Tag Archives: food

how to prepare Chinese vegetable e.g. ‘Choi Sum’

To my surprise, my steam fish recipe has become the most popular post for over 2 weeks. The hit rate is way ahead (> x2)  than my 2nd top post.

This is very encouraging and pleasing indeed, it shows a lot of people are interested in chinese cooking. I have an impression that in Europe, e.g. Switzerland, among different Asian cuisines, Japanese and Thai food have become more and more popular but not really Chinese food.

This time I want to introduce some basics, a lot of you may have come across a lot of different chinese vegetables in the Chinese groceries but feel hesistant to buy because you have no clue how to prepare and cook them.
Choi Sum is one of the Chinese vegetables we eat very often in South of China.

Here is how Choi Sum would look like: those grown in Europe (Fig. 1a), the ones grown in China are much shorter (Fig. 2b) and sometimes you will see some yellow flowers on it (we do not eat the flowers, so pick them out).

Fig. 1 Choi Sum bought in Europe

Fig. 1a Choi Sum grown in Europe

Fig. 1b How Chow Sum looks like for those grown in China

Fig. 1b Chow Sum directly imported from China (bought in Nieuwmarkt, Amsterdam)

This is how we prepare it at home before cooking :

  1. Half fill the kitchen sink with cold water
  2. Using your hand but not a knife, break the choi sum into pieces of about 7cm or 3 inches each and soak in the water (Fig.2) for 20mins or so  (I was taught that it does not taste as good if you cut into pieces using knife, I suppose this is mainly due to our tradition)
  3. Put your hand in the water and grab a small portion and give a few stir (circular movements)  in the water to remove any soil or insects. Pay more attention on the root ends that there is no soil stick to them.
  4. Repeat Step 3 if the vegetables is rather soiled.
  5. Drain the washed vegetable in a colander or sieve.
  6. You can now cook the vegetable, for example stir-fried with meat or simply boil them in a pan for 5 mins and add some soy sauce and oyster sauce on top (Fig. 3).

Note. At home, I always just boil the vegetables (even eat without sauces) for weight mangement purpose as Choi Sum contains a lot of fibre and my other dishes would contain oil already. It may not be the most tasty recipe but certainly the best method to keep fit.

 

Fig. 2 Choi Sum in pieces soaked in water

Fig. 2 Choi Sum in pieces soaked in water

 

Fig. 3 Boiled Choi Sum with Oyster Sauce

Fig. 3 Boiled Choi Sum with Oyster Sauce

The same method also applies to Pak Choi, a Chinese vegetable which is probably more familar to you.

early summer delight: “absolutely fabulous raspberry fool (Plan A)”

In Switzerland, it is quite common to have your own vegetable & fruit garden. I am naive in gardening but I am learning everyday. Last summer, we had our self-grown beans and they really tasted much better than those from the supermarkets. It was an exciting experience for a city girl like me to see how the beans are still hanging on the plant before they are picked (please see pictures at the bottom of page). We also had a grape tree which we had made bottles of grape syrup.  So organic ……… : )

 

as seen in #22396 TasteSpotting/ 24.09.08 & #5874 foodgawker/ 25.09.08

This year we had two harvests of raspberries so far , I have made an absolutely fabulous and easy-to-make raspberry fool  dessert from a recipe of my neighbour, Philly. She is also our gardening consultant, by the way. Last year, I tried it at her place that it was so unforgetable that I have to try out myself this year.

 

 

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 600g rasberry  (Fresh or Frozen)
  • 500g quark
  • 500g mascarpone
  • milk 80ml
  • 8 tbsp brown sugar

 

Method:

  1. If you use fresh raspberries, dissolve a few generous spoonfuls of salt in a big bowl of water, then place the berries in the bowl and leave them there for 20 mins or so to get rid of all the insects which may still be hidding in the fruits. 
  2. Discard the salt water and rince the berries in cold water. Reserve a small portion of the raspberries aside for garnish in the end.
  3. Mix the raspberries and brown sugar in a mixing bowl and let them to macerate for 10 mins.
  4. Chill in the fridge for 30 mins, then squash the rasberries with a fork. Your raspberry should look like a puree now. The beauty of this recipe is that it is so clean that you will not need a blender at all as the raspberries are so soft.
  5. Mix in the quark and mascapone with the puree, then slowly add in the milk. The purpose of the milk is to make the dessert less thick. You can adjust the thickness as you wish by controlling the amount of milk added. If there is a lot of juice come out of the raspberries, you can leave the milk out.
  6. You can now spoon the raspberry mixture evenly into your favorite glasses. Garnish with the reserved berries on top. 

 

Swiss Bündner Gerstensuppe (Barley Soup)

This is a Swiss soup very popular in the Swiss mountains. I take this soup for lunch every time when I go skiing. I like it a lot as it is tasty, good in fibre and nutritious, also the soup is not creamy which is suitable after doing some sports. Barley’s claim to nutritional fame is based on its being a very good source of fiber and selenium, and a good source of phosphorus, copper and manganese. Not sure if it is true of not, barley is also said to be good for skin beauty. I think it is because if your digestion is healthy, it will in turn improves your skin condition too.

I like the soup so much that I want to try it at home. This is a recipe from my Swiss friend, Caroline.

