Archive for March, 2013

Defacing Fish Soup

Posted in asian, cabbage, crossover, fish sticks, noodles, soup, stock, vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2013 by oskila

Today’s dish is a very fishy soup. I was trying to think up something that would involve the Hong-Kong style shrimp noodles that had found their way into my kitchen. I didn’t feel like going to the store again to get proper fish, so I dug some fish sticks out of the freezer.

sticks

Just putting straight up fish sticks in a soup would quite likely be a horrible experience, so I quickly fried them and peeled the breading off (It’s the breading that’s good anyway). When I was a kid, fish sticks were white on the inside, but I guess that with Atlantic cod population plummeting, pollock or something was a better alternative.

veggies

These noodles are wheat noodles flavored with a bit of shrimp. New to me, but seem tasty. Here they are cooked and put in a bowl together with Chinese cabbage, carrots and garlic sprouts. (Yes, there’s been a lot of cabbage and sprouts recently, but that’s what happens when one wants to use everything up)

fish

Former fish sticks sitting in a pot of boiled broth containing katsuobishi dashi (made from fish flakes) and a dash of rice vinegar. After a while the pieces started to float, so I assumed that they were done, especially since they already had been cooked once.

soup

Pot tipped into bowl and soup done.

We’re frying salad now?

Posted in asian, cabbage, meatballs, rice with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 20, 2013 by oskila

Here in Sweden, Chinese cabbage (or nappa cabbage, or napa cabbage) is mostly encountered in a salad bowl, but in Korea it’s commonly used for kimchi (i.e. fermented and spiced) and in China the seeds are pressed for cooking oil. It’s also used in stir fries in many stir-frying countries, something which seems pretty far fetched to a Swedish palate.

I had to try it of course and whipped up a lunch box, containing fried rice, garlic sprouts and Chinese cabbage. In the end I added some prefab meatballs to get more protein in there. It wasn’t bad at all and I recognized the texture, so I think I must have had it on occasion in a box of Thai or Chinese take-away.

Super ugly phone photo today, because I was in a hurry.

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Eight Minute Lunch Box

Posted in asian, condiments, eggs, noodles, okra, vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2013 by oskila

Tram to work leaves in half an hour, you forgot to pack lunch the night before and the takeaway opportunities at work are sketchy at best? Fear not. Do like this:

1. Put on kettle with just enough water to soften a block of noodles.

2. Heat a pan

3. Chop some garlic sprouts and put in pan with oil. Add some kind of spice that benefits from a bit of sizzling, like Sichuan pepper.

4. Toss some frozen okra in the same pan. Be careful, because the oil will not like this at all and end up everywhere.

5. When the kettle is boiling, pour water over noodles in bowl.

6. Keep stirring pan.

7. Drain noodles and add to pan. Season some more.

8. When the sear on the okra is satisfactory, scrape everything into a box.

9. Fry an egg and put in the box.

10. Finishing touches such as condiments.

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The lunch in all its glory. I got hold of some Taiwanese wheat noodles that are spinach flavored according to the label, but only contain flour, water, salt and food coloring E102 and E133. Those colorants happen to be Tartrazine and Brilliant Blue FCF, both of which are synthesized from petroleum and may be harmful to people with allergies or asthma (And therefore used to be forbidden in Sweden until the EU made a fuss) The two condiment dollops are ssamjang (top) and sambal oelek (bottom).

All of this can be done inside eight minutes. Remove the egg (and perhaps add more vegetables) and you’ll have a vegan lunch instead.

A Quick Pie Tip

Posted in british, cheese, eggs, ground beef, leftovers, mushroom, pie, potato, stew with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2013 by oskila

Here’s a suggestion for what to do with lots of leftover bolognese sauce if you happen to have a bag of instant mashed potatoes around the house. Make a pie not dissimilar to the traditional shepherd’s. Instant mash is a terrible thing to do to potatoes, but quite handy for those days when fancy or wholesome or tasty aren’t the top priorities.

Since I had not only half a pot of bolognese sauce, but also quite a lot of button mushrooms, I whipped up a bit of mushroom stew to layer in between the meat sauce and the mash lid.

