Friday, 21 April 2017

Zuppa Di Funghi - Wild Mushroom Soup from Emiko Davies' Acquacotta

Sometimes it's the small things that make you feel better, more yourself again. Sometimes it's as simple as a bowl of soup on a chilly night, curled up on the couch.

A furry friend keeping your toes warm doesn't hurt either.

The past few weeks have been so up and down I don't really know where I am half the time but more on that another day. I've been cooking here and there but mostly not for myself, I've been in a different kitchen that has a dishwasher and oh how much more enjoyable cooking is when you can load the dishwasher and not have a giant sink full of dishes to tackle at the end. I've also learnt a snippet of my family's history that has me so curious about what my grosi and great grosi (swiss grandma) might have cooked for the ones they loved. I suppose I could ask my Uncle or cousins but I have so many questions I think I'll overwhelm them or they'll think I'm crazy! It's easy for my mind to go off on little tangents now and then. Thinking a lot family lately and what it'd be like to have everyone in the one room for a day. The thought makes me smile, we'd talk and talk and talk until the lot of us had no voices left. It would be wonderful.

Zuppa Di Fungi | Wild Mushroom Soup | Emiko Davies cookbook Acquacotta | salt sugar and i

Home again last week and in my own (dishwasher-less) kitchen, I craved comfort and feeling unsettled with my un-stocked pantry and fridge I assumed dinner was going to arrive in plastic boxes with wooden chopsticks. Not so comforting about that. This was until I picked up a copy of Emiko Davies new cookbook, Acquacotta that had been sent to me (thankyou thankyou thankyou). My menulog order was out on hold as I came across a recipe for a tomato based wild mushroom soup, Zuppa Di Funghi. Hmmm mushrooms - a little bit sad but yes, onion - yes, garlic - yes, canned tomatoes - yes, dried porcini - YES. DONE. The soup was so robust, comforting and full of flavour ti's going to be a regular dinner on those nights that you need something to warm you through to your toes. Emiko tells us the dried porcini mushrooms are optional but I highly recommend adding them even if it means a little online shop to get them (I get mine from here). It gives it a beautiful flavour that you can't get from other mushrooms. I used fresh button mushrooms and swiss brown mushrooms along side the dried porcini but if I had them I'd have also added other mixed mushrooms like fresh porcini and chanterelles.

To serve, you rub a piece of grilled crusty bread with a raw garlic clove, place it in the bottom of your bowl and pour over the soup. The liquid is soaked up by the punchy garlic bread turning it into a thick stew, like soup. It's filling and rich but not heavy - perfect on a chilly autumn night.

Zuppa Di Fungi | Wild Mushroom Soup | Emiko Davies cookbook Acquacotta | salt sugar and i

This book is more than just a beautiful cookbook. Emiko has captured the life in Costal Southern Tuscany with it's food, cooking and traditions. If reading about a different way of life and the food that surrounds it are comfort for you then this book with warm you and also make you very very hungry. It made me want to escape to Italy and book flights asap. I can't wait to really get stuck in more of the recipes like the wild boar ragu, homemade parpadelle with hare sauce, spaghetti with wedge clams, strozzapreti pasta with 'fake' sauce (yeh I like pasta) and of course the acquacotta's of the book, the dish the book is named after but I'll need to do a little research for some ingredients. Wild hare and boar I have no clue but with the fresh seafood I think I'll take my copy of the book to the fish shop next time and ask for some advice.

I hope everyone had an Easter weekend with time spent with the ones you love, eating, drinking and of course talking too much.

Zuppa Di Funghi - Wild Mushroom Soup

recipe (ever so slightly adapted) from Acquacotta by Emiko Davies
serves 4

1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped, plus 1 extra for rubbing on toasted bread
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
20g dried porcini (optional - but highly recommended)
450g mixed mushrooms, inc fresh porcini if possible, roughly chopped
125ml white wine
400g passata (or 1x400g blitzed can of tomatoes)
chilli flakes, chopped red chilli or freshly ground black pepper
1 handful calamint (or marjoram or oregano and mint) - I used parsley
4 slices white crusty bread

In a large pot, cook the onion and garlic over low heat in olive oil for approx. 10 minutes, or until onion softens but doesn't colour.

