir fry these to get some colour, then add the rest of the ingredients. Put some water on the boil at the same time. When the cabbage and pork is cooked through and the sauce is thickened, turn the heat off. Boil the rice cakes for about 4 minutes (from fresh) and maybe 10 from frozen. Drain and add to the sauce.

3. Stir fry this together until the sauce has thickened and coats the rice cakes. Squeeze in the lemon juice, and serve with more fresh chilli on top. Eat straight away, they do get chewier as they cool. Admittedly, because I'm a die hard XO fan, i drizzled a bit more XO on top after cooking.

Snapling on Rice Cakes:

Venture outside of the Western perception of the Rice Cake- thin, styrofoam flavoured discs of puffed rice- and embrace the ooey, gooey, and chewy goodness of the East-Asian rice cake. The epitome of Asian comfort food, and the king of the rice noodle, get to your local Chinese, Japanese or Korean grocer and try something totally different. It’s been around for centuries!

Rice cakes are numerous in colour, flavour, size and purpose - although it is eaten every day in soups, stews and stir-fries, many varieties are made specifically for special ceremonial or superstitious purposes. For example in Korean culture, songp’yeon are rice cakes steamed with pine needles that drive away evil spirits- this is sometimes made as an offering to the family ancestors. In the olden days special rice cakes (dung duk) were offered to ‘toilet ghosts’ to deter them from ‘eating’ the children- who were small enough to fall into the traditional Korean facilities. Historic Japanese folklore dictates that there are rabbits living on the moon making rice cakes- a result of observing the silhouette of a rabbit in the dark patches of the moon. Regardless what belief, rice cakes have an important culinary and cultural significance in East-Asian culture. Tell you what, they’re damn tasty too.

All rice cakes whether they be Chinese (niangao), Japanese (mochi) or Korean (duk) are made from glutinous white rice, which has been pounded with water into a sticky dough, then molded or sliced into different shapes. There are both savoury and sweet rice cakes- the ones in this recipe are the plain savoury variety that are used in soups or typically in a fantastic Korean dish called Duk Bokee; where they are stewed in fermented chili paste (gochujang) with vegetables. To a layman they could be described as big, chewy, white noodles cut into manageable 2-3 inch pieces. Although Duk are wonderful in soups and stews, the texture from crisp-frying them is totally addictive. (see below)

Thin-sliced niangao is a type of savoury rice cake is the more universally accepted variety- spanning across China, Japan and Korea. In Korea it’s used more as the starch component to joongol (soups), whereas in China more specifically the Shanghai style it is served up pan-fried or braised. It is eaten by the million at New Years. The XO sauce in the recipe is made from a base of dried, shredded salmon, chilli and oil- and all the ingredients listed are available in most Chinese food stores in the fridge or on the shelf.

sources: Wikipedia "rice cake" and much also from life experience.

Monday, October 29, 2007

siu guōtiē (鍋貼)

YAY! The first official dumpling post on Snaplings! Dumplings are a great passion of mine, and I plan on having many more posts about them. The category boasts infinite variations and practically every culture has at least one dumpling in their repertoire. I thought I would kick off this category with my favourite - Chinese pork potstickers, or siu guōtiē (seeew gwoh-tee-eh) , with a thick and chewy wrapper crispy on the outside and bursting with salty juices in every mouthful. The pics are from my favourite dumpling eatery in Sydney, Cho Dumpling King in Chinatown. I've adapted the recipe to match theirs, and I recommend making your own pastry for the wrappers, as the ones from supermarkets are almost always too thin. Bleh! When you make them yourself, the satisfaction at the end is worth all the hard effort.


300 g lean pork mince
200 g pork belly mince
5 cups cabbage, shredded
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 piece of ginger, minced (thumb sized)
1 bunch spring onions (the long green ones)
3 tbsp sesame oil
3 tbsp soya sauce
2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
1 tsp white pepper
2 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp cornflour
- - - - - - - -

Wrapper Pastry:

3 cups of flour
Roughly 1 1/2 cups icy cold water (you'll need to eyeball it)
1 tsp salt
extra flour
- - - - - - - -

Dipping Sauce:

1 part soya
1 part vinegar
sesame seeds
- - - - - - - - -
and / or
- - - - - - - - -
chilli pulp with oil (la jiao you)


1. Steam the shredded cabbage until wilted completely. Shred the spring onions into thin rounds, and mix all ingredients in a bowl together very well. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate until your pastry is ready.

