Sunday, 6 April 2008

Escape To The Country

The first time I ever saw snow was when I was 12 or 13, so I still get stupidly excited whenever I see it. This weekend was spent with my parents down in Surrey. I hadn't seen them for a while, so it was great to see them but to also go to the country. The picture above is from their back door, and much different to what I see out of my window in South East London!

A weekend of Mum's cooking was in store. My mum was never the primary cook in our house, it was always my dad who did all the cooking. In fact, my mum was always the subject of jokes involving dinner cooking (shrieks, running for takeaway menus etc etc.) but clearly things have changed. The dinner we had was quite traditional, home-cooked Chinese food.

To start, we had pork and seaweed soup. Many Chinese households have a bowl of soup before dinner, usually a fish or meat broth with some vegetables. What you see next to this soup is a cold platter of shredded chicken, cucumber, jelly fish and steamed tofu. This was dressed with a sesame sauce (made just by mixing sesame paste and soy sauce) which I forgot to photograph.

Seaweed Soup & Chicken, Jellyfish and Cucumber Salad

These two dishes to start off with were a great mixture of textures. The jelly fish isn't at all fishy, but rather like eating rubber bands, while the tofu is very soft and jelly-like, and then the meatiness of the chicken and the crunch of the cucumber. Many flinch at the idea of eating jellyfish, but it is on many dim sum restaurant menus and is such a great texture. The soup was also flavoursome and light, perfect to start the meal with.

We had to have a breather before the mains, but also because they were dishes that really need to be cooked fresh. You can buy bags of deep-fried cubes of tofu, so you just need to cut them in half, hollow them out and stuff them with some fish paste, fry them, and then just add some garlic, chilli, coriander and a little slaked cornflour to make a gravy.

Fish-Stuffed Tofu, before cooking and after:

We had this with white rice, chilli and garlic fried prawns, and gai laan (Chinese broccoli).

Oh, I do get treated well.


Liz (EFCliz) said...

Will you blog about fish fragrant aubergine soon please? I have snagged the recipe several times but would love to see it!

ros said...

My parents live out in Surreytoo but it looks like yours got much more snow!

I've never seen jellyfish on sale anywhere in the UK. Is there a pecialist store in Surrey that sells them?

Those prawns look really good- I love hell on prawn, they're so much fun. I really don't understand why so many people are freaked out by them.

Jules said...

I love the snow photo :) Actually I want to eat most of the food on your blog, it looks great!