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Foodporn Monday – Roast Duck and Colorful Meal Prep

Another great week of culinary adventures! Let’s begin.

Meatball sandwiches, I might have said this before but I really never understood them. The concept of it doesn’t sound anything special. Until Sir Atticus made me one to crush my doubts, and it was so good. And now I find myself craving for it for time to time. I guess any savory meaty stuff you put between a baguette can’t go wrong. I had some slow cooker meatballs in tomato sauce leftover from my previous lunch meal prep so I made a great meatball sub out of it. So good!

I’ve been getting into soups lately, quick and easy, fridge-cleaning kind of soups. I got a piece of steak, different mushrooms so I made an Asian style beef soup. With some chicken stock, lots of ginger and Chinese red vinegar and lots of coriander. I should save soups like these for the winter cos I was sweating bullets while eating this. But it’s so warming and comforting and so good.

 

My mom’s friends are visiting from the US so there have been many dinner parties lately. This time, the main star dish is the traditional Cantonese roast duck. In Canton, they usually use geese cos they are fattier. The secret for a crispy skin is the layer of fat underneath the skin and ducks are in such a good shape in Finland. It’s still delicious, you can’t really go wrong with roast ducks. I really should get the recipe from my dad. The picture on the right you can see other dishes. From top left going clockwise, there are black pepper pork chops, steamed lotus root and pork, shrimps with salted duck eggs, the before mentioned roast duck cut into pieces and finally, a unique Southern China dish – fried beef and bitter melon. Yes, the infamous bitter melon of which so many had done challenge Youtube videos. I don’t like bitter melon at all, but for some reason I really like the beef in this dish. Mixed with garlic and black bean sauce, they are really delicious and had a mild bitter taste that is oddly addicting. But I would be very careful not to get any bitter melon in my bite of meat cos that thing is nasty.

On Sunday, another meal prep. This time I tried to make one of the Whole30 recipe chicken cacciatore in the slow cooker. It turned out tasting different, kinda like sweet and sour chicken. 😀 Well, I don’t care, it still tastes pretty good. I tried to eat low-carb but I was in the mood of eating the chicken with rice, so I compromised. I used a two person portion bag of Mexican rice (yes instant rice cos they were on sale), mixed with chili kidney beans, chickpeas, corn and coriander. I have quite a lot of paprika and onion and mushrooms in my chicken, but I still want something green. I happen to have two big bag of kale in my bridge so I wanted to make a Southern collared greens kind of side dish from the kale, so I just fried up some prosciutto and mixed in some butter and fried the kale in the glorious mixture. It tastes pretty freaking awesome.

Have a decent Monday and hope you have a delicious week!

 

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Foodporn Monday – Korean Dinner Party and Back to Work Meal Prep

Ah, last week of summer holiday and I had a dinner party on Wednesday to plan. I decided on a Korean theme because it’s easy. The recipe I’m most excited to try was the braised lotus root, a recipe by Maangchi.

It’s super simple, although it did take about an hour to make. You need only a few ingredients: the lotus root, I used frozen, chopped garlic, soy sauce, and rice syrup. I didn’t have rice syrup so I used regular dark syrup, you can also use plain sugar too. It turned out a little sweeter than I intended, guess rice syrup is not as sweet. But the smell of them is incredible and it goes so well with white rice. I would also be a great lunch box item as it can be served warm or cold. Who knew with such simple ingredients you can make such delicious things. Frozen lotus root are usually pre-boiled so that makes things quicker but they wouldn’t become as tender as fresh ones. I didn’t mind, I like the crunch.

There were only six people eating so I only made one main dish, two sides and three starters. Those familiar with Korean cuisine would know that there are usually many tiny side-dishes/starters served. I didn’t have so much time to make so many so I just made three in a slightly larger portions: the lotus root, eggplant and a kimchi-cucumber salad. One of the side dish, the chicken wings were made by my parents.

Let’s start from the left top photo, I really love the combo of cucumber and kimchi. I simply cut up the cucumber, marinated it with some vinegar, Tabasco hot sauce and fish sauce and then mix it all up with some kimchi. Then there’s the eggplants on top right, it’s actually a Japanese recipe: Eggplant cooked in dashi powder, soy sauce, mirin, sake and sesame oil. Very succulent and tasty. Bottom left there’s my newest Korean favorite dish japchae aka stir-fry veggies and beef with sweet potato starch noodles. Here’s the recipe. You can basically choose any veggies you prefer or meat or even leave the meat out. I love the vibrant colors and it’s a real party food that pleases everyone. Last but not least, a Korean spicy pork stew. There were five different mushrooms cos I love it, pork pieces, tofu and Korean rice cakes, all bubbling in a spicy delicious kimchi-filled sauce. Korean spicy stews go perfectly with sticky rice.

