All of you would be familiar to Italian pasta, Asian rice vermicelli noodles, Japanese ramen, udon, buckwheat noodles, Chinese Ho Fan, Instant noodles, etc. I would like to share the egg noodles which I used to eat a lot when I was little but somehow it is kind of being neglected because there are so many choices of noodles I have been exposed to and these egg noodles are kind of giving a feeling of old fashion.
Salt grilled fish (Shioyaki) is one of the Japanese dishes I ordered a lot especially as set lunch in Japanese restaurants or in yakitori restaurants.
It is another effortless recipe which can bring out the flavors and retain the freshness of the fish. In Japanese cuisine, whole mackeral or mackerel fillets are commonly used. Other fishes or boneless fillets (with skin on) can also be used such as salmon and hamachi. Some Japanese restaurants even offer salt grilled fish heads or belly, probably not your favorite picks for most of you but if you have the courage to try one day, they are actually more juicy and contain more fish oil.
Here I have grilled some mackerels, you can serve one fish per person. For mackerels, choose the bigger ones if you can. This time I had rather small fish so each person I served two.
- 2 whole mackerel, sardines or other small fishes cleaned, gutted or fish fillets with skin on (e.g. salmon)
- Sea salt
- Daikon (or also called mooli or white radish), finely grated & squeeze out excess juice
- light Soy sauce
- Lemon wedges
- Using a knife, make a few cuts diagonally on both sides of the fishes (if the fish is relatively big in size)
- Lightly salt fish by sprinkle on both sides and leave for 20-30 minutes.
- Grate the daikon in the meantime and set aside.
- Put the fishes under a grill for about 5 minutes on each side until golden brown & crispy .
- Place grated daikon and lemon wedges placed next to the grilled fish.
- Pour soya sauce in individual small plates.
- Serve immediately with steamed rice or as one of the dishes or with other yakitori dishes.
- Remove the skin, drizzle lemon juice on the meat and eat by dipping in soya sauce or mix the daikon into the soya sauce which is even better.
You can baked some mushrooms in foil to accompany with if you like, and pour yourself some Hot/ Cold Sake or Plum wine will be ideal!!!
Following my Tuscany Part 1: I am afraid I am not writing in a chronological order. This was actually our last evening in Tuscany. Upon our arrival, I have written to Peter & Ann to see if they could offer me a cooking class but this is not something they officially or normally would offer. Peter was actually a chef when he was in Basel. In fact what I was hoping was not a formal cooking class but a casual learn and dine together evening.
After discussing, we had agreed to cook something that I can also repeat when I return to Switzerland.
Weather was rather hot already for early July, we ate outside and Peter told me because of the hot weather, they do not serve dishes immediately but at room temperature.
That evening we had:
- Zucchini blossoms fritta
- Baked zucchini blossoms (continue to read for recipe)
- Zucchini carpaccio (stay tune for recipe)
- Creamy stracchino cheese with sausage crostini (posted)
- Baccalà with tomato & capers sauce (Baccalà alla Vesuviana) (posted)
- Tipsy white peaches with gelato
It was a very special evening to us, so glad that Peter and Ann shared so much their cooking tips to me. I am afraid I cannot reveal everything here in one single post. I will reveal the recipes when I cook them shortly in the future.
Tonight, I have made Baked zucchini blossoms & zucchini. I am actually going to grow some zucchini myself in our vegetable garden, bought some seeds but have to wait until next year to plant them. Nevertheless, my neighbour is very generous and let me pick her zucchini flowers and zucchini. So I did today, picked in the afternoon kept them in some water so they can stay fresh. Once picked, the zucchini blossoms need to be used as soon as possible.
So tonight with a bit of inspiration, I have a meatlessfree dinner, I have used a bit more olive oil than Peter but surprisingly it was completely fine and did not feel greasy at all, a good quality olive oil does pay off!!! I felt I have transformed a Tuscan dish to Spanish tapas, hahaha!
