Sunday, 25 November 2007

festive food fair reminder


You’ll have to excuse my absence for the next two weeks but I’m travelling for work and I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to blog while I’m overseas.

In the meantime, please don’t forget about the Festive Food Fair:

Last year we had 67 entries in honour of global festive food and I'd like to invite everyone share their feasting recipes in 07.

This can include drinks, appetisers, entrees, mains, salads, desserts – if it’s special to your family or culture, it’s special to us too!

Diwali, Thanksgiving, Eid al Adha, Hannukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas and New Years Eve - whatever tickles your fancy or peaks your interest.

What to do?
Before midnight Sunday 9 December, email to morselsandmusingsATyahooDOTcomDOTau your:
- permalink
- name
- blog name
- recipe name
- recipe type (drink, salad, dessert etc)
- city, state, country

House keeping:
- link your post back to the event announcement so your readers can find the recap
- entries cannot be used for multiple events, other than photo events
- you can submit multiple entries

Also, if you know about other holiday-food blogging events, please let me know so I can include a link to those recaps in my round-up.

Hope you can make it!


Saturday, 24 November 2007

pickled nectarines w ricotta & prosciutto

Out of all my Thanksgiving lunch menu items, the pickled nectarines seemed to peak the most interest – so by popular demand this is my entry to WHB blogging this week.

The flavour was very interesting: there was a definite sweet, fruitiness from the fragrant, ripe nectarines but they had also adopted a light sourness.

The spices were very present: you could certainly taste the anise, cloves and ginger in the mix. The chilli didn’t register much, but I think it was there to add a gentle glow rather than a burn.

The nectarines were so easy to pickle and the most difficult part of the recipe was dabbing on the ricotta and wrapping them in prosciutto, just because it was fiddly.

They could easily be served in other ways, such as an accompaniment to roast pork or fish or even diced into cubes and turned into a salsa. I think the recipe is quite versatile.

Pickled Nectarines w Ricotta & Prosciutto
Recipe from Marie Claire’s food+drink by Michele Cranston. Makes 24.
3 large nectarines (approx 500g or 1lb)
150ml cider vinegar
2 star anise
2 cloves
1 teaspoon sliced fresh ginger
1 large red chilli
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup caster sugar
12 slices prosciutto, cut in half lengthways
250g (8oz) ricotta
1. Slice nectarines into quarters.
2. Place vinegar, sugar, star anise, cloves, ginger, chilli, salt and 300ml water into a pan and bring to the boil.
3. Warm a medium sized heat proof, sealable jar by filling it with boiling water, waiting a few minutes then draining.
4. Place nectarines in the warm jar, pour over boiling pickling liquid and seal.
5. Cool, then refrigerate for minimum of 5 days.
6. Slice nectarine quarters in half, dab with teaspoon of ricotta and wrap with prosciutto.
Anna’s Variation: I used gari (pickled Japanese ginger) instead of the fresh ginger.

Nectarines are fuzzless peach cultivars and are actually the same species as peaches. They are not, as I originally thought, a cross between a peach and some other stone fruit!

According to Wikipedia, studies have shown that nectarines are the results of recessive genes whereas the fuzzy peach skin is more dominant. It’s more common for nectarines to grow on a peach tree, but it is possible for peaches to grow on nectarine trees if it was pollinated by a peach tree. You learn things every day!

You can get both yellow and white nectarines, same as peaches, although nectarines are more susceptible to bruising without the fuzzy padding. They might look redder than peaches, but that’s just the fuzz mellowing out the peach’s colour.

My mother’s favourite fruit were peaches but she detested the skin and would actually dry wretch when she touched it (apricots too).

As a (cruel) child I would sneak up next to her and rub peaches on her arm just to see her shudder. Well, I had to get some pleasure out of it – she used to make me peel all her peaches for her!

I suppose my mother’s fuzz phobia affected me and, although I have no problem handling peaches, the thought of fuzzy peach skin on my tongue is a real problem.

For a multitude of reasons, nectarines became my favourite: I think they taste stronger and sweeter than peaches and have more fragrance.

This week our Weekend Herb Blogging host is Truffles from What's On My Plate, a fellow Aussie blogger (Melbourne) who also indulged in some stone fruit this WHB.



Thursday, 22 November 2007

thanksgiving pumpkin pie

As part of my Thanksgiving lunch I cooked, for the first time, a pumpkin pie.

