Chinese Vegetables

It could have been a flower

It could have been a flower

I think bok choy is just a beautiful thing. I went to the Chinese Supermarket to buy Chinese Five Spice and I found fresh bok choy and white Chinese radish. I have never cooked with either.  Technically bok choy is part of the cabbage family but does not taste like cabbage at all. I should have bought two to keep one as decoration-just so pretty. I did a bit of reading up and a lot of the fried cabbage dishes also contain garlic and ginger and I already had those in the Asian meatballs I was making and did not want to repeat them again with the vegetables. image Trim the bok choy stem, separate the leaves and rinse. I also halved the bigger leaves to have them evenly sized. image Heat up a pan/wok with a bit of peanut oil and add soy sauce to the hot oil just before you add the vegetables, flash fry the leaves and toss fast. I find that tongs work the best. Do that for about 30 seconds and then add a splash of water to create steam and cover the pan. Steam for about 3 minutes and turn it over with the tongs in between. Add another splash of water if necessary to create steam. Plate and season with salt and a drizzle of peanut oil.image Let me tell you it tastes great. I also used half of the Chinese radish to stir fry with carrots and baby cabbage and the other I pickled.

Asian meat balls and stirfry

Asian meat balls and stirfry

Random photo:

Art

Man

Man

 

Eisbein and Rhubarb Epic

I grew up in a home where nothing was boiled and never did meat touch water in the cooking process, ever. I bought lovely smoked Eisbein and all the recipes I found wanted me to boil the meat first for a few hours before roasting it. No, not in this here house. This particular cut of the pork shank is of German origin and can be fresh but is usually pickled or smoked.

Roast Eisbein and baked apples

Roast Eisbein and baked apples

The name however is Nordic in origin and means “pork knuckle” . In Swedish it is Islaeggor and in Norwegian it is called Islegg. Directly translated into my Afrikaans home language therefor: Ysbeen! The interesting part is that it has nothing to do with the “Ysbeen” in our bodies, but the name stuck because they used to make ice skates of the knuckle bone in the Nordic countries. There you have it!

So upwards and onwards and hell bent on not boiling anything and definitely not my smoked Eisbeins, I googled and found the passionate blog of The Rider who also did not boil his meat but instead did a barbeque and smoked it in a Webber. We corresponded and food friends made, I told him smoking and Webbers are out of the question as it is not going to go down well in an apartment block where no such shenanigans will be allowed. The poor man was having a gall stone attack at the other end of the country after his indulgences with the exact same Eisbein culprit went too far for his doctor’s liking (oh what we would do for good food…). I hope he is alive and well and firing up the Webber again as we speak.

Investigations done, I  found a recipe for pork fillet by Jamie Oliver which he combined with rhubarb of all things and I had rhubarb in my fridge!

Preparation: I formed a bed of onion, garlic and rhubarb. No water no oil no nothing, the meat has enough fat and juices.

Tucked in on a bed of rhubarb

Tucked in on a bed of rhubarb

Oven: The Eisbeins went into the oven, covered with foil. Bake it at low heat (140 C) for 3.5 hours. I added carrots towards the end. Roast : remove foil and roast for another hour or however long you want on n higher heat or if you do not have another hour, grill it at high heat until you have hard crackling. Be around and look often if on a high heat so you do not overdo the roasting and burn the crackling part.

Eisbein & roast veg

Eisbein & roast veg

In other words, take your merry time on a Sunday or whenever because it is so worth it. No need to boil anything and the meat was soft and juicy. The rhubarb with smoked pork is an absolute winner, it has the same tartness as the baked apple. Next time I will put in the rhubarb much later as mine disintegrated into a sauce ( nice) but lost its pink colour and I am all about colour as we know.

imageI served it with baked apple slices and pickled radishes instead of the normal sauerkraut.

Baked Apples: Place sliced and cored apple on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and butter and bake till you have a soft apple.

Random Photos:

I miss Europe. Do I feel a trip comming on…..?

Mont Martre, Paris

Montmartre, Paris

Walk- about

Walk- about

PICKLED PINK

Aside

Pickled Radishes

Pickled Radishes

I always wondered how the contestants on Master Chef could pickle all they pickle within one hour. I thought pickles had to sit pretty in brine or whatever for weeks to be just right .Well I was wrong. No suprise that I was wrong on that score as I only for the first time preserved guavas a year ago after putting it off for half of my natural life, because yet again I thought it would take lots of time and effort, which it did not.

Today I made a bon voyage lunch for my sister and her husband who is going for a week of 5 star holiday in Mauritius, awful I know….If she loved me she would have taken me with. Another first for me was to make Eisbein which is a robust German dish of smoked pork knuckle and which deserves a blog on its own. I did not have sauerkraut and wanted some pickles to go with the obligatory mustard and veggies for the Eisbein feast.

No hard work for these pickles

No hard work for these pickles

A bunch of big fat radishes lying around in the fridge ended up being just the thing to pickle and low and behold, ready in 10 minutes. I bought a bottle of Verjus which I have never tried before (a lot of firsts being tried out here!) and the label says:: “use instead of lemon juice or vinegar”, perfect for the radishes.image

Mix the following:

1 cup Verjus/Vinegar of your choice

1/2 a cup water

2t salt

2 T honey(I used ginger infused honey)

A bunch radishes sliced thinly

3 cloves garlic

Pickled Pink!

Pickled Pink!

Cook the first 4 ingredients for 2 minutes in the microwave or warm up on the stove top. Add the radishes and garlic to the liquid(do not cook again, the heat is just to melt the honey) and leave to cool down. Taste the liquid and adjust the sweetness if you have to. 10 minutes later you have pickled radishes! Pretty and pink. I will definitely use Verjus again, I like the gentle taste of it and can think of a lot of ways to enhance food with my newfound bottle of joy. If I do not have ginger honey, I will definitely add ginger to the normal ingredients as it just took it to another layer of taste.

Random Photo:

Miss you Tara! Starbucks all the way from Ulsan, South Korea.

My Tara to the right, Jeanri to the left.

My Tara to the right, Jeanri to the left.