If using dried porcini, put them in a small bowl and pour just-boiled water over the top to cover (about a cup). Let the mushroom soften in the water for about 15 minutes. Remove the mushrooms carefully (they will be hot!), straining and reserving the liquid through a fine-meshed sieve lined with a coffee strainer or a couple of sheets of paper towel. Chop the reconstituted mushrooms roughly.

Add the fresh and reconstituted mushrooms to the onion and garlic, season with a pinch of salt and then pour over the white wine. Turn the heat up to medium-high and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the tomato passata along with 125ml of water and strained mushroom water, season with another pinch of salt and chilli flakes (or cracked black pepper). Continue cooking for another 15-20 minutes at a low simmer until the mushrooms are tender and the soup reduces slightly and thickens. Remove from the heat and add the herbs.

Grill or toast the bread slices. Rub the warm toast just once (or twice if like the raw garlic punch) with a peeled, raw clove of garlic for extra flavour. Put the toast in the bottom of four bowls and pour soup over the top.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

sumac roast chicken with carrots and chickpeas from Gatherings by Flora Sheddan

When I first started this blog I went through a faze of making lots of chicken tray bakes and I think two of them were great, some were ok and a few were inedible and never got a mention. They were quick to throw together when I got in late from work and it meant I could jump in the shower, potter around and dinner was done. Very time efficient midweek cooking. But I haven't made a try bake in months (maybe even a year) and to be honest, I have no idea why not. I get home earlier from work but for some reason I post less than I used to and I have more time now than I did before.

Two weeks ago when I had to pack for my mini break to Melbourne I remembered a recipe from the latest cookbook I'd been sent 'Gatherings' by Flora Sheddan. I flicked straight to the recipe for sumac roast chicken with carrots and chickpeas and even though there were a few things I didn't have on hand I knew I could easily substitute sweet potato for the carrots and cut down the recipe for 2 people by using chicken breasts instead of a whole chicken. A busy night, perfect for a time efficient chicken tray bake.

The recipe was so easy to adapt for two and although it doesn't look the most appealing dinner having two slightly shrunken chicken breasts sitting on top of an abundance of sweet potatoes, you could use chicken pieces, it sure had flavours that punched. The rub on the chicken was spicy and zesty, matching perfectly with the sweetness of the sweet potatoes and cumin. I added some lemon-ey greek yoghurt on the side as I am a bit of a pansy when it comes to spice but can't resist the spicy/cool combo of the two. I had the leftover sweet potatoes in a salad the next day with a vinaigrette and some greens - delish!

The book itself is such a beautiful piece and the photography makes you want to invite friends over to share it all. Throughout the book there are suggested menu's and layouts of feasts using all the recipes in the book. I personally love the sound of Bonfire Night and Wandering Weekend Roast, pictured above. Flora's way of cooking is non-stressful and she welcomes improvisation. I also made the balsamic onion soda bread the other night which was so quick to put together and would pair perfectly with some sharp vintage cheddar or bitey blue cheese.

Next on the list to make is the fig and pumpkin seed granola and as soon as I put my ice cream bowl in the freezer, the earl grey ice cream.

sumac roast chicken with carrots (or sweet potatoes) and chickpeas

recipe adapted from Gatherings by Flora Sheddan
serves 4 (or 2 if using chicken breasts instead*)

400g carrots, chopped into quarters lengthways
(or 400g sweet potatoes, chopped into wedge size pieces)
1 x 400g can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons honey
olive oil
1 large free range chicken (or 2 large chicken breasts)
1 garlic bulb, broken up
1/2 lemon, quartered
white wine, as necessary
hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped, to serve (I didn't have any so skipped this one)

sumac paste (half recipe if cooking for 2)
2 tablespoons sumac
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli
juice of 1/2 lemon (keep rind and chuck in roasting pan with veg)
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic clove, crushed
salt and pepper

- Preheat oven to 200c/400F.