Baked zucchini blossoms & zucchini
- 10 or more zucchini blossoms, freshly bought or picked from your own garden, keep in some water if not used immediately
- 1 medium zucchini, sliced, about 0.5 cm thick
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan cheese)
- 2 tbsp breadcrumbs (paniermehl)
- 2 tbsp ground unblanched almond (blanced is fine too)
- 2 tbsp dried parsley
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- best quality of extra olive oil
- Preheat oven at 200ºC (400ºF)
- Trim the sides of zucchini blossoms and emove the pistils, wash and pat dry them gently.
- Drizzle olive oil onto 2 oven proved ceramic trays.
- Mix the grated Parmigiano, breadcrumbs, minced garlic and parsley together in a bowl.
- Spread the mixture thinly over the zucchini and flowers
- Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over them
- Bake them for about 10 minutes in the middle rack
- When the oil is sizzling and the crust is lightly browned they’re done.
- Remove from oven, rest for a few minutes before serve. Great with some fresh bread & some white wine.
- Serve this with bread for a light meal or as a side dish or one of your party dishes.
- You can use less olive oil if you like. Despite I have used a little more olive oil than Peter, it did not feel greasy at all, I like both versions. The critical thing is to really use the best olive oil you can get.
- Baking this way is a little like shallow frying and the beauty is effortless!!!!
Thanks Peter & Ann for the lovely evening, hope to see you soon again!
For Tuscany Part 1 : Garfagnana & Tuscan risotto recipe, click here.
This week, Carmen, my Spanish friend came to visit me, she was so kind and brought me 2 kilos of morcillas. I was very happy indeed, however with two kilos I am the only one who eat them at home. Luckily I can keep most of them in the freezer. I keep one to have it today. I came across this Spanish blood sausage, morcilla years ago from my Spanish friends of course. I was intrigued as I thought the European will be scared of eating food products that consist of blood as we Chinese do. I said to Carmen in the past that Spanish and Chinese do have several things, not only foodwise but also some of our mentality.
At that time, I learnt from them that the easiest way to prepare as a tapas by cutting the morcilla into slices, dust them in corn flour and panfried them in olive oil and serve. So here I am I, I panfried a few slices of morcilla, enjoyed with a glass of Rioja and turned on my favorite Spanish music by Mecano. It reminded me our good old days when I travelled around in Europe with the great bunch of Spanish friend. As the stew will take some time to cook, this will keep me going until the stew is ready.
Inspired by Núria’s beans porridge, because I could not get the pig feet and snout, I had adapted her recipe a bit. I used paprika instead of saffron because I have run out at home and I don’t want to drive out in the snowy condition. The taste still came out very good because of the Spanish sausages,they made the flavor very unique. This stew is perfect in the current snowy weather which keeps me warm.
- 1 onion morcilla (cut into quarters)
- 2 fresh chorizo (cut into big pieces)
- one medium onion (chopped)
- 3 small potatoes (cut into big pieces)
- 1 bowl of cannellini beans
- 2 large tomatoes (peeled and cut into quarters)
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 500ml of chicken stock (dissolve 1 tbsp of chicken powder into water)
- Soak the dried cannellini beans overnight, and prepare the beans according to the great tips illustrated by Núria
- In a large pan, heat up the olive oil and add in the chopped onion, stir-fry them until softened.
- Add in the chorizo and stir fry for 1 minute, then add in the beans, potatoes and tomatoes.
- Pour in the chicken stock, add the paprika and cayenne pepper, cover and bring to boil and simmer at medium high heat for 1 hr or until the beans and potatoes are softened. Since the morcilla is rather soft, add this to the stew in the last 30 minutes.
- Taste if need more seasoning such as salt. For me, I did not need to add more seasoning, the flavors of chorizo and morcilla have immersed into the sauce.
- Serve in a hot Spanish earthware.
Short note to my friend, Carmen:
Hi there, Pity that I cannot join the big annual gathering after all these years, I hope I can make it next year. It was great meeting you in Colmar the other day despite it was short. I will be thinking of you guys that day, thanks so much for bring me the morcilla and here is the dish dedicated to our group.