I tried to replicate the flavour of my grandmother’s pies and I remember her telling me that her best pies always came from canned pumpkin purée. She said she used to make her own pumpkin purée from scratch but after years of doing this she discovered she preferred canned purée.

Since Australia doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, and since Pumpkin Pie is something quintessentially American, you can’t find canned pumpkin purée here. And yet I magically discovered two cans in David Jones’ food hall and was over the moon!

I decided to go with a Williams Sonoma recipe and was very pleased with the results. The pie had a perfect velvety texture and a gorgeous spiciness, the crust enriched with pecans.

As my first attempt at Pumpkin Pie, I was proud as punch.

Candied Pecans

Recipe by Williams Sonoma.

1/3 cup superfine sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups pecan halves

1. Preheat an oven to 350ºF. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet.
2. Over a plate, sift together the superfine sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
3. Place the pecans in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Shake the colander to remove the excess water.
4. Toss the pecans in the sugar mixture, coating them evenly.
5. Spread the nuts out on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer, separating any that are touching.
6. Bake the nuts until they are dry and the sugar has crystallized, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Pumpkin Pie w Candied Pecans

Recipe by Williams Sonoma. Serves 8-10.

For the crust:
1 cup candied pecans
1 cup fine cookie crumbs
155g unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree
3 eggs, lightly beaten
¾ cup heavy cream
2/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch (cornflour)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Vanilla ice cream for serving

To make the crust:
1. Preheat an oven to 325ºF.
2. Place 1 cup of the candied pecans in a food processor and process until finely ground.
3. Pour into a bowl and stir in the cookie crumbs and butter until all the ingredients are evenly moistened.
4. Pour into a 9-inch pie dish and, using your fingers, press the mixture to cover the bottom and sides of the dish evenly. Set aside.
To make the filling:
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, eggs, cream, brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and vanilla extract until well combined.
2. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust and smooth the top.
3. Bake until a toothpick or thin skewer inserted into the center of the pie comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes.
4. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
5. Just before serving, garnish the edge of the pie with some of the remaining candied pecan halves.

I'm going to submit this recipe to my own Festive Food Fair. If you want to know more about this food event, check out how to join.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!


Sunday, 18 November 2007

roast pork w apples & prunes

Next Thursday is Thanksgiving in the USA, but since we don’t get a public holiday in Australia I thought I’d cook my father his Thanksgiving lunch today instead.

I put on a bit of a feast:
Pickled Nectarines w Ricotta & Prosciutto
Honey, Brie & Fig on Fruit Toast
Parmesan Mousse w Red Wine Pears
Roast Pork Loin w Prunes & Apples
Garlic & Lemon Broccoli
Green Beans w Truffle Butter
Baked Carrots w Cinnamon & Pine Nuts
Pumpkin Pie w Candied Pecans

It was the first time I’d made most of these dishes, and I was particularly nervous about the Pumpkin Pie, but everything turned out well and my stepmother even ate a carrot, something she loathes doing.

I tried to choose dishes that symbolised Thanksgiving traditions and flavours, while recognising that it’s summer in Sydney and the weather is 31’C (90’F). I opted for autumn flavours but served most of the dishes chilled or at room temperature.

After composing the menu I noticed that all the savoury foods contained fruit and the dessert was made from vegetable!

I will slowly post all the dishes we ate, but today I’m blogging about the main course: Roast Pork w Apples & Prunes.

This is one of my favourite roast recipes. I first tried it in New York when I was living with Paola. She hosted a special dinner for some senior colleagues and made this scrumptious roast.

The pork is sweet and fatty so the acidity of the green apples cuts across this slightly while the prunes matches with sweetness. The fruits break down a little and provide a nice chucky sauce for the meat. Yum!