- Start with the sumac paste. Use either a pestle and mortar or food processor and mix all ingredients together until it becomes a well combined paste. Set aside.

- In a deep roasting tray, toss the carrots and chickpeas with the cumin, honey and a drizzle of olive oil.

- If cooking a whole chicken - place the chicken, breast side up on top of the veg and stuff the lemon quarters and rind inside. Rub the chicken with the sumac paste so it is completely and evenly covered. This can now go into the fridge and marinate for a couple of hours or straight into the preheated oven to roast for 1.5 - 2 hours.

Check the chicken after 1 hour and give the veg a toss/turn if it's catching on the edges. Add a splash of white wine to the tray and continue to cook until done and the juices run clear. Allow to rest for 10 minutes then serve with a sprinkle of the toasted hazelnuts.

- If cooking for two and using 2 breast fillets - mix the lemon quarters, lemon rind and garlic bulbs in with the veg and bake for 40 minutes in the preheated oven. Meanwhile marinate your chicken breasts in the sumac paste. After 40 minutes the veg should be soft but not cooked through. Give it a toss, add a splash of white wine and place the chicken breasts on top, roast for 20-30 minutes depending on the size of your chicken breasts.

Rest for 5 minutes then serve with a sprinkle of toasted hazelnuts.

I also served this with some greek yoghurt that had a squeeze of lemon juice in it.

* If cooking for 2 and using just breasts instead of the whole chicken I would recommend to still cook the same quantities of sweet potatoes/carrot like I did. You'll get some great leftover veg that is delicious in a salad the next day with some added greens, avocado and a sharp vinaigrette.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

a lemon cordial recipe - strewth!

After a not so *enjoyable (*read crappy) day at work last week I came home feeling overwhelmed and done. I didn't want to cook, I didn't care what was for dinner, I didn't know what I wanted. I considered a glass of wine but the previous weekend I decided to drink myself under the table (literally) which meant wine was definitely off the cards. Instead I frumped on the couch and picked up a book I was recently sent; The Little Book of Slow by Sally Wise and Paul McIntyre - Live mindfully and enjoy the simple things.

Sounds good to me, right?!

The book is split into two parts, the first which is Sally's contribution it all about the food, getting back to basics in the kitchen and enjoying slower more simple tasks rather than the quick 15 minute dinner you throw together midweek. There is bottling fruit, baking bread and making jam and chutneys. To be fair, it wouldn't be a book by Sally if it didn't include some sort of preserving. It also has tips and recipes for making your own cheese, baking a pie or a simple butter cake. All of which sounds delicious and simple in their own way.

The second part by Paul is all about Slow Pastimes like the perfect pot of tea, hosting a dinner party, keeping a diary or my favourite chapter - using Australian lingo, mate! To describe the week I've just had I should have started the post with I've been flat out like a lizard drinking / been busy. Maybe it's true that we've lost some of our Aussie Slang, I never hear anyone yell 'strewth!' and can count on one hand how many times I've been called a 'shelia'. That being said I never knew good old cordial was an Aussie thing either until I did a bit of googling.

So instead of baking a butter cake and enjoying it with a pot of hot tea I went with making homemade lemon cordial as it fits with both slow food and slow pastimes. It's refreshing, tart but still sweet and also simple to make. I do prefer my cordial on the bitter and weak side so I added a little extra citric acid and a little less sugar as there seemed to be an extraordinary amount in the recipe. The hardest thing about the recipe was juicing and zesting the lemons, after that everything is added to a pot and all you need to do is make sure the sugar (over 1kg ahhh!) is properly dissolved. I let it sit in the fridge for a night, strained it and put it in sterilised bottles/jars. I now have a good 1.5 litres of refreshing lemon cordial on hand that needs only a handful of ice and water for a quick taste of summer. Delish!

I think it's sometimes hard to remember the simple things when you get stuck in the 9-5 grind of Monday to Friday with busy weekends that disappear and suddenly its Monday again before you know it. So now with every glass I have a small reminder of the simple things and to make a little time for them and crikey its a cracker of a drop!