Lots of hugs and kisses
Autumn has arrived, I took my camera out to capture the beautiful colors of the Fall before it dimishes. The different grading of yellow/ orange of the leaves brightens up the surroundings.
Taken in our garden
When driving around in the countryside, you can find pumpkins decorated outside the houses or some people just put them outside for sale.
Taken in Alsace
I like pumpkin soup a lot but had only started making it myself last year. There are a lot of recipes out there but most of them are not my taste until I encountered this one at Jana’s (my ex-colleague) place one day for brunch. It was exactly what I like and she was so kind to share her recipe with me. It is just so comforting when you can find something exactly what you like. I think the secret of this recipe is the curry powder which makes the difference. I have searched a lot of recipes that orange juice is a critical ingredient which is true but curry powder is something not to be missed out. Don’t worry, you could hardly tell that there is curry in the soup when it’s cooked.
as seen in #24109 TasteSpotting, 15.10.08
- 1000g pumpkin (remove the skin and cut into cubes, the best one is the dark orange one called butternut squash)
- 2 potatoes, peeled, cut into pieces
- 1 big onion cut into quarters
- 300ml freshly squeezed orange juice
- 700ml broth (vegetable or chicken)
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 50ml red wine (optional)
- 200ml cream
- Some parsley for garnish
- Heat a little butter in a pan and fry the onion for 2 minutes, then add the pumpkin, potatoes and stir for a few minutes. Transfer these to a soup pan.
- Add in the orange juice, broth and curry powder so that the ingredients are not quite covered (the liquid level should not be hiher than the ingredients). Keep the lid on, let it boil in high heat and then turn to medium heat and cook until everything is softened with the lid on.
- At this time use the blender to make the soup into a thick, soft consistency, add 150ml of cream and a little bit of red wine to reach the desired consistency. If it’s too thick, you can always add more orange juice or broth depending your personal taste as the orange juice will make the soup more sour I find.
- Taste the soup when it is not too hot, somehow it tastes not as good when it’s too hot. Season with a bit of salt if necessary.
- Serve hot in soup bowl with some fresh bread. You can garnish the soup by drizzle some cream and sprinkle some parsley on top.
I hope you will like this recipe too! If you cannot finish in one go, you can always freeze it and enjoy it another day.
It is actually manageable to prepare some authentic Chinese dishes here even without the need of any special Chinese sauces. I would like to share a Chinese dish to you all that I have prepared recently. After trying the first bite, Mr Vineyard immediately said it tasted “Lekker” (delicious in Dutch), especially the sauce. The ingredients below are accessible in local Swiss supermarket except the Chinese cooking wine which is available in the Asian grocery store. If you don’t have Chinese cooking wine, you can replace by other strong spirits at home, e.g. Tequila. I have tried and it worked perfectly for me.
Shao Hsing Hua Tiao Cooking Wine
- 800g radish (German: radis)
- 400g pork spare ribs or pork chop
- 3 thin slices of ginger
- 2 cloves of garlic bashed
- 2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
- 250ml water
- 1 sprig of spring onion (chopped in small pieces) – optional
- 4 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce (optional)
- 40g coarse brown sugar (sugar cane)
- Peel the radish and cut into big cubes (4cm x 4cm), cut the pork into pieces (2cm x 2cm).
- Cook some boiling water in a pan, and place the pieces of pork into the boiling water for 1 min, stir and then remove them from water and place the pork in a sieve and clean them briefly in cold tap water. The purpose of this is to make the sauce of your dish cleaner and clearer.
- Heat some oil in a wok or flat frying pan, then add the ginger and garlic in it. When they turn golden brown, add in the pork and radish. Stir-fry them for 1-2 mins, then add in the Chinese cooking wine and the seasoning. Keep stirring and then add in the water gradually. When everything is mixed and dissolved, let it boil for 5-10 mins and then transfer to a deep pan, bring to boil and turn to medium heat. Cover the pan and simmer for 40 mins to 1 hour until the pork and radish are tendered.
- Ready to serve with rice, garnish by sprinkle some spring onion on top.