2. Put the flour in a bowl and slowly add in drops of water while stirring. When all the flour in the bowl comes together into a ball, you know that's enough. It needs to be just after the "crumbly" stage, where you can knead it effectively. Tumble it out onto a floured surface and knead until the texture is uniform throughout. Let it rest someplace cool for 1/2 hr. Pinch little nuggets of dough, flour well and roll out into thin rounds between sheets of baking paper. Keep them covered with a moistened towel to prevent drying out.

3. Fill and pleat the dumplings, moistening the edge with water to seal. Dust all over with flour so that they dont stick.

4. Heat a large skillet with oil, and place the dumplings in before it gets too hot. Fry them until browned, then add 1/2 cm of water into the hot pan and cover with a tightly fitted lid or foil and seal in all the steam. When it starts to sizzle again remove the foil and flip them onto another side, adding more oil if necessary. When this has browned "taste test" one to see if its cooked through. If it is, serve immediately. If its not, add a few tablespoons more water and replace the lid until it evaporates completely. Serve with dipping sauces!

Cooking Tips: Try not to move the dumplings around too much- if you do the wrappers will tear and let all the tasty juices escape. If they come out very wrinkly and loose around the filling, you have put too much water in the pan. If they are sticking to the pan, let it cook a little longer so the crust firms up and then dislodge it gently with a thin spatula.

- - - - - - - - -

Cho Dumpling King
Shop TG6 Prince Centre, 8 Quay St
Sydney Chinatown, NSW 2000
Phone: 02-9281 2760

NB: They do not take reservations. Because its such a small shop, they take your order and payment on the street, and when a table has cleared you sit down and your food is plonked on the table straight away. I also recommend the fried tofu, cold noodle salads, and the preserved bamboo snacks in the window!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Spring Risoni

This vibrant and virtuous dish is made with little grains of dried pasta, and the freshest spring vegetables- leek and green asparagus. With little more than white wine, lemon juice and a touch of verdant virgin olive oil, you can't help but feel good eating it.


2 bunches green asparagus
1 leek
1 red capsicum
1 bunch english spinach
A few good handfulls of Risoni
Olive oil
1 cup white wine
1/2 lemon juice
1 clove garlic, sliced
Shaved Parmesan

1. Bring some water to boil in a medium saucepan. Put in the pasta and hunks of fresh leek to simmer. After that has cooked for about 5 minutes, throw in the asparagus in chunks (omitting the woody stalks) and the english spinach. In another 5 minutes the aparagus will be a violent shade of green- this is when to remove and drain the lot.

2. Tumble this into a saucepan with the garlic, chopped red capsicum and some olive oil. When it starts to sizzle, add the white wine and lemon juice (and salt + pepper) and cover with a lid. After about 3 minutes remove the lid and stir until the liquid evaporates. Spoon into bowls with a drizzle of olive oil and drape in freshly shaved parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

cafe banana bread

Delicious slabs of brown banana bread, *ahem* just like you get in the cafe. I have been working on perfecting this recipe for a very long time (longer than I'd like to admit) and there have been many disasters along the way. I post it now because I think this is the best its gonna get for my home kitchen. Obviously add walnuts or chunks of banana to suit your taste- and I daresay some cream cheese frosting wouldn't go amiss. This was done in a 20cm x 20 cm super deep square teflon cake tin. A general rule of thumb is to use as many bananas as fit in the tin whole (with the skin on) and go from there. It sure is alot of bananas!


Bananas, roughly 10 small to medium size, spotted ripe
3 1/2 cups self- raising flour (do not substitute)
2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
5 X medium eggs (50-60g)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
50 g butter, melted
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp cardamom

(preheat the oven to 140°C / 275°F / Gas Mark 1)

1. In a big bowl, peel and break the bananas into chunks. Mash this well with a potato masher. Pour in the vanilla, melted butter, and crack the eggs in, stirring until everything is a unified mixture.

