Sweet & smokey vegetarian hash

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I am hesistant to name this a “hash” until I learnt the word was derived from the French verb “to chop”.

Hash to me sounds American, but chop I did, and therefore, I suppose, hash I ate.

Ingredients

-4 medium potatoes
-1 red capsicum
-1 eggplant
-2 medium zucchinis
-2 spring onion
-Small handful basil
-1 tbsp sugar
-1 tbsp smoked paprika
-1/2tsp cayenne
-1 tbsp bbq sauce
-1 tbsp Vegetable oil
-salt & pepper
-2 eggs (optional)

Method

1. Chop up first four ingredients into roughly 1-1.5 cm cubes.
2. Chop up spring onions into about 1cm lengths. Finely chop some of the green end to garnish and set aside.
3. Finely chop basil.
4. Heat up vegetable oil in pan over medium-high heat.  Add in potatoes, spring onions and sugar, and cook for 4 minutes. Tip- Try not to stir too often – let them sit still for a couple of minutes to get some colour before stirring.
5. Add in zucchini, capsicum and eggplant and heat.
6. Stir in smoked paprika, cayenne and bbq sauce and cook until zucchini and eggplant have cooked and slightly softened.
7. Toss in basil and season generously.
8. (Optional). Crack some eggs in a hot pan until just cooked – sunny side up works well. Season and plonk on top of veg. Sprinkle over a little basil for style.

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Steamed veggie wontons with broth and rice noodle

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Ingredients

Wontons
-2 tsp sesame oil
-1-2 tsp ginger, minced
-1 tsp garlic, minced
-1 green chilli, finely sliced
-150g tofu
-1 bunch bok choy,stems finely sliced (reserve leaves for broth)
-1 handful bean spouts
-1 carrot, shredded
-3 spring onions, finely sliced (reserve green tops gor broth)
-1 generous handful shiitake, rehydrated, then finely sliced
-1 generous handful back fungus, rehydrated
-1 tsp each salt & pepper
-1 tsp oyster sauce

Soup
-2 cups veggie stock
-handful spring onion greens (leftover from wontons)
-2 tsp soy sauce (I ran out so used 1/2 tsp promite!)
-1/2tsp garlic, minced
-1/2 tsp chilli flakes
-1 tsp rice wine vinegar
-shiitake and fungus soaking water (leftover from wontons)
-bok choy leaves (leftover from wontons)
-small handful bean spouts
-pinch of salt and pepper
-fried shallots to decorate
-handful of coriander/basil
-rice noodle

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Method

Wontons
1. Prep all the veg and put fungus and shiitake in a small bowl of boiling water and allow to soak.
2. Heat sesame oil, ginger, garlic and chilli in pan until soft and fragrant.
3. Crumble tofu onto pan and cook until colour begins to lightly brown.
4. Give the bok choy, bean spouts, carrot and spring onions a good squeeze to remove excess water then add veg to pan.
5. Carefully spoon off about 2/3 cup of the shiitake and fungus soaking water from the top of the bowl. (Try not to disturb any sediment at the bottom of the bowl.) Drain the rest of the shiitake and fungus, give them a quick rinse and squeeze. Add most to pan (leave a little for broth).
6. Add salt, pepper and oyster sauce. Give a quick stir and transfer filling into a bowl. Allow to cool.
7. Spoon a tsp (give or take) of filling into wonton wrappers. Pinch the top to close.
8. Steam wontons for approx 6 minutes. Set aside and keep warm until all wontons are cooked.

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Soup
1. Rinse nooodles and cook as per instructions on pack. (Usually a soak in boiling water for a few minutes is suitable.)
2. Add all ingredients except fried shallots and coriander/basil to pot or microwave-safe bowl and cook for a few minutes to release flavours.
3. Test the broth and add extra salt, pepper or chill if desired.

To serve:
1. Fill bowls with rice noodle,  top with wontons (however many you want!), and spoon over broth with veg.
2. Top with coriander/basil and fried shallots.
3. Enjoy while steaming hot!!

