Author: Lydia Wong

Crispy Tofu with Szchuan pepper and chilli / chinese pickled cucumber recipe

Crispy Tofu with Szechuan Pepper and Chilli / Pickled Cucumber with Ginger and Chinese Vinegar

Happy Chinese New Year! Gung Hei Fat Choi! I wish you all prosperity and a healthy Year of the Dog! I used to love Chinese New Year when I was a child (I still love it but in a different way since I have been living in Europe for so long), because it is the time when the whole family will get together and spend some quality time with one another, share and enjoy wonderful traditional Chinese food, play games and watch some spectacular firework by the ocean. It is the time when everyone wishes everyone happiness and prosperity, everywhere you go is full of festive atmosphere. I do miss that feeling of being surrounded by my sisters, nephews and nieces, family time is priceless. Anyway, I hope those of you who celebrate Lunar New Year have a wonderful time and a lucky year ahead. Today, I have prepared two recipes for you. Crispy Tofu with Szechuan Pepper and Chilli, and Pickled Cucumber with Ginger and Chinese Vinegar. The crispy tofu recipe has a wonderful …

Char Siu - Chinese Style BBQ Pork recipe

Roasted Chinese Style Pork Filet served with Ginger Spring Onion Sauce

Exactly one week today will be Chinese New Year day. If you are planning to host a big new year party, I hope you are nearly ready with all the ideas that I have prepared you since the last couple of weeks (on the blog, my facebook page and Instagram). But I am not stopping with my Chinese food theme yet, today I have another recipe for you. This roasted pork recipe is one of my childhood favourites, it is known as Char Siu 叉燒 in Cantonese. The original cooking method is barbecue but I roasted mine instead (maybe I will try barbecue it in the summer with our outdoor grill) since I find the top grill of my oven is not the best and I want the pork to cook evenly inside the oven. The filet came out nicely charred on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside, because of the long marinating time, the flavour has developed deep into the meat. No wonder it is one of the most popular dishes …

Sautéed Chinese Sausage and Kale recipe

Sautéed Chinese Sausage with Garlicky Kale

Chinese sausage is also known as ‘Lap Chong’ in Cantonese, a type of dried sausage made with mainly pork, but some also made with duck or pork liver. These sausages are sweeten, seasoned and then smoked or sun/wind-dried. They are mainly sold in dried goods store in Hong Kong and Macau food market. Bunch after bunch of sausages hanging on hooks in the shop front (they usually came in pair and connected with a kitchen string, my mother used to hang them on a hook on the kitchen wall where she stored her dried food in plastic bags) alongside with some dried bacon and dried duck. I remember when I was little, standing in front of the shop, admiring the wonderful (but odd) sight of hanging sausages while my mother was selecting our family favourite ones. The sweet and smoky aroma always made me hungry. The favourite way of cooking them is to lay a couple of sausages onto the washed uncooked rice with the right amount of water, then turn the rice cooker on, once …

Braised Aubergine Ramen in Spicy Blackbean Sauce recipe

Braised Aubergine Ramen in Spicy Black Bean Sauce

I have the most vivid memory of my mother making this black bean sauce, she would mash the fermented black bean with the end of the knife handle together with crushed garlic, she would work on it patiently until it was well mashed and combined. After that, she added soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and mix it into a thick glossy paste. The aroma of the umami black bean and the strong pungent garlic filled our tiny kitchen. I have no idea why I remember so well with her making this particular sauce since I had learned so many other homemade sauces from her. But whatever reason it might be, it remains one of my favourite sauces to make if I crave for a taste of home as it will always remind me of this picture, in which my beloved mother and I stood in our kitchen together, making dinner for the whole family. When I was planning this week’s recipe, I wanted to make something Chinese, not because I was homesick (yes I do miss …

Roasted Beetroot Blood Orange and Feta Cheese Salad recipe

Roasted Beetroot, Blood Orange, Snow Pea Shoots and Feta Cheese Salad

I am always fond of beetroot, one of the few root vegetables I cook regularly. I don’t like so much the ready cooked type which mostly wrapped in plastic vacuum bag, although my first taste of beetroot was one of those cooked one soaked in vinegar, packed in plastic; laying somewhat out of place among other fresh vegetables on the supermarket shelves. But in the past years I have learned how to cook it from raw and I have never looked back since. I prefer to buy the one that still has its greens intact as it is more flavourful (usually can be found in farmer market). The beet greens are surprisingly delicious and only requires minimum cooking. My favourite way to cook them is add them to a skillet with crispy chorizo, fry for a few minutes and then drench the mixture with beaten egg, good pinch of salt and pepper then baked in the oven until the egg is set. Serve the frittata with crumbled feta and chopped fresh parsley, an amazingly tasty …