I substituted at least half of the water used for a four helping bag of mash for cream and eggs, and also added a cup or so of grated cheese.

30 minutes in the oven should do it, since most of the ingredients are already cooked and a nice crisp surface is the most important bit.

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For some reason a piece of mushroom found its way to the top of the pie, and removing it after baking would have looked odd.

More Noodly Frolicking: Soba

Posted in asian, cabbage, condiments, crossover, discount, eggs, japanese, korean, mushroom, noodles, preserve, side dish, vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 11, 2013 by oskila

As said before, I got hold of a lot of interesting stuff at that Asian store recently. One of them was Soba noodles, which are made with buckwheat (perhaps something for gluten sensitives to look into?) In addition, the little supermarket on the way to work had dirt cheap button mushrooms. Like so often before, the resulting food is  some kind of general fusion of Japanese and Korean, interpreted by someone with limited actual experience of either.

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Frying up a considerable amount of sliced mushrooms, along with a bit of carrots, shallots, garlic sprouts and a little bit of celery

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Plop slightly undercooked noodles into pan. Season a bit, with for example light soy and Worcestershire sauce (sitting in for mirin. That stuff is really expensive)

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Served up with a fried egg and a knob of ssamjang. For a proper Korean meal one should have kimchi. I didn’t feel like doing a weekend of fermenting napa cabbage, so I cheated a bit and just pickled some white cabbage. Just mix up one part distilled vinegar with two parts sugar and three parts water. Add salt, chili and garlic to taste and chuck in cabbage, onions or whatever tickles your fancy. The resulting condiment could be regarded as something halfway between Korean kimchi and Japanese tsukemono.

Shrimped Spaghetti

Posted in mediterranean, pasta, shellfish, vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 9, 2013 by oskila

Here’s a really quick and simple pasta dish I had recently and subsequently altered slightly.

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Sauté finely chopped garlic and shallots.

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Cook some spaghetti or other pasta of your choice and then give it a quick sizzle together with the garlic and shallots.

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Plate and add shrimp, olives and garlic bread. I also sprinkled a pinch of chili flakes to add some zing.

With proper planning, the dish can be done inside the time it takes to bring water to a boil and cook the pasta. I’m thinking that it could be served as a starter just as well as a reasonably elegant lunch or a simple but tasty main course.

Clearance Stew: Gumbo-inspired Muck

Posted in american, cabbage, cajun, crossover, discount, ground beef, leftovers, mushroom, okra, peppers, sausage, stew, stock with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2013 by oskila

It was one of those days when the leftovers and odds and ends reached critical mass. A number of loose food ends that are at risk of going bad unless they’re chucked out (which is very unfashionable these days) or made into a clearance stew (a.k.a. fridge stew). Such stews can take any number of directions, depending on what it is that you’ve forgotten behind the eggs and the jam. The deciding factor for me was probably the bag of okra pods in the freezer. I bought them just because I could, with only a vague idea that they’re used for thickening in Cajun cooking. As per usual, I knew very little about the dish I was going to get inspired by, in this case gumbo. Apart from okra I seemed to recall that onions, celery and green peppers were important, and that it was supposed to be fairly spicy. From there it was touch and go.

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Leftover spanish chorizo, beef stock cubes, ground beef (bought just before Christmas, frozen and forgotten) green bell pepper, the last bit of savoy cabbage, shallots, carrots, cured sausages of some kind, red chili pepper, mushrooms, garlic, onion, celery and okra. Since the main protein is ground beef, this dish can at most be Cajun-inspired or have a hint of Louisiana, but my intention wasn’t to make actual gumbo, but rather to make a stew that’d last all week.

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Chopped onions, carrots, garlic, celery, peppers and chili. Whole shallots.

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Beef, mushrooms, cabbage, cured sausage and chorizo added

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Stock and okra go in, along with some herbs and a bit of tomato paste

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A couple of hours of slow simmering produces half a gallon of swamp-like stew. Way tastier than it looks.

 

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