Homemade Lemon Cordial

recipe adapted from The Little Book of Slow by Sally Wise and Paul McIntyre

6 large lemons, washed (or 9 smaller lemons)
1.2kg white sugar *
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon citric acid
1 litre boiling water

- Finely zest and juice the lemons into a large pot.

-  Add remaining ingredient to pot stirring well.

- Keep stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved - you may need to stir it over low heat to help it along but do not bring it to a boil.

- Allow to cool to room temp, cover and store in the fridge overnight.

- Strain using a fine seive and store in steriliser bottles/jars.

To Serve: Mix 1 part cordial and 5 parts water (or soda water), stir, add ice and enjoy!

*The original amount of sugar in this recipe is 1.5kg. By reducing the sugar like I did will reduce the shelf life of the coridal. I am storing my (reduced sugar version) cordial in the fridge but if you use the original amount of sugar (1.5kg) you can store it in a cool dark place.

Find original recipe here.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Homemade Chocolate Paddle Pops

Chocolate Paddle Pop Recipe | salt sugar and i

So I'm thinking I should re-name the blog 'the weather and i' as I seem so damn obsessed with it lately. With two fans and a small portable air con working their little butts off, it's still too hot to even think about turning the oven, my motivation to cook is crashing and I think I'm loosing my marbles.

In this mad heat wave, the only things I want to eat are ice based - ice coffees, lemon cordial full of clanking ice cubes, freezer cold watermelon, frozen fruit sticks and paddle pops. So on Sunday, when it was stinker of a day my options were: one, leave the somewhat cooler than outside apartment and drive in my steamy car to the servo or two, spend 15 minutes in the kitchen, watch Netflix for 4 hours with icepacks and eat homemade chocolate paddle pops. I chose option two, just like any sane person would... right?

Chocolate Paddle Pop Recipe | salt sugar and i

Ok I'll admit it, my first thought while stirring the mixture over the stovetop for three minutes while feeling beads of sweat were - you are a mad women! I could've been on my way back from the servo, paddle pop in hand by now but noooooo here I was using heat for goodness sakes! But then the yoga-ess of making food to eat kicked in and maybe some of you will still think I'm mad to make my own paddle pops but it was kind of fun making my favourite childhood icey pole from scratch.

Chocolate Paddle Pop Recipe | salt sugar and i

They were easy to make and well worth the freezer wait. Just whisk everything together, cook it until it starts to thicken, then pour it into your moulds and freeze. I used moulds that I bought years ago that were still in the box and original packaging until last weekend but if you don't have ice block moulds in the back of your cupboard gathering dust, tip the bearded hipster at your local coffee shop and ask for some extra takeaway cups and stirring sticks (or buy paper cups from the supermarket) and use them instead. Different shape but still just as tasty!

So next time its bearable enough to stand by the stove for a few minutes whisking and you're patient enough to wait for them to freeze, give these a go! Seriously, I think you'll impress the fanciest of foodies with these, they'll bring back memories of Aussie Summers - saggy rashies, sticky fingers, chocolate drips and salty skin. Take me back!

Chocolate Paddle Pop Recipe | salt sugar and i

Chocolate Paddle Pops

makes about 10

3 cups milk
3 tablespoons dutch cocoa, sifted
6 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornflour
pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

- In a medium sauce pan, combine your sifted cocoa, sugar, cornflour and salt. Whisk just enough milk into the the dry ingredients to form a smooth paste, then whisk in the remaining milk.  It should look like a chocolate milkshake with everything blended evenly.

- Place the pan on medium heat, stir gently with a whisk - constantly scraping the sides and bottom of the pan. Once small bubbles start to appear around the edges of the pan, continue whisking for 2 minutes. The mixture should thicken up at this stage to a light custard.

- Pour the mixture into a bowl and whisk in vanilla essence off the heat.

- Fill your moulds (or cups) making sure you leave a little space for expansion and place into the freezer. These will take about 4-6 hours to set.

