Monday, June 27, 2016

Brexit, Heat, Cooking.

Interesting, on the news this weekend, it appears the British are waking up to what they've done and there have been so many calls for a re-vote that it crashed the government website. Even I voted for a redo. Unfortunately a lot of people who voted didn't really understand what they were voting for - unsurprisingly, it is pretty complicated. Many of the English tend to be xenophobic and really don't like anything unless it is English. Not that they have ever tried it, but it isn't English so it can't be any good. Of course I am English, but luckily that mentality is not one I inherited. Obviously from the votes, neither did 48.1% of the voters. On Good Morning America they said a second referendum is entirely unlikely. Pity. I also understand the government could veto the voting result too. I don't suppose they will. There are so many ramifications to the whole thing, it may not get sorted out for quite a long while.

In this area we have had pretty high temps over the weekend with it hitting the 30°C and our air conditioner running full blast. We haven't had a lot of rain lately either so I think we will soon be talking drought. There was quite a storm on Sunday night, but I think it was just lightning with a bit of thunder, no rain. I have avoided going outside. I am getting like so many others and hiding from the heat.

I checked out a scone recipe that I  used to make many years ago in England and find the only thing I don't have is baking powder. I really should try making them again instead of buying them. Maybe I should also try making Cornish Pasties too.

Although the asparagus season is not quite over for me, it soon will be, so I chose a Chinese dumpling recipe instead.

Pork-and-Shrimp Shumai

Plenty of ginger and scallions add terrific flavor to these juicy shumai dumplings from Andrew Zimmern.

dipping sauce

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup black vinegar
1 tsp Chinese chili-garlic sauce


12 oz ground pork
6 oz raw medium shrimp—shelled, deveined and finely chopped
4 scallions, white and light green parts only, minced
3 Tbs minced peeled fresh ginger
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 Tbs Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
3/4 tsp kosher salt
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1 package round dumpling wrappers, thawed if frozen
Napa cabbage leaves, for steaming
Blanched green peas, for garnish

1. Make the dipping sauce In a small bowl, whisk the soy sauce with the black vinegar and chili-garlic sauce.

2. Make the shumai In a medium bowl, combine the pork and shrimp with the scallions, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, Shaoxing wine and salt. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.

3. Lightly dust a baking sheet with flour. Hold a dumpling wrapper in your palm, keeping the rest of the wrappers covered with plastic. Place 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center of the wrapper and gather up the edges all around to form an open cup; the wrapper will adhere to the filling. Transfer the dumpling to the prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap.

4. Repeat to form the remaining dumplings.

5. Fill a wok or large skillet with 3/4 inch of water and bring to a simmer. Line 2 tiers of a bamboo steamer with cabbage leaves, overlapping them slightly. Add the dumplings to the steamer and stack the tiers. Cover and set the steamer in the wok. Steam the shumai until firm and the filling is no longer pink, 8 to 10 minutes. Garnish each with a pea and serve hot with the dipping sauce.

Yield: 3 dozen

Author: Andrew Zimern
Source: Food and Wine

Have a great day

Friday, June 24, 2016

Saturday Recipe

No asparagus recipe today. However, Alex J. Cavenaugh sent me a link to Katherine's Corner where she has posted quite a number of asparagus recipes.

Double the flavor, halve the work—simply by using the same tangy combination of coconut milk, lime juice and brown sugar for both poaching the chicken and dressing the salad. Crisp romaine lettuce, cabbage and snow peas add freshness and an irresistible crunch.


  • 1 cup “lite” coconut milk, (see Tips for Two)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces chicken tenders
  • 4 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup sliced snow peas
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion


Step 1
Preheat oven to 400°F. 
Step 2
Whisk coconut milk, lime juice, sugar and salt in an 8-by-8-inch glass baking dish. Transfer 1/4 cup of the dressing to a large bowl; set aside. Place chicken in the baking dish; bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes.
Step 3
Meanwhile, add lettuce, cabbage, snow peas, cilantro and onion to the large bowl with the dressing; toss to coat. Divide between 2 plates.
Step 4
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and thinly slice. Arrange the chicken slices on top of the salads. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the coconut cooking liquid over each of the salads.