And then something fresh into the mix – strawberries. It’s probably not that well-known, but Finnish strawberries are one of the best in the world. They might not be the prettiest, or biggest, and you can get them fresh only in summer time and that also depends on the weather that year, but holy shit they are delicious. They are very juicy and sweet and they just taste much more intense than strawberries from elsewhere. If you are lucky, you might even get a batch that tastes like candy. If you ever visit Finland during summer, buy a liter from friendship market vendors around the city. And the variety called ‘polka’ are usually the sweetest. Do not let their less pleasing to the eye appearance fool you. 😛

And finally on Sunday, it was time to face the cold truth that my summer holiday had ended. But on the other hand, I was quite excited to mealprep again. I saw a slow cooker meatball recipe on Instagram and decided to give it a go. It turned out pretty good, but the meatballs were slightly on the dry side, I think I will go with fattier minced beef next time. I struggled with deciding what to eat with the meatballs, cos I didn’t want to just eat spaghetti. So I decided on pasta salad. I found some super cute looking black and white bow pasta, cooked some broccoli and greenbeans to go with it and seasoned with some olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt. On top I put some balsamic glaze and it went pretty well with the meatballs. They do look very pretty. And that’s it for last week. Have a delicious week!

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Foodporn Monday – brisket chili, afternoon teas and birthday picnic

Oh man, one year older! 😀 Birthdays are like new years for me, the short period right after it, I will promise myself to be better and healthier etc. Well, that might not going to happen this week yet, cos it’s my last week of vacay! And last week, definitely not that healthy. 😛 Let’s take a look.

Ice-cream is part of the summer, right? I found this crazy thing in my local grocery store. They got a special patch of ‘Asian delicacies’: coconut ice-cream inside of coconut. It looks so funny. The ice-cream was pretty good. I have no idea whether the coconut is real or not, but the ice-cream that is actually touching the coconut tasted a wee bit bitter, so I guess it’s real? Those blueberries are just for photo-taking purposes. 😛

Then I got to try cooking with my new crock pot for the very first time. I bought a nice piece of brisket, and pretty much followed Jamie Oliver’s recipe for chili con carne. I did add some other spices in it, onion and garlic powder, and I completely forgot about the red onion. The taste was on point, but one big mistake though, I kinda forgot that cooking in crock pots and slow cookers require way less liquid than other methods of cooking. So my chili turned out a wee bit runny. And I ended up adding some sugar and salt in the end cos two cans of crushed tomatoes packed quite a lot of sourness in it. I have no idea whether crushed tomatoes have sugar in them in other countries, but the brand that I use don’t have added sugar in it. The meat was falling apart after 7 hours of cooking, and after adjusting with sugar and salt, it was very delicious. Next time I will definitely add less liquid, some sun-dried tomatoes and/or grilled paprika to add a more smoky flavor to the chili. Also, I wasn’t that sure of using brisket, I feel like some other cuts would be more flavorful. Gotta try it next time. I ate chili for dinner with some rice, tomato-cucumber salad and sour cream to cut the spiciness. And in the morning, I made a chili breakfast, I just added some red onion, an egg, and some cheese. It turned out pretty good. And cooking with the crock pot was really a delight.

There weren’t that many sunny days this summer, so I took full advantage of those sunny afternoons by lounging around my pretty pretty balcony. On the left you can see me celebrating cheese and wine day. I got a glass of Spanish red wine, my favorite type is tempranillo. And I got some beautiful manchego cheese, paired with fig jam, two dates with coconut flakes plus a few cherries. On the right it was a proper afternoon tea, without the tea though. I brew myself a strong cup of coffee and added some cream. Cos seriously, milk is just going to water it down. I toasted a tiny baguette bun and spread some raw butter on them. Just look at how pretty! A few pieces of manchego cheese again with fig jam and a handful of cherries. I know how to enjoy life! 😛

Last Saturday was International Chicken Wings Day and I celebrated by ordering some buffalo wings from my favorite wing restaurant that happens to deliver to my place now that I live near the center. I usually don’t like buffalo wings, but I don’t know what is up with this place, they must have some secret ingredient in their sauce, it’s freaking delicious.

In the morning of my birthday, I made a light breakfast, and couldnt even finish the bread because Sir Atticus promised me a birthday picnic so I wanted to leave some tummy space.

It was such a sunny day on my birthday and perfect for a picnic. I was pampered with some sparkling wine, bacon salad, potato salad and a delicious piece of chicken. One happy birthday girl. ❤