Thursday, January 26, 2006

From the Garden

Several meals over the past few days have featured greens, tomatoes and cucumber from the garden. There is a difference between freshly picked tomatoes ripened on the vine and still warm and thick skinned supermarket tomatoes transported hundreds of miles and ripened in a gas filled room.


Pickled cucumber are a family favourite. This is a simple dish created by peeling and slicing cucumbers into thick sticks. The cucumbers are blanched in a heated mixture of water and vinegar. Blachan, tumeric, garlic, and candle nut are pounded into a paste. The mixture is fried in a small amount of oil. The blanched cucumber is added to the cooked mixture. Fresh chillis both red and green from the garden are added. The mixture is stored in the fridge and may be served as an accompanyment to many dishes. This one was sprinkled with grated fresh peanuts.

Minced pork is marinated with light soy sauce and a small amount of corn starch is mixed with the meat. This is fried with a small amount of oil and garlic. Fresh sprouts from snow peas before they are formed along with chinese chives are added. Finally fresh tofu is added along with soy sauce and it all broken up in large chunks. Quick simple and delicious.

This is another family favourite. Chicken pieces are coated with corn starch and fried in a small amount of oil until the skin is crispy. The tomato sauce is made by heating together fresh tomatoes, chillis, garlic, oil, and salt. The chicken pieces are added to the sauce and cooked some more. Add vinegar if the tomatoes are too sweet.

This fish soup dish gets a distinctive flavour from the lemon grass. A fish stock is made with the bones from cheap fish and prawn heads. The pasta is cooked separately and served separately. The prawns and greens are added to the strained soup. A few chillis give it a tang. This turns even the cheapest fish into an excellent dish.

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