Saturday, September 22, 2012

DIY lemongrass

A couple of weeks ago I bought some stalks of lemongrass from the local Asian greengrocer.
After soaking in water for 2 weeks, the bulbs sprouted roots.
I then planted them in a large pot in the back yard.
Lemongrass is a delicious & essential ingredient in Asian cusine.
The leaves have a distinctive astringent lemon taste.
Lemongrass has many health benefits and healing properties.
It contains many compounds, oils, minerals and vitamins that are known to have anti-oxidant and disease-preventing properties.
The primary chemical component in lemongrass is citral which has strong anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties.
Lemongrass is regarded as having beneficial effects in regards to: coughs cold & sore throats, anxiety, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, colitis, digestion, rough dry & scaly skin, acne, constipation, kidney detoxification, & insomnia.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Welcome to some culinary explorations out & about in Auckland.
The city is becoming increasingly culturally diverse, & specialist ethnic food eateries and suppliers are springing up all over the place.
A couple of weeks ago I visited the Tai Ping Asian supermarket @ 25 Porana Road in Glenfield, with my chum Laurie.
We discovered a cooking class, where the young lady was demonstrating making spring rolls - they were certainly crisp & delicious...

Afterwards we bought some curry pastes and some dried fungus - evidently an essential ingredient of Asian food..

  Then we bought crispy roasted duck on rice which we ate in the van...delicious!! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


How's this for food fusion: Laurie made us a lunch of sushi with eggs & smoked homemade bacon!
Best of British breakfasts meets Japanese.
Great with pickled ginger, soy and, of course, generous amounts of wasabi.....

Friday, September 14, 2012

makin bacon

I bought a piece of pork belly and rubbed it well with 50 grams of plain salt mixed with .5gram of saltpetre, placed in in a pyrex baking dish with a lid in the fridge for 24 hours.
Then drained off the water, rinsed the meat, dried it, rubbed it with another salt mix, and left it for another 24 hours.
Again I drained the moisture, rinsed the meat, dried it then wrapped it in a clean tea towel soaked with vinegar.
That's how you can easily make your own bacon!
Sad to say the majority of people presented with traditionally salted food turn up their noses - saying that it is too salty and dry. They prefer the modern sweet, soft hams and bacon which are pumped full of liquid and made soft by shredding and pressing: ie SPAM!
Some technical info: the salt dries the meat out (hence the liquid), helps preserve it and keeps aerobic bacteria at bay. The saltpetre is a very effective germicide - and (even in miniscule amounts) will act against any other poisonous organisms.
Other methods soak the meat in a liquid brine with added treacle or molasses - these will counteract the toughening action of the salt.
Sliced bacon can then be easily smoked in a small hot-smoker to add a most delicious flavour.

Here is a recipie I found on the web which I will try next time ( & add some saltpetre):
Best wet cure recipe for back and streaky bacon
* A joint of either loin or belly of pork
* 900ml of cold water
* 100g of cooking salt
* 4 heaped teaspoonfuls of dark treacle or molasses
Mix the salt and treacle with the water.
Place the joint in the water and submerge it with a small plate. Leave to soak in the fridge for four days.
Remove the joint from the curing mixture and dry with a clean tea towel. Leave the joint to chill in the fridge for an hour or so – this makes slicing easier.
Place the joint skin side down on a chopping board and slice.
Store in greaseproof paper in the fridge or slice and store in the freezer.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

the ultimate beer snack!

This evening I concocted the ultimate beer snack!
Fresh home-made butter-popcorn with a sprinkle of salt, a pinch of ground chilli, and a dash or so of Lea & Perrins sauce......