Two Book Dinner

Quiet weekends are few and far between, but when they happen I normally find myself flicking through a cookbook from my (very modest) collection. I’ve recently got two wonderful new ones so I picked a recipe from each and went shopping!

Every Grain of Rice – Pak Choi and Shiitake Mushrooms

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This was a leaving present from my last assignment – thank you Yin! Every Grain of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop is a lovely collection of simple, easy to cook chinese food. Based firmly around the kind of thing that’s cooked every day in China, it covers lots of vegetarian, fish and meat dishes. Clearly written with sensible measurements (and drool inducing photography) it has everything I look for in a cookbook. She makes a real effort to choose from a sensible range of ingredients, and though you might need to pop to an asian supermarket, you won’t need to search hard or make more than one trip.

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I chose to make the Pak Choi and Shiitake Mushrooms. You quickly blanch the vegetables before stir-frying them in oil with ginger and garlic, then gently coating them in sugar, potato flour and water to create a sticky glaze. They were beautifully fresh and full of flavour – cooking them like this preserves a lot of the natural texture and was a perfect side dish. End to end it can’t have taken more than ten minutes – I can’t wait to try out some more of the recipes!

Modernist Cuisine at Home – Pork Belly Adobo
I’m currently writing a much longer post about this cookbook, which has become the pride of my collection almost overnight, but in the meantime here’s a quick sneak peak!

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Pork Adobo is found throughout the Spanish-colonised world – but this particular version is considered a national dish in the Philippines. You cook generous chunks of pork belly in a rich, sticky, savoury sauce that goes great with rice and some asian vegetables. Using a pressure cooker dramatically reduces the cooking time and increases the caramelisation, lending a lovely sweetness to the dish. It tastes divine and requires very little effort – I ploughed through a generous portion in seconds!

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