Snowed In.

It did cross my mind when signing our tenancy, that living on top of a steep hill, where the road is very narrow, might be an issue when it comes to snow. I dismissed it at the time in favour of a nice house, however now it actually has snowed, I am fearing the next couple of days.

You see, the only way is down where I live. Down the very steep hill where I would probably end up swerving the car out into the main road if I drove, or through a narrow private “road” (with pot holes all over the place, lovely home for the ice that is yet to come) where the car would probably skid into the wall or the fence opposite. And if we walked, no doubt I would fall, drag DS down with me and we would both roll down the hill, caked in snow, as if we were zorbing or something. I certainly do not want to relive our trip to Bodiam Castle, where I accidentally yanked DS down with me after taking a fall because of my inappropriate footwear. Poor boy.

For the moment though, leaving the hideous thoughts of it turning into some kind of giant ice rink, we enjoyed the snow and ventured to the local park.

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Wonton Soup.

I finally invested in a food processor (my previous handheld mixer died) and inevitably this was going to result in another food post. I decided to make Wonton Soup without following a structured recipe, but instructions from my Grandma which is near enough the same thing.

Ingredients:

For the dumplings:

20 king prawns

200g pork mince (half of the small box)

1 clove of garlic

2 spring onions

1 tsp of cornflower

1/2 tbsp of oyster sauce

pinch of salt

ground pepper

1 pack of wonton sheets (usually 30 sheets in a pack)

egg white

For the soup:

Water (use your judgment for how much you need)

Dash of soy sauce

1/2 vegetable stock cube

What’s next?

Start off by preparing the prawns – You will need to de-shell them and remove the intestines (as shown in my previous post). Once this is done, add the prawns, pork mince, spring onions, chopped garlic, cornflower, oyster sauce, salt and ground pepper into the food processor. You can add other ingredients too, so do not feel restricted.

Blend the mixture until it turns into one clump.

Place small scoops of the mixture in the centre of the wonton sheets. Dampen the corners of the sheets with water and bring two of the corners together to a point. Then bring the other two corners together and wrap them around. There are various techniques to folding wonton sheets, the key thing is to make sure the filling is fully concealed and the sheet is wrapped tightly.

Thirty wonton dumplings is an excessive amount for me to eat, so I have stored them in boxes of ten in the freezer.

To cook the dumplings, all you need to do is place them into boiling water for approximately five minutes; they should float to the top once they are done. To make the soup, simply boil the water, add the soy sauce and vegetable stock and simmer for a few minutes. Pour into a bowl and wonton dumplings once they are cooked, sprinkle some spring onions as a garnish and there you have your wonton soup!

Icing on the Cake.

I was given The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook a while ago but have only used it as a picture book, not daring to actually make one of their magnificent cakes. A few days ago I decided I would try a simple recipe (you can follow the same recipe as the book on the websites I found) and make vanilla cupcakes, but instead of the vanilla frosting they suggest, I made chocolate.

Here are my ingredients. For a detailed list, please refer to the websites I have linked above.

After mixing the  flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter together, it looked something like this.

Once the egg, vanilla extract and milk have been incorporated, I spooned the mixture into paper cases.

Whilst they were baking in the oven, I prepared the chocolate frosting. When beating the icing sugar, butter and cocoa powder together and adding the milk, it may appear that the mixture is too dry. It is deceiving you and after a further few minutes beating the mixture together, the frosting will form perfectly.

After the cupcakes are cooked through and have cooled down, spread the chocolate frosting on top and sprinkle the hundreds and thousands.

Chicken Tonight.

I have been seeking an alternative sauce to include in my rice dishes for DS, without it being too flavoursome (he dislikes strong tastes) or too bland. My grandma has taught me how to make a very tasty dish, which is incredibly simple and only takes a few minutes to cook.