Roast Pork w Apples & Prunes
Anna’s very own recipe. Serves 4-5.
1kg pork loin roast, without crackling
3 garlic cloves
3 green apples
250g pitted prunes
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
2. Peel apples, core and chop into cubes.
3. Crush all three garlic cloves and mix with apples and prunes.
4. Cut one garlic clove in half and rub over surface of roast.
5. Oil a baking dish, add pork and coat surface in oil. Roast in oven for 15 minutes.
6. Add apples and prunes to baking dish. Return to oven for another 30 minutes.
7. Check pork is cooked through by inserting a skewer: if juices run clear pork is done.
8. Check apples and prunes have softened.
9. Cover with foil and sit for 10 minutes after cooking.
10. Serve slices of roast pork with apples, prunes and juices.
Notes: Always cook pork for 45 minutes per kilogram. Check roast every 30 minutes to baste with juices. Fruit will take approximately 30 minutes to soften.
Variations: Omit apples and prunes for fig version instead. Mix 250g fig jam with ¾ cup orange juice and ¼ boiling water to make runny sauce. Combine 250g chopped dried figs with jam sauce, add salt and pepper to taste, mix well. Sit 15 minutes before adding to roast. You could also substitute with apricot or cherry.

Maybe I’m a little slow on the up-take, but it wasn’t until I was 19 and living in Italy that I realised prunes were dried plums. How did I figure it out? Well in Italy, the word for plum is “prugna” so it suddenly dawned on me!

Prune producers usually use Prunus domestica, but more than 1000 cultivars of plums are grown for drying. They are usually freestone cultivars, where the stone can easily be dislodged, rather than cling styles.

Prunes have high levels of unique phytonutrients classified as phenols. These antioxidants neutralise a very dangerous oxygen radical called superoxide anion radical prevent oxygen damage to fats. As WHFoods put it “Since our cell membranes, brain cells and molecules such as cholesterol are largely composed of fats, preventing free radical damage to fats is no small benefit.”

In a quarter-cup of prunes, a person can get 16.9% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, 9% of potassium and 12.1% fibre.

The fibre balances blood sugar levels and helps to prevent Type 2 Diabetes as well as treat constipation, lower cholesterol and increase iron absorption.

When selecting prunes choose ones that are shiny, soft, sticky and plump. Check carefully for mould, dryness or hardness.

Everyone’s favourite Klingon, Worf, declared that prune juice was a “warrior's drink!" and if Worf likes it, then prunes are OK by me.

Our WHB hostess this week is Vanessa from the brilliantly titled blog What Geeks Eat. I was only recently discussing how geeky all us food bloggers are as we snap away at dinner parties and restaurants. We really are a nerdy bunch, in the best possible way!

And in the lead up to Thanksgiving, don't forget about the Festive Food Fair, where you can blog about your special occasion food. Entries due by Sunday 9 December.



Saturday, 17 November 2007

peanut butter & banana milkshake

Maybe it's borderline for me to claim this drink as a Thanksgiving recipe, but I recall that on special occasions my cousin, Cherray, always drinks milk. While I might go for wine or juice, she would always choose milk. Even at Thanksgiving.

When I first made this milkshake, the combination of flavours seemed very American.

Given Americans put peanuts in almost everything - go through the candy aisles and you're hard pressed to find many chocolate bars without the national nut - I think this recipe fits well with Thanksgiving flavours.

Serve it to your kids with their pumpkin pie, or to your adult cousin who loves her dairy.

Peanut Butter & Banana Milkshake
Anna’s very own recipe. Serves 2.
3 tablespoons smooth Peanut Butter
1 ripe banana
2 tablespoons honey
2 cups milk
1½ cups crushed ice
1. Put in blender and process.
2. Scrape sides of the blender to ensure no honey or peanut butter is stuck there.
3. Serve ice cold!

This recipe belongs to the Festive Food Fair.


Monday, 12 November 2007

humidity - watermelon cocktail

The Mixology Monday theme for this month is gin, so I hope I’m not cheating by using genever, the original gin from the Netherlands.

I have to give credit to my sister, Shamu, who whipped up the pretty decoration for this drink, which I've called Humidity because it’s the perfect summer afternoon cocktail.

Around midday, when you feel like switching from your morning juice to an afternoon swill, this drink is a refreshing option.

The sweetness of the crème de cassis is tempered by the watery melon juice and the spiciness of the genever.

Anna's very own recipe. Makes 4.
2½ cups watermelon flesh, seeds removed
5 tablespoons Crème de Cassis
2 tablespoons Malibu
2 tablespoons Genever
1. Blend all ingredients together.
2. Strain into glasses.

Genever, also known as jenever, jeniever and Holland gin, is the Dutch and Flemish juniper-flavoured spirit from which English gin evolved. The word gin is an abbreviation of the Dutch word genever meaning juniper.

Genever was originally a distillation of malted grain mash, which tasted fairly bad and was improved with strong juniper berries and other botanicals. It was first sold as medical elixir in the 1500s but by the 1600s it had become popular for its flavour.

