Sunday, 17 May 2009

Homemade Foochow Rice Wine

Glad that my mum came over for a visit. Weather wise not that great, as it has been really windy and wet this week....unpredictable weather really. Never the less, we still manage to do little of this and that.
On Saturday, we went to farmer's market to buy some local produce. We bought some early carrots, which we then steamed and they tasted so tender and sweet.
Today on the way back from town, we stopped by the local strawberry farm just to check if PYO (pick your own) fruits season has even started......well have to wait for another 2 weeks. However they've early strawberries that they harvested from their farm for sales. Not to bad for 2.3kgs of strawberries for 6 quids. Red, plump, juicy and succulent strawberries , one can only imagine......
eaten with cream............hmnnnnnnn.......

One of the specialities of Foochow dish is chicken cook in homemade rice wine. This dish is commonly served to women in their confinement. It deem to help blood circulation and also heat up the body. I've yearning[note: I by no means in confiment, hehehehe] to have this dish for a year now since I don't even know how to make the wine in the first place. Having my mum here would be an excellent opportunity to learn how to make it. Great!

Cooked glutinous rice

Blended wine biscuit and red rice

Homemade Foochow Rice Wine
  • 1 kilos of glutinous rice
  • water (cover the rice around 1.5inches from rice surface)
  • 1 wine biscuit + 250gm red rice (blend them together)
  • 1 big glass container that can easily fit 3 litres of volume
  1. Cook the glutinous rice in rice cooker. Once cooked, set aside and let it cool.
  2. Once cool, mix the glutinous rice with blended wine biscuit, red rice and scoop it into the glass container.
  3. Seal the container and set aside.
  4. Within 24-48hrs, the fermentation process will begin. Use a clean and dry chopstick to stir and mix after 48hrs. Then after every 2-3days check and stir again.
  5. Then after 30days, the wine is ready for use in cooking.
  6. Please note that the whole process require clean and dry utensils, else it may turn the wine bad and has to be thrown away.
Well keep my finger crossed, I will have rice wine chicken during midsummer :-)

And here May's bloom from my garden, tall lupins and mixed color ranunculus.

Friday, 8 May 2009

In Season

One of the best local grown vegetables in May over here will be asparagus. I call it Best of British asparagus. I love them, be it steam, stir fry, grill, they just taste lovely. So sweet and tender they are. They'll be here for a short while only, hence I tend to had them as much as possible while in season. Half a kilos bunch will set you back of 3-5 quids, but well worth it, loaded with all the antioxidant goodness. [quote : some believes it has aphrodisiac benefits as well]
Today I make stir fry asparagus with garlic and XO sauce. Yum yum .....

Asparagus Stir Fry
Ingredients (3-4persons)
  • 250gm asparagus
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp XO sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic -minced
  • 1 small bird eye chilli de-seeded
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  1. Clean the asparagus. Trim the end of the stalk. You can use peeler to peel the skin on bottom of the stalk so that tender bit is reveal, rather than discard them. Sliced horizontally at an angle, separate the spears from the stalk.
  2. In a pan, heat the olive oil till hot (with some smoke billowing), throw in the garlic and chilli and stir fry till lightly brown. Put in the stalk and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add in the XO sauce and stir fry for 30 secs. Add in the spears and stir fry for a minute then add in sugar and salt. Stir fry for another 30secs. Removed from heat.
  3. Served hot with rice and other dishes.

This year I managed to propagate about 20 strawberries plant from last year's runners. So I pot it up onto grow bag and finger crossed it will bear lovely and juiciest homegrown strawberries end June/early July. During credit crunch, it's worth to dig in and grow own veg and fruits, not only is healthy for the pocket, but it will definitely taste so fresh and so good. And at the end of the day sense of achievement to have grown your own.

My strawberry plant in grow bag

Some plants already producing nice flowers, and the fruit is in the making

Monday, 4 May 2009

Chicken Kway Teow Soup

Been doing 34 miles bicycle ride on Saturday, weather was superb. Being May bank holiday this weekend, it was a nice break even though I didn't go anywhere.
So I thought of having a piping hot bowl of chicken Kway Teow soup for breakfast. Light enough to start the day. Back home I could have fresh Kway Teow, here if I'm lucky enough I could find in Chinese shop, else I opt for the dry kway teow in a bag from Vietnam. They taste quite good, but nothing beats the Ipoh fresh Kway Teow.

Chicken Kway Teow Soup
Ingredients (for 2 persons)
  • 700 ml of chicken stock (Boil half chicken in 800ml water, a slice of ginger, one handful of dried anchovy, 1 garlic cloves, 1/2 tsp sesame oil, 1 small cube of rock sugar and 1 tsp of salt for an hour.
  • 100 gm of cooked skinless chicken breast meat - sliced thinly/shredded
  • 100-120gm dry kway teow (Banh Pho)
  • 2 handful of bean sprouts (washed and removed roots)
  • 2 shallots, sliced thinly and fried in 2 tbsp of vegetable oil till brown
  • 1 tbsp of preserved radish/turnip
  • 1 stalk of spring onion chopped finely
  • 1 red chillis thinly sliced
  • a dash of white pepper
  1. In a pot, boil some water to cook the dry kway teow. When water is boilng drop in the kway teow and cook till soft (this takes about 4-5minutes). Drained and divide them into 2 bowls. Blanched the bean sprout and set them on the kway teow.
  2. Bring to boil the chicken stock.
  3. Garnish the kway teow with sliced chicken meat, spring onion, preserved radish and red chillis.
  4. Scoop the soup into the bowl and a dash of white pepper.
  5. Served hot.
Some cut flowers from my spring blooms

White ranunculus, with little blue forget-me-not, little white allium and purple chives flower

This is the real Quuen Of The Night almost black color tulips

Cut tulips Queen Of The Night from my garden nicely wrap as a gift to my friend