2. In another bowl, place flour, salt, spices, and brown sugar. Mix this with your hands, breaking up any lumps of brown sugar as you mix.

3. Grease the cake tin with butter, and place strips of wax paper going both ways so that they over hang by at least 2 inches over the edges of the tin. This will make it easier to lift out when its done, and it is important to grease the pan now so that when the flour activates with the liquid ingredients it will spend little or no time waiting to go in the oven.

4. Pour the flour mixture into the banana mixture and fold until you have a uniform batter. Pour this into the tin and quickly place on the middle shelf of your oven. Bake for 1 hr and 20 min, or until when you push down the top there is no squidgyness underneath the crust, and when a skewer comes out clean. Keep your eye on the temperature as every oven varies. Store at room temperature.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


This recipe is an adaptation of one that goes back in my family for generations. Its Portuguese in origin, and its used in more dishes than I can count- it adds flavour, colour and smells amazing when cooking. Basically a pesto made from red peppers, they would buy them by the bushel and layer them sliced with salt. These would ferment and create a salty mush which is blended with garlic and chillies. My version can be made in the same day- and I believe it tastes pretty much exactly the same. I use it mainly for marinading meat before baking, roasting or barbecuing, but I've listed other uses below.


8-10 ripe red peppers
5 Whole Garlic bulbs, cloves peeled
1 cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup chilli oil + some of the chilli flakes
1/4 cup salt
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp sweet paprika


1. Roast the peppers until the skin is black and blistered, and place in a biiiig bowl. Cover with cling film, when cool remove skin. Blend the peppers untill finely blended.

2. Peel the garlic cloves by separating them from the bulb, and placing in a plastic bag. With a rolling pin, and the bag in one hand, beat the garlic. This will enable you to peel them all with ease. Add the other ingredients to the food processor and whiz for 5 minutes or until smooth. Put into sterilized jars and seal. Store in a dark place for up to 2 years.

My Favourite uses for Pimentao
1. Put 3 tbs in a chicken marinade- with slices of lemon and bbq
2. Put 2 tbs in with uncooked rice and stock, with chorizo, safron, peas and carrots for savoury rice
3. Cook 4tbs with bacon and tomato puree and mix with pasta
4. Marinade Pork leg cutlets with white wine, bayleaf and a few tablespoons and roast in the oven with potatoes
5. Use when cooking Bacalhau- Portuguese salt cod

Friday, October 19, 2007

kinoko sakamushi

This Japanese dish translates to something along the lines of Sake Steamed Mushrooms. The delicate flavour of the sake broth is highlighted with a drop of hot wasabi. Although the recipe is not 100% authentic, as the mushrooms are poached in sake-rather than steamed over it- I found my way of making it to be more flavoursome, as the mushrooms impart their earthy juices into the sauce. Really this dish is mostly about expressing the different textures of mushrooms. I find that an essential mushroom to this dish is the King Oyster, it has an abalone-like chewy texture. Serve this warm or room temperature as an entree or with aemono (small vinaeger and dressed dishes) and rice.


8 medium king oyster mushrooms
12 chestnut mushrooms
15 swiss brown mushrooms
1/2 cup sake
1 pinch salt
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp wasabi paste


1. Slice the mushrooms thickly (0.5cm)
2. Boil water, and put mushrooms in for about 4-5 min, you don't want to fully cook them.
3. Reserve 2 ladles of the cooking liquid, and drain the mushrooms.
4. In a bowl put the mushroom liquor, sake, salt and soy sauce.
5. Arrange the mushrooms in small bowls, pour over the sauce so that their in a jacuzzi, but not enough to be drowning in!
6. Dot a tiny drop of wasabi on the top mushroom.

PS: does any one like my iron-chefesque photo? hehe : )

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Rustic Japonaise

A Japonaise is French for damn good coffee meringue cake.

