“Shab-Shab” Japanese dish the Korean way

Donglim Knot Workshop Seoul

Donglim Knot Workshop Seoul

I had to laugh.Twice. I told my daughter that the Shabu dish we were having in Korea is truly a Korean dish which I would love to have again and she said: “Yes, only it is not Korean but Japanese”. Then Fae posted the Shabu-Shabu with Spicy Soy Milk Broth out of the blue and she had to help me decide whether the dish I had was the traditional version or not because due to language problems I transferred and plonked the cooked part of it into the “sauce bowl” on the table only to realise that as Fae explained, the sauce was meant to be a “dipping” sauce. What the hell, I was was having a ball with this experience, dipping or not!

Condiments with Shabu-Shabu dish

Sides with Shabu-Shabu dish

The experience is what counts and the Shabu Salad Bar was a family type of buffet establishment in Ulsan City where you paid a price per head for the full spread and the only choice you had to make on ordering was the type of beef you wanted, the rest was on display to eat as much as you like, including all sorts of random sides and condiments.

Australian beef

Australian beef

We chose Australian beef and the sides of battered sweet potatoes and root type vegetables with salads from the buffet were great.IMG_7098 The pot of stock is brought to the table, cooking away on an induction plate on the table and you go choose fresh ingredients to make your own broth.The beef is extremely thinly sliced and immediately cooks when it hits the boiling stock and from there on you eat it by dipping it into sauces on the table.IMG_7100 That is where I went wrong-the dipping part for me was transferring whole portions into the dipping bowl and and eating it from there-delicious anyway.Language problems, what can I say!Traditional Japanese Shabu Fae has a comprehensive explanation of the dish and ways to prepare it at home. Other thing I just loved over there were pickled peanuts-soft and sweet with a honey like consistency and pickled cucumber, will I have to read up about more as I never had that before.

Sweet Pickeled Peanuts

Sweet Pickeled Peanuts

Since I came back from cold Korea, a short weekend trip away and a week’s business trip thereafter brought me right into February and I still need to remove the last remnants of Christmas from my home while I have a summer feeling of note!

Die Hoekie Paternoster

Die Hoekie Paternoster

Anything nautical is catching my drift at the moment. The weekend trip was to Paternoster in the Western Cape and the laid back town where “dressing up” means putting on shoes, is what I craved Polianthus-you are so right again. Eating fish and seafood for breakfast, lunch and dinner and that’s how we rolled!

Clever art

Clever art: Die Hoekie Paternoster

Random Photo:

My motto for 2015:

Courtesy The Noisy Oyster Paternoster

Courtesy The Noisy Oyster Paternoster-my new motto for 2015

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Blue Cheese Mousse & Balsamic Baked Pears

Blue Cheese Mousse, baby pear and walnut salad

Blue Cheese Mousse, baby pear and walnut salad

Long name for a quick process. I am not really a gadget person but I love the basics and bought my nifty little food processor/blitzer in Turkey, which I now use as often as I can. Perfect for blitzing smaller quantities, sauces, pestos and things. We are getting glimpses of spring and I made the blue cheese mousse and balsamic baked pear salad as a starter for a dinner with friends.

Blue Cheese Mousse

Blue Cheese Mousse

Blue Cheese Mousse

100gr blue cheese, 125ml cream, 75 ml creme fraiche , 2 table spoons tangy mayonaise, salad herbs

Blitz all of the ingredients together. The quantities above are just an indication and you can add more to taste. I absolutely love the consistency of the mousse and can see a lot of potential here. It is soft and fluffy but dense enough to use in a piping bag and I am getting the idea that it will hold well if gelatine is used to form something….anything with blue cheese!

Spring salad

Spring salad

Balsamic Glazed Pears 

Pears, olive oil and balsamic cream/reduction

Cut pears in thin slices, skin and all, no need to remove the skin. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic cream and bake in the oven at 180 C until soft

Balsamic glazed baked pear

Balsamic glazed baked pears

I served the mousse and pears with baby leaves, rocket, walnuts and a herb vinaigrette.

