Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tofu Hot Pot – Sort of (เต้าหู้อบหม้อดินแปลง)


Bob is not very keen on tofu – but I like it if it is cooked in the right ways. Tofu is bland so it will need other strong flavour or flavours to go with it. I used to go to one particular Thai restaurant on Bondi Beach in Sydney when I lived in Australia many, many years ago. They did Laarb Tofu (Spicy Tofu Salad Thai Style) which was very yummy. Hot Pot Tofu is another favourite of mine – I don’t have any Chinese clay pot so I use my cast iron casserole instead. The recipe below is ample for one hungry person as a complete meal or just enough as light meal for 2 without rice accompaniment.

150 - 200 grams chicken meat, sliced or chopped roughly
350 grams medium firm Tofu (mine comes in a packet of two blocks and 1 block is around 370 grams), cut into bite size pieces
70 grams button mushrooms, sliced
70 grams broccolini or broccoli, chopped into chunks
1 spring onion, cut into 3 or 4 lengths and julienned lengthwise
2 cloves garlic, chopped or minced
2 slices root ginger, chopped or minced
4-5 teaspoons of corn flour
½ cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Salt and pepper (you might not need the salt)
A few drops of sesame oil
Oil for frying

Heat the oil in deep frying pan for shallow frying. Pat dry tofu pieces and dredge them in corn flour (preserve the left over to thicken up the sauce later) and fry on medium high heat until golden. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside.


Par-boil or steam broccoli until just cooked but still crispy. Heat a little bit of oil in the casserole and fry garlic and ginger until fragrant, add chicken to brown. Add sauces, stir to combine then add mushrooms and chicken stock. Bring to the boil and add broccoli. Mix the remaining corn flour with a little bit of water and add the mixture to the pot/casserole. Stir quickly to combine and add a few drops of sesame oil, if the sauce becomes too thick just add a little bit more water, adjust the taste, add salt if needed. Add fried tofu and cover the pot with lid, turn the heat down and let it simmer for 5 minutes.

Transfer to the plate and garnish with pepper and slice spring onion. Bon appétit.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Not Quite Early (Bird) but Good Timing

We just had our lawn mowed late one morning and I spotted this bird from my office window.


And it got a big fat worm for brunch.

Friday, October 26, 2012

I can be Gorgeous too

You can call me loyal – I am totally yours, food or no food (although food will make me much happier). This is what Bonnie thinks or at least it is what I think she thinks. 

She loves us, no doubt, but she also loves food and we have to put her on constant diet (sort of). It must be a kind of Borg inside her head telling her that resistant is futile when there is food in front of her!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Braised Pork Chops in Apple Cider

Bob watched Food TV the other night when a rerun of Rick Stein’s Food Heroes was on. He saw this pork chops and cider that Mr Stein was talking about and ask me to cook this dish.

I looked through Rick Stein’s book that Bob bought me some years ago and even googled for his recipe to no avail so I had to pick and mix several recipes on the net together for the outcome that was not too bad. Bob said it was nice so I think it might have worked to some degrees.

2 pieces of biggish Pork Chops, rind removed and fat trimmed
400 mil Apple Cider
½ onion sliced
2 teaspoons flour
Salt and pepper
1 tsp chopped parsley or coriander

Score both sides of the chops and rub well with salt and pepper. Fry the chops on medium high heat in thick bottom pan (with lid) until nicely brown. Remove from heat and set aside. Brown the onion lightly in the same pan and add half of the cider and stir well. Place the pork chops back in the pan and add the rest of the cider. Simmer gently with the lid on for half an hour to 40 minutes. Remove the meat from the pan and wrap in foil to keep warm. Bring the juice in the pan to the boil. If the sauce is too thin, reduce to about ¾ or half and season well with more salt and pepper. Mix flour with a bit of water and add to the pan to thicken up the sauce. Boil further until the flour is cooked, add chopped coriander and remove from heat. Serve pork chops with the sauce on top. This dish goes nicely with roast or mashed potatoes and steamed broccolini.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Queen Pip

Am I gorgeous, much? I reckon this is what cats in general think. They are so in love with themselves and sometimes we, the mere mortals, are gifted with a little bit of their interest especially when there is food involved. Then they would come down from their pedestal to grace us with their meows and purrs.Suckers, aren't we?

Friday, October 19, 2012

My Favourite Thai Restaurant

Last Saturday Bob, Barbara and I went to the Thai restaurant on Dominion Road where we had the above deep fried chicken wings with hot sauce.

Zap is my most favourite Thai restaurant in Auckland. I have known the owner way back when Zap was in the Asian Food Court on Albert Street. Long gone the food court stall, now she and her husband own 3 Zap restaurants around Auckland, all are very busy and successful. I have never been to other Zaps and am quite comfortable with their Dominion Road joint. I think Barbara enjoyed it too. 

That evening, we had chicken wings and curry puffs as our starters, for mains we had Whole Deep Fried Snapper with Sweet Chilli Sauce, Hot and Sour Chicken Soup with Coconut Milk (Tom Kha Gai) and my Rice Sticks with Chicken and Vegetables. IMHO, the crispy chicken has been Zap’s flagship dish for a long time since my Day 1 with Zap. We came home very happy.