This cake was crunchy, chewy, and reminiscent of tiramisu but not as sharp- it exploits the mellow coffee flavour that you find in coffee with alot of milk and coffee ice creams. The almonds give it a great look and with a dusting of white icing sugar is the perfect finishing flourish. I got the idea for this cake from Europe- who make it with a precision that makes the many layers of meringe meltingly thin, and very neat and tidy. Alas, I cannot provide you with a precise recipe on this cake, as I did not use one at all in making it. Since you're all smart folk, my guidelines below should direct you towards a similar result. Please take note: when making the cream, it must be quite a dense texture, as when you slice into the chewy meringue there is the chance it will all ooze out the sides - if its made with whipped cream and the like.


12 egg whites
Heaps of sugar
2 tsp cream of tartar
{Or just use a plain meringue recipe for above}
Boiled, skinned and ground Almond meal
Almond Extract - 1 tbsp for all layers should be enough.
Lemon Zest, only a little- 1 tsp per layer

Coffee Cream:
Icing sugar
touch of cream
{Or just use a plain buttercream recipe for above}
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp instant espresso mixed with 3-4 tbsp boiled water, strained and cooled

Topping- Slivered Almonds, toasted
Icing sugar


1. Once your meringue (egg whites + sugar) have reached the desired consistency, fold in the almond meal, extract and lemon zest. Mark circles out on two sheets of baking paper, flip over and pile the meringue on. Bake until desired doneness. The longer you leave it, the harder and chewyer it will get. That's a good thing, because it will soften with the cream. Leave in an open oven to cool.

2. At this point, you can make the butter cream. 3/4 way through the process add the espresso and vanilla. You can adjust both to how you wish.

3. When the meringues are cold, layer with butter cream, leaving enough to cover the top layer. Sprinkle with almonds and icing sugar, and refrigerate overnight. Remove 30 min before serving, to soften the cream.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Food Tattoos

Sure, we say we love food. We eat, we cook, we read, we pontificate and we blog. But these fine-feathered food fanatics have taken the next step- and branded food permanently on their bodies. Ranging from interesting and funky (see: little mexican mouse on flying corn cob) to the downright bizzarre (see: nightmare cheeseburger with bulging eyeballs) these tattoos really have you asking yourself: if there was a food tattoo I was going to get- what would it be? Feel free to answer this yourselves.. Although I will probably never get one- due to my very very low pain threshold- many of these tattoos are indeed "guilty of being delicious".

Friday, October 12, 2007

mushu chicken

Here's a good recipe for home-made mushu chicken. Basically its like a stir fry of shredded ingredients served with thin chinese pancakes. You can't really go wrong with any other meat / veggies as long as their chopped finely and fried with egg, cabbage and mushrooms- which tend to be in any mushu's that I've ever eaten. If you don't have the correct pancakes- you can substitute with thin tortillias (shhhh!!!!) but it just ain't the same. This is serious comfort food.


1/2 Wombok cabbage, shredded
2 cups mushrooms- dried/sliced
1 can straw mushrooms
3 eggs
1 can sliced bamboo shoots
3 cups bean sprouts
6 chicken thigh fillets
1/2 cup mirin
4 tbsp soya
4 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp ketchup manis (sweet soy)
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cloves crushed garlic


1. Shred all ingredients finely. Re-hydrate dried and sliced mushrooms in boiling water. Heat the wok with the veggie oil, and throw the chicken in. Toss and brown, then add 2 tbsp soya and garlic.

2. When the chicken is 4/5 cooked through, throw in the mushrooms and bamboo shoots, and the oyster sauce. Stir and fry for a couple minutes. Then add the cabbage, and the bean shoots, along with the mirin, stir quickly and leave to fry without stirring for 2 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, beat the eggs with the ketchup manis. Fry in a separate pan over high heat making a sort of egg-only pancake. Flip and cook other side. Break into small shreds with spatula, and add to the wok.

4. Stir ingredients, there will be a little liquid in the bottom of the wok. You can either drain everything and discard that, or thicken it with 1/2 tbsp of cornstarch with water. Remeber it should be moist but not runny, honey.

Serve with hoisin sauce, long onion pieces cucumber strips on the side, and chinese pancakes of course!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

balsamic lentils

I found these amazing french lentils at D'elish store in Lindfield. When I went for the tasting of my wedding dinner, one of the courses had a confit quail leg sitting on a mound of chewy, flavoursome green lentils. Ever since then the concept has stuck with me, and trust me, these are mind blowing with the fresh orange peel and a great quality balsamic vinegar. For less chewy lentils, cook them slightly longer, but be sure not to overcook or you might invent balsamic dhal. I served this with crispy skinned salmon on mash- the lentils added the perfect amount of acidity and citrus to cut through the richness of the main ingredients.


