Cookbook 179 – To Asia with Love

After hearing many people rave about Hetty McKinnon and her cookbooks, I bought To Asia with Love hoping it would be a great addition to my collection. It is an interesting cookbook, with some things I want to still try and one recipe that I don’t think I’ll ever eat again, though Nigel wants to make it himself as he loved it.

The instructions are clear, the ideas solid, and the book is entirely vegetarian, so an easy one to cook from in my household which has one vegetarian. Overall 3 out of 5 stars.

Buttery miso Vegemite noodles (services 4)

Ingredients:

  • 350g instant dried ramen or egg noodles
  • 85g unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Vegemite
  • 1 1/2 tbsp white (shiro) miso paste
  • extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
  • black pepper
  • 60g grated cheddar
  • handful of chopped chives

Method:

  1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook the noodles according to the packet directions until al dente (probably between 2 – 4 minutes). Drain, reserving about 125ml of the cooking water, and refresh the noodles under cold running water, drain again.
  2. Add the butter to the pan and swirl it around, allowing it to melt over medium heat. Remove from the heat and whisk in the Vegemite and miso paste until smooth and well combined. Drop in the noodles and, using tongs or chopsticks, toss to coat in the miso and Vegemite sauce. If the noodles look or feel dry, add a touch of oil or some of the reserved cooking water.
  3. Transfer to serving bowls and season with black pepper. Sprinkle over the grated cheese and chives, and serve.

Notes on this recipe:

  • Nigel loved this and wants to make it again. James hated it and refused to have more than one bite – and even after that he had to wash his mouth out with something else. Scott and I thought it was ok, but not something we’d ever make again.

Mushroom and kimchi ‘sausage rolls’ (makes 28)

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 1 leek, white part only, finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 500g Swiss brown mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
  • 1 cup store-bought (or home made) kimchi
  • 50g dried breadcrumbs
  • 125g grated sharp cheddar
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • handful of soft herbs (parsley, dill, chilves) and/or shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 x 24cm square sheets ready-rolled puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds (white, black or a combination)
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • tomato sauce, to serve

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Heat a drizzle of oil in a large frying pan over low heat, add the leak, garlic and a good pinch of sea salt and cook for 10 minutes, until very soft and sweet. Add the mushrooms and thyme, then increase the heat to medium-high and cook for 6 – 8 minutes, until the mushroom is soft and starting to caramelise. Season with salt and black pepper, then scoop into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Squeeze out all the moisture from the kimchi and finely chop. Add the kimchi, breadcrumbs, cheddar and mustard to the mushroom mixture and stir to combine. Mix through the herbs, then taste, and season with salt and black pepper if needed. Set aside to cool slightly.
  4. Take one sheet of pasty and cut it in half to make two rectangles. Spoon one-quarter of the mushroom mixture along the middle of one length of pasty, moulding it into a sausage shape. Brush the beaten egg along one pastry edge and then fold the pastry over to enclose the filling, repeat until you have four long rolls. Cut each roll into seven bit-sized pieces.
  5. Place the rolls on the prepared baking tray/s, brush with the eggwash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 18 – 20 minutes, or until golden. Serve with tomato sauce.
  6. Leftover rolls can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months

Notes on this recipe:

  • I ended up using 3 puff pastry sheets, there is A LOT of mixture in this, and it would not have fit into two pastry sheets. This meant there were more sausage rolls, no one was unhappy about that
  • If you don’t like, or cannot eat, kimchi you can leave it out of this recipe. It added kimchi flavour, but the recipe itself without it is likewise flavourful and tasty.

Roasted roots with chilli-oat crisp (serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 1kg of your favourite root vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes, turnips, beetroot, etc)
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 leek, white and pale green parts only, finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup mung beans
  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled
  • 2 shallots, finely sliced
  • 1/3 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
  • sea salt and black pepper

Chilli-oat crisp

  • 3 eschalots finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2.5 cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 100g rolled oats
  • 30g coconut flakes, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp toasted white sesame seeds
  • 3 tbsp red chilli flakes
  • 375ml vegetable or other neutral oil
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp salt

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C
  2. Scrub the root vegetables (peel them if you want) and cut them into 2.5cm pieces. Place on a large baking try in a single layer, drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt and black pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and add the leek to the tray. Drizzle the leek with a little more oil and roast for another 10 – 20 minutes or so, until everything is soft and golden. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil, add the mung beans and garlic and cook for 25 – 30 minutes, until tender. Drain and mash the very soft garlic into the beans.
  4. To make the chill-oat crisp, place the eschalots, garlic, ginger, cinnamon stick, oats, coconut flakes, sesame seeds, chilli flakes and oils in a saucepan over a medium heat. Bring to a gentle simmer, swirling the pan every now and then, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 20 – 25 mins until everything is crispy.
  5. Strain the oil through a sieve over a bowl and leave the oat mixture to cool in the sieve – this allows it to crisp up further. Set the oil aside. Once the crispy oat mixture is completely cool, stir it back into the oil and season with the sea salt. Leave the cinnamon stick in the oil, as it will continue to flavour it. Store the chill-oat crisp in a sterilised jar at room temperature. It will keep well for several months.
  6. To serve, place the mung beans and vegetables on a serving plate, spoon over a few tablespoons of the chill-oat crisp and season with salt and pepper. Scatter with the shallot and peanuts.

Notes on this recipe:

  • Turns out that I don’t mind mung beans. I didn’t know this before, and so that was a nice discovery. This dish is a plate of roast vegetables with a very spicy crumble. If you like the idea of that, you’ll love this dish. If not then don’t make it
  • I kept the chilli-oat crisp for a while, but never really found a use for it.

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