A tale of two best friends on opposite sides of the world and their quest to cook everything from
Stephanie Alexander's 'The Cook's Companion'

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Cantonese-style sweetcorn and crab meat soup

Further to my last post, I still had fresh garden corn kicking about in the fridge from the in-law's garden. They have an acre of land and are both retired, so they have the time to work in the garden, and they also have the water tanks to keep the vegetables green! It's been fantastic for us, as it means we get to reap the benefits from a pesticide-free garden.

I thought I'd dish the sweetcorn and crab meat soup up to hubby's parents for dinner, as it was showcasing some of their produce. I did cheat a little, and used the tinned crab meat, rather than fresh, but it was hardly noticeable. In the end, it was a weeknight, and everyone is entitled to a shortcut here and there. It was also a pretty busy time at work, so I think I was busy working until about 6.30 anyway, but still managed to whip this up in no time. It always helps when you have frozen chicken stock on hand too.

Cantonese-style Sweetcorn and Crab Meat Soup (Printable Recipe)
adapted from Stephanie Alexander's The Cook's Companion, pg 351

5 corn cobs, grated (yes, it is worth the effort, creamed corn is ok for a shortcut, though)
vegetable oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped spring onion
1 teaspoon freshly minced ginger
250g picked crab meat
1 tablespoon mirin, rice wine or dry sherry
600ml chicken stock
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornflour
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 egg
1 tablespoon black or red rice vinegar

Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a saucepan or wok. Sear the spring onion and ginger for 30 seconds. add the crab meat, then sprinkle with salt, mirin and stir it lightly. Pour in the corn, stock and the soy sauce, stirring the mixture until the soup comes to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer it for a few minutes. Mix cornflour, water and sesame oil in a bowl and stir until smooth, then add a little of the hot soup into the bowl and stir it to combine. Pour this mixture into the soup, ensuring that you swirl it in evenly. Turn the heat off and trail the egg whisked with a pinch of salt and 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil over the surface, stirring slowly to break up the strands. Add vinegar and taste the soup for seasoning, adjust if required with soy sauce. Serve and enjoy immediately.

Hubby absolutely loves this soup. I've been cooking variations of this soup for years, but nothing compares to this one with the fresh, sweet corn from the garden. It's so much better than tinned kernels or creamed corn. He requests this soup whenever he's a bit cold. This can also easily be a great gluten-free recipe for those with dietary requirements, if you use the right soy sauce, chicken stock and cornflour.

Stephanie's Rat-a-touillie

The finished product looks less than appetising, but is a flavour explosion. Eggplant in any dish creates a balance that you just can't reproduce.

I think virtually everything in this bowl came out of either my Dad's or my father-in-law's gardens. Thanks guys for the delicious produce!

Well, Abby and Greg have left for the UK, so now the purpose of this blog is really going to come into light. The last time they came over for dinner was the last official Lamb Monday with the 6 of us at our place. I cooked a Maggie Beer lamb dish, but served it with a ratatouille from Stephanie.

I had been given a mass of fresh vegetables and herbs from the in-laws and my parents, so I made an effort to use as many of them in the ratatouille as possible. I love cooked vegetables, especially eggplant, and having them home grown is an added bonus!

The best thing about cooking a dish like this is that it can't really go too wrong. It was prepared well and truly before the guests arrived, and all I did when they came was stick the dish back in the oven to heat it through again, and stirred through a small handful of fresh herbs to freshen it up a little.

Ratatouille (Printable Recipe)
adapted from Stephanie's Ratatouille, pg 1070

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Raspberry Vodka


Keeping in theme with the previous post, I'm currently half way through making some raspberry vodka, so here are the details for making that.

Raspberry Vodka
Makes 1 litre

450g raspberries (3 punnets)
1L vodka
sugar, to taste

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What's better than Vodka? Flavoured Vodka!

musk sticks

I've had a fondness for flavoured vodka for quite a long time, and over the years we have experimented with many different fruits, spices and lollies. Being essentially tasteless, vodka easily draws the flavour out of whatever you put in it, allowing some delicious liqueurs to be created. Now, making these can take quite a while, but the reward is definitely worth the effort.

Full details on how to make this with recipe and cocktail ideas on my new blog:
Musk Stick Infused Vodka