- To de-mould pops, let them sit at room temperature for a few minutes and use the heat of your hand* to release each one. Wrap them individually in baking paper and storing in a zip-lock bag back in the freezer.

*I found when de-moulding the pops and sitting them in warm water bath, they melted too quickly and lost their shape, although in say that I did make these on a 40C day.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Green Chicken Meatballs

Ok where did January go? Who ate him?

and can it please be winter already??

For the past two months I've done nothing but complain and whinge about the weather. It's been sooo hot, muggy, sticky, stifling, hot, hair frizzingly awful, sweaty, coffee must now always contain ice, hot and have I said sticky yet? I wrote an entire post (then deleted it) about how I hate the hot weather and cooking in it. BORING!

So instead dreaming of our Sydney summer away which I have a tendency to do (right now Victoria and Tasmania are looking like a lovely place for a sea change) I thought I'd share a recipe that does not require an oven, great to share and so delicious that it'll change they way you eat chicken meatballs forever, or at least in 2017.

Green Chicken Meatballs from Bon Appetempt/Amelia and Teddy in the Kitchen.

These little morsels are so delicious and fresh, they are exactly what you crave in a meatball when it's hot and you want something light but still full of flavour. They use blitzed up chicken thighs instead of chicken mince so you don't get that loafy texture which means you can make them as chunky or fine as you like but also they don't have any additional bread crumbs in to stodgy them up, keeping them delicate. But it's the parsley, onion and parmesan that really make them delicious and summery and to be honest, completely moorish.

Green Chicken Meatballs | salt sugar and i

I cooked these in a frying pan and served them with a tomato pasta sauce and brown rice but these would be great by themselves or even as chicken patties on the BBQ with a salad, just be wary they are on the soft side and until sealed feel like they might fall apart on you.

If you're only going to make one meatball in 2017, make these them. You will thank me (and Amelia) for the advice - they are seriously good green chicken meatballs.

What's your go-to summer recipe for when it's too hot to eat but you can't curb your appetite for home cooking?

Green Chicken Meatballs

recipe by Amelia Morris from Bon Appetempt/Amelia and Teddy in the Kitchen

500g boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup loosely-packed, chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of fresh black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
tomato pasta sauce - store bought or homemade (see below)

Cut the chicken thighs into 2cm chunks and place them on a plate in the freezer for about 30 minutes, give or take.

Place the parmesan, parsley and onion in the food processor and blitz until everything is finely chopped. Add the egg, chicken, salt and pepper, and continue to blitz until the chicken is coarsely ground — not as fine as chicken mince as you don’t want chicken much, but until everything is about ½ a cm roughly.

Using a large heaped tablespoon as a guide, shape into approx. one-inch meatballs.

In a large non-stick frying pan heat the olive oil over medium heat. One by one, dredge the meatballs in the flour and add to the hot oil. Cook until brown on all over, turning as necessary for about 15 to 20 minutes.

When the meatballs are almost cooked, heat up the tomato pasta sauce ready to serve.

Serve these Green Chicken Meatballs with the tomato pasta sauce and a crunchy side salad/ brown rice/ pasta.

tomato pasta sauce -
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 small brown onion, finely diced
2 clove garlic, crushed
splash of dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh herbs eg. basil, parsley or oregano (optional)
salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a small saucepan, add your onion, garlic and a pinch of salt and fry until onions are translucent and fragrant.

Add your splash (or two) of wine, let it bubble for a couple of minutes then add your canned tomatoes and sugar. Bring to a simmer and let bubble away for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Taste and season with salt, pepper and fresh herbs.

Friday, 23 December 2016

short but sweet - vanilla & almond crescent cookies

Last week I turned my apartment into a sauna. I guess you could say it was my way of doing a pre-Christmas detox.

For some idiotic reason I thought it'd be a genius idea to bake cookies and mince pies in my little kitchen on the hottest night in Sydney in 159 years. Am I mad? I'm starting to think so. It was so unbearably hot that I slept with an ice pack and Arthur didn't leave the bathroom tiles unless it was to play with the ice cubes I gave him to cool off. It took a good 2 days to finally feel the cool change... oh how I miss summers best friend - the afternoon southerly!

