a novice attempt at chinese chicken and corn soup

I’m a MASSIVE sucker for chicken and sweetcorn soup. When it’s on the menu at a chinese restaurant I find it so hard not to order… and I usually end up full before the main course!

I’ve always been curious as to how it’s actually made. To me it seemed impossible – how do they get it so thick? Now I know the secret, I actually feel quite dumb for going so long in life without figuring it out. (It’s cornflour by the way)

I used a recipe from food.com although I’m hopeless as following recipes in general, so here’s how my first real Chinese experiment turned out:

 

Servings:
4-6

Ingredients:
6 cups chicken stock
1 large chicken breast fillet (boneless)
300 g canned corn kernels
300 g canned creamed corn
1 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch)
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 eggs (beaten)
2 spring onions (finely sliced) or 2 scallions (finely sliced) or 2 green onions (finely sliced)

 

Directions:

Bring the stock to the boil in a large saucepan(depending on your taste or needs you may wish to substitute some of the stock for water). I misread 6 cups and added 8 cups, not that it mattered because I used so much stock powder.

Add chicken breast fillet to the stock, turn the heat off and cover the pain with a lid for 15 minutes. I think next time I’ll keep it in for twenty as it was still a bit raw in the middle and therefore nearly impossible to shred. 

Remove chicken breast from the stock and leave to cool for a few minutes then shred. I did the shredding with two forks… not sure if there’s a better way but I’m sure I looked bizarre doing it.

Add corn to stock and bring to the boil over a medium heat.

Combine soy sauce and cornflour into a paste then stir into the soup to thicken slightly. Went overboard on the soy sauce I think, so it was both quite salty and quite dark in colour. Because I used so much stock, I had to add extra cornflour as it didn’t thicken as much as I would have liked.

Add shredded chicken to soup. Success! This bit went fine!

Slowly pour beaten eggs into the soup in a steady stream, stirring constantly with a fork. I’m a freaking genius for getting this right (with hubby’s help). Very impressed with myself and will not enter into any discussion re: not being an amazing master chef.

Serve topped with the sliced spring onions and enjoy! Umm… forgot this at the store. Oops!

funny how my food pictures never look as appetising as proper food websites???

funny how my food pictures never look as appetising as proper food websites???

no, Sri Lanka is NOT the “new Bali”

…ugh.

I came across this article today and, as most news.com.au articles do, let’s be honest, it made me cringe.

“Is Sri Lanka the new Bali?” it asks us (but don’t worry, it’s a rhetorical question… I think?)

All I can say (/scream) is NO! NO! NO! Don’t even sully Sri Lanka by suggesting it!

It’s not air to say that by comparing one to the other, it’s making the other look bad, but the implication to a lot of Aussies when making such a loaded statement might just be “hey, let’s go to Sri Lanka and get boozy and make ourselves look bad”. Bali is a beautiful destination, full of stunning scenery, fascinating culture and friendly locals, but very year it is overrun with hundreds of thousands of (mostly) Australians looking for a cheap holiday and often a place to get wasted. When I was growing up, it was a prime destination for family holidays but last time we were there, the streets of the main tourist districts were full of loud, drunk yobbos.

Anyway, I respect the fact many will disagree with me on that but it isn’t actually the point anyway. The tourism industry experiences phases, just like fashion really. One day a place is hot, then another place is hotter. For example, in 2004 (pre-tsunami), Thailand was the place to be. Around 2010, that dramatically shifted to Vietnam. Now it’s Sri Lanka. Even so, each destination is so unique and wonderful that it’s unfair to try to compare.

Reading on, the article actually doesn’t make the sweeping comparisons I thought it would. It does compare the two with the usual “Bali is uncool now vibe” though (which I can’t criticise since I just wrote this post!) Must be one of those headlines that try to grab your attention (and clicks) by saying something dumb. Nothing new for news.com.au I guess.

World Malaria Day APRIL 25th

Hi guys,

A blog I like to read, Barefoot in Madagasar, recently posted this infographic on Malaria that I’d really like to share with you. Many of you will know that Madagascar is a really special place for me but many won’t know that I have a keen interest in Malaria Awareness programs and campaigns.

I hope you find this as interesting as I did!

Barefoot in Madagascar

World Malaria Day APRIL 25th

Malaria Initiatives

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it’s fat belly curry night

Well this is fast becoming a food blog, clearly. When you buy a house and can’t afford to jet away constantly you need to find a new outlet… Mine is stuffing my face, I think. But in an artsy, look-what-I-did kind of way, hopefully.