The English got their first taste of genever in the 1580s when English troops were fighting Spain in the Dutch War of Independence. The spirit famously became known as "Dutch courage", but the real rise came when the Dutch Duke, William of Orange, took the English throne in 1688.

Delicious sloe gin was created for middle-class Victorian ladies while the G&T evolved to mask the bitter flavour of quinine, a malaria medicine. It’s funny to think that modern tonic water contains quinine as a flavouring when the British soldiers were originally trying to avoid it.

There are two styles of genever "Oude" (old) and "Jonge" (young) which are separated by the base alcohol production: oude genever is heavier in flavour, sweeter and can be a straw colour while jonge genever is drier, lighter and closer to the English style.

Genever is usually lower proof than English gin and is therefore usually served chilled and straight rather than mixed into drinks. It is also drunk as beer chasers, also known as a kopstoot (headbutt).

Schiedam and Groningen are famous for their genever, whereas Belgium has it’s own jenever from Hasselt.

Our gin MxMo host is Jay from Oh Gosh so head on over to see what other gin tipples have been created this month.


Saturday, 10 November 2007

vanilla & lemon rice pudding

Lemon is one of my favourite flavours. I adore the acidity so much that I worry about the enamel on my teeth and my poor stomach.

Jonas is always reminding me to tone down the lemon usage when I cook with lemon, as I tend to like things much more sour than everyone else.

Strangely enough, although I adore lemon in a savoury, sour context, I really dislike sweet lemon flavours.

Lemon lollipops, lemon and sugar on crepes and lemon meringue pie really miss the mark with me and the only lemon sweets I seem to enjoy are lemonade and lemon sorbet because they retain the sourness.

Call me a lost cause, but there are also some flavours where I prefer the imitation versions better than the real thing, vanilla and maple syrup being among them.

Real vanilla beans just seem too vivid and overpowering to me. I feel like they should be used in cosmetics or medicine rather than food.

Bearing all these aversions in mind, I recently made a dessert for Jonas using both lemon and vanilla beans. We had bought the beans in Bali, for a ridiculously low price, and Jonas had been dying to consume them in some way ever since.

I was apprehensive about the dessert, but it was so warming and delicious that I didn’t mind the lemon and vanilla flavours. Topped off with tart raspberries, it was true comfort food.

Vanilla & Lemon Rice Pudding
Recipe adapted from Real Food by Loukie Werle. Serves 4.
½ cup carnaroli rice, rinsed
4 ¼ cups skim milk
½ cup caster sugar
1 lemon
1 ½ teaspoons cornflour
1 vanilla bean
500g fresh or frozen berries (such as strawberries), to serve
1. Wash and dry lemon well. Using a sharp, clean potato peeler, peel long strips of rind, taking care not to include any white pith, which has a bitter taste. The rind will impart a mild lemon flavour to any dish.
2. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil.
3. Add rice and cook for 5 minutes. Drain.
4. Slice vanilla bean lengthways and scrape out the pulp.
5. Return rice to hot saucepan. Add 4 cups milk, sugar, vanilla pulp and lemon rind to saucepan. Bring to the boil.
6. Reduce heat to low and cook, uncovered, for 40 minutes or until rice has absorbed almost all the milk.
7. Blend cornflour and 1 tablespoon milk in a jug. Stir into rice pudding.
8. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and discard lemon rind.
9. Serve with berries.
Note: You can use the empty pod to create vanilla sugar by inserting pod into a sealable sugar jar.

The first literary records of lemon cultivation is an Arabic treatise on farming from the 1100s, although it is thought that the first actual cultivation was in India.

The English word has it’s origins from the Arabic līmūn لیمون, through Latin and French.

There are sooooo many uses for lemons, ranging from ornamental plants, insecticides, face washes and hair lightening treatments.

Lemon juice can prevent oxidisation in pears, bananas and avocadoes and tenderise meat by breaking down the collagen fibres. A bath of lemon juice can ‘cook’ seafood and the acids can mask the smell.

To get the most juice out of your lemons, pick fruit that seems heavier than it looks and make sure the fruit is at room temperature. Sometimes rolling the lemon between your palm and the working surface releases more juices.

Lemons flavonoids are said to be strong antioxidants, anti-carcinogens and anti-cancerous. They have loads of vitamin C and are great for digestion, immunity, skincare, liver and stress reduction.