My friend Ina introduced me to these gorgeous tinned baby pears. See the pepper pot in the back ground, that is how small they are! Small or not, they became the centre piece and conversation topic of the night.

Baby pears in petit colander

Baby pears in petit colander

This mousse will become a spread or a topping for many a thing in future.

Blue cheese mousse starter

Blue cheese mousse starter

This one goes to Fromage Homage for the September Cheese Please! Challenge as hosted by The Garden Deli for the cheese and fruit combination for this month. Somehow I always end up sending some or other blue cheese for the challenge so let me not deviate this time then!

Cheese Please!Blog Challenge

Cheese Please!Blog Challenge

Random Photo:

Yip, definitely a front rower …..

For sure right in the front!

For sure right in front!

All things Red

Baked figs and Blue cheese

Baked figs and Blue cheese

I am still in my red phase, or fig phase, don’t know which, which started with the red Afghan carpet I bought. I need very visually stimulating food and things around me and that is not a phase, it is just how it is.

I just put the blue cheese in the sliced figs with a sprig of thyme and baked at 180 until soft and gooyy. Green grapes and baked figs made a great salad in what is a hot summer in Cape Town.

Baked figs and ice cold green grapes

Baked figs and ice cold green grapes

Red post or not, this blue fig one will go to the Cheese, Please! April challenge featuring the blues.

Cheese Please!Blog Challenge

Cheese Please!Blog Challenge

We are doing short over-night road trips over weekends to the wine farms and surrounds to clear the brain and I always pick up fresh produce and cheeses along the way. I wish we had time for a longer break but alas, it will not happen now.

Ataraxia Wine Farm, Hemel&Aarde Valley

Ataraxia Wine Farm, Hemel&Aarde Valley

Figs will always remind me of the huge fig tree in front of our house when I started my school years in George, Eastern Cape. There was often a big juicy red fig in my packed lunch, which even then I could not wait to get my teeth into. Strange if you think that others had sweets or crisps and I wanted fruit, strange kid indeed. I am still strange, come to think of it.

Figs, Feta & Capers

Figs, Feta & Capers

This fig salad was made with baby spinach, sun-dried tomato feta and capers(my latest craze).

Baked Ricotta&Beetroot Pots

Baked Ricotta&Beetroot Pots

The funny red concoction happened when I adjusted my baked Ricotta Vegetable Pots Recipe to make baked beetroot and ricotta pots. Dark, deep red. Oh, and of course I added vintage cheddar to the beetroot mix. Great combination. Instead of pouring the ricotta mix over oven baked beetroot(drizzled with balsamic cream), I mixed the beetroot and ricotta mix with added vintage cheddar in a mixer to form a paste and then baked it in individual ramekins. Do NOT forget to put the lid on the mixer…ahem…uh, okay it took very long to clean the kitchen……

Random Photo:

Good night Cape Town

Lion's Head Cape Town

Lion’s Head Cape Town

Sweet Potato Fish Cakes and Asian Cabbage Salad

See the dainty spoon also from Korea!

See the dainty spoon also from Korea!

It feels like I am either getting onto a plane or exiting a plane as I am again preparing for a work trip away for a week, away from my precious Cape Town-UUURGGHH. Away for work once a month or more means at least 24 flights a year without any personal travelling, not funny let me tell you.I would definitely not make a very good air hostess, or any other hostess come to think of it!

out of the suitcase!

out of the suitcase!

What with the loot I brought home from my travels in December, I could not wait to start using the food isle worth of products that came out of my suitcase. I fell in love with the simplicity of the finely shredded cabbage salad, garnished with micro greens and with a light green mayonaise dressing or also served with an Asian soy dressing in most of the Korean restaurants. I could not figure out what was in the light green dressing to make it light green but saw in the food shops that they sell the dressing with a picture of kiwi fruit on the lable, which I bought but it tasted too sweet and not like the good stuff in the restaurants-will need to google to try and find out more about this.