Tips for Two: Refrigerate leftover coconut milk for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 2 months. Use to make extra Coconut-Lime Dressing; drizzle on sliced fresh fruit; use as some of the liquid for cooking rice; make a Pineapple-Coconut Frappe.

Have a great day

Insurance, Brexit,

Ouch, I have just paid our car and home insurance. Gosh that hurts every year. I could pay monthly but we prefer to get it over and done with, I put money aside for it mind you rather than have to suddenly turn round and find a large sum of money. One insurance company we had, split it into 3 payments a year which was better. I don't know if they still do it, but in England we used to have a declining insurance so long as we didn't claim. People used to do all they could to avoid losing that benefit. Of course, we only have to insure the contents of our home as we live in a rented apartment.

I was hoping the final results of the British referendum on whether to stay in the European Union or
not, would be in before I went to bed. I saw one comment that it is considered people don't really understand what they are voting for. If the final vote is for exit, it will make me pretty glad not to live there any more although an exit vote will apparently have repercussions on this part of the world too. These days a country trying to stand alone is nonsensical, especially such a small country. OK we were once great, but that is a looong time ago. I just read that Sunderland, where Matt was born, have voted to leave the EU. Damn fools. It seems that at the moment the vote is swinging that way, the majority want to leave. I gather it is going to be a close result. I hadn't realised this was why the politician Jo Cox was shot. I cannot believe that something like that would happen in the UK. Place must have changed considerably since I lived there.

I have been cooking a lot of skirt steak recently, it is delicious if properly prepared and cut across the grain. Of course I would probably serve asparagus with it whilst it is still in season. Not long to go now unfortunately.

Herb-Marinated Steak with Tomato, Onion, and Herb Salad

By Elana Karp and Suzanne Dumaine

From Plated: Weeknight Dinners, Weekend Feasts, and Everything in Between

Serves 2, with leftovers for 2
Skirt steak is an ideal cut for quickly soaking up flavor (and then cooking in even less time), plus it will hold up all week long. Marinated onions and tomatoes soften as they sit and make for especially great leftovers in sandwiches, on their own as a salad, or, in this case, tucked into a gyro.
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh oregano
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 clove garlic
2 lemons
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1½ pounds skirt steak
5 beefsteak or heirloom tomatoes, or 2 cups grape tomatoes (whatever’s in season)
1 small red onion
¼ bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
¼ bunch fresh basil
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients for the Steak Gyros with Yogurt Sauce

2 large pitas
¾ cup Greek yogurt
Leftover steak
Leftover tomato, onion, and herb salad
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions for the Herb-Marinated Steak with Tomato, Onion, and Herb Salad

  1. Roughly chop the rosemary, oregano, and thyme leaves. Roughly chop the garlic. Zest 1 lemon and halve both.

  2. In a medium bowl, combine the rosemary, oregano, thyme, garlic,
 lemon zest, juice of 1 lemon, and the crushed red pepper. While whisking, slowly add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add to a large resealable plastic bag along with the steak, shake to coat, and set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes at room temperature or overnight in the fridge.

  3. While the steak marinates, cut the tomatoes into ½-inch wedges 
(or halve them, if using grape). Halve the onion and slice it as thinly as possible. Pick the parsley and basil leaves from the stems.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the juice of the remaining lemon and
 2 tablespoons olive oil to make the dressing. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Set aside.
  5. Heat a grill to medium-high or a grill pan over medium-high heat.
 Remove the steak from the marinade, allowing the excess to drip off. Season generously on both sides with salt and pepper. When the grill or pan is hot, add the steak and cook until browned on the outside and medium-rare, about 3 minutes per side. Remove and set aside to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before thinly slicing against the grain.
  6. While the steak rests, add the tomatoes, onion, parsley, basil, and feta
 to the bowl with the dressing and toss to coat. 
Before serving, set aside half the steak and half the tomato salad and save for leftovers. Store separately in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.

  7. Serve the steak with the salad alongside

Have a great day