2 1/2 Cups french green lentils
1 litre Fond de Veau (Veal stock)
1/2 cup aged balsamic vinegar (only the best will do)
3 Orange peelings
1 Whole clove of garlic
2 Bay leafs
1 tbsp ground black pepper


1.Put the lentils and the stock in a pan with a bay leaf and bring to the boil. (do NOT add salt at this point)

2. Boil for 7 minutes, stirring. Then cover the pot, and let it sit for 5-10 minutes until the lentils are just chewable. Strain the stock into another pot, rinse the lentils in cold water and put aside.

3. In the stock, add the pepper, whole garlic clove, balsamic, and bay leaf. Reduce this by at least 1/2, add the orange peelings and salt to taste, and cook for another 3-5 minutes. At this stage it should be a bit syrupy and dark.

4. Strain this and add to the lentils before serving.

NB Vegetable stock can be used for vegetarians

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

hubba hubba

This creamy, strangely satisfying and healthy dip is made from hummous- the lebanese word for chickpeas. In the can you just drain and not cook- but you must cook if your using from dry. Serve with the freshest lebanese breads,drizzle with good quality olive oil, and a pinch of paprika or sumac.


4 cans Chick Peas - drained
1 jar tahini
2 big lemons- just the juice
5 cloves garlic, chopped roughly
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cup greek yoghurt

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Chill
overnight in the fridge.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Bread and Butter Pudding

Here's a snapling of my "rustic" (messy + easy) bread and butter pudding that just brims over with ooey gooey bread and crispy sultanas. If you want you can glaze it after with some warmed apricot jam or honey- but i like it slightly burnt and au naturelle.


6 eggs
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
4 cups full cream milk (2%)
6 crusty bread rolls (like hot dog rolls but not the crap kind)
1/2 cup raisins
3/4 cup rum
50 g butter, sliced thinly


1. Put the raisins in the rum to macerate and plumpen overnight.

2. Whisk eggs, vanilla and sugar in a bowl. Put the milk on to boil.

3. Cut the rolls in 1-inch pieces.

4. Pour the milk slowly into the eggs whisking rapidly. Voila custard.

5. Dunk the bread in the custard, make sure it absorbs a bunch of custard. Place in buttered baking pan, with the brown bits toward the top but on an angle so that you see white too. Fill the whole pan with the soaked bread.

5. Take the slices of butter and insert randomly between bread slices. Do the same with the raisins, sprinkling on top too. Pour over any remaining custard. You can make more if you like it runnier. This recipe makes it just so that the bread sticks together, with no runny custard.

6. Bake at 200 until golden and there are some dark brown bits.

Serve warm with pouring custard, or vanilla ice cream.

Friday, October 05, 2007

little foodies

OK I know this isn't a recipe or review, but look how cute they are!!!! This is an ad for Wrigley's Extra gum, where the food the main character has eaten follows him around all day - literally. The animation is fantastic. I cant wait for them to make actual toys out of these things so they can follow me around too!!

Mustard Pickles

By far my favorite Australian condiment - Mustard Pickles. I finally found some fresh turmeric and decided to put it to good use. These taste sour, sweet, pungent and have a hint of curry that just lifts all the flavours. I like mine chunky so i left the chunks in, but usually its 3/4 blended to form a smooth spreadable paste. Its up to you.

1 Large Daikon (white) Radish
1 large stalk of fresh turmeric (or 1 tbsp dry)
1 large red onion
8 dry black peppercorns
1 tbsp salt
3-4 cups vinegar - depending on the size of ur daikon
2 cups sugar
2 heaped tbsp mustard powder
1 heaps tsp curry powder

1. Peel the daikon and chop into a fine mince. Do the same with the onion. Get a piece of parchment on your board, and peel the end of the turmeric. Wash the peeler straight away. Grate the turmeric on the finest grater you have, and wash the grater straight away (or everything will be stained yellow for life!!)