This week WHB is hosted by The Expatriate's Kitchen.

Reference & sketch:


Sunday, 4 November 2007

greek salad w fresh oregano

I’m starting to feel very old.

I’m only in my late twenties but things have been happening very recently to make me very melancholic for my youth.

* People are recycling fashion that I remember the first time around.
* Bands I worshipped in my mid teens are the subject of classic album documentaries.
* Tryhard teenagers are getting top ten hits with candy-pop covers of songs that were gritty and moving and meant something to me when they were first released.
* Grunge is being anthropologically dissected as a ‘movement’.
* I can say, and actually remember, “ten years ago”.

I am sure many of you have been through this before and know the strange bittersweet memories I am talking about.

It’s disturbing me.

I understand I’m moving into a new phase, which I will eventually adore and embrace as much as the old one, but right now I’m on the cusp and I am feeling nostalgic for dingy rooms filled with cigarette smoke, shirtless guys with lanky hair and the aggressive energy of smashing your body against others in furious mosh pits.

Soon I’ll be yearning for brightly coloured clothing, 24 hour parties and the repetitive comfort of break beats (the next phase I went through).

But I know I can’t go back. Even walking into a stinky, cheap pub these days makes my upwardly-mobile nose wrinkle in disgust. I’ve grown up and am beyond the grottiness that moneyless youth forces onto you. I’ve gotten accustomed to the finer things in life and can’t slum it anymore.

You can’t go back. You can only go forward. But you can be nostalgic and melancholic as you forge ahead, and that’s where I am right now.


Now onto more entertaining matters: Weekend Herb Blogging!

Today was a lovely hot day and Jonas and I enjoyed the use of our still-pretty-newly-purchased BBQ.

We grilled some steaks (beef for me, tofu for him) and whipped up a Greek salad.

Greek salad? Sounds pretty easy and boring, doesn’t it. Well, it was blissful.

When we were in Indonesia we ate the best Greek salads of our lives (even better than ones I tried in Greece!) and we replicated it with much success today. It was the usual ingredients, but instead of the traditional dried oregano we used fresh herbs, making it lighter and more fragrant.
It’s also interesting to point out that a traditional horiatiki doesn’t contain any lettuce, something that many Aussies wouldn’t realise.

Salata Horiatiki (Greek Salad)
Anna & Jonas’ very own recipe. Serves 4.
1 cucumber
¼ red onion, thinly slices
1 punnet grape tomatoes
Kalamata olives
Feta cheese
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
1 lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1. Cut the cucumber in half lengthways, then scrape out the seeds from the centre. Slice the cucumber into thin crescents.
2. Quarter the grape tomatoes
3. Pit and halve the olives
4. Cut feta into cubes
5. Juice lemon to get a few tablespoons of juice, mix with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
6. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss gently to combine.

Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is native to the Mediterranean region and southern and central Asia.

It’s name is Greek and means something like “enjoy the mountain”.

It’s used extensively in Greek and Italian dishes and I recall Beppi Polese, the first Italian restaurateur in Sydney, telling me how his relatives mailed him dried oregano because he couldn’t find it in Australia in the 50s.

The dried variety is much stronger than the fresh herb and this makes it a good herb to flavour dishes with pungent ingredients such as olives, chillies and capers.

Oregano has a lot of flavonoids and phenolic acids, which gives it strong antioxidant activity, and its antimicrobial properties make it useful in food preservation, probably another reason why it found itself added to pickle jars.

Interesting, in the Philippines it’s used to treat children's coughs.

This week Kalyn is the host of WHB, so head over the Kalyn’s Kitchen to see what’s cooking.


Saturday, 3 November 2007

sydney good food month: week IV

On Wednesday this past week, Good Food Month came to an end for another year.

In the last few days some eager foodies managed to squeeze in a little more gluttony and here are the results:

JenJen from Milk and Cookies ventured out last weekend to the Sydney Food & Wine Fair in Hyde Park. Her photos capture the festive atmosphere of the event, snapping people, greenery and a game of oversized chess, not to mention a gorgeous Bathers Pavilion almond tart with fresh berries and cream.

Emily (aka Pickles) from Pickles Perks also indulged at the Sydney Food & Wine Fair and her photos highlight the extensive and diverse food options on the day: burgers, lemongrass and prawn salad, cupcakes, lemon tarts, bbq quail and pork sausages and sauerkraut . . . to name just a few.

