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Somerset Maugham

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Entries in soy (4)

Monday
May092016

Banh mi, Sydney style

I was so excited when I first saw bahn mi in London. They were one of my favourite lunches when I was a growing up in Sydney. There was a Vietnamese bakery next to my school where most kids used to load up on doughnuts and cream cakes. I preferred to spend my pocket money on 'Vietnamese pork rolls'.

For $2.50 you could get a Vietnamese baguette slathered with pate and mayo, crammed full of cold pork cuts, salad and pickles and finished with soy sauce, a few sprigs of coriander and a sprinkling of chilli. 

I have found few places in London that make them like this, perhaps because the French and Asian flavours sound like such a bizarre combination. Actually, I think that’s what makes it unique and interesting. It speaks to Vietnam’s colonial heritage and is a great example of fusion cuisine that really works.

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Sunday
Jan082012

Pork and prawn wontons with coriander and water chestnuts

Happy New Year everyone! With New Year comes resolutions and one of mine is to start cooking again and writing about it.

I spoke to my Dad this morning and he was telling me about a rendang curry recipe he has been working on. I told him he ought to write it up for my blog,

“It’s been ages since you wrote me a post, Dad”

“It’s been ages since you wrote a recipe; when are you going to finish with South America? I’m bored.”

So am I.

“I’ve been busy, Dad. You know, finding a job, moving house and with Mum and Cha here. Plus I still had stuff I wanted to write about... I am going to start writing recipes again soon though.”

“When?”

“Today!”

So here I am.

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Wednesday
Mar092011

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Sticky apple balsamic spare ribs... sort of

I say ‘sort of’ because when one reads the name of a dish in the title of a post, one probably expects to find the named ingredients to be central to the dish. I am sure Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall thinks they are, but I do not have apple balsamic to hand in my cupboard. Indeed I have never in my life come across it. I imagine most people are in the same position.

Actually a quick search on the internet suggests that I have been living a somewhat sheltered existence. The fact that I have never seen apple balsamic in any supermarket does not mean it is not widely spread and abundant. Those two words produced no fewer than 1,200,000 results on Google. In fact, I could quite easily have purchased it online a few days earlier had I done this simple search then not now, post-making, cooking, eating.

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Thursday
Nov182010

Chinese crisp-roasted pork belly with soy and ginger dressing, steamed pak choi and rice

WOWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! This was good.

On Monday I promised to share the recipe for the crispy pork belly that went down so well with the smoky eggplant and chilli relish. Those of you who read that post might be surprised that the relish is not included in the title. My dinner guest, Katy, may beg to differ (she was rather taken by the relish), but I think the recipe has enough going for it as a standalone dish. Of course the relish made it all the more special, but it would have been pretty damn fine without it. 

The recipe for the pork is another from Stephanie Alexander’s trusty tome, The Cook’s Companion. I had made crispy roast pork belly in the past, but was looking for an Asian twist. Alexander’s method is much the same as my own, except that she boils the pork belly for two minutes before marinating and salting it.  I am not sure why this helps, but it seems to work wonders for the crackling, which was the crispiest I have ever achieved. As my colleague Thomasin said when I told her about it, “If I'm going to eat fatty pork (which is one of life's greatest pleasures), I want a nice crisp skin on it.” Agreed. 

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