Category Archives: Cooking at home

Not So Ad Hoc At Home….

With the odd cooler day gracing Melbourne we felt it an appropriate time to get our soup on and what better way to start the soup season with a “simple, satisfying” chicken soup with dumplings from Tomas Keller’s Ad Hoc At Home.

A relatively new book to our collection we’d only made one other dish – the most delicious rubbed & braised pork spareribs. Aside from the long cooking time this was a very simple and straightforward meal to prepare so I thought to myself  ‘well… if Mr. Keller says that this chicken soup is simple then let’s do it’… how wrong I was!

Admittedly we had planned to make the soup over the weekend but like all good plans something came up & the soup got relegated to a Tuesday night dinner.  Knowing there was a fair bit of prep involved I got stuck in to cutting the carrots, leek, onions & celery the minute I walked in the door. Donny & I worked on separate areas – he looked after the choux pastry and chive dumplings & cooking the chicken while I looked after the vegetables & stock…

My Ten Favourite Kitchen Gadgets

Kitchenaid

Kitchen gadgets…some are useful, some remain sitting in the bottom of the drawer for all eternity. Without further ado, I present my top ten favourite kitchen gadgets, in no particular order.

Microplane(s)

I own three of these now – that’s how good they are. I mainly use the zester for things like zesting citrus fruits, and grating rhizomes like ginger and galangal. The medium ribbon microplane is what I use when I am grating hard cheeses (Granna, Reggiano) and palm sugar. The more conventional one (Extra Coarse) I use for potatoes, carrots, and soft cheeses. Microplane makes my life in the kitchen easier – I honestly don’t know what I’d do without them.

KitchenAid Stand Mixer

Saturday Night Festivities

A beautiful balmy Saturday night with no other plans meant only one thing for us… a bbq dinner in our courtyard 🙂

Donny was craving meat so he found an awesome looking recipe for grilled beef with a spicy dipping sauce from Neil Perry’s book Balance and Harmony (a purchase inspired after a memorable dinner at Spice Temple last year). Now that the protein was sorted I set out to balance Donny’s desire for meat with some kind of vegetables… I suggested we serve some of the pickled cabbage we’d made a while ago (also from the balance & harmony book) and the cucumber relish from David Thompson’s Modern Thai Food, as we’d been served this as an accompaniment to the much-loved egg net rolls at a recent visit to Longrain and it was quite yummy!

Monday night cooking

Tonight we made Tiger Beer, Chilli Jam and Coconut Mussels from Teage Ezard’s book Lotus: Asian Flavours.

We had some left over chilli jam from last week when we made a super delicious Tom Kha, from the Longrain book Modern Thai Food so preparation for this dish was at a minimum (perfect Monday night cooking!)

The recipe suggested that if you were having trouble sourcing garlic shoots asparagus would be a suitable replacement… We were sceptical about this, but as our local green grocer didn’t have any garlic shoots we had no other choice.

Luckily for us the asparagus complimented the mussels perfectly – I knew everything would be ok once I started smelling the amazing aromas from the wok when Donny put the garlic and asparagus in!

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