Tapas Feast: Chorizo in Cider, Potato Omelette, Prawn Fritters & White Bratwurst Sausage

Apparently in Spain, if you make an appointment to see someone at 2, they will turn up, without fail, unabashed and unashamed at 2:30, 3, or even 3:30. What will you do if you are the person kept waiting? Find a tasca (tapas bar) around the corner, order a drink and a tapa or two and wait comfortably. Thanks to this Spanish culture, we have beautiful tapas dishes today around the world.

There are a lot of similarities between Spanish tapas and Chinese yumcha. Both have a large selection of dishes in small serves, that can be a snack or a proper meal. Pasta originated in China thousands years ago. Who knows whether there is connection between tapas and yumcha.

Mia bought me a Spanish cookbook for my birthday, The Food of Spain – A Journey for Food Lovers. On a free weekend, we tested some of the recipes in the book and created a tapas feast at home. It was very successful! We couldn’t wait to eat after we finished cooking, so I didn’t play around with the photos too much. Pictures can’t do it justice! BTW, we know bratwurst sausage are German. It just Read more »

Crispy Skin Chicken in Cabbage and Tomato Sauce

This Asian influenced crispy skin chicken is actually bursting with Italian favour. One of my fusion recipes. Enjoy!

3 large or

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6 small chicken thigh fillets with skin on

2 cm fresh ginger, finely grated or 1 tsp ginger paste
1 clove garlic, finely grated
1/3 cup white wine

1/2 cabbage, sliced into 1cm wide strips
1 can of chopped tomatoes (400g)
4 sprigs of thyme
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

Atta bread
Read more »

Best Ever Eggplant Recipe: Chinese Eggplant with Pork Mince & Black Bean Sauce

For the first time in my life, I can say I CAN COOK EGGPLANT! Eggplant is a vegetable that I have always had trouble with. It’s either too

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dry, or too tasteless, there’s always something wrong with it. But this Chinese style eggplant I made was very nice indeed, I was quite proud of myself. Sometimes, the most simple dish is the best! Two tips for this recipe: 1. Don’t be stingy with the oil. Sounds like a lot of oil, but without the oil, the eggplant is not going to taste as good. Also the eggplant doesn’t actually absorb that much oil if you treat it right, which brings to my next point. 2. The oil has to be very hot before you put the eggplant cubes in. Like frying chips or tempura, once the oil is hot enough, it will cook the vegetable quickly, rather than soaking up any unwanted oil.

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4 Chinese eggplant, cut into 1cm cubes
4 spring onions,finely chopped
5 cm fresh ginger, finely chopped
100g pork mince
Vegetable oil or canola oil


1 tbsp Lee Kum Kee black bean garlic sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 cup of water


Heat 1 1/2 – 2 cup of oil in a wok (deep enough to cover the eggplant) on high heat. When the oil is very hot (approx 160 degrees), add the eggplant cubes, fry for 2 minutes or until soft and golden. Drain the eggplant and put on to a plate with paper towels.

Make the sauce in a ramekin by combining all the ingredients, easy!

Heat the wok with a few tablespoons of oil over high heat, add spring onions, chopped fresh ginger, fry until fragrant and golden. Add pork mince, fry for 2-3 minutes or until its just cooked through. Add eggplant to combine. then pour in the sauce mixture. Fry for further 2-4 minutes or until the sauce is reduced by half.

Perfectly complemented by rice.

Master Chef – Two Course Peking Duck

This week has been a pretty successful week in cooking. All the new dishes that I made turned out to be very pleasant and simply delicious. I was in a very good mood in my culinary world until I heard the ‘big’ news: Dalai Lama will be a guest judge on Master Chef during his visit to Australia. What?! Many of us love cooking shows because they’re easy to watch, family oriented and relaxing. We can forget about the hectic world for a while: work load, politics, religion and war etc. Dalai Lama’s appearance will totally ruin it!

In last week Master Class on Friday, Frank Shek taught us how to make a 2 course Peking Duck meal at home. I have had something similar in restaurants before, it was very delicious! The 2 course Peking duck was a Duck Wrapped in Pancakes with cucumber and spring onion, and a Duck San Choy Bau.

I was inspired by Frank’s recipes, so I made a 2 course meal of my own. Peking duck – a fusion version. Highly recommend to Read more »

Master Chef Spanish Invention Challenge – Stuffed Squid with Rice and Chorizo

I think I produced a very tasty dish and I’m very proud of it. If I had saffron, I would use saffron instead of turmeric powder. This is definitely a

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dish that I want to make again at home. The chilli is optional if you don’t like it. But I think a little bit of chilli is perfect. It doesn’t really make the dish spicy, but it does make all other good flavours sharper and clearer.