But amongst the heat I baked: what felt like batches and batches of Christmas mince pies - homemade mincemeat and all, panforte - which I've come to realise, I don't actually like eating but wish I could turn it into a scented candle, WP chocolate cookies - delicious but unexpected, gingerbread snowflakes - on the crispier side, vanilla and almond crescent cookies from Classic German Baking and also almond toffee that is my absolute weakness covered in dark chocolate.

A little late but I guess better then never, I thought I'd share a Christmas cookie recipe with you for any keen bakers out there wanting a last minute christmas gift or like me, have a shortbread christmas breakfast tradition. These little crescent shaped cookies are drowned in icing sugar and melt in your mouth. Perfect on Christmas morning with a cuppa in pyjamas.

I wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and hope their day is full of all the best things... good company, great food and lots of laughs. Stay safe my lovelies x

vanilla and almond crescent cookies | salt sugar and i

vanilla and almond crescent cookies

recipe from Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss (ever so slightly adapted)

175g plain flour
120g butter, at room temperature
250g icing sugar
100g blanched ground almonds or almond meal
2 tablespoon vanillezucker/vanilla sugar * (or super fine caster sugar + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
1 egg yolk
pinch salt

- Put the flour, butter, 50g of icing mixture, 1 tablespoon of vanillezucker/vanilla sugar (or caster + extract), ground almonds, egg yolk and salt in a bowl of a stand mixture with the flat paddle attachment and beat until all ingredients are combined. If making by hand, place above ingredients into a medium bowl and combine using a had mixer on low and then bringing the dough together with a wooden spoon at the end or mix entirely with a wooden spoon.

- Split the dough into three equal portions and roll reach piece into 2.5cm thick cylinders. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

- Preheat oven to 165C/325F and line 2 baking trays with baking paper when you are ready to bake.

- Remove logs from the refrigerator and slice each log into 12mm slices. Roll out each slice until it's about 5cm long and the ends are tapered but not pointy. Place on prepared trays and repeat with remaining dough. Space the cookies about 2.5cm between them on all sides.

- Bake for about 10 - 15 minutes or until ever so slightly browned on top.

- While the cookies are baking, mix together the remaining icing sugar and vanillezucker/vanilla sugar (if using) in a shallow bowl. When the cookies come out of the oven, let them cool for only a minute or two and very carefully dredge them completely in the sugar. Cool the dredged cookies on a wire rack and if still sticky, dredge a second time in the sugar to get an extra powdery coating.

- The cooled cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

*vanillezucker/vanilla sugar
2 cups granulated white sugar
1 vanilla bean, cut into quarters

Place all ingredients into a food processor and blitz until the vanilla bean is finely ground and well distributed, the sugar should be powdery/very fine. Store in an airtight container indefinitely.

Monday, 28 November 2016

kimchi fried with sesame spring onion salad and a fried egg

I have finished night school and can now do the books and process your IAS and BAS if you wanted to open a small business. Will take payment in the form of eating - you must let me cook for you and you must leave needing to be rolled out of my apartment. Dish drying optional but welcomed.

For the past 11 months, 3 nights a week I've been eating dinner at about 9:30 but more like 10 o'clock at night and it's been a smorgasbord of terrible rice bowls, mystery frozen sauces on microwaved rice, potatoes and canned baked beans nooked and nutella from the jar. I am now done and in desperate need to cook. Something. Anything new - that does not involve a microwave or packet rice.

