February 14, 2012

Food for the toothless

Happy Valentines day everyone!

We all know that February the 14th is a day where love is thrown around and lovers are showered with gifts and cuddles. But I have never really questioned the origin of it. I knew it was something to do with St Valentine, hence Valentines day but what is the story behind it? Thanks to my awesome investigative skills (google) I found out that it started as a day to honor said saint, but it wasnt until a certain Mr Geoffery Chaucer wrote a poem to honor the engagement of King Richard II to Anne of Bohemia, that Valentines day was associated with love and fuzziness.

The poem he wrote was "For this was Saint Valentine's Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate." Interesting huh? One person, one line has turned this day into a massively 'important' one.

Personally, I'm not too phased by Valentines Day. I think its sweet and I think its nice. And for those boys out there who dont have romantic DNA I suppose it puts you on the spot and reminds you to make your lady feel special, which is a good thing. Yet on the other hand I also believe that showing someone you care or that you love them isnt a once a year thing but it should be apparent randomly all the time. By this I dont mean a bunch of 12 long stem roses every day but you know, the little things. They always make me smile :)

So as I was thinking about all of this and remembering all the little things both my Wobbles has done for me and that I have done for him. I remembered something in particular that I did for my better half earlier this year that I would like to share with you all.

The poor thing had to get his wisdom tooth out. With the maturity (at times) of a 5 year old kid he was mopey and whiny that he had to get it out, so that (blasted windy, rainy, aweeeefulll) Sat morning I took him to the dentist then proceeded to play nurse (not the naughty kind) for the day.

Not being able to eat anything solid I put my culinary "skills" and thinking cap to the test. First I whipped out my 'French Lessons' cookbook by Justin North then decided to tackle the Cauliflower Vichyssoise (mouthful, I know). This was such a full bodied soup. The texture was rich and creamy and really hit the spot especially during those freakishly cold days we were having back in January. The aroma of thyme pairs up brillantly with the cauliflower to make it a lovely moorish starter.

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The second dish I decided on was somewhat an invention of my own. I was seriously racking my brain for something light yet filling and of course soft for my toothless baby. So what popped in my head? A fusion of japanese and chinese. Steamed Ginger Barramundi and Tofu with Dashi Broth

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This was a brilliant success! The sweetness of the fish married perfectly with the saltiness yet lightness of the broth. Although, one would have though that it might lack in texture the silky tofu actually was the perfect solution to this dilemma. I will definitely be making this dish again.

The things we do for love. Have a great one! ♥

Btw - if you havent heard, yes my stall at the Crows Nest Markets is a go ahead, so make sure you come down and say hi! Its this Sat the 18th Feb starts at 9 - 3 pm. I'll be selling an assortment of cream puffs (pate a choux), macarons and cupcakes. The markets are located right next to the Gloria Jeans on the main strip x

Cauliflower Vichyssoise
Adapted from Justin North's French Lessons
60 ml vegetable oil
1 onion, finely sliced
1 leek, white part only, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1/2 head of cauliflower broken into small florets
3 sprigs thyme
salt and pepper
2 cups chicken stock (I was trying to be fancy and used consomme instead - think this is what gave it the richness, but it was slightly too powerful for the delicate soup so I wouldnt recommend it)
few drops of lemon juice
Food for the toothless-1
First heat the oil in the pan then add the vegetables along with the thyme and cauliflower. Season well. Sweat over a low heat until the onion becomes transparent. Add stock to the pan and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer gently for about 20 mins. Season.
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Ladle into a food processor and puree in batches. Be very careful as the liquid from the pot will be very HOT.
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Push the soup through a fine sieve and let cool then stir in the lemon juice. Chill then serve. Now, here is where I must stop you. I think that I might have not sieved it through a fine enough sieve because it wasnt as fine as I think it shouldve been, as a result I actually served it warm instead of cold. But traditionally its supposed to be served chilled, so whatever tickles your fancy.

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Steamed Ginger Barramundi with Tofu and Dashi Broth

2 x 100-150 g firm fish fillets (I used barramundi)
1 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp dashi iriponzu (Uchibori dashi Iriponzu)
1 cup seasoned sauce (Marutomo Makurazaki Katsutsuyu)
5 cups water
3 squares of tofu (they usually come standard size), each cut in half
small piece of ginger crushed and minced finely
spring onion, sliced finely

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Left to right - Mirin, dashi iriponzu, seasoned sauce

Add dashi and water in a pot along with the mirin, dashi and sauce and let come to a boil. I know you're all probably scratching your head at these ingredients. I got them all from Tokyo Mart in Northbridge plaza. Basically to my understanding, the dashi iriponzu is like a vinegar. The seasoned sauce is a pre mix that needs to be diluted and it can be used in a variety of dishes such as Udon soup base, katsu's etc. Mirin is just a sweet wine. You can see all three ingredients in the picture above.

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Slice the fish fillets into 1.5 thickness diagonally. Place on a plate that you can fit in your steamer. Spoon enough broth to cover the fish. Sprinkle the ginger over the top of the fish and steam for a few mins until just turned white. (Dont over cook the fish or it'll be tough and yucky)

While the fish is steaming gently pop the tofu into the broth and let it gently boil. It doesnt need to be cooked for long.
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When the tofu is cooked, place 3 pieces of tofu on a plate as shown. Spoon some of the broth into the plate. Then gently place the fish on top of the tofu. Spoon some of the broth used to cook the fish into the plate too, this will have all the lovely juices and ginger from the fish.

Sprinkle with a small handful of spring onions.

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  1. Aww, what a very sweet post! The vichyssoise looks like a lot of effort, but worth it.

  2. Looks so fresh and light! Love the combo of the fish and tofu, and the cauliflower looks lush!

  3. Soft, savoury food can be hard to think of! I remember getting my wisdoms out and trying to eat stuff that wasn't ice-cream, yoghurt and jelly - only so much sugar you can take haha.


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