Round pears!

Round pears!

I took this photo in Korea as whilst there, I already started making the salad, but just see the massive ROUND pears you get there, biggest I have seen in my life and although slightly different in taste from our normal pear shaped pears, also very delicious and juicy. Which makes me think I want to make a pear and blue cheese salad tonight, have to have blue cheese after reading 2 blog posts this morning featuring the blues!

Sweet potato fish cakes

Sweet potato fish cakes

But back to the current post. I ” needed” fish cakes with the Asian cabbage salad ( with pineapple added) and I prefer a decent sized fish cake and not these dainty little things served as a starter in the restaurants here. I wish they would put fish cakes on the menu’s as a mains and not only as a taster/starter as is the way here in our “hood”.

imageUse own quantities of the following for the fish cakes (sorry but I do not measure-therefore I rarely bake…..)

Boiled and roughly mashed sweet potato

Deboned and skinless hake and salmon, poach in milk and dill until soft and flaky

Finely grated carrots and flash fry it just to take the moist out

Chopped chives, spring onions and parsley

Fish spice, salt and pepper to taste

2 eggs( ore more to bind the mixture depending on your quantities)

Flour to roll in

Dried bread crumbs to coat

Oil for frying

The process is easy, mix the ingredients and spice to taste. Roll in decent size balls and roll in the flower, dip into beaten egg and roll into the bread crumbs.

If you have time, place in the fridge for 30 minutes to set. Press lightly into warm shallow oil to flatten the ball into a round fish cake shape and fry until golden brown.

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It went well with a green salad with pomegranate, grapes and lemon wedges followed by lemon coconut cream desert posted here (any excuse to use my new spoons!).

Coconut lemon cream

Coconut lemon cream

Random photo of the day:

late afternoon Paternoster

late afternoon Paternoster

Blue cheese salad dressing and Nespresso Machines

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My daughter is celebrating her birthday in South Korea today and we miss her so. In celebration, complete with birthday flowers, we had a birthday lunch at home in Cape Town and skype talked to her. Such is life. I made a blue cheese salad dressing for the first time and will for sure play with the dressing to accompany all sorts of dishes in future. I did not feel like searching and reading recipes and just started mixing ingredients to taste.

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I mixed olive oil, cream and a tangy mayonaise ( use own quantities to taste)

Add fresh herbs of choice

Half a cup of blue cheese melted for about half a minute in the micro wave-I left mine a bit lumpy as it is nice to have a piece of cheese here and there in the dressing. There was more than half a cup but the other half landed in my mouth.

Mix until smooth(ish).

Add more cheese if you want a thick dressing or add a bit of water/milk if a runny dressing is called for.

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Crunch was what I was after and I layered salad leaves and baby savoy cabage which are the most beautiful and perfectly formed little things.

Next add anything you like with a lot of chrunch like cucumber, pine apple and dried onion flakes( which I am obsessed about) and lastly generous scoops of the blue cheese dressing. I did not add bacon bits this time but will certainly do that next time. We had the salad with chicken and pumkin fritters. Trust me, it is nice!

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Now, for my random photo of the day:

This is specially for chef Mimi who recently blogged “In My Kitchen” (which I thought was a great idea) on her blog www.chefmimi.com about things in her kitchen she cannot live without. She mentioned that her Nespresso machine is one of those things and I said to her that I take my obsession with good coffee to another level by taking my Nespresso with me on travels in its own travel case. Her reply quote unquote:

” Holy s&$$))))))! I need to see that!”. Well, here it is then and it saved me from depression many a time, when I just could not and would not face the tepid blueish hotel coffee that seems to go around.

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It is about the same size as a small vanity case. I will rather leave the vanity case behind……

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Enjoy Mimi! (wanted to say: Eat your heart out! hehehe).

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Ps. I was not paid for this standing ovation to Nespresso.