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Posts Tagged ‘Asian’

  1. Asian-Style Damson Sauce

    October 22, 2014 by sarah

    While clearing out the freezer to make space for this autumn’s harvest, I came across a couple of bags of stewed damsons from last year’s gut. While racking my brain for some more unusual damson recipes, I did a Google search and found this recipe on Love and Olive Oil. The recipe was in typical American inaccurate slash annoying cup measurements and lacked any spices so I measured and added some spices and this is what I came up with. I am totally smitten with deep plumy red colour. It tastes like a cross between a fruity HP sauce (mmmmm, my favourite chip sauce) and a less spiced chutney. Apart from chips, I will be trying it with grilled dark meats and especially venison steaks. I need a trip to the supermarket then. Again.

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    Asian-Style Damson Sauce

    Makes 4 small jars.
    1kg damsons
    1 small onion or half a large one, finely chopped
    2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    1″ fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
    200g soft brown sugar
    125ml cider vinegar
    1 teaspoon salt
    tied into muslin – 3 star anise, 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, 3 dried hot chilies or 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes, 1/2 teaspoon schezuan pepper, 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
    Place the damsons in a large saucepan and add 100ml water. Cook for 15-20 minutes until very soft. Allow to cool a little then, wearing rubber gloves, pick out the stones. Alternatively, press the stewed damsons through a sieve and discard the stones.
    In the large pan with the de-stoned damsons, add the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil. 
    Simmer gently for about an hour, stirring frequently so the bottom doesn’t catch, until the sauce is thick and syrupy. It is not like a chutney so do not expect to be able to draw a line through it.
    Sterilise some small jars with vinegar proof lids. Using a funnel, fill the warm sterilised jars to within half a centimeter of the top of the jar and tighten the lids. Leave to cool entirely before labelling. Store for a couple of months before using and once a jar is open, store in the fridge and use within a month.
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  2. Asian-style Butternut Squash Soup

    February 19, 2014 by sarah

    Whenever I make this soup, the colourful bowlful and cheery flavours brightens up the dampest of wet winter days. Saying that though, I can tell spring is close now; the dawn chorus has returned, it is just about light when I get up, the sun has some warmth in it when it is out from behind a cloud and little shoots are appearing in the garden and on our walks. I suppose we should be grateful for living on the top of a hill and not in a flood, but the incessant mud and grey skies are very soul draining.

    I have never eaten a soup of this style in Asia and I am not sure it could ever be called an ‘authentic’ Asian recipe, whatever that may mean, but the flavours of that part of the world are in this soup and the cheerful colour reminds me of the sunnier latitudes. I hope it cheers up your winter days too.

    This recipe is adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s ‘River Cottage Everyday’. I think cutting up raw squash is asking for an injury; sharp knife and a round, moving and very hard object do not make a good combination. In this recipe I get round that problem by roasting the squash whole first so it is meltingly tender and easy to prepare. I usually do this when the oven is on for something else, for example our evening meal, to save energy.


    Asian-style Butternut Squash Soup
    1 butternut squash, medium sized
    1 large onion, finely chopped
    1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
    1/2 teaspoon ready chili in vinegar or a small medium hot fresh chili
    knob/thumb sized amount of fresh ginger, finely grated
    1 garlic clove, chopped
    about 1 litre of vegetable stock (from a cube/pot is fine)
    2 tablespoons of peanut butter
    juice of a lime
    To Serve – fresh coriander, toasted seeds
    Place the butternut squash on a baking tray, stab a few times with a sharp knife and place in a medium to hot oven for 30 minutes to maximum 45 minutes until it is soft all the way through when you insert a sharp knife.
    Allow the butternut squash to cool sufficiently to handle; this takes about an hour at room temperature. Scrape the flesh of the squash into a bowl using a large spoon or your clean hands, discarding the skin (unless you want to add that for extra fibre) and seeds with the fibres (unless you want to wash the fibres off the seeds and roast them for the topping – too much hassle for me).
    Heat the oil in a large saucepan and then add the onion and a pinch of salt (the salt stops the onion catching); cook until the onion is soft, sweet and translucent. Add the chili, ginger and garlic and stir for a minute or two until fragrant. Add the reserved butternut squash and enough stock to cover the squash. Cover, bring to the boil and simmer for about 15 minutes to meld the flavours.
    Add the peanut butter and lime juice, stir until the peanut butter has melted. Blend the soup with a hand blender or in a blender. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning as required. Serve!

  3. Fee, Fi, Pho, fum – Vietnamese Duck soup

    February 14, 2014 by sarah

    I love food travelling; in other words, making a dish or meal that transports you to somewhere else. That is what this soup does for me. One sniff and one taste, I am back to Hanoi in Vietnam. Making these travel inspired dishes is also a whole lot cheaper than going there, even if it only lasts for the duration of the soup supping!

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    Please feel free to alter the vegetables to whatever you have or what ever is on offer at the time. The garnishes are also personal preference too. In Vietnam, they arrive on a dish separate from the soup and it is up to the diner to add which and what and how much to give a personalised soup.

    Vit Phô – Vietnamese Duck Soup

    Serves 2-4, depending how greedy and if a main dish or snack/lunch dish

     1 duck carcass (left over from the Sunday night roast duck)
    spice mix (1/2 a cinnamon stock, 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds, 1/2 tbsp fennel seeds, 3-4 star anise, 2 cardamom pods, 4 whole cloves)
    2″ knob of ginger, don’t bother to peel, just cut or slice roughly
    1 or 2 red chilis, depending how hot they are and how hot you like it (I only had dried)
    1 tbsp fish sauce
    1 large onion, do not peel but roughly cut into wedges
    1 nest/layer of vermicelli rice noodles per person (I added 2 which was enough for 3 servings)
    mix of vegetables e.g. bok choi, mangetout, mini sweetcorn
    To Serve-
    thinly sliced red chili
    limes cut into wedges
    bean sprouts
    fresh coriander herb
    sweet chili sauce (my personal favourite)
    To make the pho broth, in a large pan that will hold the duck carcass fully submerged and has a tight fitting lid, put the duck carcass, the whole spices, ginger, chili, fish sauce and onion (and fresh coriander stalks if you have any). Add enough fresh water until the carcass is just submerged. Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer. Allow to simmer for at least an hour, and ideally 2-3 hours.
    Remove the duck carcass from the broth and leave to cool on a plate. When cooled enough to handle, pick off the meat (and skin – it is traditional) and reserve the meat and throw away the bones.
    Strain the broth through a sieve into a clean pan, taste and adjust salt levels if necessary. Bring back to a simmer and add the noodles, vegetables and reserved meat; simmer for a minute or two then ladle into bowls and serve with the accompaniments, which are essential not optional.