While Emily and Jen were busy eating at Hyde Park, I was in Surry Hills watching the butchers at Hudson Meats deconstruct a spring lamb. I learnt all about carving as well as where the various cuts of meat come from and what happens to the waste. It was so educational that I’d recommend to everyone.

Kat from Coffee Habits took one more Sugar Hit, this time at the Shangri-la Hotel. The Chocolate Lovers Plate contained a Trio of Rhubarb & White Chocolate Gelato; 70% Excellence Macaroon w Raspberry Ganache; and Roast Banana Gianduja Mousse w Coconut Crisp. Read over her post to see just how much she enjoyed this one!

My last GFM activity was Let’s Do Lunch at Bécasse, where I melted over the divine slow roast rump of rose veal w crushed potatoes & warm vinaigrette of spring vegetables. Not to mention the vanilla & cardamom pannacotta w blood orange granita and the musk stick soufflé w yoghurt ice cream & cantaloupe coulis. Food orgasm!

So that’s it for Good Food Month 2007!

Here’s the final run down:

Sugar Hits
InterContinental – Grab Your Fork
Sheraton on the Park – Not Quite Nigella
Westin – Itadakimasu
Radisson – Coffee Habits
Sofitel Wentworth – Grab Your Fork
Westin – Grab Your Fork
Shangri-la – Coffee Habits

Let’s Do Lunch
Essence – Morsels & Musings
Quadrant – Coffee Habits
Glass Wine Bar – Morsels & Musings
Zilver – Coffee Habits
Bécasse – Morsels & Musings

High Tea
InterContinental – Morsels & Musings
InterContinental– Sweet Sins

Cocktail of the Month
Café Sydney – Morsels & Musings
Hemmesphere – Morsels & Musings
Industrie, South of France – Morsels & Musings

Events & Activities
Chocolate Workshop – Itadakimasu
Night Noodle Markets – Itadakimasu
Pyrmont Growers’ Markets – Sweet Sins
Sydney Food & Wine Fair – Milk and Cookies
Sydney Food & Wine Fair – Pickles Picks
Deconstructing a Whole Lamb – Morsels & Musings

Start saving for 2008!

Fork image from the SMH GFM website.


Friday, 2 November 2007

bibim guksu: spicy korean noodles

I have recently developed quite a passion for Korean food. It’s spicy and fresh, like Japanese food with a punch.

Since summer is in full swing in Sydney, I found this wonderful noodle dish at My Korean Kitchen, and it turned out to be the easiest and most delightful dinner.

As the recipe author, Sue, describes it “bibim guksu is a popular Korean summer dish, because the spicy and sour taste rejuvenates your lost appetite in drowsy hot humid summer days.”

My Recipe Road Test of Sue’s noodles proved her claims to be absolutely true. The dish is spicy and fresh and you really feel positive and healthy after eating it. I’ve added it to my regular quick-dinner list (10-15 minutes).

This is my contribution to Presto Pasta Night #36, hosted by the ever-dedicated Nova Scotia foodie, Ruth from Once Upon A Feast.

Bibim Guksu (Spicy Korean Noodles)
Recipe by Sue from My Korean Kitchen. Serves 2.

180g organic soba noodles
2 medium lettuce leaves, thinly sliced
¼ a leaf red cabbage, thinly sliced
½ a small cucumber, julienned
1/3 a small carrot, julienned
A few snow pea sprouts
2 tbsp thumb nail size kimchi
Sauce (mix these in a bowl)
2 tbsp gochujang
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp roasted sesame seeds
1. Boil the noodles rapidly for about 3 minutes.
2. Drain the noodles and rinse with cold water to cool them down.
3. Place the noodles in a bowl and add the toppings and sauce.
4. Mix them well and dig in.
Sue's Variations:
You can alter the toppings as you wish, like adding boiled egg or white radish pickle etc. Also if you want more spicy taste, you may add some Korean chilli powder or minced garlic in the sauce and more vinegar for a sour taste. However, before you add anything into the original sauce, make sure you taste it first to ensure it tastes good.
Anna's Variation:
I added a tablespoon of lemon juice and half a small crushed garlic clove to the sauce as well as finely sliced shallots (scallions) to the salad mix. I also used a vegetable peeler to get thin, soft strips of carrot instead of julienne slices.

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