Ok ok I'm being a little dramatic - I had Thursday and Friday right? Wrong. I was mentally done and couldn't contemplate the thought of doing the dishes after eating so there was a lot of MonkeyKing Thai - they know us a little too well now. Saturday and Sunday you say? Filled with assignments, homework and horrific hangovers because at 27 I still do not know what moderation is. Maybe 28 year old me will be a little more sensible and not spend most Sundays wishing the food fairy would bring me a burger and painkillers. Hmmm we'll see in a few weeks I guess.

kimchi fried with sesame spring onion salad | salt sugar and i

One recipe that I had planned to cook at least a month a go but never ended up getting around to it was Kimchi Fried Rice. I'd found the ingredients at the asian supermarket nearby where I had previously asked for help on other occasions and they just looked blankly at me as I was clearly butchering the pronunciation and they had no clue what I was after. gochujang (Korean red pepper paste). Most recipes say it's optional which I guess it is if you can't find it but it's like a challenge in a recipe when I see the word 'optional' in little brackets. Like a test. Giving up on the workers in the asian supermarket store and leaving Tristan sitting on the couches outside, I walked up and down the isles and looked at every kind of jar, sauce, dried mushroom and shrimp imaginable and ended up finding it in the back of the store with all the other Korean and Japanese ingredients. Ha - I win!

kimchi fried with sesame spring onion salad | salt sugar and i

But like I said before, this was about a month a go, at least and the gochujang paste along with the kimchi stayed in my fridge, glaring at me every time I opened the door 'KIMCHI FRIED RICE! KIMCHI FRIED RICE!' until I finally made it the other night. It was everything I ever wanted and more. Topped with a soft fried egg and sesame spring onion salad the sweet, spicy and sour fried rice was out of this world delicious. Something happens to the kimchi when you fry it, it looses the nose scrunching cabbage smell and becomes sweet and sour but still spicy and moorish. I ended up merging two recipes to make my version below which I'd have to say will become a regular in our little apartment. I used the basic recipe from Julia Turshen's new Cookbook 'Small Victories' and put an Amelia Morris from Bon Appetempt & In the Kitchen with Amelia and Teddy spin on it with the additional gochujang paste and the fried egg. Perfection.

If anyone comes over next week for dinner, this is what I will serve them. Sorry not up for discussion.

What have you lot been cooking? What have I missed? Any genius recipes I need to know about? Please spill!... I've awoken from the night school slumber and I'm hungry.

kimchi fried with sesame spring onion salad | salt sugar and i

kimchi fried with sesame spring onion salad and a fried egg

adapted from Julia Turshen's Small Victories and Amelia Morris's In the Kitchen with Amelia and Teddy recipe.
Serves 3

for the kimchi fried rice (and soft fried egg):
2 tablespoons vegetable (or any neutral) oil
1 small brown onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
300g kimchi
1 tablespoon gochujang paste (optional)
4 cups cooked rice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 eggs (1 per person)

for the sesame spring onion salad*:
4 spring onions, white and light green parts only
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

- If you don't have cooked rice, start there and cook your rice - I never have enough cooked rice so this works fine with freshly cooked rice.

- Next start your sesame spring onion salad. Slice up the spring onions into thin strips but cutting each spring onion into three then into two length ways then finely slice them to get skinny match stick like pieces. Stir in the sesame oil, rice wine vinegar and sesame seeds an season with salt. Set aside.

- Next, drain your kimchi reserving it's liquid and roughly dice.

- Heat a large saucepan (everything will end up in here so make sure it'll fir your rice) over medium heat and fry your onion and garlic until translucent and fragrant. Then add the diced kimchi and cook until the edges start going crispy or it start to stick to your pan. Add the reserved kimchi liquid and the gochujang paste and cook for 2 minute more.

- Right now is a good point to get your eggs frying in a skillet with a lid on low heat. Add a little oil to the pan and crack the eggs in once the pan is hot, turn the heat right down, cover with a lid and cook for about 4-5 minutes or how ever long long to your preferred yolk runniness.

- While your eggs are slowly cooking away, add the cooked rice to the kimchi pan and mix thoroughly until the rice is coated in the sauce, the kimchi is mixed through and everything is steaming hot. Add a good splash of soy sauce and taste - season if needed.

- Serve the kimchi fried rice topped with the sesame spring onion salad and soft fried egg.

* if you do not want to make the sesame salad I would advise stirring a teaspoon of sesame oil in with the soy at the end and sprinkling the rice with sesame seeds to serve.