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Chinese Steam Buns – Baozi

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When I was maybe 12 years old I told my mum about a dream that I’d had a few times.

I would be in a restaurant and be served these little white balls of sweet dough with yummy filling. I dreampt of coloured patty pans or little squares of paper upon which sat delicious and surreal savoury morsels and luscious sweets.

“Like a yum cha restaurant?” my mum asked.

You mean such a place is REAL??

I soon learnt (or re-learnt) about the magic of yum cha and dim sum. I found out that I had been to yum cha restaurants quite a few times as a young child.

This dream wasn’t just my imagination; it was a memory!

And so Chinese steam buns or xiaolongbao or baozi aren’t simply a bun to me, they are special; they have that childish wonder to them, where dreams can come true.

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I followed this recipe.

I let my dough rest longer than I would have liked – got a little sidetracked making macaron filling. Consequently my dough was oozing out of the bowl…

I used half of the dough to fill with egg custard, and the othed half for something savoury.

For the savoury filling, I used this recipe as inspiration.

I used commom cabbage (not Chinese cabbage), sliced it finely and cooked it in the microwave with a dash of water for about 4 minutes.

I also added in a small handful each of dried shiitake (finely sliced) and black fungus, which I rehydrated by soaking in a bowl of boiling water for 5 minutes. Drained the fungi and finely sliced the shiitake.

Also finely sliced some bok choy and added that to the mix.

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I forgot to let the filled buns rest before steaming,  but they still turned out fine.

The savoury buns were great with a bit of soy dipping sauce.

And the egg custard buns were just like my dreams!  Soft and fluffy dough, and tender custard filling.

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To be savoured and shared 🙂

Mac ‘n’ cheese with Sun-Dried Toms & Smoked Paprika

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Yeahhhh a little naughty, but hey – every now and then is okay! Plus cheese = calcium. As does cream….. Mmmmmm 🙂

Ingredients

-1.5 cups cream
-2/3 cup milk
-3 big handfuls of grated cheddar
-3 handfuls freshly grated parmesan
-2 big handfuls sun-dried toms sliced (squeeze out most of the oil)
-1 handful dry crackers crushed (I used Coles cracked pepper water crackers)
-salt and pepper (a generous pinch or two)
-3 tsp smoked paprika and a dash more to sprinkle on top
-1 handful finely chopped parsley
-1 cup cooked peas
-400-500g pasta (macaroni makes sense!)

Method

1. Make pasta as per usual. (Boil in salted water until al dente). Drain, quick rinse in luke-warm water, set aside. Crank the oven nice and hot (about 200 C).

2. Boil cream and milk briefly, then remove from heat. Add in majority of both cheeses (leave some to sprinkle on top). Stir until melted and magical.

3. Add in salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Stir.

4. Add pasta to cheesey goodness and stir. Taste test. Season again to taste if necessary.

5. Tip pasta into oven-proof dish. Scatter sun-dried toms and peas and gently stir/poke at it so some toms and peas mix in and some stay on top.

6. Sprinkle with remaining cheese, crumbled crackers,  parsley and then some extra smoked paprika. I also placed three sun-dried toms on top to decorate.

7. Whack in oven until hot and until crunchy cheesey top is lightly browned. (15 mins give or take).

8. Take out of oven and let it sit for 5 mins before serving. (This allows the sauce to solidify slightly).

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Mmmmmmm smells delicious and tastes even better. Enjoy! !

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Korean Pancakes – Pajun (Pajeon)

Korean pancakes! Inspired by this recipe.

My shredder worked wonders on the potatoes! I added red capsicum, which I attempted to shred and sent bits of red mush and capsicum chunks flying.

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I made the batter a little thick to begin with. I added in extra flour having thought the batter looked to thin, especially given the amount of liquid produced by the veg.

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The sauce was yum – intense and salty, but went very well with the pancakes and was needed.