Anyway, tonight was curry night.

I’ll be honest, hubby did most of the work. I just stood around and looked good (duh). And fetched beers.

Last night we marinated some chicken in a Madras sauce. I thought hubby was being lazy by leaving it in a casserole dish and baking it but alas, he is a genius. The meat was perfectly tender and completely packed with flavour, just like you would get at an Indian restaurant. Took about the same time as it would on the stove top but with amazing results.

Served with roti (slightly toasted), raita (yoghurt, cucumber, garlic and a little bit of mint), mango chutney and lime pickle (my favourite!)… I was actually dancing up and down the hallway with excitement while it was cooking and it didn’t disappoint. The below photo probably will though; I’m a food eater, not a food photographer.

Hit me with your favourite curry making tips. I promise I will gobble them up (insert creepy wink face here).

 

IMG_1406

the worst travel agent ever

Okay kids, I’m going to say it. The worst travel agent ever is: myself. (Work, please don’t fire me)

Now, before I do lose my job, I need to clarify something. I’m the worst at booking MY OWN travel, not my clients.

It’s actually a pretty well-known fact within the travel industry that travel agents, even the very best ones, are hopeless when it comes to organising their own personal holidays. I am no exception; in fact this rule may as well be in existence thanks to my track record. To be fair though, I have heard worse stories than my own, (for instance, one agent meant to fly herself to San Diego, California but got the airport code wrong by one letter and, after not picking up her error anywhere along the way, actually wound up somewhere in South America) but here is a list of some things that have really hindered my own more recent travels.

  • Travel Insurance: on both of my most recent trips it was 9pm the night before an early flight when i realised “SHIT, I DON’T HAVE INSURANCE”. Cue desperate last-minute “cheap insurance” Google search. At least it’s better than BOTH trips to Fiji (the first of three I had a wonderful agent who was not me) where half-way through I remembered I didn’t have insurance at all.
  • Immunisations: Hanging out in Mauritius, I got really sick. It dawned on me: what if I have some awful mosquito-borne illness? Which then led to HOLY SHIT WE ARE GOING TO MADAGASCAR IN TWO DAYS AND WE DON’T HAVE ANY ANTI-MALARIALS. Through an absolute stroke of luck (!) I have a little skin condition called rosacea, and I take some mild medication for it which just so happens to be doxycycline, a common anti-malarial drug. Nice!
  • Documentation: I’m not even going to say much about this one other than it’s pretty pathetic when I have to call my work the day before my honeymoon to ask if someone can please send me my flight tickets because I forgot to print them off? Yep. Honeymoon. Forgot the tickets. Check.
  • Visas: I’m yet to actually be caught out on this one thank God, but a few times I’ve been queuing at Immigration freaking out about whether I needed a visa or not. Never hurts to double check.
  • Itinerary: Next time I book a holiday, I promise myself I will do some more research on the kind of itinerary we should have, as well as the hotels we book. Five nights in the cesspit of hell in Mauritius at least taught me that much.

the best pho doesn’t have a recipe

I usually find it hard to pinpoint my “favourite” things… Those who know me know that anything I happen to like is my “favourite”… but I do think one of my favourite things about travelling in Asia is the food. And no, this surely isn’t a very controversial opinion otherwise every city in the word wouldn’t have a Chinatown, and one of the most popular cuisines here in Australia wouldn’t be Thai food, and the grooviest foodie streets wouldn’t be strewn with Vietnamese restaurants. Here in Adelaide, the turnout to festivals like OzAsia or IndoFest would probably be lower if our foodie culture didn’t exist.

Anyway… let’s talk about a great passion (or obsession, whatever) of mine right now – Asian soups. I cooked a Tom Yum last night, and I love a good Laksa, but I’ve been trying to perfect pho lately. During this process I’ve learned something: you can’t “perfect” the recipe.

When I got home from the latest jaunt to Vietnam, I scoured the internet for a good pho recipe. A lot of them had star anise in them, which I hate, and they just didn’t taste right (I honestly don’t recall eating one that tasted of star anise over there, but here it’s quite common). I’m discovering that making it to taste, rather than following strict guidelines, is working much better. Then you serve it all up with lots of extras to add in (basil, fresh chilli, fish sauce, lime) and mix it all up until no-one’s bowls taste the same.

So what I want to know from everyone is: do you rely on recipes? Do you make a good pho? And if you do, what are the real essentials in your opinion? Okay… GO!

my most recent attempt at homemade pho

my most recent attempt at homemade pho