Ingredients:

A small portion of diced chicken – however much you think you/your baby can eat (I tend to use thighs as I find the breast very dry)

An array of vegetables (I tend to use whatever I have in the fridge. This time I used baby sweetcorn, cauliflower and baby spinach)

Thai Fragrant Jasmine Rice (measure as needed)

1 tsp of potato flour

2-3oz of water

dash of soy sauce

1 tbsp of oyster sauce

You can buy these ingredients from some Tesco stores or any Chinese/Asian shop. I only know of the Asian Market on Queen Street in Gravesend and Thais ‘R’ Us on Lower Bridge Street in Canterbury, other than the obvious China Town in London.

What next?

You need to start cooking your rice first as this will take longer. If you have a rice cooker, use a little more water and throw in your vegetables with the rice. If not, then you can boil them together in a saucepan.

All cooked.

Using a very sharp knife, dice and mince the chicken so that it forms into tiny clumps. It does not need to be neat, just turned into manageable pieces for your baby. Heat the pan with a dash of oil, then toss in the pieces of chicken with the oyster sauce. After a few minutes of browning the chicken, mix the potato flour with the water and add to the pan. Next add a splash of soy sauce, give it a stir and leave to cook on medium heat.

Continue to stir the chicken in the sauce until you think it is done. Make sure you do not overcook it as the sauce will thicken and become gloppy. Once the rice is cooked, it is ready to be served!

A whole new ball game.

I decided to be adventurous yesterday and push myself to the limits. This resulted in prawn balls.

If you remember, not long ago I tried my hand at various Chinese/Thai/Vietnamese (or if you prefer, Asian) dishes, which were generally a success. This time, I attempted to make prawn and pork balls on skewers to be cooked on the barbecue. This was pretty adventurous because 1) I am quite nervous about cooking prawns because I never know if they are still raw, 2) I had only ever eaten these at my Aunt’s barbecues and had no idea how they were made. After a few phone calls to my Grandma (an expert in cooking) and my Aunt (who has previously made and cooked prawn balls) and a little research on the internet, I set forth for my big experiment.

Ingredients:

20 king prawns

400g pork mince (the small box)

1 clove of garlic

1 chilli

1 green pepper

1 tsp of cornflower

pinch of salt

pepper for seasoning

So what next?

First you need to prepare the prawns. This is long and tedious, but must be done to ensure they are thoroughly cleaned. Assuming you have bought prawns that are headless, to begin with you need to de-shell the them. The next stage is to slice them right in the middle – I find it easiest to go from the top to the tail downwards. Inside you will find a string, the intestines, which can easily be pulled out from one end of the prawn. It is not life threatening if you decide not to do this, but it will taste gritty otherwise.

Once you have done this, slice them into small pieces. I slice and de-poo each prawn as I go, but do whatever is easiest for you. You may want to wash them after, but to be honest, they have been in a shell and should be fine.

Place the mushed up prawns in the food processor with all of the pork mince, a generous pinch of salt, 1 tsp of cornflower (to make it stickier), pepper (add as much or as little as you feel necessary), chopped up garlic and chilli. I tend to remove the seeds from the chilli, but if you are feeling particularly daring leave them in.

Chop your green pepper into small chunks and get your skewers ready. Roll the prawn and pork concoction into a medium sized ball on a flat surface using the palm of your hand. Make sure the prawn balls are not too big, as this will take longer to barbecue and be at risk of being undercooked. Then slot the balls onto skewers, with peppers in between; this may get tricky as time goes on as the mixture becomes stickier. I also found that they would fall off the skewers, in which case I would re-roll the ball and delicately slot them back in between the peppers.

Lastly, place them on the barbecue to cook. It is not necessary to cook them on a barbecue, you can also grill or fry them (obviously without the skewers for the latter). If you do decide to cook them on a barbecue, be wary that the prawns will be cooked quicker than the pork; it is best to place them on before the barbecue gets too hot, or perhaps as the last thing you cook.

All in all, my experiment was a success! It took a while to cook on the barbecue, probably because of my constant paranoia that they were underdone, but it was definitely worth the wait. They were very tasty and DH loved it.