I substituted poppy seeds for sesame (odd I know!) And had to use chilli powder instead of fresh or flaked chilli (having used the last of both the night before attempting to make a dog repellant – which failed by the way – turns out my dogs enjoy the taste of chilli…).

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My first pancake was quite thick, so I added in more water for the rest. Took approximately 5-6 minutes each side on a medium to medium-high heat.

I sliced the pancakes up into wedges and served with a side salad of carrot, spring onion, bok choy, bean sprouts with a light drizzle of sesame oil and soy. The crunch of the salad went very well.

Sat outside on a warm and humid evening with a glass of bubbles and a fresh Korean feast.

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Bun chay (Vietnamese noodle salad)

I think the last time I made a Vietnamese salad prior to this occasion was in year 7. I remember a school project where I was assigned the country Vietnam. 

I made a poster and everyone had to bring in a food from their assigned country to share. I chose a vermicelli noodle salad, I think with beef if I recall correctly.

The current salad was meat-free (as I’m now a veggo). I used this recipe as my guide.

Unfortunately my husband dislikes coriander/cilantro and, to some degree, mint,  so I substituted basil (which I had bought fresh and since frozen). (I grew up with a backyard overgrown with coriander and l♡ve it!!)

Had much trouble finely slicing/shredding the veg, even with my newly purchased vietnamese chef-endorsed shredder…. I then tried my julienne slicer and sent a carrot flying acrossthe kitchen….
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I also added some finely sliced bok choy – yum!

Made it in a large dish and then served it into individual bowls. I added the dressing at the last minute. I put in one tiny chilli (de-seeded) and it gave a real buzz – love my chilli!
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Plenty of flavour and super fresh. Looking forward to further Vietnamese meals.

Leftovers tonight! Yes! 🙂

My Ugly ‘Rons

Baked my first batch of macarons today. Followed this recipe, which was very well-written.

One variation I made was adding in 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste prior to folding.

I didn’t have a piping bag or nozzle so used a zip seal bag, which resulted in slightly oval macarons!

I also didn’t give my tray a good bang on the bench before baking,  which I later learnt helps reduce cracking.

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Had my oven on 150 degrees C (fan forced oven but on non-fan setting) for a touch over the recommended time.

Top tray was placed in the upper-mid shelf of my oven. I made the error of putting my second tray in at the same time,  which resulted in some cracking and no feet (the thin bubbly lip/base of macaron). I presume this was because of the oven temp being too low.

Next time I will half bake the top tray then move to a lower shelf,  and then put the second tray where the top tray was.

Top tray baked quote well. No cracks, but feet maybe a little large.  I think next time I will turn oven temp up 5 to 10 degrees. A little lumpy too – perhaps just a fraction more folding before I pipe the ‘rons.

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Filling: standard buttercream icing to start. I then added in a few drips of pink food dye, a couple of tbsp strawberry jam and a handful of white chocolate melted. I fridged the icing before filling.

Taste: my husband’s eyes lit up and a smile crept across his face. Much better than I expected.  Fragile and light, but crisp and chewy. Delish!!

Quinoa & pomegranate salad with candied walnuts

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Ingredients:

Handful walnuts
3 tbsp Brown sugar
2 tsp Cinnamon
Good pinch Paprika
Pinch Salt
Olive oil

Sun-dried tomatoes (thin strips)
Cherry tomatoes (halved)
Handful parsley (finely chopped)
Pomegranate – seeds and juice
Handful dried cranberries
Handful slivered almonds
Handful pumpkin seeds
3 tbsp Linseeds
3 tbsp quick oats

Quinoa (+ boiling water)
Squeeze lemon juice
Salt & pepper

Method:
Mix top 6 ingredients in pan over low heat for 10 minutes or until walnuts lightly browned. Take off heat.

Make quinoa according to instructions. I microwaved mine.

Let quinoa cool a bit.

Mix remaining ingredients in bowl. Smash walnuts up into bite-sized pieces and add to salad.

Season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Add extra cinnamon if feeling festive 🙂