2 medium size fresh squid
1/2 cup rice
1 chorizo sausage, roughly chopped in a food processer
2 cloves garlic
1 fresh chilli
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 onion
1/2 cup roasted capsicum, finely chopped
1-1 1/2 cup stock (fish or chicken)
Salt & pepper to taste
Olive oil

Clean the squid and cut the fins off. Cut the fins and other extra bits into small cubes (use for stuffing). Make two squid tubes.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a frypan over medium-high heat, then turn the heat Read more »

Master Chef – Twice Cooked Pork Belly with Apple Slaw

In Billy Law’s recipe, twice cooked means the meat has been braised first, then deep fried. Braising makes the meat tender, and absorb the flavour completely; deep frying gives the meat a crunchy surface – texture. This is a very smart idea!

I used a slightly different spice mix for braising, but it’s in the same spirit. A good recipe to try!

Recipe is from Masterchef.com.au

Pork belly
1 kg piece pork belly
2 litres water
5 slices ginger
5 star anise
¼ cup black vinegar
3 cloves garlic
5 tablespoons light soy
3-4 tablespoons kecap manis
½ cup castor sugar Read more »

Stewed Chicken with Vietnamese Basil

It’s winter in Australia. I like winter actually. I feel everything in the cool weather seems to be peaceful and calm. My garden is very green, I don’t need to worry about watering it at all. Although the weeds are pretty green too.

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Cool and wet, a typical South Australian weather.

I like making stews and curries in winter. This is a great winter recipe to keep. The chicken is so light and tender, the flavour is well balanced. The key point to make this dish is the caramelisation process – be patient, the good flavour of the chicken really depends on it. This recipe is my entry for #14 Delicious Vietnam, created by Anh of Food Lovers Journey and Kong & Kim of the Ravenous Couple. Dang and Oahn from Rauom was this month’s host.


1kg chicken maryland ( you can ask your butcher to cut into smaller pieces)
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 bulb garlic, finely chopped
1/3 cup white sugar
2 tsp fish sauce
Salt to taste
1 large bunch of Vietnamese basil
Oil Read more »

Master Chef Week – Week 3 – Steak and Kidney Pie

Many of the Master Chef recipes are not suitable for home cooking. Too many ingredients and some of them are expensive or rare. I set myself a challenge to follow Master Chef few weeks ago, now I found it’s hard to keep it up. Rather than trying everything on the show, I will pick one or two a week to do. This week I made this Steak and Kidney Pie that was in the Celebrity Chef Challenge in week 3.

A few notes for the pie:

1. I don’t think i liked the suet pastry that much…….I never used suet in my cooking before, so I didn’t know the difference between package suet and fresh suet until Luke told me today. Apparently package suet has caking ingredients already, so it contains less suet (I don’t know how much, maybe not even that much less). So I suppose next time I could add less fresh suet to my pastry and still keep to the recipe. The pastry was very fatty in the end, but even though I put 20% less fat in there, i think it’s still far too much fat!!!! I had to go for a 3km run to make myself feel a bit better. I reckon to burn off all the fat from the pie, I will need to do a half marathon!!!

2. I can eat kidney, but I think the pie will taste better without the kidney….. haha

This recipe is from MasterChef.com.au

Stak and Kidney Pie

Steak and kidney filling
1.5kg chuck steak, 4cm dice
½ cup plain flour Read more »

Blue Cheese Salad with Port Dressing

I sit at my desk facing two massive computer screens on Sunday afternoon, occasionally flicking through some cook books and my cook journals- yes, it is the time for blogging.

I met Jenny from Tassie at a family reunion several weeks ago and we had a really good chat about food. She emailed me this Blue Cheese Salad recipe to try. I didn’t have walnut oil, so I made an alternation and sesame oil instead. It was a good salad. Thanks, Jenny!

Blue Cheese salad with port dressing

1 tbs butter
1 clove garlic, crushed Read more »

Yummy roasted chicken wings

Thanks Ning for your recipe! This is probably the best chicken wings I ever had. I used whole chicken wings instead of chicken middle wings. You can use whatever you have in your fridge. I reckon it will goes well with a beer :)

Roasted chicken wings

18 pieces of chicken middle wings Read more »