 

Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 big onion (or 2 small ones)
  • 300g carrots
  • 1 leek column
  • 1 small celery
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 100g barley, soaked and drained
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 250g smoked ham (Würfeli, if you can get)
  • 2 pieces of Bündner raw or smoked raw bacon (optional)*
  • 100g of anhydrous haricot beans
  • 1 cup of chicken or beef stock
  • 2.5 litres of water

 

Method:

  1. Soak the barley and beans separately in large bowls of water for 4-6 hours.
  2. Chop finely the onion, leek, celery and carrots.
  3. Sauté the chopped onion, leek, carrots and celery in a big pan with olive oil until lightly soften. Add the smoked ham and sauté for 5 mins in medium heat.
  4. Transfer the sautéd ingredients into a soup pot and add in the anhydrous beans, barley and bay leaves.
  5. Pour in the chicken stock and water and bring to boil for 5 mins, then simmer in medium heat for 2 hours.
  6. Season with salt and pepper, ready to serve.

* I opt-out the bacon personally because I want to keep the soup low-fat. 

 

 

peameal bacon sandwich: the closest to ‘ham’burger ???

Last week when I was in Toronto, I have a few good hours in St Lawrence Market. It was good that I have picked Saturday as this day you see most people and the atmosphere is just great. On Saturdays, starting from 5am, there is a farmers’ market which sell fresh food directly from their farms. As a food lover, I was just fascinated to see all kinds of specialty food stores. Rube’s is one of my most favorite stores, they have all types of flours and rice. Click for full photo album

I would like to highlight the peameal bacon sandwich from Carousel Bakery  which I had for lunch that day. I read from the internet that you must visit this bakery and I was wondering what so special about it. When I passed by I saw many people just sat at the bench eating the sandwiches. Normally I don’t like bacon very much but seeing so many people trying and with curiosity I bought one and sat on the bench and ate it there. Surprisingly, it really tasted delicious, the peameal bacon was tender, not salty nor oily at all and the warm soft bun tasted unique. The portion was just right, didn’t feel stuffed. Since normal hamburger does not contain ham but beef, at least the peameal bacon is from pork and its color looks like ham. Therefore in my opinion, I would think the peameal bacon sandwich should be considered to be the closest to hamburger. If you visit Toronto, this is surely a MUST-TRY food item!!!

 

what is ‘paidol’?

wheat semonlina

I like going to supermarkets to discover all kinds of things. Since baking bread is my new hobby, I have tried to understand different types of flour here in Switzerland as the flour types and grading varies from country to country. One day I found a pack called PAIDOL in the flour column, I asked my Swiss friend and even she does not know what it is. There is not much information too in the internet so I thought this may be interesting to those who loves cooking or baking and you may find it in food specialty shop in your own country?

From its own website, I found some background and attempted to translate to English.

  • Paidol has more than 100 years, a traditional, proven Aids for shrewd cooks and chefs.
  • Paidol is a kind of durum wheat semolina very fine allowing the dough to better lift.
  • Paidol is not only a kitchen classics, but also high nutritional. It is, as in ancient times, with success in the small children’s nutrition as well as diet and Light foods. Paidol is also an ideal food as basis for small babies.
  • Thanks to the special composition, Paidol is a kitchen helper, it can bind to all kinds of loose dough loosely. Paidol binds soups and sauces, creams, puddings and desserts and loosens Knöpfli, homemade noodles, Soufflés, Purées, omelets.
  • Paidol consists mainly of Swiss-wheat semolina, the strength also consists valuable addition to protein and fatty substances. Beigemischt is Hirsegriess, an important building material for bone and hair growth, and wheat germ with valuable vitamins and trace elements.

I found a vintage version of Paidol’s recipe book dated in 1924 written in German.

 

Here is the current pdf version of the paidol-recipes found in its website but only in French or German.

Here is my yogurt bread with oatmeal & Paidol, please follow link.

homemade bread why not called 'handmade' bread

After uploading numerous cooking images in Facebook, I would like to give a go to write my blog. This gives more space for me to write. I know it requires a lot of time and commitment but you got to start from somewhere isn’t it?
Bread baking is my new hobby but I think I got the grasp of it nicely. Funny enough, I seem to like it more than baking cakes. Less fattening I suppose and bread is part of the stable diet in Europe. There are just so many variations you can make to your dough. I have restrained myself to get a bread machine and it’s more special to have handmade bread. Everything handmade is more precious anyway, agree? Oh! just realise I am using the word ‘handmade’. I was thinking of using my hands working on the dough. All of a sudden I am wondering why we always call ‘homemade’ bread but not ‘handmade’ bread, could it be because not to mix up with “handmade bags”? Sorry I love BAGS too!!! Probably this hobby will enable me to buy fewer bags but to make more breads…….or BAGuettes.

homemade bread why not called ‘handmade’ bread

After uploading numerous cooking images in Facebook, I would like to give a go to write my blog. This gives more space for me to write. I know it requires a lot of time and commitment but you got to start from somewhere isn’t it?
Bread baking is my new hobby but I think I got the grasp of it nicely. Funny enough, I seem to like it more than baking cakes. Less fattening I suppose and bread is part of the stable diet in Europe. There are just so many variations you can make to your dough. I have restrained myself to get a bread machine and it’s more special to have handmade bread. Everything handmade is more precious anyway, agree? Oh! just realise I am using the word ‘handmade’. I was thinking of using my hands working on the dough. All of a sudden I am wondering why we always call ‘homemade’ bread but not ‘handmade’ bread, could it be because not to mix up with “handmade bags”? Sorry I love BAGS too!!! Probably this hobby will enable me to buy fewer bags but to make more breads…….or BAGuettes.