Thursday, 24 December 2009

Bubble and squeak

Bubble and squeak is a prime example of British thriftiness in cooking in that it uses leftover vegetables and potatoes from the traditional Sunday roast. The name probably comes from the initially boiling of the potatoes and vegetables (bubbling), and then from the panfrying that produce the squeaking noises (not that I've really heard the squeaks very much myself!). Given that there are bound to be plenty of leftovers from the Christmas dinner, this is another good way of dealing with the leftovers on Boxing Day (or beyond!).

The primary ingredient is mashed potatoes, comprising between 50 to 75 percent of the dish (you can vary the proportions to taste), and vegetables, traditionally cabbage. You can also use any leftover vegetables that you have at hand, e.g. carrots, brussel sprouts, peas, broccoli, cauliflower. You can even add some grated cheese or chopped up onion into the mix for added flavour.

The list of ingredients I have below are just what I had after a Sunday roast. Just use whatever you have or add more potatoes or vegetables (always handy to have a bag of frozen peas) as long as you end of with a mixture of about 50 percent or more potatoes. I also added some chopped up parsley that I had in the fridge.

Ingredients (all leftovers, no real guide to portions!):

Cooked potatoes (roast or boiled), mashed
Cooked brussel sprouts, finely chopped
Cooked carrots, finely chopped
Cooked peas
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil or butter for cooking

Method:

1. Mix all potatoes and vegetables in a large container. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Bubble and squeak

2. In a large frying pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil or a small knob of butter on medium-high heat. Either form the potato mixture into little patties (a bit more work) or just ladle some into the pan and use your spatula/wooden spoon to roughly form into a large patty.

3. Pan fry for 3-4 minutes until the bottom of the patty is golden brown. Flip it over and pan fry the other side for a few minutes. Repeat until all the potato mixture is used up.

Bubble and squeak

I like eating this with ketchup, or reheated leftover gravy (I don't throw much away, not even gravy!). Bubble and squeak is traditionally served with slices of leftover cold meat from Sunday roast (e.g. chicken, beef, pork...). Alternatively, you can chop up the leftover meat and mix them in with the potatoes and vegetables and fry up the lot in one go. Bubble and squeak also makes a good breakfast dish, perhaps accompanied with poached or fried eggs (rather like a hash). Feel free to use your imagination and whatever you have in the fridge.

For those of you celebrating, have a very happy Christmas, enjoy the festivities and all best wishes for the new year ahead.

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Tuesday, 22 December 2009

A bun in the oven

Updates have been very sporadic on this blog for the past few months, for which I apologise to readers (if you are still around). Other than being busy with work and other aspects of life, I have not been cooking very much, or thinking about food very much. Actually, I 'went off' food for a time and was also feeling completely run over and exhausted day in and day out. The reason for the sudden onset of physical malaise is that I have, what one might call, a bun in the oven, or as I like to call it, a bao in the steamer.

Char siew bao

I am currently 5 months pregnant. The baby is due in late-April 2010. There are plenty of challenges and exciting changes ahead, lots of it unknown, since we will be first-time parents, but AP and I are looking forward to all of it very much. I will still be updating this blog as much as I can, especially now that I have gotten over my food-aversion phase and is actually enjoying food again (I wouldn't have believed it if you told me this a month or two ago).

After getting over the worst of the morning (read: all-day-and-night) sickness, cravings that I've had so far tend to be limited to foods that I grew up having. I guess that kind of makes sense, to crave comfort food from one's childhood. I don't know what I would do if we didn't have reasonable access to T&T (large Chinese supermarket chain in Canada -- a real godsend).

A major one is char siew bao (steamed bbq pork bun), which is a steamed fluffy white bun filled with savoury and sweet BBQ pork. They are often found in dim sum restaurants and also in Chinese bakeries. Variants of char siew pau may have the same filling in an oven-baked bun or wrapped in flaky pastry (rather like a sausage roll).

Char siew bao

Granted, I love char siew bao anyway and didn't need pregnancy as an excuse to want them. But in recent weeks, there were sometimes nothing else I would rather have for breakfast other than char siew bao. Thank goodness we could buy pretty decent ones from T&T. They come sixin a pack, so I can have a supply in the fridge ready to be steamed and reheated when needed (I use my wok as a steamer, as in this post). I love having one for breakfast. Or afternoon snack. Or supper. Nom nom nom...

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Saturday, 12 December 2009

Bento update

I've been falling behind in my bento updates. I still pack bento lunches for myself and the husband but sometimes I get too tired or uninspired to pack them prettily, which also means they are not always worth photographying. But here are a few that made it into photos:

Grilled courgettes (zucchini), cherry tomatoes, cherries and chicken vermicelli salad
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Pork and mushroom soboro, rice topped with black sesame seeds, vegetable stir fry
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Roast beef slices, cherry tomatoes, edamame, couscous and cherries
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Chicken fajita, chery tomatoes, small container of sour cream, rolled up wholewheat tortilla
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