2. Put all the ingredients in a big pot and pour in the vinegar. It should come 3/4 of the way up the ingredients. Then pu in the peppercorns, salt, and sugar. Turn the heat on low and simmer for 30 min, stirring now and then.

3. You are looking for the sauce to have reduced down and become thicker, and all the pieces should be an even tone of yellow and cooked through. Add a splash more vinegar at this stage and whiz half the mixture in the food processor or with the wand.

4. Let it cool completely in the pot and transfer to glass jars. If you're jarring them they will last for years. But like me if you can't be bothered just put it in a jar and eat it up in the next couple weeks! : )

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Shabu Shabu

I often make shabu-shabu as a quick and easy dinner- the only important bit is having all the ingredients you want in your fridge! At home, in the Japanese culture every family and home has their own favorites as to what they put in their shabu. Firstly- a shabu is a soup, or hotpot cooked on a gas cooker at the table. This way your family can add the raw ingredients as they like and eat them while they cook. So you start with a soup base- which consists of dashi, soya sauce (just a drop), and cooking sake. I like to add mirin for sweetness. This gets boiled up on the stove and transferred to the pan on the little cooker. Next you have raw ingredients, which you put in plates around the cooker. The main staple at all shabus is the paper-thin shaved beef. You can get this at most korean or japanese grocery stores in the freezer section. Don't thaw, because it only takes about 5 minutes to become room temperature. Then I add english spinach cut into 1-inch pieces, same with the long onions, Big hunks of silken tofu, re-hydrated sliced mushrooms (don't try for the whole mushrooms they take forever!) I like to add these but their not typical shabu- fish tubes, sliced fish cake, chopped red chilli, sliced garlic, and sometimes pickles. Experiment with what you love to eat in soups. I served this with bowls of rice and dipping sauces- one soy based and the other sesame based. In japan they have sukiyaki as well, which is served with a raw egg for dipping. Really, the only time it takes is to boil the broth, put the rice cooker on and chop ingredients - which has never taken me more than 20 min all together.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Chairman Meow

I encountered these yum cha catnip toys today while browsing for dumplings. Meowlicious!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Green Olives - DIY

I thought I would post about the olives I make every year when you find them raw in fruit shops. After buying 6 kilos of raw green olives from Woolies in Chullora, I found myself wondering what the heck to do with them. I looked at recipes online and made my own version based on the good bits of maybe 10 recipes... Hope this works for you as well as it has for me. You need 2 Plastic buckets- I use two office paper bins, that have been sterilized by pouring boiling water on the inside. Then you wash the olives well, discarding any with imperfections. You make a vertical cut in each olive, from stem to the base and as deep as the pit. Fill the buckets 2/3 way with water, and in that dissolve 2 cups or so of sea salt. Divide the olives in these containers. With a large plate, face down, push this on the top of the olives until they are all submerged to the bottom with about 2-3 inches of the brine on top. Every night for the next 14 days you have to Pour out all the water, (holding the plate while tipping out the liquid) rinse them with fresh water, then fill again and stir in the 2 cups of salt. Do NOT attempt to eat any untill at least day 12- and even then it will be very bitter. While they ferment, there will be variations in colour and some residue will form on the surface. If when you press the olives and they are really squishy in some areas, these have gone rotten. Check to make sure others havent rotted in the same way- if they have then you must throw the whole thing away. They will get softer, but not disintigrating. When day 14 rolls around, put the olives into jars after rinsing, with no liquid. Then make a brine with 1:1 water to white vinegar, and some salt dissolved in. Boil this and pour into the sterilized jars. The longer you leave this the better they will be! I suggest waiting a minimum of 3 months.

Friday, September 28, 2007

tastes from japan

I made these the other night- tasty cold soba noodle salad (Zaru Soba no Sarada) with loads of mirin and dusted with bonito and shiso powder. Below that is Goma Ae- English spinach drenched in sesame sauce and also served cold. This is part of the aemono group- or "marinated" side dishes. They have so many, but this is a fave, as well as Kinoko Sakamushi. It literally means sake steamed mushrooms- and with a drop of wasabi creates a delicate yet intense dish.


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