Sunday, July 24, 2011

An express Asian feast, dreams - and who stole my quails!!

Evening eveyone. I am happy to report that I am pretty much over this illness and that I am feeling almost normal again. Boy did that flu knock me out! I am not at all prone to sickness, so it was a bit of shock to be forced to pretty much take to my bed for two weeks. Not my idea of a good time, I can tell you! AND it kept me out of the kitchen!

As well as my flu symptoms, this sickness has been giving me some seriously crazy ass dreams too - the most amusing (and food related) being that I had dreamt I was competing in a cross between Masterchef and Iron Chef and it was a French themed challenge. I had this gorgeous quail dish worked out and all was going well, until someone stole my quails. How very dare they! I was bordering on hysteria, running up to strangers demanding that they give back my quails immediately, while the rest of my side dishes overcooked on the stove. When I woke up from the dream my heart was actually pounding, but would you believe it - I remembered my recipe for the quail dish! Now, I've never been inspired to cook a dish by a dream before, but I fully intend to turn the French quail dish into reality in the GG kitchen very soon. Many thanks to my kooky subconscious for the recipe idea - but do any of you dream interpreters know what it means when you dream about stolen game birds? Anyhoo.....

So it's Sunday night, my appetite is back after nearly 2 weeks with the flu and my tastebuds have a hankering for something with an Asian flavour. I also didn't want anything that was going to keep me away from the heater and the couch for too long (it's freezing!) I did toy with the idea of a sneaky Chinese home delivery, but instead I checked out the fridge and the pantry and came up with an easy Asian tasting plate that I managed to throw together in about 40 minutes. The result was three simple dishes - some fish, some greens, and some tofu - served with a couple of warming bowls of miso and seaweed soup on the side (not pictured - sorry, I completely forgot to photograph them, but they were your garden variety, instant Miso soups) Very yummy and a perfect accompaniment to any Asian meal.

I really love the concept of tasting plates - I like the sharing aspect, as well as the fact that you get to have a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Variety and generosity is good. Tasting plates also look great, providing a lovely visual contrast of colours and textures. They are a great way to entertain too, allowing everyone to just help themselves - and any of those pesky, fussy eaters to pick away at what they like and leave what they don't. 

Tonight's recipes are so simple and fast that I have just written them below in note form. Feel free to modify them to suit you. Here is what we shared for dinner on this chilly winter Sunday night, rugged up on the couch.....

Sunday Night Asian Tasting Plate
Crispy Seasame Barramundi with Wasabi Mayonnaise, Sugar Snap Peas with Sesame Oil and Soy Dressing, Fried Spiced Coriander and Pepper Tofu with Chilli Sauce


For the Barramundi - I simply dusted the Barramundi with seasoned flour, dipped them in lightly beaten egg and then coated them in a mixture of 1/2 Panko breadcrumbs (you will find these in any Asian grocery store) and 1/2 sesame seeds. I then shallow fried the fish in peanut oil. The Wasabi mayo was just a couple of tablespoons of good quality aoli (garlic mayonnaise) I had in the fridge, mixed through with a generous amount of Wasabi paste. It can be as mild or as hot as you fancy.

For the Sugar Snap Peas - I steamed these for about a minute in the microwave and drizzled them with a couple of teaspoons each of soy sauce and sesame oil just before serving. I seasoned them with cracked pepper and sesame seeds to finish them off.

For the Tofu - I pounded together 2 teaspoons of coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon of Szechuan pepper, 1 teaspoon black peppercorns and 1 teaspoon sea salt. When it was finely ground, I added it to 2 tablespoons of plain flour and mixed it well. I tossed the cubed tofu in the flour and then shallow fried it until it started to turn golden and puffy.

While the tofu was still warm, I tossed through some chilli sauce, a squeeze of lime juice, a tablespoon of spring onion and seasoned well with salt and pepper. That's it - dinner!


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