Brazilian Cheese Bread recipe

Brazilian Cheese Bread – Pão de Queijo

These Brazilian cheese bread are crispy on the outside, cheesy and gooey on the inside, almost elastic, such texture reminds me a little of Mochi (a type of Japanese rice cake which is made with glutinous rice flour), one of my childhood favourites. Technically, they are not really ‘bread’ as it requires neither yeast, nor proofing which normally a must for bread making. The recipe calls for just a handful of ingredients and it takes about half an hour to three quarters of an hour to make. These little fluff balls are light as feather, freckled with golden brown spots from the cheese, are best served warm straight from the oven. Slather a couple of them generously with velvety butter and a pinch of flaky sea salt, that’s exactly the way I like to eat them! Alongside with a cup of warm matcha latte and a good book (or a Netflix series!) would be a real treat for me. I imagine it will be absolutely delicious if served with a hearty soup or stew where …

Miso Tahini Dressing recipe and Styling Project

Miso Tahini Dressing and My Food Styling Projects

Happy New Year my dear readers!! Hopefully this year will be an exciting one for everyone! It will certainly be one for me! I have been so eager to tell you about the food styling project I worked on for the last couples of months, until now, I can finally show you what I have done and what I have achieved so far! This styling project was for an advertising campaign of a well known Japanese food company – Ajinomoto, who specialises in frozen ready made Japanese food products, seasoning and Asian cooking sauces. So far I was involved in two of their projects entailed recipes writing and food styling using their products, in this case a selection of their frozen gyoza. The first one was a video project in which I created a few recipes for their campaign – a salad dressing recipe (which features here) and a selection of dipping sauces for their gyoza. Then I was responsible to style the scenes and demonstrate the recipes in videos. There are three videos in …

Roasted Butternut Squash, Chestnut Miso Soup recipe

Roasted Butternut Squash, Chestnut Miso Soup served with Crispy Sage

I do love a heart warming bowl of soup seasoned with warm spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, tastes festive like Christmas in a cold winter night. I know everyone has at least one winter squash soup recipe up their sleeves, but this one I made is a little different from the others – with a subtle umami flavour. The addition of dashi stock and miso paste which not only gives the soup another layer of flavour but also balances out the sweetness of butternut and chestnut. You can of course replace dashi stock with water or vegetable stock if you want to make it vegetarian. Note: If you don’t have the time to roast the butternut squash, you can skip the roasting bit and just peel and chop the squash and add to the onion fennel mixture and pour enough stock to just cover the vegetables. I love the nutty and intense flavour of the squash after roasting though, so give it a try if you have some spare times in hand. But I …

Thai Curry coconut soup with Aubergine and Kale recipe

Thai Curry Coconut Soup with Aubergine and Kale

I lost count of how many times I have made this soup and I am not sure why I have never thought of putting the recipe up on the blog.  This soup is so easy to make and the type of curry – Masaman is mild (compares to the more popular green and red curry) but yet full of flavours. I love to add lots of fresh herbs such as coriander, lemongrass, ginger, kaffir lime leaf, chilis and Thai basil when cooking this curry as all the lovely flavours from the herbs will be infused into the soup, every spoonful becomes a delight to the taste buds! I always use shop bought curry paste as there are really good quality ones on the market (I use this one, only handful of ingredients without any additives, MSG etc). But of course if you want to make your own, I am sure you can find hundreds of recipe online for masaman curry paste. As for now, I am sticking with the quick and convenient way and I …

Braised Aubergine with Pork in Spicy Bean Sauce recipe

Braised Aubergine and Pork in Spicy Bean Sauce

The incredible aroma of this dish fills up the air in our apartment, it brings me straight down to memory lane.  This Braised Aubergine and Pork in Spicy Bean Sauce is definitely one of my favourite childhood dishes, whenever I cook this dish, the smell always reminds me of my mother’s cooking and our small compact kitchen in Macau. Traditionally, this dish is cooked with dried cured salted fish which is a famous locally produced delicacy in Macau, which gives the dish an extra layer of intense umami flavour, hence its name   魚香茄子 ‘fish fragrant aubergine’.  Unfortunately, I can’t get hold onto this amazing ingredient for my recipe I am sharing with you today, so I used dashi stock for the sauce instead, which still provides a subtle umami note to the whole dish.  But if you don’t have dashi stock, just use water with a splash of fish sauce (optional) and it will still be brilliantly delicious! Ingredients: 2 Japanese (Asian) Aubergine, or 1 small globe aubergine if not available, peel lengthwise partially, …